Friday, November 30, 2007

This one's for my mom

I know, I know, I'm a lousy blogger. One of these days, I'll get back into the swing of it. I hope. Until then, at my mother's request, here is a picture of me with my buzz cut in which I don't look like a poor Bosnian refugee child. At least I don't think I do.

jule ann

Jeremy took it with my shiny new camera that I just got this week. My new camera is awesome. It is also way smarter than I am. I hope I can figure it out eventually.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Things that make me giggle

Typos on public notices. Especially Freudian typos, like this one I saw in the craft department at Wal-Mart:

"Costumers please note: there are no refunds on cut fabric."

EDIT: For those of you who missed the typo, I'm pretty sure they actually wanted their customers to note the refund policy. I've noticed this particular typo in other places before, but it struck me as particularly funny when it was used in reference to something an actual costumer might purchase.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Because I felt like it.
Because I could.
Being able to dress up as Britney Spears for Hallowe'en is just a happy secondary effect.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Quick One

Sorry for the disappearing act. The computer situation in our house for the past few months has been thus:
One laptop with a broken screen,
One laptop with no power supply,
One desktop buried under a mountain of crap in the spare room,
And my laptop, which everybody uses, and I always feel guilty about kicking people off of.
Hence the infrequent updates.

But, for the past two weeks or so, the computer situation has been thus:
One laptop with a broken screen,
One laptop with no power supply,
One desktop buried under a mountain of crap in the spare room,
And one seven-year-old laptop with a completely fried RAM.
Hence the zero updates.

But Jeremy's work bought him a laptop this week, which would help me with my computer situation if only it didn't live at work with him when I am home and wanting to write. So I cleared a path through the mountain of crap today to the desktop in the spare room, and I had Jeremy hook up a mouse for me so that I could actually use it, and I squeezed myself in between the three currently non-operational computers that take up most of the desk. And everyone else is downstairs with Jeremy's laptop in the living room, with the distracting TV on in the background which always kept me from concentrating on writing anyhow. Okay scratch that, now everyone is crowded into the spare room reading over my shoulder and trying to drag me off to a thrift store to buy costumes for Jon and Rachel's 1920's-themed party tonight. Which is ironic, since the next thing I was going to type was, "I'm really enjoying having a private, quiet place to write, and I think this is exactly what I needed to get back into blogging regularly again."

Anyhow, work is going pretty well, I'm adjusting to my new store and they to me, and I'm extremely happy to be back in the people-serving business again. And now I am off to buy a costume, because whatever else I had planned on writing, I can never turn down the chance to go to a thrift store. Maybe, while I'm out, I'll buy a lock for the door to the spare room.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A High School Reunion and a Lot of Tangents

I was planning on writing a proper update this morning, but I managed to slice my thumb open cutting a grapefruit this morning, and my bandaged thumb may make typing more difficult. Although, now that I have just typed that sentence, I am realizing that I don't really use my thumb to type very much after all.

I put a Disney band-aid on my thumb, and now it looks like Piglet is hemorrhaging from his face. That probably wouldn't amuse anyone but me, but I wrote it anyhow, because it's my blog, and it made me giggle.

So, where did I last leave you in the Chronicles of Jule Annia? Ah yes, I was just leaving my sister's house and my adorable nephew and trying to figure out why oh why they have to live eight hours away.

Then I broke every rule of my Davis upbringing and actually got on the road several hours earlier than I had originally planned on leaving. It was surprisingly not too difficult. I had packed my stuff when I got up in the morning, and after lunch, baby and mommy were both ready for naps, so I said my goodbyes and left them to their sleeping. That whole "baby recentering your universe" thing? I guess it works on house guests, too.

I had planned on stopping somewhere for dinner on my way to Ottawa, but I have this nasty habit when I am driving alone of continually pushing my rest stops back. "Let's see, there's a town in five miles, and then another one in 25 miles. I don't really need to stop at this town, I think I can wait for the next one." Do that a dozen times or so, and bingo, you're at your destination!

My destination, for those of you who haven't been keeping careful track of my life, was Ottawa, Canada, where I spent the first 19 years of my life. I graduated from high school and moved away from Ottawa in 1997, which was precisely ten years ago, and yes, for those of you who are mentally adding 10 to 19, makes me almost 30 years old. (I feel the need, however, to point out that, as a January baby, I was one of the oldest in my class, and that Ontario used to have a fifth year of high school, and that is why I was 19 when I graduated from high school. I didn't fail the third grade twice, I swear.)

Wow, this sure is becoming a very tangential post. Where was I again? Oh yeah, arriving in Ottawa with a full bladder and an empty stomach. After resolving the former problem, I called up my sister-in-law, Trish, to see if she wanted to go out for dinner with me. (Uh oh, I feel another tangent coming on.) There is this restaurant near where Jeremy and I used to live in Ottawa called Joey's Only. It's a seafood chain, and back when we were living in Ottawa, it was our "bad day, emergency night out" restaurant. Sometimes you just need to get out, and the prices were good, the food was good, and the corn muffins were amazing. Jeremy would get some sort of formerly-swimming creature, and I would get the only non-seafood thing on the menu: rotisserie chicken. It was pretty good chicken, although not as good as Swiss Chalet. So I kindof surprised myself when, several times over the last year or so, I suddenly had an overwhelming craving for Joey's Only chicken. I eventually put two and two together and figured out that it really wasn't the chicken I was missing; it was the spontaneous dinner dates. It was knowing that we had a comfortable place to escape to when the stress of work was grinding me down, and I had no energy to rummage in the fridge for something to eat that wasn't sprouting tentacles. It was sitting and talking about nothing in particular and playing tic-tac-toe with the pink and blue sugar packets. The chicken was just a garnish.

Even knowing all of that, I was still craving Joey's Only chicken, so I asked Trish if she wanted to go there for dinner. She said that sounded good, so I picked her up and we headed to the other Joey's Only in the city, the one that is closer to where my mom lives - not the one where Jeremy and I used to go. They brought us our menus, and I scanned the menu quickly: no rotisserie chicken. I asked out waiter about it, and he said they only have it at the other location. I apologized profusely, told the waiter that really, that was the only thing I wanted, and we put down our menus and left. I felt kindof bad for walking out, but not bad enough to spend my money on something other than what I was craving. So we went to Swiss Chalet. Their chicken is better anyway.

In case you were wondering where Jeremy is in this narrative, he had to work during the week I was at my sister's, so he was flying up to Ottawa to meet me for the weekend. His flight arrived shortly before midnight on Friday night, and we went straight to bed. We're getting old and boring like that.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, so we went to the market with Benjie and Trish. We got shawarma for lunch, which is another Ottawa food I have been missing greatly since we moved away. In fact, the list of foods I miss from Ottawa or Toronto (many of which are international in origin) has grown to the point where I can only have a few of them in one trip, otherwise I would be doing nothing but eating the entire time I was there. Maybe with a little bit more exploring, I will eventually find good pho and pupusas in Philly, too. I have managed to find good Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Colombian, so maybe it's just a matter of time.

We met up with Sarah and her boyfriend Scott in the afternoon, and we had dinner with her family. Sarah was in my class in high school, and she is the only person from my class that I have managed to stay in really consistent contact with over the years. I am still occasionally in touch with most of the people I was really close to in high school, and it looked like none of them were going to be going to the class reunion. Sarah and I were both a little wary about going, but I'm more stubborn and had more romanticized notions about the importance of attending high school reunions (I blame Grosse Point Blank), so I convinced her to come. I just looked at my yearbook, and there were almost 200 people in my graduating class. Not huge by some high schools' standards, but big enough that you're not going to be friends with everyone in your class. The turnout for the reunion was disappointing, and sure enough, those who did show up weren't the people that I was really close to in high school. But, ten years is a lot of water under the bridge, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed catching up with the people I wasn't really friends with in high school. One of my favorite teachers even came out for the occasion, and it was really great being able to chat with him as two adults. All in all, a fun evening, and I found myself actually looking forward to stage two of the reunion: Sunday picnic in the park.

I guess the main point of stage two of the reunion was for all of the people in my class who have had babies to bring them and show them off. And I am sure that if I had a baby myself, I would have been just as excited to bring my baby and show him or her off to my classmates, too. But, alas, I do not have any babies of my own, although I believe I have established myself as a pretty decent Auntie. So I did what I do best at stage two of the reunion: I played with everyone else's kids while they talked about whatever it is grown-ups talk about while their kids play. I brought a kite and bubbles and face paints, and had a really fun time at the picnic flying kites, blowing bubbles, and painting faces.

I did spend some time talking with the grown-ups, and the highlight of my day was being told by a handful of my classmates that they really respected me for my career choice. Which I realize, as I type that, I have not yet made public on this blog, but it is finally official, so I can talk about it now. As of this week, I am the assistant store manager at a Starbucks in Conshohocken. And I am really, really happy about this. I love Starbucks and I love working in the retail/food service environment. It's not easy to change your career path after seven years of post-secondary education, but I've found something that I love to do, and that's worth a dozen graduate degrees.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Week With a Baby

I arrived at my sister's house late Saturday night. I was supposed to be there Friday afternoon, but a bunch of last-minute stuff came up that threw my plans off. Once I had done everything I could on Saturday, however, my awesome husband shoved me out the door (figuratively, of course) amidst promises that he would take care of everything else (which he did).

The thing that struck me most vividly about living with a five-week-old baby for a week was how irreversibly a baby re-centers your life. And you'd think that would be a bad thing, but it's really just different. For one week, I got to see what it's like to have a baby at the center of my universe, and what really amazed me was how much life still continued to move along pretty much normally around that new center. And I'll stop there before I start to wax too poetical. I'll admit that I got off easy, because I didn't have to get up for thrice nightly feedings, and my sister insisted that I shouldn't have to be on diaper duty all week. But I really enjoyed the rhythm of living with Alana and Eric and Nicholas for that time. And Alana took lots of pictures of us for me to post on my blog.

I won't go into a detailed blow-by-blow of the entire week. We ate three meals a day and evening snacks at night, Nicholas eating approximately twice as often as us. I did as much of the cooking as I could, vacuumed, did dishes, went grocery shopping and stacked firewood. While Alana nursed, I read. When Nicholas was fussy, I walked around with him and let him look at the world to keep him entertained.
nick looking around

When his neck got tired of twisting around to see what there was to see, I held him on my chest until he fell asleep (exhausted, no doubt, from the strain of trying to read the words on my shirt).
nick reading my shirt

Sometimes, he would sleep soundly, and I would rest him on my knees and send Alana to bed while he napped and I read (or just stared at him).
nick asleep on my lap

Sometimes, I would entertain him by reading him his dinosaur book,
me reading to nick

and sometimes, he would entertain me with his Dr. Evil impersonation.
nick's dr. evil impersonation

Other times, we would just hang out and let mommy do housework unencumbered.
nick and me

During the week I was there, I learned to tell his hungry cries from his bored cries, and he learned how to stick his tongue out for me when I encouraged him with laughter. (Sadly, there are no pictures of this, which is odd, since he did stick his tongue out an awful lot.) Alana and I both swear we saw him smile real smiles, not just the gassy ones. While I was there, Nick discovered his hands, and by the end of the week, he had developed a really strong grip.
nick holding my finger

We took walks with Nick and Eli (Nicholas' big, hairy, canine brother). We visited Alana's Taiko group to show Neko-chan off to Alana's second family. One night, Tim and Allison (a friend from college and his girlfriend) came to visit me and we played Settlers of Catan while Alana and Nick napped. We picked a whole bunch of tomatoes from Alana's garden and made sauce. We talked, we laughed, and we splurged and ate ice cream almost every night.

As I was looking over the pictures that Alana sent to me (and over them, and over them, and over them), I realized that not only was I enjoying how adorable my nephew looked in those pictures, but I was also enjoying how I looked in those pictures. I haven't liked very many pictures of myself in the past few years - I always seem to look old or tired (to me, of course, everyone else always seems to think I look fine). But since I quit my job at the law office, I have had several people tell me how much happier I look. And a week at my sister's, a week that for all intents and purposes should have seemed routine and boring, a week of living simply on a schedule driven by the needs of an infant, that week seems to have been the icing on the cake. I look at these pictures, and I like the way I look because I look happy.
me sans nick


Well, I'm back at home after spending a week at my sister's house in Vermont and a weekend in Ottawa for my ten-year high school reunion. I have loads to say, and, for the moment, have no idea where to start saying them. Until then, here are two more pictures from the wedding I went to two weekends ago (sent to me by my sister-in-law, who felt sorry for me and my lack of photos of myself from the wedding).

Jeremy and I, being silly as usual:

The Davis clan, now with a third generation!
From left: Jeremy (my husband), Jule Ann (me), Jill (my mom), Eric (my sister's husband), Trish (my brother's wife), Benjie (my brother).
Front: Alana (my sister) holding Nicholas (my nephew/her son).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Redux (with pictures!)

Thanks to fortuitous timing (okay, fine, it was mostly deliberate), I find myself with nearly three weeks of "vacation" between the closing of one chapter in my work life and the opening of the next. I'm loving the break. And of course, in true Jule Ann form, I have packed the break so full of activity that I will probably be more tired when it is all over than I was to begin with. But that's just the way I am.

To be fair, several of my planned activities involve relaxation. I spent most of the afternoon last Wednesday at the pool with Ali to start things off, and it was blissful. Then, on Thursday, Ally and I went thrift store shopping, because I needed a dress to wear to a wedding this weekend. I found a great dress, and had a great time. I also found an awesome corset, which, of course, I purchased, because there is a moral imperative to buy a corset that actually fits you when you find it for $4.50.

As an aside, for the curious, and/or for those who think that I am simply an inconsistent speller: I do have two different friends whose names sound like a small street, and one spells her name Ali and the other spells her name Ally. Which either clears up or adds to the confusion, I'm not sure which, but I like to think it's the former. I was going to attempt to clear up / add to the confusion even more by posting some pictures of me with Ally and me with Ali, but I somehow can't seem to find a picture of me with Ali, so here is one I stole from Ali's Facebook:

And here is one of me with Ally:

And now, back to our story.

Jeremy took Friday and Monday off of work in order to make this weekend a nice, long one. Friday we drove up to my mom's cousin's cottage at Silver Lake, Western New York. We were hoping to get there in time for some lakeside relaxing / swimming, but we got a late start, took a long lunch break, and then arrived at the Lake at about the same time as a huge windstorm, which dropped the temperature to well below comfortable swimming temperatures. Fortunately, we also arrived at the cottage only a few minutes after my brother and his wife, so we had a nice visit with them before heading up to my uncle's house at about 7:30 for the after-rehearsal-dinner party.

It was nice seeing everyone at my uncle's house, even if everyone else was mostly pre-occupied with last-minute wedding preparations, which it was kindof nice to not be part of for once. I was mostly pre-occupied with meeting my nephew, Nicholas, for the first time. Such a cutie. Here, have a picture:

Actually, that picture was from Saturday, because I was too busy holding him and cuddling him and loving him to take any pictures on Friday. So, why don't we skip to Saturday in the narrative, so that I can post the rest of the pictures.

Saturday morning was nice and relaxing. We all fought over took turns holding Nicholas, until he and Jeremy fell peacefully asleep together on the couch, and no one had the nerve to disturb them.

The wedding on Saturday was beautiful, but my camera sucks, so none of my ceremony pictures turned out. We sat in the back row with Alana and Nicholas to keep them company while Eric was taking pictures, which meant that we were the last people to be released from the church. So, we did what bored people do, and took pictures. Here is one of Nicholas with Grandma Jill:

And here is one of me kissing Jeremy, which I am including in part because it is fun, and in part because it is the only one I have of myself from this weekend:

After the wedding, I accompanied my sister to the nursery while Eric was taking the wedding party photographs, which really doesn't add anything to this story other than context for this picture of Alana and Nicholas:

The reception was held on my uncle's property, in a pole barn that was constructed specifically for this occasion. In case you ever wondered about my tendency to take on enormous projects that sound like a great idea at the time, end up being more work than I thought they would be, nearly drive me crazy trying to get them done, and then end up being finished just barely in the nick of time, this is proof that I come by this trait honestly, through my father's DNA. The building was gorgeous, perfect, and completed mere days before the wedding:

And yes, for the more observant car enthusiasts among you, that is a 2007 Mustang convertible that Alistair and Heidi made their entrance in. With "Final Countdown" playing in the background. My family is awesome.

There was a lego competition, and our table's entry, an homage to the word "poop", earned honorable mention. There was a wedding cake on every table, which enabled my Aunt Ester (the one who brought the parachute to my wedding) to dig a little hole in our cake for Mr. Mouse to set up his home.

And, while we're on the topic of cake, here is the only picture I got of the bride and groom that is even remotely good enough to post (I really need a new camera):

What was that? You want another picture of Nicholas? Okay, here is one of him with his Auntie Trish:

Alright, this post is getting to be pretty long, so I will rush through the rest of the weekend. We got to spend some quality after-wedding time with the extended family, and said our goodbyes to everyone but my mom on Sunday morning. Then we headed to my mom's sister's house with her to have lunch and visit with my mom's side of the family. It was especially nice to see my cousin Sean and his wife Melody, along with their four boys, who are about twice as big as they were the last time I saw them.

And then, in case we hadn't packed enough into one long weekend, we stopped by Liverpool on the way home to see Dora and Scott and their boys, whom I also hadn't seen since they were about half the size they are now. It was a really nice visit, and it was really great seeing them all again. Hopefully, now that they are only four hours away, we will see more of them in the future.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Living with me means you get to have conversations like this...

"I smell like a dirty hippie."

"What do clean hippies smell like?"

"No one knows..."

Star-Studded Weekend

Friday night, I made star-shaped meatloaf. And star-shaped biscuits. And I attempted to make star-shaped cucumbers, but they fell apart.

Unfortunately, I was then too tired to go to a 10 pm showing of Stardust. So I went to bed.

And I cleaned the house for five hours on Saturday. Which sadly doesn't involve any stars. But Saturday falls in the middle of the rest of my weekend story, so there you go.

Church picnic on Saturday afternoon didn't involve any stars, either. But it did involve me going into my pastor's pool fully clothed.

Saturday night I made flan for Dan and Ally. And it wasn't star-shaped, either, unless stars are yellowish tasty blobs of goo and caramelized sugar. Which they might actually be. I don't know. I've never tasted a real star.

But I did go see Stardust on Sunday afternoon with Jeremy's family. And I loved it. It instantly went in my top ten favorite movies of all time. Right alongside the Princess Bride. There are now two amazingly awesome fairy tale movies out there to choose from.

And to round things off, we went to the secludedest field we could find with a bunch of friends and family on Sunday night to watch the Perseid meteor shower. And we saw one really good meteor, and a few little ones, but then the clouds moved in and kept us from seeing anything remotely close to the promised meteor-a-minute. But meteors or not, it was fun to spend an evening in a dark field with friends. Just don't trip over the hose.

Actually, that didn't even round things off completely. Monday night, I worked at Starbucks, which is starrish, too, and therefore may be tacked onto my starful weekend. It was an important shift, too, because it was the last time I will ever be working at Starbucks as a barista.

And today involved no stars, although I am wearing my star t-shirt, and I am sure I could come up with some sort of star metaphor for working my last day at the law office. But I won't. Feel free to make up your own metaphors: I am on vacation.

Stage one of my vacation: Laying by the pool with Ali tomorrow.

And then, this weekend, at my cousin's wedding in Rochester, I will finally get to meet my newest nephew, Nicholas. Yay!


It's been a while since I checked my statcounter, and even longer since I blogged about it. I know it's dorky and overdone, but I find it amusing, so bear with me as I post a list of what keywords have recently brought people to my blog:

  1. jule ann wakeman

  2. how do you make a starbucks strawberry blended lemonade

  3. starbucks black and white mocha

  4. the most complicated starbucks drink ever

  5. jule ann

  6. i am happy letting you know

  7. confessions o a starbucks barista

  8. starbucks drinks number of pumps shots

  9. starbucks barrista hacks

  10. starbucks cool drink combinations

  11. starbucks white mocha 2 pumps

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  13. how many calories in starbucks peppermint mocha frappuccino, no whip

  14. creative starbucks drinks

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  17. multicultural being

  18. black and white mocha starbucks

  19. jule, annwashington

  20. calories starbucks strawberry lemonade frappuccino

  21. salvadoranean tamales

  22. make starbucks iced white mocha

  23. trichenosis

  24. number of syrup pumps in starbucks

  25. starbucks drink calling

  26. making decisions for myself

The moral of the story? I really should blog more about Starbucks. And less about trichenosis.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Happy: I am going camping this weekend with a bunch of my college friends. I have never been less packed and ready for a camping trip, but I am greatly looking forward to the R&R.

Super-happy: My sister had her baby last night, the first grandchild for my mommy! I am an aunt, now, for the first and second times in only three months. Yays!

Also happy, but less defined: I have officially put in my notice that I am leaving the law office. I’m leaving on good terms, to pursue a different opportunity. What that opportunity is, however, is not yet official, so I’d rather not blog about it at the moment. Between the two positions, I am giving myself a much-needed vacation, from August 18 to September 3, with my cousin’s wedding on the front end and my ten-year high school reunion on the other end of that time, and hopefully some quality nephew-cuddling and sister-assisting in the interim. Maybe I will be able to see some of you, then!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Long Overdue Update

You know how they say that it takes three weeks to form a habit? So, if you brush your teeth every morning for three weeks, it will become a habit, and you will brush your teeth every morning automatically? Or if you run for 25 miles every morning for three weeks, you will run for 25 miles every morning automatically? It's not true. At least not for me. When I started my job at the law office, I brewed a pot of coffee every morning for almost a month, then one day, I slept in, and the habit disappeared. Just like that. Now I get my coffee from a fast food restaurant. No, I won't tell you which one. But I have tasted around, and I like it the best from this place. Anyhow, I'm the same way with blogging. I get in a groove, blogging regularly, then something happens, I slip out of the habit, and it takes me ages to get back into the groove. I should take up smoking. I bet I would forget to smoke one day, then suddenly be completely unaddicted.

So, my job at the law office. It's going pretty well. I think I'm pretty good at it, I get along with the other people in my office, and it's interesting and challenging work. But I'm really not happy. There is a stereotype in the work-a-day world that somehow, in the progression of growing up and getting more respectable jobs, customer service is low on the totem pole, and eventually, you have to grow up and get an office job. It's a pretty widely accepted assumption, and if you're ever in thr position to review resumes to fill a soon-to-be vacant office staff position, you will notice that a large percentage of the applicants have job histories that start with things like restaurant or retail, work their way up through telemarketing, and eventually settle into office work. I guess part of the reason for that is that a lot of people don't really want to work in customer service positions, they just get stuck there because they have few other options entering the job market at 16 years old with no qualifications.

But you know what? I want to work in customer service. I like people. Being around people energizes me. When I stop to get my coffee in the morning, I pull past the drive-through and into a parking space, simply because going into the restaurant and speaking face-to-face with my cashier makes me feel more connected in the world. I know that probably makes me weird, but I feel like I could make a lifelong career of serving people. So, long story made slightly shorter: I actually never quit my job at Starbucks when I took the law office job. I've been working occasional shifts there, in part because I missed the awesome people I worked with, in part because I wanted to stay up-to-date on the new drinks and products (aside: the new oven-warmed sandwiches are awesome), and, in a big part because those shifts at Starbucks thoroughly brightened my week because they let me interact with people on a larger scale than what I encounter in a small law office. (Another part of keeping myself in the Starbucks loop is that I think Starbucks is a great company, and if I am going to make a career of serving people someday, I honestly can't think of any company I would rather do that with.)

And there I go breaking Dooce's First Rule of Blogging, talking about my job on my blog. But I don't think I have said anything here that I am (or should be) ashamed of, and I definitely am not sharing any secrets.

As for the non-job portions of my life, I may have to come back with a fuller update later, since I need to get to work soon. My beautifully pregnant sister is due in two weeks, but today is my day in the baby pool, so send labor vibes her way for me! My husband is loving his computer geek job, and seems to have really found his groove there. My housemates' wedding was last weekend, and after a very stressful rehearsal day wherein we kept losing essential people, the wedding went off beautifully. We really enjoyed our houseguests, and I was only a little bit sad but mostly relieved that we ended up with only three people staying with us instead of eight. I was especially sad to drive Brian's best men back to the airport, because Portland is a long way away, and I feel like they were totally the kind of guys we could be great friends with. Bitsy almost died on me, and I got scolded by the oil change guys for letting her transmission fluid go completely dry. I have realized that I have no place owning a car, and really don't know the first thing about regular car maintenance. Any advice on this front would be greatly appreciated. Like, for example, how often should I be checking my fluid levels? Someone asked me if a 20-year-old was my daughter, so apparently, the weight I have lost this summer was all in the parts of me that make me look young. I made a trip, by myself, up to Ottawa to see some old friends and Canada Day fireworks. It made me very sad to see how out of the Ottawa loop, well, out of almost every loop, I have been for the past year or so. It was nice to see Geoff and Marg and their adorable twins, though, and to spend some quality time with my brother and his wife. Perhaps, in another post, I can also attempt to explore my bizarre mental state, in which almost everything I do seems to be both sad and nice, like my trip to Ottawa. Until then, know that I miss you all, appreciate your love and support, and wish I was a better blogger.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

By way of letting you know that I am still alive

Blogging is a strange world. I miss writing in it and reading in it. But my life has been crazy lately, and I just haven't had the energy to blog for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes I'm just too busy. But more often than not, I have a blog post written in my head, but by the time I get to a computer to write it down, I don't feel the same way anymore, and what it seemed like I wanted to say before no longer seems like what I want to say. Last night, I was going to just sit down for hours and write it all out, but my husband beat me to my computer, so I didn't get to write anything and was left with my frustrated brain lobes swollen and blue.

But seeing as blogging is such a strange world, my own intellectual frustration at not being able to write is only part of the problem. I feel like I owe something to the people who read my blog, because I invited you into my life, for good and for bad, and I know that many of you think of me and pray for me and genuinely care about me. And I want to keep you in the loop.

Since I have to be at work in a few minutes, I know that I won't be able to vent my writing steam, but at a bare minimum, I can satisfy some measure of curiosity about what's happening in my life. Albeit disjointedly...

Jeremy is finally better, after almost a year of being mysteriously sick. He is also finally employed, after almost as long being out of work. He is working at a job that he loves at a university in Philadelphia. I am still working at the law office, and I still won't be blogging about my job. We are still living at the Chrysalis, and a few bumps aside, things are going pretty well there. LOST is over for the season, but my Wednesday night crowd will still be getting together for weekly dinners, and it looks like the RPG we've been planning is finally actually going to happen, over a year after discussions first began. We're still going to our church up in Glenside, and we still love it, even though the trip takes us almost 45 minutes each way. Our walls are still purple, and we still love them. We got a second table for our dining room so that we can fit up to about a dozen people sitting at once. We had Jeremy's parents and grandparents and a few miscellaneous extended family members over for dinner this weekend, and it was a good time. This summer will be my ten-year high school reunion, if the planning ever gets off the ground. I may or may not be coming up to Ottawa for that, depending on when it ends up being. I hope to make it up to Ottawa for Canada Day weekend, so if you're going to be in the area that weekend, let me know, and we can try to meet up. This weekend is my six-year wedding anniversary. I had a whole post written in my head about going to Valley Forge for a semi-surprise anniversary picnic the weekend before last but, alas, it got lost on the way to typing it.

And, alas, that is all I have the time to write.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Passel of Partial Posts

I love the purple walls in my house. I will love my house even more when we finally get our shelves this weekend so we actually have a place to put things, and when we get our bed so we can stop sleeping on the floor on an air mattress. (Edit: I wrote this several days ago, but didn't post it yet. Bed and shelves acquired, many things still remain to be put away.)

Okay, I'll admit, it's not always easy, but the benefits of living in community far outweigh the stresses. We take turns making dinners and lunches. The other day, I opened my lunchbox to find a napkin with a note from Erin, "JuJuBi, Jesus loves you. Make good choices. Love, Mommy." It kept me smiling the rest of the day.

The next three weeks or so promise to be just as busy as the last few. I might not be around the blogosphere too much. I apologize for that.

I swear, I had about 10 partial posts to write when I started this, but now I don't remember what the other ones were.

Oh yeah, one of them was this: Twice, I have posted pictures of my baby nephew, and neither time did I mention his name. I'm too subtle. I put his name in the labels section only. Sorry. His name is Trevor. Trevor Jaden. Or, possibly, Trevor Jay, if he wants to be a DJ when he grows up. I'm rooting for Trevor Jay.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Nothing Day

I've been busy lately. I say that purely as a statement of fact: I'm not complaining or bragging.

Friday night, a spontaneous group of friends went to see Spiderman 3. It was fun. I think I enjoyed it more than most of my companions because I believed that the director wanted it to be campy and silly and hokey, and I thought that he did a great job of doing just that. I laughed so hard at the scene where he came swinging in, and posed in front of the American flag. I thought it was a joke. My companions thought it was a serious attempt at patriotism. So, Jule Ann's assessment of Spiderman 3 is essentially this: it's either fun, or dumb, depending on whether you think the director is taking himself seriously or not.

On Saturday, I drove to the Jersey shore with Jeremy and Jon to help Jon's grandmother assemble the tent where they spend the summer. (Although calling this place a "tent" is about as accurate as calling a canvas-sided Jeep a tent. It's really almost a house.) It was fun, even if it is still a little early in the season to be thinking about swimming in the ocean.

While I was in New Jersey, a friend called me up on my cell phone and reminded me that it was Cinco de Mayo, and that I have a duty as a non-Mexican to go out on the town. So, when we got back from the shore, I brushed the salt-wind tangles out of my hair, put on a skirt and went out dancing. It was a blast. It was also the first time I had driven downtown since we moved to the new house, and I was impressed at how much closer we are to the city, now. It used to take at least 45 minutes, and now it's more like 20. In theory, anyhow. I missed my exit on the way in, and I missed my exit on the way home, so I don't know exactly how long it will take once I figure out how to get from A to B without also visiting C and Q and X. (X was a little bit scary, actually. That was when I decided that it wasn't worth it to stop for directions after all, I could just keep driving and find my way home eventually.)

Sunday, after church, I took a much needed nap, made dinner, then headed to a meeting up in Willow Grove, while Jeremy visited with his dad. And the next thing I knew, it was Monday morning, and I had completely forgotten to get any rest all weekend.

Which brings us to now. We were going to try and go visit the baby tonight, but I decided that I really needed an evening in. I need to put away a bunch of clothes, organize a bunch of boxes I brought over from the other house, catch up on my blog reading, write on my own blog, write more on my novel, pay some bills, do some dishes, clean the kitchen counter, email some people I've been meaning to email, watch last week's Heroes so I can watch this week's Heroes, and I'm going to stop there, because that's only the tip of the iceberg, and I'll get depressed if I recite the entire list.

And now it's ten o'clock. About two hours passed between the last paragraph and this one. In those two hours I did some dishes and ate a Pop Tart. I missed Heroes because I didn't get around to watching last week's episode in time. So I guess I can still make the point I had intended to make when I started this post, even if I did accomplish one or two things from my list. For all intents and purposes, today was a total waste. But I needed that more than anything right now. If only I could make myself stop feeling guilty for the wasted time and relax properly. Fat chance.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Poorly-Written Weekend Summary With Not Enough Pictures

Friday night, we saw Jon Stewart. He was funny. We stayed up too late.
Saturday morning I woke up early and went to worship team practice. Wait, I made rice krispy squares first, then went to practice. Then we went to Phil and Rachel's and spent an afternoon visiting with Justin and Meghan. And Rachel made tasty dinner.
Then we picked up coffee and went to the church for a coffee house. It was fun. Ali sang. She was great. We played some games, and chatted, and stayed up too late again.
ali guitar
Sunday morning was church. After church, I tried to squeeze in a nap, but I only managed to doze for about 5 minutes. I managed to make a tasty pasta salad, however. Then we went to the park and had a surprise party for Jill's birthday. We played frisbee and I fought with a franken-ghetto-kite for far longer than I should have. I love kites, but on a gusty day, there is sometimes nothing you can do. Sunday night, we had a nice evening in with Erin and Brian at the house.
After work on Monday, we drove straight to the hospital to meet the baby.
I was a little surprised to find out that the hospital had a separate parking lot for family members. That was nice.
mob parking
The baby was cute. I got to hold him. He smelled like baby.
Jule Ann and Jeremy with baby Trevor
Then I went to bed. Then I went to work. And any minute now, I will be going to bed again. The older I get, the more it seems to take to recover from doing too much. Good thing I don't plan on getting any older.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Just a quickie before I collapse into bed...

As of 12:34 pm this day, I am officially an aunt. My sister-in-law gave birth to an adorable little boy today (not to be confused with my sister, who is also pregnant but not due until August). We went and saw him at the hospital today, and held his adorable little five-hours-old, still wrinkly from the womb, too worn out from being born to do anything other than sleep body. And I took a bunch of pictures, but I don't have time to upload any tonight. Soon, I promise. Right now, I need to sleep, because I did far too many fantastic and exciting things this weekend and got far too little sleep. And yes, I am a little bit giddy right now, but it's not my fault, the smell of baby makes me drunk.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Wednesdays have become my favorite day of the week. What used to be just an evening of watching Lost soon became an evening of watching Lost with friends, which soon became an evening of watching Lost with more friends, which eventually evolved into dinner and games and a crowd of about 8 people. Take that, stupid ABC moving Lost to 10 pm, we're making social lemonade!

Only three more episodes until the season finale, though. So sad. But, when all the twitching and withdrawal symptoms subside, we'll still have Wednesday nights. Maybe we'll finally start that RPG campaign we've been planning for over a year...

Speaking of staying up too late on a work night, I really should be getting to bed. I have a busy weekend ahead of me, and I should start it with some semblance of restedness. Tomorrow night, we're going to see Jon Stewart, and I just found out that some friends from Rhode Island will be coming into town this weekend for a spontaneous visit. Should be fun!

Monday, April 23, 2007


I miss blogging.

And apparently, some people in the blog world even miss me. Thanks to everyone who emailed me or im'ed me or phoned me to check in and see how I'm doing. It meant a lot to me.

I'd like to start blogging again now, if that's alright with you all.

Some adjectives to summarize my life for the past five weeks: busy, harried, adjusting, covered in paint.

When Jeremy and I were engaged, my dad gave me some words of wisdom for marriage. One of those words was "renovate" and it was used in close proximity to the word "don't". More divorces are caused by paint and wallpaper than finances, children, and infidelity combined. (Note: May not be a real statistic.)

Somehow, though, we made it through this past month of painting and renovating, and no one is dead (and I'm pretty sure none of the injuries are permanent). All it took in the end was Erin deciding that we could host a surprise party for her mom with about 45 people, only a few weeks after moving into a house that was, in every way, the epitome of a "fixer-upper". And actually, Erin was right, we pulled it off (mostly due to her not sleeping for about 36 hours prior to the party). And it was a great party. But the best part is: the house is finally together.

It's not done. If I have learned nothing else from watching other people in the act of home ownership, I have learned that there is no such thing as "done" when you own a house. But it's done enough that I finally dare to post pictures.

And, without further ado, here are some pictures.

This is the Chrysalis from the front. Consider it a "before" picture of the lawn (which is badly eroded and needs to be terraced), and of the sidewalk (that needs to be torn up and replaced because it is being destroyed by the roots of the big, beautiful tree that needs to be cut down).


This is Apollo. He is the guardian eagle of the house. He hung in that same spot on the wall for as long as anyone remembers, quite possibly since the house was built in 1950. We were told that if we took him down, the house would burn to the ground. We decided to brave fate, however, in order to paint behind him. We were greatly amused by the color difference between the wall behind Apollo and the walls around Apollo. THIS IS WHAT SMOKING WILL DO TO YOUR TEETH, TOO!

apollo before

This is what the bathroom looked like when we moved in. Yes, those are trash bags stuffed in cracks in the tile.

bathroom before

This is that same section of tile after Jer's dad came and spent an afternoon with him. The rest of the tub still needs some work, but the trash bags are gone!

bathroom after

This is the living room before we started to paint.

living room before

This is Rachel in the kitchen before we started to paint. The kitchen had been fairly recently painted, so we decided to leave it that color for now. We took a paint chip of the teal with us to the hardware store when we bought the purple so that we could make sure they would match. We also bought a little bucket of the same teal in order to do some accents in the living room. And yes, that is a computer on the kitchen counter. It was the only music we had for the first week or so here, so we kept it central.

rachel kitchen before

This is Erin and Brian in the living room getting ready to paint. Notice that they are still smiling. That's because this was taken on Painting Day 1, not on Painting Day 19. Fortunately for all of us, my camera batteries died and I couldn't find my charger for the next few weeks.

erin brian before

Brian's name is on the deed, so we let Brian put the first stroke of paint on the wall. Please note how utterly horrible the color of the primer is. I think the name was "Murdered by Easter Eggs Purple".

brian first paint

Erin painted the walls nicely for a while...

erin painting

Then Erin posted important public service announcements on the walls.
(Aside: See that big rectangle on the wall that is a different color than the rest of the wall? There used to be a mirror there, and the last time the wall was painted, they just painted around it. Around Painting Day 12, this idea started to sound really, really smart.)

jon licks monkey butts

There is an unexplained cubby hole in the living room. We were told that the family that used to own this house before the person we bought it from raised seven kids in the house. We figure the baby must have slept here, because we have no idea where else seven kids would go in this house. Regardless, random cubbies must be painted, and I painted it from the inside.

jule ann in the cubby

And finally, some after pictures...
The dining room. (Yes, it's a little cluttered, I know, but for two days after having a huge birthday party, I think we can be forgiven for having a few "50" napkins still kicking around.)

dining room

Erin relaxing on the couch.

erin after

Jeremy relaxing on the other couch. (That's Erin's dog Peanut in the foreground.)

jer couch

Another angle on the living room. We're still not sure what to do with the cubby, so it has a stereo in it for now. We also left the cubby Grandma's Attic Purple for the time being, lest we forget.
(Aside: The banister may change colors again after all. We liked the teal on the door frame, but it's a little much on the banister. We're hoping some purple stenciling will tone down the PeeWee's Playhouse contrast effect a little bit.)

living room after

The guest room is the only room upstairs that is presentable enough to photograph at the moment. There are two other bedrooms, which are both much bigger, but also much more lived in. This room has been dubbed "Stuart's Room", even though Stuart doesn't actually live with us. And his name isn't actually Stuart.

stuart's room

This is our porch. It was our salvation during the birthday party, because it has many windows and a ceiling fan, and stayed about 15-20 degrees cooler than the rest of the house all evening. We're currently looking for cheap/free wooden seating to furnish it with.


This is our backyard, which is across a little alley from our house. Consider this a "before" picture with an indefinitely distant "after". The retaining walls are falling down, but that's a pretty big project to tackle for amateurs. We'll see how we do on the front yard, first. For now, our makeshift gazebo is about all the beautification our backyard is going to get. And maybe a fire table at some point.


This is my car Bitsy, parked in front of our house.


And, since I'm posting so many pictures, what's one more? This is a picture Steve took of me at the wedding of a coworker and fellow Canadian, Bronwyn, last weekend. It's the first picture of myself I've really liked in a long time, so I decided to share it with you all.

jule ann at bronwyn's wedding

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Further Adventures in Not Blogging

Another brief update on borrowed Internet access...

Still no Internet at the new house. Still not quite done painting, but the purple looks great wherever the second coat is done, and the new house is starting to feel like home. And, as is the tradition with communal houses, we have named the house. So, you can all come visit me sometime at the Chrysalis.

And I did end up buying a car. She's a 1998 Mazda 626 with leather interior and her name is Bitsy. It's the first car that I have ever had in my own name, and it's kindof an exciting feeling. (Even if it did take me five and a half hours to get my Pennsylvania driver's license in order to be able to buy a car, but that's another post for another day when I have more time to rant. While I'm at it, I can talk about how excited I am to be finally registered to vote, as well as registered with a particular party so I can vote in the primaries.)

So much to say, but I guess I'll have to hold it in for now. Hopefully we'll have Internet at the Chrysalis soon, and I can start wasting my evenings on blogging again. I haven't been to my Bloglines account in ages, and I am sure there are 500 posts sitting there for me to read. Sigh.

I miss you all. Drop me an email if something really exciting has happened in your life that is currently buried under 499 other blog entries. Use my address, juleannwakeman at. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

By Way of Explanation for My Recent Absence from the Blogging World

Do you know what would go really well with an impulsive major life decision like changing careers on two weeks' notice? ANOTHER impulsive major life decision like moving to a new house across the city and painting it purple! More on that later. With pictures. I promise.

Until then, some words of wisdom: Painting takes more time than you think it will, especially when people are easily distracted by enticing conversations.

Hey, while I'm at it, maybe I'll buy a car this weekend...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Weekends

Okay, so you know how I was kindof sortof complaining about having nothing to do on Saturday night? I'm sorry about that. I was trying to make a completely different point, and it came out whiny. Here's what I wanted to say:

When you work shift work, every day of the week is pretty much the same as any other: you may have to work, or not. And you learn, gradually, that fun can just as easily be had on a Thursday evening as any other time - especially if you happen to have Friday morning off. And yet, magically, after only one week of having a normal work week, I fell immediately back into the old habit of feeling like a loser for not having something "special" to do on a Saturday night. Silly Jule Ann.

It's not like I completely wasted Saturday, either. I had worship team practice in the morning, then ran a bunch of errands and bought a bunch of groceries and found the natural food store and made chili for dinner. That's a pretty productive day, even if I didn't do much with my evening.

Besides, Sunday completely redeemed Saturday night. After church, about 10 of us went out for lunch, then headed down to the city to sort children's books for a church there that has an after-school tutoring program for underprivileged kids. And then I went home and made beef stew, and several friends came over for dinner. Then, everyone hung around the kitchen while I chopped fruit for fondue. And everyone mocked me while I completely screwed up the first batch of chocolate. (Fortunately, I had back-up chocolate.) And we chatted and had fun and played Apples to Apples and stayed up too late. And it was awesome.

So the next time I start to complain about being bored on a Saturday night, smack me, then remind me that the weekend's not over yet. And then come over for fondue. I make tasty fondue. Sometimes even on the first attempt.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's So Great About Saturday Night?

I just finished my first, proper, 9-5 work week in a long, long time. Each day, I made coffee in the morning, took a lunch break in the afternoon, and ate dinner at dinnertime. I battled rush hour traffic twice a day. (Which, by the way, could be an entire blog post unto itself. How can the same commute take 40 minutes one day, and then an hour and 15 minutes the next? How come, when they give the traffic reports, there are always unexplained slow spots? I could understand a delay caused by bad road conditions, or an accident, or if the slow spots were always at the same places, but it seems like people just randomly decide to go slower for several miles, then speed back up again. Crazy.)

I have mixed feelings about being back in the ranks of people who work normal day jobs. I miss the flexibility of being able to take a long weekend whenever I want to, or to book off a random Tuesday because a friend is going to be in town, or to just be able to run errands mid-week when everyone else is at work and there are no lines at the bank. But it's nice to be home at (about) the same time every evening, and to be able to make plans in advance, and to, theoretically, sign up for Wednesday night karate classes and other such things. And it's really nice to have the same two days off every week as most of my other friends. No more Saturday nights of having to work while all of my friends have amazing fun times without me!

Except that here I am, home alone, blogging, on a Saturday night. What's wrong with this picture? Someone needs to take me dancing. Right. Now.

Addendum to An Evening with Jon

A few days ago, when I blogged about having dinner with Jon, I intentionally omitted a humorous anecdote about the self-checkout machine at the grocery store. Because Jon had dibsed it for his blog, and dibses must always be honored by friends.

It may have taken him a few days, but I think Jon did the story justice. Go forth, read, and be amused.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Three Geekiest Reasons to be Excited About Summer (and One Not-Geeky Reason!)

I don't go to the movies very often. The last movie I saw in the theater had snakes and planes and was so satisfying as a movie-going experience that I just haven't had the heart to displace it as "the last movie I saw in the theater." It's kindof like when you swear you'll never wash your hand again after that cute boy you are in love with touched it. Or maybe it's kindof like I'm too cheap to spend money on movies, which seem to double in price every year. One or the other.

But, I will be washing my proverbial movie hand this summer at least, as two movies hit the theaters that I have been eagerly awaiting for some time now.

The first is a movie based on a book by one of my all-time favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. It's got a great cast, and I fully expect to love it as much as my teenage self loved The Princess Bride. So, I will definitely be seeing Stardust when it comes out on August 10. And, if you are an especially big nerd like me, you will be equally excited to know that Paramount will be putting the trailer for Stardust up on the Yahoo Movies site tomorrow at noon. That's how much confidence I have in this movie's going-to-be-good-ness. I'm linking to the trailer before I've ever seen it myself.

The second summer movie I am looking forward to is, of course, the fifth Harry Potter movie. It's being released on July 13, which is also, incidentally, the same day as Erin and Brian's wedding, which I am in. Erin's sister and I are trying to figure out whether we can squeeze in a midnight showing on Thursday night, in between the bachelorette party and the wedding day. I honestly think we can. The trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is already available on the website, and you actually get a glimpse or two of Umbridge, who is one of the main reasons I am looking forward to this movie. I think she is one of the most well-written "bad" characters I've come across in literature in a long time. When I first read the book, there were several times that I had to set the book down and take a walk because I was literally shaking with anger and frustration. That's quality writing. I hope the movie does her justice.

I said three geeky things, and anyone who followed the entire Harry Potter discussion above probably already knows what I am going to say next. Not only is the fifth movie coming out this summer, but the seventh, and FINAL Harry Potter book is coming out this summer! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which we have been promised the death of at least one main character, is being released on July 21. I think it's a little bit unfortunate that it's coming out so close to the movie, because I know I will want to read book six again after seeing the movie, but then again, I'll have a week, and I'm pretty sure I read book six in less than a week the first time around.

So, have I geeked out enough for one post?

So, here's the other reason I am looking forward to next summer. (And, I'm totally posting this without permission, and may be in trouble shortly, but it's just too adorable to not share.) Sometime in early August, I will get to meet the growing little person inside of this glowing little person:

Hooray for summer!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An Evening with Jon

"Are you hungry?"


"What do you want to do about dinner?"

"I dunno."

"Well, I need to get some things from the grocery store anyhow, we could pick something up there."

"Sounds good."

Later, at the grocery store...

"So, what do you want to eat?"

"I dunno."

"We could buy eggs and have omelets."

"Yay, omelets!" (runs off to fetch red peppers)

Later, at Jon's apartment...

Jule Ann is in the kitchen cracking, chopping, whisking, and cooking. Jon sits down to watch American Idol.

"I hope it's okay that I don't really know how to make proper omelets. I always cheat and just make scrambled eggs, then let them congeal into a patty at the end. I like them better that way anyhow. I don't particularly like proper omelets."

"Really? Then why did you agree to having omelets for dinner?"

"Because I secretly knew that you would sit down and watch American Idol, so I could make them however I wanted."

"You know, I think this is the first proper meal I have made in my new apartment."

"I'm going to have to disagree with your definition of 'proper meal'. And 'I'."

Monday, March 19, 2007


Saturday was my last shift at Starbucks. It was also the morning after a particularly nasty storm, so it took me ten minutes to dig my car out from under piles of ice, and another ten to get it to back out of the driveway. Somehow, in the process, I also managed to kill the motor on the car's heater, probably by turning it on when the intake was blocked. So, no heat on the way to work on the coldest morning of the year. Oops.

But, Saturday ended up being a surprisingly good shift at work. Once the sun came up, business picked up, and we kept a pretty steady pace all day. I said goodbye to some of my regular customers, and simply served others with my usual smile, not wanting to disrupt their day with a sappy goodbye. Then, it was time for me to leave, and I dropped my keys in the safe, and went home, and cried for half an hour.

I've never been good at goodbyes. When I was in college, I used to hide at the end of the semester when everyone was packing up their stuff. And then, when the next semester started, and people would say things to me like, "I never saw you to say goodbye at the end of last semester!" I would feign innocence, and act like it was all an unfortunate accident. So I guess I've gotten a little bit better at saying goodbye, or I would have just hidden it from everyone. But still, there are several people who have been a regular part of my life, and I theirs, for the past year, whom I will probably never see again, and I never really made the effort to say a proper goodbye. In a way, it was easier with my coworkers, because I know I will see them when I visit, and many of them are already programmed into my cell phone so we can hang out later. And we will. But making someone's latte for them is a connection, too, as is knowing their drink and having it ready for them by the time they reach the counter. And it's hundreds of those random connections that I am losing as I leave my store.

It's more than that, too. Those of you who know me well know how much of a beating my self-esteem took in my first year out of law school. Starbucks was the first proper job I had after that, and I couldn't have been working at a better place to heal my shattered ego. I was constantly encouraged and supported, and my efforts to clean things, organize things, and improve things were acknowledged and (mostly) appreciated. I genuinely enjoyed my job, and I was good at my job. It's hard to let something like that go, even when you know, deep down, that it can't last forever.

Saturday night, I spent with friends, and I was glad for the distraction. Rachel cooked a fantastic Irish meal, and we ate and talked for hours, enjoying each others' company. I was, perhaps, slightly less than my usual bubbly self, but no one condemned me when I waxed quiet or broody on occasion. My mom pointed out to me the last time we talked that, as hard as it has been for me this past year, it's been bearable because of my friends. And she's right. I don't like to brag, but there are worse things to be proud of. I really do have awesome friends.

And an awesome church. Sunday morning, I went to church early, although I didn't really know why. When I got there, I discovered that the worship team was short a voice, and that they would be doing a few drummy songs, so I jumped in for the pre-service worship time, and was blessed to be a part of it. Then, after church, our "faith in action" event was bringing meals to some of the housebound members of the church. We split up into five groups, and went five different ways, and I opted to not accompany the group that was going to have lunch with my husband, since I see him all the time, and instead spent a fantastic lunch with two absolutely wonderful older ladies who grew up in my church when it was huge and thriving.

And, in case my heart was not already full, one of my friends from church invited me over for a tea party on Sunday afternoon. Tea, and scones, and female conversation (to be honest, not a regular occurrence in my life) filled the rest of my afternoon. I felt a little disconnected at first, as everyone else talked about topics that they had all obviously discussed before. I wondered why I had gone, and what had made me think I would have anything to talk to a group of women about. But they gradually drew me in, and I found myself opening up, and really enjoying the connection.

I haven't talked about my faith a whole lot on my blog lately, but don't feel bad: it's not you, it's me. I haven't really talked about my faith to anyone lately. But I think about it, a lot. I've found myself questioning assumptions I have held for basically my entire life, and while I haven't necessarily rejected anything, I have stripped my beliefs down, layer by layer like an onion, in an attempt to figure out what lies beneath it all. And I am so far from any kinds of conclusions, I don't dare even try to blog about it. Because even stripped down, I still have an ironic security in some of the things that I believe, but I lack the clarity to make any kind of coherent argument about how or why.

But somehow, girl talk dragged some of that out of me, and while I didn't leave with any new answers, I did leave feeling purged of some of the murkiness. And I am grateful to my church girlfriends, and hope that I will remember that and make more efforts to seek out their company more often.

Full, and fuller, I looked at the clock and decided that I still had time to swing by Starbucks and see an ex-coworker of mine who had moved to Boston last summer but was in town this week for Spring break. He was going to be playing an impromptu show at my store, and I wanted to see him. Unfortunately, I was too late for the show, but I got to chat with several people I hadn't seen in a while, and it was really nice catching up. It was also nice to be able to tell new people about my new job, because it allowed me to get back into the mindset that I had been in two weeks prior, when I was so excited about the new job, and felt like everything was looking up. Two weeks of thinking too much had dampened my enthusiasm, and it was refreshing to feel enthusiastic again.

And that, in an extremely verbose and hyper-introspective way, brings us to today: my first day at the new job. Which I won't really be talking about. How anti-climactic. But, I think that my "don't blog about your job" policy is a pretty good one, and I will continue to respect it for the time being.

Because frankly, even if I wanted to talk about my first day at my new job, I'm not sure I could. I'm such a backlog of thoughts and emotions right now, I feel like it will be months before my brain catches up with my life. Even as I type and retype perpetually inadequate endings to this post, I keep coming up empty-handed for a conclusion. I guess there is no conclusion.

Friday, March 16, 2007


First, let me say that I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes. I think that, in some people, the personality side of the Zodiac can be fairly accurate (in fact, if you read a description of a typical Aquarius, it's an approximately 85% accurate description of me). I don't know why this is, maybe it's the way April showers affected your brain at a certain stage of development, but there is something to that aspect of horoscopes. I don't think that they are determinative, however, and I don't believe in using astrology to tell the future or make major or minor life decisions.

That said, I often read my horoscope in the morning paper. Just because it's there, on the page beside the comics, and I usually finish the comics before I finish my breakfast. And I often need something to cheer me up after being so very disappointed, once again, with the caliber of humor on the so-called funny pages.

As is the case with most vague statements, my one-liner horoscope is sometimes spot on, sometimes spot off, and sometimes ambiguous enough to go either way. Today's horoscope, however, was obviously not written by anybody who has been around me recently. So much for astrology.

AQUARIUS: You're the light, bright spirit who will know how to help others erase troubling thoughts from their minds.

At least I got a good laugh out of something in the paper today. Stupid Garfield and his stupid spiders...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I just finished reading my blogrolls for the day, and I counted no less than two poop stories and one bathroom story in the most recent round of entries.

And I'm wondering if it's more odd that these three stories all appeared on the same day, or that none of the aforementioned bloggers are the parents of small children.

Probably what is most odd, however, is the fact that I noticed the trend at all. But then again, I am accustomed to being the oddest element in any given equation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I guess it wasn't the laughing after all

I believe I mentioned here that the rest of the house has been sick recently. Some kind of cold/flu/G.I. thing. My brother-in-law got it the worst, with basically all of the imaginable symptoms. My parent-in-laws both got off with slight colds. My husband had a fever and cold symptoms, but seems to be mostly on the mend (well, back to his normally sick state, anyhow). Saturday night, I started to notice a slight sore throat, which has since developed into a full-blown cold. I'm still hoping I will escape the worst of it, but after two days of crappy coldiness, I am confident that the sore throat was caused by the illness that has been making the rounds of my house, and not, unfortunately, by all the laughing I did this weekend.

But I didn't open this blog post to complain about being sick. I opened it to publicly complain about my own stupidity. I know that the reason most people read blogs is to be reminded how much smarter they are than other people and/or how much other people are screwing up their lives much worse than they are. So, without further ado, here is an anecdote to make you feel better about yourself.

I tried to go to bed about an hour and a half ago. But my nose was stuffy. And I can't sleep when I can't breathe, so I got up and took some Sudafed.

Which is basically speed.

Which is not exactly sleep-inducing.

So I went back to bed, knowing that I had about a half hour or so before the drugs would kick in, and hoping I could fall asleep quickly, before they did. But I couldn't fall asleep, because my nose was stuffy. And it remained stuffy well after the wide-awake-ness of the Sudafed kicked in. So I tossed, and turned, and cursed drugs and my own stupidity, and finally gave up and came back out here to kill time on my computer. And I finished reading all my blogrolls, and ran out of distractions, so I decided that the only thing left for me to do was create content of my own. (This was after joining Facebook and my ten-year high school reunion forum.)

So, in the end, I guess that wasn't a very interesting story. But it's all I've got right now. Unless you want to hear about random things that I now have time to link to, since I've probably got another hour to kill before my body adjusts enough to the speed to let me sleep. (I buy the 12-hour Sudafed for precisely this reason: I can usually go to sleep about 3 hours or so after taking it, after it has worked its magic on the stuffiness, and after my body has adapted to the adrenaline buzz. But unfortunately, I forgot to take the 12-hour Sudafed when I needed to, three hours before bedtime, when I was still at work.)

So, links, eh?

Free coffee at Starbucks on March 15

Free iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts on March 21

Free Rita's Water Ice on March 21 (I blogged about this last year.)

Hmmm... Still awake...

Okay, one more thing, then I swear, I will go distract myself with flash games or videos on YouTube. This is like one of those "name five songs you are listening to right now" memes, except that it's so highly specialized that I doubt anyone else will really be able to steal it and do it themselves. And, I'll probably cheat and list more than five.

Starbucks has some pretty good music on their regular rotation right now. And, I am fortunate enough to work in a store that still has one of the older machines that lets you scroll through and select which song you want it to play (although you're stuck with whatever song happens to come on after that, unless you hang out in the back by the CD player and keep selecting the next song whenever one ends, which frankly, you never really have time to do. Unless you have just closed the store and are running some of the closing procedures in the back, directly underneath the machine, but then you don't get to really hear the songs, because they will be playing in the lobby, not the back.

So, without further rambling, here are the songs that I will skip to if I ever have the time, the songs that make me happy and a more productive worker, the songs that I might just have to buy when I no longer have Starbucks to play them for me:

1. Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (with Flowers in My Hair)

2. Belle and Sebastian - The Blues are Still Blue

3. Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz

4. Zero 7 - Throw It All Away

5. Lily Allen - Littlest Things

6. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 3

7. Damien Rice - 9 Crimes

8. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
(Okay, fine, that's an album, not a song, but I made the game up, so I get to bend the rules.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Someone once said that laughter is good for the soul. Probably. It sounds like something someone would say, anyhow.

This weekend, my soul has been doing really well.

Friday night, playing games with some friends from church, I didn't stop laughing for about four hours. Laughed so hard it hurt, and on occasion, I couldn't quite breathe. I was having such a good time that I ignored the time, repeatedly, until I finally decided that I would need to go to sleep right then if I wanted to get three full hours of sleep before work.

And then the sun came out on Saturday, and rather than taking a nap on Saturday afternoon, I dragged the hammock outside and lay in the fresh air and sunshine for about an hour, enjoying the smell of the thawing mud of Spring. That's pretty good for the soul, too, I expect.

But, apparently, I still had more laughter in me. And when a bunch of us went out to dinner at the brewery in Manayunk, we were laughing enough to make our table a target for a wandering magician. Who, incidentally, was quite good, and kept us laughing for about an hour non-stop. So much laughing this weekend. So much fun.

And now I'm wondering if this sore throat I have developed over the weekend is more due to the nasty bug that everyone else in my house seems to have caught, or my lousy sleeping habits over the past few days, or, quite simply, to all the laughing. I hope it's all the laughing. I would wear this sore throat like a badge of honor. Anyone can catch a virus, and anyone who is more sociable than responsible can go without sleep, but it takes a special person to rip her throat laughing.

It's probably something boring like "all of the above", though. Stupid viruses.

Friday, March 09, 2007

One thing I won't miss...

It's been hard saying my goodbyes to everybody at Starbucks. I know I will still see them on occasion, but as a visitor, or even more sadly, as a customer. It won't be the same as working with them on a daily basis. My job is a very interactive job. It's not like an office setting where you might chat for a few minutes at a time with your co-workers at the water cooler; you're constantly working together to put out a product, as a team. In this environment, it didn't take long for me to think of my co-workers rather as friends. I will miss my Starbucks friends a lot.

But you know what I won't miss? 5:00 a.m. Especially after nights like last night. Which went something like this:

9:00 p.m. - finish work, head for home

10:00 p.m. - get ready for bed

10:30 p.m. - set alarm for 4:30 and turn out the lights

10:30 p.m. to around midnight - toss and turn

sometime after finally falling asleep - start to dream strange dreams that all seem to feature a low battery noise at regular intervals

3:15 a.m. - wake up to discover that the low battery noise is, in fact, somewhere in the room

3:17 a.m. - find phone in the dark, fumble for charger base, which is not on the shelf it is supposed to live on

3:18 a.m. - turn on light, find charger base under a pile of clothes, grumble about my crappy housekeeping abilities, place phone on base

3:19 a.m. - turn off light, try to fall asleep

3:20 a.m. - "bdaleep" (that's how I have decided to onomatopoeiatize the low battery noise)

3:21 a.m. - turn light back on, follow cord from charger base to wall, which leads under trash can, which is overflowing, grumble and complain that no one but me ever changes the trash, unplug and plug back in charger base

3:22 a.m. - turn light back off, try to fall asleep

3:23 a.m. - "bdaleep"

3:24 a.m. - turn light back on, unplug charger base, move phone and base both into the other room and plug them in as far away from my sleep-deprived head as I can get them

3:26 a.m. - "bdaleep" - from somewhere inside the bedroom

3:27 a.m. - start to cry

3:28 a.m. - turn light back on, tear room apart looking for another phone

3:30 a.m. - find another phone, also with a dying battery, plug it into another charger

3:32 a.m. - turn light off, try to fall asleep

3:32 a.m. to around 4:00 a.m. - toss and turn

sometime after 4:00 a.m. - finally drift off to sleep

5:10 a.m. - freshly recharged phone rings, it's my fellow opener wondering why I'm not at work yet, mumble a flustered apology, roll into yesterday's work clothes, check why alarm didn't go off and discover that I had set it for 4:30 p.m. (The oldest excuse in the book, I know. I swear it's the first time I've done it in ages.)

5:20 a.m. - arrive at work, spewing apologies and gratitude for the wake-up call to my fellow opener, kick it into high gear and have the doors open for business at 5:25 a.m.

6:28 a.m. (or thereabouts) - start breathing again

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday Night Love

Friends watch LOST with you.

Super Awesome Amazing Friends wait until 11:00 p.m. to watch LOST with you when you have to work on a Wednesday night until 10:30 and have to record it the old-fashioned way from a broadcast signal to your VCR.

Jeremy and Dan are officially awesome.

(But I still like you, too, Jon. Because I only work until 8:30 next Wednesday night, which gives me plenty of time to get to your house and watch LOST the new-fashioned way: in HD and as big as a wall. I'm still invited, right? I'll bring cookies...)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I deliberated for a long time before I wrote yesterday's post. It might not seem like it at times, but I put a lot of effort into this blog. When I clicked "publish" yesterday, I was ready to say what I said.

I am extremely grateful to everyone who left supportive comments, and to everyone who has wished me luck or offered prayers. It helps immensely to know that I have friends, both in the real world, and in cyberspace, who will stand by me in the difficult times and rejoice with me in the exciting times.

But I was a little caught off guard by one anonymous commenter. And I went back and forth in my head as to whether I should respond at all, and I had pretty much decided that I would say nothing. But when another anonymous commenter decided to defend me, and a mini-debate began to unfold in the comments section, I decided that I should say something.

But what should I say?

Do I try to explain myself, and clear up her (or his - I don't feel like writing a slash every time, so let's just use a gender neutral "she" for the time being) misconceptions of me? Do I clarify that my statement about not being able to afford rent referred to the reason I am not moving out of my in-laws' basement, and not to an outstanding bill that I owe to someone and am not paying? Do I explain that my proposed trip to Florida would have cost very, very little, as we were planning on driving and splitting gas four ways and staying with grandparents?

Do I try to defend my actions? Justify my frustrations with anecdotes? Argue that my sanity requires a little bit of respite here and there, and that compared to the cost of treating stress with psychiatry, a little vacation here and there is really the cheapest option?

This is my blog. It says so at the top of the page. Which means that I get to decide what goes on this blog. People will not always understand what I'm trying to say. That might be partly my fault for not explaining things well enough, but I have noticed that even the best writers on the Internet are often misunderstood. So I won't try to explain myself any further than I already have. I can only take so much responsibility for what other people think of me.

This is my blog, not my husband's. And yes, he knows about it, and he reads it occasionally, entirely with my blessing. I don't say anything here that I would try to hide from him. But I also try not to say anything here that is not my story to share. If you read through my archives, you will find very sparse details about my husband's illness. Because it's not my illness to share. What you will find a lot of, however, is me struggling with how his illness affects me. Because that is what is mine to share. (And, since I have now made the suggestion, here are links to some posts where I do exactly that, in June, in July, in November, and in January.)

So, I am not going to try to justify my emotional response by elaborating on my husband's illness. I believe that I am entitled to my feelings, whether they are objectively justifiable or not. Any therapist worth their salt will tell you that. And I feel like I have had a very difficult year or two, and I occasionally feel bitter about that, just as I also occasionally feel sad, lonely, angry, hopeful, happy, or amused.

And I think that's the most italics I have ever used in one blog post.

It is difficult to hear that someone thinks you are living your life wrong, that your priorities are skewed, or that you don't love your husband enough. It is made even more difficult when you know, deep down, that most of those judgements are based on misconceptions, which could theoretically be cleared up if you just poured enough explanation into them. Or maybe it is made more difficult by the knowledge that you're really not a perfect person, not a perfect wife, and that, while you think you are doing the best you can with a difficult situation, perhaps you could be doing better.

But in the end, this is my blog. I choose to share this part of myself with the world, along with everything that entails. People will judge me, people will criticize me, people will insult me. But people will also encourage me, support me, and empathize with me.

At least today, I think that the trade-off is worth it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sharing Time

Okay, that thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, that I said I wasn't ready to talk about yet? I'm going to talk about it now. I interviewed for a management position at Starbucks. And the interview went well, but long story short, there just isn't room for me right now in the management ranks of Starbucks. A position might open up in a few months, or next summer at the latest, but the fact of the matter is that, with Jeremy still not working, I can't keep waiting around forever. I love Starbucks, and I love working there, and I really wanted to move up in the company. But even more than that, I need my life to move out of waiting mode into living mode.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but when I left Canada and the legal profession and moved down here to Pennsylvania where I can't be a lawyer, it was because we had made a major life decision: We were ready to start a family. So I didn't care what kind of job I found, because I would be quitting in nine months to stay at home and raise our children. I found my Starbucks job, and it seemed like the perfect stopgap - flexible hours, good benefits, and working with people and coffee, which are two things I love. I figured, when I had kids, I could take my maternity leave, then maybe even go back for a few hours a week just to get out of the house and have a little bit of adult contact.

Then Jeremy got sick. Then he lost his job. Then he didn't get better, and didn't go back to work. And Starbucks went from being a nice side job to being all we had. And, unfortunately, it wasn't enough for us to live on, especially with my student loans being what they are. We are still living in my in-laws' basement, and as much as I love them and appreciate all the support they have been giving us, I am a grown woman who had her own household for four years before moving in with them, and I need my own living space. And, to put it bluntly, if Jeremy can't take care of me, I need to take care of myself.

So, I've taken children off the table for the time being. I still would like to be a mommy some day, but not with things the way they are right now. And not for a few more years at least. Because even if this week's doctor's appointment brings all of the answers we are seeking, and Jeremy is completely better by next week, and gainfully employed by the following week, it's going to take a long time for me to really feel comfortable putting my life in his hands so completely again.

Deciding to have kids takes a lot of trust. It's not an aspect of the decision that most people think about much, but really, especially when you are someone as self-sufficient as I am, it's a scary thought. I can usually find work, even if the work I find is almost always below my qualifications. I file our taxes, make sure the bills are paid, and loans are paid. I handle pretty much every aspect of our social lives, make sure we get to church on time, make sure we eat (well, that one is slightly less my responsibility since we've been living with the in-laws). I buy groceries, keep the house clean (when it gets cleaned at all, that is), do the laundry. I take responsibility for everything.

So, when we decided to have kids, it meant handing over a lot of reins. It meant biting my tongue and making sure that, at the very least, he could be responsible for the income side of things. And he did, eventually, find a good job with benefits. And I started to let him have that responsibility. And honestly, it didn't feel all that bad. I liked knowing that he could be responsible for something, that it didn't all have to be resting on my shoulders.

And then he got sick. And never got better.

It's strange to think that you can be completely ready for something one day, and then completely unprepared for the same thing a few months later. But it was a really big deal for me to hand over those reins, and, having taken them back, it's going to be even harder to do a second time. And as much as it breaks my heart, and makes my ovaries cry, to say so, I'm not ready to have kids anymore.

Where am I going with all of this?

Some friends of mine are buying a house in Ridley Park this month. They are planning on finishing the basement into a separate apartment. This apartment was where we were planning on moving if I got the assistant manager job with Starbucks, because the store I had applied to was just around the corner from the house they are buying. When I didn't get the job, I wasn't sure what I would do. I didn't know if I was ready to start applying for jobs outside of Starbucks, but I did start looking at listings online, just to see what was out there.

On Thursday night, I found out I that didn't get the assistant manager job.

On Friday night, I found a listing for a legal assistant/paralegal job at a firm that seems to do a lot of the kind of law I am really passionate about (civil rights, criminal defense, etc.), and the office is about ten minutes away from the house that Erin and Brian are buying. I wasn't sure if I was ready to start applying for other jobs yet, but I wrote an email cover letter, saved it as a draft, then hemmed and hawed for about two hours before finally pressing send.

On Saturday, I worked, and managed to not think about it too much.

On Sunday morning, I started to worry. I'm really very comfortable where I am, after all, even if I don't make enough to pay rent. It's frightening to put oneself out there like that, and I began to wish I hadn't sent that email. I was afraid of that inevitable call - the one I got in response to every single legal assistant job application I put in last year when I was looking for work - that call that said, more or less, "Why on earth would I hire you? You have no experience as a legal assistant, and you'll run off at the first sign of a better opportunity." I suppose I was equally afraid of a call for an interview, too, because that would mean change. And change is a little bit scary, even when you know, deep down, how badly you need it. I prayed, all through the morning service, that I wouldn't get a call at all. So much easier to not have to think about it.

On Sunday afternoon, the family (sans Jeremy, of course) all went out to Red Lobster for dinner. I began chatting with my brother-in-law about taking a trip to Florida during his Spring Break at the end of March. We started to get excited about the idea, and he texted a couple of friends to see if they were interested. I've had a stressful couple of weeks, between the job interview and waiting for an answer, and Jeremy's health taking another turn for the worse. A vacation sounded like a fantastic idea to me. I pushed the job application out of my mind, and chatted dreamily about beaches and Disney World.

Then my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize, so I decided to answer it, because I thought it might be someone from work. It wasn't. It was the lawyer I had sent the job application to. He told me he was actually completely done interviewing, and just had a few references left to call. He told me he knew it sounded a little weird, but he had told the other applicants that he would call them back with an answer on Monday, so was there any way that I could meet with him tonight? My heart beating out of my chest, and my hands shaking, I told him I would.

Sunday night, I had an impromptu job interview. He told me about his practice, and it sounds like he does exactly the kind of work I am passionate about. He told me about the position, and it sounds like it's the exactly the kind of job I would be good at and enjoy. He wasn't put off by my lack of experience as a legal assistant, and seemed to think that my experience as a lawyer in Canada would be an asset, rather than a liability. He offered me the job.

And I accepted it.

So, I have officially put in my two week's notice at Starbucks, and I will be starting a new job, a new career path, and hopefully, in many ways, a new life, exactly two Mondays from now. And I am both excited and petrified about it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The biggest decisions in life require a little bit of risk-taking, and I would be an idiot if I wasn't at least a little bit afraid. But I would be more of an idiot if I let than stop me from striving for something better.

They say a change is as good as a rest, whoever they are. So I guess I won't be going to Florida for Spring Break, but I think my brother-in-law will understand.