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By Jessica Holt 28 Jul, 2017
Back in the 1900s, we were a road-tripping family. 1997 was San Diego to San Francisco. 1998 was Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and a whole lot of Texas. 1999 was Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and just enough of Wyoming to say we’d been there. 2000 was up the East Coast to Boston.

Some days we were like the Brady Bunch, blissfully riding mules into the Grand Canyon (we never actually did that, thank goodness) or dancing together at a luau in Hawaii. (That didn’t happen either. I’ve never been to Hawaii, and if I ever do go, I can’t see myself hula-ing). But my point is that there were times when we were a cohesive family unit, just enjoying the adventure and the time together.
By Jessica Holt 02 Mar, 2017
February was National Time Management Month. Why February, you ask? My guess is because by February we’ve abandoned enough of our New Year’s resolutions to have room for another one. In January, time management would pale in comparison to getting healthy, learning something new, and following our dreams. By February, we’ve settled on just being a little better overall than last year, so we can spend the time we’re no longer spending on our New Year’s resolutions thinking about how we can better spend our time.
By Jessica Holt 20 Nov, 2016
Well, the Holiday season is upon us. The Hallmark Channel is already showing round the clock Christmas movies. I would normally not know that, as the Hallmark Channel is not part of my 9-channel cable package that a few years ago would have been called ‘Free with a decent set of rabbit ears’ but is now considered ‘Premium basic cable’ thanks to the digital switch (remember the announcement that scrolled across the bottom of the TV screen for what seemed like years, warning us that if we didn’t make the switch to digital by such and such a date, we’d suddenly find ourselves staring at a black screen?). Don’t get me wrong—I’m not one of those anti-TV people. I have two of them. One has 9 channels, and one has no channels, but both have Hulu readily available, and Netflix will be added, at least temporarily, when the new Gilmore Girls episodes are released the day after Thanksgiving (just one more reason Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday). If you want to know just how not anti-TV I am, you can go back and read my blog entry titled, ‘The Story Behind the Story’.

But back to the Holiday season being upon us. Santa is apparently already at the mall. Hopefully I won’t be able to confirm this because while I try to avoid the mall year round, I really make an effort to avoid it during the Christmas season. I may not be anti-TV, but I am absolutely anti-crowded-shopping-malls, especially when they have all of those over eager sample pushers stationed at the kiosks. Last time I went to a mall, I left with some sort of Jerusalem sea salt cream on one wrist and an Alaskan mud bath on the other wrist, and I didn’t even get what I went for because I was out of wrists and didn’t know what they were going to try to put where next.

And if your local soft rock radio stations haven’t switched over to ‘All Christmas Music All the Time’ yet, I’m sure they will soon. I actually like listening to occasional Christmas music during the Christmas season. I just can only listen to the same song being sung by different people in slightly different ways so many times during the same hour.
By Jessica Holt 22 Jul, 2016
First, the story behind the story:

The year was 2007. I had just moved from Upstate South Carolina to Charleston, and every week I had a very important appointment with my roommate. It involved a trip to Sonic and a TV show called Gilmore Girls. The tradition actually started when I was a Freshman at Wofford College. Thursday night was still Must See TV back then. At 7:30, four of my hallmates and I would walk to the campus coffee shop. I would order a white chocolate mocha, they would order their beverages of choice, and we would take them back to the room with the largest TV (not was a white 13” TV/VHS combo) and watch Friends.

Friends had been a part of my life for five years by then. My 8th grade band teacher referenced it one day during class, I went home and watched an episode, and I was hooked. And just so you know how hooked I was, before the days of DVD collections, I recorded a rerun of every episode, in order, on VHS, creating my own version of a Friends box set.

Friends was the one constant in my life as I took the leap from high school to college. Friends was the one thing that gave me hope that the world hadn’t totally fallen apart when, one Tuesday morning two weeks into my Freshman year, I came in from an 8:00 Calculus class, turned on my little white TV, and instead of Regis and Kelly, found Matt Lauer and Katie Couric talking about the plane that had just flown into the World Trade Center. I had only been watching for a minute when the second plane hit the other tower, and in that moment ‘horrible accident’ turned into ‘intentional attack on the United States’. For two days I thought nothing would ever be the same...there would be ‘before September 11’ and ‘after September 11’. All I wanted was for something that existed ‘before September 11’ to exist, unaltered, ‘after September 11’, for something to be familiar and comforting.

I very specifically remember wondering if Friends would come on that Thursday night. My version of the story goes that all day long was news, news, news, and then suddenly at 8:00 the news stopped and Friends appeared on the screen. It offered a glimmer of hope, thirty minutes of familiarity in the midst of fear and confusion, an occasional laugh that felt both inappropriate and necessary at the same time. Whether or not the timing happened the way I remember it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is what I realized from that experience, that sometimes things that seemingly don’t matter at all can matter the most. If it brings happiness, or joy, or a brief escape from the real world to even one person, it matters immensely.

So you can imagine my sense of loss when Friends ended in 2004. Or maybe you can’t. I’m not sure if it’s normal to grieve over the loss of a TV show. But normal or not, coffee and Friends night had evolved into Zaxby’s and Friends night, and in the fall of 2004 I found myself sitting on the couch with a Wings ‘n Things and nothing to watch.

Now to make what should have been the longest part of a short story the shortest part of a story that got much longer than I meant for it to be.

Gilmore Girls turned out to be a welcome replacement for Friends. And if I’m being honest, while a Friends episode on Nick at Nite before bed is always enjoyable, I have never seen a better-written or better-casted show than Gilmore Girls. It was lighthearted. It was quirky. It was a little bit whimsical. It was sixty minutes of the world I wished I lived in. And then in 2007, just after I moved across the state, just when I needed something familiar to take with me, Gilmore Girls ended. Seemingly forever (not so, according to recent buzz from Netflix, but should a Gilmore Girls mini series of sorts actually come to fruition that will be another blog entry for another day...I can’t even get my hopes up about that right now). So my roommate and I were left with our extra long coneys, our tater tots, our honey mustard, a diet Cherry Coke for me, a Dr. Pepper for her, and another void to fill.

In 2007, Lost was right up there with Gilmore Girls on my list of ‘Must See TV’. But in a not-at-all lighthearted, not-at-all quirky, not-at-all whimsical, not-at-all the world I wished I lived in sort of way. I’m an absolute baby when it comes to any sort of horror-inducing entertainment, and most weeks Lost was right at the edge of my limit, so I didn’t think it would make for a very enjoyable dining experience.

Which brings me to Pushing Daisies. You’ve probably never seen it. Only six million people watched it every week, which in today’s TV world would keep you on the air for ten years, but in the fall of 2007, six million viewers got you cancelled after two seasons. Pushing Daisies was everything I loved about Gilmore Girls taken to the extreme. It was bright. It was colorful. It was funny. It was clever. It was lighthearted. It was quirky. It was nothing but whimsical. And it was about murder. Each week, a murder was solved by the pie-maker, who possessed the gift (or curse) of bringing people back to life with a single touch, and his childhood sweetheart Charlotte Charles, who the pie-maker just happened to bring back to life in the first episode.

Which got me thinking. Could I write a story about a serious subject and make it lighthearted and whimsical?

A short story entitled ... "Unquestionably Questionable" ... was the result of that thought.

 Click the picture below to read the story.
By Jessica Holt 29 May, 2016
Sometimes things just work out.

Sometimes those things are small, like when I was little, and I prayed that Sweet Home Alabama would come on the radio, and it did.

Sometimes they’re bigger, like when my post-college roommate told me she was going to be at a beach about an hour north of my grandparents’ house if I wanted to plan to make a trip while she was there, and then about two weeks before the trip she texted me to tell me that she got the beach wrong, it was actually Surfside Beach, and she hoped that wouldn’t be too far for me to still come visit. Well, it just so happens that my grandparents’ house is at Surfside Beach! We laughed about how it would be funny if we were neighbors. Well, I laughed. Chuckled is more like it, and I don’t know whether she laughed or not because all of our communication was done through texts, but she probably at least chuckled too because it seemed more than doubtful that in a town that runs 16 avenues north of Surfside Drive and 16 avenues south of Surfside Drive we would even be within reasonable walking distance of each other. Biking, yes. Walking, no. Then, what do you know, Rebecca and her family’s rental house ended up being on the exact same street as my grandparents’ house. What we thought was going to be one visit on one day turned into sharing beach access all week and seeing each other almost every day.
By Jessica Holt 04 Apr, 2016
Well, I’ve done something I said I would never do. I’ve started posting on Instagram. Technically, I started posting on Instagram back in December, but that one picture sat there, all by its lonesome, for four months.

I was never anti-Instagram. I’ve been visiting other people’s Instagrams for years. I was just against having to learn how to use it myself. The truth is, it’s not that hard to post a picture and write a caption about it. What is hard is having to regularly find Instagram-worthy photos to post, especially when you’re somebody who has hundreds of pictures of her dog but not too many of anything else.

But now, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law’s Spring vacation and their willingness to advertise my book along the way, I finally have a slew of Instagram-worthy photos to post. And by Spring vacation, I’m not talking about going to the beach for a week and then coming home. I’m talking about a trip that will literally last all but about eight days of the season.

Nick, Laura, my book, and two car magnets advertising my book have embarked on a 48 No Interstate adventure. Unfortunately I did not embark with them (somebody has to stay behind and watch their dogs), but thanks to their extended trek and a couple of other people who happen to be going to Hawaii and Alaska in the next couple of months, Behind My Eyes will have traveled through all 50 states before the summer is over.
By Jessica Holt 04 Dec, 2015
For those of you who were hoping to hear how Mutt got his unfortunate name this week, you’ll have to wait one more week. It’s still coming. But this week, I thought I would ring in the Christmas season with a couple of my old letters to Santa.

It’s amazing what you can find in your parents’ attic when you really do some digging. I was up there over Thanksgiving, “helping” bring down the Christmas decorations in between sifting through boxes of old toys, when I came across two of my elementary school bookbags.
By Jessica Holt 15 Nov, 2015

I’m still deciding what this blog should be. Should it be filled with lighthearted musings? Should it be filled with my opinions on current events? Should it be filled with serious subjects that might actually be of some benefit to someone someday? Should it be a combination of all three? I don’t know yet. So today, it’s going to be about my dog. Because you can’t go wrong writing about a dog.

This week’s topic will be food, because in my dog's world, you can’t go wrong talking about food.

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