Unfamiliar Territory

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 21, 2009

Thank you all for your outpouring of love and support with regard to my family this week. I have to admit, this is (fortunately) unfamiliar territory for me, and while it’s obviously a good thing that I’ve never had to go through something like this before, it makes the whole situation that much more difficult because I don’t know what to expect. It’s that fear of the unknown, and it definitely has me spooked.

Unfortunately, we received more bad news today. I’m feeling…helpless. It’s hard for me to carry on life as “normal” with so much chaos going on inside my head. But I’m trying. It’s what she would want.

I was able to take a trip up to Milwaukee on Saturday, which was difficult but at the same time very much needed. I plan to go up there as much as possible. I’ve also been doing a lot of writing about her and her impact on my ever-growing family. My grandma is such an inspiring and accomplished woman that it would be almost insulting not to record every detail on “paper” of some form. The woman bore 10 children, after all – one of whom was Papa Bender. And let me tell you – he was a handful!! 😉

This brings me to my next topic: my 10k race this Saturday. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been training these past couple of months. What started out as a new challenge for a girl who has never run more than 3-4 miles at a time has become a race with a true purpose. It’s no longer just a race to be run to benefit all of those who have been touched by cancer in any shape or form. It’s a race to be run for all of those people + one, a very special “one” who means the world to me.

Yesterday afternoon, I ran 7 miles. SEVEN. I never thought that this distance would be possible for me, but I proved myself wrong and I’m glad. It took almost exactly 70 minutes, but that’s more than OK with me. My goal for the race this weekend is to beat 60 minutes. I now believe that it could actually happen.

Although my weekend was busy and blurry, Bobby and I did take a few moments for ourselves. On Friday night, we visited Thai Spoon + Sushi, a blogger favorite that has become one of our new favorites as well. With 1/2 priced sushi from 4-7 pm every day, you can’t really go wrong.

It’s become a habit of mine to start out with a bowl of miso soup. They are very generous with their portion sizes here, and I love the fact that they include huge pieces of tofu. You can see it right in the middle of the below photo, to give you an idea.


Another great part about sushi is that with so many varieties, you can pick and choose something new every time until you find the most satisfying combination. Bobby and I have decided that our absolute favorite is the unagi roll, made of eel, cucumber and sesame seeds. It’s topped with an unagi sauce that you can see in the front right and back left of the picture below.

Our assortment was made up of the following:

  • Alaskan: salmon, avocado and sesame seeds
  • Unagi: eel, cucumber and sesame seeds
  • Negihama: yellowtail, scallions and sesame seeds
  • California (with orange on top): crab, masago, avocado, cucumber and sesame seeds


Here’s my plate with one of each. Clockwise from the left: Negihama, Alaskan, California and Unagi.


I just love the way sushi fills me up without giving me that overstuffed feeling. Combined with the soup, it makes for a very voluminous, delicious and cost-friendly meal. Perfect for the foodie on a budget.

And that’s all she wrote. I did my best :)

Happy Belated Birthday, Melissa!



{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mel September 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Aww honey, I hope everything gets better. If you need to get away for a bit while in Milwaukee, let me know. I’d be happy to take you around town! :)


2 lilveggiepatch September 21, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I’m so sorry about your grandmother. I’ll be thinking about her!

CONGRATS on your race! 7 miles… you go, girl! I also recently ran my longest distance EVER, and it’s an unbelievable feeling!


3 Mara @ What's For Dinner? September 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that things aren’t well… you know where I am if you need anything. MAJOR props on the running :) LOVE YOU!!!!


4 Heather Eats Almond Butter September 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Thinking of you Jenn. I am so sorry, and I wish I was there to give you a big hug. I really do.

I have no doubt you will rock your 10K on Saturday. No doubt whatsoever. :)


5 foodieinthecity September 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I am so sorry Jenn :(. We will have your grandma, you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Awesome job with the running, you will do great this weekend, you will definitely kick some booty!


6 carolinebee September 21, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Oh Jenn, I can’t even tell u how sorry am I for what you are going through. Ah my heart aches for you so much, I will keep u and your grandma in my prayers…I’m so so sorry and you know I am here with an ear and shoulder and a lot of empathy for your pain..xo


7 Erin September 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Ahhh Jenn much love for you and your family.


8 Erin September 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

P.S. Two great books, one of which I think you’ve read (why do I think that?): Tuesdays with Morrie and On Death and Dying.


9 Karla September 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Sending love and prayers your (and your Grandma’s) way Jenn!

Glad to see you got a good meal and an amazing run in. You’re going to ROCK that 10K this weekend. <3


10 Brittany September 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

It’s hard to know what to say at times like these because they’re just plain hard, but your Grandma sounds like such an amazing woman!

I’ll be thinking of you, especially on Saturday when your out running! Woo-hoo on running 7 miles – such an accomplishment.


11 inmytummy September 21, 2009 at 8:17 pm

My thoughts are with you and your family.


12 verbalriot September 21, 2009 at 8:18 pm

My thoughts are with you and your family Jenn <3

I'm so proud of your 7 miles! Way to go. You're going to do great!


13 Maggie September 21, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Hey you. I’m sending lots of love and hugs your way. Good luck with your training and you’re going to rock.


14 Alisa - Frugal Foodie September 21, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Hope grandma bender gets better soon!

Sushi therapy is always a good idea :)


15 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) September 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I am so sorry, hon. I know how hard this is. I also know there’s not much more that I can say to make you “feel better”. I know many others have offered, but my offer of support and a listening ear is still here. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do! xo


16 gina (fitnessista) September 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm

sending hugs your way my friend <3
you're going to rock your race this weekend, i know it 😀
thinking about you


17 broccolihut September 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Oh Jenn, I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Please know that I am here for you if you ever need anything:)
Congrats on the 7 miler! You will totally rock that 10K!


18 The Foodie Diaries September 21, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Your grandmother is so lucky to have a grandaughter like you! And I’m all for your sushi therapy. Glad to hear you’re writing throughout all of this. It really helps :)


19 Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) September 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I lost my grandmother to cancer in 2004. While the six months leading up to her death were gut wrenching and devastating, in hindsight, they are some of the best memories I have of her in my life. I am not saying your grandmother won’t heal or that you won’t make a gajillion more memories with her (I will certainly be praying for that), but no matter what happens, treasure every moment. I know I do.


20 Erica September 22, 2009 at 4:22 am

GREAT job on the 7 miles! that is so awesome! I will keep you in my thoughts during your race this week!!! Hope Grandma is comfortable and is surrounded by all the wonderful people that mean so much to her. Such a tough thing to go through :(


21 Susan September 22, 2009 at 4:48 am

I lost my first grandparent a year and a half ago. It was also unfamiliar territory for me, so I know how you feel! Take your time to grieve and go through the emotions, and take comfort in knowing what a great lady she is and life she lead :)

You are totally set for the 10k next weekend!! You’re going to do awesome :)


22 Jessica September 22, 2009 at 6:44 am

Hi..I really feel for you as I went through a similar situation earlier this year. In fact, I had just posted about it on my blog yesterday. I am thinking of you and sending some prayers your way! :)


23 Gina September 22, 2009 at 6:54 am

So sorry. I know it’s hard, but I’m glad you are staying positive, and thinking about the good times and good aspects of the whole situation…family bonding and even just more family memories being made. I should have taken more advantage of the time I had with my grandparents. But of course that’s easier said than done.

Love the sushi. I agree it’s a healthy, cost effective way to eat! I just had some from Whole Foods and I ate 5 and was full, which left me three for the following day! I also had a salad, which helped :)


24 Krista September 22, 2009 at 6:59 am

You’ll do great on your 10K and your Grandma will be SO proud of that! (((HUGS)))


25 brandi September 22, 2009 at 7:17 am

Dealing with this kind of family stuff is never fun. I lost 2 family members and saw 2 have heart attacks/surgery/stents put in all in the span of 2 years. Being in the hospital that much and only getting bad phonecalls is not easy.

I’ll keep your family in my thoughts and prayers – let me know if you need anything – really.


26 Naomi September 22, 2009 at 9:35 am

So sorry about the family stuff you are going through, I will be thinking of you and your family :)

you will do so amazing on the 10k! 6.2 miles of domination!!

your grandma would be so proud of you running this! keep up the good work!

oh the sushi looks amazing!!!


27 ksgoodeats September 22, 2009 at 10:04 am

I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It’s not easy at all. It makes it worse when it’s out of your control, I know. You will do an amazing job in the 10k and your grandma will be so proud of you!


28 CaSaundra September 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Grandmas are so special and definitely leave a legacy! Your family is in my prayers!


29 Kristie Lynn September 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I’ll be thinking of you running your 10k while I run my 5k (raising money for lung cancer, which affected someone in my family) on Saturday. So excited for you though! And as always, loving the sushi… I wish I could find a place near me that had it half off at certain times. Must be time to google search :)


30 Rose September 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

This goes without saying, but I am always here (virtually or by cellular) if you need me.


31 glidingcalm September 22, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hugs to you love bug. I am thinking of you.


32 Hangry Pants September 23, 2009 at 4:02 am

I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. I hope everyone in your family is doing okay.


33 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) September 23, 2009 at 9:16 am

SO sorry to hear you’re going through a rough time. :( Seems to me that running this 10K might be just what the Dr. ordered at a time like this! You’re going to rock it, no doubt.

Keep on keepin’ on, even if that means PB&J (in some form or another) for every meal! So true, it really is a magical combination.



34 Molly September 23, 2009 at 11:12 am

Hope things get better for you! :(
That sushi makes me SO hungry by the way!
It’s class color day today at Benilde. Bring back good memories?? lol Its hilarious to hear all the Homecoming drama. Oh man, if only they knew not to take it so seriously :) Life is so much bigger than a dumb dance in your high school gym! haha

My thoughts are with ya girl! Have a fabulous Wednesday!


35 Taylor September 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I really do hope things turn out alright with your family situation. P.S. The sushi looks really yummy too! 😀


36 Paige (Running Around Normal) September 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma :(

However, that’s so great that you are now running with such a great purpose. You’re going to rock it, girl.


37 randomlymikey September 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm

that sushi look lovely! so sorry about your grandmother. it was very hard for me when i lost mine. and i always thought back and wished i would have documented more, so i think that is a great idea. good luck on your race!


38 Rebeca September 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I wish that this race wasn’t so personal for you only because I wish you didn’t have to go through this. My grandmother had cancer as well, and it was heart breaking. Especially, watching my dad struggle with the fears and anxieties that accompanied it. I’ll keep you ALL in my prayers and I can’t wait to hear about the race!


39 Marianne September 24, 2009 at 1:00 am

Jenn, hang in there with your family situation. Unfortunately, we all have to go through it one time or another, and it never gets easier, but it is a part of life. And good luck on the 10K.

PS – your sushi meal look fabulous.


40 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) September 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers!


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