Sunday, February 23, 2014


so right now, my dog Ivy who had crumbs in her eyebrows after breakfast is sleeping with her head on my thigh and also snoring. and the oven has reached its 350 F goal for spanakopita about ten minutes ago and i'm not sure what i should do. put in the food (which takes 25 minutes!) and wake up Ivy or just pretend like i didn't hear the preheating beep go off? so mostly i'm just sitting here wishing that dogs didn't wake up every time you make a move. 

and now she has woken up but is somehow still snoring. this is Ivy yesterday. this is a daily tradition. (her falling asleep on me and me not knowing what to do about it)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

found this from a week ago...

so last night we were watching a documentary on Animal Planet about sloths. one sloth lost his stuffed bunny, which, of note, he was supposed to outgrow 4 years ago. someone had washed it for him and substituted it with a different bunny. this person forgot to swap out the fake bunny for the real one when it was clean. apparently this sloth was about to go through some sort of mega sloth breakdown if he didn't get his real bunny back. LUCKILY, someone found the real bunny and replaced it. the sloth knew right away, no hesitation. and the last image on the show is one of this sloth cuddling his real bunny and ignoring the fake one. and the fact that he knew his real one feels relevant in some way.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

nerd voting

Today, early and bored at the airport (in Taiwan, they board planes in 5 minutes before scheduled takeoff), my family voted on who the biggest nerd in our family is. It's a topic we've discussed for the majority of my life. It started with stories my dad would tell us of his school days. Unfortunately for my dad, the response to most of his stories was, "Oh man, you were such a nerd." Fortunately for him, he couldn't care less if his thus far unsuccessful children think of him as a nerd.

Recently, though it's been taken perhaps a step too far. Since arriving in Taiwan, he purchased some "pants"* and had them quickly and cheaply tailored. As most people know, the problem with things/services offered for cheap is a lack of quality. Well. Dad's cheap tailoring led to his pants being about 3 inches too short when standing. Which translates to being 8 inches too short when sitting. It isn't particularly fair to question the tailoring before examining the other possibility: he is wearing his pants too high. However, the conclusion of either circumstance: he looks like a nerd. My mom has taken it upon herself to join in on the banter, "Oh, I see you are wearing your nerd pants today."

And this is where Dad drew the line. "Who do you think is the biggest nerd in our family?" It was put up for a vote. Three people voted Dad and one person voted Jocelyn. In a attempt to not earn the title Second Nerd, I attempted to convince the family that the Biggest Nerd shouldn't get a vote, but they felt that nerds deserve rights too.

Happy New Year from the eastern hemisphere. I spent it talking to my cousin, yelling happy new year out in the cabin (to which apparently my dad responded from upstairs but we heard nothing) and getting their dog way too excited and then giving her belly scratches.

*In quotation marks, as the cut-off length between pants and capris has been seriously called into question.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

and either i'm nobody, or i'm a nation

I got to spend a whole rainy September morning in bed, doing nothing productive except plan an apple-picking expedition for this weekend and getting "tickets" to The Dark Harvest Fall Equinox (aka, somewhere you can drink 19 "very rare" dark beers). I read a little bit in an old book I just started (again), The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and drank an Alex-made smoothie. Now it's looking not-so-rainy outside and my motivation to get out of bed is steadily increasing. I was feeling pretty all-powerful from bed (I mean, apple-picking and beer scheduled? What can she not do?), but then: I was unable to get seats in the free jam-making class going on at Learnapalooza in Logan Square this weekend. Canning and jam-making remind me of Montana because Alex's mom is a pro AND she recently sent us supplies.

Montana is: dusty roads, sweet dogs, Hank the dog chasing the car all the way down the dusty road to the next house (which is far away), planting tomatoes in the garden, homemade dinners, a lovely kitchen, a cabin in the woods, an afternoon spent learning how to shoot guns (the dogs were so nervous that they slept for the next 3 hours), collecting chicken eggs, hiking through the woods, sitting around talking and drinking mojitos, funny Bill thinking things that people do are weird, exploring nature and the pantry, hoping that the mama rabbit didn't eat the baby rabbits.

Montana is not: somewhere the government interferes, which is ultra-important to Bill ("So you live in the land of Rahm Emanuel, huh? He's like the devil"), a place where it is not unusual to keep a gun in your purse, somewhere you always need electricity (which is a beautiful thing, although makes shaving inconvenient), forgettable.

P.S. My afternoon of learning how to shoot guns left me a little enamored with shooting them, although I still believe in strict gun control. It sparked a conversation with Bill, who (not surprisingly) has exact opposite thoughts on gun ownership, but interestingly, is not at all opposed to the increased regulation that was being proposed at the time for purchasing guns. (This was early summer) He and Cheryl have guns to protect themselves from bears and animals, which comes with the territory of living in the mountains. They have both passed tests and taken classes on proper use and, at least from what I can tell, have no intention on using them on people. I still have a problem with guns in cities, which seems to hold a completely different context. So that's my little gun explanation, which feels necessary because I do live in Chicago, where guns (and the people behind them), are a huge problem.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

though our lives are very humble, what we have we have to share

Just a few of the things that make my world go 'round, the love and the light.

It's kind of an arbitrarily important day for me, so I guess I'm feeling kind of sentimental about some of our best decisions we've ever made.

It was another gorgeous fall day. I heard a dad tell his daughter, "If you leave the pumpkins in the car, you can have a doughnut." Ahhh fall, the time of year that compromises with your parents are totally worth it. I went back "home" and spent the day with my mom:

  1. doing yoga
  2. petting dogs downtown and in general talking to people about their dogs (one dog who looked like Abby started following me as I was walking away from her owner, she was welcome to come)
  3. eating Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza (deep dish pizza will be my vice for the rest of my life... and chocolate, and burritos, and popcorn)
  4. going to the library, which must be done whenever i come back.
  5. going to the dentist... i tried to convince my mom that i don't need to go to the dentist anymore, didn't work.
  6. napping so hard I woke up with a headache and missed a few hangouts with friends. will be doing some profuse making up for that tomorrow.
  7. watching les miserables with my mom... i loved it. it was gorgeous.

on showing up

 "The bottom line is that vulnerability is scary and it feels really dangerous, but it’s not nearly as dangerous or scary as spending your life on the outside looking in and wondering, ‘What if I had chosen to show up?’"
Brené Brown

Saturday, September 7, 2013

dear abby (again),

Our pretty dog.

Something weird that I keep thinking about is something that my psychiatry attending said regarding a patient. He said, it's amazing how many people in the midst of psychotic episodes are brought into the hospital because their dog died. You were still alive then, but I'm pretty sure I spent the moments after he said that thinking, my god, I need her to be okay. And this patient we had: I understood his sadness.

I just want you to know that I miss you and talk about you every single day. You were the light of my summer and I liked that you were always extra cuddly in the morning. You would throw your head on my shoulder and just lay there, which is not something I could always get you to do pretty much any other time. Maybe my favorite thing was whenever you heard the word "outside," you could pop up and be ready to go, even at your sickest. And the greetings when we came home. You would always be super excited, no matter where you were in the apartment, grab the nearest object on the ground (sometimes one of your toys, sometimes a sock laying around).

Even though you had to spend a lot of time at the vet the last week, we tried to make sure you got a visit every day. Nobody could believe how much you lit up when you saw us. I was sure you were like that for any person you saw, but the staff insisted it was mostly just for us. Thanks for that... sometimes you acted like a cat, so we appreciate the little things. I brought your green lamb toy, hoping they would keep it with you, so we played with that one day when you had a lot of energy. Other days, you just rested your head in my lap and slept.

I wrote this super long thing about you after the vet told us you had cancer because I wanted to remember every little thing you did that made my days or made me worry. But I guess there are only a few takeaways. The first is self-indulgent: I feel comfort in knowing that you got to spend the end of your life with people who loved you and tried to convince you to play with toys you were uninterested in. But who would also scour the neighborhood for somewhere that was fenced in so you could run to your heart's content (the fact that some of the running was after a rabbit who was able to dig under the fence while you ran snout-first into it is not our doing. Of note: Alex was secretly cheering for you to "get it." Not that we knew what "getting" the rabbit would entail, in your opinion).

The second takeaway: after you passed away, Alex and I signed up to volunteer for Chicago Animal Care and Control. You taught us that our lives are meant to be lived for those who can't protect themselves. I used to think that my priority should be people, but I now know that there are too many vulnerable people and animals. I hope that we are able to help in a profound way, either by fostering or adopting again. In my mind, it's important to keep repeating "No other dog would replace Abby," even though that's a given. No question. But if we can help out some more animals in the future, it would be to honor you, Abby.