Friday, October 28, 2011


God, I love acorns. They're so little and smooth and they wear cute, nubbly caps. They're so satisfying to crush under your feet as you walk down the sidewalk, plus they make amazing weapons: you're not going to put anybody's eye out with an acorn, but if you can manage to hit somebody with one, it's great because it makes the person laugh and say "Ow!" at the same time.

Acorns remind me of Casey, who I used to be married to and who recently called me to ask if I would be his biographer. I told him I was interested, but that I'd have to wait until my schedule cleared up a little. I seriously think I could make a ton of money off the story of Casey's life, so I moth-balled that idea (you like that? I picked it up in a meeting yesterday. Meetings are great places to discover new, stupid ways of saying things.).

Casey is wonderful and also craaazy. This one time, back when we were married, he decided he was going to spend the year 2003 only eating things that were produced or grown within a 150-mile radius of Athens, Georgia. He decided this in October and he planned to start in January. So he scored a freshly killed deer off the side of Mitchell Bridge Road ("There's only like one bruised place on it's left haunch and Brady totally saw it get hit a few minutes ago, so it should be fine. I'm gonna go pick it up in the Justy--be back in an hour.") and he started spending every Sunday walking around in the woods shooting squirrels. Pretty soon our whole freezer was filled with roadkill and squirrel meat. So that was good, I guess.

But Casey's a big eater, and that wasn't going to last him until summer. He picked a cardboard box full of pecans out of a friend's yard, but upon shelling them, found that he was going to need a lot more pecans. So he picked about 5 bushels of apples, but they all rotted within a couple of weeks. And with this, Casey started getting nervous. He surfed the internet and discovered he could eat acorns.

At this point, it was November and Athens was lousy with acorns, just like it is now. One afternoon, Casey came home with a shopping bag full of acorns.

"Whatcha gonna do with all those acorns?" I asked.
"Make acorn flour! For acorn cakes!" He's an enthusiastic guy.

So Casey spent the better part of November gathering acorns. He toasted them in the oven and shelled them. He let them soak in boiling water for hours and hours. He fed them through my great grandmother's meat grinder, and voila! Acorn mash: a ton of it.

And man alive, was that acorn mash ever disgusting. Casey made some acorn cakes one morning and I tried one. It didn't just taste bitter, it made my mouth try to attack itself. Like all my salivary glands were spitting venom. It took a while to get over that.

"I think you might have used the wrong kind of acorns?" I said when I had recovered.
"Mmm." Casey said, still chewing, nodding thoughtfully. "Mmmhmm."

Anyway, come January Casey started his year of local eating. One morning--actually, I think it was January 3rd--I was cooking an egg and toast in the kitchen, and Casey came in from outside.

"Fuck it," he said. "I am so damn hungry. This has been the worst three days of my life."

And he scrambled like five eggs and sat down and ate them with half a loaf of bread.

And that's the story of Casey and the acorns.

Friday, October 21, 2011


So, my friends Rob and Vicki are the only people who like personality tests more than me. This is Rob and Vic:
As you can see, if anybody is going to win a personality test, it's going to be them.

Rob and Vicki are into this thing called the Enneagram Personality System, wherein there are nine basic personality types (numbered 1-9). The Enneagram focuses on how each type of person might respond to the world when they're psychologically healthy, in just sort of average health, and when they're unhealthy. There are books written about this stuff by men who look like this:
See? I'm talking about turtlenecks and haircuts. Plenty of fiber. Bracing outdoor exercise. Tough love.

So, a few months ago Rob had me take the Enneagram test because he and Vic were all the time arguing about what my personality type was. Conversations over at their house would go like this:

Vic: Rob, don't you think Jesslyn's a 9?
Rob: You really think so?
Vic: What? You don't think she's a 9? She's know. Nine-ish.
Rob: You could be right.
Vic: But? But what. What do you think she is?
Rob: I mean, I don't know--you might have a point.
Vic: What do you think she is?
Rob: Well, I always thought she was a 2.
Vic: Oh. Huh. Because...wait. You think she's a 2? You just think that because you're a 2. She's not manipulative enough to be a 2. She could be a 7 but I think she's a 9.

These conversations, by the way, were not about me. No no. Rob and Vicki would stand in the kitchen together, making uncomfortable amounts of eye contact, talking about me as if I wasn't even in the room.

"No, Rob--2 goes to 8 in health, and she's just not that aggressive!"
"Well, all I know is that she doesn't have any 1 or 5, so she couldn't be a 7."

Anyway, so one night Rob got out his computer and sat me down and I rated about 200 Likert scale questions just like these:
  • I love traveling and discovering different kinds of foods, people and experiences.
  • People feel safe around me.
  • Most people see me as a serious, no-nonsense person.
  • I feel that "you have to break some eggs in order to make an omelet."
I answered the questions to the best of my ability, and when I was done the computer generated this bar chart:

Which Rob annotated, as you can see. And then, because the test was inconclusive, he told me to get this book:

Which I did that while I was in California this summer--because California is apparently the only place that sells books like this one.

And so now I'm getting around to reading it. And ya'll, the Enneagram book did not come here to make friends. It might have a dove on the cover, but this shit is harsh. It made me CRY this morning. That guy in the turtleneck totally made me cry.

I called Bryan and was all, "Wahhhhhhhhh I'm so unhealthy--I'm basically just a lump of poop--I can't believe you can even stand to stay married to me wahhhhhhhh...."

And Bryan was like, "Have you been taking online personality tests again?"


P.S. I'm totally a 9.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Here

It's fall, ya'll. You know how I know? Because I put on Comes a Time yesterday, and one of the more ancient and perhaps vestigial of my organs was like awww yeah, that's the stuff.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, my ability to tolerate Neil Young is seasonal and synchronizes perfectly with moose rutting season in north Ontario. The interval is fleeting, but I feel it when it gets here. Just like mooses feel it when it's time to, you know. Rut, or whatever.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've never been a big drinker of spirits. I've always had bad luck with hangovers, being chased by the police through some bushes while intoxicated and underage, accidentally breaking up with cool boyfriends while drunk and feeling sassy, etc. Also, I’ve never learned to love the taste of hard alcohol, and as far as I’m concerned, they can pour all that beer right back in the horse (that one, folks, came straight from Becca Rose's grandma). So, it was with not much reluctance that I hung up my drinking hat after a couple years of college. It just didn't seem worth it.

But then ten years later I had a kid and everything changed.

I think it might have been just before Odessa's 2nd birthday when I had the glass of wine that changed my life. I was sitting outside at a restaurant with lady friends on a warm spring evening. We were talking about some Goony McDoofus one of them had just met on OK Cupid and I was laughing so hard there were tears streaming down my face. The waiter came to the table and asked us what we'd like to drink, and everyone but me ordered a glass of the same wine.

"You know, it'd be cheaper per glass if you got the whole bottle," the waiter said.

I have sort of thrifty and indecisive friends, and this news caused a small kerfuffle. They started trying to figure out how much it would cost per person if they got a bottle versus the glasses and who would drink the one remaining glass, etc. The waiter was waiting.

"I'll have a glass, too." I offered. "To make it even."

Everybody looked at me like I had just performed some strange piece of impossible wizardry. The wine came and I drank the whole glass.

And suddenly there was music and wonderful roses. But you knew that was going to happen.

So now I drink wine. Red wine, white wine, pink wine--whatever you got. I've tried drinking really cheap wine and outrageously expensive wine. I've even tried drinking an entire bottle of wine by myself--you know, just to see what would happen (a lot happened, actually, because my tolerance is looooow).

But generally, I've decided to use wine sparingly and only occasionally as a parenting tool. Like last week when Odessa and I went to the Tuesday farmer's market, which is on the patio of Little Kings. We met Jessica Sterling there, and as the bar conveniently serves goldfish crackers and gummy bears, Jess and I had a glass of wine while Odessa freaked over her unprecedented good fortune at having unrestricted access to refined sugars. When we were done and had to leave, I was in a great mood, Dessa was in a great mood, we went to the taco place for take-out, her mood deteriorated due to plummeting blood sugars and she ended up screaming on the ground outside the car. About something. I didn't quite catch what.

And you know, one glass of wine can turn that nervy, bone-grating moment into mellow golden sunlight with extra butterflies.

Thanks, Wine!