Monday, February 28, 2011

this was my weekend. not much happened.

there was a long list of things i briefly considered doing this weekend. but then i decided that it had been a while since i spent quality time with both my bed and my netflix account, so i caught up with them instead.

and it was heavenly.

i can very safely say that my mattress is probably the best money i have ever spent in my life.

as for movies, i watched "this is it," the michael jackson documentary, which really made me wish he hadn't died before we got to see the final show. and i watched "big night," a total gem of an old(ish) movie with stanley tucci and tony shaloub as italian immigrant brothers with hilarious accents and english-as-a-second-language mix-ups.

and then (you didn't think i was done, did you?), AWD and i finally finished "munich" (my second time, his first, still depressing either way) and then lifted our down-trodden spirits with a repeat viewing of "stardust," which was so much funnier and so much better than i remembered.

i did get it together for long enough to make it to the grocery store on saturday morning, which meant that we had a delicious sunday pot roast and mashed potatoes for dinner.

and then, don't worry, i got back to doing nothing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the big rock candy mountains

it was a long weekend trip to denver that would make a president proud.

(get it? because it was president's day.)

there were several new additions to the johnson homestead, including a fancy new mac for papa bear, a fancy (and humongous) new TV with surround sound for mama bear (we tested it out with a screening of "live free or die hard" one of the mama bear's favorites) and for baby bear (that's me!), AWD, who visited the homestead for the first time and did a great job.

we spent saturday morning at garden of the gods. it looks like this.

then we headed to manitou springs for some lunch and a post-lunch stroll, complete with samples from several of the mineral springs around town. (they all tasted the same to me, but oh well.) and then the sky got gray and it started to dump rain, but not before this happy detour.

saturday night was dinner with perennial denver favorites, steve and sarah, where steve wowed us all by drinking a large number of diet cokes. some say it was five, some say it was seven. and we'll probably never know.

sunday was churching and eating. it was all very spiritual and delicious, especially papa bear's sour dough pancakes. those things are the best.

monday we headed to the aquarium, which has both fish and tigers. the mermaid show, however, was a total let-down.

and tuesday, back to d.c. we came.

compared to the last time i tried to go to home for the weekend, i would say it was pretty much a success.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

huffington post(ed)

remember when i was famous because i was in the salt lake tribune?

well, now i am the kind of famous that gets quoted in the huffington post.

sure, it's the same quotes, but this is a whole new platform, and i have been brainstorming all kinds of ways i can turn it into true fame and fortune.

suggestions are welcome.

Friday, February 18, 2011

well, nuts

when describing a scene of total chaos and disorganization, my co-worker smack always says, "this is squirrel city!" which basically means to say that whatever is going on is so out of control it is as if squirrels are running the show.

(at this point it is sort of fun to close your eyes and imagine what a city run by squirrels would look like. little squirrel mayor at the podium giving a press conference? check. little teenage squirrels wearing baggy pants and working at the mall? check. super stressed out businessman squirrels running around in ties. check and check.)

well, i am somewhat sad to report that EH and i have squirrel city in our attic. literally. as in, there is a nest of squirrels living up there.

it came to our attention late last week when i came home from work and saw the back-end of a squirrel hanging out of a hole in the front of our house, just under the eave. and then all of a sudden i heard a terrible screeching noise and a bunch of clawing and i realized that squirrel was having a fight (turf war? nut deal gone bad?) with something that was clearly living up there. up there being our attic, directly above my bedroom ceiling.

long story short, we called some people, who confirmed there is a squirrel nest in our attic. they're coming on monday to set some traps (yuck) and get the squirrels out of there so they can patch up the hole.

on the one hand, it is sort of fun to imagine a fully functioning squirrel city right above our heads. (i wonder if they have a newspaper?) on the other hand, i am totally terrified that one of them is going to somehow come crashing through the ceiling and right onto my face while i am taking a nap or catching up on celebrity gossip. so i guess getting rid of them is the right thing to do.

and so, to dull the pain of destroying squirrel city, i have decided to go to denver for the long weekend. (just kidding about the first part of that sentence, but true story about the second.) i am planning on eating a lot of my mom's cooking, watching movies on my parents' new and apparently enormous television and sleeping in, squirrel- and fear-free.

a happy president's day to you, my babies! i hope you live it up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

never say never

something happened to me yesterday and there is no good (as in non-embarrassing) way to explain it so i am just going to come right out and tell you the truth.

i spent the whole day yesterday listening to justin bieber.

then smack and i watched this week's episode of "glee" with sam evans and his one-man band, the justin bieber experience.

then i made smack watch the music video for "baby" while i sang along and attempted the dance moves.

(sidenote: they are harder than they look.)

then i made AWD watch all the bieber music videos we could find on youtube while i sang along and attempted the dance moves.

(sidenote: they were still hard.)

(sidenote: AWD still likes me.)

i woke up this morning with that same pit of shame in my stomach similar to the kind i assume people feel after a one-night stand or a dog fight.

and yet, i still hear the siren call.




someone help me.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

single white mormon

allow me to return, if i may, to my recent brush with fame.

it all started with this article in the new york times.

i read it, and then i read some responses in the mormon blogosphere, namely the responses found here and here.

and then, just as i was brainstorming a blogosphere response of my own, intrepid salt lake tribune religion report peggy fletcher stack (who is also intrepid first-cousin-once-removed peggy fletcher stack) called and asked if she could interview me for her story about the story. you can enjoy my pearls of wisdom here.

but, there are a few more things i'd like to say. and so i will say them now.

for one. relationships are about more than sex. i feel like we, as mormons, get totally fixated on sex because we aren't having it (before we're married, that is) and we assume that everyone else around us is having it, and so sex becomes the thing that we strive for, the light at the end of the long abstinence tunnel. we are not fully formed, real people until we have sex, we think, and so our relationships and we ourselves cannot be complete without it.

when the truth is that relationships of all kinds are about an infinite number of things, all of which are well within your grasp whether you are having sex or not, including patience and charity and forgiveness and compromise and emotional connectedness and selflessness and giving and taking and learning and teaching.

and, though i have no personal experience on this end of the equation, i would imagine that these are the things that are most important in relationships that do include sex, too. sex isn't the thing that is magically going to turn us into the people we want to be. but treating people with care and respect and tolerance just might.

for two. chastity is about more than sex, or the lack thereof. i was at a temple wedding a year or so ago where the officiator talked about chastity in the context of the marriage relationship. surely, he said, complete physical fidelity is required between a husband and a wife. but, more than that, chastity and fidelity mean never putting your spouse in a bad light for your own gain, never talking down to them or badly about them, never spotlighting their weaknesses, never belittling or betraying trust. i loved this description of chastity. it is about honoring people, physically and otherwise. and i frankly can't see why anyone would think that was a value not worth keeping.

for three. in my opinion, anyone who is willing to leave the church over nothing more than sex before marriage is missing the whole point, the whole essence, the whole magic and blessing of the gospel.

i once heard someone describe it like this.

we should imagine our experience in the gospel, the components of our testimonies and belief as items on a scale, the good or the blessings or the benefits on one side and the bad or the confusing and the unbearable on the other. as long as the good outweighs the bad, the actively participating in the church is worth it. as soon as the bad outweighs the good, maybe it is time to reconsider.

in my personal experience, for all the frustrations and questions i have had about the church, they have never weighed more than the unending blessings the church has given me. and i just cannot imagine that sex, when weighted against the gifts of the gospel, would ever come out on top. unless someone was missing the gifts of the gospel entirely.

of course it is hard and frustrating and sometimes embarrassing (see my last epistle on chastity here) but i still maintain that it is totally, completely, 100 percent worth it and i am going to stay in the fight until the bitter end. because i know that end will not be bitter at all, but oh so sweet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

lovers in japan

here is the story of my worst valentine's day ever.

my freshman year (of college) boyfriend handed me a dead (yes, dead) rose at 11:58 on valentine's day 2000 and said, "sorry, i forgot. happy valentine's day. i guess."

i wish i could tell you that i broke up with him right then and there but i didn't. lessons learned, my babies, lessons learned.

here are some stories of my favorite valentine's days.

one year robin and jane and shaunna and i watched the epically long BBC version of "pride and prejudice." we swooned.

one year sarita bonita and i made the world's largest batch of cinnamon rolls and watched olympic figure skating.

one year a bunch of us drove down to provo to watch the banff mountain film festival at UVSC and spent the whole night making eyes at all the adorable provo hipsters. i can't remember this part for sure, but we might have stopped at the wendy's drive-thru on our way home.

this year i came downstairs yesterday morning to find AWD sitting at my table with a bunch of tulips and a beautiful breakfast all laid out.

then i came home from work to find my room filled with daisies and other adorable-ness.

then we had the most delicious dinner at founding farmers, where i have wanted to go for-ever. i had lobster mac n' cheese. you should go to founding farmers and have it some time, too.

then we went back to AWD's, where he was surprised with a homemade (and marbled!) angel food cake (his favorite!) and a valentine's day mix CD, which i realize makes me seem like i am 12 and makes you want to throw up, but i did it anyway.

i won't tell you what we did for the rest of the night because then you'll really want to barf. plus my parents read this blog.

to sum up, it was all better than a dead rose. and all of our breaking-and-entering and surprise planting went off without a hitch, thanks to the guidance and intervention of our various roommates and upstairs neighbors. i think we owe them ice cream sundaes.

EH and i also did some valentine's celebrating over the weekend with a girls-only brunch (yes, those are heart-shaped homemade donuts you see, plus frozen hot chocolate) and a screening of "sabrina" at the AFI theater in silver spring.

and now the only thing left is to eat the pounds of candy and dozens of cupcakes around our house and to tell you, my babies, that i love you truly. truly, i do.

Friday, February 11, 2011

friday i'm in love

to celebrate the arrival of friday i decided to be quoted in the salt lake tribune. hello, fame. nice to see you.

i have a lot more to tell you on that particular topic (the topic of the article, not the topic of fame) but that is going to have to wait.

because i am also celebrating the arrival of friday with a trip to see the ballet "giselle" at the kennedy center. (thanks, AWD!)

and celebrations will continue tomorrow with a girls-only valentine's day brunch (heart-shaped homemade donuts anyone?) and a screening of "sabrina" at the AFI theater.

so, as you can see, the life of a local celebrity is rather busy.

i hope you have a splendid weekend, too, my babies. see you soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

blow this house down

i will confess i've been a little jealous of all the dramatic winter weather that has been happening pretty much everywhere but here. (well, maybe here and madagascar.) our winter weather has definitely been over-promising and under-delivering (except for the one time it canceled my flight), which is a tragedy because bad winter weather here means you can work from home for a day or sometimes a week, and that is the exact opposite of a tragedy. it is a miracle. and my one true love.

the best we've done is a big wind storm. but it wasn't a total loss, because this particular wind storm did have a dramatic result. hurrah! EH and i heard this awful banging noise outside all night long. it definitely sounded like something was hitting repeatedly against the side of our house but we could not figure out what it was. until we went out the next morning and saw this.

turns out what was hitting repeatedly against the side of our house was the side of our house. go figure.

so, dramatic weather-related incident? sure. but something you can take a day (week) off work for? not even close.

winter weather, you still owe me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

hearts away

we had a valentine's-themed family home evening last night, and i can safely say it was a rousing success.

i started us off with a lesson about charity (because what else would we talk about at a valentine's-themed family home evening?) including this quote from president monson, which i absolutely love (and not just because it's almost valentine's day). it goes like this:

"I consider charity-- or "the pure love of Christ"-- to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the kind of charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient towards their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere."

did i mention how much i love this quote? i love it because this is the kind of charity i would like to have, the kind that does not judge or criticize. and i love it because this is the kind of charity that has been shown to me, the kind that is lenient and forgiving. i have been so blessed, as i have fumbled through my own progression, with friends and family who have patiently let me keep trying. i am very grateful for that, and for them.

after the lesson, we ate shortbread cookies (mama hellewell's recipe!) and decorated boxes to hold the valentine cards we made for each other. (and yes, AWD labeled his "the love box." i nearly died laughing.)

laura and robert entertained us all the while with the tale of their first meeting, courtship, engagement and marriage, as well as with their slightly risque valentines for one another. if you think that we are almost more adorable than you can stand, you are probably right.

Monday, February 7, 2011

dear monday, i would expect nothing less

because i am working between two offices these days, which means carrying my laptop and a bunch of papers home every night, i finally invested in a fancy laptop backpack so i could just carry everything in one place, instead of hauling a purse, a flimsy computer bag and an armful of documents around wherever i went.

as it turns out, this is a brilliant system until the weekend comes and i take my wallet out of my work backpack and put it in whatever purse i am carrying around for saturday and sunday and then forget to put it back into my backpack on monday morning.

crisis averted, though, because i convinced paul to buy me lunch.

but, actually, it was just crisis postponed until the end of the day when i was skipping off to the parking garage and it suddenly hit me that i can't get my car out of the garage without a credit card to pay the parking fee. and my credit card is in my wallet. which is in the purse i took to church on sunday. which is at my house.

luckily i had my metro card with me today so i just took the metro home and then AWD drove me back to the office later tonight to rescue my car. it was the only car in the whole, giant parking garage. it looked so lonely.

and that, my babies, is pretty much a monday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

like button

i didn't care much for "the social network" but i sure did like jesse eisenberg's opening monologue on "saturday night live."

a freight train of confidence, indeed!

(call me!)

but what is up with mark zuckerberg's goofy robot grin at the camera every time he finishes a line? it's a little bit endearing, i guess, but i don't think he should quit his day job.

unless, of course, he wants to turn over his day job, and the $50 billion that goes with it, to me.

(call me!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

what a crock

my hopes were high that a much-hyped ice storm would hit last night and force us to work from home ( today but, alas, there was no commuting treachery this morning and so off to the real office i went.


the day was not a total bust, though, because i made delicious pork chops for dinner in my new crock pot. this was my second crock pot outing and i have to say, i am a convert. i love coming home to something ready to eat, plus my house smells delicious as soon as i open the door, plus my crock pot is a delightful shade of red, plus using it makes me feel like a real grown-up. and saves me from eating cookies for dinner, which is something a real grown-up would never do.

if any of you are feeling the itch to do something nice for me, you could send me one of your favorite crock pot recipes. or you could pray that a work-from-home ice storm hits tonight, instead. either one will do.