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.