Monday, December 28, 2009


So how weird is that UFO in this picture of the Tetons I just posted yesterday? I didn't notice it there until just now. We took several and it's not in any of the others.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's like a catapult

The rest of the family showed up over the past few days. As it turned out, Jon's flight HAD been delayed: Five hours in St Maarten, which made him miss his connection in Chicago. He spent that night in a Hilton lobby armchair. All in all, it was 33 hours of travel time, including the drive to St Anthony from Utah. Oh yeah, and a few more minutes were tacked on when his plane almost landed on top of another plane at the Salt Lake City airport. I don't like to think about it, but apparently they were seconds away from landing when a plane on the ground decided to move onto the runway underneath them. So up they went, with lots of g-force, circling the airport waiting for another try. Good job, Air Traffic Control!

It hasn't been too eventful around here - just how I like it. Lots of slipper-wearing, lots of movie-watching, lots of game-playing. There's this one called "Bananagrams" that is a new obsession. There's a big pile of letter tiles in the middle and you have to create crosswords, like Scrabble, only it's timed and you can rearrange your words as much as you need. Then, if you want to trade a letter, you call out "DUMP!" and exchange it for three others. DUMP. It's written in the actual directions. Capitalized and everything. I like to shout it as obnoxiously as I possibly can.

What else, what else.... Oh. Corinne and I braved a trip to the Wal-Mart in Rexburg which was pretty interesting. We saw the saddest Santa ever, tucked away in a corner near cosmetics, wearing what appeared to be red pajamas with unraveling white trim. The only Christmas decoration nearby was an old heavily-creased hand-drawn backdrop. I wanted to cry.

Speaking of crying, have you ever been to Ririe, Idaho? We accidentally drove through it FOUR TIMES in one day. I sank into a deep depression.

So I've got this overachieving follicle on my right arm. I was pretty proud of the two-inch-long hair it had produced and showed it to my whole family once I got here. Then last week, while Jon and I were cuddling on a loveseat, he suddenly grabbed hold of it and yanked it out while I hollered in protest. Then he explained that I was getting too attached to it. We laughed for an hour.

Anyway, here are some pictures. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Ours was.

Ada staring down a bottle of fry sauce at Big Jud's - just outside of Ririe :-(

Gunner and the General

Fondue on Christmas Eve - Sweet family tradition!

Mom trying out her new Wii

I gave her those boots. That's why they're so cute.

Trying out my brother-in-law Steve's trebuchet (movie below)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Back off

Jon may or may not have missed his connection in Chicago. I still don't know for sure. But I really hope he didn't, because I can't stave the masses off this special-made-by-me-for-him sugar cookie for much longer.

Every time I turn my back, someone's trying to eat it or give it away to their visiting teaching companion.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That's what she said

Apparently the entire state of Idaho is without power except for my parents' house. I'm writing this blog post just because I CAN. Corinne invented a scenario involving the entire population of St Anthony turning into zombies and wandering through the dark to come pound on our windows, like moths drawn to a flame.

Last night we went into Rexburg and visited a while with Jon's sister Kelsey, her husband Jake, and my little niece Norah who, as it turns out, can say "baby" unprompted - biggest shock of my life. She and Ada loved each other. We showed up about 40 minutes after I said we would, which may or may not have been the result of my getting lost on the way to Little Caesar's to pick up our Hawaiian pizza. Corinne had called in the order ahead of time and explained to me once she hung up that she couldn't tell if he'd said the total was 7 dollars, or 11 dollars. And I'm like, "ewww, he must have said 11". But no. $6.99. You can buy a large, two-topping pizza for $6.99. And they have "Hot and Ready" ones available for FIVE DOLLARS. Immediately I was suspicious. Nothing that big should be that cheap. Especially something that's edible.

It's been pretty low-key. Just sort of waiting for the rest of the family to show up (Jon gets in this weekend!!). One of the most exciting moments of the past few days was when I checked my Analytics and discovered "huge Scandinavian women" on my list of keywords. Meaning someone ended up on my blog by typing that phrase into Google. I was a little bit crept out, and a little bit proud.

Then there was a really funny story that my dad told that just bombed every time I tried to type it out. So let me just say that it involved a little boy who started wailing out of disappointment when he realized his grandma wasn't pregnant, just fat. He was really looking forward to that baby. Funny? Not funny? Never mind. I'm done with this post anyway.

So far

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's all fun and games until....

Five seconds later, Penny whipped Ada in the eye with her tail giving me the perfect opportunity to exclaim, "Look what you did, you little jerk!" as Corinne tried to comfort her baby.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let me help you with that....

I made it! 13 hours of travel time and two connections put me into Salt Lake City. My first flight was a 15 minute puddle-jump. I flew from St Eustatius to St Maarten for only 60 dollars and all I had to do was sit with a 400 pound man on my lap! What a deal. I spent two hours in the St Maarten airport before boarding my first-class flight to Atlanta. I don't think I realized ahead of time how serious first class is - like, I'd only get more leg room and a hot meal. I definitely underestimated the level of service. I swear the flight attendant would have dangled grapes over my head while I nibbled at them if I'd asked her to. And I'm pretty sure she took it personally that I declined wine each of the seven-thousand times she offered it to me. Everything about first class was just how it's portrayed in movies. The hot towel, the free-flowing alcohol. And an actual curtain separating the cabins so we didn't even have to look at the jerks sitting back in coach. Everything was also more complicated. Like the tray tables for instance - crazy contraptions that hid inside the armrest. I needed help both getting it out AND putting it away. It was like I was five all over again, and for what? I mean, as far as tray tables go, they were just alright. Definitely no more functional than a regular tray table, but a million times more complex.

As a general rule, I don't use airplane bathrooms, so by the time we landed in Atlanta I had to pee so bad I felt nauseous. But there was no time - I had only an hour to get through customs AND security AND take the tram from one side of the airport to the other. Luckily there were no lines and I made it to my gate with time to spare for a bathroom break, and also to check the upgrade screen. Jon tried to get me on first-class again for the rest of the trip, but I was like number 31 or 32 on the list of priority so needless to say I rode from Atlanta to Salt Lake with the plebeians. And somehow I ended up in the only window seat without a window. It's a long fall down.

I always feel close to home when I'm amongst the group flying into Salt Lake. They're not always the most attractive bunch, but they're familiar. The college-aged girl with skunky hair wearing Uggs and five camisoles. That older guy that looks like an apostle. Some kid with an extreme side-part, obviously fresh off the mish. The "hot mom" in platform flip flops with an orange tan and hair teased so much it's see-through. And that interesting-looking young couple in front of me - they must be just visiting. HAhahaHA I kill me. No really, I love Utah. It's home. Sort of.

I was supposed to meet my mom out on the curb when I landed, but Annie ended up taking a day off of work and surprised me by showing up with her, bearing a homemade cheeseburger. You all would have been disgusted to watch me devour it. Then came the joyous reunion of owner and dog. Penny gave a little start when she first sniffed me, then continued to be a little stand-offish for about five seconds until she pieced together our happy memories (I'm only assuming here) and pretty soon was wiggling and jumping all over the place. On the drive from the airport to my grandparents' house, she sat on my lap and leaned as hard as she possibly could into my chest. All that worrying for nothing.

After a couple of days in Salt Lake and Heber, we made the trip up North to St Anthony (or Satanthony, as Jon calls it). It started snowing yesterday morning and it's been piling up ever since. Christmas Christmas Christmas. I'll put up pictures sometime soon, but this post has already gotten out of hand.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I love you, Tomorrow

GUESS WHAT?? I'm flying first class from St Maarten to Atlanta! Hooray for free alcoholic beverages! Hooray for free hot towels! Hooray for free more-than-six-inches-of-leg-room! I hope it doesn't go to my head.

This weekend was pretty boring, what with Jon studying for finals and me just trying to get all the laundry done before I LEAVE TOMORROW. Which is easier said than done, because our washing machine isn't like YOUR fancy new-fangled washing machines. The kind that sit inside your house and do all the work. I have to manually fill the washer with a garden hose for the wash and rinse cycles, then physically move the clothes to the other side for them to spin. Then once they're hung on the line, I'm at the mercy of the weather. But then I remind myself, "Oh yeah, I live in the Caribbean". So it's all a trade-off I suppose.

Last night we tortured ourselves by watching Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Holiday Edition". All these celebrity chefs were discussing their favorite holiday food traditions. Then it was announced that after the break, Giada de Laurentiis would be discussing some Italian raisin cake and my first thought was, "Oh GOSH I hope she can get through this without smiling too much." Because.....gehhhh.

Anyway, so I'm going to be traveling the next couple of days - first my flight into Utah, then a drive to my sister's house, then the drive up to Idaho - so don't hate me if I go a few days without posting. Hopefully I'll have all sorts of travel-related stories to relay on the flip side. Like how I threw my gingerale in the stewardess's face because she measured out a thimblefull that barely filled in the cracks around the ice. A CAN. I said a CAN of gingerale. FIRST CLASS HERE, COME ON.

Full Disclosure:

I was a janitor once. Wore keys on my belt loop and everything. We were living in a place called Fort McMurray, Alberta for a couple of months, trying to rake in some cash to pay for Jon’s final year of undergrad. I specialized in cleaning bathrooms in a government building; Not my first choice of career obviously, but it paid really well and I was helping out a member of Jon’s family. Plus, we were poor and desperate in our first year of marriage, so I did it. The memories will last a lifetime. Luckily I stayed in close contact with my friends and family members through email during that time, so I’ve got documentation of all the best stories. This blog post brought to you by COPY AND PASTE. Enjoy.

[To my friend Christa, on my streamlined routine] First, I spray large
amounts of air freshener, even if it doesn't stink. Then, I scan the
area. Any bits of paper on the floor, I just pick up with my hand (always
gloved..I got in trouble the other day for using too many gloves. Like I'm
going to reuse a pair!) because it's way easier than sweeping it. Next I
get the toilets over and done with, because they're the worst part. I
carefully kick open the door and steal a glance at what’s in the toilet. I
do it this way so that if there is something, I don't have to know what it
is. I hold my breath, stare at the ceiling, and feel around with my foot
for the flusher. Then, I spray each of the toilet seats with Windex (I use
it as all purpose cleaner, even though I'm pretty sure it's just for glass) and
smear it around with a paper towel. I rarely lift the seat to clean
underneath. That's gross. If it's a men's bathroom, I tackle the
urinal first. This is the only time I use something other than
Windex. I use this Clorox stuff because it says "No Scrub" on the front,
and I figure that means I can just spray it all over, and flush. Five
seconds, easy. If the sink has soap on it, I clean it off. If not,
it looks clean enough to me. Shine up the fixtures, clean waterspots off
mirrors, then check the garbage. I asked the girl who trained me if I'm
supposed to change the garbage every day, and she said yes. But if it's
not full, why would I change it? So as far as garbage is concerned, I
generally just smash it down every day, until it's absolutely necessary to
change it. And...thats about it. Today I was a little more thorough
though because I was talking to a coworker (this 40 year old foul-mouthed
plumber) and he was like "Yeah, all the people before did half-a**ed jobs
cleaning the bathrooms" and I acted all shocked that someone would do that, then
cleaned a little bit better today to make up for it. But really can't
see it lasting.

[To my mom] The older lady that works there asked
me to mop up a "spill" in the stairwell, and to "wear gloves" because she didn't
know what it was. So I was terrified that it was vomit. I was
creeping around the stairwell so slowly and my little heart was beating so
fast. It ended up being what looked like pee. I'd like to think it
wasn't, but I'd have rather mopped up pee with my shirt than even see or smell

[To my sister Annie, on unwelcome intruders] So when the
girl who was training me was telling me about the bottom level bathrooms she
goes "now these are the only ones in the building that are unlocked, so you have
to watch out for homeless people when you clean them". She goes on to
explain that if I find clothes or anything hidden under sinks or in trash cans,
just to throw them away because it means that someone is trying to live in
there. She says this like it’s perfectly normal, people trying to live in
bathrooms. But it seriously happens. The next day I went in to clean
and I checked under the stalls and I see someone's feet in dirty sneakers
sitting in the middle stall. So I'm like, well they won't be long, I'll
just start sweeping or whatever, and they'll leave. So I'm in there like 5
minutes and this person is not making ANY noise. No rustling of toilet
paper, nothing. It reminded me of someone trying to avoid a T-rex by just
being really still. So I was like, whatever, I'll go clean the men's room
then come back. 15 minutes later, same little sneakers in the middle
stall. So I went and got security and they kicked her out. That same
day someone reported to security that there was "someone passed out in the
bathroom" and the security girl told me later that it was just some lady taking
a nap on the floor. She took her boots off and everything.

[To my friend Kellie, on our furniture/apartment situation back in
Our managers let us keep our stuff in our apartment for
free! Jon went to talk to them about maybe paying a couple hundred
less a month if they turn off our amenities, and the girl was like..."no, we can
just turn them off and you can just keep your stuff there for free". Which
is soooo awesome because we were going to move it into storage, then once we got
back there’s no guaranteeing that we'd find another place to live soon, and then
we'd have to live in bathrooms.

Friday, December 04, 2009


I just found out that Judge Judy -- THE JUDGE JUDY, as in "Hi, my name is Jessie Jensen and I watch Judge Judy religiously every single day on channel 18 from 5 to 6 o'clock" -- has a house here on Statia!!!!!

Ten minutes of Google research later: Never mind. Turns out she visited Statia, once, two years ago. Statia-vision is STILL replaying the footage. Lies are still circulating.

I can't wait to go home for Christmas.