Dexter’s Birthday and a Tea Story

Woahhhh it’s early!!!

I haven’t woken up this early for a very very very long time. To make my life easier this morning I threw some oats to soak in the fridge overnight last night so this morning I could have my quick, easy overnight oatmeal! This is my traditional combo of 1/2 cup oats (soaked in 1/2 cup water overnight) with a chobani, half a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter stirred in and topped with tons of cinnamon and maple syrup. I also made a double green tea with mint to take on the road. I just got this tea yesterday from Whole Foods but already its a new favorite. It reminds me of the Moroccan tea I drank in Paris when I went to the Mosque Baths (see below).



I actually feel a lot better today. My throat is still a little sore but the cloudiness in my head has cleared and I have more energy (even though it’s only 6:00). I just hate that foggy feeling you get when you are sick and when I woke up this morning I felt a lot more clear-headed! I’m taking two more vitamins and another dose of olive leaf extract right now….

I also should bring a snack with me to my appointment today because I’m going to be there for a couple hours. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to bring though so I will report back at lunch. I think I’m going to hit up the library downtown after the doctor because I’ll be in the area and I’m needing a new book…

Oh! and today’s is Mr. Dexter’s birthday!!!!!!! We obviously haven’t had him for a year but his humane society papers (errr the one’s that claim his name used to be Julio) say that today is the big day. I never ever thought a cat could bring such joy in my life. He has been quite a little friend over the past months!


So, when I studied writing in Paris one of the classes I took was called “The Paris Notebook”. Basically, we went around to different spots in Paris, journaled, then read aloud to the class. It was such a wonderful class and I got to venture out on my own and visit some really cool places sort of unknown to tourists. It was definitely a test in my independence! One place that I really loved in particular was the Paris Mosque. It was right around the corner from my apartment and was a historic landmark connected to a hamman (baths) and a tiny cafe. When I got sick with a cold I finally ventured over there to see what a hamman really was all about. Here’s what I journaled (and read aloud) that day:

In an attempt to cure my strange sickness brought on by both lack of sleep and vegetables, I found my way to the Paris Mosque—a gorgeous and historical establishment surprisingly near to my apartment! I enter the mosaic tile doors and am instantly transported to someplace all together different than anywhere I have ever been. I pay more than I thought (25 euros) and not a word of English is spoken here, but hopefully I’ll feel better! After almost crying in frustration brought on by lack of communication, I am handed two pale tickets and led through a huge open area with a stone waterfall in the middle and aerobic like ledges where half naked women are sprawled out sipping tea and talking. Tables are set up all over the room for massages given by gruff Middle Eastern women. I pay the euros and lock my backpack in the locker before pausing to change into my bathing suit. I then wash myself with unscented brown soap and go to the table where I receive the exfoliation of my life. After which my skin is tingling and flowing. I make my way through a series of steam chambers, the final so hot it burns my skin and I can’t breathe. I don’t want to look like the strange American though, so I go to this room, dangling my legs in the cold water fountain. Not long after, I make my way back to the main room and receive a small cup of sweet Moroccan tea served on a colorful tiny platter. The tea is surprisingly refreshing after being in such heat but I sip slowly to make it last. I leave the Hamman feeling refreshed and anew with the determination that I am truly healed.

When I get to talking about Paris I just HAVE to share more pictures (as if you all haven’t seen enough!):


My school!


Bah! I miss my long hair!!!!!! 🙁


My tiny Parisan apartment kitchen 🙂 Complete with tea kettle and espresso machine

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  • aud8980
    September 17, 2008 at 11:00 am

    thats so amazing about the paris mosque. i too love paris and discovered many things there. i feel like i learned so much from traveling there! it is definitely my favorite city in the whole world! so glad you could experience that. feel better&good luck with your scan :] hope everything is alright.

  • Christie I.
    September 17, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I am glad you are feeling better today. The journal entry from Paris is lovely. I dream of going there one day.

  • caitlin (seebriderun)
    September 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    your trip to paris sounds awesome… id love to go back one day!

    see you later!

  • VeggieGirl
    September 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Hooray for feeling better, celebrating Dexter’s birthday, and reminiscing about your spectacular experience while in Paris 🙂 I haven’t been there since 2003, so like Caitlin (above), I too would love to return one day.

  • Jenna 2
    September 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Your trip sounds truly amazing!! thank you so much for sharing!! You are so lucky to have such great memories like this to share.

  • Nicole
    September 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Your trip sounds fabulous. I hope to make it to Paris some day.

    I’m glad you are feeling better!

  • Becca A
    September 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Happy Birthday to Dexter! I love hearing about your experience in Paris. I can’t wait to get there myself one day.

  • Danielle
    September 17, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Happy Birthday Dexter! And I adore reading about your stories from Paris. It is such a wonderful place and your experiences make me even more excited to live in a fellow French city. Hope the medicine cures you and you start feeling better soon!

    P.S. Thanks so much for the wine advice, after reading your strong opinion on the subject I proceeded to book the tour right away :).

  • Sammie
    September 17, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I love the tile in that kitchen. Your trip sounds wonderful. Thank you for the supplement and vitamin info – I find natural medicine and homeopathic remedies so interesting. I am going to look into the Olive Leaf Extract. Happy Birthday Dexter!!! About 9 years ago I had a cat named Nike that looked exactly like him (yes, like the sneakers – my BF at the time named her). I hope the MRI goes well today and have a great ladies night in – I can’t wait to see the recap of your potluck. Yummy cupcakes!

  • rhodeygirl
    September 17, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    thanks for the pics Jenna. Makes me miss my 8 months in Italy. and my many trips to the middle east. thanks for sharing.

  • Teddy
    September 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    AH your cat’s name is Dexter?! A couple of days ago i was thinking of cats names (i want to adpot a cat) and I came up with Dexter and Raja



  • arielle
    September 17, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I think your kitchen is cute! And it’s about twice the size of the one I have now…

  • Littleblackdress
    September 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Jenna, this is one of the best posts ever! Thank you so much for sharing. I would love to hear more entries from your Paris notebook as they come up!

  • Laura
    September 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Your pictures are beautiful. I love the tile in the kitchen.

    Dexter is so cute! I’m sure he thanks you for changing his name. 😉

  • Jenn
    September 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    i’d love to see more pictures of paris or any french travels. i miss it so much.

  • runjess
    September 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I am all for celebrating pet birthdays. And Julio!? I would totally rename him too.

    I love tea and hear good things about the Yogi Tea, so maybe I will pick some up.

  • Sarah M
    September 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    It seems like you get sick fairly often, especially for someone who has such a healthy diet & exercise regime. Do you think there is maybe more to it? I think taking vitamins & natural remedies are awesome, but maybe it is something you should speak to your doc about. I don’t mean to pry, just a suggestion.

    And I feel your pain about missing your long hair. I am growing mine out at the moment as well.

    Take Care,

  • jenna
    September 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm


    I’ve only been sick with colds maybe two or three times in the past year…I don’t think that’s too much! I’ve done plenty of physicals and been to plenty of doctors and I can assure everything that I’m totally fine. Just a cold.

  • Heather
    September 17, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Love the pictures! That makes me want to visit Paris.
    I’ve never thought to stir PB into cold oats, only hot… does it blend very well?
    Happy Birthday to Dexter 🙂

  • Melissa P.
    September 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I love seeing the Paris pictures- keep them coming!
    I celebrate my cats b-day too. Actually hers was on September 11th and I was out of town. I left a bag full of toys, treats and cat nip for her with specific instructions to my housesitter to give them to her on her b-day. Crazy…
    I think that your long hair makes you look like Alice in Wonderland, which is a compliment in my book. Very cute!

  • Beth
    September 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Jenna – thanks for the inspiration! I also adore Paris – did you by any chance ever eat at Cafe Ruc?? It’s one of my favorites!

    I’m trying Bikram yoga for the first time tonight. I know I need to drink plenty of water today, but should I drink more than the 8 glasses I typically consume?

  • jenna
    September 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Beth, should be fine. You don’t want to have to run out and leave to pee! 🙂 Have fun!


    I think it blends fine. I just add it before I add the yogurt. I’ve never had a problem.

  • Allie
    September 17, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    i loved the mosque too! it was about a mile from my old apartment, so i’d go run over that direction – beautiful place. one of many hidden gems.

  • Mindy
    September 18, 2008 at 2:49 am

    i like your hair short 🙂 and happy birthday dexter!!