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.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A matron of honor I will be.

My sister got engaged last night. She came over to show me the ring and was glowing. This is a photo we took of ourselves while she was talking to our brother, Evan. Evan lives in Denver. I imagine if he had been in town, the photo would have included him, too. So, here we are, my little sister and me and Evan on the phone on one of the happiest days of Amy's life. Congratulations Amy and Tim. You guys are such a blessing in my life. I love you both but Amy, I love you dearly, my sister, my friend.

Now I know.

For fun Friday night cleaning, open bottle of wine and have a glass or two while pulling bed away from wall, gasping at mounds of dog hair and running to get the vacuum cleaner with attachments. However, having three glasses before deciding to rearrange bedroom furniture may result in curious bruises the next morning.

Never switch from Asics stability to Brooks motion control shoes mid-training. Instead, replace worn out Asics with a fresh pair, which, in the long run, saves money and injury and mental stability.

To get best fit, wear running singlet when trying on a water fuel belt at the running shoe store. A baggy T-shirt will result in a belt that’s too big, which will be uncomfortable and bulky and heavy and won’t do you any good when it gets stashed in random bushes at mile 2.

Do stash water bottles along route of long run. Don’t worry what random people think when you pull up to corners in your bright red car, jump out of the car with a bottle of water, run up to some bushes, hide the water, jump back into your car and take off. They’d understand if they were distance runners, too.

After the first 6 of a 9 mile run, legs begin to feel like lead. Do have headphones with Walkman for this occasion — nothing like a little Coldplay to get back into stride.

Don’t use walkman with headphones when running alone, which basically targets you for attack. Instead, take running buddies, too.

It’s a good idea to shop organic and to eat healthfully. It’s probably not a good idea to stand at the meat counter at Whole Foods, gasp and proclaim for all to hear “$8.99 for a pound of chicken breasts? I only pay $1.99 at Price Chopper.”

It’s not 1996. Don’t fool yourself into watching the MTV Music Video Awards because you will not know 2/3 of the people winning the awards and you will wonder when hip-hop took over the world. And if you have to watch one more minute of that R.Kelly mini-series thing, you will most likely lose all faith in humanity.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

We're mostly normal...

Boy, am I blessed.

This is my original small group (minus eric and rebecca who are home with their incredible new baby boy). We've grown quite a bit since we started in September, but these are the people with whom it all began. In less than a year, we've become family. We've gone through two births, a wedding, lots of heartache, six baptisms, new jobs, new friends, four moves, some concrete hauling and several rounds of pizza eating, barbeques, game playing, miniature golf and movie watching - together. Last night, we had our last meeting as a unit because we're bursting at the seams and, well, we need to start new groups so that other people can experience what God has done through us. I'm positive that He will continue to work through us and through our new friends who we will meet soon and who we will love in the way that God shows us to love, which is a love that transends backgrounds and age and gender and really, it cuts deep to the core of who we are and why we are here. I've learned a lot in the last year and I've grown a lot, too. And I count each one of these people as my very best friends and I know that they will be here for me always and that is a gift that I will treasure in a place so close to my heart, it beats.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A tisket a tasket

I walked right past the shopping baskets at Target last Saturday. I didn’t need one, I thought. I strutted by them, with my hands free to browse the cosmetics and dog toys and I even turned my nose up at one of those manageable, red carrying baskets. I was on a mission to shop basket-free and darn it, I was going to complete my mission. I had a short list, too, which meant a basket would have been too big and empty and maybe someone else would have really needed it and I would have taken the last one.

So, I started down the aisles, grabbing eyeliner and a paddle brush and a tooth brush and paper towels and lotion and by the time I decided that I also needed to shop the clothing department, my hands and arms were full and I was a walking disaster. And that’s when it happened. I spotted a red hand-held basket at my feet. “How convenient,” I thought. I dumped my mega-load into the red life-saving, carry-all basket and bent down to pick it up. But, it wouldn’t move. It appeared to be bolted down to the metal frame it was sitting in. “This can’t be,” I thought. “There is no way I’m that stupid.”

So, I proceeded to attempt to pull the basket loose but only ended up bending its metal frame. Then, the horror set in. I had actually been trying to break the basket receptacle. It wasn’t a convenience that there was one basket left on the stand in my aisle. It was a trick. And that trick had all of my things in it and people were looking as they walked by and I must have looked like a crazy idiot and so I did what anyone else would have done. I left — but only for a minute. I went and found a real red basket and I looked around to assure the least amount of people would see what I was about to do and then, I walked right back up to the basket stand and one-by-one, took my items from the stand and put them in my basket. Granted, I was shaking and sweating and nervous and was, of course, worrying too much about what everyone else must have been thinking. And as soon as all of my goods were in a proper holding bin, I darted away from that cursed aisle as fast as humanly possible.

So, next time you go to Target and try to get that coveted last hand-held basket, beware, it’s probably already been taken. And if you try what I did, I’m sure security will get a good laugh at you, too.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Like you care.

You probably don't. But if you do, here is today's cubeville soundtrack. I have to say, it's helped get me through the day today.
The Police: every breath you take
The Police: don't stand so close to me
Gavin DeGraw: chariot
Keane: everybody's changing
Keane: this is the last time
Death Cab for Cutie: when soul meets body
Jack Johnson: where'd all the good people go?
The Killers: all the things that i've done

Thursday, August 18, 2005

And it all makes sense.

Sometimes, it's easy to forget the simple things - the things that are so easily overlooked. Perhaps nothing is better at reminding me about the reason I'm here and the truth I know and the miracle of life than the birth of a baby. This year, with 12 pregnant friends, I've had plenty of reminders, so you'd think maybe I would have gotten this point by now. But still, each time another baby is delivered and I meet him or her, surviving outside of my friend's womb, the point hits home again. Welcome to the world Griffin Carty. Thank you for letting us meet you last night and for the joy you have brought and will bring to our lives and to your parents and to everyone who you will touch throughout you life. You are a beautiful miracle, baby boy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ugly toes.

I don't feel much like a pretty pink princess these days. This is mostly due to the fact that I should no longer wear sandals - especially my hot pink sandals - because I might offend people with my calloused, blistered, ugly toes. I guess pounding out 30 miles a week is bound to do some damage to my ten toes, but I guess I didn’t realize just how much this would suck. It hurts to go barefoot — let alone to cram my toes into work-appropriate shoes. I don’t know, maybe no one really looks that closely at my toes and sandals would be a safe bet, but I just don’t want to chance it. Because, unless the person noticing the mess on my feet is also a distance runner, they might think I’ve always been this way. And I just don’t want to give off the false perception that these wounds aren’t self-inflicted.

Speaking of self-inflicted wounds, the throbbing pain in my left shin is enough to make me hobble around the office like I’m 80. Cubeville just isn’t what it used to be when I could meander about visiting with co-workers, eating snack in the break room and maybe even getting some work done — without limping. It will all be worth it though, I keep telling myself. Crossing the finish line in the big race will be enough to melt away the agony on my feet and the pain in my shin, but what if my blisters get worse and my toenails turn black and fall of, which is actually a very common phenomenon in distance running. Who knew? Maybe I should have looked into all of this further before jumping in with both pretty feet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bike chains used to be used for bikes....

Aparently, "the passing out game" is all the rage these days. I think it's incredibly sad that kids go to this extreme to achieve some sort of high. Like many ways to achieve a high, this often results in death. I don't even want to know what kids will be doing when I am a parent.

Monday, August 15, 2005

No pain, no gain

I’m going to run a 10-mile race on Saturday. It’s intended to be a preparation run for the half marathon and, to be honest, my two training partners are really putting the pressure on, so I think I’ll just go with the flow and run the race. But, I’m not sure how I’ll feel during it because last night, I experienced part of what is so infamous about long distance running and I can’t say I loved it.

The three of us went on a nice, 8-mile long run yesterday evening. We left a little before 8 p.m., just as it was starting to get dark. It was the perfect temperature and the breeze was light and the conversation was good and my new shoes seemed to be doing the trick. I had been feeling okay all day and had experienced no problems the day before on my 5-mile solo run, so I trotted along the first 3 miles or so enjoying the company and the weather and the fact that my knee wasn’t throbbing — yet.

It was then that training partner Mark told the truth about his trek into the “woods” a few runs before. Apparently, it wasn’t his knee that caused him to stop running. It was, instead, his twisted and cramping abdomen. I laughed at the story jokingly saying that it would never happen to me. Little did I know what was to come.

By about mile 4, I could feel my stomach doing flips. Waves of nausea would overtake me, sending chills down my legs and my arms and then, it would go away and I’d feel fine. So, I didn’t say anything about it at first, I just kept going, running faster than my normal pace, trying to be “one of the guys.” But as we got further along in our mileage, my stomach started to get worse. With about 2 miles to go, I didn’t know if I could make it home, but there were no woods in sight, no Johnny on the Spots, so I had to keep going. I told them my stomach hurt and that my knee was starting to hurt, too. But, really, my stomach hurt so badly that any knee pain I was feeling was completely minimized. When we rounded the last corner toward my house, I could think of nothing else than the bathroom and the pain was so intense I may have let a few profane words slip out. It wasn’t pretty.

We got back to my house, I gave them water and thanked them for the run. I then immediately excused myself and told them I’d see them Wednesday. And that is when I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. Nice, huh? Then, I started to fear dehydration, so I chugged 30 ounces of water before hobbling into bed. Let’s just say, though I beat my usual 8-mile time by 5 minutes, the pain in the end made it all seem so irrelevant.

I hear that this is a problem long-distance runners frequently face and just learn to deal with. I’m just glad I made it home.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Just call me grace.

Yep, that's me, trying not to fall down a steep, muddy sloap in England. I'm the one with the walking stick and the sideways stance and the not-so-sure look on my face, which thankfully, you can't see in this picture. We were on the hike down from Rosberry Topping in North Yorkshire and I was a baby and I wore the wrong shoes and well, I might have cried a few times. But, I survived. And, had I not made the climb up, I wouldn't have seen the majestic view of most of northern England, straight to the sea. I wouldn't have seen the farmland and the villages and the how green the grass was everywhere, even in January. I would have missed all of it because I was unsure of myself. And no matter how badly I didn't want to make the climb down the wet rocks, I did it. It was, for one, New Years day and what better a way to spend it than conquering a fear? I learned a lot on the climb - about myself and my fears and my ability to not roll my ankle no matter how easily I think it may happen. I think that maybe that morning was the first step in me challenging myself for the year. I stepped right on out of my comfort zone and, I keep stepping. I only hope that the view from the top is always worth the climb back down.

Friday, August 12, 2005

When I'm feeling stuck and need a buck...

The hook brings you back. At least, that’s what Blues Traveler would like us to believe. When I was younger, I desperately wanted the words of the song to be “The heart brings you back,” because I thought I was deep and introspective and pensive and well, I thought heart made more sense. But now, I think hook is more accurate and nothing can illustrate this point better than my frequent rendez-vous with the putrid.

It’s true, the little putrid everyday things have a way of shouting at me, getting my attention, making my gag reflex kick in and my eyes water and I just don’t get what force is behind pulling my eyes to the disgusting road kill and my shoes to dog poop and so, I think it’s the hook, which is a metaphor for whatever I will decide it means later. I’ll keep you updated.

But anyway, on walks or runs around the neighborhood, I’ll be staring straight ahead, minding my business when something inside of me will say, “Jessi, now is a good time to look at the street,” and I’ll look and there it will be, a squirrel in full rigamortis or a bird with its guts strewn all about. This has started to happen more frequently and the icing on the cake was Wednesday night. I pulled up to my friend’s house and got out of the car. I was standing on the median in the grass, getting my purse from the passenger seat and when I looked down, I was standing millimeters from the beautiful body of a once-living gold finch. I screamed, jumped back and thought for sure I had stepped on it. I hadn’t, but still, it wasn’t a pleasant thought.
And so, I’m wondering what putrid eye candy I will be graced with later today or tomorrow or this week and how I will react when I see it. If I was strange, I might start documenting it, creating a theory about why it happens and then writing a thesis about the invisible hook that, like the force of gravity, draws my eyes down to the disgusting. But, though it was strange enough for me to even think about doing that, I'll write it off as a random thought and will, instead, invest in a pair of really dark sunglasses that are just as hard to see out of as to see into. Maybe then, I'll be able to go a day without staring death in the face.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

You, too, can become a food snob.

I have a confession to make. I’m a food snob. I don’t know how it happened, but I do know it was a gradual evolution and that the Food Network played a large role.

I used to rave and rave about the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday’s, I didn’t require artisan bread for my sandwich and I certainly wouldn’t have laughed if someone mispronounced Pinot Grigio. But now, I turn my nose up at iceberg lettuce because for me, it’s not a salad unless it features a mix of field greens and, perhaps, even some fresh basil. I also haven't consumed a sandwich on sandwich bread for years. When I don't have access to fresh baked bread, I use a tortilla instead.

And though I don’t necessarily brag about this fact, I’m kind of proud of my food knowledge. So thank you Bobby Flay and Tyler Florence and Molto Mario. Thank you for bringing your love of food to my television so that from the comfort of my living room, I could become a food snob.

What???? (read with emphasis).

I don't know whether to laugh or applaud. Jessica Simpson is launching a plus sized clothing line. It seems ironic. Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nothing like a little support.

A man actually died after being glued to a video game for more than 40 hours straight. Read all about it here:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Explain me this.

Fantasy football is just that — a fantasy. And, I guess it’s fun and a male bonding experience and probably a better fantasy to have than something else, so I’m okay with it. I think. It doesn’t take very much time after the draft (yes, there is a fantasy draft) and really, it’s harmless.

Okay, that being said, online Playstation leagues are something else entirely, and I’m not sure I like them. Last night, Nick had a “game” at 8 p.m. It was his first league game of the “season” and he was scheduled to play with some random guy in some random city and he was pumped. At 8:40, they were in the third quarter and Nick was winning. But then, the unimaginable happened — our Internet service went down. “I still have the rest of the fourth quarter left to play and now I can’t even get in touch with the guy I was playing on Instant Messenger to let him know what happened,” Nick whined. (Well, he didn’t really whine, but I added it for emphasis).

Anyway, after much pacing by Nick and some guilty internal gloating from me, the Internet started working again and Nick was back at it. Only when I approached him this time to say goodnight, he snapped at me. I was like, “What, you’re not being very nice.” (I may have called him a jerk, but since I don’t really remember it exactly, why deliver half-truths?) And he was like “Just don’t talk to me, I’m losing right now.” And that’s when I decided that I abhor the Playstation and the online Playstation football league. If the Playstation didn’t also serve as our DVD player, I might be so inclined to accidentally step on it or to throw it away or to tell Gussy it’s his new toy — after unplugging it of course.

So I was thinking about what women do that can be compared to an online Playstation league, and I couldn’t come up with anything. We just don’t do that type of thing generally. I’m sure there are some women who love the Playstation, but I don’t know any and this is my blog and can be biased, so in my opinion, it’s a guy thing and I guess it’s just something I will never understand. And therefore, I will probably never like it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

But do we really have to spank him?

Gus used to be a good dog. Two weeks ago, he was well behaved and polite. He responded to a firm “no” and would generally stop biting if you said “Gussy, no biting.” The same went for whining, barking and jumping. And then, everything changed.

During our I-70 wedding road trip excursion, Gus stayed at the vet. Two weeks ago he was a shy dog who loved people but mostly was afraid of other dogs. So, while I was away from my Gus, I pictured him doing things like cowering in the corner during playtime with the other dogs. (Yes, they really have playtime.) I also figured he would follow the vets and the technicians around all day or stay in his kennel with his red Kong where he would feel safe. I think I was wrong.

Since bringing him back home, Gus is a new dog. He is more aggressive (if a pug can even be aggressive), is much more whiney and even smells somehow different. I bathed him to try to get rid of the funky, adult dog stench, but it just wouldn’t wash away. Our Gussy grew up while we were away and I’m not sure we were ready. I definitely wasn’t ready to have to start disciplining him again.

Like last night, Gus was attempting to eat my quilt, which I hear is very bad for dogs. And so, I said “No, Gus, No!!!” He didn’t seem to care what I said. He just kept trying to eat it as I tried to pull strands of wet, chewed up quilt from his throat. Lovely, right? Then, Nick gave Gus a quick, firm swat to the butt and Gus stood at attention. He didn’t go near the quilt the rest of the night. But, I think he secretly hates us now.

I’d like to find out what dog was a bad influence on him during his time at the vet. Perhaps that dog needs a spanking or two.

Disclaimer: Jessi really does have a life outside of her dog and this post is halfway facetious although mostly true

Thursday, August 04, 2005

For Bill.

There are some lessons you just can't learn on your own. For me, it was a lesson in perspective and it was delivered through an incredible person with enough heart to warm a room full of strangers. And, I thank him for that.

At 28, Bill is only a few years older than me. He's funny and intelligent and charmingly captivating. He’s a lady’s man and a follower of Jesus and this year, Bill found out he had cancer. I’ve only met him once. He is a good friend of a good friend and I’ve been praying for him, well really, we’ve been praying for him — me and Nick and our small group. We pray and we believe God is listening and it’s amazing to see the things he does and the power of prayer and last night, we all met Bill — this man we’ve been praying for — for the first time.

Today, Bill’s left leg was amputated. The tumor was below his knee, but the doctors had to take his knee, too. Bill is a drummer. He’s glad they took his hi hat leg and not his other one. He’s glad about a lot of things like the way he met God through all of this and the way he got to go to Worlds of Fun and ride the rip cord last Sunday and the way that God is teaching him new things every day. He knows that getting his leg cut off is all part of the plan and that blessings are surely on the way. He told us this, as we sat around the hospital room, holding back tears for a man who we hardly knew and whose pain we cannot relate to. His dad was there and his mom and step dad and a steady stream of visitors had been pouring in all day. And through it all, Bill sat on the bed in the middle of the room with both legs, fully knowing that the next night, he would be without one of them. We talked about his upcoming physical therapy and how he’s going to have to learn balance again and how eventually, he’ll have a prosthetic leg and maybe he’ll join me one day at the starting line of a marathon and then, when that happens, he’ll have his rock star hair back and he’ll be healthy and he will have touched even more lives than he already has. We joined hands around his bed and prayed, for him and the doctors and the surgery and we thanked God for the miracle of salvation and for support and friends and then, we walked away. On both feet, we got to leave the hospital. We walked to our cars and walked into our houses and climbed into bed and it was easy. And it made me sick and that’s when I told myself that if I even thought about not wanting to get out of bed the next morning or about how tired I felt or how my body hurt, that I wouldn't have learned anything from a man who so easily placed his life in God’s hands when things got crazy.

So, thank you Bill. For teaching me about truly trusting in God and about looking at the big picture and about being a light in a world full of darkness and anger and pain. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.


Monday, August 01, 2005

My Gus

This is my Gus. This is the look he gave Nick when Nick said, "Gussy, mommy is coming home soon." This is one reason I love him. There are lots of other reasons, but this is the face of my funny friend.

What I learned this weekend.

Being away from my dog Gus for more than eight hours is really hard.

The drive from Kansas City to Saint Louis is worth hating.

Take more than one pair of running socks when going on a four-day long wedding road trip because remaining sane will require extra workouts.

When reuniting with old college acquaintances at a wedding, bring a dress that fits. If all else fails, shop three random malls in a strange town until that perfect $60 dress in the junior’s department at Dillards fits like a glove.

Being the “date” at a wedding to a member of the wedding party is really like going to the wedding alone. Next time, don’t go in the wrong door at the church, which will result in an awkward, side-facing front row seat. And when people keep asking if you are saving the seat next to you for anyone, just say no. It’s empowering.

Boxed wine is surprisingly refreshing when your wedding date/husband is sitting at the head table and you are attempting to make conversation with strangers.

It’s probably not okay to get jealous of the bridesmaid your husband is escorting. It is kind of funny, however, to snap a photo of them dancing and then to say, “Honey, I took a picture of you dancing with a stranger.”

Being a creepy cousin is one thing. Being a creepy cousin who only talks about drinking and liver damage and how it has taken you seven years to finish college is another thing entirely. Perhaps next time, creepy cousin, you should talk to the single ladies at the wedding.