Tuesday, November 22, 2011



I just got a new computer, and I'm so goddamn excited. Breathin' in a paper bag. Feelin' a little lightheaded.

Basically, I'm a writer like John Steinbeck now, mostly because we have in common the luxury of not sharing a 6 year old hand-me-down laptop with a toddler who likes to march around the house wearing an old dishtowel as a skirt bellowing, "NO MOM TV! DESSA TV!"

This day, you guys. It's amazing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Situation

Hello! I just got back from Montana where it was cold and white like a porcelain toilet. But you know what improves a situation like that?

Friends. And making money.

I lived in Missoula, Montana for a couple years in grad school and the thing about that place is how stupid awesome it is. It's surrounded by all the beautiful Natures, every single 10 year old rides a skateboard, it's got both my favorite grocery stores I've ever been to and people are nice: it's Montana so they're kind of weird, but not neo-Nazi-militia-freaky like they are in Idaho. Also, a lot of my friends live there and I love them.

So what's the problem? Why don't I move to there right now? Well, do you see my face in that picture up there? That's not happy Jesslyn--that's I'm-outside-against-my-will-because-this-dog's-not-supposed-to-poop-in-the-house face. I left yesterday morning and it was 6 degrees when I woke up at 5 in the morning. SIX. DEGREES. My goal in life is to never have to know six degrees ever happened. Show me a 10 hour miniseries detailing all the genocides the world has ever known, but don't talk to me about six degrees. My psyche is too fragile.

BUT. So, I have a job in Montana now. Well, kinda: it's freelance writing and that's always a little squirrely, I guess. But somebody is paying me to live in Georgia while I write about science for somebody in Montana. Which is really exciting for the following reasons:

1. I like to write more than anything I ever do. Other than, you know, being a loving wife/mother and gossiping, I guess.

2. I'm getting paid to do something I like and I'm good at, you guys. That's ape-crackers.

3. In January, I'm going to go to halftime at my day job because I'll have enough freelance work to make that not the stupidest decision ever. I never in a million years thought that would happen. So now I'm going to have more time to spend with Odessa, doing things other than flicking lit cigarettes at her and telling her that skirt is too short and she'll never amount to anything. (Oh my god, you guys--I can't even joke about that. You know I don't do that, right? This morning I forgot about a parent-teacher conference at her school and I basically almost handed her over to Department of Child and Family Services myself because I'm unfit. I'M UNFIT! Parenthood is the hardest thing ever--don't forget I told you that.)

Eeeeeenyway. So, I just wanted to keep you abreast of the situation. I might not be posting as much as usual in the next few weeks because I'm basically working a job and a half. But! I'll do my best because I love you.

You know I love you, right?


Monday, November 7, 2011

Personal Best!

You guys! I totally just got a story published in my favorite blog, The Hairpin!

It's kind of a scary story, so brace yourself. You can read it here.

A Misunderstanding Regarding Underpants

I was ten years old before I knew that boys wore underpants. I am being serious.

I was raised by hippies and I remember this one summer when I was maybe 5 years old, we were living in the mountains of California helping my dad's friend build an underground house. My mom and dad worked on the house all day and my sister and I played in the woods while they worked. There were usually 5-10 other people there on any given day, and a quarter of them pounded nails and sawed two-by-fours completely naked (except they wore work boots). Also, according to my dad, most of them were on LSD. It was bizarre and also probably not very safe.

Mom and Dad were pretty square by the standards of that construction site, but on the other hand, I don't think Dad has ever owned a pair of underwear in his life. When I was little, I thought underwear were worn exclusively by girls and women. And I lived 10 long years on this earth thinking that until one day in 5th grade I was standing in the lunch line behind Jim Minshew, and I noticed his pants were too big for him. Over the saggy waistband of his jeans I could see a whole swath of material printed with red and blue Transformers.

As soon as I could, I ran over to my friend Rebecca and gave her the scoop: Jim Minshew wore panties.

Rebecca just looked at me.

"What do you mean panties?" she inquired. "Like girls' panties?"

"Well, yeah," I said. "And they had Transformers on them."

"Jim is wearing underwear with Transformers on them?" Rebecca was confused and I was beginning to be confused and also uncomfortable. Rebecca smelled blood in the water.

"Do you like Jim Minshew?" she asked me in her best 10-year-old-confidante stage whisper.

"No! Gross!" I spat, maybe a little too emphatically, as I was still reeling a bit from the boys-wearing-underpants shocker.

Well, it just so happens that Jim Minshew was single and looking. And additionally, Rebecca had a big fat mouth.

So a couple days later while walking across the playground, I was ambushed by Jim Minshew between the climbing tires and the batting cage.

Jim was a chubby kid with pink cheeks and a crew cut. He could also be kind of a dick sometimes.

"Jessie, do you want to go with me?" he asked, without preamble. "Going with" was basically the same thing as "going steady," which is what they had called it at my old school.

I shook my head frantically without making eye contact. "No," I whispered.

"Ha ha--PSYCH!" he yelled and pushed me by the shoulders into the wall of tires. "Nobody wants to go with you because you're TOO POOR!" And with that he trudged away into the gym.

For the life of me, I'll never know why Jim Minshew chose to put me down in that particular way. I guess I probably was poorer than him: I was on scholarship at a private school, so I was poorer than pretty much everybody. Afterwards, I remember thinking of snappy comebacks I could have used to make him feel bad about himself. The one I remember practicing at night in bed before I went to sleep was, "At least I don't wear Transformers panties!"

That one might actually have worked.