23 July 2014

Letter to my nephew

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Dear nephew  -

It won’t be long until you’re here! I can’t believe it. Soon enough I’ll get to see your face, coo over your little fingers, hold you in my arms and sniff your fresh baby head. Yes, that will be happening, but it’s okay because we’re family.

I can’t wait to meet you. When I think about you, I think of so many things that are to come for both of us.

Seeing you grow up and turn from a little squiggly baby in to a little boy and eventually, a man. Watching you play sports (or do drama or whatever interests you) and being “that family member” who is cheering loudly or making signs to wave excitedly around. Or, let’s be real, trash talking other kids who knock you down or get in your way.

I can’t wait to see your Halloween costumes, take you trick-or-treating, make Thanksgiving dinner with you next to me, and take you to visit Santa and open presents on Christmas morning. The hardest part will be the distance between us, me in Chicago (for now) and you in Wisconsin. But there are so many things I love about this city that I can’t wait to show you, whether you are in a stroller, strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn, or walking beside me, your hand in mine.

And as you grow older, I hope you will call me or come to me if you can’t talk to your mom and dad about something. And know, that no matter what it is, I will always be there for you. If you get arrested for underage drinking or in trouble at school, your Auntie Jess will always be here to listen and offer advice (or a slap across the head if needed). Our relationship isn’t the same as the one you’ll have with your parents, and I hope you always know that if you’re in trouble or need to talk, I’m here. And that I will always love you, no matter what.

Until I met your fur-brother, Steve, I never knew what immediate, true love was like. That moment where you see someone and just know something is different now. The capacity for love that has no bounds or limits and is truly selfless because you care so much for someone else. I feel that way for you already, and know that when I meet you at home (or in the hospital), that the love will just continue to grow. It’s scary and exciting and I cannot wait.

So, keep cooking in mommy’s tummy for now. I’ll be here waiting.

Love, Auntie Jess


21 July 2014

How I use my toaster oven

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food, Random

Apparently, you can use your toaster oven for a lot of things. Pizzas, toast, etc.

But I use it for a much more practical purpose.

I used it to make s’mores.

Yes, you read that correctly.

My favorite thing to make in the toaster oven: s’mores.


My friend Liz introduced me to this genius and now I’m obsessed.

S’mores for dessert sometimes during the week and DEFINITELY on weekends.

You even get the little char on the marshmallow!

Sure, it’s not as good as regular s’mores over a campfire, but I highly recommend this. NOMS.

So, seriously what else can I use this toaster oven for?

15 July 2014

Rediscovering free time

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

If you know me, you know I’m not great at sitting still. I like to be active, up, moving, seeing new things, checking out places, etc.

Sure, I like my down time, but I just…like to be busy.

Or maybe I’m just really noticing how non-stop busy I’ve been the last few months.

Mornings = up at 5am to train before work

Day = work

Evening = French class or out with friends

Weekends = train, grocery shop, see friends, go out, etc.



Now, the schedule is very different. And after a tough weekend and Monday, I’m starting to see that I can’t maintain even a “pared back” schedule that I did before. I have to pull back…more.

So now I’m starting to realize just how much free time I have and I have ZERO idea how to spend it. I can’t be too active (minus water therapy) so now I’m feeling like a kitten in the window, pawing at the glass because I’m so used to being busy that now I’m sitting still.

Really, what do I do with free time???

Right now, I’m trying to read more and focus on French class. Thank goodness for languages because at least I don’t feel helpless at that.

Next, looking up German conversation classes, reading and scheduling field trips. Non-strenuous things I can do on weekends while normal people are out being active, traveling, etc.

I got the new Vanity Fair about Prince George’s first year, and I think I’ll be savoring that while checking out a bakery or park this weekend. Get some sun, keep the leg rested and read. Check, check, check.

Honestly, I dunno if this will work but I am struggling to fill the time and not be that friend who is always texting others like, hey, how are you, what are you up to? No one likes that.


10 July 2014

On trying to stay positive

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Today is my one-week anniversary of wearing my walking boot and so far, staying positive has been tough.

Well, sometimes.

I’m fortunate that friends have reached out and reminded me of the silver linings, sometimes when I’ve probably made it difficult for them to try and be positive for me. But they do.

One friend even looked at my boot and is like, “dude you’re like Tony Stark! That’s awesome!”

Getting through the day isn’t too bad. But it’s amazing how exhausting it is to run errands that normally, don’t take a lot of effort. And how I pick some CTA train stops based on how many stairs there are or if they have an elevator (since escalators never seem to go my way). But, silver lining: I get to practice breathing through my mouth because those elevators tend to smell heavily like urine. So, yay! Practice!

But it’s the most difficult to be positive at night.

Sometimes when I’m laying in bed, I feel a wealth of emotions that cause my brain to spin out of control. Such as….

Anger that I have to give up (or likely give up) something I’ve worked hard for, and sacrificed for. And more anger that this happened, that I didn’t go in sooner to get it looked at. Worried that I have vacation time I need to use soon and I don’t know when I can use it because of this. Frustrated that my body just won’t fucking work the way I want it to. It’s just not fair.

Sometimes, these emotions keep me up, staring at the ceiling, spinning. Other times, I just turn my brain off and sleep.

Being positive is tough. But I know that it comes from the pressure I put on myself. That it’s my own perception of this that’s clouding my judgement and keeping me up sometimes.

So my new rule is to take it one day at a time. To keep plugging along and surround myself with people who do understand and give me some leeway, and who will volunteer to help where I need it. Or just listen.

And, the last two days have been better in terms or adjusting to it being on my leg, so that’s a plus.

One week down, let’s hope things keep getting better in the next week.

06 July 2014

The appointment where I got not so great news

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

So here’s how Thursday at 10:45am CT went:

Doctor: “You have a stress fracture. It’s right here [points to a bright white line on my MRI].”

Me: [Silence]

Doctor: “I don’t know when it happened, but it’s likely that it was your injury back in May.” [the one where I continued to run after, including that 10 mile race]

Me: “But I don’t have bone pain, I have muscle pain. And that pain has been better lately.”

Doctor: “Your muscles are likely compensating for the fracture, to protect it. It’s not like a normal fracture where the pain gets worse until you can’t walk.”

Me: “So…..now what?”

Doctor: “We will give you a boot to help the leg rest and start the six-week healing process now. No weight-bearing exercise, so only swimming and biking, but if biking hurts you have to stop.”

Me: [Silence]

And thus, I left with a new accessory and with a general dazed/stunned look on my face.

The thing is, I know it could be worse. I could have a full break, or be bed ridden, need crutches, or need surgery. But that doesn’t give me a TON of comfort just yet.

I just can’t…fucking believe it.

It is just setback, but sometimes, the dark part of my mind wanders and feels like…it’s just not fucking fair. I have friends who are FAR LESS active than me and they can just walk outside and run 5 miles like it’s no big deal. And I train and take care of myself and this happens. Why can’t this just happen for me???? And then I want to quit and say fuck it.

But, to keep that dark part of my mind at bay, I’m focusing on what I can do for now. It is only six weeks, maybe a little more. It’s not a full break, and it could be so much worse. This sucks. But it’s not the end. It’s just…another set back.

So Thursday night I cried, watched some of my favorite movies, listened to emo music and wallowed in a pool of self pity. And then Friday I got up and started to practice doing my daily stuff with the walking brace. Looks easy but trust me, it’s exhausting.

And the countdown to July 25 for a three-week check in is on. And I will be checking out the water workouts at my gym in the meantime. This should be hilarious.






  • Early holiday decorations (not before Thanksgiving!)
  • Muffin tops (not the bakery-kind)
  • Bar Louie restaurant
  • Laundry machine hogs
  • County sales tax (10.25 percent - come on!)
  • Michael Scott
  • Harry & David
  • Chicago meteorologists