Wednesday, May 27, 2015

18 Weeks

There are 18 weeks of chemo. I don't understand so much of what is going on, and it feels like I'm just walking around with my jaw on the floor staring in shock at everything.

Laurie is taking anti-depressants. When she's taking them regularly, she's sort of okay. Then she thinks she's okay, goes off them, and spirals horribly. Laurie's seeing a special cancer therapist, but is super phony-positive to the point that Josh went with her one day to be like "Here's what's REALLY going on." He told me Laurie walked in and greeted the therapist by gushing "Look at you! That is the most DARLING pantsuit ever!" Wtf is that? She's so deep in denial about what's going on. Laurie also keeps going through all these crazy diets super fast, to the point it's hard for us to keep up. One week she's not eating meat, the next week only vegetables. My head is spinning.

Josh's sister has moved back, sort of temporarily. She's ... weird. She's a yoga instructor. Who seems to rarely shower. She travels a lot. She talks a lot about being real, in a way that implies nobody but her is. I am keeping my mouth shut because this is Josh's sister, but you know what's real? The $12 of organic strawberries I bought that you scarfed down while at our house.

She also has that rich-people dismissive way of talking that I hate. Everyone is spending a LOT of time at our house and she will say things like "Sam, I think my mom would like some tea. And I'll have some too, thanks."

Laurie has chemo on Mondays and then around Thursdays feels well enough to run around own. She spends the early part of the week at our house. Please don't ask me why - I don't know. She lays around watching Netflix, napping, snacking and talking to us. Yesterday Laurie announced to us, in the middle of the day, that she wanted carrot cake. Josh ordered a cake at Whole Foods and told me he paid over the phone and could I pick it up on my way home. The bakery lady showed me the cake when I went to pick it up. It said FUCK CANCER across the top. Um. There was no way I was going to hand this to Laurie. I can not use the word fuck in front of them.

So that's what is going on. Every day when I come home from work, I have no clue who exactly will be here. Or what mood they'll be in. Sometimes Laurie thinks she's going to kick cancer's ass, and sometimes she's convinced she's dying. Last week she was convinced she was having a heart attack and trying to insist she be driven to their vacation house two hours away. My head is spinning on a regular basis. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


(Thank you for the link to the second Passover. This year it would be this Saturday. Apparently we are waiting for the biopsies to grow, like a throat culture, but uterine cancer has been ruled out. At this point I've pretty much mentally checked out because if I engage I am enraged at how this is all taking so long after we were told the whole point of going to Texas was the fast turn around time. There is nothing fast about this.)

So Gwyneth Paltrow did yet another celebrity food stamp challenge. Ugh, the limes. Really, almost all the green stuff. I imagine this is probably accurate though, for people who are used to being at least middle class and then all of a sudden ... aren't. How can they possibly know off the top of their heads which foods will go farther and give them more value? Still. She should have bought carrots.

My disgust was tempered both by Laurie's cancer shit and by the fact that I already got all riled up about this before a few years ago. What did get me angry is that she didn't get through a full week, cracking at four days in. Come ON. That's just completely pathetic. Didn't Gwyneth brace herself to do something hard for a week? I mean, she gave birth. Twice! Surely this isn't as hard as that was, right? Didn't she know it wouldn't be all Goop-worthy meals all week? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Care through cooking

Probably not a huge surprise, but I'm not too mushy. This woman at work was talking about communication styles, and love languages (which is the corniest term I've ever heard). Like how guys try to fix problems? That's how they show their love. I guess I'm a guy deep down? I am a doer and not a sayer. I show my love through food. Gifts of food, acts of service.

I took the idea of apple matzoh pudding and made it into muffins and gave them to Laurie. Because everyone will eat either the top or the bottom of a muffin. The idea of doing a late seder was tossed around, and I scouted out all the food and spent last week walking around with my lists. Nobody ever definitively said "Go!" so it's probably not happening. Except at any moment it might? We're probably waiting to hear from the doctor in China before a decision is made. Word on the street is that if the biopsy results were disastrous somebody would have gotten in touch, and it's sort of a "no news is good news" situation. I thought the whole point of going to Texas was because of fast turn around times though, so wtf China doc?

Tonight I made meatloaf and smashed potatoes with asparagus. Josh stood in the kitchen watching me while we talked, and when it came time to dig my hands into the meatloaf mixture and mix it, he got skeeved out. Admittedly, it's not like Ghost with the pottery wheel. Josh refused to believe that I've made this for him before. "I'd have remembered seeing you do that." In the winter I probably make meatloaf once a week.

Now I'm laying in bed trying to come up with good comfort food for tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The longest week

Last week Josh's mom flew back to Texas and got biopsies. She flew back on Thursday. There are no results yet. This confuses me, since I thought the whole point of going all the way to Texas was that their hospital gives results quickly. It stresses me out that if it really IS cancer, it's just sitting in Laurie's body, growing bigger and bigger each day. It's hard to understand how she is not just screaming out the stress every second of every day. How she keeps all her freaking out inside is incredible.

This week results should get announced. We are hoping and praying it was a freak misdiagnosis. Laurie claims she feels fine. She looks fine. Her only change is that now she's taking one sleeping pill and one anti-anxiety pill. Maybe that's what's keeping her from screaming all the time.

Josh and I have had a lot of morbid discussions about health and death and stuff. We're like really fucking grownups now. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Josh: Do you think I could make shrimp risotto?
Alex, Dani and I: Probably not.
Josh: Wow. You don't even want to think about it?
Us: ... no.

This is the boy who saw me cleaning the stove and said, "Whoa, those come off?" But shit, now I really want shrimp and lobster risotto....

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cancer is confusing

So they left for Houston today. Passover was canceled, then switched, then canceled, then I got asked to "throw together a seder meal" for Saturday, then it was downsized. Making decisions is a hard thing to do when you're worried you're dying of cancer. But they left today. Even though I'm worried, I'm also kind of relieved to be honest. It's just been so high-stress all week.

Apparently Laurie got stuck with some shitty doctors, and today Josh spent an hour trying to explain to me why it might not be cancer at all. I can't tell if he honestly thinks this or is just trying to convince himself. This is what I have pieced together from the last week:
  • Laurie started coughing and couldn't stop so when she ran into a pediatric PA friend of hers, she mentioned it to that woman, who (rightly) said, "Sounds like something you should see a real doctor about
  • Laurie saw a real doctor who did a PET scan, pointed out a bunch of black masses, and announced cancer (I am a little confused about this - if I couldn't stop coughing I would expect an X-ray of my lungs to happen, but whatever.)
  • She went then to an oncologist (who Josh referred to as The Oncology Bitch) who told Laurie, "Yeah, that's cancer. Anything over 10 millimeters (maybe a different size-word, I forget) is cancer. This black mass is 4.6, this mass is 7, this mass is 3.5... and this is the protocol for cancer treatment. Case closed." When they asked her why she was saying it's cancer if she's saying anything 10 is cancer but each mass is under 10, she wouldn't answer. 
  • This is the point when I got told what was going on, and Josh made a slew of calls to get his mom an appointment with someone else local, plus at Anderson. It turns out that guy did his residency at Anderson and late last week when Laurie met with him, he suggested doing some tests but he was going on vacation and could meet with her to discuss the results two days after they come in, which would take a few days after the tests. So when he heard she got an appointment in Houston, he told her to just go there. 
Apparently at the Houston hospital, they can get results in minutes or hours instead of days. And any care, whatever she needs, can be done there. Plus the last local doctor here said that if she can get her treatment, whatever it may be, in NY, he has experience coordinating with them. 

So it seems like priorities have shifted dramatically. Obviously cooking in my kitchen was not kosher. They didn't care about using different dishes or anything. Nobody cared. I gave Josh two packages of Passover food that would travel well, and the name of a kosher deli in Houston. Right now they are planning to come home on Friday, but that's tentative. Josh is hoping the masses are benign and can be taken out with tiny needles (he called it something else) that would leave tiny scars.

It's good that we had last week to process and talk Laurie out of working with the bitchy oncologist. It gave us time to shift her thinking. Where it used to be a mindset of "I'm going to die soon," it's now more like "We're going to find out exactly what the hell is going on and then treat it and kick its ass, and I have now aligned myself with kind, knowledgable doctors I trust and will follow their protocol to the letter in order to get better." I am glad we had a week with Laurie - I feel like we sent her to Houston in a great mindset and much less hysterical. She was basically making me feel hysterical when she first told us. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And during Passover, too

Today Laurie told us she has stage four cancer. That it started out being ovarian cancer and spread to her intestines and lungs. They are talking about going to some cancer hospital in Houston, Texas next week. I am a little confused by this - isn't Sloan Kettering supposed to be like, the best? Plus, wouldn't a NY hospital be more capable of helping a patient during a Jewish holiday than a Texas hospital? Or maybe they'll just skip Passover this year.

This is kind of shocking. How do you go from being fine to having stage four cancer? Shouldn't you first have stage one? And two and three? We knew she was sick but didn't know what exactly was wrong. Josh even joked that it might be "dental work" she was recovering from. He is beyond devastated. 

Still buried

Josh brought me dinner at work tonight. He also brought a bunch of fresh fruit for my coworkers. Everyone was really happy. We always have cookies or pretzels or other junk food around, but no healthy stuff.

What happens is that my company never says no to clients. If they say "Can we have this report by Thursday?" and it would give us a LOT of breathing room to provide it Monday morning, we just say yes to Thursday. Nobody wants to risk losing a client. I get reviewed after each project is completed. If I ask the person who coordinates schedules to build in some break time that would mean they'd tell partners I'm not available when they ask for me. The scary partner described me in one review as "an accurate workhorse."

So Josh brought me dinner tonight. It was so nice to see him. I spent ten minutes stuffing food in my mouth and staring at his face. It was like the most amazing re-set ever. When Josh was leaving he asked me to let him know right when I was leaving work. I did, and when I got home, he had a bath waiting for me. I am so going to marry this boy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Total coincidence

My job has nothing to do with tax season. Nothing at all. Despite that, I'm super busy at work right now. It's the kind of busy where you work until 1am and go back at 6am. My eyes are twitching like a motherfucker, and I've had a headache for four days straight.

If anything has gone on in the world, I don't know about it. I've eaten every meal at a desk. Last Thursday I fell asleep standing up in the elevator. And in the shower. So that's what's going on. Work and sleep. Little too much work and not quite enough sleep. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

They're everywhere!

Josh and I went to a Japanese restaurant and George Clooney was there with his wife. I am not one of those girls who thinks old men are hot. They're just ... old.

I'll say this though: George Clooney flirts in a platonic way, if that's possible. It's as if he oozes flirtation even when he's not trying to? He looked at me, and I swear to god his eyes twinkled. It was like half a second and he wasn't looking AT me really, just glancing around and took me in. But I FELT it.

I've heard people describe meeting Bill Clinton this way - that the charisma is overpowering. Maybe George Clooney should run for president because he's definitely got it. Also, I am ashamed to admit this, but when his wife went to the bathrooms, I did too. Normally famous people are ignored here, but I couldn't help myself. She washes her hands with soap. That's all I have to report.

The other day I saw McCauley Culkin on the street. It was much less exciting. He looked like he smelled bad.

Lastly, my sister ran into Andy Cohen and his dog. According to Alex, he was friendly enough to stop and let her pet his dog, but distracted and on his phone. She felt the dog was friendlier than the man.

If I were ever going to abuse Josh's money, it would be to become a George Clooney groupie and follow him around. 

Monday, March 2, 2015


  1. Danielle has announced she's moving out. She's done this before, so I'm not exactly gathering the moving boxes yet, but she has a solid plan and seems serious. Except the plan isn't exactly solid, since what was said was, "I'm moving out at the end of this year (meaning school year). Or maybe at the end of the summer. Or after Christmas; I'm not sure yet when exactly." Josh feels we need to just to be supportive every time she talks about it. 
  2. Josh and I were meeting at a bar and he was running late. Some guy kept smiling and winking at me and then I realized he is a reality star. One who blubbers all over Instagram about how much he loves his fiancee. Gross. However, we ran into two OTHER famous people who are currently on a reality tv show, and they were both super nice and genuine. 
  3. The little mentally retarded girl whose parents let her play alone in the hallway is still ... playing alone in the hallway. But she got a haircut. I do not know what is going on there. 
  4. People are really insecure and deal with it by being very passive-aggressive. This is what I've finally figured out about adults. Why are so many adults insecure though? This is what I have not figured out. 
  5. We are all obsessed with coconut oil. We have started making jokes about all the things it's good for. Josh has a huge family, to the point of not knowing all his relatives, and mentioned one night at dinner that a relative died but he wasn't sure if he was picturing the right person or not. Alex asked, "Well, have you tried coconut oil?" 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poor, poor me

Next week I have to travel for work. To Miami, bitches! Then, as if that's not enough, Josh and I were invited to a wedding in Cancun, so I'm bringing my passport and going straight there from Florida. I  am taking two days off from work and everything. There will probably be some working from Mexico the first day, but it's totally going to be the work you see in commercials, where it's done from a laptop while sitting in a beach chair facing the ocean with a bottle of beer in the sand. Except not really with the beer because it'll be morning and drinking while working with numbers is a bad idea.

The only truly bad thing about this is that I'll have to pack work clothes, vacation clothes and wedding clothes. Pretty great problem to have though. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dumb drama queen

Alex got sick last week. I think it was like a mild flu. She then got better and had no fever. Then on Friday Alex woke up, coughed, and decided she had the flu again, but worse. Except she had no fever. We had a huge screaming fight with her insisting she was on death's door and me insisting she needed to suck it up and go to school.

It was the dumbest fight we've had in a long, long time. I don't know why I was digging in on this. Ultimately I told Alex if she was so sick that she couldn't go to school then she needed to see a doctor since she'd been sick for over a week. So she went to the doctor. Where she was diagnosed with a fucking sore throat. And got told she was a smidge dehydrated. You know what she was prescribed? Hot water with honey. No shit. I am disgusted by her. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Soup with supervision

My week of soups was a success. I know this not only because Josh gobbled them up and complimented them, but also because tonight, he came home with a bag of food, pulled out the stock pot, and proceeded to try to make soup.

The attempt was successful, though it involved asking me a lot of questions.
Can I put the potatoes in first or does the order matter?
How big do I cut the carrots?
What do I do again to not cry from the onions?
How long until it's ready?
I put the noodles in a separate pot, right?
You'll stop me if I'm making a mistake?
It's okay to use noodles and potatoes, right?
Is there any way to make this without my hands getting all gross?
Is it ready now?

Poor boy. Soup takes a long time to simmer. The longer it simmers the better (the house smells) it tastes. It wasn't how I would have made it, but it was seasoned correctly and tasted good. All four of us ate the soup. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

You decide: is she dumb or passive-aggressive?

There's this early or mid 30's woman at work who is at my level (second career) and sometimes I think she wants to make friends with me. Like, 25% of the time. The other 75% of the time I think she hates me.

  1. She always calls me by the wrong name. Sabrina, Sara, Shannon, even Dana once. I'm at the point where next time I see her coming, I want to write SAM on a post-it and slap it on my chest for her to read.
  2. She asks weird questions and then gives a weird response when I answer normally. Like she'll walk up to me and apropos of nothing ask, "What kinds of things do you make for dinner?" and then when I answer whatever I've made the last two nights she'll go "Oh!" and then say nothing else and wander off before I can ask what she makes for dinner. WTF is that? 
  3. She saw me standing outside the client's building one morning, taking off my boots and putting on shoes, and said "Oh! You wear boots?" Firstly, duh. Secondly, she was wearing boots too. 
  4. She's seeing a married guy as her main boyfriend but also dating other people, and sometimes she'll walk up and tell me about her dates. Once, she told me about when she was showering with the married guy and they did some weird things in there. 
  5. Once, she told me I should use better makeup, like MAC. Again, WTF?
I just don't get her. We. Are Not. Friends. I don't need to hear about her sexual activities. And if she DID want to be friends, the very least she could do is learn my name. 

Mostly I think she's bitchy, but the only reason I think maybe it's just stupidity is because she goes to a tanning salon. Regularly. Not spray tans. Tanning beds. I thought everyone got the memo about that ages ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Better biscuits

Tonight I made caramelized onion and gruyere biscuits. You know, to go with the mushroom bourguignon. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen! I was in the mood for some sort of biscuits and soup and was poking around for a meal that seemed good. These biscuits are much fancier than I normally make, but my sisters generously swore they were worth all my work. Dessert was apple blossoms by Trader Joe's. I just threw them in the oven halfway through dinner. Zero work.

There's a huge storm, there were lines around the block at Trader Joe's, and I wanted something warm and cozy for dinner. This meal really needs to be kept in mind when we have vegetarians over. Josh was a little upset that there was no meat in the meal, but just mentally. He liked how everything tasted just fine. Ate three biscuits and everything.

Josh's parents escaped to Miami two days ago. That's how they prep for a storm. Not a bad way to do things. I feel bad for the doormen, who have to stand in front of the storm, going in and out, and spending all day listening to people bitch about the snow. I'll be bringing our doorman some hot chocolate in the morning.

Alex made a comment about us not having a homemade dessert and it took every ounce of self control to avoid slapping her across the face. She just got the Glare of Death. Maybe if she'd helped with dinner ... I know I've bitched about this before. All sorts of rules have been instituted but the reality is that it only lasts for a couple of weeks, and then I'm back to making all the dinners.

When I complained to Josh about it tonight as he was about to get in the shower, he brushed me off. "When we're married with kids, the housekeeper will just prep dinner before leaving for the day." Um, WHAT?! Listen, I'm glad he enjoyed his childhood, but we are not aiming to recreate that in modern day society. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Men need respect more than love

This was Amanda's comment a couple of weeks ago:
Men need respect more than love ( which is hard for most women to grasp). They also love to give practical gifts and problem solve. Josh has done all of these things in giving Dani two very practical gifts that will be helpful with both college and keeping in contact, thus peace of mind for you. Set aside the monetary issue and sincerely thank him for all he has done to help you raise your sisters, A job most young boyfriends would never sign up for. By you, and Dani, thanking him in a most sincere manner he will feel both respected and loved. Any rejection of his gift or ill feelings about the covert purchase would be disrespectful in his view. 
I haven't been able to get this out of my head. I've re-read it forty times. Someone at work gave this whole (non work-related) talk about love languages and how different people show their love in different ways. My way is food. Maybe Josh's way is by throwing money at solving problems.

It feels like a very heavy responsibility to have a good relationship because my sisters are watching so closely. What if I haven't been respecting Josh enough all this time and my sisters are going off all set to not respect their boyfriends and all three of us wind up spinsters? How do you talk about "respecting" your man without sounding like a submissive Christian wife? Have I been fucking up my relationship for the last half a decade?? Ugh.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Friday night's soup: the Shabbat Special

I knew it would bother Josh if soup week didn't include the soup of his people, so I went all "shiksa dating a Jew" and made a whole Shabbat dinner Friday night. Matzoh ball soup, homemade challah with fancy butter, baked chicken, green beans with almond slivers, sweet potatoes, and apple pie.

His parents were invited too, and I wore a skirt and everything. We had a lovely discussion about Celebrity Apprentice. They left before Blue Bloods came on. Maybe I'm off, but I feel like they've been a little ... cold to me lately. I wrote a thank you note for the Christmas presents (so did my sisters), I make sure to give them alone-time with Josh, I never use bacon in recipes for them. I don't know if I'm reading it wrong or what I could have done wrong.

Josh and I cleaned up and he asked me to teach him how to make the soup. I'd started it in the morning and left it on a very low flame through the day. It's hard to tell Josh how to make it, because I kind of just ... toss in the stuff. So this weekend I really thought about it and wrote out a formal recipe for him. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday's and Thursday's soups!

I did the pumpkin soup tonight. I almost did it last night and then ... wasn't in the mood. It had to be included in Soup Week though. Josh told me that a few years before meeting me, he ate pumpkin soup at an Asian fusion restaurant while traveling and it was the best soup he ever had besides matzoh ball soup. So I busted it out tonight. I made a gorgonzola salad to go with it. Mostly because I was totally over eating bread every single night.

Last night was the tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. I put tiny bits of bacon in the grilled cheese and it was kind of fabulous. Josh announced that this is now what he wants, next time he gets sick. His mom would be crushed to find that out. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Out of season soup

I was going to do pumpkin soup, because my motto for this week is "the heartier, the better" so it seems like anything broth-based is out, but I wasn't quite in the mood for it, and when I found this recipe for lobster bisque and popovers, knew the pumpkin soup would have to wait.

This one stressed me out, because I don't really know how to do anything fancy with seafood. It's like normally I go full-steam ahead but then come to a screeching halt when fish is involved. I actually have to really read the recipes instead of skimming them and sometimes I even watch a few videos for the hard parts.

It also stressed me out because I got stuck at work later than I thought. You know when you're saving your work and mentally prepping your to-do list for the following morning, and then someone comes in and says, "Oh good, you're still here!" and you know not to even bother powering down? It meant I  was going to hit Whole Foods at the busiest time of day. I texted Josh a list and hoped he'd come home with the right things. Usually he does, and I've learned (for the most part) what will trip him up, so my lists are detailed. Alex has reported that sometimes Josh will show the list to the guy at the meat counter instead of reading it out loud. Whatever it takes.

Sadly, not only did I get home late, but this took me about two hours to make, so we ate dinner around 9:45 tonight. If I do say so myself, it was totally worth the wait. There's a claim that it's better than sex. I would say it's better than non-orgasm sex, but not sex with an orgasm.

My sisters and I each ate a full bowl of the bisque. Josh had two. Then he asked if the leftovers would be good tomorrow. Success. 

It's soup week!

Initially I was going to start small and work up to bigger, heartier soups. So tonight was going to be tomato soup with grilled cheese. Then I realized that Josh would get discouraged waiting for the soups to ramp up, and I needed to start big. So I did.

I wanted the stew-version of beef bourguignon, basically. I wanted meat involved, and wanted to serve it with red wine. Or pour red wine into the stew. Or both. But I definitely wanted red wine involved.

Someone asked which recipe I used for a meal a while back and I can't remember if I answered or not, so here goes: sometimes I follow a recipe, but more often than not I read a few recipes to get an idea of how it's done and then create my own recipe by combining them and tweaking it. That's what I did for tonight's stew.

It was chunks of meat, chunks of potatoes, carrots, onion, a very little big of flour, a bottle of red wine, beef stock, herbs, and a few other things all thrown in. I stir-fried the meat and then dumped everything in a stock pot and left it on low all day long. When I came home from work corn bread was made to go with it.

Verdict: my sisters and I each ate about a mug-full of stew. Josh ate two bowls of it. I'm taking some leftovers for work tomorrow. Josh is enthusiastic about tomorrow's soup. I'm going to hold off on the tomato soup and grilled cheese night until I'm desperate. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

You're getting better

This is a household that supports Apple. When we lived with Aunt Elaine I just got the cheapest laptop that would do everything I needed it to do. Eventually I got a macbook pro, became an Apple convert and hauled my sisters along with me.

Josh has always liked Apple products and always had one of each. Okay, sometimes more. For a while he had three iPods but couldn't figure out why. "I think a couple were gifts?"

Today when I was making dinner he came home with Dani, who was beaming. "Sammers, don't be mad." Josh made me put the knife down. "We got Dani a new computer and phone." We? No, you. If we had done it, we would have talked about it first and we would have paid for it together.

Dani's computer has been on its last legs for a year, easily. It takes 20 minutes to start, and often it takes five minutes to open any website and then it crashes. Every time I started to think maybe we should budget for a new laptop for her, Dani would run a patch or tweak her computer in some other way. Her phone doesn't tell her when there are voicemails, drops calls constantly, refuses to alert about incoming texts. We basically approach contacting Dani like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean. It might reach her, but it probably won't.

But this is like, $1500 worth of stuff. Their hands were empty. I seriously heard a rushing sound in my ears while they were talking to me. I think that's what my rage sounds like. "Where's the stuff?" That was all I could think to ask.

Dani suggested they leave it in the hallway while they told me, in case I freaked out. I'm not THAT angry anymore. Mostly. "Can I keep them? Please?"

I let her keep them. She's so happy. Josh is one of those people who gets happy when he gives. So he's happy too. When Dani ran into the hallway to haul her computer box inside, Josh kissed me and whispered. You're getting better.

Maybe I am. But I'm still awake at almost 2am thinking about it. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Being a tourist is exhausting

We stayed near home for New Years this year. Josh had a friend visiting from London who wanted to do Times Square because he'd never done it. So I made black-eyed peas and we headed out to be in the middle of Everyone in the Entire World. While cold. My nipples still haven't defrosted.

At one point some stranger standing next to me squealed, "Isn't this the most exciting thing EVER?!" But that's neither of the main points of this post. They are as follows:

1. Josh has a habit of having obnoxious house guests. This guy was good! He helped Alex work on her English accents. He said please and thank you. He cleaned up after himself. He wasn't haughty. I told Josh he is our new ambassador of visiting. Everyone who visits from now on must be as good or better than this guy. Dude should teach weekend seminars on how to be a good guest.

2. I was liking this guy so much that when he told us he wanted to do touristy things, I did them. Not only that, I'm doing more of them this weekend. Empire State Building? High Line? Chinatown? Little Italy? 34th Street? All of it.

But listen, if I wind up wearing a matching Big Apple t-shirt, stage an intervention. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


(Josh made up his obnoxious cookie comments by baking us some Christmas cookies.)

For as long as I live, I will never stop thinking a new blanket every holiday season is ridiculous. It's just so wasteful. I picked a blue/green quilt from Target, which I'm sure drove Josh's parents crazy. They included 98,000 thread count sheets with it, along with some fancy throw pillows. I guess we're all a little passive-aggressive in our own ways. If my mother knew I think she'd say it's ridiculous too, but to roll with it. Each year I make a mental list of what I'd get my mom for Christmas. Each year it gets harder and harder. She wasn't a big consumer.

Alex and I cleaned out a ton of stuff over the weekend. She made us move around the living room furniture differently and I keep banging into the couch in the new spot when I walk in.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jews don't do sprinkles

I got some Hanukah cookie cutters and Alex decided to make Hanukah cookies with them. She put white, yellow and blue sprinkles on the tops of the menorah ones. I think she was aiming for candles and fire. Josh told her Jews don't really do sprinkles. He ate the cookies anyway, but Dani and I could tell Alex was bummed out by his comment.

He meant his type of rich fancy people don't do sprinkles. Sometimes Josh is so obnoxious. I told him I was sure some rich fancy people DO use sprinkles and it was really gross of him to make Al feel like she did something offensive to his religion. He's just such an ass sometimes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nailed it

Tonight was the first night of Hanukah. The one thing I don't really cook is fried foods. So I bought half a dozen jelly donuts instead, on my way home to make the potato pancakes (which are fried).

I got Josh three presents, his parents got him three, and my sisters each got him one, so he's getting eight. Except he's getting more because of other relatives. He wanted a grandpa cardigan so I got him one of those. I do not really understand why this is a trend and why guys in their early 20's want to dress like Mr. Rogers. But Josh does, so now he will.

Alex had a friend over who commented on the menorah in the window. She thought it was weird. Alex tried to explain that it wasn't weird since Josh is Jewish, but the girl refused to change her mind. So no donut for her.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday's dinner: now, with guests!

When I told Josh on Sunday that we were embarking on a week of fancy foods, he suggested we invite his parents over for dinner. So I promptly did. They promptly replied saying it was such short notice during such a busy part of the year that they were basically booked through all of December but could they get back to me with a firm answer. Um. I guess it took them a day to rearrange or cancel or whatever but they announced they could come for dinner today at 7:30. They have to meet other people for drinks first. I was a little pissed off at this, but figure there have probably been at least a hundred times I've been rude to them, so they can have this one.

Even though Josh's people are Fancy, I've noticed that they're also kind of "meat and potatoes." Really, I think giving them fancy meat and potatoes is best - it fulfills all of their needs. Josh suggested doing a Thanksgiving dinner, but we don't have enough distance from my sickness and sadness yet. If HE wanted to make it, that'd be fine, but I'm not doing that. I'll do it next Spring, when we're all missing Thanksgiving food.

Tonight's dinner:
Mini tart flambée
Beef bourguinon over egg noodles*
Roasted potatoes
Haricot verts with slivered almonds
Macaroons (French, not Jewish) 

Normally I am excited to feed people but tonight I was nervous. Like, sweating-nervous.  Josh's parents brought wine that went perfectly with the meal. Everything was fine. Honestly, it was the pasta that made me nervous. Technically you CAN have one foot in France and one in Italy at the same time, but still, pasta=Italian to me and this was just such a distinctly French meal.  

I know - I just told you "meat and potatoes" but I've made this before using potatoes and wanted to try something different. Tossed on the side of the table were the potatoes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday's dinner: slurping is illegal in New Jersey

At one of the very first meals Josh ever had with Alex, she got soup. When she slurped it, Josh convinced her that was illegal in New Jersey and suggested some Jersey cops might have come over the bridge into the Bronx and might arrest her by accident. He never told her the slurping just irritated his fancy ways. She has never slurped since.

I am trying to teach Josh that soup can be a meal. Some time I should just serve him a different type of soup every night of the week*. Josh feels like soup is an appetizer. We have had full-on arguments about this, complete with yelling.

Tonight I made lentil and barley soup with mushrooms. I put out a crusty baguette with it. Josh ate three bowls of it, and three pieces of bread. Then he asked me if we were having grilled cheese sandwiches. "No. This isn't tomato soup!"

*Now I totally want to do this next week.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday's dinner: we're not starting out small

- Mushroom polenta diamonds
- Beef wellington (this is one of Josh's favorites, plus he has a hard time believing he's eaten a full meal if there's no meat (I'm trying to change this))
- Roasted asparagus with lemon
- Smashed potatoes (which don't really go, but I was trying to use up the potatoes and we weren't having guests and all of us really like them)
- Homemade apple crumb cake with homemade whipped cream.

To be honest, I totally could have gotten a frozen Mrs. Smith's dutch apple pie and Josh would have scarfed it up happily without blinking. But mine is healthier (less sugar), plus we had a lot of apples and sometimes I like to bake. Someone once told me that people who like to cook hate to bake, because baking always has to be so precise. In a way it does, but I make things up to bake all the time and it works out just fine.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Recommitted to good food

This morning I cleaned out the refrigerator before going food shopping with Danielle. She made a list of what we're making for dinner each night this week. I made the list of what we need to buy so we can do that.

Tonight's dinner will be:
- salad with two types of lettuce (simply to finish one), tomatoes, carrots, a tiny bit of onion, cucumber, broccoli, and mushrooms with the last of the homemade dressing
- garlic bread with a little mozzarella melted on (again, to finish the cheese)
- baked ziti (going to cut up some leftover meatballs and shove them in)
- eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella roulades

We have chocolate gelato and frozen strawberries. I want to combine them. I'm thinking of blending the berries before pouring them over the gelato or melting them. Or something. 

This week is light at work, so dinners may get somewhat labor intensive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everyone's embarrassed tonight

Embarrassment #1:
I was a baby when New Kids on the Block were popular. By the time I was old enough to like music, they were over. So I never got into them. But then they got back together like half a dozen years ago or something and Alex was into them. Which meant we all had to listen to their stuff. Even Josh. The good thing is though, all four of us have agreed that we like one particular song of theirs. The bad, embarrassing thing is that Alex has seriously studied their older music and choreography, leaving me and Dani very proficient New Kids in our living room. She even made Josh sit and watch us perform for him. He is such a trouper, he threw me a bra "on stage." (I have also come to like their song Tonight, but only when sung live. Also, because I have seen one of them bring their son on stage, the idea of having a kid doesn't quite seem like such an awful thing, if it comes out a boy.) 

Embarrassment #2:
Josh asked me to make "sweet noodle kugel" for Hanukah. Tonight I made a practice one. Josh and I agreed there was somehow too much cream cheese. Three slices of kugel later, Josh told me, "I don't know why I keep eating this. Help, Sammers. I'm out of control." So I hid the rest in the back of the fridge.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My head spun

Tonight I found out that Josh was going to take me somewhere warm for Thanksgiving weekend. Except then I got sick. So he cancelled. Is something wrong with me that instead of just being sad we weren't going, I had to first freak out at the idea of him taking me on a fancy trip? Even when I knew we weren't going, I couldn't cut off the freakout feelings.

Does that go away at some point?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The word "ointment" is nails on a chalkboard

This weekend I went food shopping for a lot of fruit and vegetables. The goal is to be extra super healthy so the goal of working all week can be met (I just typed "weak" instead of "week" by accident). Because staying home from work is so last week.

Another thing I did in preparation is to nap a lot. This afternoon when I woke up from my nap, something felt weird but I couldn't tell what it was at first.

One of my sisters put a face mask on me while I was asleep. Aren't we too old for this shit? I don't even know how long it was on for, because neither of them were home when I woke up and neither would cop to it. They kept playing dumb. "So there's some kind of ... ointment on your face?" "I don't know anything about any ointment!" By the time I finished interrogating them, the word "ointment" disgusted me.

Obviously I will never admit it to them, but my skin does look pretty good now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pneumonia and me

This morning Doug checked and decided I’m doing great. Happily it doesn't hurt when I'm inhaling anymore, but he told me the pneumonia is still there and I’ve just adapted to it. That must be why I am still exhausted and everything makes me out of breath. I still shouldn’t overexert myself, no lifting over 10 pounds, and no flying for a while. I was too embarrassed to ask if that meant I shouldn't have sex.

After that, I emailed another note to work, and got this in response from my manager: I don’t want you to come in until you have a clean bill of health. Colds and flu abound in all offices so don't rush back. That is really a relief. I feel better enough to work. From home. Part time. Between naps.

My sisters and cooking [insert dramatic sigh here]. They can cook. Not as well as I can, but they can cook. They don't like it the way I do. If I'm around to do it, then they don't want to. When Josh has taken me on vacations, I think they cook simple things. Like, I make pasta and from that ravioli. Portions of it get frozen. They'll throw a portion in boiling water and call that cooking.

Alex made a big batch of soup, and applesauce. Basically I eat those and oatmeal every single day. Sometimes Dani makes me a smoothie for breakfast. When you can barely taste anything you don't care what you're eating. You just eat whatever is put in front of you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I am my pnuemonia's bitch

I tried to work from home Tuesday, but it turned out sitting in a chair AND breathing was too hard. Today was Attempt Two and it still didn't work. My eating has been terrible all week. So has everybody else's, I think. Danielle asked me what to make for dinner one night and all I told her was "something in the crockpot." So she made the filling for apple pie in it, and then they all ate that for dinner after ordering a pizza.

When I went to Doug, after he diagnosed me he gave me a note for work. Apparently this is a thing? Like so they don't think you went on a vacation but claimed to be sick? I emailed a pic of it to all 16 of my bosses, plus an HR person.

When you compare Thursday's health to Monday's health, it seems like there's no hope of getting better any time this month.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where's the progression?

I got pneumonia. It is a little confusing how this happened, because normally you get bronchitis first and then it turns into really bad bronchitis. Nope, not in this case. In this case, I noticed around lunchtime that I didn't feel quite right, brought home deli-bought soup that didn't get eaten, went straight to sleep and woke up slayed by pneumonia. Josh was so worried about how my breathing sounded that morning that he said if I didn't go to the doctor he would call 911 on me claiming I'm too fat for him to carry downstairs to a cab so they should send their strongest EMTs.

Today was my first shower since Thursday. Today was also the first meal I ate sitting upright and not in bed since Thursday. And by "meal" I mean applesauce. Let me just say, the whole pulmonary process inside the body is really complex. Breathing is like the hardest and most tiring thing I've ever done in my entire life.

Work didn't happen for me on Friday, and I don't think it's happening tomorrow either.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It happened again

When I got home from work, Alex and Lily were in the kitchen, making baked ziti and garlic bread and a salad. Once again, Lily had been playing in the hallway. Alex claimed it was for a long time, so she knocked on their door and when nobody answered she brought Lily in.

There is no way this is kosher. Once again, a note was put on their door. Lily (very messily) ate dinner with us. I hope she doesn't have any allergies.

Maybe Lily's parents are overwhelmed or something. If that's the case they could cut back on something to hire help with her. It's hard to understand her, but we're pretty sure she goes to special school so if that's right they have a few hours of break from her. Ugh.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is this what being a feminist is?

So I've thought about it, and just can't be okay with Josh picking out my clothes on any sort of regular basis. It was helpful in the beginning, when I didn't know how to dress for all his fancy occasions, or to work in a professional setting. But now I do.

I want Josh to be the guy who either just mumbles "Sure, looks nice," when I come home with new stuff, or who sits in the Man Chair in clothing stores playing on his phone while he waits for me.

This blue shirt thing was a fluke, hopefully. (I'm still blue.) And these times of Josh helping with outfits for occasions I had no experience with were ... a growth period? That I'm now out of?

It just doesn't feel good to me. To have a man making decisions about what I put on my body? It feels like ... it's a slippery slope to being in a controlling relationship. Which is ridiculous since Josh is the most encouraging guy ever. And he was never authoritative about it. More like "Aim for skirts for work that don't make your ass look too good because that'll look slutty and they won't respect you," and "Try checking out Century 21."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I can't believe this happened. I can't believe I'm admitting either of these things.

1. Josh sort of picks out my clothes. Sure, I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up off the floor. Not on a daily basis, but overall, he's pointed me towards certain stores, and especially for work clothes and vacation clothes and any weddings or bar mitzvahs or events with his family. At first he just stuck to giving me clothes for my birthday and Christmas. It escalated from there.

2. A couple of weeks ago, I was angry at Josh over something, and on the way home I saw a cute clothing shop and stopped in. I bought a deep blue t-shirt. This is not how I buy clothes. I only buy for specific events, or to replace something that's worn out. But I was pissed, and did something stupid. More stupid than I realized.

On Sunday I wore the shirt. First to run some errands, and then we went for a run. When Josh and I came home I got ready to shower. I took off the shirt, and Josh was like "Whoa, what happened to you?" He walked over and lifted up my arm. Both underarms, from like armpit halfway towards my elbow? BLUE! After my shower? Still BLUE!

Now I'm not going to go so far as to say that Old Navy sells high quality clothing. But this never happened with any of the black shirts I bought there! I'm going to try washing it (separately), but am not sure I have the guts to wear it again. Two showers in and my arms are still blue.

I'm a little stressed out about my arms. My sisters won't stop making fun of me. If it gets hot at work, I can't take off my jacket, but they don't button high enough that I can wear them without a camisole.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Completely different viewpoints

Work is definitely kind of stressful. If the clients say they need three days of work completed in a day and a half, and that means you need to work through the night then you do it. Not that being a teacher is easy, but if a teacher is working through the night grading a ton of essays, at the very least they're doing it from home.

Face-time seems to count for a lot. Most of the time the stress doesn't bother me. Having work to get done is actually less stressful than not having any work to get done. If none of the managers or partners are requesting you to work with them on a client, that feels like a very, very bad sign about your future employment overall.

I work with this guy Colin who seems to get very stressed out by all the stress. Like sometimes, someone will dump two feet worth of documents on your desk for you to review or organize, and you can tell they take glee in dumping all that work on you. For me, it's like "Game on!" For Colin though, it's like "Oh shit, I'm never gonna get it done. I'm gonna get fired. Then I'll be homeless. Then I'll get beat up and lit on fire. Then my body won't be able to be buried because I'll be all ash."

Colin is kind of intense. I try to only deal with him in small doses even though I like him (when he's not stressing out). We were texting earlier tonight and I was like "What'd you do today?" and this was his response, "Sunday's are pre-work day stress days. Been a shitty day. I'm exhausted and panicky."

Got it. Avoid Colin on Mondays.