Monday, December 22, 2008

Letter to Santa

Posted as part of Painted Maypole's Monday Mission

Dear Santa,

If I could have the gift of being able to be anywhere, instantly, this Christmas, I'd ask to be in New England, even if just for a moment. I want to see my niece and nephews. I want to hug my kids, all of the beautiful babies- most now taller than me- that I've cared for over the years, who hold little pieces of my heart. I want to smush Luke in a bear hug and hear him say, "Auntie Jess!" I want to see Bailey crawling and laughing. I want to hold Adam and Brady close and shield them from the sorrow and upheaval that their short lives have already witnessed. I want to marvel at how Allie and Isabelle, the little girls who were the first I cared for with the title of "nanny" have become beautiful young women, teenagers, in what seems like the blink of an eye. I want to laugh with Michal and Eliana over the silly pictures we took the last time I was in Boston. I want to hear Danielle's infectious giggle and Will's serious voice explaining technical sailing terms with all the confidence and poise of an old salt, even though he's only 11. I want to hug my mom and dad, and my brothers Sean and Daniel and my sisters Katie and Lib. My sister Julie, who is even farther away in Wales. I yearn for the comfort and safety of knowing I am loved. 

But as far as I know, there's not enough room to carry a Star Trek transporter on your sleigh. And it's too late for Milky the Cow. So instead I'll just say thank you for the gifts I already have. For my brother, Zach, who lives just on the other side of El Camino Real -the Way of Kings- and cares for me so well. For the friends who have surrounded me this difficult Christmas season and given me happy memories of gathering around a fireplace together, laughing, instead of sitting at home, alone and feeling sorry for myself.  Thank you for the comfort and safety of knowing that I am loved. 

-Jessica
p.s. I'm sorry there won't be any cookies this year. I'm truly sorry. I ate all of the dough. It's been one of those weeks, y'know?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Miss Bossy Pants

I may have a tiny little bit of a control issue. I like to be in charge. It just feels natural to me; as the oldest sister, my job was to corral the little ones. And there were always little ones. A new sibling every three years (just like Christmas! Only with stinky diapers instead of toys) until I was out of the house* pretty much cemented my role as second-in-maternal-command. 

*Katie, the youngest, was only three when I went to college.

Sometimes I failed in the boss-lady role, like the time when my parents went away and left me babysitting for the weekend and 3 or 4 yr-old Daniel escaped my clutches and went running naked through the front yard; shocking, but not surprising the neighbors, who expected nothing less from my family at that point. Ten or eleven years later, I started a fight with a slightly larger Daniel, and he punched me in the nose and threw an electric beater at my head (no, I don't know either, I guess he couldn't find the blender). I was a crappy big sister a lot of the time, but that's a subject for another time. The point is that (for a while anyway) I was bigger and bossier than any of my siblings and I found comfort and identity in being the one who held things together and told people what to do. I may be quiet and subdued in certain situations, but when I feel the need to lead, watch out. (My sister Julie is swearing at the computer right now- or she would be if she read this blog- I was a meanie big sister to her and it still drives her crazy at family reunions when I take charge).

I feel anxious and vulnerable if I'm not in control and I often feel as if my whole adult life has been an excercise in learning to let go and relax, and trust that God is going to take care of me. He always has. But it's still a lesson I need pounded into my head over and over... and over. Welcome to round three hundred and eighty-two. Hold on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Haiku

Happy holidays!
Please let them be over soon,
I can't take much more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Accidentally Flushed My Christmas Spirit Down the Toilet

Happy holidays, rah rah rah. Blah. I'm not really feeling it this week. Maybe tomorrow I'll be feeling it.

Today: Meh.

Yesterday: NONONONO

But tomorrow is my last day of work for a while and that means rejoice, rejoice, for I can work on filling my Etsy shop up again!!!!! I seem to have developed a teeny tiny Michael's addiction. The store, not the boy. Though, let's face it, I'm hopelessly addicted to the boy too. I don't really want to be cured. He smells so good and he gives great hugs and he puts up with me when I'm all, "My life is oooover, I don't want to go to work tomorrow or ever again. And your family hates me and everybody hates me, and I hate me tooooo!!!" And then he makes me laugh, sometimes against my will.

In any case, the next few weeks look to be a veritable whirlwind of
trying to justify the 3 bazillion new supplies I've bought at Michael's this season.*
! crafting incessantly and taking pictures and uploading items one by bloody one for hours on Etsy.

Today I moved 8oo lbs of books. Not all at once. At least it felt like 800 lbs. I have this wacky new job where I run somebody else's errands. And it's great because it turns out getting paid to run somebody else's errands is way better than running my own for free!!! So today I took took 200+ books, and moved them off of shelves, and replaced them with (probably over) 200 more and then brought 150 of the former to Goodwill. I get my muscles from booklifting thank you very much. And yes, I do have muscles. Just not the showy, in-your-face kind that you can see with the naked eye. Mine are subtle, because I am a delicate flower. So there.

*One for every 40% off coupon and- it's like a miracle!- when you check out they give you another one, so it's like you have to go back the next day! After all, if God hadn't wanted me to develop a close relationship with the craft store, He wouldn't have brought me (through a long and hopelessly convoluted series of moves and events) to this house within walking distance of one. Right? Right???

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Theological Interpretations

Recently observed in the 1st grade Sunday school room wall mural depicting the Garden of Eden: 

The first people God made were named Evelyn and Lillian. (is that like Adam and Steve?)

The first animal was a hose. (I think there was supposed to be an "r." in there somewhere)

I highly recommend spending time with six-year-olds. They're an endless source of entertainment.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What Do You Mean You Don't Have Time to Write Anything Substantial?!?

New food obsession: Sesame sticks from Trader Joe's

New favorite USPS feature: Priority Mail

New favorite crafting medium: Sculpey Ultra Light

New shocking revelation: People are actually willing to buy stuff I've made with mah own two hands!

New personal realization: I'm a judgmental twerp who judges people who I think are judging other people. Judgy Judgmental Judger Judgerer. Working on that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Duh

I swear at one point I figured out how to make a pretty little button for my blog featuring the Etsy store, but doggone it if I can't remember how now. I miss my brain. Have you seen it? 

Until I figure out how to obtain the code again, let this thought comfort you: misplacing some html is way better than misplacing a $6000 check that you were supposed to deposit for your boss. Not that I did that. Well I may have, but only briefly. We were both very relieved when it was found.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Introducing:

WunderStudio!!!



Please click over and check things out. Let me know what you think!

Grand Opening!!!!



Yes, it's finally happening. After a day and night of laboriously uploading items to the Etsy website (I'm wondering if they make it time-consuming on purpose to keep people from listing large quantities of non-handmade items?) I still have more to put up, but there's enough there that I'm opening up at 4pm PST today and here's the exciting part... The first customer will get a free gift (a glass ornament) with his or her purchase! I'll also pick several random winners from the first week's purchasers to receive a a free gift. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stuff and Nonsense

Some recent conversations: 

Unidentified person: Nice haircut, Zach, you must be beating the girls off with a stick!

Confirmed bachelor Zach: Naw, I just beat them off with my awesome personality.



4 yr old Kaitlyn: I can speak fwee languages!

Jess: Really, which ones!?

Kaitlyn: Russian, English.... and American!!!


I baby sat at church Friday for a quarterly event that lets parents who teach Sunday School have a kid-free night to thank them. Parents drop their kids off and go out to dinner or run errands (or, at this time of year- Christmas shop). 

Trapped in a roomful of variously aged children (including the aforementioned Kaitlyn), I let myself be persuaded to attend a picnic, featuring an incredibly random assortment of plastic food and a tiny table. Unfortunately, faced with the opportunity to practice her medicinal skills on a real live adult guinea pig, the leader of the pack declared that I was sick and needed medical attention. I was reluctantly persuaded to recline on a giant stuffed dog and thus began my most frightening medical experience to date. I was soon surrounded by a horde of children who favorite refrain was, "This is going to hurt." I was poked and prodded by a wide variety of extremely suspicious-looking surgical implements. My neck was put through what I feel was a completely unnecessary procedure involving an eggbeater and a handheld drill. All I got in recovery was a pretend band-aid and a plastic tomato. In addition, although my surgeons claimed that the medicinal use of butter on post-surgical wounds was widely accepted in traditional medicine, I had my doubts. 

Although I appreciated the constant supply of plastic ice cream sundaes that this establishment obviously felt to be critical to recovery, I drew the line when I heard someone behind me whisper, "Let's put stuff in her hair!" Last I heard as I ran out of the room, the children were trying to persuade one of their own to take my place. Unfortunately for them, only a grownup would be dumb enough to volunteer.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Funny or Die

Obnoxious commentary removed by penitent author. Yeah, I was being a judgmental twerp, so what?


See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photo Session

Josh of The Photographic Awesomeness came over today and took a bunch of pictures for the shop. I'm always amazed at how much work everything is. Not that I did much besides stand around with a confused expression in my face and provide random items needed for backdrops. What, you need a 40 foot length of blue velvet? I have that right here *whips out curtain that has been living in a box for three years*! Finally, my tendency towards pack-ratishness has paid off. Take that, Libby! Now if only I had all those glass jars... but back to the point, work. I somehow always assume everything will be quick and simple. For instance, opening an Etsy shop? Easy peasy! I think I fast-forward through all of the details involved and arrive, mentally, at this place where the job is already done before I've even started. Then when I actually start working I quickly get overwhelmed by details.

My point- I think I had one... yes- was that it took us hours to take all those pictures. Josh is such a trooper and worked through what appeared to be the early stages of the flu. I always think, "Eh, whip out the camera, take a few shots and yer done." But it's actually way more complicated if you're doing it right. Who knew? they came out beautifully though. And I think I can announce with cautious optimism, that I will be able to get the shop up and running this weekend. Yay! I'm going to do a giveaway & possibly other fun stuff (any ideas?) for the grand opening so tell your friends.
funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Milky the Cow *or* My Neglected Childhood

In the fading halcyon days of 1978, there was a wonderful new item on the pre-Christmas toy market that I absolutely had to have. Milky the Cow was a plastic cow that you could actually feed water to and subsequently milk (note: Milky did not produce actual milk but came with tablets that turned the water into some sort of whitish liquid that was allegedly non-toxic but probably caused cancer in laboratory mice).

You may have guessed how this story ends.. I didn't get Milky the Cow for Christmas. I don't remember any of this- obviously it was such a traumatic experience that I have repressed the painful memories- but I'm sure I was devastated on Christmas morning to find the living room devoid of the one thing my heart was fixed on. I probably cried for days.

Either that or I forgot about Milky the Cow before Christmas even arrived and any lingering vestiges of bovine longing were wiped out the moment my greedy little eyes fell on the pile of presents under the Christmas tree.

For years, every time I alluded to the fact of my parents' poor child-raising skills warping my young mind and ruining my future life, my mom would stage a mock breakdown and "confess" that she had actually bought me the Milky the Cow I so desperately pined for that Christmas, hidden it away.. and had then reverted to her original opinion that Milky the Cow was the stupidest toy ever invented.

She decided then and there that she was not going to spend money on a creepy toy that would probably poison her child. Having come to this conclusion, she marched right back to the store and returned MY Milky the Cow before I ever saw it! My mother would profusely mock-apologize while lamenting that I would never be emotionally healthy, all because of her tragic mistake in returning Milky the Cow. I did not appreciate the intense humor my parents seemed to find in this display.

In any case, Milky the Cow became a shorthand in our family for parental blame. Bad grades in school? It's probably because you never got Milky the Cow. Obviously if my parents loved me they would have given me one. In the brief time this stellar toy was on the market (I believe about 1 (one) Christmas season would do it) it earned a place in family lore forever.

Fortunately, Mom, I have found a way for you to make things right and redeem yourself as a mother. How often do you get that kind of chance for only $12.99? I know what I want this Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving

Zach and one of his roommates (my unofficial little brother, Mabi) hosted Thanksgiving yesterday at their house. A delightfully random sprinkling of fun people who don't have family in the area came. We all brought food and ate and talked and laughed and sat around soaking up the warmth from the fire until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

I missed the rest of my family, especially since times are hard for some of them right now and I hate that I'm far away and can't help. But I'm really grateful for Zach's presence and it's also a great thing to have such a great "family" here in my church community. I love that they instantly and wholeheartedly embraced my brother (Zach would say it's natural because he's so awesome. He's so modest, that boy :).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bought a Bed!!

Michael and I jumped on a bunch of mattresses tonight and picked out a super comfy one for his new place. Fun! I've never actually purchased a brand new bed before. I feel like such a grownup. Now he just needs a dining room table so we don't have to sit on the floor to eat.

I'm going to make a highly experimental dessert for Thanksgiving at Zach's tomorrow. All I know so far is that it's going to consist of tart apples, that flaky layered pastry stuff, and sugarcinnamonnutmeg. I figure you can't possibly go wrong with those ingredients. I also bought an intruiging lemon at the local produce store the other day and I can't wait to try it with aforementioned ingredients. It's a sweet lemon. Yeah, me neither; but this guy in the store was raving about them and how he's never been able to find them anywhere else. According to him it's not a "sweeter" lemon, it's actually sweet. We'll see!

I've been working more this week and making a little money, which is never a bad thing (although at this point it just means that Michael is not going to be totally supporting me this month). The problem is, I can't make any progress on the Etsy shop when I'm working all the time. Grrr. It's frustrating because I've got so much fun stuff, I just need a few free days to work on the logistics of getting it up and out there. Two separate Thanksgivings with my & Michael's families make it a busy holiday weekend, but hopefully I can get some stuff done. I'm really trying to get the shop open before Sunday. My awesome friend Christy bravely volunteered to be my business partner and take care of all the stuff I'm bad at, but she already has a job that pays her actual money, so I'm thinking she might be a little preoccupied with, y'know, real work. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cloudy California

I am cold and grumpy. California has not been sunny for several days and I can't seem to stay warm or motivate myself to do anything useful after work. I think I have light-absorption issues. I get depressed when I don't see the sun for more than a day. What do they call that; SADD? Yeah, that's me.

Michael & I are making an Ikea run tonight (postponed from Sunday) to get some useful stuff like furniture. He was inordinately pleased and surprised that I did his laundy even though I'd told him I was going to- the new apt complex doesn't have in-unit washer/dryers, unfortunately. :P I'm hoping the bright flourescents and shiny cheap furnishings will perk me up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Either that or Early-Onset Dementia

I am voluntarily doing a boy's laundry.

It must be love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finally, someone is moving who is not me!!!!

Michael has a groovy new pad! He moved yesterday into a great apartment about a mile & a half from me. I'm pretty sure he did it because he couldn't bear the distance that he lived from me. It was all of 15 minutes by car so you can understand how a besotted young man would pine away with such a geographical gulf between himself and his One. True. Love.

Anyway, he didn't come right out and say it, but I'm fairly sure all that muttering about moving in the opposite direction, or maybe to a different state and not giving me the address, was just Manly Bluster, designed to cover up the fact that he couldn't live without me. I'm completely confident that soon he is going to give me a key and tell me what apartment number he's in.

Okay, I do have a key. :) I helped* him move in yesterday and last night we made an endless a delightful trip to Target to procure important things like a toaster (no bread was purchased, however so I don't know what he's doing with it, toasting his socks, perhaps?) and argue over whether anyone could possibly do anything with a microwave that would justify rejecting a used model on the grounds that, "You never know where it's been."

Today, off to Ikea, the kingdom of cheap furniture and Swedish meatballs, where I plan to bounce on all the mattresses and test out ever single comfy chair. And yes, I do feel somewhat better today. Although I would advise against getting up at 6:15, having hot chocolate and sugary cereal, and then going back to bed at 8. My heartburn has heartburn.

*If by helped, one means "made witty observations, held the door open while he and his dad carried stuff through it, and brought two boxes of Jell-o to christen the cupboards with because Michael bought them for me when I was sick and later delighted in telling me about how Jell-o is made from horse's hooves and glue and now I will never eat it again."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Suck

It's that time of the month again. sigh. Excuse me while I avoid contact with the outside world for a week in order to ensure the outside world's continued survival.

Why does everything have to be so hard? Am I just temporarily seeing the world through PMS-colored glasses? Because right now everything just seems to suck. Everything.

Herman, Is that you?? Then who am I sitting on?

funny-dog-pictures-with-captions-wtf-mom
see more puppies

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Miss Little Freckle-Face Redhead

That's how my mechanic just referred to me. Sigh

Peach Pit Pets

I just finished reading a book that heavily featured peach stones and peach trees. The peach parts seemed to indicate some sort of romantical nonsense in this sappy tale. Fer instance; the women in the small north shore town had been rumored to have worn peach stones around their necks in centuries past in hopes that this would help them find their one true love.

The story itself was okay. Sweet, but fairly predictable, it still wasn't a bad lightweight read for a cloudy headache day. Not that the headache itself was cloudy. The Stabbing Eyeball Pain tm was as sharp as ever, but the cloudy gray skies just added to my need to crawl back under the covers and try to sleep it away. When the pain abated, I read a little peachpit romance, and felt better.

My point though, is that the whole idea of wearing peach pits around one's neck for an entire summer brought back memories of my childhood, and the year of the Peach Pit Pets. Libby may back me up on this- we were strange children. It was sometime during elementary school and involved Lib, who is 3 years younger than me, our neighbor and best bud Jen, who falls right between us in age, and moi at... maybe 10 or 11?

For some reason, after eating peaches in the backyard one day we collectively decided to build habitats and keep our peach pits as "pets." I mentioned that we were weird, yeh? It was great fun and our parents' were thrilled that we'd found "pets" that required absolutely no effort on their parts. We spent hours arranging little bits of grass for the PP's beds, etc, in their little shoe box kingdoms.

The point of this story is that I don't believe Alice Hoffman ever kept a Peach Pit Pet, because if she had, she would not have come up with that ridiculous legend about women wearing peach pits on necklaces all summer long, and I'll tell you why. After a short time of bliss, the PPP dream shattered, not all at once, but with a tiny hint of something...foul. Like a pet that hasn't been bathed. Or like a pet who has died and been left out in the sun to decompose. Probably somewhere in between those two, actually. Our pets were rotting from the inside out and had to be abandoned finally to the compost heap, their fated destination, it seemed. Oh, how we mourned.

Later we would move on to hamsters, but that's another story...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Etsy



It's coming along, I swear. Josh is waiting for me to get my act together so he can come and take more awesome pictures of stuff, because mine are so clearly not awesome.

These are pages from a Cavallini & Co calendar that I made into stationary. You just write on the inside and fold it up, one piece mail!

Good Idea

Scientific Update

Tiny, long-lost primate rediscovered in Indonesia

And then the president of the Pygmy Tarsiers sent a txt to the Association of Scientists Who Trap Animals and Put Radio Collars on Them that had several choice description of the scientists' mothers and this phrase, "Why do u thnk we've been hiding from u for the last 8 decades, jerks?"

Yummy!

poo
more the engrish!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

funny-dog-pictures-with-captions-i-kill-you
see more puppies

The Winterbottoms' Thanksgiving Prayer

Dear Lord, we thank You fer the flood in April. We lost two cows and a chicken but at least it put out the barn fire and allowed Jed to boat to school for a week when his leg was botherin' him anyway. On the subject o' Jed's legs, we're right thankful that the gangrene only took one but t'other one is still lookin' a mite green and we don't want to bother you or nothin, but perhaps You could save us the doctor's fees and just let this one fall off on its own? We're a mite short this month on account o' havin' to pay to get Granny bailed outta pokey again.

See, she were causin' a ruckus in town what with stripping down to her skivvies and tryin' to dance on the bar at McKeevers Saloon. She don't mean to offend Lord, she just gets a bit confused sometimes, like that one time she streaked through the church nekkid on Easter Morn' yelling "Jesus Loves Me This I Know" at the top of her lungs. We hope You understand that she meant no disrespect. And it surely weren't as if anything lascivious were happening in your house on account o' Granny bein' such a withered old bag o' bones nobody in their right mind would find her scrawny behind attractive at this stage in her life, though as she does tell it was quite a different story back when she were a young girl. We have had to keep the younger children away from Granny as we were afeared she might corrupt their innocent young minds with her stories of the olden days.

Dear Gracious Lord, we would also like to thank you fer the fire that burned half the barn b'fore the flood put it out, as it killed many of the locusts that were devourin' the corn stored within. Course it also burned the corn up to a crisp and we all smelled like a summer corn roast for nigh' on a week, but we are still thankful because we know that Thine providence will provide even after we eat these last three turnips for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thank you also for Ma's bein' filled with Your Holy Spirit. She don't get much cookin' or cleanin' done anymore, but she sure does seem happier. She's out in the side yard, rollin' around in a barrel right now. We tried to get her to come and share a Thanksgiving meal with us but she threw clods o' dirt at us so we left her alone. We figure that means more turnip fer the rest of us anyway.

We thank You especially fer Pa's amazing recovery from pleurisy. We thought fer sure he was a goner and we had already sent Aurthur to town to bring back the doc so's we could get a signed statement, and cash in that insurance policy Aunt Madge bought Pa for his 50th birthday. We were sure relieved when he pulled through even though the hundert dollars from that policy would have allowed us to eat for another month and feed the cow that survived the flood. And on the subject o' Bessy, we're thankful that she didn't eat all of the Johnsons' cabbage when she escaped, just half. They were kind enough to let our Jed make restitution by plowin' their back forty. It might take him a while considerin' the situation with his leg, but he's a determined boy and we know he will get it done before the deadline the Johnsons have imposed and they will not have to call the sheriff.

In conclusion, dear Lord, please bless these three paltry turnips and... sorry Lord, we gotta wrap this up short on account o' Granny once again running buck nekkid through the barnyard, not that this is usually a cause for alarm but she seems to have stolen Ma's barrel and Ma is looking fit to be tied. We gotta get out there and separate those two b'fore they get in 'nother catfight like the one last year when Granny bit Ma's ear so hard it got infected real bad and needed those fancy medicines from town.

Amen

This would be funny no matter who was sitting in Bush's chair

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Meh

I got nothin'. If you (Lisa) want an actual post, comment or email me a topic and I'll see what I can do.

[Do you like how I turned that right back around and put the onus of coming up with ideas on the reader?!? I might be a genius, or a person whose blog doesn't get read by anyone. Only time will tell.]

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I was tired this afternoon, so I laid down for a little rest and suddenly I was awoken from a bizarre dream by horrible yowlings and screamings outside my window. It was dark, and I was very confused. It took me awhile, but I finally came to the conclusion that 1) There was a catfight in the front yard. 2) It was not the middle of the night, and 3) I had been asleep for several hours. Oops.

Jury's still out on whether our resident cat won the fight or not. There's a fair amount of fur on the front lawn, but much of it seems to be his. Poor Oscar!

So, since I'm still not fully awake, that was meant to be an excuse for not writing anything coherent today. Instead, please enjoy this picture (for purely illustrative purposes) of Libby sleeping in the car. She loves it when I do this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Digs

I decided to start a new blog since my recent need to wrestle with deep theological issues that inspire controversy seems to be conflicting with my equally strong compulsion to make cute pink sparkly things and sell them online added my deep desire to be randomly ridiculous and completely. not. serious.

So this here's the place where I'll be posting the serious stuff. Breathe a sigh of relief, readers-all-except-Lisa, you don't have to listen to my rantings anymore! Unless you want to. Until/unless I can figure out how to move an entire post (including comments) over here I'll just be linking to the last few over here.

For Katie

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Friday, November 14, 2008

song chart memes
more music charts

Psst, Hey You.... Yeah You

I know there are more of you reading than there are commenting. And I'd be willing to think that at least a few of you are not commenting because you disagree with me. If you see something here you think is wrong, challenge me on it!! Please!? I can take it. :) Post anonymously, if you'd rather not announce your identity, I have no problem with anonymity as long as you're not mean.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thinking About Stuff: Part 1

Something that's been kicking around in my brain lately: How has the church gotten so off track in the way we treat (and thus appear to) the rest of the world? It's a big topic so I'm going to start this as a series and take it in bits and pieces. I'd really like feedback on this subject so if you disagree with anything I say, please comment and tell me! I'd really like to hear the opinions of my non-Christian readers too. ;) Maybe we can start a dialogue here where people actually listen to what others have to say. Wouldn't that be something new and exciting!

Also, I know I'm generalizing here. I'm not trying to say there isn't anyone doing what they should be in the church, just commenting on what I see on a large scale.

"Why does everyone hate us?"


In my experience, many Christians seem so isolated in a world of church events & Christian social circles that they're able to convince themselves that non-Christians, as a whole, seem to hate them because the unbelievers are convicted by the Christians' holiness and righteous living. Gack.

There's little reaching out on the part of the church to those outside of it. Oh we pretend to reach out: "Take this tract and we'll give your kid Halloween candy!"

"Come to youth group and we'll let you roller skate in the rec room!"

"Come in, look like us, and we'll accept you!"

But the truth is that very rarely is an offer of help put forth without strings attached. We serve so that others may be won to our cause, not out of love. Can you imagine a church program based on showing love to the homosexual community, not with the intention of "curing" gays or making them into model Christians, just loving them? This has nothing to do with the argument over whether homosexuality is a choice or a biological imperative. It has nothing to do with whether living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin, or whether it's healthy or rewarding to society. Do not let these issues interfere with what should be a simple question. Are we or are we not called to love all people? And are we only called to love them if and after they repent, or is the state of another's heart the province of God alone?

We've lost the central point of Christ's message.

Anyone?....Anyone?...Bueller?

"Hi little girl, Is your Mommy home?

It Happened Again!

I Blame the Happy Bunny Shirt. It was one of those serendipitous goodwill finds. People seem to think it's appropriate for me, somehow. Except for Zach, who says, "Jess, anyone who knows you well suspects you."

Sneak Preview

I've been having so much fun creating the last few weeks that I'm almost afraid to hope that I might be able to at least partially support myself this way some day. I have a million different projects going on at once- magnets, cards, journals, albums, Christmas ornaments & more... I'm practically giddy getting to use all of these great craft materials I've collected and saved (and lugged around the country) for years.







Here's a peek at the new Etsy shop. Glass cabochon magnets made with various bits of recycled packaging, scrap paper, and old Christmas cards. :) I'm working on getting more images uploaded and I should be having the (virtual) grand opening by Saturday at the latest. Stay tuned!!
engrish, yings, take, out, food
more the engrish!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Snuggleworks

Speaking of Etsy shops, have I mentioned that my awesomely artistic sister Libby has one??

I've been meaning to put up a link for, oh... forever and never remembered when I was actually near a computer. Here's Lib's Etsy store Snuggleworks featuring some of the cutest baby stuff ev-ah. Some of it modeled by my niece, who is of course, the cutest, chubbiest baby who's ever lived. But don't take my word for it..

Happy Veterans Day

Hug a veteran today. I'm headed over to Zach's to do so. If you're not lucky enough to have your own persunel veteran like me, go look for one. They are everywhere, silently blending in to the background of a country they were willing to lay down their lives for. However you feel about war and the necessity of it, you have to respect these men and women who take large risks for little pay and less thanks.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures
fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Well Put

This gets at a lot of my feelings about the current state of the economy and the world in general. I give to you- Black Hockey Jesus and The Wind in his Vagina. Don't think too hard about it, just click over and read. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reading at Present

>>I just finished Alice Hoffman's Skylight Confessions (thanks, Sandra!). It's the first work of fiction I've started in a while that I didn't put down halfway through in a fit of disgust. I really enjoyed it, though I think I tend to mix Hoffman up with Alice Walker, which always leaves me bit confused at first when reading either of their books'.

The story is sad but hopeful. It took me a few chapters to really get into it but when I did I remembered that feeling of reading a good novel and hating to put it down because I need to find out what happens!

>>Also reading- Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright. It's a bit weighty and I can't figure out if Wright (who is obviously a person of considerable brilliance) isn't as good a writer as he is a thinker, or if I'm just too dumb to concentrate on his wording for more than five minutes at a time. Probably the latter. Anyway, this book is an argument against the typical Christian view of death and the afterlife. Wright argues that an eventual physical resurrection on a renewed earth, rather than immediate trip to an otherworldly "heaven" is what the early church placed their hopes in. His point is that the way Christians view their place in the world has been deeply affected by the creeping-in of ideas inherent to gnosticism and Platonic thinking. It's quite fascinating, but slow going. I have a feeling I'm going to need to take notes if I'm going to get what I want to out of it. One drawback of library books, of course, is that one is not allowed write in them (though my long career as a reader of library books as shown me that certain people will not let this stop them).

>>Monkey Girl by Edward Humes This will probably be even more controversial than the above book among many of my readers and social circle. It's about the battle over the teaching of evolution and/or "intelligent design" (Oh, yes I did*) in public schools. Several pages in, I'm already cringing at the words uttered by many of the Christians portrayed in the book. I'm not saying that all Christians suck, or that we evolved randomly from single-celled organisms and there's no such thing as a God who creates. It just seems a little silly to me to assume that we know anything at all about how God made the world when all we have is a brief, vague and possibly non-literal** story to support the vast framework of "knowledge" that the church has built into an integral part of the gospel. Look back in history at any time the church has stubbornly opposed scientific evidence because the scientists who put it forth did not believe and tried to use the evidence as proof that God does not exist. Should we still be burning people at the stake for saying the earth is round? God does not need us to protect His reputation.

*I put ID in quotes because don't trust the movement behind ID., As with so many other movements the church has backed and funded, the facts in this viewpoint are based not on seeking actual truth, but on seeking to prove "the other side" wrong. This is not to say that I don't believe that God is intelligent, or that he designed us; I do.

**Saying that the creation myth [Myth is a framework that a society bases its identity and values on, it is not by definition something that is not true. On the contrary, C.S. Lewis postulated that mythology is a way God uses to explain deeper truths that human beings can only grasp through the use of metaphor and story, rather than outright facts.] may not be literal does not mean that I think the Bible is a collection of nice stories that aren't really true in a "this actually happened" sort of way. But why are we so insistent that the days described in Genesis are literal 24 hour units as opposed to ages (the Hebrew translation for the word used is one that can also mean, "day" as in, "In King David's day.."). When you step back from the fear that our "right to teach Christian values" in public schools is being threatened and look critically at the issue, what seems more like God's style: Bang, whiz, zap***, and there's the earth & all of its inhabitants? Or a deliberate and careful crafting over what seems to us like an interminably long time? He's in the still small voice, remember, not the earthquake.

It's also false thinking that accepting any part of evolutionary theory or evidence is to call into question the sovereignty of God. I can maintain that God could create the earth in a week if He wanted to without insisting that He did.

***Okay, just to prove that I'm showing some restraint in my irreverent rantings, I was tempted to write, "Wham, bam, thank you Ma'am." but I thought that might be pushing it a leetle too far for some readers. :0)

Comments?

Discussion?

Bring it on! Please.

Catplay

This roly-poly guy's stripes reminds me of much-missed Joey. :(



Although it's undoubtedly true that Sir Joseph Conrad would have been far too dignified to engage in this sort of ridiculous behavior.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Report

So, Armenian food: good. Jess like.

Also, the Armenian dancing and music was beautiful and I'd love to see more of it. Now my interest has been piqued and I need to start reading about Armenian culture.

After getting home to Michael & A's place there was a fascinating discussion about politics, religion, and life. So much for getting to bed early. This discussion was one that I've been having variations of really often lately and I'm dying to talk about a lot of this stuff here but I just haven't been able to parse things thoroughly enough to write coherently about them. I need to do some more reading first. Just wait though, there will be controversy, I promise you. ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Halloween


Michael & I both worked at our church's Harvest Festival on Halloween. I made no advance preparations so I was forced to go with my fallback costume- little kid w/pigtails. And freckles. Michael found it amusing that I drew 8 freckles on when I already have 273,409 natural ones, but it made the costume, I tell you! Besides, he didn't dress up at all so he can't talk. Though in this picture he's doing his best brain-eating zombie imitation. Halp!

SF Adventures

I'm going to San Fransisco to eat Armenian food tonight with Michael's housemate and our good friend A. A's family is Armenian and they moved here (from Lebanon) when he was a baby.

I'm excited to experience desserts of a different culture (DDC). I'm also psyched to spend some time with A and his girlfriend, D. So nice of Michael to live with a guy who's dating a great friend of mine!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pretend I Posted This Yesterday

Oh look at the date, it's November 7th. Really!

Happy Birthday Lizard-Breath!! Love ya.

So, Snarky Clark, here's some "real writing": If you send me money so I can blog for a living I promise I will stop posting lolcats, until then, Chica, some of us have to hold down a day job and do not always have time for daily brilliance via: the blog. (Just teasing, L, I do appreciate you keeping me on my toes! ;)

Okay, the truth is I'm a lazy bastard. But hey, I have a good reason! I'm getting ready to (drum roll please) open an Etsy shop. Yay!! I've been wanting to do this for years and last night my awesome friend Josh-of-the mad-pictcher-takin-skillz came over and took some great shots of the few things I have managed to get ready to go up on the site. I'll be working on it for the next few days and I'll, of course, have an announcement here as soon as it's ready for customers.

I'm also working on a library article that'll hopefully be done this week. I get to interview a librarian. Woot!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mailbox 2004- part 2

Another email exchange between the dynamic duo of awesomeness and my not-so-bad self. The first one's from me and Warwick is the town in which I lived at the time.

Gentle Lady,

Henceforth, wherefore art thou arriving in the duchy of Warwick? Our royal self is greatly anticipating your visit.

Lady S, that book you lent us was very good indeed though before it was finished I did have cause to remember that you told me it all turned out okay in the end, and I may not have believed it at the time.

Q J

My Lady,

We do foresee arriving in Warwick town upon the later afternoon of this morrow, the Saturday even. Yea, and Lord M's schedule has even changed, so that he does not attend a council in the Saturday morning, but we even prevail upon thy goodwill for spending the night upon thy couches.

Indeed, though we depart the Sunday morning, M must needs do work on the Sunday afternoon in the province of Brown, so that it seems I may spend again the Sunday afternoon with thee, my lady, if it pleases you.

I must needs do labor in the crafting-shop today, and even tomorrow, as time doth grow short for me.

-Lady S


Dearest Lady Jess, Earl of Davenport in Warwick-by-the-Sea,

I shall escort our good Lady S to thy realm early on the evening of tomorrow, the day of Saturn, whence we may commence with celebrations of the anniversaries of our births and pending marriage.

The Lady and I must undertake a brief voyage by sea early on the Lord's Day whilst you are in worship, but I shall return the Lady to your keeping for the afternoon.

Mayest your flowers bloom as lovely as your countenance,
Lord M, on Behalf of His Lady S

Email Inbox - 2004

I was going through my old emails when I came across these missives between my former housemates/partners-in-crime and I. This one features M, a criminal mastermind whose secret identity is that of a mild-mannered yet brilliant computer science professor in the wilds of Northwest Massachusetts. At the time of this dispatch, his secret identity was that of a mild-mannered yet brilliant PhD candidate in Providence.

This particular corespondence actually took place pre-housemate-ness when we lived in different states and had to plan complicate weekend excursions in order for M, S (M's faithful sidekick/fiance- mild-mannered luthier by day, vicious devourer of literary treatises by night) and I to have awesome adventures that usually consisted of sitting around and drinking hot chocolate, individually and deeply absorbed in our books.


Agent M,


We are a go for Saturday. I repeat Saturday is a go. Green light on movies and cute babies. You are approved for stinky diaper changing. Please advise as to time of arrival. Over and out.

-Agent J


Agent J:

Will deploy at 14:00, ETA 15:00 on Saturday. Is that sufficient time to intercept target? Will operations involve both land and sea?

-Agent M

Agent M,

15:00 is acceptable. Sea operations might be involved, bring adequate flotation devices. It has come to our attention that you were in doubt about the success of today's mission involving motor vehicles and this agent's driving abilities. Will talk to your immediate supervisor for disciplinary procedure. Agent S curious about your ETA tonight on mission "Mustard Meal with Multiple Jess's" Agent S is currently involved with preparation procedures. Please advise.

Agent J

Agent J1,

Am en route to safe house now.

Agent M



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Let's Hope the Rest of America Can Show As Much Class

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

New Day

I'm excited about the election results. No matter what you think of Obama's politics you have to agree that it's a pretty incredible thing to have elected America's first black president. We've come a long way from the days when the color of your skin made you an inferior citizen (or not a citizen at all).

I wasn't a wholehearted Obama fan. I wanted to be, but I was wary of someone who's seen by so many as a political savior. While there are certainly things I disagree with Obama about, I was impressed with him as a person, and horrified by the vicious rumors circulated by people who opposed him.

I couldn't actually vote because my registration must have been lost when I renewed my license a few months ago and I didn't realize what had happened until it was too late to rectify. But if I had been able to, I would have voted for Obama.

Now that he's won the race, I intend to put aside any criticisms I have of him in order to support this man who- nobody is arguing this- has a very tough job ahead of him. Hopefully he'll succeed and be remembered as a hero. Maybe not, but I'm not going to be one of the people who's hoping he'll fail so that my doubts will be justified.

I'm hoping that now that the race is over people from both sides will put their differences aside and come together to try and make things better in the US and the rest of the world. I don't hold out much hope for the lady who wouldn't give Halloween candy to kids whose parents were voting for Obama, but please let her be a fringe wacko and not representative of most McCain backers. Can't we agree to disagree but still respect each other? (Yes, Dad, I'm talking to you).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Email from France

Bonjour

Tuesday, June 8, 2004 5:38 AM
From:
"S..........@yahoo.com>

To:
"jess davenport"
Hello Jess,

The boys here are very ooh la la...I'll try to get one for you. If I can't fit one in my bag, I'll bring you back some french grooming products instead, ok?

Morgan has to go to a conference during the day while I goof off & eat croissants. I feel bad for him but the conference is over tomorrow.

Guess what...everyone here speaks french! also they all drive tiny little cars. I saw a Smart Car which was smaller than an armchair. So funny!

Au revoir. -S

For Wonder-Rachel

Nanowrimo

Nanoblomo

Nanoblomomofo- Crap I made up which you should not look too deeply into the interpretation of.

Does this count as a post??

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nanoblomomofo... or something like that

I am going to attempt to make it through November with at least one post a day. I can't promise anything since I tried several times to stick with nanowrimo and failed (but had fun anyway).

This is going to have to count as today's post because I feel sick from eating 4 bowls of Cinnamon Crunch Toast in rapid succession, for dinner. I blame Zach. He enabled me.

Ugh, I'm going to bed in hopes I feel better in the morning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Overly Honest Conversation

-with the BF:

Me: Yeah, you should be glad you don't have a uterus. I read somewhere that the worst menstrual cramps are stronger than labor contractions. I used to be out of commission for at least a day every month, curled up in fetal position clutching my abdomen, moaning, mainlining ibuprofin and occasionally throwing up.

Michael: (w/look of sympathetic horror) Excuse me, I need to go hug my penis now.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vote Yes

Because if Prop 8 Fails, the Country Will Be Overrun Wih Stores Like This!!!
engrish homo shop
more the engrish!

How to Craft a Proper Insult

1) Take a word from the first column.
2) Add a word from the second column.
3) Complete with a word from the third column.
4) Call you little sister the name you have created.
5) Get in trouble with your mom.
6) Blame Jess's blog for corrupting the minds of young America.

Mister
Captain
General
Corporal

Crabby
Fancy
Slappy
Twinkle (you can substitute Tinkle if you wish)

Poo
Pants
Butt
Germ

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sticking to the lighter side of politics, but still voting a big fat NO on Prop 8

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Penance

How many Lolcats pictures do you think I have to put up before people forget about the nightmare I created in my last few posts?cat
more animals

Thursday, October 23, 2008

100 Times

I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not publish things written very late at night when my brain is not necessarily fully functional before I have edited them in the cold light of morning.
I will not...

Um, upon rereading, what seemed like a brilliantly hilarious and thought provokingly serious piece of work turns out to just be kinda weird. Sorry, I was being silly and then I went off on a tangent and I should have made that into two separate posts. I wasn't trying to trivialize the issue.

Speaking of which, does no one (besides Laura) have anything to say?? I guess I should be glad that I didn't start a flame war. I just kinda thought that maybe my readers were capable of honest discussion on a subject that inspires so much vitriol on both sides that very few people seem to actually think about the issue anymore. Cause youse guys are, y'know, special.

Real speshul.

Ok, fine, I was just desperately trolling for comments again. Whatever. Quick- I'm thinking of a number between one and ten, who can tell me what it is???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh Hai, You Wuz Taking to Me?

Sorry, Google Reader readers, I swear, this is the last time I'm gong to publish this post. Honest!

I had this really great word that I invented and was going to wow you all with but I forgot it. Because I do that. Forget things, that is.

What was I saying?

So, back to the subject of dental hygiene. It's important to floss at least twice on each side. Once in the morning before loading the Turkish carpets onto the camels and once in the evening after you've mucked out the alpaca's stalls. Now I know what you're saying to yourself, reader. You're saying what about that time the snowmobile ran over the sled dog and the moose hunt had to be called off? I know, I know, these are all very valid questions and they deserve answers. Of course when treading in the waters of presidental hygiene on cannot be too cautious.

The point, not to change the subject, is that I was raised in a pentecostal church and I find the idea of a pentecostal moose hunter running the country somewhat frightening. I've been following the presidential race from a distance, often with my hands covering my face like a feral child at a screening of Metropolis. I catch the major points, but for the most part I'm blissfully unaware. My only exposure to current events besides Newsweek, is what trickles through the -non-political- blogs I read [obsessively].

But the other day I came across a subject that perplexes me and I thought I would solicit opinions from you, gentle readers, on the basis that you seem to be a dignified lot, unlikely to send me death threats like Dooce's readers. If I'm wrong, at least this will flush you out and expose you for the dangerous internet stalkers you really are (that's right, I'm talking to you, Lisa, with your wacky liberal views, and your obviously anti-American defection to Canada).

@@We interrupt this important message to inform you that Michael is currently being forced- not exactly against his will, but only because he doesn't know what he's getting into- to watch The Cutting Edge with me. Because of the six year gap in our ages, I feel keenly the responsibility of introducing The Boy to important teenage movies that he missed because he was 12 when they came out in theatres.*

*Or possibly because he's not a girl.@@

But back to the topic of the day: penguins! Or no.. wait...One more time.

Not to go into this too deeply, because you're probably already bored, but I was raised in a very conservative home where the very idea that abortion could be anything but the most heinous of cold-blooded crimes perpetrated, for the most part, by ruthless money-hungry doctors and loose women, was inconceivable. True story: When I was a teenager I could occasionally be found at home babysitting my younger siblings while my parents went out and picketed abortion clinics. On a really exciting night they would be arrested.

It's only through the personal stories of women on both sides of the abortion-rights issue that I've learned to look beyond the vitriol and rhetoric surrounding this issue to see that unborn babies are not the only human lives involved. And the reason that I've been hesitant to broach this topic before is the same one that makes me sympathetic to even the most vehement of haters on both sides. It's because I know what it's like to be taught that this is an unquestionable religious issue and that any dissenting opinion means that you are a bad person. Make no mistake, it's just as religious a doctrine on the pro-choice side, for every story like mine you can find one from a woman, having grown up in the culture of extreme feminism, who, in carrying her own much-wanted children, has had to face the reality that a pregnancy does not consist of a bundle of disposable cells.

My question to you is this: Leaving aside all of the myriad valid questions surrounding this issue and focusing on this one, how can anyone believe that a government (or anyone, for that matter) is justified in telling a woman that her unborn child's life must be preserved at any cost, including that of her own. I want to believe that it's simply ignorance because I know that the issue was certainly not represented honestly on the side of town I grew up on. Whenever a woman decided to risk death and carry her child to term against medical advice and everything went miraculously well, she became a poster child for the movement. However those were the only stories that were ever heard in the pro-life camp.

Read this and this tell me that you think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How I spent my Summer Autumn Vacation

Amended to include some really important stuff I forgot. Most likely will be amended tomorrow with more stuff I forgot. Please to excuse- I cannot brain today, I have the dumb.

I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and saw some very cool fish, parrots, lots of really colorful frogs and a dolphin show.

I had a wonderful time catching up with Jen.

I left my purse at Chipotle (yes, it is ironic that I traveled from California to Maryland to eat at Chipotle).

I ran through the rain and found it again.

I had a fun laughing with Jen, Emily, Gwen, and Audrey.

I played Wii tennis, badly.

I rescued a fish.

I helped Gwyn out of a tree.

I bore witness to the wonders of Chik-fil-A.

I missed seeing Dale by mere hours. :(

I missed seeing his son by less than a day.

I promised myself I would have controlled my impulse to blurt out to the latter, "I used to change your diapers!!!!"

I rode the bus, in the dead of night, into the bad part of York, PA.

I survived, much to the amazement of all concerned.

I stayed up until the wee hours talking to Ann.

I made pancakes with 2-year-old Addy.

I resisted the urge to roll her up in a pancake and nom on her extreme cuteness.

I wowed all of the Wahlberg children with my space age ability to talk to Michael online via iChat.

I was mocked by 6-year-old Gabriel for having a boyfriend. "EEWwwwwwww!!!!" followed by a shocked, horrified and highly accusatory, "You're in luuuuuhve!!!!!"

I got shy hugs from Kailey and exuberant hugs from Blake.

I likewise refrained from informing them that I also changed their diapers, many moons ago.

I reflected on the fact that I seem to have babysat most of the population of RI at one time or another.

I sat by Aiden's tree.

I saw families struggling with the brokenness of the world.

I struggled with frustration at my inability to make everything right again.

I saw a light shining in the darkness, and the darkness failing to overcome it.

I was reminded that it's not my job to fix things, only to be obedient to the One who can.

I went to a playground with my sister and our two of our best friends from childhood (also sisters) and their collective 10 children.

I went to a harvest festival in Lancaster, PA and took a hayride (or 2).

I ate really good barbecued chicken.

I made fun of my dad's grumpiness.

I tried to convince my 9-month-old niece that I am not a scary monster.

I failed.

I was awoken by a bundle of little-boy cuteness jumping on my head.

I threw water balloons at a rock with Libby and Luke.

I was chased by a water-balloon-bearing almost-four-year-old.

I visited my brother Dan and cried over the reality of RI apartment rental prices as compared to those in the bay area.

I gave my brother Sean a noogie.

I argued with my sister Katie about which of us mom likes better (it's totally me).

I laughed with old friends about old times and looked at pictures of more old friends on Facebook.

I witnessed The B.I.L. drawn out of his poker-playing lair by an old friend who wouldn't take no for an answer.

I played SupaSmash Bwuvers with Luke on the wii.

I had coffee with my sister and a fellow blogger who sells her gorgeous photographs in an Etsy shop.

I bought a gorgeous photograph from her.

I reminisced about all things Rhode Islandish and rhapsodized about what a great resource the internet is for meeting cool people in seemingly-random ways.

I shared Luke's germs and started to cough.

I canceled the last leg of my trip to avoid infecting the McFelsenguires.

I came home and on the way sat next to a very nice young man who was flying from his army base in Texas to attend his grandmother's funeral in Sunnyvale and gave me peppermints for my cough.

I realized that I had left my cell phone at my parents' house.

I D'oh.

I realized my mom was right when she told me to double check for my phone and she hasn't even said, "I told you so."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Heroic Exploits of the Aquatic Variety

While visiting friends in Baltimore, a crisis arose which I, changer of all things diaperish and professional wiper of small noses (not to mention, erm lower extremities) immediately recognized as my long-awaited opportunity to put my unique personal skills to use.

The crisis consisted of a defenseless algae-slurping thingymafish- much maligned in the Swinburne household- who had somehow wedged himself, but good, in between two pieces of the fake underwater ruins in the aquarium and was consequentially, hopelessly stuck. Male members of the family being absent, female members pleaded gross and declined to endeavor to assist their imperiled pet.

Leaping to the rescue, I dared to reach an arm into the tank and attempted to free the poor fellow (we'll call him Suck, as that that seemed to be the closest thing he had to an official moniker). He looked at first glance to be resting comfortably, but further examination proved that his spiny skin had made it impossible for him to back out and he was just a hair too big to go forward. I ascertained that it was not possible to manually assist Suck in freeing himself without, um, breaking him. It was determined that the only way to save the hapless ichthyoid would be to remove the faux remnants and attempt to smash them. Preferably without fatally injuring the victim in the process.

My faithful deputy, E*, quickly procured a cup of water in which we could place the pathetic piscene after the hopeful event of his rescue, and we ran, dripping, out to the front porch, aquarium decor in hand. I slammed the acrylic ruins on the porch, barely denting them, but Stuck Suck came flying out and was quickly scooped up and returned to his watery home.

*although alone in my willingness to come into actual contact with fish parts, I was enthusiastically assisted in my endeavors by three lovely assistants.

At this point I was offered rule of the kingdom by the grateful aquarium inhabitants, but not wanting to spend the rest of my days living on top of a piano and eating fish food, I declined.

Minutes later I was called upon to rescue a child fallen out of a tree. Or, rather, into a tree. From a higher branch. It was complicated. But she was fine. Thanks to me, of course. Not sure what these good folks will do now that's I'm no longer hogging their wifi and taking up a spot on the couch, but one hopes that the fish will behave in my absense, preventing future catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fear Poop Mongers

Apparently there is a market for sketchy colon cleansing products. I don't know if there is such a thing as a non-sketchy colon cleansing product, but I'm going to assume that any company that sends out a brochure with actual descriptions and pictures of poo is not quite on the up and up.

So I was at my parents' house with my sister Lib today, and I noticed a flashy font on the top of the mail pile with questions in large print like:

Death Begins in the Colon!!


and

Years of Dried Poo living in your intestines!!


It was, as you can imagine, immediately necessary for me to pick up and read aloud the more interesting parts of this urgent announcement to my assembled family. They love that I keep them updated on medical breakthroughs like this.

In between gasps of laughter, we ascertained that not a single one of us has a healthy intestine, based on the fact that, according to the colonic people- there is only one right kind of poo.

I know you're asking yourself right now. What kind of poo is that, Jessica? But I can't tell you, because this is a family blog. I think. Also, I've probably already offended most of my loyal readers who have left in disgust. But the fact is that I've spent most of my adult life as a nanny dealing with other peoples' poo (pee, snot, vomit, etc), and I just feel that it's fair that some of you should also get to experience a world in which one can have an entire discussion about the contents of a diaper.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Interview Experiment

Neil's Great Interview Experiment has arrived at my little corner of teh internetz. Susan, from Joy is Everywhere sent me these interview questions weeks ago and although I am a proslackinator I finally got around to answering them. Skip the first one if you read yesterday's post.

1) You talk about this obsession you have with books. What would you say is the one book (or five if you must) that you find yourself reading over and over?


Hmmm, I'd have to say that the books that have had the most impact on me are the ones I loved as a kid. These include Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and to a lesser degree- Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I reread these constantly growing up and into adulthood.

It would be weird if I didn't mention the Bible here, since my faith is definitely something that defines me, but unsurprisingly, I thought it was the most boring book in the world when I was a kid and resented being forced to read & study it all the time (Christian school). Except for the exciting stories (Noah!), and the occasional turn of phrase that made my head spin (..the whole creation groans...in childbirth...together until now..), I generally related much more closely to the mystery* I found in places like Narnia and Cooper's Wales. It wasn't until years later that I recovered from my high school education that I was able to find all of that mystery in the Bible, although I had always equated it with God.

p.s. I still think some parts are boring but I'm convinced it's just me.

*Mystery's the best label I have, though it falls short of describing what I'm talking about. This gets close: "The German language has a word for this joyward longing that Lewis describes: sehnsucht. This is the haunting longing that touched Lewis throughout his life, that full, heavy, enveloping nostalgia for a fulfillment that awaited him—in something, somewhere."

2) You and your family seem very close, which is a trait that I love! Please state and elaborate briefly on one thing that you admire in your immediate family members.

Crap, do you realize how big my family is?? That's a whole post in itself! Okay, here we go:

My Mom is incredibly creative. She'd be designing costumes or sets on Broadway if she hadn't spent so many years of her life gestating whiny ungrateful children like me. She used to make us the best playthings. One classic was the dress-up trunk- an old steamer trunk that she filled with thrift shop finds- from ball gowns and sparkly high-heeled shoes to feather boas and elaborate hats.

When she's not making Halloween costumes for the grandchildren, she enjoys running the blender while the rest of the family is trying to watch a movie.

My Dad is Grumpy. No really, all of his grandchildren know him as "Grumpy." That's no accident either. ;) He is the hardest worker I've ever known. He never went to college, instead he taught himself engineering and raised a family of seven on one income. How many people can say that? He's a perfect example of a burnt marshmallow -crusty on the outside but soft in the middle (but don't tell anyone, it might ruin his reputation).

My sister Lib is a great mom and a pretty cool chick. She is one of my closest friends. Also, she's performed the dainty dingo* at least twice. I'm so proud.

*A kind of interpretive dance known only to my family

My sister Julie is adventurous and committed to forming her own opinion instead of following the party line (that would be The Republican Party, in my family of origin). I respect her for that. Also? She could totally have gone to medical school.

My brother Daniel is a great dad and husband and he's matured impressively under circumstances that might have defeated a weaker man. He's only slightly less pesky that he was as a child (that's not an insult, Dan prides himself greatly on his ability to annoy).

My brother Zach already possesses wisdom and courage in spades, and he's only 22. Zach is my California sibling, he lives so close to me that I can walk to his house, which makes me very happy.

My brother Sean is the only redhead in the family. He is creative and funny. He might be the next sibling to migrate westward.

My sister Katie is a lovely smart ass girl. I am proud to be her "clone from the future."

As a whole, my family is pretty hilarious and a blast to hang out with.

3) Why did you start blogging? Do you find it harder to keep up with your blog, the longer you have been doing it?

I started blogging almost as soon as I found out about this whole "blogging" thing. I've always been compelled to write and this seemed like the perfect outlet for me. I can be as goofy as I want to be and if people don't like it, they just go away!

I do get discouraged frequently. I'd like to have a more focused space but I'm usually shooting off in 5 different directions at ones and-Oh look! A chicken! Yeah, ADD* much? Someday I want to have my own website and have different pages for different topics. I have a domain name, but I haven't gotten as far as learning web design yet and I keep telling myself that I won't pay for a site if I'm going to go on long nada streaks like I do here. Myself always replies: "But I was just about to write that post on-Oh Look! A Chicken!!!!!!

*This may be the reason that I hardly ever find myself reading one book at a time. I've almost always got between two and five going at once. It helps if they're different genres, otherwise I do occasionally get confused.

4) You write occasionally about being depressed. How has this affected your ability to cope with day to day things? Do you feel writing about it helps?

I feel like I should be a better (or more willing, or more able to "use" the sadness or something) writer when I'm depressed but honestly, my creative side is the first to go when depression hits. I'm at my most creative when I'm at the other end of the spectrum.

It's hard to say exactly how depression affects me on a day to day basis because it's frequently so wrapped up with physical exhaustion. Without knowing exactly what causes either, and knowing full well that each can lead to the other, I can't always tell whether I'm tired because I'm depressed or depressed because I have no energy and can't do all the things I want to do.

At my lowest points it definitely affected my ability to cope. I'm still dealing with the aftermath of some of that un-cope-ability. It's all a learning experience though, so no regrets.

5) If you could have any job and pay was no concern (as in you could make up to and including no dollars), what would you do and why?

Ah, if making money was not an issue, I don't think I would want a "job" doing the same thing all the time. There are so many things that interest me that I would be perfectly happy spending my life going from one to another and learning new stuff all the time. Some things I would definitely do: Write, of course. Make art and give it to people. I love making things with my hands- cards, books, paper; and I'd love to really learn how to draw and sculpt- but the idea of making a living off of it just depresses me when I start thinking about the money-making details. I don't want to figure out how much I can charge someone for something I've made. I'd rather just make purty things and give them to people who need some happy. I'd also love to learn to sew well and I could happily spend years gardening and learning more about growing things.

6) What have you enjoyed the most about your experiences as a nanny?

I have all of these amazing experiences and memories from the years I've spent being a caregiver to kids I've loved as my own. Even if I never have children myself I've still had more joy through "my kids" than many people ever know. I also love the relationships I have with the families I've worked for.

Also, it's fun (well, not all of the time, but frequently). And I hear some pretty funny stuff, for example: Will at age 3, "..Grownups like bedtime. But little boys don't.... an they fight at their moms. But their moms like bedtime!"

7) If you were to enter a talent show and you could do anything you wanted (play the flute, pluck a chicken, whatever) what would you do?

Hmm, tough choice. As my talent, I think I'd like to be able to scowl so menacingly that the audience would shriek, wet their pants, and run away in terror. Or jump on a trampoline in a velcro suit and stick to the velcro-covered ceiling.

Thanks, Sus!!

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