Monday, January 30, 2006

Calling for Back-Up

Tomorrow is the big day. At precisely 7:30am CST I will be going under the knife, or the laser, or whatever it is they decide to do to me. I will be out cold so I won't really have a say in the matter. I'll have a tube down my throat, so I won't even be able to cough/talk the words STOP THAT if they do something I don't approve of. I'll just lie there, naked, with my inncoent flesh exposed to all their instruments of devilry. And so I ask you, Internet friends and lurkers...and even you spammers, think of me if you happen to be awake at such a ghastly hour. And if you get the notion that something is awry, please cough QUIT IT loudly enough for the medical professionals to hear. I'm counting on you.

Reason #159

Reason # 159 Why I Love Ryan Illingworth:

Me (after finishing the first Harry Potter book): Man! That was so good! Now I understand why everyone is so wild about these books!
Ryan: So now you're a big fan?
Me: Oh yes. When the next book comes out you're going to dress like Harry and I'm going to dress like Hermione and we're going to stand in line at midnight to get it.
Ryan: Soooooo.......I guess that makes you a Potter-phile

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Raw Talent, With a Side of Crazy


If you watch American Idol, and you’ve ever said “they can’t be serious” out loud when you’ve seen some of the outrageous people who sing like a cat in heat and wear costumes or dress like a stripper and say things like “I know I’m good. I’ll be a star. You will have missed out on my greatness.” – this one’s for you.

The following is an exact transcription of a voicemail I received earlier this week:

Hi my name is ---- -------- and my number is --- --- ----. I just, uhhhh....wanted to know if I can get some type of record deal. Uhhh. Call me back if it sounds good or not, you know, my voice. I taped it on the....ummm.....recorder over here, I’m kind nervous so....I’m so sorry. Well, listen to my voice. Thank you.
(She hits play on what sounds like an old school tape recorder where you press play and record together.) (The song is bad.) (Real bad.)
Thank you. Have a nice day.

I suppose she thought that her “talent” would urge me to fax her a record contract immediately, since I keep them neatly stacked on my desk for just such an occasion. This is the not the first time someone has played me a song on my voicemail. I’ve had rappers "spittin their mad game" and people who “write amazing lyrics” and people calling on behalf of their friends/relatives who will “sell a million records for SURE, yo!” So the answer to the American Idol questions is....yes, Virginia, they really do think they can sing.

For other record label tomfoolery, go here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday: Personal History (Awkward)

Seventh Grade

This is me in the seventh grade. It was the Anti-Halloween/Fall Festival at my Christian school and my friends and I were the “Cool Dudettes”. I’m on the right in the yellow sweater, and that’s a piece of notebook paper taped to my chest that says “Cool Dudettes”, in case anyone doubted our coolness. This outfit was my idea of cool, or at least this was my idea of cool given what I had to work with in my closet.

This was me before I knew anything about heartbreak. Before I knew anything about true love. This was me when I trusted everyone and believed in everything I was told to believe in. This was me before I ever kissed a boy. This girl liked to laugh and make other people laugh. This girl felt awkward about her height and even though she was thin, always felt like the biggest girl in the room. She had no cavities and perfect skin and vision, but very bad hair. This girl was funny and smart and na├»ve. She didn’t have any walls up, wasn’t guarded with her feelings or her friendships or her heart. This girl had no idea what life would be like when she was 31. She was in for a big surprise.

Other histories here.

P.S. The hot red head on the left is Red Hot Mama. We’ve been friends since we were 11 years old. (That’s 20 years of friendship, people.) Don’t tell her that I showed you this picture because she will kill me.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cheaper Chicken the Game

New Game at Illingworth Manor. See how many times you can say “Cheaper Chicken” in a row. And you must say it fast. Our current world record is 2.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I am a Christian.
This means that I am a follower of Christ, not a financial backer of the Pat Robertson empire. However, the fact that I am a Christian colors my entire life. My father is a pastor and I grew up in Christian school (including college) and I've worked for Christian companies for 13 years. Given this bubble state that I live in, my life is pretty well laid out for me. I do certain things a certain way because that's what I've always done. Alternatives are never considered because there's simply no reason. I go to church and I don't do drugs and I don't rob banks. Period.
The older I get, the harder it seems to define the parameters of my "Christian life" without becoming exclusive or holier-than-thou, two things I do not wish to be. There’s a current trend brewing among evangelicals that we shouldn’t be so “religious” and rigid. That the old school ways of church no longer have relevance and we should work to conform our faith to fit in with the modern world. And whether or not I believe that to be true, I do believe I am called to live by a certain standard and ethic. I think my life should have structure, not childishly running around all willy nilly believing that God will handle the hard stuff. I think my life should be about more than saying "I believe" and leaving it at that. More than attending church once a week and expecting that action to fulfill my holy quota. It has to be more. If my faith is true, if I truly practice what I preach, my faith should be evidenced in every aspect of my life.
Lately I've been faced with some difficult (and new) choices. My company does a lot of advertising and marketing on the web since that's where the kids hang out these days. This can sometimes bring up questionable issues such as screening MySpace friends for our company MySpace page. Meaning, we want anyone and everyone to be our friend, but we don't want lewd photos on our page. So far we've been able to tackle these issues as they've come up...but yesterday I was faced with a new dilemma. We have a new band coming out in a few weeks so I've been fervently working to get them booked on all the best music sites. I book banner ads and host contests, things of that nature. In doing this, I came across a company that books ads for tons of great sites for one price! Easy! While looking over their list, I noticed that one of the sites they book is a lifestyle site that features girls in various stages of nudity trying to be edgy and cool. And yes, they are edgy and cool. But also....they are naked.
I don't want to be one of "those Christians" that immediately turns up my nose at anything morally questionable, refusing to truly examine the situation. I think Christians (especially ones in the limelight) too often judge before examining, piously point before considering, condemn before caring. The opposite of what I think Jesus was, and the opposite of who I think I'm called to be. But. I also represent a band and a company, and ultimately my faith.
As I see it, there are two arguments:
1. We shouldn't openly fund and associate ourselves with an organization that promotes something we oppose.
2. If we are truly trying to spread the message of Hope to those outside our "circle", shouldn't we then associate with those very people? Get in the mix, so to speak. Break out of the bubble.
And I guess I’m not even talking about the questionable website anymore, I’m not trying to make some judgment about them or how they choose to display themselves to the public. I’m just trying to figure out the balance. I don’t want to stay holed up inside the church, afraid of whatever “sin” might be lurking outside. But I also believe that living my faith means living a life of morality, or at least making every effort to do so.
I realize these questions have been asked a thousand times by a thousand people, even since Bible times. We all ask ourselves at one time or another, “How close is too close?” Hate the sin, love the sinner, that sort of thing. I want to love others as Jesus did, but it never seems to be black and white. There’s always an ocean of grey.
And I don't assume to have all the answers, or any answers for that matter. Only questions that wake me in the night. Questions that haunt me and nag me and bore holes into my heart.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mind the Gap

Facts related to this story:
1. Ryan is 24 and I am 31.
2. Ryan plays the drums. And he's good. Really good.
Now on with the story.

I went to see Ryan's band play tonight. The minute I walked into the cramped sweaty room, I was smothered by the gap...immediately surrounded by eighteen year old girls and their eighteen year old behinds. Not really my crowd. I felt suffocated and wide and outdated. Every girl in the room had on cute shoes and size 2 jeans with trendy belts and bags. I was wearing a grey t-shirt and three year old red pumas. As usually happens at these shows, I got involved in many conversations that I didn't understand. The kind where I smile and say "yeah" when really I have no idea what we're talking about. I stopped myself from cupping my hand over my ear and saying "speak up dear, I can't hear you." Hair spontaneously sprouted from my chin and crows began planting their feet around my eyes. I was tired and cranky and every part of me wanted to go home and put on my pajamas and watch Conan and be done with it.

But then Ryan began to play the drums.

When Ryan plays the drums, he bursts wide open. He expresses true joy. All at once he's impassioned and irresistable. Sweaty and sexy. Effervescent and energetic. Controlled and yet so wild. Crazy. Unpredictable. Fun. When Ryan plays the drums, he becomes an entirely different person. It's almost like the first crash of the cymbal flips his secret switch and he comes alive. He's free.

When Ryan plays the drums, I forget how tired I am. How wide and outdated and awkward. I forget that I'm the oldest person in the room. When Ryan plays the drums, I don't mind the gap.

Expiration Date

Bananas are perfect. They are perfectly healthy, full of potassium. They are the perfect size, just enough. They come with perfect packaging. You can carry one in your purse or your backpack or your armpit. The only glaring flaw is their short shelf life.

I want to be a banana. I want to be healthy and the perfect size with the perfect packaging. But I worry that once I finally achieve perfection, I'll be left with a short shelf life.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

14 Things You Should Know: January Edition

1. It’s hard for me to get things accomplished until RIGHT before it’s necessary. If I have a week to do something, I’ll wait until that day to do it.
2. I always wanted a job where I could drive a golf cart.
3. Our favorite Chinese dive has a nice little sign on the drink lids that says “Drink Lips”
4. I cannot wear lipstick.
5. I hate when Outlook says I have new email...and it’s a lie.
6. There’s a small part of me that’s always expecting a tragedy.
7. I’ve never been one to “style” my hair.
8. The reason I don’t put lotion on my hands or lip gloss on my lips or body lotion on my body is because I just don’t think about it.
9. Work is currently overwhelming and my life is currently overwhelming so it’s hard for me to think of bright and cheery things to list or blog about or write about or even talk about. I feel stuck in a hamster wheel that won’t spin, but I keep ridiculously running up the side and falling back down. Then I look around and think....what the hell?

Bonus: I do not use words like “hell” in my normal everyday speech, but that is exactly how I feel about my current state.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday: Personal History (Talker)


I think I was a talker from birth. I'm still a talker, only now I hate talking on the phone.

Other SPT culprits here.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Jack's Back

Jack Bauer

Sunday night...Jack's back.


Oh, how we've missed you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

And it's only lunchtime.

You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up early for a doctor’s appointment and promptly start your period that includes flesh-eating-cramps and then dash out the door only to sit in standstill traffic due to idiots ogling a wreck that’s been moved to the shoulder and while you sit in traffic not moving you see dozens upon dozens of cars containing one person whizzing by in the HOV lane that CLEARLY requires two persons and you seethe about this for a good twenty minutes and then you finally get to the doctor’s office and they ask you to fill out four separate long forms about your history even though you have been seeing this same doctor for eight years and all your history is neatly tucked away in the file he already has and then you wait and wait and they finally call you back and you wait for 50 minutes in a room with no windows and an ultrasound machine from 1979 and when the doctor finally comes in he looks over his glasses at you and says “my….you’ve put on some weight haven’t you” which makes you want to gouge out his beady little eyes with a syringe and pin him against the wall with your big fat behind and then he tells you that you probably have mono and you’ll have to get blood drawn but you can’t do it there and you’ll have to drive somewhere else so you go to the somewhere else where a nice lady in a white coat jams a needle in your arm and you want to cry but you don’t because you know you wouldn’t be able to stop and you finally make it in to work and your husband sends you a message that he’s feverish and has a sore throat and you think “I knew this would happen!” because you’ve been sick for three months and you feel awful for him and you freak out because he doesn’t have insurance and the bank account is already drained and so you go to Walgreens with him to try and “over the counter” his pain away and while you’re there you pick up your prescription from the “Hey, You’re Fat” doctor and find out that it’s fifty dollars which makes you mad because this is the third antibiotic you’ve taken in as many months and if you have mono it will only get worse. And also there's the surgery.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Can you start the IV drugs now, please?

Fact: When you get up at 4:15 in the morning, you eat lunch at 10am and dinner at 4:45pm.

This must be why Cracker Barrel was full of spry seniors enjoying a leisurely dinner at 4:45. They eyed us suspiciously wondering we were doing there, busting up their secret dinner spot. And it was very low key. Laid back. Senior-ish. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Cracker Barrel that wasn’t hustling and bustling and now I know why. I usually go when the other young’uns go. Maybe the early hour was to blame for why it took so dang long for the food to come. Maybe the aged don’t care about speediness. They just don’t want the kids jumping around talking about that hip hop music. But Ryan and I needed macaroni and cheese and we needed it RIGHT THEN.

My sister-in-law had surgery yesterday (which explains why we got up so early). It was a scary situation for her and we all hoped for a decent outcome. A good outcome wasn’t really presented as a likely option, so we all hoped for decent. As she was waiting to go in, the anesthesiologist came in and told her that she would administer some liquid courage before they took her into the operating room, you know, to help matters. The good, no GREAT news is – the outcome was wildly fabulous and wonderful. We all cried for joy and breathed a collective sigh of relief (sine we had all been holding our breath since June) for Leslie. God indeed answers prayers.

I admire Leslie a great deal. I also admire how she has handled this whole “surgery” scenario since the beginning. She might disagree, but I think she’s quite brave. She faced this situation head on and handled it with grace and the exact right amount of strength. I wonder if I will handle it the same way? (Secret message to Internet: No, I will not handle this the same way. At all. I will be crazy and overreact and freak out at every turn.) Remember this and this and this? Well, the situation has not gotten better, and I’m now scheduled for surgery on February 1st.

The reason I haven’t disclosed the nature of my distress is because I’m not all Dooce’d and uninhibited about things of this nature. So let’s just say that I’m having Lady Surgery and leave it at that. The truth is, I’m ok and it’s outpatient surgery and “procedure” would probably be a better description. But that doesn't change the fact that I'll be put under and I'll have an IV and there will be sharp objects applied to my flesh. Also, there are unknowns and I hate the unknown. I also hate being pricked and sliced. And diced. I’m also emotionally spent from six+ months of unexplainable trauma to my person. My person is tired! My person wants answers! My person thinks surgery is a terrifying (yet needed) option!

I need some liquid courage as I’m

Friday, January 06, 2006

Who Needs Guilt When You Can Have S'Mores!

5 Guilty Pleasures

I was tagged by M and AJ Fabulous to do this meme. But I’ll be honest – I don’t feel guilty about most of my pleasures…..

The Rules: Write a blog about 5 Guilty Pleasures. In the end you need to choose five people to be tagged and list their names.

1. Reading Dooce and Fussy and Finslippy and Breed ‘Em and Weep and Fluid Pudding and Mimi Smartypants instead of working on my book that's due in 89 days.

2. When my husband reads this he.....will......DIE. So Ryan, this one’s for you. Guilty Pleasure #2 is this. And since I assume that no one else who reads this will know that is – it’s a cartoon show about Master Shake (a milkshake who talks and has googly eyes), Meatwad (a wad of meat that talks and plays with toys )(yes, a wad of meat that talks and plays with toys) and Frylock (a genius carton of French fries with a gotee and a computer), and how they torture their next door neighbor Carl by swimming in his pool. Typing that last sentence made me lose some precious brain cells. Ryan got volumes 2 and 3 for Christmas, so we watched them all in a row. It’s not my fault. BLAME RYAN. (maybe he’s not so perfect after all....)

3. Reading US Weekly, and by reading I mean looking at the pictures and making up my own corresponding words. But, my subscription has run out. Good thing there’s Trent.

4. Cracker Barrel mac and cheese.

5. This blog – which should have been an outlet for creative writing and instead is a daily dose of meaningless drivel that does nothing to further my writing skills and only causes further distraction from the real work at hand. Good job Jo!

I’m tagging Lori and Heather and Server Girland Be On Key and Red Hot Mama. So there.

Happy Friday. Especially if you need the weekend as much as I do.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And They Said It Wouldn't Last...

Today is the Illingworth Six Month Wedding Anniversary. Doesn’t that sound grandiose? I tried to make it sound grandiose. I like things to sound like a celebration, even when they are relatively low key. It makes life more interesting. More...grandiose. I thought about writing a long and touching tribute about my Perfect Ryan and these last six months and how wonderful they have been and how everyone who said "the first year's the hardest" had it wrong wrong wrong. Then I decided that I would rather point out all the fun moments we’ve had and make a list with funny inside jokes that might make you laugh too. But then I couldn’t decide which moments to highlight because there are so many. Plus, I talk about Ryan so much on this blog that some of you might already be at the eye-rolling-finger-down-the-throat-enough-already stage.
So. Maybe I’ll just talk about dinner.

Monday night Ryan and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for five reasons.
1. We had a gift card
2. It was his birthday
3. We could also celebrate our anniversary
4. Since we had a gift card we could order TWO desserts
5. Hello! The Cheesecake Factory!
We got there at 6:30 and smiled happily when the hostess said 70 minute wait. We didn’t care! It was Birthday Anniversary Cheesecake Factory! Of course, every other couple around us started huffing and puffing and complaining and “checking on their table” after twenty minutes. Calm down people! We have been waiting for 52 minutes! After 78 minutes, we were seated, and instructed to begin feasting. And feast we did. When dessert time came, we were too full, but said BRING OUT THE CHEESECAKE anyway. Ryan ordered the Godiva Cheesecake, and I ordered something that made the server gasp and ask me if I was sure.
"For Real?"
"Are you sure"
"Are you planning on sharing with anyone"
Server eyes bugging out....

I’ll say, the fact that it didn’t take two burly men to manhandle my dessert is a mystery I will never solve. When our server set it down in front of me, the booth shook. It came on a platter. It was bigger than any dessert I’ve ever seen, ever. We stared at it for a while, hoping it was just a whipped cream illusion and a normal piece of cake was underneath. We were wrong. Underneath that mountain of whipped cream was an equally large mountain of coffee and vanilla ice cream and underneath that was what can only be described as an entire sheet cake of chocolate and chocolate chips and more chocolate and frosting and chocolate. I started to cry.

After attempting to cram as much of this truly heavenly dish into my mouth as possible, and then eating another five heaping bites, I sat back and cried some more. And this is what was left.

Monster Cake

Everyone says you gain weight when you get married. I think it's the Anniversary Dinners that do you in.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday: Personal History (Brother)

This month's SPT theme is Personal History. When I think of my own history I get nervous that I have history.....and then I start to freak out that I'm getting older and life is short and I haven't done everything I wanted to do and and and........

JoAnna and Andy
(click picture to see larger version - it's worth it)

One giant factor of my personal history is my brother, Drew. I think we had just opened presents and we were showing them off. I got a Cookie Monster t-shirt and Strawberry Shortcake knee socks (my FAVORITE socks and t-shirt for years)and Drew got the horse and little chair. He was always the ham, and I was always the giggly sidekick, even though I'm much older. I think that's still true today. People who think I'm funny - have never met my brother Drew. The true comic of our family. The one that keeps us in stitches. The person I've always loved and always admired and always felt free to torture mercilessly. My main childhood annoyance and my main childhood friend. Everyone should have such a brother.

And just to prove that he is the funny one, this is how he showed up to family Christmas this year:

Cousin Eddie dickey under a white sweater with tight green pants and white shoes. Cousin Eddie at his finest. I thought my mom would choke she was laughing so hard.

Other Self Portraits here.

Monday, January 02, 2006

More Than A Resolution

It was New Year's Eve, 2003, and I was desperate. Ok, maybe not desperate, but I was 29 years old. And lonely. And maybe a little bitter. And a tad bit nervous that I would end my life as a childless virgin living in a house full of roommates. So I did what any single woman on the verge of 30 would do - I made a resolution. And not just any resolution, the big one. And I told everyone I knew, loudly and proudly that....

(to be read in a booming announcer voice with a slight echo)
This year (year...year...) I am going (going...going...) to kiss (kiss...kiss...) a 21 year old!!!

It sounded just scandalous enough to raise eyebrows without raising any flags. It made people laugh, which was my only real intention. I never...ever...thought I would actually do it.

But I did.

And then I married him.

It turned out to be the best resolution I ever made. And today is Perfect Ryan’s birthday. He’s 24 now, but still just as kiss-able. So Happy Birthday Perfect Ryan!! You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m so glad I made some silly resolution and met you in the process. 2005 was the best year ever because I spent every day with you. You are good. So good. So so good. And I love you, I love you, I love you.


(If you would like to know why Ryan is Perfect you can find out here and here and here and here. And here. And also here.)