Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I got some 'splainin to do!

It's time to dust off the ole blog, but it's for good reasons.  Seems I went and got myself into a situation of sorts...


And with this situation comes a lot of joy and a lot of people saying incredibly nice things to me and also a LOT of questions.  I thought this would be the best way to answer the ones I can think of.

Q: ARE YOU SERIOUS?
A: Abso-friggin-lutely.

Q: How far along are you?
A: As of today, almost 13 weeks. My due date is mid-June, but for twins, full-term is 38 weeks. So we shall see!

Q: What did you do when you found out?
A: Well, nothing really? So, I found out around 8 weeks, at my second ultrasound at Shady Grove. They'd only seen one on the first ultrasound 2 weeks prior, so I wasn't expecting any big news. I told the AMAZING Dr. Levens I'd been feeling super zonked-out tired since my last appointment. Then, he and the ultrasound tech went quiet, which isn't something a brand new pregnant lady wants to experience. Right before I shouted, "I AM STILL PREGNANT, RIGHT?", Dr. Levens finally answered. "I see why you've been so tired-- there are two of them!"

Sure enough, clear as day, two little gummy bears were on the screen. I was mostly just shocked more than anything else. I started laughing a little maniacally as I am wont to do in new situations, and I told a story (shocking!) about how I'd made a joke months before about how it'd be easier if I got pregnant with twins so I'd only have to go through this one.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

That was my last appointment at Shady Grove. I "graduated" to my regular OB after that. But that day, I was the talk of the office. Half the staff came by to see the face of the lady with "surprise twinnies!" Said face was beet red for hours, and I had to GO TO WORK after I found out this news. Believe me, it was the weirdest day of work I've ever had.

So, that's my story of surprise twinnies.

Q: Do you know the genders yet?
A: Not yet, and I likely won't until the beginning of  next year. I'll post that when it happens to see if I have a Cather & Wren or a Fred & George or a Brandon & Brenda. HOWEVER...

Q: Are they identical?
A: Nope! They are fraternal. Thus I'm far more likely to have Walshes than Weasleys. (Here's hoping for some gingers, though!) For now, we've been referring to them as "the twinkies" which is a nickname given to them by my father-in-law or, in typical Futurama nerd style, Wingus and Dingus.

Q: Do twins run in your family?
A: In my husband's but that's not how this happened.  I mentioned Shady Grove above here and I wrote a post over at the incredible ladyblog collaboration I've been involved with called "Good Morning Good Morning" where I came clean about some struggles I'd been facing. Full disclosure: I wrote that blog before I found out, but it went live AFTER I already knew I was pregnant. Either way, I didn't feel bad publishing it because it was all true of what I'd been experiencing for the last year or so. If you'd like to know more about that, I'm more than willing to chat about it. In person or over email, though.

Q: Are you excited?
A: SO.

Q: Are you terrified?
A: SO.

Q: Will you name them all J names since you're Jessica and your hubs is Jack?
A: I don't want to go all Duggar-y, but it might happen. All J name recommendations in comments!

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Tired and, depending on the day, a tad barfy. That should go away soon hopefully. I mostly just want to eat all the things but by "all the things" I mean the four foods I find to be delicious and literally nothing else.

Q: Can I send you a ton of presents to show you how much I love you?
A: Always.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Phenomenal Woman

(I wanted to type this out, physically, piece by piece, so that the words would sink into my skin and my soul would absorb them.  Perhaps you need that experience as well, so I pass this on to you.  Thank you for your soul-absorbent words, Dr. Angelou. The world will miss you.)

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


Friday, April 25, 2014

20 Ways To Piss People Off in 1999

Look at this treasure of a gif I found today!!
forever lololololol
So, while on vacation last week (oh, I went on a two week vacation to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, and I hope to blog about it soon, but that's another story for another entry)... what, where was I?

Oh, right.

While on vacation last week, I was thinking about some old saved emails I have in my Yahoo email account, which I've had since... the late 90s? I think? Man, old lady is old.  Anyway, yesterday, I decided to take a little sneak peek into the email archive to see if I had any beauties.  And boy howdy, did I!

Today, I would like to share with you an email I received from one Ambuler81 on July 28, 1999, entitled, "20 Ways to Piss People Off."  Of course, I had to share this with Ambuler herself, which I assume made her day.  After many requests to share the entire list, I find myself here today.  If you're having a bad day, please see the list below.  I hope this makes you smile.  If it doesn't, look at the gif at the top of this post again.  I will never stop laughing at it.

Right... to the list!

1. Go to the library. About every 15 minutes, walk up to the same guy and joke, "Working hard, or hardly working?"

2. At the dentist, start screaming as soon as you open your mouth.

3. Stand in front of the T.V. when your dad is watching a big game.

4. Every 30 minutes or so, call your friend who is baby-sitting and breathe into the phone.

5. Whenever someone asks you a question, say, "What?" as soon as they start to ask again cut them off with another "What?"

6. When someone asks to borrow paper, say, "Do you think paper grows on trees?" Then laugh hysterically.

7. Send e-mails to your friends with subjects reading "You'll never believe this!!!!!" Then leave the inside blank.

8. Put garlic powder inside the shower head in the bathroom (of course after you have taken a shower first).

9. Break into your fave celeb's house, wear their clothes and wait patiently to be arrested.

10. Fill your mouth with crackers at the table and talk to everyone.

11. Go to McDonalds and order lobster. After they explain they don't have it, storm out shouting, "I should have gone to Wendy's!!!!"

12. Tell a friend they have something on the face when they don't. Keep telling them to wipe harder.

13. When the lights go out at the movies, make barfing noises.

14. While on vacation with your family, suddenly scream, "Did someone remember to unplug the iron!?!?! "

15. Make up a joke that takes 10 minutes to tell and has no punchline.

16. When answering the phone say, "Yellow?"

17. Go to the store and buy a lot of things, only use all pennies to pay with.

18. Keep asking people at the bus stop "Cold enough for ya?" every couple of minutes.

19. While someone is taking a shower, steal their towel.

20. Speak with a fake British accent all day.
thx for the lols, past amber

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Roll again-- don't be stupid."

This weekend, we hosted my in-laws, as we usually do around this time of year.  I always love spending time with them, and this time was no exception.  We explored the National Building Museum, ate our collective weight in chicken taco soup and banana pudding, and agreed that when someone asks if you're a god, you say yes.

As is our tradition, we also gathered around the dining room table for a rousing game-- this year, we decided to go with Skip-Bo.  Brother-in-law won by leaps and bounds, for which we are equal parts proud and envious.  See, we are a very competitive lot, and while we love one another, we also love to school one another in any way possible.  These games get very intense, and there are often "disagreements" that result in threats of divorce.  Everyone has their own strategy, and no one should ever question it.  In fact, the only thing we agree on comes from Trivial Pursuit: when given a choice between a Roll Again or a Question space, you always "roll again-- don't be stupid."  It can be said in one quick exhale to speed the game along; it can be shouted at your teammate when they try to move your pie in the wrong direction; it is usually declared in unison by all six of us while raising our glasses in the air.  It's not much, but it's all we got.

I bring up games with the in-laws because of an interesting conversation I had with my father-in-law. After dinner, while we were avoiding clean-up, FIL asked me a question that usually sends me into a mental panic.

"So Jess, with all of your reviews and writer friends and such, when are you going to write us a book?"

That is a good question, FIL.

Anyone who's ever told loved ones about their passion for writing has heard this question, and those folks know there were many ways I could have answered.  I could say that writing doesn't interest me.  I could tell him that I don't have any ideas for a good story.  I could change the subject to something, anything, else.  However, I'm going through my own personal things right now, and I don't have room in my head or heart to be anything other than honest.

So, I tell him the truth.  I tell him that writing and completing a novel is ultimately my goal.  I tell him I have story ideas that I need to get out of my head and onto paper.  I talk about my writer friends and how they've been so helpful just by asking me about my progress and keeping me honest.  I even break bad on myself and tell him how much I find myself to be my own worst enemy.  "I'm so full of excuses," I say. "I just need to shut up and write."  He mentions NaNoWriMo (which I tried in 2012), and I tell him the story of how my brain turned to mushy goo when I tried NaNo, how I hid myself away that year while spending Thanksgiving with them to try and write, but it didn't work.  I shrug and say, "It can get a little daunting and scary."

He nods, and with a knowing smile, he says, "Well, roll again-- don't be stupid."

Maybe it's just been so long since I've blogged that I found inspiration in a silly place.  Maybe I need a little more sleep and a little less banana pudding.  Or maybe, just maybe, I should take a breath, believe in my own words, and push past the doubtful demons that live in my psyche.  Roll again, Jess.  Don't be stupid.

Friday, July 12, 2013

In Which I Drop Some Honesty, With Gifs

This is going to be one of those "honest" posts.  I'll inter-cut it with gifs to keep you reading.
it's feelings singing time.
I'm sure this comes as absolutely no surprise to the scores of people who read this blog (Hi Amber!), but I've been feeling very uninspired lately.  Call it a rut, though it's been lasting a long, long time.  I've even started a few posts-- one about the amazing Postal Service concert I went to last month that I accidentally referred to as a Rilo Kiley concert because I was so into seeing Jenny Lewis, one about books I've read that I was excited about, one about Book Expo America 2013 where there were no star penises but there were tons of laughs and excellent books-- but I've finished exactly none of them.  With the Postal Service one, I was mentally writing it the entire way back home from Merriwether Post Pavilion, thinking about how excited I was to get it all down and how it would be fun to blog again, and then I came home, opened the laptop, and... nothing.  The excitement, the words, the fire-- they all drained out of me in an instant.
much like Dean's coffee
This rutful feeling doesn't just cover my personal blog life.  I haven't written a review for WPP in about a month, despite the fact that I have read some books worth reviewing (in case you're curious, Winger by Andrew Smith and the upcoming Fire With Fire by Richmond native and general awesome lady Jenny Han and her bestie and general awesome lady Siobhan Vivian).  I didn't notice it until I went to update my spreadsheet of Books Read in 2013 yesterday (yes I have a spreadsheet you shut your mouth), and this is the first time I've finished a book since June 19 (thank you, audiobook for Outlander).  I've started a bunch, but they're all in limbo.  That's very rare for me, especially the me of the past few years.
this is how i usually feel about books
Part of it, I know, is burnout.  Writing reviews is hard, y'all.  Especially now, because I know what I like, and I'm growing increasingly tired of reading books that don't compel me.  Being a reviewer means that sometimes you have to slog through a story that you do not care about in the slightest.  I could mark it as DNF (that's Did Not Finish for you folks playing at home), but I really, really hate doing that.  I don't judge someone for it, but I want to finish what I start.  So, when I start a new YA book, and I'm immediately smacked in the face by 14 of the same tropes I've seen in the last 50 books I've read, I just can't imagine going on any further.  I don't want to.
presented w/o comment
There are exceptions to the above.  I've been "reading" this one book since I took the train home from BEA.  It's a short book, and I could've easily finished it on the train, but I reached a certain point where I knew the story was going to break me up inside, so I put it down to finish at a later date.  Now, it sits on my dresser, staring at me, willing me to finish, and I'm too scared and/or sad to find out what happens.  What even is that about?
what IS up, j.law?
I've also been trying to write more since I got back from BEA.  Hanging with the authorly types (especially the talented, passionate, creative authorly types who happen to be my friends) showed me that this is what I want to do.  I want to tell the stories I've carried around for so, so long.  I want to get them out of me and on paper and into the world.  But it's the same as the blog thing.  In fact, just yesterday as I walked home from the metro, I started hearing snippets of conversation in my head, and I knew which characters were speaking.  I couldn't wait to get home and get this out, let these two characters share this nonsensical conversation and reconnect.  However, I get home, complete my Getting Home routine, and when I finally sit down, I actually fall asleep.  I could have picked the story up at any point in the evening, with more than enough happy wishes from Hubs (and begrudging shrugs from the Mutt Who Really Just Wants Belly-Rubs), but instead?  I watch super mindless TV and then catch up on other less mindless TV.  Granted, I was spending time with Hubs and Mutt, which is always a blessing and happy-making time for me, but then I start thinking... How badly do I actually want this?  Not bad enough to look away from Exes Wipeout, apparently.

Okay, so this is a lot more honest than I intended, but it's already out so it's staying.
ugh, the accuracy.
My point is, I'm in a rut.  I'm doing my best to break out of it, but it's like my brain is floating in molasses.  It's like I'm caught in suspension, but not in the good way that it sounds like in the Mae song.  I'm just here.  And I don't know how to do anything more than exist right now.  It's got to be me that breaks out of this cycle, but I don't know how to do it.
I'm not asking for your sympathy, and, unless the advice is something magical, I'm not asking for that either. I'm simply stating my facts right now as I see them.  Frankly, it feels kinda good to get them out of me.  Maybe this is what I needed all along, to get these negative nellie vibes out of my brain so that space can be taken up by, like, more song lyrics or, you know, PLOT FOR A BOOK I SHOULD BE WRITING.  I know what I need to do to break free of this, but (and this will be the dumbest thing I've ever said) it's hard to do the hard thing.  But that's what I need to do.  Here's hoping I stop being scared and just freaking DO IT already.
asking life's important question
Anyway, thanks for reading, if you're all the way here.  You right there?  You're my favorite.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 30 – Saddest Character Death

Warning: Spoilers for The Wire and Downton Abbey are below.  They are detailed and super-duper-extremely sad-making.  If you haven't watched those series and you plan to and you don't like spoilers, then quit readin' already and get busy watchin'.

I think this post is the reason I didn't update the challenge for a month.

I'm a crier, and I have cried at many a TV death in my day.  I won't tell you the specific ones here, in case that will spoil you, but let's just say that my sofa has seen its fair share of my tears and then some.  The two listed below are the ones that hit me the very, very hardest-- even though I already knew both of them were coming.

First, Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil Cora Crawley Branson
Look how cute they are! And now she's dead.
I had heard all of the rumors about Dan Stevens wanting to leave the show, but I hadn't heard the Jessica Brown Findlay ones at all.  I watched this latest season on a slight delay (as in hours and days after the UK airings), but I knew a big, big death was coming, and I couldn't help myself.  I took to the tumblr, and there it was.  So I watched the episode.  Even with the warning, I wasn't prepared for how entirely heart-breaking it would be.  Stupid Robert Crawley and his stupid pompous fancy doctor!  And Sybil's death scene... that was one of the more harrowing things I've ever seen on TV!  They are all utterly helpless as she seizes and dies while her mother and her husband wail separately and simultaneously.  Tore. Me. UP.  Now, our dear Tom is left all by his lonesome... with Baby Sybil, of course.
Sorry, Tommy.
And second, The Wire's Wallace.
Just looking at this picture makes me want to sob.
The Wire is a hardcode show, and it is not for the faint of heart.  The following paragraphs aren't for the faint of heart either-- this is your warning.  It is also not recommended for people who live in Baltimore but don't know a lot about it.  Basically, you'll start thinking that everyone sells drugs.  Everyone's got them WMDs.  Here's a little backstory to set the cry-making mood.  There are a couple of interweaving plotlines in the first season, and one of them revolves around a gang of teenage drug dealers, including Wallace (played to bittersweet perfection by a baby-faced Michael B. Jordan).  His crew gets robbed by Omar (one of the best characters in the history of television).  Wallace spots Omar's accomplice and calls it in, which leads to said accomplice being tortured and brutally murdered by Stringer Bell (another brilliant character).  Wallace gets a cut of the bounty due to the information, but he also sees what his information wrought, so he wants out.  Unfortunately, that's not how things work for these kids, and so his very best friends are ordered to kill him.

So Wallace shows back up because he wants to get his life back together.  He sees his friends, and at first he's all happy.  Then they point a gun at him with shaking hands, so naturally Wallace wets himself and cries.  And then, his best friends pull the trigger and kill him.  It's awful.  I will never forget it.

Hubs had watched this episode before me, and (again, because I am a spoiler reader) I already knew what was coming, so I asked him, "How sad is it?"  He replied, "It's not too bad."  YEAH, "not too bad" = tears pouring down my cheeks faster than I could wipe them away and pressing my hand to my mouth to keep from sobbing breakdown-style.  "Not too bad," my aunt Fanny.  Just remembering it makes my chest ache.

This is a depressing post.  To make up for that, here's a gif of my favorite part of While You Were Sleeping.
omg best

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 29 – Current TV Show Obsession

I have two.  Duh.  Because I listen to Keith Mars and always take back-up.

New Girl
This has essentially been My Jam since the very first episode-- I mean, Zooey's character's name is Jessica, she sings as she speaks a lot, and when she lists her DVDs, it's like she just looked at my own shelf and started naming titles.
Also, I do this often. Gif from here
I didn't think it could live up to its first season of actual-LOL hilarity, but somehow, this season has been even LOL-ier.  We cackle through just about every episode, from soup to nuts.  Who's that girl?  Who's that girl? (it's me)
gif from here
Game of Thrones

This is the newest new obsession.  I held off on watching for a long time because I knew I'd love it, but I really didn't think I'd love it this much.  Hubs and I blew through the first two seasons in about a week and a half, so now we have to wait each week for new episodes.  We have to do what common people do.  Common people like you.

I'm getting off track.

So yeah, when you first start watching, the violence and graphic nature are kind of... difficult to watch.  Now, I'm like, "STAB THROUGH HIS ARMOR!  CHOP OFF HIS HEAD!  GO GO GO!"  One of the most recent episodes ended with an amazingly bad-ass attack that caught me off guard (as I haven't read the books), and it made me want to stand and applaud.  Heck yeah, you are Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryan, of the blood of old Valyria!! Yeah, it's violent and yeah it's not always as good to women as it should be, but... man, do I love it.  I hear that the blood and gore and terribleness will only get worse from here, and I'm way too excited about it.  I've even stopped reading spoilers!  I KNOW.

And Tyrion Lannister aka Peter Dinklage.  I love me some Dinklage.  Man is too talented and too hilarious.  It shouldn't be allowed.