Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear Facebook,

Dear Facebook,

Or..... more specifically..... Dear Facebook Staff,

You are brilliant.

You are cutting edge.

You are clearly some of the most innovative web coders known to man.

However, I like timelines. I like order.

I like to choose what stories are important to me.

I like privacy.

I hate change, especially when it's inflicted upon me first thing in the morning with no warning.

So, if you could all just take a break from the constant "upgrading" I would greatly appreciate it. I was just getting used to the new chat features and then you throw this crap at me. A girl can only adapt so much.

Warm Regards,

All-American "I Like Ruts" Jess

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This morning, I was getting ready and was trying to rush it since I had an 8:15 dentist appt. I heard from downstairs a little voice say, "Wait, Cecka! I'm coming for you!!!"

Lydie-lu wanted to do "makeup time" with me. After a quick beauty time, I ushered her downstairs so I could finish getting ready and get to the dentist.

About two hours, two fillings, and a numb mouth later, I got to work. One of our DJs, R, came to me and asked if I'd heard. His cohost and my good friend M heard some awful news about her mother. She'd been found unconscious by her grandson (M's 11 year old nephew). He revived her and medics determined that her heart was stopped for a rather long time.

M is originally from out of state. Her northeast family are rarely people she's able to see. Early in May, she went up for her cousin's wedding......... it was the first time in years that her whole family was together. Then, in mid-June, her parents, neice, and nephew came down for her own wedding. It was a small, but lovely occasion that I was blessed enough to be able to attend.

In late July, M got word that her grandmother passed away. This is the same grandmother that heard her say her vows through a cell phone. She commented that this year has been full of high highs and low lows, for her family.

Now, today she's on her way back North to see her mother who is in intensive care.

I'm devastated for M and just wish I could so something to help.

At the same time, I extremely thankful.

I'm thankful that I live so close to my family. That, even though I sometimes think I need to be on my own, I have a situation where it works for my mom and I to live together. I was able to watch my brother grow up and now he lives 15 minutes away at college. I see him at church every week and at meals throughout.

I've lost a parent before. Sure, he wasn't biologically my father, but he was a dad to me for the majority of my childhood. So, I know how precious it is to be able to spend time with them and how quickly it can be taken away.

Today reminded me that I need to work less and love my family more.

It also let me know that, while I'd be ok if life leads me to another place, I would be more than ok staying here for the rest of my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Monday Mish-Mash

Hello, friends! Happy Monday!

So, last week was pretty sucky. Being completely honest. It just was. It started out bad and just got worse.

When I walked into church, yesterday, I was tired, emotional, and just spent.

When I walked out, I felt renewed.

It's amazing to me how God will speak exactly what you need to hear.

Now, I just have to do the work to stay in this mindset.


Keeping in line with the above, we sang "my" song, yesterday.

We haven't sang that song in months. However, when I walked into church yesterday, I silently prayed that we'd sing it. I almost started crying when our Worship Leader started it at the end of the sermon.

Every. Single. Time. I'm having a major problem or am extremely down, we end up singing that song.


I started leading a Small Group, yesterday. 9th grade girls.

Our Youth Pastor and his wife mentioned it to me a few weeks ago. I thought and prayed about it. Then, he hit me up on FB to ask again if I'd be interested. I said yes.

Honestly, I'm nervous about it. I mean, I'm not by myself..... I have two great women who are leading as well........ but, I'm still nervous.

I have a lot of faith, but I'm not the greatest disciplinarian when it comes to my walk with God.

I make good choices when it comes to major things, but I constantly have an internal struggle about my attitude and thoughts.

I'm old enough to be a mentor, but I'm still growing up.


Overall, it went well. Last night, there were about 13 girls and most of them said less than 6 words, lol. We'll grow into it, I guess.


On a totally different note, it thrills me to NO END that new seasons start tonight!

I love new TV :)


George Clooney and Ryan Gosling are in a movie together.

Enough said.


I'm officially done with EH. Maybe I just suck, in general, but that was just not for me.

There looked like there could be potential, for a little while, but it was in spurts.

I am still texting with one guy. And, we're trying to get together.

We'll see.


Remember the time I went to Fun Distraction's house and Green Shirt Girl marked her territory?

Well, since then FD has been bringing around Brown Shirt Girl, who was also at the get-together and was also sizing me up, but was way less territorial.

I eventually asked FD what was going on between him and BSG.......... they kinda liked one another at one point, but he doesn't think she's right for him. So, they are just friends, at this point.

FD and I hang out a lot, but we're at a friends level. I'm cool with it staying that way, but I'd also be cool with seeing if it could be more. We talk pretty openly about our feelings on other people and sort of skirt around the issue of "us." A couple weeks ago, we were at a major event with a bunch of listeners....... a couple listeners ended up flat out asking us if we were dating, lol.

Anyway, Saturday night, FD and I had to work. We were at a super fun venue and usually we like to bring guests to hang out. He brought his sister, a guy friend of his who just so happens to be a part of the singles group at my church, GSG, and BSG.

Hello, awkward.

We went to dinner and both shirt girls sat on either side of him. They awkwardly split a meal. I sat next to FD's sister (who I adore) and tried to ignore the awkward.

GSG clearly wants the dude and clearly realizes she's got competition.

Only, myself and BSG don't want to compete, lol.

BSG and I chatted for a little while. She's a nice girl who seems very similar to me, in a lot of ways. I honestly think we look at one another and think, "Which one of us does he like?" (My guess? Both and neither, at the same time, lol.)

I was in work mode, so I wasn't "hanging out" like they were. However, my friend/coworker M was getting a huge kick out of the dynamics, lol.

Funniest moment of the night?........... At the very end, FD and his posse were getting a group picture. I came up behind them in time to see Green Shirt Girl grab his butt when she thought no one was looking.


I got an angry text a few nights ago, regarding my last blog post.

The person thought I was directing the whole post at them. Which I wasn't. It was my thoughts on an overwhelming trend I'm seeing in several of my relationships. It wasn't meant to point the finger at any one person and make them feel bad. In fact, I doubt that the majority of the people the post was related to will ever read it, lol.

We worked it out (I think) and I'm thankful for that.

That said, to everyone who is reading this, whether you are apart of my everyday world or I've only met you through blogging or if I've never actually had any communication with you (hi lurkers!).........

These are my feelings. My thoughts. My view on the world.

It's not necessarily fair. Or correct. Or nice.

I don't post about every little thing in my life. I don't go into detail about everything I do post about. Sometimes I allude to things/people, without going into specifics. That's mainly to protect myself and the people in my life. I'm surrounded by really great people and even when I'm upset with how things are going, I don't want to hurt them through my blog.

However, and I *think* most of you will understand this, sometimes you just need to get things out. Sometimes, you need to process. Sometimes, you need to say how you're feeling.

I was in therapy for most of my childhood (long story..... short version, bad divorce and a father who needed help relating to his daughter). My therapist said over and over and over again, "It is not your responsibility to determine how someone will take something. How someone reacts to your feelings is not your problem. They are YOUR feelings and they need to be expressed. Not in a mean or disrespectful way, but in a way that allows you to be real."

That may be the problem. Maybe I'm more real on my blog than I am in life. I try to be genuine, but admittedly, I hold back. Most of the time, I think it's easier to just let things pass. So, when I do bring up something that's bothering me, people aren't used to me being so direct.

Something to think about, at least.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A while back, I posted about being forgotten. I'd been hurt and was having a hard time dealing with it.

Since then, things with the parties that were involved have been fine. Absolutely fine.

However, I do think that situation changed me, a little.

Like I said in that original post......... I'm typically the caller, texter, emailer, FBer. With about 95% of my relationships, I'm the one that does the planning and making sure it actually happens. On more than one occasion, various friends have said, "Jess, you're so good. If it weren't for you, we probably would never see or talk to each other."

And, they mean it as a compliment. And, I usually take it as such.

Recently though, I've been having a difficult time accepting all of this. It's like I'm tired of being taken for granted. And, trust me....... I know I'm not blameless. I am sure that I take certain people for granted and I've really tried to step it up.... to let them know I care and appreciate.

Let me pause here............ if you are a Blogger, I'm not intending this for you. And, if you're Meg, I'm not intending this for you, either.


Over the past couple months, I've been at war with myself. There are certain people in my life that I've realized will never put forth the effort that I will. They are great people. In fact, they are some of the people that I love more than anyone on the face of the planet. They have been there for me when I asked them to be there.

Recently, though, I've found myself reaching out and either being ignored or brushed off. At first, I did what I usually do......... kept reaching out, just so they knew I was there and I cared.

Then, I eventually found myself stopping. I got brushed off one time too many and subconsciously just stopped reaching out. Not because I was mad, but because I felt like I was being a bother and didn't want to pester them.

Then, my birthday came around. I got FB wall posts from these certain people, wishing me a happy birthday. Which was very nice. However, I'm a firm believer that the most important people in my life are "FB Wall AND........" worthy.

But, this year? A FB wall post.

No call. No text. No e-card.

A FB wall post.

That was it.

And, that's when I got a little angry.

Because, it hit me that a month had gone by and we hadn't talked. Meaning, a month had gone by and they didn't realize that they missed me. Meaning, how many months before that would they have not called had I not been the one to reach out to them?

I'm probably going to sound a bit narcissistic when I say this, but.........

I deserve more than a freaking FB wall post from the people I love the most.

And, if a FB wall post is all they think to do? Then, maybe it's time to evaluate who I love the most.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been pretty internal. I really haven't been speaking to anyone outside of the people I see everyday. I've been processing everything. Because, the fact is, I *do* love these people. I really, truly do. And, if they needed me at 3am? I would be there for them, in a nanosecond. I always will.

But, it's time to stop being taken for granted.

It's time to stop taking for granted the people who don't take me for granted. Those are the people that I should be calling, texting, emailing, and spending my energy on.

Last night, I decided to take a walk. It was really nice outside.

As I was walking, I started thinking about several people that I haven't heard from, lately. And, how I missed them.

So, I started calling. I started doing the "Just calling to say Hi and that I hope you're well" thing.

I did feel better. It had been a while since I've done that. And, that's me. I like just reaching out. 99% of the time, I don't expect a call/text back. I don't get hurt or upset when they don't respond.

Eventually, though, you do have to start recognizing where people are in your life and which burner they need to be in your life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Where were you?"

"Where were you when......."

That question gets asked a lot. Especially when tragedy strikes.

Growing up, I remember that question being answered about a lot of events......

....... when JFK was shot..........

...... when The Challenger exploded........

..... the first attack on the WTC......

...... the Oklahoma City building........

...... Columbine........

Sadly, there are a lot more events that are remembered.

However, 9/11/01 marked that first time that I could answer the "Where were you?" question. It was the first time that I watched everything happen, in real time. Before that, I was either not born, too young to remember, or was sheltered from what was happening.

This time, I saw everything.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was an innocent college freshman at the University of Tampa.

I commuted to school that morning. My first class was "Gateway".... our version of Freshman Seminar. We got out early that morning and I wandered over to the mailroom to check my box. I could hear the ladies in the mailroom talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center and I called my mom. See, we'd eaten Thanksgiving dinner at Windows On The World (the restaurant on top of the WTC) that year before, while we were in NYC for the very first time. While on the phone with her, I walked across the street to the Commuter Lounge.

As I walked into the lounge, I saw four TVs turned on to different channels. Shortly after walking in, we watched as the second plane hit. For hours, we all just sat there and watched the events unfold.

I will never forget the feeling I had as we saw the first tower fall. Then, one guy in the room said, "That second tower is swaying. I don't think it's going to last much longer." A few minutes later, we watched in shock as the second tower fell.

It was surreal.

In seconds, years of work, building, history were gone. And, we watched it happen.

I remember saying to someone sitting next to me, "You know how they always ask 'Where were you when....?'........ Forever, I'll remember where I was when this happened."

One boy was devastated. He was from Manhattan and he couldn't get a hold of anyone, at home. One of the staff ended up taking him to the administrative offices...... shortly, there was a "command center" where administration and counselors were trying to council the many students that were from that area.

I remember calling my mom. She was frantically trying to get a hold of my aunt and uncle...... they lived in Colorado and he worked for the government. She also was finally able to get in touch with her best friend Ken, who worked across the street from the Pentagon.

She wanted me to come home. MacDill is not far from UT and she just wanted me as far away from there as I could get. Ironically, all I could say was that classes hadn't been cancelled, yet.

At 12:30....... after hours of watching everything....... my classmates sat in our Spanish classroom. Just stunned. Our professor came into class all cheery...... she was holed up in her office that morning, grading papers, and had NO CLUE what happened. We proceeded with class until someone came in stating that classes were cancelled until at least Thursday.

I finally went home. The drive home was so eery. Almost no one was on the road and there was no music on the radio. Just news.

I remember that the next day, I spent watching the coverage. When I went to dance, the other teachers and I were still shell-shocked. However, once the students arrived, we went to business as usual. It wasn't until I got back in my car that I was shocked back to reality. For 4 blissful hours, we'd forgotten.

By Friday, I'd gotten all the news I could take. I started watching movies because there still wasn't anything besides news coverage. I remember that it was almost two weeks before soaps started up, again.

I remember going to New York City on September 12, 2003. I was really, really nervous to be flying, that day. It wasn't the first time I'd flown since 9/11, but still, it was nerve-wracking. It would be another couple of years before I could make myself go down to Ground Zero.

Really, our lives have never been the same.

Travelling will never be as carefree as it was......... it's weird to think that non-passengers could go to the gate with us, right?

I wonder if we'll ever again live in a world where our country isn't at war.

Still, we have a good life. And, we live in a great country.

Things have changed so much in ten years. But, we'll never forget that day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Train/Maroon 5 (8/31/11)

Back in May, I learned that Maroon 5 AND Train were coming to town. Together. Um, excitement.

As soon as they went on-sale, I bought. I most likely could have scored a free pair, but free = no choice in seating. So, I paid up! Thankfully, my friend Billie Jo is always up for a concert and wanted to come, too.

May I first say that non-Country concerts vs Country concerts are an interesting study? Very interesting. I've been going to Country concerts for about six years. There is a different feel to them that is really hard to explain. So, when you suddenly switch back to something else..... it makes for fun people watching.

Like the older couple (probably mid-50s) that were bumping and grinding the entire show. I mean, R-rated, for real.

Or, the set of 5 people (3 women and 2 men) that clearly had some interesting dynamics and took most of the show to figure out.

Or, the set of college girls that was led by a full-fledged hippy girl (down to the super long hair, across-the-forehead headband, and midriff baring peasant top) who knew every single word to every single song that both bands sang.

Then, there was the actual concert................

Matt Nathanson opened up. The only two songs I know of his are "Come On Get Higher" and "Faster", but I really enjoyed him. I like his style and he's hysterical.

Matt Nathanson

The two bands are co-headliners. Usually, that means that they alternate taking the stage. This time, Maroon 5 came out first. I've loved them since high school and they didn't disappoint!

Maroon 5

Adam Levine..... lead singer of Maroon 5 and an amazing talent.

After about 75 minutes of singing all their hits, it was time for a break.

Billie Jo and I........

Next up was Train!

They did a great job of mixing up their older/90s hits and their currents.

They brought on a bunch of women for "She's On Fire" to be Trainettes......

This lady was CRAZY, lol....

The little girl was adorable........

My favorite parts?................

"Hey, Soul Sister" -  As much fun as it is to sing in your car, along with the radio, it's 100x more fun to sing at a concert. Dancing around and singing at the top of your lungs.... so. much. fun.

"Marry Me" - I love, love, love, love, LOVE this song. It melts me.

If you've never heard it, let me give my absolute most favorite lines.............

"Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like I've had long enough with you....."


"Together could never be close enough for me to feel like I've been close enough to you. You'll wear white and I'll wear out the words 'I love you' and 'You're beautiful'."

Melts. Me.

Anyway, while he was singing that song, he ran around the amphitheatre. Billie Jo even got a high-five as he ran past us.

I walked out of there on Cloud 9. It truly was such a great concert.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rascal Flatts (8/19/11)

My vacation was 8/15 - 8/19......... the icing on the vacation cake was a fun concert!

J, G, and I made plans to join Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Easton Corbin, and Justin Moore at the Amp. I was super excited because I was getting the opportunity to meet RF and Sara, for the first time.

Luckily, despite being mid-August, the afternoon/evening was gorgeous!

Justin Moore

Sara Evans and I

Rascal Flatts and I

Kings of Awkward Faces........

J and I........... He's one of our reps and a super nice guy!

G, J, and I

G and I

J and I

Sara Evans

I need to work out with this woman for a week..........

Thanks to our rep, L, we were able to watch Sara's performance from the sound board! It was actually a really neat experience :)

The sound board....

Just another day at work for this chick....

Rascal Flatts

G actually held out a lighter during "Bless the Broken Road", lol.

Sara came out to sing "Easy" with them.

After a while we were ready to go, but not before meeting up with D.....

G, me, and D

J jumped in for a pic!

D and I

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kellie Pickler (8/8/11)

Last month, we were visited by Kellie Pickler. This was three years in the making.

Honestly, it was one of our busiest concerts ever, so I got a total of about 6 pictures............

Ms. Pickler doing her thang......

She was really nice. And, she had a conversation with EVERY person she met. Her M&G last almost two hours because she engaged every person in line. (Great for her fans............ not so great for the people manning the line)

C and I....... he's always been my favorite rep. Sadly, he's moved onto a different region :(

Kellie Pickler and I

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just roll with it.........

We'll call this week "Concert Week" over at All-American Jess...................

Earlier in the summer, we had the pleasure of having Easton Corbin out for a private concert. If you don't know who he is, just imagine a very young George Strait.

Easton Corbin and I

G and I

My friends Billie Jo, Ambra, and Jenny with Easton

Sonya, Easton, and Amy (a girl I went to HS with and now go to church with)