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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

good egg.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


i'm sitting in the office of our new home and i'm looking at a window framed in wood from 1924. to my right, atop ikea locker shelves, sits the plant i've had since i was 4. it's still potted in the pink, ribbed pot i chose to match my new bedroom wallpaper when i was 12. wallpaper that was nursery stripes on the bottom half, flowers on the top. pink was the theme.


my niece's favorite color is pink. if she's wearing a blue shirt and you ask her what color it is, she'll tell you it's pink. i was amazed at this one time because i was wearing a pink shirt. and i said, "hey, eden, what color is this?" when she said, "pink" i nearly died. until my sister told me it's the only color she knows. her favorite.

my sister. my baby sister. has a baby. she's married and working and beautiful and has an almost 2-year-old child. this isn't how i'd imagined things to turn out when i was 12 in my pink bedroom dreaming up my future.

i thought i'd be the first one to have a baby. and that my brother and sister would follow accordingly. i figured we'd all live in the same city, in the same neighborhood with the same type of families. i thought my parents would still live in the house in brookside and that we'd visit there often. i probably figured it would even be within walking distance from where we all chose to land.

without stating the obvious, that didn't happen. and even though i had landed at 22, i hadn't ever taken off my seat belt and felt free to move about the cabin. so i uprooted myself and landed again. this time, much more comfortably but also, much farther from where i'd imagined. i'm turning 30 in november. i don't have a baby. i'm not married. i don't even have a job. and sometimes, the happiest place i can be is on my screened-in porch with a glass of my favorite wine and a memoir by someone like david sedaris or elizabeth giblert. just me and the sound of autumn's leaves blowing in a crisp wind. one so crisp, it requires a hoodie and socks. and even though my bare feet aren't used to being covered, they're suddenly thankful for the enveloping warmth.

so i'm turning 30. and i'm thinking about where i am. and where i was. and who i am. and who i was. and who i WANT to be. and who i can be. and who god thinks i am. and who i think i am. and who brad knows i am. and who my friends know i am. and all of these "ams" are just waiting for me to recognize them. to claim them. and then, to propel forward, moving -- soaring into my next decade. one that has so much potential. unlimited, exciting, potential. and so, i embrace it.

the numbers.

so i got blood work done on monday. i wanted to check my cholesterol because high cholesterol runs in my family. i got the results via email today. total cholesterol: 210.
my LDL was at a fine level. my HDL was at a fine level. but TOTAL, it was too high.

the email from the nurse at my doctor's office suggested i:
start jogging, walking or swimming
eat better

i run 30 miles a week. i don't eat badly.

i'm frustrated.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Dear Andy,

When I was 17, we picked you. You were the one that caught our eye. You stood out from the entire litter of perfectly adorable golden retrievers. Literally stood out. You were huge. Twice the size of the others. And on that late summer afternoon, you came bounding around that house toward us -- and right away we knew you were ours.

We took you home and loved you. And you grew and grew and when you were done growing, you weighed somewhere around 110 pounds. This means you had a lot of hair. Tons. And you shed a lot and you were never great on the leash. We couldn't even imagine letting you off of it. Because the few times you escaped the yard you just ran. And ran. And ran. Remember the time we had to chase you half a mile down the street? Even when you got tired and stopped, you still wouldn't come to us. So we flagged down a stranger to open her car door for you. You loved car rides. And you got in her car and she drove you home.

But we didn't take the escapism personally. It was just in your nature to want to try new things. Like the time you ate an entire raw chicken - Styrofoam and plastic wrap included. Or the time you were at dad's store and ate a moving box full of sugar. You also liked to eat eyeglasses. I think we had to buy at least two friends of the family new pairs when, even though we warned them, they left theirs on the coffee table, which was your domain.

Andy, I'm sorry I couldn't be there for your adolescent years when I was in college. But I know you kept mom and dad and Amy and Evan company. I'm sorry that you had to leave your Momma to go live just with your Daddy for the last five years of your life. But you made so many people happy at the flower shop. Did you know that some people would come in just to see you?

The last time you visited me was in May and,you stayed for 10 days. I know being downtown was a change for you, but you did so well. And Kolby had so much fun with you.

Oh, Andy, I'm going to miss you buddy. The last time I pet you was at Dad's on Rosh Hashana. He told me how sick you'd been and that he didn't think you had much longer. So I left the dinner table and pet your ears and whispered to you how much I loved you.

You don't know this, but I saw you again one more time. Dad called me this morning over skype and told me that today was going to be your last. I asked him if he could let me see you and so, he tilted he computer around and there you were. Laying on the floor in the sun. You had no idea that in an hour or so, you'd be leaving us.

After that, B and I cried over coffee. We talked about how innocent you are and how you were such a good companion to Dad and how you were probably afraid when they watched you take your last breath. Dad couldn't stand to be in there with you and so, I cried more because you probably felt alone and confused.

You will always feel more like a brother to me than a dog. You were one of the last things that we had chosen as a family when our family was still intact. You were a survivor. And I already miss you terribly.

Love your human sister,


Thursday, September 24, 2009


at church, we're working through discovering the lies we believe about ourselves that are contradictory to how god see us (thus, opposite of how we should see ourselves.)

i had a good idea of what mine were. but i decided to ask B what he thought they might be.

within five minutes he had all three rattled off:

1. i am overweight/ugly.
2. because i have no job/can't find a job, i am not creative, i have no talent and am unemployable.
3. i am aimlessly wandering through life worried that it is not going to be okay.

wow, that's some heavy stuff.

also, how well does he know me?!?!

okay, so now, i'm working on turning those lies into truths. they would go like this:

1. i am in good shape. i am pretty.
2. i am creative and talented. i can't find a job because this economy blows.
3. i am not supposed to go through life worrying. if god's eye is on the sparrow, his eye is certainly on me.

here's to growth.

Monday, September 21, 2009

recession thoughts.

when the economy was better, i found myself wishing i had taken spanish in high school instead of french. being fluent in french doesn't exactly earn one extra money or an extra glance from employers who need to cater to a growing part of america's population.

now that i'm full-on into the longest i've ever been unemployed, i find myself wishing i would have been a waitress in high school instead of a lifeguard. because every server job in this city requires a "professional resume and experience." oh, i have a resume. but it doesn't have waiting tables on it.


because i'm cool.

i ran 10 miles on saturday. in 87 minutes. and other than when i stopped to walk for 20 seconds up this hill that was more like a mountain and was stationed smack in the middle of mile 6, i ran the whole thing.

then yesterday, i ran 3 miles. and this morning, 3 again. i'll be getting in a 4-miler in a few days and then a five-miler and then ... 11 miles on saturday.

in other news: b turns 40 in a month. and i've been racking my brain about what to get him. see, before the whole "no job thing" happened, i was planning a trip to mexico or italy or somewhere less exotic like chicago. but now, i'm planning dinner and a few well-thought-out unwrappable surprises. i hope he likes them.

and in semi-related news: i sold like four things on craigslist to be able to afford a pair of new running shoes. i need them because the pair i bought in june has 400+ miles on them and i'm prone to stress fractures in worn-down shoes. the new shoes are supposed to arrive today. i'm hoping the rain doesn't slow UPS down.

okay, back to searching (er...trolling) the job boards.

Friday, September 18, 2009

my happy place.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


watch courtesy of craigslist sales.
mirror courtesy of former home owners.
door courtesy of 1924.
camera courtesy of my honey.
being this bored at 4:30 p.m. courtesy of unemployment :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


i feel like a Polaroid that got wet and turned sepia tones.

that's right, i'm somewhere on the color spectrum between brown and yellowy-beige. or at least, my emotions are.

in short: i feel like poop.

there's the fact that my throat hurts today. so that's poopish. and then there's the part about how i'm um, nearing seven months of unemployment - that's the part that's a steaming pile of crap. no, really. it is.

and the part that's the real bummer is that people are still losing their jobs. in my industry. i just heard about a creative director who got laid off this week. a media planner friend of mine lost her job a few weeks ago. account managers - gone. art directors, bu-bye. this economy is sorta like having the butt flu. it blows.

and i'm wrestling with some things. i was at a former co-worker's birthday party a few weeks ago. i arrived late and people had, aparently, been partaking in the keg since late afternoon. when i walked in several people made faces as if to say, "i can't believe SHE showed up." and then an old co-worker accidentally walked into the room that i was in. i was the only one in there. so he made small talk. "where are you now, jessi." i sorta laughed and said, "at home, looking for jobs." and all, ALL that he could say to me was, "that sucks." and then, he turned around and walked out of the room. really? REALLY!

if i seem angry about it, this is because i am. i remember when i still had a job and people would send me their resume, ask me to connect them to my network of people. maybe they'd want an "in" at my compay. so, i'd oblidge, but sometimes not in a speedy manner. and now i see the tables have turned. and i want people to oblidge. and i don't want pitty but i want people to CARE. to really care and see the situation for what it is.

and if i could have, i would have climbed onto a soapbox at that party and said, "don't get too comfortable where you are. always try to be the best you can be. bring more to the table than is asked of you. try harder than you tried yesterday. appreciate the fact that you have a job. do not burn bridges. realize kansas city is a small town and if you plan to stay here for your career, make friends, not enemies. but mostly, be good people. because your talent will only get you so far."

but instead, i left early... feeling like poo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


anxiously waiting for the day when i look back on this time and say, "hey honey, remember when i had to sell our old things on craigslist just so i could buy a new pair of running shoes?"

so to that day i say, please hurry.

Monday, September 14, 2009

this...this is my dining room.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

past the six-month mark.

i'm embarrassed to admit that i've been unemployed for more than six months now.

that's a long time.

painfully long.

in six months at a job i could have gotten a promotion, made several clients happy, churned out some kickass creative, bonded with my team and grown in the way i handle constructive criticism, different management styles and choosing the right shoes to get me through a day with just the right mix of style and comfort.

(sorry for that run-on sentence.)


some employed friends of mine have expressed a bit of jealousy about my current "life of leisure." i mean, if i want, i can go run 7 miles at 1:00 on a thursday. but let's be real. no one is paying me to run. in fact, i'm collecting a very small sum of money each week from the government. and by small, i mean small. like it pays for food, water and shelter. and that's it. yes, the basic needs are covered. but then there are things like: car payment. kinda important, in my opinion. especially in kansas city where i can't just hop on a bus from my house to get to a job interview 30 miles west of my front door.


and then there's this other thing. unemployment runs out. it's not like being on permanate disability. it's not like collecting social security when you retire (if you retire before 2010.) it's limited. and i don't have that much left.

so, i sit. and worry. and try to figure out if i am going about things the right way. and what was it about me that this one company didn't like after three interviews and an introduction to the team? and why did my unemployed friend get a call for an interview for a job that i also applied for. and that i was more qualified for?

there is no science to this recession. but i like to compare it to conception. a million sperm and one egg. those millions of sperm are all trying to get to the egg. but only the strongest, most perfect one will make it.

all of us unemployed sperm have sent our resumes to the same egg. and only the best fit will win.

it's crazy out there.

Friday, September 11, 2009

things you notice due to unemployment #6,897

being unemployed means i do things at odd hours. i might go grocery shopping at 1:00 p.m. on a monday. or, maybe, i'll stock up on toilet paper at costco a 10:30 in the morning on a thursday. this is also, apparently, when hoodlums, would-be criminals and down-on-their-luck desperadoes shop, knock on doors and more.

see, this week, i witnessed near-crime three times. and i'm still alive so i figure that's a good sign. here's how it all happened:

i went to costco last sunday to buy some salmon and a big bag of potato chips. when i was leaving, the couple in front of me didn't have their receipt. just a lot of bread wrapped in foil that they had purchased from the "cafe" part of the store. the receipt police said they could "go on through." but then, they notice the woman was carrying two jars of instant coffee under her armpit. the couple played dumb. the woman looked wide-eyed and innocent. they had to go back and pay.

the next day, i was buying some turkey and cheese at the brookside market. i walked by one aisle and saw what i thought was a guy stuffing aluminum foil down his jeans. i looked again. this time, it was a box of zip-loc bags. he saw me catch him. he looked dangerous. and i figured, if he was stealing aluminum foil, he must really need it. i also didn't want to get beat up, so i didn't tell on him.

two days later, i was at home "working" in the office when i heard a faint knock on the door. i went to the door and yelled through it, "i'm busy." the gentleman who had knocked said, "um, yeah, uh do you know someone named marcus?" i said "no." and he walked through the yard to the street where a car drove up and picked him up. shady? yes. so i called the police. they were on it within minutes. the assumption is if i hadn't answered the door, they would have broken it down and robbed us.

so, i've been sitting around since then with a can of bear mace and 911 on redial.

and don't even get me started about showering. if they knocked on the door while i was in the shower, i'd never hear them. good thing bear mace can blind someone in seconds. it's also a good thing that being unemployed means fewer showers. not only does this save money on things like organic shampoo, but now it could also save my life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ready to work.

today is one of those days. i wish it was friday. or saturday. because unemployment = bored by wednesday.

and it's thursday so you can imagine how bored i am.

i'm watching dr phil. does that tell you anything?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

not seeing.

i read about you today
and how after years of faith
you stopped
because it just
REAL to you.

(and then i looked up and saw god all around me)

in the rain drenching the three kinds of grass that grow
in our yard

and in the way kolby cocks his head
when he wants a treat or to go on a walk
(the same way guys used to.)

and then i remembered the time when
i couldn't see him either

not in the rain or in the fields
not in the sun or in autumn
nowhere in the snow or in the thaw

or in that rosebud popping its head out for the first time
that spring

and i hoped that you continue to look
for his face
and that if you find it again
you'll embrace it
as the source of love and life and all things good
and realize that it's okay
to not always have
every answer
and to not always see
from here to

Monday, September 07, 2009

random thought.

labor day is just like any other day for me. the only difference is brad is not working.

here's to hoping thanksgiving is an actual holiday paid-time-off day.

Friday, September 04, 2009

small victory.

i ran 8 miles this morning. the last time i ran 8 miles may have been four years ago.

go, me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

i shaved my legs for that?

i dressed up for a job interview today. i shouldn't have.

everyone else there was wearing a thick foreign accent and a translator, a sweatsuit or a neon green ill-fitting shirt and bad makeup.

the first thing i was asked was why i did not check the box next to "making copies" as a skill on the questionnaire. the next question was if i knew how to scan documents and "all that fun stuff."

all this for a marketing writing contract temp position?


the woman there told me that i would need to take:
1. a typing test
2. a microsoft word test
3. a proofing test
4. a spelling test

i said, "before i go any further in this process, can you tell me what company this position is with and what i would be doing?"

she shrugged and said, "no, not really, but i can answer "yes" or "no" questions."

i should have left then.

but i stayed and narrowed it down as best i could. it's a brochure company. "and as far as samples go," she said, "just anything you've written is fine, even if it is a story that you never published."

did she not read my resume?

i took the tests anyway. i figured i dressed up, went all the way there, and had gotten past the fact that i was the only one who showered. i had to at least finish with the process, you know?

so i was put in this room. on this terrible computer. with a terrible keyboard. and i began the first test - typing. i had to replicate words, punctuation and spacing from an essay placed by the computer. the essay was about creativity. this was irony at its finest.

then came the microsoft word test. if i used a shortcut it would yell at me in red, angry typography "INCORRECT!!!"


i'm not even going to tell you how the rest went.

then i was done. and she said, "okay, let me go get your scores!!!"

she was disappointed in my words-per-minute score. because of all of the errors. the errors i was making while contemplating getting up and leaving and if that would or would not be rude and if it would burn a bridge. because maybe this woman is connected to anyone who would ever want to hire me for a real job. you know, one where "making copies" isn't on the job description.

i don't know. but now i'm semi-depressed.