The downside of living with your dentist

A few nights ago Niels came in the bedroom to take a break from studying and I was already in bed with lights out just about to fall asleep. The following conversation followed:

Niels: Babe, are you asleep?
Me: Not yet . . .
Niels: Did you already get ready for bed?
Me: Yup
Niels: You brushed your teeth?
Me: Sure did. (did he really just ask that?)

3 minutes goes by as he starts his nighttime routine in the bathroom

Niels: What toothbrush did you use, honey? (I realize most people only have 2, but we usually have about 6 going at once)
Me: The electric one. Are you really checking the bristles to make sure they're wet? Like I'm 5 and lied to you about brushing my teeth? (Seriously?!!?)
Niels: Yup.
Me: Wow.



Just in case you missed this beauty last year. Or perhaps you want to make it a tradition and watch it every year like us . . .

If you don't watch the whole thing, make sure to go to 3:20 -ish.


True Love

I spent 3 hours in his chair last week to see him practice what he preaches.

It was nice because I could give him honest feedback that most patients wouldn't, or I could just bite his hands when he hurt me. He has exceptional chair-side manner, but maybe I am biased.

He practiced this one about 8 times . . . good times.


Whale of a Tale

Niels was sort of a guest blogger today. Check it.


I have several adolescent-ish guilty pleasures, one of the main ones being that I love watching So you Think you Can Dance?

While I have been more loyal and dedicated to some seasons more than others, I really enjoyed season 5. So in pure teenage/groupie fashion I went to see the top 10 dancers live on tour with my friend Ally. We danced together back in the day, so it was only appropriate.

If you don't already know, all of the dances on the show are usually meant to express some sort of theme, or they are intended to tell of some kind of story that a choreographer envisions. Now I am not one to get emotional when it comes to interpretive dancing. Mainly because I rarely see or understand what the choreographer was intending to portray. (i.e. Melissa and Ade's Breast Cancer dance that everyone cried about. Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful dance . . . but I still just don't see how it correlated!) But one dance in particular really moved me last season. I literally got goosebumps and a little misty-eyed when I first saw it, and again when I watched it live last week. Silly, I know. That is the first time a dance has ever done that to me.

This piece is about addiction and I find it so brilliantly powerful. Again, while I find most interpretative dances to be pretty abstract and out-there, I find this one to be very direct and moving, even if you aren't into dancing. The song is great as well.

I may also have a certain affinity for this dance seeing how addiction has impacted both of our families on several levels. I am pretty confident that if you haven't personally been affected by some sort of addiction, you will likely know someone who has and you can appreciate this dance:

Watch Lyrical Dance videos and dance lessons at DanceJam.com


Who Needs Flowers

What girl doesn’t love fresh flowers?

In the early days of our relationship, I occasionally found little discreet ways to hint to Niels that tulips are my favorite flowers and that I thought roses are so cliché. I just thought he should be aware in case he ever . . . wanted to know or anything.

Needless to say, I felt slightly crushed when he directly shot down my passive hints by telling me that fresh flowers are overpriced, they die too quickly, and that they were not a part of his poor student budget. Zing. I thought that was pretty Debbie Downer of him initially . . . until I discovered that he would give me things far cooler than an occasional tulip arrangement.

Niels has always been a music buff. He lives to find new bands on blogs and he is constantly updating his iPod with fresh tunes. And then you have me who gets around to changing my songs out about thrice a year . . . if that.

Who needs flowers when your husband makes you awesome new music mixes every month? They don’t die, they don’t cost a dime and they are one of a kind.

I listen to each mix all month long and by the time I am burnt out the next month’s mix is ready. It’s a fabulous system he has going really. Oh, and his disk art is always the best part.

At first glance I was confused by this one. He said, “Look closely, it’s a mixture in a beaker.”

This month's was pretty good too - the labeled cornucopia.

Do you put ham in your cornucopia?



When I got laid off this summer, one of my closest friends reassured me that I would be ok because I have always been “scrappy.” An awkward silence followed and then I replied, “Um, thanks? . . .”

I’m sure she meant well and that it was one of those intended compliments people give you like, “Wow, you look really comfy today.” Nonetheless, I sat for a minute not really sure what to make of it. Over the past 4 months I have realized that I am indeed scrappy.

A day or two hasn’t passed these last few months without someone asking me if I am working yet, and/or how I am staying busy with my time. I either give the long or the short answer depending on who is asking, and what my mood is that day.

The truth is that I have been staying crazy busy with tons of side work- short version.

Long version - I feel very fortunate for how things have come out of the woodwork and have fallen into place. Some might already know that I have been working as a virtual assistant for over a year for one of my former professors. I know, it kind of sounds kind of futuristic and somewhat Jetson-esque. Anyway, he has an established career with a well-known institution, but also runs a PR consulting firm on the side. I mainly do research for him, edit case studies and manage some of the operational things he doesn’t have time for. For a while, I juggled assisting him and doing my full-time job with HP. I really enjoyed the diversity it added to my daily grind.

After I lost my job this summer, I seriously tossed around the idea of how I could make a business model out of assisting people remotely from my home because I enjoy it so much. I started doing some preliminary research and soon discovered that I wouldn’t be able to compete with the ridiculously low rates that VAs charge in places like India and in the Philippines on sites like Elance.com. They seriously work for practically nothing!

I hadn’t thought twice about the whole thing since then, but somehow managed to pick up two more clients. So, I am now assisting 3 people remotely and it is working out fantastic. The best part is that I will still be able to manage them when I start my new job next month. I will be a crazy lady, but I guess I have always enjoyed a full plate.

While some friends already know the details of my new job, it is still too premature to announce them to the World here. More details to follow . . . stay tuned.



Congrats, Utah. Apparently It's now cool to wear flip flops and socks in winter.

After all these years, I'm now thinking that maybe I shouldn't have made fun of all the BYU zoobies in shorts and sandals every snowy winter. Apparently they were under cover fashionistas.

The 80's Called

And it wants it clothes back.

To say that I am completely underwhelmed with the recent fashion trends would be a grand understatement.

I work with the youth at my church and have recently had several healthy doses of: Are you kidding me? I wore that when I was a kid.

Ironically enough, I recall my mom saying the same thing when I was wearing flare bell bottoms in seventh grade. Ladies and gents - we have come full circle.

Side pony tails, zipper jeans, neon wannabe Rayband sunglasses, neon everything, stone wash denim, Keds, plaid, splatter paint apparel . . . and other ridiculous things that seriously should have skipped this fashion resurface cycle I am just discovering. Although, I haven't seen banana clips resurrect . . . yet.

Now on the other side of the dime, I would be thrilled if 80s butt rock music came back. I am not lying when I tell you that Monster Ballads is on my top 5 list of albums I own. Just saying.


Too Much Time on my Hands?

Because I am slightly a type A personality that thrives on being busy and productive, I have found the hardest part about being unemployed (minus the whole sans income thing) has been staying productive and doing legitimate things with this newly acquired surplus time. Sure I enjoy a good vacation as much as the next person, but I actually enjoy having a full plate. Dare I say that I like being stressed to some extent? I dare.

So far I have found several things and random projects to occupy my time while seeking new employment. It has been nice spending additional time on things I already enjoy doing like cooking, gyming, reading, hanging with Niels, etc. But I have also picked up some things that I wouldn't normally do if I was busy with work. Things like trying to learn how to sew (?!!?!?), or paroozing through my 8th grade Spanish class notebook to refresh the skills, trying to figure out how the heck to do genealogy, etc.

Well I decided to venture into another unfamiliar realm and dedicated one of my weeks to creating my two-year-old niece's birthday present. Now I would say that I am creative, but I would argue that being crafty is a whole other beast. I embraced this fact, I found my inner Martha, and soon a project was born.

To sum it up, I would say that Avery is a wild child. So freaking cute, but a handful. So I thought I would make her some quiet activity folders that I have seen all these kids play with at church. They are genius! Now most people won't see my project as a crafty endeavor, or will think it is not a big deal. But this was pretty huge for me people. It required:

A ton of coloring, and I mean a TON:

A ton of cutting:

Luckily I had a part-time employee at the sweatshop:

Lots of laminating:

Some more cutting:

I'm really ok with not seeing scissors for a while . . .

Some of the finished products:

Good thing that she's totally worth it:


Who Wears it Better?

Two People, One Look. You decide who wears it better . .

Miley or Hilary

Serena or Angie?

Jon Gosselin or Niels . . . .

Skipping Town

We skipped town and spent a few days in San Diego last week. We didn't do the Zoo, the Animal Kingdom or the whole Sea World thing. Perhaps when the kids come along down the road, but we only had a few days and didn't want to battle the summer crowds and the overpriced admissions.

Instead we just bummed around and relaxed. Neither of us have been to San Diego a ton, so we really enjoyed exploring and walking around. Personally, I am a big fan of their downtown Gaslamp District. It was lively and hopping, but not overly crowded like New York. It was also nice and refreshing not to have SMUT in your face everywhere you turned.

We didn't take a ton of pictures, but here are a few:

Kayaking the La Jolla Caves

You can see the sea lions behind us

It was pretty cool to see these sea lions up close. We were actually right next to them but I couldn't take my camera with me on the Kayak, so I went back after and got an aerial shot.

We also saw dolphins and leopard sharks right next to us. To be honest, I was freaked out by the sharks a little and our guide picked up on it. Apparently I don't hide fear very well. So he reassured me that they were "bottom feeders" and didn't want to eat me. Riiiiiiight.

Waiting for the sun to burn off the clouds at Mission Beach, but it never did. So much for tanning.

Niels has decided what he wants to put in our future backyard. No big deal, just a surfing simulator machine. We watched the qualifying event they had going on for the "Flowrider World Championships" in Singapore this fall. What if your title was Flowrider Champion of the World?

We went to Old Town for some authentico Mexican Food and toured around for a bit. My favorite part of the day was going inside the old dental office. As we were walking out some woman shrieked "I absolutely hate dentists!" I'm guessing that Niels will have to get used to that becasue many people share that same sentiment.

Padres Game

This picture is mostly for Becca and Jen. Basically I hate wearing athletic shoes with jeans! It feels so wrong and tacky, but desperate times called for desperate measures!

Niels was a fantastic sport with me being overly fixated with winning tickets to see Wicked again. We tried all three days, but had no luck. He vows never to do dumb lotteries again.


1 Down

Yesterday was our official one year mark of moving back to Las Vegas. One year down, 3 more to go.

We like it here and we are really enjoying this chapter of life. However, we are really looking forward to seeing where chapter 3 takes us in a few years.


The Big Fat Persian/Mormon Wedding

I remember going to many bar mitzvahs in junior high school and being in complete awe of the new and unfamiliar traditions and celebrations. I had a similar feeling last summer when we went inside the Hagia Sophia and some of the other mosques in Turkey and we watched local people partake in their praying rituals.

I actually have always been naturally curious about the affairs and lifestyles of different people and different cultures. Some may call it being nosy, and it sort of is. But not in a bad way - well at least I think so. Perhaps this explains why I enjoy blog stalking, or "BLALK-ing" so much, and yes I just admitted that (you do it too).

So what I'm really trying to get at here is that we went to an Iranian/Mormon wedding last weekend. It was hands-down one of the cooler events we have ever attended. Our friend Brigham (um, can you tell he's LDS?) went to high school with me and Niels. And his wife Sameen is a dental student with Niels at UNLV. They had dated for 5+ years and finally sealed the deal.

Both Niels and I were pretty intrigued to see how it would all go down because Brigham and Sameen are both very pious in their respective religions. Needless to say we were both really impressed by the whole spectacle.

They started with the present day Iranian wedding ceremony. Basically there was a bench that faced a long table with several different objects and foods traditionally associated with marriage in their culture.

There are way too many to name, but some of the most interesting items were: The Koran, golden fertility eggs and walnuts, live goldfish, real sugar crystals and the mirror of fate.

They sat on the bench under what they call a wedding cloth where different members of her family rubbed sugar cubes together over their heads in order to wish them a sweet life together. Thankfully there was a paper on our table that explained all the symbolism of the items, as well as the translation of the entire ceremony as it was performed in the Farsi language.

My favorite part of the whole ceremony is when the celebrant asked Sameen if she would be Brigham's wife. As part of the ceremony, she didn't answer and was silent and her family members replied to the celebrant that she was too busy to answer because she was out picking rose petals. So the celebrant asked Sameen a second time if she would be Brighams wife. Again, she was silent for a moment and her family members replied in Farsi that she was out feeding the sparrows and couldn't be bothered right now. The celebrant asks Sameen for a third and final time and she says, "Baleh!" (yes). The entire room went nuts. Everyone started making all sorts of loud clicking and rolling noises with their tongues and hands - It was fantastic.

Mr. & Mrs. Brigham Joffs

After everyone calmed down from witnessing the lively Iranian celebration, they had everyone sit down and the Bishop came up and civilly and lawfully married them. Talk about a tough act to follow! He did a great job, and both ceremonies were done so tactfully.

We truly had a great time. I really can't think of any other wedding we have stayed at for five hours like we did for this one. We danced to ethnic music intertwined with Michael Jackson, we had great food and saw some old friends from high school. Persians definitely know how to throw a great party!

Specialty drinks menu. So classic.


Financial Cuts

As of late, most everyone I know is trying to find small shortcuts to save a little bit of cash here and there. For some it is out of pure necessity, and for others it is for pure enjoyment of having a little extra padding left in the checking account at the end of the month. For us it is a good mixture of both.

I have found it very interesting and telling to hear what things or services some of my friends and family are cutting back on, or completely axing out of their budgets. I have learned that what is deemed as an absolute necessary/can’t live without thing or service on one persons list, can be a totally disposable or vain thing on another persons.

For example . . . my sister called me last month to inform me that she was getting rid of her cell phone completely. Thankfully her shenanigans only lasted 6 days. Then there is my friend who cut back on her cable package so she could keep her tanning membership. Another friend has to have her bi-monthly pedicure, but can't dish out the dough to go grab some lunch.

Let me be clear . . . I’m not judging here - I am simply noting that everyone has their own financial priorities and quirks, myself included!

I’m just saying that I could never get rid of my phone, and I am destined to be pasty for the rest of my life so I can live without the tanning membership. Sure I love a good pedicure, but I enjoy a few good lunches a LOT more.

I'm sure there are some of you that might look at the things that we have chosen to ax and retain in our budget and could feel differently.

Financial tweaks:
  • Cut Fancy Cable
  • Cut Internet (share with neighbors)
  • Cut caller ID (this one is killing me)
  • Eliminated soda runs
  • I give Niels his haircuts (double standard - this won’t be working both ways)
  • I have turned into that annoying lady in front of you at checkout with all the coupons
  • I don’t go into Target without an action plan or list.
  • Didn’t renew my Costco membership (again, killing me)
  • Got rid of the kitten
  • I have been very creative with the dusty cans and boxes in our pantry
  • Thermostat is kept at 81 in this Vegas summer (poor Niels)

Sticking around (for now) :
  • Cell phones
  • Gym membership
  • PEST CONTROL – especially after Jen’s run-in last week!
  • Nice-ish shampoo & conditioner
  • Nice-ish toilet paper
  • Fresh produce
  • My hair cuts

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Sorry for the recent neglect. I have been too _______ to update. Please accept my apology.

Warmest Regards,



T-Shirt Logisitics

Looks like there are some people that are interested. In oversight I forgot to mention a few details. . .

Please email me your size that you would like and your home address where you want it shipped. Then I will reply to you with my address where you can send me a check (Don't wnat to post it here for all the ceepos.)

Email me susie.jensen@yahoo.com

Once I receive your check I will send you your shirt, or if you live in Vegas I will just bring it to you.

Thanks for your help!!


Lady Lumps

Flashback to 8th grade health class:

Mrs.Walker, my 6'1" stalky black woman teacher stood in the front of the room and declared to all the boys in her deep military voice, "Gentlemen, they are not boobies . . . they are not hooters and they are certainly not ta-ta's . . . they are breasts. Understand? They are breasts."

My sister-in-law's mother has breast cancer and so she designed these awesomely comical shirts in order to raise money to walk in the Susan G Komen 3-day walk for a cure later this fall.

This is my other sister in-law, Sara modeling the shirt.

If you are interested please let me know and I can make sure you get one. They are $15 (shipping included) and again, it is for a great casue.

I am thinking I should send one to Mrs.Walker.