You can’t say I’m not well adjusted

chiropractor cat

… thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

In what I’m now dubbing “The Season of Jacque,” I decided to do a few of those things that I’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason, I never took the time, effort, or initiative to do them.

If you’re playing along at home, go ahead and cross “visit a chiropractor” off your list.

From what I gather, you’re in one of two schools of thought on chiropractors.

They’re this:









Wait. That’s actually a terrible example. Sorry.

What I was trying to say the overwhelming majority of folks see chiropractors in one of two ways. They’re either …

















Or they’re …










(… Anyway, uh, so we still feelin’ good about this … uh … 32-piece set here?)

So, after waffling back and forth for a while, I decided to make the call. For the past several months, I’ve been sporadically coming down with what I’d describe as actual, crippling nausea and headaches. This time, I went full-on granola and decided to see if something natural could help me.

After a few physical tests, I learned that my jaw is a little out of whack and my C1 and C2 vertebrae aren’t in alignment. I also don’t seem to have a natural curve in my upper spine anymore. I’m honest. I have terrible posture. I’m Shrek-ish, so I’ve spent the better part of 34 years not standing up straight. That’s apparently come back to haunt me. It’s sort of pulled on all sorts of other things, and according to the doctor (and the handy chart on the wall) this may be why I’m getting the headaches like I am and why my shoulder muscles are perpetually tensed.

Something I was completely unprepared for: The stomach test. I learned that there are two kinds of valves on the stomach, naturally — one at the top and one at the bottom. Mine don’t seem to be working after a pressure test that made me feel like I was going to cry. I got sent home with food to avoid for two weeks and some chlorophyll and magnesium. (Legitimately chlorophyll. Like what plants have.)

I’m now 10 hours-plus from when I left my visit. My entire shoulder and neck musculoskeletal system hurt. I did get a pretty sweet ice pack to bring home.

Something else I was completely unprepared for: Have any of you had any of that electrical muscle stimulation? I got these four pads put on my shoulder muscles and it sort of felt like this:


Seriously. This was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. More uncomfortable than having to sit with my Dad through an episode of “The Doctors” dedicated to female bodily functions. I noticed, though, when it was over that I actually felt more relaxed in my shoulders. That relaxing has turned to ouch. Just plain ouch.

The verdict: Jury hasn’t returned. I plan to go back, at least a few more times, to see if whatever magic he’s working can actually help with the headaches. Definitely keeping an open mind.

Bonus: As I was leaving today, I got two handouts on how to become a vegan. I liked the first because of all of the recipes and restaurant suggestions. The second was awful because it was one of those “This is what your lunch looks like going to the slaughterhouse” booklets. Boo.

Double bonus: I’m going to commit to 31 days of writing for October. BLOGTOBER! (I just booed myself so you don’t have to do it.) Because of the Pirates distraction, just wrapped this one in time. (1/31)


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Seriously, I got distracted. Sorry, y’all.


(If you don’t know the joy of deleting this program from a computer, I sort of feel sorry for you.)

As America’s Champion of Procrastination, instead of writing three brief papers, here we go …

P reminded me this morning that I’d neglected updating anything, because, let’s just be honest, I’m the busiest unemployed person I know. I wish I had all day to watch “Maury” and catch up on TiVo’d episodes of “Judge Mathis.” But, with two classes this term and various other responsibilities around the state, I’m still on the road a fair amount.

In six days, it will have been one month since Death by Polycom. In some ways, it’s gone faster than I thought it would. In others, I feel like I haven’t been working in years. The first few days, it sort of felt like a mini-vacation, and we’d all be back on Monday. And then Monday came and went. And the next Monday. And the next. We’re not going back. We’re not going back any sooner than Larry Bird is walking through that door, fans.

People ask a lot of well-meaning questions when you’re in my situation. What’s kind of chuckle-worthy is my particular situation — within 140 days, I lost my mother and my job. (I have a really twisted sense of humor. So did my mother.) I feel like those people sort of approach me gingerly, hoping they don’t say the wrong thing.

You can’t say the wrong thing. I promise. It’s not possible to say something wrong here. Quite simply, it is what it is.

But, on we go to something fun … It’s finally football time again. I’ve been waiting for you, football. I’ve been waiting since it was clear there was going to be no return trip to a Sweet 16 followed by a depressing trip to a sad downtown Hooters location.


Last weekend, we traveled to Louisville for some football. I was really looking forward to this one because our group of friends hadn’t been together in a while, and for this game, a proper tailgate was planned.  Some of the highlights:

* Saturday night killstorms. Louisville is the kind of place that has an occasional grain silo in the landscape, which just tells me it’s the kind of place that would throw some extra fun into your weekend with an F-3.

* Sunday football games are a great idea … if you shopped ahead. Things nobody bothered to research: You can’t buy any sort of alcohol in Kentucky until 1 p.m. Oh, and that time you thought you saved by grocery shopping in Indiana? Don’t put tailgate drinks on that list because they sell NOTHING on Sunday. Lesson learned the hard way — in both cases. Because I had some spare time the day before while Rob was doing radio, I ended up being somewhat of a champion because I’d bought enough mini bottles for the entire parking lot, and when we arrived at the lot around noon, my fortitude was rewarded.

* Cleverly named seating areas are just that. Cleverly named. Our tickets were in the UPS Flight Deck. After climbing the maybe 100 stairs to get there, I can see why it’s called the “Flight Deck.” You could give a pilot a hi-five as he makes the descent into the UPS airport. It’s the very top row of the stadium. Also, at this point the sun was setting, and I could feel myself baking. Direct sunlight and a ginger don’t mix. Any guilt I’d had about any number of bratwurst I’d consumed immediately went away after that hike. Also, I learned that I have an iron bladder. Never, ever underestimate the ability to hold it when you know the trip back to your seat is not worth any relief you’d feel going to pee.

Regardless of the outcome, which was dismal, it was still good to be back to doing something fun, and something normal. I love road trips. I love seeing new things or trying a new place to eat or drink. I love the little idiosyncrasies of different places I visit.

The rest of the week was spent getting back into gear for class, and then Friday …

I resumed my outdoorsiness by drinking on a patio with a couple of friends in the afternoon. It looked just like that, oddly enough. Capped off the night with high school football, because, why not.

But, Saturday. … Saturday was where things really came back around. It was time. Again.


Good to be back, Athens. It’s been too long since I’ve seen you from this vantage point. I’m looking forward to the adventures we’ll have this year.

But, yeah, other than the day I taught Dad how to use an iPad and a few days of classes, that’s been pretty much it.

I miss working. I really do. I really would go back the minute it was an option. Maybe, though, just maybe I’m supposed to take this time to learn a little more about life, and what I want it to be in this new normal. If that’s the case, I’m OK with that.

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Monday. Never kind. Even now.


This morning, I got up early, straightened my hair, put on a dress and drove down to the unemployment office to be there when they started processing claims.

I got there 15 minutes early, and there was already a line. While I was waiting, I noticed there had to have been something like 50 of these kinds of motivational pictures along the walls.

Except theirs weren’t Demotivators.

They actually were trying to inspire you. It looked like a Successories catalog had thrown up.

So, because I’m a real jerk, I immediately thought of this one:


… and less than 10 minutes later, before the clock even struck 9 a.m., I was back in the car and headed back to the couch. (In time for the early run of “Maury” on local Parkersburg TV!) I also was not signed up for unemployment. You win again, life. Even when every day is Saturday, Monday is unkind.

Stuff nobody tells you when you unexpectedly lose your job: It’s not where you live, kids. It’s where you work. My office was in Pennsylvania, so I got to spend some time talking with America’s second-favorite Commonwealth. I popped right up in their system. After a three minute online application, I’m set.

… which is just something so strange to think, much less type.

Blank canvas or something? The perfect chance to find a new beginning? Or, the perfect chance to just go to Panera every day and set up? Write, send out resumes, make connections. I think I just have to get out of the house. I love my house, and I love my couch, and I love how much I’m actually at home now, but “Monday through Friday Me” isn’t adjusting to being a lady of leisure. It feels like an itchy wool sweater.

More stuff nobody tells you when you unexpectedly lose your job: They really send the B-team out for the day shift on Food Network. Woof. Talking about shows that were last fresh in 2010. The Land of Failed Audience Surveys. Except Ina. Ina was in the rotation. Today’s entire episode focused on cheese. You’re welcome.

At any rate, I managed to learn not one, but two things today. Banner day.

Regarding my previous post, my favorite Frappy Hour companion Mike tells me that in America’s favorite Commonwealth, it’s illegal to serve alcohol in an establishment without a kitchen. So, if i open up my Easy Mac and microwave buffet, it won’t be there. Must be a kitchen.

Guess it wasn’t a wasted day after all, eh?

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No, wait, I could totally do that


One of my current favorite shows is “Bar Rescue” on Spike. I’ve been a fan of this show from the moment I saw it because almost my entire adult life, I’ve told people that not only could I open a bar/restaurant, but it would be the most amazing bar/restaurant in the history of bar/restaurants.

What I’ve learned: There are a lot of idiots like me out there. As George Carlin once said, “I have a lot of ideas. Trouble is, most of them suck.”

Sure, everybody who regularly spends time dining out or meeting up with friends for some drinks thinks they could run (Insert Bar Name Here) better than the people who are already doing it. But you can’t. Trust me. You want to know why? You think like a consumer. It’s OK. I do, too. Thinking like a consumer gives you a good idea of your standards, and helps you frame your opinions of what you like and don’t like about places.

Ordinarily, thinking like a consumer isn’t a bad idea, but when your ideas as a consumer are just counter-intuitive to common business sense, you become convinced that people are willing to invest a half-million dollars into your new concept bar based on that one episode of “The Golden Girls” where the girls take Dorothy to Mr. Ha-Ha’s Hot Dog Hacienda for her birthday. (That’s not a strip club, by the way.)

So as I was watching the weekly Sunday “Bar Rescue” marathon, I started thinking of reasons I’d be a really terrible bar/restaurant owner. So, in no particular order, I present to you “Top 5 Reasons I Should Be Responsible for Deploying Nuclear Weapons Before I Should Be Responsible for Running a Bar/Restaurant”:

1. Efficiency is a great idea … on paper.








I’m a self-appointed efficiency expert. Pretty sure there are actual state laws against pouring all drinks into 64 oz. Double Gulp cups. Well, I guess in most states, those are called “pitchers.” But pricing your pitchers at regular drink prices betting that people don’t finish them? MONEYMAKING. Jon Taffer just showed some graphs in this last episode that showed your biggest profit margin is on spirits, not beer, which tells me I’m not entirely crazy here, just a little … off. The money you’d spend on cleaning up Armageddon as it occurs nightly would probably erase that profit margin completely.

2. Fancy (or trendy) food is nice and all, but … 










When I moved to Washington, D.C. in 2008, I was meeting up with someone for an overpriced Happy Hour where the menu included “small bites.” I paid something like $20 for, basically, some hand-crafted gourmet Vienna Sausages in miniature buns. Hot dogs. Urban hot dogs. Three of them. Three bites. $20. Because that’s stuck with me, my shop wouldn’t have too much in terms of a menu (unless it’s to throw everything in a deep fryer), but I’d have microwave stations everywhere with unlimited supplies of these.

3. There’s less than a second left, the game is tied, and your team is about to kick a field goal …


So why should’t every table have one of these hidden in the ketchup carousel? For just under $10, you can completely ruin someone’s Super Bowl. Everybody loves a good “HA!”, right? … Right? No? … OK. Well, conversely, what if you’re the only New York Islanders fan anywhere in the bar? By some twist of beautiful fate, your game is the national game and available on regular ol’ cable, but the bartender hasn’t really responded to your pleas to change the channel from “Home Improvement” re-runs. Take charge. This is America.

4. Why NOT a nap room?








Maybe you’re having a rough week. Maybe you just came from a long day at work. Maybe you’ve just lost your job. Or, maybe you thought this was a sprint and not a marathon. But maybe all you need is just 30 minutes or so to refresh. I really don’t think this is a bad idea … on paper. Until you get to the part where you need to wake folks up.

5. Rental devices to help find that guy in your group who wanders off.








I can’t imagine how much of a financial hit a bar owner would take on these devices, but I’m telling you, it’s a great idea. Have you ever been out with a group of friends, and things are going along great, everybody’s having a good time, you’re laughing and carrying on, and … wait … where did he go? You start polling the table asking where he is, and by now, he’s halfway to Taco Bell while the rest of you start searching the streets. For a rental fee, you could outfit your wanderers with this. (The business fail comes from it never wandering back from whence it came …)

I’m willing to go Vegas odds that Jon Taffer won’t call me any time soon to tag along and help. Probably as soon as I started laying out my plan for a concept centered around inflatable bouncey houses, it would be over … my brush with greatness again slipping away.

But, let’s hear from you. What would you like to see in your restaurant or bar that’s completely unfeasible? The best worst idea ever, so to speak. (Jell-O Wrestling Wednesdays totally acceptable.)

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Fancy book learning v. 2.0

Tonight, I finished the sixth course in my master’s program. What has two thumbs and is now halfway to signing her name with a pretentious “…, MBA” at the end? THIS GIRL.

No, but seriously. I’m not going to sign my name with those letters at the end. I’m not saying that if you do it you’re a pretentious jerk or anything. I’m just saying it isn’t my style. I sort of abide by a “hide in plain sight” policy. 

But, I digress.

This class was pretty difficult, but not really from the content perspective. It was difficult from the sheer amount of work that went into this final project. I spent all day Monday at my kitchen table fighting with Microsoft Project. I’d never spent time with this software, and if I never do again, I’ll be totally alright with that. I spent a full 16 hours in various states of holding my head in my hands and yelling. It’s like a miniature Bill Gates was standing on my table just giving me the one-finger salute for my efforts. He wishes me the best in all of my future endeavors.

So, today, I decided to celebrate putting that beast to bed with a reward. I bought myself a fancy-pants iPad keyboard that doubles as a case. Check it out. It’s worth the investment, especially if you’re going to be typing a lot. I’m not saying this thing is bacon good, but it’s pretty good.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad

My best friend’s mom showed me her case like this over the weekend and I was sold. Now that I have it at home and I’ve been able to use it for the last hour or so, I highly recommend. The booklet that comes with it says that with normal use (though you ever notice nobody defines “normal”?), one charge of this keyboard should last about six months. Bonus.

(In case you’re new to my style of blogging, it’s sort of like this — I like pop culture, food (bacon!!), fitness, the absurd, sportsball, technology, music, and sometimes just being the general malcontent I am. No real theme here …)

I have a week off between the end of this class, and the beginning of the next term. I decided to double up for the next eight-week term because I have the time (*sad trombone*) and the two courses I’m taking don’t look to be nearly as much work as this last one. I’d be hard pressed to believe that the work of both of these classes combined could come close to this last eight weeks.

It’s sort of bittersweet, you know? My mom was so excited when I got into this program. She spent 37 years as a teacher, and I’d never seen a person so committed to lifelong learning. She was so proud that I finally went ahead and found a program I wanted to pursue, and that I’ve done it so far with a 4.0. So, on one hand, I’m sad she isn’t here to be seeing this in person. On the other, I’m so proud of the work I’ve done so far (while keeping up a hectic work schedule … until seven days ago) and the grades I’ve earned. I feel like that’s a reflection on how much value in education she instilled in both me and my sister. It’s a way I can really honor her legacy. 

I’m glad I’m writing again. I’m also glad I’m doing this as a soft rollout. Less pressure that way.

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Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.


“It may be that your whole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”

In case you’re just joining us …

In the last five months, my mother died following what should have been outpatient surgery and I lost my job. A job I loved. A job that by most accounts I did very well.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two pretty hefty kicks to the entertainment center in less than 150 days. The way I see it, everybody’s just lucky I haven’t knocked over a 7-Eleven (in the style of H.I. McDunnough) or joined some roving chapter of an ill-tempered motorcycle gang. Or the circus. Circus is a real possibility. I haven’t ruled that one out yet.

So, welcome to this adventure. I wish I could tell you I knew where this was going, but I don’t. I’m just going to talk about it.

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