Thursday, December 31, 2009


Walking out on a beach
I feel the sand coat between my toes
The crash of the surf fills me, for I am an empty vessel
I’m disappearing
Lost in the darkness
Lost in the fragments.
I have been beaten against the shore,
Swept by the waves until I am no more.
The wind touches me but I am not touched.
I am not touched because I do not exist
I walk into the surf believing, maybe, that I will get swept away.
The water reaches my ankles,
Then my knees.
As the tide goes in and out,
In and out,
I feel my feet sinking deeper into the sand
And I wonder how long it will be until I disappear completely.
The sand is a grave;
The rest of me will follow.
And then in my darkness,
My brokenness,
I feel something.
No, not a touch. I hear something,
But I do not know what.
I look at the sun rise and the words from the song come to me:
Here comes the sun, little darling…
But that is not what I heard.
I listen harder, trying to prove I exist
Even as I sink lower into the sand and the waves.
Then I feel the voice again:
I will not let you disappear.
I feel a broken shell against my foot. It is a different touch from the voice.
I will not let you disappear.
The sun rises higher –
Here comes the sun…
And the crash of the tide roars louder—
I will not let you disappear.
It is cold in the water, in the waves,
But I feel it.
I am separate from the darkness.
I lift my feet from the grave,
the cradle,
And walk along the shore,
And perhaps a little higher.
I would not disappear.
I Am that I Am.
I am myself, not darkness,
Not emptiness.
I will not let you disappear.
It’s all right.
It’s all right.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fourth Wall Breakage

I was watching an episode of Family Ties today while I was waiting for the load in the dryer to finish tumbling and I found myself thinking. I know. This can be very, very dangerous, but I persevered in spite of the "No Trespassing" and "Beware of Dogs" signs.

The audience was having a personal moment with the Keatons in the middle of the night because Mallory was worried about one of her friends who had just discovered that she was pregnant. They were sitting around the table eating a chocolate cake. (Allow me to note here that this never happens at my house. On Golden Girls, the characters are constantly all getting up at the same time and inevitably end up digging into a cheesecake that just happens to be in the refrigerator. You just don't get up randomly in the middle of the night at my house without rousing one of our five dogs and causing no end of ruckus. There is also, regrettably, no cake involved. Instead there are drowsy questions and a desire to go to bed before you fall over. So I find the picture of Steven, Elise and Mallory sitting around the kitchen table eating cake together warm and touching, but highly unlikely. Same goes for Golden Girls. What group of women over fifty gets up at one in the morning to discuss a problem at work??? Most of the time, women over fifty get up and take another Advil and go back to bed which they never wanted to leave in the first place, let alone adding on another two pounds with midnight cheesecake which they're going to have trouble digesting anyway.)

But the cake wasn't the issue. It was the fact that all of the Keatons were in bathrobes. Seriously, what family actually wears bathrobes? I have one that I keep in case we have unexpected company or if I get treed in the bathroom without the necessary clothing. That's it. My family certainly doesn't walk around in terry cloth kimonos looking cute and Leave It to Beaver-ish. In my experience, people only wear bathrobes if they're cold or if they're having company.

The Keatons were wearing robes to indicate their familiarity with each other and their total unawareness of being observed, that being the whole point of the typical family sitcom. I, however, would have found the whole situation far more believable if Steven had showed up in old tennis shorts and a Bart Simpson t-shirt with a hole in the shoulder, rather than his pristine plaid bathrobe. So the whole point of television failed, because the fourth wall was broken and the audience became known. Otherwise, why else would Mallory and Elise have bothered with bathrobes? It wasn't like Steven hadn't seen them in their pajamas before, which I'm sure were of the cute and silken matching variety, that being what the typical mom and teenage girl wear to bed these days....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I found this on my old livejournal. It was written February 23, 2005


There is comfort in the dark
there is beauty in the rain
there is mystery in the fog
when nothing at all seems sane.

When everything seems hopeless
when there isn't any light
when there seems to be no joy
I can journey from the night.

Oh! When I come to the edgeof that dark, dank forest
I can remember lessons learned
and again find peace and rest.

If I can see love in the rain
and find joy in the darkest night
I know that with God for certain
everything will soon be right.


What a summer.

Ups and downs, sideways and backwards. The wheel never stops turning, and all those other artistic-y phrases that say something about how we humans keep trudging on through the days and weeks and years before we look back and realize where we've come from and how far there is still to go.

I'm going to try and get back into the habit of writing on here again. I do want a record of my life and thoughts -- they can be pretty revealing! For example, I just stumbled across my old livejournal that I wrote in when I was sixteen and stopped when I was eighteen. My thoughts were so different then, and my mannerisms are utterly changed. Dang, I was cute! All bubblings about clothes and hair and how grown up I was becoming. How did you guys stand in the face of my bubbliness? But I can still see me in the bubblings, which is a comfort. I certainly laid a lot more of myself out there in the open than I do now.

This has been the longest summer of my life, I believe. It's been fun and memorable for many reasons. Now I'm looking forward to my new life at Union University, which begins in nine days. It's so funny to be having a beginning when I'm technically at the end, namely, the end of my undergraduate years. When you graduate high school, you believe that that's the end of life to a degree. I don't mean death of anything, but you can't really see yourself ever getting older. That's still true. I look at myself and marvel at the fact that I'm moving out, even if it is only for a brief time. This is the beginning of true adulthood, not the sham independence that I've been experiencing.

I guess I'm still bubbling about clothes and hair and how grown up I'm becoming.

One of the greatest lessons of this summer has been about -- surprise, surprise -- the phoenix. I guess I forgot that the phoenix doesn't experience victory over death just once. It has to do it over and over again. Every time of darkness is a chance to learn about how the sparks will never truly die. Not really. As long as there is a Savior, as long as we know that Light that can pierce any darkness, then anyone can rise out of the ashes of their despair or troubles. Nothing that traumatic has happened to me, mind you. It's just something I've learned. Even when a way of life is ending, like mine is at Crichton and even here at home is, there is always a new beginning.

During this summer, I got to see a tornado first hand. I've caught up on Supernatural. I've been on my first date. I've learned about packing tape and moving trucks. I've gotten closer to my friends. I've learned that being strong for others never stops and that small Baptist churches still exist.

Let the learning continue.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do your pants hang low, do they draggle to and fro?

I am most certainly not a fan of the long standing fad in the guy fashion world of letting the pants be so big that the whole world gets a peekaboo at the male's highly interesting boxers. As a matter of fact, I find the whole custom sloppy and crude. However, it is something I had to get used to in the course of my tenure at Crichton; you just learned to not make eye contact and to keep your mouth shut. 

It seems that other people did not get this memo.

Shelby and I were in the bank on Monday when a hilarious incident occurred. We were waiting patiently in line with another lady, who was black. We all turned when a young man entered, also black, and whose pants were hanging so low that I was fighting the urge to run over and jerk them down all the way and run away giggling madly. However, I did the typical avert-your-eyes-and-see-nothing maneuver, because that's just what you did. 

The lady waiting in line with us did not feel this need. Loudly, she proclaimed, "I just hate it when people do that. What do they think they're doing, walking around with their pants around their ankles? It's just rude. Don't you just want to walk over and tighten their belts?" This was addressed to Shelby and I, who are on the verge of hysterics. 

We can't answer, of course, because that might get us shot, so the lady gets her answer in the shaking of our shoulders. She winks and then keeps going with her diatribe. I get the giggles, so I'm trying desperately to not look at her because I know I'll explode if I do.

Seeing my dilemma, the woman says, "I usually stay in the corner at parties."

I managed to choke out, "You shouldn't!"

The guy remained totally oblivious. Thank God for small favors, although he probably would have learned something had he opened his ears. And pulled up his pants. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet the Enemy

The bane of all Memphians alike is found in a two pronged attack plan that was tailor made for the area. 

The first pestilence with which we are forced to deal is the cloud of allergens that hangs just as heavily over Germantown and Orange Mound as smog does Los Angeles and idiocy does Washington, D.C. Perfectly healthy people come here and then only a year later are hacking and sneezing and swell-eyed like the rest of us. You know how in Jaws, the wife keeps asking when she'll get to be an islander? You are not a Memphian unless you have laid on a couch in abject misery with only a box of kleenex for companionship and the soft serenade of a vaporizer. 

The Allergen Cloud is a plague, one that must soon be reckoned with or it will undoubtedly be the harbinger of Utter Doom. Maybe the terrorists developed this plan -- it certainly has the potential to be both destructive and long-lasting. The effects can easily be qualified as degenerative and cruel and unusual punishment. After all, allergies are very rarely fatal, but they produce suicidal longings in their victims.

Melodramatic, you say? I THINK NOT!

The second bringer of evil is smaller, faster, and a lot more stupid. It is the average mosquito. 

We in the south have many fond monikers for the little monsters: "skeeters" and "our state bird" to name a few. They have many different hunting tactics which, while being predictable to a degree, are also changeable and had to counteract. This can make them a formidable foe. One must agree that they do have the strength in numbers.

First, they can lurk in large groups, buzzing around in abandon and pricking any and all who get in their way. The most common hangout of the mosquito swarm is the Fourth of July barbecue, a patriotic yet dangerous occasion. I was once the unfortunate recipient of over a hundred mosquito bites in one night as a child, and I was never again the same. I had been scarred and branded as a target by the insect world, a fact which I could never forget.

The second is perhaps not as intimidating, but far more blood chilling (pardon the pun -- didn't even see it until I was proofreading). The rogue mosquito will separate itself from the pack, waiting, observing, learning its victim's habits and moral beliefs so that the moment to strike will be perfect and unsuspected. These are the mosquitoes who come while their quarry is sleeping and then proceed to bite them four times in the same general area. They have no mercy.

This was no doubt the plan of the mosquito that just tried to alight on my arm, but it was careless. I was not to be defeated. Not to mention the fact that it was dumb -- it buzzed in my face barely a minute before coming back and trying to get my wrist. No doubt it was dizzy with thirst, but I remained unsympathetic as I sent it on to its just reward at the Blood Bank in the Sky. They like to party there with the vampires.

However, I know that there are far more where this evening's intruder came from. I will remain vigilant. I will remain focused and never forget the pain they have brought me.

I shall have my revenge. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It really is ridiculous that I should be so addicted to my new cell's pretty much THE ULTIMATE. 

my cell phone
See? Isn't is pretty?

And I have "Into the Night" as my ringtone, which just makes me smile. "Like a gift from the heavens it was easy to tell / it was love from above that could save me from hell! / She had fire in her soul it was easy to see / how the devil himself could be pulled out of me." 

Gotta love it.

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head...

So, the list of catastrophes is ongoing. Evan fixed my fan, thankfully. (We're not going to talk about how it had just been turned off with the remote by somebody else and I never thought to change that. I just kept flipping the wall switch. I'm really starting to doubt my own intelligence.)

But that isn't the worst of what happened. I can't believe I'm going to write what I'm about to write.

I busted...wait for purity ring.

Now, before everybody's minds start going into the gutter, let me explain. In high school, my best friend at the time went to Hawaii and brought me back a pearl as a souvenir. Pearls represent purity, so I had it put into a ring so that I could wear it. However, it's always been a slightly unsound ring, simply because the pearl sticks up and is always easily banged against stuff when I'm not being careful. As you can imagine, I'm not careful a lot. 

I was doing laundry on Tuesday, I think, when it happened. I was yanking wet clothes out of the washer to put into the dryer when my hand brushed too hard against the lid of the washing machine. The pearl went flying, of course. In a moment of sheer Jedi awesomeness, I managed to catch it, but then my usual nature took hold when it slipped out my hand as I was trying to put it on the counter for safekeeping. My beautiful Hawaiian pearl is now caught in the grill/fan thing that we have on our counter and I can't get it out. 


On the happiness meter, though, one of my piano students' mom brought me some dishes. She'd just bought new ones and didn't want her incomplete set anymore. I was like, "um, yes, please!" Just another step to being ready for my apartment. *happy dance*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thanks a whole heap, Abe

Okay, so you know how the bar at El Porton is always an interesting spot for me? Apparently, so is Kroger. Mom asked me to go by there to pick up some ingredients for her astonishingly good onion souffle' stuff. I try to ignore the fact that it contains cream cheese. Cream cheese is the enemy. 

So I round up everything on her list, even being enormously proud of myself when I find how many ounces are in that disgusting block of cream cheese and figure it out accordingly so that we have the proper amount for the recipe. I stroll up to the self checkout lane simply because I enjoy doing that. Don't know why, just do, and life is all about the simple pleasures. When it comes time to pay up, I start feeding dollar bills into the machine. It takes all my cash, and I'm starting to sweat it because I never carry much change. But I stoically push in all of my change when it happens. 

The worst.

I am short by one. stinking. penny.

I glance furtively around for someone to borrow a penny, but the place is suddenly absent. It was like one of those old cowboy movies where the tumbleweed blows dramatically across the screen, except in this scenario it's a coupon for frozen broccoli that's on special for three for a mere ninety-nine cents. In other words, empty. 

After digging desperately in my purse to find the one stinking penny, as well as shamelessly searching the floor for a haphazardly dropped bronze piece. No dice, and by this point, the people at the in-store bank are looking at me suspiciously. Charming. So I sucked it up and was forced to put one penny on my debit card. How lame is that?

Maybe it's all karma....maybe all this stuff is going wrong or on the fritz or something around me because I'm happy. But now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go. The picture on the wall outside my room just fell off the nail and shattered everywhere. I have to go find the mini pieces of glass with my feet. It's a dangerous job, but some clumsy chick's gotta do it! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What does this button do? *zaps* Nevermind.

So, apparently technology hates me. I don't know why that is. Perhaps in a previous life, I beat up some machine's elderly grandmother. Or I could have just tripped over a child-computer's motherboard. It would be difficult to be an orphan in cyberspace, admittedly, but it's not entirely my fault. I can't help being coordinately challenged.

In any case, several pieces of major technology have failed around me at some point this week. Our home phones still aren't working. Personally, I think they've stopped working in protest to their own peculiar case of in-breeding in this household. You see, Alexander Graham Bell is on both sides of my family tree, the Graham from my mom's side, the Bell from my dad's. Creepy, huh? Anyway, don't bother trying to call my house. It won't work. Unless, of course, you need an exercise in futility, and then by all means, please continue.

Then came my cell phone. It stopped sending out texts. I could receive them, but the ones I was sending weren't making it to their destinations. This was highly annoying and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. So I took the phone into the cell phone store today (this was an adventure unto itself -- the store near my house had closed down and I thought I remembered where another one was, but it ended up being a different brand. Yuck. Mom finally reminded me of a different location and was then so kind as to meet me there to help me argue with surly cell phone people) and called customer service. 

I hate talking on the phone, generally, so I was afraid that this was going to be a horrendously awkward conversation. However, I talked to a real person, an actual nice person who talked slowly and used small words. No doubt his suspicions on my intelligence were confirmed when we discovered that the whole problem stemmed from the fact that I hadn't actually turned off my cell phone in months. Apparently they need to reboot. The minute I did that, problem solved. Of course, this meant that thirty-five text messages were sent from my phone at once....sweet. I know all my friends enjoyed that one. 

And then this morning, when I woke up, I discovered that my overhead light and fan weren't working. This problem remains unsolved. I'm not too eager to dig in the wiring and figure out the problem. Knowing me, I'd end up in Oz or something, and I think people would miss me.

There are days in which the Amish lifestyle look vaguely appetizing. But then I remember their fashion sense and change my mind again. Nothing's worth that! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Maybe the Israelites Weren't the Only Ones to be Abnormally Stupid...

When I was younger, I never got the Israelites. 

There they were, wandering aimlessly around the wilderness that wasn't even very big ("Mom, I know I've seen that rock before!" "You have, son, we passed it a year ago...and the year before that and the year before that...Remember, Grandpa Mishtu sat there while we were haranguing Moses about something or other? Probably about something really pesky, too, like water or rest.") because they had gotten their freedom handed to them on a platter and just couldn't accept it, so they had to whine like babies being put down for a nap instead of getting to play an extra hour getting excessively messy in the sandbox with little Billy down the road. I mean, honestly, they annoyed the hell out of me. They're hungry? Bread from heaven. Thirsty? Water from a rock (even though that one came back to bite Moses in the butt). Big ole sea? Parted. What in the world were they thinking, not trusting God after all that He'd done for them?

But here's the thing. I'm no better than the Israelites. I have been no better at trusting God with my life despite the obscene number of times that He has saved my butt and guided my sorry self to something far better than I could have ever imagined. I've been so busy erecting golden idols made out of old earrings to a calf (seriously, why did they pick a calf of all things? Cows, in general, are loathsome and disgusting. I'm sure there was cultural significance, but I have no idea what that could have been.) that I've totally missed the divine setup. Here's a run-down of events:

Stupid businessmen and bureaucrats and missionaries kill my school in the name of "doing God's work." 

Katie is pissed.

God provides a school to go to, a school where Katie and Shelby fortunately already had many friends and where Shelby had a boyfriend.

Katie doesn't think she can get into really great school. She whines about having to try and finish in one year at her now deaded school.

God provides teachers and an admissions department that are willing to help Katie. She is accepted.

Katie doesn't know how she will pay to attend really great school.

God says, "Don't worry about it -- you won't have to pay anything because these people are going to take care of you. Paid in full."

A place to live becomes a problem.

God provides an apartment that is sneezing distance from the campus.

Affording place to live is now an issue.

God provides a roommate for Shelby and Katie in Aubrey, a roommate who doesn't even mind the fat little tootsie roll of a dog that Katie refuses to leave behind. 

Katie begins to doubt where her life is heading. She doesn't trust God and doesn't mind saying so. She's still praying, but nothing's coming, apparently.

God provides awesome friends and then God goes another step further. God provides Zack.

I met Zack several months ago through my friends at Union, particularly Courtney. She and Zack have been friends for quite a while. This guy walked in and I thought, "Hmmm...." Attraction, bada-bing. But I was being stupid and ignored it. 

We started to become friends, just chatting on facebook and stuff, and then I was even more stupid. I told him I thought we should just be strictly platonic friends. He agreed. 

*bangs head against wall*

However, despite the stupidity, it worked well for us. I guess God loves a fool. We were able to talk a couple times a week for quite a while, just becoming friends. As time went by, the similarities added up. Similar senses of humor, beliefs, interests, values...

I start to hate the platonic vow. Vehemently. 

I build a couple of idols and think that God will never grant me the desires of my heart. I concentrate on getting ready for the apartment and keep bemoaning the fact that I can't trust God. Feel free to hate me now.

And then after some drama, Zack looks and me and says, "I want to date you."

I stop banging. Stop building. Stop bemoaning. Stop being stupid and say "yes."

So, as a recap, if God hadn't killed my school, hadn't developed my friendships with the Union kids, hadn't gotten me into Union, hadn't provided me with an apartment, hadn't kept me from having other relationships in the first place, I would have missed out on Zack completely. 

Thank God for bureaucrats and absurd missionaries and stupid businessmen.

It is a sobering thought to realize that everything in my life has led to this moment, just as this moment will lead to the next. And looking back, I would go through every bit of pain, every moment of abandonment, every self doubt that I've had to just get back here again. They're all worth it, because God was leading me to something better than I could have ever imagined. 

Anybody got a refinery? There's this stupid golden calf I need to melt down...and a wilderness in which to stop wandering aimlessly around. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Fourth Collision of the Mad Ones

11:00 Upon receiving an irate phone call from Miss Swanson, the ever tardy Mr. Buls urged the Mad Ones to begin without him. This was verily done.


11:05 Miss Katie Johnson opened the minutes with an improvisational prayer, for which she was thankful, considering that she was not prepared with a written one.


11:09 Miss Shelby Johnson continues the meeting with a reading from the Graham Greene novel, The Power of the Glory. The excerpt was on the image of Christ in the world.


11:14 Mr. Vowell shared a quote on St. Augustine and offered his interpretation of it.


11:15 Mr. Buls finally graced the Mad Ones with his presence—he was greeted cordially despite his shameful breech of Mad Protocol. Mr. Vowell continued in his diatribe, considering that Mr. Buls did not possess the Magic Maraca. (We had to improvise. It was upon Madame Johnson’s suggestion that the Maraca was thus used with great delight.) Miss Shelby Johnson invited the presence of an angelic choir when Mr. Vowell quoted T.S. Eliot.


11:20 Miss Shelby Johnson gained possession of the Magic Maraca that she might offer her opinions on Mr. Vowell’s wealth of pertinent quotes. She spoke of the questions that Master Jenkins has lately been posing in the Authors of Christian Commitment class, particularly the loss of a unified culture.


11:25 Miss Aubrey Swanson gained the Magic Maraca so that she could read an excerpt from The Politically Incorrect to English and American Literature. This was very well received.


11:30 Miss Katie Johnson read from Emerson’s essay, “The Poet,” to which Miss Shelby Johnson took great exception.


11:35 The Meeting was put on pause for a minute.


11: 37 Miss Swanson became greatly perturbed at Mr. Vowell when he kept referring to the Holy Maraca as the Holy Macarena. He exploded, “It’s the shaky thingy with things inside that make a noise!” There was an abiding silence. The meeting continued.


11:39 Miss Shelby Johnson’s new chapter and story idea were discussed.


12:00 Miss Katie Johnson shared her ideas for her character’s development and was given encouragement to continue writing.


12:06 Mr. Buls began to share his trilogy. Mr. Vowell was intrigued by the idea and developed his goal to become a part of Mr. Bul’s cast of characters. The Mad Ones wish him luck in this endeavor.


12:30 Miss Katie Johnson was picked up by the long absent Miss Jones, so her participation in this meeting came to a conclusion. They could have invented rocket packs with built-in pencils and laser notebooks for all that she knows of the rest of the meeting…which would have been really cool….

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cake or Pie? Uh, NEW OPTION!

Alyce came home for Easter and today I got to hang out with her. Needless to say that I am now in far higher spirits than I was previously -- Alyce is marvelous for reminding me what's important and what's crap. Anyway, we went to lunch and I discovered what is quite possibly one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.


Warm peach cobbler with nice cold ice cream on top. The melding of heat and cold together in one's mouth is worthy of its own poem, if not epic. Great, just what I needed. Another addiction.


........anybody want to go try cherry? 

Sometimes I wonder, O God, why Thou didst make me with a larger than usual sweet teeth? There must be a reason for Thy plan, but what, pray tell?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Beautifully Weird

I've come to the conclusion that life is beautifully weird. Any situation can be accounted for by either saying, "Well, it's beautiful, but so weird!" or "How weird...but at least it's a beautiful world!" Try it. You'll see the brilliance in my conclusion. 

Random much? Not really. Follow the reasoning behind my madness...

So today was a pretty cool day. Busy -- as seen by the fact that my INCREDIBLY eccentric knee is killing me (which is the weird part) but also by the mountainous amount of crap I bought for a hundred bucks today at the Rummage Sale (beautiful).  The Rummage Sale is pretty much the penultimate of all yard sales to ever be held on the planet. I kid you not. It comes around once a year in April. Basically, a church's insanely wicked (read: epically awesome) idea for fundraiser for their big summer mission project is to get everyone in the congregation to collect all of their junk and unnecessary items throughout the year and then bring it to the church so that it can all be organized, priced, and sorted into three parking lots and two gigantic revival tents so that other people can buy even more junk and unnecessary items that they'll just end up giving to Goodwill at some point within the coming year. 

Everybody following me still? Well done! 

Anyway, what with the Great Johnson/Swanson Migration to Union this coming August, we decided to hit the Rummage Sale and do some damage on the amount of supplies we still needed for the apartment. My mission was to find a recliner. I do all my homework from my chair, so a place upon which to rest my weary behind was the Necessary of all Necessaries, the veritable Holy Grail of furniture. This is the reason why Mom, Shelby, Aubrey, and my lovely future Union buddies Courtney and Heather were all outside in the cold at freaking 7:50 in the morning. To say that my comrades were grumpy about the circumstance would be to say that Joan of Arc was a charming girl that merely swatted flies that were trying to get into her homemade raspberry preserves. 

Despite this, we persevered and finally made it into the revival tents. I refrained from speaking in tongues and or asking someone to talk to me about the Lord and made a sanctified beeline for the furniture section. You see, we were battling half of Mexico here, and time was of the essence! I managed to find a lovely specimen of a recliner, though not the color I wanted, and promptly sat in it to mark my claim. This is the shopping equivalent of peeing on a fire hydrant or bonking a girl on the head with a club before dragging her away by the hair -- much more civilized! 

Those of you who are women already recognize my next dilemma -- having found a recliner in mauve rather than in the wanted tan or blue, I came to the painful realization that none of my intended bedding would work in my new bedroom! So I was forced to head to that section of the rummage section, where I finally ended up with a charming choreography of sage green, cream, rose pink and mauve. Friendly yet durable. I found a few knickknacks to warm up the room (a really cool wavy green bottle was my personal favorite, as well as a stained glass mirror and a green wrought iron basket with cream roses) and considered myself well on the way. 

After all of us managed to buy a lot of things we probably wouldn't use for at least a few years (*cough* HIGH CHAIR *cough*) and a few other fun items (Evan, I'm SO jealous over that lava, I'm serious. If it were green, it would have been MINE!) we finally managed to make it home. It was at this point that we sadly lost Courtney and Heather's company. Mom then had Shelby and I put on dresses and gussy up and we went out and took pictures. It was mucho fun! (I'm supposed to know the word for that, but I'm too tired to care at the moment.)

(And I seem to be using a lot of parenthesis on this post.)


(--but beautiful!) 

(Yeah, if you say so.) 

(And now I'm having a conversation with myself...this is disturbing.) 

(Stopping now!) 



Anyway, the other funny part to the day was when I drove to pick up dinner for Mom and myself since we were the only ones home and neither of us felt like cooking. I had enjoyed the drive; it was a lovely day and I had the windows down admiring the budding trees and azaleas, not to mention the whole playlist I made of sappy music. I was humming "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol (the ULTIMATE of all sappy songs and it always makes me happy) while I was standing at the bar waiting for my order to be delivered. There were three people sitting there eating: an older guy and a kid, most likely a visitation situation, and another older man who looked slightly more, um, button down shirt-ed than his bar-fellows. If you catch my drift. So anyway, like I said, I was just standing there minding my own business when all of a sudden I start hearing the non-button down shirt guy start talking, and while I was only listening with one ear, it sounded like he was talking about me. "Don't worry, she's not paying any attention to us. Got her mind in her own world. Damn redheads...."

It was at this point that I whirled around, ready to let him have it, when I notice that he's not even looking at me. He's looking down at his enchilada rather despairingly, and Button Down Shirt Dude is just sitting there watching me to see how I'll react, laughing silently. The bartender lady looked at the dude incredulously and said something to the effect of, "Man, you better be careful when you're muttering..." and gave me an obvious look. The guy looks over at me and VISIBLY jumps when he catches sight of my red hair. He looked like he was afraid I was gonna slug him! So I start laughing and said, "You better be careful about us redheads, we've got bad tempers..."

Upon realizing that I am not going to relocate his teeth to his right ear, the Bar-Fellow laughed nervously and said, "Yeah, and I don't really need another redhead in my life!"  I refrained from saying, Uh, yeah, cause you're never gonna have this one! and merely replied, "Yeah, I'm an Irish girl raised by hillbillies. You wouldn't have had much of a chance!" We were all still laughing when he told me to drive safely. Obviously hoping I wouldn't come back and haunt him for affronting my breed, of course.

Why do weird things always happen to me whenever I go to El Porton (see gay bartender post for details: 

Oh, right, because life is beautifully weird!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Third Installment of the Mad Ones, as Recorded by Miss Katie Johnson, Secretary

11:19 Herr Vowell called the third meeting of the Mad Ones to order; Mr. Johnson was excommunicated for twenty seconds for some sort of infraction against Mr. Vowell’s fragile sensibilities. There was great rejoicing among the commoners for this indication of Mr. Vowell’s inestimable power over the ham that is Mr. Johnson.


11:20 Miss Shelby Johnson has a diatribe on the need for tracking down that illusive Temptress, time, in order to write.


11:21 Miss Swanson offered an original prayer, “Blessing on the Written Word.” Miss Swanson was then offered the Magic Sharpie, as the Magic Golf Ball had rolled away somewhere and could not be bothered to offer an appearance.


11:22 Miss Shelby Johnson executed an arm-wavey-happy-dance upon Miss Swanson’s announcement of having begun reading T. H. White’s The Once and Future King. Miss Shelby Johnson then began to talk a lot, obviously forgetting Miss Swanson’s current possession of the Magic Sharpie. (Which she dropped on her computer, prompting Mr. Johnson to say the ever eloquent, “Smooth…”) Miss Aubrey Swanson then proceeded to inform us of the progress of her vampire story, including the creation of a new character.


11:36 Upon the successful reading of Miss Swanson’s piece, the attention was put on Miss Katie Johnson. Gulp. The honor due to this new leader of the meeting did not prevent Mr. Vowell and Mr. Johnson from having a Gollum/slurping noise contest. Babies. They were reprimanded by Miss Shelby Johnson. The excerpt of Miss Katie’s Johnson planned story was received quite favorably. A serious discussion on the importance of humor within a fantastic story followed.


11:51 The Magic Sharpie passed to Miss Shelby Johnson. She read a selection from Georges BernanosThe Diary of a Country Priest. Next, Miss Shelby Johnson read a further portion of her novel; it was excellence in physical form. The Mad Ones all felt insignificant in her deceptively short presence and explicated prowess. Miss Shelby Johnson’s reading birthed a discussion on the need for emotions to be expressed through corporeal description.


12:10 Miss Vowell read the next serial excerpt on his story of Fain (sp?) and Mitzi. The Mad Ones were all eager to learn what would happen next in this fascinating tale of beans and poppycock.


12:27 Miss Shelby Johnson screamed in agony when Mr. Vowell refused to continue reading his story. They suggested that he change one word of his script—even though Mr. Johnson voiced his opinion that the Mad Ones were over analyzing—and Mr. Vowell agreed with the wisdom of this criticism.


12:30 Miss Shelby Johnson was scolded by Miss Katie Johnson for Miss Shelby Johnson’s incessant and blatant thievery of Miss Katie Johnson’s beloved Cheetos.


12:40 The meeting was voted to be drawn to a conclusion, with the next meeting to occur three weeks hence due to basketball games, familial visits, and the Rummage Sale. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Official Minutes of "The Mad Ones"

Statement of Purpose:

The Nature of this group is similar to that of the Inklings. We share our writing with each other as well as excerpts that can be literary criticisms or examples of how not to write. This is to promote our understanding of literature, be it good or crappy literature.



Jonathan Vowell

Evan Johnson

Shelby Johnson

Katie Johnson

Aubrey Swanson


Date: February 28, 2009

Location: The Johnson Abode

Climate: Cold and gray and demanding of jeans and hoodies as a uniform



11:02 Miss Shelby Johnson moved that “The Mad Ones” be opened with prayer. The Mad Ones alternate prayer responsibilities. Prayers can either be a written prayer by the Mad One or by an official Mad One or an improvisational prayer.

11:05 Miss Katie Johnson offers to be the Mad One’s secretary, as she is the fastest typist and has the best sense of humor as regarding the conflicts between chaos and genius. Besides, it would make for lovely blog fodder.

11:06 Mr. Johnson moved that the Mad Ones have an open door policy as regarding new members. Mr. Vowell, however, moved that any members that do not have the appropriate regard for the improvement of their writing be asked to leave.

11:08 Miss Shelby Johnson requested that the Mad Ones have eight members only. She also said that with peer reviews, the Mad Ones be compassionate but honest.

11:09 Mr. Johnson moved that a Mad One can speak only when they are holding the magic golf ball. Miss Katie Johnson found this quite humorous and withheld sarcastic comment. Miss Shelby Johnson then went into a long winded speech which Katie missed the point of and then Shelby got embarrassed and stopped talking so Katie guesses it doesn’t matter anyway.

11:17 Mr. Johnson read a prayer by Thomas Merton

11:18 Mr. Vowell read a devotion by Samuel Daniel. This was done with great dramatic emphasis.

11:20 Mr. Johnson and Mr. Vowell proceed to have a tug of war over Mr. Vowell’s subway sandwich.  

11:21 Miss Shelby Johnson announced to her astonished siblings that she is in the process of writing a novel. Said novel is exploring the problems of a boy growing up in modern society filled with secularism and other shallow “isms” while watching his older sister self-destruct because she is encountered human problems about death and love and does not know how to deal with it because of the problems of modern society and the modern church. (Mr. Johnson reminded Miss Johnson of her need for the mystical golf ball. Miss Katie Johnson once again withheld comment.)

11:23 Miss Aubrey Swanson arrives late. She reads the minutes and finds that it is difficult to laugh over Miss Katie Johnson’s minutes without disturbing Miss Shelby Johnson’s novelistic soliloquy.

11:29 Mr. Johnson starts speaking foreign languages. Miss Shelby Johnson reminds the room that she has the mystical golf ball. She is backed up by Mr. Vowell and the meeting continues.

11:31 Sans golf ball, Miss Shelby Johnson begins to read an excerpt from her novel.

11:36 Miss Shelby Johnson blushes over curses in her novel. Mr. Vowell takes possession of the mystical golf ball in order to reassure this supposed breach of morality. Mr. Johnson makes some crack which wasn’t good enough for Miss Katie Johnson to record. Miss Shelby Johnson continues.

11:40 The Mad Ones stands in abject awe of Miss Shelby Johnson’s novel. They discuss the idea of descriptions. Mr. Vowell plays with the golf ball, which Miss Shelby Johnson takes away from him.

11:42 The golf all is passed off to Mr. Johnson because he greatly desires to see his basketball game. He then reads his poem entitled, “The Night Light.”

11:47 The golf ball is passed from place to place as the Mad Ones name their favorite lines of Mr. Johnson’s work.

11:48 Mr. Johnson’s dog howls at the Johnson grandmother. Mr. Johnson bids said hound to be quiet in the most genteel of terms. *cough*

11:49 The Mad Ones delicately critique Mr. Johnson’s word use. He accepts the criticism graciously—good for him. Mr. Vowell states that he likes the mystical golf ball. This is slightly disturbing for all involved, but the members of the Mad Ones ignore this. After all, genius can be slightly disturbing.

11:51 Both Misses Johnson shoot daggers with their eyes over their shared desire for the mystical golf ball, that they might speak. They are growled at by a jealous Mr. Vowell, who apparently desperately needs a girlfriend.

11:53 Mr. Vowell golf ball jumps Miss Katie Johnson’s turn. She is tempted to bite him, but restrains herself because she is not venomous, so therefore a bite wouldn’t be productive in any sense of the word.

12:10 Miss Katie Johnson shares an excerpt of C.S. Lewis’ writings. This spawns a whole conversation of imagery, fantasy and vampirism. Tangents, much?

12:18 Miss Swanson reads an excerpt of her novel. This is discussed heavily and Miss Shelby Johnson mentions several Gothic novels that Miss Swanson should read.

12:26 The Mad Ones exhort one another to write without trying to couch a sermon within a story. If we’re Christians and we also write, then Christ will be within our writing.

12:27 Miss Shelby Johnson reads a passage from “All the King’s Men.”

12:28 Miss Katie Johnson read an excerpt from her Fanfiction that was pertinent.

12:38 The Mad Ones approve of the chapter and discuss the various ways in which a point can be made in a story—through imagery, dialogue and character development.

12:39 Mr. Vowell gained the golf ball in order to read his own works. (Miss Shelby Johnson moved that readings work in opposite directions for meetings; whoever ended one meeting would begin the next meeting in order to ensure that all Mad Ones be given plenty of time to have the floor.)

12:46 Miss Shelby Johnson demands (“practically standing on a chair and screaming,” inputs Miss Swanson, who is the minute’s biggest fan) that Mr. Vowell finish his short story on the fundamentalist pity-or-hate character Harry Folkman, causing Mr. Vowell to blush and promise to try.

12:50 Miss Shelby Johnson moves that Mr. Vowell read one more of his shorter passages so that the meeting can be concluded in a timely manner, allowing the members to enjoy well-earned bowls of chili and a basketball game. She offers Mr. Vowell the consolation of opening the next meeting. Mr. Vowell agrees and so does as he is told.

12:56 Miss Katie Johnson, while greatly moved by Mr. Vowell’s story, moves that the meeting be concluded because of the rumblies in her tumbly. The meeting was pronounced a great success and another meeting scheduled to occur on the next Saturday hence.


Friday, February 27, 2009


With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death (which almost went unnoticed last week) of a very important person.  

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey," died peacefully at age 93.  

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


OKAY! GEEZ! I'm posting! Enough already!


So I was thinking today about the rules for life as according to Katie. It seems like multiple rules got broken today alone...and then I started wondering if even I know all my rules? Hence why I'm going to write them out.

1. Pie is better than cake. Don't whine. It totally is. So while I will cheerfully eat cake, especially when it has my mom's homemade icing on it, it is nothing compared to the mommy's little piggie moment that will happen if somebody slaps a key lime pie down in front of me.

2. Barbeque pizza is the best pizza out there.

3. The only place I can curse like a sailor and it doesn't seem to count on the whole morality thing is in my car. This is because of rules 4 and 5.

4. Almost every problem on the road can be fixed by speeding up. (My lord! I almost got creamed twice today just because some jack...err, asp, couldn't see fit to act like they had a brain cell running on half speed in their craniums and speed up while merging! Merging, I say! Isn't the whole idea to get up to the same speed as everybody else on the freeway so that the poor schmuck stuck behind your piddlin' butt doesn't meet his Maker today? Gah!)

5. Forget world peace. Imagine everybody using their turn signals! (I use mine when I pull into my driveway, for crying out loud. It's one flick of the finger, people. Heck, it even burns calories! And it also, gee, I don't know, shows that you have an ounce of consideration for those around you. But oh, no, we wouldn't want that...)

6. As evidenced by the above rules, sarcasm rules. Wow, that sentence was redundant, but no less true.

7. Sleeping on sheets that are any less than 400 thread count isn't worth the trouble. You might as well be on a tarp. 

8. Daffodils can always, always make a day happier. This is an ironclad rule.

9. There is no greater feeling in the world that knowing your homework is done. Ergo, getting your homework done (*grits teeth*) is a rule. A rule which I sometimes break. But you didn't hear me say that.

10. Sometimes, you just have to cry. I like thinking of myself as strong, but even I recognize the fact that even that strength is false in some ways. You can either bite the bullet and bawl your brains out every once in a while or you can become like House. And while House is a brilliant diagnostician, he doesn't look too happy to me.

11. "Don't Stop Believin'" should be everybody's theme song to a degree. Why? Because it's made of awesome and it's a classic. Listen to it and then try to tell me that it didn't make you happy.

12. I believe in making the occasional comment while watching a movie, but if you talk constantly, then I will have to bite you. This rule includes watching a movie in my den and in class. *coughs*

13.'t do drugs?

14. Grandmothers, especially cool grandmothers like mine, make the world go round.

15. Star Trek will always be cool. End of discussion. There is a Star Trek episode for every situation. 

Okay, that's all I have for the moment. I have to lay out an outfit for my Union visit tomorrow. Squee!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A friend had this up on his facebook profile. I found it quite amusing, and decided to share it. 

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual." 

"We're supposed to talk to meat."

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."

the end

Monday, February 16, 2009

Elderly Me

I think I'm losing my ability to connect with my piano students. Either they're really stupid, or I'm becoming dated. I have a suspicion that it's a combination of the two.

For example, I had a poster of Michael Jordan in the treasure box that I keep so that kids that have practiced and earned points could go shopping. Imagine my surprise that most of the kids, with the exception of one twelve year old, had no idea who Michael Jordan was. I can understand not being able to recognize his face, but to not even know who he is? 


I grew up with the legend of the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan's face was constantly being shown on the TV and newspapers. It was the Era of Unbelievably Awesome Basketball. I remember Jordan leaving the NBA to play baseball, and how devastated we all were at this gross deception. I remember my older brother literally crying for joy when Jordan returned from this personal version of purgatory. Ladies and Gentlemen, I grew up in the time that was heavily under the influence of Space Jam, one of the most awesome movies ever created. Not only have I seen it a gagillion times, but I have the music on my ipod. Jordan wasn't the world's greatest actor, but pair him with Bugs Bunny and you have a hit, my friends. Spit shot, anyone?

Then I came up with quite possibly the most brilliant metaphor for dynamics that has ever hit the music scene. (For those of you who don't know, dynamics are the signs for how loud or how soft you play. As I tell my students, imagine dynamite. It's quiet in the beginning, and then boom!) One of my students just wasn't appearing to understand the importance of crescendos and forte and so on and so forth. So I finally told her that music without dynamics was like listening to Ben Stein talk. She didn't know who Ben Stein was. *head hits desk* But she knew about the Dry Eyes commercials, so I was able to explain to her from there that the reason the dude sounded was so funny was because he always talked in a monotone. He never got louder or softer, and there was very little variance in the tone of his voice. We didn't need to play music like Ben Stein. It made sense, she got that little light of understanding in her eyes, and we continued on with our lesson. I used the same metaphor later, and the kid didn't get it. He'd never even heard of the Dry Eyes commercials. 

What are they teaching children these days?

More importantly, am I becoming...dated? I care?


........................nah. I don't. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Night to Remember

Last night was probably one of the least productive nights of my life, which is sad, considering I had a fairly productive day. I went to class, taught three piano lessons, did the laundry, did three hours of Spanish -- I even got about half of this week's Spanish assignments done! I find that I do much better in class if I have a vague clue of what Senorita Tina is talking about. Tuesdays are my busiest days, so I knew that I shouldn't stay up late. So I regretfully got off facebook even though I hadn't gotten to talk to some people, and got ready for bed. The rest of the night went as follows.

11:30 -- Lights out.

12:00 -- I begin to count backwards from 100

12:15 -- I decided that the light shining under the door was what was keeping me awake. No problem! One blanket shoved into the crack, and I was sure I was headed off to Slumberland.

1:00 -- Well, that didn't work. Okay, so what will be sure to make me sleepy? Reading something light might help. I turned on the light and started to read.

1:36 -- The aforementioned plan backfired on me. I'd picked up a short little Christian love novel, knowing that it wouldn't take more than two brain cells to read and that would hopefully lull me to sleep. Wrong! I was so busy mentally editing the author's writing style that I found myself getting riled up instead of relaxing. Honestly, were so many exclamation points necessary? Nobody gets that excited! Nobody writes dialogue like that, moron! And the plot? A joke! It would have been so much more plausible if...

Yeah, I'll stop there. Needless to say that this went on for about another twenty minutes.

2:00 -- The light goes back out.

2:17 -- I begin to play the piano in my head, namely "Clair de Lune." Wish it sounded that nice in reality. This plan went vastly awry when I couldn't remember whether a chord had an E natural or an E flat in it, and it was driving me crazy.

2:23 -- I start translating the minutes into Spanish. And having conversations with myself in Spanish. I wonder if this makes me a bilingual nut job?

3:04 -- I'm really glad that House and Cameron didn't end up together. I mean, I thought originally that they would have made a great couple, but honestly, House was right. Cameron just liked finding broken people and fixing them. She just saw House as a challenge, like he was a lost puppy sitting in the gutter that doesn't seem to realize just how crappy the gutter really is. Cameron and Chase make a much better fit -- they needed each other, but in a balanced sort of way. Cuddy, now that's the girl for House! She won't take any of his crap, and he won't let her be false... Now if only someone sweet could come along for Wilson...

3:29 -- For some reason, I begin to rewrite the lyrics for "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" so that it'll go with washing dishes. It went something like this:

Climb ev'ry sinkload,
Ford every tureen,
Follow every sauce stain,
'til they're nice and clean.

A clean that will take 
all the elbow grease you can give
Every day of your chore
find the strength to forgive! (Evan for leaving his cups in his room and now they're all moldy and gross!)

Climb ev'ry crockpot!
Ford ev'ry pan!
Follow ev'ry fork tine!!!!!!!!!!

3:55 -- I begin to consider just getting up and writing a paper and starting my day. What else was there to do?

4:12 -- Okay, so I really hope that Elton John sings "Tiny Dancer", "Your Song", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and "Bennie and the Jets." Oh, and "Candle in the Wind"! Too bad U2 isn't in on this tour...Elton John, Billy Joel and U2...of course, if they were touring together, the stadium probably couldn't contain so much awesomeness. It would fall apart, taking everyone with it. Not so sure that that wouldn't be a good way to go...

4:47 -- I turn on my light and read some more. Oh, the crappy Christian love thingy ends in a wedding. How predictable.

5:06 --The piano theme from "Finding Nemo" continues to run on a never ending loop in my brain. That's what I get for studying my Spanish to my Thomas Newman playlist.

5:14 -- I almost drift off with my head at the foot of my bed, but my dog decides to bark in her sleep. Thanks a whole heap, Iris.

5:28 -- Why do people think counting sheep helps? It doesn't do a darn thing! And all those sheep, just leaping pell mell over fences. They're probably partying all over the place, eating people's lawns, likely as not getting into Grandma's petunias, and thinking that the most convenient place for a human foot to step is the perfect place to take care of business! Where's the shepherd in this scenario, anyway? Where're the sheepdogs that check in and out of the field with a "Mornin', Sam" "Mornin', Ralph" conversation? Who first came up with the whole sheep thing to begin with? What random idiot just thought, Hmm, I think I'll imagine sheep. That's sure to bring on the z's! 

6:02  -- I think I'll write my paper on...on....uh... *snores*

Mental note to self: Next time, start with planning out a paper.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just Whistle While You Work

I have a deep, hidden shame. 

Yes, my friends, it is true. I, Katie Johnson, a reasonably intelligent and talented 21 year old girl, cannot whistle. I can't roll my tongue or cross my eyes either. I can't even lift one eyebrow in a forbidding manner, like my mom can (with great impact, I might add. When I was a kid, all I needed to see was that eyebrow shooting up like a geyser, and it garnered instant obedience. Not that I misbehaved very much in the first place, but you get the idea. All you had to do was look at me sternly and say, "Shame..." and I was a wreck of tears and repentance. Mom looking menacingly at me was far, far worse. I did anything and everything I could to avoid getting the Mom Glare. Well, the glare worked, as did Mom's subtle reach for her purse, where the wooden spoon was concealed from the public eye. But the spoon eventually got broken on Evan, which was fine. The eyebrow thingy was effective enough by itself.). 

But I digress. The point I'm trying to make is that facial contortions appear to be utterly beyond my capabilities. I can snap my fingers, though! Some people have trouble with that, I've heard. I can also do the Vulcan hand gesture with both hands (I taught myself as a child by putting a Barbie beach ball between my middle and ring fingers) and blow bubbles with my gum. But it is deeply disturbing to me that I remain unable to learn how to whistle. Just purse your lips and blow! It can't be that hard to do, and yet I remain stubbornly incapable to to do anything like a whistle beyond a shrill rushing-of-air noise. It's enough to make me have doubts about my intelligence. And I've always wanted to whistle, too. It seems lovely, being able to take music with you wherever you go. I hum a lot, but it's not the same.

So last night, when I had the most vivid dream about whistling, I vastly enjoyed it. I remember I was outside in the backyard petting Frosty (our old dog) when a bird came over. I suddenly started to whistle Simple Gifts, one of my very favorite songs. Whether the bird was magic and had incredible imparting-of-whistling skilz or I just learned by watching it, I have no idea. All I know is that I could feel it in the dream, feel the changes in notes and the pouring of melodious air from my lips. It was lovely. 

Then I woke up and thought in the bleariness of that not-quite-awakeness, "Hmm....wonder if I can do it now?" So I looked around me furtively, making sure that no one was around to watch me making a fool of myself (the only witness to my shame would have been Iris, who was still snoring on my chair) and tried to whistle. And I couldn't. Grrr. All I got was a slightly clearer tone to the whooshing of air, which I suppose was something.

I won't let it defeat me, though. Before I go to my grave, I will learn how to whistle. It seems like such a small thing, I suppose, but dang it, I want to! Whoever said dreams were rational?

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Okay, so I've obviously been less than faithful about updating the old blog over the last two weeks. My apologies, dear readers. I figured that no one would want to listen to me whine about Spanish and the school situation, so I refrained in the interest of sanity, although whose sanity I was refraining for, I have no idea. It is entirely possible that it was my own or y'all's because you couldn't stand my belly-aching. 

So here's a recap of the last two weeks, for all those who may be interested. If you're not interested, tune back in tomorrow for something either sarcastic or....non-sarcastic.

-- The weather is currently in the 70's, which is lovely.
-- Thanks to the above lovely situation, I now have a bouquet of daffodils sitting on my dresser. They're my favorite flowers. They introduce cheer and grace to any situation.
-- I received two A's in a row on Spanish tests. This was through the grace of God alone...although, I guess it wasn't alone. I worked my butt off, too. So does that make my butt graceful? Don't answer that.
-- I got paid, which means that I got to go shopping yesterday (two dresses, a pair of pants, three camis and two shirts, all of which were necessary for my continued existence) and that I was able to pay for my Elton John/Billy Joel concert ticket, for which I positively cannot wait. I might faint when Elton John plays "Tiny Dancer."
-- My school might not be dead after all. Ever feel like you're living on a teeter-totter?
--I got to be on TV because of the school thing. Here's the link, since I know you're all dying to see it:,0,6645778.story

-- The aforementioned lovely weather makes me nervous. It gives the perfect conditions for the building blocks of a tornado. We like not to jest about twisters here on the edge of Tornado Alley.
-- Who would have guessed it? Spanish! The frustration climaxed in a royal temper tantrum last Thursday after I couldn't tell what classes Julia and Armando were taking from their conversation. Later I realized that they were using words that I hadn't -- wonder of wonders! -- been taught yet! Anyway, my book was told quite politely by me that it should join the rest of its fellows and wander down to the balmy 800 degree temperature of Gehenna. And stay there. Surely Satan wouldn't mind an extended visit? Right? Right?
 -- The school situation. Again with the teeter-totter bit. I don't know which end is up at the moment. Must be because some fat kid that sat down so hard on his end that I got catapulted off into space, which would explain the lack of orientation, considering the utter absence of gravity. 

Anyway, those are the main happenings of my life over the past few weeks. I have to go cozy back up with my Spanish textbook to study for the test on Tuesday. Hey, didn't I schedule myself to have leprosy on that day? Gee, Senorita Tina, I'm sorry, I can't make it to class today....House and everyone are trying to diagnose me here......

Friday, January 30, 2009


For the past couple of years now, I've been on a never ending search to write a poem or song lyrics that could qualify as abstract. I like abstract pieces, but I've never been able to create one of my own. A few have come close, but never quite there.

So why, then, was I almost asleep last night and something hit me? I'm not sure if it's abstract, but it's on that same path.

Yeah. And so it goes...


One step up this stream

And I will topple off the beam

A few places down from blue is green

Inches are miles, only one step between.


Verse 1:

What’s the difference between a crack and a canyon?

Blue skies are so close to gray

A child gets older day by day

One day a babe, the next day a man.

A clock ticks by minutes, so small yet so great

A frail voice speaks and then screams and sings

How many straws before the back breaks?

A fuse burns quietly until it explodes.



One step up this stream

And I will topple off the beam

A few places down from blue is green

Inches are miles with only one step between.


Verse 2:

A gap between teeth decides beauty and worth

An acorn contains the promise of grandeur

A single short hour holds both death and birth

Only words come between shyness and candor.

So many little things that become more than they are

Inches are miles, only one step between

What will I say, what will I do,

What tiny thing will push you away?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yesterday, God decided to once again show His infinite mercy toward the average college student and granted us a snow day. 

Memphis is interesting when it comes to snow. Whenever so much as half an inch falls from the sky, it's as if the entire city, with a wry wink and a knowing smile, decides that it's "dangerous" and everything shuts down. We Memphians don't have a lot of opportunities for snow days, and even if all it is is a light layer of powdered sugar, we all make an excuse out of  the whims of nature in order to build pathetic snowmen and have slushy snowball fights. The Canadians up at school look at us scornfully as we talk about "icy streets" and "downed power lines." If they closed the city down every time it snowed, the city would only be operational for about three weeks in July. They don't understand us here, which is all right. I don't understand them. I mean, honestly, socialized medicine? Seriously??? And you guys don't even talk to each other in grocery store lines! What's up with that?

I took God's kindness in a stride and proceeded to commit several of the deadly sins during my snow day. It was lovely. I guess first on the list would be Sloth -- this was committed by my staying in bed almost all day and watching House. Great show, although I wonder sometimes how I would deal with House if he were my boss. Part of me thinks that I'd fold up and go home and curl up in a fetal position to cry every night as I sought to find a happy place within my tear-soaked mind. Another part of me thinks that I'd be super sarcastic and would end up getting in trouble. Goodness knows, though, Cuddy would probably be on my side....maybe. 

The next sin on the list: gluttony. And I enjoyed every M&M of it.

Greed: I greedily watched House while ignoring the laundry, and I, I don't have a lot of greed that comes to mind, but I'm sure it was in my day somewhere.

Wrath: I was wrathful toward my Spanish homework. It had no business being due on Wednesday. Especially on a Wednesday that was also a snow day. It was just plain wrong. Stupid homework! Muy mal!

Envy: I envied Dodger for getting to have this kind of day everyday. He gets to lie in bed and dream about chasing squirrels to his little heart's delight. Goodness knows if he ever caught a squirrel in real life he wouldn't know what to do with it. He caught a chipmunk once and just stared at it like, "Now what? Is this supposed to be interesting or something? No offense, but I that stupid kibble looks more appetizing. Great. I've attained the pinnacle of the suburban dog's hunting prowess, and it was all lies!"

Yeah, I'm going to quit there. I was mostly guilty of Sloth, anyway. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spanish -- Shmanish

Any post that I write this evening would probably contain something to do with Spanish. I'm tired of writing about Spanish. I'm tired of thinking about Spanish. I'm tired of translating things into Spanish. 

You get the idea.

The other thing I'm thinking about is the Holocaust, and that's more of a poem type subject, so unless I get all literary, there won't be a post this evening.

My apologies.

-- The Mgmt.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

To Love and to Cherish Until the Money Runs Out

I forgot to mention that yesterday's post was my 200th on this blog. Suh-weet!

In any case, I was awoken from an extremely bizarre dream (that was a mix between "Lost" and the Twilight books, oddly enough...I said it was bizarre) by the smell of muffins wafting up from the kitchen directly into my nostrils this memory. In my opinion, there is hardly anything better in the world than getting woken up on a nice cloudy morning by the smell of something hot and scrumptious. Our little foster child, Christina, came down with strep throat last night, so I had decided to stay home from church today so that I could Clorox every available surface in the hopes of keeping anybody else from getting it. This is so not the time to come down with strep, and it's actually pretty dangerous to expose Shelby to it.

So I got up and fixed myself a muffin and sat down on the couch to watch ten minutes of a show while I ate my breakfast. Since CSI, regrettably, wasn't on, I turned to this household's fallback channel: TLC. This channel is the Ultimate of Ultimates in home desire, shopping, and really weird documentaries, usually showing the story of a family with thousands of children or a guy that's half fish. I like the first two and generally steer away from the third. Thankfully, the first option was available for my breakfast viewing pleasure, a show called "Moving Up." The premise centers around what happens to houses when the old family moves out and the new one moves in and redecorates it according to their tastes. The old family is then brought back to their old house and they get to rag on the new owner's shoddy decorating skilz and ultimately work through the five stages of grief. It's not my favorite show -- too many awkward moments, and besides, who gives a care what the old owners think? I totally get the emotional attachment behind a house, but honestly, they chose to move out. It's not their house anymore -- but I was only watching for a few minutes anyway.

I was actually given more food for thought than I would have previously realized. I learned that one of the couples on the show, Rick and Beth, I think, were lottery winners. They had decided to take their winnings and upgrade on their living quarters. A young, single woman named Kira bought their old home to be her first house. Kira, to start out with, struck me very favorably. It could be the fact that I will automatically sympathize with the young, single woman, but she really did seem like a sweetie. She decorated the house herself, came in under budget, and turned the old office into an enormous dressing room, including an elaborate bookcase just for her designer shoes. C'mon, what woman wouldn't love to have a room just for her clothes? And the only time you could get away with something like that was if you were young and single and had a house of your own.  

Rick and Beth came in and immediately started burning Kira's design taste. They didn't like the colors, the furniture was stupid, they hated the fireplace, blah blah blah. Kira was watching a recording of their tour of her house, and she was a lot nicer than I would have been. Rick and Beth acted as if her design choices were some kind of character flaw, and Kira just smiled and shrugged her shoulders, obviously realizing that what Rick and Beth said was pointless because the house was hers now. I swear, the most petulant thing Kira said during Rick and Beth's onslaught was when they saw her closet room. Beth made some snide comment, and Kira replied mildly, "It sounds to me like she misses being single."

And you know what? Kira was right. The more I watched the show, the more Beth and Rick's relationship bothered me. They'd won the lottery, right? In today's material obsession, that should have meant instant happiness for them. They were moving to a new house, decorating it to suit their every whim, and from the sound of them, they were about as happy as two jackals with only one bone between them. 

Rick was one of those quiet, non-confrontational sorts that pretty much let Beth get away with her spleen, but that's certainly not productive for a relationship in the end. And Beth! She griped, groaned, moaned and complained about every tiny facet of the move. Rick worked himself to the bone, doing much of the renovations on their new glitzy house. All Beth could do was b---- about the fact that they didn't have enough money for a hot tub to go in their backyard along with their patio, flat screen TV (outdoor, mind you), pool, and fireplace. 

When they went back to their old house, though, Beth said in every single room how much she missed that house and how much she regretted moving. You could see how much the things she was saying hurt Rick, but he didn't say anything back.  Again, not so sure that's a good thing. 

But wait a second! I thought winning the lottery was supposed to be instant happiness, right? Right? 

Wrong. Duh. 

Beth knew that she had been happier back in her older, smaller, and considerably less glitzy house. Why? Because she had worked for it. She had loved it, and had more than money there -- she had memories. When they moved from her old house and focused on spending money as fast as they could -- by the end of the episode they admitted that they were broke -- they lost their connection with what was more important.  I honestly don't think that their marriage will last long, and that's so sad. I hope that they'll learn to communicate, that they'll refocus on what's important, but that's hard to do when you don't have the Holy Spirit knocking you over with a two-by-four. 

It just made me think about two things, one of which being my sister and her boyfriend. If I had one word for the way Jordan treats Shelby, I would use cherish. Jordan doesn't just love her, he cherishes her. As long as he had Shelby and something resembling walls and a roof over his head and a piano, Jordan would be just fine. Shelby could wear a burlap sack, and Jordan would tell her that she was stunning. I have a feeling that they'll still be making goo-goo eyes at each other when they're a hundred years old and can't remember their own names. But they'll always remember each other's names. Their relationship hasn't been a bed of roses the whole way, but I don't have any fears for them. Their relationship isn't built on money or attractiveness or something else that's stupid alone. It's built on love, trust, and a willingness to forgive. I wouldn't be worried if they won the lottery. 

It also made me think of Crichton. What I wouldn't give to go back to the ratty tables and rented building and regain that pure beauty of education. 

I suppose I'm rambling now. It was just a lot to think about. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Heart Attack

Today appears to be made up of three things and three things only: Spanish, basketball, and online shopping. I cry "Boo!" to the first and "Right on!" to the latter two. However, such a semi-quiet day has not lacked in excitement!

Since I finally had my Spanish textbook, I had about two weeks of work to catch up on. I started at noon, and worked straight through until three, and I still wasn't done. At this point, I was ready to chuck my textbook out the window, laughing and crying "Hasta luego!" as it went flying gloriously to the ground below. I'm having a little trouble with remembering the grammar of it all, the typical "he is, she is, they are" type crap. I probably just need to make myself some flash cards, although the thought is somewhat degrading. In any case, the old math textbook that I'm starting to review for the GRE was actually starting to look 1/1,000,000th less puke-worthy, and that's saying something coming from the enormous math-phobe that I shamelessly confess myself to be. 

So, I did what any sensible female would do in my place, obviously, which was to go shopping. That was happiness. Even better when the shopping can be done from the comfort of one's own bed. Let's just say that Target's online store ain't hurtin' for dough this evening. Probably half of what I ordered will have to be returned, but I enjoyed myself. 

After the damage had been done, I went down to watch the second half of the Memphis/Tennessee game with Mom and Evan. For those of you who don't know, the rivalry between the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee can be politely referred to by such kind adjectives as vicious and blood-sucking. The hatred between blue and orange is hereditary and degenerative. There is nothing a dedicated Tigers or Vols fan loves more than watching the other side get put down, hopefully with a good helping of steaming hot humiliation piled on top.  The last time these teams played and Memphis lost, a Vols fan threw a beer can at Joey Dorsey on his way out. If I remember correctly, dang near the entire stadium went to blows. 

FYI, Dorsey is so not the Tiger I would have chosen to throw something at. The reason? Here you go:


Can you picture anything less warm and fuzzy existing outside of Hell itself? He was my favorite player. The guy was a friggin' tank.

The point being, the competition today was fierce. Numerous brawls nearly erupted from the court, and the refs were being pretty stupid. There was one blatant move on Chism's part that should have resulted in a T. Chism acted like a great big baby, made me want to offer him a pacifier if only to shut his whining. Never mind, Taggart got him back later with a body check. Resulted in a foul to U of M, but it made us all feel better.

The game was pretty tense, especially when we got below the minute time mark and things were still close. UT was only one point behind us, and if they scored, we were officially in the crapper. The coaches were using timeouts left and right, and Calipari was teaching me some new curse words that he shouted so emphatically that I was able to read his lips. 

It actually got down to one second. At this point, I was crouched on the sofa peeking through my fingers and Mom was praying aloud to every saint she's never heard of and Evan was speaking in what could only have been tongues. Odd, how a basketball game can become such a spiritual experience. But it all turned out well. We held UT off and won, effectively spanking them in their own stadium. It was a very nice moment, and Mom promptly went outside to the front step to do her obnoxious, yet embarrassingly satisfying, victory dance and screech. I'm sure her, "Go Tigers! Woooo!" thoroughly endeared her to our LSU loving neighbors.

The phone rang then, and I saw that it was my grandmother's number. She was obviously calling to exult over the game. I picked up and started gushing about how great a game it had been when I heard NanNan saying incoherently, "I need someone to take me to the emergency room...heart attack..." Her voice was kind of fading in and out, and I promptly felt panic take me over. I thought I'd heard her say "Don" in there, which is my grandfather's name. Mom saw my eyeballs turn into UFOs and started to flip out at the words "emergency room" and "heart attack", when I heard NanNan finish a few seconds too late, "...because it was such a great game!" 

I proceed to hyperventilate and gasp out, "Never....never.....ever.....ever say something like that to me again...."

Mom mercifully took the phone from me so that I could calmly pass out. 

Ahem. Good games hath unexpected repercussions, I suppose...