I guess we now can say definitively that yes, in fact, I do bow to peer pressure. Thanks Miss Alex of Fonzie Sox and Dr. Monkey!
This will be the third time I've done this and we're beginning to get to the truly obscure and bizarre and possibly embarrassing things about me. Seriously, this must stop. I'm not doing this again. Well, at least until CERTAIN friends of mine do it for the first time . . . and you know who you are!
1. Right before Christmas, when I was in the 2nd grade, my two front teeth were fairly loose. That winter was especially harsh and during recess, a boy named Blake decided a bunch of people should play "kissing tag." I wanted nothing to do with it because I couldn't stand him, so I started to walk away, but he took that as a sign that I'd already started the game. He came after me, tackled me into a huge pile of frozen snow and knocked out my two front teeth. I spent the afternoon with paper towels shoved in my toothless mouth and he didn't get into any trouble.
2. In 1992 and 1998, I spent my birthday in Grant Park celebrating the Bulls Championships with just a few million of my closest friends.
3. Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and I share a birthday.
4. I've always wanted a sister, but my brother Dave has grown on me over the last 34 years.
5. I miss my best friend, even though the truth is my life is better without her.
6. My first apartment in DC was in the middle of hookerville (my nickname for it), but I could lay in bed at night and have an unimpeded view of the Capitol Dome. It was the only thing I loved about that apartment.
7. I have a crazy family that sometimes embarrasses me. But I'm never embarrassed by any of my relatives I'm connected to on Facebook. Really. That's NOT sarcasm. If you embarrassed me, I wouldn't let you be my Facebook Friend.
8. One of my life goals is to be published.
9. My dad used to tell everyone I was going to be the first woman President.
10. I was named for my maternal grandfather (whom I've never met because he died on my mom's 13th birthday), Jesse Paulk, and my mom's best friend from college, Lynn Meng. I'm Jessica Lynn, but only my mom can call me that.
11. In her gut, she was so certain I was a girl, my mom never even had a boy's name picked out for me. I was Jessica Lynn from the moment she found out she was pregnant with me.
12. When my paternal grandfather was dying, I went to Florida to say good-bye. It was a very emotional trip for me because he'd been an important part of my life. He couldn't talk, but could at least understand what we were saying to a degree. The night before I was scheduled to fly back to DC, I left my hotel room to go for a walk. After about an hour, my dad came looking for me, and found me in my grandfather's room in the nursing home. I was just sitting and talking to him, through many tears, and didn't want to leave. My dad led me out of the room and as we got to the door of his room, I turned around and said "good-bye Grandpa." I have no idea how, but he somehow said "bye Jess." The only two words he'd said for ages. I could barely walk back to the hotel because I was such a wreck. Two days later, Grandpa died and those words will stick with me forever.
13. I never wanted to do anything except be an attorney. I'm not a lawyer, but I have no regrets.
14. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm always really proud when I manage to fix something around my house myself.
15. Whenever I hear U2, I think of my friend Steve, the Illinois Citizenship Experience, and that summer.
16. I didn't get braces until college and I slept with a retainer until I was almost 30. It was the most uncool thing ever and I eventually stopped wearing it, but then my teeth moved. My orthodontist had the last laugh when he put something on my teeth to keep them permanently in place, essentially braces (that's how it feels) but on the back of my teeth.
17. The dirtiest joke I ever heard came from my maternal grandmother. It had a minister in it and she didn't get how truly dirty it was. She just thought it was funny and would routinely tell it at completely inappropriate family functions (think funerals, anniversary parties, Christmas). She is this very prim and proper woman and devout Christian and it baffles my mind to think about where she happened to hear this vile joke. Don't ask me to tell you the joke. I won't.
18. My favorite song is Southern Cross and I prefer the Jimmy Buffett cover to the original.
19. I cry every time I see Serendipity. Don't judge me, you cry at cheezy movies too.
20. Casablanca and It's A Wonderful Life also make me cry and are two of my favorite movies ever. They just don't make movies like these anymore.
21. When I was 13, I played the Virgin Mary in the Christmas Eve play at church. My mother has the pictorial evidence.
22. I wasn't ever the smartest kid, just the most determined.
23. If The West Wing is on TV, don't expect me to do anything else. Ever. I've been known to have a "sick day" if Bravo is having a marathon.
24. I've never been to New York City, except for two one-day business trips.
25. On January 1, 19889, I appeared in part of a segment on the Today Show as part of the Marriage and Family class at my high school. And I'm holding the 10 pound sack of cat litter, my "husband" and I had to dress up to look like a boy. We got the 10 lb sack of cat litter rather than the 5 lb pound of flour that everyone else got because he was a pretty big guy, at least that's what our teachers said.