The future of the blog

by Jessie K on April 15, 2014

IMG_6973I’m taking the rest of the week off to head up north — Jersey and New York City or bust! — with the girls for June’s Spring Break.

Thanks again to everyone who commented about the future of the blog. I think I’ve decided to keep it going because I really don’t have it in me to stop completely. I’ll combust if I don’t write. The core issue I’ve been having — other than having no time, Katie is literally crying in the Bjorn as I write this!What an awesome mom I am! — is that all I’m doing right now is mom stuff. My life right now centers around diapers, bottles and laundry. And while these topics are totally riveting, I’m having a hard time finding inspiration in the every day, go figure. Besides, I don’t really want to turn this into a “mommy blog.” Not only is that term totally pejorative and annoying, the topic is not really where my writing strengths lie, and I know that more than anyone. I’m more about ham banana hollandaise.

What this means: I’m going to take the pressure off myself to post everyday because if I post everyday you’ll be reading about diapers, bottles and laundry, which makes the eyes roll back in the head just thinking about.

Enjoy your Spring Break! I know I will!



I love my dentist

by Jessie K on April 15, 2014

the care of your teeth

Yesterday was my six month check up at the dentist’s office, and I had to bring both girls with me.

I found myself lying on the reclined chair with various metal instruments probing about my mouth. On my face was a pair of what I like to call hillbilly jock sunglasses, only camouflage (I don’t know what else to call these glasses but you see them a lot around here worn by stringy teenage boys, cops, military personnel and anyone else who wants to look fierce), which the dental hygienist hands out to every patient to keep the overhead lights out of patients’ eyes. June was curled up on my lap, quietly sucking her thumb and fondling her shirt while I ruffled my fingers through her hair. Out in the waiting area, another dental technician fed Katie a bottle, cooing and aaahing over her every move. I found myself wondering, at how many dentist’s office would this sort of thing fly: staff taking care of one kid in the lobby while the other kid naps in my lap? And I didn’t even have any cavities.



Speaking of white wine on ice…

by Jessie K on April 11, 2014


I recently overheard a story about this woman who brought a really expensive bottle of wine to a dinner party and the hosts poured their own glasses of the wine over ice! The woman who brought the wine was aghast. She thought drinking wine over ice was akin to clipping your nails at the table or picking your teeth with a fork.

Personally, I think you should be able to drink your wine anyway you want. If I want to drink my White Zin over a tumbler of crushed iced worthy of a K-Mart Slurpee, ain’t no one no how gonna stop me [cue the scary Deliverance banjo music here]. Then again, the wine in question was red, not white. White wine over ice, I totally get. White wine on ice is refreshingly light and crisp, in a flowing caftan, Three’s Company Helen Roper kind of way. I have been known to quaff this particular libation on many classy occasions.

But red wine over ice? I’m not sure.

The episode reminded me of the time I went out of my way and made these really involved Rick Bayless gourmet Mexican mole taco things for a dinner party and one of my guests looked up at me during the meal and asked for soy sauce.



A (temporary?) disruption in service

by Jessie K on April 11, 2014


I’m going to share something today that’s been on my mind for awhile.

My motivation for my blog has been slipping lately and I’m not sure what to do about it.

The reason is fairly obvious: I’m home alone with Katie all day (June is at preschool) and Katie is shaping up to be a once a day napper, which means I have 2 to 3 hours tops to get everything done I need to get done in a day: write, blog, household stuff, kid stuff, personal stuff, etc. So by the time I have time to sit down and post, I’m sorta half-assed about it. Both June (nightmares) and Katie (hunger) have been waking up at night so I haven’t been getting much sleep. Nine o’clock rolls around and I’m wiped out.  I can barely stay up to watch a movie with Jake (I missed Captain Phillip last night because I was already in bed). Posting these days feels more like an obligation, another daily chore I have to cross off the list, which is not how I like to roll. My blog has been such a wonderful outlet for me — it’s my daily, irreverent writing exercise — that’s led to the publication of two books so far. I have the best readers — you guys helped us bring Solha home! You leave funny, insightful, crazy comments! Some of you have been with me since I started this blog back in February of ’09. (I still remember my first post — it was about canning! Ha!) But I’m not sure the way forward anymore.

How do you know a blog has run it’s course? How do you know it’s time to wrap it up and hang the Final Liquidation Sale Everything Must Go sign out front? The indications are all there: A) I don’t really have time to write the way I want to write B) I’m not in a position right now to make my blog better (where’s a DeVry Institute around here so I can sign up for Photoshop for Dummies?) C) I’m asleep by nine thirty D) The riches have not exactly rolled in. I’m still waiting to buy a new electric egg beater with my $59.99 of blog earnings. 

I’m hoping this is just a temporary impasse that will clear up as soon as I land some kind of childcare for Katie. But I’m also not in a big rush to usher her off to a sitter. June started going to a sitter at two months old after because I was up to my eyeballs in work.  I don’t regret that. It was what it was; I do what I have to do, but at the same time, I kinda miss that time with her when she was just a little peanut. I don’t want to pack Katie off to the sitter if there’s not a dire need for her to be there.

I love being a stay-at-home mom for now even as I’m wracked with guilt for not producing. Isn’t that the way it goes? I feel guilty when making money because I’m not there for the girls.  I feel guilty when I’m not making money because I love to work (for money) and don’t feel like myself when I don’t have some kind of paycheck. See? You can’t win. Moral of the story, boys and girls: You can’t win.

And now to go drink some white wine on ice.



Family vacations

by Jessie K on April 10, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI read something recently about how our memories of the day-to-day become one big blur as we age: work, school, obligations — it’s hard to recall the particulars of those events because we did them all the time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s actually the break-from-routine experiences we remember the longest, according to researchers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI needed to hear this because it’s too easy to feel guilty for taking time off (especially for those of us who are self employed).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow we have a scientific reason for taking more family vacations. Hooray!

(June’s Spring Break is next week so I’ll be taking a few more days off for travel, in other words.)

(Photos by Dave Knadler)





I started reading Archie comics when I was 9 years old and quickly became obsessed. I was fascinated by the mysterious teenage world it depicted, where boys and girls dated, went to dances every weekend, smooched in the backseat of old cars and jockeyed for position in Riverdale High’s precarious social hierarchy. I was most mesmerized by Betty and Veronica, Archie’s two competing love interests who were also best friends with amazing wardrobes (the characters never wore the same outfits twice).

Yet when I found out Archie is slated to die in an upcoming issue, I didn’t get down on my knees and start weeping. On the contrary: It’s time for Archie and his gang to ride his red jalopy off into the sunset. Because even though the comics may seem like a relatively wholesome, innocuous diversion for kids, the lasting impact is more insidious. It was only after I was well into adulthood reflecting back on my Betty and Veronica fixation that I realized I wouldn’t let my girls read those comic books today. Click here to find out why.



The camel rider

by Jessie K on April 9, 2014

IMG_6924I finally got to try the famous “camel rider” sandwich while in Jacksonville last week…at a restaurant called The Sheik. Hmm, sounds racially exploitative to me, though I heard the restaurant is owned by Arabs so I guess that’s okay? (I love the sign: “Get On Efree.” Regional slang for “get on it, people?”)

Anyway, Jacksonville has a large Syrian population so a lot of wonderful Middle Eastern food is to be found there….including Middle Eastern fast food (American), e.g. The Sheik.   IMG_6921The camel rider is essentially a sub sandwich with lots and lots of tomatoes and lettuce and not a surfeit of meat, which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of excessively meaty sandwiches (you know the kind you can’t even get your mouth around?), slathered in some kind of creamy Italian dressing and presented in a freshly baked pita. The pita is the best part. The sandwich also comes with a thin layer of American yellow cheese. I would have preferred a more regionally authentic cheese like Feta or Labneh. But overall, it was tasty. I liked it better than a regular sub. I recommend.

Read more about the camel rider here.



Shade is ours, Lexington pool goers

by Jessie K on April 8, 2014

Here ye, here ye, scorched Lexington sunbathers: The timber frame shade structure is officially going up at our local municipal pool. We can all put off serious sun damage for yet another year. Life is good. Click here to see what the final structure will look like and to keep tabs on the project. (I already signed up June for her first swimming lessons, which begin at the public pool this month. Three cheers for maintaining my alabaster white skin.)



I’m back!

by Jessie K on April 8, 2014

IMG_6961We’re back from Florida!

IMG_6932We were there because I’d been invited to give a talk at the 34th Annual Author Luncheon in Daytona, an event organized by the local library board, and more than 100 people showed up. I’ve never given a talk to a crowd of that size, but I wasn’t nervous, surprisingly. I’ve given enough of these talks now to know that nerves and anxiety make for a mumbled, confusing speech. The other thing I’ve learned: It’s not so much what you say that’s important, but try to give the audience something to laugh at (hopefully WITH you, not AT you), otherwise author talks tend to be quite boring (unless you’re JK Rowling or Steven King).

It was a bit nerve wracking, though, having both girls there. Every five minutes, June kept going, “Are we going to the beach yet, Mommy? When are we going to go to the beach? I want to go to the beach now.” Sitting still during a long luncheon with a bunch of  grown ups is a struggle for a three year old. And Jake had to leave in the middle of it to go change Katie’s diaper. But both girls did a great job and I loved looking out into the audience while I spoke and seeing June’s little face beaming back up at me. She ran up to me after the talk and jumped into my arms and even managed to squeak a tiny “hello” into the microphone to the audience.

Afterward, it was beach time. We spent the rest of our time in Florida with June’s Grandparents, hanging out on the beach and eating lots of seafood. It was a great week and now I’m glad to be back.




Ta-ta for now

by Jessie K on March 31, 2014

01CAMEL3-superJumboI’m taking off for Florida for a few days so I won’t be posting much this week. A few goals while I’m away:

A) Expose Katie’s limbs to sunshine since she’s been bundled up like a little Eskimo baby since birth

B) Enjoy a “camel rider sandwich” and sip a cherry limeade while in Jacksonville, the city’s “ubiquitous” pairing, courtesy of Jacksonville’s large Arab population.

I’ll also be speaking at an event in Daytona this week. Details to come. Wish me luck!

(Photo: New York Times)