Monday, March 30, 2009

A Hairy Topic

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love hair. To avoid gross references and inappropriate comments I will narrow head hair. It amazes me the depth of conversations that I can have revolving around hair. Just yesterday I had a conversation where I connected my hair care with the green movement with a little help from an NPR story. The story addresses how often Americans wash their hair (twice as often as many Europeans), how often we should wash our hair and then it talks about the "No-poo" movement which  entails giving up shampooing completely. One person who gave up shampooing used baking soda as a cleanser and vinegar as conditioner. 

While I don't see myself going "No-poo" anytime soon I do think it is important to realize we often do what we do more from habit than t be "healthy."  I am trying to get my own hair washing down to twice a week, so if you see me please refrain from calling me a grease-ball, it may take awhile for my hair to adjust. Such comments may not only shatter my self confidence but also contribute to global warming and increase deterioration of the ozone. 

Here is a familial etiology of hair:

Grandpa Campbell, he has a fine head of hair and still does to this day. In the picture below he is the one folding his arms.

My mom (in red) also had great hair. 

We have all hair types in my family. Here's a picture of the Allen children with Grandma Allen (minus James, he was in Zimbabwe).

Me and a random waiter in Mexico, he had awesome hair. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tribute to Kirsten

It turns out my sister,  Kirsten has been sick lately and I, being a very bad sister, was not aware of it, and the fact that she is in a foreign country only makes my neglect more gross.  In order to make it up to her I am writing this blog as a tribute to her. 

Kirsten is a uniting force. Look at her in the picture bringing together life long arch enemies, Mike and Matt, with a simple hand holding and a singing of Kumbaya. 

And even though she can be a little testy sometimes...

She's not afraid to take ahold of the reins and get the party started. 

She's particularly useful in orchestrating a family photo. (She's the little one in front turned around telling everyone else what to do.)

Did I mention she is really smart? Here she is reading the first draft of her master's thesis to Aunt Vicky and Uncle John. 

Oh yeah,  Kirsten has great hair! It's like mine but black and curly:)

I hope you are completely recovered Kirsten and know the you are loved in the old USA. May this tribute warm your heart until you meet the writer in the flesh.  

Here's one more super cute picture. 

The End

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Holiday Ruined

I would just like to personally thank all of the University of Michigan undergraduate students who have forever ruined the St. Patrick's holiday for me. I have never been so uncomfortable wearing green in my life. Yesterday, I got ready for the day and put on some khakis and a black shirt until I realized that it was actually one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick's Day- OK so maybe it just recently became my favorite holiday as I will visit the motherland in May. When I realized this I quickly changed into a green shirt and headed to class. 

As I approached campus I realized my blunder. It was only 11 am and already there were many a beer pong game going on in the front yards of fraternities. For those of you unfamiliar with this game it usually consists of a ping ping table, plastic cups of cheap beer, a group of shirtless male undergrads and a group of female undergrads wearing black leggings, huge black sunglasses and because it was St. Patrick's day, green shirts. 

I wanted to go home and change my shirt but I was going to be late for class, so instead I put on a sweater and made a run past the frats to class. After class was over I went home and changed, there was no way I was going to be associated with the underage drunken debauchery. 
I tried to get some footage of this really drunk kid weaving back and forth across the sidewalk but I was too slow pulling out the camera. That was right about the time that a girl supported by three friends threw up on the sidewalk across the street. Maybe next year I'll just wear orange. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Runner's Fears

The title of the blog may lead one to think of rolled ankles, shin splints and for girls, sexual predators. The fear I discuss here does involve a predator, but not the human kind. The recent change in the weather has prompted me to start jogging again, since I can go outside without fear of hypothermia or slipping on ice. I went for the first time last Saturday with a member of my ward (thanks Mike) so what I noticed today as I went jogging was irrelevant then because I was distracted talking and felt secure with a jogging buddy. 

The only picture I could find of a frightened runner

Today I was by myself and running around a reservoir near my house. It was about 11 am and I would meet fellow jogger every now and then, but I don't know if even they could save me from the potential threat I will identify. You may be asking yourself what terrible thing happened to me on my jog? Nothing terrible but something terrible could have happened, and it would have been due to squirrels. Squirrels are always around but at this time of year they are very visible and hungry looking. There are no leaves on the trees so there is nothing to hide these little guys and they are everywhere. Plus, they all have this winter-induced-emaciated look in their beady little eyes.

 I think the squirrel I saw may have been brandishing a light-saber. 

As I was jogging I felt myself being watch and happened to look over my right shoulder, and right above my head on the branch of a tree was a squirrel staring down at me mouthing the words "I will eat you." So maybe he/she wasn't mouthing anything but he looked hungry and I probably looked like a juicy morsel to him/her. You may be saying to yourself, "But Jessica, squirrels are small. You could easily overpower it."  I agree, but what I fear is the combined power of squirrels. If there was ever any sort of squirrel community organizing going on I am sure a small group of these hunger-crazed rodents could easily overpower me. I didn't want to find out so I ran faster. I guess I will just refrain from jogging solo until there are actual plants growing for squirrels to eat. Although it may never be safe to run solo again as I hear the squirrel economy is not doing much better than the US economy since the squirrel housing bubble burst. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Banjo Birthdays

I am almost embarrassed to post this but at heart I'm a narcissistic and I think the exposure could really help my career. My rendering of a Happy Birthday songs via banjo started last fall when I made up my own Birthday song for my friend Jonathan. This time I was feeling much less creative and just borrowed a Beatles tune, and Maggie and I co-wrote the lyrics. I am grateful to Amy and Kara who were such good sports to go along with my crazy musician wannabe notions. 

Seeing and hearing myself play I realize how out of tune I sound and that I have very mechanical strumming patterns, something my banjo teacher was always trying to correct. Anywho, enjoy this attempt to make a Beatles classic into a birthday sensation. For all my faithful followers I hope to be releasing a single some time this year:) 
Special Thanks to Elizabeth Downie for her camera work. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Ring to Rule Them All

This Christmas my brother Matt and his lovely wife, Elizabeth decided to spice up everyone's Christmas by roving the aisles of the dollar store and carefully selecting pertinent gifts. For me they picked out a diamond ring toy that grows 600 X it's size when immersed in water (see picture below, though it hardly is 600X it's original size). 

I was not sure what to make of the gift, were they trying to tell me something? Was is a gift of hope that I may some day receive a real diamond ring? Or a gift of pity? (actually, either way I will never have a diamond ring because I am somewhat morally opposed to them, and I lose rings all the time so I don't think putting something that expensive on my hand is a good idea). I am still unsure of Matt and Liz's intentions but I do believe this expanding little ring has special powers.

I started the growing process February 21, 2009. Exactly a week later at approximately the same time that I started the growing the ring, my room mate became engaged. A coincidence you say. I think not! I think the ring, while not the sole predictor of the engagement- I'm not that superstitious- was the catalyst. If not for this little ring, and its ability to grow 600 X it's size, Maggie would be having a dreary winter wedding instead of an ideal June wedding. All hail the magic growing ring!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Neighborhood #1 (Graffiti and Animals)

I am still in a bit of a slog so I am posting some pictures that I took around my house. I thought this was suiting since many of my friends and family have never seen where I live. 

That is my apartment, it is actually a split-condo sort of thing with my abode being the one nearest the road. 

Some graffiti on the wall of the power plant down the road from my house. If anyone knows what that says let me know.

The Huron River is about a block away. I like to jog along the path that follows it. 


A bad picture of swans, but I do love silhouette of the trees against the sky. 

A furry woodland creature. I guess I am like Cinderella in the sense that these little creatures love me. I can tell by the way they look at my head like it is a huge nut.