they pay to kiss your feet

since there's no one else around, we let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know. then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bye, bye Civic, hello E!

A little senior portraitesque, yes. But I love me my E.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Tuesday at 1:45 a.m., Michael Robards was driving near 83rd Street and State Line Road. He had been drinking. Probably half of the drivers that night had been, too. As Robards was driving toward 83rd Street, William Pyle was stopped at a traffic light on his motorcycle. No one knows if he had been drinking and no one cares, because when Robards approached the light, the Honda he was driving struck the motorcycle killing Pyle on impact. If convicted, he is facing 3 ½ to 15 years in prison.

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

Yesterday, I remembered why I run. I suppose I never really forgot. But the freezing temperatures and the short days have sent me inside to the florescent-lit gym where a treadmill is my constant companion. And while there is something to be said for climate-controlled environments, nothing compares to the freedom of the streets. This winter, I’ve kept up with the running. I like the way it makes me feel and the way I can eat whatever I want, but mostly, I’d rather start my long runs at 7 or 8 miles this time when training for the full marathon than at 4 miles, which is where I started when training for the half. Running has become such an innate habit. I knew I’d run yesterday. I just wasn’t sure where. But it was 59 degrees, and I had the day off so my running buddy Brad and I went on a five-mile run. We didn’t talk. We just listened to the music coming out of our headphones, to the sound of our feet pounding the pavement, to the breeze and the cars and the way that our breathing, even though labored, sounded so alive. We weren’t the only runners to have this idea. We passed more like-minded people than when we were in the height of our training last summer. It was like each person was clinging to the last few minutes of sunlight and to the unseasonably warm temperatures and to the way they knew they wouldn’t be alone when they stepped outside with running shoes laced and headphones on. Running is a personal sport. I beat my personal bests often, I beat myself, I challenge my past and forge toward my future. But, it’s also very much a community event. Runners share a bond. They understand what I mean when I talk about my ugly toes. They don’t question my need to replace my running shoes every four months, and they truly “get” the profoundness of the invention of dryfit fabric. They feel the excitement, the high you get when you run one mile further or one minute faster. The way that the idea of running 26 miles is neither scary nor intimidating but rather a goal that is very much attainable. They view their bodies as the machines they are intended to be. Food is fuel. Water is vital. Rest is paramount. And running is the way to keep it all balanced.

Vitamin D sounds good to me

Here's why.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More dog than bat, or more bat than dog.

We may never know. But he sure looks ferocious.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Being related to Osama bin Laden

Must totally suck. So why not make a name for yourself by doing a scandalous spread in GQ?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

how you find me

It's always fun to see how people find this site. The latest Internet searches that have directed Web users here include
Girl Kiss Dog
Kiss Her Feet
Kiss My Feet
Feet Kiss

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?

Something else for me to loathe about Lawrence.

Waiting until the last minute doesn't mean I don't love Mr. Gus --- does it?

We waited too long. I don’t know what I was thinking. But now there is no room at the vet to board Gus. And there is no room at most vets. And, the grandparents said that we can absolutely not bring Mr. Woofy Woof with us when we visit and all of our friends and neighbors are going to be busy with Christmas Eve and Christmas day and with family and traveling and their kids, and so we can’t ask them to take care of Gussy for us. So we had no choice but to reserve a cage (though I prefer to use the word kennel, because it sounds less harsh) at a vet we are unfamiliar with. They say he gets to go outside three times a day and gets a private yard where he can play for 20 minutes at a time. But Gus might get cold if he is outside for that long, and what if he escapes or if he hates it and gets scared and cowers in the corner and forgets to “go potty.” He’ll be screwed then, because after 5:00, he doesn’t get checked on until 8 a.m. when he will likely have urine all over his once clean and soft fur, and he will also wonder where his mommy and daddy are. Plainly, I am going to have a very hard Christmas wondering and worrying about my Gussy. I guess I need to view him as a dog this weekend and not as a part of the family, which is how I usually see him, especially last Saturday night when we took him with us to go look at the Christmas lights. I know that he didn’t really understand what was going on, but he at least humored me a few times when I said “Gus, look at those lights,” and he raised his head and looked out the window. Maybe all of this projecting onto my dog means I’m craving an actual child, a baby perhaps? But for now, I’m content with my Gus. I am not content, however, with having to board him in hell.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My sort-of niece, Liliana in her holiday best (the baby coming out of my head is Griffin.)

Monday, December 19, 2005



Listening to
Amen Omen by Ben Harper


Orbit Wintermint Gum

Obsessively watching
Grey’s Anatomy

Ridiculous numbers of peanut butter holiday bread

A pony tail

20 miles a week

Running in

With scarves

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

It never fails. Every year about mid-December, I take a look back and examine how I spent that year’s days. I’ll admit there have been years when I haven’t like what I’ve remembered. Years spent in selfish pursuit. Years spent stewing over the little things that affected me in huge ways — ways that I let them affect me, ways extremely blown out of proportion. Years when it seemed I was the living example of an emo song, a rollercoaster of emotions and tears and smiles and joy and pain, all meshed together to form a really good looking scarf or something. You know, something to adorn myself with so that I didn’t look so broken or so confused or so emotionally spent.

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

Dear Santa

This is funny, you can play too.

Santa Clause
North Pole, Earth

Dear Santa,

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, 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?

I received a gift today from my boss. A nice Yankee Candle wax warmer thingy, and I wasn’t planning to give him anything. I asked around. Some people bring cookies or homemade candies for the entire office, others bring ornaments and still others bring nothing. Last Christmas, I was working at another job, writing for our city's newspaper and while the office was festive during the season, nothing was expected. Now, in my crazy corporate environment, where the Christmas lights I attempted to put up in my cube were discouraged, people give gifts like it's going out of style. What is the proper protocol for gift giving? Do I get my boss a gift just because he got me one? I’ll let you in on a secret — I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet. I plan to begin and finish on Saturday, so it’s not too late for me to pick out a nice manly candle or something for him. But, do I have to? Will I look like an ungrateful, rude, unsympathetic scrooge if I don’t?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

For the love of a green purse and the chiefs

loving my dad

Monday, December 12, 2005

One year ago, Christmas in northern England.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Once again, I give you Mr. Gus

Friday, December 09, 2005

emily got it

A perfect description of a migraine, and it's somewhat comforting to know that such a great poet got them, too.

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

Yesterday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. sharp, I got my second migraine of the week. I was working and typing and reading and writing and then, the migraine fairy paid me a visit and I was blinded in the left eye with her shimmering stardust. I couldn’t drive home, so I called Nick to come get me. And after 20 minutes and nearly getting stuck twice, he made it to my building. We went home, I went to sleep and then a few hours later, I woke up feeling better. But, as soon as I started to eat something, I was blind again. Great. Thankfully, I was well enough to enjoy an excellent episode of Everwood. Today, I woke up nauseated and with a headache and drowsy, but I trudged on, through the morning, through the shower, through finding an outfit that I’m not even sure matches, through packing my work bag and through the drive to work. I got to my cube, tired but ready to face the day, and got into my work bag to take out the soda I had packed. The soda was empty. Somehow, it had been punctured and it spilled all over my calendar, a notebook full of important notes, two discs, two pair of running socks, my makeup bag, three CDs, an umbrella, a jar of Advil and every pay stub I’d received in the last six months. Awesome. I also forgot my lunch today, am feeling fat, am so not liking my hair style and my right nostril is stuffed up. I called a girlfriend to complain and she told me things can only get better. I hope she’s right. Because my life usually follows the ‘when it rains, it pours’ theme nicely. Let’s just hope the storm has already hit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What the Fritz?

It was a long-time coming. For most of my life, really, I’ve driven by Fritz’s Chili on 75th and Metcalf with wonder. On cold days, I was somewhat tempted to venture inside, but something about it always made me keep on driving. Maybe it was the fact that it is in close proximity to what I think is the sorriest excuse for Mexican food — Taco Via. (Yes, in my opinion, Taco Via is miles worse than Don Chilito’s, which is offensive, but that’s another story.)

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

I imagine that today is a good day to be a dog. For a well-loved canine, today is perfect. Take Gus, for example. He's at home, snug in his kennel, safe from the elements and the snow-covered roads and the wind and its counterpart, the sub-zero wind chill. Humans, however, don't have it so good. Take me, for example. I'm wearing work attire and tall boots and am facing a drive home that could leave me stranded or with a nervous breakdown. Shawnee Mission Parkway is sure to be a slippery adventure, and I am sure to say a few well-meaning, not-so-nice words during my commute. I can't wait.

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 maybe 50 degrees in the office today. I’m wearing corduroys and a sweater and I have a blanket draped around my shoulders and my nose is cold and my hands are having a hard time typing and my feet — let’s just say wool socks are in order.

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


Thanks to Joe, I bring you the needs game.
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

Sisters, with bangs!

Friday, December 02, 2005

the things i carry

Today, I have this unquenchable sense of longing and it’s deep inside me and it’s gnawing and I think it’s trying to scratch its way to the surface. If it makes it, I will likely scream and maybe start to cry and ask really hard questions like, “What am I passionate about right now?” “What do I want to do with my life?” “What path am I on, and where is it leading?” and most importantly, “How am I supposed to be a passionate writer if I’m writing about manufacturing equipment and innovations in batter depositing?”

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


The building I work in has no water. The crews have been working to fix this problem since 10 p.m. last night. We can't use the bathrooms, we can't make coffee, we can't hydrate. We can, however, walk across the street in the blustery day to use another building's bathrooms. Great. Last time this happened, they let everyone go home. I didn't work here then. Why the building across the street idea now? Why me? Oh, how I would have loved a free day off.

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.