Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Because God has a sense of humour, too

Two months of looking for jobs, and not a word from a single employer, other than the occasional, "Thank you for your resume, but we don't want you." Then, the same day I decide to go to seminary, two interview offers.

Har de har har.

P.S. Actually, while I find this frustrating, I also find it encouraging. This isn't the first time that other eggs started to hatch only after I finally made a decision I was confident about. It's like God is telling me, "They wanted you, but I made them all wait until you were doing what I wanted you to do."

I spent over a year trying to join the army before I went away to college. I had done all the entrance tests, physicals, etc. I passed everything with flying colors, and they gave me a list of jobs that I could potentially have within the army, and my list was just the master list with nothing crossed off. But I never made it to basic training. The first time, it was because training had already started when I finished my tests. The next time, they called me after I had already taken a summer job at a day camp, and the last time they called, I was already packing my stuff to go to Houghton, and I told them not to bother calling again. I can't imagine how different my life would have been if I had joined the army. It's nice to know they wanted me, but I am glad I went to Houghton.

Monday, February 27, 2006


So, I started seminary today. I'm going to get my Master's of Divinity.

It always amazes me how God answers prayers in the most unexpected ways. I've been feeling really frustrated lately, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Not being able to practice law in Pennsylvania was a blow, but not in the way most people might think. I wasn't disappointed because I couldn't practice law per se, I was disappointed because for the past seven years law is how I have defined my call to ministry. I didn't doubt that I was called to be involved in ministry, and I didn't doubt that my calling involved going to law school, but every combination of the two that I had imagined was thrown out the window when we decided to move down here. It's not an easy thing to find out that you've been wrong about something for the past seven years of your life!

I've been looking for jobs and trying to decide what my next step should be since we moved down to Pennsylvania in December. I've applied for several jobs, but nothing has really felt right. There were one or two I was excited about, but nothing ever came of them, and the excitement wore off.

I was reading an interesting article the other day about how we make decisions. (Thanks, Qwittle!) Basically, the article says that when we are making more complex decisions, it is better to look briefly at the facts, and then not to think too hard about it. The idea is that our subconscious can consider more factors at one time than our conscious mind, and what seems like a "snap" decision will often be the best decision overall. It's an interesting theory, and I think I probably subscribe to it. Honestly, most of the major decisions in my life have been made with what might have seemed like little conscious consideration, but I don't doubt that they were the right decisions.

Personally, my Christian faith always figures heavily into my decision-making process. I think that when I make the right decision, I will have a sense of peace about it. I suppose that sense of peace could be interpreted non-religiously, too, in that the right decision will sit well with every other aspect of my being. But I like to think of that peace as a tangible confirmation from God that I made the right decision.

On Saturday I went on a job application spree. I spent hours on the internet browsing jobs and emailing my resume out to people. I had come to the conclusion that the only way I was going to figure out what I wanted to do was by applying for lots of different jobs and hoping that one of them would strike me with that long-hoped for peace.

Then, on Sunday, I had another idea. I had talked to my friend Erin before we moved down to this area about the possibility of going to this seminary. Getting my M.Div. is something that I have considered for a while, but every rational part of me had decided that I had been in school for all but two of the past 24 years, so I should get my Master's later. But I remembered Erin mentioning that classes were divided into quarters, so on a whim, since I was considering options, I went to their website to see when the third quarter started. And, what do you know, it started today. I made a few phone calls, and the next thing I knew I was at the seminary today to attend a class and see if it seemed like something I wanted to do.

And it is. In the past year, I have felt that peace about a decision a total of three times: Once when we decided to move down to Pennsylvania, once when we decided to attend our current church, and then today when I decided to go to seminary. My last hesitation floated away when I found out that, even starting mid-year like I am, I should still be able to attend on a full scholarship.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me. There are still some details to work out, (like will I try to find a part-time job while I'm attending classes?) but I have a sense of peace about the overall decision, and I know they will work out.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Whole New World

Last night was Phil's birthday party. It was really fun, even if we never actually did get around to watching the movie we were supposed to watch. We somehow always find a way to talk the time away. I think that's a good thing.

After everyone else left, Jeremy and I stayed talking with Phil and Rachel for ages. We have two favourite topics of conversation: co-housing (seriously, lock Rachel and I in a room for a week, and we'll probably still be talking about the community we want to build when you let us out for our first meal in seven days) and, a recent addition, role-playing.

Now, I don't know about you, but I grew up with a very simplistic view of Dungeons & Dragons. It was evil, and everyone who played it was going to Hell. I didn't even know what it was, I just knew that it could make me kill myself and/or become possessed by demons. It had to be true, I read it in a tract.

I carried this belief with me into college. Then I found out that some of my very good friends played D&D. I was shocked and upset. As much as I had expanded my worldview since childhood, D&D just wasn't something I had ever opened up for discussion. How could it be anything but evil, when I was so thoroughly convinced of its evilness?

One day after I had graduated, I was visiting Jeremy at Houghton, and there was a D&D game going on in his apartment. This was my first close-up experience of D&D. I wasn't really paying much attention to them, but as far as I could tell, they were just telling a story together. A little geeky, maybe, but hardly evil. I still wasn't convinced that it was for me, though, and I still harboured a deep-set sense that maybe it wasn't evil for them, but it still might be evil in the wrong hands.

I really can't pinpoint when I finally realized that I was holding onto a foolish and unfounded prejudice against role-playing games, but I can tell you when I decided that I wanted to try it for myself. It was when I read The Big U by Neal Stephenson. It's the most bizarre, extreme, unbelievable account of university life I have ever come across, and it includes some extremely interesting role-playing scenes. There is a group on campus that does live-action role-playing (LARP), which means that they dress in costumes and carry mock weapons and they explore the sewers underneath the school with walkie-talkies so that they can communicate with the person on the computer who calculates what monsters they are supposed to be encountering and whether their attacks are successful or not. Completely ridiculous in its geekiness, but suddenly, it hit me: role-playing is acting!

That probably seems like the most obvious realization ever, like I just realized that applesauce has apples in it, but for me, it was on par with a "Darth Vader is my father" realization. I love acting, I love directing, I love theatre, I love improv. Heck, I even loved role-playing when I did it in my mediation classes. But the whole idea of D&D-style role-playing was so tainted in my mind that it never really sunk in that role-playing means you're playing a role.

So, sometime soon (when Rachel is finished with creating her fantastic world), Jeremy and I are going to be doing a tabletop role-playing game. And I'm actually really starting to get excited about it, and am having so much fun developing my character.

And I'm not worried in the least about my eternal soul. I don't doubt that there are people who take the game too far, who blur the line of fantasy and reality, who take the game so seriously that they kill themselves when their characters die. But those are the same people who blur the line between television and reality, or books and reality; the same people who scream and throw the board game across the room when they lose or kill themselves when they get cut from the cheerleading squad. But you don't hear anyone saying that Monopoly (tm) is of the Devil, or that cheerleaders are going to Hell. Well, okay, maybe the part about cheerleaders.

Honestly, what I'm the most worried about is taking the plunge into something so irrefutably geeky that the possibility of ever being cool again is eternally lost. Ah, who am I kidding, I was never cool. Bring on the T-shirt.

Friday, February 24, 2006

New York City

I've been to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Tokyo... but never New York City. There is something wrong with this picture.

So, we're gonna do something about it. My friend Sarah is coming to visit in May, and we're planning on spending a day or two seeing the sights of NYC. I'm starting to get really excited!

So, I thought I'd ask you if you have any suggestions. For things to see? Things to do? Is the Statue of Liberty really over-rated? Places to stay cheaply? (Or is it worth heading back to Philly for the night rather than try to find a decent hostel?) Places to eat? Where in Chinatown to get really good dumplings? What day of the week we should be calling to check if tickets for Conan are available yet? Should we drive or take the train or bus?

Thanks in advance!

(Don't forget - you can still comment if you don't have a blogger account.)

The Friday Fie

1. Slow Browsing: What's the point in having high-speed internet if it's always moving at a dial-up pace because of other people downloading things? (Okay, it's actually more complicated than that. Jeremy says my computer can ping the router okay, and the router can ping the internet okay, but when my computer tries to ping the internet, it goes slowly. Go figure.)

2. Sick Dreams: (See previous post.)

3. Not knowing what I want to do with my life: Everything made sense until I actually graduated from law school and experienced the legal workforce for a year. Now I'm not sure what I want to be anymore, and that's a weird feeling after seven years or so of certainty.

4. Bob Costas: Seriously annoying. He is the number one reason I miss Canadian Olympics coverage.

5. Student Loans: I try not to think about the fact that I actually have a negative net worth. Darn, I just thought about it.

Fie on all of you!

Sick Dreams

The worst part about being sick is the sick dreams.

Before I finally gave up and roused myself at 5:00 am to go searching through the cupboards for flu medicine, my entire night of dreams consisted of a barely coherent olympic battle between my nasal passages, struggling for dominion of the incoming air. There's not really a story to sick dreams, no entertainment value like the adventure dreams that I would often rather go back to dreaming than wake up and live my real life. And there is no rest to sleep that is riddled with sick dreams, because they are semi-conscious dreams, and I'm constantly aware of my sickness even while partly submerged in the irrational sick dreaming.

Fortunately, my tired brain remembered seeing one last packet of NeoCitran stowed away in my library bag with my Bible and my notebook for Bible study. A welcome discovery, even if it did turn out to be that horrible, nasty, cherry-flavoured one that I was once given by a charitable soul. Hopefully, it will kick in soon and let me sleep. Real sleep, where I get to be a viking, not an olympic nose-breather.

Flu medicine: Bringing you incoherent blog entries since 2001.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why do people have kids?

I was reading an article this morning about the financial considerations of having kids. Basically, it undertakes a cost-benefit analysis and tries to determine whether having children is worth the investment. Now, of course, it would be cold and callous and politically incorrect for them to determine that the cost of having children is not worth it, so after determining that it costs about $200,000 to raise a kid, plus college tuition, plus about $1 million if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, and then going on to cite research that children aren't really the balm of old age that we think they will be, it tacks on a half-hearted conclusion that intangibles like bouquets of dandelions and cute little voices saying, "I love you, Mommy," somehow make the investment worth it.

Now, I don't want to underestimate the value of those intangibles, but I have a hard time believing that they would even come close to the $1.5 million dollar price tag that they apparently wear. I could pick my own dandelions, or become a nanny and get someone else's kids to love me with their cute little voices.

Is it so hard to imagine that people become parents for some reason that can't be calculated mathematically? Perhaps for a reason that is almost entirely selfless, with the dandelions simply being a perk of the job?

Why do some lawyers work at inner-city clinics instead of big corporate firms? Why do people join the army? Sure, there are benefits to both career choices, but in the end, I think it comes down to something other than a cost-benefit analysis. It has to do with being a part of something bigger than you; investing in the greater good. I guess those things are intangibles, too, but they aren't direct personal benefits.

On the most basic, practical level, society needs people to have kids purely for the propagation of the species. Beyond that, we need dedicated parents to invest in the lives of children so that they will grow up to be productive and valuable members of society.

But that argument doesn't seem to go very far in our individualist culture. Most people, even those who choose to be parents, treat having kids like a purely personal choice. And articles like the one mentioned above only further this mindset by trying to create a self-contained system of child-rearing costs and rewards.

It's because of this mindset that our society does such a poor job of supporting parents. It's why child-free people try to get out of paying school taxes, and why most people (parents included) think of government-sponsored parental support programs as a form of charity, rather than as an investment in the future.

What happened to the old adage, "it takes a village to raise a child"? The underlying assumption of this saying would be that all of society benefits from well-raised children, therefore it is the responsibility of all of society to engage in the raising of children. But this assumption seems to have become as obsolete as actually living in a village.

Just because we live in the city, or in the suburbs, does not mean that we suddenly need to become perfectly independent and self-sufficient. When my single, independent friends retire in luxury, it just might be my kid that performs the open-heart surgery on them that saves their lives. We're all inter-dependent, whether we think we are or not. Maybe it's time we started acting like it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mrs. Wakeman

When I got married, I decided to take my husband's last name. I know this might seem unenlightened and unempowered to some, but it made sense to me. It didn't have anything to do with losing my identity as a Davis (believe me, I'm as much a Davis now as I ever was), but more to do with wanting to form a coherent family unit. I wanted my husband and I to have the same last name, because a last name identifies a family as a unit. Sure, we could have both hyphenated our last names, but then our children would have been stuck with extremely long last names and what would they do if they grew up and married the children of equally enlightened parents and ended up hyphenating already hyphenated names? My poor grandchildren would have four last names and my poor great-grandchildren would have eight! One of the options on the marriage license was to invent a new name combining both of our last names, and we actually discussed this option for a while. In the end, we decided that we didn't want to sever ties with both of our families by making up a new last name. (Or maybe we just couldn't decide between Wakevis and Daveman.)

I still have a hard time signing my name. When I learned to write cursive, my name was Davis, and everything I signed until I was 23 years old was signed Davis. It's not easy to teach an old dog new tricks, especially an old dog who hasn't written anything in cursive other than her name in almost ten years. Plus, Wakeman is a whole two letters longer! When I sign my name, it usually comes out "Jule Ann Wake(scribblescribble)". But I can't change it now, it would throw off all the signature cards I have given to my banks!

Probably the weirdest thing about changing my last name was being called "Mrs. Wakeman". Before I got married, I was neither a Mrs. nor a Wakeman, so it's like an entirely new identity. And it just feels so formal. When I was teaching Sunday School in Toronto, I had my kids call me "Mrs. Jule Ann" because it just seemed more personal to me that way.

The first time I ever really felt comfortable being Mrs. Wakeman was when I went to Mexico two years ago for a work project. The pastor's kids had been trained to call everyone by their last names, and when I tried to tell them it was okay to just call me Jule Ann, their mother corrected me and told me that she doesn't want them to get in the habit of referring to adults by their first names, because some of the missions organizations that they work with are very traditional and might be offended by it. So, I allowed the children to call me Mrs. Wakeman, as awkward and formal as it seemed to me.

But those kids were so friendly and loving to me, I quickly forgot my original impression that the title of Mrs. Wakeman was cold and formal. With one of those precious children curled up on my lap or giving me a hug or running up to me to show me something cool, calling out to me, "Mrs. Wakeman, Mrs. Wakeman!" with love in their voices, all of the formality melted away and I came to cherish the name.

In December, my husband and I moved in with my in-laws. And, every once in a while, when I answer the phone, someone will ask me, "Is this Mrs. Wakeman?" The first time it happened, I surprised myself, because without even hesitating, I answered, "Yes," even though it should have been obvious that they were asking for my mother-in-law, not me. But I am Mrs. Wakeman now, and I'm comfortable with that.

To avoid confusion, though, when someone on the phone asks me if I'm Mrs. Wakeman, I now ask them, "Which one?" (Or maybe that just creates more confusion...)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Where did Jule Ann go?

What bad blogging form. I disappeared for several days without so much as a "Well, I'm off to Buffalo for the long weekend, see you on Tuesday!" Sorry about that.

It only really came together on Friday night, and I guess I was afraid to say something in case it didn't happen. I didn't want to admit how excited I was about the possibility of a weekend away for fear that I would be that much more disappointed if it didn't end up happening.

A friend of mine who lives nearby had told me he was going to Wellsville for the long weekend, and I asked if I could come along for the ride. Wellsville is about 5-6 hours away from here, and about 1-2 hours from people that I know in Buffalo or Rochester. But that extra hour or two meant making connections on that end of things as well, and I foolishly depended on email to make those contacts when a simple phone call on Friday night finally settled everything.

Jon and I left relatively early on Saturday morning (well, early for us, but morning people and parents would scoff, I know). We hit a couple of really bad patches of traffic, which sparked an interesting debate concerning why it is human nature to demand to know the reason for things that appear out of the ordinary. It doesn't get us there any faster if we know that the traffic is being caused by an accident or long weekend skiers or simply random traffic (which may or may not exist, depending on whose side of the debate you choose to believe), but we still somehow feel better knowing the reason why. <-- This is me rambling. How did Jon put up with six hours in the car of that, I ask you?

Dora came and picked me up at the truck stop with her two boys, Sebastian (4 1/2) and Dylan (7 months). The next two days were filled with all the things that fill the life of a family with two small children, including what seemed like hours of a game in which Sebastian and I would pretend to sleep and take turns recounting the dreams that we imagined we had. As an experiment, I decided that I would continue to play the dream game for as long as Sebastian would last. He never did tire of it, although the game was called on account of dinner, so we may never know if I could have outlasted him or not.

Scott came home Saturday night from a men's retreat, and it was fun to surprise him. Dora had told him that someone was coming to visit, but she hadn't told him who. We had a nice long chat about blogging software and all of the wonderful plug-ins that WordPress has that Blogger does not. I like Blogger so far, but there really is so much more that I could be doing with my blog. Maybe someday...

Church on Sunday was neat, because I got to see a couple of friends from Houghton that I hadn't seen in a while. One of my friends from the Shakespeare players is leaving for Central Asia in the fall, which is very cool. All in all, a very good time.

Jon and Eli picked me up on Sunday night to go to the Anchor Bar. Soooo good! (Yes, Jon, I did say that with a Teen Girl Squad accent.) You really have not had Buffalo wings until you have had them at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Sadly, it was a Sunday night, so we didn't get to hear the funnest jazz in the world with Dodo Green. But the wings were still tasty without the jazz.

On Monday, Dora drove me back to the truck stop at noon, and we said goodbye. It was a really good weekend with Dora and Scott, and even if there is only a sliver of a possibility that they might move to Philly, the idea has me really excited. It's so good to be able to reconnect with old friends like that.

And, lucky for Jon, I had been up until 3 am talking to Dora on Sunday night, so I slept for part of the trip home.

P.S. For those of you who may want to comment on my blog, I wanted to let you to know that I set this account up so that you don't need a blogger account to comment. So feel free to give me feedback if you so desire.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Friday Fie*

1. The RIAA: In a recent submission, the RIAA claimed that making copies of CDs that one purchased legally does not constitute fair use. Not only is this counter-intuitive, but it flies in the face of existing copyright law, not to mention the basic laws of personal ownership. (Actually, the list of organizations who jointly submitted this ridiculous claim also includes the SAG and the MPAA, so fie on them as well!)

2. Valentine's Day Treats: Okay, this is more of a half-hearted fie, because they are so darned good, but there are TWO teachers living in this house, and we had barely finished eating all of the candies and cookies and squares that they received from their students for Christmas, and then they arrived home with a fresh load of diet-devastating goodies again this week!

3. My Lack of Self-Discipline: (see #2)

4. Unemployment: I hate feeling useless and unwanted, and that just about sums up what it feels like to be unemployed.

5. Love Handles: (see #3)

Fie upon them all!

*Five things that I currently deem worthy of disdain or disapproval of Shakespearean proportions. (Thanks to Heather for the concept!)

Sunshine and Theatre and Feminism

So, Mr. Snowman is almost entirely melted now, but I can't really complain. I spent a good chunk of today outdoors, and I think the sunshine did me good.

I played a little bit of one-on-one basketball with Jeremy, and was solidly whupped. (I think that's how you spell that word; at least I think it's a word.) I walked the dog around the block, which is a longer project than one might think, as it is a fairly large block and a very small, very easily distracted dog. And, in case that wasn't enough sunshine, I put on a tank top and sat on a lawn chair reading in the sun until the sky clouded over.

Last night I saw a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues at UPenn with Mollie and a couple of her friends. I was actually quite impressed. I believe the original production was done entirely by one woman, but this one was divided up between somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30-40 actresses. Some of the monologues were done by one woman, some as sort of a montage of several women. It was done reader's theatre style, which detracted a bit at times, as some of the actresses really looked and sounded like they were reading. But there were also several stellar performances, and I found myself genuinely laughing and crying at many points.

I didn't post about the play last night, because, aside from a theatrical critique, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to say about it. I thought that maybe, in a day, I would know what to say. Unfortunately, I still don't. I'm a feminist in many ways. I think that Eve Ensler's work does an extraordinary thing for overcoming certain stereotypes, raising awareness, and, most of all, tearing down an enormous wall of taboo so that frank discussion can occur.

However, I'm not much of a feminist when it comes to sexual liberation. I don't find the traditional "male and female within the bounds of marriage" framework demeaning or even limiting. As a married woman, one of precious few in our modern age who made the choice to save sex for marriage, I can honestly say that I don't feel like I'm missing out. Yes, I grew up with certain stigmas surrounding my "privates", but I was also instilled with a sense of respect. I couldn't relate to many of last night's monologues because I have only ever had one sexual partner, and he has only ever been wonderful to me. I found it interesting that the one monologue that directly addressed a positive sexual experience with a male began with about two minutes of apologies for not being more feminist, more empowered.

Great, three days into this blog and I'm already talking about sex. So much for being "public friendly." I promise this won't happen too often!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two-Day Winter

So, Saturday/Sunday, the Northeastern United States experienced a reasonably large dumping of snow. Now, I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, so it was not, by far, the most snow I had ever seen. It was, however, a welcome sight after two months of winter grass.


On Monday, the sun came out and softened the snow a little bit, so we made a snowman. It was a good snowman, I think, even if we didn't have any coal for eyes and buttons.

On Tuesday, the sun came out again. Then, today, it came out even more. And this is all that remains of Mr. Snowman.

dead snowman

(Click on the pics for bigger versions)

You may ignore this post

I'm having problems with my RSS reader, so I'm posting something I wrote before to test it out.

Four jobs I’ve had

1. Lifeguard at my church camp
2. Dough stretcher at BeaverTails
3. Youth worker with high risk kids and teens
4. Life drawing class model

Four movies I can watch over and over

1. The Princess Bride
2. Return of the Killer Tomatoes
3. Shrek
4. Tank Girl

Four Places I have Lived

1. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (In the same little row house for 19 years until I went away to college, then in a 2-bedroom apartment in the West end with my husband last year)
2. Houghton, New York (In the dorms for one semester, and in a big old estrogen haven of a Victorian stagecoach inn with 11 other girls for two years)
3. Toronto, Ontario, Canada (In the grad residence for a year, then in a basement apartment in Scarborough with my husband for 2 years)
4. Willow Grove, Pennsylvania (In my in-laws basement. For the second time, actually.)
(I also spent a semester abroad in London, UK, and worked for a summer in Estes Park, Colorado. So why did I pick the boring locations for the meme? Beats me.)

Four TV Shows I Love

2. The Simpsons
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Degrassi: The Next Generation (I miss Canadian television)

Four Places I’ve Vacationed

1. Japan
2. Ireland and the UK (and a wee bit of Europe - Holland and France)
3. Ocean City, NJ (Jeremy's family goes every year, so it's a tradition I've adopted)
4. Algonquin Park (My family went camping every year, and Jeremy married camping when he married me)

Four of My Favorite Dishes

1. Sloppy joes
2. Beef stew
3. Chicken finger subs with S&S sauce from Harrington's
4. Vermicelli bowl from that Vietnamese place near my law school

Four Sites I visit Daily

1. Dooce
2. Fertility Friend
3. My Livejournal friends page
4. At least a dozen other blogs - Here's one of them

Four Places I’d Rather be Now

1. In a house that I own
2. Camping on an island that I canoed to, miles from another living soul
3. In a close-knit community
4. Okay, I know I'm totally cheating and not listing actual locations. I guess I'm feeling more like a situation-shift than a location shift right now. Number one on my list of places I would like to visit someday if money was no object: Lalibela, Ethiopia.

Four People I am Tagging

I don't like tagging people for these things. Do it if you feel inspired.

From a Stone

Dear Student Loan Companies,

Obviously, I was an unwise investment. Why don't you just cut your losses and repossess my education? I'm not really using it.

Borrower Number 23438203

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This Blog

I don't particularly like the title of this blog, but I hate coming up with names for things like this. I feel like everyone else on the internet has better ideas than I do, and I just can't seem to think of a brief phrase that sums me up without sounding trite or sappy or overdone. So, I have settled on "Who is Jule Ann?" for the time being. Maybe, if I ever really figure out who Jule Ann is, I will change that title, but there will forever be a record of it here in the archives of past posts, as a reminder of how uncreative I once was not.

And yes, there are ads on this blog. It's more an experiment than anything else. I'm really curious about how the whole blog ad thing works, and I figured, what better way to find out than to actually try it? I expect that I won't have nearly enough visitors to make even the $10 minimum that you have to make in order for Google to actually write you a check, but trying it seemed like the only way to find out. And, believe it or not, I actually like Google ads. Basically, the Google spider scans the words on my page and puts up ads that match the content of my posts, which means that if you find the content of my post interesting, you might actually be interested in what the ads have to offer. For example, right now, pretty much all of my blog content is about blogging, so my Google ads are mostly about blogging resources. I'm having to consciously restrain myself from clicking on the ones I find interesting because I'm not supposed to have any clicks originate from my own IP address.

Besides, if for some random reason my blog becomes extremely popular one day, no one can accuse me of selling out, because I had ads in my blog all along, I was never not a sell-out!

Reasons why I love my husband

He got me shampoo for Valentine's Day. Not only that, but I actually needed shampoo, and he bought a brand that I like. And to top it all off, he bought the "for fine hair" variety. Does your husband know that you have fine hair?

I got him beef jerky.

(And I bought myself some FunDip, because that's the best candy ever.)

Public Face

I'm not famous. I'm no one, really. Just a girl living a life that she wishes were different in many ways, but couldn't be better in many other ways. Maybe you can relate.

I was bit by the blogging bug several years ago, and I've discovered that blogging is a darned addictive disease to have. But it's also a dangerous hobby. People have been fired for things they wrote on their blogs, families have had major falling outs. (Or fallings out. Pluralize as you will.) I don't have a job to lose, but I do have family I care about. So I've been thinking about blogging a lot lately.

If I have a blog, and I have my name on it, I should assume that anyone with internet access and the ability to type my name into a search engine between quotation marks can find my blog. That's a pretty daunting thought, especially when you have an unusual name like I do, and every single result from a google search of my name is actually referring to me. In fact, it's a pretty unnatural concept, when you think about it. How many people put on the same face for friends, family, workplace, watching the neighbor's kids, church, etc? Not me, I'm sure. I wear a lot of masks.

When I was about 13 years old, I had what can best be described as a personality crisis. I remember thinking about all the different masks I wore in so many different contexts, and I just broke down. I felt like there was no Jule Ann underneath it all - just a lot of masks. If emo had existed when I was a teenager, I would totally have been an emo kid. So melodramatic.

I have since reconciled my various masks with my identity. I know who I am, and I choose to show different sides of my personality in various contexts. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

But who should I be on the internet? It's such a complicated question. "Just be yourself" is so misleading, because I have, we all have, so many selves to choose from. I might ask my husband to pull my finger when I fart when we're alone, but I will try to hold it, or at least be quiet about it if I'm in a job interview when the need arises. So who am I going to let you see here?

Well, for right now, I'm going to file that one under "undetermined". I've created this blog, but I'm not going to start telling anyone about it until I have a better feel for what I want it to be. I want it to be something that I am proud of.

I want it to be something a lot more fun than what this post would indicate. I definitely have my moments where I wax philosophical like this, but it is not my favorite mask. In fact, once I find my footing for this blog, I expect I will come back and delete this entry, because it's pretty boring. But, as far as I know, no one will be reading this today, so I have a theoretical and indeterminate amount of time to fumble around until I find my tone.

I expect that I will share anecdotes about my life. The lowest form of blog, I suppose, but it's what I do best. I love telling stories. I also expect that I will rant on occasion about things that are bothering me. In fact, I'm not even worried too much about propriety. If there is something I want to share, I will share it, perhaps tailoring my language a little more carefully than I might in certain company, but without a ton of content editing.

I guess my main decision will be how much of my heart to share. I have good days, and I have bad days, but I don't want to be a whiner. When you meet someone, and they ask you how you are, it might not be entirely honest to answer, "fine," but it might be inappropriate to answer, "I'm struggling with severe negative body image issues at the moment, how are you?" I expect I will settle on something in between, but I really don't know for sure.

Man, I hope I do come back and delete this entry eventually. Worst. first post. ever.