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)


How do you wear perfume?

by Jessie K on March 31, 2014

Uninhibited_by_Cher vintage perfume adAs for me, I don’t want to come on too strong so  I’ve heard it’s a good idea to spritz a bit into the air then walk into it. My friend Mary dabs some on her wrists and rubs her wrists just under her ears, which seems so elegant and French to me.

I also love the idea of a “signature scent,” a parfum people close to you smell and associate with you. I’ve been wearing the same fragrance since the late 90s — Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien and never get sick of it. I wear it every single day. I can’t even smell it on me anymore because my nose is so used to it which I’ve learned from my other friend Becky is a good sign. It means you’re wearing just enough, she says. The mistake some people make is they keep dabbing it on after they can no longer smell it; they think it’s not “working” even  though it smells like a head on collision with a Mary Kay truck to everyone else: Parfum d’Overkill.

Do you have a signature scent or do you bounce around with fragrances depending on your mood? Any great tips for how to apply?

(I couldn’t resist posting a 80s pic of Cher: “Bottled, but not contained!”)


My second-tier college degree

by Jessie K on March 27, 2014


When I was 19, I took a job as a nanny in New York City in exchange for tuition to a city school. It wasn’t my first choice college but it was what my employers were willing to pay for; there was no way I could afford a more prestigious, expensive university on my own and I knew it was a bad idea to take on a mountain of college debt.

(And, um, no, this is not me in the photo.)

Continue reading here. 


Shade, shade, glorious shade!

by Jessie K on March 25, 2014

IMG_6887For years and years, parents of this town have been bringing their kids to the municipal pool in the summertime and burning to an absolute crisp because the poolside offers no shade. Something about the angle of the poolhouse, it’s distance from the pool — means moms and dads loitering around the water trying to watch their kids are always panting from near heat exhaustion while slathering their young every 20 minutes in SPF 1 million. I don’t bring June to the pool during the heat of the afternoon because of this. It’s unbearable.

But change is afoot, Lexington pool goers.

Over the weekend, Jake was called upon to dig 18 holes — 18 HOLES! — for what sounds like a blessedly large timber frame shade structure that will line one side of the pool (June helped him out a bit). Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of badly sun damaged skin uncrinkling as this happy news sweeps through our crispy fried pool community. Kids will no longer have to dress in head to toe neoprene body casings. Moms can remove the semi truck tire-size hats from their heads. Small fires won’t erupt from the glare of sunglasses bouncing off the glittering cement. It’s going to be a great summer, I can feel it.

It makes the snow falling outside my window right now just a little more bearable.


Say no to the bro

by Jessie K on March 24, 2014


Jake and I were listening to some horrible country radio station the other day when Jake looks up at me and goes, “You know, I think I’m over country music.”

I stared at him. “Who are you?” I said. “What did you do with my husband?”

Jake is an avowed country music lover. It’s because of him I know all the lyrics to songs like this one.  He’s the one who introduced me to Miranda Lambert, Steve Earle, Chris Le Doux, Pat Green, even Gretchen Wilson. It’s the only kind of stations he listens to when left to his own devices. So for him to say he’s “over country” is like me saying I’m “over flossing my teeth four times a day.” It’s antithetical to our being.

But we’ve both noticed something lately  (I listen to way more country than I am comfortable admitting but it’s because of where we live and our lack of choices, I swear): So many country songs now are about wet tee shirts and tight jeans (I refer to “bro country” specifically). It’s like country is dipping its toe into raunchier waters. Back in the day, country music was more about clever song writing, word play, stories. This is why country music is compelling to me — the song writing blows the pants off of pop (with the notable exception of “Jesus, Take the Wheel”). Lyrics rarely went below the belt, and when they did, it was under the most veiled allusion, at best.

Now country apes bad jock rock in that it’s suffused with the most obvious cheeseball sexual innuendo.  If I have to hear one more song about starin’ at her tight jeans while she’s bent over tryin’ to catch cat fish with her bare hands — and lovin’ it! — while I’m making June’s dinner, I’m going to drop kick the radio out the window. Guys, THIS WOMAN DOES NOT EXIST. She might be bent over in tight jeans trying to catch your cat fish for dinner, but she won’t be loving it, I assure you. She is probably plotting how to kill you, more like.

Anyway, back to Jake’s declaration. 

“We need more alt country in this house,” he clarified.

That is the sweetest music to my ears. Because as far as I know, alt country hasn’t jumped on the wet tee shirt band wagon. Yet.


How do you experience music?

by Jessie K on March 21, 2014

boom box kids

For the past 11 years, Jake and I have been listening to music through his Radio Shack CD boom box with detachable speakers he bought in college.

This is a crime because we are both ardent music lovers (love it way more than other types of media). We haven’t gotten around to hooking up his rickety old boom box in our new home because we’re both over it and the thing is on its last legs anyway.  We also got rid of all of our CDs — I’m talking hundreds of CDs, from Salt-N-Pepa’s “Very Necessary” to Jake’s array of Garth Brooks — during the purge of our old house last spring so we don’t really have any tangible music to listen to. I have an iPod and a hard drive loaded with zillions of songs, but I lack speakers worthy of playing them.

We have a Sirius subscription that runs through our car, but neither of us particularly like it. Hundreds and hundreds of channels and not one in which a DJ with a breadth of musical knowledge plays tunes mixing all genres, styles and decades. Instead, you’re locked into one specific genre per channel (The 90s, The 80s, Light Jazz, EDM, Pop Country) so it all ends up sounding like background noise or elevator music.  And it’s expensive. We pay nearly $200 a year for a subscription! What?

So it’s time for an update. I’m trying to decide how I want to experience music in my new house. My requirements are: an iPod dock, some kind of streaming service like Pandora or Spotify, radio access (can’t live without my NPR) and lots of small but powerful wireless speakers I can position around the house. Does such a thing exist?

What do you use for listening to music? Do you like it? Do you have any recommendations? Or is your set-up as outdated as mine?


Amazing, inspiring rapper K’Naan

by Jessie K on March 20, 2014

K'Naan!I was wondering when Somali-born rapper K’Naan was going to breakthrough to the mainstream, but I didn’t expect it to come via tabloid rumors linking him to recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.  Hey, whatever it takes to get this man known to a wider audience. He flirted with super stardom a few years ago when his song “Wavin’ Flag” was picked up by Coca-Cola as the anthem for the World Cup, but it never really went anywhere because his songwriting is too raw and gut wrenching for radio.

It’s one of the ironies of age that the older I get the more rap I listen to and one of, if not THE, finest CD I’ve listened to in the past handfuls of years is K’Naan’s breakout “The Dusty Foot Philosopher” in which he raps about growing up in war torn Somalia, freedom, struggle, deprivation, fashioning a mountain bike by wrapping barbed wire around a car tire. He’s got a song called “I Was Stabbed by Satan” to give you a clue where his sensibilities are rooted. Soothing, banal pop, it’s not.

I’ve noticed he’s tried to become a little more poppy, a little more radio friendly in recent years and he’s not nearly as good. He knows this too…he wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times basically apologizing to fans for bowing to industry pressure to come up with easier material and jingly, generic hooks; his last CD was not nearly as good as his earlier stuff.

He hasn’t come out with anything recently, and I really hope that when he does, he returns to his original conscious raising source material. He’s an incredible poet with a great sense of humor (and English isn’t even his first language!) and every time I listen to “Dusty Foot Philosopher,” I’m inspired. To what, I’m not sure. But the record is a reminder to stay true to your own authentic self — however raw that may be — since that’s where true artistic expression lies. When you try to please everyone, you please no one, least of all yourself. And he and Lupita would make a great couple.

(Apologies to K’Naan for pointing out that nerd moms in south-central Virginia count among his biggest fans.)


My unintentional playground workout

by Jessie K on March 19, 2014


My friend Susan and I bring our girls to the playground so they can run around, burn energy, expend some rambunctiousness so they’re not bouncing off the walls when it’s time to go to bed at the end of the day.

So why, we have to wonder, are we the ones who end up panting and perspiring pushing our girls like mad while they rest comfortably in the swings? The toddlers barely burn a single calorie. They hardly move their legs.

Continue reading here.


The things people say

by Jessie K on March 18, 2014


The following is something somebody said to Jake (its only been slightly exaggerated here). We’ve been laughing about it for months.

“Question. Ya’ll like strawberries? ‘Cause I got a shipment that just came off the back of a truck at a rest area. Must have 30, 40 pints here.  You want ‘em? Only thing, they’re going bad fast. You got to work ‘em up NOW. Tomorrow they’ll be covered in mold. I can bring you over a truckload in a few minutes.  Question. Ya’ll like freezers? Cause I got a freezer over here for you. There’s smoke coming from it and I think I saw a fireball underneath it awhile ago and there may or may not be animal dung running down the side of it but it should clean up okay.  And, uh, can I borrow $400?”


Katie, the elfin stoner

by Jessie K on March 14, 2014

The other day I was out and about with Katie and a lady came up to me and told me Katie looks like she’s stoned.

Colbert-stoner-babies-615x345I kind of laughed because it was so obnoxious but then within a few minutes she told me how “elfin” Katie looks as well. Huh? I looked at this person like, “Anytime you want to stop talking is good. No, really. You don’t have to talk anymore.” But she wouldn’t stop saying it. She must have repeated five times how much Katie looks like an elf.

Nice. What every mom wants to hear – that their kid looks like a stoner elf!

Just wondering — has a stranger ever casually insulted your baby?

I ask you, does this look like the face of an elfin stoner?

IMG_6868A “Grandpa Pants” wearing baby, maybe. But an elfin stoner? Never!