May 28, 2010

The Letter Meme – part 2

Posted in Journal tagged , at 8:16 pm by Jenn

Time for a little fun in blog land….a letter meme.  The rules are as follows:

Leave a comment on this post, and you will be assigned a letter.  Write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on. (You can opt out of being assigned a letter, just say you don’t want to play – I still love comments)

I’m going to start with letter Z, randomly assigned by Zachary (wonder why he picked Z).  Ok, here goes…

1.  Zoo – The last time I went to the zoo was in Germany, The Frankfurt Zoo with my Mom and Dad.  Lions and Tigers and Bears – oh my.

2.  Zinnias – cute little flowers.  Can’t wait to have a garden again.

3.  Zeppelin – I don’t care who you are, if you grew up in the 70’s or 80’s you know at least one Zepplein tune –

4.  Zucchini – zucchini straws, zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini.  YUM.

5.  Zest – lemon zest, orange zest.  Both yummy.  I especially love orange zest in citrus cream sauce over a nice white fish. 

6.  Z’s.  When I was a kid I hated taking naps.  Now it’s something I look forward too.  I love to catch a few Z’s on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

7.  Zoolander – LOL.

8.  Zebra – really pretty animals.  This picture taken on my visit to the Frankfurt Zoo.

9.  Zanzibar – really.  It’s a cool sock pattern by Cookie A, and it’s in my queue.

10.  Last but definitely not least  – ZCoil.  This ends my second week of wearing them and I can’t believe that it took me so long to get them.  My feet feel wonderful!  Last Saturday I went to the store to have my left sandal adjusted because it felt odd on my foot.  Adjustment made (no charge as promised) and now it feels wonderful.  My sister was with me.  She is a teacher and suffers from back and hip pain.  She was leery of the shoes because she thought they looked funny.  She tried on a few pairs and after walking around the store in them decided on a pair of the Sidewinder sandals.  She wore them to work this week and said that she was pain free.  Today was field day so she wore her regular shoes and said that she needed to take some medicine because she was having pain.  She’s going back to the store tomorrow to invest in another pair of ZCoils so that she can have a shoe that is appropriate to wear for those field days or days she doesn’t want to wear the sandals.  Another satisfied ZCoil customer in this family!

As promised, here are a few pictures in my ZCoil sandals.  These are my afterwork and weekend shoes…my play shoes.  Love them.


May 27, 2010

Buggin’ Me

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 8:09 pm by Jenn

Not a lot of things really “bother” me. I lot of things tick me off and I vent for a few minutes, but soon it’s forgotten and I go on about my business.  Today however, two things “bugged” me so much that I just feel the need to share them with you.

First, I was walking down the hall at my office today and two of my co-workers were looking at the computer.  I could tell by the look on Lisa’s face that whatever they were looking at was bad.  I figured it probably had something to do with a child abduction (that’s what usually puts that look on Lisa’s face).  I had no idea that it would be this

Yep, that’s for real.  Overseas, I saw young children smoking, and it bothered me, but not near as much as this did.  This boy’s father GAVE him his first cigarette when he was just 18 months old….WHY?  Now the kid is hooked and according to the mother he throws temper tantrums when he can’t have a cigarette.  Oh, did I mention that he smokes 40 cigarettes a day.  40.  That’s absurd.  The whole thought of it is absurd and to make matters even worse the kid is so overweight.  He doesn’t even walk around the village.  He has a little toy truck that he rides around on.   This just makes me want to cry.  It’s a shame that the parents don’t take control of this situation.  Pretty soon he’s going to be able to talk and then what are they going to do?

SO if that wasn’t bad enough…I have been drinking this flavored water from Sobe lately because I love the taste…Pear Apple.  My mom picked up a case recently from Costco and today I took a Yumberry Pomegranate to work with me.  I decided to check out the label to see what the ingredients were and how they were different from the Pear Apple.  Imagine my surprise when I saw “cochineal extract”.  I thought certainly I must be reading this wrong, so I read it again.  Yep….cochineal extract.  Then I started talking to myself…”I thought cochineal was a bug”….why would they put cochineal in my drink?  Then I googled cochineal and realized I wasn’t misreading or thinking wrong, it was cochineal and it was for sure in my drink….the purpose….to give the water that nice pretty pink color. 

Here’s a picture of the dead, dried food color additive.

For some reason the FDA thinks it’s ok to put bugs in my water.  Oh, sorry.  They aren’t live bugs, they are dead.  The bugs are harvested and dried and crushed to extract that pretty red color.  Yum.  Now I’m really thinking I’m going to be sick and I start reading articles on the use of this stuff and I’m getting more and more pissed off about the US food supply.  I’m starting to agree more and more with Robin Quivers about needing a Food Bill of Rights.  Certainly there has got to be a better way to make Yumberry Pomegranate that pretty pinky red color than by adding smashed up bug eggs….I mean, pomegranates are red afterall.

Ok, I’m coming down off my soap box now.  I feel better, but I’m still “bugged”.  Oh and the only reason I know that cochineal is a bug is because the bug is used to make dye for yarn!  : )  It all leads back to yarn.

May 17, 2010


Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 8:28 pm by Jenn

Today I treated my feet to what I hope to be pain free days ahead.  I invested in a pair of Z-Coil shoes for work.  I’ve worked with two people in the past year who SWEAR by them and my feet have really been bothering me over the last week so I figured no time like the present to give them a try.

A few years ago I developed plantar fasciitis in both feet as a result of wearing shoes for way longer than I should have.  Once I recovered I vowed to myself to replace my work shoes every 4-5 months.  My ASICS were due to expire so I went in search of the Reebok toner shoes but couldn’t find them.  I opted for the New Balance tone shoes which looked and felt great.  After the first day in those new shoes I felt exhausted and my feet were killing me.  By the end of the week I was starting to have some foot pain.  On Sunday morning I woke up and couldn’t stand it anymore.  I looked up the nearest Z-Coil store, but sadly they were closed.  I then planned to go right after work on Monday.

When I woke up this morning my feet felt as though I’d run a marathon and I had only walked from my bed to the bathroom.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day.  By 9:00 am I had decided that I wouldn’t make it to the end of the day.  I had to do something NOW.  I waited for the store to open at 10, I called to make sure someone was there and off I went!

I know that sounds crazy, but the fear of the plantar fasciitis returning was enough to make me not want to wait one more minute.  So I am now the proud owner of 2 pairs of Z-Coils.  One for work and one for play.  I’ll post again in a week or so and let you know how they are working and how my feet feel.

Here’s a picture of the work shoe…!  LOL

and from a different angle –

The best part – they were on sale.  So if you’ve been considering buying a pair, now would be a great time!  Tell them Jenn Smart sent you!

May 16, 2010

365 Project

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 4:09 pm by Jenn

I started a new project today.  I know, I know….but this is a cool project.  It’s called 365 Project and I learned about it from a post on Javajem’s blog.  I thought it would be a fun since I’m getting ready to begin a new chapter of my life and I’m continuing to adjust to life back in the US.

Of course I forgot my camera when I headed out for my day today, but thankfully I had my phone so was able to capture a couple of pictures and I chose this as my first for the project

This stop wasn’t on the list of things to do today, but as the day went on, I kept thinking about cabbage rolls and sushki and simple cheese and I couldn’t stop.  So off I went in search of the Russian store in Virginia.  Thanks again to my phone and the Around Me app I was there in less than 20 minutes!  I found the sushki, my favorite green apple juice, the chumack ketchup that I need for the cabbage rolls, chocolate covered cheesecake (yum), Baltika 4 and 8 (beer) and some simple cheese.  The store was cute and reminded me a lot of a magazine (little store) that you would see in Belarus.  The women were nice and I thank them and bid them farewell in their native language….that drew a few stares!  It’s funny isn’t it.  Two years ago I never would have dreamed of walking in to a Russian grocery store and now I can walk in and I’m familiar with the products.  On my next trip I plan to get some pelmini and some lecho (what I use as the base for my newly famous chili).  Probably some more Baltika (call me crazy but I loved the beer).  As I type this post my sushki is soaking in milk and I’m going to treat my family to a fun snack. 

Since I was over in Virginia I decided to take a drive by the new place.  Here’s a picture – minus the Scott and Jenn love that it will be receiving in less than a month!

 I decided to drive around to locate the gym, swimming pool and grocery store.  Imagine my surprise when within walking distance I found – an East Asian Bistro, Noodles, Indian Restaurant, and Panera.  That just sweetened the deal.  I already knew there was a Japanese restaurant and movie theater but now I’m really excited to move.  I can taste the curry already!  The gym/swimming pool is within a 10 minute walk of the house AND there is a driving range on the opposite side of the street from the shops.  Fun times, fun times.

May 13, 2010

Afterglow Part 2

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 8:32 pm by Jenn

Last Saturday Heather and I attended a Maryland Sheep and Wool Afterglow party hosted by one of the members of our spinning group.  We also had an invitation from our knitting group, but the spinners won out.  They have been having this event for a few years now and I hadn’t been doing much spinning lately so I was excited to be back in the company of this great group and see all of their fibery purchases from Sheep and Wool.

Here are a few pictures of the day, lots of wheels, good food and fantastic company.  Thanks for the invite Jen.  Looking forward to next year.

The ladies:

Ready to comb

All spun up:

Heather and Gregory

Fiona: she’s owned by Jody, but I love her…I want one like her…saving my pennies.

The Charka:

Last but not least, my fleece.  Thanks Gregory for hauling it around for the week between the festival and the afterglow party!

May 5, 2010

Time to Smell the Flowers

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 9:25 pm by Jenn

Several years ago I got the bright idea to cross pollinate some of my mom’s iris plants.  Not quite sure what sparked this interest other than I love flowers and just wondered if it was possible (that’s the Grammy gene kicking in).  I remember reading up on the internet about how to do it and keeping my records about which plant I crossed to which.  I watched the pods mature, the seeds develop, I dried the seeds, waited til the appropriate time and then planted them and waited….three years.  Yep, three years.  From start to finish it was three years before I could see what the actual flowers looked like.  Scott and I moved to NC and we moved the bulbs with us to NC, the first time I saw them bloom was the spring of 2006.  They were beautiful.  One solid purple and one white with purple trim.  Both beautiful, but different than the parent plants.  At one of our yard sales one woman actually walked in to my flowerbed and TOLD me to dig some of them up for her.  Needless to say, I said no.  I may have considered it if she hadn’t been so rude, but who just walks into someone else’s garden and starts demanding a piece of it?  When we sold our house I couldn’t bear to leave them so I dug them up and brought them back to Maryland with me and left them at my parent’s house while we were overseas.  My mom planted them in a special place in the backyard and they are just starting to bloom now.  Beautiful…

I’ll share with the internet, but I won’t share with that woman who stepped in my mulch!

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