Saturday, August 5, 2017

Clementine Gets a Manicure

This morning, I woke up to my alarm at 8 o'clock sharp.

(I snoozed until 8:08.)

I threw on a t-shirt, yoga pants, and a light jacket. I let Gus and Clementine outside, fed them their breakfast, and then slid Clem into her pink "sports bra" (more conventionally known as a harness) before snapping on her leash.

We were off to the vet for a nail trim.

The short walk to the vet was positively glorious. There was an unusual chill in the air for early August, and the sun was shining.

I let Clem walk some of the way, but carried her for the majority of the walk.

See the below video for a sense of how slow Clem moves. If you put her up against a molasses spill in a race, my money would be on the molasses.

We arrived at our appointment time of 8:40 and were ushered into an examination room. This was our first visit to this particular vet, as we just recently moved neighborhoods, and all of the employees ooh'd and awed over Clem appropriately.

Call me bias, but I think she's just about the cutest thing in the world.

I sat down on the bench in the examination room, and held Clem against my chest. She was starting to get nervous and stress shedding.

"You're just getting a manicure. We won't be here long," I told her (even though she's deaf as can be), as a cat screeched down the hall and some dog named Carly received encouragement in the room next door.

Yaaaaayyyyy Carly! her owners would exclaim after every, single part of her exam.

Five minutes turned into ten. And ten turned into fifteen.

Clem was really beginning to panic now. And lose most of her fur coat on my poorly chosen black yoga pants.
When the twenty-five minute mark hit, I wondered if they had forgotten us.

Clem's heart was pounding, and she was beginning to pant.

I felt so awful for her.

"Okay, we've got Clementine next," I heard someone say out in the hall.

"It's almost our time!" I reported to Clem.

Finally, after waiting THIRTY MINUTES, the vet techs knocked at our door and carried Clem to the examination table.

"She's really good during nail trims," I bragged. "She's as mellow as can be."

So naturally, for the first time ever, Clem was a wild woman. She was a straight-up maniac.

She thrashed and wiggled and squirmed.

She glared at me with widened, accusatory eyes that said, I am never trusting you again. You are the worst. I hate you.

It was a very stressful three to five minutes.

Finally though, the incredibly patient techs finished up with Clem, and the drama was over.

Until I went to the checkout desk and realized this new vet of ours charges twice as much as our old one.


I carried Clem the entire way home and fed her chicken jerky. I even went to Kroger and bought a new bag of her favorite greasy dog food in my quest for forgiveness.

But judging by the fact that she still won't look at me, it seems I've got a long way to go.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Worst Supper of All Time.

My eyes are burning. My ego is hurt. And the chicken is burnt.

This is what happens when you choose the "Conventional Roast" option on your oven as opposed to your standard "Bake."

Oh, how clever I felt pressing that special button!

I'm roasting a chicken. How perfect! I thought. Plus, this feature comes with an animated fan icon. Very fun.

I was nothing but confident as I slid that chicken into the preheated oven. 

Off I went to my writer's nook, smug as can be.

Twenty minutes later, Adam arrived home from work.

"Dinner is in the oven!" I announced triumphantly. "And I watered the tomatoes."

No praise or appreciation was given.

Instead, alarm was washing over Adam's face. 

"What's burning?" he asked, his nose prickling before rushing into the kitchen, which had begun to fill with smoke. 

He pulled open the oven door and whoooosh! Smoke everywhere!


My eyes were burning and tears were streaming down my face. The smoke alarm was going off. The dogs where whining and looking at us with eyes that said, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO US???"

And despite the fact that the kitchen had turned into Jenna's Inferno, the chicken was still not done.

So after correcting the baking setting, that poor guy had to go right back inside the oven. And so did the croutons for the panzanella salad.

Needless to say, neither fared well. 

Each time I opened the oven door to check on them, MORE SMOKE, MORE BURNING EYES, MORE HORRIBLE BEEPING FROM THE SMOKE ALARM. I opened all of the windows (our poor neighbors!). I danced around the kitchen with a broom to shoo the smoke away. It was quite the workout. 

"This is the worst supper of all time," I declared.

By the time we plated our meal, things actually didn't look so bad. 

I mean, look at the dogs—they clearly thought the food was still worthy of begging. 

Luckily, this tale has a happy ending as Lowe's delivered a new gas range earlier this afternoon, which we truly hope will be less finicky than the electric one we inherited with our new home.

Now we just need a gas line installed.

Until then, no more "Conventional Roasting" for me. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Bottle of Hope

I absolutely love creating my resolutions for the new year.

I feel like a big bottle of hope and optimism on January 1st.

Absolutely anything and everything feels possible, and there's something so exciting about a clean slate.

I wrote all of my goals down in the front of my 2017 planner. I wanted them in an easily accessible place that I could reference whenever I needed a little reminder.

Speaking of planners, I take my annual agenda seriously. This year, I decided upon one from Rifle Paper Co. Isn't it lovely?

Without further adieu, I present to you, Jenna's 2017 New Year's Resolutions!

1. Spend way less time on social media. Blog instead. I can't believe how instinctively my fingertips navigate to the Facebook and Instagram apps on my phone. I know I post way too often, and I can't help but wonder, "Why?" I want my sharing to be more meaningful in the new year.

2. Be more thoughtful. Send birthday cards. Bring in treats more regularly for my coworkers. Be a better listener. Those sorts of things.

3. Be less gossipy. I'm such a nosy Nellie, and I need to mind my own business.

4. Focus on myself. Stop comparing my life to others'. This one connects with the first point (and let's be real, the third) on this list. Everyone is different and approaches life's milestones at various times. I need to remind myself of that and just concentrate on my own life.

5. Learn to French braid. Random, I know, but this is something I've been wanting to learn for quite some time!

6. Attend weekly mass.

7. Slow down. Impatient, painfully punctual, driven. These qualities of mine all make me rush through my days. I need to realize that it's okay if I arrive to my desk at 7:10 instead of 7am sharp, and that I can take life a little more slowly.

Happy 2017, one and all! I hope your year ahead is just fantastic!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Loss of Innocence

Donald Trump has been named the 45th President of the United States.

This is a post about how that makes me feel.

I know political posts can be annoying at best, hurtful and divisive at worst, so I understand if you don't wish to read any further.

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. And it wasn't because the autumn air was crisp and my bed was so perfectly warm, with our two dogs snuggled beneath. And it wasn't a result of staying up until half past one, a glass of forgotten Merlot on the coffee table and a racing heart in my chest.

It was because I've never been so overwhelmingly sad.

I cried this morning as I read the official news of Donald Trump's victory. I cried harder when I thought about how his presidency could affect my friends, my family, and my country's future. Would gay couples now be denied the right to marry? What about refugees fleeing for their lives? Would they be sent away? Was rape culture not only going to continue but thrive in a country where the leader thinks it's perfectly acceptable to grab women by their pussies?

It's sickening.

For the record, I don't see Hillary Clinton with rose-colored glasses.

Deep down, I can't shake my moderate core. And I still identify as a practicing Catholic. I voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. And while my political beliefs have admittedly started to lean left over the past four years, I know I would have considered voting Republican this election had the candidate been someone else.

But Hillary Clinton grew on me. Not just because she was "not as bad" as Donald Trump but because she's intelligent, brave, and tenacious. She somehow kept calm during those terrible debates. She showed grace and patience during this election. She inspired me.

This morning, I mourned something bigger than a Clinton defeat. I mourned the loss of America as I believed it to be.

As the electoral college results began to roll in, I watched in horror and disbelief.

And today, I had to face the heartbreaking realization that Americans are much more racist, sexist, selfish, and hateful than I could have ever imagined. Apparently "making America great again" was worth the price of so many minorities' rights and dignity. It was apparently worth blindly following a leader with no experience and no plans.

I'm an optimistic person who likes to believe the best of people, and today, I just couldn't. It felt like part of my being had been broken.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I hope to feel more like myself again and to have the energy to figure out an action plan for how I can help spread positivity and progress. I saw that a coworker of mine decided to donate to a bunch of charities that will benefit the groups threatened by Donald Trump. How awesome is that?

I know our country will continue marching forward. We won't be ruined by this tyrannical man.

But this evening, I need to do some grieving for my own loss of innocence.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Worst Fear (Well, One of Them)

On Saturday morning, I usually drive downtown to work out at my company's gym.

This past weekend was no exception, as I cheerfully whipped my car into the garage and up to the second level. There weren't many spots left, so I pulled into one of our "Fuel Efficient Vehicles Only" spaces.

When we first moved into our new building, I wouldn't dare park in any of these spots. I am a rule follower to the extreme, and I figured you needed to drive a Prius or something to park there.

Of course, it didn't take long for me to notice that I was the only person in the universe following this rule, and considering gas-guzzling SUVs and giant trucks were among the crew parking in these spaces, my little Corolla seemed to meet these low standards.

Anyways! So back to yesterday morning.

I got out of my car and was walking toward the stairs when a guy called out, "Hey! I didn't know they made a hybrid Corolla."

Oh. My. God.

I was totally being called out! This was my worst fear!
My face grew red and I stammered, "Uh, they don't? At least I don't think so. I mean, my car has good gas mileage. It's pretty efficient."

"Ooooohhhkay..." he said sarcastically, and even though I knew he was joking around, I was annoyed.

"Hold that elevator!" I replied, choosing to ride down to the ground level with him rather than taking the stairs as I normally do. "Listen, SUVs and huge cars like that usually park there. Everyone does what I just did. It's not a big deal."


He looked so smug! I hated this random man.

So, I stopped irrationally explaining myself and just lied.

"I work here, and they told us it's okay," I (sort of) bluffed. "Okay?"

"Ooohhhkaayy!" he winked, waving goodbye and strolling toward his group of friends. "See ya."

The nerve.

What a jerk.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Where did October go?

Hi there. It's me.

And it looks like I've made October a real kind of "bookends" month for my blog, popping in on the 1st and then disappearing until the very end of the month.

Here's a quick recap of all the fun.

We went apple picking! We ended up with 30 pounds of apples (insane), and thus had to cook up every apple recipe we could think of in the following weeks. We also each ate at least two apples a day for the entire month.

We went to the Renaissance Festival. This was only my second time going, and this year wasn't as much fun as last. Since the weather was just gorgeous, it felt like everyone had the same idea as us, and the crowds were pretty brutal. I also felt totally sick that night after eating Renaissance Festival food...eeeek!

We cooked our very own pho, and it was positively fantastic. It was also surprisingly easy to do, and pretty inexpensive.

I went camping for the very first time. And after posing for a photo in our tent and feeling like I was an L.L. Bean model, things quickly went downhill. The temperature dropped to 40°F that night, and I couldn't stop thinking about a serial killer entrenching upon our camp. Peeing in the woods was as dreadful as expected.

"Let's pack this tent up!" I exclaimed shortly before 8 o'clock that Sunday morning, shaking a poor Adam awake. "Let's GO HOME."

I will never forget how wonderful that hot shower and morning nap in our cozy bed felt. Sigh.

We hosted a costume bash this past Friday. Adam and I dressed up as Hopper and Barb from Stranger Things, Gus was a lion, and Clementine was a monkey. We had two fires going in the yard, chicken and beef chili, and lots of wonderful friends stop by. But man oh man was I ready to take off those reader glasses and itchy wig by the end of the evening.

What I remember most about this October though is the absolutely perfect weather, with so many days of sunny skies and gentle breezes. I remember the lazy weekend mornings, with hazelnut coffee and sleepy dogs, and chilly nights on the front porch sipping on red wine. I remember driving down our street after a night of rain and seeing the orange and yellow leaves floating through the air. I remember feeling cozy and content.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Time for All Things FALL

While I consider September 1st as my personal start to fall (it's when I allow myself to start burning pumpkin- and leaves-scented candles), I must admit that the true beginning to autumn definitely belongs to October.

Oh, October!

I am quite pleased with our little cottage—I believe it's been nicely fall-ified.

I set out a bunch of mums and a few pumpkins on the front porch, and I even found a charming scarecrow at Michael's a few weeks ago. He is standing proudly in the front landscape, where the only thing he's actually scared so far is our Golden Retriever.
Clem isn't afraid of the scarecrow. Probably because she is blind.
I've hung my seasonal dishtowels with care.

In our family room, I created a subtle ode to fall on the bottom shelf of the entertainment center. Aren't my Day of the Dead skeletons amazing? They're my favorites.

I've been wanting to stay in more often on the weekends, opting for evenings filled with hot tea and good books, beginning my annual need for coziness.

And we've certainly switched out our summer dinner go-tos with heartier entrées, like this roasted chicken! NOM!

Today, in celebration of the glorious month of October, I'm throwing on my overalls and we are heading to the apple orchard.

I mean, WHAT could be better? :D

Happy fall!!!