Friday, December 30, 2011

It's over!

I feel like I need to start this obligatory post how everyone else does - WHAT A YEAR - but the truth is this: My year was actually really boring. After wrapping up our time on Statia and moving back to America there was about a five month lull in Idaho at my parent’s place, followed by a move to Phoenix because we just couldn’t stand waiting around anymore, followed by Jon leaving me for seven weeks to attend a review course, during which time I hit “refresh” on Craiglist job postings over and over and over, punctuated by the occasional interview and many trips to the dog park. At the end of November I finally started working, which means I’ve been productive for exactly five weeks out of the past two and a half years. (If you’re new to the blog, read this brief explanation lest you think terrible things about me.)

The following is a mishmash of my favorite posts, quotes, and comments from the year. Later I’ll do a breakdown of my blog statistics like I did last January.


Cross this one off the bucket list
EXCERPT: "Baby sea turtles bumping into your feet in the ocean is adorable."

The good old days
SUMMARY from Carly Maready in the comments: "I laughed and laughed and laughed. Poor hamster. Corinne is never cutting my hair."

Guess who’s having the best! Week! Ever!
SUMMARY: When I saw my first adult sea turtle AND found a blue bead!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

It’s all fun and games until someone falls on their face

EXCERPT: "I should have known to not hold a strange ferret up to my face--" [camera pans to her blood-spattered vest] "--I had no idea noses could bleed this much."

I predict a bidding war
MY FAVORITE BULLET POINT: "sturdy wrist strap"

Names 2010

Dolphinsbarn: "Giving a kid many of these names is like giving them a neck tattoo on the way out the womb." 
Christa J.: "I would appreciate you removing the name Vestal from your post. I don't want it to get too popular before I have children." 
Shannon: "I totally lurked onto this site but have to share one of my favorites from my son's preschool class: Galligrr. Yes. As in, that's how a tiger would pronounce it. It's really spelled that way." 
Kyle M: "@AtSmith, we aren't ridiculing the kids, we're ridiculing the parents, and rightly so. These kids will have a handicap throughout their life. If you don't believe me, watch what I do with your daughter Tayzlee's resume in 20 years. Just watch!" 
Lindsey: "This. Is. Awesome. You just made me really homesick for living in the Utah/Idaho name belt! Long live Vestal!"


Alison: "...And Alison Wonderland...thanks for stealing my screen name I've had since 1993, spelled EXACTLY the same way. $10 says your kids are name Austin, Cason, Peyton and COPYCAT!" 
Anonymous: "I am not a huge fan of way out there names or too crazy of spellings but my name is spelled different and I have loved it, and by the way. All of my daughters have different spellings except one and hers is the only name is is pronounced wrong! I think it is strange that a person with an untraditional spelling of a name would ridicule other parents choices in names. Jessie is not "traditionally" a girls name nor is it "traditionally" spelled Jessie. If you are going to pick on people for spelling their daughters name Jesee (or however they spelled it), you should not use your name on the blog, unless you are of course a man and your name is Jesse! Your name was probably an abomination to all those Pearls,Sarah's, and Abigail's that had "traditional" and "sensible" names. They probably thought those same things you are thinking about these parents.Again, I don't think parents should give them stupid names like the Abcd that was mentioned above, but just because a girl is named Katelyn instead of the original Caitlin does not make them bad parents or "poor" children.
Thanks,Mandee(and I LOVE my name and I don't think my parents are stupid)"

(Of course, I couldn’t help but respond…)

"It's cute because it's so, so wrong.
Also, say my parents had named me Jhessykah. That would mean I can't dislike made up names and misspellings? I don't get it. People don't name themselves. Certainly if I had a daughter named Payzlee you would have a legitimate point." 
Anonymous: "I don't care for the name particularly, but my aunt's name was Vestal. She made enough money to (most likely) buy and sell you."

EXCERPT: "Within the first hour of our visit, she may or may not have told us that her late husband was an impotent alcoholic and that she had to find another man to bless her womb. I could be wrong, though; she requires three interpreters and even then you’ll only understand a quarter of what she’s saying."

St Maarten
EXCERPT: "Once the resulting sandstorm died down enough for me to turn around and look for him, all I saw was his body curled into a little ball, facedown. Turtled, if you will."

Why meeeee
EXCERPT: "The doctor told me the bruising might get worse and spread over the next few days. He also assured me that what he'd extracted was definitely organic and terrestrial."

INCLUDED BECAUSE: of anonymous' comment - "wow a lovely also"

EXCERPT: "Annie asked Dad if he had a mustache when he was a baby."

You are NOT the baby’s father
EXCERPT: "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."

On the road
INCLUDED BECAUSE of the following exchange in the comments:

An introduction
EXCERPT: "Ian, or Owen?"


Good dog

St Jon

Just call me Evelyn Couch
EXCERPT: "Still, it’s better than when Corinne got Roald Dahl."

For your Wednesday
EXCERPT: "Hey, look. You have clothes on, and I can drive. That's everything we need to go get some pie."

A play in one act

I knew no one would believe me, so I took a picture

It’s official!
INCLUDED BECAUSE: of the joke at the end that totally bombed. I received no less than four text messages from friends and family wondering what my awesome new job was.

A conversation I wish I’d had, circa October 2004
EXCERPT: "You always think of the best responses 7 years later."

Why I will never book travel with Expedia ever again, and why you should seriously consider doing the same :)
EXCERPT: "THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE MESSING WITH HERE. I have many tens of people who read my blog and follow me on Twitter! Including my mother (not sure about my dad) and siblings!"

Good Old Days, Episode II
EXCERPT: "Oh, it was just food."

Times I made people cry
EXCERPT: "…the essence of it was that we liked Sarah!! and we HATED Amanda!!!! and SHE was the one we didn't want sitting with us!!!!!!! and there was definitely the word ‘walrus’ in there somewhere."
ALSO INCLUDED BECAUSE: of the comment from my aunt Mariann - "Wait til you have kids. Your numbers will definitely go up!"


Thanks for reading! Next year might be better! No promises.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

We drove up to Salt Lake for Christmas this year. It was a little more low-key than usual - my mom was sick (more on that later), and Corinne's due any moment with her little boy. Apparently flying cross country while 39 weeks pregnant isn't advised. (I emailed her yesterday to see what she was up to and she replied, "lolling in bed". And she didn't mean Laugh Out Louding. Poor little lamb.)

The drive up!

We thought we were in for it when we saw this storm up ahead of us, but luckily it didn't slow us down too much:

Happy Anniversary! SEVEN YEARS. My cousin Sarah got married that same day so this was us right before leaving for the reception:

Me being tall:

We walked through temple square afterwards, even though Jon didn't bring a coat. So so so so so so so so so so beautiful:

Right before Annie snapped the following picture, she took another one, reviewed it, started laughing hysterically and told us it was HORRENDOUS of both of us. Later, when I cycled through the pictures, I found the one she was talking about and I didn't think it was bad of me at all :(
(Jon was cold.)

Have you ever really looked at an antelope?

My grandma's nativity is prettier than your grandma's nativity:

Jon found three sticks of string cheese in his coat pocket. He hadn't worn the coat in a year.

Christmas Day! We spent it at Annie's house in Heber.  Jon and I slept over the night before and my parents drove up from Salt Lake for the day. We had the most delicious breakfast EVER (eggs Newport, ever heard of it? You layer English muffins, ham, a delicious mixture of hollandaise and sliced hardboiled eggs, with crumbled bacon on top), then opened presents, then watched Inception, then made our traditional fondue for dinner.

My parents had to leave a couple of hours before we made chocolate fondue, and they totally missed out:

Back at my grandparents' house; dad holding Gunner's head up for him again.

CONCLUSION: The worst part of the entire trip was when my mom got a virus in her ear that made her dizzy, nauseated, and bed-ridden for three whole days.  The best part of the entire trip was when, at the wedding reception, my cousin Adam picked a piece of food out of his salad and asked my brother-in-law Steve if it was an apple slice. Steve responded with a little too much gusto, "It's jicama" - and as he said it, a big chunk of jicama flew out of his mouth and landed on the floor.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hope I didn't inhale any spores...

(We are currently in Utah. I wrote this blog post two days ago and never got around to publishing it. Woopsies. Also, since this was written, we celebrated our SEVENTH wedding anniversary which probably deserves its own post but isn't going to get it.)

I have been such a slacker. Working full time is not conducive to regular blogging, and it hasn't helped that there's been nothing particularly newsworthy going on ever since I got this job. We leave this afternoon for Utah for Christmas so I should probably tell you about the mushroom we found growing in our bathroom before we go:

This is the mushroom we found growing in our bathroom.

And I'll conclude with this picture of Penny - to date, my favorite picture of her ever. Something to do with the expression on her face and the fact that she's holding her toy with her freaky shorn feet.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Sometime someone ask me a question immediately after I take a swig of water so that I can answer normally without swallowing first. We are going to laugh SO hard.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Everyone likes free stuff

I finally got my blog Christmassed! Also, remember how I made this?

You may have it. Happy Christmas.

(download here.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

That's what's up

When we lived in Tucson, I worked for the best company on earth for two and a half years. I won’t get sappy about it, even though A) my feelings about it are very sappy, and B) those were some of the happiest years of my entire life. I’ll just say that leaving was heartbreaking, and I’m absolutely certain that I’d still be working there were it not for our quitting America temporarily so Jon could attend medical school.

When we knew we were for sure moving to Phoenix (where the region is headquartered) I immediately got in touch with my old HR manager and let her know I would be in the area and looking for work. Her reply was disappointing but left me the faintest glimmer of hope – they were still on a reduced staff after 100+ layoffs, but she’d keep me in mind if anything cropped up over the next few months.

Something finally cropped up last week, but NO ONE GET TOO EXCITED because it’s only a temporary position for December and some of January. I knew what it was when I agreed to it, and come the new year I’ll be back to square one unless I can get something else lined up before then. Still, that being said….it is so good to be back, even just for a little while. The work is easy but fulfilling, the people are old friends, the commute is pleasant, I work half-days on Fridays, and, in short, there is nothing else I’d rather be doing this holiday season. It helps that Jon is being really boring lately what with studying 10 hours a day and all. It also helps that the office is absolutely gorgeous.

main lobby



my desk

I want to work here forever.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Better late than never

Finally, pictures from our trip to Utah for Thanksgiving.

On the way there, we flew right over the Grand Canyon. It was awesome. We also passed directly over Kennecotte copper mine (sadly, unpictured).

Our first day there, the whole family went to the new Natural History Museum of Utah. Quite a view from the balcony at sunset.

         Me, Annie

My favorite part. Wall o' Ceratopsians.

Me, Annie, Thanksgiving (and my birthday!) morning.

Crab drink! A Sweet family holiday staple. Clamato juice, crab meat, grapefruit. It is much more delicious than it sounds. (It's like ceviche! Ceviche soup. Served cold. Nothing to be afraid of.)

Annie's an art major and used the family as subjects for her weekly sketch assignment. Here she is doing a ten-minute portrait of Serena, our sister-in-law.

Jon and The General at the Hogle Zoo.

Lemur, Serena

I won't tell you the disgusting thing it was doing. Let's just say that apparently gorillas like to eat their own barf.

I was so glad we decided to go to Music and the Spoken Word in the old Tabernacle building on Temple Square, because it was their first week doing Christmas music! It's not Christmas without MoTab.

The assembly hall.

Cool fountain in the new City Creek development.

And then....the drive home. View of Mount Timpanogos on the way from Heber to Provo.

During the trip back, the Mazda turned 388,888 kilometers and Jon was insistent on me taking a picture. 

Serena won best moment of the entire trip with her dramatic retelling of a childhood story. She was watching a neighbor's chickens and one of them died. When she went to step on the fresh grave to tamp down the dirt, the thing let out a nightmarish, guttural gobble from under the earth - the result of some surplus air inside its lungs.

(There's a reason for the delay in putting up this post. I'll tell you all about it another time.)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Her bite is worse than her bark. And she doesn't bite. So.

We boarded Penny at a kennel while we were in Utah, and I wondered how much of her time there she'd spend barking. My question was answered shortly after she arrived home.