September 9, 2007

About Me

I grew up in Las Vegas, where neither of my parents worked on the Strip. I still get a ludicrous amount of pleasure from saying I'm from Las Vegas. It just makes me feel so much cooler than I really am.

Bart and I met at BYU and married in the summer of 2005.

I graduated from the University of Texas with a Masters of Science in Information Studies, emphasis on school librarianship. It was everything I'd hoped for in a masters program, plus some. It was even worth paying thousands of tuition dollars to be able to discuss children's books with other similarly passionate people.

I spent a year as an elementary school librarian in Boston, where I enjoyed my job and hated the weather. Texas and Las Vegas made me soft.

Clearly there was no choice but to move back to Texas. Now I stay home with my daughter, Ella, read while she naps, and sometimes even do laundry.
When I don't want to do loner things like read, cook, and watch TV, I love to play games, but I have the unfortunate character flaw of being insanely competitive, so I spend half of the game trying not to lose my cool and hating everyone who beats me. You definitely want to come over to my house now, don't you?

I started this blog to write book reviews of the books I read, but then I wanted to write some ridiculous things like "Hey, my parents were going to pay me $1000 to not kiss someone before I went to college." (Note: I didn't get that $1000). And then I posted some recipes. And then I started admitting what a total thrifty miser I am. I think that this paragraph was meant to tell you that this blog basically has no real point.

You can email me at I'll probably even respond because I check my email approximately 407 times per day.

And now, for something you've probably never before seen on a blog: 100 random tidbits about me.
  1. I'm named after my mom's best friend, Janet, and the vice-president of Sears and Robuck in 1985 whose last name was Janssen.
  2. I love it when people give me nicknames. "Jassa" is one of my favorite of all time. I hate the name "Jan" more than almost anything, so that's a terrible nickname.
  3. My Mom calls me "Louie" and I am a big fan of that one as well.
  4. My dad calls me his "first born in the hospital" (like Lehi calls Jacob his "first born in the wilderness").
  5. People used to say I looked like my dad. Now they say I look like my mom. I think part of it is that my dad had jaw surgery and my mom lost a lot of weight.
  6. I think I'll always be a tiny bit homesick for Las Vegas. It's my favorite place in the world to go. I love everything about it, especially being around my family.
  7. I disliked hamburgers until I was about 18. Now I like few things more than In-n-Out. A trip to Vegas is not complete without several trips to get a cheeseburger.
  8. I also didn't like french fries when I was little. My mom thought I was insane (or adopted).
  9. I love to cook.
  10. I hate planning out the weekly menu.
  11. I could eat the same thing for a long, long time.
  12. Currently, my go-to foods are Creamy Chicken Raman and string cheese.
  13. When I was in London, my go-to food was a cheese sandwich.
  14. I was in London for two months on a Study Abroad program, eight months after I got married.
  15. One of my favorite moments in London was the one day that I rode the tube back to the center alone one afternoon. Being by myself was like heroine to my oversocialized soul.
  16. I've never felt closer to my father-in-law than when he told me in London that being late to things makes him grouchy and irritable, just like me. I loathe being late.
  17. I majored in History in college.
  18. I started out as a Communications major and switching was the best choice I could have made.
  19. I won't ever be sad I picked Comms, though, because it's because of that major that I met Heather, Priscilla, and Sherry.
  20. Although I wasn't friends with them originally, we eventually became the "Topless Girls" because we lived in "T Hall" and the T needed to stand for something.
  21. Eventually all of us switched to different majors. I find this deeply amusing.
  22. I was on a full-ride academic scholarship at college.
  23. I had enough money saved up to pay for most of my tuition, if I hadn't gotten a scholarship.
  24. I was glad not to have to spend that money, except a little on textbooks.
  25. I worry about money a lot.
  26. Bart asked me how much money I would need to feel totally secure and I said 2.5 million dollars.
  27. That was a lie. I still think I would worry about money.
  28. I think I'll always buy things on sale, no matter how much money we have, because I feel so good about getting something for less than I should have.
  29. My favorite things to buy are sweaters, skirts, and shoes.
  30. In Vegas, you take a sweater to dinner or the movie theater even when it's 105 degrees outside. The air conditioning is always on so high.
  31. I am always cold.
  32. One of the reasons we picked Texas is because it has mild winters.
  33. People kept warning me about the humidity, but I like a little humidity.
  34. I am naturally blonde, but I have very dark eyebrows and people accuse me of dying my hair.
  35. The only color I've ever dyed my hair was red.
  36. I loved it, but I thought it made me look even paler.
  37. I can always tell when I'm getting tired because my face gets paler than later it gets.
  38. I like the early mornings, but it's hard for me to actually get out of bed.
  39. Making the bed is very important to me, because it's important to my mom and so it seems like the only right way to do things.
  40. I get very light headed when I stand up or get out of bed or sometimes for no reason at all. I've actually passed out a few times, but I've gotten good at keeping myself from doing it by being careful.
  41. I have a large and ugly scar on my shoulder from when I passed out and sliced it open on the fireplace hearth. If we ever have loads of money, I might consider getting it fixed.
  42. I like dogs, but I don't think I'll ever want one enough to get one. Too much hair and too much work.
  43. It really annoys me when people laugh hysterically and can't stop.
  44. One of my worst fears is getting in trouble or having someone mad at me.
  45. I hope our kids have that same trait because it kept me from doing anything too out of line as a kid or teenager.
  46. I hate doing the dishes by hand. A dishwasher is the best invention of all time.
  47. Early evening is the most depressing time of day for me.
  48. I think high water pants are one of the worst things in the world. I feel really bad for kids whose parents don't buy them pants that fit them.
  49. I hate scary movies. I get REALLY REALLY scared and then I can't sleep for days. Batman Begins really got to me (although I loved the movie. And yes, I know it's not really a very scary movie. Quiet.)
  50. I'm not a packrat. I'm very prone to just throwing things away even if they are somewhat meaningful if I decide it's something I won't actually USE.
  51. I would usually rather eat salty food than sugary foods.
  52. I read very quickly. My husband won't let me read over his shoulder because I finish the page/letter/email/etc so much faster than he does and it makes him nervous.
  53. I also am a fast typer - about 95 words a minute.
  54. I don't write in order. I usually write a few paragraphs, then write the ending and then go back and fill in the middle. This goes for emails, school papers, and blog entries.
  55. I have a nervous habit of pulling out my eyebrows when I'm concentrating or worried; I started doing it in English AP my junior year of high school during timed writings.
  56. My drink of choice is cold water, no ice. Ice makes it too cold and also makes you run out of water too quickly.
  57. This also means I have to go the bathroom a lot.
  58. On our cruise, one of the other women at our dinner table asked Bart if I was bulimic because I went to the bathroom an average of 3-4 times per meal.
  59. I'm probably more shy than most people would guess.
  60. I love school supplies - I would love to just have an office filled with beautiful beautiful school supplies.
  61. I love buying clothes in the children's section because they are cheaper and often identical to the adult versions.
  62. I love going to a bookstore or the library and just browsing around (the bookstore is better because there are many tantalizing displays).
  63. I love to travel, and I'm glad to have married someone who loves to travel too.
  64. I feel extremely fortunate to have married into a family I like so much.
  65. When I got married, I inherited 7 nieces and nephews. Now there are 13.
  66. I love the rain; it never rained in Vegas, so when it does, it always feels special.
  67. Fall is my favorite time of year.
  68. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday.
  69. I can't understand it when people have some minor holiday like St. Patrick's Day as their favorite holiday? How can you get more excited about wearing green and pinching people than you are about a month long celebration with gifts, lights, food, family, religious significance, etc? I just do not understand.
  70. Ice cream is my favorite dessert. I worked at Cold Stone Creamery for several years in high school and it just made me love it more.
  71. Strawberry ice cream (with lots of real strawberries in it) is my favorite flavor.
  72. I am an excellent sleeper; I can fall asleep within about 5 minutes no matter what time I go to bed and regardless of what time I woke up. I'm irrationally pleased with myself about this.
  73. I have never pulled an all-nighter. Ever.
  74. I love to write, but I have no real interest in writing a book, especially something fiction (it's nice when people tell me I should, though).
  75. I was a debater in high school; it took me a long time to stop ripping peoples' arguments to shreds in my head.
  76. I was 4'10 my freshman year in high school. I'm now 5'3 and a 1/2. It's slightly below average, but not so much that everyone comments on it.
  77. It's really awkward for me when I'm taller than people, since I'm only used to being shorter than most people.
  78. It really bugs me, though, when people say "you can't say that person is short! You're short!" This is preposterous. I still know what normal LOOKS like, even if I'm not quite there myself.
  79. I love being thin. This is probably a completely un-PC thing to say, but there it is.
  80. I love a good modulation; nothing makes a song more awesome.
  81. I loathe music snobs; there is good music in every genre. You are just a fool is you discount all songs based on superficial designations.
  82. I love to turn the music up in the car and sing along.
  83. I love cheesy movies, but I have a hard time watching them with other people.
  84. I am total Mac-addict.
  85. I love TV shows on DVD - hooray for no commercials.
  86. I never watch TV on the actual TV; we didn't even have a TV for much of my growing up.
  87. Now we own three TVs, but none of them are hooked up to receive any television channels. We are solely a video watching family.
  88. I'm a much more adventurous eater since I met Bart; I love Thai food, Indian food, and sushi. Mmmmm, sushi.
  89. I don't care much for cooked fish, but almost all raw fish is delicious to my taste buds.
  90. I watch all TV/Movies with closed captions on. It just makes it so much more enjoyable.
  91. I do not understand people who do not check their email regularly. It would be no exaggeration at all to say that I check mine at least 25 times a day. That may, in fact, be a gross understatement.
  92. I also do not get people who use free email and don't use gmail. Why would you choose Hotmail or Yahoo? Why?
  93. I'm not afraid of airplanes. Take off and landing are my two favorite parts.
  94. I could not choose a favorite book.
  95. I'm the oldest child, and no one has ever been surprised to find this out.
  96. I want less children than Bart does.
  97. I would never name a child after Bart or me. It's not that I don't like our names; I just don't like naming children after their parents.
  98. I also don't intend to call my children by shortened versions of their names. My parents have always called all of us by our full first name.
  99. Our nicknames came from shortened-lengthened versions of our names, if that makes sense. For instance, Landen was "Landoni" which was shortened to "Doni." I was "Janey-Lou" and then "Lou" or "Louis."
  100. My toenails are always painted.


  1. I pull out my eyebrows and love to watch movies with the captions on too! It's nice to know I'm not the only one...

  2. That's a great list!

    I'm the oldest, too.

  3. I'm proud that the majority of that wasn't new to me. :)

  4. Nice list! Hope you get into the grad program of choice. Of course, I'm completely biased since I have an MLS (MLIS in some circles).

  5. Oh, I hear you about the being short thing. I am "five foot nothing," as I put it, so you may feel awkward around me if we were to meet in person. But, I have a co-worker who is 4'8"! At first, I felt very very strange to not be tilting my head up to talk to an adult. Heck, I tilt my head up to talk to most teenagers.

  6. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who pulls out my eyebrows. :) (And amen on Gmail, Macs, and no ice.)

  7. You are too funny! You always make me laugh at your quirky humor!

  8. I share your fear of getting in trouble. I, too, hope my kids inherit that one.

    I don't like ice in my water, either. It gets in the way of drinking the water as fast as I'd like to.

    I have no interest in writing a book, either. I'm perfectly happy sticking with short blog posts!

  9. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. It seems that we have a lot in common. I used to live in Austin when I was in Middle School and actually my parents and little brother live there right now. I also used to live in T-Hall back in '97. Is it torn down yet? And I also check my email a billion times a day as well. Unlike you, however, I have to have tons and tons of ice in my water, like to the rim. I hate water with no ice or only 2 ice cubes. I'll be adding your blog to your reader and look forward to getting to know you!

  10. It sounds like your blog started for the same reason mine did, and evolved in a similar way - in almost every possible direction :-)! I found you via a couple of other book blogs, and have just added your blog to my Google Reader/

  11. Loved this list. So funny and charming. And thanks for reviewing my book ("The Loser's Guide"). You made my day.

  12. I loved reading your list! So fun, and scary how much of those things we're actually alike in :-)

    Thanks for stopping by ismellbooks, I'll be adding you to my reader!


  13. I enjoyed your list. I have just released a similar list of my own, except instead of 100 random tidbits, I did 101.

    So assume by now you've done the math and realize, I've won. :)

    My list.

  14. I think I've read this before but for some reason decided to read it again. And I noticed this:
    "I'm now 5'3 and a 1/2. It's slightly below average, but not so much that everyone comments on it.
    It's really awkward for me when I'm taller than people, since I'm only used to being shorter than most people."

    I am the exact same height as you and feel totally awkward being taller than people! It just cracked me up because I so know exactly what you mean.

    I don't know what you mean a few numbers down about being thin, though I'm super happy for you about it. :)

  15. St. Patrick's Day does have religious significance.

  16. My goodness this was fun to read! I feel ever so strongly that we should be friends. If we end up in
    Boston for law school, consider yourselves already invited over for dinner.

  17. Janssen, I just read your list for the first time and it made me laugh so hard because we are so similar! Perhaps it's the OCD oldest child in us or just being nerdy or maybe those lovely times doing dish duty in London caused our personalities to coalesce. :)

  18. Holy cow. I just read all of that. I like the 100 things idea. By the way, Angie's toenails are always painted too -- usually like a rainbow. I would get great satisfaction out of seeing them without paint, but I can't seem to convince her. ...James...

  19. I've read your blog for a long time, but just barely read this list. I think I like you even more. I agree about Gmail. And ice cream is amazing.

  20. I stumbled across your blog a few days ago, and I wanted to let you know that I find it delightful. If I knew you in real life, I would want to be your friend and go to book club with you.


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