Thursday, December 27, 2007

from Latin libraria 'bookshop'

When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.

~ Rita Mae Brown ~

Today I am feeling grateful for all of the good things in my life. I went to the the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose. It is the closest library to my new house and also the largest all-new library west of the Mississippi, according to the website. Yes, that's right, I live a mile and a half from the "largest all-new library west of the Mississippi" and it's taken me over 2 months to visit it- hey I must be depressed! I had managed to obtain a library card and visit the next closest branch since it's on my way to work but it was disappointing (sorry, Rose Garden branch, but a fancy new library of your physical size with so few actual books is hard for me to respect) I mean, there was only one P.G. Wodehouse book on the shelf; come on, peoples!!

I had been warned though, and told that I was a fool if I did not hie myself to the King branch forthwith. I finally made it on the day after Christmas.

How was it, you ask?

It was as if I had died and gone to heaven*. Yes, my heaven will be a giant library. Or at least contain one. The King library is eight stories high (and that doesn't include the basement). There is an entire floor just for reference materials. In addition to all the books, there are historical exhibits everywhere. When I left the library I felt like I'd had a free mini-museum visit in addition to my D&GTH* million-book experience. The only drawback to this nirvana? Parking is metered and we all know I can't be expected to keep track of time in a library. I rely on the my-arms-are-too-full-to-carry-anything-else method to remind me that it's time to leave. Why don't they have shopping carts at libraries? Oh, yes, so people like me will leave eventually. Right.

Sum total of my SJL visit: Two really terrible novels which I declined to finish- but that's what I love about the library, if a book's no good, you just bring it back and get another one!

A Morgan recommendation which I maintain that he recommends mostly because the hero is a dashing Han-Solo-ish space captain named.... Morgan. Actually it was quite good, once I got past the beginning and the introduction-of-new-alien-species slowed down from about once a page, to every chapter or so. I'm hoping the next one is as good.

A sad but wonderful movie: Wit. I am in awe of Emma Thompson, even more so than usual.

A BBCish adaptation of Sons and Lovers that was so depressing I stopped watching it before the really depressing part.

Into Thin Air which was (of course) not as good as the book and looked pretty low budget, but interesting nonetheless.

Is that ALL?

Well, yes, but my arms were full, remember? My shoulder is still hurting and it cuts into my book-carrying abilities. Don't worry, I'll be back soon.

In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blah blah blah- Part one in a series

Yes, I know, I disappeared for a while. It's totally not my fault. I was kidnapped by aliens and transported to their home planet of Blah where they forced me to keep my room messy and watch Project Runway until I developed a lisp.

So, last time I posted I was getting ready to move. Let's not talk about that painful time in my life, eh? Now I have this great new place near downtown San Jose, complete with two great roommates and three cuddly cats, plus it totally freaks my mom out that I am living with a boy [Not that this means anything other than the fact that one of my roommates is male- and is in fact engaged to my other roommate, hmmm, sound familiar??] so that's fun. I've even managed to mostly unpack and to shed a great deal of my worldly possessions through the miracle of Goodwill donation. Plus, I am dating the cutest boy in the bay area and he is also the sweetest- he brings me roses and chicken soup when I am sick. So life should be pretty good and it is, except for the blah.

I haven't managed to really get settled in my new space. It's too small, really, for a bedroom and a craft area/studio combined. Everything fits, but not well, and I hate the feeling of not-rightness that I feel about this space. It's always been really important to make a living-space my own. Sometimes I even have a hard time being away from home and staying with friends and family because of this. I get nervous and panicky when I'm trapped in a space that doesn't feel right.

So when I move into a new place I spend a lot of time fiddling things around until they feel exactly right. It's my own neurotic version of feng shui, I guess. So I was excited about having this new space (and- OMG- my own bathroom, it's like I've died and gone to heaven) to make my own and I even painted one wall, in a half-assed, terribly poorly done, and unfinished painting job that sends me into fits of despair when I think about it too hard. [This is by no means reflective of the wonderful friends who helped me paint, Bry and Michael, you were great, but you have to admit it might have gone better had I acquired the right type of paint roller for the wall. Just sayin'.] But I've never once managed to get it truly and completely clean & organized because that status depends heavily on the conception of rightness which I cannot find here. And since it is so small, even a low level of disorganization makes life kind of miserable. What it's like after two weeks of being miserably sick right before Christmas? Mmm, yeh. It involves stepping over/on things frequently.

So there's that, which seems to tie in with the general feeling of blah-ness and unmotivation I've been dealing with for the last few months. Add in the fact that I re-injured my shoulder at work before I moved and have been dealing with almost constant low-grade (except when it's Vicodin-worthy) pain in my neck, arms and shoulders for months and everyone at work is tired of me complaining and wished I would just shut up and go away (especially the HR dept, whose tactic seems to be: Ignore it [me being the "it" in this particular situation] long enough and maybe it will go away.) And meanwhile I can't really afford to pay the credit card bill which has come in for the massage therapy which helped greatly but did-not-fix-the-problem.

Blah, see what I mean? I hate getting old and falling apart. I hate that I never seem to have the energy to work even a 30-hour work week without having a nervous breakdown. I hate feeling like I have all of this creativity that wants to come out in art and writing, but seems to be stuck, somewhere inside of me. This past week though- due to the fact that being sick wreaked havoc with my routine and therefore medication- I realized that a lot of the general badness I was feeling (in addition to coughing up pieces of lung and swallowing with a throat full of rusty razor blades) was due to forgetting to take the happy pills. Maybe I need a higher dosage of antidepressant. I have been so happy- with a great new relationship that only seems to get better, and a fun new city to explore- that it had not occurred to me that sadness is not the only symptom of depression and I have, not only the symptoms (exhaustion, lack of motivation, general blah-ness for no particular reason), but also the stressors (major life changes, moving upheaval, chronic pain..) for mild depression.

So that explains why I've wanted desperately to write and keep this blog updated over the last few months, but somehow I just couldn't. Just recognizing the problem is an immense relief and helps with the guilt I've been feeling, though there's still the temptation to feel guilty that I am depressed, especially when I'm already on Prozac, for Pete's sake. How lame can you get? I'm a New Englander, dammit, and we don't get depressed. We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep going! I must be shamefully weak and pathetic to need drugs, and surely it's somehow my fault anyway. Hmm, time to make a Doctor's appointment.

Blah. Anyway, I am having a few post-Christmas non-sick days off before working all weekend and I am trying hard to enjoy them even though my room gives me heebie jeebies and the thought of cleaning it is too overwhelming to contemplate. I will update the blah series when I am feeling better and will try not to complain too much in the meantime.

Next: The happy post about fun things that this was supposed to be!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Inspired by Lisa, who considers it her duty to hassle me about posting (which I am truly grateful for- thanks, Lisa!): Davenport family news...

Zach is home. Yay!! Home safe from Iraq, Zachary is in RI with the family celebrating Christmas. On January 2nd he will be heading out to Silicon Valley to visit me and check out colleges in the area. Yay!

I haz a niece!!!!! Libby had a daughter on noonish (eastern time) today. Our own little family Christmas miracle. Her name is Bailey Noelle and she's a tiny little peanut, weighing only a tad over six pounds.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

My MamaJo

-Has protested that I never say anything flattering about her on my blog. Thus, I present to you:

A Tribute to My Mamelah

She is an old goat who missed the boat. No wait, that's what my grandfather says. Let me start over-

She complains about getting fat because, nearing sixty, she is tipping the scales at 108. That's right folks, one hundred eight pounds. Feel free to roll your eyes. I, however, have inherited those genes, so I will refrain from rolling mine. She has super sexy legs but she doesn't think so, so she doesn't wear short skirts. Everyone who sees the picture I have of her holding [tiny] me 32 & 9/10 years ago says I look just like her.

When my sisters and I were little she would sew or otherwise create wonderful things from scratch to entertain us. A few examples: hobby horses with broomstick bodies, a puppet theater that hung on a tension rod in a doorway, the greatest dress-up trunk ever- with tons of gaudy old gowns, sequined shoes, and feather boas that she'd hunted down at thrift shops.

She used to be a super crunchy health nut mom. She makes the best whole wheat bread ever. At five I did not appreciate this. I would have happily traded my right arm (or my little sister) for a slice of Wonder Bread or a piece of candy. I have come to appreciate her bread. I do also eat candy frequently though.

She is a great hugger even though she does not believe in hugging trees. Trees get lonely too, Mom.

She hates to cook but she has made dinner most nights for the last 38 years and for many of those years it was dinner for nine.

She is a good wife to my dad, a good mother to her kids, and a good friend to her friends.

She puts up with me even though I do things like this to her all the time:

Setting: Peeyerpants mountain Rd (so christened by Libby), 2007 Doscher reunion.

Scene: (since the video refuses to load) After roughly 7 hours on the road, Dad is attempting to keep up with my speeding uncle while driving a 12 passenger van around hairpin curves on a 2-way road wide enough for one car. My mom and sister are hyperventilating in the back. I am tormenting them trying to reassure them by injecting the moment with humor.

Jess: It's the road of... despaiiiirr!! Aiiihh, we're all going to die!

Mom: *nervously* Jess, we don't need any.. extra sound effects

J: Mom, we wanna record this for posterity. It'll be like the little black box on the airplanes

*the slightly hysterical laughter that occurs in a sudden release of tension, from other occupants of van*

J: They can dig it out of the wreckage

M: *somewhere between laughing and shrieking in fear* Those sounds that you [are making] are already.. going on in my head!!!

J: Mwah hah hah!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Jenn at Serving the Queens is putting together a card for the family of her brother-in-law, whose nephew was killed on active duty in Afghanistan. Please go and lend your support by leaving a comment for the family of Staff Sgt. Matthew Blaskowski

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I managed to trip coming off of a stepladder last night and land directly on my good knee. So now I have a matched pair. I am so graceful.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Conversation with a three-year-old

Me- seriously, using my years of accumulated nanny wisdom: When I tell you that it's time to get in the car you need to listen to me.

Little Boy- giggling: Noooo, I just say "NO!" and run away!

Me: Well, if you do, I might have to put you in time out when we get home.

LB- still giggling: Nooooo, you won't! I'll just say "NO!!" and run away!!!!

Me- exasperatedly: Well then I'll have to sit on you.

LB: Okay!

Me: *sigh* You win.

That's what they mean by "babysitting," right? Right???

It's a good thing he's cute enough to get away with it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Emily, from Wheels on the Bus, kindly agreed to interview even though I am a lousy commenter over at her place. Check her out. Her blog is in the midst of a change but whatever it settles into it will be good. Her writing is inspiring.

1) What started you blogging?

I'd taken a hiatus from writing after discovering several years ago that I was not actually cut out for what I assumed I'd do when I grew up. Specifically, write fiction. I don't think I've ever managed to satisfactorily end a story. Clearly this was not the calling I thought it was, and I buried my disappointment in not writing at all. Blogging has allowed me to reconnect with an essential part of myself that I was afraid I had lost. I love to write, tell stories, and make people laugh; blogging allows me to do all three.

2) You seem very close to your family. Please tell me something (1 or 2 sentences) about each.

Well, as a collective they're fairly insane, but always in a way that makes for very good stories. My parents have been married for almost 38 years. My nephews call my dad Grumpy instead of Grandpa. This is actually quite appropriate. He's like a burnt marshmallow, crusty on the outside but soft on the inside. My mom is now a lunch lady in the elementary school I went to. Which is weird. Update!!!! She has been fired after a scandal involving lunch money!!! I never knew you had it in ya, Mom. And before you protest, please note that update was factually correct even if a bit... misleading. ;)

My sister Lib has produced [just for me!] one of the all-time cutest nephews in the world. For Christmas she is making me my first niece!! Right now she is on bed rest so that my Christmas present will not arrive too early. She is also one of my closest friends.

My sister Julie was born while we were living in Venezuela and she met her Welsh husband while they were both working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. She is the adventurous, world traveler of the family. Also (according to my dad) she is the smartest.

My brother Daniel married at a ridiculously young age but he's also (co)produced two of the all-time cutest nephews in the world, so I don't really mind. He's married to Danielle. No, really. Sometimes we call them Dan & Dan.

My brother Zach is in the army. He's in Iraq. All I want for Christmas (besides a healthy niece) is for him to come home safe and sound. And possibly come to California to live with me. We like to talk about books.

My brother Sean is a red-headed ladies man. When he was small he always had a harem of neighborhood girls following him around. Not much has changed. I called him Pookie when he was wittle.

My baby sister Katie is 16- the same age that I was when she was born. I am old! Katie is my clone. She loves books more than people and cultivates writing skills and sarcasm.

It was fun and crazy and sometimes frustrating growing up in a large family. As the oldest I got to boss everybody around but I also felt responsible for taking care of my siblings and when I couldn't, I sometimes took it out on them. Emily, I know, in a small way, how Helen felt. Don't give up on her, she might not be able to express it now, but I know she loves you.

3) What do you like most about where you live?

The weather and the beauty of the landscape. I moved to Northern California with no intention of staying here. I thought I'd stay for a year, experience life in the other side of the country, then go back to New England where I belonged. I thought milder climes were for wimps. The first winter I spent without winter reminded me that I have always been a wimp and I decided to stop trying to fight it. Also, I have a great community of friends and loved ones here and I like that I made it myself.

4) Who do you most like to spend Saturday afternoon with?

Up until recently I worked every Saturday. I have however,

a) started getting weekends off
b) found someone who I rather enjoy spending them with :)

I can't tell you his name as this is the internet and tons of people three people read this blog so his superhero identity would be compromised if I told you his name. I will call him Shmichael because that way you will never figure out what his real name is. He fetches things for me when my knee is broken. He brought me a gen-oo-wine ice pack so I don't have to rely on frozen corn anymore. He is nice. I think I will keep him.

5) How would you describe Monday mornings in your life?

My work schedule is changeable so it varies, but on a typical Monday morning I sleep late, dawdle over breakfast while reading blogs & email, then head into work around 12:30. The drawback to this is that I don't get home until 9:30 or 10. I work at this fun store and I get paid to wrap presents!!!

This is for Lib, who is bored and has run out of books.

updated 10/02
I forgot to add that I'd be happy to interview anyone else (Katie?). Just leave a coment or send me an email.

Monday, September 24, 2007


My sweet little baby brother is in Iraq.

I haven't written about this because I live in denial, and I enjoy it here. The thought that something bad might happen to him is one that I refuse to entertain in more than a vague, unspoken sort of way. I hate it when people talk about people they know who've been killed in this war because they threaten to burst my safe little bubble and make me face the fact that Zach is in grave danger and there's nothing concrete I can do to protect him.

I was eleven when Zach was born. He was my "first" baby. The first sibling I was old enough to take care of without adult supervision. I fed him rice cereal before he had teeth, changed his diapers, rocked him, loved him. I called him Bubby and he thought it was his name. On the first day of kindergarten his teacher addressed him as Zachary and I can picture him folding his chubby little arms stubbornly and replying defiantly, "I'm not Zachtawy, I'm Bubby!" This reply has entered the realm of family lore.

I watched him grow from a lovable little ball of belly laughs into a shy little boy with glasses; and then watched his baby fat melt into longer limbs and a face-full of whiskers. He came back from boot camp a strong serious young man, but when he grins, the lovable little boy reappears.

I cringed as he told me that his job in Iraq would be to patrol one of the more dangerous roads in a war zone finding and detonating IED's. I wanted to lock him up, keep him safe. I don't want him involved in this stupid war. But he's not a little boy anymore. He's grown into a man that I am incredibly proud of and I have to respect the roads he's taken. I love you, Zach.


Did you know that crepe streamers are almost exactly like ace bandages? More fragile, yes, but with the same stretchy qualities. Excellent. This is what led to me scooting around the kitchen on a wheeled office chair with a bag of frozen corn tied to my knee with a purple party streamer. Not the only thing, obviously. It was a combination of hunger and extreme kneecap pain that made it.. somewhat unpleasant to walk added to the lack of a proper ice pack or ace bandage. Ingenuity or insanity? You pick.

I don't have any idea what's wrong. I'm going to try to get a doctor's appt tomorrow but for now I am hitting the leftover Vicodin and indulging in couch-sitting cookie-therapy. My favorite kind. Possibly, later, a cute boy will come over and then I will look pathetic and order him to collect random objects for me.

Fetch me that pitcher, farm boy

All in all, well worth the pain.

Monday, September 17, 2007


My mom has requested that I point out that she is not smelling her armpit in the picture several posts earlier, she is, um, playing alligator with Katie. Because that's way more normal and not at all embarrassing.

She would also like to point out that she thinks I am the brightest of all her children and incredibly brilliant besides and that she totally loves me the best. But don't tell my siblings.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Davenhooliganports, cont.

A brief quiz

Match the captions with the photos:

__Katie and Dan, before the dental work.
__The cutest lil' Christmas present ever
__Delightful dancing domestic diva

Extra credit:

__Dad Bear
__Bear Dad
(don't worry, I can't tell them apart either)





Thursday, September 13, 2007

Davenhooliganports. Or, Why I am weird

I was going to post a video, per Lib's request, of Peeyerpants Mountain Rd in Georgia, but blogger will not cooperate. So I offer instead, evidence that my family really is
a) Large
b) Completely Insane.

Hopefully, for those of you who have not had the frightening experience delightful pleasure of meeting them, this will explain a lot about me.
Katie-16, the baby sister. Such debauchery in one so young.
Dad, trimming the lawn by hand. We bought him a lawn mower for Christmas one year, but he prefers to do it, "The same way Moses and Jesus trimmed their lawns." He is an old-fashioned guy, my dad. And very perseverent.
Mom, smelling her armpits. Katie, rolling her eyes, as per usual. For the record, Katie is much more often seen with a book in hand than a beer.
Sean-y Pepper-18, baby bro. Being mock-assaulted by Julie-26 who lives in Wales whales (just like Jonah!)
Our driver for the 2007 East Coast Tour- Georgia or bust. Eyes on the road, mister!

That is by no means all of them, but I seem to have used my alloted picture space for this post. To be continued..

Monday, September 3, 2007

You can't see me!

Three of my favorite boys

Little brother Zach, home on leave from Iraq, with tiny nephew Brady and big boy nephew Luke.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

15 Minutes of Fame

Dude, I'm like, totally famous. Check me out Snooling with Julie in Campbell last month. I'm in #9, of course, since dessert was involved. Aren't Julie & Peter the cutest?


For some strange reason my brain kicks into gear around the time my body is shutting down for the night. Because of this I have gotten into the habit of writing lists for myself, before I go to bed. Lists of things I need to get done the next day. Late at night I can think perfectly clearly about what I need to do, but lack the energy to do anything but go to sleep. By the time I wake up in the morning all is lost. Because I am a space cadet when left to myself, I have trouble finding direction and motivation on my days off and frequently nothing (I am a certified world expert at doing nothing. I could do nothing all day and be perfectly happy. This drives my mother crazy for some reason.) gets done without a list (all right, sometimes with a list, even).

In the interest of full disclosure the lists usually start with 1) Get up and continue with helpful hints like 2) take shower and 3) eat breakfast. Because yes, I need the reminders. Otherwise I sometimes wander around aimlessly for hours trying to decide what to do first. I think I wasn't always this absent minded but I can't really remember.

This morning after heroically achieving #1 and #2 on the list (I did remember to #3 but not until the last minute as I was on my way out the door) I set off into the wide world to accomplish #'s 5-7, namely; Go to the bank, buy fish food, and pick up a prescription. After leaving the pharmacy I looked back at the list and realized that I'd missed #4. The only problem was, I had no idea what #4 was.

4) FM?

Wha...? I was distressed. How could I have no memory of a note I made last night of something I had to do, something so important that I believed it would be obvious to my tomorrow morning self even though it contained only two letters and a question mark ?? What is FM?? What does it mean?? What am I forgetting to do??!?!?

Okay, think.. Foment Mutiny? Free Murderers? Forge Metal? Fake Mono? Fold Magazines? Find Monkeys?

Nothing fit. I finally gave up. In fact I started this post with no idea of what FM? was and assumed I'd forgotten something vitally important. As soon as I typed the letters in though, I remembered. Can you guess what it was? Leave a comment with your guess.

(M & S, you so have an unfair advantage on this one, let the other kids guess first. ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deep Questions for the ages today

1) Does Bruce Banner have the stretchiest underpants ever? How come all of his other clothes fall to shreds when he turns into the Hulk but his briefs expand (Ha ha, I said expanding briefs!) and then shrink back to their original size when he de-Hulk-ifies!?!? Just wondering.

Yes I was watching the movie. No, it isn't worth two hours of your life. Not helpful: I think Eric Bana is weird looking even when he's not the Hulk.

2) Why is chick lit soooooo bad?

Is my inability to make it through anything after Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones makes me laugh out loud, the only reason I can think of that I keep trying) indicative of the inherent poor quality of this genre, or just my personal taste?

Where do you draw the line between personal taste and objective quality-of-art. Is there such a line? All I know is that I that I hate it when people insinuate that someone else has poor taste in music/writing/art just because their opinion differs and the music/writing/art snob considers him or herself an expert in the field. I never do this.

Except sometimes, when I forget not to be an asshole.

Feel free to remind me.

3) Why can't I think of any more questions?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A conversation with God, in which He commands and I whine

God: Trust me.

Me: But I'm afraaaiiid!!!

God : Trust me.

Me: But I caaaaaan't!!!

God: Trust me.

Me: AAAAHHHH!!!! Why aren't you fixing things!!!!!????!

God: I am, trust me.

Me: But what about all those other times when you said to trust you and I couldn't and I got all freaked out and had a cow and a nervous breakdown and a really bad day and then- and then..

God: And then what?

Me: ..I... Mmmm. You know..

God: Tell me.

Me: You, ah, fixed everything. You'd already fixed everything but I couldn't see it and you wanted me to..

God: Go on..

Trust you.

God: *laughing* I love you so much. Trust me!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is how I feel

I am tired of loss. Losing homes, losing friends; it's too much grief, too many [bad] changes in too short a time. I've crawled inside myself and locked the world out for months. Been numb. Suddenly it's wearing off and I can't bear it. I want the numbness back.

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I know that my life is easy compared to Elizabeth Bishop's. I know that I'm whining and I should stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with...whatever I'm supposed to be getting on with... but I can't figure out how. I'm just done. I don't want to try anymore. I just want to go home.

Can someone tell me where that is?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Thought" process

Sometimes Often when the light bulb in my head goes on it's more of a gentle sputtering followed by a lazily increasing dim glow rather than sudden burst of brilliance. As an example I give you a sample of my thoughts this fine evening:

8:30 ish pm

So hungry!.... mmmm, food. Food good. But- wait, there isn't anything to eat in the house because I haven't been grocery shopping in three weeks, since I've been spending most of my time house-sitting in a house that is currently sans kitchen and the rest of the time at work subsisting on other people's leftover french fries (God bless The Counter and their generous orders of fries).

**rummage around in kitchen drawer that should contain some takeout menus, dammit! What kind of people live here that never eat takeout? Oh yes, me.**

** Find a tiny, tiny menu from Baja Fresh which is more of a "Save 2 minutes, call ahead for your fast food!" ad than a proper takeout menu but at least represents food.**

** Dither over what to order.....**

** Remember that Baja Fresh is really stingy with the sour cream, and following my deep-seated belief that any meal can be improved with the addition of a high fat dairy product, decide that I must have more sour cream than mean old Baja Fresh will hand me in a tiny tiny cup after making me pay extra for it.**

** Look in the fridge for sour cream.**

** No luck.**

** Think to self,** Trader Joe's has sour cream. I can go to TJ's and get sour cream since it is in the same parking lot as, yea even right next door to, Baja Fresh.

Now if only I could think of some way to incorporate a grocery store into this food-finding sour-cream procuring trip so that I could purchase the
very basic baking items (i.e. sugar and chocolate chips) I need to make the banana chocolate-chip muffins for which so many old bananas in this household have died and gone to the great freezer in the sky kitchen."

**Think harder.**

**Wheels turning. Light bulb sputtering. Smoke coming out of ears.**

Trader Joe's. Groceries. Food.

Wait, wait I've got it! I don't even need to go to Baja Fresh! I can go to Trader Joe's, which is, Lord be praised, an actual grocery store [and furthermore the one I frequent so.. um.. frequently that I hardly ever shop anywhere else so, technically, this should not have been such a large leap.]where I can find chocolate chips and sugar and dinner!"

** Go to TJ's. Buy salad and high-fat dairy product (yes, that's right, every meal!) plus interesting work-portable meal items for rest of week and assorted other foods. **

**Get home and ravenously eat salad drenched in high fat dairy product.

** Realize that I've forgotten the sugar.**

** sigh**

Friday, August 10, 2007


I can't sleep.

Usually I am very good at sleeping. I am a world- class sleeper. If sleeping were an Olympic sport I would win the gold medal hands down. That is, if I didn't oversleep and miss the day of the Olympic trials. I rarely have problems with sleeping, mine are usually the kind that consist of wanting to do nothing but. It's the waking up that is the challenge for me.

Yet tonight I am awake, so I will blog.

I am reading a young adult novel. It's called The Book Thief and it's incredible. I had forgotten how my gems of literature could be found in the YA section if you take the time to seek them out. This one's discovery I owe to my little sister Katie. She brought a stack of library books 10 inches high on vacation (she is a girl after my own heart, I tell you) and this was one of them. I started reading it in Georgia and went straight to the library when I got home to find it and finish.

It's a big book. I'm still reading it and I don't usually take weeks to get through a book I'm really enjoying. I think this one is lingering because it has to be taken in small doses. It is a hard story, but one worth reading.

The Book Stealer is about a girl. She loves books and the only way she can acquire them is to steal (thus the title). She is growing up in Nazi Germany. The story is being narrated by death. Or rather, by Death, who turns out to be a strangely sympathetic character and perhaps the only one with such proximity to the events described who is able to be somewhat detached about them and therefore makes the perfect teller of this tale.

I won't say any more than that but if your interest is piqued go to the library, or Amazon, or your local bookstore, and find the book thief. You won't be disappointed. Let me know what you think.

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

Monday, July 16, 2007

In Which I am Attacked (nearly) by a Duck

So I was in Boston, lovely city that it is and in such a perfectly lovely season, and I left my camera in Rhode Island. Gah. Lacking in drawing skilz, I will have to try and paint pictures for you with words.

I went to the Boston Public Garden on Friday while I was waiting around for the bus to Williamstown that (as it turned out) did NOT leave at 1:30 from Logan as listed in the website, but at 4 from South Station. Again, Gah! But it was fine. I took the T around the city and had a fine time. After lunch I went over to the Public Garden and sat on the grass to watch the swan boats and eat a delicious pastry that seemed to consist of puff pastry dough and uncooked cheesecake batter. Excellent idea. The cheesecake batter I mean, though eating it was not a bad move on my part either.

While I was taking in the lovely surroundings, the perfect weather and the various and assorted interesting peoples who were sharing my appreciation of the park, I took my pastry out of its bag and was immediately (nearly) assaulted by a duck.

You've read Robert McClosky's venerable Make Way For Ducklings book? (what do you mean, "no"?! Get thee to a library, and don't finish this post until you're read the book!) I don't remember any of the ducks in that book climbing into people's laps in order to attempt to steal their pastries, but apparently their descendants are less well-behaved. Ducks these days! Luckily I was able to fend him off with crumbs until the family sitting a few feet away from me, amused by the duck's antics, lured him over to their blanket. Suckers!!

I'm pretty sure I could have taken him anyway. I may be a lightweight but nobody messes with my pastry!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Hmm, 'pparently the caffeine weared off faster than i thought it would. Tomorrow I will post about my current adventures in Boston.

Possible titles:

Street signs, who needs 'em?

Only tourists call it Commonwealth Avenue

Darwinism and Boston drivers- survival of the fittest

Francis the GPS, my new best friend

Mosty toasty posty

In order to make up up for not posting for a month I am going to set a record for as many posts as I can finish in one night or before the caffeine wears off.

Agent S introduced me to my favorite midnight snack when we were roommies. It's completely and overwhelmingly bad for you, which I think is my favorite part. It also tastes really, really yummy. Here's how to make it:

1) Fry a piece of sourdough bread (if you can't find good sourdough bread in your part of the country, move to San Francisco) in butter, preferably in a well-used cast iron skillet that your mom gave you when you moved out on your own.

2) Put more butter and heaping spoonfuls of brown sugar on top and watch while the sugar melts into the butter and carmelizes. If some sugar falls off and lands on the pan or the edges of the underside of the bread, that's okay, it turns crispy that way and tastes even better.

3) Eat. Try not to feel bad about the butter and sugar, it ruins the moment. Also being happy produces endorphins, which make you lose weight, or something. Therefore guilt= calories.

your friendly neighborhood nutritionist,

I'm alive... and employed!!!

Dear Legions of Adoring Fans
Gentle Readers


Actually I don't think even my mom reads my blog. She's afraid of teh internets. Although I know she's read it at least once, I'm pretty sure my baby sister Katie showed it to her and I doubt she could find it again on her own. However Lisa not only reads it but bugs me about keeping up with it when I stop posting. She is a true friend, even if she did make fun of Rhode Island occasionally when we both lived there. So Lisa, this post's for you, baby!!

I believe I did mention at one point, that I was unemployed and basically a no 'count good-fer-nothin' when I started this blog and I couldn't comprehend how other people had blogs AND lives!!! Now I no longer have a social life, (which I directly relate to the following fact) but I -somewhat- unfortunately had to break down and get a job. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I've acquired ambition or anything- heavens, no! I often think nostalgically of the days when I could sleep in, then walk to the park, read, clean the house, and do craft projects all day and then go out to dinner with friends, feeling free to stay up late because, hey, it's not like I had to be up at any special time in the morning! But reality intruded, in the form of my bank account dwindling away to nothing and mah car and mah teeth letting me down in the same week. Fortunately the car turned out to be not-so-bad and the cavity alarm was the work of an evil, evil dental factory chain which (to protect the innocent, should there turn out to be any) I shall refer to as Mental Dental. It turns out I have 2 cavities, not 14 and no major gum issues. I luuurve my new dentist.

But back to the topic at hand... which was... ah.. Oh, yes, job. I have one. Cuz' even if all yer teeth don't fall out, ya still gotta pay the rent.

I work here: Paper Source

Not at the web store though. At this brandy-new one: Santana Row and I hate to brag, but well, my store is totally the prettiest. In the website pictures anyway. So I know you're thinking, Hey Jess, what do you do at this awesome store? Management? Design? No, sillies! You're confusing me with someone successful! I am a sales associate. Yes that's right, a clerk.

I know, impressive. Try not to be jealous. After all it's true that I am making more than minimum wage, but it's not that much more, really. And I do get the privilege of paying for my own health insurance- oh wait, I was doing that already- and working nights and weekends.

I actually really really like the job. I've been a Paper Source devotee since I found the store in Wellesley and there are quite a few aspects of the job that appeal to me very much. I love working with paper and design, and helping people figure out how to complete their craft projects or wedding invitations. I love having co-workers, and adore the fact that mine are all wonderful, crafty, fun people. I can't be sad about the fact that I am paid to wrap gifts and make things look pretty. I love wrapping things in paper and putting beee-yootiful ribbons around them. But I feel like I should be doing something more... important or official. You know- like a real job. Like something that requires a college degree, or a title, or a suit and an office. Like a Grown-Up job. I'm thirty-two, for Pete's sake, shouldn't I feel more like an adult? (I've given up on looking like one- that's a whole 'nother post)

I talk half-heartedly about going back to school, but really, that requires drive and I just don't have enough any. I'm tired, and thinking about anything difficult makes me more tired and overwhelms me. Plus, I just don't think I want to go back. What would the end result be? A Grown-Up job with suits and deadlines? Gah!

So, after ten years of being a professional nanny (a job that was only supposed to be a fill-in until I went back to school and which also made me feel like a less-than-adult when I was around people with what seemed more like real, live, grown-up jobs ) I am back to working at the bottom of the retail ladder, roughly the same position I occupied at my first job, when I was in high school. I suppose I could move into management at some point, if I wanted to. But I don't. Really, not at all. And I'm not sure there's anywhere else to go in the company, at least without moving to Chicago, where it's based. And I hear it's cold there in the winter. Cold me no like.

So I'm just drifting along for now trying not to think too hard about the future. But in the meantime, I am having fun. If you have a gift you need wrapped or some advice on bookbinding, come and see me at PS. I'll be the one standing on the counter or tormenting my co-workers with bad jokes.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blast From the Past. Reposted from 2007

Recently I was introduced to the student of a friend who exclaimed upon introduction, "Oh, M's told me about you! You read hundreds and thousands of..." pause here for me to anticipate her saying something along the lines of 'weighty Shakespearean tomes' (even though I don't) while trying my best to look humble, as if students at top colleges all over the country are constantly being awed by my *ahem* overwhelming smartitude... then imagine my dismay when she instead said, " fiction and fantasy novels!!"

"What?! No!"

"I do not! Hardly. Barely, practically not even, that... often. 'Doh!"

I don't know why I'm afraid to admit my inherent dorkiness. After all, I come by it honestly- my parents raised us on a diet of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica and whenever the piercing beep of the smoke alarm in the kitchen sounded (don't tell my mother I let out that this happened on a fairly regular basis, it probably had less to do with her cooking skills than with the distraction of trying to make dinner with seven rowdy children runing around underfoot) they thought it was hilarious to dash from the room shouting, "Phaser on overload!! Run, run!!" I think I was in high school before I realized that not all families had customs such as these. *sigh* We were not what you'd call, "cool."

The truth is that when I look over my book journals many of the titles written there technically fit into this category, but when I hear "scifi/fantasy" I immediately and off-puttingly picture a mass market paperback with a luridly drawn cover featuring a) a busty blonde heroine with a sword, b) a musclebound brooding hero with a sword, c) an evil magicians and/or dragon d) busty aliens with swords, or e) all of the above, and I cringe.

I am not a fan of Robert Jordan, can you tell?

Most of the great stuff I've read I found in the children's section, but since the advent of Harry Potter the children's fantasy market is so flooded with crap that it's hardly worth plowing through. It appears that publishers will take anything with the word magic in it no matter how poorly written or tired it is.

The "adult" section (hmm, that sounds wrong) of the genre has always been like this as far as I can tell. There exists a level of cheesiness that is hard to find anywhere else (no, romance doesn't count. It's composed entirely of- not even cheese- processed cheese food, like Velveeta). While there are definitely gems- Tolkein, of course, Michael Marshall Smith's futuristic noir novels, or William Browning Spencer's Zod Wallop, and plenty of others, and what I do like I tend to really, really like- I usually don't even bother browsing in this area of the library unless someone recommends a book or author to me.

So I was cautiously optimistic when my good friend Morgan recommended a book called, "His Majesty's Dragon." It was described as "Patrick O'Brian, Jane Austen, and Anne Mcaffrey all rolled into one." I would differ only to say that Novik is a much, much better writer than Mcaffrey (see earlier comments re: cheese).

The book (the first in a series) is set in during the Napoleonic wars in a world exactly like the one O'Brian and Austen wrote about (or, you know, exactly like the one I assume O'Brian wrote about without having actually read any of his books, although I did see Peter Weir's "Master and Commander," which I'm pretty sure counts) with the small distinction that Novik's world includes dragons.

Novik does a wonderful job making this inclusion seem natural and believable. The dragon character, Temeraire, manages to be both dignified and appealingly childlike at the same time. His- at first, reluctant- handler, Captain Wm. Lawrence, is a bit of a stuffed shirt at first, but he's actually very decent under all of his British proprietry. Lawrence's relationship with both Temeraire and the Dragon Corps (the slightly scandalous but indispensable dragon branch of the military) challenge and change him for the better.

I'm almost finished with the second book, "Throne of Jade," and have enjoyed it as much as the first. The only drawback now being that the fourth book is still being written. To keep myself occupied, I'll be keeping an ear out for news about the Temeraire movie that Peter Jackson, who recently acquired the rights to the books, is hopefully going to produce and direct.

[Update: as usual in a fantasy series, the first book was by far the best. They went downhill after that. I think I read three before I gave up. Why can't sci-fi/fantasy authors just write a great book and leave it at that? I suspect pressure from publishers plays a role. The movie doesn't seem to be going anywhere, mostly because instead of just wrapping up a story the author keeps leaving each book open ended and writing another. *sigh*]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This week's best local headline

Squirrel enters S. San Jose classroom, attacks two adults and a student

This one's for you, Katie.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


This is my fish, Orpheus. He was completely terrified of me when I brought him home and would contort himself into extremely unlikely positions in order to avoid seeing or being seen by me. He used to hide under the seaglass on the bottom of his bowl like this:
It was a little unnerving. I felt like an evil giant even though all I was trying to do was feed him. Now, however, we are fast friends and whenever I feed him he swims over to the side of the bowl to greet me before eating. He doesn't seem to have the aggressive personality that's typical of male Betas.

This week after I cleaned his bowl I noticed a mass of tiny bubbles collecting at the top. I was curious and looked up a few Beta sites. Apparently this is breeding behavior. the males build a bubble nest when they're ready to breed, then the females lay eggs in them. Poor Orry, he's stuck with me, a non-aqueus, non-egg-laying dud. I gently explained to him that it just wouldn't work out between us. It's sad to see the bubbles dwindling as he broken-heartedly swims around in his little bowl. Oh well, at least I'm still bringing home the bacon (or fish flakes, as it were).

Monday, May 7, 2007


I went to my church's women's retreat a few weekends ago. It was at Asilomar, a gorgeous retreat center in Monterey. My room had an ocean view! I had such a great time hanging out with all of the amazing women I know through PBCC.

I & several others were rounded up at the last minute to be in this sketch. We sort-of practiced. Once. Without all the players present.

But it was mostly improv, so it didn't matter much. You can't see them in this picture, but Crysta and Jess M. played it straight as the camera-woman and director. Becca, the ringleader who organized the whole thing, was brilliant as a Doctor (she's in green and white). And Alicia (with the demonically-glowing red eyes) played a somewhat-less-than-concerned mother. I played the part of the sick kid and, as I'm sure was immediately clear from this picture, Julie (red hat) was an ambulance driver shocking me with the sneakers defibrillator paddles. If I look like I'm having convulsions it's because I'm a natural actress who was able to perfectly channel someone who is being shocked back into life Julie is repeatedly and enthusiastically hitting me in the boobs with a pair of shoes.

As my mother would say, "Maybe they'll swell!" We Davenport ladies are optimists.
Flat-chested optimists.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Much better the last few days, thank you for your kind words and wishes. April was just not my month, but since Monday (the 1st day of May- coincidence? I think not!) I feel... almost.. what is it called? Happy. Ah yes. Methinks I remember this feeling. Is good. Is very good.

In other news. I have decided that if eucalyptus was a controlled substance I would be in serious danger of breaking the law. Sing it with me now..

Breakin' the law, breakin' the law
Breakin' the law, breakin' the law

Because I am obsessed with the little knobbly thingies that fall off the trees around here and smell so incredibly good that I can't help picking them up off the ground and carrying them around like a little kid, putting them up to my nose every few minutes for a blissful whiff. Yup, I'm an addict. Luckily the part of the Stanford campus I was wandering around on was pretty deserted so there were no witnesses to call the authorities on me.

As evidence that perhaps eucalyptus should be regulated in some way, I offer you the following profound thought I had while ah, inhaling yesterday. The knobbly thingies or gumnuts (I'm not kidding, I looked this up on Wiki. They look like this:)
are the west coast version of acorns. Mind-boggling, eh? (heh heh, I just wrote bloggling. The ironing!) I had this epiphany after noticing that some of them were missing the green parts and had nothing but an empty woody shell that looked like nothing so much as an empty acorn cup (cap?) and I reasoned that the ground squirrels might scoop out and eat the middle. The gumnuts are California's version of acorns, which are eaten by California's version of, well, squirrels. But wait, they're completely different from normal squirrels, i.e. the ones we superior New Englanders have scurrying around in our backyards storing acorns and digging up our &#%&#@* tulip bulbs and taking one bite out of them and them throwing them on the ground as if to taunt us.

Of course they have regular squirrels here too, but that's beside the point. The ground squirrels are these funny little furballs who look like tree squirrels until you see then run. They have a weird hoppy gait that I suppose comes from being adapted to dig holes instead of climb trees. Also, they're sometimes fatter than tree squirrels, which goes to show that climbing trees is good excercise, something I've always firmly believed.

If you haven't already figured this out, I like to feel superior by frequently reminding people that I am from a place much better than this one in every way (except that it's really really cold in the winter and humid in the summer and there's this stoic yankee mentality where people don't talk about problems openly, preferring instead the bury em n' fester method). In the same vein, when I'm visiting home I like to point out that in California it's sunny and 70 degrees every day all year long and the streets are paved with gold (although actually- prepare yourself- it rains here sometimes and the cost of living is ridiculous and people are way too wrapped in in their BMWs and ipods and making sure junior will get into Stanford someday even though he's only 3 years old).

I'm thinking about moving to the midwest. I just have to make sure they have eucalyptus trees there. I can quit anytime I want, I just don't want to.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Why I disappeared

If angst and sorrow make artists, musicians, and writers more productive, does that mean I'm a pretender if I shut down when I'm depressed? I have not posted in weeks, not because I don't have anything to say, but because having been sucked back into the morass of depression I only so recently managed to climb out of, I have been unable to marshal my thoughts in any productive way. I want to write, but it's all I can do to drag myself through the days. Even the good ones find me so scattered that I can't commit to one subject and start writing. I am overwhelmed by the thought of.. everything. Or anything.

I would like to say that the fact that I'm writing this means I'm feeling better, but this was actually one of the worse days I've had (as is evidenced by the quality of what you're reading). Today is exceeded only by yesterday, when I went to the dentist to find that I have a mouthful of cavities, one possibly requiring a root canal; and diseased gums. The treatment of all these things will cost me more money than I've ever had at one time in my life. Ah yes, did I mentioned that I'm unemployed?

I'm tired. And I don't know what to do. Maybe I should rob a bank? I don't even own a ski mask though. And at barely 5 feet I'm terribly unintimidating. It's hard to be taken seriously when you have to stand on tiptoes to see over the counter when you demand the bagfuls of cash. I would totally not be above flirting with the dentist if I thought it would get me anywhere but my dentist is a woman, and she doesn't seem like she'd be impressed if I tried fluttering my eyelashes at her in the middle of my cleaning.

Any better ideas? I mean, besides a higher dosage of Prozac?

Monday, April 2, 2007

What happens when you Google your own name

I am so famous, there is a web site dedicated to things I have said.

I seem to talk a lot about... basketball..

Jessica Davenport quotes


Is there anything better than baby feet? Well, going to the beach in March is right up there. Or rather, having days in March that make you want to go to the beach. I love California.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Sarah made this spoon for my birthday when I turned 30. She was learning to make violins at the time and carved it out of the wood they use to make violins. Pretty amazing, no? It looks even prettier in person, the wood is beautiful and I love the shape of the spoon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Will the grownups please stand up?

Luke has fun in the bath.

Mommy and Auntie Jess have fun with Luke's bath toys

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Other Jessica

So I at least partly owe my current state of blog-obsession to this woman:

Shortly after I acquired my beloved macbook, and before I knew much about this whole "blog" thing, I was visiting M & S (and, um, their wireless network) and googled something (I don't remember what, but I'm sure it was completely unrelated) and one of the results must have intrigued me because I followed it to the House of Joy. I'm pretty sure that was the last time Sarah saw me for several hours. I think I read the entire archives without pausing to eat or sleep, carrying my laptop around the house when hunger forced me to migrate to the kitchen. It was probably annoying the way I kept laughing hysterically out loud, I'm sorry, Sarah, I couldn't help it.

In addition to being a very good writer (and this is not praise I bestow lightly) she's stinkin' hilarious. The only time she's not funny is when she's making you cry with a serious post. How a person manages to be this wittily coherent on a daily basis while dealing with two young toddlers -horizontal parenting notwithstanding- I do not understand, but I'm glad she does. I remember a time when I was caring for an infant and a three-year-old. My brain shut down completely, and I got to go home and sleep at night! And did I mention that the only reason I'm able to find time to write this blog at all is that I'm [blissfully] unemployed right now? And that single, childless and unemployed, my house is still usually messy?

In addition to hours of Joy (butt-biting Roosters! Gilligan and The Skipper!) I also found links to countless other wonderfully written blogs and found out that there's a whole world of moms who blog (many of them very eloquently) out there. I've also been getting into the craft & design blogs but I have to admit, I'm way more excited when I see a new post (I heart Google Reader a lot) by one of my favorite parenting blogs. Am I weird? I mean, yes, obviously, of course, the answer to that is undoubtedly yes. It's not normal to put a lampshade on your suitcase and post a picture of it on the internet. But am I weirder than I thought? As far as I can tell the entire mommy blog readership demographic is made up of a) people who have children, b) people who are trying desperately to have children, or c) their close friends and relatives. I do not fit into any of these categories.

I started my first nanny job at 21. I've always had this bizarre in-between existence between my single friends and the ones who were married and having children because I was single and carefree like the former, but I spent my days as mired in poo and barf and temper tantrums as the latter group. I warmed bottles and wiped noses and rocked babies and chauffeured teenagers, yet (most of the time, at least) I went home at night to blissful solitude and got undisturbed sleep and weekends off.

I have never worked in an office. I have never worn a suit or dressed up for work. The last time I had a job that involved colleagues was more than ten years ago. I have changed more diapers than probably most parents will. I have rushed a frightened 3-year old with a bead stuck up her nose to the pediatrician's office (did you know they have an actual nose scooping tool for this?) and kept a straight face when she handed me the aforementioned bead for safekeeping. I have sat in a chair for hours by the bed of a child who is afraid to be alone while falling asleep. I have made green-food-colored Mickey-mouse-shaped waffles in an attempt to get a child to eat something other than macaroni and cheese. I am an expert at arranging food into such fascinating shapes that even the pickiest child may be tempted to forget that he doesn't actually like food and eat it. I have made frantic searches for Vitally Important Stuffed Animals at bedtime. I have changed, bathed, comforted, and changed bedding for one vomiting child in the middle of the night, only to have another one start puking as soon as I got the first one back to bed. I have discovered that even being woken up to clean up vomit is not the worst thing in the world, the worst thing is seeing the tiny people you love more than anything in pain and not being able to do anything except change their sheets.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am the oldest of 7 kids who were spaced roughly 3 years apart, so that there was always someone under the age of three in the house from the time I was three myself, until I left for college; but being around kids just seems like a natural state of being for me. Maybe now that I'm trying to leave the world of childcare and do something different I feel the need to be connected, somehow, to that world. I don't know. I do feel, however, like I have been let into the lives of some women I hope I can measure up to if I ever have children of my own. So thanks, Lady Joy and all you other moms who blog. Someday I hope I can be as cool as you. :)

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

So I was poking around in my favorite local used bookstore and I came across this book. The author, one Daniel H. Wilson, is apparently a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. One has to wonder if this was his thesis.

I bought the book partly because it's so cool looking- I'm a sucker for shiny metallic red-edged pages- and partly because I was intrigued by the way the author can't quite seem to decide if he's writing a wildly humorous or deadly serious book. His attitude seems to be something like: "It's silly to be afraid robots will take over the earth, of COURSE it's silly, ha ha ha. That sort of thing only happens in The Matrix or Battlestar Galactica. But.. on the other hand, I've seen what these crazy scientists are doing with robots these days. Hey wait, I AM one of those crazy scientists. Run! Run for your life, the robots are comiinngg!!!"

Therefore interspersed with serious factual information about robots and how to disguise yourself from infrared sensors, one gets helpful advice like this in the How to Spot a Robot Mimicking a Human chapter:

Test Those Social Skills: Humans unconsciously acquire a vast amount of social knowledge, such as how to stand in line, the concept of personal space, and why we should all wear pants to work. if the guy standing on your porch doesn't follow these rules, don't let him inside- whether he is a robot or not.


Follow your nose: Does your new friend smell like a brand new soccer ball?

Thursday, March 22, 2007


You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Hmm, I don't know about this. I guess I would think of myself as more right brained but this test says only slightly. Math is definitely not my strength! I would not have thought reading would be a left-brained thing. I guess for me a love of reading has always stemmed from my creative, intuitive side, so I think of it that context. And dogs?? If you're right brained do you like cats more? I'm definitely a cat rather than dog person but I kind of suspect that someone made that up. After all, it seems to me that generally people who like sports are also dog-lovers, people who like reading and quiet are more likely to have cats. Maybe I'm generalizing too much. What do you think?

Thank you, Mr. cable guy

I have internet access in my actual house!!!! You can't imagine how exciting this is for me. It's been so frustrating to have to consign things-that-need-to-be-done-online to the few hours a week I could snatch at one of the local hot spots. Oh the freedom of being able to go to the bathroom without shutting my computer down and taking it with me because I'm afraid if I leave it alone it won't be there when I get back. Now I can waste countless hours from the comfort of my own home..

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh, my aching.. everything

Yesterday I accidentally went for a ten-mile hike. Friend, I do not go for ten-mile hikes. I occasionally go for gentle walks when I'm not sitting around reading books and eating cookies. Occasionally maybe a three or four mile hike but even that seems a little long, and um, what did you say? It's uphill? Hmm, yeah, maybe I'll just turn around now. Half a mile is pretty good exercise, right?

The fact that I walked all that way up a fairly steep trail (1800+ ft elevation, not that I was counting) and ran down half of it frightened me, to be perfectly honest. It was like an alien had taken over my body. No, I didn't run on purpose!! You know I don't run. If I was being chased by an axe-wielding maniac, I would probably run, but just for kicks? Not so much. It was because I lost track of time and started back way too late, I had to book it to make it back to the car by the time the preserve closed at dark.

What could be wrong with me? Is this a sign of advancing age? Isn't that supposed to work the other way around? Have I been spending so much time around athletic Californians that I've "caught" their athleticism somehow? Horrors! I did find an old bottle of vitamins in the cupboard the other day and took one just for fun. Maybe that had something to do with it? I'd better throw them away just in case. I find they interfere with my absorption of chocolate and snack foods- two of the main staples of my diet- anyway. Today I stayed in bed until 10:30 and then got up only to eat breakfast before getting back in bed with a box of girl scout cookies and a bag of Pirate's Booty to watch a movie. I felt much more like myself after that.

I did make a new discovery through this traumatic experience, and this is it: Hiking in a skirt is really comfortable. When I decided to take a small detour and visit my new favorite hiking spot I was on my way home from meeting a friend. I was wearing a skirt but I'd packed a pair of shorts and my sneakers so that I could change if I needed to. When I got to the preserve and went to change, however, it turned out I'd packed the sneakers and left the shorts behind. So I figured I could hike as well in a skirt (it was a longish, loose skirt made out of light cotton, I wouldn't recommend hiking in a tight denim skirt or a leather mini but I haven't checked this out and I have no future plans to, so I can't say scientifically that they wouldn't work as well, if anyone wants to put this hypothesis to the test and send me results, be my guest) and changed my shoes and set off It turns out that when, y'know, nature calls and there's nowhere to answer it but the bushes by the side of the trail, and you're a girl, it's way easier to accomplish this -at least easier to retain any semblance of modesty- if you're wearing a long loose skirt than if you're wearing shorts or pants. Also, the skirt was much cooler than pants would have been but protected my legs from the sun better than shorts would have. There is the fact that I looked like a dork (especially when running like a maniac trying hold on to my backpack but not lose my footing and slide down the trail) but that's why I like this preserve, apart from the occasional biker, I never see anyone, besides, dorkiness is a fairly natural state of being for me (see Temeraire post on my other blog).

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A shamrock picture in honor of my Irish heritage, consisting mostly of freckles and poor cooking skills. I do like potatoes. :) This picture was taken earlier this week, at Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve when I went hiking in the 85 DEGREE WEATHER. It's March!!!!! I love California. :)

I've been a slacker about posting lately but (hopefully) soon I will have an actual modem in my house!!! And will no longer have to go to great lengths to post here.

It's been a long and frustrating few weeks involving printer difficulties of ridicuous proportions. I am actually on my third printer in one week. I had a nightmare last night that my printer turned into a car and then took over and careened down a busy street with me inside before overturning and bursting into flames. Luckily my brother Zach appeared and used his army guy skills to heroically pull me out of the car and shield me from the ensuing explosion, since I couldn't move. Unfortunately after the danger had passed Zach sat on me -yes, SAT ON, like he'd forgotten I was his sister and thought I was just convenient sidewalk padding- while calling for help. I was still incapable of speaking or moving so I couldn't ask him politely to move his heiney and had to suffer being sat on, as well as almost killed by my stupid printer. He did save my life though, (brother, not printer) so I wasn't too upset.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Be forewarned

The Smell of Catsup (Ketchup?) turns me into a ravening saber-toothed French fry vampire.

Oh, the Ironing!

I have a confession... I hate the word blog.

Blogging, blogista, blogger; blog, blah, blech. I use these terms because they're the accepted lingo but I can't stand the way the words look and sound and I wince slightly, inwardly, every time I hear myself say them. I suppose I could tell people that I'm keeping an online journal or some such thing, but that just seems lame.

Some words I do like:

Etiology -- - the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition- I know, I know. I'm not sure why, I just like it. I am fascinated by medical terms. I love case reading case histories and medical narrative. I read practically everything in my old library's medical section. Neurologist Oliver Sacks is one of my favorite writers. However I have a deep and long-standing horror of all things medical when they apply to me personally.For about 10 years when I didn't even go for physicals because I hated having anything to do with doctors so much. I used to practically hyperventilate when I had to get blood taken (blood itself doesn't bother me, I've worked with kids for too long to get worked up about various icky bodily fluids, it's the needles I have issues with) or enter a hospital to visit someone. I've gotten a lot better but I still don't like going to the doctor.

Moss -- -a small flowerless green plant that lacks true roots, growing in low carpets or rounded cushions in damp habitats- I love moss. I like the way the word looks and sounds. I even love its definition. I want to live in the woods with low carpets of moss and rounded mossy cushions. I would drink dew from buttercups and eat acorn stew. Though, come to think of it, I tasted an acorn once, when I was a kid and it tasted really bad. Maybe I'll stick to indoor living and just make forays to the woods to visit the moss.

Conifer -- -Plants bearing their seeds in cones or modified cone-like structures.- These plants are often called evergreens, although this is not always the case. See moss

Pediatric -- I like saying Pediatric, it's just fun to say. I don't care so much about the way it looks, but I like the way it sounds.

Twilight, glint, glimmering, lambent -- I love light. I love how the light changes throughout the day. I love early morning light the best, though I confess I don't see it very often.Sometimes when the sun is at a particular angle when setting, everything is backlit against the darkening sky. Even if the scenery is just the ordinary trees and buildings I see every day on my drive home everything looks hauntingly beautiful, like the whole world has been washed in gold. I love that.

I dreamed about light years ago. In the dream, I knew I was in heaven, I also knew I was dreaming. It wasn't some airy-fairy place with angels floating around with harps. The dream took place in the neighborhood I was living in and the one I grew up in, all familiar places, but they were different. It was as if my previous experience of these places had actually been stage sets- imperfect copies of the real thing- and in the dream I experienced the originals and they were flawless.

The light in the dream changed several times with the setting, from warm indoor light to glimmers of fire in the darkness, to morning light and then full day. What bound them together was that each time the light was perfect. I can't put it into words any more clearly because there are no words to describe a level above what we are limited to experiencing as perfection. It was like nothing I've ever seen while awake. A scientist would say that the dream was a combination of the sunrise shining through my east facing window while I slept and random synapses firing in my brain. I wouldn't argue that this is technically true, but I think it's only one aspect of the truth. Someday I'm going to see that light again, and that time I won't have to wake up.

Texture -- -From the Latin, Textura- Sounds like it feels and looks. makes me think of textured cloth or paper.

Variant -- Just a good word

All right, I've put it off long enough, I've got to go research printers before they kick me out of the coffee shop for spending $2.50 on an eclair and then spending three hours taking up a chair and using the free wifi. One of my new favorite words: modem. -Something that allows Jess to access the internet from the comfort of her own home if she can ever get through to the &%#@! cable company whose workers (I'm pretty sure anyway) have bets going on how long suckers who call looking for modems will stay on hold before giving up.-

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Strange foreign customs

So apparently in Southern California a popular thing to do if you own a car dealership is dressing up female mannequins in chic clothes and posing them around the lot as if they are a) checking out the cars for sale, or b) hailing a cab? Or at least I'm assuming that's what the blonde woman is doing. Maybe she's waving to the passing motorists? Or calling for help? ("Please, take me away from this creepy place, those people standing around in the parking lot are NOT REAL!!")

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Wall of gum

Wall of bubblegum in San Luis Obispo, gross yet interesting.

No, I did not add to it.