Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Bitch Is Back...Sorry.

Spring break was fantastic, but I didn't exactly realize it until school started up again on Monday. I don't have any assignments yet, and I haven't even started two of my three classes, but already I can feel myself tensing up. I can feel my attitude getting crappy. I don't even anticipate having trouble with these classes, but the sheer time they will take out of my life kind of pisses me off. I don't want to be in school.

But then I have to make myself remember that my job is dependent on my status as a student, and I'm very thankful for my job and for this opportunity. I'd be screwed without it. Positive thinking isn't always natural, but I'm getting awfully good at forcing it. And eventually it'll become habit, right?

I have the terrible habit of taking out my stresses and bad moods on people who don't deserve it, and I'm going to work very hard this quarter to not do that. It's not fair to anyone. If I do it to you, I'm pre-sorry. Call me on it--I'll feel like crap for doing it, but your words will be a needed reminder for me to be self-aware. I might cry though, so be prepared for that...

Bummer of a blog, I know, but that's about the only shareable thing on my mind today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dressing in the Dark

This morning, like every other morning, I got dressed in the dark. Okay, not entirely the dark but the dim light that I turn on does nothing to illuminate the depths of my closet. Usually, this isn't a problem. I grab a pair of jeans (either from the closet or the floor...), a tank top from the dresser and a sweatshirt to throw over top. It doesn't really matter if anything matches or not--it all fits together one way or the other.

Typical workday outfit. Except we don't have that particular sweatshirt.
But you get the idea...I'm usually a walking billboard.

This morning, however, I decided to put a little effort into my clothes. Instead of the typical jeans, I grabbed a pair of comfy black slacks, and I replaced the hoodie with a gray embellished t-shirt. The Chucks, of course, remain the same.

Things were great when I jumped into Tiffany's car, makeup bag in hand, still pulling my shirt over my head (I'm not always ready on time...). As I started to apply my makeup (with no mirror--weird sensation) I looked at my lap. You've got to be kidding me. I was essentially wearing this:

Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but I nearly had a heart attack when I realized that my pants were brown! Me, Heather Johnson, non-mixer of non-mixable neutrals, was wearing a grey t-shirt with brown pants and black shoes! I was appalled.

Call Stacy and Clinton cuz this girl needs help!

Actually, Tiffany said it looks fine. Apparently you can mix grey and brown, and you can even mix black and brown. I'm not sure I believe this, but it works for today. If you see me in this conundrum of an outfit, please don't scrutinize too closely!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Note to My New Visitors

I apologize for not actually being the Puke Pirate, but I hope you soon find what you are looking for!

Of all the google searches to hit on my site...puke pirate???

12-Stepping My Way to Responsibility

Hello, my name is Heather and I am an Impulse Fish-Buyer. I have been clean for 27 months.

While this problem is now under control, I will admit that my impulsive and selfish actions have, in the past, caused harm to God's creatures. Not, like, mortal harm or anything, but maybe severe discomfort...

Case #1: Chubbah and Flubbah

With their fat little bodies and opalescent, bulging scales, who can resist these lazy little pearlscale goldfish? I know I couldn't. Neither could I resist the $15 two-gallon fishtank and cute, purple rubber coral ornament!

So Chubbah and Flubbah came home with me and took up residence on top of my entertainment center. We were happy together at first. I would spend time watching them bob around in their tank (pearlies are terrible swimmers. You would be too if your proportions were that wonky), chasing after the little nuggets of special Japanese fish food and flakes of dried bloodworm (to keep their air bladders healthy. I was conscientious, ya know...), and just being generally cute. I was soothed by the bubbling sound of the tank's air filter, and I enjoyed the soft tanklight that illuminated my living room. Each night before bed I would turn out their little light and wish them sweet sleep. We had the perfect goldfish-human relationship.

But soon, layers of green film began to grow on the tank walls, caking the plastic plants and rubber coral, hindering the sight of my cute little friends. I cleaned the tank for a while, and then I didn't. And I didn't, and I didn't and I didn't.

Now, I'm not always known for my rationality. I'll admit that. And in my mind, I thought, "Who would want to eat in such a filthy environment?" So I didn't feed the fish. I mean, I didn't starve them to death. They didn't die after all. They just kind of developed fishy-anorexia.

I didn't want to admit my failure, but I didn't want to clean the tank either. So, I did what any good pet owner would do. I paid my little sister to do it for me. She earned $5 per cleaning, and I had a pretty, clean tank! Perfect arrangement!

But Lindsey soon decided that $5 was not worth cleaning my tank. So, once again, my fish starved in their algae-infested world. I'll be honest--I had guilt! I was ashamed of my dirty, neglegted tank. I was embarressed by the pleading look in those little fishy eyes. But I really didn't want to clean the dang tank!

One day, I came home from work and glanced at my entertainment center. The tank was gone! Did it implode under the weight of its own slime? Did the fish-gods relieve me of my fishly duties? Was I robbed?

My mom wandered into my living room and gave me "The Look." 

"I rescued your poor fish," she explained. "They're upstairs, clean and well-fed. Don't buy any more fish."

Man, I hate it when moms are right. 

For a while, Chubbah and Flubbah flourished in my mom's care. They grew fat and happy, and spent their days peering with google-eyes through crystal clear tank walls. They were loved--they were cared for.  

As often happens in the aquatic world, Flubbah developed a tumor on top of his little head. He floundered, he failed, and he died. Feeling sorry for Chubbah, my mom bought a feeder fish, Gloria, to keep him company.

Again, fishy-balance was achieved. The two lived in harmony...until the time came for Chubbah to visit the giant Toilet Bowl in the Sky.

Now Gloria sits alone in a fishbowl on top of my mom's china closet. Her existance no longer warrents the trouble of maintaining a whole two-gallon tank. A few days ago, my mom asked me if Gloria could come live with me. After all, it's my fault she was purchased in the first place!

"No Mom," I replied. "I only have room for one Gloria in my life." Besides, I'm only just learning how to keep the houseplants alive.
Karma's a sneaky ho, Mom. I won't even bring up your impulse pet-purchases.

(Gordy, the parakeet represented by this internet-stolen photo of some random beebah, was so much an impulse purchase that none of us can actually remember what color he was. And he only died two years ago... Lindsey says he was green, but Mom and I are pretty sure he was grayish-blue. The point is, the only reason he was purchased was because Mom thought Gordy would be a cute name for a parakeet, and needed one to name as such. Gordy, is, in fact, not a cute name for a parakeet. Especially for a socially inept bird as this budgie proved to be...)

To conclude this engaging and necessary tale, I will assure you that I have found a cure for my fish-owning desires:

iPhone Tap Fish App

My Lips Are Sealed

I can't write about what I'm really thinking...even though everyone else is thinking about it, too. That's a really big gun to jump. 

Today, my opinion stands that weddings are freaking ridiculous.

And I'm tempted by this--even though my mom would kill me.

Why is it so important???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Matthew McConaughey Actually Said Something Intelligent

"Sometimes when a woman falls for a guy, she [aks him to change], and he changes so much that she loses her Huck Finn, the rascal in the man she fell in love with. Men are willing to change to make you happy--but don't completely take the boy out of the man. You're gonna miss him." --Matthew McConaughey

**Note--this is in no way an endorsement of Matthew McConaughey, his movies or his abs. He's cute, but I can't stand the guy or his 'acting.'

Wordless Wednesday...Almost

Funny, the things that make me love him even more...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh Yeah...

This is my youngest sister, Lindsey

Also known as Linda
The Lindz
Stinky Linda
and Chubalumps
(as a baby anyways...she's pretty dang skinny now)

Today, she turned

and this kind of makes me feel like an

Lindsey loves animals. She has a determined dedication to learning about them and I wish I had that same passion for something. She does not, however, let that dedication extend to actually cleaning their cages...

Lindsey is smarter than she lets us think
Lindsey is by no means a typical, ridiculous, giggly teenager
Lindsey is her own person, and no one else
Lindsey hogs all of the badonkadonk in the family

Lindsey is a great Auntie

Happy Birthday, Lindsey!!

**Lindsey is also very forgiving when her favorite sister forgets to send her a birthday card in a timely manner...

You Can Believe Your Eyes...I Blogged.

My mom has never been much of a nag. In fact, she probably would have done well to nag me just a bit more as I was growing up. Maybe I wouldn't have become so lazy if she had. But she didn't because she just isn't the nagging type. However, yesterday morning I got the following e-mail through facebook:

Brenda Jensen Johnson 21 March at 08:21
Hey, just because you don't have anything to blog about doesn't mean I don't have anything to read about! Get cracking! jk I miss you. Hope you had a good weekend. xxxooo

Dad A agrees with her. He reprimanded me for taking away his reading material. I won't repeat the ensuing poop jokes. .

I'm kind of lying when I tell you I have nothing to write about. The honest truth is that I have nothing I want you to read about. This is a very public forum, and I think I've already laid out a bit too much of myself. Plus, it's not that interesting. So as I think up creative gems of literary brilliance, I will share them! But my day to day thoughts belong to me, and to the people I love.

The house was full this weekend, with all four kids packed into our little cabin. At one time this would have been overwhelming for me, but I'm getting used to it. However, when two kids and two cats try to share the loveseat with Paul and me, claustrophobia does kick in.

"It's the LOVE seat!" Paul declared. "Sit on the couch with your sisters."

We did get out of the house for several hours on Saturday to celebrate Hailey's Birthday Party. While the kids (all  of the kids) worked out their energy on the trampoline and the boys threw darts and had a beer, Rene, Tiffany, Tiffany's mom, Lynn, and I basked in the sunshine and gossiped to our hearts' content. I miss that almost as much as I missed the sunshine. So welcome back, sunshine and girl gossip!

There are two new additions to my kitchen!

Ours looks nothing like this one,
but you get the idea

There was nothing really wrong with our old microwave...except that the digital clock had dwindled down to three or four line segments to track time passed (I was actually getting pretty good at figuring out the time from those four line segments...). And the door didn't open, ya know, unless you pried it from the bottom with your fingernails whilst continually jabbing the door open button with your fist and shouting obsenities as if they would help. Oh, and it was pretty dang dirty, too. 

So when Paul said, "I want a new microwave!" I wasn't about to argue.

In fact, I followed that up with, "I want an..." 


So on Sunday we had
 and it only took two batches to feed all six of us! Simple pleasures...

The best part about these new home appliances? They're ours. Paul's and mine.

Last week, Tiffany discovered Words with Friends, a Scrabble app for our iPhones. We were instantly addicted, and she thoroughly beat me on our first two games. I never realized the fine intricacies required to win a game of Scrabble...

On Saturday, Tiff quietly informed me that Chris was going to challenge me to a game. I'll admit, I was nervous. Not of winning or losing, but of trash-talking. Christopher is competitive and merciless. I decided that, win or lose, I would do it gracefully.

But I didn't count on Paul and his insatiable desire to spark good-natured conflict between Chris and me. Whether it concerns height, word-knowledge or zombie apocolypse survivability, my words about Christopher are never sacred to Paul, and once he knows what I've said, Christopher will not let it go. Brothers... 

But this makes it all worth it:

Let's just say I'm not osito129. And I'm not being graceful.

I'm only gloating because I think this is the only thing I'll ever be able to beat him at...

And no, Christopher, googling is not cheating!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From the Mouths of Government Employees

The topic today here in the office is lactose intolerance. Let me recount a conversation for you:

The Cheeseburger: "I tried that yogurt, but I quit eating it. It made my stomach feel weird."
Lady Looney: "Funny how?"
The Cheeseburger: "It made it feel full. It made me not feel hungry anymore. I think I'm lactose intolerant."
Lady Looney: "Does it make your stomach hurt?
The Cheeseburger: "No, just funny."
Lady Looney: "Does it give you diarrhea?"
The Cheeseburger: "Nope."
Lady Looney: "Does it make you fart?"
The Cheeseburger: "He he he he, no."
Lady Looney: "Then you're not lactose intolerant. You're just full!"

Okay, so maybe her advice wasn't so faulty today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lawn Turds and Hungry Ponies

I always expected to find whole turds floating on the grass in our front yard.

I grew up in a red, three bedroom ranch-style house that stoically sat on two and a half acres. The front yard, I always thought, had to be two acres in itself, but I only make that judgement based on the amount of time it took me to mow the yard with our gas-powered push mower. Ages.

I was two and my mom was pregnant with my sister when it occured to my dad that no sissified, town-bred daughter of his should be afraid of bugs. His solution to my fear? We moved into the country. I like to say I grew up on a farm, but to put it more truthfully, I grew up on a bit of land a few miles out of town.

Our neighbors had horses and cows, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks. One neighbor owned the world's most annoying, Kix-eating peacocks (until the peacocks ate my dad's tomatoes. That neighbor was then told that he should get rid of the birds or my dad would do it for him. As we never had any guns in the house, I'm still curious about how my dad would have actually followed through with this threat. Empty threat or not, the peacocks quickly found a new home.) We had two and a half acres of grazing fields that were constantly being loaned out to neighbors and their livestock (much easier than mowing). So, by proxy, I grew up on a farm.

The man who built our house can be called resourceful (the rocks that formed one whole interior wall of the house were poached from local beaches). He can be called eccentric (the house is probably to this day nowhere near to meeting code). He can be called crazy. It made perfect sense to him that the drain field should serve double duty as a front yard.

It made even more sense that he should plant ten or fifteen fruit trees in that front yard. Now, I don't know exactly why it's a bad idea to plant trees in a drain field, but I do know that my parents thought this was the dumbest idea ever. Also, I know that mowing circles around ten or fifteen fruit trees has scarred my lawn-keeping sensibilities for life.

My young mind nurished a very specific concept of how a drain field worked. We flushed, sending our waste through underground pipes that must simply deposit the raw matter beneath the grass of the front yard. At that point, the more solid waste would wiggle its way through the dirt and grass, eventually surfacing--hence, the turds on the lawn. This never happened, of course, but I always watched where I stepped and I always knew that I was walking through a urine-soaked lawn.

Several times each year, and usually in the spring when the already squishy drain field was sodden with Pacific Northwest rains, the horses who lived across the street would find a way through their electric wire habitats and into our front yard where the well-fertilized grass grew lush and deep green. It wasn't uncommon for someone to look out the front door and announce, "Migi, Bramb and Dax are coming over for breakfast!" These quirky guests proved a mild annoyance; their heavy hooves left six-inch deep holes in the turf and made lawn-mowing an even greater adventure.

As the burgeoning equestrian of the house, I would tie on my shoes (or not) and join the horses in the front yard. Returning the horses was simple. I would grab Migi by her forelock and throw my weight into my heels. Eventually she would pry her glutonous muzzle from her breakfast feast and allow me to lead her back across the street and into her own paddock where her perfectly adequate meal of alfalfa awaited her. The two geldings, having been severely pussy-whipped by the boss mare, would obediently follow along behind her. Three horses, one girl, zero halters.

And I'm still terrified of bugs.

Join me next week for: Taboggans, Unfinished Go-Carts and Giant Rubber Bands

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Really Reaching Here...

A kickback to the myspace days, if only to hold your attention while I think of something truly creative. Hold your attention but please don't hold your breath.

1. Were you named after anyone? Who?
No, I was named Heather because my mom and dad couldn't agree on how to spell Rebecca/Rebekah. Or...maybe that was their argument for Sarah's name. I don't remember. Either way, if I was a boy I would have been David. I'm very glad I'm not a boy--not because I don't like the name, but because I enjoy being a girl!

2. When was the last time you cried? Why?
Awkward... Yesterday I cried at work because Mel decided he needed to tell me how to live my life and that pissed me off. Mostly because it came from Mel. (Yes, Dad. That Mel.) I did get my parting shots by standing in the doorway, mid-storm off, and announcing (with tremulous voice and bright red face) that I hoped I never became as callous and jaded as all three of my co-workers. Then I fled to the ladies room followed by Tiffany's office to lose myself in a storm of angry tears. Me? Emotional? No....

3. What was your last sandwich filling?
I'm not a big sandwich eater--not because I don't like them, but because I seldom remember to eat them. Having said that, I think that I did have a ham (left over from a spiral ham I cooked...Paul and his ham...) and cheese sandwich last week. Lunch meat creeps me out, and I avoid it as much as possible (until I forget to avoid it). The thought of meat byproducts being torn apart and squished back together with a bucket of salt does not sound appetizing to me. However, I have no qualms about eating hotdogs with relish (the emotion, not the pickle product. Unless it's a Wildcat Dog. Then yes, with the pickle product, too.)

4. Do you have pets? What?
Yes. Sigh...
Boris and Natasha, although if you asked them, they'd say "Yes, we have pets! Paul and Heather. They sleep in our bed sometimes." 

And Mr. Sister, my lovely ball python. Although sometimes I forget that I have him. I have an alarm set on my phone to remember to feed him. Poor kid... Also, he's a girl...

5. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Totally. I'm nice.

6. Do you use sarcasm?
Your mom uses sarcasm.

7. Do you still have your tonsils?
Yes, barely. I'm too chicken to have them out, even after four consecutive bouts of antibiotic-resistant strep throat. That summer sucked...

8. What is your favorite cereal?
Oatmeal with raisins, pecans and brown sugar. Or Cinnamon Toast Crunch if I'm lazy (which I totally am). Or Strawberry Special K if I'm feeling fat (which I totally am.)

9. Do you think you are strong?
Stronger than you'll probably ever know. But fragile, too.

10. What is your favorite ice cream?
Triple berry cheesecake from Cold Stone. Or pretty much anything without marshmallows. Only crazy people like marshmallows in their ice cream--(yes, you, crazy person!)

11. Red or white wine?
As I am lacking the refinement to truly know anything about wine, I just drink whatever Mom pours into my glass. But I'm partial to white. Or pink if I'm feeling unsophisticated.
And by pink I mean blush.

12. What is your least favorite thing about you?
I am lazy and unmotivated and it drives me crazy. I would change this about myself, but I'm just too lazy! For example, there are towels in the dryer that have been there since Saturday... But in my defense, No, there's just no excuse.

13. What do you miss?
My six minute commute to work. This 30 minute drive thing (plus ten minutes to walk in on some days) is making me crazy.
Also my mom.

14. What was the last thing you ate?
I made steak fajitas last night. It takes all of my willpower to say that word with a soft 'j' and a short 'i.' Say it with me.... Fajiiiiiiiiiitas.

15. What are you listening to?
Whatever it is, I'm sure I've heard it five to six times in the last 24 hours. KJR doesn't have the most diverse playlist, and Gloria refuses to change the station. Well, not that she refuses... I'm just afraid to ask.

16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I would lay claim to all 64 colors. A little bit of everything to brighten everyone's day.
Or black.

17. Your favorite smells?
The ocean and Paul's neck and lavender and fresh cotton candles and patchouli and bakeries and coffee and warm hay and saddles and a million other things. Just not vanilla.

18. Your favorite dessert?
Lavender cheescake!

19. What book are you currently reading?
The Time Traveler's Wife, Gone with the Wind and Effective Human Relations

20. What's the farthest you've ever been away from home?

Thanks for muddling through! Now pick a few questions and answer them in the comments for yourself.