What City?


While watching some Netflix instant stream the other night, the actors in the film began a discussion about what word is perfect for what city and I thought to myself..Hmm..If I were a city, what city would it be?
I don’t mean what city do I love or the ones I grew up in. Obviously I love San Diego, however, I would not be that city. San Diego would be the easy life, Beautiful, breezy with an attitude streak that caters to laziness. No, San Diegans aren’t lazy, but given the chance, I know that city would totally call in sick to work on any given day that the swell is good.

Then I thought maybe San Francisco.

Full of culture, whimsy, untamed. The right amount of anonymity, however, I’m just not hipster enough. (and probably way too straight for that matter.) It is by far my next most beloved, after San Diego, but it just isn’t the soulful city I would be.

NYC?

Probably not. While it has had it’s fair share of down times that roughened it’s edges, it is too fast paced and way too expensive. But I do know a few folks who would absolutely be an NYC type. Gritty yet refined and hard as diamonds. All without the urine and cigarette smell that float through the dark alleys of other places. The smog probably covers it up. You know, like a perfume…
Then I started thinking…What if I’m a Beaumont, TX type? (or really, any city that no one would probably willingly vacation to unless they grew up there or had family in the area…) You know, small, rural, possibly incredibly redneck yet comfortably cozy in my surroundings?
Yep. Definitely not a Beaumont.
I really think that if I were a city, I’d be Rome.
Yes, I said ROME.
See, Rome has pulled the short straw from the pack more than once. It has been pilfered, destroyed and conquered; yet has always managed to come back to pilfer, destroy and conquer. It is cultured but beautifully rough around the edges. It’s imperfections make it perfect in a surreal sort of way. It has history and sometimes that history is disgusting, beguiling and gruesome yet magnificent, stunning and euphoric all at the same time. Took Rome many hard years to get to where it is today and Rome is very happy just being Rome. Rome is proud of it’s history even the not-so-good parts of said History. Pompeii was a Roman city..
Out of the Ashes…Comes beauty and renewal
I’m a Rome.
What city are you? And why?
Hugs and Sunny Surf,
Jessica & Gertrude

FNKC



FNKC
Friday Night Knitters’ Club
Word

Alright, so before you start saying “But Jess…knitting is boring!”
Let me explain.
First, if it is boring, then you have never tried it.
If tried and still boring, you aren’t part of a FNKC.
Since moving to Texas, I’ve been really perking up. Kinda like a flower after a good rainstorm. The toxic folks are out of my life and I’m a firm believer that for every one who walks out on me, five new, beautiful ones walk in.
I searched out a local yarn store (LYS) and have become quite the regular. Every Friday night, the place fills up with a quite diverse group of women. Cajun creole cuisine is cooked up, yarn is wound into neat little cakes, money is spent and gifts are created.
This past week I parked my lil’ butt in a corner chair. See, if you get there late, all the good, cushy couchy type seats are taken and one gets stuck with a metal folding chair. There’s rarely walking room and the food is always scrumptious.
Sitting in my corner chair, I looked around the room and saw just how diverse this group of women that I am now a part of is. African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, young, old, middle-aged, you name it, it is represented. Different religions, just everything.
Crazy how something so simple, like KNITTING (gasp!!) can bring together a group of people.
So…
I’ve figured it out.
I know how to bring about world peace.
See, I have this theory; er rather, a couple. (first would be teaching the world to read…literacy brings about knowledge.)
But the second is where the true glory lies…create FNKCs all over the world. ;) People who can come together over something they are peacefully passionate about should be able to get along in other aspects of life. Pretty simple methinks.
(alright alright…so maybe it isn’t REAAAALLYYY that simple…but it’s a nice thought, right?)
So, every Friday, I cruise it on over to my LYS and chill out with my homies. Unconditional acceptance for the tattooed, canSer chica and everyone else there. I know some families who can’t even provide that. (yep. I mean those people…we all know who I’m referring to.)
When I’m not knitting, I’m either geocaching, or spending time with my sweet man. But those are stories for another blog. I must go. Family Guy is on.
oh..really fast…
“Jessica, you just beat a late stage of canSer, what are you gonna do next???” (in funny announcer voice)
“I’M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!!!!!”
That’s right. DISNEYWORLD! In Orlando!
My bf and I wanted a vacation before I start school back up here soon and this was our place.
Hugs and sunny surf,
Jessica and Gertrude

(hehehe that Disney trip should reaally ruffle some feathers. Also, the photo is from 2007 by Trik Photography.

Adios and vaya con dios


Hehe..guess what this one is about..

Yep. That pretty much sums up my entire day in one shot. Right there. I should probably end the blog at that point, because it would be kinda funny in my mind, but I have a few other pieces of awesomeness to share.
Found a little surf shop I am now fully prepared to strip and rewax my boards next month.

Sticky Bumps has the most amazing scent. Truly reminds me of the islands and holding the little package to my nose and inhaling deeply just engrained to me that I can be happy outside of Southern California. When some long-haired dude wreaking of that oh so recognizable skunky pot smell came in and told me the water was a “chilling 73 degrees” I got giddy. I don’t think I have EVER surfed in water that warm! WOOT!!! Gotta love lazy surfer dudes who willingly spill info to non-locals and even possibly a Kook.
(although, most surfers would hardly consider a cute girl who knows what she’s doing a kook. I’m just not a local…yet.)

Think this is the new pub spot for Monday nights..

Yes, that is a swim-up bar. However, it wasn’t in use. Who the hell would use a swim-up bar AT THE BEACH??
The drinks were flowin’, the jukebox was jammin’ and the drunks were dancin’. The zombie apocalypse could be knockin’ on my door and I wouldn’t answer.

So, why am I saying all this? Just because one has to be careful doesn’t mean life can’t be lived. Grab a bottle of water, put on some sunscreen, take the top off and live life. No one is gon’ give you permission, so quit waitin’ and get goin’ already.

Gonna go one day anyway,right? So why waste it? Put your toes in the sand, dammit. It feels good. I promise.

Hugs and Sunny Surf

Break away


A “Psychic” stopped me in the mall yesterday…said she saw positive change coming very soon in my life.
I responded with “Sweet! When am I winning the lottery??”
She smirked.
See, I moved to Houston, Texas about a week ago. Just me, my puppymonster Elvis, and a carful of crap. As much as I could cram in it. (Don’t worry, I remembered to bring mah Cowboy boots, all three ipods and every single ball of yarn I own, just like a good girl would.) I live with my sweet boyfriend and at first, I was a little nervous.
But, here’s what I’m doing to settle in:
I played in the dirt

Those are my Gerbera Daisies. I LOVE them!!! Unfortunately, no green ones though. :/ But I’ve got pink ones!!!
I made tomatoes

that cute little garden also has bell peppers in it and I have radishes, cucumbers and onions planted in the yard. Yum yum!!!
I do a lot of cooking these days and I really enjoy using fresh veggies and fruits in said cooking. So why not be self sustaining and just grow my own?? I’ve always wanted a little garden and my sweet human pet helped me create one. So suck on that, chemo and canSer. I have the garden I wasn’t allowed to do last year. So HA! How do ya like dem apples??? and strawberries and grape tomatoes and cukes??? (isn’t that an icky sounding word?? Cuke?? For some reason, it just creeps me out. Like, you know that weird guy that hits on you six times at the bar, even though you’ve repeatedly pointed out your boyfriend?? The guy that looks like Mr. Clean??? Ya’ll know who I’m talkin bout…creepy like that.)
got mah nails did

My guy likes them all purdied up like this and who am I to stand in the way of that pampering?
I also spent this Friday evening at a local bigname brewpub. I had some chicken and pasta, a black cherry soda, and a lovely refreshing drink called a Sea Breeze that quite possibly became my favorite. On one side of me sat an older gentleman, probably in his 60′s. We had a wonderful conversation. Told him my tale because, let’s face it…it’s a good one and it should be told. On the other side sat two of my guy’s regulars. (Angelman is a bartender.) These two dudes were discussing their latest shred sessions..or so I assume as they were talking about how to hold the guitar for a leftie. (either that or they were throwing up some mad air guitar skillz right there in the restaurant.) I sat and exchanged jokes with all these guys and watched Angelman’s eyes light up with enthusiasm and pride when they all doted on his pretty girlfriend. It was in that very moment where it happened. I realized. Amongst the diverse bar population, on a Friday night, with my boyfriend working, Mr. Clean repeatedly hitting on me, and the to-go version of my favorite soda that I knew. I am happy. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I broke away from the toxicity, followed my heart for once and found my little piece of happy perfection and I refuse to allow anyone or anything take it away from me. Better pry it from my cold, dead hands!
And look! I even found a sexy, handsome angel sleeping in my bed! And to think I wasn’t even looking!!

Always nice to wake up next to an angel and good things truly come to those who wait. (or, just go through a lot of bad crap so they MAKE good stuff happen…just sayn.)
Hugs and Sunny Surf,
Jessica & Gertrude

Be Passionate


Do you have a bucket list?
I do..I’ve had it since I was 14 years old. I even remember where I was when I made it..I was sittin’ in the backseat of a car, leaving Kansas for the last time and moving to a new life in Arkansas. Since that day, my bucket list has been to a lot of places and been through everything with me. It went to boot camp, Korea, Jamaica, several weddings, a few funerals, Disneyland, Katrina relief, my tumor debulking surgeries, chemo therapy and even Relay for Life.
When I became sick, it became my mission to get as much checked off as possible. Some of the things on said list are a bit silly, as I made it when I was 14. But at this point, I think it’s fair to check some of those off. heh. Here are a few that I have marked off..
I’ve swam with Dolphins. It was well worth it

Went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Meet Mariah Carey

Hey..go big or go home, right?? haahah!! Don’t judge me…we all know you are secretly humming “Always Be My Baby” in your head riiiiiggghtt now..hehe

Toured Washington, D.C.
To include Arlington.
That. was. tough.

I’ve recently added a few things to the list. I do this every now and then. I like to think of it as my immortality magic. I mean, if I still have stuff to do on the list, then I can’t die. Good theory, huh.
Here’s a few things I added recently:
Surf in Australia
Skydiving (just to spite my horrid fear of heights)
Rocky Mountain Climbing
do 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
(Okay okay..maybe I didn’t really add that last one, but it’s a fun thought. I did add see Tim McGraw in concert, though. )

So tell me..What are YOU passionate about?
Be passionate about SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Whether it is knitting, completing a silly list, or just your political opinion. If you’re not passionate about something, you’re just a wasted bag of flesh and water; a zombie. Unfortunately, I know a few of these. Good thing I’m well prepared for the zombie apocalypse…
Hugs and Sunny Surf,
Jessica & Gertrude

Ridding the Toxic ones


I was putting some things in the trunk of my car today and I found this

It’s my old army beret. I actually teared up a bit at finding it. So many people really do not realize or understand just how much a canSer patient/survivor has ripped away from them.
Finding my beret just confirmed that I need to do some serious life toxins purging.
Most people think that a detox is simply ridding your body of the nasty goo that hangs out inside of it. I however, have come to believe that this also means ridding my life of the nasty gooey individuals that make life miserable. I know this is not going to be a fun or easy process but it needs to be done, no matter how painful it might be.
I’ve received lots of generous gifts from friends all over and I’m incredibly grateful for everything that has been done for me. However, it has come to my attention that there are people in my life who are “irked” or “upset” or felt that I was somehow disrespectful or they were even “infuriated” by the things/attention I have received.
I firmly equate this to jealousy and at this point, those sorts of people are not needed in my life. The last thing I (or any cancer survivor for that matter) needs to deal with is added drama, contributed by things that are not of another’s business.
I really think that this purging is an important part of the recovery path. Along with getting rid of the self-righteous, ignorant, know it alls, racists, etc. (whatever little adjective you may choose to use we ALL know the type of individuals I’m referring to. Misery loves company and attitude is well over half the battle. In addition, attitudes and misery are contagious. Surround yourself with those who truly care.) I’ve started eating better. I eat out less and I shop as much as possible in organic and natural food stores. I am absolutely a meat eater, but do my best to eat organic meats. Less red meat and more chicken. ;) So cock a doodle doo baby! These foods are a bit more expensive, but pale in comparison to my medical bills. Heh. I’m not trying to say “Hey you murdering meat eater, eat your organic free trade broccoli for cryin out loud.” I’m just saying that I really think a lot of the canSer and other dis-ease running around this country, eating away at our beautiful American people can be contributed to the dietary changes in the past couple of decades. 20 years ago, it was much less common to receive a canSer diagnosis…especially at a young age like mine.

So, I leave y’all with this. I CHALLENGE you to 1. look at the individuals in your life. You’re only as good as the company you keep, right? Are they supportive of you? Do they honestly care? Or is their piss poor attitude bringin’ you down?
2. Go look in your fridge/cupboard/pantry. Look at the ingredients in some of your most favorite foods. For example…your coffee cream…what should be in that? Cream? milk? sugar? Disodium phosphate?? Holy toilet bowls, Batman, this stuff is used to relieve constipation…yet it is in my very own coffee creamer??? eewwww…
See what is in your food stock and find out what the chemicals are that you ingest. Then make an educated decision about whether or not you can live without eating these things.
My body already feels better having cut out a lot of the nasty goos, both human and non human form.
Hugs and Sunny Surf,
Jessica & Gertrude

Baby, You’ve come a long way


I’ve not had the motivation lately to update here, but this weekend was a bit bittersweet for me. This is a day that will live in infamy. One year ago today, I was placed on a ventilator and admitted to the ICU. I was lying in a bed, sedated and dying. People aren’t going to like reading that, but that’s how it was. Sometimes the truth just sucks and talking about it doesn’t always get you a seat at the cool kids’ table for lunch.
I’ve had people say I’m inconsiderate, I joke too much, I need medication, how can I take things so lightly, I need therapy, blah blah blah. I won’t apologize for anything that I have said, did or thought that pissed someone off. I’m done doing that. BUT I’ve also had people say I inspire them, that I give them hope, they admire my strength and they got out of bed because of how I coped. I’m not strong, I’m not prolific, I’m not amazing or anything else one could conjure up. I did what I had to do to survive, just like anyone else would. But for every dumb, lame statement I hear about my coping methods, I hear five amazing, smart and sassy ones. The latter make it all worth it. If one woman gets out of bed, puts on her make-up and marches into her chemo session because of my story, mission accomplished.
I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life. Two divorces, Katrina Relief, bootcamp, the death of friends and loved ones, and other things that I’m not going to get into on here. However, this past year has been THEE most difficult one of my life.
This past year, I was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer. I almost died a few times and all of my dreams were ripped out of my hands, to include the one of marrying the person I thought was meant just for me.
One of my friends asked on her facebook page if I would rather go back ten years or jump ahead five. Without a moment of thought, I stated go back ten. After all my little mind, body, heart and soul has had to deal with, I’d do it all over again. I am the woman I am today because of everything that happened; most of which happened this past year. I’ve learned to accept me the way I am. Although I struggle every so often with self image, (comon…what woman DOESN’T??) I am happy with the woman I’ve grown into. I know what I want from life now, and I refuse to settle for less than what I deserve. I’ve learned there are people in this world that love me just the way I am; sass, tattoos, morning breath and all. I’ve watched my closest friends grow into some of the strongest women I know. I mean, they not only juggled their family and careers, but stood by my side throughout the whole ordeal. Even if it was something as simple as bringing me a Sonic Coke while I was stuck at my final round of chemo, they were there to laugh and cry with me. I’ve watched my family struggle to laugh with me, even though I know they often just wanted to cry. (Although I have to admit, they often drive me crazy. BUT that doesn’t change the fact that I still love them all, no matter how pissed I may get at them. I’m sure they get mad at me, too. heh.)
So, while I may be struggling to buy new yarn for my next knitting project and can’t seem to get a leg up on a career move right now, I’d say I’m a pretty lucky girl to be surrounded by so many supportive and amazing people. It was the worst year of my life, but oddly enough, it was also the best year, too. It turned my whole world around…and I kinda like it.

Now if I could just get back out to California…everything would be perfect. ;)
Hugs and sunny surf,
Jessica & Gertrude

Special thanks to:
First of all, Myself. Noone ever gives themselves credit for their accomplishments and I’m putting an end to that. I rock. ;)
Dr. Kris Ghosh
Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld
Dr. Randall Hightower
the Tri-City nursing staff
Highlands Oncology Staff
Elvis (my puppymonster, not the King.)
Helen Olds
Kim Brannon
Ryann Thornton
Stephanie Reid
Lori Karis
Jen Rooney
Tyjanna Bourgeois
Troy Blakely
Jen Baker
my entire Paralegal class at USD
University of San Diego
Jessica Louise
Mike Chung
David Chen
Loc Nguyen
Diem Nguyen
Julia Nguyen
the Nguyen family ;)
Ivan’s meat Market
Crystal Davis
Tina Newport Yeager
Kelly Erickson
Arinn Westendorf
MSG Scott Baranek
MAJ John Decker
Dianne Hupp
RJ Grijalva
Kirt Reynolds
Trik Photography
Jessica Miller (Dunk)
Frederic Leclercq (Love you Kromoze!!!)
Nhung Lien
Tri Huyhn (sorry dude! I can’t remember how to spell ur last name. But miss your face!)
Camille Berry and Mattie
My military family and fellow soldiers
Chendo
Glenn Sweet
SG community (and the members who were amazing and sent me good reads and blankets when I needed them the most
Anthony Bourdain (hey. No Reservations got me through many a chemo session)
Tom Cruise (hey…so did Risky Business and Cocktail, okay?? Cut a girl some slack here..)
Tony Maristela
Charles Park
Brian Pond and family
Tom Morris and family
A.J. Cates
Tianna Priest and family
Cody Renegar (especially for making me feel beautiful without hair and for creating the most Euro-trashtastic mohawk before buzzing my head!)
Adrian Salazar, my nuudleface BMFF (thats best male friend forever)
Rooster at Prick Tattoo in San Antonio
Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino (my chemo sessions were long, peeps.)
My grandparents
Kendra Reynolds
Playstation
Apple
Hobby Lobby
Walmart
Best Buy
eBay
Amazon
Philosophy
iTunes
Netflix
all my favorite musicians and authors
Shyaporn Theerakulstit (God I hope that is spelled right..)
Jay Thornton
The Collective Bias family
Wordpress
Anthony Waits
Jerry Murry
The entire Warburton clan
Robert Baker
Rick Yeung
The Relay for Life family and everyone who has supported me with that
Bryce Warburton
and finally,
Mike Warburton and Vickie Warburton
Most importantly, all you amazing LWG readers!! this would be a wasted effort without y’all. ;)
That’s a long long list, so if you don’t see your name, I’ve not forgotten you. There’s just been so many along the way that I can’t possibly name them all. I love you all so much!!! and Baby, you’ve come a long way.

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