Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Sometimes, in the flurry of telling you what I had for lunch yesterday (nothing), I forget about the more permanent, long-standing bits of my life. Recently, some people have asked me questions that initially seemed obvious to me, but then I realized that they won't be obvious to you if I don't mention them. So, without further ado, here are my answers to some recently asked questions. (And, if there seems to be another hole in my life story for you, please feel free to add more questions in the comments!)

1. I thought you were a lawyer, why does your profile say you work at Starbucks?

I have a law degree, and I was called to the bar of Ontario, Canada in September of 2005. I could still be a lawyer there, if I wanted to. But, my husband and I realized that in the 3 1/2 years we had lived together in Canada, the only people from his side of the family that had ever visited us were his parents, twice. Which meant that whenever we visited the Philadelphia area, we had to squeeze in visits with 30 extended family members at 5 different households, in addition to trying to see the half dozen or so good friends we had in the Philadelphia area. These vacations were exhausting as they were, but the idea of trying to do it all with kids in tow was terrifying. So, we decided that, before we started a family, we wanted to move closer to where the largest concentration of family members were (mine being scattered all over four countries).

When we moved here, I was aware that the bar of Pennsylvania wouldn't let me practice. I was not aware that no one in the legal field would want to hire me for any purpose at all. I figured some lawyer might be happy to hire a research assistant who actually knew something about the law, but instead, they all looked at my resume, deemed me overqualified, and rarely even bothered to call me and tell me they didn't want me. So, I did what I always did in the past when I didn't know what to do, and fell back on the familiar, in this case, education. I enrolled in a Master's program, and started applying for part-time retail and food service jobs. Starbucks offered me decent pay, great benefits, flexible hours, and opportunity for growth within the company. And they treated me with respect and daily affirmation, which my ego sorely needed. I'm a shift supervisor at Starbucks now, and, I never thought I would say this before, but I'm starting to maybe even think about a career there. They're good people. And they like that I'm a geek.

2. Wait, back up, you're enrolled in a Master's program? How come you never mention it?

I was working on my Master of Divinity at a small, conservative seminary, but I dropped out halfway through my first semester. I loved a lot of things about it, but I think the timing just wasn't right for me to be in school, working on another degree to add to my collection of wall-ornaments that are doing nothing for me career-wise. In retrospect, I do believe that my brief stint at seminary was all a part of bigger plan, in part because it made employers look at my resume, and, rather than seeing someone overqualified who would quit in two months, they saw a perpetual student who would need a good part-time job for a long time to come. (And perhaps for other reasons, too.)

3. How come you always tell stories in the first person singular? Aren't you married? Where is your husband in all this?

My husband has been sick, with constant discomfort and annoyingly minor symptoms that have left him unable to sit for more than a few minutes at a time, for seven months, now. Yes, the doctors are working on it. They think they're on the right track, but it's not something that can be fixed instantaneously. Yes, it gets me down, and I miss having my husband along on all of my adventures. No, he is not working, and our attempts to save up a downpayment on a house and get out of his parents' basement have been, at least for the moment, abandoned. I love my husband very much, and as hard as it is having him out of commission, I am still very happy that I have him as my husband.

4. It must be hard having your husband be sick for so long. Do you want to talk about it?

No, I probably don't. As a reader recently commented, this blog is like therapy to me. I talk about what I need/want to talk about, which more often than not involves me focusing on the positive. Whining is only fun for a while, and it really just gets me more down in the end. I still do it sometimes, and if you are a new reader looking to see my darker side, you can read some of my whinier archived posts here or here, or you can read a long, quandaried, "should I be social or be at home with my sick husband?" post here.

5. Why do you like X or Y? They suck!

I shouldn't have to defend my entertainment preferences. Yes, I occasionally enjoy Guns and Roses, the Spice Girls, or that new Justin Timberlake song. I do find Rick Mercer intelligent and humorous, and I don't care that he works for the CBC. In fact, I'm proud that the country of my birth supports local artists with things like Canadian content minimums on radio stations, because it gives bands like the Tragically Hip a fighting chance in the face of the enormously flooded industry to the South. And yes, before you ask it, I do like the Tragically Hip.

6. Are you pregnant?

Stop asking me this question! Everyone! I mean it! Believe me, if I was pregnant, and I wanted you to know, I wouldn't wait for you to ask. I'm a blogger; the Internet is the first person I would tell! (Okay, the second person. My mom has dibs on first.)

7. I'm confused about your religion. Sometimes you talk about normal, evangelical things, sometimes you talk about Jewish holidays, and sometimes you sound like you don't believe anything at all. What religion are you?

There is not an easy answer to this question. I grew up Wesleyan, and I still mostly subscribe to Wesleyan theology. But I'm a thinker and an explorer, and somewhere in college, I was introduced to some Jewish holidays that I thought dovetailed extremely well with my modern Christianity. So, I started researching and learning all about Messianic Judaism, and started the long, hard process of tacking 4,000 years of tradition onto the back of my allegedly 2,000 year old religion. And I think they fit very well, actually, although I am no expert. Passover has given me a fuller understanding of Easter and the Eucharist than I ever had before, and I hope that my kids can grow up with an understanding of the faith of our fathers as well as the faith of our fathers' fathers that our fathers decided to cut off once upon a time. But no, the church that I attend is not Messianic Jewish, although they are open to creative ideas and allowed me to do a messianic seder at the church this year, which was extremely well received. This is the church I attend right now, and I believe my picture is even on the front page at the moment from a recent tree-planting event.


Phil said...

I don't know if i've ever told you this, but i understand that it must not have been easy for you to make the decision to leave the MDiv program and i repsect you for having the guts to do so. You were definitely spread thin at the time, and things obviously weren't going your way with the rules the program had for female clergy (among other things).

Anyhoo, i just wanted that said.

The Bloggiest Blog You Ever Did See said...

The one question that we're all dying to have answered (or at least I am) is "do you enjoy an oven-baked butternut squash?" The answer to this one question would likely clear up a lot of the mystery surrounding you.

philhassey said...

so, wait, you're pregnant?

** ducks **

adr0ck said...

your church sounds like a dream. i love the faith-in-action examples!

i'm so glad you answered that question for me!

ooh -- here is one question i've wanted to ask since day 1: how do you pronounce your name? ju-lie-ann? jewel-ann?

aaron the wrath said...

Canadian content limits rule..
How else would I get my weekly dose of the Hip or the headstones,..

Sadly though of late, 97.7 out of Hamilton has started just playing Nickleback ad Nausium which is just kind of sickening...

jd said...

Just for the record, Jule Ann's maternal Grandma was born in South Hurstville, NSW, Australia, a suburb of Sydney.
Thanks for including me in your runers up in the Baby Name contest!

Kelsey Catherine said...

her name is pronounced jewel-ann

I have a few more questions regarding the additive of jewish traditions to your christian faith...this has always appealed to me, from my early introduction to the jewish faith...I would love to know how you intergrate it...while also growing up wesleyan, and maintaining some of their values, i find myself searching for a little more to add in.

Alana said...

That was a good post. Also, glad you got to have colombian food on Sunday, we had Mexican but it wasn't too authentic, except for my tamales.