on halloween

Me: “…and we saw someone in a full The Monarch costume.  And a Dr. Girlfriend.”

Taylor: “Yeah, you told me.”

Me: “And there were people in Spy vs. Spy costumes, too.  Those were pretty cool.”

Taylor: “Mmhmm.”

Me: “And of course, the requisite amount of like, sexy cat girls.”

Taylor: “Well, Halloween is usually a skank fest.”

Me: “Yep.  Someday I want to have a big Halloween party, and have a contest to see who can make the least skanky costume into a skanky costume.”

Taylor: “Like Skanky Stephen Hawking.”

Me: “Or Skanky Hitler.”

Taylor: “I think that’s been done before.  A lot, actually.”

Me: “Well, uh…Skanky Einstein?  But yeah, I’d like to have a big Halloween party someday.  Maybe when we have a house.”

Taylor: “We should have a Pokemon Party.”

Me: “Where people dress up as pokemon?”

Taylor: “Sure.  I could be Brock, and you could dress up like Ash.”

Me: “That would be AWESOME.  Wait, I like how you’re saying I should go as Ash instead of Misty.”

Taylor: “Says the girl going as Marty McFly for Halloween.”


Taylor: “I’m not disputing that.  What, you want to be Misty?”

Me: “…no.  Yeah, you’re right, I’d totally go as Ash.”

Taylor: “I thought so.”


Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


the women on the path

Just after his proposal, Taylor and I were walking hand-in-hand down the rest of the Lady In The Woods trail at a national park.  We had spent the previous twenty minutes babbling about weddings, about what colors, what groomsmen, what food, and we were nowhere near getting worn out on the subject.

Periodically we stopped to admire a particularly beautiful view or lush landscape.  When we passed a quiet stream winding through the moss, Taylor set down his tripod and began snapping photos.  After a moment, a couple of women came chattering happily around the corner of the path.

They were in their late fifties and wore matching white t-shirts and cross necklaces.  One had a fanny pack bundled around her middle.  The other had red, white and blue socks.

“Don’t mind us,” I said, scooting off the path a little ways.

“Oh, not at all, not at all!” said the first woman.  They stopped and looked over Taylor’s shoulder as he framed the photograph.  “Ooo-ee!” the woman cried.  “That is a fancy camera!

“Thank you,” Taylor replied.

“It’s new-ish,” I added.

“Is this for a calendar?” asked the second woman.  There was a glint in her eye as she uttered the word.  This was obviously an exciting prospect for her.

“No,” I said.  “Just for fun.”

The women both nodded sagely and watched Taylor take the photo.  I was twisting my newly inherited ring around my finger.  The adrenaline from the proposal was still running high.

“We just got engaged!” I blurted out.  The women turned towards me, their mouths falling open.

“When?” they asked in unison.  “Just now?”

“Twenty minutes ago,” I said.  “On this path.  Just up there a little ways.”

OOOOH HONEY!” The first woman screamed.  “HUGS ALL AROUND!” 

She wrapped me in her arms while the other woman seized Taylor in a bear hug.  He patted her back politely and she released him and turned towards me, wiping a tear away.

“I never met anybody who got engaged twenty minutes ago!” she said proudly.  “Ooh, that’s just wonderful.  That is just fantastic.”

I looked at Taylor.  We both glowed a little.

“Are you from nearby?” Taylor asked them.

“No, no.  We’re from Michigan!  We’re just takin’ a walk before we head back to the airport.  In fact, we ought to head on.”

They gave each of us a final hug and made their way up the path.  As they disappeared out of sight, we could hear them exclaiming, “Ooh, engaged twenty minutes ago!  Oh, boy!  Made my day!”

The woods fell silent again, and Taylor’s lips twitched.

“That was hilarious,” he said.


Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


an engaging story

Short version –

Taylor and I are engaged.

Long version –

On Labor Day weekend, Taylor and I went camping in a national park.  The landscape was magnificent in all of the proper Oregon ways, with deep, soundless forests, craggy cliffs looming over the roads, and the smell of dry, splintering trees in the last throes of the high summer.  Rivers ranged from crashing spectacles to quiet trickles.  Birds commented from low-hanging branches. Everything existed against an endless backdrop of blue mountains, like paper cutouts pasted on the sky.

I complained that it wasn’t real camping because the bathrooms were too nice.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and happily went about setting up the tent.  We built a roaring fire and tried to wait for it to reduce to cook-ready coals, as my father had warned us to do, but eventually lost patience and set Taylor’s new cast-iron pan over the licking flames. Taylor made the Best Steaks Ever and we spent the evening playing with the campfire and sitting next to each other in the comfortable stillness of the woods.  We slept fitfully on rock-solid ground, with overenthusiastic crickets squealing inches away from our heads.

We were still happy, though, and the next morning Taylor cooked eggs in a basket while I groggily stared at the pan, willing it to produce buttered toast for me, which it eventually did.  We pored over the complimentary park maps and planned four ambitious hikes.  We figured we would start off slow with the easiest one, a relatively flat path called ‘Lady In The Woods’, named after a sculpture carved into a giant, immovable rock.  I had picked it out specifically because the description of the hike had the word ‘creek’ in it, and I have a special fondness for creeks.  Streams, too.  I also like ravines, tributaries, and narrow rivers.

But yeah, I’m stalling.  I’ll go ahead and get to the point of all this.

The trail we had picked followed a little creek, only a foot wide, and it wasn’t long before we came across a tiny waterfall.  It wasn’t so much a waterfall as it was a stumble in the natural rhythm of the current.  The water just tripped a bit, and spilled over the edge of a few piled branches and then carried on, hoping nobody noticed.  Taylor set up his camera tripod and started snapping photos.  I watched him work and offered ‘helpful’ suggestions.

After a few minutes, he cleared his throat.

“I have a treat for you in my camera bag,” he said.  “But you have to close your eyes.”

He lifted my hands and pressed them against my eyelids.  I suspect he waggled his hands a few times in front of my face to be sure I couldn’t see.  I heard him rustling.

“Okay, Jessica,” I said to myself.  “You are going to open your eyes, and it is either going to be an engagement ring, or a granola bar.  If it is a granola bar, you better be sure to act super grateful that he was nice enough to bring a granola bar into the woods for you, even if you aren’t even that hungry right now, and have no place to put the wrappers.”

“Okay,” Taylor said.  “You can open them.”

Taylor was kneeling in the traditional pose, a little white box sitting in his palm.  He grinned at me.

“Um,” he said.  “So…”

I immediately burst into tears.

Taylor blinked at me somewhat nervously.  He had a short little speech prepared, and he went through it, valiantly ignoring my honking sobs.  I don’t actually remember if he ended with ‘will you marry me’, but I nodded anyway and threw my arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.  He patted my back.

“You should, um, probably actually say ‘yes’,” Taylor reminded me.

“Yes,” I told him.  “Oh, yeah, of course.  Definitely.”

He opened the little white box and pulled out my grandmother’s diamond wedding ring, which he had gotten from my father.  He slipped it onto my finger. It fit.

And then we were officially engaged.

We went back to our campsite and ate sandwiches and drank wine out of plastic cups.  We napped and went for another hike, this one bordering a broader, more impressive creek than before.  We paused on a sandy bank, listening to the crash and thunder of a real, legit waterfall and watched the pebbles sparkle below the surface.

“Dammit,” Taylor growled.  “I should’ve proposed here.”

“No, no,” I said.  “It was perfect where we were before.  This is all perfect.”

And I meant it, with every part of my dusty, mosquito-bitten being.


Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized



Mom: “We went and saw Planet of the Apes last night.  Or, no, it was the new one.  Rise of The Apes.”

Me: “Oh.   Did you like it?”

Mom: “Well, it was just made for ten year old boys, so they could see it and come home and run around and pretend to be the characters.”

*Hubbub in the background.*

Mom: “Dad is saying eight year old boys.  He’d give it an eight out of ten.”

Me: “That’s not bad on the Dad Scale.”

Mom: “No, it’s really not!  He had recorded the old one on the DVR so that we could watch it when we came home-”

Me: “The Charlton Heston one?”

Mom: “Yeah, and now he wants to watch it, but…”

Me: “Not in the mood?”

Mom: “I’m just tired of apes!  I can only tolerate so many apes in a day, and I think…I think I reached my ape limit.”

Me: “Guess you’ll have to wait until your ape batteries are recharged.”

Mom: “I guess so!  I don’t really have a lot of room in my life for apes.”


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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


Jessica Talks To Crazies – Asshole Edition



Nicholas: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, is this Nicholas?”

Nicholas: “Who the hell is this?”

Me: “This is Jessica, in [Jessica’s Boss]’s office.”

Nicholas (yelling): “I DON’T KNOW [JESSICA’S BOSS].”

Me: “Oh, she’s a real es-”

Nicholas (still yelling): “I DON’T KNOW WHO THAT IS.”

Me: “Look, are you selling a house or not?”

Nicholas: “Uh, yes.”

Me: “Someone wants to show it.”

Nicholas: “Oh!  Who?”

Me: “[Jessica’s Boss].”

Nicholas: “Ohhh. Okay, okay.  I get it.  Why are you calling me, though? I don’t give a shit.”

Me: “On the showing instructions of the house it says that we need to call you and give you two hours notice.”

Nicholas: “Yeah, I want two hours notice.”

Me: “Well, here’s your two hours notice.”

Nicholas: “Pffuh.  I’m in Arizona.  I don’t even care.  The house looks like shit, but whatever.  I’m not gonna budge on the price.  You can tell [Jessica’s Boss] that.”

Me: “I definitely will do that.”

Nicholas: “Can I go now?”

Me: “Yes.”

And then I hung up on him.


Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


the taylor show

From the Saturday Jane mailbag:

“Dear Jessica,

I have an idea, why don’t you shut up about yourself for like two minutes and tell us what’s going on with Taylor?  Weren’t you like, living with that guy at some point?

Yeah, I think you were.  Tell us some stuff about that guy.


Princess Kate Middleton.”

At least that’s what I imagine would be in the Saturday Jane Mailbag if there was such a thing.

For the last year or so, Taylor has been feverishly working on a series of projects for his advisor.  As I understand it, the relationship Taylor has with his advisor is not unlike the relationship that Saruman has with that exceptionally tall Uruk-Hai.  The advisor goes to Korea, makes strange deals with unseen beings of great power, and then returns to wave his staff around and send Taylor off into the wilderness, where he has been told to murder elves and make apps for the iPad.

Recently, Taylor received a last-minute call from his mysterious master who commanded him and the other grad-orcs to put together a presentation for a few visitors from the engineering department of a large Korean university.  Taylor and Mohammed put in a few late nights and the presentation went off without a hitch.  As the Power Point ended, the pair of Koreans clapped enthusiastically and asked to buy them a cup of coffee.

On the way to the busy kiosk on the first floor of the engineering building, the Koreans talked expansively about their university, and how much they needed good teachers, smart teachers, they added, shooting Taylor and Mohammed significant looks.

“Korea is very nice,” they said.  “You would like it there.  We need good engineers that speak English.  We pay very well.”

“I appreciate it,” Mohammed said, “but I have a wife and son.  I’m pretty settled here.”

The Koreans’ hungry eyes turned to Taylor, who towered uncomfortably over them as they praised his intelligence and talked about what a wonderful opportunity their university would be for him.

“Korean women,” they said slyly, “are very beautiful.  The best women in the world.  Very lovely, and they love American men.  You would do very well in Korea.  Maybe find a nice Korean women, and marry her.  Korean women make the best wives!”

“I’ve sort of, uhm, I’ve got a girlfriend,” Taylor replied as they reached the coffee kiosk.

The cashier asked them each what they wanted.

“I’ll have an Americano,” said the first Korean.

“Me, too,” said the second Korean.

“Me, three,” said Mohammed.

“Me, four,” said Taylor.

Here are three things you should know about Taylor.

1. He is unendingly polite.

2. He does not know what an Americano is.

3. He does not like coffee.

As he relayed the story to me later (getting to the part about how Korean women make the best wives) a strange expression flickered across his face.

“Sweetie?” he asked.  “What’s an Americano?”

“It’s espresso and water.”

“Oh,” he said sadly.  “That explains it.”

He had forced himself to drink the whole thing.

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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Jessica Talks To Crazies – Kind Of Illegal Edition!




Me: Thank you for calling [Jessica’s Work].  This is Jessica.

Him: Hiiiii.  Yeah, I’m going to be by in half an hour or so, and I just need to pick up some signs.

Me: I’m sorry, who is this?

Him: Jeff.

Me: Are you one of our sellers, Jeff?

Him: Oh, no, no.

Me: So…uh.  Which signs do you need exactly?

Him: I just want some ‘For Sale’ signs that I can put in my front yard to sell my house.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry, I think you might be confused…we don’t sell those kinds of materials here.  We’re a company of real estate agents…it’s like a consulting company.  You might try looking at Home Depot.

Him: No, I’m not trying to buy a sign.  I just want to borrow it.  I’ll bring it back when the home sells.

Me: We don’t really do that here.  I’m sorry.  I think buying one will be your best bet.

Him: I don’t want the signs they have at Home Depot.  I want a [Jessica’s Work] sign.  When people see For Sale By Owner signs they think they can lowball you.  I’ve done this before.  I’ll bring it back after I sell the house.  I’ll be by in about half an hour.

Me: Sir…hang on.  Are you looking to list your property with us?  I forward you over to [Jessica’s Boss] and you can talk about listing your property with [Jessica’s Work].

Him: No, I told you.  I don’t want to list with you.  I’m selling my own house.  I just need to borrow a sign.  I like the ones with [Jessica’s Boss]’s face on it.

Me: I’m afraid I can’t give you one of those signs unless you’re listing with us.

Him: It’s not like you have to do anything.  It’s free advertising for you.  You should want to do it.

Me: No, I’m pretty sure it’s…against some kind of regulation to do that.


Him: Well, you’re probably new here.  I do this all the time.  I have a bunch of rental properties here.  I borrow signs from [Jessica’s Boss] all the time.

Me: Why don’t I forward you to her and you two can discuss it.

Him: No, that’s not necessary.  I’ll just pick up the signs in about half an hour.

Me: As I said, sir, I don’t believe I can give you any of our signs unless you’re listing with us.

Him: I’m telling you, I do this all the time.

Me: You may be thinking of another office then.

Him: NO, it’s [Jessica’s Boss]’s signs!  I talked with someone last uh last week and they let me take one.  They were really glad about the free advertising.

Me: Who let you take one?

Him: The other girl working there.

Me: I’m the only girl working here, sir.



Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized