Friday, October 29, 2010

Hit the Snooze Button. It's OK. I Do It Too.

It's time to admit it. I'm boring.

Please shuffle through my backlog of entries and find something a little more brilliant to remind yourself that yes, at one time I did have something interesting to say. And I might have even said it fairly well.

How do you shake your boring?

In the meantime, here's a photo of the kids in their Piratey gear. Arggh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Facebook Ruined My Life

For years, coffee was an unwelcome presence in the Johnson family home. My parents both hated the taste, and coffee-drinking never became a part of their morning routine. The only time that nutty aroma of freshly brewed coffee showed its face in our home was on the occasion that my grandparents visited, or the even rarer occasion that my mom hosted a baby or wedding shower, or a church home group meeting. (And truth be told, she served instant coffee for those home gatherings)

It was a special treat then to take a small sip from the top of Grandma or Grandpa's steaming mug of bitter brew. I never dared to slurp too much, though. My parents reminded us continually that coffee drinking will make you short. And I believed them. My non-coffee drinking parents, at 6'1" and 5'10", towered over my caffeine-addicted grandparents. It made perfect sense.

But with the advent of Starbucks and a cozy coffee house or drive-through stand on every corner, my mom found her opinion of coffee changing. She found that, hidden beneath plenty of milk and a more than healthy dose of chocolate syrup, coffee was quite bearable.

And then, the world invented French Vanilla Coffee Mate creamer. My mom loves Coffee Mate creamer. Every morning she has a few cups of Coffee Mate creamer, diluted with a splash of coffee. And in the afternoon she microwaves the remains of the morning's coffee to enjoy her creamer again.

Coffee time has become family time when we're all at home. My mom, Sarah and I sit around the kitchen table with our mugs of coffee...Mom's diluted to within an inch of its life (especially if Sarah made the pot), Sarah's strong and heavy, but lightened with a healthy dose of Coffee Mate, and mine with just enough creamer to turn my coffee the color of a CPO's khaki uniform.  While we have graduated to more complex flavors than just French vanilla (Belgian chocolate toffee anyone?), you are hard pressed to find us drinking cofee without Coffee Mate.

Coffee Mate has established itself as a pillar of our culture of comfort and togetherness.

But yesterday my world was shattered--by a simple Facebook status update.
Sorry to make you bust out your reading glasses...
Prompted by Jennifer's comment about creamer having no dairy (which I knew), I decided to read the ingredients on the back of Steve's carton of Coffee Mate as I poured some into my waiting coffee mug. Big mistake.

**Note: If you prefer to have your illusions of flavored coffee creamer remain unsquelched, please stop reading now.

-Partially hydrogenated soybean oil or cottonseed oil
-Less than 2% of Sodim Caseinate (a milk derivative)
-A long list of chemicals whose names I can barely sound out

I almost threw up in my mouth. And then I poured the creamer into my cup. After all, I've been drinking the stuff for years. Why should anything be different today? Could knowledge really change taste?

I took a sip of my coffee and my mouth filled with the bitter, greasy taste of vegetable oil. The smooth texture that I once loved now reminded me of the feeling you get when you've eaten too much tempura. I might as well just drink motor oil.

Needless to say, the mug sat full on my desk for the rest of the day.

Maybe it was just a fluke. Maybe it was just a temporary reaction to becoming aware of some of the things we put in our bodies. Maybe this morning, my coffee would taste ok.

I poured a dollop of Toffee Nut Coffee Mate into my cup, topped it off with coffee, and went to work.

Alas, that cup, half filled with a combination of Folgers and vegetable oil, still sits in the Durango. I couldn't drink it.

Facebook ruined coffee for me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take Paul's Cat, Please!

Free to Good Home or Mediocre Chinese Restaurant

One Extremely Large, Moderately Entertaining Cat

Answers to Natasha, or more commonly, Fat A$$, Fat Fatty Fat Fat, Dumb Sh!t, Fatty McFatstein, etc.

Rubics cube is provided for scale and is not included in this giveaway

Physical Characteristics Include:
  • Morbid Obesity
  • Random, asthetically confusing multi-colored markings, giving her the appearance of a pigmentally mutated bovine.
  • One crumpled ear
  • Crossed eyes, granting her a perpetual air of confusion
  • Kitty tourettes
  • Butt clumps
  • Litter toes 
  • Belly flop
  • Nails-on-a-chalkboard meow
  • Multi-colored/shaped/textured hairballs left in inappropriate places
  • Walking results in household tremors
  • Communicates with a voice similar to Eric Cartman
  • Terrible at math
Personality Characteristics Include:
  • Extreme stupidity (even for a cat)
  • Lack of social awareness
  • Lack of consideration for personal space
    Only surviving stem of what could
    have been a thriving houseplant
    Lack of consideration for personal property
  • Cannot cover her own poo
  • Will not go more than 12 minutes without a meal
  • Refuses to allow my heritage shamrock to sprout without being promptly eaten
  • Cannot keep her disgusting hair to herself
  • Refuses to do laundry or clean up when humans are away
Please reply to this advert to make this mutant feline a part of your family. Better yours than mine...

Disclaimer: You may have to engage Paul in hand-to-hand combat to succeed in removing Natasha from our home.

How I Really Rate

With a new home location and a closer proximity to civilization came new carpooling arrangements. Now, instead of meeting up at a park and ride, I head directly to Chris and Tiffany's each morning and go with Tiff to drop her girls off at daycare. And at the end of the day we pick them up and head home together.

Each afternoon, I unbuckle Tayla from her car seat, gather my things and head to my car to go home. Before I can get too far, Tayla cries after me, "Hug and kiss! Hug and kiss!" Of course I oblige...who can resist that three-year-old face tilted up for some end-of-day affection?

Yesterday, the warm and fuzzies followed me down the driveway as Tayla yelled after me, "I love you! I love you!"

"I love you, too, Tayla!"

The fuzzies didn't seem to last very long. This morning on the way to daycare, Tayla asked her mom, "Do we have Heather every morning?"

Photos by Tiffany
"I think we're going to keep Heather for a very long time, Tayla. She's a nice girl."

I had to butt in. "Are you tired of me, Tayla?"


I love you, too, Tayla...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I haven't done one of these in quite some time, and I'm feeling a little guilty about it. No matter what is going on, there's always something to be thankful for. Sometimes you just don't wanna, ya know?

Today, my honeyface (new nickname. Ya like? I don't think he does, but this is my blog and I can do what I want.) isn't feeling well. He has a headache and an upset tummy, and last night he woke up a few times to indulge in a good coughing fit. He's a miserable man.

Makes me sound kinda mean, huh? Talking about Paul's illness on a Thankful post... But there's more.

This morning I looked up the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and they include:
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Cold symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Boredom
Why does this matter, you ask? Because up until last Wednesday, Paul smoked a pack a day. And today he has gone eight whole days without smoking once.

So while I'm sad that he's not feeling well, I am so so proud of him. He's been strong and determined, and while I know it has been difficult for him, he hasn't given up or given in. He has a goal, and he is well on his way to seeing it through.

I love you baby; I'm proud of you; I'm thankful for you, and I'm behind you every step of the way.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Six Thoughts This Tuesday. I mean Wednesday.

1. What happened to my tongue? All of a sudden my Ss are coming out like annoying Ts with a little pphhttbbtt lined up behind them to give the illusion of a certified sibilant. My tongue is like a stone between my teeth. Words trip and stumble to find their way out of my mouth, and I sometimes get so frustrated with trying to get those words out properly that I simply stop talking. I used to be an excellent speaker. I haven't always been as shy as I may seem now, and believe it or not, I do have a few opinions. I just can't talk.

2. Last night I turned onto our gravel road with our garbage cans on my mind. For the first time in a year, I wouldn't have to climb a quarter mile of slippery mud, dragging the cans behind me to be put away. I would simply walk the 50 flat feet between the road and the house. To say this fact excites me is a gross understatement.

My mind quickly leaped from the garbage cans to the refuse, itself, when I found the contents of one of our bags strewn across the road and in our new neighbors' yards. One black bag hadn't fit into our can, and I had set it aside to be included in next week's objectionable offerings. Our friendly neighborhood free range canine apparently found the bag, dragged it through through the gravel past three of our neighbors' driveways, and proceeded to rip through the waste and distribute it throughout the neighborhood. While this is the third time our garbage has been knocked over and strewn about, it is the first time that the mess extended beyond the confines of our driveway. Lovely.

So what do we do? Knock on the offending owner's door, introduce ourselves, and demand that the dog be tied up? To complicate matters even more, another neighbor has already proclaimed her affection for the yellow lab, and let us know in no uncertain terms that he should be allowed to run freely as he pleases. Not the best way to start out these relationships.
Ok, so this may not be our street, and it may be an exaggeration, but still!
 3. Lady Looney is asleep at her desk. Soon she'll let out a snore and wake herself up.

4. I can't commit to anything wedding related. This could start to be a problem soon, but I don't know what's keeping me from committing to what I thought I had already decided on. I want to be married...I just don't know how. I don't know when, either, or where. Fortunately, I do know who, what and why so in the long run I should be able to conquer this ridiculous mindset.

5. There is a new mindset in our house, starting tonight. For Paul, it is a "pass PT!!!!" mindset, and for me, it is a "don't hate yourself in wedding pictures!!!!" mindset. So we're going to run. Well, Paul is going to run; I'll walk, and feel guilty for not running too, but we all know that I just can't do it. And speed walking, for women is just as good or better (please don't picture me with my arms windmilling maniacally and my hypothetical ponytail bobbing in rhythm. I promise, I don't look that stupid when I'm walking). Sorry honey, but just because the Army says it's the right way to do things doesn't necessarily mean it is the right way to do things. Not for me anyway. He's determined, and that will help me to be determined, too. Now if I could just sneak more green things into his diet... Wish us luck!

6. Speaking of the Army....Grrr!!! Remember those seven values, please, and reorganize yourself a bit to return to them.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nicholas, the Good Sport

Nicholas and I had last weekend all to ourselves.

After an uneventful Saturday that consisted of a trip to Goodwill (wherein we purchased an only slightly dented file cabinet for $6.99, and Nicholas found himself terrified speechless by a well-meaning employee dressed in an inflatable muscle man costume) and a quick stop at Wal-Mart, I decided that we should get out of town for a bit on Sunday.

Now believe me, I vacillated on the wisdom of our impending trip. My tentative plan was to take Nicholas with me to Silverdale. To check out our previously unchecked-out reception location, and to try to find a dress. A formal dress.

I finally decided that yes, we would go, but that I would be kind and wouldn't exhaust Nicholas' little body or his patience in my search for a lovely dress that would agree to zip over my decolletage.

Our first stop was Ross, Dress for Less. Nicholas followed me quietly while I scanned the dress racks. Occassionally he would grab a frock by the sleeve and ask, "What about this one?" He was only mildly disappointed when I rejected a black polyester number with metal biker studs around the waistband. I just wasn't sure how the biker look would stand up next to Paul's dress blues...

Finally I selected five dresses and we made our way to the fitting rooms. I positioned Nicholas in an empty room directly across from mine, closed the curtain and began to remove my high top Chuck Taylors. I had my sweatshirt and one shoe off when I heard my name called from the opposite room. "Heather? I have to go to the bathroom!"

After our pit stop (I had to go, too!), Nicholas made barely a peep as I tried on each dress and stepped out of the curtained room to show him. His reactions varied from a tiny wrinkled up nose to a quiet nod accompanied by "I like it."

After a few more fruitless stops, we found ourselves in a dressing room at JCPenney. Nicholas perched on a little padded stool outside of my fitting room and remained non-committal to the first few dresses. A shrug of his skinny shoulders said it all.

After several dresses, I stepped out in a floor length black gown and asked Nicholas what he thought.

He scrutinized me closely and with all the wisdom of his five years, he uttered these words: "It doesn't matter what I think. You have to like it."

His daddy taught him well.

"Nicholas!" I exclaimed. "You don't like it?"

Once again he shrugged his shoulders. "Nah. It's too long. Try on that short black and white one."

"Yes sir!"

I think I've found my new stylist...

Exhausted by an afternoon of retail therapy.
Don't feel too sorry for him...he was compensated for his patience with a vanilla bean Frappaccino, a Happy Meal and a scoop of bubble gum ice cream from Baskin Robbins.