Eat Your Breakfast

It seems odd that I lost sleep over my iron levels, but the truth is that I did. After a battery of calls from the American Red Cross, I finally caved and scheduled a blood donation appointment for this afternoon.

I need to mention here that I’ve been turned away the past few times I’ve tried – which is mildly humiliating and a complete waste of time. For anyone else out there who has waited patiently in line, Aced the 30 minutes of repetitious testing (“For the third time – no, I have definitely not been to Africa this year…”), and finally gotten the dreaded pin prick to check their iron levels only to still not go home with a “Be Nice to Me – I Donated Blood Today!” sticker – you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps they should make a low-iron equivalent – something that reads, “Be Nice to Me. My Iron is Low and Now I Have a Stupid Band-Aid On My Finger For Nothing.”

You can imagine my excitement when I soared past the selection stage with a whopping 13.7 iron level. That’s probably even better than my SAT scores. I wanted to give the nurse a high-five; but she was pretty reserved with all of those syringes lying around. I decided to celebrate silently – thanking my Trader Joe’s vitamins all the way to the donation station.

I was a bit chattier than normal – which my large and stoic faced nurse who I’ll call Matilda didn’t seem to appreciate.

“Is this your first time?” she finally asked with the same tone one might use to say something like, “Would you just shut up already??”

I really couldn’t help it. I’d finally made the cut! I was definitely going to get a sticker…

“Welcome to the Canteen,” a white-haired woman greeted me warmly at the snack table afterwards. She seemed friendly enough – like her name might be Mildred and she had a quiet Maltese puppy back at home named Rover.

I know, I wanted to say – completely thrilled, It’s great to be here!

Make sure you sit close to the table,” she cut me off with a sudden sternness that I began to wonder if Rover was more of a Pit-bull, “And keep your feet flat.”

My feet didn’t actually reach flat to the ground so I did the best I could and sucked down some water. I quietly sent out a text to Jourdan to let her know that I was in the clear and would have plenty of time to head back victoriously to the house to let in the Cable guy to install TV and Internet.

And then I fainted.

It’s true – I totally fainted like a girl straight out of an old Western film. I really hate to think of the group of unsuspecting strangers showing up for their appointments at the exact same moment when I sank to the floor. Talk about bad timing…

I will say, however, that the absolute best place to sink into what feels like a coma is a room full of American Red Cross workers. Few things are handier than 20 people rushing at you with cold towels and stethoscopes (along with a few others hauling some folding wall screens to keep the public from getting any ideas…).

After coming back to the land of the living and groggily asking a nurse how I ended up on the floor, I was sequestered to a cot only about 2’ away from a snack table full of onlookers munching through bags of Cheez-Its and avoiding eye contact. I tried to strike up some sort of funny and self-deprecating dialogue; but it’s surprisingly difficult to speak after you’ve fainted and have cold compresses covering over 50% of your face. A few of them asked if I was feeling better. I think what they really meant to say was, “Amateur…”

Turns out there’s more to life than iron levels. Sometimes you just need to eat more than bread and a banana for breakfast (hard to believe, I know…).

Sadly, I was laid up too long to make it back in time for the Cable guy. I didn’t, however, miss out on the new pair of Toms shoes waiting for me at the door (see attached!).

So, boys and girls – Moral of the Story? Eat your breakfast, take your vitamins, and buy a pair of Toms shoes (and don’t miss the Cable guy if you can help it. Bad news…).

Thanks, Tom!

Thanks, Tom!

Looks like they're all getting along nicely (except for maybe the boots - but they'll come around...)

Looks like they're all getting along nicely (except for maybe the boots - but they'll come around...)

The Best Part About Best Buy

I’m not sure where I was feeling worse – the cosmetics aisle of Target or the TV section of Best Buy.  Either way, I was in a complete slump and felt like I was trying to hold myself together with sales receipt tape.

The few pleasures of being an artist such as myself is that your moods can wildly fluctuate depending on how well things are actually going with your art.  Unfortunately for me, things were not going particularly well in my opinion this past Monday night when a bright-eyed sales rep named John asked if he could help me.  “Probably not,” I responded with the enthusiasm of a dying tortoise.  When he realized that I was referring to more than TV sales, he graciously tried to cheer me up right there in the store.

“So you’re a musician?” he said, finally scratching the surface of what was nagging me, “And you have a show tomorrow, huh?  Can I come too?”

Please come!” I pleaded with an emphatic burst,”No one ever comes!!”

That’s when you know you have a problem.  When you find yourself begging – literally BEGGING – sales reps at Best Buy to come to your shows simply because attendance has been so low that you fear you will never sing again in this town. When this happens, I assure you that the happy Sales Rep will want little to do with you or you show (and, no, they will not want to bring friends).

So.  That happened.

When I finally calmed down enough to sleep that night, I dreamed that I adopted a small boy from Africa who needed more love than I could fit into a thousand shoe boxes and all I could do was hold him and whisper songs in his ear.  I woke up with a renewed sense of balance – as though my fixation on my frustration paled so greatly not only to the tremendous support and love I have from a firm collection of friends but also the gaping needs around the globe for people who have far less.  So what if things aren’t going as well as I hoped?  So what if I never sell out for a show or get booked in some classy venue?  There are worse things in life, no?

So I swallowed a few pieces of humble pie and trotted off to my day – closing my eyes tight every now and again just to get a glimpse of that little African boy’s ready smile from my dream.

Only a few hours later I had an email from my friend, Ryan, who I met at the Listener show from last week (See “Fun With the Interwebs“).  He had asked me earlier if I’d be willing to let him use my version of “Joy to the World” for a promo video at his company, Tom’s Shoes.  I love absolutely everything about Tom’s Shoes and what they stand for so I instantly said yes.  And here was his email with the final product – less than 24 hours after my bleak Best Buy episode.  Not gonna lie – my heart completely stopped in its tracks when I saw the faces in that video.  So much joy, so much happiness – all from such a small act of compassion and generosity.  Makes me wonder why I was so upset to begin with…

And, I swear to you – while I’m not totally into signs, omens, or foretelling dreams – that little boy from my dream is in there – throwing his smile around like a sunbeam.

No joke.  This all really happened.

So, here’s the video to see for yourself.  I hope it reminds the both of us what to really be happy and sad about this season (and trust me, it has little to do with these wishy washy emotions of mine…)

much love to you all,

-jess

Fun With the Interwebs

This just happened:

– I woke up at 11:23am (I’m unemployed and I’ve been battling a cold.  I’m allowed.).

– I checked my email at 11:31am and had a link from my friend, Stephen, who sent me a video link for a band called Listeners on my Facebook page (see below):

-I was thoroughly blown away by the video and was googling the band by 11:35am.

– By 11:40am I’d found the band’s myspace page on the fancy interwebs machine.  The tour schedule listed their next live show right here in Los Angeles later that night (coincidence, no??) at the Synchronicity Salon – an intentional community living space in the historic West Adams district.

– I got an email back from two of Synchronicity’s residents at 1:35pm insisting that I come out for the show and bring some food for a potluck before the show.

– I pulled up to the house at 7:54pm – a batch of homemade cornbread in hand that quickly landed on the plate of Dan Smith, the lead singer, himself (I warned him that it was a bit bland but he said he didn’t mind).

– And by 11:31pm – only a mere 12 hours since I’d even heard of these guys – I was joining the standing ovation and buying up merch (or ‘souvenirs/memorabilia’, as they like to call it).  I was also snapping off the pictures below with the tremendously talented band members themselves:

Dan Smith (left) and Christin Nelson (right)

we all happened to be wearing hoodies...

Yup.  This all just happened.