Saturday, December 31, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Truth is, I hear about this kind of thing happening all of the time. But today, I don’t know how to feel because, I used to know Robards. We went to grade school together. His mom was my brother and sister’s first grade teacher. His dad coached my brother’s soccer team. I always kind of had a crush on him. He was tall and dark, and he was a year younger than me, which always left him kind of off limits. Especially in grade school when no one really dates anyway. So instead, at choir concerts, I’d admire his falsetto solos from my spot in the chorus on the risers. I remember his smile and his wavy brunette hair and that he was funny and carefree and smart and he came from a really good, loving family. Until last night, I hadn’t seen him since high school. He looked different on the news. Even though he had very much turned into a man, he looked scared and lost and like he had just thrown part of his life away.
I’ve never been more confused. I’m caught between wanting him to get an easy sentence because his only other conviction was a speeding ticket in 1999 and wanting him to serve the full 15 years because then maybe, people will really think before they get behind the wheel after a night of drinking and holiday parties and maybe they will realize how easily they can take someone else’s life. I don’t know how to react. He wasn’t the one who was killed. His is not the family that needs sympathy cards and support in the way we’re used to. But his family still needs people, and he is still going to need people. I’m not sure how I will choose to be there for them, if at all, but I do know that I am going to think much harder about driving even after one beer. It’s just not worth it.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Best album of 2005
I'd like to give this honor to Jack's Mannequin's debut album, Everything in Transit. Jack's Mannequin is the side project for Something Corporate's frontman Andrew McMahon. And some side project it is. Produced by Jim Wirt (Incubus, Alien Ant Farm), and featuring Motley Crue's Tommy Lee on drums, Everything in Transit delivers angst-flavored, So-Cal vibes in a good way.
Remembering why I run
Vitamin D sounds good to me
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Being related to Osama bin Laden
Thursday, December 22, 2005
how you find me
Girl Kiss Dog
Kiss Her Feet
Kiss My Feet
Girl Kiss Dog has to be my favorite.
No matter how you find me, glad you do.
Hello, it's me -- Scrooge
I didn’t bake cookies for my coworkers. I didn’t buy Yankee Candles or orange marmalade for them. I didn’t send cards or make puppy chow or buy bagels or ornaments. I didn’t send out a cheer-filled e-mail, I didn’t write a poem and I most definitely didn’t wear a Christmas sweater. I did nothing. And I feel a little bit guilty for eating the bagels and marmalade and puppy chow and white chocolate raspberry bars. I feel strange for hanging the ornament, reading the cards, lighting the candle and laughing at the Christmas sweaters. But mostly, I’m enjoying sitting here in my cube hearing sprinklings of, “I think there is some fudge left around here somewhere, I’m going to go find it,” and “You’re not wearing your Christmas bells, but them back on so we know when you’re coming.” Christmas in the office is a lot like celebrating Hanukkah in a Baptist church in July. It’s not about the meaning behind it, it’s more about the two traditions that seem to have become the incarnation of the event — eating and gift giving. While it would be fun to share potato latkes and blintz soufflé with a church full of southern Baptists in the middle of the summer, it would be more about sharing the experience rather than them fully grasping the holiday’s meaning, which is what Christmastime in cubeville has become. We had a wonderful “holiday” lunch on Monday, a white elephant gift exchange last week and more fudge and candy and candles thrown at us than I can fit in my cube, but mention God and people run. Maybe I’m a scrooge, but I believe there is so much more to this season than traditions.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The center of the world, huh?
Waiting until the last minute doesn't mean I don't love Mr. Gus --- does it?
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Amen Omen by Ben Harper
Orbit Wintermint Gum
Ridiculous numbers of peanut butter holiday bread
A pony tail
20 miles a week
Pepsi One, Powerade Option
Too much (forgive me, it’s the holidays)
Introspective creative nonfiction, and some baking stories for work
Friday, December 16, 2005
365 days to get it right
And even though those years look a lot like a matronly shift dress, grey wool, itchy with no lining, the kind that is painful to wear unless it’s placed over full-body covering undergarments and thick tights, looking back, I see the value of a shift dress kind of year. Going through those years, climbing those foothills that lead to mountain after mountain, made me stronger. And mostly, those kind of years make me appreciate the value of a year like the last one.
A year that I turned 26, which sounds much older and more mature that 25. A year that saw me run my first road race ever — a 4-miler— and then months later, run a half marathon. A year in which I made the very scary decision to run a full marathon in the fall of 2006. I also braved my first business trip and completely alone hotel room stay. I made great friends this year, friendships that helped me grow in my relationship with God, friendships that helped me feel needed and beautiful and smart. I switched jobs, took on more responsibility and successfully gained new freelance clients. I became a better wife and a better friend and a better daughter. And, I’ve become an aunt before my time to my best friend’s baby. I was there the day Liliana was born, and I continue to marvel at the way that Rachel really is a mother now and the way that Lily seems to know just when to make me laugh.
But it wasn’t all easy. From afar, I watched a man find out he had cancer and then lose his leg to the disease. Now, he’s learning to walk with his prosthesis and learning to live with one limb forever gone. I’ve watched another friend come to terms with a gay brother and, I’ve seen him make the very conscious decision to love him anyway. And I watched my own family become two separate units — an ending that seemed already written has now become open-ended with the possibility of step-parents and step-siblings and weddings that I never imagined I’d attend. I’ve watched my brother move away, again, but I’ve seen him happier than ever and now, I’m helping my sister plan her wedding, in which I will be the matron of honor.
This year has been anything but a shift dress. Instead, it’s been an a-line mid-weight wool skirt with lining. One just sharp enough to wear to work for a meeting or to dinner on the weekend. One that doesn’t need the addition of a slip or tights because the inside lining is silky and soft. One that with the adjustment of the shoe and blouse component can take me straight through winter, spring and autumn. One that in the summer, sits in a garment bag because it’s that special, and because with it hanging in my closet during the hot, terribly humid Midwest summer, I will remember that it will be wrinkle-free and ready to send me out the door singing when the weather is right.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
North Pole, Earth
I have been a good girl.
It really wasn't my fault what happened at rachel's Office party. It was nick who spiked the punch with too much wine. I can't help it if I drank 72 glasses. It was so good---smelled and tasted just like cinnamon.
I thought it was funny when I put lindsay's pants on my head and danced the jig on the table while singing `king of pain'. I didn't mean to break rachel's i-pod nano and don't know why rachel would accuse me of rape.
I don't remember calling holly's wife a forgetful chicken---even though she looked like one with yellow eye shadow and red lipstick!
And when I threw up on jessica's husband's ear, it was only because I ate too much of that cream cheese.
After all that fun, I admit I was a little tired. So I fell asleep on my way home and drove my car through my neighbor's family room. I don't think that was any reason for my neighbor to call me a funny dog and have me arrested for murder!
So, Santa...here I sit in my jail cell on Christmas Eve, all pretty and tired. And I'm really not to blame for any of this annoying stuff. Please bring me what I want the most---bail money!
Sincerely and mostly yours,
jessi (Really a nice girl!)
P.S. It's only 96 bucks!
Presenting the age-old question: do I have to buy my boss a holiday gift?
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
emily got it
I Felt a Funeral in My Brain, by Emily Dickinson
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.
And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.
And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll
As all the heavens were a bell,
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.
wanting to disappear
Thursday, December 08, 2005
What the Fritz?
Anyway, I just never was quite adventurous enough to walk into Fritz’s and order up a plate of chili because, for one, I didn’t understand why the chili didn’t come in a traditional bowl and I wasn’t going to mess with tradition. Last night, though, my friends and I attempted to start a tradition we’ve been talking about for a year or so. It sounded great in theory. During a snow storm, we would all bundle up, trudge through our driveways to our cars and then drive the mile or so to Fritz’s where we would all sit at one big table with huge plates of steaming, yummy, soupy, stick-to-your-ribs chili.
The first part of the tradition went off without a hitch. There was already five inches of snow on the ground, and there was no sign of it letting up, so we all bundled up, trudged to our cars, drove to Fritz’s and went inside. We were thrilled to meet Fritz and to be there and the excitement kept mounting until we read the menu. “I don’t get it,” Lindsay said. “What is all meat chili, why is it served on a plate, why would someone just want beans,” I questioned. And then there was the matter of the price — $6.50 for a medium plate of meat and beans and an additional 60 cents for a catsup cup filled with hard, oily cheese? Fritz’s also does not carry butter, which is my favorite condiment for saltine crackers.
After the additional realization that Fritz’s only accepts cash, the men trudged to Osco to make random purchases like gum and deodorant in order to get cash back. Finally, after the rest of us nearly made a meal out of crackers with hot chili vinegar on them, our chili was set before us. It was a disappointing climax to our chili-going adventure. Questions whispered around the table included but weren’t limited to: “Is this chili?” “Does this look right to you?” “If I add lots of this chili vinegar and salt and chili powder, do you think it will taste right?”
We were all hungry, so we ate, although we questioned the entire time what it was exactly that we were eating, how Fritz’s is still a popular spot and why people who have eaten there before ever go back. The cherry pie was about the only redeeming quality of the long-standing, 75th Street and Metcalf “chili” joint.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
a good day to be a dog
If anything worth lamenting about happens, I'll be sure to update you all tomorrow. Until then, stay warm, drive safely and if you drive one of those huge SUVs with four-wheel drive, don't forget about the little people in the Honda Civics that don't appreciate snow spraying like cotton balls in a blender when they are trying really hard just to drive in a straight line while avoiding hitting the car five feet ahead.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
it's a cold day in hell
It’s been really cold in here since Friday. Yesterday was miserable and today is maybe two degrees warmer. This morning, from about 8:00 to 8:15, I heard the following.
From the lady that sits in the far corner of the office: “I have on two pairs of socks and I have a blanket and I am freezing. I sit in the stairwell for crying outloud.”
From the lady in the center of the office: “Nora was even cold, when Nora is cold, you know it’s cold. I sit in the center of the office and I’m cold. Yesterday, I couldn’t even work, I just sat here, huddled in a ball.”
From my boss, who is a male, while he was rubbing his hands together, blowing into them to create warmth: “When it’s so cold that we can’t feel our hands, do they let us go home?”
From my colleague, who is also a male: ‘It is freezing. I never get cold. I’m going to put on my winter coat.”
And from the very pleasant, almost-retired man who has been here since the company’s beginning, “Still have your coat on huh? I’m on my way to talk to the HR director.”
This is insane.
And the topper? The snow flurries that I can see when I stretch my neck to see beyond my cube and into the office that has a window across the hall. It's sunny, but it's snowing. Oh, and it's 12 degrees. Tomorrow, I'm going to wear my ski socks and my base layer. If it can keep me warm in these elements, it should be perfect for the actual ski trip in February.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Google your "(first name) (needs)" and write down what you get from the first page of results.
Jessi needs her rest.
Jessi needs to work.
Jessi needs a baby.
Jessi needs to keep her ignorant mouth shut.
Jessi needs to tell me where she gets all those good quotes.
Jessi needs loads of energy.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
the things i carry
Seriously. I have these stories that I want to tell, stories about pain and loss and love and family and the American dream that is neither very American nor a reality and the way that my heart holds on for way too long to too many things. And how in the core of my being live these longings, these urges to make a difference with my words and with my life.
I want to write the story of a man who left everything he knew to come to a new country to chase a dream that eluded him. I want to dig deep, beyond surface words and facial expressions and smiles that cover the pain. I want to dig below where even he has been and I want to tell the world about it, eloquently.
Then there’s the story of a couple who had a child out of wedlock in the 1950s. They were catholic and the acceptable practice was to put the baby up for adoption. And so, they did. Months later, they got married and had a family of four kids and they were close and passionate about life and about love and living and about finding their lost daughter. The daughter had her own life then. She had a family, three kids of her own, a husband, a career and a really confusing sense of who she was. Her research had taken her nowhere and she didn’t even really know what her birth parent’s last name was. She knew they were 19 when she was born and that they lived in Topeka and that they must have been attractive to create her. She has a face that is often compared to Michelle Pfeiffer’s. But, she had a deep need for love and a fear of being left and she thought it came from the months she spend in the orphanage, swaddled in a crib, with hardly a human to hold her, to love her, to touch her. When she finally met her birthmother, she was 43. They had the same hands and the same face and build and the same need to connect. They held each other for hours — trying to make up for 40 years of hugs that didn’t happen and when I look at my mother and my grandmother together, I realize that God really does work because things like that, stories like that, just aren’t supposed to have a happy ending.
And I want to write about my own demons. About the need I used to have for perfection, for a perfect body and straight As and a perfect family and car and how chasing that image, that falsity, could have destroyed me. I want to write about how he picked me up from that mess, how he helped me gain the weight I needed and the confidence I needed and how he showed me there is so much more to life and living.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Instead, I'm working hard in the cube, updating our Web site, contacting companies in Virginia and writing away and away all while listening to my secret favorite CD at the moment -- Kelly Clarkson. It was a late birthday gift from my best friend, and it's funny because we both have totally different musical tastes, I prefer Wilco and The Police. She likes Usher and 50 Cent. But we both totally think KC rocks. Though, we don't want many people to know, which is why we prefer to call Kelly "KC." I love KC. I could mean my city, but today, I don't. I mean the former American Idol, nose-ring-wearing, pop diva. And I'm semi proud that I've been able to admit that I love her.