Monday, December 29, 2008

Party with my Belly

My Finnish DJ friend hosted a show at the Vegas version of Privé the evening following Christmas. I hadn't seen him or his wife since the music conference in Miami two years earlier, so I had no intention of missing his performance in my backyard. Sweet has patiently endured the trashy pop and trance tunes that so frequently blast from my car stereo that I figured s/he would either sleep soundly or decide to make a slightly early appearance as Mommy shook her tooshie on the dance floor.


In a room full of slender, pompous 20-somethings, I can only imagine the sneers my buxom, 9-months-pregnant belly must have garnered. In fact, as I pushed Sweet awkwardly through crowds of drunken, dancing suits, the bouncer not-so-kindly denied my request to leave through a roped-off exit (I feigned discomfort in an attempt to break the rules) saying "maybe you shouldn't be here." He was right - not because my unborn child and I couldn't handle the multitude of people or the body-vibrating bass, but because one should never have to stomach such a pretentious scene on orange juice and water alone.

Regardless, it will make a good story to tell the little one when I'm in dire need of "rock star" points, because Lord knows I tossed my cool out the window somewhere along Route 40.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Just when I began to accept my distance from the East Coast, the East Coast came to me...

And just as I ascend to the pinnacle of turmoil in advance of our baby's birth (transitioning work; year-end deliverables; prenatal classes; gift-buying; and preparation for all our relatives arriving for the holidays on the doorstep of our tornado of a half-painted and woefully disarranged house), our ages old backyard tree collapsed into our pool under the weight of the powdery goodness that Las Vegas is not particularly well-designed to handle.


Regardless, I say God bless the snow. In all it's infinite chaos, it will still never fail to calm me. I think I'll make some hot chocolate for Sweet.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rainbow Pack

Mothers-to-be, carrying carbonated orange juice and a bandeau-covered, oversized belly through a casino are quite the attention grabber. It’s as unlikely an image as Grandma Hazel clinging to a walker and an IV pole, rolling dice at a craps table full of cowboys. I will not lie and say I don’t enjoy the attention, particularly the googly-eyed, approving smiles of gambling fathers. In my state of natural obesity, it’s nice to be appreciated.

Las Vegas residents do not typically rush to the Strip for entertainment; there is plenty to be found elsewhere without the insufferable crowds (or obnoxious drink prices, if you’re able). But local-discount (or free – courtesy of generous concierge-friends with strings) shows are still a draw, as is the intensity of a solid power-hour of…bingo. If you enjoy a $15 diversion, but still want to socialize with your companions, don’t purchase the “rainbow pack”. My teal-hued dauber saw more action in sixty minutes than a low-rent call girl does in a week. Empty-handed, save some aquamarine ink stains on my hand, I still left the casino bingo hall feeling a satisfaction that no money-sucking blackjack table can bestow. Gambling without breaking the bank and a free hot chocolate in the belly I share with my Sweet. This may become a Thursday evening habit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Meet Sweet, the pig-nosed, meatball-cheeked, apple of my focus for the last 34 weeks. I love this little worm nestled contentedly on the right side of my belly, poking at my bladder and jabbing at my ribcage.

With only 6 more weeks to go, I find myself reminiscing fondly about these last 7 ½ months and thanking the wrinkly little alien for being so kind to his/her work-a-holic of a mother. Save a 24 hour cold, I never got sick (I’m thankful for good vitamins, strong genes, or perhaps both). Save the pre-programmed exhaustion of my first trimester, I managed to survive my work weeks often on limited amounts of red-eye-induced sleep and forever changing time zones. Save an instant thickening of my once curvaceous waist, to the untrained eye my pregnancy was well concealed until my 5th month and my ankles have yet to swell (I still sport 4 inch heels to social events). Save a vivid dream or two that were the likely result of internal activity, I have never been awakened by the baby’s movements; never felt pain, discomfort or nausea; rarely had to get up in the middle of the night for a desperate pee; and never been want for assistance. Sweet has breezed past velvet ropes and slumbered while I shook my expanding hips on more than one hot night club dance floor; trucked along quietly on hikes through Red Rock Canyon (the last of which, although brief, was three days ago); listened patiently and attentively to my never-ending conference calls; and darted agreeably by my side through airport after airport; rental car after rental car; city after city. For the last 7 ½ months it has been tranquil baby, me and a suitcase against the world. I am a very, very lucky woman.

And now, here I am; home at last, nesting - washing gender-neutral jumpers, hooded towels, bibs, wash cloths and booties no bigger than my finger; preparing my home for the entry of a child who is already, quite possibly, an angel.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I read about the latest blogger happy hour in my former city and my appetite was whet again. I didn’t mean to stop writing. I can’t say it was an accident, really. By “not actively preventing”, my husband and I conceived within 5 days of my last post (educated guess and women’s intuition being the pinpoints). Since then, I have carried my developing baby genius 120,000 miles around the country in 7 months for work and the sheer exhaustion has limited my creative juices. In fact, my imagination is still barricaded by the perpetual distraction of consulting and the little one doing somersaults in my now enormous tummy. I did, however, finally fly my last flight before the birth of my first bundle of joy. I have not entered an airport in 10 days; a bittersweet reminder that life as I once knew it is on the brink of phenomenal overhaul. There was precious little that I had to give up to move to Las Vegas, but without doctor-permitted access to the friendly skies and weekly visits east I am now obligated to forge my desert living and reminisce about what I have really left behind.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Guardian Angel

I’ve often thought of myself as extraordinarily blessed; so much so that I can’t help but wonder from time to time whether there is purposeful, divine intervention sheltering me. My yet discovered celestial reason for being. Take my accident last weekend. I was forced by another vehicle into a concrete wall at sixty miles an hour and walked away without a scratch.

I often deliberate my guardian angel with a Private Ryan-like torment. What have I done to deserve this charmed, unblemished life? For all intents and purposes, I’m a Plain Jane corporate lemming who is too risk averse to change her hairstyle, let alone change the world and thus, my boundless comfort is also my subconscious burden. My uncanny lack of scar tissue (both emotionally and physically) is not just a statistical outlier, but an outright improbability. I say my prayerful thanks with a gnawing guilt that I am misusing my godsent time.

And then I received some appeasing clarity. I was discussing the miraculous outcome of my accident with my preacher’s wife of a sweet, elderly grandmother when she said, “You know, Jessica, you just make so many people happy.” And maybe my purpose is as simple as that…

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Welcome to Nevada

It’s amazing what kind of impact a 45 second change in direction can make. My choice of words is what some might deem ironic (although technically ‘non-impact’ and ‘on-course’ would be the ironic words) given their literal intent. The opening scene: 10am; pure, desert sunshine; crisp, dry, morning air; fresh squeezed orange/carrot juice; convertible top down; CD player set to a crooning Aussie rock band; open highway. A sip of juice and five minutes later another driver forgets to check his blind spot. The closing scene: squealing, fishtailing wheels; burnt rubber; blackened concrete wall; a skid mark spanning four highway lanes and a mangled, leaking, smoking car coming to rest on a bed of jagged rocks.

Aside: Does it seem strange to anyone that there are no airbags deployed in this picture? I will be having a long conversation with Ford on Monday.

That mental video clip has played over and over in my head at least 200 times today and I’m doing my best to avoid contemplating what ‘could’ have happened. I walked away unscathed as did each of my passengers. After the dust settled on my slightly bruised forehead, the tears commenced. I was unharmed and I could not have cared less about my mutilated vehicle. I was crying to drain the emotional panic that had erupted within me because I couldn’t see my husband for the entire 45 second duration of our accident. He had opted to spread out, unprotected across the back seat (giving his best buddy shot gun for our road trip). Until I heard my sweetheart’s voice from behind my headrest, after slamming head-on into a wall of concrete and spinning in a 360 across four lanes of oncoming highway traffic, I had no knowledge of his outcome. The idea of losing my universe of happiness was too much for my psyche to hold inside for long. Traumatic events are a frightening reminder to prioritize.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I am in the midst of boxing up my belongings (and thus, procrastinating) and I came across some items in our closet that inspired me to write a brief post: my husband’s old army ranger uniforms in crisp mint and olive. I couldn’t help but run my fingers across the finely pressed collars, yarn-sewn name tags and metallic decor. He served in his youth, long before we met; crawling through swampy murk, defusing land mines, diving through clouds, starvation, push-ups, chin-ups, blisters, frost bite. The words to describe my pride escape me. I married a hero.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

On the Road Again

My husband and I are ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of people. Scour your own tiles, spice your own beef, move your own house 2,500 miles across the country… My parents call daily to inquire optimistically about the changing of my mind. But what better way to keep the marital adventure sparks flying than to tow my sweet scarlet muscle car behind a 17’ truck filled sparsely with the trinket-like beginning of our life together? [Rhetorical – I can think of many]. Regardless, this was a long drawn out decision that we made together and I’m looking forward to the endless hours of alone time on the back-country highways.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Alma Mater

Tonight I stood at the front of a room full of ravenously inquiring brilliant minds; young, hopeful, yearning. I began [paraphrase], “Interesting that our firm is presenting to you this evening in this location; I have quite the fond memory of this room because it was within the very same chairs almost 10 years ago that I sat where you are today…” RRRRRiiiiii!!?? [That, if not plainly evident, is my alphabetical representation of a record scratching violently to a halt]. 10 years? Has it really been that long?

What I recall from that fateful 1998 fall evening in the warm confines of the student union building, where I drank hungrily the words of my future colleagues, was pure, intimidation-brimmed excitement. The hymen-tearing “I want to do that” experience; raw, unjaded desire. These consultants represented the brass ring; the fruit of my academic labours. Their delivery was effortless, their passion unparalleled, their culture so obviously unprecedented.

And now I am the embodiment of everything for which I vocationally ached. At least, that’s what I’d like to imagine I exude as I speak with as much confident energy as I can muster to an audience full of Me Juniors; the only thing separating me from them being the words “10 years”. Their drive, their naiveté, it’s so sweetly enviable. The soul of my younger self perches playfully on my right shoulder and mocks, “Oh, for these students to be flies on the wall of your subconscious right about now...”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


There are so many tidbits of information orbiting the hemispheres of my cerebral cortex at the moment that I doubt my present ability to write with any clarity. My mind is peppered with the uncertainty of momentous change and the pong-ball mayhem of my endless to dos. Most days I surface only seconds long enough to gasp hungrily for air before sinking again below the weight of my tiring schedule.

Interestingly enough, in the midst of my deep, sparkling chaos my husband and I have begun to consider our family plan. Unbeknownst to him, many a solitary tear has strolled across my cheeks in the last few weeks as a result. If you’ve read my blog for any short period of time, you know how vividly I dream of children. At the same time, a child means absolute upheaval. What I desire most frightens this control freak in much the same way that a dog trembles under the refuge of a dining table in a thunderstorm. The boom of black clouds rioting is enough to send rational consideration out the window. I married my soul mate who promised me partnership for better or worse; regardless, I cannot seem to squelch this innate fear I have of surrendering dictatorial governance over my own well-being. I rule me. I take care of me. I prosper, because of me. This regime, this formula, this methodology - it has worked for decades. Jessica is because Jessica does all and [please pre-excuse my French] I am scared absolutely shitless to let someone else take over. How can a caregiver accept the role of care given? The answer: with a vehement amount of resistance, procrastination and relative anxiety that materializes in the form of needless overexertion. Hence, the periodic tear or two. How else is a wound up girl like me to release those built up bubbles of hesitation?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today's Carat Word = Patronymic

It’s a curious feeling this “in limbo” thing. I’ve been making slow but sure progress on the legal documentation of my new surname, but I still flinch every time somebody refers to me politely as “Mrs. Clark”. It’s been more than four months (not including the few months prior to my wedding where I whispered my future name to my atmospheric audience and practiced my future signature on newspaper scraps) and the adjustment has not sunk in. What's odd is, the sound of my maiden name in conversation is equally as bizarre. My name no longer rolls off my tongue without conscious deliberation; when somebody asks who I am, I hesitate.

In my honest opinion (because what other opinion would I offer?), the only deplorable thing about marriage is the name update process. Though by law I can call myself whatever I please, by convention I’m a traditionalist who loves the idea of sharing my sweetheart’s patronymic; in symbolic gesture of my gratitude and respect. The administrative hours spent in line at the county clerk, DMV, immigration, Social Security, bank and HR (not to mention countless internet upgrades)…have, although fleetingly, made me consider the sanity of my choice.

Now that I’m nearing the end of the paperwork, I wonder how long it will take for the change to feel natural. New clothes – a few days; new address – a few weeks; new car - a month; new name – to be determined…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


“Ooh, but I still smell her. [Inhales deeply through nose] Women! What can you say? Who made 'em? God must have been a fuckin' genius. The hair... They say the hair is everything, you know. Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls... just wanted to go to sleep forever?” - Scent of a Woman

I know each aroma that emanates from my husband and believe it or not, I love every one of them – particularly the scent of his shoulders as my eyes flutter and I curl up against him in those waking moments before the dawn. I love the softness of his breath; the mild sour of his sweat; the apple of his pomade; the sand of his soles; the subtle, entrancing spice of his neck. Whether freshly groomed or leisurely shaggy, he always radiates a hypnotic wonder that paralyzes me. We make for interesting cavies in the study of romantic chemistry.

As I lie next to my husband ingesting his sweetness, or inhale what lingers on his pillow when he is gone, I sometimes find myself considering the importance of aromatic compounds to the success of a relationship. We have been known to writhe in laughter at each other’s unpleasant stories of the fetid clam hatchery and the dime-store musk of former flames. What exactly is it about one person’s hygienic habits that are so repulsive to the first lover, but so palatable to the next? After all that contemplation, all I am left to comprehend is that, whatever olfactory god blessed my husband's glands, he has ruined me for other men.

Monday, January 28, 2008

January's Book of Jessica

Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

I have opted out of the book clubs to which I used to belong because I no longer have the leisure of finishing books on a dictated schedule. However, I absolutely love to read (a curse of my premature literacy at age four) and do so as often as my life-balance permits. I envy with virtual seething drool the number of hardbacks Namaste plows through and thus, I have made a new resolution to read, in one year, at least one sixth of what I presume Namaste consumes [excluding her students’ writing and her requisite PhD literature]. In other words, I am attempting to savour one novel per month. I intend to use my blog as a forum to discuss briefly the impressions I develop from my periodic verbal ingestion. My independent book club, if you will.

This month’s fare: a fast-paced, pop fiction best seller from an author known for her deeply emotional exploration of difficult issues. She is the sole writer to have evoked in me a weep-out-loud-for-five-minutes sentiment when I read her acclaimed “My Sister’s Keeper”. Unfortunately with this novel, she failed to reach the heights I have grown to expect. The characters were genuine and unguarded; impossible not to pity. Her descriptions, as always, were magnificent and robust. The problem with this novel was in the storyline; a plot that was both tired and exaggerated, just like a Matthew McConaughey film [A Time To Kill, anyone?]. Despite its hurried gait, the plot twists were strangely roll-your-eyes unbelievable. Halfway through the book I considered shelving it entirely. I was disappointed that she revisited the concept of infidelity with the enduring, lovelorn BFF – a theme that consistently bores me. If not for the vacillatingly virtuous husband and the angelic, victimized son I might have considered the novel a valuable time despoiler. The read was simply bourgeois and my expectations far exceeded the vanilla I was fed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Everyone has a vice; something on which too large a reasonable percentage of one’s income is spent. My vice is travel (and expensive wine; but for the sake of this post we will assume my zest for pricy blends is commensurate with my penchant for world exploration). This is the reason I do not own designer handbags, nor are my appendages adorned with a multitude of Tiffany’s baubles. I’d rather spend my hard-earned salary on airfare. That’s why I keep my Myspace calendar updated, so my friends don’t have to play the “Where’s Jessica” game. I’m hardly ever home.

This week, it’s Vail, Colorado; where I spent the day bulleting through knee deep powder moguls on the back bowls of the mountain. On the last quad-lift of the day preceding my last run, as the wind bit at the air pocket beneath my goggles and the sun illuminated the bleach of the snow-capped trees, I seriously said a prayer of thanks. I realize this manic voyaging is not sustainable; but for now, I give in unreservedly to my vice because…I can.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are You There God? It's Me, Jessica.

Interesting that when I’m the most tired, I can’t fall asleep. My thoughts are as flippant and circular as the dryer currently spinning the last of my [formerly moth ball smelling] ski clothes. As the dust of my excitement settles and the certainty of my lease termination taunts me, I battle my nagging doubts solo, in what feels like a hotel bed. This is something I will have to get used to – spending multiple evenings separated from my husband’s thermal affection. I have a million fateful reasons to relocate, but the advocate devil perched atop my ear is fighting logic with claws bared. And, in the midst of this life-altering decision crux, I am headed to Colorado to escape. There is a message here somewhere: a sign, an admonition, a reassurance? Alas, a cryptologist I am not. Instead, I await the 4:30am alarm and wonder (with that same angst-y paranoia I have unwilling inherited from my superstitious grandmother) what is going to become of me when I leap deliberately from the security of my nest…

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Time

It appears that I am on the verge of embarking upon [at least what I consider to be] ground-breaking adaptation and there is a huge piece of my psyche that is petrified. One might find it surprising that fierce, confident, fearless Jessica has a hesitancy about change running deep enough that I won’t even upgrade my eons-old (as far as technology is concerned) 4GB iPod. I had no qualms about jumping out of a plane from 14,000 feet or swimming to the floor of the ocean; these exhilarating adventures simply salt and cayenne pepper the average day. But my spirit is bound on a rack of diametrical opposition. On one extreme I am dauntless; on the other extreme I am as bashful as a deer. In 8-plus years I have lived in the same city and worked for the same company. Of course, I have met extraordinary success in doing so; but now, when change is looming, I realize my stability is also the manifestation of my aversion to risk.

The change to which I’m referring is a relocation to Las Vegas. Oddly enough, my husband just left that city a year ago to immerse himself in the fast-track corporate Bunsen burner that is the East Coast [and, of course, me]. So, why go back? Why now? Both questions have been the source of some lengthy, personal, contemplative heart-to-hearts, of which I will spare you all the details. Just know that this is not a whimsical choice.

I’m deliriously excited but timorous; enthusiastic but cautious; intrepid but apprehensive; a vertical, ambulatory paradox. Our decision will be finalized within a week...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Married Fat

I have gone and done the one thing I warn all women not to do when they snuggle into the comfort of monogamous love: I became momentarily complacent with my weight. Granted, I am not the only participant in my twosome who has packed on a [few] extra pounds of body fat. We are both a mere Chipotle burrito away from hitting what we jokingly agreed would be our respective ‘divorce-appropriate’ mass. This is not a laughing matter. I am a healthy, sexy, energetic and athletic woman who has never known a muffin top. So, in lieu of discussing my gluttony any further, I am heading to the gym. This is not a New Year's Resolution. This is a lifestyle...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Banging My Head Against Your Grammar

Even the best of us have off days. I’m in the midst of writing six MBA application recommendations for one of my former super star consultants who is applying to the top MBA programs in the nation. As such, I am mortified to admit that I used the non-word “impactful” in his Harvard recommendation. Although not nearly as egregious as the pitiful business grammar I witness on a daily basis, I sincerely hope he is not given demerits for having a slang-infested review attached to his application.

That being said, I have to vent. The following bullet points list some of the grammatical errors I've spotted this week that have driven me to brink of bonker-dom (yes, I realize that is not a word). If I can rescue even one person from grammatical ghetto-fabulosity (yes, I realize that too is not a word) with this blog post I’ll be content.

  • If you post a picture of yourself, what should the caption read? The answer is “me” or some variation thereof (e.g. “this is me” or “picture of me doing X”). So why then, when people post pictures of themselves with friends or significant others, do they caption the photo “Boyfriend and I”? Does the addition of another entity in a picture warrant a change in the subject? Would you ever say “I and boyfriend”? Exactly. You cannot use "I" without a corresponding verb. Captions like those make me want to poke knives into my eyeballs.
  • I absolutely loathe the incorrect matching of pronoun to subject. I have already commented on Fergie’s blatant misuse. A singular subject requires a singular pronoun, period. When referring to a distinct person, you must use “his or her” not “their”. A doctor does not treat “their” patient; a doctor treats his patient. A child does not miss “their” blanket; a child misses her blanket.
  • On a similar note, I groan audibly when I notice writers slaughtering the pronouns “who” (referring to people) and “that” (referring to groups or things). You cannot say “people that” it’s just plain wrong. You would never say something as silly as “baseball tickets who”, so why would you use the word “that” when referring to your brethren? It’s “people who”, thank you very much.
  • In addition, for the love of God, when will people stop referring to a company as “they” or “their”? McDonald’s does not sell a lot of “their” Big Macs. McDonald’s sells a lot of "its" Big Macs. Seriously people, did we grow up in a jungle? If you insist upon using “their” when referring to the achievements of a corporation then please insert a human entity into the sentence. “McDonald’s managers sell a lot of their Big Macs” would be correct.
  • Keep your punctuation inside your "quotes," unless otherwise directed by Arjewtino. Thanks.

I do not have perfect grammar (please comment on any flaws you might spot in my posts), but it’s pretty damn solid compared to the atrocities I read in the average correspondence (whether blog or business deliverable, 90% of you are killing me with your grade school errors!). My advice: read a few more books or newspapers instead of browsing the internet so much. At least then you’ll realize that “impactful” is not a legitimate word…

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winds of Change

For what I will euphemistically coin ‘logistical error,’ I was not able to welcome the New Year with a midnight kiss until 5 minutes after the hour. That moment when you just want to melt into your lover’s arms and drown out the horns and blinking lights in a beautiful, lip-locked pause was train-wrecked by commotion, Grey Goose and the Backstreet Boys (literally). It took multiple minutes for my husband to find me from across the balcony and summon my hormonal self into his arms. The sluice gates of my tear ducts trembled as he gripped my shoulder and reminded me, through tender speech, that I am the most important thing in his universe. His words were as sincere and fervent as he’s ever uttered. The rest of the evening was a chaotic mess of broken Patron glasses; obnoxiously flirtatious old men; smeared mascara; sloppy PDA; misplaced keys; dueling black jack losses; bitter, windy cab lines; and charred snacks – like the din of a B-horror flick on fast forward. 2008 was thrust upon me in the most tumultuous of unscripted impromptu [aside: I am going to leave that tautology in the text simply because I like how it sounds]. For most, such a night would be discarded as unromantic; perhaps even disastrous. However, despite my enduring guilt for having been situated across the bar from my husband at the most fundamental of social-norm ‘together’ times, the genuine love that radiated from his 12:05am words and consoling bear hugs will remain imprinted on my soul in a way no other midnight peck on the lips ever would.

I do not believe in karma so much as coincidence. Regardless, assuming there is meaning behind the happenstance of our ridiculous New Year's outing, 2008 is going to bring spontaneous movement away from the comfort of my status quo, but be overflowing with the most intense, bona fide love I have ever known.* In doing everything traditionally wrong, my sweetheart and I found our own perfect way to say hello to the winds of wonder that breezed so wildly through our New Year’s door.

*Reference cliché: "I love you more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow."