Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I just spent some time researching S. Jersey parks and trails and canoing spots. It turns out S. Jersey has a pretty decent nature park selection and I was surprised to see how much some counties in NJ I've never heard of offer. I need to pick up a trail guide. All these websites talk about parks but never say where to access them.

Kelly asked me one night if I've ever gone kayaking. "No, but I think I'd really like it in mirror calm water." She said she loves it so perhaps that's something new I could do. I'm just thinking. I've vowed not to let this spring and summer pass me by.

So it turns out, right in neighboring towns, there's a 346 acre park called Cooper River Park with fitness trails, non motor boat drop in points, volleyball courts, softball fields, the works. I've driven right through it but never around it so I'm definitely going to drive around it and check it out.

When I have an idea, I explore it and my ideas get very random so bear with me.

I ordered some Wu-Long tea today. I'm not sure why - I guess because I hope it will boost my weight loss and metabolism and kick my ass into gear. I'm not one for dieting aids - I believe a healthy diet and exercise is all it takes. But I thought I might give this a try for a kick-start and even if it does nothing, at least it's loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and ecgc.

Another random thought:

Mike and I were in the car somewhere when I verbally observed, "No one roller blades anymore. It's like it's not cool anymore. I used to love roller blading and lost quite a bit of weight doing it."
Mike replied, "Then go roller blading."
I asked, "Would you laugh at me?"
Mike started laughing and said, "Hell yeah."

Yesterday I saw a kid roller blading - the first time in a very long time. Then just now I saw a kid roller blading. I think I might go get some new wheels and go. It's embarrassing what I've done to my wheels and more embarrassing that I continued to use them way past the point of usability.

If people laugh at me, well, then oh well they laugh.

Speaking of mean close-minded people:

Mike and I took a walk around our neighborhood yesterday. It was 80 degrees outside. We both donned short sleeve shirts and we held hands and walked around. I was absolutely amazed by the amount of confused even dirty looks we got. What? Two young people with lots of tattoos can't take a walk around a conservative neighborhood? It disturbed me. Mike didn't care but I did. These people wouldn't even say hello to us as they strode past walking their dogs or pushing their kids in strollers. It really pissed me off, but I was very pleasant so whatever.

If you know of any cool spots in S. Jersey to spend a nice day or go hiking, drop me a comment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not a spaceship, a ROCKET SHIP

I am petrified of flying. The fear gets worse as I get older. Just like how I can no longer ride on roller coasters when I used to love them throughout most my childhood. I'm afraid of a lot of things - ya know, like dying. I've talked about this before though so I won't bore you with it.

Last year I flew with my mom to Seattle to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I cried silently at take-off squeezing my little stuffed angel that goes everywhere with me. Once we got in the air and leveled off I was fine. I'm also fine landing. I calmed myself last time I flew telling myself that it would just be a sick joke for God to take me before I got to finish reading the Harry Potter series.

Hey, it worked.

I'll be flying in May, but three times instead of two because we have a layover on the way back in D.C. Little did I know at the time that we're going to get on one of those little planes that only fit about 50 people and then take that for an hour to Philadelphia. Wouldn't it be ironic for me to die in a plane crash now that I can practically touch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being released July 21? That would suck. But I've mostly been able to calm myself this time by reminding myself that terrorists typically don't hijack and crash planes on the weekends. I will be flying on a Sunday and then again the following Saturday.

I guess I was thinking about this last night because I flew in my dream but in a ROCKET SHIP. I got to look out the window and see nebulae and black holes and a beautiful light show. I was scared though. But it was pretty fun. It was a very long dream and it was a long rocket ship ride.

I'm so happy with the weather. If I could, I'd pat you on the back, weather. Keep up the good work.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Preservation - The menu of my life

I am sometimes very apprehensive about the future - mostly because it seems so scary and dark. A few Christmases ago I had a major anxiety attack. I could not for the life of me bring myself to buy wrapping paper, cards and bows, etc. at the 75% discount after the Holidays. I was convinced I wasn't going to see the following Christmas. Well, Mike's mother took it upon herself to buy all the good stuff and I was very grateful and it came in handy the following year.

I went through the same thing when making the decision to open a retirement account. I did it of course; just in case....

Which leads me to my new project:

I have a manila folder on a shelf below all my cookbooks in the kitchen bursting open with printed out recipes from the Food Network,, etc. I print them out when I go recipe browsing and shove them in this folder. There's also a lot of tried and true favorites in there. The folder is crusty with food drippings and the most often used recipes are torn and have some grease spots on them. LoL. There's also some recipes jotted down on scrap that mom has given me over the phone that are hardly legible.

So last night I grabbed the folder and started plucking out all the tried and true favorites. I grabbed my laptop and starting retyping them in my choice of recipe language and added my own modifications including the source or creator of the recipe.

My favorite thing about it is that I added a History line which would look like this if you were looking at my recipe for Mocha sweethearts:

History: I made Mike these for our first Valentine's Day together (2005) while I was living in Philadelphia. I made them again for Valentine's Day in 2007, our first Valentine's Day living together in NJ.

I'm excited to put these all in a three ring binder separated by course and insert all the sheets in plastic sleeves - preserve them while preserving my life with food. We all have soundtracks to our lives - this is the menu of my life.

I'm also excited to decoupage and seal the binder. Who knows? Maybe I'll have children some day and I can't imagine a better gift to pass down than a lifetime's worth of favorite recipes and memories.

Friday, March 23, 2007


The following is a picture of me taken around 8:00 AM Thursday morning. Notice the long hair? The longest it's ever been in fact.

Below is a picture of me taken around 8:00 PM same day. See the difference?

I have done foul, mean, rotten, unforgivable things to my hair. And who could forget the time I shaved it all off right down to the skin with the exception of some bleached white bangs? My oldest brother I'm sure will not since I made that choice three months before his wedding. Yikes. It was alright for the wedding.

So after all the dye jobs, after all the times I let drunk friends cut it with paper scissors and all the strife, imagine my surprise when I actually felt nervous about seeing it go. I was very surprised with my new feelings of attachment.

I made the decision to cut it on Tuesday. Some days I loved it and some days I hated it and Tuesday I looked in the mirror and thought, "Holy shit, I look Amish." It was incredibly boring, had no sense of style whatsoever and it just hung there thin and straight and weighted down. (Here I had trouble coming up with a simile. Woulda been a good place for something witty eh? - I am accepting suggestions on the comment board)

So I made the appointment and was feeling sentimental and nervous before I left the house the day of so I snapped the first picture.

I won't bore you with the details. I went to a really real stylist in an expensive European-esque Salon and was treated like a leper. No surprise there. My hair was one inch short of being able to donate my ponytail to Locks of Love and I was a little disappointed because my mom has to wear wigs and I would have liked to give my hair away so that a small child could have a wig made of my hair. My hair was wet when she measured it and I did think of waiting a month or two for the extra inch but I was already committed - now or never.

So I told the stylist what I wanted she told me it would look bad on me I asked her what would look good on me she said she didn't know - a shag? I said can you show me what you mean she said you don't know what a shag looks like? I said I do she was mean to me and belittled me a bit I considered leaving I finally said just do this (picture) and she finally turned nice and did what I asked.

It was a jarring experience but I got a good haircut that really complements my fine, thin, straight hair. Styling it is fun and a cinch and everyone seems to love it. Mike really loves it and was extra nice to me last night. I asked what's up? He responded with the famous, "It's like a having a new girlfriend!" then he turned all red and we laughed.

Overall, I'm pleased.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's free? No thanks.

Ahhh, the first day of Spring. Also known to many as free Rita's day along with free iced coffee at DD day. A friend of mine shares a tradition with her boyfriend where they hit up all Rita's Italian Ices within a fifteen mile radius of where they live getting a different flavor at each one.

I just went out and bought cigarettes and walked right past a Dunkin Donuts on my way there. I hate this Dunkin and never go there since management just can't seem to grasp that a Dunkin on a corner of Center City should have speedy and capable staff. I went there a handful of times in the morning in the past and had to walk out twice and have seen frustrated customers walk out every other time complaining of how late they are going to be and couldn't even get a coffee while doing so. It's super bad.

But I thought to myself, It's 3:30, how bad could it be? So I walked in and right up to the counter and requested a small iced french vanilla coffee.

"No flavors!"
"Ok, then a regular please."
"Cream sugah?" She then already had it in hand.
Maybe I'm the asshole for throwing off their groove but I figured there was no one behind me and if I'm going to get one then I should get one that I'll actually drink.
"Actually may I have skim and two sweet n low?" Before I was even done saying this I began to reach into my wallet to throw some change in the tip cup and hadn't even unzipped my wallet before...
"You bettah put somethin in my [tip] cup!"
I was appalled and almost said something like I have every single time in the past when someone demands I tip them for doing their job. I felt my face turn red and my blood pressure rise and I looked this woman in the face and simply said, "you bet."
"Good cause I've been here all day."

I threw my two quarters in the cup and took my coffee. My two sweet n lows were laying across the lid. Since when did Dunkin stop making your coffee for you?

I got back to the office and saw there was no ice in my cup and it looked like a watered down mud puddle so I tossed it without even inserting my straw.

Should I have known better than to get a free iced coffee on free iced coffee day? Have they been shelling these things out all day and maybe I was just too late and they were sick of it all by then?

I may never know. But I do know I will never ever go back to Dunkin Donuts on the corner of 17th and Arch Street again. I also know that if it's free, it's probably not even worth it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Weekend recap

Friday we were supposed to get a little snow and maybe some ice. What we got was a pretty significant ice storm and even got out of work early. It was NASTY. It's still nasty today (Monday).

My mom was supposed to come over on Friday. We checked the traffic report and the NJ Turnpike was at a crawl and full of minor accidents and my mom and I were disappointed but it just wasn't a good idea for her to come down. She said she would get on the turnpike and see how it was and get off at the next exit and go home if it was bad.

So I went home disappointed and feeling sorry for myself to have to spend a Friday night alone because Mike was staying at his mom's when mom called and said she was braving the storm to come over anyway. "I was looking forward to this too much to not come."

I was a nervous wreck. There's cause to be nervous about my mom driving to my house when the weather is great but in a storm!

It took about three hours but she made it and we had a great time and I'm so glad she came and by the time she left Saturday the roads were dry. I love when my mom sleeps over.

The corned beef came out great even though I didn't like it at all. Kelly came over but her boyfriend did not since he wasn't feeling well. I made a green frosted layer cake with pistachio pudding and potatoes and cabbage. My recipe said a 3 pound brisket would feed 6-8. Yeah right. Mine was almost 4 pounds and the three of us only left enough over to send some home to Kelly's boyfriend and give some to Mike to have for lunch the next day. Next year I am definitely making two. It shrunk a lot!

I'll make it once a year but I think corned beef is slimy and not very good. The Killians helped. I think Kelly had a good time and Mike really seemed to like her.

Before she left she kinda sorta asked if she could come over again on Wednesday. I just wanted to make sure she didn't mind always coming to my house and she said she wanted to make sure I didn't mind cooking for her and she wondered if it was fair. Mike chimed in that I love cooking dinner and having people over so that was done. To be honest, I rather her come to my house anyway. So that works out fine for me.

So I think we're starting a Wednesday thing which is awesome.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Honoring my Irish heritage

So I get a call at work from Mike yesterday:

Mike: "Can you make corned beef Saturday?"
Me: "No. It takes like all day to make, I don't even know if I like it, and I have no idea how to make it. I'll get you some deli corned beef."
Mike: "Ok"

So I hung up the phone and pulled up my trusty and found a recipe for corned beef, cabbage and potatoes (I can't say po-tat-oes without hearing Sam Wise's voice in my head). Easy enough.

So I call Mike back.
Jess: "Ok, I'll make it. But if I'm going to spend all day making this, I want to invite Kelly and Jim over for dinner. Do You mind?"
Mike: "Nope."

So Kelly and Jim accepted our invitation and I'm so excited for the guys to meet each other and for Mike to meet Kelly. I'm also making a green cake. The cool thing is that they really like corned beef too.

So Saturday I will make and possibly enjoy an authentic Irish meal with friends and some beer. Mike added last night that he's very happy I'm making it because he had it every year growing up and he wants us to really have our own traditions.

That made me happy.

This isn't a family affair! Is it?

Mike and I started taking swing dance classes and last night was our second class. Last week we naturally migrated to the right of the room and had a very nice, shy, older couple on our right and a younger attractive couple on our left taking the class in preparation for their upcoming wedding. Last week the left side of the room was comprised of people who all knew one another: an older couple and their daughter, a cousin, aunt, loud obnoxious older male who knew them somehow and so on. There were six of them last week.

Well, last night I couldn't help but notice the class grew. The family had another older women and a somewhat creepy looking guy in his forties. He reminded me of Crazy Eddie to be honest. So it didn't really matter but I wondered if these new additions were paying patrons or simply additional friends and/or family who tagged along with the others.

Nevertheless, we all naturally migrated to the same spots we took last week and spent some time reviewing the moves from last week. This naturally took longer since there were two new people who had to learn last week's moves from scratch.

So we learned our new move, the left pass, and I loved it because the man spins in this one and Mike really looked sharp doing his turn. It was actually tricky at first but I find that all these moves look confusing until we actually pair up and try them out and work out the kinks.

We were supposed to learn two new moves last night but only got to the one. The far left of the room where everyone knew one another was having too much damn fun and goofing off and they couldn't get the move down and our teacher had to spend a great deal of time going couple to couple to get them to focus and learn the move. It really pissed me off.

It apparently pissed off the younger woman getting married because she turned to us on the right and said, "Hey, lets hear it for the good side!" and we all clapped for us because we nailed the move.

So with twenty minutes left, the left side of the room finally got their shit together but our teacher said twenty minutes wasn't enough time to teach us the new move. Total bummer. So Mike and I just danced solidifying our two awesome moves we learned so far and adding our own personal styling. It was a blast choreographing with him.

Mike really got into too. He would get excited and stop me and go, "Jess! Jess! After we do our left pass we should go back into the open position because going into the open after the left pass looks better than going into the open after the out around and in and then we'll look cooler!"

He took me out for a drink afterwards too. So that was cool.

I highly recommend all couples take dance lessons. But ladies, let your man lead.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I sure do hope I'm not alone

Just a second ago - I mean this quite literally - just now ten seconds ago found out "segway" is not how you spell "segue". I always read right over the word "segue" never knowing what it meant and always pronouncing it "Sehg" one syllable.

How can I make this mistake, I being the amazing speller that I am? I will tell you why. There used to be this stupid Jersey Hardcore band named "Segway" and I had the t-shirt to prove it. I am just in absolute shock.

Bands really need to be better role models.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday night review

How refreshing to have plans on a weeknight - two days in a row no less!

Kelly and I saw Pan's Labyrinth last night and I thought it was just fantastic. The story was entertaining and original, the make-up and effects were right on, the acting was very good and I just can't find anything negative to say about it. Nothing.

Afterwards we just grabbed some fast food and went back to Kelly's and ate and talked. It was great. She's coming to my house next Wednesday. I'm so happy to have found a friend.

Now my excitement is for tonight because Mike and I start our swing dance lessons finally. After that it will be Friday and then the weekend and I am looking forward to it so much I can barely wait. No particular reason. I just can't wait to read in bed Saturday morning and do all the other things I can only do on my private little weekends home alone.

No plans this weekend? Go see Pan's Labyrinth.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's raining friends

I think it's so funny when people say that once they start dating after a long dry spell it seems like other possibilities sprout up everywhere. It must be that people seem to glow when they're happy and hence seem more appealing.

All I know is that I hung out with Kelly on Sunday and made plans to meet up again on Thursday. Ever since then I feel busy but in a wonderful way. An old friend from Carteret e-mailed me out of the blue to say she'll be in my area on Saturday and would like to come over. An old friend from a previous job has been trying to get together with me but it never really works out. Randy's girlfriend broke up with him and my phone's been blowing up with text messages from him.

All this activity is a breath of fresh air.

On another note, I finally bought what I thought would be the best decoupage book to help me get started and I read half of it last night and am finally ready to get started. I can't wait to set up my workstation and get started this weekend.

I've been wondering at what point in our "relationship" I could invite Kelly over to my house. She made that curiosity easy on me when she suggested I shoot right to her house on Thursday after work to see her place and meet her boyfriend and then grab a quick bite and make it to a 7:00 showing of Pan's Labyrinth. I think I'll see what she's up to this weekend and see if she'd like to come over on Sunday.

I hope she's the type who can hang indoors and just talk or watch a movie or have dinner over. I can't afford to keep going out for long.

These worries are blessings. I rather have them than not.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wanted: Normal nice girl age 23 - 28

I've often said one of the major missing factors in my life is a girlfriend - female companionship other than from my mom. In an act of desperation I checked out some strictly platonic woman for woman personals. There were so few so I wrote my own and e-mailed with a couple women a little bit. It was overall very disappointing and it made me feel pretty lame.

But I spent last week e-mailing with Kelly. She seemed smart and pretty cool and we had things in common. We arranged via e-mail to meet yesterday for lunch.

So we met. And she's totally cool and cute too. We had a drink at the bar at a Mexican place and chatted a bit then switched to a table for food. I must say I enjoyed myself. I didn't feel terribly uncomfortable and I just was myself. She talks a lot like me too so that was cool.

So after we ate she asked me if I'd like to go to the movies. (I kind of thought she was enjoying herself but that sealed the deal.) So we went to Barnes & Noble next door so I could get a new book then we saw Black Snake Moan which was entertaining but I don't recommend it unless you want to see Christina Ricci in her panties for 45 minutes. Then I left my book in her car and went home but not before she asked me if I'd like to get together this week and I said yes.

I'm still really pissed I forgot my book though. :-( But I was happy.

Some stats:

Kelly is S. Korean but adopted by a white family when she was 18 months old and has an older (also adopted) brother but not her real brother from S. Korea.

Raised near Ocean City, MD

Lived in Philly for two years (like me)

Now lives with her boyfriend in Glassboro, NJ (20 min. drive from my house)

Kelly, 25 and boyfriend, Jim, 30

Kelly is still a student but has a degree in Biology and now in Nursing School and aspires to get her Master's in anesteciology (?).

Overall cool chick.

So whatever will be is fine. I just laugh because I feel like I'm dating so I think I'll have to go out a bit more than usual while I'm sealing this friendship before I can invite her over to my place.

I'm happy with how it went.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Feeling strange

I just finished the book Crank by Ellen Hopkins. It was an easy read and finished it in four days and happy to be done with it.

Much like the book Prozac Nation, Crank induced my experiencing many different emotions, feelings, smells and tastes. A book written by a young girl's mother about her daughter's meth addiction. I for one have never done meth but in reading about it, I see it's really no different than crack.

I was fine with the book for a while seeing little to no similarities between the dual personality sixteen year old Kristina aka Bree. That was until she smoked meth for the first time. Sitting on the train to work I read that section and I immediately smelled freshly cooked rock in my flared nostrils and tasted the sticky sweet in my mouth. I sat, silent and amazed yet horrified for a moment before sucking on my tongue to get the taste away. Can a book really do this to me? Make me taste and smell what I haven't tasted nor smelled in all these years?

It passed and I continued reading.

I picked up the book again on the way home and started to feel a wave of anger, guilt and pure humiliation come over me. I cried in the car on the way home and remembered things I've long tried to forget.

Mike was home when I got home. My partner, my love, who knows so little of what I've done. He's never asked, I've never told and we don't see it as secrets but as the dumb shit we've all done.

I wasn't myself but Mike understood the book was just a bit of a difficult read for me. "Why don't you stop reading it?" he asked.

"I'll be done with it tomorrow morning."

I cried a little and don't remember why. I let go one of my most shameful memories and Mike giggled. Through my sobs I told him, "It's not funny!" but his finding humor in my shameful act made me see that maybe that little thing wasn't so bad afterall, just bad from my point of view.

After a little while I suggested, "Fuck it. I'm taking you out to dinner."

Getting out and having some diner grilled cheese and a pickle and some diner conversation really made me feel better. On the way home Mike told me about his brother's experience with the psychic he went to the night before. A very legitimate psychic that Mike's family has gone to for years and is very consistent.

"Why haven't you gone yet?"

Those words were like a blessing.

"I'm willing to tell you if you're willing to listen."


So we went home and I started with that fateful October day six years ago when I went to Connecticut to see a Reiki Master and left Connecticut a monster.

I gave him the abridged version filled my current perspectives. I cried a little, mostly for my family and told Mike some of the things that made me the most sad. I smoked some cigarettes and felt wonderful when I finished with:

"...and that's why I haven't gone to any psychics. I still hold that woman partly responsible for what I went through." I do. The drugs, the abuse, the wreckless hate, the downward out of control spiral my visit with that women led to.

After telling a bit of my story to Mike I felt empty but not sad. Rather, I felt light, airy. "Thank you for listening."

After that the night was great but this morning, not so much.

Mike had to wake up extra early this morning to go to a meeting. His alarm partially woke me out of some sort of drug dream. I still have them but they are few and far between. My right arm hurt from shooting up; that weird pain that runs from the crook of your arm partially up your bicep and down just an inch or so like a soreness in the bone. I was wondering how Mike could possibly get up so early after smoking crack with me all night. I wondered and stressed over how I'd be able to function at work - is today the day I lose my job?

I went back to sleep and woke up feeling to a feeling of haze. I went about my business lost in my own thoughts and kept running into disorder.

No apple. Today was the first work day in as long as I can remember I didn't have an apple to pack with my sandwich.

Coffee in the pot left for me from Mike but the thought of sweet n low making me feel sick to my stomach.

No train ticket. Have to stop at Wawa for cash. Bought a coffee and put lots of sugar in it, feel and see sugar in my belly mutating into giant glob of fat.

Got to train station parking lot at 7:52, one spot left just for me. What the hell is going on here? half a parking lot left for me. Never ever before.

Don't remember walking from train to work. Arm still hurts.

I'm here now getting this out and off of me and happy to be doing so. I feel strange but I thank God these little oddities are only that; little oddities and not the monster that once lurked in my shadow.