Aug 2, 2010

A Life in Lists

Yesterday I spent some time with this book that I bought on a whim at Barnes & Noble a few months back.  This turns out to be the perfect book for me because 1) I'm obsessed with lists and 2) I'm constantly giving blank stares when asked, "What's your favorite blahdy blah?"  Now that I have a book which requires me to put some thought into those questions maybe I will actually be able to come up with my favorite actor, childhood memory or personality trait on the spot. 

Feb 19, 2010

Artsy Fartsy

I've always been really interested in poetry as a form of expression. I go to poetry slams and listen to others' works and talk about how I'd like to give it a go myself one day. My friend Ray is a poet and took me to a few readings. Every time we g chat I tell him I want to write or go to a workshop and he says, "do it" and then I don't.

I get afraid to try things that I don't know a lot about or don't know if I'll be good at. I was whining about this to Ray over g chat the other I don't even know what poetry really is or what form it should be in's how the conversation went:

me: i want to try writing poetry but have a hard time starting because i don't know the form or anything
i'm a perfectionist like that

allsense: don't worry about form
desire is everything
don't censor your voice
if i could offer any advice
to someone who wanted to write
it would be to write
first and foremost
the rest comes
when it's ready

me: cool. thanks for the tip. i just need to start putting pen to paper instead of thinking about it so much.

allsense: exactly!
there's a saying in architecture
critics build nothing.

Thank you, Ray. I needed that. Here's to buliding:

You want to live your life on a stage
To act and sound off and do your dance
And that is fine
But only for a while.

For what happens, good man, when the crowds are gone
And the lights are off
And one, just one, remains?
The one man show has no finite end
And your dance is for survival
Then it is just me and you and
You and Me

Suddenly you've forgotten the words to all your songs
But I remember and sing along
Your hands and feet and head and heart
Seem all in the wrong places
No matter how you move them

.....(work in progress)


The anticipation
Subtle glances and touches
Wondering if their meaning is mutual
Or merely a polite face

And with one touch--prolonged--
All is answered
And all is right
For that fleeting moment

Hands meet, then eyes, then lips
Faces close, breath in your ear
Hearing a smile with your eyes closed
Time and history do not interfere

In this moment there are two--
People with racing hearts
Admiring each other's beauty
And tasting each other's lips, so sweet
In this moment there are just two, no more

And you freeze this moment
And carry it with you
Into a complicated life
And a complicated world

And this moment offers hope
Enough to to stretch across a wide span of valleys
A hope that knows sometimes things can be right

That sometimes two is just enough.


Anticipation is weighty
And a dream deferred even moreso
There is never rest from the "what if"

When is it ok to trust?
And will there be someone to hold that trust
And consider it their honor?
What is that delicate balance between God and human?

Is there always one who cares more--
Who is destined to be on the receiving end of hurt?

Perhaps it is a calling
That beats you up in time
But somehow makes you stronger too.

Feb 12, 2010

Reality Check

Tonight I went to go see "Up in the Air" with Kari and another friend. I was expecting a love story that left my heart feeling fluttery and hopeful. What I got was not that. What I got was (spoiler alert) George Clooney showing up on her doorstep only to find out she's married with kids. Married with kids, people. I am now replaying the entire movie in my head in light of this bomb that was dropped at the end.

After, I was naturally complaining about how the movie was depressing and sad. Kari said, "I liked it. It was real life." I then said something very mature along the lines of, "But I want the fairy tale, dammit!" followed by lots of internal grumbling about real life and how movies are supposed to be an escape from that....blah blah blah.

She's right (won't be the first time). It's real life. In real life, every guy you'd like to date usually finds a reason to flake. In real life, people marry (or don't marry) for the wrong reasons and fall out of love and feel stressed out by kids. In real life, the timing is usually all jacked up. One's staying, one's leaving. There are families involved and in-laws and personal baggage. In real life, sometimes people cheat.

I came home to pack for a fun weekend in San Diego and found a billion e-mails from my boss about an event I'm planning, all just sitting there in my inbox waiting for when I get back. That is real life. Not San Diego, not the happy ending.

Sometimes I'm not good at real life. I don't want to deal. Or I don't know how to deal, so I run away mentally, physically, whatever. Apparently this is the fatal flaw of my Pisces brand. I'm really good at larger than life, which I think is why people generally like me.

I'm trying to get better at this real life thing: acknowledging it, stepping into it, messy-ing myself with it. And maybe, just maybe, one day actually liking it.

Jan 8, 2010


I watched Lords of Dogtown tonight and it was bitchin'. These skater boys didn't care much about anything else, and that's why they revolutionized the sport.

I'm back to the grind after my lovely and lazy stay in Texas. NYC welcomed me back with a nasty cold (I think I'm on tissue box number 7). I'm trying to get all my personal business in order and do fun things before it's back to the school work grind in a few weeks. I feel like I should start writing about other stuff besides myself on this thing. More on that to come.

So far, my new year's resolutions are to pray more and to complete some type of athletic event (i.e. half marathon). I feel like those are reasonable. Probably the first reasonable resolutions I've ever had. New York Road Runners e-mailed me today to politely explain that I had been denied entry to their half marathon. Only in New York City is there a lottery system to wake up on an early morning in March and run 13 miles. Gosh I love this city.

I'm loving this schedule of only working 3 days a week. I could totally get into this lifestyle on a full time basis. It feel so much more peaceful and grounding. Surely stay at home roommate is a legit occupation...right?

Dec 20, 2009


Sometimes I act and feel like a robot. My life becomes one long list of papers to write and appointments to make and e-mails to respond to and people to call and bills to pay. I worship the god called Productivity, and it gets me no farther than the Joneses. What it gets me is anxiety and joylessness and a lack of connection to the parts of me that are creative and funny and personal and life-giving.

Today I remembered that I like pop culture and funny people and writing. I've always loved to write. I remembered that I am human and an artist in my own way. With my words and my wit. And my love. I forget a lot--that I have my own things that make The robot spends far too much time modeling the success of others, trying to make it my own, when really it's not. The robot takes in and regurgitates and often short circuits from sensory overload.

I Google-stalked my new crush. He has articles and student reviews and fancy titles on the internet. I Google-stalked myself. I have a million other people with my same name. But we are not the same. It's easy to forget that we're not just a name in the sea of others. Not just one of many.

I am Jennifer Nicole Petersen. I was the best reader in my kindergarten class. I am a smart ass. I'd have a hard time labeling all the states on a U.S. map. Today I had to Wikipedia "Scandinavia" to make sure I was clear as to what countries aforementioned crush was referring to in our conversation the other night. I use names of internet search engines as verbs. I don't know shit about history, but I am smart. I know pretty much every word to The Lion King Soundtrack and my role models growing up were the members of The Babysitters Club. Yes, the book characters.

Take that, Robot.

Dec 2, 2009

Chick Lit Theory

I'm so freakin' tired. But alas, I have made a pact to write, so write I must.

The good thing about being ridiculously stressed out with school right now is that all of my classmates are in the same boat, and we all know that misery loves company. So today, for example, when I should have been reading about theories of substance abuse addiction, I actually had a 2 hour conversation in the library with some girls from my class about boys, of course. Because what topic could be more interesting than that? Let's see, we covered the basics of:

- Dating in NYC
- Marriage
- The Rules, which is apparently a life-changing book that I must read
- Learning that I already practice "The Rules" without even knowing it

Nov 17, 2009


I keep reading blogs, websites and other such interfaces that friends or quasi friends have created and, to be perfectly honest, I am jealous. I think, "Well, I could do that" or "I've always wanted to do that" or "I'm definitely funnier than she is."

The deal is, these people are doing things. They are putting their prose out there and I, quite frankly, am not. Until now.

I'm going to stop freaking whining about wanting to write and just do it already. Also, I need to start making some room for myself to figure things out and keep it real. Like the guts-inside-out kind of real. I have about 1.5 more years of grad student-dom and I will be trying to resolve some things in myself and the world that simply won't be put to rest by a glass of wine and episode of Glee after a long day.

"Wherever you go, there you Are."

Sometimes I think I can run from things--from feelings and parts of myself I'd rather not acknowledge, much less confront. Things I thought I would outgrow but have, in fact, lingered as unwelcome visitors.

I seem to have a knack for turning potentially great experiences into burdensome ventures. Right now, I'm in an internship for school. It sounds great in theory. Work with parents in poor communities. Fight for education reform. Better our public schools. And, for some reason, I can't seem to connect with most of what I'm doing. Being hypercritical of everyone and everything certainly doesn't help matters.

Trust me, there is a lot to flesh out with this, but sleep calls loudly right now.

There's also a boy (there's always a boy). He dropped off the planet as of last week. Same song, different verse. What the hell is wrong with men? It's like they want to date a prop and not a real person. Heaven forbid we make them break a sweat to chase us.

Ok, I will stop now. I promise. But those were some good lines....

I'm back.