The Age of The Bum Knee

On Sunday, I hurt my knee?

I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt before Sunday. I know by the end of the early AM hike it did hurt.

But from what? Why? How? These are questions on which my knee pleads the fifth.

It doesn’t even hurt consistently. There is a vague menacing aura surrounding every step. It only really hurts if I forget to mince or try to take the stairs “normally” (each foot getting it’s own step instead of this weird cha-cha where I must step down with my right and let my left kind of tag along).

After a day of this, however, there is something that does hurt consistently – my left hip.

It is never has sharp as the knee pain, but achy enough that I limit the number of times I bend or twist. I can’t sit in one spot for very long or the pain worsens. I can’t stand for very long or the pain worsens.

I am trying to be a nice person to be around but it’s hard. Pain makes me grumpy. Restricted activity makes me grumpy.

Realizing I’m at that age where my body can just randomly decide things hurt or don’t work makes me *really* grumpy.

Old School

Today I am writing because I set myself a goal to write daily.

(Some days I write but not here. And some days I don’t make my goal.)

I don’t particularly want to write. My brain is too scrambled for good writing. But I have 3 more hours of sitting here in the shop and I already caught up on accounting, cleaning, ordering, and advertising.

(November – up until Black Friday – is one of our slowest times of year.)

I do need to schedule social media and brain storm some content but evidently I want to do that even less than I want to write.

(I need to put something in parentheses here to stay on theme.)

This morning we had to get up extra early to meet some people who wanted us to see some land together. Since Tom and I only have three days off a year together (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter), this had to happen early on a Sunday when we open an hour later than the rest of the week.

(I paused writing to gather up trash, wipe down the bathroom, do a 20-minute yoga video I missed at home with our early morning meeting, and make a snack. No one came in the store during that entire time.)

We woke up to snow. Which shouldn’t have surprised me since we woke up to snow yesterday. But for some reason it did. It is by no means unusual to have snow at this time. However I am still in the mindset of all the things I want to get done before snow gets here. And I thought yesterday’s snow was some fool’s snow. That snow that all melts away by the end of the day so you can’t even tell that it snowed.

(Part of my snack is green beans – a slight fluttering nod to the idea of a well-balanced diet. They froze in the fridge and I did not notice until now. So I’ve put them at my feet with the space heater. I’ll keep you updated.)

The snow made this morning’s meeting harder, but also sweeter. This came together at the last minute and felt a little rushed but it probably couldn’t have waited. The next time we hike that path will be on snowshoes or in May. The snow also made things pretty and festive. Fall colors are long gone here. Unless it’s an evergreen, it’s brown now.

(The space heater did nothing. It doesn’t help I transferred the green beans to a mug that had been used for hot chocolate two days ago. Now I am shoveling mushy-but-also-ice-spiked green beans into my mouth and trying to ignore that wrong-sweetness aftertaste.)

The moral of this story is that when I don’t feel like writing, sometimes it’s because I have nothing to write about. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

(This has taken me two hours and still no one has entered the shop.)

Almost Worth It

I had to reset the password to this account in order to come babble at you and two hours ago it would have been an impossible feat considering how taxing I found the rest of my day.  But then I consumed an unfair amount of the “Household Christmas Chocolate” and somehow I managed to to reset the password even though it also included having to remember the password to the email account to which this blog is associated.

Tom is actually unaware of the original amount of “Household Christmas Chocolate” so we can all agree the fact that I have left ANY makes me an extremely generous person.

….Aaaand I have just deleted all the stuff I thought I came here to say because it was boring and I am too exhausted to make it un-boring.

Hello.  I’m here.

Questionable Quotation Marks & A Few Parentheses For Good Measure

It’s my “day off”.

Here’s the thing about a “day off” as a business owner – it’s bullshit.

That’s not quite true.  During our slow time (I almost put quotation marks around that and then thought, WTF, it IS our slow time.  Nothing coy or ironic or quotation marky about it), days off could almost truly be days off.  Granted, I felt compelled to hike/snowshoe/expedition somewhere worthy of business social media, but at least I was outside getting some exercise.  And in our slow time we can (mostly) afford two days off.  Like normal, regular, sane people with normal, regular sane jobs.  Which meant one day to get chores done and one day to actually relax and have “off”.

But now is not our slow time.  And we can’t really take two days off.  And a day off is slowly, but surely, becoming bullshit.

By the end of this week, we’ll be living in a half renovated apartment above our business.

Shall we discuss the fact that an apartment renovation was not on my radar for projects this summer?  Nah.  There’s no point.  Radar or not, we needed a place to live while our “real” house is being renovated and upstairs from the business made the most sense.

I might not have thought that if I’d ever been upstairs from the business prior to agreeing we’d renovate it.

It needs EVERYTHING.  New walls.  New flooring.  New kitchen.  New bathroom.

I knew 2018 was going to be a challenge for me.  I signed up for A LOT of change (FYI – I don’t own a condo in FL anymore).  The condo.  The cabin (basement, new well, new roof, new driveway finally happening!  Can’t live here for three months!)  The job (FYI – I don’t have another job anymore.  As of January, I work solely for our business.  Let’s here it for unpredictable cash flow!)

Let’s be honest.  No one likes change.  But my last name since 2004 has been In Progress.  If that doesn’t suggest a predilection to uprooting the status quo, I’m not sure what does.

So.  I’m here.  I’m persevering.  (Which is much different than preserving which I don’t think will get done this year).  I’m if not rolling, at least not lying down in chains to stop, the punches.

As it is my “day off”, I’ve treated myself to a drink or two.  We’re moving at the end of this week you see.  One less vodka bottle to pack.

Historically, quotation mark days off and drinking lead to an over pouring of feelings via Facebook.  Particularly of the moral/political persuasion.  Pretty much lately I feel the only time I have time to consider the world beyond how I am going to keep my business open and pie in my pie hole is when I am tipsy.  Tipsy Jessica = Social Justice Jessica.  It’s not right, it’s not pretty, but it’s the truth.

But if one crowns oneself “In Progress”, one must learn a thing or two from history.  For example, to not refer to oneself in such a pompous manner.

So I will not take to the Book of Faces.  I have learned a lesson.  (Not so sure it is “my” lessons so much as fucking common sense – give up status updates the minute libations cross ones lips.  Damn.  Did it again.)

Instead I shall post here.  And purchase this sign.


I can’t wait to put it up in the shop and tell people it supports  Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health.

Let’s raise a glass.  To more bullshit day’s off.  More vodka.  More renovation.  More progress.



I have often wanted to Facebook this (Facebook as a verb…kill me now) but I feel it requires a bit of explanation past general Facebook post verbiage politeness.

The prologue:  For over half a year now, I have not been a vegetarian.

I wish I was a vegetarian.  And maybe someday again I WILL be a vegetarian.  Or even a vegan.  (Genetic outlook on cheese – not so good.)

But I have a history with horrible nutrient absorption.  Again, no surprise given the genetic dice I am rolling.  I am sure this can be solved with multiple blood tests, shots, and specific doctor-approved supplements.   But the reality is I do not have time or money for blood tests, shots, or more expensive supplements.  I’m doing good to buy my buy-one-get-one-free vitamins at the grocery store and remembering to tell my doc, “oh yeah, lost 20 lbs.  Is that why my thyroid medication is messing with me?”

So!  Last May.  Fatigue.  Horrible fatigue.  Crying-because-I-want-to-go-to-bed-at-4-pm fatigue.  No money or time for blood tests or shots or fancy pills.

I ate some meat.  I felt better.  Vitamins B12, you iz my frind.

Ever since then, I have been back on team meat.

Except…not really.

Because for ALL of my grocery-buying years, whether I’ve been a true vegetarian or not, I’ve been avoiding meat as much as possible.

This means I can buy ground meat.  And I can buy chicken or turkey in most forms without too much “to-do”.

But suggest a cut?  Pork tenderloin is on sale?  Angus beef what now?


Some weeks I admit defeat.  We still eat vegetarian /vegan meals every week.  I can supplement that with poultry throughout a week or two no problem.

But when I know something Tom will really enjoy is on sale, or I feel I’ve gone too long (i.e. I’m dragging ass) without red meat?

Lord help me.  I’m wavering over the refrigerated cases for minutes.  HOURS.  What is a tenderloin?  What is a flank?  WHO IS CHUCK AND WHY DO I WANT TO ROAST HIM?  Did he do something embarrassing the first day of school?  Bet he did.

A short list of things I attempt to buy but run away because I’ve stared too long:

  1. Bacon (Nitrates?  Applewood smoked?  Hi Babe.  What?)
  2. Deli Meat (What animal did you come from and why did you eat an entire salt lick before dying?)
  3. “Cuts” of an mammal.  (I…how did you use this part before dying for me to consume?  Oh really?  Thanks.)
  4. “Roasts”.  Sorry, it just seems like a lot if time.  That’s a big commitment to the thought that I currently kill animals to survive.  Do you have anything I can cook in 4 minutes, eat in 2, and forget in 1?

In short, send help.  In the form of B12 shots.  Thanks.

On Not Writing

Nope!  Still not writing.  And yet…

Since August, I have created over 100 draft emails that are essentially daily journals, mostly surrounding weight loss.  I have written these with an eye and ear towards making them public, but wanted the freedom of privacy to write in an obsessive manner about the scale, my food, my attitude, etc.

I’m unsure how and when I’ll start publishing some of those journals.  It’s been almost 6 months and it feels a little stale.  Do I backdate them?  Do I upload all at once?  Do I write as if it is a current date and time?

I thought I would have started this process by now.  But then November 8th happened.  That started a whole slew of flailings-about in my personal and professional life.

I am DEFINITELY not ready to talk coherently or constructively about the current political situation (just ask anyone who has talked to me about our current political situation) but I bring it up because it has been weighing on my mind and heart and diverting precious brain resources from writing anywhere about anything.

That’s all I got today.  Hope you are well.  Thanks for understanding.

Untitled #1, an artist’s starting point

A new month! A blank slate! An untarnished beginning!

Will I stick to my goals? Oh goodness no. But what will derail me? The fact that daylight will dwindle to about 23 minutes and send me to a spiral of depression and pajamas? Or will I get so stressed about finances that I spend double our grocery budget on wine? Perhaps I will take a jolly “belly like a bowl full of jelly” literally and consume my weight in those cheap holiday sugar cookies that come in sacks.

Ah! The possibilities! So much fuckery to look forward to!

I’ve re-read some Christopher Moore recently. Is there anyone who uses the word fuckery more than him?

Before you ask, nope. I did not sign up for NaBloPoMo. I am also not participating in NaNoWriMo or Movember. (In fact “tweeze” is on my November habit tracker. Take that upper lip and uni-brow!  And chin. And any mole anywhere on my body.)

I don’t know what I’m doing. Which is usually true, regardless of the month or point into which we have traversed it.

Today I decided to go old school with that cluelessness. And really, what is more old school than blogging? (Besides making up words like “cluelessness”.)

Pretty much all about hygiene for November. Probably won’t have time to blog with all my hand washing and flossing


I pulled into a private drive. I only realized after the fact it was private; I thought I was pulling into the business next door’s double drive. But the snow was too bad. It couldn’t be helped. I had decided quick enough to act, but not quick enough to pull over correctly.

The yelling commenced.

“Where are you headed?!”


“I’m going to Saint Germain!”

“We’ll take it!”

And so I ended up with two passengers on my drive to work.

My Facebook memories told me that two years ago we had a huge snow that day. So I was trying to be a little more stoic about the current wet, slushy mess. For the most part, this spring has been easy. And snow was all but gone.

But that day there was snow. And two guys walking down the road in it.

Their names were Jamie and Rob. I didn’t ask. We exchanged that unimportant info when the ride was over.

Rob, in a suit made for riding snow mobiles, sat in the back and pretty much said nothing. Jamie was lankier, had a black eye, and more talkative. The black eye was from his son. The talk was the usual hitchhiker banter.

The walk was because of jail.

This did not surprise me. The county jail is in our city and I picked these guys on the typical “The Walk of Shame” out of town.

Jamie admitted to it pretty much as soon as I got the car back in drive. “Had a fight with my son. Have one of those breathalyzer tests to start my car. Got so mad I had a few drinks, blew into it, and told them to come pick me up.”
Now I did not know his name, but I knew “his” story.

“Hey, I’m here to drive, not to judge.”

And so I drove. We passed two bad wrecks. I couldn’t take my eyes off the road but Jamie reported the second one was horrible – car was totaled after swerving off the road, down a ditch, and into a huge stand of pines. At least they didn’t go in the river.

Picking up hitchhikers is something I decided to do after I’d been a hitchhiker. When you are a hitchhiker, you have stories of the angels on wheels that save you from miles of road walking. These aren’t the stories of hitchhiking shown on after school specials. For good reason, I suppose. But I like the idea of being that angel on wheels for someone. I like the idea of filling up my hitchhiking karma bank for the day when once again I need a hospital or a meal or a hotel room that is miles down the road.

I apologized to the gentlemen that I couldn’t take them further. I had to work. They nodded and understood. Jamie let slip that Woodruff wasn’t their final destination. But if they got there, they could get to Minocqua. And if they got to Minocqua, someone was always going back and forth from “The Res” and would pick them up.

This falsification could have been because of the length of the drive or because they wished to curtail prejudice against the tribe. Either way, it reminded me sometimes it’s good to lie to strangers. No one is making you tell the truth to every person you pass on the street. They weren’t applying for a job or asking me on a date. I wasn’t there to judge, just drive.

After we arrived at my work space, we exchanged names briefly while getting out of the car. I shook Jamie’s hand. They said thanks, but were already halfway across the parking lot before I got my purse out of the trunk. They had miles to go before they slept.

I went ahead and locked the doors of my car, and the door to the office after I was inside. I wasn’t there to judge, but I did a bit anyway. I told myself I was only being smart; protecting myself against the possibility that picking up two guys fresh out of jail wasn’t the smartest move in the world.

It’s really easy to think that in my hitchhiking, that is not a thumb I will have to stick out. That I could not land in trouble with no one to help me but passing cars full of strangers. I hitchhike because I want to get into a town from a hiking trail or vice versa. My hitches are about conveniences, not requirements.

But really, no one is that far from it. The mighty fall, and the less mighty only need to stumble. One too many drinks…one too many arguments…one too many mistakes…and anyone, including me, could be out there with a thumb up hoping someone else won’t judge and just drive.

How ’bout a little old fashioned, drink-in-one-hand-type-with-the-other, stream of consciousness blog?

Except that it is 10:30am as I type this. Sadly, the drink is water.

I did drink last night*. Thursday night drinking is pretty unheard of these days, as I would like to lose some weight so I am carrying less while I hike. (Side note: after becoming a long-distance hiker, I can no longer lose weight hiking. I will probably shed a few pounds on the Superior Hiking Trail, but nothing significant. The body, it adapts. Just like it adapts to Thursday drinking.)

I decided to have a drink even though it was Thursday because it was WARM and SPRING IS HERE and I wanted to CELEBRATE.

As opposed to when I decide to have a drink because it is COLD and DREARY and I want to HIDE.

I drink less these days not only because of the calories, but because I have reached an age and experience level of drinking where I can drink copious amounts and not be hung over, but as soon as I’m past 1 drink I can kiss sleep goodbye.

I woke up at 3:30am, with the lights on, absolutely panicked that I am going to die someday.

This is a panic I have had frequently throughout my life. I used to calm myself down by pointing out how young I am. Now that that argument is moot, I try to point out how many people in my life (past and present) would STILL say I am young and even if I only live to my father’s age (I do plan to outlive him. Sorry Dad) that is 24 more years of life and that is a super long and many family members that have lived into their eighties or beyond saw death in a very different light, welcomed it a bit, and in one case (Gma) complained weekly that IT HAD NOT SHOWN UP YET AND THIS MORTAL COIL IS TIRING SHUFFLE OFF ALREADY.**

This morning, I used the calming technique of, “Are you shitting me that this is really how I am going spend 3:30am? It is too damn early for this.” Then I grabbed my phone and played a new game I am addicted to for an hour. I will not tell you the game for it is clearly made for twelve-year-olds and it is embarrassing how much I love it. But I managed to collect enough sweets to get unlimited energy for an hour and while it may not be the best start to a day, it certainly was better than panicking about death.

Then I sat up in bed and did some guided meditation.

I have not had time or room for yoga lately. I miss it, although I am still at a body size where I get frustrated over the limitations and modifications I have to make (boobs and Eagle Arms do not mix). For about two months I kept putting yoga on “the list” and it just wasn’t getting done. Time to be honest about what I can and can’t accomplish within 24 hours (23 hours if you take off for playing “Pearl’s Peril”***) and decided to try meditation apps with 10 minute guided sessions to provide some of benefit I felt from yoga that I don’t get from other forms of exercise.

So far…sigh. I desperately wish I could be one of those truly granola go-with-the-flow people. But I think using “desperately” in that sentence indicts how much against my natural personality that is.

Supposedly these sorts of things…mindfulness, calmness, gratefulness, meditation…can be learned. So I continue. Even though half the time “meditation” means “close my eyes until a cat jumps up and scares the shit out of me.”

*I wrote this Friday and forgot to publish.

**Ask me how that “less caps lock” resolution is going.

***If you are an adult that plays this game, I am NOT insinuating you are immature or have bad taste in games. I am insinuating you need to come visit and drink some not-water with me.

Punching People In The Throat Is My New Spirit Animal

I never think I hate February. But then somehow for the shortest month of the year it definitely drags for me. And this year I had to endure a whole nother day of it! There were all those “what are you achieving in your bonus day” memes and inspiring Facebook posts and what I really wanted to achieve was to punch all those creators in the throat and then take a nap.

I’ve decided I am taking a trip next February. Somewhere.  Anywhere.  Anything to break of the monotony of “Forever Winter Wisconsin”.

When I lived in Florida, I found November and December to be a little depressing. I struggled with the time change (here I do as well, but I’m more stoic and prepared) but mostly I think I hated that the climate did not match my expectations seasonally. I always had a hard time getting excited for the holidays, which made me try harder since Christmas is my favorite holiday, which made me even more depressed when I felt let down December 25th.

Here I LOVE November and December. I could become one of those people who says, “Well, there really are only X shopping days left…” when someone complains for Christmas decor in the retails stores on September 15th. Feel free to come punch me in the throat. I’m aware it’s annoying. But I’m so happy about it that I can’t stop.

In Florida, I LOVED January and February. New year! Clean slate! And it was warm/light enough to get out and accomplish stuff! Also, when I was single, I always, always found a guy in February or early March. Always. And perhaps I should have focused on what was it about me that meant every February or early March I was single and in search of new guy but whatever. I found Tom and he doesn’t believe in divorce so I can pretty much ignore all my commitment/relationship issues until death parts us. Whee! Man, that right there was enough reason to get married again.

Point is, I had lots of good and evidently sexy energy around me during the start of the year in Florida. Now here in Wisconsin I just have a lot of whining and darkness. And possibly leftover cheese. Because inevitably I also start off November and December determined to stay on track nutritionally for the winter and sometime after December 28th that turns into, “try not to eat all the cookies in one sitting. Pace yourself.”

But now it is March! Perhaps last year I didn’t have this hopeful surge but last year the weather report for the second week in March didn’t include average highs in the 40s. It has been warm and sunny, or warm and rainy (today). Either way means the snow is rapidly melting. And until the spring forward time change, it is light enough, early enough, I can walk in the mornings. (I still have to wear ice traction but it is a small price to pay for going outside without snow boots and a puff jacket.)