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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

close to home.

maybe you are one of the lucky ones. you've never heard of a pre-existing condition. you have affordable health insurance provided by your employer or by your spouse's employer. you're not worried that one of you could lose your job and, immediately, your benefits. you never get sick. you don't remember your doctor's first name. you've never needed an x-ray, to see a specialist or to be on expensive medication.

well, i'm not one of you.

the day i lost my job, i lost my benefits. and because of a pre-existing condition, i had to elect immediate COBRA coverage. this is because, if i, or anyone with a pre-existing condition, ever has a lapse in health insurance, they are blacklisted from most plans. so then, for the rest of their life, they either can't be covered or they have to pay upwards of $800 a month to sustain coverage.

COBRA was costing me close to $350 a month. but then, the government offered to subsidize it for awhile. so, until january 1, i can continue the health insurance plan i had while i was working at VML for about $110 a month. not bad.

but when the calendar strikes 2010, it goes back up. and that's more than my car payment. and i have no choice but to pay it. and then, in about 8 more months, i lose COBRA all-together. and god-forbid i still don't have a full-time, benefits-paying job, i will be forced to buy individual coverage for a huge premium because i need it to cover:
1. physical therapy
2. certain medications

okay. so see? see why all this talk about healthcare issues is important? becuase if you thought it was only affecting "other people" you were wrong. and i'm not even close to the worst case.

there are people who are dying because they were afraid to go to the doctor to get something as simple as, "i've been feeling tired a lot lately" checked out. and then it was too late. and they are dead. because they can't get health insurance for reasons as stupid as pre-existing conditions.

i know that nothing the government does will make things perfect. but at the very least, pay attention to what's happening. talk to people around you about how it is affecting them. your neighbors. the cashier at the grocery store. your nanny.

just educate yourself.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


this week has been good for my soul.

i met with someone who is pretty high up at an agency in town that i would LOVE to work for. he helped me make some great connections there. a few people have agreed to let me buy them coffee so that we can meet. and another actually told me that he likes my work. a lot. he said, "a lot." man, that just about melted me.

that same day, i met with two other pretty cool people who are starting something really great in town and sought me out because they thought my work was "great." they said "great."
and um, yeah, that felt good.

because, see, i know my work is great. i know i have good stuff. i know i am talented. but after nearly 9 months of unemployment, it's easy to forget.

thanks to this week, i've been reminded.

Monday, October 26, 2009

i usually...

spend too much time on facebook
yell at the cat
eat a little bit of chocolate
go running
sleep until 7:45
go to bed before 11:00
skip breakfast
have two cups of coffee
stress a little about money
clean at least one room of the house
make the bed
put makeup on even if i have nowhere to go
straighten my hair
tell brad i love him (like six times)
make dinner
drink some wine
watch an hour or so of tv
take the dog on a walk
try to be inspired
think that maybe i'd like to start painting
apply for jobs
get rejection letters
love fall
wish i was thinner
crave lox (cold-smoked salmon)
look forward to thanksgiving
have one bad dream and one good one per night
cuddle with my quilt
wear my contacts
think i'm getting sick
use organic shampoo
skip scheduled oil changes
forget to pray until 2 a.m.
pray for a half hour in the middle of the night
go to church
go to small group
feel thankful
feel blessed
believe lies
think people don't like me
want to make a difference

right before they became infested with ants.

brad's jayhawk and my shabby-chic polka-dotted jack-o-lantern. (i couldn't find any MU pumpkin stencils.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

and then, it creeps back in.

stress. intangible stress is haunting me.

creeping up in the middle of the night when i wake up and realize that i, again, don't have a job to go to in the morning.

hitting me in the back of the head when i call my COBRA representative to find out that the government subsidy only lasts me through december. and that on january 1, my premium jumps to over $300 a month.

slugging me in the stomach when i call the unemployment benefits line and they alert me that by freelancing, i may no longer qualify for any benefits. even if i make as little as $200 a week on my "self-employed ventures."

poking my eyes out when i can't figure out how to make money appear out of thin air.

and then a list of stressful "options" pops in my head:
1. maybe i don't need a car. i could sell it. (who am i kidding, this is not a mas-transit equipped city)
2. i could probably make some money if i sold all of my clothes. but then, i'd have nothing to wear.
3. who needs to run the heat in the winter? not me! (yeah, right.)
4. i could eat only from fast food value menus and save lots of money. (but my heart might end up giving out.)

and with all seriousness, the next thing i want to scream is: WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

autumn in my neighborhood.

Monday, October 19, 2009


today, i landed a freelance that will probably have weekly work for me for several months -- pending the relationship goes well and works out for both parties. it's not a ton of work. but it's something. and it's a client that i am so excited/blessed to be working with. and i didn't even have to look for this one. a former co-worker made it happen. and for that, i am so thankful.

see, god is working all of the time. even while i'm sleeping.

did you know almost two years ago to this date, a doctor told me i could never run again. he said it would make this chronic condition he'd just diagnosed me with worse. instead, i was instructed to begin a strict regimen of pills. some that would make me tired. others that would make me gain up to 15 pounds a year. another that could make my liver fail.

but saturday, i ran a half marathon. and today, i did an easy 3-miles. and those pills? they're no longer in my life. well, most of them aren't. and most days, i don't even remember that i'm "sick" with anything.

and in the background, iron and wine is playing on repeat. it's been this way all week. "but please, remember me, my misery, and how it lost me all i wanted. those dogs that loved the rain and chasing trains - the colored birds above there running in circles round the well and where it spells on the wall behind st. peter's...who the hell can see forever. and please remember turned from me. said the trapeze was wonderful but never meant to last."

it's beautiful. an ironic beauty. the melody is hypnotic but as i'm drawn to learn the harmony and the lyrics and maybe even to play it on the piano, i realize that the melancholy it expresses is no longer mine.

and to that i say, amen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

race report.

i was all kinds of freaked out about this race. it was my first half marathon since 2005. my leg was injured. the weather forecast kept changing. and the only thing that sounded good for my pre-race dinner was sushi.

so when 2:30 a.m.rolled around and i was laying in bed, fully aware that i would not be falling back asleep, my main concerns were:
1. what to wear
2. if the sushi was still sitting right in my stomach
3. the fact that 6 hours of sleep would have been much better than 3

when we arrived to the starting line, it was raining and cold. thankfully, my running jacket doubles as a running rain jacket. still, i went out slow for the first couple of miles, feeling my leg out. it hurt.

at mile 3, with some tears streaming down my face, i considered dropping out. but i couldn't. i just. kept. going.

a friend was working the water stop at mile 5, so the 'go, jessi!' kept me, well, going.

i didn't realize that i should relax and ENJOY what i was doing until around mile 7. 5 when we were nearing the center of the plaza. so i took in the scenery, the way the city seemed so alive with the sound of so many feet pounding, pounding, pounding. i saw someone else i knew and waved.

miles 8 and 9 were my toughest. lots of steep inclines. lots of self-doubt. lots of under-the-breath cussing. lots of popping in my hip joint.

at mile 10, i remembered that the last 3.1 miles of the race were mostly flat to downhill. and i checked my time. somehow, in my exhausted stuper, i calculated that if i sped up, and ran the next three miles at an 8-minute pace or faster, i could break 2 hours. and so, i did.

the last mile i was in a dead sprint. (a dead sprint for me, by the way, is like a 7-minute mile.) at least it FELT like a dead sprint after 12.1 miles of a moderate pace. as i neared the finish, i saw my dad and B to my left, yelling for me to "go!" and taking pictures. so, hip popping and body screaming, i finished strong. my official time was 1:55:50. that is UNDER a 9-minute mile pace, which was my goal.

i'd packed a bag for B to bring me the night before. an organic Clif sports drink, some muscle rub and a dry sweatshirt. i was so cold i forgot to stretch. and the walk back to the car was hell. the rest of the night, i had to use my arms to lift my right leg whenever i needed it to move. i woke up in screaming pain in the middle of the night and took four advil. this morning started off slow. but i'm walking. and i took a shower and managed to even look cute. my leg feels better than yesterday. and i mostly just feel really lucky to have been able to train so hard and so well and to have had two of the three most important men in my life waiting for me at the finish. (my brother lives in israel, so he had a good excuse.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


unofficial time: 1 hour 55 minutes. i beat my goal!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009


i have my race packet. my bib number. my timing chip. my bag packed. the coffee ground and in the french press. a carb/protein lunch in my stomach. a carb/protein dinner in my future. my alarm set for 4:30 a.m. my friend/former creative director picking me up at 5:50 a.m. gun at 7 a.m. B plus my dad waiting for me at the finish. with a camera. and my sweatshirt and an organic sportsdrink and some muscle rub. and a hug and a high-five. and i haven't done this in FOUR years. and i'm freaking. and i hope my leg holds out. and i really want to finish. and i'm nervous. and excited. and wow, i have to get up early. and i remember the rush after finishing feeling a lot like the rush i felt after getting my tattoo. so i'm looking forward to that. and to the nap i'll take when i get home. and then to food, glorious food. and anyway, here's to 13.1. miles. tomorrow. (deep breath.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

oh, hey, taper.

i've been training for my first half marathon since 2005. race day is saturday.

last saturday, i completed my final long run before the race. 11.35 miles. the last 4 miles i had trouble with my ITB (the band that runs down the outside of your thigh to connect at that boney protrusion on the outside of your knee.)

i spent the rest of that day "rolling" my IT band out. massaging it. stretching it. sunday i went on a 3 mile walk. and then monday, i completed my first of three short runs for the taper week. a 4-miler. when i was finishing i noticed some pain in the front of my leg, right below my pelvic bone. and some popping.

but by tuesday, it seemed better. so i did another easy 4-miler. at the end, i was limping. and then there was wednesday. my last day of training for my half. i was supposed to complete an easy 2-mile run. and i did. and it hurt.

so last night, i went to a sports massage person who also knows a lot about "acitve stretching." she stretched me and massaged my leg and helped me realize that i may have a tendon injury. and that if i do, i shouldn't run on saturday. if i do, the only way to heal is to rest. completely.

do you know how hard this is for me? the whole "no job" thing has given me ample time to get better at something. and that something i've chosen is running. maybe it's the endorphin boost that comes with it. or the way that it makes me feel strong and healthy and beautiful. and this might seem really self-centered to say, but if i can't run for awhile, i'm sorta concerned that i might go slightly crazy.

so there you go. i'm resting completely today and tomorrow. and then saturday, i hope to face that 13.1-mile course. and by "hope" i mean prayers said, fingers crossed, i want nothing more, hope.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sick of it.

today i am sick of this. this no job thing. this weather. the fact that i don't like any of my winter clothes but have no money to buy more. i'm also already sick of the jambalaya i made that is supposed to last all week.

i'm sick of the taper. i'm sick of being sore. i'm just well...sick of it all.

i hope the f'ing sun is shining tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

special touches.

this is the tray of appetizers i made at the last minute as b pulled in the driveway on his 40th. i just happened to pull this together with stuff i had on-hand. crackers with cream cheese, sliced roma tomatoes, arugula, habanero spice, salt, cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. they were good.

and this is my favorite room of the house - the dining room. it may be my favorite because of the table and chairs that live there. or because of the three windows that let in all that natural light, but whatever the reason, b's bday was a special occasion. so that's where we ate. on our table that i typically don't even set mail on. yes, i'm a freak. but it was expensive.


Friday, October 09, 2009

birthday boy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


i'm obsessed with "hannah" by ray lamontagne. i know it's old. i've been obsessed with it for awhile. i've just never admitted it to the internets. so there, i am. it just makes me feel so...aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.

take these lyrics for example:

In a cold and lonely room
sweep the floor with your long flowered dress
if you cannot find a broom.
Come to me Hannah
Hannah won't you come on to me?
I'll lay down this bottle of wine
If you'll just be kind to me.
She's got hair that flows right down--
right down to the backs of her knees.
Her Papa he was a preaching man
and the lord is hard to please.
So she comes down from the ozark hills to these very streets to roam
with a banjo and a bible and a fine tooth comb.
Come to me Hannah,
Hannah won't you come on to me.
I'll lay down this bottle of wine if you just be kind to me.
I'd walk one mile on this broken glass
to fall down at your feet.


in other love news, today is b's 40th. so i made the ugliest german chocolate cake i've ever seen. and in moments, i'll make drawn butter, crab legs, salad and garlic bread. love him.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

good things.

i think it's important for me to recognize the good things in my life. because, too often, i dwell on the bad. like the no job, no money, no co-workers...bad.

so here's the good:

1. i ran 11 miles today. and in two weeks, i'll run a half marathon. the first one i've done since 2005. it's good that i've had so much time to train.

2. b is an answer to a handful of prayers. and right now, he's busy installing an exhaust fan with his dad. they've been at it all day. last night, he ate civiche and halibut cheeks and the best focaccia stuffed with cheese and herbs with me. this wine-loving, food-loving man is also handy. and being loved by him is healthy and so life-giving. i sometimes start crying good tears spontaneously when i think about it.

3. once a week i'm connected to an amazing, godly group of women. and i'm blessed because of it.

4. i have amazing, godly friends who agree that my life is in an amazing place and that god is working and working and working and transforming me. i love that they can see what i see.

5. my future is completely and utterly wide open. and even though for me, that's a very scary, anxiety-ridden thing, i'm begining to see that it's also a beautiful sight to watch it fill in with pieces of goodness.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

what fall feels like.

crisp new textbooks cracked open for the first time. the way they smell like a library full of things to learn. brown paper makeshift book covers drawn on with crayon labeled "math" or "advanced composition."
perfect swinging weather. blustery breeze that carries you up, up, up and then back down. earlier sunsets, but not too early - yet. silhouetted houses and almost-bare trees. the way the ground smells when it's covered with fallen leaves. leather boots and wellies.

layers and knee socks and neutrals. new coats and face-framing bangs. sunlight that is perfectly warm but not hot. endless blue skies.

the clanking of radiators that have been hibernating all summer. and mugs full of warmth. swizzles of cinnamon sticks, pumpkin-pie candles. banana bread. big pots of soup simmering. down comforters. afghans. and toes cozy in slippers or stealing warmth from the toes next to yours.