Friday, January 30, 2009

Women of Utah (and elsewhere, like Fresno and Kentucky)...

I bring you The Bumpit.

Just imagine the time you’ll save teasing or back-combing your hair! Miss Kentucky America, Denise Yate, says The Bumpit is “without a doubt, the easiest, fastest, and cleanest product I’ve used that makes me and my hair so happy.” This is for real.

Okay, I’m not bringing you The Bumpit. Kelly, the hair stylist is.

Kenny and I stumbled across this little commercial gem while channel surfing in our hotel room last week after an incredible, but exhausting day of snowboarding in Mammoth. We were shocked, awed, stunned, and amazed. And really excited to share it. Because, Dear Reader, we want you to be shocked, awed, stunned, and amazed, too. Go here and make sure to watch the video. Your visit should bring at least 10 minutes of pure, judgmental fun for all! (And, yes, the website really is "Big Happy Hair [dot] com." Like it could get any better.)

For now, I'll wish you all a fun, safe, and enjoyable weekend or, in the words of the company’s 'Chief Executive Optimist:'

"Have a happy hair day!”

Friday, January 23, 2009

No regrets.

Are you married to a Wiseman? I am.

Last Friday, Kenny gave me some great advice: "Jill, while it may not be a fun trip, and it will be a long drive, and I'm sure there's lots of other things you could tell yourself that you HAVE to do this weekend, you absolutely won't regret going [to Utah]. However, you very likely would regret NOT going. Just go. You'll be fine."

I'm glad I went. I got to visit this lovely lady: my Grandma N. 

She's been...well, under the weather for some time now. At Christmas her weight fell to around 115 lbs ("the size of a teenager!" in her - very excited - words) and she started going in for more testing. Well last week she was officially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On Friday night (the evening of Kenny's now legendary wisdom) her doctors confirmed the cancer had spread to her liver. She has three to six months.   

So I went to Utah. Alone. And drove a very long time. Alone. (Well, I guess I could say that David Bowie made for some pretty fantastic company on the drive, but still...I was alone.)

But I made it.

I got to spend a lot of time with my dad's family whom I really don't see enough; a few I haven't seen since my wedding! Most importantly I got to see my dad's mother, the best example of Love and Acceptance I've ever known.

Here's my family: Grandma, Dad, Mom, me, Anna, Becca, and Ryan
And my dad's sister, Pam, her husband, and one of her kids, Kim.
Grandma, Uncle Greg (throwing the bunny ears - classy), Dad, and Aunt Jenny.
Side note/Funny Story: with Pancreatic cancer often comes diabetes (check) and apparently jaundice (check again). Grandma was pretty yellow when I saw her, and I'm told it was much worse earlier in the week.  She was so orange that my four-year-old cousin is convinced that too much Mac & Cheese is to blame.  He wouldn't go near the stuff.

I didn't get a picture of Uncle Doug and Aunt Kathy, but here is my Grandma proudly showing off the quilt they bought her.  She plans to use it during Chemo.
My Grandma's husband, Glayde.  Such a sweet man.  

Side note/funny story: Glayde is a romantic.  He proposed to my grandmother at the place they first met: the cemetery.  For reals.  They were both visiting their respective (late) spouse's grave when they met.  Man, I love stuff like that.
Mother and Son.  My dad has kept a pretty diligent watch.
Okay, my family can't remain serious for very long, nor are we particularly reverent/respectful. Sorry in advance.

Ryan spotted these stairs. "It seems like such an unnecessary use of stairs" he quipped, and then proceeded to feign an injury/handicap as he demonstrated it's usage.
My Uncle Greg took my camera on a photo tour of the hospital (thanks again for that, Greg) and found some religious literature in the Chapel, which we found later.  Somehow its message strikes me as a tad bit macabre. "Should you fear Hell?"  Really? In a hospital?

Apparently half my family has the fear and the other is already soaring with the angels.
I'll close with this photo, taken by Greg on his photo tour.
I love you, Grandma.

Conspiracy Theory

True to form, the Rain Gods were just waiting for me to finally wash my car.
Happy (wet) weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Note to self: blackberries, while delicious, should not be eaten while wearing cream colored dresses - not ever, but especially at work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chef Jill

I think for the first two to three years of my marriage, my mother was certain that I never cooked. And she was mostly correct. Why would I? I worked and went to school full time and it was so much easier to just go out for something. Also, my husband had years and years of catering experience – he even owned a catering company for awhile – and he seemed to have a knack for creating delicious things out of the few groceries I forced myself to buy. The only problem was that Kenny’s cooking experience was rooted in preparing meals for small armies (i.e. wedding receptions or even just his ridiculously large family). This ultimately meant we would have leftovers. LOTS of leftovers. Leftovers that started to go bad because I eventually refused to eat the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long. So in an effort to stop wasting food and to achieve some dietary variety, I began what has been a roller coaster of culinary experimentation. By experimentation, I mean I’ve learned to slightly tweak tried-and-true recipes to suit our tastes, appetites,and health objectives. Plus, my awesome math skills have come into play and I can chop that recipe-for-eight down to a recipe-for-two like that (snapping my fingers). So while I can’t take credit for the actual invention of a dish, I can at least tell my mom that, Yes, I made it. And it’s edible. And sometimes, if I'm lucky, it even tastes good.

My go-to’s for culinary genius/inspiration include The Rookie Cookie (who, if you’re nice, will even custom craft recipes to your requests, like spring rolls especially for Jill!), The Pioneer Woman & Kayotic Kitchen (both of whom include step by step photos-genius!), and The Glutten Free Goddess. Well, I have a new go-to: Gwyneth Paltrow. I'll admit, I’m a little obsessed with her weekly newsletters via her site “Goop.” Last night I said to myself, “Self, here’s a women who was raised on five-star cuisine and who probably has some pretty accomplished chefs giving her tips...why not try one of her recipes.” So I did – tweaking her "Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Frittata" only slightly. It was surprisingly easy. More importantly, it was delicious. You should try it - it won’t disappoint..unless you hate sweet potato, egg, and goat cheese - in which case you're outta luck. Sorry.

Thanks Gwyneth!

Note: My personal tweaks included adding spinach and green onion to the egg mixture, sauteeing garlic with the shallots, using egg whites only (12 eggs total - vs. 6 whole eggs), and using garlic & herb goat cheese (rather than plain).

Note 2: oddly enough, The Pioneer Woman posted a similar (albeit western) recipe today. Find it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Loving this idea: Community Supported Agriculture ("CSA") meets Social Networking.

Hopefully this concept hops the pond and grows here in the states. (No pun intended. Okay, It was totally intended.)

Also, a Note to Self:
Make 2009 the year I finally develop good posture. ('Cause this is not attractive.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not for the Eaily Offended...

This is a post about boys and balls - consider yourself officially warned - and how boys seem to worship spherical objects...
...probably because of this:
...or maybe this:
(Kenny, Cousin Steve, Brother Ryan - September, 2008)

Actually, these photos were taken last September.  I'm trying to make room on my computer for Christmas photos and I had to post these before I sent them into exile (a.k.a my external hard drive).
Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bragging Like It's My Accomplishment, take 2

Continuing in the same vein as yesterday's post, I just have to ask: how cool/courageous/nuts/suicidal/crazy/amazing is my little brother?!

(Here's a close up - yes, that is really him...the one with the HUGE grin)

I. Could. NEVER. Do. This.

So far from my mind is skydiving, that when I received Ryan's text saying, "I just fell 14,000 feet! My fingers are sore from throwing up the 'hang-loose' sign too much. It couldn't be helped!" I thought he was somehow announcing his recent return from Hawaii. Kenny (who had immediately decoded Ryan's message) informed me of this event a few hours later. All I can say Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, this act served to solidify our mother's concern that her only son has a death wish. It also permanently solifies Hudd's nickname for Ryan: SkyRocket. (Luckily, I think he has always liked it anyway.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bragging like it's my accomplishment

Is it weird to be proud of something you didn't do - as if you actually were the one to do it? Because I'm guilty of this all the time. Not that I don't like to sound my own horn from time to time, but it's way better to brag on behalf of others. I love that I get to preface such bragging with "my friend/sister/miscellaneous-loved-one did this or that. Aren't you impressed?!" Be it Skyler and Elise's triathlons, my siblings' stellar grades, my sister-in-law passing her cosmetology exam ON THE FIRST TRY (not many did, by the way - and I was there to see many a tear shed by lots of girls less talented - i mean fortunate), or my nephews learning paddy-cake..well the way I like to brag about this, you'd think I just penned the Theory of Relativity (yes, I'll even brag on behalf of Einstein).

Among the many accomplished loved-ones I have is Amelia and Justin Lyon. I've bragged about them before and posted their photos here (not that they need my press or anything). Well, they just were named among the 25 best wedding photographers in the world by Junebug Weddings. Amy's photo was even the feature cover! Congrats guys - I can't think of anyone more deserving.

Oh yeah, in case you forgot...I, like, totally know them. I'm related even.

Kenny and I also know (or have at least met) several of the other photographers highlighted - through Amelia and Hudd, of course. Congrats to all of them, too!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life Lessons

If ever you find yourself on a deserted highway (say, somewhere in Nevada)...just dance.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Very Appropriate 100th Post: a letter to 2009

Dear 2009,

Welcome. I’m happy you’re here. I have some big plans for you. Plans I put off during 2008 when, mid-year, I concluded that 2008 was ultimately a net loss and I just wrote it off right then. (In retrospect 2008 did, however, have some pretty amazing moments. I guess I can’t say it was a total loss. Oh well, moving on.)

2009, I view you now as a newborn baby – innocent and full of potential. Please don’t disappoint. The possibilities you hold are endless and I find profound hope in your newness – hopes that include progression, simplicity, acquisition, increased spirituality, new experiences, new sights and places, achievement, balance, love (both given and received, for others and for myself), increased understanding and wisdom, laughter, and (hopefully) joy. Lots and lots of joy.

2009, I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival these past six months, and now that you’re finally here I can hardly contain myself. The moment the clock struck midnight and the giant disco ball dropped in Times Square was magical – magic that was hampered only slightly by the discomfort of watching the once great Dick Clark struggle through his monologue. (Yes, I know he had a stroke, but it’s still awkward to listen to him talk. On national television. For several hours. I guess I’ll have to ask you, 2009, to maybe bring me greater sympathy and compassion, too. On the bright side, Dick Clark with a stroke beats Ryan Seacrest hands down, any day. Can I get an Amen? Okay, moving on.)

I’ll leave you for now, 2009. With all the parties thrown in your honor last night, you must be exhausted. Plus, I’m off to run the horse trails as I have to work off the handful of cherry sours I had for breakfast. (See, greater balance already. Also, as an example of the increased love you'll bring me, I foresee a very loving relationship developing between my dentist and me in 2009.) Anyway, we’ll chat again soon, 2009, to finalize my plans for you. Till then, take it easy and enjoy your day off. I know I will.