Posts by jess lewis

it may not be official, but summer is in full swing here. days of running wild, bathing less (i think the boy just went 6 days without a bath. don’t judge, there’s been a lot of water play), collecting treasures, romping and rolling in the grass,  and afternoons spent under a ceiling fan while waiting for that second wind to get us through the rest of the long day. i don’t want to jinx anything, but i have every reason to believe that this is going to be the best summer yet.









and i’m a serial hobbyist.  i enjoy learning new things. if something piques my interest enough i have to try. some hobbies stick, some ebb and flow, and others  get put on the back burner.

here are just a few of my hobbies – past, present, and future.


there was the summer (2011) i wanted to learn how to play the banjo. i bought new strings, learned how to tune it (repeatedly, because it kept slipping out of tune).  learned a few tricks through the magic of youtube and then one day i just set it down never to be picked up again. well, except for pulling it from the dark corner in which it hibernates for the sole purpose of taking a picture of it for this post. i may have even attempted a photo from a different angle, but from this angle you can’t see the 1/2 inch layer of dust on the poor thing. learning to play is still on my to-do list; i’m filing it under ‘future hobbies that will never be mastered’. for now, i just don’t have the dedication to practice as often as i should. my interests are being pulled in other directions. but, i swear banjo, one day i’ll come back to you!  *this one may not qualify as an actual hobby, but more of an attempt at a hobby.



i picked up knitting about 11 years ago or so. i did the usual and knit scarves and hats. then people i knew started having babies so i moved on to blankets and wee little socks. then came big socks and sweaters of all sizes. after that, nothing. the knitting bug was gone. but, i missed it so i started on a shawl and half way through i fucked it up royally. i was so turned around on that thing. i brought it with me to philadelphia and jill (thankfully) rescued it for me. i came home so excited to finish it and then i did it again. completely screwed it up! i frogged that thing and never looked back.

okay. that’s not entirely true. i did look back . i miss the knitting. i started a scarf for my girl this winter (a year after i frogged that shawl), but it was mild here so i never felt a rush to finish it up. it’s still only half done. but, it’s practically summer here and i’ve never been a summer knitter (ridiculous and pathetic, i know). the good thing about stopping knitting for such a period of time is that my stash seems like new yarn again. and i’m tempted, i really am! but, the warmest months are when i get my sewing itch. which leads me to . . .


yeah, that’s my sewing machine shoved to the corner of the table in my room. buried behind kid art, camera bags, prints that need frames, a penguin in need of an eye patch, and things that should have been mailed long ago. i’m trying to remember the last thing i made on that machine and i’m struggling. pajama pants for the kids? maybe. probably not. my iron died months and months ago and you can’t really sew without having an iron around so that’s been my excuse. erika, with all her quilt making and gifting finally gave me the push to go buy a damn iron (as long as it took me to go buy one you’d think it was an item only available at specialty stores. ridiculous and pathetic, i’m telling you!) so, the next rainy day we get i’m busting that sewing machine loose and getting to work on a super hero cape for the girl. her brother is getting pissy about her wearing his cape all the time. (if the weather folks have it right, i’m probably working on this little project at the very moment you’re reading this. unless you’re reading this in the morning. i’ll need at least a full hour awake and 2.5 cups of coffee before i get going on this.) wish me luck!


my newest hobby? gardening. we’ve been growing veggies for a few years now, but i’m starting to get a little more adventurous. i love container gardening. this year i’m mixing it up and growing more herbs and a few veggies in containers along with the decorative plants. the truth is our back porch is hideously in need of replacement and until that can happen, i’m covering as much of it as possible in potted plants. i really enjoy looking up which plants will do well in our area and where in our fairly shade yard they could thrive. so far, my biggest accomplishment in regards to this hobby has not been growing actual food that we can eat, but keeping my staghorn fern alive indoors throughout the winter. i’m shocked (and thrilled) that i didn’t kill that beauty.

i feel silly calling reading a hobby, but i suppose it technically is one. this is the eternal hobby, the one i’ve loved for as long as i can remember and will never stop. yet, this hobby has an odd rhythm sometimes. i go through phases where i read tons of non-fiction, or i re-read old favorites, maybe there’s an autobiography binge, or i discover an author and then devour everything they’ve ever penned because they rocked my world. right now my schtick is, i see a book and think to myself, “i’m sure i would enjoy this book. why the fuck haven’t i read it yet?”. yeah, that’s my flow right now. i’m starting with this.

tell me, what hobbies do you have that stuck? which ones fell to the wayside? any new hobbies you’re discovering?

i’m a list maker. rather, i’m a to-do list maker. i would forget half of the things i need to get done in a day if i didn’t write them down.
however, i’ve never really sat down and made a list of my goals before. mental checklist, sure. pen and paper, not so much. i know that i am terrible at planning and working on that isn’t going to end up on any list of goals (it isn’t high on the priority list of things i’m concerned about with myself). so, when i learned that the topic for the month was going to be ‘goals’ i wasn’t sure what i would write about. i suppose that many of my goals aren’t that unusual or even interesting (be patient, eat healthier, get off my ass more, spend less time on social media, blah blah blah, et cetera).  but, i did come up with a few goals that might sit a little more comfortably under the title “notes to self”.

1. be more of a hard ass & less of a sissy.
i let things bother me when they shouldn’t. i internalize things (for long, far too long periods of time), this is a message to myself to stand up and have the courage to deal with things as they come at me.

2. trust myself.
lately i find my self second guessing everything i do and being in a state of constant doubt. the internalizing plays a big part in this, i’m sure. time for that shit to stop.

3. get organized.
just kidding. that’ll never happen.
some things in my life are just going to be a mess (like my closet and my desk). if those things get organized it means somewhere else more important things have fallen into serious disarray. i’m fine with this arrangement.

4. experiment more with photography.
i leveled off with my photography sometime last year. it’s time to shake things up, try new things,  step up my game and grow as a photographer. my goal with this years 365 is to come up with different ways to push/improve myself each month. whether it’s trying new edits, finding new subjects, using camera settings i’m not comfortable or familiar with or just giving myself a theme to work within.
also, repairing the shutter on this girl falls into the “experiment” category since i’ve never attempted to repair a camera on my own. internets, please be good to me with your how-to advice.

5. be someone who doesn’t take everything so seriously.



and this isn’t the post i was planning on putting up here today. i’m a major slacker when it comes to blogging, so my plan was to shoot the photos i wanted to use and work on the post last night. yes, i procrastinate that much. instead, you’ll get a very brief run down of the day i had and also a  good idea for why this post will suck (and it will).

spoiler:  my head is in a cloudy, disoriented state of funked-upness. actually, that sounds rather enjoyable. so scratch that. read on, bear with me, and forgive the excuse.

our day started off fairly normal. bea needing to be fed immediately upon waking; henry burrowing back under the covers. bea satisfied with food finally being in front of her, i was able to pour myself a coffee. the two of us transfer ourselves over to the couch with a stack of books and henry finally joins us. soon we’re back at the kitchen table making ourselves busy with creations like a care bear cloud car, glittered snowflakes, hand turkey drawings, and stringing beads. we’re all in good spirits and i’m looking forward to a productive day. again, they want to be fed (what is with these kids and needing food!!), so i make lunch. that’s when the curve ball comes. henry asks me if he can go lie down and rest. huh? come again? this is not a typical request and this is not a good sign. i feel his head, he’s burning up,  we all go upstairs to my room, get cozy in the bed and start a movie (brave). bea is asleep in minutes. henry is apparently still hungry because i am making repeated trips to the kitchen to retreive snacks for him to voraciously consume. bea wakes up right as the movie ends and i discover fever number two; this one is even higher than henry’s. needless to say, much of the day was spent in beds or on couches with cartoons, care bears, and books.

luckily, i had baked a chicken the night before and had everything needed to make a pot of homemade chicken soup. so i chopped, seasoned, and stirred. matt came home from work and finished it up for me, because wouldn’t you know it, i started to feel like shit.

i swear to you that i rarely get sick, but the odds seem greater the closer it gets to thanksgiving. this is a somewhat recent development, too (maybe since henry was born?). this is some bad karma rolling my way because i love thanksgiving, it’s my favorite holiday. i think it’s fair to say that i am miserable to be around when i’m sick. i don’t like to be touched, can’t handle a lot of noise, and don’t even bump into the bed or couch on which i’m resting my sick ass. i growl a lot. okay, i do that even when i’m not sick. not the mood to be in when you should be gathering with friends and family. damn it. so, last night i gave up soon after dinner. my throat hurt and my head was heavy. i went to bed and stayed there. but, did i sleep? no, because sleep is not my friend. i watched a shit ton of television instead. the voice (my guilty pleasure; cut me some slack), rachel maddow, and then back to back viewings of to kill a mockingbird. that’s right, i watched it twice and i probably would’ve watched it a third time if it had been on again. but, it wasn’t and i finally fell asleep around 3 o’clock in the morning.

i awoke this morning to children whose fevers may have passed (yay!) and also to feeling like i swallowed a piece of burning coal. my throat and chest are on fire, my head feels like it weighs 50 pounds. i’m typing this out while eating leftover soup and drinking cold coffee (don’t ask, it tastes terrible yet i keep drinking it).  i keep putting my head down on the desk because i’m tired of holding it up with my neck. after i hit publish i am going to search my movies to see if i own there will be blood because i have been wanting to watch that again for months and i can’t remember if i bought it or not. then it’s back to bed (and yes, i’ll watch to kill a mockingbird if it is on again today). at some point my goal is to make myself sit outside with a book to get some fresh air and sunshine (i would really, really like to be feeling well by tomorrow andi think the combination of these things will help). so, now you know i’m a lazy bum and a whiner when i’m sick. and rightly so; no one wants to be sick on thanksgiving.

anyway, i hope all of you are in good health, good spirits, and surrounded by loved ones tomorrow (and always).

have a safe and happy thanksgiving!

by jess lewis

unloader of dishes.

tender to plants.

owner of newly cleaned out car.

runner of baths, wiper of butts.

drinker of coffee, and late afternoon beers.

maker of lesson plans.

washer of a dog that rolls in stinky unknowns.

mother of a very toothless boy.

index card lover.


*please, if you haven’t already, go vote today.

by jess lewis

with a ginormous thank you to laura  –  for the inspiration, the friendship, and for essentially holding my hand and giving me courage while i gave street shooting a try. i wish we could do this together every single day.

by jess “votes with her uterus and her brain” lewis

here’s the deal.
i’m sitting here and i’m not exactly sure where i’m going to go with this post. it’s probably not going to be eloquent, it’s likely to be jumbled, and to be honest, i’ll be satisfied if it’s semi-coherent. so, i’m just going to dive in and hope for the best.

my original intent was to come here and lay out my reasons for calling bullshit on the meme that the war on women is a political fabrication, a distraction from the “real” issues. but, i don’t think i’m going to go that route (at least not entirely). i believe the proof  is on my side. the center for reproductive rights says that it “is hard-pressed to cite a time in the last twenty years that can rival – in volume and in severity – this most recent period of anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-health legislative action in the united states.”.
i can not stand behind a party that overwhelmingly wants to limit or deny a woman’s access to healthcare, contraception, and abortion while they simultaneously advocate abstinence-only education in schools. (don’t think that is part of the plan? look it up, it’s in the republican party platform.)  in the first 3 months of 2011, 49 states introduced 916 measures related to reproductive issues. over half of those measures sought to restrict abortion access. how does this make sense?   in their world, it seems to make some kind of (insane) sense to them to limit/deny education, birth control, healthcare, abortion (and then on top of that get rid of assistance programs). do they think these issues will go away? should we all buy stock in that aspirin they think we’re going to hold between our knees?    the answer is to take rights away? seems to me that education and teaching people to make wiser choices would be a better solution. please, someone explain it to me, because this is beyond my comprehension.

there is only one party where the vice presidential nominee co-sponsored 38 measures to restrict abortion. there is only one party that is  trying to introduce laws that require women to tell their employers why they need birth control. they want to let employers decide if the sluts who want it for responsible sex deserve birth control coverage under their insurance  or just the ladies who need it for medical reasons (and if you give the wrong answer you may be fired). party of freedom my ass. we have leaders of one party trying to redefine rape (forcible rape, legitimate rape, easy rape, rape lemonade, rape gifts from god, honest rape, etc.),  they want women to prove they were raped in order to receive care and benefits (if they receive any at all).  i, in no way will support a politician/party that believes somehow a pregnancy as the result of rape is god’s will. talk about establishing religion! i live in a state where in 2011, an elected wack-afucking-doo introduced a bill that wanted any woman who suffered from a miscarriage to prove that it happened naturally (without intervention) or possibly face felony charges. what the fuck is going on? the crazy train needs to be stopped.

this stuff makes my head spin and my stomach turn.  this may be shocking, but i consider my rights and having bodily autonomy more important than your religion, and i hope i’m not alone in that belief. i don’t believe in the pro-life argument.  i believe in choice, and if you don’t believe that i, or any other woman or family has a right to that choice, then i consider you to be anti-choice. i’m fine with you personally being against abortion, but i am not okay with you saying that we  have no choice. that choice is about equality, it is about economics, it’s about quality of life, and it is about freedom. and you better believe i will be voting for the people who grasp these concepts.

“we should all have compassion for rape survivors who need abortions. and we should have that compassion for others who need them too.” – irin carmon



by jess lewis


urban sprawl is one of my biggest dislikes, especially undeveloped urban sprawl. i’m surrounded by it. wooded areas razed to build new shopping centers that sit empty for years, often in poorly placed locations. low income housing demolished for shiny new developments of  mcmansions (that take years to get even 6 houses built). some of these locations are maintained. they are the ones that become safe places for inexperienced teen drivers to practice their skills and newbie bicyclists to test out their balancing acts on a level surface. others are left to return to their natural state, but with the addition of street lamps, useless parking places, and meaningless traffic signs. some of the older developments are slowly filling with dollar stores, nail salons, smoothie shops, and the occasionally successful local business (while half of the center remains empty). i can’t leave my house in any direction and not pass one of these locations within a mile or two of my house. i’d love to see at least one of these places put to good use for the benefit of the community (a kick ass park or maybe a recreation/art center?). sadly, i don’t see that happening any time soon.


by jess lewis

i’ve been obsessed with our kitchen table lately. usually the mess that gathers here would drive me crazy, but i started to see the beauty in the clutter and abandoned activity that was happening in this place. we spend a lot of our time here throughout the day. games are played, paint is splattered, writing is practiced,  science labs are created, food is enjoyed, mail gets sorted, conversations are had. it shows the ebb and flow of our day to day life and i can’t stop taking pictures of it. most days we are shoving its contents to the side in order to sit at the table to eat, but every once in a while it gets a fresh start.

my new favorite summer treat. gin and juice. and also the foil tops on the sanpellegrino can. i wish those came on every canned beverage. it grosses me out when i get a canned drink and then realize the top of it is dirty/dusty. or does that just happen to me? anyway, i think we should start a petition to make sure there are no more naked cans.

summer seems to be never ending here (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). but, i can feel the change of the seasons coming and when it does i’m going to miss my little ones looking like this. half dressed summertime babes. really there is nothing sweeter than a shirtless bea in overalls. when she puts those on it signals that she’s ready to get down to business. usually it means she wants to “farm”. whatever her plan she usually ends up covered in dirt. and a boy  in super hero underoos? he won’t be cute in those forever (seriously, what is the cut off age for that? 10? 12?), so i’ll continue snapping pictures of him in them now for his future embarrassment.

so, these are a few of my (very) random summer loves/obsessions. what were some of your random loves/obsessions from the summer?