Friday, October 31, 2008

Life Lessons

Here I've been, anxiously yearning for some Fall weather, when apparently all it takes to appease the Rain Gods is to finally wash one's car.

Irony. Ain't it a b----?

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For lack of something better...

...because (let's be honest) there is nothing better.

Photo: Milford Sound, New Zealand and Kenny Brady (or as I like to call them, the eighth and ninth wonders of the world.) Ahhhh, love. I am happy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Walking and Paddling.

So last Saturday's walk was really fun - and a huge success! Team Brady Bunch was in full force thanks to the following:

Mark (dad), DeAnne (mom), Ana, Michael, Daniella, Cameron, Amelia, Hud, Hudson, Sloan (who turned one that day! Happy Birthday, Nephew), Nicole, Jeff, Ryan, Cindel, Roger, Lindsay, Charlie, Jett, Kristina, Ashley, Amber, Eliza, Heather, Skyler, Elise, Steve, Brit, Blair, Shanna, Mackensie, and Garrett. Wow! Thanks everyone for coming and showing the love!
Last I heard (while running) was that the event raised over $220,000 and likely much more. It was touching to see those afflicted with Lou Gehrig's participating with their families and loved ones there to support them. It was good.  

Thanks Amber and Ashley for running with me; Skyler, remember that Ashley and I did eventually lap you, Ryan - nice to meet you. You're an amazing speed-walker. Little Kids...thanks for hanging in there for all three laps around the park. Here's some pics stolen from Nicole and the Thorne's.

Kristina S., Ashley M., me (Jill)
Daniella, Mom (DeAnne), Dad (Mark), Ana, Cameron.
Speedwalking-Champion Ryan, Roger, Jett, Sloan, Hudd, Amelia, Michael
Steve, Brit, Kenny, me (again)

This Saturday, after breakfast with friend/colleague/fellow stair-climber, Rich Robbins, and before nephew Sloan's party and dinner/hanging-out with Steve and Brit (see above), Elise and I took Skyler and Kenny paddle-boarding. (It was a fun - and busy - Saturday.) I guess we're all anxious for snowboarding, but, since we're still experiencing 80+ degree weather here, we opted for a board-sport of any nature.  Here's more pictures.

Skyler & Elise - it was actually really hard to balance with two on the board.
Kenny and Jill - we both got on, but forgot oars. Guess who ended up paddling?  Chivalry is dead apparently. (I joke, I joke. Kinda.)
The Crew: Skyler, Kenny, Jill, Elise.
Paddleboarding is pretty relaxing, surprisingly. Maybe a little too slow paced for Skyler and Kenny.  They added their own challenge.
Kenny asked that I mention that he and Skyler did, in fact, accomplish a fully-extended head stand (while in motion, no less), but we failed to capture the picture at just that moment.  Boys (sigh).

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm not a parent - yet. But this quote by the ever-insighful Sarah Windes made me want to be one ASAP. Well, until I read her post about her kids getting up with the sun.

"The beauty of being a parent is to be the first to tell someone about Charlie Brown."


Monday, October 20, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

In news that will surely devastate many (especially my mom), Mother's cookie company has declared bankruptcy and closed its doors for good citing rising fuel and ingredient costs as the ultimate cause of its demise. Rest in peace all you little pink and white Circus Animals. You'll be missed.

Read more here.

A "proper" English dinner

Remember the old nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence? It’s the one where “four-and-twenty” blackbirds are essentially pissed-off for being baked in a pie and ultimately seek revenge on a maid by pecking off her nose. I never realized how macabre those old rhymes were. (Have you read Grimm’s fairy tales recently? Yikes, save it for the campfire.)

This reference has relevance, I promise, just hear me out.

Kenny and I got to enjoy an evening spent with Angela and James Saturday evening at their new home in Santa Ana. We worked up quite the appetite walking around the historic neighborhoods, admiring the unique architecture. (It’s so refreshing to see neighborhoods that haven’t been taken over by cookie-cutter tract homes. Ahem, Irvine? Are you listening?) Thanks to Kenny being Mr. Friendly, we even got a personal tour of a 1915 house in its final stages of an amazing renovation. (Side note: I think I need a Japanese soak-tub in my future home.) Well after two hours, my stomach was ready to divorce me. Luckily, Chef James (a native Brit) had prepared what he called “a proper English dinner” to prove to us that English cuisine was, in fact, a beautiful (and tasty!) thing. I'd have to agree; it was fantastic. Steak and mushroom pie, lots of veggies and roasted potatoes. All followed by a strawberry trifle. However, before he put the pie in the oven, I noticed a beak poking out of the puff pastry top. A beak?! Yes. A blackbird beak to be exact. I instinctively covered my nose as the old nursery rhyme began to play on repeat in my brain.

Turns out that the beak was attached to a whole bird. A ceramic bird traditionally used to hold up the center of the crust while providing an outlet for excess heat. A whole new meaning for blackbird pie.

Ang and Jamie, thanks again for a fun evening (even though I’m still full two days later)! It was so, so good.

(Jill, Angela, and the Blackbird. And a whole lot of flash/light refelecting off my forehead. Oh well.) Kenny wanted to contribute, so he added the candy corn to James' otherwise perfect English trifles.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walking for Dad

I’m sure most people reading this blog also read my sister-in-law Nicole Thompson’s blog, so this might be old news for many...

Last week, Kenny’s dad (Ken Brady) was officially diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (“ALS”), more commonly known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrigs disease. To quote Wikipedia, ALS is a “progressive, usually fatal, neurodegenerative disease caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.” Essentially the person’s body slowly shuts down, beginning with muscle function. At this time there is no cure and life expectancy is uncertain; 50% of those diagnosed with ALS live an additional 2-5 years and 50% live longer.

Kenny remains positive and is eager to do what he can to help and to feel involved. This Saturday (October 18) we will be participating in the Orange County Walk to Defeat ALS event that raises money to find a cure. We invite all in the area to join. Actually, the ALS Association is hosting these walks all over the country and we’d love you to participate wherever you can. Without soliciting money from you, you can donate here.
We hope to see you this Saturday (at Mason Regional Park in Irvine)!

To register to walk with our team click here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autumn Envy/Mission Accomplished

So, my mom called the other day to rub in the fact that it’s autumn in Utah. Well, she called to tell me what she was making for dinner, but it was a distinctly fall-time dish. (A dish I will never be able to replicate to taste as good as hers. Don’t you hate how moms can do that?) Anyway, thoughts of that meal reminded me that it’s my favorite time of year: Autumn. Well, it’s my favorite time of year everywhere but in Southern California, where seasons don’t seem to really change that much (which is a huge draw for many, but not for me). The hills turn a different shade of brown, which serves as a lovely backdrop for the millions of sand-colored, stucco track-homes that cover this region. Yawn. Anyway, between her phone call and the bazillion of bloggers that have been posting pictures of the changing colors and scenic drives up various canyons, I have a total case of Autumn-Envy.

Because of my Autumn-Envy and because I wanted to start off my three-day weekend with a bang, I set off to do something that I could only do in Southern California – because it would be too cold everywhere else. You know, the glass-half-full approach to by season-envy. So Elise and I set out to try something I’ve wanted to do all year/summer after seeing photos of people doing this in Hawaii. Paddleboarding.

It seemed we were doomed to fail. The weather suddenly turned cold and windy on Friday afternoon, our GPS directions sent us twice to the wrong location, the rental shop was closed when we finally found it, AND our back up place wouldn’t rent paddleboards because it was too windy. We gave up and decided that since we were there, we would just rent kayaks and cruise the back bay. As we made our way down to the beach with our kayaks, we noticed several paddleboards in the shed. After a quick inquiry as to their availability, we finally got paddleboards and were off to explore the channels of Sunset Beach. And it was so, so fun. SO fun. Like, omigosh, you-haven’t-lived-until-you’ve-tried-this fun. But until then, you’ll just have to enjoy the pictures.

Here I am, putting all my weight into that stroke.  Looking a litte constipated.  Don't let that fool you, though; I'm having a blast.
Elise Wallace showing you how it's done.
She always makes everything look so easy.  Even managing to smile for the camera. Greeting from Southern October!
So in your face, Utahans! I hope you enjoy your hot cocoa/cider and beautiful fall foliage – you can’t do this! You don’t even have an ocean. Mull over that as you sit near your enviable wood-burning fireplaces. And I’ll try to not be jealous of you even though the only fire I’ll be enjoying this weekend is the one burning several counties away in Merek that has spewed ash all over my freshly washed car. 

Small victories.  Happy Columbus Day.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Awhile back, Colt tagged me to post 6 quirks; I haven’t posted for two reasons:

First: I just couldn’t think of six quirks that didn’t revolve around public restrooms or the bathroom in general. What can I say? I try to drink 100+ ounces of water everyday, so I spend a lot of time there. Enough time to analyze way too much about myself relative to the surroundings.

Second: I admit that, in general, I’m just not a huge fan of the game “Tag." I blame it on the fact that I have short legs, which means I'm a very slow runner, which ultimately resulted in my always being "It" during recess-tag. Not that I didn’t try. Growing up, I thought I was fast – my legs were moving just as quickly as anyone else’s – but I just can’t cover much distance in my strides. I was forever chasing other kids to no avail. (It's nice to be the one being chased occasionally! I don't even want to consider what this did to my emotional/social development...) Anyway, I realize this has nothing to do with blog-tag, but I can’t get over the stigma of that word. Tag. I hate it. (Can this count as a quirk, Colt?)

Anyway, lest Colt think I’m ignoring him, I’ll do my best to list a few more “quirks.” (Please note that some will be about public restrooms. You’ve been warned.)

  • I loath the sound of cracking bones. It’s like finger nails on a chalk-board. (This sucks considering all my back/neck problems and the hours of time I’ve logged at the Chiropractor.)
  • I subconsciously love the feeling of things between my fingers. My grandma had these curtains with fringe and I still sit in the same spot in her living room and run that fringe through my fingers. Also, I never noticed this, but Kenny pointed out that I run pages through my fingers while I read. Thinking about it, I always have...despite frequent paper cuts.
  • I get stage fright in public restrooms when there is someone in the stall directly next to me. I don’t like that they can see my feet and figure out who I am later. I don’t like that they can hear me doing my thing. Also, I have to rip the bottom portion off the toilet paper off and not use it. The idea of those sqares of T.P. being touched by the stall's previous occupant grosses me out, and I can't use it.
  • I’ve thrown up maybe four or five times in my entire life, but have a super sensitive gag-reflex. Particularly when eating foods of a certain texture or seeing loose hair (see below).
  • When detached from one’s body (human/animal) hair grosses me out. Showering at the gym is out of the question for this reason. When our drains get clogged, Kenny has to clean it out. Can’t do it. No way, no how. (I blame the month I worked at a tanning place. Cleaning out those beds... oh, the horror.) Props to all the hair dressers out there. I could never do your job.
  • I get really embarrassed for other people. Not myself, so much, but for others. I usually have to look away or cover all but my eyes. Watching The Office is brutal. (Brutal, but totally necessary if I’m to make light of my own work environment.)
  • Because this post needs a photo, I'll end with this quirk: I heart old men. Actually, elderly couples holding hands while on walks melts my heart and brings me to tears (so sweet), but Old Men... they're something else. Especially when they're fashionably quirky (think bow ties and checkered blazers). Like this guy. I just want to sit cross-legged at his feet and stare at him and make him tell me stories about his life way back when. And then I want to raid his closet.

I tag...YOU! ALL OF YOU! If you read this, consider yourself IT. You can’t outrun me here, sucka!

Picture Credit: The Sartorialist

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Missed Opportunities

Dear Santa,

I know this is early, but for Christmas please bring me a point and shoot camera. I need it. I need it so I don't miss photo opportunities like this:

My company's "Floor Warden" clad in his orange vest taking a smoke break - during this morning's fire drill.

I was closer to fire and smoke when I checked in with him than I was in the building. Priceless. And I missed this photo-op because I refuse to pretend my cell phone is a legitimate camera. By the way, please make it a super high quality, waterproof P&S with an HD video recorder...with great specs.) Why bother unless it's the best, right?

Sincerely yours,

Jill (a very good girl)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The results: the Bank Run...literally.

Because Ruth cannot sleep another night without me finally posting my results (she told me), I figured I'd finally mention how my "race" went.

First of all, I've never participated in anything like this - not even a 5k. The closest I've ever got was Field Day in elementary school, where the only "sport" I really excelled at was jump-roping. (I'm not even joking; I got 2nd place - and there were some serious jump-ropers in Boston. Bo0-yeah.) Anyway, I had no idea what to expect. And having no expectations is probably a good thing when one is about to run up 1,500 stairs - in a very narrow, poorly ventilated staircase, right behind the guy with killer B.O. But it was so FUN! (Don't confuse fun for the absence of nausea and a desire to put your head between your legs and dry-heave. There was a lot of that, too, but still fun.) I loved getting to wear a number and fastening a timing chip to my shoes. I loved getting free stuff and feeling like I accomplished the impossible. I loved getting to take an afternoon off work in the middle of this banking catastrophe (please note, my bank continues to be just fine, thank goodness). I loved that my husband also took the afternoon off to hang out and take lots of pictures. In all, I'm just happy I did it...and that I beat my goal time - just barely. Total time: 19 minutes and 23 seconds. Yeah!
To set the scene for these photos, try to picture 1,000+ participants lined up in full running gear waiting their turn to sprint into an office building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Lots of gifting booths, a beer garden (can you imagine drinking after running 75 flights of stairs?! Yuck.), and lots of cameras. Enjoy the photos (there's lots).
Team City National (we weren't actually a sponsor, but we had such a large group that we received "sponsor treatment" i.e. no waiting in lines.
Meet Rich. Rich was in Boot Camp with me. He was the first to join Team Jill. Cindy also was in Boot Camp. (Third to join my Team.)
Some of the many, many participants
Gotta stretch. Side note: the mere fact that I can reach my toes is a HUGE accomplishment in and of itself.
Kenny. Always supportive...or just looking for an excuse to take a Friday afternoon off work. Either way, I was happy to have him there.
The beginning...smiling.
The end...still smiling, but it's forced. (Picture stolen from DBS photography if you can't tell. Sorry I look plastic in it.)
The line up...went on and on and on.
Team Jill. (Me, Charles, Rich, Cindy)
Free stuff. Yay!
Okay, coolest part. L.A. law enforcement (SWAT and P.D) and the fire department participated. They ran in all their gear! I had to post this picture of the only firewoman. I think her gear (50+ pounds easily - notice the air tank) weighed more than her. Amazing. And their times were fantastic. Swoon.
A good day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Band-Aids

Regarding the $700+ billion bail-out, Simon Johnson (former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund) says:

"It's a $700 billion band-aid, but band-aids can make you feel better and can hold things together for a while.''

Will someone please tell Mr. Johnson that statements like that aren't going to "make [me] feel better." Seriously.

However, maybe one of these would...
Just sayin'.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I was tagged by Jill Berrett. And since I'd do anything she told me to do, here it goes...

10 Years Ago, I was...

  • 15, and just getting started on my “high school shrew / I hate girls – particularly ‘preppy’ girls” phase,
  • Counting down the days until I could get my braces removed,
  • Concocting new ways to make my Young Women’s leaders cry. (Yes, I already know I’m doomed to parental suffering at the hands of teenagers. Please, God, don’t send me teenage girls. Forget dinosaurs, and even Cain. Teenage girls are the most demonic creatures to walk this planet. I should know.)
  • Snowboarding as often as possible and pretending to be tough. G.J.’s backyard rail was a favorite and convenient spot. (My poor shins.)
  • Trying not to lament the fact that I would be learning to drive in my parents’ minivan...the van they bought while I was in junior high. The van they still drive. My much younger sisters will be lamenting this same thing next year.

5 things to do today...

  • Write several reports explaining why we should continue to loan certain companies lots of money, despite slowing sales, net losses, already high leverage, and an overall crappy economy. At least I’m working for a bank that can still afford to entertain the notion of lending. Counting my blessings...
  • Meet up with former colleague for lunch (a.k.a. shopping. Yay!).
  • Feed the, can those boys eat. Our usuall buffet of random appetizers will not suffice; they want an actual meal!
  • Late night walk with hubby (gotta get some exercise! I’m on a roll this week.)
  • Read the latest Domino / Design Sponge blog / Dwell and dream about the house I don’t have. Tell myself that I will have “that house” someday. Say it three times. Believe it.

5 snacks:

  • Cinnamon Almonds (heaven. So good they could turn the aforementioned demonic teenager into an angel. Might be a stretch, but worth a shot.)
  • Dark chocolate truffles.
  • BBQ kettle chips (a rare treat)
  • celery/apples with natural peanut butter
  • fruit - especially those mini-oranges in fall/winter. Another reason why fall/winter is the best time of year.

5 places I’ve lived:
Okay this is more than five, but it’s everyplace I’ve lived...

  • Utah – Brigham City, Provo, Orem
  • Massachussetts – Brighton, Cambridge
  • California – Rancho Cucamonga, Chino Hills, Homeless (actually it less “homeless” and more an ’89 Honda Accord or the random couch – for four months. With a roommate, even. Don’t ask), Chino, Fullerton

More importantly, where would I like to live:

  • Autum – New England (Maine, Vermont)
  • Winter – Switzerland /Mammoth / Park City / Colorado / Norway (somewhere with good, dry snow, and decent mountains)
  • Spring – Europe
  • Summer – New Zealand

If I had to settle in one place...New Zealand. It has it all. Argentina is my plan B (see below).

5 jobs I’ve had:

  • Telemarketer (it’s sort of a rite of passage in Utah Valley, I think...)
  • Vans Skate Park: sales, launderer, scapegoat.
  • Testing Assistant / Graduate Tutor / Fundraising supervisor. (various universities).
  • Whiting Brothers – what didn’t I do there (other than actually spray bugs)? Secretary, receptionist, HR specialist, personal assistant, office manager, overall backbone.
  • Analyst in mid-market, business Banking

5 things I do if I was a multimillionaire...
If? Try when. (Repeating to self three times.)

  • Dream House (both for me and for family) and say Adios to debt
  • Buy parents a new car so my little sisters don't have to learn to drive in the same car I did (see above).
  • Start micro-finance fund / private schools. True charity empowers – not just assists – those in need.
  • Be enrolled in college the rest of my life (dream come true!) .
  • Buy Argentina. Kick everyone out. Start my own Utopian society a la Atlas Shrugged.
  • Say a big "Peace Ou"t to the U.S.A. (i.e. travel, travel, travel. Forever.)

I tag –
Who ever is looking for an excuse to indulge in his/her own vanity by posting some randomness. Here’s your excuse. Enjoy!