Friday, December 29, 2006

Eragon - 30 seconds of your time, to save you 2 hours of your time

Sigh. I went into this movie with fairly low expectations, based on the trailer I saw, and the fact that I'm always disappointed by book adaptations. Yet I was still disappointed.

I'm willing to accept that the film version will not always be an exact replica. It took me quite some time to accept Harry Potter - Prisoner of Azkaban as a really good movie, simply because I was annoyed that it wasn't always true to the book. I don't entirely know who was fully responsible for the disaster, but I would have been able to forgive the poor screenplay, if the acting, directing, and/ or photography had been decent. But the acting was overdone and lacked any subtlety or emotion. The scenes were choppy and hacked together. Worst of all, the photography was bland. An epic dragon movie has a world of potential for great visual effects. Saphira the dragon could have been beautiful. Fly over shots could have been breathtaking. Battle scenes could have left the audience on the edge of their seats. None of this happened.

I've been trying to determine who would enjoy this movie. It seems like the mother of two small children in front of us liked it. No one else in the theater seemed to. Perhaps the simple minded who fall for the cute little dragon and the unnecessary romance between Eragon and Aria. Sigh.

Getting Healthy Is Hard

Today was my first day at the gym in at least a few years. I started jogging a few months ago, but gave that up quickly, so this is my new plan to get in shape. Cardinal Fitness is a nice place to be. not too crowded (though I'm sure that will change after the first of the year), lots of new machines (that I have no clue how to work), and incredibly polite, helpful staff (not so much). I had my Rio Chiba with me for music, but even if I didn't, their system was playing fun, energetic tunes.

Now I just need to work on my endurance/ attention span.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breakfast, A Beagle, and Cute Babies

Well, it turns out that I was extra good this year, because Santa surprised me with a brand new digital camera! My Canon point and shoot has made the past several days infinitely more exciting! Hopefully, as I learn how to use my new toy to its fullest potential, it will make this blog infinitely more exciting, too!

Some pictures...

My cousin Jack (before the projectile vomiting incident)

"Who is that?" "Jenna!"

Baby Evan, the sweetest, tiniest addition to the family

I did promise a beagle...

...and some breakfast.

More photoblogging to come, when I get better at it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best of 2006: My Writing

One day a week or so ago, I discovered that someone had gone through my entire xanga blog and read all of my old posts, dating back to last December. Sort of curious as to what exactly they were reading, I've spent some time doing the exact same thing. I just finished a little while ago, and I've come to some conclusions.
  • I used to be a better writer. Plain and simple. I know that I am not a good writer by any means, but I used to be better. This can probably be credited to the following observations:
  • My life was more interesting. Maybe not more interesting, but more fun. I think I was way less stressed, and that had a lot to do with things being more interesting and fun. I was also a little boy crazy and not frustrated with boys, so that helped too.
  • I read a whole lot more. I had a lot more free time as a sub, which meant I got to read kids books, teacher books books on religion, psychology, you name it!
  • My life really is good. Even when things have been rough, I've had great friends and great opportunities, and God has ben very present all the time.
All of that said, I've made some realizations. I need to be more deliberate about my decision making, my words, and my actions. When I say I will do something, I need to do it. I need to be less self-focused, and spend more energy caring for others. And I need to be oh so very mindful about how my words affect others.

So now, for some highlights! Read!
  • December 23, 2005: I was new to xanga, and I blogged a lot. About everything. Fun times!
  • December 25, 2005: Last Christmas sure was a lot of fun. I really hope that this one can measure up. I worry that I'll get mopey if it doesn't.
  • January 1, 2006: I failed my New Year's resolution within a week of making it. I'll just have to repeat it this year and try again.
  • January 18, 2006: I need to do more photo blogs like this one. I don't know if this is a favorite because of how it's presented, or because it was such a memorable weekend, or both.
  • January 24, 2006: I could be teaching in Yuma, AZ right now. I'm so glad I'm not. But I do wish I was teaching somewhere. Resumes over break!
  • February 23, 2006: None of these great plans that I had for my summer actually happened. lots of reasons for that, mostly no money. This summer, perhaps? Hopefully there'll be someone who will be adventurous with me!
  • April 3, 2006: I love my friends. I nearly cried again just reading about how they were there for me when my grandma was dying.
  • September 17, 2006: Boys. Boo.
  • October 4, 2006: I've learned a lot about myself and the nature of relationships in the past few months. I'm glad. I think I'm a better person because of it. But man, becoming a better person sure isn't easy.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for the new and improved Jessie. I'm going to read more, reflect more, and stick to my word more.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Have a Reader in Canada!

Yea! My US bloggers better step it up, before those Canadians take over!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My St. Nick's Day Treat

After a week with the same headache that was making me cry and miss out on fun things (like work!), I called my doctor. After waiting an hour to see her, then crying to her right off the bat ("I've had a headache for a week and I want it to go away now!"), she loaded me up with all kinds of goodies. New migraine meds, some uber strong pain meds, an order for a CT scan, and of course, a shot. Haven't had a shot there in long, long time. It worked, though. By the time I had my pills from Walgreens, I was starting to be conscious of more than just the pain in my head!

However, even 9 good drug induced hours of sleep did not make the headache go away for good. Luckily, I was coherent enough last night to write out my sub plans, so I called in and have spent the whole day sleeping. Sigh.

Tomorrow's my head CT. Maybe I can figure out how to post pictures!

Monday, December 04, 2006

On Staying Healthy

I've often claimed that I have an exemplary immune system. I have hardly ever taken a day off of work or school due to being ill, and when I do get sick lately, it's for about a day, tops. Meanwhile, the people around me catch strep, pneumonia, the flue, you name it. I've often wondered why this is.

I've come to the conclusion that my amazing immunity is due to the fact that I get adequate rest, and pay attention to how my body feels. When I think I'm starting to get sick, I make sure to stay inside and sleep as much as possible, so that I don't end up having to miss work or the things I love to do, because my body can't shake something. This Friday night, I felt the signs of a flu-like cold coming on. So I spent the entirety of Saturday at home, in my pajamas, doing nothing more strenuous than moving from the couch to my bed, and picking up a book or the remote control. As a result, by Sunday morning, I felt ready to skip and dance!

Imagine my distress then, at the fact that headaches have put me out of commission for an entire week. I've missed work, slacked on my ministry duties, canceled social events, and have felt generally awful since last week Tuesday. In addition, migraines give me this odd, confused feeling, so I'm just not as productive or coherent as I go about my activities. Even as I write this, I'm relying heavily on my spell check (more heavily than usual). I don't like being weak! Just make the pain go away, so I can get on with life!

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's Snowing!

I love snow. I love how it falls in big white flakes that you can catch on your tongue. I love picking up a big handful and throwing it at someone, only to have someone else throw one at you while your back is turned. I love walking around in it, holding hands with someone you love. I even love walking around in it by myself, getting hypnotized by the swirling mass of white coming down from above. I love when it stops, and you look out onto a sparkling white back yard, disturbed only by snowsuit clad children and puppies, scampering around with blissful joy. I love the prospect of a snow day from school, and all that an unexpected day off holds in store for young and old.

I love that this particular snow day has fallen on a Friday, on the first of December, when I was just wondering how I was going to get into the Christmas mood now that I don't live at home.

I also love that the snow fell after my family and I got home safely from a wonderful performance of A Fireside Christmas in Fort Atkinson. The singers, dancers, children, and the entire production crew put together an amazing mix of fun and somber numbers, flashy and classy costumes, touching and laughter inducing skits. The Fireside Theater was decorated beautifully for Christmas, and the meal was impeccably put together. I got to spend some time with my brother's girlfriend, who is a very fun girl (I hope he doesn't mess it up!), and was highly amused by her joy every time the lights changed color.

I left the theater last night in complete, perfect anticipation of Christmas, and woke up this morning ready for anything the season has to throw at me.

I pray that the joy of the holiday touches you as much as it has me, and that stress doesn't creep in and ruin your spirit, or that of your loved ones.

Happy December, folks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Interesting Day

Today, I took my first real sick day ever. I haven't called in sick to anything since student teaching, mostly because I just never get sick. For the past two days, though, I've had a migraine worse than any I've had before. I had the mindset of just doing what I need to do and working through it, until about 9:30 this morning, when I realized I needed to lay down and sleep RIGHT NOW. Maybe it was a combination of being overwhelmed by life, quitting a med I was on, and the migraine, but I couldn't get out of school fast enough. I slept for about 5 hours, and now I've used my awake time to get my laundry done and some other stuff that just wasn't going to happen.

Now I find myself with time to check out my blogs and things, which sometimes is rather interesting. I'm not entirely sure how to react to what was written, but I do know that it bugs me, somehow. I think I'm just back to that "wishing I had meant more in the life of a former good friend" state of mind.

Why is it that the only time I ever feel like blogging or journaling is when I'm feeling mopey and over analytical?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Is Different This Year

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you're all enjoying your day off of work, and getting some serious relaxing in. Or some serious cooking, which, in my book, is seriously relaxing.

I'm a little weirded out this Thanksgiving, and I worry that this might just be setting the stage for the whole holiday season. This is my first major holiday spent living away from home. I woke up this morning, not to the smell of Polish Sausage sizzling in the kitchen, but to the pain in my head when the sunlight got through my eyelids. There's no football pregame or Macy's parade on the tv, because I don't think to put it on since it's always just been on. No frantic pie making, no turkey to cook, no excitement all over the house to hurry up and get ready so we can wait to leave.

Not that this is all bad. It's just different. I had a great time with the girls last night, eating some yummy snacks, drinking some yummy wine, oohing and aahing over pretty jewelry, and giggling tons. There wasn't much clean up to do this morning, which means that now I get to sit for two hours and find something to do with myself.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving Day??

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Teeth Hurt

Has anyone discovered any good, fast, good for you breakfast foods that aren't sweet? Everything I eat lately in the morning makes my sensitive teeth scream in pain, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Do I need to switch to eating pizza and dinner leftovers for my mornign meal? That seems like the wrong way to begin a day. But then again, listening to Ryan Adams seems like the wrong way to begin a day, too, and I'm doing that right now...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm So Indecisive

Seriously. I can never seem to make a fully committed decision on anything lately. I've been trying to make the switch from yahoo mail to gmail for years now, and I'm still strangely attached to yahoo. So now I try to compose using gmail, though I still have to check both all the time. I've been considering switching my bog from xanga to blogger for months, but blogger kept eating my posts for awhile, and xanga just seem so user friendly. In both cases, I knew that the alternative was better than what I was doing, but it was just so easy to stay!

But now is the time! Blogger has a beta version, that somehow utilizes gmail, so hopefully this will combine both of my transitions!

So. Here I am. Comment on stuff so I don't feel lonely and need to move away again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

On The Benefits of Jogging

I did it. I said at the end of August that I would jog 25 miles in September. Here it is, September 28th, and I just filled in the last two spaces on my jogging log. It is a wonderful feeling. And I think I'm going to do it again in October.

Why? I used to have the idea i my head that maybe I should jog because it would make me skinnier and more attractive to the opposite sex. That never ended being enough incentive, because I don't care a whole lot about what guys think of me. Well, I do, but I'm not willing to drastically change to fit what they think I should look like.

My main reason for beginning a routine was simply because I felt I should be able to. Eric can do 50, so why can't I do 25? and I did, and I've discovered countless benefits.
  • I feel better. Improved mood, fewer headaches, fewer of the regular aches.
  • I'm eating better. Most junk food kind of grosses me out these days, and I simply find myself eating less in general.
  • I'm sleeping better. I don't usually need quite as much sleep as I used to, I'm waking up better, and sleeping more soundly.
  • I feel good about myself. Forget what other people think of me, I like how I look. Pants are a little looser, the little black dresses look good, and my calves are tighter than they've ever been.
  • I'm less stressed. During what could have been a very stressful and emotional time, I found better things to do. Jogging has been a great release, and has helped me to see life in a more calm, rational, pragmatic way.
  • I'm proud of me. I set a goal, and I accomplished it. No wussing out, no giving up. I did it. I'm using the body that God gave me, and not letting it sit and rot. I'm so blessed to be able to do the things I can, and it seems now like such a waste not to be active.
  • Jogging does take about an hour, from initial changing of clothes to jogging to cool down to shower to getting presentable again. But what would I be doing in that time otherwise? Napping? Sitting on the couch?
  • I've been hitting the Advil a little harder than usual, trying to ease some of the charly horses, shin splints, and muscle cramps that have hit my legs.
Really, I feel like a person who's just quit smoking and who wants to tell the whole world why they too should quit smoking. It's wonderful.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blogger Help?

How do I change my links on the side that show my previous posts? I only want 5 "What you've missed" links, but I can't figure out how that particular html works.

The Best Feeling Ever

There's nothing better than going into the kitchen, wondering what in the world you're going to eat for dinner because you're too lazy to make anything real, and all the convenience food is gone from your fridge, then realizing that the last time you went to the grocery store, you bought a CASE OF RAMEN! Oh, this Saturday night alone couldn't get any better. Except maybe if my roomie was home. I miss her. I even cleaned the whole house for lack of anything else to do.

How are you enjoying YOUR Saturday night?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I have 2 canker sores

Wikipedia has this to say about canker sores. I've tried many of their treatments, and no matter what, they hurt. One on each side, so there's nowhere to chew La Perla's chips and salsa without severe burning. On the plus side, margaritas help to numb the pain.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guess Where I'm Writing This From!

Yeah, that's right; I'm laying in my bed typing away on my brand spankin new Compaq Presario v5210 notebook computer! I decided to go with compUSArather than the website for a couple of reasons, and I'm glad I did. I stood up to both salesmen who tried to sell me TAP, and do you want to know what else? I opened up the box, and USED the computer right away! Oh, it was a happy night.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Which Jessie Does A Little Dance

Happy Birthday, Jenny Diehl! Happy New Job Heather! And Happy New Job Jessie! Yes, you heard right. I start Wednesday as a full time ELIP aide in Wauwatosa. This means that I work with the first grade teachers and the reading teachers to substitute for teachers that are involved in a tutoring program. I also get to provide classroom support, reading groups and the like. It doesn't sound altogether glamorous, but I'm excited. It means that I have full time work, benefits, and an important connection to the school district, good for getting a teaching job next year, hopefully. Most importantly, I can tell my parents and all of those people who insist on ALWAYS asking me if I've found a job yet that YES! I do have a job!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Josh Gets Beat Up By A Girl...

...and other stories.

Pete Yorn rocked. A little more rocking than I really like, though. We were standing so close to him, and it would have been great if he had sung some nice slow soft songs like Just Another or A Girl Like You, or even Lose You. Alas, he played none of the above. But he did play The Man, and Bandstand in the Sky, which were on my list of songs I really wanted to hear. Crowd sing-alongs sounded good in the space, and Martyr's was quite nice, with lots of standing room and good beer. I look forward to hearing the recording of the show when it becomes available.

Spending an evening with Josh and Eric was also really rewarding. Cracker Barrel, nice car, Pete Yorn, and a Big Bowl of Corn. What more could a person ask for?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Back to the Blog?

Well, I started this blog many moons ago, and did absolutely nothing with it after the first five posts, which were pretty boring to the outside observer. And there it sat.

I have recently found and toyed with some other options:

  • I started a xanga blog some time ago mostly so I could comment on other people's stuff, then enjoyed writing it. But it irritated me that non-xanga friends couldn't post comments. So I had no real way of tracking who was reading my stuff, unless they were the 5 xanga friends that I had.
  • Myspace has a blog feature that's pretty popular, but I didn't want to get more sucked in by myspace than I already was with adding friends and whatnot.

There were some other factors that made me want to move away from xanga and myspace as a means of telling the world about my life. Which brings me back here to blogger. I figured, "Heck, if Kevin and Eric and Josh can do it, why can't I?"

This is going to require just a bit of work before I get it up and running and looking cool, though. Please bear with me. And enjoy!