Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Take Me Away

I wrote this as I was riding in the back seat of my car. we had been in Colorado for almost a week in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and were on our way home. The mountains were beginning to fade into the distance and I was pretty sad, to say the least. I always seem to fall into a sort of mild depression after leaving the Rockies, and this poem is the outcome.

The moment that I saw you there
Majesty touching the sky
A place where beauty stands unmarred
Splendor money cannot buy

I knew I’d found my hearts desire
My hometown was no more
I had a new land to call my love
A new home to explore

But now you're tearing me in two
Separating body from soul
How can one half live alone
Both alive but neither whole

The battle inside me is raging
I fight every step of the way
But each moment means another mile
You’re taking me away

And I look back toward the fading scene
And try to capture the sight
To remember when I’m trapped by buildings
To appease me in the night

There you stand, my mountains
In breathtaking design
Dark, mysterious, your proud peaks gleam
High above timberline

The waterfall giving the stream its life
The sun shining through the trees
The familiar smell of pine and sap
Silent laughter in the cool breeze

The eagle flying over his land
The Columbine reaching for the sun
The deer and moose are content to roam
Free to live and run

My mountains, my Colorado
They call me back for more
More wonder, more adventure
To make my spirit soar

But against my will I’m going back
Whatever the price, I’ll pay
I’m begging, I’ll do anything
Just don’t take me away.

"Rocky Mountain High" --John Denver. appropriate, don't you think?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Bad Day That Wasn't

So there I was. rushing--frantically--around the house in a gallant effort to get to work on time. I had woken up at 7:30 a.m. and I didn't have to be to work until 9:00. Happily I turned off the alarm and burrowed deeper into my blankets. I didn't have to be up for a few minutes yet...I had plenty of time. my eyes slowly drifted closed.

Deep, deep down in the blackened depths of my slumbering mind, something was making my sleep uneasy. strange how, even in the deepest of sleeps, some part of the mind is still awake enough to remind you of things. things like, "Um, you're about to be late for work, Stupid!" annoyed with whatever was disrupting my sweet slumber, I scraped and clawed my way out of that deep hole of sleep, into the realm of consciousness. once there, I cracked an eye open, to see what could be poking at my brain so persistently.

The moment my eyes landed on the clock, I was immediately switched from "Asleep" to "Panic". It was a quarter to nine!! EEK! I threw on my work clothes and ran down the stairs in a frenzy. my mom poked her head around the corner and said something to me, but I didn't have time to talk. besides, I knew (for a fact) that if I stuck around, my mom would be trying to make me eat breakfast or take some coffee in a travel mug...things I simply did not have time for just then. so I call a hasty farewell and dash out the door, still blinking my contacts into my eyes.

As I sped to work, I switched from "Panic" into "Angry". I was angry at everything. angry at myself for not getting up to my alarm. angry at the weather for being so hot and humid. angry at my manager, who would expect me to be happy and helpful (which is my job, yes I know). angry angry angry. I was sure--absolutely positive--that my day was going to be a disaster. it had certainly gotten off to a horrible start.

Sometimes I wish I worked at Wal Mart. Nothing at all against Wal Mart people, but at least their slogan isn't "a helpful smile in every aisle". so I sort of decided I would not be happy at work. a bad thing to decide, I know, but I couldn't help myself. I was sad and angry and having a terrible day.

And my day went like that for about three hours. until a nice old man (somewhere between 70 and 80 years old) came through my line. he smiled and asked me how I was. "Pretty good." I answered. (I never go anything below "pretty good" because the last thing I want is for somebody to inquire about my melancholy). I politely return the question, to which he responds, "I'm having a great day. if you don't, it's your own fault." He smiled.

To an ordinary person, it would've been an almost rude thing to say. luckily for him (and me), he had happened into the lane of a cashier who was having a very gloomy day indeed. after he went on his merry way and I was left to myself to ponder, I decided the old man was right. and then I decided my day would be a good one. at break time, I listened to "beautiful day" by sanctus real, and to my surprise, when I decided to have a good day, I actually did! the humidity wasn't as suffocating, the customers seemed more friendly, time seemed to go faster, and I began to get excited about my upcoming road trip to Colorado.

On my drive home, I listened to "Walking On Sunshine" and y'know, the day--which I was so sure would be a terrible one--actually turned out quite nicely. Older people really should talk more. I'm grateful to that old man. he made my day a good one, in one gentle rebuke.

So. from now on, when I can, I'll have good days. I know they can't all be good, but at least now I understand that whether a day is good or not is no longer totally at the mercy of chance. :)

P.S. Just wanted to say bye! I'm off to Colorado tomorrow morning. I'm super excited! see all you blokes when I get back. oh, and for those of you who were curious, yes, I DID get to work on time!! and with one minute to spare, even. yeah. I'm that good. I was like...The Roadrunner on steroids.

"Oh Shenandoah" --James Galway. a really pretty old song. nobody really know what the words are talking about, but in spite of (or maybe because of) that, I find the song intriguing and quite lovely.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yeah, That's My Name

I like my name. Johanna. kinda pretty. I'm named after my great-grandma, too, so it also holds sentimental value. then again, I can find sentimental value in just about anything, from broken balloons to wadded up tinfoil to sand. (those three examples are totally not made up and also totally beside the point). the name Johanna isn't all that common, I know. in fact, I am hereby declaring it a rarity. but in spite of this, I think people ought to be able to say it correctly.

But apparently, 95% of all the people I see from day to day have never passed 3rd grade phonics, because my name is hardly ever pronounced right. I've stopped correcting people about it. it's not their fault they can't read. oh wait, yes it is! in fact (this is how bad it is) if somebody does say it right, I immediately assume I know the person from somewhere.

It's sometimes kinda nice when people ask how to pronounce it. if they knew how to sound out words they could do it themselves, but at least it's better than trying to do it yourself and butchering it.

When people say, "Hi, Jo-anna" I just wanna grab their shirt and pull 'em close and say, "Look here, pal. see the name tag? see that little "h" there in the middle of the word? now think way, way back to preschool when you were supposed to learn to read. remember what sound an "h" makes? if I were you, it would probably be pretty safe to assume it was put there for a reason. now I'm gonna let it slide this time since you obviously haven't had your morning coffee, putting you a bit behind as far as thinking is concerned, but just be glad I've had mine, or I might not be in such a good mood, so consider yourself lucky. say it right from now on, got it?"

Okay, maybe I only feel like doing that when I'm feeling especially cranky. but really, come on. in spanish, "h"s are never pronounced, but we speak English here. the people at my workplace make fun of me, because they all know I hate when people say my name wrong. so, of course, they go out of their way to "accidentally" say it wrong all the time. grr.

So like I said, I've stopped correcting people who say my name without the "h" or say the "j" like a "y" (who does that?!?!). it's no use. it's like trying to manipulate the weather. you can yell and threaten and bribe and cry and throw stuff, but in the end, it's gonna rain on your birthday party, like it or not. so in the end I just have to suck it up and smile politely and say, "Yeah, that's my name."

Maybe there just need to be more famous Johannas in the world. there's Johanna Spyri (the lady who wrote "Heidi", and yes, I knew that without looking it up), but she's the only famous Johanna that I know of.

Let's see what happens when we Google me, shall we? hmm, interesting. most famous Johannas are writers. there's a town in Minnesota called Lake Johanna Township. population 150. wow. lemme see...que mas? there's a song called "Johanna, Shut Up." lol! that's awesome.

Other than those little tidbits, there aren't many Johhanas to be found. maybe the simplest way to make people say my name right is just to...become famous! what better way is there? you never hear people saying Johanna Spyri's name wrong. no, everybody in the world knows how to say her name right. yeah, becoming famous is definitely the way to go. or in the words of Bob, "It's so simple! yet so brilliant."

Oh, get this! just tonight, I was at St. Elizabeth hospital to shadow a CNA for my class, and the guy I was shadowing asked my name, and I told him, and he says, "Johanna, hu? I'm gonna call you Joanna." no joke! that's what he said! I was like, wh...what? where do you get off calling me that??? jerk!! luckily I got put with another girl instead who just...didn't say my name at all. I was okay with that. if I hadn't been working, I might've picked a fight with the dude. and it probably wouldn't have ended well; he was like, the King Kong of CNAs. then again, I was pretty ticked. who knows.

The End.

Useless Tidbit Of The Night: my brother Jim and I just brewed a pot of coffee (Jim's the best, cause he's always willing to drink coffee with me late at night). and we made it so, so strong, it was like drinking a coffee bean. awesome. now I've got a headache big as the Goodyear Blimp. I thought it was supposed to work the other way around, dangit! and pain meds are all the way upstairs, so until I decide I want to go to bed, I'll just live with it.

"Johanna, Shut Up" --Crazy Loop. it's a weird, kinda creepy song. and the singer sings badly. I don't recommend it. but it's my only claim to fame, so I'll take it.