The Great Non-Seuss Dream

Last night I had the single most bizarre and wonderful dream I’ve ever had in my life. I hope I can get it all down before it’s gone. And I know that most people who read this won’t have the slightest clue of what I’m talking about and will therefore probably quit reading. If that’s the case then I guess I am my only audience for this one. Because if I can make sense of the dream, this is a story I’ll want to re-read from time to time.

I have very few childhood memories. Those that I have are kind of like old Polaroid pictures- you know the kind I mean? You had to shake them a little when they popped out of the cameras little uterus and they developed as the light hit them. Pretty ingenious actually. And maybe you didn’t really have to shake them. Anyway this dream was like a stack of old Polaroid pictures that has been in the bottom of a trunk with years of old smelly, too-small clothes and old Softball trophies on top. This trunk is something you might see at an estate sale. Precious only to those who lived with it, and could still remember it and enjoy sifting through it. (It also could be precious to the kind of person who cruises estate sales and antique shops and buys old photographs of people long dead and who they don’t know. Creepy, but interesting. But then again, so are some of us people, isn’t that right?)

Anyway, this dream was a trip down memory lane. Memories I’d forgotten that I’d forgotten. It was like the dream gods got together and made me a little gift. With a bow. And maybe some candy on top. It’s not even my birthday.

It began with my dad. This is my bio-dad, you understand. Although he wasn’t in the dream, there was this box full of things that I knew were his. I have no idea who gave me the box and that’s incidental. Every single item in the box was about me. A copy of every newspaper I ever wrote in in junior high and high school. I can sort of remember sitting down and reading a story or two. I was the Feature Editor, which, although I didn’t know it when I was 14, means that you like to make shit up rather than report news.

There were photos of me that I swear I can remember actually having existed. Pictures of me at all the ages from 10 to about 20. This will sound bull-shitty but I swear it’s true. Those are the years of my life that my father didn’t see me. Didn’t know me. He died shortly after. There were pictures from my and Brandon’s wedding. There were shiny softball trophies and team pictures. One of the softball pictures had my best som Kristin in it, as well as my step father Brent, who filled the missing father role very wonderfully for me. I wondered how on earth my father came to have these things.

Then I was in a house. It must have been for sale and having an open-house because there were people wandering through it that I didn’t know. Looking all purchasy. It was my house in West Jordan where I lived during those same years as the treasure box mentioned above. Give or take two years backward or forward.

The carpet was the same. There was some terrible wallpaper on the wall that, in my dream I swore my mother hung (and by god that wallpaper was the SHIT when she did. My mama has always had the flare.) Tile she and Brent laid themselves: still there. I remember the floor plan as though I lived there yesterday. (It’s one of the polaroids in the bottom of the trunk that maybe doesn’t have old orange juice spilled on it. One of my more vivid memories.)

Then there were more boxes. And as people wandered in and out of my childhood home I looked through them and found some more “polaroids”. A navy jacket was neatly folded and tucked away in there and when I lifted it out and smoothed out years of wrinkles I knew that it had been my moms. She used to do navy reserves when I was a kid. So did Brent. And as an adult and parent, part of me wonders if they did it to pay for softball for me. I never realized how expensive travel, and good bats and cleats and gloves and pitching and hitting clinics cost. Hell I even had a pitching coach who came to the West Jordan house and coached me in our huge backyard, where Brent had dug out some grass and made me a pitcher’s mound. It was ok. There was still plenty of room for the volleyball net and play space. Anyway I knew that jacket was hers. There were also these two heavy old bronze swans that we used to have on a coffee table, their long and graceful necks badly tarnished due to age, oxidation and lack of cleaning these many years.

It’s getting foggy now so I better bring this to a close or I’ll be feature editing again. I remember walking through the house, seeing everything the same as when I left it at 18, and wondering why the subsequent owners had left all of our stuff there. All of our furniture and decor. Wall paper and paint, everything. I wondered about it. But I was grateful that they had. The owners weren’t there. Only strangers milling about like zombies. Moving slowly, not talking to anyone. But I knew one of those assholes was going to buy the house before I could. I wanted to keep all those memories, you see. Because maybe the next owner wouldn’t be as kind as the previous ones. Maybe the next owner would gut it and change everything. Then where would all my memories go?

In true Seuss-dream fashion it gets progressively wilder at this point. There’s a backyard out of MTV Cribs with ponds and grass and an ice rink where a swimming pool would be. Then my mom beat me to buying the place. I woke up to pee shortly after.

When I lived in that house, the backyard was a place for playing catch, jumping on and sleeping out on the trampoline, playing volleyball or badminton with my family, waiting for my uncle Brad to be up on the roof with water balloons. That yard was where I first heard of O’Douls non-alcoholic beer that my uncle Kent brought. It was where my grandma and Grandpa were sitting in lawn chairs next to one another, next to me, watching their family hit the ball around and try to escape ensuing water fights. It was where, when it got dark outside, Brent and maybe an uncle or two would join my friends and me to play kick-the-can. It was where my first crush, Mike Peterson- lived across the street and the place where I left so many footsteps, roller skate tracks and bike skids between my house and Kristin’s. Years of going to each other’s house every year on Christmas Day to exchange gifts and show each other our crap. Her dad, Doug, used to call me Aggie (and still does) and always made me laugh. Lots of people called me Aggie in those days because no one could pronounce Anagnostakis. And I can remember being in a hurry to get married and have a last name that people could say, read and write without difficulty or instruction. And while I still really enjoy having an easy last name, I can’t help but think that, since I got married at the age of 19, that last name was the last thing I had from those age 10-20 years. My dad is gone, Brent is gone, the house in WJ is gone. After that my life changed and shifted into high gear. I got married, moved to California, went to the movies all the time, moved back, had a baby, got divorced and got a great job that accidentally turned into a career. There is now Josh and Ash and my charmed existence. And In the years of ages 20-40 those polaroids have had more and more junk piled on top of them in that old trunk. The trunk itself has faded bumper stickers that say Dukakis ‘88 plastered on it. Inside there are potato chip crumbs and old books and dried, smeared chocolate and popcorn kernels everywhere. The school papers have yellowed and the little bats are bent or broken off of the softball trophies. The letterman jacket is much too small. It’s The kind of debris that, if you’re the creepy sumbitch who buys the trunk at an estate sale, you don’t bother looking through the shit inside. You just pull on your rubber gloves and up end it into the dumpster at the gas station. But I love that debris. My memories are at the bottom of that grody old trunk, and it was nice to pay them a little visit. It’s been years since I’ve thought about most of those things in my dream. It was like I was in a museum of Natural Jess History. My admission was free. And the time I spent there was blissful and slow and enjoyed.


It’s Just Business

So, Let me start off by saying that cake is a dick. You make one. (Well… your husband does. Let’s not start lying now.) You’re all excited to eat it. All your fat cells have got their panties in a bunch. You let that little fuck cool overnight after telling your fat cells to cool their tits and you know what happens? It still falls apart when you frost it and by the time you get to satisfy your craving the damn thing looks like the post coital* apple pie that Jason Biggs wrecked.

Anyway today I write to tell you of a new business venture that Ash and I are embarking on. While driving to the orthodontist on Thursday, we happened to pass the Swig on 900e and about 5900ish south. Every month when we pass it I remark on how it looks like a crack house. Well that is where Ash and I came up with this:

“Thank you for calling Swig meth lab and kidnapping storage, my name is Rhonda, how may I help you?”

Or this by Ash:

“Thanks for calling Swig. If you are interested in our affordable kidnapping storage, press one. If you are looking for the meth lab, press two. If you want a Swig, press three.” Which I immediately laughed at and said it would be awesome if when you pushed three a recording came up saying “the number you’ve reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” And OH MY GAWD I just thought of this: how cool would it be if our recorded voice sounded like (or preferably was) Snoop Dogg? Which means the press three recording would have to say “the number you’ve reached has been disconizzle fo shizzle.”

So anyway, when we are rich and famous from our new business venture, we’ll be sure not to forget those people we left behind. Ya know, the kind with scruples and morals whose only customers aren’t kidnappers and drug dealers. But seriously what if the drug dealer is Heisenberg? He’s supplying pure garbage that, while it could kill you in one dose and will absolutely ruin your life, he is doing so with the purest of ingredients, a full knowledge of chemistry and is doing it to provide for his family and pay his cancer bills, which according to Sterling Archer, are quite pricey and sometimes taste like candy corn and Zima.

If you are unfamiliar with Archer, do yourself a favor and watch it. Empty your bladder first so you don’t pee the bed whilst busting a gut. Which I have totally never done. I’m not even sure why you thought that.

Anyway, on the way home from the orthodontist we pass our favorite building. It is the one on 10600 S and about Redwood Rd. Something and Butler… I disremember the actual name because Ash and I call it Suicide Incorporated, which by the way is meant to be said in the same sing song tone as Doofensmirch Incorporated.

Damn. Y’all probably think we are some morose bastards up in here. So yeah…maybe we have a dark side. But we also love puppies so I think that evens things out. Plus, we didn’t tell the Suicide Inc folks that the location of that building is perfect for those who may want to dive off the roof into shitty after work traffic. They did that all by themselves. All we did was see potential.

Because we are positive people dammit.

Ps. let me say that Swig in no way endorses kidnapping or the distribution of illegal narcotics. (At least not that I’m aware of. Holy shit what if they were and I just stumbled onto that info? They could be watching me right now. It’s a good thing I know some lo brow people from my new business.). Swig are simply purveyors of high calorie deliciousness. Some of us call that therapy.

Thanks Swig. You’re tasty and not kidnappy. A+ in my book.

*the google definition of coital, which I learned while making sure I was spelling it right is “sexual intercourse, especially between a man and a woman.” Which I can’t help is hilarious to me. Apparently it is not still considered coitus if you’re a couple a lions gettin it on out in the Serengeti.

The Greatest Showman… again

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.”- PT Barnum

I hope you’ll all read this one instead of my first attempt. I saw The Greatest Showman. Again. Back to back showings and I haven’t the slightest regret or embarrassment in doing so.

What makes a great film? What makes it worth dragging our noses away from our cell phones and social media for two hours during which we forget those things all together? The ability to provoke an emotional response. That is it. It’s a short recipe but not a simple one. Many films have done this for me over the years. I am proud to consider myself “a movie goer.” A patron of the cinema. A freak of nature maybe, but one not near as beautiful as the freaks I just spent the last 4 hours with.

Hang on. They’re gonna kick me out to Clean once the credits are done. BRB.

Ok. Lobbyin it now. Some things need to be done right away, that’s all. While I can still hear the music and still see the fireworks, lights and dancers. And I knew I loved this movie the moment the drums started and the steely looking fox logo came on.

Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum truly is The Greatest Showman. And just part of what I love about this film is that he wasn’t just a Showman when he was on stage. He was a Showman in every aspect. From taking his family to their new home in a zebra-drawn carriage to arriving at his daughters ballet performance on the grand backside of a bejeweled elephant. Until today, my favorite Hugh Jackman moments were when he hosted the 81st Academy Awards in 2009. Perhaps we’ll see him there again. Receiving instead of giving. Jackman gives his wife, Charity- played by Michelle Williams- a never ending string of wonder. From dancing amongst freshly laundered and hanging-to-dry sheets to wondering how they might pay for their next meal and not caring as long as the happiness remains. Ms Williams was charming and vulnerable. And that smile has drawing power all it’s own.

“Life is better when it’s a little seedy.”- Jessica Day. And I mean that. I don’t mean dishonest or mean or shiesty. And I don’t mean used hypos behind the haunted house on 13th south. I mean not being afraid to shine in your own way. I mean possessing the knowledge that people of all colors, shapes and sizes are the puzzle pieces to humanity. We can’t make it without all of us. Or I guess I should say that we could, but it would be boring as a mother fucker. I loved all “the freaks.” Lettie Lutz, played by Keala Settle is The Bearded Lady. A woman with a voice and rack as big as anything I’ve ever seen or heard. She was shy and tired of being ruthlessly teased, but Barnum brings her and Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) and Ann (Zendaya- not sure if that’s like a Cher or Madonna thing, is there only the one name? I could give two shits really) and all the rest of them together. They became a family and brought joy to the masses, which, in my opinion, is always best done in the theater.

I went to the circus once as a young girl. I can’t remember it very well but after today I feel as though I remember every moment of it. As though Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron) was there with me, singing and dancing and getting the crowd in an uproar.

I’ve never been to a movie in the 1930’s or 40’s or 50’s, when it was still glamorous and an occasion to dress up and when there were live orchestras present for every film. I wish that was still a thing. I’ve always wished to have my own theater; ya know like Jim Carrey in The Majestic? If I had Barnum’s wishing machine, I think that’s what I would wish for. I can think of nothing more wonderful than to bring old Hollywood glitz into the 21st century.

TGS was reminiscent of Moulin Rouge, to be sure. Lots of freaks there. Hookers with hearts of gold and the face of Nicole Kidman. It was reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It even slightly reminded me of when Janet Jackson took her act and made it look all militant and organized and stamping and clapping. You know the era of which I speak, I’m sure. And perhaps the greatest “it reminds me of” is Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, bringing Fred Astaire back to the theater.

Did it provoke an emotional response? You bet your ass it did. As only celluloid can deliver. I often wonder if I’ll like a film as well the second time. If those emotions will still be there. If I’ll forget again that I’m sitting in a dark room with 400 strangers. This time I did. And those are the best kinds of movies.

Perhaps if I come see it again I’ll put on a nice dress and makeup. I’ll only feel a little silly and then not at all once the Show begins. It’ll be my chance to go to a movie in old Hollywood. The one where musicals were the norm and most actors were hired or not hired based on their ability to sing. To dance. To perform. We went away from that for a long time i think. And then Moulin Rouge happened. And then Chicago- winning the Oscar that MR should have won. Then there was Rent and La La Land and Mamma Mia. Those movies continue to give me that emotional rush that I, along with so many others, crave.

I cried when it ended. Not just because it gave me that emotional response but because it was over; and I didn’t want it to end. Normally I experience that particular emotion only at the end of a really great book. You know, the kind you think about a few months later and feel kinda sad that you aren’t reading it?

Mr Jackman is indeed The Greatest Showman. He didn’t just take his audience away to a different place, he took me as well. And as Jo Noonan* would have said, “that’s alright, isn’t it?”

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll go see it. Take your favorite movie buddy, best friend, husband, Grandma or solo that shit. Just go. And be a patron. It’s nice.

* ps Jo Noonan is the dead wife of Mike Noonan in Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. Another of those stories that took me away from where I live. Reading books and seeing movies really is the cheapest form of travel don’t you think?

The Greatest Show

As I sit here waiting for the movie to start I really want to feel shame for just having left this very theater about 20 minutes ago; but I just can’t. It’s like when I buy boots or bags. I should have some remorse. But I totally don’t. Especially for this.

My mama Jill might kill me for seeing it without her but Jill I SWEAR we will still see it next weekend and I will enjoy it as though it was the first time.

The Greatest Showman is the film I’m talking about. And from the moment the 20th Century Fox logo came on the screen to the beat of those drums I knew I would love t. Seriously the best movie I’ve seen in at least a year and the best musical since Moulin Rouge. The story is about the life of PT Barnum – ya know, the circus guy. Up until today, my favorite Hugh Jackman roll has been when he hosted the Academy Awards a few years back. He was dancy and singy and amazing and someone has finally granted my wish of cutting that character out of the Oscars and pasting it onto the Big Screen. I can only assume he’ll see Oscar again soon, only not to present, but to accept. It’s fucking glorious you guys. Full of great music and beautiful freaks and dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. You know, the one where creature creator Rick Baker did the makeup and MJ danced with a bunch of torn up zombies? There will still never be a music video as good as it.

Michelle Williams, never my favorite but a good Marilyn Monroe a few years back, was so good in this. She is beautiful and vulnerable and has a great singing voice. Not as strong as the Bearded Lady but still pretty damn good. Zac Efron has redeemed himself from every unnecessary forgettable film he’s ever been in. That man shines. Again, I’m not sure he shines quite as bright as The Bearded Lady, but he’s nonetheless magical.

And Hugh. Hugh Jackman could retire on this one. He kept everyone mesmerized, on the screen and in the theater. I cried when it ended because I didn’t want it to end. Usually the only place I feel that is at the end of a really great book. And not since Shakespeare in Love back in 1998 (or maybe 1999, I disremember) have I left a movie theater only to go right back to the ticket desk, slam good money down on the counter and go right back in. My original movie buddy, my grandma Helen would have loved this film; and I’d have loved to see it with her. That was the first thought I had upon leaving my seat. The second, was to thank Mike J for recommending it. The third was that I had to—absolutely HAD TO see it again.

This film is the reason people go to the movies. It is one of the many reasons why people need to leave the comfort of their living room and the convenience of the pause button so they can pee without missing anything. Dont deprive yourself of this you guys. It’s Big Screen goodness. Silver screen wonder and magic that only the movies can give you.

Anyway, the previews are started. A Wrinkle in Time looks really good and honestly I’ll see anything that Oprah feels is good enough to star in. She’s never let me down. Out in the lobby I saw a preview for Ready Player One and I’m going to recommend that one to everyone I know. Especially those who grew up in the 80s like I did.

Ok. Bye for now. Show’s starting and I’m putting my phone away. Do yourself a favor and go see The Greatest Showman. Let Hugh Jackman change your freaking life.


Time Travel Camaraderie

It is—by far—the best kind of camaraderie. Those of you who are or were in the military might think that is the best kind. Those who play other sports or bunco or bridge or book club probably think the same thing about your particular brand of camaraderie. “Best” is such a cheap word though. Do me a favor and insert your favorite way-fucking-better synonym in its place, would you? Because I don’t want to spend this time looking up another one. I want to get it all down before my asshole memory eats it all up, the fat fucker.

Camaraderie. Now that’s a beautiful word. And I guess it’s as close as anything to the intimacy involved when a group of twelve or so adolescent girls get together on a field of freshly tilled dirt, put on a pair of cleats held together with industrial strength glue, put their hair up in a ponytail and tug their Bobby Sox up just as the first inning starts. We borrow each other’s knee pads and envy the gal on the team with the best bat and whenever one of us gets a great hit, complete with that sweet, loud crack that says bat and ball game together at just the right time and right in the damn G Spot; whenever it makes that sound we know without a doubt that we’re not running through first, but taking those few extra steps required in rounding it and reaching second in a straight line.

I don’t dream about it often, but when I do it’s like I’ve found Stewie* Griffin’s time machine and used it to go back to those good old days. And there must be some sort of softball soldier standing guard in my brain that doesn’t let my Seuss Dreams completely take over. (They’re still there. They’re always in charge. Directing my dreams like Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino had a baby that makes ~super fucked up and hard to understand and impossible to remember~ dreams**. Damn Seuss Dreams will never not be there.)

Anyway last night I went on a vacation. Or maybe retreat is a better word. Hell haven’t I already told you I can’t come up with the good words today? We were at a cabin, I think, and even though I felt like I was the same 41 year old, fluffy and loud gal with more kidney stones than a parole officer’s got Polish jokes, they were the same. Those girls I remember so well and yet feel as though it’s someone else’s life I remember. That couldn’t have been me, could it? Those girls who formed my first relationships were just the same as they were in 1994. I think time does that, though; when we lose touch with someone they stay the same age for us. Or I don’t know. Callers: I’d like to hear from any of you who have one of those aging computers like they use on America’s Most Wanted to show what a person might look like ten years later (or in my case 24) inside their brains. You can call 1-800-555-I’ve veered way off course. Weird…

And like so often happens, it was as though we were never apart. Or maybe it was like it was still the 1994 spring softball season. In any case, we were getting ready for a game. I couldn’t find my cleats or glove and got put in right field- maybe my dream coach thought I wouldn’t need them there. The next thing I knew we were on that tilled dirt field. Not the one at the cabin though. The one at West Jordan High School. We tilled that stupid field ourselves. Dragging heavy chains behind us like mules and I only say stupid because that dirt was an asshole. Like if you needed to dig a hole to bury a body in, you were fucked. All rock hard, showing very clearly that it was centuries old and would never be any good for anything else. That field with its chain link fence that we slatted ourselves in school colors of white, blue and black to keep the wind out as much as we could. We didn’t have “people” to take care of our field. It was Our field. We took care of it. It wasn’t the field I learned the game on. It wasn’t the field I fell in love with the game on. But it was the best field. I mean, ya know… shitty, but best. And for that reason my brain remembers it in more detail than any other field I ever played on. Although, if I’m being honest, I remember them all. Still love them all. But the one at WJHS is the best, perhaps that’s because I was at my best during those years. The only freshman on a varsity softball team, the seniors used to take turns picking me up at my middle school to come to practices and games. I don’t say that to brag, by the way. I was good; it’s not that. But WJHS didn’t have a JV team at the time. If they did I may have been placed there instead. Who knows. And who cares? Not this fluffy old broad.

I rode a lot of damn pine that freshman year. Let’s see, it would have been 1991. But I did get a chance to pitch in our State game against whoever was kicking our ass. That’s one of the things I don’t remember exactly: when we played which teams so I’ll blur right through that detail.

Our first string pitcher, Stephanie McGill graduated that year so by the time I was a sophomore, yours truly was the first string pitcher—and thought I always would be until my junior year when a sophomore named Brooke Baker entered the scene. That year I moved around a bit. I relief-pitched for Brooke, who had the fastest and hardest fastball I’d ever seen (that sumbitch hurt like a mother fucker too, because Brooke hadn’t come into her accuracy quite yet.). And I alternated at first and third base. I remember these young women—for that’s what they will always be to me— with such fondness and charm and love. A girl named Nicole Milkovich pitched and—I think—played first base during my freshman year when she was a junior or senior. I dis-remember which, although I think she was a senior. Anyway, Nicole came back as an assistant coach my senior year when I was a team captain and her little sister Shallie was a sophomore and playing on our then-formed JV team. I remember Jessica Jenkins who once asked us if you could pee through a tampon while we were warming up for practice. “The girl with the bat” was Terry Hernandez and she was so damn good. They all were. And beautiful. One time we were mentioned as being prettier than the WJHS cheerleaders by whoever was writing the sports column in the local paper. Now, I don’t know about that but I can tell you we were all pretty damn cute.

Whenever I relief-pitched, my catcher was my very good friend and fellow captain Kim Lewis. Kim’s boyfriend (and later husband) Pat used to drink soda and booze out of a Big Gulp cup and share it with Brandon (who by then I was to marry: ring on finger, pregnancy rumors floating around like pollen in April) and just possibly my mother, but I think she might deny or just not remember that detail.

My best friend in the whole world, my soul-mate Kristin Kiholm (she was “keeholm” folks, before she was Winter. People pronounced it “keeholm” but the I is long, idiots.) played with me during our sophomore year, before she went to tear it up with our high school drill team. It was where her best talents were waiting to be discovered.

There was Amy, a great friend and third member of our tri-captain trio, and there was Karen Ketchum, who we all called Ketch or Ketch-all. She was our short stop and probably the best player of us all. She also played accelerated ball with me, though not on my team. I played for the Utah Bees and she played for the almighty Stars – where all the best players played and shone in their awesome red uniforms. I was a really solid player. I never got a home run but I could almost always be counted on for a base hit and I had a great glove, especially by my senior year when I had finally found a home at first base. I was good. But I was never “Ketch” good. That’s ok.

I remember when I graduated from high school and made “the walk” and had my diploma in hand, I walked by Coach Sandberg who said “that’s my girl.”

It is, I think, reasons such as the above that some people call high school their “glory days.” I agree and disagree. I think it’s just that they are the first of our glory days. Because it’s not as though we have no glorious times later on, is it? Of course we do. I’ve had a golden handful that I’ll always remember and cherish. We all do. But the “glory days” are called that because they’re the first, I think. When you’re first becoming an adult and making adult memories, but you’re still a kid and doing stupid kid things; those things that you first start to learn about life from. Up until then it’s all roller skates, pogo balls*** and Barbies, isn’t it?

Anyway after this it gets weird because, as in so many of my dreams, as you may or may not know, we ended up in a bathroom, packing our clothes, curling our hair and looking for lost items from our cabin trip as well as an empty stall to pee in, because by then I really had to pee and finally woke up. Chalk up another pee dream for me where I didn’t pee wet my bed. Hopefully my luck continues to hold.

Maybe time travel really is possible, if you don’t mind the mode of transportation too much, and I don’t. Going back in my mind and in my dreams doesn’t have all those nasty consequences such as messing up the time space continuum or the butterfly effect. This kind of time travel is never planned, always accidental, but almost always rose-tinted and lovely. And that’s alright, isn’t it?

As always, thanks for reading this trifle of a blog. If you’ll excuse me I’m going to go back to bed now, as soon as I sweep the sunflower seed shells from the sheets. ❤️⚾️

*when I went to type the name Stewie Griffin, my phone autocorrected to Stevie. 😊 Long live the King, baby.

** ok, I used this little symbol ~ at the beginning and end of that little descriptive bit because I thought it looked funny just butted up right close to the word “dream”. Anyway there’s my thoughts there.

***oh my god remember pogo balls? I bet I had the best butt and legs of any twelve year old on the street. I’d get one now if I thought I wouldn’t kill myself on it.

Will Ferrell and Mel Gibson = It’s Christmas Time Jessie

First off, that blog title is kind of weird, but It’s the universe talking to me cause I’m that damn special. So… I realize that Thanksgiving is 4 Days away and lots of people think you’re just EVIL if you even THINK about Christmas before the turkey leftovers are gone; but ya know what? My neighbors have had their Christmas tree up for two weeks and that means it’s ok for me to start watching Christmas movies. If you don’t like it you can blow it out your ass, Uncle Roman.

My top Christmas movies are these: Elf, The Grinch (Jim Carrey) and The Santa Clause. Of course I realize there are treasured and beloved Christmas films that are supposed to be everyone’s favorite but I go for charm as well as comedy people. (I like my movies to be just. Like. Me. 🤪)

I’m watching Elf even as I type this. Now, there are a few other flicks that I find myself watching every Christmas and they are these: Grumpy Old Men, because Walter Matthau looks like my grandpa and he looooved Christmas. Lethal Weapon, because who doesn’t love dead hookers and Gary Busey for the holidays? Just look at that sexy effing mullet!

And lastly, the Richard Harris classic, Camelot. I think it’s the perfect snowfall and well-behaved climate that does it for me. And, of course, the charm. My goodness Richard Harris is charming in that one.

Also, and this isnt all the way off topic so no one can yell “Jess focus!” Because it also has to do with a movie and Richard Harris and there’s even Christmas in it… Richard Harris is by far the superior Dumbledore and I don’t care what anyone else says. When I re-read the HP masterpiece it is Richard Harris’s face I see and Richard Harris’s voice I hear whenever Dumbledore is in a scene.

Anyway, today we saw Daddy’s Home 2. I absolutely love the original and watch it entirely too often. It’s in what I like to call “The Lincoln Club.” For other LC films see post script. To join in my lunacy, send me an IM— we’ve got jackets. It’s not a problem that they buckle up the back is it? You’d be surprised how comfortable they can be once you get your arms arranged just so.

Daddy’s Home 2 puts two of my Christmas favorites in the same two hour time frame (Will and Mel) taking place during “Together Christmas,”where Brad and Dusty decide to get everyone together so that the kids don’t have to do the old back and forth. Mel Gibson and John Lithgow join us as Dusty’s and Brad’s fathers, respectively. It makes for suuuper holiday goodness. All that was missing was my Punky B and a blanket. John Lithgow is a legend no matter what role he’s in — can you say Trinity? And though I absolutely adore Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs and enjoyed him in some other stuff back in the day, whenever I see him now I can’t help but remember the freaking Passion of the Christ movie during Mel’s breakdown period. Ya know how some actors or artists have a blue period? It’s kinda like that only he was way bigoty and full of himself.

The previous Worlds Sexiest Man is looking – and sounding- kind of rough these days. It sounds like maybe he stopped smoking at some point and just had cigarette smoke and tar and nicotine direct injected into his lungs, kinda like direct diesel injection. (Which I totally know what that is.). Having said that, he still has that amazing smile that I grew up loving and he has some really wonderful moments in the film. Just like in the original, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg have such fantastic screen chemistry, but also, like in every other movie he’s in, Will Ferrell steals it. Damn that man is holiday! If I had to pick one thing I didn’t love about it, it would have to be Dusty’s new wife and step daughter, who are haughty little bitches all the way through – like they both need to be punched in the ovary. But then the end of the show comes, and they were magically not assholes for the past two hours. So that was kind of lame. But John Lithgow took three snowballs to the face in amazing fashion so it’s easy for me to forgive that small ickishness.

Well that’s it for now friends and neighbors and strangers. Also, don’t feel bad if you’re a stranger and you know it (clap your hands); being strange just puts you in my realm of the universe. Like you’re totally almost in The Lincoln Club.

You lucky sumbitch.

Ps. Current Lincoln Club films are:
1- Lincoln – Daniel Day Lewis goodness.
2- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
3- Guardians of the Galaxy parts one and two
4- The Avengers
5- Grease – duh – though it’s been a while since I’ve watched it with any frequency. It keeps its place on the list because of the 600 times I watched it as a young lass.
6- Daddy’s Home
7- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – which I realize isn’t necessarily an Oscar winner but it’s a childhood favorite so… yeah. (Because what 8 year old girl didn’t sing and dance along with scantily clad and booby flashing hookers? I totally wanted that white cowgirl outfit by the way, and saw nothing whatsoever unclassy about it. Those were the good old days, when a young girl could watch a movie about singing whores and there wasn’t a thing wrong with it.)

I plan on adding Thor Ragnarok and It to the LC as soon as Amazon realizes that my family needs a break from the other movies on the list.

Go see Daddy’s Home 2– Also, Murder on the Orient Express, which I haven’t yet written about but will. That was a good’n. And let your Christmas freak flag fly people. Don’t let anyone tell you not to. I mean, unless it’s the cops. Cause that probably means you took it a little too far.

Bueller… Bueller…

Yo. You ever feel just like Ferris Bueller? Most people probably can’t answer in the affirmative on that because seriously, who is that cool? Not many of us. Matthew Broderick as Ferris came into my (well… our) life in 1986, but it wasn’t until today that I walked- or rather ran (actually I drove) in his shoes.

I had ordered a Christmas present for Ash on Amazon; ya know, like ya do, and it was being delivered today. Only I remembered that last year a couple of the things I’d ordered from Amazon weren’t actually FROM Amazon, if you know what I’m sayin; so when the packages arrived on my doorstep it was dumb luck that I was the one who discovered them. Honestly people I never check my mail or use my front door. Ashton’s friends from down the street used to give me shit from the porch when they came over to play with him. Look man, we’ve all got our problems ok? Anyway, there were a couple of times last year that the return shipping label had the name of the actual place the item came from, rather than having Amazon’s name on it, and I had barely escaped premature gift discovery. I didn’t want a repeat of that this year, especially since, if I was Ash, I totally would have read the label just in case I could get some info off of it. I think I was more of an asshole as a teenager than he is. Seriously he is the best kid and I’m the luckiest mom. And it’s a good thing really, because I’m not sure my gray matter, aka Jess’s Mess could handle a bad kid.

Now. Where was I? Oh yeah. Amazon. I had checked my order and saw it was “Out for Delivery” and decided I needed to duck home long enough to steal it off the porch before the boy got home from school. I wanted to give the mail enough time to get there without being late so I decided to wait until about 230 to leave work. On my way home I got stuck behind an accident- because that always happens when you’re trying to outrun your kid to the gifts on the porch- so by the time I was about to pull into my neighborhood I saw a bus pulling out of it.

Fuck! I said to myself. (I would have said it to someone else but no one was there but me and my crazy). I prayed it was a little kid bus. I pulled into the hood and to what did my wondering eyes should appear? Junior high Kids. Double fuck. So I made the first right turn and just up the street I saw him, walking home with a friend.

This is where it gets Buellery. I immediately shoved my foot down on the gas pedal, ran the stop sign and made my left turn going 30 mph. From my peripheral I saw Ash break into a run, sure he’d seen me. In my mind’s eye I could just see Jeanie and Ferris Bueller making eye contact while mama Bueller sorts through some important looking papers. Jeanie rams the gas pedal down, determined to beat Ferris home and prove once and for all what a lying sack of shit with an undeserved reputation he really is. Ferris runs like his feet are on fire and his ass is catching.

As I made a completely wreckless right turn into my alley I saw a house painter guy parked behind my neighbor’s driveway and he was totally blocking my way! That didnt stop me. After all, I’d already broken a handful of traffic laws and miraculously avoided killing anyone this long; I was pretty sure my luck would hold. I swerved hard left, up onto the GRASS of the neighbor across the alley’s yard. Then I was back into the alley and ripping ass into my driveway as the garage door opened painstakingly slowly.

Meanwhile, Ferris is hopping fences, cutting through neighbor’s yards—“dinner’s ready,”—jumps on the trampoline, vaults over the fence and, after stopping long enough to meet some sexy sunbathers, he finally ends up on his back porch- only to find the damn door locked and the key under the mat missing. I can hear those trumpets pulsing in the background.

I pulled into the garage, slowing just enough to know I wouldn’t hit Bear’s Harley (because that shit means divorce even quicker than me committing vehicular manslaughter). I ran to the porch, ripped the door open… and the porch was empty. Just as I closed the door and started cursing, Ash walked in through the garage.

So it was kinda for nothing, but I made it gods dammit. Ferris made it due to the stick falling out of his sister’s ass; and I made it due to the kindness of the fates, who allowed me to drive completely wreckless yet avoiding traffic violations and death- of myself or anyone else.

All in all I feel like it was a win win.

And I got the damn box off the porch when I got home after work this evening.

Christmas Special: A Few of my Favorite Things

I’m sure Oprah has a few more people following her blog than I do, but I’m still gonna copy her yearly special where she tells everyone the best shit to buy for Christmas. The only difference is I’m not giving you any goodie bags, because Oprah’s rich as hell and I have tattoos and expensive boots.

Having said that: holy shit, it’s November 14 and I’m just barely putting this out there! So sorry. (I can already see those old Mervyns commercials where the ladies stood outside waiting for the store to open and chanting “open, open, open”. I have almost no doubt that Jess’s favorite things is totally on that level for all of you. It is, isn’t it?)

Let’s start with smelly stuff. Holy fuck wait a minute. Speaking of smelly stuff, an adorable teenage girl just walked by me (I’m waiting for a movie to start by the way) with a 1985 side ponytail in her hair. Pee-yoo girlfriend. There are some trends that should just never come back. Perhaps we’ll talk about that next time. *. Anywho. Where was I? Smelly stuff. This is for those guys who need something really easy and affordable to pick up as an add on gift for the gal pal or even Mom or sis. My absolute favorite of Bath and Body Works seasonal scents is Snowflakes and Cashmere. I want to marry it and make a handful of the sexiest smelling babies in the universe with it. Hot tip: score extra points with the wife here fellas… it smells really great accompanied by Flower Bomb perfume by Victor and Rolf, available at Nordstrom’s or Sephora. They weren’t MFEO** or anything but they compliment each other as though they were. Then for extra extra credit hit the Bath and Body Works again for after Christmas sales and pick up a metric shit ton of Snowflakes and Cashmere and some Twisted Peppermint for good measure and then be all “hey baby, I thought you might like these” or better yet give it to her with a Just Because card. We love that shit.

Let’s see what’s next? Let’s talk about hair product. Y’all know I’m a Redken girl, right? As always my Redken go-To is Wax Blast 10- its in The hairspray family and great for that just mussed look, and even though most people think it reeks, I love the smell of it. I welcome feedback on that by the way; I can’t possibly be the only one. Number 2 on my Redken must haves is Mess Around 10 (pomade- or as Ulysses Everett McGill would call it: “hair treatment”***)This stuff is awesome on wet or dry hair, not weighing it down or making it look grody or greasy.

Next up on hair is my new love: Kevin.Murphy products, which I found at Salon Dante (the BEST Salon and day spa in the effing universe. See farther down in this long ass blog and you’ll find it there.) Now, KM is expensive but amazing as Spider Man. Probably more so. Even with that new cutie they’ve got playing him nowadays. My favorites are Night.Rider – This is a HEAVY hold pomade, great for short hair in particular. I also love their mix and match shampoos: the Angel.Wash is particularly lovely. Then there’s Full.Again- a thickening lotion for those of us with fine hair. But the gold medal winner this Christmas season has got to be Bedroom.Hair. It’s a light hairspray with the same, if you’ll pardon the expression: “just been laid” result, like the Redken Wax Blast, but of the two I’ve gotta admit the KM rocks my world just a bit more. However, the Wax Blast is a gojillion Times more affordable and available at any Ulta or of course at Beautiful You Salon, so choose your poison there.

Makeup. Makeup is highly personal. If you don’t know what your woman likes I recommend you don’t buy her makeup.

Bags: I have become unhealthily obsessed with Frye bags. Approach with caution and don’t pass out when you see the price tag, but they’re beautiful, they’re made of the best leather on the planet – seriously, they use only the classiest cows- and they last forever. Plus they have this bitchin little clippy thing inside so you never have to dig for your car keys.

Shoes: also recent and also unhealthily obsessed but I’m going to throw it out there just the same. Take your wife, your mom, your mother in law who isn’t quite sure she likes you, or even your kid’s asshole 4th period science teacher shopping at Freebird in Fashion Place mall. It’s true you’ll be eating putty out of the windows after but you will cement the fuck out of that relationship. In fact, I do not recommend Freebird if there is any question in your mind as to whether or not you want to keep the recipient of this gift in your life. If you buy me some Freebirds and then dump me after, ima stalk your ass. So use this one with extreme caution.

As always you can never go wrong with a Queen for a Day package at Salon Dante in Sandy.

You can even get a couples massage or sign your lady and her sisters and Mom up for a group pedi. After that shit, when given the choice between you and Chris Hemsworth, your lady will have to think about it for a minute before she leaves you for Thor. Look man, I’m sorry. There’s not enough hair product, Freebird or Frye in the world to make that man unattractive. Don’t lie to yourself; you know it’s true.

Well that’s all I have for now. Hopefully I didn’t lose too many of you along the way. This was a long one.

*We’ll just put this out into the universe now. No one need wait for a separate blog for this bit of info: Mullets, aka the shvilbe, should NEVER come back. Just ever. Also I’m unable to find an actual spelling for shvilbe so any of you 80’s bangers feel free to correct me.

**MFEO: Made For Each Other. God people watch Sleepless in Seattle more often.

***if you haven’t seen George Clooney pining for pomade and hair nets in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Your life blows.

Jess on Pop: Thor Ragnarok

Let me preface this by stating that my love affair with Marvel movies only continues to grow.

In 2008 Marvel released the first of the Iron Man movies. I️ never cared for I️t much and am not a hundred percent sure I️ ever made I️t through the entire film, although I️ adored Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark right away. Ash liked I️t of course. Cause he’s a comics boy, like his father before him. Captain America followed in 2011 and again I️ was glad when his dad took him to see the movie so I️ didn’t have to watch. But then 2012 and The Avengers happened and I️ was hooked from the start.

I️t was the snarkiness of them all and the camaraderie amongst the characters that did me in. Plus is Scarlet Johansson the sexiest and awesomest Black Widow ever? She’s the first female comic book character since Michele Pfeifer as Catwoman that made me feel like female comic book characters weren’t lame. Shit they made me want to be one. To be that strong and ass kicking and beautiful or, like Selena Kyle, just plain yummy. But like I️ said, I️t was with The Avengers that my little problem all started. By that I mean I’m pretty sure that as of now I’ve seen The Avengers, Age of Ultron, Civil War, Ant Man, Spider Man and my personal saviors and favorites, The Guardians of the Galaxy more times than my son or his funny book loving father. But I’m ahead of myself.

I️t was 1995s Mallrats by fellow Marvel maniac Kevin Smith that first sparked my interest in the subject. I’m not sure if I️ was really even aware of I️t at the time. I️ was simply sitting back and laughing my ass off at the antics of Jason Lee and Jay and Silent Bob: “Fly, fat ass, fly!” But I️ always enjoyed listening to Brody and TS talk about comic book characters and whether or not Lois Lane could ever carry Superman’s baby. In the infinite words of Brody, “do you think her Fallopian tubes could withstand the sperm?… if Lois gets a tan the kid could kick right through her stomach. Only someone like Wonder Woman has a strong enough uterus to carry his kid. The only way he could bang regular chicks is with a cryptonite condom- but that would kill him.”

What, at the time, I️ thought was simply fantastic screenwriting and hilarity was, I️ now realize, a really fantastic foundation of story. If I️ May be so bold: (other than Stephen King, duh) I️ think Stan Lee might be the best storyteller of our time. When you strip away what so many people consider nerdy or geeky, and hot guys and gals wearing yellow spandex, what you’re ultimately left with is a great story, every time. Which is where I️ come back to Thor, Ragnarok.

I️ didn’t especially want to see I️t. Even though I️ love The Avengers so darn much I️t annoys my family. I’ve just never been a fan of the stand alone films and my crazy was all like “dude, it’s a stand alone, stay the hell away!” But Ash asked us to take him and y’all know I️ can’t say no to my punky b. Among other things, I️t was soooo 70s. Just like Guardians 2. Very colorful and Jeff Goldblum is still amazing and still highly crushable in his Flash Gordon-esq costume. Thor never gets a ton of screen time in any of The Avengers films so I️ never knew how funny he was. Omg I️ laughed my ass off. Cate Blanchett was stunning and deliciously evil as Hela and of course Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki, Thor’s would-be throne stealing brother who ya love to hate. Or hate to love? Not sure but I️ love that bastard through and through.

The movie had a fantastic cast including Mark Ruffalo, returning as The Hulk, The Dark Towers Idris Elba and Star Treks Karl Urban (dammit Jim I’m an executioner not a doctor!) and a gal named Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, who, (and remember I️ have NO idea what I’m talking about so this isn’t a spoiler) I️ want to marry Thor and have little badass god and goddess babies that kick ass with their little lightning and thunder producing fists. The storyline was easy to follow even though I’d never seen the first two films, although I️ always have Ash next to me to answer questions. I️t was easy to follow, easier to love, and I️ can’t wait to see I️t again.

According to Ash, we have Black Panther next, Which we saw a trailer for and I️t looks awesome. After that I️t will all end in the culmination of all the films: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2018s Infinity War (in two parts).

Look out Thanos. You’re fucked.

The New America

Can I rant today? Every day on my way to work I pass a bright pink billboard that screams “Cosmo Contains Porn”. It’s one of those ‘Protect our children’ campaigns of which I am not a fan. At all. Yes, Cosmopolitan magazine talks about sex. Guess what? Sex is a part of life. “Protecting” your kids from it is turning them into a bunch of fucking weirdos. I got an idea, don’t buy your kids Cosmo if you have such a problem with it. But don’t pretend that seeing the cover of it for five minutes while you pay for groceries is going to turn them into a bunch of delinquents. No. That will happen when you get home, send your kids upstairs to play video games or outside to play with friends and then you ignore them for the rest of the day.

I can remember there being XXX rated movie theaters when I was a kid. I remember driving by at least one when I was very young. I think it might have been Sugarhouse but I could be wrong. I’ll bet the marquise had some classy titles like Debbie Does it All for a Dollar and Get Your Pipes Cleaned part 7, That I probably looked at it, didn’t understand it, and then moved the fuck on to whatever things kids think about.

And guess what? Here I am, 41 years old. Married and happily so. Healthily so. (We even have sex! Sshhh! The children!). I have a great kid who doesn’t rob convenient stores to buy his drugs and then knock his girlfriend up. He even knows that fags can marry each other and it hasn’t even managed to “turn” him gay yet. The husband, the son and I have a great relationship and a great time with each other. Talking. Laughing. Living and just being a family. I’m successful in my career. I work my ass off and I’m proud (call it conceit if you want) to say that I am the best at what I do. How did I manage all of this when, as a child I was exposed to the knowledge of the existence of nudie theaters?! It’s an outrage! Christ there were probably perverts right inside those buildings, hog in hand and loving it! The humanity! Probably we should take all of the Cosmos off the shelves and bring them to that big ass area at the Gateway where they have water flinging all over when it’s hot outside, make a spaghetti-like tower out of them and light them all on fire. WE’D BE DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN!!!! Unfortunately we’d also be nazis.

Today I was catching up on my social media and noticed on Instagram that Tony Baker of TonyBakerComedy had his Facebook page shut down because some asshole was offended by it and complained. Jesus Christ on a bicycle you guys! Don’t follow the fucker if you don’t like him! For the record, I think Mr Baker is awesomely funny and I hope Mr Zuckerberg pulls his head out of his ass. It’s sad that all we worry about nowadays is offending each other. And I can even see It from Zuckerberg’s POV. And why? Because offended people are assholes who sue people for no reason.

Here’s where I’m going with this, I guess. And forgive me for my ineloquence (is that a word? Cause my phone thinks it isn’t). I thought that America was the greatest country in the world. What happened to my right to opinion? If I don’t like Donald Trump, and I don’t; he’s a racist asshole, then it is my right to say so. But holy shit i daren’t do it in front of anyone or face the crucifixion that awaits. You’re not entitled to an opinion. You’re not entitled to walk into an Al’s Video and Stuff and buy a dirty magazine. Those things make you bad. But please, make sure you know that you are entitled to complain about what other people read, who other people have sex with and how other people pray. Know that you’re entitled to do and say what you think as long what you do or say or think is that you are vaguely patriotic and that you are willing to throw out a “like” or a “share” for every child with cancer or pet without a home who was ever on social media.

Nowadays we care about who can pee in the men’s or women’s bathroom and whether or not gay men should be able to adopt babies. We make a huge deal out of things like that. Did that happen from reading Cosmo? How did things that shouldn’t matter become ALL that matters? Why can’t people just mind their own business, live their own lives, and leave each other the fuck alone? Gather with people who are like minded to you and let the people who aren’t live their lives. If a person isn’t stealing, isn’t murdering or having sex with someone (or something) that can’t speak for him/her/it self, then why the fuck do you care? I thought living in America meant that it was ok to be who you were. That whether you rock out for Jesus or Satan, you still have the same opportunities as every other American willing to work for them. From me to you: Whether you’re tattooed and pierced, a huge dirty hooker or a Disney princess hanging onto your virginity for dear life, as long as you aren’t personally up in someone’s business, hurting or denying them their rights then you’re all the same to me.

But here I am. Guilty of the same thing as all the stupid people of the world: saying “be like me; I’m right!” There’s no way to win. And all of these thoughts made way more sense in my head. In the words of the great Stephen King “the most important things are the hardest things to say. They are things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them. When they were in your head they were limitless; but when they come out they seem to be no bigger than normal things.”

It’s true. In my head I was all revolutionary and awesome and freedom for people to be skanky if they wanna and now that it’s out there it just sounds like bitching. It sounds like everything I hate about social media. I’m sorry about that. I truly am. I am hoping that you can read this, pluck out a few sensical things and understand that what’s in my heart is pure, and is said with the best intentions for mankind, even though I curse like a sailor and never throw out a “like” or a “share” for the cancer kids and homeless pets of the world.

Then again I could be totally wrong about all of this. I heard that when they raided Adolf Hitler’s and Charles Manson’s residences after their arrest slash suicide the thing they had most in common was their huge stash of Cosmopolitan magazines.