Monday, November 23, 2015

Advice taken

We are hosting Thanksgiving. Josh, my sisters, Danielle's boyfriend, Josh's parents, and his friend coming to town accidentally while his parents will be away, and me.

We have a tentative menu going.

  1. Organic turkey
  2. pumpkin soup
  3. cranberry sauce
  4. green beans (probably with pearled onions and mushrooms)
  5. brussel sprouts with bacon or pancetta
  6. maple bourbon sweet potato pie
  7. garlic bacon mashed potatoes (excessive since #4 exists, but strongly requested)
  8. ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta (I am not sure this will come out well, but again, requested)
  9. chocolate burbon pecan pie
  10. apple pie
  11. whipped cream
For eight people I think this is a bit much. Too many people put in requests. But since Danielle wants to learn how to do this, we may as well make all this stuff so she learns. I worked all weekend so tomorrow I just go in and wrap up little things, then Tuesday meet with the manager on the project and then in the afternoon Danielle and I are meeting to order all the ingredients (turkey was already ordered). 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Oh that's nice. I have no idea what I'm doing since nobody can make a decision to save their lives these days. This has become the new normal and my Type-A self does not do well in this environment.

Nobody can decide if we're celebrating Thanksgiving at all. Let alone at whose house. I'm happy to cook the whole thing at Laurie's house if she wants. If we had enough space, I'd be happy to have all her people to our place and do it here.

Danielle wants to do Thanksgiving here. She wants this to be the year I teach her how to do it. Like the nerds it turns out we are, she's got an Excel spreadsheet going with each dish, each ingredient for it, and which pots, pans and utensils are needed to make and serve it. Every day Dani is asking if I ordered the turkey yet. I so wish there was an answer to give her. At this point, I want to just make the executive decision to make enough food for eight people, and put our plan in motion. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Time ran out

Josh and I have this goal of running in the NYC Marathon. You can't just waltz in and run. You have to qualify, and run in other races to be accepted. So you have to train for a bunch of 13 mile marathons and THEN train for a 26 mile marathon.

We've been a little busy this year. Laurie is currently on a much-needed vacation for three weeks. She has to start chemo again, but she's able to take 8-10 weeks off before starting it up again. Josh has asked us to not talk about cancer or his mom at ALL for a while. I never would have said that, but am SO glad he did, because I need a mental break too. Josh's sister is traveling for the next three weeks for yoga stuff. It seems rude to push, but from what I've gathered she spends more on going to these things than she earns.

I'm really upset that we didn't do the marathon. If we'd ONLY been dealing with Laurie I could have worked around that, OR we'd ONLY been dealing with working crazy hours I could have worked around that. But not both. I am having coffee with a guy from work later this week. He runs marathons and the plan is to learn how he carves out the time to train for them. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015


It turns out that people are happy to help you spend money. When I explained I wanted to book a long weekend at her bed & breakfast for my boyfriend and use a credit card, the woman was super helpful.  In fact, she was so enthusiastic over the phone that I worried when we got there it would be a total sham of a nightmare, so I found a nearby hotel as a backup plan just in case.

We left Friday morning, after Josh's dad got us a car to use, and drove upstate, to Hudson Valley. He did not want to do this. I insisted. Exactly four minutes after we got there, I saw the stress leave Josh's face. Exactly six minutes after we got there, Josh admitted I was right. Which means you were right, so thank you.

The woman on the phone was totally legit, thank god. She delivered everything she promised. I signed us up for two in-room massages - one on the Friday we got there and one on Monday before we left. I rented us bikes to ride around exploring. I signed us up for some "pie in bed" thing where they deliver a fresh pie to your room. We went apple picking and pumpkin picking. We hiked. We did a balloon ride. We went horseback riding. We went on a cruise of the Hudson River. Basically, we "did Fall" all weekend. The entire time we were upstate, Josh did not mention his mom or sister even once.

More proof of the fact that we belong together: Josh and I are on the same page about antiques and outlet shopping. Two hours each, tops. We brought home a ton of apples, and Monday night I made apple crumb pie, non-crumb pie, and apple sauce, then for dinner on Tuesday night I made pork chops with apples and garlic smashed potatoes. After dinner, Josh asked me if there was such a thing as apple soup.

It is such a relief to find out I can plan an entire trip for us and make it fancy enough for Josh to enjoy. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I should win an award for selfishness

The amount of time I spend thinking about Laurie, doing things for or because of her, is huge. Today in the shower I realized "You don't have kids. You shouldn't have to be thinking about other people so much!"

I'm just tired. Laurie's surgery was Monday. She had a complication in that when they attempted to take the fluid out of her lungs, they punctured one by accident because of there being a lot of scar tissue. But they dealt with that and then took out some of the bigger tumors, having to leave some small ones in. On Thursday night Laurie got released from the hospital, Sunday she went to a baby naming, and yesterday she left for a vacation.

I am jealous of the vacation. I suggested to Josh that we go on a mini-holiday, like just upstate or to New England for one night. It's fall, apples, leaves, pumpkins. It might be nice to get out of the city. But Josh doesn't want to. He says he won't be able to relax because of how stressed he is about Laurie. Wasn't really sure what to say to that. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My comfort or yours?

For Sunday night dinner, I am making an appetizer plate with focaccia, salami, prosecution, roasted peppers, a couple of cheeses and olives. Then we will have Italian Wedding Soup. For dessert I am putting out the apple pie made yesterday. When Josh heard what was for dinner, he frowned. "Why can't you make real comfort food?" Apparently his comfort food is Jewish food. But mine is hearty soups, and Italian food. I am stressed, I am unsettled, and I am seeking comfort food for myself. Josh can go make his own comfort food if he wants it that badly.

Laurie only thinks in black and white. Either she's definitely dying or she assumes she's fine and all this fuss is ridiculous. She veers back and forth between the two multiple times a day. It's hard to keep track. Lately she's been on the "after chemo I'll be dead OR cured but no in between!" bandwagon.

Laurie's scans came back showing both improvement and ... spreadage. (I don't know if that's a real word.) The doctor seemed pleased, even though the cancer having spread doesn't sound good to me. Apparently though, they can do surgery to cut out a big chunk of the cancer and that definitely sounds good. So that's happening Monday. Except before that can be done, the new fluid in Laurie's lungs has to be taken out, so that's being done today. After the Monday cancer-cutting, there's a three week recovery period.

Of course I just got put on a client Friday afternoon where we were told, "Expect to stay until at least 8pm each night." Great. I totally lied and told them a relative is having major surgery Monday and I need an hour to cut out and run to the hospital, so they are checking with the partner if that's okay. I am waiting to hear if it'll be allowed.

This is terrible of me, but I want Laurie to do her recovering from her surgery at her house, not ours. Obviously, I am feeling very selfish lately.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An extra boost

Tomorrow Laurie goes for scans to see how well the chemo worked. Josh met me at the front door and warned me today that she had an extra boost of crazy in preparation. Honestly, it's weird to think she might be dying. Laurie works out almost every day. Sometimes she'd skip the day after chemo. Aside from chemo side-effects, the only sickly symptoms she's ever had are side-effects of other medications taken to deal with either the side-effects of chemo or side effects of medication taken to deal with possibly dying.

Josh mentioned he might be going crazy. We are supposed to be going away for Thanksgiving, but that could change depending on what happens with Laurie. I am not sure that will be enough, or be soon enough. I almost wonder if Josh needs anti-depressants or anti-anxiety or something. My job with the crazy hours is supposed to end late next week and maybe couples running will help Josh. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Over and exhausted

A week and a half ago was Laurie's last chemo treatment. Apparently it's customary to make this a big deal and celebrate it. The lowest number of hours I have worked in the last six weeks has been 73. So I basically had time to run out of work, go to the hospital and say "Congratulations!" and then run right back to work. Josh's dad suggested a family vacation to celebrate, so I packed Josh off and sent him vacationing.

I'm a little out of the loop due to work so am not sure of timing, but think she is going to get a bunch of tests done soon to see how well the chemo worked. Laurie had this sort of thing done maybe two thirds of the way through the chemo adventure, and the results were not pretty. So I don't have much hope that this round of tests will be uplifting.

Laurie is basically in deep denial and acting like things are fine. I don't know how to deal with that. Josh has said it's a huge relief she is back in her own home. I put him in charge of getting back the extra keys. His sister is off wherever. We are not clear where she actually lives, and I kind of don't care. At one point a couple of weeks ago, Josh told me, "When we have kids, she will never be allowed to babysit them." I just said okay, and didn't point out the likelihood of her wanting to is slim.

In sum, we are all exhausted. And kind of tired of each other. I don't know how other cultures do that thing so smoothly where multiple generations live together, and when people marry into families they move in with them. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bandanas and glasses

Laurie now wears a hat any time she leaves the house. None of us can see any hair loss, still. On Tuesday when I came home from work, Laurie was dressed as a Crip with a blue bandana on her head, and an outfit that matched it. In a complete coincidence, I was wearing a red dress. Alex took one look and started humming that Jets/Sharks song from West Side Story.

At dinner we found out that Laurie had ordered her bandana online. We were all trying not to laugh as we gently let her know in the future she could buy them at the drugstore down the street.

Josh told his sister she's got to get out and spend less time at our house. She is breaking and neglecting our stuff (yes, I realize a lot of this is stuff Josh stole from his parents' kitchen, but at least we take good care of it) left and right. We are down half a dozen drinking glasses, two wine glasses, and more. She routinely (still eats all our food) neglects to close the refrigerator all the way. She uses knives (like, chef knives) to slice open cardboard boxes and leaves them all over the house. Including on the floor once.

Please do not worry that she will be homeless, because she won't. She can go stay at her parents' house. She can go stay with friends. She can get her own apartment. But she can not stay here, breaking our things and making messes. We are trying to transfer her from being a family member who should make herself at home, to a guest. Who sits primly on the couch and doesn't go in the kitchen. Ever.

P.S. Thank you for the article. I showed it to Josh's dad. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

It was proposed I be proposed to

Maybe this makes me a bitch but I said no. I don't want to get engaged or married for someone else. Josh told me his dad suggested he propose to me now-ish and we get married later this year, so Laurie will be alive for the wedding.

I don't feel old enough to get engaged. Definitely not old enough to get married. Also, it doesn't seem like a good start to a marriage to do it for someone else. Obviously in the olden days people got accidentally pregnant and then got married because of that all the time, but who knows how happy they were in their marriage?

What if a year from now, under ordinary circumstances, Josh and I were to break up? Except that what if we're married? Then it'd be a whole different thing, to get divorced instead of just breaking up.

I can't say anything to Josh's dad, but I'm a little offended he suggested to Josh that we do this. If we were already married would he be suggesting we crank out a baby as fast as possible for Laurie too? Where does that end?

Josh is totally stressed out. When I told him no way, he admitted to being relieved because he didn't want to do this now either. Then he said if I'd said yes, he would have done it anyway. I feel so bad for him. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Apologies that I can barely put a coherent sentence together. There was a State of the Cancer meeting last Friday that I couldn't attend. Neither could Josh, but he was told not all of the tests results were in, but the ones that were, weren't good. Cancer is spreading to other parts of the body. When I asked Josh if he got that from his dad or sister, so I could judge the accuracy, he wasn't clear who the info came from. When I asked when the rest of the test results come in, he didn't know.

I'm getting very scared Laurie's going to die. Laurie is walking around feeling mostly fine, but acting like a sick person. She bundles up in forty layers to go out, she covers her head, it's weird. She claims her hair is starting to fall out, but none of us think her hair looks any different. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Being an adult is super time-consuming (in which I bitch)

Not only is there not enough time to watch So You Think You Can Dance, there's also definitely not time to be so inspired by it that I go with my sisters to drop-in dance classes. It's clear now that I didn't appreciate my free time enough in college.

I'm missing the yoga and dance classes. I miss poking through recipes and trying out new things. I miss watching tv with my sisters.

To the person who asked in comments: yes, I can get out the door in the morning in 20 minutes. I pick out my outfit either the night before or while I'm working out. I blast my hair for about two minutes and then let it air dry the rest of the way to work. I take breakfast and eat on the way or when I get to work. This is not a pancakes and bacon type of house. It's a hard-boiled egg and a white peach kind of house. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

VIP clients

The scary partner drinks some sort of super complicated coffee. One of those "half-caf venti no foam low fat skim blah blah." I am an immature child who secretly does not like coffee (except Vietnamese) so I ordered a small hot chocolate. Yes, in the summer heat. The partner kind of smirked when I ordered. Whatever.

It was not clear if her friend became a client or her client became a friend. Regardless though, she has a special client who is also a friend and she is handpicking the people she wants working on this job. Weirdly, I am the only white person on this team. Should be interesting.

Today I got home from work really late. I called Alex and told her a super easy dinner to make - you spice and brown some meat, pour in some gravy, make spinach, dump both things in a pie dish, layer mozzarella cheese over it, bake the whole thing. Alex made a salad during the baking time and that was dinner. There wasn't any left over so I guess everyone liked it.

Too tired to make a real dinner, I put together a plate of cheese, peach slices, carrot sticks and cherries. There was serious consideration of eating chocolate pudding afterwards, but I was too tired. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hovering and shoveling

The scary partner sent word that she wanted to speak with me today. I wasn't on a client today so spent 10 hours hovering around the partner's office. Every so often I stuck my head in, but she was always on the phone or already talking with someone. There was nowhere to sit right near her office, so I found space down the hall and sent an email explaining where I was sitting. All day. I wish she could have just held up a post-it while on the phone that said "Nothing bad!" Am I waiting around to be fired? Did I horribly screw up with a client? Did I miss something huge? DID I FORGET TO FRESHEN UP IN A POWDER ROOM?

An hour ago the partner reached out (that's 11:30 at night) to me with, "Let's meet for coffee tomorrow. 7:30?" Um, seriously? Normally I work out in the morning and by 7:30 I'm just getting in the shower, aiming to leave home at 7:50. Working out is not going to happen tomorrow because I just don't want to get up that early. When I told Josh, he pointed out that you don't make it to partner rolling into the office at 10:30. He also suggested I take an Uber so I don't show up subway-sweaty for coffee. Can I expense this? No, right? Since it can't get billed to a client? I wish she'd let me know earlier so I could work out tonight to get some of the nervous energy out. If I get fired, then I'll definitely be available for whenever Josh reschedules our Spain trip.

In cancer news ... this yoga-speak shit is slowly killing me. I don't know why it bothers me so much and I can't just find it funny like Alex does. She lives for this shit. Today Josh's sister mentioned that Laurie was "so incredibly moved, that there was an energetic shift that was quite powerful" after she received a card from someone. Really? REALLY?! How on earth can she keep shoveling this shit? Does she honestly believe the crap that comes out of her mouth? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A line has been crossed

It took me a long time to warm up to our vacations, but now I can get excited about them. It makes me happy to cook for Josh. Nothing is expected in return. It makes Josh happy to take me on vacations. Nothing is expected in return.

Right now, we are supposed to be in Spain. A month ago, Josh asked if I would mind terribly if we canceled our 12-day trip. Because of his mother. Of course I said it was fine. In thinking about it, a part of me wondered why we had to stay, since Josh's sister is here "to help." Really though, I wasn't wondering at all - I was just trying to find a way that we could go. Because Josh has sucked me in. Now I love his style of vacations.

So I spent today at work moping about my lost European vacation. We were going to go wine tasting. We were going to see rolling hills of ... hills. We were going to eat fancy food, and go to Barcelona and other places.

Josh felt like he wouldn't be able to have fun on vacation while his mother is chemo-ing it up and getting yelled at for the Pony Fiasco of 1998. He didn't want to bother going all that way and spending all that money when he wouldn't enjoy it. I understand completely. Really I do. It's just ... this one trip was planned in 2014. I did research. I had lists going. I was excited.

Which is why I'm really bummed. But I can't say anything. Because who wants to be the girlfriend that complains her boyfriend canceled the European trip he was going to take her on while his mother is going through chemo? Not me. But I have definitely crossed a line into becoming a person who looks forward to vacations.

***************NEW TOPIC **************

Late last week we (me and Josh's family) got invited to dinner at the home of one of Laurie's friends. I had to show up straight from work. When I got there, the hostess showed me around. Except, at one point she waved her hand and told me, "The powder room is there, in case you'd like to freshen up ..." and then looked at me pointedly. Before I left work I brushed my hair and teeth and used one of those oil-blotting sheets on my face and put on lip gloss. But it REALLY seemed like she wanted me to use her powder room. So I washed my hands and stood around counting to 30. When I mentioned it to Josh after we got home, he told me next time to ask to "use the powder room to freshen up" and then they won't keep looking at me suspiciously throughout the night. Rich people can be so weird sometimes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yes, please move

Now Josh's sister wants to move to LA. Great, off you go. I don't even care that this probably isn't a good idea for her. She's got some sort of eating disorder. Moving to a place that is so superficial won't help her. She hasn't lived with a roommate at all in her entire life because she tries to keep her eating habits secret. Josh told me that when she was in high school, she went through a phase where she was only eating baby carrots. Literally, that was the only thing she ate. And so her skin started to turn orange from all the beta-carotene.

When she's here, she binges. This is probably awful of me, but I estimated how much her eating is costing us. Over $130 a week. That's for one person. She's not a can-of-soup kind of girl. I can see in her some of the same habits Josh had when we moved in together when it comes to wastefulness. Trying out a new recipe, having it fail and throwing the whole thing out? Check. Cleaning up a spill with half a roll of paper towel instead of a rag? Check. Inviting casual acquaintances over for a meal? Check.

That's on top of eating a LOT more than the average person eats. Like eating an entire pint of organic blueberries for breakfast. Several times when I've had almost all of dinner ready and just popped back in the kitchen to complete the last thing, she will take half the scallops set out for everyone, and walk away with her plate. The night she did that I served the remaining scallops to my sisters and Josh's parents, and when Josh asked, "Don't I get any?" I glared at him and said, "Nope." We now plan that she eats as much as three people.

I know Laurie needs to have someone around her, to make sure she eats, to watch the side effects of chemo, all that. I know that Laurie's ego will not allow for a private nurse. I know Laurie needs someone taking her to her chemo, to her acupuncture, to her shrink. I know that even though her daughter is a bitch, Laurie is glad to have time with her. But I can't wait until she leaves. September can't come fast enough. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Round and round

We have a tea kettle for boiling water. Laurie bought a teapot to keep at our house. I didn't even understand the purpose of it. Josh said it's so you can keep the pot of the tea on the table without having to get up to make more. She's bought some other random stuff too. The insanity is rolling along. The screaming rages seem to have died down on Laurie's part. Not so much on Josh's sister's part.

She seems to think now that she's back, it's time to work through all their issues. Completely ignoring the fact that the only reason she's here is because her mother may be dying. Perhaps this isn't the time to scream about the time you thought you were getting a horse but then didn't get one. (It was a communication mix-up: she asked for a pony party for her birthday thinking she was asking for a pony for her birthday, and her parents thought she wanted a pony theme for her party.)

Now she is saying she doesn't want to live with her parents and could they get her an apartment. Josh heard of a studio for $2500 a month. Doorman building, UWS, across from Trader Joe's, great location, but 300 square feet. She wants her parents to pay for something bigger, but prices have gone up since she's last lived here. Plus she only works like 15 hours a week. Also plus she can't answer how long she plans to stay. Laurie's chemo ends in early September. Josh's sister can't even confirm she's staying until then. Well, what the fuck?! Why would her parents co-sign a year lease when she doesn't know where she'll be in three months?

So she comes over to our house daily, eats tons of our food (seriously she eats like a sumo wrestler), and can't answer anything definitively. She talks in yoga-speak, like creating a higher vibration around cancer to beat it, and if you want to feel abundant, give something away. What the fuck does that even mean? If giving something away makes YOU feel so abundant, then why aren't you happy to give away square footage and live in a tiny studio? Because you're in competition with your brother? Not very zen if you, is it? Excuse me while I scream.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Come over! Bring your coffee table!

Laurie is spending a lot of time at our place. None of us are home during the day, and of course her house is empty too, so I'm a little confused as to why she spends three days here. That confusion can be ignored.

What can't be ignored is all the furniture and decorations Laurie keeps bringing over. No shit, she brought over a table and two chairs, a huge planter, a huge Buddha, throw pillows ... It doesn't seem like she's redecorating. It seems like she's setting up camp. It doesn't seem like she's using the extra table at all. Josh doesn't understand it either.

Danielle suggested that maybe it was like an adult version of a security blanket, but then Josh said he'd never seen any of these things at his house or in storage. So we're trying to not trip over things, and I'm trying to not freak out that my food budget has doubled. 

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.