Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ten years ago...

... I was celebrating my first New Year -- and a new millenium -- with my new husband. If I'm remembering correctly, we spent it hanging out with friends of his who were very boring and very drunk (neither of us drink). It was anticlimactic.

Over the years, we've spent some New Year's Eves in New York with family, some in our varying locales which were referred to as "home" at the time, and have pretty much never really set any traditions for how we ring in each New Year. Usually we watch a movie and try to pause it in time to watch the ball in Time Square drop but we don't always catch it. We do drink sparkling cider out of a couple of very garish glasses (read: not pretty).

Last year we did nothing. You picture two boring people sitting in front of the television, don't you? You would be wrong.

I spent the entirety of the evening reading Breaking Dawn. It took me four or five hours, but I began and finished it in one night and went to bed sometime before four. At some point before midnight, Bryan came out of his office, sprawled out on the sofa with his head in my lap and went to sleep. It sounds cute and romantic, but I mostly thought it was hard to read my book with his head in the way.

That was last year. I didn't mind it so much but I'm not currently reading any engrossing series, so our New Year will most likely revert to previous years: movies streamed from Netflix over XBox Live, sparkling cider in not-pretty glasses, trying to catch Dick Clark (or his replacement figure) before the strike of midnight.

I'm crossing my fingers that next year I'll be wearing heels and make-up and ringing in the New Year a little more noisily. I think we're due for some noise.

What are your plans?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Everyone's Doing It...

And by "it," I mean something boring like introspection.

2009: The year in which I learned exactly what I'm capable of and precisely how I'm not measuring up to my potential.

Thank you, 2009, for that shot to my ego.

Hiking in Acadia

Okay, fine. If I were going to jump off the bridge that everyone else is, I would actually be recapping just how much my year sucked, but let's be honest: my year did not suck. So, broken down into the same number as there are months of the year but having nothing to do with actual months (as well as being in no particular order), here are the highlights of 2009:

1. Writing 2000 pages between March 3rd and November 25th.
2. Burn Burn and "Monkey Brains"
3. Seeing Our Lady Peace live in Boston
4. Marking our 10th wedding anniversary.
5. Becoming privy to Bethany's secret blog, then watching her make it very un-secret.
6. Writing 30 pages in one day. That was awesome. I am awesome.
7. Discoveringa world - of hilarious - blogs - in the - world.
8. Twitter. Yes, I am considering Twitter one of the highlights of my year.
9. Discovering Neverending Whitelights, Silversun Pickups, The Black Keys and City and Colour. I don't know how I've been living my life up until now without City and Colour.
10. Having Daniel Victor of Neverending White Lights respond to a tweet of mine. This world is very small.
11. Donating to various charities as part of our Christmas preparations/ celebrations. This made me very, very happy.
12. I'm having trouble coming up with a twelfth, but I suspect that has to do with the fact that there are certain things even I keep private. However, in private, I use words like "epic" to refer to said highlights.

p.s. Dear Boob Nazi, I would have linked to your blog, which I follow loyally, but as you're private once more, I couldn't very well link to you. Sincerely, Punk

Had An Actual Adrenaline Rush Commenting On A Blog Tonight

I am a spaz. I know that Bethany has spoken these words regarding herself, but it's possible I'm worse. I was once told by a potential boyfriend that I was the most uptight seventeen year old he'd ever met.

It was just that I was so very aware of being watched and judged. I was just aware of God seeing everything I did or thought or thought of doing. On top of that, I was aware of the significance of my Christian witness to pretty much the entire world. I needed to be above reproach because I wasn't just the uptight girl you had that class with; I was the homeschooled Christian who stood as an ambassador for the entire homeschooling & Christian populations.

You caught the part where I was uptight, right?

Now, to be fair to myself, I did loosen up. I had a pseudo-boyfriend when I was nineteen whom my mother still refers to as my playmate. He was hilarious and fun and completely immature and not qualified to be in a serious relationship. Like, at all. However, being with him helped me -- as they say -- come into myself. I transferred upstate for college, made a bunch of hilarious friends, showed off my mad grammar/ diagramming skillz to whoever would listen, and learned that being myself was still being a pretty good witness.

This is so far off my point I don't know how I'm going to make it.

Right. Self-conscious. 

Huge life story to tell you that I love reading blogs and tweets and statuses but hate commenting. There's a reason for that. You know the verse in Proverbs that says something along the lines of "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be assumed to be a fool than to open it and speak and prove that you are a fool"? Yeaaaaah.

I say foolish things. I speak before thinking quite often, like, eighty percent of the time. What's worse, I think aloud and have been known to say something and then follow it up with, "I didn't even know I felt that way!" I know I'm not a fool, not really, but I'm terrified to be perceived as one based on my foolish blather. Which is what I do. I blather.

So if I follow your blog but don't comment, don't judge too harshly. I read every word you write and probably laugh (if that's what you're going for) or tell whoever will listen on my end how cute you are (if that's your thing); it's just that I'm trying desperately not to leave retarded, ego-centric analyses and/ or anecdotes in your comments.

If I do leave you a comment and it's ego-centric & idiotic, forgive me. I'll try to hold my tongue from now on.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Inappropriate Anecdote

Do you recall that I mentioned I was still working out where my line might lay for what's appropriate to share with the world at large? Well, I've thought about it somewhat and decided that I cannot in good conscience talk about either a) my personal experiences regarding sex, as that's between me, my husband, God and no one else, and b) questions and conversations we have with our children about sex. I came to this particular conclusion when I realized that by sharing those particular conversations with you, I was betraying the safe environment we're trying to create for our kids to ask questions about private things.

However... *enter evil chuckle here*... I'd already had this written before I came to that conclusion. Plus it's short. And already written so I don't have to write something else. Whatever.


We recently had The Talk with our nine year old. I knew the time was coming, but that time came to fruition when I overheard a conversation he was having with his eleven-year-old neighborhood friend.

Me: OMIGOSH. Cue nervous giggling and fast talking.

The Talk was worse for me than it was for him, but it opened the door for us to have more conversations about sex and sexual matters in a very private, safe environment. Read: NOT THE PARKING LOT WITH A PREADOLESCENT ACQUAINTANCE. It should be noted that since that first, blushy introduction to the graphic details, I have lost all embarrassment and now say things I probably shouldn't.

So I relayed the entire talk to Bryan and recommended he have further discussion with his son -- since HE'S THE MAN -- which he then did a few nights later. They walked around the block, looking at Christmas lights and talked about a few things, and somehow they came around to this:

Elijah: But you didn't have sex when you had Asher.

Bryan: Um. Actually...

Elijah, alarmed and possibly appalled: WHERE WAS I?

... It's a good thing I wasn't with them, because I may have actually answered this question.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday. Peanut Butter.

On this day many years passed, a child was born.
The Lord saw he was good and declared him the Mister. Or, at least, the future Mister.

Pint size us

I snagged him early.

Case in point: this was a few days before his 22nd birthday.

Ten years later.

So, buddy dude, I loves you. You're the pb to my j. We both know it's true.

Happy Birthday.

(Track me down later. I'll give you birthday kisses. Plural.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sacred Silence


Take a moment.

Breathe and listen and let all else go, all the trappings of this life.


Do you know what this day is? Do you understand the significance?

God became man.

Are you listening?

God, the Almighty Creator of heaven, earth, every mitochondria of your being, every stray thought, every eyelash -- he was born. Maybe not today; does it matter? Today we celebrate this miracle.

God became man. He lived a sinless life. He took our evils on his back, and he bore them. He paid for them. He died for them. He vaporized them. And, because he was God, he resurrected himself. Are you hearing? Are you understanding?

God - became - man.

Are you listening?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve. That's how my older son greeted me this morning, and thus, that is how I greet you.

On this day last year, we were in New York, hanging out with my in-laws, gearing up for dinner with extended family and presents. This year, we are safely ensconsed in our apartment in Georgia, a thousand miles from any extended family. All of the gifts are wrapped (that are remaining in Georgia), and all the gifts that are meant to be in New York are in New York. I have a breakfast casserole made for Christmas morning, the clothes for Christmas Eve service ready to go, stockings are hung and stuffers are ready & waiting.

I have zero stress. ZERO. I'm pretty sure that means I've forgotten to do something.

So, with zero stress, last night, rather than reading my Bible or praying as I should be in preparation for a holiday I wanted to be worshipful rather than material, or working on this:

I was here, watching this:

(I did tell you I don't like Christmas music, right?)

I did that until 1:30. Then I overslept this morning. Now, I must be on my way. First,

Zen Coffee

Then a spelling test & math lesson with Elijah.
Then I shall attempt a recipe I've never tried before.
Everyone's going to get gussied up, then Christmas Eve service at church.
Then, while the boys are doing this:

Elijah, asleep

(Asher more likely this:)

Asher... not sleeping

I shall stuff stockings, lay gifts under the tree, wrap the one gift I keep forgetting about and attempt this once more:


Love to you all today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This One Goes Out To The One I Love

The Mister actually requested I write a happy post. This isn't difficult, though I was a little disturbed to read through the handful of blogs I've posted and hear how negative and complainy and sarcastic I sound. I'm not really. I'm the person who laughs first in the theater. I'm the person who can't stop smiling when you're telling a story. I'm the person who hugs you when you're having a sucky day. I really am.

So, because he asked so sweetly and because he correctly deduced its need, I hereby dedicate this post to him.

Things that make me happy:
  • Tushies. Baby tushies. Little boy tushies. I giggle.

Nakie Tushie

  • My dad singing any of the obscure songs for which he's renowned. Then promising, "That's a real song, you know." I've been hearing this since I was born; I still love it.

  • My sister vowing she would go to Silversun Pickups with me if she were still visiting when they played in Atlanta, despite the fact that she hates all music I love. How great is she?

  • Bryan's sense of humor.

Exibit A:


Exhibit B:

Starbucks pose

(His hair kind of makes me happy too. As does Asher's hat.)

Exhibit C:

Sleeping on the Job

  • You know what else makes me happy? Punk music. Ooh, I especially like when songs I previously enjoyed are covered by punk(ish) bands. I become giddy. It's true.

  • And screaming in otherwise nonscreamy music. I grin very very big. Oh, like Common Children. Lord, I miss Common Children.

  • And musicians that are as good live as they are in studio. I'm pretty sure that's the entire reason I have such a girl crush on Hayley Williams of Paramore. She's amazing.

Yes, I enjoy music. Why do you ask? Maybe it has something to do with my very unimpressive musical ability. You know how when you love something but are no good at it? Yeah, that. I have rhythm; I can read music; I can even play piano; I can carry a tune. I'm am only missing actual talent. So sad.

Enter iTunes and Pandora and my brother. He's my music dealer.

Mom & Justin

Oh, and one more happy thing...

  • My Mom. She's awesome. Of course, she can't buy a break.

Mom & Bryan

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hey... Jimmy...

You know, for a person who doesn't actually hate Christmas, I do honestly despise Christmas music. I'm not sure when this happened because I can recall with a clarity I don't often possess, listening to the Time-Life collection of Christmas music while my family set up our tree, or, if snow came early, during the first snow. It didn't strike me as cheezy or God-strike-me-dead-repetitive, only appropriate for the occasion.

These days, however, I despise Christmas music. Pretty much any and all, everywhere, at anytime. I cringe when I have to stand under the speaker at my favorite Starbucks in which they're blasting whatever it is they're blasting; I beg & cry & wail when the Mister insists upon playing John Denver and the Muppets' "A Christmas Together" or, worse yet, Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Omigosh, have you heard that Gene Autry album? The cheeze is so cheezy, it crosses all of my cheeze lines and reduces me to groaning and writhing on the floor. It's awful. There is an actual lyric that says, "So, let's give thanks to the Lord above, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight."

Seriously? Seriously?! Nothing quite like sending mixed messages to our poor kids, is there? UGH.

Every time I am subjected to this horror, I writhe, I groan and I mock. Then, miracle of miracles, I start to have fun, not because I catch the spirit of the album or anything. No: because the Mister begins to mock with me, and he is the most fun EVER.

Track Ten: "Story of the Nativity/ Silent Night"

If you've never heard this particularly disturbing track, allow me to give you insight. First, it begins with harps and what I guess is supposed to sound like an angelic choir. GAG. Then Gene, talking. He starts to introduce the "Story of the Nativity," saying something about how, being a big kid himself, he never gets tired of hearing it, only to *suddenly* realize that there's a kid in the studio!

"Hey... Jimmy?" Enter the little pipe of a young boy. "Yes, Uncle Gene?"

Uncle Gene. Creeped out yet? It gets better.

"I think you'll be able to hear better if you climb up here on my lap."

This is the part where Bryan and I look at each other and start to snicker, both of us thinking exactly the same thought: PERV.

Uncle Gene proceeds to tell the Christmas story, though little Jimmy interrupts. A lot. As does that durn choir of "angels." A lot. Gene remains very calm, despite the contant interruptions, though I'm pretty sure at some point he glanced at his producer and gave him a look of exasperation, thinking, "Who hired this kid? He's killing me!" I know I'm thinking it.

Through all of this, Bryan and I are snickering. Every time Uncle Gene says, "Well, I should say so," we laugh. He says this many times. Uncle Gene goes on and on, telling his Christmas story, and little Jimmy falls asleep. Then we get this gem: "Well, I guess we better put him to bed." Sidelong glances; more snickering.

We listen to the noises of two grown men -- Uncle Gene and whoever "John" is -- taking a sleeping child through a house and putting him in his bed, full of little coconutty, footstep sounds, creaking doors and narrative about turning back covers. Gene intones some kind of blessing on his "nephew," but by this point, we're so far gone with inappropriate jokes, I doubt we've ever actually heard this last part.

No doubt this particular track is someone's special Christmas song, the song that every year brings a tear to their eye and joy to their heart. I stop short of gagging even writing that because I know it's probably true and I don't want to deny anyone their Christmas joy. However, as someone who did not grow up with Gene Autry (thank you, Mom & Dad. THANK YOU), I have no such feelings of sentimentality. To me, it sounds like an overdone, ten minute long snoozer that skirts way too close to pedophilic jokes to ignore. Forgive me.

*I in no way condone pedophilia nor find its occurance in reality humorous in any way. Sometimes, however, you just can't let the joke go. It's too easy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why I hate Christmas

I admit it. That's a lie. I don't hate Christmas. I do, however, find myself increasingly agitated by Christmas, in a manner reminiscent of my agitation around Halloween, and trust me when I say that you don't want me to get into my issues with Halloween. It's just better that we don't go there.

Let's start with Santa. St. Nicholas was an amazing man who loved his Lord and only wished to share that love. I admire that in a way that far surpasses mere admiration. Since his death, however, the idea of St. Nicholas has been warped into a greed-mongering magic-man who compels families the world 'round to lie to their children.

Where is Jesus in this? Where is the love for our Lord? He's the little figurine in our Christmas creches, the plastic baby in the manger at the Christmas Eve services, sure, but where is He when we're gorging ourselves on sugar, wrapping paper flying, kids crying and throwing tantrums because they're missing naps and are kept up past bedtimes in order to partake in traditional family celebrations, flying high on childish greed and self-centeredness?

Where is Jesus when we're gathering with family, wishing we were elsewhere? Where is He when we're stressed out, trying to do the million-and-a-half tasks that are somehow necessary in order for Christmas to be just so, forget enjoyable?

I want to worship. It's all I want. I want to enjoy our very quiet holiday this year with my little family, and I want it to be a time of worship. I'm just unsure how to make it so, and this depresses me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's his fault

I'm frustrated. Frustrated with my stuck-at-home-ness and subsequent solitude and loneliness. I am a social person by nature. I was raised in a home with two parents, two siblings (with whom I spent nearly every waking & sleeping moment), was involved in youth groups and homeschool groups, had neighborhoods friends and cousins we spent time with and pen pals, and --

*gasping for breath*

You get the picture.

I'm looking into getting involved more in our church, which we love, by the way. I have no desire to look for another church; I want to be involved here. We are home where we are. However, all the women's groups take place during the week, in the morning, provide childcare for kids Asher's age, but none for Elijah (who is homeschooled) and would thus have to either sit in with all the women, when, honestly, we should be home doing school anyway. And let's be honest, I need time away from him sometimes, too. It sounds terrible, but you try being with a nine year old boy (and his three year old brother) twenty-four/ seven. It's beyond exhausting.

So I considered men & women groups, you know, for couples. For about half a second. It'd never happen because Bryan would never go. Never. Did you catch that I said "never" three times in that statement? Shall I say it once more to emphasize my point? He would NEVER go.

It's not that I'm a believing wife with an unbelieving husband. It's just that I'm a social woman married to an antisocial man. It's just that I've adjusted to his social tendencies for the last decade of marriage, and, subsequently, formed a tight bubble around our home that consists of only the four of us and whichever extended-family members happen to be visiting.

To be fair, I'm also a little shy (at first), and I am lazy; I hate to have to work for whatever good thing I know will eventually be produced. It's a bad combination.

In the meantime, I'm still sitting at home. Waiting for my sister to come on IM because she is my outside-this-bubble social life. Clicking through Twitter, eavesdropping on the social interactions of others. Wondering if I'm going to have to actually put myself out there and email the homeschool group I haven't been involved in this year and try to either a) wheedle myself into an existing Bible/ prayer group or b) start one.

Eeeeeeeeeee. Cue the belly butterflies.

The Danger Inherent In Having No Audience

There is a danger to believing I'm alone in a room, talking to myself: I'll say anything. I'll get this wicked impulse to say things that I would never say to another person. For instance, when I first noticed Yahoo was allowing users to enter statuses, I became bolder and bolder with those statuses, thinking to myself, "Who's going to see?" Finally, I put in a status that read "Got some," the pinnacle of inappropriate public statements. True, but, really, who needed to know that?

Then the day came in which Bryan noticed that Yahoo was allowing users to enter statuses, only, as is his way, he started looking around at the other statuses and users rather than impulsively enter his own. Saw mine. Laughed his head off.

In discussion, he said that the only reason that particular status of mine would bother him is if it didn't refer to him, but (having done the math) because it did, it became nothing more than a hilariously inappropriate public statement.

Of course, now that I knew someone had seen it and that there was a distinct possibility of others seeing it, I went through and deleted all but one status and haven't entered another since.

This makes me wonder, though, if this was the mindset of a particular twitterer I follow when he tweeted "Just had incredible sex with my wife. No, my Twitter acct wasn't hacked." Why in the world would he tweet that? Who knows.

I followed him immediately upon reading it.

He's also the same twitterer who, this week, tweeted, "Holy crap, I'm like a real pastor." I wanted to reply so badly because there's something about a man of God who says "Holy crap" that just tickles my feet. Nothing quite like keeping it real, you know?

My point... right. Knowing/ suspecting that my readers are few to none makes me want to write about just about anything. I have things to say, trust me. It's a danger, a temptation. I guess I'm still deciding where my line is. I'll let you know.

Friday, December 18, 2009

So last night...

So last night, the Mister made the header for this brand-spanking-new blog, and I sat there as he showed off his mad Photoshop/ Dreamweaver/ html skillz, telling him how my aesthetic sensibilities were affected, trying not to doze off. He doesn't bore me; my sleeping schedule is less than ideal.

Anyway. So, brand-spanking-new header in metaphorical hand, I headed back to my laptop, plugged said header in, admired it, made my brand-spanking-new blog public and began the nearly OCD task of rechecking (for the grazillionth time) Facebook and Twitter. Facebook was dormant, as all my contacts live in the eastern timezone and go to bed at normal times like adults are supposed to do, all except for me, of course. So on to Twitter.

"Twitter has been hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army."

Um. Joke, right? On me, right? Because, while not a n00b, I'm not the dextrous internet l33t that others are. I know this. I accept it.

I called for the Mister, as close to l33t as I will ever be.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Open Twitter," I said.

"Why?" he asked.

"Um," I said, still feeling as though I was about to be the unwitting butt to a joke I don't get, "just see if it will open for you." It didn't, so I dragged him back across the apartment to where my laptop still showed this has-to-be-a-joke screen. He burst out laughing. I was definitely feeling like I was missing the punchline.

"Well," said he, "I guess you should stay off of Twitter. If you use that password anywhere else, you might want to change it."

"'Kay," I said. "I'm going to bed." This is what I do when I'm disconcerted. It's how I make up for all the lack of sleep that occurs elsewise.

So I go to bed. I woke up this morning wondering if Twitter is broken and what kind of an uproar this caused, only to discover that no one else seemed to have noticed. Wha? So... not a big deal then. I guess...

The Mister did the research (it's what he does while I'm researching how the singer from Blur is the voice behind 2D of Gorillaz and that Adam Gauntier of Three Days Grace was born the same week I was and listen to the Relient K/ Owl City song "Terminals" over and over, wondering if the lyric is "But if grace recieves all my weight/ it becomes a crutch/ And I don't want to walk with crutch so much that I can't stand taller than before" and debate whether I agree: Should we as Believers not use grace as a crutch and isn't grace actually the rock & foundation under our feet, so that wanting to stand without it is folly and pride? I really wish I knew if that's the correct lyric because it disturbs me. Not my point, though) and found that the event wasn't nearly as catastrophic as we might have wondered last night.

I went on to do my own research (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter) and found that no one is reacting. Yahoo didn't even bother to mention it. None of my Facebook contacts noticed. Only two (four counting two tweets late last night) Twitter contacts made allusion to it.

So... I guess that's it then, huh?

... Well, that's good, I guess.

I don't know. I still feel as though I'm missing something.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here you go. You ready?

My name is Jessica. I am 31. I am married and have been since 1999. I have two boys, and their names are Elijah and Asher. We live in Atlanta.

There. Who's reeling?

Let's strip off a little more, shall we? I have a few internet aliases which shall now be revealed so that those who might have stumbled upon me elsewhere might know me for who I am. Here they are: Punk, Chahhead, Jolliebell.

Hi. *wave* I'm Jessica. How's it going?

I need to be honest; that's what this comes down to. I need to be able to say the names of my boys and reference our setting and speak of myself in the third person if I so desire because sometimes, I so desire.

So, in all honesty, I swore I wouldn't open a blog until I finished writing my book(s), but I'm so burnt out, writing thousands of pages over the last nine and a half months, and I'm starting to turn my attention elsewhere, mostly Twitter, and my head is becoming full of things I wish to say but have no outlet from which to speak. Write. You know what I mean. Stop nitpicking.

For instance, I noticed lately that the statuses I post for Facebook and Twitter are never duplicates, one to the other. NEVER. And there's a reason for this: audience.

My husband -- whom we shall refer to as either Bryan or the Mister from here on because that's who he is -- once described Facebook as a big room of our friends and family, just hanging out and chatting (and farming... you know who you are). That's who my audience is there: friends and family. I post dorky things my kids have said or done and update those who live far away (everyone) about what's going on with us down here in the ATL (See? Like how I referenced where I live? Nice, right?). But I never post the more random thoughts that slip through my head. Those I save for Twitter.

I only have a small following, and most of those are either family or nearly-spammers (you know who you are), but I have a couple of people who follow me (whom I also follow) that are neither, and these tend to be the people I'm thinking of when I very carefully construct the tweets that I post. They're a different audience, and, in a way, I'm giving them a different character, another side of me than those on Facebook see. I'm not a mom & housekeeper & homeschooler; I'm a music snob & caffeine addict & writer. It's freeing in a way, but, in that same way, it's just another pigeon-hole.

Here, I'm laying it out. I'm all of me, and I'm not sure how well I'm going to do with that since I don't know who my audience is and I myself am still trying to figure out how all the pieces of myself fall together, what the whole picture looks like. But, in the meantime, I'm going to write as though you, the audience I someday might have, is seeking the whole picture.