Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm going to eventually be posting a series of childhood pictures on here, but each time I start to make a list of which ones, I decide to delay. I still haven't scanned everything, and how can I even start organizing them on here until all the ones I want are available? So in the meantime here is just one of Annie, unmissable there on the left in an abundant parka, trying her best to fool everyone into thinking it was 150 degrees below zero in front of this glacier:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It kicks

My dad: Are you ready to go yet?
Me: Yeah. Do you have to close your eye to shoot a pistol?
My dad: Sort of.
Me: Okay, so I need to bring tape. Wait - does it matter WHICH eye?
My dad: Not really.
Me: Never mind, then.

Taken a millisecond after my tentative first shot - you can see the casing flying away, or whatever that thing is called. I know next to nothing about guns. And everything I know about gun safety is what I know about scissors-safety....no one can get hurt if you point it at the ground away from your feet and walk carefully.

(Yes, I'm wearing a plaid flannel shirt with a velvet blazer. Deal with it.)


Friday, May 20, 2011

You are NOT the baby's father

My plan for my next post was to put up the best of the family photos I've uncovered so far in my summer project. But then something happened!

To begin, I watched Ricki Lake's eye-opening documentary "The Business of Being Born" on instant Netflix and then posted this to Twitter:

The next morning, here's the long view of my update:

Wait!! What's that there at the bottom??

It couldn't possibly be that Ricki Lake, THE Ricki Lake, as in, "Hi my name is Jessie Sweet, I'm 11 years old and I watch the Ricki Lake Show when my parents aren't home" reposted MY update for all 45,688 of her followers to see.

Awesome. This is even better than when Cesar Millan, or at least his assistant, reminded me to stay calm and assertive. And I thought NOTHING would ever top THAT.

In conclusion, because it's bound to come up, NO. I'm not pregnant. Can't a girl just watch a movie on the maternity care industry without raising all sorts of suspicions??

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It's been fun tracking my names post all over the internet these past few weeks. Although it was tweeted a couple dozen times, I was surprised that the majority of my traffic was coming from Facebook and email. Then my brother-in-law, Kyle, introduced me to Backtype.com, where you can (sort of) track what's happening with your content (specifically, how it's being shared). A membership is required for more intensive analysis, of course, but here is a summary of the social impact of my post:

Quite a few more blogs this year picked up on it, too, and a couple of forums, so it's been interesting reading the resulting discussions on those sites. Something that has come up a few times in those conversations, though, is that this is not exclusively a Utah/Idaho phenomenon. Which, of course, I'm aware of. I'm pretty sure that at no point in my series have I said, "NO ONE OUTSIDE OF UTAH OR IDAHO has ever named their kid something weird or made-up". Obviously celebrities proliferate the epidemic, as well, and it's spreading. But these sorts of names - the ones I include in my lists each year, the ones with weird spellings, multiple capitalizations, and flagrant misuse of the letter Y - ARE a Utah/Idaho thing. Not EXCLUSIVELY, mind you. But the weird names thing is a part of the culture in this area, and has been for decades. It isn't a recent development by any means. My Utah school-teacher aunts and uncles have been complaining about awful kid's names during the course of their entire careers. And I'm far from the first person to remark on it - it would appear that this site has been cataloguing names heard in Utah since the birth of the internet (and if it hasn't been then I don't know WHAT their excuse is for the horrendous layout). And this is one of my favorite Snide Remarks columns of all time.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. The point is, I got to thinking about whether or not Utah and surrounding areas really were the originators of the terrible naming thing, and wondering if there was possibly a way to geographically track name trends, when I found THIS portion of the Babynamewizard website. A godsend! I subsequently spent an hour plugging in names from all four installments of my series as well as any others I could think of off the top of my head that might possibly have ever been popular enough for the site to have stats on, and was pleased when name after name, my theory was proven right. Not for EVERY name that went in, of course, but for enough of them to indicate that Utah and surrounding areas ARE trendsetters in the awful baby name trend.

People from Utah and Idaho are saying, "Duh. We knew that."

Some examples:

Others that also showed up in Utah before anywhere else include McKenna, Madison (both included in my search because of the strong backlash towards them), Paisley, and Ashlee.

A note on the much-maligned 'Jayden'. It would appear that a handful of Jaydens were born in North Dakota back in '89-'91. It then disappeared from the map until cropping up again in '94 in both North Dakota and, you guessed it, Utah. Interestingly enough, the Dakotas seem to be the second-and-third-most-trendsettingest states when it comes to names...at least when it comes to the sorts of names I was searching for.

So pray for those children, too.

This may be the cutest thing you hear all day

My mom and I were preparing to leave the house - putting the dogs in their crates, turning off lights and music, etc - when the following conversation took place about the iPod:

Me: Can I leave it on the dock?
My mom: Yeah! I do that sometimes. I think they like it.
Me: Huh?
My mom: ...Didn't you say, "Can I leave it on for the dogs?"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pom gone wrong

This dog was in the car next to me in the Valley Wide ranch supply parking lot. When I first saw it, I laughed for a minute straight, took a deep breath, then laughed again.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I've made it my summer project to go through all my parent's dusty archives to digitize the best photos and whatever else I happen to run across. Today that included a journal my mom thought had been lost forever in their move to Idaho, but that had really only been lost to the bottom of a pile in the back corner of an annually opened drawer. It's a notebook filled with funny quotes from us kids. A little part of me died the day that my mom confessed she feared it would never be found, so imagine BOTH of our delights when I unearthed it!!

I know that, with very few exceptions, these sorts of things are at best boring and at worst irksome to everyone on the outside. No one else thinks your kids (or in this case, you and your siblings as kids) are as awesome as you do - something I hope to remember (but know that I won't) when I have kids of my own. BUT. I picked out the best from the journal and I'm 20% certain that at least some of these can be enjoyed by people outside of my immediate family.

(Oh gosh, I'm about to digress. Here comes the digression. I can't stop it. A few years back our friends, new parents, took their son to the pediatrician for his six-month check-up. The husband started explaining that his boy seemed to be developing ahead of the curve when the irritated doctor interrupted, "Blah blah blah, your kid is a genius, your kid is the best, I've heard it all a thousand times before". Of course, my initial reaction when they told me that story was OMG WORST PEDIATRICIAN EVER, but my secondary, inward reaction was that I wanted to shake that man's hand, and possibly be his friend.)

Okay. So. My favorites. I've typed these up exactly how my mom wrote them down at the time (she's a good writer! I never knew!):


Jacob is really looking forward to the arrival of our new baby. One evening he felt it kicking inside mommy's tummy and was concerned that it was hurting her. I told him it didn't hurt now but that later it would be big enough to kick my ribs and that would hurt a little. 'Will it get sauce on its feet?' he asked! (age 3)

Jake painted some pictures one day. Mom picked one up and said, "That's cute." "I know," said Jake, "it's me!"

We were returning home from Rothenburg after seeing the Kriminal Haus and all the strange punishments they used to inflict when Corinne started in on one of her famous disturbances. Jake remarked casually, "It's too bad they don't still burn witches."

Corinne was talking to mommy. "Turn around, mom, turn around! Nice bum, mom!" (age 2)

Corinne asked Jake if he wanted to go "teeting on the totter."

Corinne declared, "I'm a good helper, but I'm not helping with Annie's stuff!"

One of our neighbors was smoking. When Corinne saw him she commented, "He must not be a human." (Mormon)

"Did you see my medicine? It's all purpled up." Jess age 2

Mom and Dad were spending one of those rare leisurely mornings in bed when Jessica came in. She demanded, "Dad! Let Mom go!"

Annie asked Dad if he had a mustache when he was a baby. (age 4)

We found it necessary to have a Family Home Evening on respecting others' property. We called people who didn't "Gadianton robbers." The first time Jess was accused she said, "I'm not an idiot robber!"

During hunting season 1989 Annie asked, "Does Dad collect deer?" (age 6)

Annie was eating something she didn't like. "It tastes like raw dragon," she said.

Greg Hopkins' mother was coming to visit from Texas. The children were asking what she was like. I told them she was really nice. Annie asked, "Does she give rides?"

Jessica was having a hard time staying in bed one night. Mom said she might end up with a spanking if she got out again. Jessie said, "Don't you know Heavenly Father doesn't like you to spank your children?" "I'm sure you're right," said mom, "what could I do to get you to mind me?" Jessie said, "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it."

[Aaaaand my personal favorite:]

Jessie started making a racket when told she couldn't go somewhere. Mom said, "Cryers don't get to do anything." "I'm not crying, I'm screaming" said Jessie.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 things

1) I can do this with my tongue:

I can also turn my legs and arms almost all the way around, but I won’t post pictures of those for fear that I’d lose my entire readership.

2) I’m awesome on a pogo stick (at least I used to be as a kid, and I assume it’s sort of like riding a bike). When first realized I could pogo with NO HANDS, I spent the better part of a morning counting how many times in a row I could bounce like that, which was a terrible idea. After over 300, I realized the insides of my legs were being rubbed raw. Couldn’t wear jeans for a week.

3) I have crazy old man eyebrows. They’re thin and sparse, but the hairs that DO grow are champions and require constant trimming. I once asked a hairdresser to please trim them at the end of a haircut, and she eyed me like a carcass. When pressed, she admitted that they usually only did that for men.

4) I’ve never had a nosebleed or been stung by a bee. The latter sort of makes me nervous – how do I know I’m not deathly allergic? What if I SHOULD be carrying an EpiPen on me at all times??

5) My “I once found something gross in my food” story trumps yours. Brace yourselves. My senior year of high school I was unsuspectingly eating a Dairy Queen ice cream sundae, minding my own business, when I fished a BIG HAIRY SCAB out of my mouth.

6) My grandpa has hammertoe and my sisters both have it in varying degrees. This was always a great source of amusement to me, until last year when Jon noticed one of my OWN toes beginning to hammer. NOOooOOoOOoooo!!!!

7) I have trouble with distinguishing blues and purples. I think certain shades of blue are purple, and vice versa. I finally asked my eye doctor what was up and he ran some color-blindness tests by me, only to conclude that it has nothing to do with my actual eye – it’s a perception issue. Meaning I just learned those colors wrong. Thanks a LOT, mom.

8) My parents never owned a video camera. As a result, there is ONE existing family video of us kids, taken by my uncle. Maybe one day I’ll A) find that video, and B) have it converted to digital.

9) When getting my pre-Kindegarten thigh shots, I flinched. The needle stabbed me twice and must have hit a nerve or something, because for a week afterwards I had to drag my poor bum-leg along behind me like a gimp. Would have been a great time to own a video camera.

10) I think there are maybe four people in the world that know this last one about me. There was ONE TIME in my ENTIRE LIFE that I EVER kissed a guy I didn’t know well, and I learned from a friend shortly thereafter that he was MISSING FOUR FINGERS ON ONE HAND. My advice to everyone is to NEVER kiss someone unless you’ve counted all their fingers, because it could end up that they’re missing several fingers.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thanks, Doc

Well I guess technically he was a PA. But my eye! It's doing GREAT! I almost look like a human again. I actually can't believe how quickly it healed. When I first saw myself afterwards, I thought I would never be the same.

The sting of looking like a sideshow for a few days was lessened by the arrival of new shoes and visits to the local cheap theater. Rango was REALLY good, and everyone needs a pair of these:

They were out of the box for NINETY SECONDS before I took this picture, and I count no less than five Gunner hairs on them.

Best part was the free shipping both ways from Piperlime! No, they did not pay me to say that!

A quick recap of our past couple of weeks:

My mom lunging her horse. I'll probably ride him once the temperature breaks 60 in Idaho. IT'S MAY.

Penny and me on a walk.

So what if her eyes point in different directions?

Sunset photo a la Jon

Speaking of that guy. On the 4th my mom and I drove him down to Utah so he could catch his flight to Texas. The night before he left, my grandma Sweetie took us all to dinner at this incredible place called Market Grill. It was pretty much to die for. I got swordfish, and it's been running around in my mind ever since.

Then, early the next morning, Jon was on his way to Galveston :( The good news is that his review course is less than 30 days, then I fly to meet him in Tucson! Bought my flight and everything. Now we just have to pray that the Jeep starts, otherwise it's a long walk back to Idaho.

To soften the blow of me losing my husband for four weeks (or maybe just because my mom got a killer Groupon), she and I and Annie all went and got massages that afternoon. It was glorious. Other things we've done, in chronological order:

  • Had frozen yogurt
  • Saw Jane Eyre (SO good, but don't see it unless/until you've read the book! Preferably twice in the last year, like me)
  • Drove to Annie's place in Heber
  • Ate cinnamon rolls
  • Went to Whole Foods in Park City
  • Hit the outlets
  • This was just me - Bought a black dress and dandelion-colored ankle-skimming pants that I could not be more excited about
  • This was just Annie - Bought SKINNY JEANS!! Her first pair!! ABOUT TIME.

And that's about it. My mom and I head back to Idaho tomorrow. I feel like a vagrant.

In conclusion, I know I haven't actually WRITTEN something in a while. Don't give up on me! I've just been busy! Let's hang out!

Sunday, May 01, 2011


I am NOT a photographer, but I got lucky with this picture I snapped of Lianna a couple of weeks before I left Statia. I love love love love LOVE LOVE how it turned out. I like to stare at it while holding a seashell to my ear. Just kidding, I've never done that. Yet.