Monday, November 23, 2009

Al v. George

I find myself playing two roles of late and I bet you can never guess what roles they are if I didn't tell you. Those of Al Gore and George W. Bush. I was just reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot which would lead one to conclude that I have been playing the role of Al Gore more frequently. However, the past few days I have felt more like the intellectual iconoclast, George Bush, who disdains erudition in general. To boot I have been dreadfully over-using the word pretentious. I blame that on my room mate Katherine because it is so easy to use it to make jokes about her and all English PhD students- love you Katherine:).

The inspiration for this post and my dual roles has been trying to find a balance between being knowledgeable in my field and taking myself too seriously. The climax of this occurred last Sunday at ward choir practice. I have sung in a few choirs and performed in duets and such in my life, none that would be considered "serious" by music types but nice ditties that helped a 10th-grade-orchestra drop out still feel like she has some ambition. I have also been a participant in the Hill Street Choir for the last two years, but have not attended since returning this summer. In all my second class music ventures I have never flailed my arm so as to project my voice nor buzzed through my lips to warm up in the way we did last Sunday. As a result I couldn't stop laughing. I think my voice warmed up more from my ill suppressed laughter as it did from the warm-ups.

You may be wondering at this point how did we get from Al Gore and George W. Bush to a recounting of Jessica's B-side musical adventures. The point is I hope I never get so caught up in what I am doing that I can't appreciate the humor of arm flailing and lip buzzing in my own profession no matter how seriously I take myself. As to the Al and George, ever since Al had a cameo on 30-rock I think I will lean his way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Sunday I had what I can only describe as a bout of vertigo. It was very uncomfortable and even a little frightening. However now I feel like I can better relate to two stars that don't have vertigo but play like they do on TV or in the movies, Jimmy Stewart and Liza Minelli. I hope this condition doesn't turn chronic and debilitating like so many of my other chronic conditions that are not recognized by the medical world.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I heard an interview on NPR this week with author Zadie Smith. The interviewer asked about a few essays Zadie wrote about her deceased father. She seemed torn about writing about her father saying it is a betrayal, "once you write about someone that's died, what remains is what is written." She goes on to say it is a dangerous act as words replace memories just as photographs replace real things.

I understood that to mean once you put down into words your thoughts about someone those words influence forever your memories and thoughts of that person and events. I have been thinking about this concept lately, as my little brother has asked for stories about our mom, who died when he was 6.

I talked to him a few days ago about how we might go about recording the stories. I have mixed feelings. On one hand I'm excited to learn more about her, on the other part of me is afraid. I know it is important for historical reasons and probably for proper mourning etc. Hearing other's stories may also crystalize what "really" happened in certain cases. Nonetheless, I have very specific memories that I am afraid giving voice to may change forever.

Sometimes I think I treasure the "crafted" memories I construct in my head more than reality. I hope reality in this case doesn't bite. Here are some very cute, cool , classic pics of the lady herself:

Mom's the one in the red dress.
Mom with Mike and Kirsten
One on the far right.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Hair

Last week it was that time of year again, you know the time of year when kids dress up in cute costumes and adults dress up in inappropriate ones. I think they call is Halloween. I am admittedly not a huge fan of Halloween. It does have some nostalgic value but since I hate scary movies and am without small people to dress up in cute clothes I have to live it vicariously through friends and family who do have small people to dress up. Thanks to all of you who posted pictures of your terribly cute children.

Nonetheless despite my general apathy for the holiday I am not a total scrooge. When my roommate Kara requested to do my hair up in rag curlers, I was game. I think the idea intrigued me more for familial reasons than a desire to dress up. You see there are two kinds of hair in my family- stick straight and outrageously curly. Actually maybe three kinds because Mike doesn't have much hair at all but that's because he shaves it. However, two of my older siblings, Matt and Kirsten have very curly hair which at times I have envied, that is until I remember how long it takes my sister to straighten hers, then I am content with my own straight hair.

Thanks to Kara I was able to live, if just for a day, the life of a curly haired person. I noticed people weren't as nice to me, I was served smaller portions of food and lots of stuff got caught in my hair:) Overall I'm not sure it's worth it. The process to get it curly was painful enough for tender headed person like me. All the teasing was a little much for a head that is lucky if a brush even touches it once a day. On the bright side in the three hours it took to put in the rags I finished watching season two of Arrested Development. Below are pictures of the process, end result and family members who pull off the curly hair much better than I do.

And a special thanks to Kara for the experience and may I also add she has fabulous curly hair.

Brother Matt with baby Evan
Curly haired Kirsten with Rowan

The rag curls. It was a bit of a restless night with these in.

Final product

Kara and me.