Sunday, June 1, 2008

About Me

First, the basics: My name is Jess. I'm 31 years old and I live in Denver, Colorado with my husband, Torsten, and our two kids. I was born in Massachusetts and grew up in North Carolina. I spent a year of high school living in Toulouse, France, and a semester of college living in Dakar, Senegal. As a result I am fluent in French. I work in public health communication for a company based in Washington, DC. I love purple. You can email me at

About the husband: Torsten was born and raised in Germany, spent some time during college living in London, and has lived in the US for the past 10 years. He works managing product strategy for a software company. He loves HD TV and refuses to call soccer anything but "football." He has a cute German accent, but his English is fluent. His parents' is not. This creates communication difficulties, but on the plus side, it means I never have to worry that his mother will read my blog.

About the piglet and the penguin: Our son Callum was born on January 24, 2011. His nickname in utero was Piglet, hence the name of his blog category. (If you have questions about his actual name, such as how to pronounce it or how we chose it, see here.) Our daughter Annika was born on November 2, 2013. Her nickname in utero was Penguin, so that's her blog category name. (If you have questions about her actual name, see here.) We are trying to raise our kids bilingual; I speak to them in English and Torsten speaks to them in German, and we have a German-speaking childcare set-up. In my completely unbiased opinion, they're the cutest babies (OK, fine, kids) ever.

About the dog: We got Montana from the local prison canine training program in March 2009, a couple weeks after moving to Denver. She was approximately three years old at the time. She's a yellow lab mixed with something, maybe shepherd, or perhaps greyhound. She came to us incredibly well trained, thanks to the prison program. I highly recommend those programs--they train assistance dogs, but a lot of the dogs get disqualified during basic training for minor reasons (in Montana's case it was a penchant for chasing rabbits), and those dogs are available to the general public for adoption. They're expensive for rescue dogs, but great, smart, and well-trained--and the program is great for the inmates as well. Montana is an absolutely fantastic dog.

About the weight-loss surgery: I've been overweight my entire life, and tried pretty much every weight-loss plan imaginable. The most successful weight-loss venture was when I lost about 75 pounds on Weight Watchers over the course of a year and a half. Then I plateaued completely before beginning to regain the weight. After much research, I decided to have lap-band surgery in May 2009. I am now working, using my band as a tool, to lose weight the healthy way, once and for all. I love talking about my healthy lifestyle habits and am always happy to discuss gym routines, share recipes, or commiserate with you on how much you miss eating Doritos.

About the house: When Torsten and I moved to Denver, we were planning to rent for a year and then start looking at houses to buy. But then we came across a gorgeous house in the real estate listings and decided to set up an appointment to see it, just in case. Turned out we loved it. So, we looked at a bunch of other houses, most of which were much more expensive and not nearly as nice, and finally decided to take the plunge and buy the house just two months after we signed a lease on a Denver apartment. Not our best planning, but the house has been worth it. Now we are slowly working on decorating it. To that end, I also maintain a Tumblr blog of design photos that inspire me.

About the wedding: Torsten and I got married in Washington, DC, where we were living at the time, on November 1, 2008. It was a fantastic day. I blogged about the wedding during the entire planning process, so there are lots of wedding posts in the archives. There were a lot of purple elements. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by that. There was also bratwurst cooked in beer. Anyone who knows Torsten will not be surprised by that. You can see photos of the wedding here.

About the blog name: When I started this blog, I thought that "du wax loolu" meant "shut up" in Wolof. A few months later, a friend pointed out that it actually means "she doesn't say that." I was annoyed about my mistake at the time, but by now I actually kind of prefer the new meaning.

Lastly, some of my favorite pictures of us: