Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hank and Katherine's Survey

Every year my dear friends Hank and Katherine send a survey out to all their friends. They've been doing this since email surveys are what people did with Señor Internet. But even if it's a bit naff and rubbishy to send people online surveys these days, I look forward to H & K's because Hank swore he would do it every year until he died, and when Hank says he's going to do something, you better watch yoself. That's how he got a Wikipedia page and became an internet sensation. Plus, it is a sweet reminder that Hank and Katherine are still alive. Pluuuus, they ask funny questions.

1. Email: REDACTED

2. Instant messenger: huh?

3. Address: RETRACTED

4. phone number: REENACTED
5. Your favorite purchase of the entire year was:
a 2 night stay in the Athens Regional Medical Center. Seriously. At first I was all "I can have this baby at home by myself with some hot water and towels like they do it in Africa," but then I ended up having Odessa in the hospital, and I was all "NURSE! Bring me an ice pack and a Diet Coke! And another a Tylenol #3 to wash it down with!" Not really, but being in the hospital was actually really nice, and it only cost my insurance company $13,000!

6. How long have you known Hank and Katherine?
Since 2004, when I met Hank in that picnic shelter.

7. What do you want from us?
I want to see you every day.

8. What have you been up to for the last year?
Hmm. Things I haven't been up to: exercising, being able to remember more than 2 things at a time, losing 20 pounds.

9. How much longer will you be doing what you're doing?
How much longer will I not be doing the things I haven't been doing? I hope not much longer.

10. Why are you doing it?
Because I love love love love love my baby.

11. What do you want to be doing?
Staying home all day with Odessa. Which I'm not because I work for very nice environmental nonprofit that needs me. And I need its paycheck. The bottom line is I like to work, but I like Odessa more.

12. How much money would it take to separate you from your non-dominant pinky finger?
Like under anesthesia? Or is a team of horses going to jerk it off? Just curious, because it would affect my answer. But I would like to say it's not for sale, so because it's an entirely hypothetical question: It's Not For Sale.

13. When was the last time you dyed your hair?
1998. Erica did it.

14. You've just been implicated in a murder you did not commit, you have no chance of escaping the death penalty. You must flee the country and start a new identity...where do you go...and what will your new name be?
Okay--so, would I have to move somewhere where I would be inconspicuous? Because that would preclude most places other than Western Europe. How about Holland. Where my name would be Edelweiss Prinzel Unterholzer.

15. How much money is enough money?
It's enough money if you can do the thing you want to do without having to worry too much about it. Right now, I just want to go to the movies. This fall, I'm going to want to go to France. In 17 years, I'm going to want to send Odessa to college. How about I not commit to a sum and I'll get back to you when I've bought everything.

16. If Miriam Webster called you and said they had one too many words...which word would you abolish from the english language?
Well, I would rather talk about eliminating
popular business-style sayings that don't really mean anything, such as "that dovetails nicely with what I was about to say" or "low hanging fruit" or "synergy" or "herding cats" or a bunch of talk about "the carrot and the stick."

17. What band or singer, upon coming onto the radio, makes you change the station the fastest?
Two words you will never hear me speak aloud: Peter Frampton.

18. What do you think will be gone in ten years?
Stupid, boring vampires.

19. In this space, write your own question and answer it (but don't delete the directions, otherwise, everyone gets confused.)
Q: Who's the very best person to be married to?
A: Bryan Nuse, because he has stayed at home with Odessa every day for a year and has taken super special good care of her and never complained once. Now, that there's a good man.

20. Three things you would never do...GO!
1. crystal meth
2. poop in a mall planter
3. eat liver

21. What's the first thing you think of when you think of things you haven't done?
I haven't yet lived in a foreign land.

22. What makes you feel old?
When a 25 year old hears I'm 32 and tells me I'm really "well preserved." That actually happened to me last month.

23. What makes you feel young?
The fact that when I read the question "Three things you would never do...GO!", upon first reflection, all three of my answers have to do with farts or poop. Like, I would totally never fart in one of those drive-in banking containers and then send it back through the vacuum tube to the teller. That would just be rude.

24. The best movie of the year was:
Bright Star.

25. What's your guiltiest culinary pleasure?
sugary sugar with sugar granules.

26. This time last year, Obama was just being sworn in. How do you feel about him now as opposed to how you felt then?
He was good. He's good. Sick of talking about it.

27. Remember back when there was no email. How did we do that?!
Yeah, I remember that. I got an email account when I was 18, and three days after that I was writing an email to a prospective boyfriend, complaining about another male friend who is a very good person and whom I liked very much, but I was just trying to impress the prospective boyfriend with my razor-sharp wit and also send him a secret code that told him I was single single singly single. Anyway,while I was writing this email, the friend I was writing the email about came up behind me and accidentally saw part of it, and his feelings were very, very hurt. And we were never as good friends after that. And the prospective boyfriend decided to go out with somebody else.... I still blame the medium.

28. Have you ever fired a gun? Why?
Another story:
When I was in 3rd grade, we lived in the mountains of rural California where my dad worked on a cattle ranch for a movie producer named John. John kept this ranch to bring his hotshot friends for peaceful getaways. One weekend he brought the bad guy from Beverly Hills Cop 2 (a really tall, bleach-blond German guy named
Jürgen) and his family, and all he wanted to do was shoot all of his handguns. So, we all went out in a field and shot handguns. I was 9 or so, and me and that German's son practiced shooting at targets all afternoon. That kid had his own gun and was really good at it. After that, I asked my dad for a handgun every day until I decided what I really wanted was a Lipizzaner stallion (those cost around $30,000), which lasted until I decided I wanted to go to Space Camp, which lasted until I decided I wanted a pet parakeet, which I got.

29. How do you gauge your success?
By how many people seem like they love me.

30. What's wrong with the world?
Oh, lots of things. But the one that immediately comes to mind is that people rejoice in others' misfortunes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Mix Tape

A lot Valentines Days I make a mix tape for my loved ones, because I am a person who makes mix tapes. Call me narcissistic, but I am. Humble people don't make mix tapes, as they come from a deep, sincere and megalomaniacal place in the maker's psyche that honestly believes that if you give someone a tape with a bunch of songs on it, they will listen to it and think wistfully about how cool you are. Hence, people over the age of 25 generally do not make mix tapes. But I do.

I had this great idea this morning as I was lying in bed at 10:30 sans baby (thanks, Best Husband Ever!), and that idea is that I was going to make a mix tape and post it here, on this very blog. Because I love you and I want to to think I'm cool. However, as the day wore on, I realized that I don't know how to do that. And also that it's possible that I did not read Blogger's "Terms and Conditions" when I set up this here thingy, but I'm pretty sure it probably says something about copyrighted material. But you know what? Screw'em! That's right, because I want you to be my Valentine! And I can't do that unless I try to impress you with mp3s!

So, I split the difference and only made a mix tape of 3 songs, all of which are good.

Happy Valentine's Day, Valentines!

Safe Travels--Peter and the Wolf
Eid Ma Clack Shaw--Bill Callahan

PS. To those who wonder, "What the hell, and why doesn't Jesslyn post anymore like a complete maniac who doesn't have anything better to do?" Well, gentle friends, in my professional capacity, I plan a conference every year, and it's coming up THIS THURSDAY. So after that, I will be a lot more prolific. Yep--wish me luck!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bard of Town

I live in Athens, Georgia. When I am someplace else--say, Savannah or Asheville, North Carolina--and I tell someone where I live, it generally follows that they happen to have an I'm-not-kidding-you-the-craziest-story-you've-ever-heard-in-your-life about the town I live in. The stories usually take place when that person was between the ages of 16 and 25, and generally start with that person either coming to Athens for a football game or to visit a friend who was going to college here, and end: "and later, a nurse in the emergency room told me I was really lucky to be alive." Usually it's because that person drank so much he got in a fight outside the Georgia Theater and then had to get his stomach pumped.

People come to my town to drink and to listen to music or to drink and watch football. Getting people drunk is our special little cottage industry. I don't drink, and I've never been to a UGA football game and I generally don't go out to watch someone play music--however proficiently--because music in Athens doesn't start until around 11 PM. Blah blah blah. I'm old and crotchety...blah...need my sleep...blah is always too loud...blah blah blah...bars smell gross...blah.

Anyway, every February I make an exception to my not-going-to-bars-in-Athens rule in order to see Vic Chesnutt and Jonathan Richman. Last night, I went to see Jonathan Richman like I do practically every year, but this year Vic Chesnutt wasn't there because he died this Christmas.

Vic was a local, and though I didn't know him personally, I liked him. He used to sit out on the porch of a house on Franklin Street which was on my walk to work, and sometimes I waved to him, and sometimes he waved back. He was a little man in a wheelchair with wispy brown hair and a high, funny voice and a sense of humor that made you laugh and feel terrible that you were laughing. But West of Rome will always be one of my favorite albums of all time, and when I close my eyes and listen to those songs, I am 22 and walking down Chattooga Street in July, smelling the railroad ties and the kudzu that's growing up the ladder of that old water tower, listening to the homeless guys' laughter from their hangout under the Chase Street bridge, and thinking hard about some personal drama that will never matter to anyone else--that won't matter to me in three months--but at that moment seems so heroic and hideous, so transcendentally important.

Anyway, I was proud to have Vic as a neighbor because people like him are the people who make my town--this town where people come to party and make stories for themselves--a place where people live. Vic told the stories of this place so well, and in a way I recognized and loved. I read in an interview recently that he once said he wanted to write a song about every single person in Athens before he died. I think he might have managed it.

Here's some old Vic Chesnutt.
And some newer:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Baby vs. Babesby

Odessa is a baby. But you know what? She's getting to be a smarter baby than she used to be!

Case in point: our cat, Babesby-Kitty (whose given name is Robin, which ended up not being the name of his Soul, so nobody calls him that) is a cool customer--patient and yet complex. His collar has a tag on it that says "Robin Mean Cat", which means that he is not afraid of opening cans of whoopass on squirrels and peoples' arms who mess with him. This is because he is a tolerant sociopath who can be violent and yet is good at snuggling. Sometimes I wake up in the morning to find Odessa using Babesbey's fat roll (or "Le Sport Sac," "hoop skirts" or "book bag," if you'd rather) as a pillow. The other night we were having family couch time when it transpired that Odessa had been sitting on Babesby's head for a good 3 minutes before I asked "is that the tornado siren--what is that sound?"

Anyway, lately
there have been some baby/cat standoffs. Babesby can ignore Odessa while she dandles his collar tags for a little while, but then he'll nonchallantly put out a paw, place it on her adorable, chubby little hand, and dig in, all the while, staring deeply into her eyes. Odessa is fascinated by this behavior, and yet it hurts. Of course it hurts. And so she cries. It happens nearly every day.

This morning, Bryan took some footage of Odessa and Babesby (also, you can view it here if this one doesn't work. I learned how to YouTube today! Woot!)

It's like there's an invisible fence around that cat!

Sometimes I wish I had an invisible fence....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My Granny, who will be turning 100 this Bastille Day, told me recently, "I don't understand how all my grandchildren got to be consultants. You're all too young to consult anybody about anything."

Granny has a point there.

I am a consultant, and I pretty much have been in one form or another since I was 21. It's kind of strange that there are so many consultants in the world because if there's one thing that nobody wants, it's advice. Seriously. Nobody wants advice, even if they think they do. I've had people who desperately didn't want my advice BEG me for it. This is strange, and I suspect what people want when they ask me for advice is for me to tell them they are currently doing everything exactly right. It's like the professional version of asking somebody if you look fat.

But if I think about it, giving advice isn't a bad job, even if nobody wants it. I mean, I could be a hospice nurse. Or a prison guard. Or an insurance adjuster.

Oh God, you guys--I could be an insurance adjuster.