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Showing posts from November, 2009


After our first Thanksgiving holiday away from family, Chris and I have decided to prioritize. We moved to San Antonio for a job--Chris's job--and although both of us always wanted to escape the limitations of our Midwestern hometown (the lack of things to do in the evenings, the irritating familiarity of the flat landscapes) we realized this year just how thankful we are to have both found our way back to family.

It's funny how distance can do this. Even with the easy access of communication through cellular phones and Internet, the physical space between us and our family truly emphasized the importance of our relationships. Just as I spent much of my youth trying to run away from my family, Chris, too, remembers his own rebellion as a child. And now, our distance from them seers. It made us truly thankful this holiday.

We spent our Thanksgiving morning working with the San Antonio Food Bank, to put turkeys on tables for many of Texans who are in need this year. Our dinn…

Not The Mama

A few years ago, I was discussing worldly philosophical things with my neighbor. I was enjoying our conversation on perception and how reality shifts with experience. Our conversation seemed objective and safe; we were considering the world at large when, out of nowhere, he said, "You know, Jen, you'll never feel complete unless you have children."

He said it casually; we were playing chess. Odds are, we were drinking, too. It was at a time in my life when drinking and chess made me quite happy, so I shrugged it off in that moment, saying he had no idea what he was talking about.  I was thoroughly fulfilled!  Right?  Our conversation was soon steered back to the general population.

My neighbor was a recovering addict who beat me, always beat me, when we played chess. I respected this and usually listened carefully to most of the advice he gave me, so when I returned home that night I was discontented and genuinely confused because I felt no desire to have kids, and ye…

The Climate of Creativity

I grew up in Ohio, where the weather is as unpredictable as the number of cows you might see driving to work each day. One thing is guranteed, however: each winter it will snow. Down parkas will be worn and driving conditions will be challenging.

Having lived in Texas for a while now, I have shed my winter skin, so to speak. My blood has thinned to the point that I find myself shivering in 50 degree weather. And yet, there is a part of me that has begun to miss the cold, ice and snow. I've found myself less productive at home, more liable to run out into the sunshine and throw a frisbee that my dog will watch soar away before staring up at me as if to ask, "Why the hell did you just do that?" I'm far more willing to go out with friends on a warm evening, not to mention the fact that there are far more festivals and outdoor activities that tempt me (never been much on skiing or sledding, though I do miss the Toboggan Run near Cleveland).

So, is there a negative cor…

A Meditation On Marriage | Part Two |


It's been less than a year since I wrote the essay below [See Part One].

I have been married since 4/20/09

So... were my fears warranted or merely a reflection of my neurosis?

I think there's a strong argument for the later, but I am not one to impose thoughts on a reader. So, you be the judge. Here's an excerpt from a previous post:

Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Usually, I do the dishes, take out the trash, clean the bathroom, and generally straighten up the apartment. In exchange, Chris does the laundry. Lately, however, my husband has been sleeping late, which means if we want our turn in the laundry rooms during the weekends, a competitive time for apartment laundry-doers, we have to get in early. In other words, I have to start the loads.

Yesterday, I hauled four loads down to the laundry room at 5AM, and as I threw clothes into the washer, haphazardly, the edge of a paper brushed my fingertip. It was a cluster of receipt paper in a pai…

A Meditation On Marriage |Part I|

A Meditation on Marriage

The repetition and awkwardness of the question evoked irritation, something like the metal scrape of a dentist's pick as it moves along the gum line.

When’s the wedding?

I know it’s a fair question, a somewhat fair assumption. When two people are in a long-term relationship, the discussion of marriage seems inevitable. After all, when Chris was offered a better job out of town, I didn't think twice before stuffing my wardrobe into a few bags, giving away furniture—one television, two lamps, a bamboo rug, and an underutilized hall tree—and asking for a work transfer.

Chris and I were partners, but marriage wasn’t part of our formula. We didn’t want to ruin our relationship with a set of shiny rings and stamped approval from the state. We marveled at those who did. I say "we" but really, these were my thoughts, my impositions on our relationship. What I didn't know then was that Chris had other idea…

Happy News

San Antonio news is rather different than Columbus news. For instance, rather than wearing suits and immovable coiffed hair (both men and women) as the new anchors do in Ohio, in Texas, news anchors often look as though they have yet to change clothes after getting home from the club at 3AM. I've also noticed, since living in Texas, that there are an inordinate number of UFO and ghost stories reported. Honestly, I find this fantastic.

I say fantastic because it becomes more difficult to take the local news seriously after the second or third "Ghosts are overtaking the Alamo" news report. But with a lighter take on the news, the stories are much easier to swallow. After all, it can become overwhelming to watch the local news each day, only to hear about the increasing numbers of homelessness and school closings, murders and the latest tainted beef on our supermarket shelves. Instead, a good UFO over Wal-Mart story can be refreshing (this was an actual story here …

Moving On (Maybe...)

I realized that this blog was beginning to have a rather narrow scope. The publication journey has been at the forefront of my mind. That said, I'm done reading reviews for a while and instead, I have entered this silly Nanowrimo thing. I call it silly because it's ridiculous to sell the idea that a person could write a real book in a month. But, a person can certainly write 60,000 words in a month--and I plan to do just that. Hopefully those 60,000 words will become a novel down the line. And, they will be a pleasant distraction from my lecture, grad reading, and daily work life. If nothing else, this should be interesting...

In the meantime, I turn to one of my new inspirations (I'm about thirty years late arriving at many of the greats) Piri Thomas, who, when asked how he began writing his memoir about growing up in Spanish Harlem, he said:

"I learned that in writing you could get it out of you... I said to the paper, 'Paper I'm going to tell you a sto…

Some People Would Be More Comfortable If I Were A Victim

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. --Audre Lorde

I thought I'd share this quote as it pertains to my current dilemma: misunderstanding. You see, I worked diligently to write, to express a tough story without whining, crying or playing the victim. And yet there are some people who think I am holding back, that there was some sort of sexual abuse in my past that led to the stories that make up my memoir. The fact is, there wasn't. Women are capable of making bad decisions all on our own, without first being victimized. I am the poster child of this fact.

For some, it's far easier to claim we are easy targets, victims, incapable of making our own bad decisions. Many readers have recognized and acknowledged my attempt to own up, to examine my personal quest, but there are a few who think they can read deeper into the meaning of my words,…