Friday, December 30, 2011

Mom's Quilt

Check out this post on Sister's website about the quilt we made for Mom for Christmas.

You can find the info and detailed photos on The Busy Bean. I tell you what, that Sister of mine is super talented. Mom loved the quilt, of course, and will enjoy it in the hospital. It'll be like a daily hug from her family ... or something. She goes in January 9 for her second transplant. Her first transplant was in October 2008, an account of which can be found in my blog archives if you are interested in reading up, there are too many posts to link. Cancer sucks, still, but Mom is doing great.

That being said, if you are a prayer-er (Yes Annelle, I pray!) we certainly could use some extra good thoughts and prayers for the next 2 months. Our family is fasting on Sunday (yes we know it is not the official Fast Sunday this month, but we have 2 reasons to fast, and the second reason happens before Mom goes into the hospital) that her transplant will work and put her cancer into remission again. Anyone who wants to join that day, or include her in your regularly scheduled Fast Sunday prayer, we would appreciate it. (btw her name is Gloria Johnson.)

It was a good Christmas!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hanukkah Images

Hanukkah ended this week. I love Hanukkah because I love the symbolism and light. Well Brad taught me how to use my phone camera. So I experimented on my menorah. 

 That plate next to my menorah is one that Mom and Dad gave all of the kids. It is a Bing and Grondahl plate from Denmark, where my Mom served her LDS mission. She has one from each year she was there. All of my sibling and I got one with our birth year form Christmas. I love it. 

Then Colleen introduced me to a program to edit pics on my phone too. Man these phones are cool!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

'Tis the Season ... to do battle?

Fa La La La La

Christmas is a time for family togetherness. To share in the cheer and merriment of the glitter and the spirit. Most holidays are. Unless you are a Johnson. If you are a Johnson (as in my family, not necessarily applicable to other Johnson clans) you food battle. We might be too big of fans of the Food Network. For Thanksgiving Sister and Brother challenged each other in Battle Pie. They each made one pumpkin and one 'other' pie. If I remember right Sister won battle other and Brother won battle pumpkin. I could have that backwards.

For Christmas we had Battle Soup. Sister, Little Brother, and I all made a different soup. Sister made a root veggie soup (rather tasty), Little Brother made a gumbo (never had gumbo before, loved the shrimp!!) and I made a homemade cream of tomato (which I had previously experimented on a friend and got a stamp of approval on.) It all came down to one vote between the three. I won with 4 votes, then Sister with 3, then Little Brother with 2. Some people did not vote (chickens) because they did not want to make one of us feel bad. I think that I would have been in trouble if they did vote, frankly!

I cannot wait until Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to see what battle will commence then! kidding

The reason this one meant so much to me is because soup is something I can do and do well. Usually Sister and Brother are far better cooks than I, until it comes to soup, and Little Brother rocks the appetizers; Big Brother usually does not battle with us. However, there was this one batch of soup ... I do not want to talk about it. It was bad. Let us just say that when it went up against Sister's batch she won hands down. So Sister has been the current reigning champion of soups. I wanted the title back! I wanted it back bad! So admittedly I played it safe with my soup choice. The others really win points for creativity ... I mean gumbo and root veggies?! Come on! Good show! I just knew that tomato is something most of my family likes so I played it safe. And I won ... Battle Soup Winner in the house!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Some random thoughts on Christmas Eve Eve

Last night there was a Hanukkah party. (Do not be offended if you were not invited!) I have discovered that I cannot hold the mass quantities I used to be able to host at Mom's house. Hanukkah is not for the diet minded person!

As a rule I do not talk about work here on this blog because I think it is unprofessional. However, there was a discussion this month at work that I think is worth noting. We were talking about our yearly gifts we give our customers in December. One person said off hand that she was so tired of not being able to wish people a Merry Christmas because it was not pc; that just because everyone does not celebrate Christmas she is not allowed to say it? I told her I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I do not say Happy Holidays. I was asked to design our card this year that we send, and I put a graphic that says "Have a holly, jolly, Christmas on it." Everyone loved that we did it that way, and on person even said "It is like a friendly big middle finger to everyone who has banned Christmas." Maybe not quite how I would put it, but it is true. When did it become taboo to with people a Merry Christmas? I celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Two very different holidays, but both have great meaning to me. So I am making it a rule, that it is ok to wish everyone what you celebrate. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or Have a good Sunday.

When lighting the candles for Hanukkah this season I have not had any drips. Of course last night there issues after issues lighting them, and they dripped on my fireplace.

I bought a new microwave a few weeks ago and it has not worked. I plug it in, program the time, select something to cook, and it counts down but has not been cooking. So last night I had a friend at my place who is REALLY good with fixing things. I asked him to come take a look at it and said, right before I pushed start, that if it worked with just him looking at it I would be really pissed. Of course it worked! He did not even touch the darn thing. I did exactly what I had done before, and it has never worked for me. So this morning I got to microwave my breakfast. Isn't that how it goes? Like when your computer does not work UNTIL the tech walks in? Or your car makes a crazy sound  UNTIL you take it to the mechanic?

We had another discussion at work the other day that made me think. It was about kids with special needs, specifically autism. For the record I did not bring the subject up, I say that only because I work with kids with special needs at church. One of the guys mentioned that he was perplexed because it seems like there are more people with special needs around, especially autism. I have 4 girls in my class at church who are autistic so I have a special place in my heart for those with autism (plus if you have ever worked with Jessie in a show, you will know how great she is!!) The point of this ramble is that some people do not know how to act around those with special needs. I get it, I did not either when I started working with them 5 years ago. One thing I do know is that they usually require more patients, love, and really enjoy talking to anyone ... And they give the best hugs when they want to!

I love that the small snow storm we had here in Utah recently clean up the air as much as it did. I propose that the weather does a skiff of snow every night to clean out the air, not enough we have to shovel every day, but enough to clean the air. Who is with me?

This is my first Christmas alone. Before anyone in my family freaks out, I mean living alone. I have always had my family, a mission companion, or the Richters on Christmas morning. So this year my stocking is filled with Christmas cards from those I love who mailed them to me. I told Sister I thought it was sad to see my lone stocking hanging from the mantle. She said "Yes especially with mail in it?"

I usually leave my presents unwrapped until Christmas, the ones from coworkers or friends. Well one friend told me I had to open hers right then. Fan of Big Bang? I have a sign now by my bed that reads "Calm Down and Sing Soft Kitty." I did not know that Calm Down was a thing ... I guess it is. So Calm Down and Have a Merry Christmas!

I am kind of tired of the question "So are you ready for Christmas?" Um, let's see. Am I ready to celebrate the birth of my Savior? Pretty sure I am. There is very little prep work for that. Do you mean am I done shopping for people? Yup. That was made pretty easy by buying a home and not having any money for presents for people. That sounded jaded and rude. Not my intent. Yes, yes I am ready for Christmas.

Those are my random thoughts today on Christmas Eve Eve. Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

That Nightmare ...

You know that nightmare you have ... only you realize you are awake? And it is real? Last night I drove up my driveway at 8:50 or so and heard what sounded like sprinklers running. I thought to myself "Who is running sprinklers at this time of year?" So I went to investigate. It was me, my faucet in the back yard had sprung a leak. My back yard was flooded around my house. Pure panic set in. Honestly my first thought was "But no! I am having people come to my house tomorrow, I cannot have a flood!" Never mind the cost of the flood, it cannot inconvenience my guests! So I ran inside to grab a flashlight, throw my things down, called Dad for backup, then braved the flood to shut off the water. Lucky for me the only damage was outside, and it was minimal. I survived my first homeowner flood.

My big plan last night was to make the majority of the food for tonight so I did not have to rush home and cook. I shake my head. Not so much, I flooded instead. So I thought I would get up early this morning to do that instead.

When I woke up this morning I thought it was mighty cold in my house. I got to work making this soup for tonight and walked past a heating vent ... blowing cold air. My house was a balmy 62 degrees. (balmy is sarcastic!) So I called Dad again, who thought I would be better served to call Uncle Ed, who installed the furnace, to come look at it. I did, he said he would be there in an hour. So during this hour I was able to complete the things I wanted to get done last night. Ed came, fixed the furnace in about 20 minutes, charged me a reasonable fee, told me my house looked nice, and left. I love Uncle Ed. My house started heating up, I got ready for work, and walked outside ....

... to hear the sound of a sprinkler running again. I was like "Cuss NO!!" (no I really used the word 'cuss' there, not a swear!) So I ran around back, my yard looked fine ... well as fine as it can since it was already icy and slightly frozen. I walked around my whole house and could not find anything wrong, but I kept hearing the noise. So I looked in my neighbor's yard and their faucet was doing the same thing mine was yesterday only bigger. Much bigger. So I ran to their door and started pounding. No one answered. I braved my uneasy feeling at just walking into the yard of someone I have never met to turn it off. It would not turn off. I went to another neighbor I had never met, knocked on their door, and asked for help. Carl seems nice. He grabbed his tools, and followed me over. I knocked again for good measure, no one answered. We discovered it was not the faucet, it was the pipe from the house had actually burst and there was no way for us to turn it off. Neither of us knew what to do, so we called the fire dispatch, but the police came. They could not get it off, so they called the fire department and public works to come over and shut off all of their water. They told me I could go then, which was good because my pants were soaked, I was freezing, and needed to get warm. My house is not warm yet, so I actually was looking forward to my office because it is nice and toasty! I am still cold, and I have been sitting here for 2 hours ... in sweat pants ... at my office. Professional? You bet!

So my real life nightmare adventure is over ... or is it? See in my nightmare I have a very clear vivid picture of my house falling apart some more. The guests coming over? A potential roommate ... who reads this blog ... and I adore!! So of course I want to impress her. Of course I want to rent part of my house to someone I know, respect, and love. So of course things fall apart because she is coming to see my house tonight. Of course. But then of course she is great and totally understands things happen which are out of my control, because she is pretty kick-cuss cool. (The thing with me using 'cuss' instead of choosing a swear is to let your imagination run wild! Fill in anything: kick-apple cool, kick-kleenex cool, ... etc)

It has been an adventure. And I would like to get off the ride for a minute. You know when you go to Disneyland and you ride the Indiana Jones ride, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, The Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain fairly close together? And you really crave It's a Small World just so you can relax for a moment? That is what I feel like right now. All I need for the rest of the day is to sit on a blue boat and watch silly animated characters who have the same 4 moves that they rotate through and sing that annoying song over and over and over again. "It's a world of laughter, a world of tears, it's a world of hopes, it's a world of fear, there's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware, it's a small world after all." I need a Small World day!! Now having said that, the last time I was on Small World the ride broke down. We were stuck on the boat for a while.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Su-prize su-prize!

The super secret surprise weekend was rather fun. Since it was almost 2 weeks ago now, and I am almost caught up with the work that piled on my desk while I was gone 1 day of work ... I shall tell you what the super secret surprise was. Ready, set, go!

Mom and I drove up to Walla Walla, Washington on Nov 17-20. If you think Walla Walla is not interesting, well you would be almost right. It is a cute town, great food, crappy drive from Utah in the winter. So why Walla Walla? Well we went up to see a ball game.

The back story? I was a nanny from 1994-1996 & 1999-2000 for the same family in Chicago. When I got there my boys were young: Dylan was 4 and Brady was 1. Well now D is 21, a senior in college; B is 18 and a freshman in college. D goes to Washington University in St. Louis and B goes to Stanford. Smart kids. Good kids. Handsome handsome men! D plays basketball for WASHU and B is in the Stanford band. And yes they have time to study!

Another back story. I recently had a bout of insomnia. Like BAD. Like go to the doc because I could not sleep and I was rather depressed. I have never really been depressed, so I did not know what it felt like. It was bad. One night I was laying in bed, not sleeping, so I grabbed my iPad and started surfing the interweb. I decided to check and see when D's games started because sometimes they broadcast them. I shot straight up in bed when I saw that they were playing 2 games in Washington State in November.

WASHU was playing Whitman College in Walla Walla on Friday and then a game in Spokane on Sunday. I had 1 day of vacation left. I asked Mom if she wanted to drive up there with me and see his game. She was all in. So we left Thursday after work, drove to Boise, then on to Walla Walla the next day. D had no clue we were coming. As it turned out his folks were the team parents that weekend away. What luck! So we met Jim and Laurie for dinner before the game. I do not remember it much because I was SO excited to see my boy again!

I think D was surprised.  What a handsome man he is. I wish I had a digital pic of him when I was his nanny to show you. Bright red hair that was kept in a bowl cut for years. His hair is short, he is ridiculously tall, and what a gentleman. He was always a great basketball player. Now, as I brag about him, he is the captain of the team and was last year too; his freshman year they won the DIII National Championship. Yea, he is that good.

This is D after the game. They won, of course! I knew my boy would not let me down! (they played a game on my bday last year, I asked him to win the game for me. He did. Obedient kid too!) Though the game in Walla Walla was close!! I went horse from cheering and yelling throughout the game.

This is Mom, D, and I after the game at a restaurant. His dad had to get the dead animal in the pic. Bless him. I made this sign for him with his number. Mom and I both wore WASHU shirts. Good looking kid, right? He reads my blog, I can only imagine him right now going "Um Steph, a little less about how handsome I am, kind of creepy, you know?" Alright, message received, but you are handsome D.

I was glad to have one hour to sit and chit chat with him. Sadly I did not have enough time off of work to stay for the game in Spokane. 18 hour round trip drive for a 2 hour ball game. You bet!

Love you D. Thanks for indulging your favorite nanny (self proclaimed!) for a night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dreams - Grandpa Edition

Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. Grandpa Johnson split when my dad was a little kid and died not too long after. Grandpa Parker died just a few years before I was born. I have a cousin not much older than I am that talked about Grandpa Parker often when we were growing up. She would say things like "Do you remember when Gramps ..." and I would always have to remind her that he died before I was born. From what I have heard of Gramps I would have liked him. My only 2 run-ins with Gramps include walking in to Grams house (which I now live in) and seeing Gramps leather strap hanging by the back door and the smoke in the wall paper. The strap was more of a threat to be good. We knew it was there, we knew we would be paddled with it if we did not behave. I remember Grams grabbing the strap and chasing after one of my cousins who was a bit of a boundary tester. She caught him, he got the strap. I still laugh when I think of Grams chasing him around the back yard; she may have been old but by golly that woman could move. The second encounter with Gramps was just recently when we were stripping the wallpaper in the kitchen and we hit the layer from when he was alive. The house filled with the noxious smell of his cigarette smoke. We had to open the windows and vacate the house while it aired out. He was the last person who was allowed to smoke in Grams house. One more piece of back story for this dream: There is a room in my basement that was my Mom's bedroom back in the day but has more recently been a storage room. This room is not cleaned out of my Aunt's possessions yet. There is a wall of closet space in this room that I have NEVER seen the inside of. I am 35, I have known this house all of my life, I have lived in this house for 2 months now, I have never seen the inside of these closets. Plus the room scares me just a little. I think it is the scary wallpaper.

Well in my dream last night I was moving the Aunt's things out of this storage room and my things in. I opened the closets and found that it actually led to a 3 room cave under the front lawn. In this space I found a bunch of Christmas decorations, Grams paints and a bunch of cards left over from her boutiques, Then there was a closed door. My cousin, the one one who is just older than I am and remembers Gramps, was there helping us move things. She and I opened this door together. It led to my Gramps secret workshop. It was full of wood creations he was working on when he passed. There were toys for kids, violins and bows (some of the bows were made out of old wood hangers ... just because) and all of his tools were still hanging where he had left them. The cool thing about this super hidden place was that there was no dust or cobwebs. I found a really cool cookie jar in the shape of a pig that I HAD to have (I am allergic to pork ... so why not?) When I opened it up I found that it was filled with hard tack candy. (Grams used to have a bowl of hard tack candy sitting out.) I picked up a really cool looking violin, one of the wood hanger bows, and started to tune the instrument. (No I do not play the violin) But magically I was able to start playing "Oh Susanna" flawlessly. My cousin asked me how I knew how to play that song, and my response was "Grandpa's violin is magical." Then I woke up.

The funny thing is that when I woke up this morning I felt like I actually knew Gramps. Like I had these fond memories suddenly of Gramps because I had spent time in his secret room. It made me want to run down to this room and open the closets to find these rooms. Then I had this sudden fear again that it would all be not real (of course it would not be real, it was a dream) so I did not go down. I need to find a pic of Gramps so I can put it up in my house. I have to admit it was the most lifelike dream I have had in a LONG time. It makes me miss Grams and Gramps. Grams only died 10 years ago or so, so I knew her very well. Now that I live in Gramps house I miss him. I miss him and I never even knew him. Is that possible?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Amazing music video

I am on a super secret weekend vaca with Mom, it is a fun surprise I have been planning for a while. More on that Monday. Well my friend Heather sent me this video and I LOVE IT! So please allow me to share!!

I love watching ASL music!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 2nd craziest thing I have ever done ... or the one where I show you the outside of my house

I am not a very adventurous person, so this may sound boring to many. I also may define crazy differently than you. Taking a red-eye to New York for a madcap weekend is not crazy to me. Diving in a frozen lake for a Polar Bear plunge is crazy to me. Lining up at midnight for an after Thanksgiving Day sale is crazy to me. Strapping wood on your feet and throwing yourself down a mountain for fun is crazy to me. Seeing Twilight movies is crazy to me (just kidding!) So there is your frame of reference. 

One day, I may tell you the craziest thing I have ever done. Not today. I am getting ready for a long weekend vaca with Mom. 

Last night I left my office early to run home and get my leaves up off my grass before the lights went out. Whose idea was daylight savings? I would like to meet that guy (wasn't it Benjamin Franklin? I actually would like to meet that guy!) and tell him it was not a good idea in my opinion. Of course I am not a farmer so having daylight early is not important to me. I am in HR, so we like daylight after work to get things done. Just sayin. 

So I get home, put together my riding lawnmower ... oh did I mention I have a riding lawnmower? It is pretty sweet action. Two of my brothers did help me with this step. Pat was driving by and came to help. We discovered there was no gas in the mower. What?! So I ran to get gas and then Ev came by to teach me how to use the darn thing. Off I went after a brief tutorial. Let me show you what I encountered first:

This big apple tree is in my back yard. It has some nice low hanging branches ... for now. I will cut them next year. It was an adventure mowing under them. By 5:30 the sun was down and it was pretty dark. I was determined not to quit. The lawnmower has headlights. I know, right? So I flipped them on and kept going. Well Sister dropped by around this time. She came around the back to see what in the world I was doing. She vowed to stay until she could not stay any longer so that "if I knocked myself out mowing under the tree someone could call 911." I did the only logical thing anyone could do: I went downstairs where I have stored the construction supplies and pulled up the halogen lamp. Plugged that puppy in, and shone it on the back yard. (Is that the right tense of shine?) I finished the back yard and headed to the front:

Where I ran into trouble was on the side. That dumb apricot tree is pretty bare. I could not believe how many leaves there were. So here is where I encountered an audience. My neighbor was out in his yard with a pal working on a project also with a halogen lamp. Oh did I mention my Aunts live next door to me? Well they do. So Aunt C came over and just shook her head, but told me she was proud of me for not giving up. The neighbor just laughed and laughed; I told him I wished I could tell him that I am normally not that person, but to be honest I really am. Picture me, on a riding lawnmower, mowing by the light of halogen lamps, wearing an awesome winter hat. I was not going to give up! Was not. And for the record I HATE apricots. 

Yup, that is what I felt like ...

So the project that should have taken an hour, took 3. I finished at 7:30. I bagged 3 huge bags of leaves and grass. I missed a few spots. I have bumps, cuts, and bruises to prove that it was a fool-hearty mission. I am allergic to grass, so my eyes itch and I am sneezing. BUT, I did it. I mowed my lawn for the first, not the last, time. This morning the apple and the two little trees on the side of my house shed more leaves. I shake my head and fist at them. Who mows their lawn in the dark? Could it BE more dangerous? (Thank you Chandler for your guest appearance!) Second craziest thing I have ever done. 

Oh, by the way, this is my house. House meet my internets. Internets meet my house.

I am fully aware that I have not posted the "moved in after"photos. Once one box is unpacked I seem to find another one. So it'll happen one day. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Annual Christmas Boutique

For any of you new to the blog, please allow me to introduce you to our annual boutique. The back story is thus: When we were growing up my Grams had a Christmas Boutique every year from November through December. She sold greeting cards, wrapping paper and homemade crafts that she made throughout the year. It was so much fun to go to her house and look through the different things she was selling. I still to this day cannot see a white light bulb without picturing the bunnies she used to make. Fast forward 30 years: my sisters and I all had our own businesses and decided, along with some cousins, to resurrect the family Christmas Boutique. 

This year we are holding out boutique the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You know, eat turkey, the crazies go shopping on Friday (Colleen will be one of you) then Saturday come on over to Mom's place and enjoy browsing everything without the angry crowds because you picked up the last Wii game or Barbie. We have the foods, we have the fun, plus we have the nice warm house!

Saturday November 26
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
7792 South Coolidge Street (90 West) 
in Midvale (Utah)

My sister Colleen owns The Busy Bean (I may have mentioned it once or twice) where she makes beautiful handmade fabric creations. Plus she names her products and sewing machines, which is just cool. She will have some items on hand or, as always, she does most of her work as custom orders. All items will be done in time for Christmas delivery. 

My SIL Kate is a brilliant photographer via Kate Johnson Photography (I may have also mentioned this one). She is running a special this year where she will have her screen set up at the boutique and for $35 she will take your family photo and give you 5 images on a photo cd with a card template that you can take anywhere and have your Christmas cards printed in time to send out before Christmas. If the family cannot make it, she is doing an outdoor shoot on December 10. Appointments are STRONGLY encouraged for both days. Of course she would be happy to schedule any time that is convenient for you. (Holla acting buddies, she also does headshots!)

I used to sell Pampered Chef. I miss it sometimes, but frankly did not have the time to devote to it. However, I am hosting a catalog show (there will not be a consultant on hand) for you kitchen gadgets. If you need something from Pampered Chef but cannot make it to the boutique the address to order items is enter my name as the host (Hi, I am Stephanie Johnson) and you can order that way. Party closes the 26th. 

We always have others join us, though at this point I really cannot give you a list of everyone (have a business and want to join? Give me a call or shoot me an email.) I will talk my brother into making his AWESOME caramel apples. And if she is up to it we have a lady who makes BRILLIANT chocolates. That is not a guarantee, however! 

See you then if you can make it. We always have snacks, and often sit around chit chatting. Let's be honest, that is half of the fun of a boutique!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A wayward text

I got this text last night from a pretty great guy ... whose identity I erased from the image to protect the innocent ... but had to share!!

I had gone to bed early, so for a minute I thought it was a dream. I was really confused as to why he was inviting me to go on vacation with him and his family. I mean we are friends, but we certainly are not "dating." That is one way, though, to take things to the next level. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A First Date ... of sorts

I had to run home today because they were fixing my treadmill and I had to pay for it, a very grown up thing to do. My brother in law Brad uses my house during the day on Wednesdays for work so that Sister can sew, and my folks watch their kids. He is a brilliant tech blogger for Engadget, have internet can work. If you like tech things, especially phones and tablets, you should follow him on the tweets; I do not know how to do that, but there is a link on his Engadget page. I do not know how many times I have said "Brad how do I do this on my phone?" Bless him!

So anyway, the date ... of sorts ... so I ran home during lunch to make sure the guy did the work right on my treadmill. While I was there I made myself a turkey swiss sandwich for lunch and offered to make one for Brad. Then I sat down at the table and we ate lunch together. I sent Colleen a text that said "Just having a lunch date with your husband. Whatever." She send back a text that says "Lucky." I have seen people who are more technologically unchallenged than I show their iPhone screen in a blog post. I just do not know how to do that. Brad how do I do that on my phone? What is wrong with you that you do not know how to use your phone? Shut up Matt's Italicized Voice! (that will only make sense to 3 of you!)

We were eating our respective turkey sandwiches I noticed it was rather cold in my house at the same time I noticed Brad's hand was shaking. So I went to turn up the heat and Brad says "Oh don't worry about it, I always get nervous on the first date." snort! Sometimes Brad actually is funny!! So I just had a first date with a married man. tsk tsk

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Pause from House pics

I need to give Sister's Sister-in-Law credit for these pics, but I only know her name is Melanie, I only met her once, at their wedding ... but by the look of these pics she is a picture taking genius! (Every family needs at least one) She could not have caught the personality of these two great kids any better. So one day if you live in the Tri-cities in Washington and are looking for a photog, let me know and I WILL find out more info on her to pass on. Mad props to Melanie for these GREAT photos!

Mac is now 2, LoMo is 3. How I love these girls! I admit it does kind of bug me that I have been growing my hair out longer than Mac has been alive and her hair is longer than mine ... but whatever, she still is stinking cute! And I have taught these two girls that a bird says "kaa kaa, kaa kaa, tukki tukki!" Mac says the kaa kaa part, but waits for me to say tukki tukki. 

Mac thinks like I do, it is obvious!! Check out the uber flattering pic sewing here. Little MJ tongue action

Mac is roaring like a monster, she has a really deep growl

LoMo laughing at her cousin.This little ones laugh is so sweet

So I am sure this is not what happened here but this is what she looks like when any of her clothing gets wet before she has to change them

I honestly do not know why, but this pic makes me giggle. Hard. 

Mac is working on a super special training today, good luck mostly to Colleen who has a long day ahead of her. If you run out of DC, Sister, let me know! I can't bring you any more, because you live in Egypt, but I will think hard about you and drink one for you ... vicariously.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

House Pics - During Edition

My aunts moved out of the house August 20, it took 2 months of work to get it to where I wanted it to be. It was indeed a labor of love for me. I do not think my hips will ever be the same. My calf muscles sure have never been this pronounced. 
This is my bedroom with some of the wall paper gone. We found 2 layers here.

The cable company sent a contractor to install my cable. This is what it looked like. This is also where I found that if I complain enough I get the cost of the install taken off and one month free service! 

The ceilings in the bedrooms had the cottage cheese stuff on there ... oh and it was painted over. My brothers are so great to scrape it off. It also pays to have asthma so I do not have to do the work!! 

Brad and Everett worked really hard to get it off and sand down the walls. Brad told us after I took this pic that he is actually smiling under his mask. Bless him. Funny kid!!

This is my bedroom with all of the ceiling and wall paper gone!!

Under the ceiling I found that an old vent had been "fixed". There are quite a few of these fixes in the house. You should see the fix down the stairs. It is card board!

This is the kitchen wallpaper layer 5. When we hit this layer the house filled with the smell of old cigarette smoke. My grandpa was the last person who was allowed to smoke in the house. He has been dead for almost 40 years. 

 This is the dining room, the wallpaper in this room came off so easily because the wall had been painted, then wallpapered. If I have not yet told the internets enough, do not wallpaper your house. OR if you have to wallpaper, may I recommend painting the wall first?

Monday, October 31, 2011

House Pic - Before Edition

Alright the internets, please allow me to introduce you to my house ... Internets house, house internets. There now you have been introduced. I moved in Saturday, not a stitch of my ... anything ... is unpacked, but I have moved in. I slept there for the first time Saturday ... or rather I should say I was there over night Saturday. Sleep did not really happen. I do not know if it was because my entire body ACHED or because I was nervous or because I was excited. True to her word, Mom had a sleep over with me Saturday night. She did sleep. The next morning she helped me put a few things away before she went home to get ready for church and by that I mean took a nap, then went to church. 

So allow me to start off with the before pics. Then I have during pics and after pics. Notice in each room the overabundance of wall paper. These pics are just of upstairs because that is where I live. The downstairs will be done soon, hopefully, so I can get a roommate. 

Before: The bathroom. Yes it is THAT small. 

The kitchen top layer of wallpaper. We found 6 more under

This is my bedroom. That orange is painted OVER wallpaper. 

This is my closet ... or second bedroom. The actual closets are rather small and I gots lots of clothes. This also will be my office and my treadmill lives here now.  

This is the dining room with the minimal record of only one layer of wallpaper.  Notice the white entry way to the kitchen because that was a ridiculously awesome project that took us 2 days. I LOVE it!!

This is one wall of my living room. 

The dining to kitchen view.

Sadly I did not get good before pics of the living room because when I took these there was still stuff that did not belong to me in that room. So obviously there was some work to do.Today the kitchen, hall and bathroom are not finished. The rest of the upstairs is ready to live in. The scene last night went a little something like this: Steph walks in the house, closes the glass door, locks both locks on that door, closes the wood door, locks both locks on that door, does the same for the front doors, sets the alarm perimeter, leaves the motion sensor off, goes into bedroom and locks that door too. Sleeps well. Is woken up around 3 with a loud crash outside, pictures being killed in her bed, then falls asleep again and sleeps really well. 

During pics to come. I moved, whatever. I live in my house. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Conversation with Mom

Originally the plan was for me to move the big stuff into my house this last Tuesday. That fell through so the big stuff is going over Saturday morning (starting at 8:30 if you are not busy and want to drop by ... whatever.) So the following conversation, as best as I can remember it, happened earlier this week:

Mom: So are you going to start sleeping at your new house this week?
Steph: Are you crazy?! It is scary over there!
Mom: (pause) What?
Steph: There are a lot of weird noises and stuff. It is straight up scary over there!
Mom looks with a sympathetic look at the crazy that is Steph.
Steph: I do not think I can sleep there the first night without you. Wanna have a sleep over?
Mom: (thinking I am sure that she just wants to get rid of me says in a kind voice) Sure Steph. I can have a sleep over with you.

What would we do without Mom's? Mine is so great. Not only is she going to have a sleep over so I am not scared in my new house, but she has been baby sitting every weekend and many nights so I can have my siblings help me build a house AND one night we were working so hard and what did Mom make for us to drink with dinner? Butter Beer. I ask you ... how great is my Mom? I answer ... SO GREAT! Best. Mom. Ever. (no takebacks!)

By the way, the odd noise I was hearing? My washing machine changing cycles. Straight up scary, boo!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cruel cruel man

I went out for the night Monday with some girlfriends to see the most silly ridiculous disturbing fun show I have seen in a long time (holla Witchapalooza crazies). My brother volunteered to help me with some last minute finishing touches in my house so I can move in this week and was gracious enough to do it alone. So I left him a list of what I would love done: Paint my trim white and assemble my bed. 

Shall we pause for a moment to tell you about this bed? It looks like this sans the bedding:
I have never owned a bed like this. With the exception of when I was a nanny and they had a beautiful bed in my room, I have had a metal frame and mattress though there was a spurt with a waterbed. I don't want to talk about it ...

So it is a pretty bed, it is an expensive bed, and it is my bed! The first bed I have owned on my own bought with my own money ...

Last night I get the following text from Brother: "I think it's going to take 3 coats to get this headboard white and I only have time tonight for 2. Sorry."

I gasped. Audibly gasped when I got it. In fact one of the girls I was with asked who had died and I said that I did a little. I had a very short ride home where I had a little bout with hyperventilation, squeezed L's hand for strength, and decided that it all was alright. It is just a bed, worse things could happen. There are starving children in Africa who do not have a bed. I took a deep breath and walked into my house. 

That punk. He thought that was a funny funny joke! My bed is not painted, it is assembled and beautiful. He said that if he did not hear from me soon, he was going to send a follow up text that said: "Just kidding, it only took 2 coats of paint." Bless his heart. 

So tonight we are going to hang the trim he painted yesterday and move some of my bigger pieces of furniture and then I will just have the small things to load into my house this week and I will be moved in! Before and after pics to come. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Irony ... a Confession

I have been thinking of doing a post about hateful language lately in light of the simpleminded comments of a pastor claiming that Mormon's are not Christian. Which, frankly burns my ... what did they call it the other day in the studio meeting ... sitter bones? I think it was sitter bones. For someone to make a blanket statement against my religion like that made me angry. (Dude, you do not know me. You do not know what or who I believe in.) For the record I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am LDS. I am a Mormon. I am a Christian. If I were doing one of the "I am Mormon" commercials my ending would say something like: I am an actor, director, producer. I am a friend. I am a daughter; a sister; an aunt. Don't tell my Dad but I am a Democrat. My name is Stephanie Johnson and I am a Christian; I am a Mormon. 

The ironic part, and reason for this post, is that last night I could not have used more hateful language toward people I have never met. My baby brother was laid off of his job yesterday. He worked for a company that used to employ 3 of my brothers, my sister, and my sister-in-law. In the last 2 years this company has laid off my SIL, and all three of my brothers (one brother they hired back, then laid off again for good measure.) The only person from my family who still works there, very part time, is Sister. (My spidey sense says she will not be working there long, but on her terms.) Well since they laid off my SIL, Brother was the only one working full time in their family. With him being laid off they have no steady income. I have never been so indignantly mad for someone else. Ever. If I could quote Ralphie "I have since heard of people under extreme duress speaking in strange tongues. I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed." A slew of obscenities and name calling toward the owners of this company issued from my mouth. For about an hour. I actually owe their mothers an apology because they might be really nice women, but I might have inadvertently called them a name in talking about their sons. And I may have questioned the marital status of the mother when the son was birthed. Sufficient to say, it was not pretty. I was mad. Still am. But I digress. If any of the boss's mothers are reading this and can figure out that I am talking about your sons, I am sorry for the names I called you last night. If the bosses are reading this, well I should not have called you names, but I still am not fond of you, your business practices which have caused you to lose money, and I am not fond of you laying off my family and the other hundreds of employees you have had to lay off. 

So here is the real confession. When I get mad I swear, obviously. I use language unbecoming of a lady and a Mormon. Although I would fit in with longshoremen. No I did not drop the big one. But really I was no better in my rash, hurtful language than the pastor (really pastor, that is how you want to be remembered?) who called members of my religion un-Christian and a cult. So last night after I apologized to my Mom and Brother for using horrible language and being truly un-Christian, turned on Christmas music because it always makes me happy, and painted in my house until my body ached ... I realized that my language was no better than the hurtful language of others that directed their bile in my direction. Maybe even worse. I expected my mom to put a bar of soap in my mouth like Ralphie's Mom did. I want to make a blanket statement about society, but know it is not be fair to everyone. I do think that our society in general today has a problem with anger. I know I do, as was evidenced by last night's tirade. I think that the political assaults between politicians has really enraged society. I would love to see a political ad where one politician says "My opponent is a good person, would be/is a great leader, and is doing the best that he/she can do. I just think I would be a better leader because ..." My response yesterday should have been "Pat I am sorry that your bosses do not value all of the employees that they have laid off. You will find better employment, how can I help?" In fact he did find better employment yesterday. It was such a blessing. After I left to go work on my house, he walked to one of my neighbors who is a general contractor and asked if he needed help on his crew. In fact he did, and Pat just happens to be going to school for Construction Management. So he got a job in the field he wants to work in, he is getting paid more than he was at the other job, he did not really like the job he was laid off from, so overall it was a blessing. But I was rash and did not see the positive. I only saw that someone had hurt my family and I lashed out. I fell into the trap of the current society norm spouting ungraceful words at people I do not know, instead of acting like the good person my folks raised me to be and who I normally am. Not helpful. Not right. Not me. I shake my head at me! 

So there is your Thursday confession from me. I think I need to put the rubber band back on my wrist. I flick my wrist every time I swear. It helped me stop once before, because it really hurts!!! (Granted it did give me a cyst that needed to be removed surgically.) So now I need to live up to the titles I listed earlier. I am a friend. I am a daughter; a sister; an aunt. My name is Stephanie Johnson and I am a Christian; I am a Mormon. Now act like it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Purse Sale ... I think

The Busy Bean is being featured on BelleChic tomorrow with a sale on her camera straps, wristlets and wallets. I have all but one of those things and honestly cannot live now without my wristlet. Not only is the fabric the BEST (what child of the 80's does not remember the View-Master?), but it holds little things that used to roll around in the bottom of my purse and get lost. Did I mention she names her purses? The wristlet is Monica, and the wallet ... wait for it ... Stephanie. There is a version of the wallet called Stephanie Anne, the middle name I never had.

Check out the info on The Busy Bean website ... if you dare. Fair warning, she makes super cute things!! Not a fan of View-Finders and green/white stripes? She makes these out of so many types of fabrics. They already are super inexpensive (Monica is usually $15), so I cannot wait to see what this sale looks like. 3 words for you: Early. Christmas. Shopping. 'Nuff said!

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Phone

I got a new phone last week. I held onto my old phone for 4 years, so it was a really old and outdated phone ... as cell phones go. This new phone has a feature where I can push a button, ask a question, and the phone answers me. I am so nervous to use that feature because what if I say something like "I need directions to Vegas" and I stumble upon the nuclear launch codes or something. Mr. Weasley taught me well "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you cannot see where it keeps it brain." Sister thinks it would make a good movie. Challenge accepted, I will write the script from my jail cell.

BTW Squitch, I just laughed out loud writing the word 'script!' I think you know why ... 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Free Concert

These guys played a funeral I went to (yes they put the fun back in funeral!) and I really liked the music. My pal Paige is in it, and by golly, this should be a fun night. I wish I could make it, but alas ...

Friday, October 7, 2011


Sister spent the night at our house last night with her girls as her hub is on a business trip. This morning she left for a quilt thing, because she enjoys that sort of thing. So Mom and I were getting the girls ready for the day. Mom was putting LoMo's "so pretties" in her hair and Mac was hungry. When asked what she wanted for breakfast she replied "Ta-tow!" She pointed to a nice basket of tomatoes as Sister was leaving, so Sister helped her pick out a nice tomato to eat for breakfast. She chose a juicy tomato and was mad at me that I would not let her eat it right away ... I saw some potential mess vs jammies ratio. So I dug up a bib for her to wear. Well Mac is 2 ... and she does 2 very well!! She would not put on the one I picked ... like I said ... she is 2. We finally agreed on a bib, after much crying ... from me. She was sitting on the counter at this point and she went to town on that tomato. She would take a bite, show me her tomato, and say "ta-tow!" So I did what any good aunt would do: I grabbed Mom's phone to take photos so I could post on my blog.

Breakfast of champions! See what I meant about mess vs jammies potential? I could eat this girl's cheeks ... and frankly I do sometimes. I ended up with some seeds on my shirt; and more to my surprise than anyone else, I did not change my shirt before I came to work. Growing as a person!

So put away your cold cereal, your toast and eggs, or your bagel with lox ... the new breakfast craze sweeping ... well my house ... is ta-tows. Recipe? Oh that is easy, grab a tomato and bib, hoist your pockets up on the counter, and chow!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Questions of the Day ... That Need No Answers

Why does going to the dentist suck even if you have no cavities?

Why does a cackle laugh annoy me when anyone but Bert and Ernie does it?

Is it wrong, as a person who hates surprises, to be planning a surprise for someone else?

Is it wrong to celebrate loosing 8 pounds last week if I did it because I had a stomach bug?

How cool is Ben Davis? Follow up question: Could he be more inspiring? Follow up question: I wonder why he weighs in with one sock on his right foot?

Could stripping wallpaper suck any more?

Could my Mom be more annoyed that I just used the word 'suck' twice this post?

How annoying is to ALWAYS loose at Words with Friends to the same people?

Could Grey's Anatomy be any cooler and slightly more inappropriate for this young LDS woman?

How much does paying a mortgage and not living in the house suck? (rhetorical, it sucks SO much)

Could I love ambien any more right now?

How sad am I that I had to give up teaching Musical Dance Theater classes?

Could I be more sick of eating chicken soup? Follow up question: How great is Jello?

How timely is the release of the new iPhone? (My old phone is dying a not so slow death. Upgrade)

How much did I snort when I logged on to FB today and saw a wall post from a teenager that said "Who is Steve Jobs?"

How old do I feel that the boys I nannied for are now a senior and freshman in college?

Who has two thumbs and is excited to paint this weekend?!?! (This girl)

Who is asking too many questions today?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The one where I show sweat equity

This is what I looked like at the end of the night last night. See that wallpaper in the background? It's coming down too like the paper I tackled last night in the closet. (By closet I mean the second bedroom upstairs that I will be transforming into my closet/gym/office.) The shirt? Why thank you for asking. Besty gave it to me for Christmas. I cannot wear it out in public because for some reason people get mad about it. It says Team Edward or Jacob? Team Shut the Frak Up! Those Twihards? They will cut you!

My favorite part of this pic is the sweat ring on the bandana I stole from Sister (technically she left it when she moved out) and shirt collar. What this pic does not show is the excess of dust on my legs and feet. I was sanding a layer of paper down so I can texture the wall. Sanding paper, you say? Why yes, because after stripping it down to the lowest layer it is easier to sand the final paper backing than it is to scrape it off. Then I'll prime that paper layer as if it were the top layer of sheet rock. Stripping that last layer often will strip the paper of the sheet rock too. Why? It is not primed.

Here is a tip to anyone I cannot convince to NEVER put wallpaper up in your house: Before you put the wallpaper up prime the sheet rock so that when you want to strip it off it is easier to do so. OR NEVER put wallpaper up in your house!

The one where I take over my sister's blog

No secret here my sister Colleen is super talented. I have referenced this many MANY times. I am not so much with the sewing talented, but excel with other talents ... come on, you know it is true! Well once upon a time I told Sister that I wanted to be a guest blogger on her sewing site. Paused for her laughter which never came. Last night it happened. I am a guest blogger on her site with a sewing project so easy even I can do it ... with her help.

So if you please, take a stroll on over to The Busy Bean blog and check out the post: Denim Skirt From Pants Tutorial. Excuse the lack of nail polish on my toes or the crazy hunchback pick with my tongue hanging out all over the place. (That is really the only way I can sew ... Michael Jordan style sewing.)