New Site!

Hello!

I hope this post finds all of you well. I have some exciting news! I launched a new website today! I have combined my blogs and my Sims stories pages into one website:  www.Jes2GStories.com

I hope you will check it out and follow me there.

I started this blog way back in 2006! It was the first of a few blogs. It has gone through many changes, and I will always remember and cherish the fond memories of all the people I have had the privilege to chat with as a result of this blog.

This isn’t a farewell, but more like a see ya later–hopefully at the new site. Take care!

– Jessica

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Am I Grown Yet?

Hi. I’m Jessica, and this is my blog. Remember me?  :-p  I know it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve been here. Forgive me, please! Let’s see…quick update:  since I last wrote, I have become a homeowner (yay!) and I have been working on my book. I’ve noticed that I’m only good at writing one thing at a time. When I’m blogging, I neglect my book. When I’m writing my book, I neglect blogging. When I blog on this site, I neglect the others. When I blog on the other sites, I neglect this one! I suppose my brain only has one creative channel, I guess. Anyway, I’ve actually gotten quite a few new followers this month, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to say hello and welcome you all. I’m glad you decided to join me despite the fact that it’s been more than a year. I will try to do better.

Here is a thought:  when do you actually “grow up?” I’ve asked myself this question many times at different stages of my life, and each time I leave that thought clueless. I did not enjoy high school. Not one bit! I went to a college prep magnet school, and when I say college prep, I mean college PREP. EVERYTHING about this school was about college from the amount of work the teachers gave us to how available they were. We were even in charge of our own schedules–to a point. When I got to college, it was a breeze. All of my fellow freshman struggled, but I felt like I had already been through it many times. Anyway, I mentioned that to illustrate how tough high school was. I wasn’t “the smart one.” Studying did not come easy for me, and I didn’t retain things well. I didn’t have many friends, and the people whom I called “friends” were probably more warm associates; but that was probably my fault being shy and all. All I ever wanted to do in high school was graduate. I dreamed about going away to college and never returning home. I wanted freedom. I wanted to be my own person. I wanted to be grown. 

I went to college and lived on campus. I got the freedom I wanted, but I still didn’t feel “grown.” So, I thought that if I graduated, got a good job, started making good money, and got my own place, then I would be “grown.” I did all of that, but I still didn’t feel like a real adult. I was 23, so maybe I was too young. Maybe when I turned 25 I would feel it. Nope. Ok, maybe when I buy a house or get married or have children then? Well, I haven’t done the latter two, but I’ve got the house now and I still don’t feel “grown.” I feel “growner” though. The only times I feel completely “grown” is at tax time and when I’m with a mechanic. Other than, I feel like a child playing house…with extremely nice toys 😀

I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t feel grown at almost 33 years old. After all, they say that age is just a number. At the same token, whenever I hear someone say “when I grow up,” it makes me wonder all over again. When does that actually happen?

Be Open

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had an appointment after work. With a 40 minute drive and an hour until arrival, I figured it was ok to engage in some last minute work chatter. Ten minutes went by, and I really needed to get going so I left the conversation. When I got in my car, I saw that I neglected my lunchtime task:  get gas. I went to the closest Shell station to take advantage of my Kroger Fuel Points–I had never been to this station before. As I was pumping gas, a woman in a gray Camry pulled up next to me and greeted me. She said that she needed help. She wasn’t looking for money. All she needed was gas. She was working as a temp for the the city, and today was payday but they did not get paid. She had no money, lived more than 20 miles away, and just wanted to get home to her kids. She showed me her badge to show she was telling the truth about who she was. She apologized over and over for having to inconvenience me but kept expressing her desperation. She had been sitting at the gas station for a half hour trying to gather the courage to ask someone for help. I weighed the evidence in my head and decided that I needed to help her. I just said, “Sure.” She thanked me a thousand times as she kept expressing the severity of her situation. She actually hadn’t eaten that day because she neither had money nor a paycheck. When I was done pumping my own gas, I went to her pump to get her started. Suddenly it occurred to me that she said she had children she was trying to get home to and she had not eaten today. I thought, “If she didn’t have any lunch, I wonder what she plans to do for dinner for the children.” I asked her if she wanted me to buy her something, and she said yes. “What about dinner for your kids?” She thought about it as if she hadn’t even considered it before. She changed her story and decided that the children’s hunger was more important than her own. I asked her what she would like. She didn’t want to inconvenience me more than she already had, so she suggested that I just go next door to Popeye’s. I left her to pump her gas. I didn’t specify an amount because I was using my credit card–I was hoping she would just fill it up. I ordered one of the family meals although I failed to ask her how many children she had. I went to go back to the gas station, but I saw that she had already met me in the parking lot. She was concerned because I didn’t tell her how much she could spend on gas and she didn’t know what to do. I told her she could have filled it up, but hopefully the $40 she did spend took her far enough. I gave her the food and started to wish her well, but she couldn’t stop thanking me. She said she was praying for someone to be nice enough to help her, and this experience was very humbling although she is not a prideful person. The car didn’t even belong to her. She prayed that God would bless me a thousandfold. “God bless you! Thank you so much! God bless you! Thank you so much…” She couldn’t stop. I asked for her name and said that I would keep she and her family in prayer and that I hope everything gets better for her. I practically had to walk away from her and get in my car for her to stop thanking me.

I didn’t do it for the thanks. I didn’t even do it because I want God to bless me. I did it because I’ve been in that situation a lot more times than I care to admit except she was a lot more courageous than I was. I could never bring myself to ask for help. But what if I had not gone to that gas station? What if I went to the one I always go to? What if I weren’t running late? I don’t believe in coincidence, but you call it whatever you want:  karma, reciprocity, a miracle. We need to be open for opportunities to help others. Because I live in a large metropolitan area, everyone is very familiar with street beggars, sign holders, and every other sob story in the book. Most of us are so desensitized to those who cry wolf that we can’t hear or decipher the genuine tears. But you know what? No one ever said that good deeds were easy. There is always a risk. Your reputation, pride, and kindness are on the line when you stick your neck out for someone. I suppose most people are tired of being taken advantage of by charlatans. But, if you’re not open, then you’ll never be able to experience the other side of the cycle. My mother used to say “what goes around comes around.” We shouldn’t do good deeds expecting for good to be done back to us, but it happens. Maybe not in the same way or even in a timely matter, but it will happen. Keep the cycle going and stay open.

 

I Have Commitment Issues…

…when it comes to watching television 😉

tvMy co-workers and I had a pretty intense discussion about this today, so I figured I’d write clue you in. I actually don’t watch much TV. Almost all of the shows I watch (consistently) are network shows–which constantly brings up the question of why I pay for cable. I purposefully only get involved with one or two shows per season. I cannot handle more than that. Well, actually, I take that back. I refuse to handle more than that. Television requires a greater level of commitment than I am willing to give. I’ll explain.

Most good shows require a commitment of one hour per week, 26 weeks per year for five or more years. I know what you’re thinking:  “It’s just one hour per week!” That is correct. But, when you do this times two, three…five shows, I think it is a bit excessive. My co-worker laid it out quite nicely for us as he was explaining why he decided to change his life and stop watching so much TV. Let’s assume for a moment that you work from 8:30 until 5:30. You live in Atlanta in this scenario, so you don’t get home until 6:30ish. You cook as well, so you don’t have dinner until 7:00 or 7:30. Let’s say you finish eating at 8:00. From the time your dinner is over, you have about three hours of “free time” before you hit the sack at 11 or 11:30. Two hours of TV is actually not a bad thing. But in comparison to the grand scheme of things, if all you ever do is wind down in front of the tube every night, then what are you really accomplishing?  Some of that time could be used for a better purpose.

I agreed with his explanation and support his change. My issue with TV is similar. TV, to me, is a black hole that is constantly trying to suck me in. Watching a couple shows a week is fine, although I have to devote years of my life to these fictitious people. The deeper issue is when I’m not watching a show. The vortex begins when I’m trying to find something to watch. Channel surfing is a huge waste of time because you never know how long you’re going to be doing it. And then there is channel hopping. That could go on for hours! I can’t commit my life to spending all of my free time in that way. But, you know what I do feel comfortable doing? Watching movies. The commitment level there is minuscule. When I watch a movie, it’s like I’m saying to myself, “Ok, I am going to commit two hours to this task,” and I sit down, watch the movie, and then I’m free to move on and do whatever I like–even if it is watching another movie. No strings attached! That’s a commitment I can definitely make.

All in all, whether you are an avid TV watcher or not, my point here is not to knock TV watching. To each his own. Maybe your vice is surfing the Net or social media. Whatever it is, just think about how much time you actually devote to “your thing.” Then, think about the things you’ve said that you’ve wanted to do in life. Finally, consider pulling back a little and carve out some time for those things. See if the quality of your life will change. I’ve been in school for the past three years, and my life has been out of sorts. Free time was an oxymoron. Now that I’ve graduated and am getting reacquainted with free time, so far, I’ve spent most of it watching TV. Why? Because I can! (lol) It usually takes me about a month to get over a school year, so I am allowing myself this time of vegetation. However, in a few weeks when I start to feel like I want to be productive, I’ll get back to learning Mandarin and writing my book.

What are some things you will start doing in your free time?

 

Good Ol’ Fashioned Drama Revisited

I was trying to think of something earth shattering to say on this last day of 2012, but profoundness evades me.  Instead, I’d like to end the year with a little creativity!  I’ll think of something profound to say on my other blog later.  I also promised someone that I would write this and am just now getting around to it :-).  I have learned so much this academic year.  If something should happen and 2013 leaves me behind, I can say, although I have one lone semester left, I have already accomplished what I set out to do in this collegiate experience.  My main goal was to become a better writer.  Everything else I’ve learned was an added bonus.    So, I would like to dedicate this final post to creativity, my love of words, and wit.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Drama” was one of my favorite posts.  The movie I discussed is one of my favorites, and I actually wrote about it for a final project this past semester.  “Good Ol’ Fashioned Drama Revisited” is going to be a totally awesome mesh of the two.  Enjoy!

I do not consider myself to be a movie buff, but I do enjoy watching movies.  Usually you can find my eyes glued to a high-octane action thriller with digitally enhanced sound that is just oh so crispy.  I love a good surprise, and mystery and suspense films totally play into that.  I’m not down with chick flicks, but I do enjoy a good crying jag.  That is why I love a good, old fashioned, tear-jerking drama.  That’s why I love the dramas from the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  The acting is superb, the drama oozes from every crevice, and the production itself is a character.  The music, lights, shots, and script all were important elements in these films.  Without them, they would not be so wonderful.

Modern dramas are just ok.  They lack so many elements that made the old films great.  Nowadays, all you need to win at the box office is a halfway decent story (and not even), celebrity actors, a superfluity of sex, graphic violence, foul language, more sex, more language….They make me ill.

I love the old dramas because they leave so much to the imagination.  They were not afraid to leave the audiences hanging over a cliff.  Nowadays, everything is delivered with a happily ever after wrapped with a nice bow.  There is nothing to talk about afterward except our own interpretations of what we’ve already seen.  There is nothing to think about for years to come.  The absolute best drama I have seen to date is Madame X (1966).  It’s an American adaptation of a French play starring Lana Turner and John Forsythe.  Other notable actors were Burgess Meredith and Constance Bennett.  Turner’s character is Holly Anderson, Forsythe plays Clayton “Clay” Anderson Sr., Bennett is Clay’s mother, Estelle (the real antagonist if you ask me!), and Meredith is Dan Sullivan–our antagonist.

The Andersons were a powerful and wealthy family in Connecticut.  The film picked up with Holly and Clay arriving at the grand Anderson estate.  It was fully loaded with servants, park-like yards–perhaps “grounds” is a more proper term–a dramatic, winding driveway, and too many rooms to count.  They had eloped.  Clay, as well as the entire lineage of Anderson men, was into politics.  He had what Estelle called “Washington fever.”  Holly was not accustomed to this way of life.  She was a regular girl from Los Angeles with a regular job living in a regular two room apartment.  Estelle did not take kindly to the idea of eloping.  The moment she laid eyes on Holly, we know that she was not the girl she would have picked out for her son.  But she pretended to like her–in public.

Life progressed, and the Anderson family grew.  They had a son named Clayton Anderson Jr.  Holly and Clay were still very much in love years later, but Clay’s career goals were putting a strain on the marriage.  Holly couldn’t understand why he had to go away all the time, and he could slow down to spend quality time with his family.  At one point, Clay was doing a series of charitable acts to improve his image to get more votes.  He went to random places like South Africa, and he was gone for more than six weeks.  This was the longest he had ever been away.  At first Holly would just sit at home and mope.  She turned down all of the party invitations and was just plain miserable.  After a while, Estelle convinced her that she should get out and enjoy life.  She said, “Life doesn’t stop because Clay is not here.”  Holly didn’t like the idea at first, but she got a call from one of her girlfriends who convinced her to come out and play.  This friend introduced her to a man named Phil Benton (Ricardo Montalbán).  This was supposed to be a “double date,” but Phil didn’t have a date, so that’s why she called Holly.  Phil was immediately enamored with Holly.  She kept it professional though.

Phil started calling Holly to hang out, and she obliged.  At first she was just interested in having some company.  She didn’t realize that he was already in love with her, and she was attracted to him.  One night at dinner, Phil raised a toast.  “To six wonderful weeks,” he said.  The look on Holly’s face was priceless.  She, a.) didn’t realize they had been “dating” for that long, b.) just realized that she was “dating” him, and c.) didn’t know how she was going to stop “dating” him.  That night, Clay came home.  Honestly, she was expecting him, but she had forgotten.  He was already home unpacking when she walked in the room.  She was extremely surprised to see him.  The exchange between them was golden.  The camera took a medium shot of both of their reactions to each other, and then a wide angle two-shot of them standing on either side of the room.  They were probably only ten feet away, but it seemed as though they were a million miles away.

He asked, “Where’ve you been?”

She replied, “Where’ve you been?”

“Fair enough.”

Insert very awkward pause.

“I want to kiss you, but you seem so far away,” he said.

“It’s been such a long time,” she said.

Clay had to leave again in the morning, but he promised that after this next trip they would always be together.  He was finally getting what he wanted.  In two weeks he was going to send the yacht to collect the little family to live happily ever after in a little on house on a friendly street with lots of children in Washington.  The next night, Holly made her way to Phil’s house to break it off.  She remembered that it was Clay whom she loved and that she was a married woman and the relationship was not appropriate.  Phil did not appreciate it.  He tried to convince her that nothing in the world mattered except the two of them being together.  They quarreled, and he tried to seduce her into submission.  She threw him off her, but when she did, she accidentally–really–threw him down the stairs.  He was dead.  She fled.  Back at home, she tried to tell Estelle what happened, but she already knew.  She had her followed ever since the day she arrived at the estate!  She black-mailed Holly into leaving the country to spare the family the shame of the scandal.  The cover story was that she died at sea (on the yacht).

Reluctantly Holly agreed to Estelle’s terms, and she left.  She had a new identity and was left to start a new life.  Estelle had given her a fake passport, and there was a bank account already established for her in Geneva under the name Elizabeth Miller.  The rest of the film is about the downward spiral of Holly’s life.  She truly loved Clay and little Clay, and life without them was no life at all.  She encountered many men who wanted to love her, but she wouldn’t let them.  She moved from country to country trying to avoid the pain and sorrow she felt, but you can’t run from what is inside of you.  She also started drinking…hard.  That’s when her life really got out of control.  After a while, she didn’t care about herself and got involved with all kinds of unsavory characters.  She had become a drunken, filthy slut.

In Mexico, she was living in a rat-hole motel, and she met the last dirt bag she got involved with: Dan Sullivan (Burgess Meredith).  She didn’t know this, but he was a womanizer.  He preyed on women and screwed them out of their money–pun totally intended.  They started hanging tight–drinking together.  When Holly got drunk, she told stories about her old life as Mrs. Holly Anderson.  Sullivan remembered the stories of the “death” of Holly Anderson, but he couldn’t help the resemblance between her and “Betty Miller.”  The stories she told when she was in a drunken stupor added up.  He put two and two together and decided that she was telling the truth despite how much she denied everything when she was drunk.  He took her to New York to do a “job,” but he the real plan was to meet her son in order to black mail her.  Clay Jr. was a young, brand new attorney.  Holly found out about this covert operation, and although her life was not worth anything, still wanted to protect her son from her sins.  She killed Sullivan.  She signed a confession as “X,” and the media called her Madame X.

The film ended with the trial.  Holly is actually being represented by her son, but neither of them know it.  Things happen in the trial that cause Holly to realize who he is, but he still doesn’t know her.  [SPOILER ALERT] Just before the jury comes back, Holly died and Clay Jr. never finds out who she really was.

I pray that no one ever attempts to remake this movie because they would ruin it.  First of all, I am quite certain the director would continue the trial scene.  The jury would come back, and they would probably say she is not guilty.  The Andersons would go home and have a come to Jesus moment, and Estelle would confess to everything.  I’m not quite sure how he would do the rest, but all of that would already be too much.  The movie would start with Clay having lunch in some LA restaurant, and Holly would be his server.  Of course, they would show how the relationship began, and then go on to show them eloping.  We are too attached to closure!  Everything has to have a beginning and an end, but it’s not necessary!  Having unanswered questions at the end is healthy.  I first saw this film maybe 15 years ago, and as you can see it still affects me.  What happens off camera is part of what makes a movie great.  But today there are no off screen mysteries.  I wish we could see more elements of good ol’ fashioned drama in films today.

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

“For unto us a child is born, unto a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Today, we commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we are bombarded with other traditions and figures, let us not forget the true meaning for why we are celebrating. This precious Lamb was born and later died so that we all would have the opportunity to be rescued from eternal destruction. That’s GREAT news!

Enjoy your families, food, and precious moments with friends and loved ones this season while remembering the reason. Merry Christmas, my faithful readers :-).

Bathroom Humor

I hate public restrooms!  Well, “hate” is a strong word.  I do not like public restrooms!  I try to avoid them at all costs.  Why?  Using the restroom, for me, is a private event that should not be rushed.  I didn’t know how evasive our (American) public restrooms were until my British coworkers pointed it out.  Two of them were here (U.S.) for the first time, and I showed them where the bathrooms were.  As soon as we walked in, one of them said, “My!  That’s a big hole!”  She was referring to the gap between the floor and the door.  She went on to comment about people could almost see you in there.  I never thought about it that way!  My mind immediately went back to college when another coworker of mine was defending her position on public restroom disdain.  She said that it felt like someone is in there with you when you’re “going.”  At the time, I didn’t care…but now I do!  So, between that comment and the realization from my British friends, I too now share in the public restroom disdain!

When I was in high school, I was in Wal-Mart’s restroom.  At first, I was alone–yes!  However, of course, I gained some company.  It was a mother and daughter.  I gathered that from the following “conversation.”

Mom:  “ROBIN!!  YOU BETTER PEE PEE!  YOU BETTER PEE PEE, ROBIN!

LOL, I wanted to laugh so hard, but I couldn’t.  She kept saying it over and over and over again!  I just wanted to yell, “STOP YELLING AT HER!!!  She’s not gonna pee pee with you yelling at her!”

Friday I left work and headed toward my sister’s place to scoop her up to go to dinner.  I had to pee, but I figured I’d just go when I got to her place.  Why?  I try to avoid public restrooms!  To my surprise, she was not home yet.  OH NO!  I had to go to her job and wait a few minutes for her to come out…and I REALLY had to pee.  She came out and we went to the restaurant.  At this point I was dancing like a child.  I made a mad dash for the restroom.  In my head, I kept saying, “Robin, I gotta pee pee!  I gotta pee pee, Robin!!”  LOL, don’t ask.