JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Procrastinators, unite … tomorrow

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Hello, my name is Jessica and I’m a horrible procrastinator.

I am, in fact, currently procrastinating on a project that I managed to put off completely until the day it was due. Gulp. Enter: slight extension and a few Hail Marys. This is going to be an interesting weekend.

I’m 27 years old and work with deadlines non-stop, but apparently there’s nothing that I can’t put off. It’s frustrating to get caught in that cycle. It’s one of my worst professional-life faults.

Looking back, there are all kinds of deadlines I’ve missed, with varying levels of fallout.

My senior speech, which was my first and only college F, required me to go back and redo it to graduate. Thankfully I passed on the second try, after a lot of hard work.

Some stories at my paper in Florida caused a lot of needless office tension. To be fair, I look at my output those days and wonder how I managed to write so much (I do not miss the days of writing three stories in one day and then having to turn in a 1000+ word magazine article). Then I remember quality wasn’t as big of a priority as feeding the beast.

How do you all deal with deadlines? With fending off procrastination? Any pointers?

Written by Jessica

September 19, 2014 at 9:32 am

“And another regrettable thing about death…”

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is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market —
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.

-Perfection Wasted by John Updike

This poem has been on my heart tonight.

My colleague, Paul, passed away Sunday, weeks after a serious motorcycle crash sent him to a Kansas City hospital. We were cautiously optimistic at first — he was banged up pretty badly but made it through a rough first week and into two surgeries.

Enter: Sunday night. Facebook. A link from a shared colleague, asking for prayer for a woman. Then I see the link title, from my newspaper: Editor dies suddenly.

Who else could it be? It hits all at once. Then comes a text, a Facebook message. Collective shock, grief. He was only 47.

I’ve only been in my job for a year and 8 months or so, but my desk is feet away from his. He was also on the night side quite frequently since he oversaw my coworkers on the copy desk (they edit/layout pages) and I also work nights.

There are a lot of people who knew him better than I did, and longer, but I know that he was kind, he was funny, and he had amazing taste (both in music and in design). I dunno if you remember those cookies I made way back when, the bourbon-chocolate-bacon combo — those were for him. He challenged me to make cookies involving both bacon AND bourbon.

In recent conversations, we discussed misheard lyrics, food (especially great restaurants in KC), the Big Lebowski and why men die more than women in severe weather (I was willing to say men perhaps are not too stupid to stay out in bad weather to watch, Paul was quite willing to admit that men are stupid).

My heart aches for his family, his wife, his friends, my coworkers who worked for him. I don’t know if you’re into praying or sending good vibes, but whatever the case, feel free to send both in the direction of his loved ones/the newsroom family.

RIP, Paul.

We’ll miss your brand of magic.

Written by Jessica

July 29, 2014 at 3:58 am

Posted in On the Job, Thoughts

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On unrequited crushes

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So, recently I had a love-life epiphany.

This guy I’ve liked for a long time recently started seeing someone else. I kind of had a glimmer of hope that *something* could happen (it’s a long story, with more details than I care to divulge), but that seems to be gone now.

Surprisingly, my reaction was a lot less emotional than I anticipated. But it made me think, and I realized that I deserve more than an (as far as I know) unrequited crush, the is-he/isn’t-he interested dance.

I deserve someone who is not only interested but acts on that interest — otherwise, I need to stop giving head/heart space to men who don’t show that they are in fact interested and do something about it. Because frankly, I don’t have time for the guessing and overthinking. It’s just not healthy. Plus, why waste time on a mirage of a thing, you know?

Maybe this shows that I’m in a better place than expected when it comes to my love life? I don’t know. I didn’t really get into it much when it started, but my best friend challenged me to take a six-month hiatus from online dating.

I was burned out and getting pretty bitter about it. It’s hard to take when the only people who are messaging you (very infrequently) are people you’re not interested in, and the people you are interested in don’t return that interest.

My friend likes to say that maybe I’m just not cut out for online dating, that maybe I possess some sort of quality that doesn’t show online. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t exactly have people coming out of the woodwork to ask me out in real life — in fact, the only dates I’ve ever been on have been through online sites.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than, if you know of any single, Jesus-following young men, can you send them my way?

(I’m only half-kidding).

Written by Jessica

June 30, 2014 at 3:00 am

Small victories

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So, would you look at that, I am posting not once, but TWICE in a single week. How about that?

I’ve failed to sufficiently post updates on the weight loss journey I’ve embarked on in recent months.

Today I hit a goal, so I figured why not write about that, too.

To be honest, I really didn’t do so great at the big Pound Plunge challenge back Jan.-April. I had a pretty good start and lost about 7 pound-ish but then got off track in the midst of my freelance piece month and random illness (allergies, a gross cold).

So that sucked.

But beyond that, I’ve still been trying to use My Fitness Pal as a means to count calories and store exercises. I know it’s not 100 percent accurate but it is good for getting a grip on what I’m eating, what kinds of nutrients I’m taking in, etc. And more often than not, I’ve been in the gym, too.

Last month, I did my first 5k since my terrible, awful, no-good Turkey Trot (embarrassing: I was beat by my parents … who are in their 50s … who were walking. I blame the extreme cold.).

It was called the Cupcake 5k and it was fantastic. There was a cupcake at every mile from a local bakery called Delish. If you are feeling judgment well up in you at this point, calm down a little bit — I made a point to only indulge in one, and run as much as I could.

I did a whole five minutes faster than Thanksgiving (woot!), despite some nagging foot pain.

Anyway — that milestone I mentioned earlier?

Today I stepped on my scale to see a number that indicated I’d lost just a smidge over 21 pounds since I started trying to lose weight last summer.

It feels great to reach that mark, but it’s humbling to know that I have a long, long way to go to reach my goal weight. It is so easy to put on weight, and so hard to take it off (and keep it off, for that matter).

Anyway. Here are pictures from this year alone — this photo represents about 15 pounds from left to right. The right one is a teensy bit more zoomed out. I can see the loss more in my face than anywhere else, and maybe my legs? I dunno. It’s funny how I didn’t intentionally try to recreate the pose today, on the left. It just happened that way.

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Left: Jan. 2014. Right: June 2014.

Written by Jessica

June 18, 2014 at 1:15 am

Waiting.

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So, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m waiting on an interesting piece of mail.

I have to admit, as I wait for it — possibly for up to another month and a half (I’ve been waiting since the first weekend of May) — it is hard to be patient. I am not naturally a patient person.

My stages of waiting include:

1) Initial zen/excitement
2) Grumpiness that it is taking SO LONG
3) Whininess, for similar reasons
4) Total annoyance
5) Second-guessing that anything is going to happen after all

In this case of waiting, this mail is coming.

It is currently somewhere in between point A and B. It’s in transit. It’s a physical, tangible thing (if pretty mysterious to me at this point) that, barring unusual circumstances, it *should* end up at my door or in my mailbox at some point.

But I can’t help feel like it’s a metaphor for other waiting in my life. (Roll your eyes, I don’t care. I’m a writer and see metaphors everywhere.)

Often I totally discount the thing that I’m waiting for as being in stage 5 — never gonna happen. Currently, a few deferred hopes reside in that category — like finding love and like getting to live in my dream location (which if you don’t know this by now, it’s D.C.).

The older I get, the easier it is to be cynical and to grow bitter about those, even though I don’t want to be.

I want to be hopeful, but it’s hard to be hopeful when it leads to disappointment, and ultimately, sometimes, pain.

I guess I don’t know where exactly I am going with this now. But it’s good to voice this stuff.

Life is so good, but it’s also hard. I wish the waiting part was easier.

Written by Jessica

June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am

Posted in Missouri Living, Thoughts

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She lives.

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As the headline says, I do, indeed, live.

Things as a whole have been pretty uneventful as of late. That’s good (generally) but it’s also boring to write about.

The stuff that I’ve been mulling over a lot lately I’ve been struggling to put into words. Or, rather, I put them into words in conversations with friends, not necessarily in this space. Sorry. That probably makes me a bad blogger (ditto for not posting for three months).

The most exciting things that have happened recently, however, are as follows:

1) Despite being a reporter, I was picked to sit on a jury for a civil trial recently. After a week of the trial (the jury selection process was Monday and Tuesday through Friday it was court all day, err-y day) I found out that I was one of two alternates and didn’t get to the deliberation stage. I was a little disappointed that I’d missed work for the entire week for practically nothing but it was interesting to see. And I supported the side the jury ultimately found in favor of, so no biggie there. I won’t go into too much detail, but the case was a local elderly couple suing a radiologist over an unidentified broken neck. Side note: I am now so well-versed in the spine that I could probably perform neurosurgery. JK.

2) I took a well-deserved weeklong vacation and put 1,600 miles on my car driving all over Illinois and part of Indiana. It was great seeing friends and family and Chicago again. I wish I could have taken another week off to recover and just lounge around my apartment reading.

3) A friend of mine who was stationed in Japan is back in the U.S. now and he sent me a mysterious message asking for my address before leaving. Turns out, he sent me mail before returning stateside. I’m still waiting on it, because apparently it can take a lifetime to receive mail from Japan — anywhere from one month to three. This is insane to me, a little bit. I’m kind of excited to see what it is, though.

4) I’ve celebrated two weddings with my colleagues, who I am lucky enough to also count as friends. They are some lovely, fun people. I think I’m done with weddings this year, which sounds pretty fantastic to me. It’d be nice to have a date for once rather than going solo every time.

5) Just to round things out at 5, this super-time consuming piece on immigration reform I’d worked on all of March finally was published in a national magazine for a higher-ed audience. It turned out really well and was a nice change of pace from local news.

So…yeah. Life isn’t so bad these days, I guess is the tl;dr version of this post.

I’ll have to write more…this blog has kind of gone in ten different directions since I started (infrequently) writing on this site nearly 5 years ago (!). I don’t have many readers — if you’re reading this now, is there anything that you’d like to see more of? Do you actually read these rambly posts?

I’ve been thinking about mining more of my thoughts on single-lady life, just because it has been weighing so much on my heart lately. And I get so much encouragement out of the single Christian blogosphere that maybe I could contribute in some small way.

It’s a thought.

Written by Jessica

June 10, 2014 at 4:07 am

Posted in Missouri Living

Let’s talk about Tinder.

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So, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I’m usually up for trying new online dating sites/apps/etc.

I’ve done eHarmony, OkCupid, Cupidtino (yes, that would be an Apple fangirl/fanboy dating site) and I’ve flirted with the thought of trying Match and Christian Mingle.

But a friend told me about Tinder a few months ago and I finally took the plunge and downloaded it. I hear it’s mostly a hookup app, but I wanted to check it out and see if people were using it for anything more substantive. To be clear, I’m not using it seeking hookups. I’m more interested in dates with likeminded people that could lead to a long-term relationship.

So, moving forward. I have yet to go out on a date, but I think it’s interesting in concept. If you are uninitiated, here’s how it works.

You create an account that’s linked to your Facebook. You select photos for your profile from your Facebook account, put in a snazzy couple lines of text to say anything you want, from a description of yourself to lame things like “I’m willing to lie about how we met.”

Then the fun begins.

You get one match at a time after you hone in your age/geographic radius requirements.

You see photos, first names, ages, mutually liked Facebook pages and mutual friends. You have the decision: going on the very limited information that I have, do I click the heart button or the X button.

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Screenshot, yo. Dale has a nice smile. No snark here. 

X-ing gives you a satisfying “NOPE” stamped over the person’s profile and you get the next person. If you like them, hitting the heart, you don’t see anything with that person again unless it’s a mutual like and they’ve liked you, too. Then you can message. Or in my experience, not message, because people like with abandon sometimes and then go silent.

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Noped.

So, I’ve only been on it for a few weeks, but I think it’s interesting. The sheer number of men on it is impressive. I’ve only seen a very few amount of people who are also on OK Cupid. Which is good because I’ve kind of exhausted the local area on there. You tend to see the same five people you aren’t interested in and after awhile that gets old.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed a few things:

  • Tinder is exceedingly bro-ish. I never realized there were so many fratty 20-somethings in the Kansas City region. It seems like they are all using this app, in all their 20-men-in-a-shot, red-faced binge-drinking, popped-polo glory. There are a lot of references to The Chive. I have a strong ‘Nope’ reflex for these types.
  • You get a lot of people moving through the area who aren’t from there, since it’s a location-based app.
  • Every once in awhile you get a guy who is obviously married (like, wedding photos are all his photos). Which is kind of sad.
  • You don’t get much context for a person. Who they are and likes and dislikes. You have to screen through messaging before you meet.
  • There are a lot of people using photos showing photos of questionable judgement. It amazing that these people actually have these photos on their Facebook pages and think they will help them find someone. Exhibits:
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I can’t even with this photo. Thanks for the nightmares, Randell.

And:

What kind of girl is this intended to attract? Former drum majors?

What kind of girl is this intended to attract? Former drum majors?

But other than that, it’s refreshing to require mutual interest to get in touch with another person. That’s definitely a problem on other sites.

I dunno if it’ll go anywhere (lately I’m pretty solidly anti-online dating because it doesn’t seem like it’s doing me any favors), but there you go. Do what you will with what you’ve read.

Written by Jessica

March 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm