Friday, December 28, 2007

Only 362 days until CHRISTMAS!!!!

So Christmas is over now, I guess. it didn't really feel much like Christmas, I didn't think. probably because every other Christmas of my life I've been in Nowhere Minnesota to celebrate it with my extended family. this year, however, Nikki and I were able (somehow) to beg and scrape and plead with my parents to let us have Christmas at our house instead.

I love being at my grandparents' house, but it's really really not relaxing at all. all ten of us cram into two, two bedroom houses for two weeks with other random family and friends popping in (uninvited, usually) at all hours of the day with all their kids and pets and there's really never a moment of silence or peace anywhere, unless you take the 4-wheeler out for a drive into the woods. the problem with that is if you stay out for more than 20 minutes, either Grandma calls Search and Rescue or you catch pneumonia from prolonged exposure to Minnesota's sub-zero temperatures. so I'm sure you can see why Nikki and I asked/pleaded/begged on our hands and knees to have Christmas at our house.

Anyway. we got our way. it's funny, cause usually if Nikki and I join forces and team up on our parents, we get what we want. the only thing I can think of that we never got was a cat. oh, and a horse. we wanted those and asked and asked and asked but never got 'em. but I'm not bitter. I'm not upset that my dad would never let me have a cat, even though it was my favorite animal ever and I even found a nice cute stray white one that had no home. I'm not angry that he chased it off the property, that he hated it just because it was missing an eye! can you believe that?! the cat is missing an eye and he can't have some compassion on it! you cruel, cruel man!! pfft. really. I'm not bitter. anyways. where was I? right, I remember now. and now Christmas is over and, once again, it doesn't feel like it happened at all. kinda like I slept for three days and just woke up and all I've got are a few sketchy memories of Christmas.

I've also been staying in Nikki's room, since mine has been inhabited by my grandparents who came to spend Christmas with us. I sleep on the floor, which didn't bother me for the first few nights. but as the week wore on it really started to bum me out. but thankfully, Nikki, probably because she doesn't have a job or school, habitually stays up into the early morning hours like I do, so I haven't had to adjust my sleep schedule at all! :D (hence, me writing this at 1 a.m.) It's been really fun, in fact, to be in Nikki's room. we don't really talk all that much beyond the occasional "Hey, do you know what Mom's making for supper tonight?" or "Can you move your car so I can get out of the driveway, please?" or "Hurry up in there!". but since moving my abode into hers, we've had quite a few good times and laughs. it gets a little tense, though, since I'm a naturally messy person and she's a natural neat-freak, but I've been trying to be better while I live in her room (really, Nikki, I am trying! I'm sorry about leaving my clothes on your bed, okay? I'm sorry. so sorry.)

So anyways, I'm bored with this so I'm gonna end it right here. Merry Late Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Okay, so my car has been in its dark and lonely tomb (or perhaps more commonly known as the garage) for almost a week. because of the ridiculous number of people living at my house nowadays, and the ridiculous number of them who own cars, there are usually about three in the driveway, two on the street, and one in the tomb. so whichever lucky car gets nominated as the least important one and stuffed into the tomb is also the lucky car that can only escape if all the other cars are gone from the driveway or parked far enough back (which rarely happens). it was so sad, not being able to take Snoopy out for a drive or to work or wherever else I needed to go. oh, there was always somebody else's car to use...but it's not the same. cause then you have to fix the steering wheel and the seat and the mirrors and it's just a big pain. oh, and all the radio presets are all messed up and you cant find your favorite radio station.

So anyways. today I had no work and school is over (hallelujah) so I was so excited about doing nothing at all, or at least doing whatever I felt like. and so I decided on going to the mall to finish my Christmas shopping. I look outside and sure enough, my car is still trapped inside the garage. mom says not to worry, just take her car. no, I had had enough. I wanted Snoopy, and I wanted him now. I would not wait another day to free him from his prison. I even went through the pain and toil of moving Nikki's car, a half dozen 2x4s that were stacked behind my car, as well as the snow blower. I never knew snow blowers were so heavy! was all I could do to move that thing. but finally, finally, after a week being in the tomb, Snoopy was free and we were tearing down 70th street, having a jolly good time.

So that evening when I came home, I was very tired (I'd been shopping all day...but be proud of me, I got all my shopping done!) and was anxious to get home. and it was like, all of a sudden, everything was perfect. the slight vibrations of the car were perfectly in sync with the rhythm of the music pumping through the speakers. and then (magically, I'm sure of it) this awesome song comes on the radio with just enough guitar and drums (and a piano), sung by some guy I don't know (but he had an awesome voice), and the song was about loving thunder and rain.

It was so neat...I was coasting at like, 50 mph on deserted streets at night listening to an awesome song in an awesome car. it was perfect. I didn't want it to end. I came to the place to turn to go home, and whoops...did I pass it? darn. gotta go the looooong way home. blast. I hate it when that happens. *turns up music*

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow...but let's skip the driving part and just sit inside and watch it.

I love snow. I've always loved snow, forever. I will always love snow, forever. snow will always be my favorite thing, forever and ever. BUT (you know there was one coming) I never really respected snow before today. it was just something fun to play in and eat, in my younger years (younger years being the last time it snowed), but I never really said, "Snow, I respect you. you are so cold and beautiful and deliciously dangerous." and I still haven't said it...but I thought it many times today.

So there I was. it was about ten minutes to nine o'clock in the morning and I was frantically grabbing my bookbag, filling up my Broncos travel mug with that fabulous black stuff and running to the front door. I was delighted at the fact that we were getting a heavy dose of snow, and about time, too. I had been ready for snow since march.

My mother, being, of course, a mother, reminded me to put on my coat (yes, my mother still has to tell me to put on my coat, not because I forget, but because I hate coats with a deep and burning passion), to "have fun" at school (poor mom...ignorance is bliss), and gave me a ten minute talk about safely driving in the snow (this would mark the very first time I've ever driven in the snow), which I involuntarily tuned out. so mesmerized was I at the beauty of the falling snow that I actually managed to not hear a single word of what she was telling me.

And so, with a wave of the hand and a yawn and a simple, "Yeah, yeah." to my mother, I left the house and pranced blissfully through the snow (about two inches by now) to my car, Snoopy. it was going to be a fabulous day.

So, Snoopy and I haven't been on the best of terms lately. we've both said some things to each other that we regret, and so our relationship had become rather stressed. "Going to be good today?" I asked him once I sat down in the front seat. funny thing about Snoopy...he'll talk before and after I put it into Drive, but never while I'm driving. weird.
"Like always." he snapped back.
"Stop talking back. you don't even have a brain."
"You don't have an engine."
"Touché." I quickly put the car into drive to make him shut up. nothing can put you down faster than your car getting the better of you in a battle of wits.

Well, to make a very long story not quite as long, I slipped and slided...slid...slidded? well, I did that the whole way to school, and all the way back, just hoping I was actually in a lane, and not in both lanes or driving through some person's backyard. I pretty much just picked a car and followed it, hoping that he was not as much an amateur of snow driving as I. but Snoopy did a very good job of keeping us on the road. thanks, Snoop. you're not so bad after all.

And tonight (my day just keeps getting more and more exciting) as I was driving off to work, I rounded a corner not two blocks from my house, fishtailed big time (seriously, like half-circles) for about half a block, and then somehow ended up in somebody's front yard for real. luckily for me, though, the people did not seem to be home, the number of people gawking at the scene were few, and I had been going almost 20 mph, so the momentum carried me safely back onto the street where I continued on my merry way. after the shock and utter terror faded, I realized that it had been awesome. on my way home from work later tonight I slowed down and pointed at the tracks I had made in the person's yard and let out a merry laugh. what fun. then I got going too fast (again) and started to slid sideways down the street thinking, "Um, yeah, so my steering is gone and my breaks are out, I guess." this continued for half a block until I arrived at my house and finally got the car stopped in a safe location, my nerves all but irreparable. yes, very awesome indeed. not bad for my first time driving in the snow, eh?

I've learned something very, very important today: Snoopy has serious thrill issues.

Friday, November 30, 2007

You Speak Love

You Speak Love
Dedicated to my Father God, for speaking all the words I needed to hear and putting my fears at rest.

The uncertainty of this decision
Weighs on heart and mind
Fear and doubt attack me
As I find myself flying blind

My courage starts to falter
My heart begins to cower
The fears that are attacking me
I cannot overpower

What will your reaction be
When I tell you about this possible profession?
Will you laugh it off like it’s a joke?
Will you tell me it’s out of the question?

My mind runs through the infinate list
Of possibilities
I’m frightened, even terrified
My mind will not appease

Suddenly, I heard You speak
Your voice like a gentle caress
The words You speak are wonderful
And obliterate my distress

You speak courage to take a stand
You speak faith to do what’s right
You speak bravery to forsake the plan
You speak encouragement to be a light
You speak peace to obey Your words
You speak strength to go against the flow
You speak the joy of obedience
You speak trust to get up and go
You speak honor
You speak hope
You speak grace

Oh, God, You speak love.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Like I've said before, it's great having Nikki and Jim back home, but it's been a few months now, and things were beginning to get pretty cramped. did you catch that? I said I were getting cramped. no, they haven't moved out yet. not really, anyway. Dad, Nikki, Jim, Justin and Kelsey have made their own journey to Minnesota, very much alike the one I took not so long ago. only this time, I am the one left behind to kick back and spread out a little. it's true, you guys. silence really is golden.

Of course, I'm not getting too much silence anyways, because Nikki, Jim and Dad weren't really making all that much noise in the first place. it's just a lot less tight in the house. not so much bumping into people going up and down the stairs or waiting behind three people for your turn in the shower or yelling at your older sister to move her car so you can get out of the driveway. I'm still trying to think up a way to get rid of the little noise monsters that I'm listening to right now, but when I do I'll finally be able to die happy.

The plan, last I heard, is that they're coming back Tuesday. So I only have two more days of vacation left before all the glory ends. how sad.

Oh, and does anybody see the logic of Black Friday?? I don't. what makes a person get out of bed at three o'clock in the morning to shop for sales that go until two in the afternoon?? I just don't get it. good thing I don't care about sales.

Welp, I'm gonna get back to my relaxing, relish what little bit remains of my Thanksgiving break, and take advantage of the elbow room while it lasts. toodles.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Night She Couldn't Sleep

Why does this always happen to me? I'm sitting here on my window seat staring at the gigantic tree outside my window that obscures my view of everything else outside (man, I hate that tree), listening only to the quiet hum of the fan inside my computer, feeling bored, useless, pessimistic and anything but tired. it's 1:15 in the morning and tomorrow I have to get up early.

Why, oh why, does this always happen to me?

When I want to sleep, I can't, and when I want to stay awake, I fall asleep. I hate that. well, I think I'll just go chug some nyquil. I need to do that anyway; this cold is bringing me down. I dont even think nyquil does anything for cold symptoms. I'm pretty sure it's only good for getting yourself to sleep. that's the only reason I drink it, anyway. cause I always wake up the next morning and my cold is still the same. has anybody else noticed this?

Wow. Nyquil is really gross. the stuff I just took was dark green and tasted like black licorice. I know it puts you to sleep like a baby, but why, oh why, do the have to make it taste so insanely repulsive?? You'd think they could do a better job somehow, if they really tried, cause you really cant get any worse than that stuff. why else do they make the little cup look like a shot glass? you gotta down it real fast, and then drink a little water, but not too much because that will dilute the alcohol amount and keep you from sleeping as fast or as hard. I know you're first impulse is to drink the Mississippi river to get the horrible taste out of your mouth, but resist the urge and you shall reap the benefits.

Now there's nothing to do but wait for it to take effect. I took mine a few minutes ago, so I'm guessing I've got less than five minutes to say my final good bye before I involuntarily fall into a nyquil coma.

So bye, all you guys. thanks for reading my Sunday morning madness. it made me remember to take my nyquil. much obliged. oh dear. it's happening sooner than expected. I'm starting to drool on my pillow and my eyelids are starting to sag and my hands are typing slower and slower...can't hold on...much...lon...ger...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Like Pretty Colors, Okay?!

Yes, I changed some colors around and none of it matches, probably, but I was getting sick and tired of the same old colors and I LIKE it this way. so you're all just gonna have to shut up and deal with it!!

Thank you, and have a nice day. :)


Friday, November 9, 2007


So for those of you who don't know, my computer can be pretty unruly. I swear, it's got a mind of its own. other than the fact that I know nothing at all about computers, I can't think of a reason for the hostility against me. think I'm lying? this is an actual conversation that took place between us a little while ago.

Me: "Hey, wake up."
Lappy: "What do you want, fool? I was trying to hibernate!"
Me: "I need your help with something."
Lappy: "Gee, that's a surprise. learn to do things by yourself for a change. maybe then I could get a decent sleep."
Me: "Look, Lappy, nothing personal, but you pretty much belong to me."
Lappy: "Oh? I don't remember signing my life away, especially to the likes of you! I doubt you even know the difference between hard drive and a microprocessor!"
Me: "I think somebody woke up on the wrong side of the microprocessor."
Lappy: "Leave me alone, okay? I think I have a virus."
Me: "No you don't. I did a scan."
Lappy: "Curse you, Norton!"
Me: "C'mon, Lappy. I just need to write a paper."
Lappy: "The pioneers didn't have computers. I wonder how they wrote their papers. Hmmm?"
Me: "And look where it got them. they're all dead now."
Lappy: "At least plug me in or something. working without being plugged in is so draining."
Me: "I've had enough of your lip. just bring up Microsoft Word."
Lappy: "Microsoft Word?! The Dark Ages are over, genius."
Me: "Bring it up!!"
Lappy: "Okay, fine. if you want to live like a caveman, that's your prerogative."
Me: "There's my paper. what do you think?"
Lappy: "Oh my...please tell me this is the draft before the draft before the draft before the first draft."
Me: "'s my final draft."
Lappy: "I think I'm gonna be sick."
Me: "Stop being so melodramatic."
Lappy: "Wow, Jo, that's a big word. don't hurt yourself."
Me: "I don't know why you're in such a bad mood. I've only ever been more than fair to you. who was the one who wrapped you in her own sweatshirt when it was thirty-five degrees out so you wouldn't get wet?"
Lappy: ""
Me: "That's right. And I'm also the one who gave you a name and never lets food or drink come near you and filled you with awesome music."
Lappy: "Yeah, well you also lost me for a week under a mountain of dirty clothes and offered to trade me for your grandparents' computer. so much for loyalty."
Me: "Have you seen my grandparents' computer?"
Lappy: "That's not the point. from this point on, I wash my pixels of you."

So you see, this is just another shining example that I am slowly but surely, going insane. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nowhere: Part 3


So there I was. bumping up and down on the 4-wheeler behind my grandpa. it was late afternoon, but the temperature was already in the thirties and dropping fast. I was dressed in many layers of warm clothing, but my favorite by far was my parka. well, actually, it's my dad's gray military-issued parka. it's like, ten pounds all by itself, with a gigantic hood with some sort of white fur around the edge. for those of you who don't know, whatever the military issues is guaranteed to be durable, excessively big, and very warm, so it was ideal for hunting.

I stared into the woods as we drove through the tiny trail that weaved through the trees on my way to my stand. they looked eerie and mysterious, like they were hiding a deep secret or concealing a terrible enemy.

I climbed into my stand and sat there, shivering beneath my parka, waiting. dainty little snowflakes tinkled down from the sky. Grandpa had said we were in for "weather" but this wasn't bad at all. a few snowflakes couldn't bother me. in that moment of forgetfulness, I forgot that this was northern Minnesota...when they say "weather", they mean "WEATHER".

So a few minutes go by, when I see this...well it looked like a wave. a wall of snowflakes. I noticed it when it was about two-hundred yards away. a blizzard coming at me like a tidal wave. and it came closer and closer...when I realized that this wasn't just a gust of wind that would die down...this was a STORM! I almost yelled, "BRACE FOR IMPACT!!!" but then I remembered...oh's just snow.

Then it hit. I closed my eyes and held on for dear life as my deer stand was blown to and fro. snow blew into my face and down my neck and into the scope of my gun, which I had forgotten to cover. oops. all visibility was gone...I couldn't even see the ground under my stand. I put my head down to my lap, completely shielding myself with my parka and just praying the snow would stop so I could see outside and continue hunting.

After about half an hour of blizzard, I put my head back up. it was still coming down really hard, but I could now see part of the trail, which was now completely covered in snow. slowly, the storm subsides, until it is just a small trickle of snowflakes. then the sun poked out of the clouds and shined on the falling snow. wow. that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. the sun reflecting on a thousand snowflakes at was awesome.

Anyways, the storm is gone, and I'm sitting there hearing gunshots of the hunters in all directions, but I'm still seeing no deer. the sun goes lower and lower, until it's lost in the trees. I've still seen no deer. by now, my main motivation is that I don't want to have to get up at 4 a.m. again tomorrow morning, so I want a deer really, really badly.

Nightfall, the end of legal shooting time, is around 5:30 up here, and at that point I was guessing the time to be about 5:25...when she stepped out of the woods about 150 yards in front of me. a doe. at this point, I wanted whatever I could get. I hesitated only a moment, wondering if I was still within the legal shooting time. I shrug. whatever. I knew I could still see her, so it was a safe shot, and that's all that mattered. I put up my gun and peek through the scope. my thumb clicks the safety. now if I pulled the trigger, it would fire.

I lined up the cross hairs where I wanted them. no shakes this time. I wanted that deer, and she was oblivious to my presence. she stops walking, stopping in the middle of the trail. she puts her head up and looks toward where I sit. I pull the trigger. a loud and familiar boom echoes through the woods and an orange burst of flame goes out the end of the 25.6 rifle as the bullet exits the barrel at lightning speed. I felt the familiar tingles of excitement, my heart throbbing in my ears, adrenaline pumping through my body. I think it's the most amazing feeling ever.

My vision clears and I look down the trail, trying to spot my doe. she's still there, whether laying dead on the trail or simply standing there wondering what that noise was, it was too dark to tell. I decide she's probably laying dead. or maybe I was just hoping she was. I didn't think I could've was a good shot. so I climb down the ladder, gun in hand, and make my way toward her. I would've waited in my stand like I always do, but I didn't want Grandpa to run over her with the 4-wheeler. I get to where she's laying, and sure enough, deader than a doornail. one bullet knocked her off her feet in an instant. it's the first time I've ever done that.

So apparently, according to Grandpa, my doe is pretty big. "a dandy" he says. which is lucky for me...I can never tell how big a deer is just by looking at it. so we got it back to the house and got it gutted (which Mary described as "a disgusting experience"), and now it's hanging in Grandpa's shed. I told my cousin Brock, it looks like we're a bunch of serial killers or something...we've got four dead animals hanging by their necks from the ceiling, a bunch of scary-looking tools hanging on the walls, blood all over the floor, animal legs and heads scattered all over the place...which is all totally just looks like we're a bunch of murderers or something.

Anyways. this is my last blog until I get back. we make the journey home tomorrow (not through the night this time, whew!). so anyway. thanks to all you who read the Adventures of Jo's Hunting Extravaganza!! see all you blokes when I get back!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nowhere: Part 2

Still up here in Nowhere. day...what is it...three? three. I think. that whole driving-all-night thing along with the extra hour really whacked me up. I'm pretty sure it's day three of Jo's Hunting Extravaganza. It's snowing right now...woohoo! snow is always a good thing while hunting. speaking of hunting, I haven't killed anything yet. time is ticking away...I need to get one in the next two days, people. oh, and the "big buck" idea is gone...all the bucks are being party-poopers and hiding all day. so from now on I'm going doe hunting. don't be upset.

It's been a great trip so far, from the hunting to playing Stratigo with my cousin to watching Payton Manning fumble the football and then lose the game. yep. I'd say it's been a pretty good trip indeed.

I just got back from hunting again. saw a nice six-point buck (maybe they're not all in hiding after all?), but it was watching me and then I moved slightly and it ran off. then I saw a doe, and I was about to shoot it, but for some reason I was shaking like a leaf and my heart was pounding and I couldnt make the stupid gun sit still...and then my grandpa came to pick me up on the 4-wheeler right next to where the deer was standing and scared it away. so I think it was God making me scared so I wouldn't shoot Grandpa. :P

Anyways. Tonight I'm gonna go to the stand called the Sand Pan. (yes, in Minnesota they name the deer stands. that is the way of these people). personally, I think it sounds like bedpan, which is a little distracting from hunting if you're sitting there thinking, "Oh man...I'm sitting in a bedpan.", but I'm still hoping it works out. although for some reason, the Sand Pan always makes me sometimes if I'm in it during the morning hunt I'll start to doze off. :-/

So I'm gonna head out again. I know this one was really boring but I'm mainly posting blogs just to maintain a tiny thread of sanity...if you've never been to my grandparents' house you would have no way of knowing that just being here will suck the sanity from your veins in two seconds if you don't find some way of maintaining it. so I have. and I am still sane. for now.

Later, people.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Safely in Nowhere, Minnesota!

I really think there should be a place called Nowhere, Minnesota, cause this would be it. so that's how I'm going to refer to where I am at the moment. population: Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Dan and Cousin Brock. and us of course. kinda like the place we passed called Emmaville. Population: Emma.

Anyways, after a very long, treacherous journey in the weest of wee hours through the dark Minnesota jungles, I have arrived. my brother Jim and I drove through the night, arriving in Nowhere at around five thirty in the morning. we took turns driving and sleeping, although neither of us ever got very much sleep because we were always afraid that the other person was going to fall asleep at the wheel. I guess we weren't awake enough because, while Jim was taking his turn at the wheel, we somehow ended up heading back to Fargo, North Dakota...which we had passed already two hours ago. that's when I realized something horrific. something so horrible I could hardly believe it: my special ability to get lost also affects the poor soul who happens to be traveling with me. Jim was behind the wheel, yes, but I was the one at fault. but I didn't tell him that, of course.

So after that happy little adventure, we drove and drove and drove back to where we had made our wrong turn, losing over an hour of precious time. at this point we were both cranky and exhausted and depressed so we stopped and slept for a few hours in the parking lot of a Super 8 hotel. how ironic.

After being dead to the world for a few hours, despite about half a dozen phone calls from my parents asking things like "Where are you?" "Are you still okay since the last time I called, five minutes ago?", we groggily awoke and continued on at about four o'clock a.m., just praying we wouldn't hit any deer because we were both too tired to look for them. Minnesota really is the land of 10,000 lakes, people. we passed so many lakes I couldn't have counted them even if I wanted to. and each one had a dumber name than the last one. Little Toad Lake, Big Twin Lake, Lake Maxinkuckee, Big Rice Lake, Shore Lake (duh...they all have shores), and Big Lake, to name a few. I know there are 10,000, but come on, the names of these lakes stink big time.

Driving the long gravel driveway that leads to my grandparents' house made me the happiest and tiredest person alive, even if we did only have enough gas left in the tank to go another mile or two. we made it, unbelievably exhausted, red-eyed and anti-social, but alive and in one piece. whoa. that was just this morning. weird weird weird.

I never really believed my parents when they said it was hard to drive through the night, but I sure do now. Hallelujah, we're in Nowhere, Minnesota!

I'll probably give periodic updates on the current status of our trip between now and next wedensday, because I discovered, much to my delight, that my grandparents have wireless internet. I may be in one of the remotest, most isolated places in all of Minnesota, but at least I have slight contact with the outside world!

Current Status: went hunting tonight. saw one small spike buck and three nice does, but I passed on them all (although I had them all in the cross hairs of my rifle at one point or another). still holding out for a big buck. farewell from your friendly neighborhood deer murderer! :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

This is the Church

A congregation standing
Raising their voices in song
Praising the Lord with hands raised
Gathered in a sacred throng

This is the Church

A small gathering of people
Standing in the house of their Lord
Singing songs in Spanish
Praising the God they adore

This is the Church

A few families huddled together
Praying not to be found
Whispering their songs of praise
As they worship underground

This is the Church

All these people, joined together
As Christ’s beautiful Bride
Waiting to be taken Home
To the place He will provide

We are the Church

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Fly

Flies get on my nerves. I can’t stand them. It’s not that I’m afraid of them or anything; I just want them to die. I killed a good many flies back in the day when I was the Official Fly Slayer of Gene and Jo’s Grocery Store. I was the savior of my female coworkers, killing every fly, bee, and pretty much any bug I saw. I also had to forcibly remove from the premises (but not necessarily kill) the occasional creature (i.e. mice, toads, birds and even dogs) that wandered into our workplace, but my specialty was flies. In fact, when I stopped working there my coworkers gave me a flyswatter as a going away present. Aww.

Someone could say something like, “Johanna, there’s a fly in the Meat Room.” and just moments after uttering these words, Johanna would be in the back, combing the Meat Room, flyswatter in hand and murder in her eyes. And then, usually about a minute later, she would either be proudly carrying the dead fly by a protruding wing to the garbage, or scraping his mangled remains off the wall with a paper towel. Either way, that fly was dead.

I don’t work there anymore, but my hatred for flies has not faded in the least. Flies still annoy the heck out of me, and I still kill them on a regular basis, only trying to make the world a little less horrible and the spiders a little more hungry (hopefully they’ll die off, too). So, as you can probably imagine, when I am unable to kill a fly, that gets on my nerves. Like today…

So there I was, sitting in the Mill, being a good girl and studying (cramming) for my Spanish test. All of a sudden, I feel the familiar tickle on my arm that could not be mistaken for anything but a fly. An unreadable emotion flickered in my eyes for a moment, but other than that I gave no facial expression. I glance down to confirm my suspicion. There it sat, on my arm, feeling around with that gross sucker thing that comes out of the middle of their face, being a fly. I wanted to smack it so bad, but, although I hate them with a passion, I was slightly hesitant to splatter fly guts on my person. So I waited. Apparently the fly was finished with my arm and moved itself to the table. Perfect.

Some people feel or see a fly and are content to simply shoo it away with a wave of the hand. Not me. I have to kill it, kill it dead! Deader than a doornail, as my father would say. If you shoo them away, they always come back. If you kill them, they never come back to irritate you anymore.

I moved my hand slightly, trying to get it above the fly without him realizing that he’s about to be squished. I get no farther than an inch before he jumps into the air and relocates at the other side of the table. my mouth twitched into a slight smile.

Ah, feisty, are we?

I slowly grab my practice test that I was supposed to be studying and roll it into a tight little bundle. Trying not to arouse the suspicion of the patrons sitting at various tables around me, I quietly raise the rolled up test. I glance around, making sure nobody is watching. And then I look back and—hey! It was gone! The little pest. Where was he? He hadn’t left…I knew his kind. They enjoy making my life miserable. Then I felt it: a tiny tickle on my forehead. Without thinking, I slapped at it, hitting myself hard smack-dab in the middle of my forehead. When I looked around the room, about five people’s heads quickly snapped back to their books and computers. I was so angry, not so much at the fly as I was at myself…I had played right into his little bug hands! He was slick, this one. Slicker than hot snot on a brass doorknob, as my father would say. My father says a lot of things.

And then, there he was, sitting atop my computer screen, staring at me with those freakish eyes (the fly, not my father). We sat there for a minute or two, staring at each other. It was a face-off. Then somebody set down their glass, and, like the shot heard around the world, we both sprang into action. He flew at me, and I succeeded in hitting him and knocking him off balance, but not catching him in my hand, as was my plan. I was angry, and he was cocky, but his arrogance was his downfall. He landed on the wall for just a second too long…forgetting that I still had the practice test in my hand. he learned a valuable lesson that day: above all else, never underestimate the Fly Slayer.

He’s still where I left him, nothing more than a brown smear on the wall. A testimony to all who play his foolish game and practice his dark arts. He got what he deserved. You should never play with fire, kids, or with people who want to kill you. Because eventually, if you make them angry enough, they will kill you, deader than a doornail.

Flies, ye be warned.

Friday, October 19, 2007


So first I'm going to apologize for all the rapid-fire amount of blogs these days. I'm always complaining that I don't have enough time to get stuff done, so why I keep posting on here time after time after time is way beyond me. but oh well. it's a good getaway, maybe. anyhow, I'm sorry. I don't expect you to be reading my blogs as fast as I've been writing them.

Now that we've got the business out of the way...oh crap. I just forgot what I was gonna write about this time. hang on, it'll come to me...wait for it...there it is! I remember now. *disclaimer: all things in this post that may be interpreted as "dark" or "slightly creepy" (or "very creepy") you may disregard as nothing more than Jo's sick and demented sense of humor.*

So every day of the week I go to one class in the morning, and then, every other day of the week I have a second class a full three hours after the first one ends. there's no way I'm going to drive all the way home for an hour and then back again and park and plug the meter and all that nonsense, so instead I just stay in the general area of school, all by my lonesome. I managed to locate a quaint little coffee shop known as Scooters, and decided to adopt it as my second home.

During this two to three hours of time when I'm sitting in Scooters, I usually do some studying and mess around on my computer doing nothing in particular (hence, the rapid-fire blogs as of late). eventually, this gets old (I'm pretty sure I have A.D.D.) so I have been forced to think of a new past time.

Scooters has these big windows and it's next to a fairly busy street, so there are always a lot of people walking by on the sidewalk. the windows are easy to see out of, but not very easy to see into. *Insert here that one time when the Grinch smiled really big and evilly* I now had my past time.

I like watching people. don't be creeped out. I'm not one of the creepy stalkers, I'm one of the non-creepy ones. I even found a lonely little place in one of the more desolate corners of Scooters where I could practice my hobby in peace. I do this almost everyday.

But today, when I came into Scooters, there were some rowdy, obnoxious boys in my desolate corner making noise and throwing coffee everywhere. hey! move it! find your own stalking corner! but they didn't so I was forced to find another place to watch the masses. I managed to find another place, but it was in no way lonely or desolate. there were about three places where people could watch me without being seen by me. blast! I can't comfortably watch people if people are maybe watching me!

Never stalk people if you're being stalked. that's what I always say. so today I'm taking a break from my watching. you're in luck today, people. hopefully next time the obnoxious desolate corner-stealing boys will be gone so the Scooter-Stalker can once again do what she does best. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Birthday Giraffe (And Other Assorted Nikki Stories)

If I was posed with the question as to weather or not my childhood was a happy one, I would have to answer that most of my memories from my early life are fond. For the most part, my life was completely and totally fine and dandy. For the most part.

But then, peppered throughout my childhood memories, I have ones that are slightly less than perfect. What could possibly go wrong in the life of a six year old with siblings, toys and imagination galore? Plenty. Like that one time…

*you are now going back…back…back…into the mists of time…*

I had just had my sixth birthday. I had received many wonderful presents and had had more sugar than ought to be allowed for a child of my age. I lay on my bed, content and happy as I looked over my recently opened gifts. And then my sister walks into the room. In the back of my mind I wondered why she had such a suspicious look on her face, but my mind was so clouded with happiness, all reason was gone.

“Hi, Jo.” She says, a strange glimmer in her eye.

“Hi, Nikki.” I say, not too interested. I was busy playing with one of my new gifts, my favorite one. It was a Beanie Baby giraffe named Twigs, given to me from my aunt and uncle who lived in Colorado. He was adorable, and had a face that made me fall in love with him immediately. I carefully stroked his cute little giraffe face.

Then Nikki’s eyes lingered for a moment too long on my giraffe, and then her voice cut into my bliss. “I’ll give you three dollars for that giraffe.”

I was astonished. She expected me to sell her Twigs for a measly three dollars? “No, thanks.” I said. “He’s my favorite.”

But the glimmer of envy remained locked in her eyes, her resolve in no way weakened. Then she produced her trump card. She pulled a large, pink, heart-shaped box from behind her back. “Look at this, Johanna.” She said slyly. “Isn’t this pretty?”

Blast, she was good. She knew my weakness, the little thief. Money I could resist. Pretty things—boxes especially—not so much. And she knew it. “Isn’t this box pretty? It’s in the shape of a heart,” she said, stating the obvious.

I looked at the box. It was pretty, to be sure, and I wanted it. But one more look into the eyes of Twigs, and I just couldn’t do it. “No, that’s okay.” I said.

But Nikki was not daunted. “C’mon, Jo. I’ll give you the pretty box and three dollars for the stupid giraffe. C’mon.” now the thing about Nikki is that she has a way of making you think you have no choice weather or not to obey her. I felt trapped…like somehow I had to give her my giraffe because she told me to…but not sure why I had to. I did want that box, though. And three dollars wouldn’t be too bad to have, either.

Well, in the end, Nikki convinced me to give her the giraffe for the heart-shaped box and three dollars. Immediately afterward, though, I was horrified that she had used her evil powers to trick me into giving away my birthday present. I even begged her to take the box and the money back…I wanted Twigs! He was sad without me, I could tell. We were both miserable, I tried explaining to Nikki. But she would hear nothing of it. She had achieved her goal. She had successfully—and legally—stolen my birthday present.

I had always thought Nikki would make a good criminal if she ever took it into her mind to become one, and after that I knew it for sure.

But Nikki was not always such an evil, birthday present-stealing, sister-tricking, unfair trade-making desperado. Like that time we were detectives. But then we couldn’t find any mysteries, so we made flyers and distributed them throughout our neighborhood to the various residents. But then we still didn’t get any mysteries, so we imagined up our own. Like, if the neighbors were painting their fence, we were just sure that they were trying to paint over blood spots. We also thought for sure that the garbage men were stealing stuff. Why else would they be driving around while it’s dark? C’mon, people, let’s have some common sense here.

Or when we found a little stray puppy and brought it home and fed it while mom and dad were gone…and got in trouble for it because “Now he’ll never leave!” according to our dad. Nikki and I were confused because, well, isn’t that the point?

Or like the time we decided to run away from home (I don’t remember why now, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t then, either), and actually packed our backpacks and made it to the front bushes before losing our nerve.

Nikki is awesome. The bestest big sister ever (as long as she keeps her paws off my stuff). I couldn’t picture childhood, or life at all, without her.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Day I Met Santa

My belief in Santa Clause was terminated many, many years ago when my young mind finally realized why Santa, The Elf, and my Dad all had the same handwriting...because they were the same person. and for a while, I even believed that my dad was Santa Clause himself, the man who flew around in a magic sleigh and delivered toys to children on Christmas Eve. the neighbor kids had nothing on me, then. they might think they're better, faster, smarter or had cooler parents than I did. fools. my own father was Santa Clause and nothing stands against that, I don't care how many fruit rollups your parents buy you (my parents would never buy me fruit rollups). yeah, for a while there I was livin' the dream of every five-year-old.

Until that fateful day when my friend Samantha and I compared our "Santa notes" and discovered that the handwriting was completely different. it was then, standing there with a sick feeling in our guts, that we realized we'd been duped. Santa was not my father, or anyone else's father. Santa was a lie.

Since that day of horror I've been forced to live my life with the realization that there is no large, jolly old man who climbs down the chimney on Christmas Eve and leaves presents by the fireside. there was no longer any magic in hanging the stockings by the fireplace or leaving cookies and milk on the table for Santa...because it was nothing but a lie. just a big, fat overrated lie. it wasn't all bad, though. I finally stopped wasting my time writing letters to Santa, which probably got thrown into the trash the minute they got to the post office. I stopped dozing at my window, forcing my exhausted body to stay awake and alert, just hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer flying through the sky, Rudolph leading the way through the night. and I stopped losing my temper when some older, less gullible child told me there was no Santa. I now knew the truth, and what a bitter-sweet truth it was. sweet, because I now knew there was no Santa and no longer lived in ignorance and I felt older and more mature, but bitter because I quickly realized that being ignorant was more fun.

But today, something happened that changed all of that. My delicate world that I believed to be so secure was shifted off its axis and plunged into incessant chaos. I met Santa.

Now, please don't laugh. I'm the last person in the world who would claim to believe in Santa, believe me. but after you meet someone, you tend to be more inclined to believe in them. and today, I met good old Father Christmas himself, in the flesh.

Well, okay, he didn't exactly reach out his hand and say, "Hi, my name's Kris Kringle." but he did say, "Hi, I'd like paper sacks, please." that's right, I was at the only place in the world where I would strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and ask if he wanted paper or plastic--I was at work.

So there I was. minding my own business at the cash register, doing my thing...when I saw him. It's like in those movies when the two main characters see each other for the first time. There's a mysterious lighting over their heads, and they're walking in slow motion and catch each other's eye...and depending on the movie, there's sometimes a feeling of love (in the movies where the people are destined to be together), a feeling of anger (in the movies where the people are destined to eventually fight to the death), or a feeling of curiosity (in the movies where they couldn't think of a good plot and the story goes nowhere). well, in this story, there was a feeling of "Whoa, that guy is totally Santa Clause."

It was obvious. he was sporting a long white beard, white hair, large black boots, a white long-sleeved shirt and red overalls. his eyes were that frosty blue color that I always knew Santa had, back in the day when I actually believed he existed. he was tall, well over six foot, and his countenance screamed "I'm Santa!" so much so, in fact, that I came this close to blurting, "I've been a good girl this year...can I have a trip to Switzerland, all expenses paid and a new iPod to replace the one that I accidentally fried to a crisp?" and then he would throw his head back and give a jolly laugh and say, "Ho Ho Ho...well, you've been good this year...I'll see what I can do." (And I would end up getting it, of course).

After Santa left my place of employment, carrying with him his newly purchased cereal, peaches and T-bone steaks, I got to wondering what the heck Saint Nick is doing in Lincoln Nebraska in the first place. isn't be supposed to live in the North Pole, according to ancient Christmas folklore? isn't he a little far from home? Don't they have T-bone steaks at the North Pole? then I realized that even Santa Clause would get tired of the barren arctic tundra after a few months of it. he probably has another house where he lives in the off-season, when he's not flying in his sleigh or monitoring the elves' mad toy-making skills. why he picked Lincoln Nebraska out of all the places in the world, I'll never know. maybe he's simply drawn to the Cornhuskers, since his favorite colors are obviously red and white. but who cares? it doesn't matter.

The important thing is that Santa lives.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stained Glass

It’s no mystery to any of us
We’re all filthy as can be
We walk along in this corrupted world
Used to seeing the sinful debris

Some of us walk along forgiven
But no better than the rest
But because we are still sinful
We still remain depressed

Each of us, a fragment
A broken piece of glass
We think God made a mistake
Because we all contrast

We lament the places where we fall short
We weep because we’re stained
But we never think that our broken pieces
Can be beautifully rearranged

Although we chose to break God’s law
And inflict ourselves with stains
God did not abandon us to ourselves
But came and broke our chains

He made us free and gave us life
And sealed our release
And then, in all his mercy and grace
God made a masterpiece

He made us something beautiful
That nothing can surpass
Something so very lovely
Made from broken pieces of stained glass.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Not Sure Why I Did It...

Today I was walkin' along on the sidewalk, going to a place from a place. I had some song in my head, and I was walking at a good pace in step with my mental iPod...when I see this little thing in my way. it was a worm. just a little worm. about the size of my pinky finger. poor little guy, he was trying so hard to make it across the sidewalk. now, it was a little late in the day, but the sun was still out and the sidewalk was still pretty warm, and I would see little Wormy was going to end up fried to a crisp pretty quick, cause he was already turning a nasty shade of black and not moving as fast as worms ought to move. Probably some truth or dare game gone lethal, no doubt.
"I dare you to try and cross the sidewalk, Billy!"
"Oh no! not the sidewalk! pick something else!"
"Too late. it's a dare. you have to do it."
"Well, okay."
Yeah, I'm guessing that's how it all went down.

Now, I don't like worms. Nikki might be a worm-saver, but I would just as soon squish them or string them up on a fish hook. I don't think I would find them so repulsive, except for those little prickly things that protrude from their bodies. for some odd reason, I don't like those. it makes me think of their skeletons popping out of their bodies. isn't that gross? so it was strange that I saw this little worm, stopped, picked him up, and placed him in the grass.

I don't know what made me do it. I would've been perfectly content to let him fry on the sidewalk and then have a Mother Robin come scrape his remains off the cement and carry him away to her babies. at least he would've gone to a good cause.

I didn't know it was possible to have compassion for a worm...but I guess it is...cause that worm was robin meat, and I stopped, picked him up, and casually tossed him in the grass. it's weird that I did that...cause that worm is surely dead now anyways. either some hungry robin took the time and energy to pick thought the grass and found him, or whoever lived there mowed their grass and Wormy got decapitated. either way, I couldn't care less.

But I did my part. I saved the worm. Not sure why.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Being now officially in college, I've been forced to acquaint myself with all the different "college kid" stereotypes, which are all true as far as I can tell. coffee and granola bars are what I eat most days. it's not a bad life, really. I mean, I pay enough to ransom an Arabian princess, which allows me to sit shivering in an icebox classroom and learn about past and present participles (in spanish), direct and indirect objects and how to abbreviate them (in spanish again), and make long lists of things we like and don't like and write in our journals (in english this time...different class). what a life!
*Warning: beware the riptide rush of sarcasm cascading toward you*

But it's not all bad. I mentioned coffee already, I think. that's probably the biggest perk of college. before now, everybody was always on my case for drinking too much coffee. now that I'm in college, it's expected, accepted, and encouraged. whoa. doesn't get much better than that, as long as you know how to drink it correctly.

As most people know, college kids are on a tight schedule, running here and there doing this and that, and even though coffee is often the sole diet of some, if not drank properly you could be left with half a cup left...and no time to drink it! this occurs most often because said college student, in all his genius, decided to wait until it had cooled off before taking his first sip. this is a mistake of gigantic proportions.

So, since I have mastered the art (that's right, I said art) of proper (and quick!) coffee drinking, I will pass down, to you my reader, my pearls of wisdom so that you may never be left with coffee left over before it's time to run off to Calculus 3.

So. the proper name for correct and fast coffee drinking, is a little thing we like to call Sip-Sans-Singe. it's...well it's sipping without burning yourself. it goes like this:
1) Take cup of coffee in hand.
2) Blow on the surface of the coffee.
3) Quickly, before the coffee you just blew on has a chance to get hot again, take a sip into your mouth.
4) Coffee will still be hot, so tilt your head back slightly and open your mouth a little, pushing coffee into your cheeks like a chipmunk. (make sure to keep hot coffee away from tip of tongue, very important)
5) Wait until coffee cools enough to swallow.
6) Repeat process until coffee is gone or it is cool enough to drink like a regular human.

Sip-Sans-Singe takes a while to get it down, but just practice it and it'll eventually become like second nature. just don't forget to tilt your head backwards before you open your mouth...or else you'll have coffee dribbling down your chin, which is strictly against the Coffee Code of the Coffee gods. and if you anger the coffee gods, you'll be cursed with cold coffee for the next ten years, and it'll be flavored like pumpkins. eew.

Anyhow, that's all I've got to say about that. my coffee is gone, and my next class is beginning momentarily. so I'll be heading off now.
Until the next time I'm too bored to do anything else,


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wait, where am I?

Recently, I was asked to name one thing at which I was an expert. now, claiming to be an expert at something is a pretty bold statement, so I wanted it to be accurate...something at which I really was an expert. I'm kind of an average person, and I couldn't really think of anything. and then it came to me. I am an expert, a real bonafied getting lost.

Really, I'm serious. I can get lost walking to the store, driving down 84th street or any number of places. I can get lost anywhere. it's almost like a sickness. I never know when I'm going to have an attack. it's gotten so bad that my mom won't send me downstairs to do the laundry without making sure I've got a compass, waterproof matches, a flare gun and a three day supply of food and water.

Another thing that has proven worthwhile to carry all the time, is an inflatable life vest. you gotta be prepared for those times you go outside to rake the leaves and suddenly find yourself in some sort of jungle, waste deep in swamp water, unsure of where you are or how you got there. trust me, in these instances, life vests are good to have on hand. (I thought about carrying around a machete to fend off those wild animals that I see so often when I get lost, but then I realized that when you get lost in a place like London, where guns, knifes and pointy things in general are strictly forbidden...waving a machete around is not such a great idea)

Now the thing about getting lost is that usually, given enough time, I can find my way home again. and lucky for me, I'm not a man so I have no problem asking for directions. but first there has to be a person to ask. and sometimes, depending on where I get lost, there are no people, buildings, streets or civilization of any kind. it's at times like this when have to rely only on courage, strength, instinct...and the ability to make lucky guesses.

Take the other day for example. I was on my way home from school, when I had a severe attack of Lost. I blame it on the fact that I was extremely tired and I had eaten nothing, save for three very large cups of coffee and was basically brain-dead. so I turn on the street that I was sure would take me home without incident, when suddenly I find myself headed toward my old town, Ceresco. so I try to get off that road, and find myself on a ramp, and then the interstate. that's when I first got the clue that I was having a Lost attack. I somehow manage to get off the interstate, and onto some other unfamiliar road. I drive for a while, looking for a familiar street and not finding one. a large coca cola company that I didnt know existed, two golf courses and a handful of farmhouses later, I decided to turn around.

Still not knowing how to get back, my only landmark being the speck on the horizon that I knew to be the the state capitol, I had to fall on my ability to make lucky guesses. I picked a car at random and followed it. not the greatest choice in the world, I know, but I was out of options. the car, which was a very pretty metallic-blue Chevy trailblazer, must've known I was lost and needed help. so he led me back past the coca cola company and the golf courses and the farmhouses and aaaaaall the way to O street, from which I had wandered far. he even went beyond the call of duty and led me to 70th street, just to be sure I would not lose my way again.

I guess chivalry isn't dead after all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Amazing Grace

Day after day, I approach You
“I won’t do it again.” I say
I can’t imagine how it pains You
When I do it again anyway

And then, after I’ve fallen again
I hide from You, afraid
Embarrassed of these stains
Unwilling to show You how far I’ve strayed

Knowing You’d forgive me but still ashamed
I hold the pain inside
Unable to present to You my shame
Feeling as if our relationship had died

Until I cannot bear the separation
And I dare to crawl to You
Preparing my explanation
Feeling dirty through and through

I open my mouth to plead my case
And ask you to forgive me
But You running to me with a ready embrace
Was something I didn’t foresee

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I sob to You
As you gently hold me close
“I did what I told You I wouldn’t do.”
Although I’m sure You already know

And as You stood there holding me
I heard You quietly say,
“Oh, my daughter, don’t you know
That my mercies are new every day?

Your sins are gone, they’ve been erased
You once were lost but now you’re found.”
Amazing grace
How sweet the sound.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's another country heard from...

So here I was a few minutes ago, sitting in some desolate corner of everybody's favorite coffee shop, the Mill. and I forgot my headphones and the cord for downloading music from my computer to my mp3 player. so here I sat, with nothing to do with myself. but I had already bought myself an Italian Soda (amaretto), so I was committed to staying here at least until I had finished it.

So now I'm writing here. and I couldn't think of anything to talk about, so now I'm going to be really lame and steal the topic from Nikki's newest blog. but don't worry...I have my own perspective about getting two more people in the house.

When Nikki and Jim first moved away, it was so hard and I couldn't picture living without them and all that. well, it's been a year since then. I've adapted and learned to get by. this sounds horrible, and maybe it is, but not having them around so much has actually sort of forced me to get closer to my other siblings. Josh and I are actually almost friends now. :) so recently, Nikki and Jim both moved back into the house after being AWOL for a year. I was wondering how well I was going to handle the change and hoping it wasn't going to be weird or awkward, but it wasn't that at all. in fact, I welcomed it...after I got used to it a little bit.

And there definitely was something to get used to, make no mistake. I'm a sort of messy person (okay, I'm a really messy person!) and Nikki is not. in fact, Nikki and I are about as different as those two dogs, Ted and Fred, in the book "big dog little dog". so when Johanna-the-slob and Nikki-the-neat-freak share a bathroom, there's bound to be a little frustration. :)

And when Nikki came into my bedroom and said "We're gonna have to change some things in here." I was like, whoa now sistah. you can do whatever you want with your bedroom and maybe even the bathroom...but this is sacred ground, so don't even try it. but after seeing her finished room...I'm inclined to change my mind. maybe a splash of color in my room would be fun to have after all.

But it hasn't been too bad. in fact, it's been a lot of fun having Nikki back. Jim too, of course, but Jim is gone a lot of the time, and when he is home he's either conked out like a gorilla on the couch (which also doubles as his bed) eating any/everything he can find or slouched in front of the Nintendo with a controller.

One other thing that's been kinda funny was Justin and Kelsey. I knew Nikki and Jim were dating, of course, but it's a little weird, and even slightly amusing to come home and find the "significant others" in my house. haha. Anyway, I guess that's all I got. I'm glad Nikki and Jim moved back, and I'm sure some pretty funny stories will come of it.

Well now, that wasn't so bad after all. and my Italian Soda is gone now, so I suppose I will be off.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's FALL!!

Oh yes, it's that time of year again. the time of year to pull up the covers and starting making the cider. time to start shaking the dust off those old sweaters and musty blankets. time to start baking cookies and rummaging around trying to find your recipe for Russian Tea. Yes, folks, it's Fall. Or Autumn, or whatever you want to call it. I personally call it Fall because I've never approved of that little "n" at the end of Autumn.

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. "It's the most wonderful time of the yeaaaaaar..." No, stop. No Christmas songs. at least until December, or late November.

Fall is the best season ever. Reasons that I love Fall:
1) You can stand outside for more than five minutes without feeling like a icicle or a twice-baked potato.
2) You can step on all the crunchy leaves you want without feeling like a fool, because you know everyone else is doing it, too.
3) You can open your window at night.
4) You can cuddle under your covers.
5) You can have all the fun of the "holiday season" without tornadoes or blizzards messing up your plans.
6) You can wear hooded sweatshirts.
7) You're just starting to get excited for the many upcoming holidays.
8) Football. (I usually don't car much, but this year I'm totally pumped!)
9) Deer hunting season. I know. it's a dumb reason, but I really do love it!
10) Russian Tea. for those of you who've never had it...your life must feel so meaningless.

So those are some reasons why I like Fall. for those of you who wanted to know why I like Fall...

Oh, and on a little side note, my sunglasses died again. yep. those new sunglasses I just bought? broke in half. so I've decided that either my sunglasses have some sort of personal grudge against me...or the stuff in my purse has some sort of personal grudge against the idea of sunglasses in general. :-/

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This one doesn't really have a title...

My dad likes to have his little projects to do. He likes to put stuff together and make things with his hands. At the moment, his pet project is finishing the basement as fast as humanly possible. So when my dad calls me down into the basement to "give him a hand" I knew I wouldn't be smelling the upstairs air for a while.

I stand at the top of the stairs, gathering my courage. At last, I take a deep breath and walk down the stairs, not knowing what sort of help my father wanted, but having a pretty good idea that there was manual labor involved.

Sure enough, I get down there and the first thing he says is, "Hey help me lift this wall." Lift the wall?? And why didn't he ask Josh (my brother, who is way taller and stronger than I am) to do this? Well, whatever. "Eh...okay." I say. Turns out, it was just about eight or nine 2x4s all screwed together to form a "wall" of sorts. So I help him lift it, hefting my side while he lifts his. After the wall is up, he says, "Okay, hang on while I get some more screws."

Yeah, okay. No problem. Take your time. I'm only holding up a wall with my bare hands. No big deal. So then it starts to slip. "" I can hear him behind me, trying to find those screws, oblivious to my peril. "Dad..." slipping...slipping..."Dad!"
"What? Whoa, Johanna, the wall is slipping!" Doy.

So he finally finds the screws and secures the "wall" so it's no longer falling on top of me. I step back to admire the fruits of my labor and catch my breath, hoping the "helping" was over. so dad starts to measure this and that and make little marks on the wood with his little flat orange pencil, muttering things about "whack that off" and "put another one there" and "give this one a little room" and using little words like "we" and "us" and "lets" and stuff like that, making me wonder if I was supposed to stay, but feeling kind of useless and kind of wanting to go back upstairs where I wasn't going to have to heft any more walls, but not sure weather or not he wanted me to stay and help, or keep him company or what. (Whoa! that's gotta break some kind of run-on-sentence record).

So I cough a little, reminding him that I was still there, and that I wasn’t doing anything. If he wanted me to help, fine. If not, I wasn’t planning to stick around. I had places to be, things to do. And those places and things didn’t, in any way, shape or form, involve even the word “strenuous”. Dad doesn’t seem to notice me. “Uh, dad? Can I go upstairs?” I ask, still unsure if he needed me for some other bizarre chore.

“Hmm. What? Oh, sure.” He says, without so much as glancing in my direction. Apparently I wasn’t needed too much after all. So I left him to his work then and retreated back into the safety of the upstairs. Maybe he did want me to stay, for all I know. Misery loves company. But who ever said company loves misery? :P

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Game Quest

After a long day, I've been known to enjoy the occasional video game. when I was younger it was a Gameboy, but I've since graduated on to bigger and better things: Nintendo 64. until earlier today, the only game we've owned (that I'll even pick up a controller to play) is James Bond. I can't explain my sudden urge to shoot something with a Cougar Magnum, but when I do have such an urge, James Bond has always fulfilled it. :)
but today, very, very randomly, the Cougar Magnum didn't work. I wanted a better game than the James Bond game, which had probably been made sometime in the early 90s. I thought back to that one time a friend of ours had brought over an upgraded version of the James Bond game my family now owned. Perfect Dark was the name of it.

And suddenly...I wanted it. I wanted that game. I remembered the Farsight gun, one that let you see (and shoot) through walls. yeah, that one was pretty cool. now I really wanted that game! but where could I find it? I was the last person I would've asked about where to find a Nintendo game. but lucky for me I have brothers.

I found Jim laying on the pull out bed that serves for his bedroom while he waits for his bedroom to be finished, sawing logs like a lumberjack, arm hanging over the bed like a gorilla. Sure, he's been at work all night, but it was pushing three in the afternoon. he has slept long enough.
I poke him. "Jim." he says something unintelligible and rolls over. I poke him again. harder. "Jim!"
he bolts upright. "Wha?!" he looks around, clearly unsure where he is and how he got to be in this strange place. I ask him where to find a place that sells video games and stuff, and he tells me where. some place kinda far away, but for some strange, strange reason, I wanted that game. a lot. so I figure what the heck. then I realize Mom is away with her car. Jim lends me his. nice brother.

And so, with my older brother's car, my little brother (who's actually taller than me) in the passenger seat (because he had nothing better to do), and the Greatest Hits of Kansas playing on the speakers, my quest for the legendary Nintendo game began.

About twenty minutes and about three missed turns later, we pulled into the parking lot of Gamers store and went inside. this is the actual conversation between myself and my brother that ensued.
"Okay, there's a guy who works here. let's ask him where it is." -Me
"No, I want to find it myself. we don't need to ask." -Josh
"But you could just ask and save all the trouble--" -Me
"No. we'll find it ourselves." -Josh
so about twenty minutes goes by with Josh looking for the game and me standing around looking lost, Josh decides that asking if they have it would be a splendid idea and why didn't I think of it. so he asks the guy behind the counter, and, lo and behold, they don't have it. "Okay," he says. "C'mon, Jo, let's go home."

What? foolish boy, giving up so easily. No, I wanted that game, and I wanted it now. So I ask they guy behind the counter if there's another Gamers in Lincoln, and find out the only other Gamers is at 27th and Superior. so I have him call the place to make sure they have it since 27th and Superior is like clear across town, and he calls, and they have it, thank you for coming.

And so, the quest for the elusive game continued as I drove across town all the way to North Lincoln, and this time, as Josh sat behind the wheel of my ipod (not the car, thank goodness), we sang to White and Nerdy, by Weird Al. this next part is also a chunk of actual conversation that took place as we were stopped at a stoplight, I am the first in line in the lane farthest to the right.

"Look, there's the Gamers!" -Josh
"Oh, man! I'm in the wrong lane. I need to turn left right up there." --Me
"You can get in front of these people when the light turns green." --Josh
"I'm not going to floor it and then cross three lanes of traffic. I'll just turn right up there, turn around, and cross the street at that stoplight." -Me
"No, that'll take too long! just get in front of these people!" --Josh
*light turns green*
Aw, what the heck. the crossing of all three lanes was surprisingly easy, more so than I expected it to be, and soon we were pulling up into yet another Gamers store parking lot. the purchasing of the game I had been seeking was delightfully quick and no strings attached, and we were soon back in the car headed home. and I had had enough Weird Al to last me a week, so I was back in control of the ipod and, much to Josh's disgust, listening to Elvis Presley's "I can't help falling in love with you".

Half an hour later, we pulled into the driveway and plugged in the new game. and so, after several hours of driving and a lot of frustration, I had my game. forget Cougar Magnums! now I had K7 Avengers, Farsights, and Devastators. Hooray!

Sadly, because I only like to play video games on occasion, I will probably only play Perfect Dark about once a week or so. so I don't know why it was so important to me to get it today. but it was. oh well. I don't pretend to understand myself.

Monday, August 20, 2007

So Anyways...

So I'm in a writing mood right now, and poetry isn't coming to me. so I guess this is my secondary default. *looks around* so uh...what to talk about. oh, I got it! now, I know this isn't going to be all that interesting or exciting or beneficial to mankind in any way, but I've decided to write about my typical workday. would that be too horribly boring?? oh well. I write stuff mostly for my own entertainment anyway. I just post it on the internet so people who share my same love of nonsense can enjoy it. :P

*Note: please feel free to yawn openly or abruptly close out this tab at any time*

Anyway. about work. I know I've already mentioned my work several times in previous posts, but I'll try to talk about different stuff this go-around. I currently work in a grocery store. HyVee to be exact. so before work I have to put on this costume--er, excuse me--uniform, consisting of a white blouse and black pants, which are far too hot to wear in the summer when the heat index is 103. so I go into work, passing other fellow employees on my way upstairs to "clock in". we exchange the customary form of greeting, which is usually a simple "hey" or some other one-syllable word with the same enthusiasm as one would say, "Hey, Mac, what're you in for?"

The "clock in" usually takes about ten minutes, depending on how early you arrived. because you have to clock in on the exact minute, there are most always about five to ten people all standing around waiting for said exact minute to arrive. this time usually consists of everyone standing against the wall and checking their cell phones for missed calls, being sure to avoid eye-contact, because otherwise we might have to say something more than "hey" to that person, and who wants to do that?

After the clock in phase is complete, all the employees who have just clocked in will file down the stairs and into the store like a line of zombies on their way to the electric chair. once in the open store, the employees will go their separate ways, each to his own station. farewell, brethren.

My station is at the cash register. my job is to be (or at least pretend to be) happy, respectful, social, and scan the people's groceries. ALL TOGETHER NOW! *yawn*. no kidding. this is what I hear all day at work, "beep...beep...beep...beep...beep...beep..." the constant beeping could drive a soul insane! in fact, if it weren't for the courtesy clerks (the people who sack the groceries), I'm sure most of us would. the courtesy clerks are always full of jokes to tell once your lane is clear of people, keeping you down to earth and in a relatively reasonable mood. I'm not sure if the courtesy clerks were coached during their training to tell jokes to their cashier during down time, but I bet that would be a good idea.

One of the best things about working the cash register is The Phone. The Phone sits next to the cash register, and if you pick it up and press a certain code, known only to HyVee employees (and probably lots of other people) you can talk in that voice you always hear over the speakers when you shop for foodstuff! It's fun to use, although really the only reason for a cashier to use it is if you need a manager, and that only happens when there is a problem, complaint, or something bad happens. can be fun, but usually when you're using The Phone, you're not in a very good mood and you don't notice that you're having fun.

Nothing is worse when you're on register duty, then if the store is quiet. I mean, when there are 3,000 people in the store and they're all checking out at once and all you can hear is the Zzzwee...Zzzwee...Zzzwee of carts full of stuff it's not great fun either, but at least, after all the 3,000 people are gone, it's usually about 2 hours after you looked at the clock last and you are pleasantly surprised how fast the time has gone. if nothing is happening...time goes by...very...very...s-l-o-w-l-y.

All in all, work isn't too bad. in fact, it's pretty fun most of the time. the people are decent (usually), the coworkers are friendly (usually), the courtesy clerks make me laugh (usually), and I get paid (usually). not too shabby, not too shabby.

And with that, I will end this session of Jo's Nonsense. Tune in next time, when she will talk about something else totally random and meaningless!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Oh So Strange Addiction...Of Sorts

So, most everybody that I know does (or should!) drink that sweet, dark, life giving drink sometimes referred to as coffee. a lot of those people claim to be addicted to it, even. I have yet to decide if I would say the same. Yes, I drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. I drink coffee all. the. time. if there's coffee in the pot, I'll drink it. if there's not coffee in the pot, I'll make some. strange part is, I drink it because I WANT it, not because I HAVE to to get my caffeine fix. another strange part? I don't get caffeine headaches. some days I don't drink coffee because I just don't have time. I get through the day just fine. that's why I'm not sure if I would call myself "addicted". I drink it a LOT, because I like it and want it, but if I don't drink it for one day (heaven forbid) I'm none the worse for wear (I never really figured out what that meant, but I think it fits nicely right there).

Dang it. now I want coffee and it's after 2:00 a.m. why am I up after 2:00 a.m. writing on my blog??? the world may never know. I know I sure don't. so now the question remains: should I just make myself a small pot of coffee, drink it, then stay up until 4 reading Ivanhoe? or should I just go to bed right now like a good little girl? Meh. I'll probably go to bed. tomorrow is a new day, so I'll just go to sleep and dream of coffee. hopefully. man, now would be a perfect time to have one of those inventions from the Jetsons, where you can have whatever dream you want. you know, the "Good night, Elroy. what would you like to dream tonight?" invention. wouldn't that be nice? oh well. enough rambling. G'night.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Customer Profiles

Working in a grocery store, I see many different people come through my line through the duration of the day. it's amazing how many different varieties of people I see. the other day, it struck me how many different types of shoppers there are, and how much I would like to write about them! so this post goes out to all of you who fall into one of these categories!

The first category that comes to mind, is the Old Man of Apathy and She. he is usually an older man, from late 40s to late 70s or so. he comes in often, buying a fair amount of groceries, usually. and he always says the word "she" a lot. "I think this is what she wants..." or "I think this is the brand she likes..." or "I think this was everything she needed..." I call him the Old Man of Apathy and She, because he usually doesn't care if what he's getting isn't what "she" wanted anyways. he knows that no matter how long he stairs at two brands of flour, he's eventually going to have to pick one at random anyway, so he doesn't waste his time with wondering if he's getting the right stuff. oh, and one more thing about this guy, he always, always wants his receipt.

Number two on our list today (gosh, this sounds like a menu or something) is our Lady of Pennies and Receipts. Ladies of Pennies and Receipts can be any age at all, although I've found that they're usually found in older ladies. I call them this, because their signature line is, "Oh, I think I've got a penny." so you stand there, holding whatever money she's already handed you, glancing about to make sure nobody is getting angry that the lady cannot find the penny she's sure she has. she looks in her change purse, and if she can't find it there, she'll check her pockets, and then, if she still can't find it, she'll check somewhere else because she's positive, just positive, that she has a penny. oftentimes, she'll pull out a wad of change and say, "Oh, I've got the whole 66 cents!" or whatever the amount happens to be. she will then proceed in dumping the change onto the counter for you to count out, causing the customers (who have formed quite a line by now) to let out an audible and collective groan. the Lady of Pennies and Receipts also wants her receipt every time without fail. she folds it carefully into a nice little square, and places is into her purse with the utmost care.

Number three is the Child of Friends and Toothaches. these are children, usually ranging in the age group of 10 to 15 years old. they come in in twos, more often than not, or at least not alone. these children are the ones who have just come into some sort of inheritance (usually taking the form of allowance money). these kids can't handle having money. they just have to spend it NOW. so they go to their friendly neighborhood grocery store because they have money, and they want food. this food is normally pop (or soda for you city folk), candy (nerds, gummy worms, m%ms, snickers bars, ecc), or doughnuts. so you total up the candy, pop, whatever it is, and tell them how much they owe, and they dump a wad of change onto the counter that rolls in all different directions. every time without fail. Why can parents not pay their kids allowance with paper money? whatever.

Number four on the charts is Child of Sweaty Bills and Duty. this kid, who is never older than 10, is the one who comes through your line with no candy, no pop or anything that tastes good to a child. he's the one who places a jug of milk and a bag of celery on the counter. he is the one who runs errands for his mom, who is either waiting out in the car or wanting at home for the ingredient she needed to finish the perfect recipe for Aunt Matilda's wedding. so little Tommy goes to the store for his mother, like a good little slave, and gets the milk and celery. and for payment, there's always going to be a sweaty wrinkled old twenty dollar bill for you to unravel and attempt to flatten. Tommy usually never wants his receipt.

Number five is the Girl of Drinks and Phones. She is most always a teenage girl, probably around 15. she comes in, grabs some sort of energy drink (Rockstar, Full Throttle, Red Bull, ecc) or sometimes a diet pepsi. she talks on her cell phone the entire time, never quite looking you in the eye, and only paying you enough attention to give up her money and receive her change. she'll be having a conversation that goes something like this: "So then we went to the mall and I looked for those shoes, you know, the green snake skin ones? anyway, we looked and we didnt find them so we went and bought some clothes and --oh my gosh--we found the cutest brown dress you have ever seen..." this goes on for the entire time she is in sight. the Girl of Drinks and Phones never wants to "find a penny" or anything like that, and always, always refuses a receipt.

Number six, we have the Girl of Gossip and Baking. this one always comes in for some sort of baking item, like flour, brown sugar, eggs, ecc. she usually doesn't know where the heck the stuff is, either, so she asks, and you tell her, and she comes back, lays the stuff on the counter. at this point, her next move is incredibly foreseeable. she turns and looks at the tabloids. then she starts talking to you, like you would actually care about anything in any tabloid and you haven't already seen those magazines three dozen times. "Oh wow...did you see that Brad and Angela had another big fight? man, I can't wait until they get back together! they were the cutest couple! oh, and did you know Lynsey is back in rehab? that girl needs some major help if you ask me. oh my gosh! Brittany was arrested for driving drunk!" and on and on it goes. the Girl of Gossip and Baking is always very friendly and never wants a receipt.

And last on our list today, number seven, we have the Mom of Children and Coupons. this is a woman who has like, 10 kids all running everywhere at once and buys about three carts full of stuff. she can be heard all throughout the store saying things like: "Billy! stop chewing on Susan's hair this minute! Robby, please hold Sarah's hand so she doesn't go anywhere. Marvin! where do you think you're going young man? Kelly, please give Carly's doll back so she will stop crying." and so on. the Mom of Children and Coupons usually comes to the checkout with pop tarts, frozen dinners, fresh produce, packaged meat, cleaning supplies, bread of different varieties, canned soup, ice cream, and usually each of the kids gets a treat (usually a small box of candy or something) for being good for mommy in the store, although she knows they weren't really all that good at all. when it comes time to pay, you can usually count on a small heap of coupons being thrust at you, which takes about 10 minutes to ring through and saves her about $2.00 total. as you are ringing the coupons through, she will write out her check, while the vermin squabble for the candy they want badly but know they didn't deserve.

So that's just a normal day on the job for me. a bit more exciting than you expected from a lowly cashier, eh? I didn't even scratch the surface of different types of customers, though. there's still the Men of Sweat and Beer, the Cops of Doughnuts and Coffee, the Fathers of Barbecues and Ice, and the Klutzes of Oops and Sorry. But those are for another day. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My Sunglasses Dilemma

For the most part, I think I do a good job of taking care of my stuff. no, it doesn't last forever, but I shop at Wal Mart so it's not supposed to, and I'm okay with that. but my sunglasses (I know, random) never last, even if I buy a good, expensive pair (expensive is supposed to be good, right?) they always break within the first month I own them. some peoples' sunglasses (and cats, for that matter) have 9 lives...but throughout the years I've found out that mine have -2 lives. my sunglasses don't like to live. in fact, every pair I've ever owned has taken the first opportunity available to commit suicide. I don't know why sunglasses hate me. I've never done anything to them except keep them in my excessively-large purse with several other heavy items that I try to tell myself I cannot leave the house without that could (just maybe) cause them minimal harm. other than that, there is no reason why every pair of sunglasses I've ever touched have broken soon after their purchase.

Recently, (after another sunglasses suicide) I bought another pair. a good one. from a prestigious and trustworthy store. okay, JC Pennies. whatever. they looked durable enough and felt nice and all that. there was nothing wrong with them. I had 'em for a while and I was just starting to think "Hey, maybe these are a pair that will stay in one piece for a while!"

At the same time, I came into a sunglasses inheritance. my sister had had a pair of aviators that I had envied for a while, when she brought them to me and said they were broken, but if I wanted I could have them. I looked at the sunglasses. they were fine, except the frame was a little bent, which was easily fixed. but it was too late for her, she had given them to me. so in the end, I had two good pairs of sunglasses which I rotated out on a steady basis to try and keep them happy.

Well, the aviators gave up the ghost a few days ago, when both of the lenses popped out at the same time and I found the frame horribly mangled and bent out of shape. well, I still had the other pair. so I go to get them, and find that both the arms (or whatever they're called) are kind of loose or broken or something, AND they're molting. I didnt know sunglasses had skin...until it started falling off. talk about gross. how do these things happen?

So I got another pair. they're okay. they feel a little funny and make my face look a little boxy, but I can life with that. they havent died yet. but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Missed Thunderstorm

The weather is a wonderful thing. it makes or breaks my day. it's always a surprise, complements of the daily weather man who gets paid to be consistently wrong. Thunderstorms are the best kind of weather. a good thunderstorm can make my day in a flash (hardy har). so it's a sad, sad day when I cannot enjoy a thunderstorm when it happens.

Yesterday was a sad, sad day. I was at work, which was enough of a bummer all by itself to make it a sad day. but to make it a sad, sad need an extra dose of "bummer". and my happy little Raincloud of Doom was all too glad to bestow it upon me in the harshest of ways.

I was at work, as previously mentioned, doing me best to stay awake, sane, happy, helpful, respectful, and somehow look like I had a clue what I was doing. I pretty much felt the opposite already, but then people started coming into the store with little dark polka dots all over there clothes, which could only mean two things: either the fashion sense of the entire city had just gone down the tubes, or it was raining.


It was bad enough being stuck inside at all while trying to please three hundred people at once, but to be stuck inside while it was raining was hard to handle. But I was able to get over it, after a long internal battle and some pretty severe inward grumbling.

then I heard a low rumble. No! this was too much. a little rain, I could handle. a thunderstorm? Oh please, no. Thunderstorms only come around every now and again, especially during this time of the year. and even during storm season, it seems like thunderstorms and pretty much anything cool avoids me like bubonic plague.

Store customers were coming in, holding newspapers, purses, and pretty much whatever they were holding at the time above their heads in a feeble effort to stay dry. one such lady, not seeing that I was on the brink of a mental meltdown, approached me and said, "Hey, have you seen the storm outside?"

I looked at her and said, "Um, no. I'm in here, stupid." well, maybe that's what I wanted to say, but I think what actually came out of my mouth was more of a, "Why, no, my dear lady. Is it a pretty sight?" she muttered something incoherent and walked off. whatever.

So it's nearing the end of my shift, and I was so, so excited to be done and go outside and enjoy the remains of my mangled Tuesday and the rest of the thunderstorm, when somebody comes in and says casually, "It's not raining anymore and the sun is out." I ask you, why do these people make it a point to go out of there way to tell me something that will shred whatever was left of my happiness? Some things will always be a why people rant and rave when they don't get a 10 cent coupon...c'mon people, it's a dime. you find them in the street every day. get over it!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The transition from msn to blogspot...

As exciting and stimulating as it was to have my very own msn Space, I've decided to make the transition, or upgrade rather, from there to here for a number of substantial reasons.
1) For the reason I mentioned before, that it was an upgrade. upgrades are good things.
2) My msn blog definitely left something to be desired.
3) My sister, Nikki, has had one of these for quite some time now and I've always liked hers.
4) My msn blog decided to die a few weeks ago, and hasn't let me access any of my stuff since then.
All evidence was pointing to an upgrade. So here we are. I don't promise this blog will be something exciting or intellectual like Nikki's, but I do my best to make it worth reading and even vaguely interesting. I guess that's all I've got for you now, but there will definitely be more to come!

Things to expect to see here from time to time:
1) Lots of random posts, usually about nothing in particular but sometimes mildly funny.
2) Probably some poetry every now and then.
3) Grammatical errors.
4) Maybe some short stories, but I doubt it.
5) Lists
6) Perhaps some movie reviews.
7) Lots of work stories. work is pretty much my life.

So...I guess I'm done.