The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So my Thanksgiving was good. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving all I did was cook and slice up my fingers. I helped my brother and sister in law prepare two of their 5 (!) Thanksgiving pies: pumpkin and pecan (two of the most easiest pies on the planet). I also helped prep some of their apple pies. That's where I sliced up my left thumb. That was in the morning. Then in the afternoon, I also prepped the appetizers I was bringing to my family's soiree. I cut vegetables, made hummus (lemon and hazelnut...the hazelnut was pretty bad). I also prepped the onion and apple stuff for this appetizer. That's how I sliced up my right thumb, middle finger and ring finger. Mandolins do it to me all the time.

Thursday we woke up early and drove down to my Aunt Sally's house in north San Diego county. We encountered virtually no traffic going down there, which was quite wonderful (the year before I drove there with Gavin from Ojai at a later hour and we almost died from all of the traffic). It was nice to hang out with and see my extended family. I regret that I did not get to see Danny's new house! Overall, my family seemed to enjoy playing the new Beatles Rock Band. Pictures of our food and fun are up.

Friday Gavin and I woke up early again and drove up to Ojai and encountered virtually no traffic getting up there. In fact, they may have put those moving sidewalks on the freeway because we got there in record time. We hung out with his family and had a very low-key Friday. I made a brussels sprout dish that was enjoyed by many, if not all.

Saturday I had close to a nervous breakdown about the stresses in my life. This included my job situation, living situation, wedding situation, Family Promise, and a conversation I had with Gavin's mom about choosing which family to spend the holidays with. Talk to me about any of these things and I will cry. Saturday was not fun. We saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was GREAT...except when the woman in front of me turned back to yell at me for (accidentally) kicking her seat while I crossed my legs during the movie. All tall people will feel my pain. All short people will wonder why I was kicking this woman's chair. Saturday was not fun at all.

One of my problems is that I am a detail person. So, when I get caught up in a time of transition, it's really hard for me to see that anything is moving and will change because all I see are all of the details that need to get accomplish. At this point in my life, it feels like there are too many obstacles in all of the details that I am currently juggling. Life has been stressful and not so fun lately. How I wish I could see the big picture.

Sunday I went to church in Ventura, where my old youth pastor is the head pastor. Church was a breath of fresh air after a difficult Saturday. We came home on Sunday and since then I've been trying to get things in order for my Family Promise meeting this week.

Yesterday I worked at the hospital and then played in my last softball game of the season. I believe we won. I also believe this is the shortest team we have ever played. I hit lots of good hits...that were made into incredible catches. But at least I felt like I played well.

Today I have a bunch of errands to work on, as well as working on the photo album project. One of my clients is asking me to make digital copies of all of their photo albums, which is quite a big project. I am in the middle of album #3 of 7, I think.

- Jenny, 12/01/2009 10:01:00 AM

Monday, November 23, 2009

In the past week or two I've seen two new movies. The weekend before this past one Gavin and I saw Pirate Radio. I really enjoyed Pirate Radio and I think Gavin liked it, too. I think what was particularly enjoyable about this film, beyond the good, interesting story and good acting, was the excellent sound track. What an exciting decade to have been alive, huh? For those who are not in the know, the movie is about a group of DJs who lived on a boat off the coast of Britain and broadcast rock-and-roll music to Britain. (Apparently it was illegal in Britain to broadcast rock-and-roll in the country, but the boat was in international waters.) Anyway, part of the story focuses on how the government tries to suppress them. According to NPR, the movie is based on a true story.

Then, this weekend I saw The Blind Side with Gavin. This movie was SO good. I recommend both of the movies, but this movie I especially recommend. Apparently it has at least vestiges of a true story of football player Michael Oher of the Ravens. This movie is about this boy, Michael Oher, who is sort of an abandoned child in the projects. His dad is gone, and his mom is a drug addict. So he lives with a friend's family on their couch. The parent of his friend takes the boy and his friend to a fancy, white, private Christian school in hopes that the school would pick them up as athletes. The school does, the boy is kicked out of his friend's house. Sandra Bullock's family, who is fabulously wealthy, houses the kid for a night because they see him walking around one cold night. They end up adopting him and helping him to succeed. The story is very inspirational (and a tear-jerker).

The Blind Side movie has left me thinking, though. The movie really emphasizes that Sandra Bullock's family takes this guy in because it is the Christian thing to do. And I appreciate that the movie explores the ethics of how they do it, and I felt that the movie shows them as being a really wonderful example of caring for people who are "the least of these." However, the movie also really emphasizes the wealth of this family. They, for sure, had the money and time and energy to take this boy in. And I wonder if it makes it seem like people can only make a caring difference in a person's life if they have the means to do so. I guess I just hope that people don't leave that movie thinking, "Wow, that's great that they were able to do that. I hope other rich families will do the same." I hope people will leave that movie thinking, "Wow, what kind of difference can I make in someone else's life?"

And now, for the fun news of the weekend: Gavin bought The Beatles Rock Band. It is SO much fun to play and, for some reason, a lot more fun for me to play than regular rock band. The graphics/look/style of the game are really impressive. I can't wait to take it down for Thanksgiving with my family and see if we can get Uncle Brad (total Beatles devote) singing.

And now, for the bad news of the weekend: My Sunday softball team lost to the Unicorns, again. They may sound nice and harmless and you may think they look cute in their pink t-shirts, but they are anything but. They are the thorn in the side of The Team. The first time we played the Unicorns they beat us something like 35 to 5. They are so stinking good and, for whatever reason, the Sports Office does not move them up to another division, so they keep on murdering teams like ours. We've never lost to them with that big of a spread since (and we've since become a much better team together), but still. I would have liked to have been thankful for a little Unicorn on a plate this Thanksgiving, if you know what I mean. Perhaps next Thanksgiving.

- Jenny, 11/23/2009 08:33:00 AM

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last night I had this great idea for a blog post. As you can probably guess, I have no idea about what it was this morning.

Instead of a brilliant post, I will let you know that I am excited about Thanksgiving. I'm excited to see my family and Gavin's family, yes, but I'm also very excited about the sides. In general with eating, I'm not so excited about the main course and totally into the sides. I love sides: mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc. The nice thing about being in a relationship is that now I get two Thanksgiving with two completely different sets of sides! Exciting!

The sad thing is that we have a whole week to go through before I get to those sides.

I'm trying to decide whether to go to my last volleyball game this Saturday or not. I think I'm leaning toward not at 75%. The thing is that every time I go to volleyball, I am struck with how not nice my team is. People don't say hi to me, invite me to warm up with them, etc. Then, during the game it's major stress. I'm sorry, but I have better ways to spend my Saturday morning than not to be treated nicely and to incur stress over a recreational game. The reason why I am considering maybe going is because a.) my friend Colander will be there, and he's almost always nice to me, and b.) a lot of people aren't going this Saturday, so they need people to come, especially girls. If the couple that's the worst at being not nice weren't going to be there, I'd go. But that couple, I feel, treated me pretty poorly last week. And they'll be there this week. So...that sways me not to go.

I did not paint yesterday. Bad girl. So today I will concentrate on painting and hopefully be done and over with this project. Then I'm thinking of making this for dinner. Maybe. If I can find a ripe mango. This week has been full of trying recipes that I'm not sure how they'll turn out. First I tried the Enchilada Casserole, which I had before but this time I added veggies and used some sort of Mexican cheese that apparently does not melt. It did not turn out well. Then we tried this Fuyu Persimmon Soup. Gavin loves persimmons, so I thought this would be a fun recipe to try. The result is that it tastes a lot like a squash soup (but I guess I'd rather just have a squash soup, know what I mean?). Then last night I tried to make this recipe because we had everything but the cheese (and obviously we needed cheese because we had to use that Mexican cheese that does not melt!) and I thought they were very so-so. Gavin loved them (a grown up Cheezit, I think he said). So, this Carrot & Mango recipe may also be a bust, since I don't feel that my record was very strong this week.

Anyway, so that's my plan for today. This weekend is still forming. I know that Kendra comes in on Saturday night, then her new boyfriend Dustin is coming in on Sunday morning. So there is a span of hours where we will be entertaining them. I may do volleyball or not. We may help friends move or not. I have a Family Promise meeting. I probably will not go to softball. Decisions have been hard for me lately.

- Jenny, 11/20/2009 08:46:00 AM

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My super-├╝ber busyness is now gone. Now I am just at my regular state of busyness, which is pretty busy with some times of rest in between.

So it seems like right now there's a huge trend in cooking blogs to photograph each and every step of the process. (see here and here.) It's interesting to me and very beautiful, but I've just got to wonder--how does what they're cooking turn out to be ok? They must have a photography assistant or whatever because if they're like anything like me when I cook, it's often one ingredient goes in, then another, then another. No time to wait to set up a good photo. Am I the only one?

Anyway, so the other day I was given some guavas by my friend Vicky from her tree. (She also gave me some delicious pomelos!) It was very handy because just the day before I had been looking at some recipes and saw a recipe for Shortbread Almond Cookies with Guava. I passed up the recipe because I thought to myself, "Who has guava?" But now that I had some guava, I found the recipe again and was sad to see that it doesn't call for actual guava, but guava paste. I disregarded the recipe again until I started eating the guavas and discovered that I wasn't the hugest fan of eating them raw. So then I began wondering if whether I could actually make this guava paste with the guavas I had. I googled the recipe and it looked complicated, so I decided not to do it. But then, because it is clear that I keep on going back and forth on this subject, I decided to make it afterall. (And it wasn't that bad.) Fast-forward to the next day, I made the cookies, put them in the oven, took them out and let them cool. Then I bit into one and apparently did not realize that the guava paste centers would be still hot from the oven - I ended up burning my lip. It's been tender for a few days now and now has a little bit of a scab. I still have some guava paste left, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.

Today I have planned to begin the final draft of the Easter painting for the Catholic missionary organization. They really, really liked my first draft (a miracle--it was hard for me to get to that point!), so now I just have to alter things slightly, scan it, and send it in. Speaking of scanning, I am in the market for an 11x17" scanner (or, even a 12x18"). These large format scanners are mega-bucks - into the thousands of dollars. I found one on Amazon for only $180 or so and I ended up buying it, but became disappointed with the dullness of the scan. It didn't quite capture the colors represented in my watercolors. Sure, I could have adjusted it a little in Photoshop, but I'd rather just start with a clean scan. So I returned it and am back wondering what to do. Should I spend the $1,000 for an Epson one, or should I try out the Brother 3-in-1 print/scan/copy that does 11x17". That one is only $300, and may work just fine. No one on the comments on Amazon has said about how the scanner works. Most of them are upset with how it prints (my assumption is that they're all using it for photo printing). I wouldn't be interested in photo printing at all, so maybe it'd be ok for me. Not sure, still mulling it over in my brain.

Anyway, there are things to be doing right now, so I'll have to catch you on the flip side.

- Jenny, 11/19/2009 10:17:00 AM

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So I have about a bazillion things to do this week, from design to writing grants to conference calls to dinners and meetings, etc. I don't know if there'll be much time for blogging at all. Hopefully I'll be able to surface from the madness sometime soon and live to tell the tale!

- Jenny, 11/10/2009 10:00:00 AM

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