Saturday, July 05, 2014

"See Yourself in the Temple" Silhouette: Faux Tutorial

We moved to Chandler three weeks ago to be closer to my new office. Same company, new location. For my final Sunday with my Laurels (my calling was pretty much the only thing I was sad to leave behind) I gave them these prints:

There were six total, one for each girl (using their own silhouettes and favorite temples) but this one turned out the best. You could say I am pretty damn impressed with myself. You can download it here on Mediafire, or follow my (very brief) instructions below to make your own. This isn't really a tutorial because I'm lazy and don't feel like teaching the whole internet how to use Photoshop, so for the rest of the post I assume a certain level of Photoshop experience, and link to other tutorials along the way. No need to reinvent the wheel here.

First you have to make the shape of the silhouette from a photo. Here's an explanation of one way to do that. (I personally used the Pen tool to create a vector shape, which allows more precision but does require some practice.)

Tracing a silhouette using the Pen tool.

Open a new 8x10 file in Photoshop, 300 pixels per inch (this is important since you'll be printing it), with a white background.

Create a new layer and place your silhouette. If you made a vector shape, fill it with any color. But pick a pretty one, just cuz.

Create a new layer and place the temple image of your choice.  Make sure it's high resolution.

Right click the temple layer and select "Create clipping mask." This will trim the temple picture to the shape of your silhouette. Resize and move the temple photo until you like the positioning.

Use the color picker tool to select a color from the palette of the image then create a new layer for the text. I used a typeface called "Orange" but can't for the life of me figure out where I got it from. 30 seconds of Googling didn't help so I gave up. ("This is the worst tutorial ever!!!!")

The completed layers will look like this:

Save as jpeg, print on 8.5x11 cardstock, trim down to 8x10, frame, kthxbai.

Thursday, April 03, 2014


This started as a Facebook status but grew.

I'm going on the record saying that I liked Noah. I tried to avoid spoilers below by being vague, but if you plan to see it and you’re anything like me (I refuse to read any reviews before seeing a movie I'm interested in), you might want to skip to the bottom.

Stuff I liked:
  • The creation scene. WHOA. Worth the cost of admission alone.
  • Noah’s underwater vision.
  • The scene where the Watchers fell to earth and crawled out of the mire.
  • The scene after the flood hits when they’re all just sitting there in the dark listening to the whole world die. So awful. So awesome.
  • The scene between Noah and Ila where he tells her she has worth even though she’s barren. I maybe got a little choked up.
  • That it draws from multiple literary sources (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls) in addition to the KJV. Related: That it gave me the opportunity to Google “Nephilim.”
  • LOTR meets the Bible. Come on.

Stuff I didn’t like:
  • The CGI pangolin-dog at the beginning. Took me a while to forgive that.
  • That subplot in the second half (though the more I think about it, the more I realize why Aronofsky put it in there – Noah trying to figure out God’s purpose for the flood and what role he (Noah) was supposed to play in fulfilling his flawed perception of that purpose. The movie took it too far, though, and gave it way too much screen time.)
  • The stowaway.
  • The immediate consequence of Methuselah’s blessing. I nearly laughed out loud.

I do agree that it deviated majorly from the Biblical account because at no point is it EVER mentioned in the Bible that Noah wore a henley.

In conclusion, visually stunning (and not just because of Emma Watson) and thought provoking. B+

(Unrelated: here's my most recent post for BCC!)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Names 2013!

Welcome to the fascinating and usually terrible world of Idaho baby naming trends! For the complete anthology and a brief explanation of what's going on around here, *click*. Otherwise, let's rip off this bandaid. Bonus surprise ending now included!

The Typical Drivel
Colter Ridge

The Sound-it-Outs
Addilyn Kendul
Saydee Lyn Marrie
Lyncoln Crue

Invasion of the K's 
Kason/Kayson/Kayson Kolt
Keston Glayde


Twin Disasters
Finlee and Indee
Oakleigh and Berkleigh
Diessel and Nixxon (some serious self-restraint there, to pass over the opportunity to use two Z's and two X's.)

Speaking of Double X's
Ryker Jaxx

Carter, Get Your Gun
Carter Benelli


On the Map
Houston (II)
Berkleigh (repeat from the twins category, but it deserves to be posted twice)
Brooklyn (II)

The "What the EFF?????"s
Roywn (rhymes with groin?)
McKartni Grayce
Justyce Cozy

Three-way tie for the absolute worst name this year:

Straight from THIS, heaven help us all:

Most seamless combination of two tree species:

Worst real name*:
Tate Gus

Most literary name:
Harper Lee Coon

Most Mormon name:
Parley Smith

Longest name:
Koraline Andrea Dorothee Heidi David

Shortest name:
Grace Cook

And an enthusiastic standing ovation for the best names this year*:
Violet Julia
Ava Corina
Lucas William
Caleb Mark


  • For me, it's worse when a child with a beautiful surname name is given the Idaho/Utah treatment. For example, it's more disappointing when Mr. and Mrs. LeCheminant and Mr. and Mrs. Jardine name their children Jersey and Houston, respectively, than when Mr. and Mrs. Boot do. To Mr. and Mrs. Cundick, on the other hand......yikes. I wish you well in all you do.

  • Last year's What the EFF, Diezel, is this year's Typical Drivel, thanks to the fact that I've seen that name at least ten times since (including a baby in my ward).

  • I reserve the right to mock or delete any comment referencing Le-a and the -jello twins. There are plenty of real made-up names to go around, there's no need to mindlessly repeat urban legend. It's pointless anyway, because I won't believe you unless you are personally in possession of the original birth certificate and are willing to mail it to me so I can inspect it with my own two eyeballs. I'm a Le-a Birther.

*There weren't many to choose from.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Manny Does Phoenix

Annie came to visit! Well, first my mom came to visit, but I accidentally didn't take any pictures, and then Annie came a couple of weeks later! We planned her entire trip around food and zoo.

We, of course, sat FRONT AND CENTER for the Wildlife Encounters show. This little tortoise is named Tortellini! TORTELLINI!!!!!

We had ten minutes to kill before the turaco feeding so we headed to the walk-through aviary just across the way. This bird was acting funny so we took pictures. Then we realized maybe it was sick, and told a zoo employee :( 40 seconds after posing for this picture, I checked my phone and realized it was exactly time for the turaco feeding and left Annie and Jon in my dust as I sprinted away.

We ran into this adorable pair over and over throughout the day. 

This muntjac snuffled my finger!

It's a TINY DEER with TUSKS.

Lory feeding schedule: Check, check, and check.

Covered in birds.

Everything in this picture is awesome. Blow it up.

A bird named Salsa.

Jon's hand. Proof that he was there.

Other things we did:
Hot tubbed in a downpour
Went on a walk/to the dog park
Watched Great Expectations (on Netflix streaming. It was great, even though it used the wrong ending.)
Shopped for yarn
Drank Italian sodas
Ate Sonoran hotdogs
Ate at Zinburger
Ate at Tokyo Lobby
Ate at Postino
Ate sausage, kale, and red potato soup
Ate nutella rice krispy treats
Ate ginger noodles (aka "Ginger Nudes")

I was not kidding about the food.

Thing we did not do:

Two best photos of the trip (I held out on you):

Bye Manny. Miss you already :(

Monday, January 06, 2014

Blog Stats 2013

Here's what was up with this little blog o' mine in 2013.

Total visits: 28,745
Unique visitors: 19,059
Page views: 53,561
Average visit duration: 2:14

Total number of posts: 47
Total number of comments: 387
Least comments on a post: Zero, on this one and this one.
Most comments on a post: 235
Total number of comments minus above outlier (let's keep things real here): 152
Average number of comments per post: 8.2
Average number of comments per post minus outlier: 3.3

Traffic overview:

Top countries:
United Kingdom

Top states:
New York

Top referring sites:
Twitter (private blog)

Most viewed posts (includes posts written in previous years):
Names 2012!
Baby Names
Names 2011!
Baby Bonnet Crochet Pattern
Names 2010!

Most viewed posts that were written in 2013:
Names 2012!
Baby Bonnet Crochet Pattern
Good Old Days: Episode V
When Stingrays Attack
Crochet Bunting

Top keywords that led to my blog:
bloggity blog
jessica jensen blog
baby names 2011 Idaho
poo free
jessica jensen
life in the caribbean
jessie jensen
crochet baby bonnets free patterns
toe cramp
lump on eyelid

Best keywords that led to my blog (anything in italics is my own commentary):
“pencil toes”
baby name kreed
berlynn baby name
buffalo diorama
BYU-I naked juice
clamato juice as soup
draven brown rexburg id
eject womb
elderly baby bibs
fart nazi
force teen to wear modest clothing (tell me how that goes!)
girl name trey brax
how come they named idaho idaho
how do doctors remove a ball from an eyelid (it's not pretty)
is vestal a boys name
jessica jensen – ready to sin
jessica jensen bliggidy blog
jimmer riggins rowdy brennicka
life in caribian
making babies in the closet
memphis, tn twins lemonjello and orangejello
muscliest woman
no one would believe me
paxton baby name reviews 2013 (Is Paxton the baby name? Then have I got a review for you!)
perfect slave
real four head snake
recksburg odd baby names blog
shake a face
temple wedding mutual activity (oooooooooooooooooo, creepy!)
the bloppity blog
we got our dog rex from a couple in rexburg, Idaho
what is the phonetically worst sounding girls name? (I submit 'Aspyn Anna')
what kind of bird sounds like a squeaky porch swing
what kind of blog names are out there (all sorts!)
white puli poo
why lds girls can’t wear shorts to girls camp (You see, once there was a group of people called the Pharisees, and they built fences around the law…)

The end!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Bloggity Blog Christmas Playlist

BLARG! I spent like an hour getting this playlist to work, just to find out that it only works for people with Spotify accounts (which makes sense, I guess, but nowhere on their list of instructions for how to create the playlist for blogs did Spotify mention that tidbit). I unpublished the post once I realized, but I'm republishing it because even if you don't have (and don't want) a Spotify account, at least it's a list of suggestions that you can then look into on your music player of choice if you're so inclined.


I'm one of those ABSOLUTELY NO CHRISTMAS BEFORE THANKSGIVING types, and not just because Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The fact of that matter is that while I do really love Christmas, I only love it for about three weeks. If I start celebrating too early, I'm out of steam well before the actual holiday. After some serious self-reflection, I've attributed this mostly to the fact that I find most Christmas music nauseating (and I'm not a music snob by any stretch of the imagination). So that being said, maybe I ought to title this playlist "Christmas Music I Don't Find Utterly Repulsive." I do even love some of these songs! See! I'm not a grinch! (Full disclosure: I almost did a playlist of Christmas songs I actually look forward to throughout the year, but then I realized the list would have exactly 5 songs.)

The vast majority of my favorite Christmas songs come from four artists/groups: MoTab (MoTab IS Christmas to me), The Lower Lights, Sufjan Stevens, and Cat Jahnke.

Also, I can't figure out how to randomize the Spotify playlist, so in alphabetical order by artist will just have to do.

Also, none of the MoTab songs will embed. They must have dumb restrictions for playing their music?

Also, I really really hope this doesn't play automatically. If it does, I am so sorry to be that person and if I can't figure out how to fix it I will likely delete this post entirely.

PS - Songs that would have been on the "Christmas music I actually look forward to" list:

Betelehemu (one of those MoTab ones that won't embed)
Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow by Cat Jahnke
The Christmas Song by Catherine Feeny
Stars of Glory by The Lower Lights
Song for a Winter's Night by Sarah McLachlan (another one that won't embed)

(The Lower Lights' new Christmas album only came out a couple of weeks ago, though, and nearly every song on it will qualify for the prestigious "Christmas music I actually look forward to" list for next year. Maybe my favorite Christmas album, ever.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birthday and Thanksgiving!

I’m taking a week off for Christmas, which we’re spending with Jon’s family in Mountain View, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies. (A week ago it was MINUS THIRTY degrees there. I do not have the clothes, or disposition, for that temperature.) About two months ago, Jon suggested we do the same for Thanksgiving and spend that time in Utah with my parents and sister Annie. I checked my PTO balance and had the hours for it, so it was a plan. Shortly thereafter, Corinne started thinking about a well-timed trip out West, and her husband offered to watch Ada and Joseph those few days to give her a kidless vacation with her mom and sisters. THANKS, KYLE!!!! Not that I don’t love them, but let’s face it, kids sorta ruin everything. So we went to 1-2 movies every day, ate out for every meal, stayed up late, and slept in. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Jon and I divided the drive up by staying Friday night in Vegas with our friends Jer and Addie. We always love our time with them, but this visit was particularly fantastic. We stayed up way past my bedtime.

Nothing better than a sleepy dog on your lap.
Saturday we made our way to American Fork. All you people who say "Utah streets make sooooo much more sense than other city streets!" are wrong. Check out these dumb directions:

We spent that night at Christa and Garrett's house. It goes without saying that it was one of the high points of the entire trip.

The next day was my 28th birthday!!! Christa woke up bright and early to make me cinnamon pull-apart bread and this delicious kielbasa and egg scramble her mom used to make for the seminary students (the days Judy had the teens over for breakfast eventually became the only days I ever attended seminary!)

We had to stash Penny at my grandma Sweetie’s house in Salt Lake before attending Music and the Spoken Word at Temple Square (I wasn't kidding about that bright and early breakfast), which was on The List of must-do’s for the trip. If I lived in Salt Lake I’d have a hard time not replacing regular church attendance with MandTSW. It was spectacular, with added surprise bonus of finding out at the end that the prophet had attended. We didn’t get to see him though; he has some sort of special viewing area and a secret exit? Or maybe I made that second part up. Anyway, I’m pretty sure, and the people in front of us were also pretty sure, that the announcer guy said, “We are honored by the presence of our beloved prophet and his wife,” which, yikes. (His wife died.)

Something to do with this tweet.

I spy slap bracelets.
Sweetie took Jon, my mom, my aunt, cousin, and me out for dinner at Asian Star on my birthday, then the next night Annie and Steve took me, Jon, and my mom to Happy Sumo for birthday sushi. I have never been one of those awful “It’s my birthday week, shower me with love and affection and gifts for the next seven days!!!” types, but I admit it was awesome being able to celebrate with all the people I love most over the course of a few days. I didn’t EXPECT any of it though, so stop looking at me like that. As far as the actual birthDAY went, it was absolutely perfect. I quit Facebook several months ago (for lots of reasons; all the same ones that have made YOU consider quitting, plus probably a few extras) and I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to enjoy the day without wondering about notifications. I got texts and phone calls and hugs from all the people I care about most. Best birthday since I was a kid. Then the day after, Jon wished me a “happy Afterbirthday” which was a gift in and of itself.


Jon and Charlie reunited. Charlie!! I haven't mentioned Charlie yet! This is what I get for semi-retiring from blogging. My mom got him from a breeder in Phoenix and Jon and I kept him for her for a week before she flew down to retrieve him. He's a Cavalier King Charles (Charlie!) mixed with a Bichon Frise and he's the sweetest, cutest, sweetest little puppy/pest you've ever known.

Two minute break from jumping/gnawing on Penny

It was observed that Charlie's fur "looks like a guinea pig."

An old picture I found of my dad looking ridiculously like Annie. I texted it to Corinne and she wrote back "WHOA," so. That's final.

Purple couch, purple shirt, two purple blankets, purple collar (unpictured).

Weird picture of me midsentence but it had to be included because of Penny's slothface.

Annie was sneakily snapping pictures during my bra fiasco. I don't know what happened, but I got hopelessly entangled when I tried to remove it.


Annie, Penny, Me

When do puppies stop laying like this? It's a tragedy when they do.

My aunt Mariann's birthday gift to me. She pulled these siblings' names out of the local paper. I like to rhyme the first syllable of Byrcklee with "pure."



Other things we did:

- Ate at Tony Tacos in Heber. Dollar tacos. So delicious. So cheap. Always on The List.

- Breakfast at Kneaders (twice). Breakfast at the Hub (once.) Their scones are ridiculous and I want one right now.

- Outlets in Park City. I spent exactly zero dollars.

- Visited the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU. Denmark is gonna be SO pissed when they get their paintings back.

- Saw the Hunger Games (twice)

- Saw Philomena (just once, but I’ve seen it again since I got back. SO GOOD.)

- Saw Thor

- Had fondue

Other things that happened:

- Corinne scaring Gunner out of the room when she screamed bloody murder upon discovering that my mom reads Game of Thrones.

- Me talking a little TOO enthusiastically about Pacific Rim at a restaurant in Park City, and getting weird looks from the table of guys next to us. “And that one part! Where the kaiju is pushing the jaeger off a bridge….!!”

- Watching Pacific Rim with Annie and my mom; the latter being underwhelmed and confused as to how I liked it enough to see it FOUR TIMES. (In my defense, I told her beforehand to NOT have high expectations, despite my rave reviews).

- Me loudly quoting the absolute worst line in Pacific Rim (“No pulse.”) Annie: “You were planning that the WHOLE MOVIE, weren’t you??” Me: “Honestly, only for about the past ten minutes.”

- Jon emerging from his shower into a crowded room and declaring, “I really enjoyed that ball scrubber you have in there.” (it was Corinne’s electric face exfoliator.)

- An awful old lady in the front row of the movie theater loudly declaring “I don’t want to see that” at the end of a trailer for a British period movie starring a black character.

- My grandma situating my cousin with a sore throat at the far end of the Thanksgiving table and encouraging us all to scoot away from him.

- A thirty something guy in a Porsche pulling up next to us at a red light in Provo and signaling to my mom that he wanted to race her. In her Pathfinder full of her adult children and their spouses.

- Our vague plans to make French toast, and my mom waking up next to me on the futon one morning and exclaiming, “I smell French toast! Someone made me French toast!! It must be Annie! Awww! No one ever makes me anything!” She was dreaming or something; no one made her French toast. (Then she made it herself.)

- This:

- Endless jokes about Fardelle. BACK STORY: My Gospel Doctrine teacher told me that the worst name she ever heard of, growing up in Southeast Idaho, was a girl named Fardelle. FARDELLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Boys fart; girls ‘fardelle.’”

- My mom’s confusion over my text telling her that I got a ham card. (My office has made a tradition of giving Honeybaked ham gift cards out to all the employees the week before Thanksgiving. This was my third year in a row receiving one and donating it to the family general holiday food fund.) She goes, “It sounded like some Depression-Era thing. Like you waited in line for five hours to get a ham card.”

It's over!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Crochet Color Tipped Scarf (Free Pattern)

This pattern was inspired by this beautiful knit scarf on the Purl Bee.

My version:

Above photos by my wicked talented sister, Corinne.

Materials needed:

- Worsted weight yarn, 3 colors. My pictured scarves all used Loops and Threads Impeccable for the color tipped ends (Arbor Rose, Navy, Grass, Aqua). I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Linen as my middle color for both, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s the perfect neutral. I went back and bought four more when they went on sale.)
- I hook


It's not necessary that your gauge matches mine for this project to be successful, but I know lots of people like to have something as a frame of reference. Mine ended up being 9 stitches and 6 rows = 3 inches.

For child-sized scarf,

In first color:

R1: Ch 5, dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in remaining 2 ch, ch 2, turn (3)
R2: 2 dc in 1st st, dc in each st, ch 2, turn (4)
R3: dc in each st, 2 dc in last st, ch 2, turn (5)
R4: dc in each st, ch 2, turn (5)
R5: dc in each st, 2 dc in last st, ch 2, turn (6)
R6: 2 dc in 1st st, dc in each st, ch 2, turn (7)
R7: dc in each st, ch 2, turn (7)

Use a stitch marker to mark the "increase" side and repeat this pattern of increasing, always on the same side, 2 rows to every 1 row of non-increase until piece measures about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long. End on a non-increase row.

In main color, (dc in each st, ch 2, turn) for however many rows it takes to get your total piece 46 inches long.

With your third color, do the mirror opposite that you did with the first. Use a stitch marker to mark the “decrease” side and repeat the pattern of decreasing 2 rows to every 1 row of non-decrease until you are down to three dcs (on a non-decrease row, so that it matches the first row of the other end of the scarf). Depending on your yarn, you may need to change hook size so your gauge matches the other end; you want both end pieces to be the exact same size and shape.

Finish off, weave in ends.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you decrease on the same side that you increased, making both ends of the scarf mirror images of each other.

When laid out flat, piece will look like this (not to scale, obviously):

Completed child’s scarf should measure about 56 inches long and 5 inches wide.

Thorough enough? Too thorough? Here's that one picture of Ada again, because ZOMG.

Edited to add: And another of my niece Norah.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Good Old Days, Episode V

If you’re a long-time reader, some of these stories might be familiar. I decided I wanted them all in one series so I chose some that I had previously blogged back in 2007-2008, well before I started these Good Old Days posts.

How my dad’s black lab puppy Cricket terrorized us endlessly. She was the most ferocious puppy I’ve ever known. We weren’t little kids, either, we were aged 12-16, and that puppy chasing us across the lawn was absolutely terrifying. My grandpa came to visit and left with scabs all over his arms and hands. She jumped up into my dad’s face and knocked out his front tooth. Even when she wasn’t in one of her particularly vicious moods, she was still bitey; one time she was gnawing on my dad so he took her mouth and redirected it onto Corinne’s leg.

That time my dad caught me “storking around” in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando. The water was about 18 inches deep where I was and it was easier to lift my feet completely out of the water than walk normally. I was 14, my body was 80% legs, I weighed 90 pounds, and I was 8 inches taller than my oldest sister. I didn’t think anyone was watching me. I was wrong.

That time we drove the Al-Can Highway on our move from Anchorage, Alaska to Stafford, Virginia. My dad led our procession in his old red Dodge Ram with a canoe on top, pulling our pop-up tent trailer. My mom followed close behind him with all the kids packed into the Suburban towing the horse trailer. We communicated by CB radio and made our home in a different fairground each night so that our horse, Fancy, could stretch her legs in an arena. We’d all pitch in to set up camp, eat some form of hot dog creation for dinner, then we’d settle in to our beds for the evening. And each night without fail, when the lights were out and my mom would try to discreetly remove her bra from underneath her T-shirt, my dad would draw attention to the fact by announcing to everyone, “It’s the grrrrraaaand finaaaaaaleeee!”

How my dad ruined me for life when it comes to eating fish. He was convinced that choking on fish bones was a leading cause of death in children, so we were always carefully monitored to make sure we were eating small enough bites, and by “small enough bites” I mean flaking off just enough meat to stab with one or two tines of our forks. To this day, I can’t eat fish normally.

My ice cream truck obsession. I could detect the dulcet tones of “Turkey in the Straw” from a mile away and it would send me into a frenzy – violently shaking piggybanks, overturning couch cushions, loudly and tearfully petitioning my mom for quarters, sprinting through the neighborhood. Once in my desperation to reach the truck in time I fell and skinned my knees and he gave me ice cream FOR FREE! Worth it.

That time 10 year old Annie outfished my dad and brother on a camping trip. I asked my dad for details on this one and he told it better than I could: “Jake and I wanted to go to Sheep Creek (1 1/2 hours north of Anchorage) to fish. Annie loved to fish so when she found out we were going camping (in the back of the pickup, under the shell), and fishing, she expressed a strong desire to be included. It was in September of 1993 so she must have been about 9 years old. It was a typical Alaska night and day--cold, overcast, and misting. We all crawled under the shell in our sleeping bags and listened to the light rain on the roof, the distant trains passing, and a pack of wolves which didn't seem TOO distant howling. In the morning, it was still cool and misting. We walked down to Sheep Creek--Jake and I in waders with fishing poles. It was then we realized Annie didn't have boots which would allow her to wade thru the shallow areas of the stream to get to the deeper areas where the salmon were. To appease her, I sat her on the dry bank and cast her line into an area that was too shallow for salmon; but she didn't know that. Jake and I then proceeded to cross to the deep part of the creek, working our way upstream. Jake and I cast for 30-40 minutes, without luck, when I heard Annie calling. I figured she had lost patience and tangled her line up, or was cold and lonely. I walked back to check on her and upon finding her, she had hooked a 10-12 pound silver salmon, reeled it in, landed it, and bonked it on the head with a stick to kill it. All she wanted was for me to get the hook out so she could re-load and catch another one. Jake and I were very surprised as we were luckless to this point. I helped her bait her hook and cast it out again, then went back upstream to fish. Again, in about 20 minutes, I heard Annie calling me. Jake and I decided it would be impossible that she caught another one--but that is exactly what happened! Another really nice, big silver. I took it off the hook (she had already bashed it), re-baited, and cast out again. I then went upstream to try again. Jake and I managed to catch a salmon or two when we again heard Annie. Sure enough, she had her third silver (a legal limit) reeled in, bashed, and secured well up the bank. Jake and I fished (we didn't want to be totally outdone by Annie) a couple more hours but without luck. The day belonged to little Annie. All in about 6 inches of water!”

That time we went ice fishing on Otter Lake in Anchorage. A dog peed on my dad’s leg. We saw a bear cub in a tree. My line snapped when I was reeling in a monster trout, so my dad immediately plunged his entire arm up to his clavicle into the hole and scooped it out.

That time my uncle caught a salmon that was spawning. Annie and I squeezed its belly and eggs came pouring out. It was so cool/gross.

How I kept a pair of socks in my un-airconditioned car and would drive around town with sock-hands so the steering wheel couldn’t burn my fingers.

That time I had a bum leg. I flinched during my Kindergarten thigh shot and the needle stuck me twice. As a result, I had to drag my leg around for a week. I also once had a weird reaction to Novocain that left my mouth numb and drooling for five or six days, and I’ve had a severe aversion to any feeling of numbness ever since that I’m sure stems from those two experiences.

That time Kyle gifted me a burned CD which he’d somehow accidentally labeled “Prince of Message” instead of “Prince of Egypt.”

That game Corinne invented. Annie drove her BigWheel in circles around Corinne, passing through a hula hoop, and each time she went through the hula hoop she had to give Corinne one of her toys. Took her a few passes before she realized it wasn’t a very fun game.

That other game Corinne invented. I was supposed to run the entire length of a large culvert and then back again, and she and Annie would race me from the outside. Each and every time I emerged red-faced and panting, they were both lazily stretched out on the grass, yawning and glancing at their wrists, “We’ve been waiting for hours.” I quit playing after the fifth or sixth go, and it took me another, oh, year or so to realize HEY! I BET THEY WEREN’T RUNNING AT ALL! THEY TRICKED ME!!!

That time Annie was delighted to discover the family cat dead in the basement. According to Corinne, Kizzie died of kidney stones. “If mom had taken her to the vet that morning, she would have been fine. But she didn’t, so she died.” My mom had hidden her body in the basement so that my dad could bury her later. She pulled him aside when he got home from work to let him know that Kizzie was dead, and that he needed to sneak her out of the basement, but be very careful because little impressionable 3-year-old Annie was watching TV in the next room, and mom didn’t want her to be upset if she saw. So my dad wandered downstairs and was sneaking nonchalantly behind Annie when she turned and exclaimed, “Hey, dad! Guess what!! Kizzie died!” According to him, she then grabbed his hand, beside herself with excitement, and dragged him into the next room, where she apparently had made the deliciously grisly discovery hours earlier. Granted, this story came from The General, who is notorious for exaggerating things, but he has been known to quote little Annie as saying, “Look! Look at that cat, she’s flat as a pancake!” whilst poking the corpse exuberantly.

How Boo transformed from a sweet, beloved pet into a hellcat the day she was spayed. The vet tech carefully handed me a yowling bundle and cautioned, “Boo woke up a little angry after surgery…” I barely managed to keep her in that wadded-up towel for the drive home, and she was wild from then on until she met her awful, untimely end. I don’t want to get into details, because it’s gross, so let’s just say it involved a garage door sensor malfunction and a cat that truly did become as “flat as a pancake.”

That time I got diarrhea’d on by a pony. It’s a very short story. I was cleaning out her left-rear hoof when my sisters started screaming frantic, incoherent instructions at me. By the time I’d realized what they were trying to say, I was covered in the stuff, hair to jodhpurs.

How my dad’s favorite word is “derbis.” He had a foreign captain early on in his Army career who kept yelling at everyone that they’d better get their derbis together, they were full of derbis, derbis derbis, derbis. When my dad finally asked him, “What, exactly, is derbis?” the captain beckoned him closer, crouched down, picked up a handful of dirt, and said (with finality), “Derbis.” The General has used it daily ever since.

How confusing the word “derbis” can be to others. Once, we were vacationing in North Carolina and, to cut down on screaming, my mom let me bring a friend along. The first morning, my dad announced for everyone to collect their derbis because it was time to leave for the beach. Poor Christine pulled me aside in a panic to confess that she didn’t have any derbis! She must have left it at home!! What would she do without her derbis???

That time we got stuck in the sand during the aforementioned vacation. We thought it would be fun to drive on the beach. It wasn’t. During the four hours we were stuck, a bunch of other vehicles got themselves stuck, too, so it was a beached-dolphin-type situation.

That time one of our cats very nearly averted his own death. My sisters like to claim that I brain damaged him. His behavior became increasingly erratic until eventually he became so vicious my mom made an executive decision, packed the cat, Annie, and me in the truck, and off we went to “put Mac to sleep," which sounded like a nice thing to do. My mom parked in front of the vet’s office and left us with the crazy cat while she filled out some papers before bringing in the patient. But when she came back out to the truck, the dumb thing was nowhere to be found. After searching the cab for several minutes, she must have just given up and decided that despite her best efforts, she had raised a couple of lying brats (“We PROMISE we didn’t let him out!”). Now, I was about four at the time, so I don’t know the best way to describe what happened next, but halfway down the road, Mac appeared. He crawled out of the engine. There was a small hole near our feet, under the dash, and first his head popped out, then he twisted his body and his shoulders popped out, then he squeezed the rest of his hind-end through and plopped down on the floor of the truck, mewing. Reborn. I’d like to say that that little stunt saved him – that my mom had a change of heart and decided he was meant to be with us forever – but it didn’t. She turned that truck right back around, this time instructing Annie to hold on to him tight, just to make sure.

That time were were staying at a campground and there was a paper mache roadkill bunny. It had baked in the sun for so long and had been run over so many times that it was completely flush against the asphalt. One day I absentmindedly kicked at it and the whole thing came off in one piece, like a grotesque bunny paint chip. My dad picked it up with two fingers and flung it at us girls Frisbee-style, and great was the freak-out thereof.

See also:
Episode I
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Plus Sides of Owning Old Vehicles

5. People hardly ever break into your car and/or try to steal it.

4. You can cause a parking lot accident and not care about the damage to your own vehicle.

3. You can play that one game where you try to crank the handle reeeeally smoothly so it looks like you have power windows.

2. You can play that one game where you try to find a worse car in the parking lot and if you can’t, you win (I win often).

1. When someone’s alarm is going off, you never have to wonder if it’s yours.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Miscellany and Catch-up


One of my favorite things we've ever done.

Darcy and Lianna came to visit a couple of months ago! Ignore my errant bra strap in the following movie:

A still from that Vine. PEARL'S FACE.

Festive for the 4th of July. Activities included the Sweet Family Traditional Annual Kentucky Fried Chicken Dinner, sparklers, and fireworks with our friends Eric and Cara, followed directly by Penny becoming violently ill at their house (sorry again, guys!). She was sick for A WEEK and it was awful and I cried at the vet.

This was her home for 6 days. Poor little lamb.

These are the two pages of notes Jon created for me to show the vet. Skip all the graphic details about her bloody diarrhea and read the final bit I highlighted. I love Jon.

Someone left this note on our 1990 Mazda Protege when we were housesitting for my aunt and uncle. They live in a super nice neighborhood, so when we got back from our hike and noticed a scrap of paper on the windshield I was fully expecting it to be a complaint from a neighbor. This is what the Maz looks like:

I guess Anthony had $20 burning a hole in his pocket and he thought, "Hey! Maybe I can buy a car with this!"
I love this conversation I had with Annie about a picture she took of a sign at the dog park:


Another one of my favorite things Jon and I have ever done.

Here is a thing I tweeted on August 8th.

Then, on August 30th when I was at Christa's parents' house the night before her wedding, she pulled this same exact newspaper clipping out to show me, knowing how delighted I'd be. And this is why she and I are friends, exemplified.

omg so cute.