Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Uncle Al, the Kiddies' Pal

Heeeey, uncle. [/Buster] Sorry this post is late, but I worked 15 hours today, and the photo was on the computer that I left in my hotel room, and Hurricane Ernesto confused me, and also I think people are tired of my birthday slide shows. So this is just a short note to say Happy 50-Whatever Birthday, and it's downright pleasant to have a family member that I would probably want to hang around even if I wasn't obligated by blood to do so. You're my very favorite uncle. (I would say "don't tell the other one," but he would probably respond with "Jamie who?") This photo looks to be circa 1977. Nice 'fro.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Another frackin' birthday--

Seriously, it seems like all people do in December is have sexual relations!

Today is the 30th birthday of my awesome, quirky friend Brad, who some of you know as Yogi. I, in fact, might be the only person left in the world that calls him by his given name. Brad and I have been friends forever - and even though our relationship has never had even an inkling of romance, we made a pact when we were about 14 that if were both still single at 30 (because 30 was soooo old!), we would get married. Earlier this summer we panicked and decided to push it to 40.

Brad and I talk every Sunday afternoon, and it usually goes something like this: "Hey, what are you doing, making soup?" "Yeah, chicken was on sale. It's got lots of bell peppers in it. What are you doing?" "Gross. Watching Can't Hardly Wait." "Channel, please?"

So, this picture was taking in the fall of 1993. Egads!

Ironically, Bradley and I were a Duke & Duchess in the Nacogdoches High School Homecoming Court. If either one of us had been the GDI Ambassadors we are today way back then, I'm sure upon being asked to serve in Homecoming Court we might have either looked at each other and then laughed until we cried, given the asker a "what the hell are you thinking?" look before slowing backing away with garlic crosses, or maybe even thrown up in our (respective) mouths a little bit. Which is why I look back on my time of high school inclusion with fondness tinged with disbelief.

This was the same year that we were in, nay, STARRED in - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - as Leroy and Imogene Herdman. I'll never forget that play, because the teacher from hell, Lady McWorsham, told me after Imogene's Mary scene - "you cut up way too much in class for me to ever give you a good grade, but you really are a damn fine actor." HAHAHAHAHAHA! Classic.

This photo was taken last spring in San Francisco. We were, obviously, giving the patented "blue steel" look.

So anyway, here's to you, Bradley - one of my all-time favorite people. I wish you all the best that life has to offer in your 30s (I've been 30 myself for a couple of weeks and it ain't half-bad) - and please, get out there and find yourself a girl so I don't have to marry you.

Cheers, Hawkins.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

rednecks & alligators

I really, really hate Florida.

I was here in Orlando last summer when I decided to cut my hair off - and yeah, here I am again, thinking about just frackin' shaving it off. I kinda feel like I look like this. It's 20 degrees cooler than in Dallas, but it's 90% humidity. 90%!!! Blech.

Anyway, I went to my orientation for A&P today and I'm properly freaked. I have four textbooks and just the "Introduction to the Human Body" and that bone & muscle list made me cower under my lab table. Where, by the way, I looked at my own saliva cells at 400x magnification. Weird.

I adored my professor. He was everything you expect a 60-something science professor to be - bespectacled, somewhat befuddled, with an odd sense of humor, and get this- he was actually drinking iced tea out of a beaker. I'm so not kidding. It was ace-high.

Please, someone tell me I'm not going to fail this class.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

next issue

Now, most of you know that I don't much like discussing politics, and I know a wide range of political views read this blog-- so, I'm not trying to start a left-wing/right-wing war. Please be open-minded to others' views... and be kind. But I want to take a moment to discuss Plan B. (G, you are our resident pharmacology expert - and flaming liberal *wink*, so I'd love your input.)

The news today states that Plan B will be available over-the-counter for any woman over the age of 18. (Children 17 and under will still need a prescription.) Now, I'll be the first to admit that I probably don't know enough about it to make an educated opinion - but how can Plan B be available over the counter when birth control isn't? It's basically just a more concentrated dosage of the hormone in The Pill, right? So, you have to get a prescription to make a mature, responsible decision about your sex life, but if you don't make that decision ahead of time, you can just run to the store? It doesn't make any sense to me.

I'm not trying to say that it shouldn't be available. I absolutely think that it should. But I also think it should be a last option. We are not teaching safer sex with girls (or boys) if this is something you can just go pick up with gum and a Snapple. And let's be frank, kids are having sex whether they are taught abstinence or safer sex or nothing- so shouldn't we be teaching them both, in fervent hopes that something gets through? In case anyone wonders where on the fence I sit with this particular issue, I DON'T think that high schoolers should be having sex but I DO think that we should teach them about birth control and disease control anyway, and Plan B SHOULD be available at Planned Parenthood and your doctor's office, but not Walgreen's.

There are many, many issues surrounding teenage pregnancy and sex, not the least of which is global overpopulation. In 1830, our planet hit 1 billion people. In 1930, 2 billion. By 1960, it was 3 billion. 1974, 4 billion. 1987, 5 billion. Today? Roughly 6.5 billion people. About 300 million of those people live in our country. About 74 million of those Americans are children. 22 million of those children are under the age of 6. (On a complete tangent - thanks Tom - I think these stats prove that this is far from merely a WOMEN'S issue; it is an American issue; it is a people issue.)

One in five Americans have a sexually transmitted disease. One in five!! About 2/3 of those people are under the age of 25. So... let me break out the calculator... that's about 40 million people under the age of 25 (basically, kids) that have an STD. And people still don't think we should teach them about condoms? It's estimated that over a million Americans are HIV-positive and over 400,000 are living with (and dying from) AIDS. And we, my fellow Americans, are not even close to having the most dire statistics.

These statistics, although heartbreaking, don't remotely address the psychological, emotional, and social consequences of teenage sex. So yes, I so think we should be teaching our children about abstinence AND birth control and disease prevention. And yes, I do think that Plan B is a medicine that should be available.

But, if I need a prescription for an 800-mg ibuprofen tablet, when I could just as easily take 4 Advils, shouldn't one also need a prescription to take a higher dose of a medicine that is regulated by a doctor to begin with?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the hilarity of truth

Check out what I just got in the mail from Kiddo, fantastic little one that she is:

If you could be labelled, how would your fact sheet read? Perhaps your friends would say you supply 83% of their RDA for fun. Your boss might laud your 9 g of industriousness (per serving). Your dog would proudly declare that you're 100% perfect in every way.

But your parents...ah, well. Did you take up the career they wanted you to? Marry that girlfriend they liked so much? Do you visit them on a regular basis? Failing that, do you call?

Eh, even if you did do all those things, it still might not satisfy their expectations for your performance. Acknowledge their irritation with the shirt that tells the world you are, in fact, A Constant Source Of Disappointment.

No, that's not me in the shirt, that's a picture from the website where she bought it. Ironically, if I was to wear this shirt in front of my mother, I might get the old "that color isn't very flattering on you." Ya think? Even my darling uncle Al said upon our last visit: "I'm glad you're the one with all the piercings and tattoos; every family has a black sheep and I'm just glad it's not one of my kids." Awwww. Feel the love!!!

Double feature tonight of The Devil Wears Prada and Little Miss Sunshine!

Monday, August 21, 2006


So, vacation with Tonya was a blast. Thank God for frequent flier miles, eh? I've never been to Wisconsin and my only stipulation to Tonya was that we had to eat at non-chain restaurants and we had to do Wisconsin-y things. The weather was awesome - mid 70s during the day and a little cooler at night, and it's so fun to do all the tourist stuff that you don't do in your home town or when you're traveling for work. I'm totally the kind of person to pull over for the world's biggest ball of twine.

I flew to Chicago on Tuesday and had to get on a puddle-jumper to Green Bay - American doesn't fly into Appleton at all and only shuttles Eagle flights to Green Bay. That afternoon T and I gorged on some pasta at a local Italian place called Gratzi's. We went back to her house and got me settled in, made some cocktails, looked up Wisconsin attractions on the internet, watched some television, and caught up.

Wednesday morning we hit the ground running. We went to the Outagamie County Museum where there was a great 60's exhibit with a lot of local flavor (when JFK spoke at Kaukauna High, a local's POW story, etc.) - and I have to state for the record that I really think I missed my era with the 60's. The music, the clothes, the protests... I would have been an awesome hippie. Next stop, the Houdini exhibit. Apparently, although Houdini (aka Eric Weiss) was born in Budapest, he grew up in Appleton, WI and always claimed it as his hometown. It was an exhibit geared for kids but we had a great time nonetheless. Last stop was a photo exhibit of Appleton and an exhibit on the "tools of change," or machinery of the Fox River Valley 1850-1950. Apparently Appleton was quite the hotspot for midwest innovation, boasting the first telephone in all Wisconsin, the first Chinese restaurant in Outagamie County, and the first incandescent light in any city beyond the east coast. The first hydroelectric power was generated in Appleton, on the Fox River. The Valley Fair Shopping Mall, recognized as the first enclosed shopping mall in the US, was built in Appleton in 1954. Seriously!

Next we hit the BIG SCREEN movie theater. Six stories high and over 80' wide, the theater broadcasts educational films in 70mm. We wanted to see one on natural disasters but it wasn't showing that day so we opted for "The Living Sea," narrated by Meryl Streep and featuring special music by Sting. We sat two rows from the back and had to get up and move to the very back for comfort in watching.

After the movie we went to the new martini bar in town, The St. James, which was great: dark wood, Frank Sinatra, and over 150 martinis. Tonya actually got a punch card which has to be the funniest thing I've ever seen. (Krys, I sent you a picture of it on my phone; did you get it?) Then we had sushi at the alleged "best restaurant in Appleton"- it was pretty damn good, I must say, and they even had a "Wisconsin roll," which was shrimp and Wisconsin cheddar. Different, but I liked it. Then we made our way over the the aforementioned Valley Fair Shopping Mall, which will (according to Wikapedia) be mostly destroyed in 2006, pending the sale from the previous (now bankrupt) mall owners. It's seriously creepy - a horror movie waiting to happen. The only working entrance is to the movie theater (the $2.75 movie theater) and the rest of it is all empty and chained/gated off, and eerie and dusty. T and I are apparently the only 2 people on the planet yet to see The DaVinci Code, so we saw that and were both somewhat underwhelmed. We then went BACK to the martini bar for another couple of punches in ye olde punch card, and were home by midnight.

We (obviously) slept like rocks and met Thursday with renewed energy. We stopped to judge the validity of an establishment so-called "Big Apple Bagels"- where they weren't, but they were very good- and still in the Wisconsin spirit I ordered a cheddar/bacon bagel with Wisconsin Cheddar cream cheese. I'm pretty sure it elevated my cholesterol about a hundred points, but it was certainly tasty. We took a little road trip north up the coast to Door County. Door County is known for its antiques, its stained glass, its bed & breakfast's, and having more lighthouses than any county in America. We went to Sturgeon Bay and shopped, ate (ham and bean soup, grilled cheese, fresh lemonade at an inn in town), visited a lighthouse, a winery, and a dairy, and then ate dinner at the Old Mill Supper Club: an authentic Wisconsin Fish Boil. You can read all about our fish boil here, but my favorite part of the day was the light house. It's actually an official USCG property so we couldn't go up in it, but we went out on the pier and got some nice photos. My favorite part was the signs we followed to get there.

We then raced the sun back to Appleton (about 70 miles) so we could get to Waverly Beach before the sunset. The tiki bar was closed but we had a drink inside and headed back home to watch When Harry Met Sally. (RIP Bruno Kirby. ) Making solemn vows to "sleep in" the next day, we hit the sack only to be awoken at 6:30 by water pipe construction RIGHT OUTSIDE HER DRIVEWAY. Geez.

Friday we made some breakfast and spent the morning - and I do mean, the entire morning - watching Cinderella Man. We'd both been planning on watching it for a while but man, what a beating. Ron Howard is usually a favorite of mine but he was striking out all last week for me. It's not that the movie wasn't good; it was, very. It was just incredibly long and didn't surprise me at any turn. It was exactly what I expected. However, it was nice to stay in and veg out - I helped T with some computer stuff and we played around on our laptops. We finally dragged ourselves to lunch at her favorite restaurant, Fratello's, which is right on the river in an old power plant. The city of Appleton sold it to them for $1 in exchange for their complete renovation of the integrity of the building. It was gorgeous. We had a couple of appetizers and went back home to get Brent, who was back from his trip.

We all headed downtown for a drink at Cleo's, their favorite bar, which is decked out, 365 days a year, in the most awesome, kitschy, white trashy Christmas decorations. It was so fun! We walked over to the Art Center, where they were showing a marble exhibit. Tons of beautiful, historical marbles from all over the world, and at least 50 marble games, all of which we played, including the "largest marble game in Wisconsin." If that doesn't thrill you, you have a heart of STONE, folks! It was so fun. We did some walking around downtown, went into some shops, had another round of sushi (different restaurant) and then back to the martini bar. Brent hadn't been there yet so we of course had to take him. We pretty much closed the bar down just talking and having a great time.

Saturday we went to their favorite mom & pop bakery, where 3 huge danishes, a doughnut, a cinammon bun, and a cup of coffee cost us $4.50, and I got packed up and ready to go. We watched most of Back to the Future 2, classic, and got some burritos from the shop T affectionately dubbed "the poor man's Chipotle." We loaded up and headed into Green Bay so I could see the wonder that is Lambeau Field. There was a game so I got to see the full effect of the fanatacism of Green Bay supporters. And um, WOW.

Then I flew home!!

Thanks, T, for a wonderful time - can't wait to do it again. Kisses!!

Friday, August 18, 2006


This is the first trip I've been on in ... well, honestly, I can't remember how long - that didn't involve a work trip attached on one or both ends. It has been a TRUE vacation and I'm having a ball. Can't wait to blog about it in depth, with pictures. I'll probably post on Sunday, so stay tuned.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I am 30 years old. They say 30 is the new 20. I don't know if that's true or even what that really means, because sometimes I feel very immature and naive and sometimes I feel as though I've lived a thousand years. I worry, a little, that I am not where I should be (or thought I should be) at 30, but overall I am very fond of my little life. Sometimes I am happy, and sometimes I am sad, but I am almost never bored.

It would probably be pretty easy to compile a list of 30 things that I am unhappy about, but I think it is just as easy (and way more beneficial) to make a list of 30 things that make my life truly wonderful. So, in honor of my 30th, I have compiled a list of 30 things (in no particular order) that make my little corner of the world truly and sincerely happy. ("Lists" is a given; I've left it off the list. And a copy of the list, in case anything happens to the first list. *wink*) They may not be much on their own... but life is in the details:

Green olives, the smell of new books, old photographs, television on DVD, my iPod, feeling a sense of wonder, New York City, blogging, the scent of lavender, intimacy. Laughing so hard my stomach hurts, Entertainment Weekly, being woken up by someone I really want to talk to, maps, the laugh of a baby, a really good martini, the dictionary, singing hymns, feeling like part of something larger than I, art museums. Post-it notes, the first sip coffee in the morning, instant messenger, finding inspiration, taking the train, the power of the collective human spirit, observing happy old people, Texas, uncorruptability.

This may not sound like much... but it is. Thank you all for being part of my life.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The last day of my 20's....

This morning I went to brunch with my friends Erin & Nathan, Bill, Sandy, and Jessica, at this awesome place called Ozona, where, in addition to some of the finest migas in the land, they have a bloody mary bar with all sorts of mixes and spices and fresh veggies, including green onions and celery and avocado, and even shrimp and fresh horseradish. They just bring you a glass of vodka and you go to town. I LOVE it. Then we went to the Dallas Public Library to hear Harry & the Potters~ which, if you've never heard of them, laugh all you want, but I think they're HILARIOUS and they have a huge cult following of tween fans who actually read books, and plus, I think playing the public library circuit is awesome. They're a progressive punk-rock band who dress like Harry Potter, and play all original songs about the books. I'm not kidding. They have songs like "Save Ginny Weasley" and "Stick it to Delores" and "Luna Lovegood is OK." Their new album is called "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock"- which, come on, that's hysterical. Maybe a little cheesy, but creative and good fun and again - kids who read books. Thumbs up.

Aaaaand, I got a parking ticket. That's two in two, my friends.

THEN, I came home to three birthday cards and two presents! Yay!!!! Krysten sent me an awesome care package with some lavender soap, a t-shirt, a muddler, lemonheads, and a $10 bill to "buy [myself] a cocktail." How well does this girl know me, huh??? Krys, there was an unfortunate incident with the lemonheads and the 100+ degree heat, but I think it was confined to the ones in the little metal box, so it can be dealt with fairly easily. :) Oh, and I also got an invoice for a t-shirt from Batman & Wonderwoman... but no shirt. Knowing the two of them.... I can't wait to see what it says!

Paaaaarrghty tonight!

Friday, August 11, 2006

aaaand, also, it's Julia's birthday!!!

Happy 23rd, Julia~ you've always been my favorite, but don't tell the others. *wink* Julia was supposed to be born on my 7th birthday, and I was sooooo excited. But ever the over-achiever, Julia came two days early (coincidentally, on our uncle Barry's birthday). I'm so glad we live in the same town now... so, here's a little slideshow of Jule and Jame, through the years:

This is one of our ski trips at the Breckinridge condo... maybe 1985ish? Awwww, sleepy Jule!!

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures. Could we BE any more pissed off? At what? Who knows, but these are the faces that launched a thousand insults. We were called "Lips 1" and "Lips 2" for several years. Awwww, grouchy Jule!! Also, you're wearing red jellies, which might actually out-awesome that pout... No, never mind; the pout wins. By the way, feel free to click on the image for a larger view.

And here, we've morphed into ... Happy Jule! (You pretty much stayed Happy Jule by this era so I can stop naming dwarfs.) I think I was in college here, and you in high school. You wore that hat all the time for a while, but I'm pretty sure it was Thanksgiving 1996-1997ish.

This is Christmas, 2002: you were in college and I was ... doing whatever I was doing in 2002. Being fat, apparently.

And this is another all-time favorite. My 29th birthday. I wasn't living here yet but had a show here the week after my birthday and my friends threw me a little shindig and Jule came. August, 2005.

Hope your 23rd year is the best ever!! Hugs and kisses!!! ~J.

technology... the double-edged sword

So, today I come in and check my mail and in the midst of my bills, flyers, and birthday cards, is something from the Richardson Police Department. Inside is a ticket for running the red light at Coit/Campbell on 07/29 at 3:29pm. There are pictures enclosed, as well as the sentence "this violation was recorded on video and is available to view on the internet." The hell? How can you cry your way out of a ticket if they're doing it this way now?? Grrrrr.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Last summer, I bought my friend/co-worker/fellow foodie Brittny a book called Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen. It's the book written by a 29-year old Texan-turned-New Yorker in a dead-end job, who decided she needed a project to survive her 30th birthday, proceeded to cook everything in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the course of one year, blogged about it, and got a book deal. In other words, my own personal superhero.

Being somewhat of a Julia fan myself, as well as a (very, very) minor cook, I thought the book was cute and that Brittny would like it. About a month after I sent it to Charleston, she mailed it back to me, gushing over how much I would like it. That was last summer. I just finished it this morning.

I'm sorry I procrastinated so long because I did like it, very much. I'm not sorry I procrastinated because today, one week before my own 30th birthday, it was quite inspirational for me. Like Julie Powell, I am in the midst of my own early-mid-life-crisis-induced project, only mine is called nursing school and is going to take me another two and a half years to complete. And I probably won't get a book deal and a possible Nora Ephron movie script out if it. But in reading this book, I learned a lot from both Julie and Julia, from Julie~ the life-saving value of a project and how your crazy friends can help you through the ups and downs of it, and from Julia~ living deep and sucking the marrow of out life (and bones, but that's another post for another blog).

Listening to: Jackopierce, Finest Hour

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Well, I just had a really disappointing meeting at TWU. I was so excited about doing the accelerated BSN there instead of TCU... but it turns out that's not a probability... or even much of a possibililty.

An accelerated bachelor's program is designed for people who have bachelors in other fields. Basically, you just take the classes you didn't take the first time around. Since I have a B.A., in order to even apply to the accelerated program at TCU, I had to take 6 classes first (Elementary Statistics, Human Growth & Development, A&P I, A&P II, Nutrition, and Microbiology). My plan was Stats, Psych, and Nutrition in the Summer (done), A&P I in the Fall (enrolled), and A&P II and Micro in the Spring. I am allowed to apply to TCU (Feb 1 for Summer 2007 start) while enrolled in my last two classes.

For TWU, I need an additional 3 classes - Chemistry (ok), American Government, and Texas Government (the hell?), and I have to be completely finished with ALL OF THEM before I can even apply. Meaning, the only way I could possibly be done by Feb 1 is to quit my job right this very second, and take 4 science classes (with labs) and 2 government classes in the fall. Setting aside the fact that I'm single and not independently wealthy so can't just you know, not work, that would be a 22-hour semester. And since they only take 20 people and only offer this program every other year, there's basically not a chance of me doing it there unless I want to wait until Summer 2009.

Which is really, really disappointing.

So, it's back to Operation TCU for me. I'm applying Nov. 1 for early admission. If I get in before January I will probably have to quit my job earlier than planned because I don't think I can take Microbiology online. Another option is to get a different job here in town and apply to the regular nursing program at TWU... I think I could by Spring 2008. I'm about to sit down with all my literature from both schools and see what makes the most sense, time-wise & financial-wise.

Bill and I were talking last night about how easy it is to disappoint me, because I'm such an idealist. Unrealistically so, actually. Even with people - instead of starting at zero and earning points with me, you start off at "hung the moon." I always expect people to be the absolute best version of themselves - just as I expect situations to work out into the best-case scenario - and as soon as someone doesn't live up to their potential, I'm disappointed. Which is hugely ironic, seeing as how I'm one of the poorest decision-makers ever to walk the face of the earth, and you'd think with all the time I spend beating myself up, I wouldn't have any energy left to beat up the rest of you.

But, you know what? The more I think about it... I'm glad I'm an idealist. Who wants a half-empty glass? What kind of way is that to go through life, expecting the worst and being RIGHT? Nobody likes a pessimist... least of all the pessimist himself. At least if you expect that best you get the pleasure and excitement of anticipation. Plus, I think there's a certain degree of self-fulfilling prophecy that goes into one's outlooks. I expect people to be... basically good, so I can usually find a good characteristic in them. I expect my life to turn out OK, so I imagine I'll work around the disappointments around so that it does.

In other words, ad infinitum, no day but today.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

school's! out! for! summer!!!!

*appropriate air guitar here*

So, yeah. School's out for summer. Ibym "summer"... "the next 24 days." I made an 89 on my final, a mere two points (of a possible 330 total) higher than I needed to keep my "A." I've always been one to scrape by on the bare minimum effort possible.

I got my second 30th birthday present today... the 6th season of The West Wing. Thanks Tonny!!! Can't wait to see you!! Yay!! OK, off for my conference call. On my cell phone. And the yard guys are mowing outside my window. Should be fun.