Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! thoughts and thanks

Merry Christmas everyone! I just finished a long day of work and am feeling a bit sentimental and it's been a few weeks so I thought I'd get on here and write a few words.

I want to talk about some things that I'm Thankful for.

Family. I have a wonderful family. I really enjoy the time that is spent with them. All families have their own special quirks. One of my family's quirks is that we are often very quiet and first glance... but just like my own personality, once you get behind the curtain you find that we're all pretty rowdy and some of us have big mouths :) I won't say who ... It seems to me that every member of my family is on the whole very kind and loving. I've been surrounded by this my whole life and it's been a big influence on my life; the loving nature of my family.

I'm Thankful for the aunt Julie and my grandma Gladys. Both have passed away. How is it that we often seem to lose the best of us so early? Both were incredible strong women and I am better for having them in my life, let alone my family. They were such great examples for what a life of giving should look like. I hope I can be more like them. They are dearly missed.

I am grateful for my job. I can finally say that. I can finally settle down and enjoy my work; knowing that I don't have plans for leaving in a year or so. That's been my life for the past 4-5 years... take the job but know you're leaving. Now I plan to stay. Sure I may not stay here forever, but it also might be forever! I work at a Youth Home and believe in the work there. I enjoy it immensely. The kids are a lot of fun; at times very tiring and mentally exhausting, but enjoyable. In the end they are all just kids who are having troubles at home. Some of the don't have homes or a family. I know that in the overall scheme of their lives I am not making a difference, but if I can give them some enjoyable days and help teach some lessons then I will be happy. I just want to spread some love...

I am grateful for good friends and coworkers. I have a pretty interesting array of coworkers. I have a few jobs; both of which employ relief staff so there's quite a large pool of people. It's been pretty neat getting to know everyone over the past year. I am lucky to work with awesome people; all of whom want to help make lives better. As for my friends... I don't see enough of them as I would like. It's hard this time in our lives. We're all so busy and I live an hour from Missoula where several of them live; so it's hard to get together for a coffee or lunch or something. It really only happens when I drive to zootown... But it's still nice to have good friends that make an effort :)

Lastly listed but certainly not least is my relationship with Jesus and my church. He has been big in my life lately and I know that He has helped me with some pretty big issues. I was baptized November 26, 2011. My church family has been very special. They've taken me in and helped me feel welcome. Of course they know my whole family and that helps, but they are welcoming me as an individual and not as a Johnson. I look forward to being more involved and helping out a lot more this next year. We have a new pastor and I just think he's the bee's knees. Him and his family are pretty great. He likes to talk about all the things that I like to talk about and learn about when it comes to God and religion. It's gonna be a good year.

Thanks for reading & Merry Christmas!

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20 

Friday, December 9, 2011

NPR's Anatomy of a Tantrum

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
Friedrich Nietzsche

This is interesting.

It seems that people have said this before... that when a child is having a tantrum the best thing to do is to leave them alone. But now scientists have been researching the sounds a child makes when they're having a tantrum. They say that all tantrums follow the same pattern and caution parents against falling into the "anger trap". This includes asking questions during a tantrum; it prolongs it and therefore you have to deal with the tantrum longer.

NPR has a video, audio and written version of this story. If you are curious or have young children I highly suggest checking it out.

I go to school the youth to learn the future.
Robert Frost

I've also been watching a PESI training on dealing with tantrums and out of control behaviors in youth by Dr. Nancy S. Buck. It's very interesting. She says that the best part of the training is the beginning and I have to agree because that first part is the part that's stuck with me the most. She refers to Bruce Lipton's description of a cell and that a cell can either be open to change, or closed in protection. It's the same with a child....


While googling Dr. Buck I came across a few of her websites: Peaceful Parenting ... and here's another!
Again, if you're a parent or work with youth I suggest checking her out.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. ( 1 Timothy 4:12 )

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Healthy Post

The first wealth is health.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Smart guy that Ralph. I seem to quote him a lot.

I'm perusing through my latest Natural Health magazine and you know what I like to do when I read interesting stuff. I get on blogspot and talk about it.

I didn't drink enough water yesterday. In fact, I didn't drink ANY water yesterday. Shame shame on me. I drank part of a fountain soda, ate crap and also had a caramel latte with soy... at least I had soy. Oh, and a beer. By 8:00 I had a headache. I'm actually surprised I didn't have one earlier but the coffee probably helped with that. .. When I was in college I did a 'research' project on drinking water. It wasn't the most scientific study ever done by a student but it was interesting. It was about how you feel when you drink water, and if you tried to drink more water throughout the day did you end up wanting more and feeling better about yourself for the accomplishement. I believe that this is true. I can't remember when my findings were though. I know that when I drink water I don't get headaches and I also feel better. That's reason enough for me.

Here's an interesting product, since we're talking about water... Vapur foldable reusable water bottles. How friggin' cool is that!? Only $10 a pop. Fold them up in your purse after drinking all your water. Easy to carry around. However, don't fill it with bottled water. Bottled water is usually just tap water and can still be distributed even if it doesn't even meet the municipal tapwater standards!!! and only 1 in 5 plastic water bottles are recycled.

Moving on...

The Natural Health magazine sometimes prints little facts here and there throughout... I'm not sure sometimes where they get their information for some of their little blurbs but here's an interesting one... physical and social warmth are interchangeable to some degree... so you could take a bath or drink a hot drink or sip soup to dispel feelings of isolation and exclusion. Interesting!

Winter is close at hand and you know that that means... vitamin D deficiency! So pop those D3 pills and eat your shitake mushrooms. And read about the 10 foods highest in Vitamin D!

Ok I'm gonna be annoying and talk about vegetarians and cancer. I know, I know. There is a lot of controversy about cancer; a lot of studies that people say don't prove anything. Regardless, I believe that eating less meat, more veggies and getting more exercise will decrease our risk of developing cancer. Sure, healthy people get cancer too... that's not the point. I don't understand why people put so much effort into disagreeing and disproving studies when you could just try to be more healthy. Where's the harm in that?

And no, drinking a V8 Fusion does NOT count as eating your veggies. Do you know how much sugar is in that? Just eat some darn broccoli for goodness sakes!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine." Proverbs 17:22

Well people, I hope I wasn't too incredibly annoying with my health post. I can do better and so can you. Let's make this world a healthier place. And feed your kids some spinach for dinner.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

for the love of art

Have you ever heard of Art Star Philly? I found them because a friend introduced me to Kurt Halsey, whose artwork I love. I have a few of his things, including a cute little firefly necklace. What I love about Art Star is finding new artists and styles. I enjoy finding oddball artwork that you wouldn't usually find in your everyday store or art gallery. It's like my love of music and 'discovering' musicians who aren't well known. (Tony Lucca for example... I've mentioned him before.)

Tony Lucca - Dirty Work by Rock Ridge Music

So without further adieu I will introduce a few artists that I've got my eye on...

CrystalBrilliance - is actually an acquaintance of mine. She makes her own jewelry and it's pretty interesting and unique stuff. She's got some new stuff coming out soon. It's nice to see your friends following their dreams and doing what they love.

Overdue Industries - repurposes books and gives them a new life as journals and planners, ect.. Everything is made by hand. You can also send in your own book for them to repurpose for you. Check out their About section to find out more. It's a pretty interesting concept.

James Singlewald Photography - James lives in Baltimore Maryland and photographs the downtown area. It was pretty interesting to stumble across him because I used to live in Maryland and I went to Baltimore fairly regularly and saw some of these places that he photographed. His goal is to improve the area that has fallen apart.

Diamond Tooth Taxidermy - Here's an interesting idea! I can't say that this is really my style but it's a fascinating idea. If I were a taxidermist I would totally go this route. They make fancy hats out of animals... chicken feet and feathers and what not... The feather-only ones are actually quite pretty.. I'm not so sure about the chicken feet...

Figs & Ginger - Earth Friendly and recycled material jewelry. I have a pair of their earrings; they are excellent quality and very cute.  Their stuff is made individually so their all vary slightly.

Bright Lights Little City - This might be my favorite. Glow in the dark lamp shade made out of those little party umbrellas that you put in your drink. Adorable and affordable.

Recycle My Dress - Here's a genius idea! Recycle that dress you wore once! I love it!

Here's a list of Art Star Philly's vendors for 2011. I couldn't list them all and haven't even looked at them all. But if you like oddball art check them out and see what you think.

Ever heard of Pinterest? My friend Nicole introduced me to it and it's so addicting! Here's my page. I've found so many amazing and creative ideas on it. Check it out. I recommend!

I will end this post with a quote about peace :)

He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees. - Benjamin Franklin

Friday, October 28, 2011

19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I've been basically on my preverbial deathbed for the past week. Thank goodness for audiobooks. I just finished 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult yesterday. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the 2nd book that I've read of hers; the other was  My Sister's Keeper which was also pretty good. I was skeptical of reading another book by Picoult because I've heard that she follows a pattern in writing all her books and I typically don't enjoy reading that kind of writing over and over. She likes to throw a twist in at the end that you wouldn't expect. 19 Minutes was no exception. I didn't think the twist was very believable but it was interesting and doesn't make me dislike the book as a whole.

Picoult writes about controversial subjects which I really admire and enjoy. I like to read difficult topics and she hasn't let me down thus far. 19 Minutes is about a high school shooting, popularity and bullying. I know, it sounds very dire and depressing but it was done nicely and with poise.

There's one part in the book that is quite chilling. Most school shooters share typical characteristics with most typical teenagers. She says "these kids who resort to violence are not all that different from the one living upstairs in your own house". YIKES!

I also thought this was very sad - In an interview about Picoult's reasearch on the book she stated "psychologically, a single act of childhood bullying is as scarring emotionally as a single act of sexual abuse". That's pretty scary!

The one thing I didn't like, besides the weird twist, was the name of the mother/judge; Alex Cormier. It seems like a very 'made-up' name to me. But oh well. We can't all be perfect. There was a point in the book (where Alex struggles with deciding to take the court case for the shooting at her daughter's high school or to recuse herself) that bothered me. I don't think any resonable judge would think that they could be impartial to a case where their child was injured. But again, didn't stop me from reading.

I suggest reading the interview with the author on her website.

- and for funsies, here's a trailer to the book -

LAUGH. It's good for you.

It's that time again! Time to share some funnies!

is this guy for real!?! Gotta love Craigslist.

Ok this isn't a funny but it's cool and I thought I should share. My friend hooked me up and now i'm gonna hook you up... Apparently everyone's doing it. You make your own pin boards and 'pin' stuff too it from websites, blogs, ect... There are a lot of recipes and DIY things. I recommend checking it out. Here's the direct link to mine.

...on to more laughs...

damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

Happy Halloween from! - awful pumpkin carvings

Here's a fun rap song by kids for Halloween - gettin' sugar-high

 the girls are at it again!

Oh I do love
Unsure of how much the new horse lamp would drink over the course of a day, Gary and Elaine set out an extra water bowl when they left for work.

I wish I could post this picture but it won't let me... from someecards... I guess you'll have to click the link...

That's all folks!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nothing Is Ever Wasted

...except me.... right now....

Every once in awhile something happens in your life that makes a big impact.
I'm going to tell you a little story. I know that this has happened to others but it's never happened to someone I knew or to myself. When I really stop to think about it it's not so bad and it's just a part of this era. But it felt like crap.

This is a story about my adventures in dating.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, and as much as I don't want to say it 'out loud', I fear I must. If I say it then I don't ever have to worry about it being embarrassing again. Besides, it made a big impact on me and it's something that I feel I need to write about and share with "the masses"... all 5 of you. ... I've been dating online. Yes. There, I said it! It's out and I can never take it back. Oh well. Life goes on. Now I can add "dating" to my labels. What fun. Now you can make as much fun of me as you like.

No you cannot read my profile.

I've been warned against this by many people. "Why online? Why can't you just meet people?" ... Well first of all, have you met me? I'm apparently not that approachable. Why is that? And secondly... I live in Hamilton for goodness sakes. I've met one decent single guy. And he's 50. The rest of them are either in high school or they're already in a relationship or just plain not interested in fabulous me. But enough whining.

Online dating is not that abnormal these days. Although I don't know if the people doing it can be considered normal. I know I can't. But I digress.... again... I know a wonderful couple that met online and they are married and perfect for each other. It's happened to other people too. So far that has not been my experience.

Onto my story. I started talking to this guy from Virginia who was moving to Montana. He told me one day, I'm on my way. He didn't have any specific plan other than he had a business idea that he wanted to pursue. I had the most interesting and fabulous conversations of my life with him. I was intrigued. He came to Hamilton and decided to rent a room month-to-month from a woman's home. So we went out, we talked, etc. etc. I was keeping my guard up but slowly letting it down day by day. I finally admitted to myself that I did in-fact like him quite a bit. So we had this conversation.. he had left Virginia with a few legal issues pending regarding his kids. He decided that if he were to have any sort of future with me he needed to handle his legal issues. I was okay with this. Bummed that he had to go back for an undetermined length of time, but excited that I'd met someone that I had such good conversation with.

A few days after he left I got an email from a woman who claimed to be his landlord's friend. She tells me he's not who he says he is and that I should stay away. So of course I call him and say wtf yo! What gives!? I will spare you the long drawn out conversation that followed but basically he was still technically married; awaiting divorce and child custody all to be done at the same time... but had been separated for over a year. But, is also ENGAGED and get this... she's pregnant. Yep. And living with him. What? So I asked him how is he talking with me this whole time when she's living with him and he tells me that she's downstairs and would I like to talk to her? Because at this point he's still telling me that he wants to be with me after he gets this whole thing sorted out with her. He had told her about me.

Yes. That is correct.

So I tell him "yes! get her up here and let's have it out!" So he went and got her and we had a little chat. Man, talk about an interesting conversation. Basically this guy had been lying to everyone and wanted to leave this girl and his unborn child to be with me. As if after all this I would want to be with him. She said "my concern is this, are you guys going to continue talking while we're trying to sort this out?" He replied that he wanted to and I said "well I think that would be a little weird" and she said "Thank You!!!" Rightly so. Weird weird weird. I was not irate or rude but mostly in shock that the whole conversation was taking place and he was telling this girl that he wanted to be with me right in front of her. She seemed like a very nice woman and was very kind to me. I feel bad for her.

A few days later I got an email from him letting me know that he'd decided to do the right thing by her and stay with her and that we would no longer be communicating. Go figure. I hope that everything works out for them.

And that is my story.

At this point I'm over it but at the time it really hurt. I learned a lot, and as my mother says "nothing is ever wasted". So while I could have done without this whole experience, it was nice to meet someone that gave me hope that there are eloquent people out there. Sure he turned out to be a sore loser, but that is beside the point. I continue to learn things about life, love and dating. And also about myself.

I apologize if this thing was long-winded and confusing. I sortof used it as a journal type entry to share with the world and I hope it was at least entertaining for you!

Best of luck to us all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reclaiming the Slut?

I caught a glimpse of The Doctors the other day and they were arguing about the Slut Walks that have been going on. These walks stem from a comment made by a police officer who said women should stop dressing like sluts if they don't want to be raped. I'm paraphrasing here. That statement very seriously upsets me. This statement comes from a police officer who has clearly not been educated on the topic of rape. The fact that he has not been educated upsets me and the many reactions that this comment stirs up make my blood boil. People on both sides of the fence are ignoring the real problem here.

This statement is taken from msnbc's article on the subject"It was taking the blame off the rapist and on the victim," said Nicole Sullivan, 21, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and an organizer of the SlutWalk planned Saturday in that city. "So we are using these efforts to reclaim the word 'slut.'"  Ok I understand that women should be able to dress the way that they want without fear of being raped. But this is completely missing the point.

I will explain way.

Rape is not about sex. When a person rapes, its to exert control, to dominate the victim. You can find this fact in many different places if you just look it up. That is why men are raped by heterosexual men. It is not about sex. So the way a woman is dressed does not say to a man, "hey, look at that woman showing cleavage. I think I'll rape her because I'm so sexually aroused right now". Sure, there are guys who carry around roofies and slip them into a girl's drink in order to rape her. But that happens to a lot of women who are not dressed provocatively. And still, even in that case, it's about power.

Certain people get the idea that the woman should take responsibility for being raped.

In the Rape in America study, 80% of the girls and women who were raped were victimized by someone they knew.
Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992

And then you have these women coming out in rage at these discussions about victims being to blame, and they say that they want to reclaim the word Slut. And I am baffled.

slut  (slt)
a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous.
b. A woman prostitute.
2. A slovenly woman; a slattern.

Why on earth would you want to want to be associated with this word. Sure, no one deserves to be raped. Not even a slut. But no way am I going to walk around in my underwear with a sign saying "it's my hot body I do what I want". You're not doing yourself any favors ladies.


Okay that's my rant. I get frustrated when people can't come together on common ground for a common goal. This whole thing does nothing for victims of rape.

Most commonly, rape is a crime of opportunity; the victim is chosen not because of her looks or behavior, but because she is there.
Helen Benedict, Virgin or Vamp, 1992

Friday, September 16, 2011

giant tetris

Sometimes you come across things that make your mind spin. At least I do. Sometimes people do things that amaze me. Great works of art for instance. The pyramids... And then some people build castles by themselves in the dead of night and then move them to a different location after they've completed it....

This is a picture of Coral Castle after it was moved. Remember, all of this was in a different location before and moved here.
 I was recently introduced to Ed Leedskalnin. He's an interesting fellow who built a castle/rock garden in Florida all by himself, cutting coral bedrock and 'lifting' it into position. No one really knows how he did it because he worked in secret and did not allow others to watch him work. He built his castle for his sweetheart who jilted him at the alter; Agnes, his "Sweet16". According to this website, Billy Idol wrote his song Sweet 16 about this guy. Ok so maybe he was a little off... but he built a castle.

Below are a few videos on Youtube. They're a little old, so don't mind the music... and the acting.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Here's another video about old Ed.  There was one that lightly suggested aliens. I opted out of sharing that one here. ... Ed stated that he knew the secrets of the Pyramids, and if you look at some of the structures there are some that point to the pyramids as well as Stonehenge; one that is taller than the stonehenge rocks.

It's amazing that this is the first I'm hearing of this guy. Yep, that's him right there in the black suit. He's not much taller than myself, 5 feet. ... I wish I knew more about this amazing little guy. I suggest that you watch the videos and see for yourself how fascinating his story really is. It's amazing what can be done when you put your mind to something... This is an interesting website and has some pictures of some of his devices and such. He mentioned several times that people just don't understand how magnetic currents work...
As old Ed said... "it's not difficult really, the secret is in knowing how"

Here are some interesting facts about old Ed...
  • He had a 4th grade education.
  • He was a Mason
  • He moved to Florida from Latvia
  • The government refused to let him patent his perpetual motion magnet machine and it was shortly after that that he was beaten.
  • The government kept asking him to send his machine to them. His patent plans have never been found.
  • He had iron soles in his shoes
  • The author of the book states that he has never been interviewed by a Florida radio station... this is a local wonder that holds many secrets and he's never been interviewed by a local radio station?
  • After Ed took himself to the hospital he died there of malnurishment. During the 3 days he was in the hospital his place was looted and parts of his machine were taken. He didn't have anything else to steal. He led a simple life.



If you're really interested check out this video.
click here... it's an interview with the guy who wrote "waiting for Agnes". He's done a lot of research on this guy and his castle. here and there Now, I'm sorry that I do not agree with the aliens aspect that is suggested... but it mentions the pyramids and their natural mumification qualities and other aspects which I found quite fascinating. it's an 11-parter; you can find the rest on youtube. It has a LOT more information and is quite detailed. If this interests you then definitely check out these videos.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Water for Elephants

I just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Yes, the book. Not the movie. I read the book. Sheesh. I thought the book sounded interesting so I read a few reviews and didn't like them so I opted out of reading it. Then when I saw the movie was coming out I figured I needed to hurry up and read it so that I could watch the movie. So I did.

I mostly like what the NewYorkTimes review says, although I did not read this particular review before reading the book. I read Amazon's reviews and that's where I got my skepticism from. As of this writing there are 133 one-star reviews and 2,079 five-star reviews. Yes, two-thousand is a big number but 133 is also a pretty big number and it's big enough to make me think twice about reading a book. Elizabeth Judd of the NYTimes says this: "Gruen's prose is merely serviceable, and she hurtles through cataclysmic events, overstuffing her whiplash narrative with drama (there's an animal stampede, two murders and countless fights). She also asserts a grand passion between Jacob and Marlena that's never convincingly demonstrated." And I think that pretty much sums it up.

I am happy that I read the book. I ended up enjoying it and I really loved the ending. But it is nowhere near the best book I've ever read. I was disturbed that I didn't really feel the romantic feelings between Jacob and Marlena. I enjoyed more the relationship between Jacob and Walter the clown. I could feel the emotions in that relationship more than the supposed romantic one.

I would not rate it a 1 and I would not rate it a 5. I'd say it's about a 3 or a 3.5 mostly because I enjoyed the story overall. At the end of the book there is an interview with Gruen. I always enjoy reading the interviews with authors after reading a book. She apparently did a lot of research and fell in love with the circus world. I have to admit it's kindof a romantic idea. She also mentions two female elephants that she believes deserve to be remembered. She fashioned Rosie, the elephant in the book, on these two real elephants. So of course I had to do my own bit of research on them. . . .

TOPSY THE ELEPHANT - Topsy killed her handler after he fed her a lit cigarette. It was her third strike and was therefor slated for execution. They were going to hang her publicly but the public thought that was cruel and unusual. So Topsy's owners contacted Thomas Edison and he executed her with electric current to help prove a point he'd been trying to get across. You can also Google Topsy the elephant if you'd like to know more.

OLD MOM the ELEPHANT - Old Mom understood German but did not respond to English. She was purchased from circus legend & father of the modern zoo Carl Hagenbeck who claimed her to be the smartest elephant that ever lived. However the purchasers did not realize she only understood German; they couldn't get her to do anything but shuffle around. They finally retrained her to respond to English and she went on the a dazzling career.


Here's a preview of the movie, which I have not seen yet but I heard it was pretty good.

ps... I love the cover of the book. very cool. You gotta pick a good cover.

If you decide to read it I doubt you will be disappointed if you do not expect absolutely amazing things.

Monday, August 1, 2011

something beautiful

Time to share some more music. What is it about music that speaks to us so much? Or at least to me. I feel like it expresses so much what I cannot say. I love the chords and the feeling I get from it.

All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it. - Jean Cocteau

Here is a newly discovered favorite of mine. I love the old style of this video and the way their voices blend. They make such beautiful harmonies. I just can't get enough of them... The Civil Wars. I also love their song Poison and Wine; you have to check it out, it's powerful.

Dance Me to the End of Love
"dance me very tenderly dance me very long "

I heard Vicci Martinez on The Voice, which was an okay show but I ended up really loving Vicci. She seems to sing with so much heart, and I think her voice is great and she's short and spunky. What's not to love?! Here is one of her originals below; Peace of Mind... I thought her version of The Dog Days Are Over was amazing as well.

"& I do appreciate what you've shown me, cuz I'm better after all. 
& I know that you and I are gonna find some peace of mind."

Tony Lucca! Here's a fun one. When I was living in Maryland I stumbled across him and went to see him in a little coffee shop and he was totally fabulous. He seems to be doing really well and I'm so happy that he is because I think he is very talented and I do love his music. Isn't it fun when you discover something on your own and it's not shoved down your throat on the radio every day... Here's my favorite of his below, Pretty Things. Check out Darlin' I as well.

"been reading all the letters that you wrote me, all the fairy tales that you sold me"

below: I Can I Will I Do - my favorite of his.
"passion aint no kind of passion at all when it's your heart that it steals"

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water. -Ray Charles

There's nothing like music to relieve the soul and uplift it. 
-Mickey Hart

Friday, July 22, 2011


That's a word that my mother used to use and probably still does on occasion :) I couldn't think of a specific topic to write about today so I'm just gonna free-write and just go with it and see what comes out. I have a lot of things on my brain; a lot of garbledeegoop!

I guess I'll start with an update on what's going on with me lately. Grandpa is in the living room, "watching" the news. For those of you who don't know, that means napping. He's got a busy summer. He went to the lake already, came home and did yard work, then he's going for a week long backpacking trip (yes he's 80).. after that he is going to rest a week (ie: do more yardwork) and then bike to Bozeman to help seniors in high school learn about the wild wilderness.. He's a busy man. Notice how I said let me tell you what's going on in my life and I tell you about my grandpa. Of course. But he's an inspiration to a lot of people and to me. Therefor it must be mentioned.

I'm posting some pictures below of my latest hiking adventure. It was exhilarating to be out in nature like that all by myself. I'm trying to pick my next hike. I would love to go bike the Hiawatha Bike Trail soon. I've been trying to go for a long time but it hasn't worked out yet. It's kindof a far drive & I think it would be more fun to go with someone for that particular adventure. I've had a bit of a hard time finding adventure partners and that's been a little bit frustrating. But I'm a big girl and I can do things on my own. It's good to be alone but I'm also pretty social and being female I feel successful and happy when I have good relationships. When my relationships aren't very strong I feel 'down'. So that's something I've been dealing with also; it seems that everyone is too busy with their schedules and doing things with their significant others. I pray about it and God has truly been helping me with that.

My job situation has improved. I'm still working weekend afternoons at a mental health group home and I am really liking it. I've also recently been hired at a Youth Home for kids in transition. I'm only relief staff right now but there are a few openings and I'm hoping to get one of them. I'm very excited because I really like working there so far. They have a wonderful philosophy and I've been trying to get work in the youth field for a long time now. I have a big heart for kids in trouble. Youth are amazing and people don't see it sometimes. I believe all the problems of the world can be fixed with proper parenting, but it has to start at the beginning. It's so sad that our kids get treated worse than our pets.

I'm starting to think that maybe this really is the field I want to be in and that's really exciting because lately I've been wondering if I'm even going in the right direction.


I did my first hike of the season; my first hike in a long long time, all by myself!!!
Glenn Lake behind me, still covered in snow and ice! well not ALL of it.

See the whole lake wasn't frozen. I met a nice older couple up there.
They were setting up camp. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

checking in

Just checkin' in with y'all. I have several topics that I'm getting ready to blog about but I first need to sit down and write them and get all my thoughts in perspective. But I thought I'd post a little teaser...

First of all, I don't want to delve into great detail here but my very good friend's mother was murdered. Here is the link to the article in the Missoulian. It's such an awfully sad story. She's been dealing with a lot so I don't think it would be right to make a huge article about it, but I want people to know. And I couldn't just ignore it either. There are some things I want to mention in regards to this later on as well.
She was a such a vibrant friendly woman in every way. She was always up for fun and/or mischief. Such a joy to be around. She always made me feel welcome. I will miss her.

I attended campmeeting in Bozeman this last week and I'm excited to tell y'all about my experience there.

I've had some pretty serious work issues lately and I've got some interesting ideas on that.

Those are the main things I'm pondering and hope to delve into later on. For right now I've got things to do!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

sharing some funnies

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.  
~Jean Houston~

I would like to share some funny websites that I love. According to this website, laughter is good for you. It releases the same endorphins that are released during exercise and sex. These endorphins can temporarily relieve pain and give you an overall sense of well-being. I can vouch for the exercise part of that. And how many times have you laughed and then though how much life sucked afterwards?

someEcards - this website is a free e-card site where you can create your own e-cards or use cards previously created by other users. It's a lot of fun to make your own because you can customize them to people if you want. If you think you make a particularly great one you can submit it for other people to vote on. Here's one that I recently made after all the scandals with the high-power men cheating with their maids. Their created cards particularly play to my dry and sometimes wordy sense of humor. <3 Check it out. - this one was forwarded to me by a friend and I loved it instantaneously! These two dumb girls moved in above this guy's apartment and he can hear everything they say so he started "writing letters to them" with quotes from the things they say. It is absolutely hilarious. You can't make this stuff up.

CatalogLiving - I can't tell you how much I love this site. A+++ . It's created by this woman Molly Erdman who posts pictures from catalogs and creates captions based upon her fictional characters Gary and Elaine. You know how sometimes pictures in catalogs are completely ridiculous? This pokes fun at the decorating that goes into these often silly poses. It's quite funny. I don't know, maybe it's my twisted sense of humor but looking through these I often find myself laughing out loud. I hope you do too.

CuteOverload - This site isn't so much funny as it is adorable. If you're every feeling down go to this website and look at some cute puppies, kitties and hamsters and you'll instantly feel a little better about life.

Bo Burnham - Warning!!! Explicit Content! (not the website, but his music is quite explicit & offensive). It's often very uncomfortable to listen to, which I personally love, but it's not for everyone. He's this skinny, white nerdy boy who raps. He's very clever which is what I love most about it. If you'd like to check out some of his less explicit stuff here's a good one; 3.14 apple pie. And a few more that aren't QUITE as explicit (HighSchool Party, Rehab for Fictional Characters, The Perfect Woman, Love Is... ) If you don't like 3.14 apple pie you won't like any of his stuff. Just warning ya!

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.  
~e.e. cummings~

And if you want to keep looking and see some more funnies here's a list of the top 15 funniest websites according to some people.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Outdoors in Montana

Unknown Mami

I know it's Monday but I forgot to post last night. Well, I was at work so I had an excuse. These are some beautiful flowers in my backyard! I'm so excited that it's finally spring! I love Montana flowers. Sundays in My City is from another blog that I found (can't remember how I stumbled across it). You post pictures from Sundays in your city and link back to her blog. It's kinda neat. And I like taking pictures so why not! I've been meaning to do this for awhile.
a row of daffodils.
People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.  
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

does anyone know what these flowers are called?
Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  
~Walt Whitman

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healthnut - getting there

So I'm kindof a health nut. I haven't always followed it properly like I know I should. But I know what I should be doing and when I try I do a pretty good job. Lately I've noticed a lot of non-healthy behaviors. Specifically at my job. People are fed hamburger helper and when they are fed something healthy they turn up their nose at it in favor of a PB&J on white bread. ugh. I'm confused. Has it always been like this?

I seem to remember the "hot lunches" at school being pretty grotesque. I always brought a lunch from home. Sure, sometimes I wanted to eat the mac&cheese or the gooey pizza but it was more of a pride thing with me. "Look at me, I don't wear Nikes or eat Hot Lunch"! Now though, I do think it's something to be proud of. I see people downing multiple Mountain Dews in one afternoon on a daily basis and it's rather sad when you really think about it. We're so overworked that we think we need this stuff. When in reality all it takes is a bit of healthy eating and exercise on a regular basis to get your body back to a baseline where you can function properly without all that crap in your system. But it's hard work to start it, it really is. That's why it's good to have people around you who support your choices and make good choices themselves.

If you want to start, start small. Cut out the sodas every day. Maybe have one every other day until you're down to once a week or so. Soda's aren't the devil, but they can be if you drink them every day.

* Drink WATER! Your body needs it and will thank you for it. Start in the morning

* Eat wheat bread instead of white. Check the ingredients. If it says "enriched whole wheat flour" DON'T buy it. Not if it says enriched. Only get "whole wheat flour" or a variation of that. Enriched basically means dyed white flour.

* Eat breakfast. Even if it's just a banana.

* Try replacing the sugar in your coffee with honey. Try it, you might like it.

* Go for a walk, then increase it bit by bit. Start jogging or biking, take a class.... Anything to get your body moving. It will increase endorphins which will make you happier and in turn make you more productive. It gets oxygen to your brain and clears your head; always a good thing, especially these days.

* Eat less meat. I'm not saying cut it out completely, but just try to make a few meals each week that don't include meat. And eat more fish if you're gonna eat a meat.

Those are my basic starters. Just work on those things for a month and see how you feel about yourself.
After that keep going with bigger changes. Try going a whole week without meat, start expandinng your vegetable vocabulary, try some new grains (I love buckwheat and oats cooked together for breakfast & japanese soba noodles). Start exercising more and try doing something different, set a goal. Try black tea for breakfast with honey and cream instead of coffee for 2 days out of the week... Just keep going. Pretty soon you won't miss those things that you thought you needed every day.

Believe me, it is doable. Baby steps. And don't beat yourself up.

If there was one thing I would say to do first is exercise. Just going for a walk clears your head and gets you thinking. So grab a friend and take a stroll. You'll be surprised how much better you feel just after doing that.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

To Do List + Hodgepodge

So this is what happens when you have a life. You stop blogging. Ok that's not true for everyone but it's true for me sometimes. I get busy and then neglect it. On the upside, I'm kinda busy, which means my job and social life are going alright. The job is good but it's only relief/on-call so I don't get that many hours. I'm looking for a part time job as well but so far I've gotten 3 rejection letters. I'm waiting on 5 more. Yes, I sent out that many applications. It's hard work and there's gotta be some seriously qualified people applying for these jobs if they won't even give me an interview. It's depressing.

I feel like I need to be doing something with my life. Like everyone around me is doing so well but me. I know that's probably not true but that's sure how it feels a lot of the time. I'd love to be self-employed. I've thought about doing event planning. And still trying to learn calligraphy. And of course I have my endless list of hobbies that I enjoy.

Oh... I was also told that I couldn't be a foster dog owner because I don't have a fenced yard. WTF. I've rehabilitated several dogs. The most successful (Penny) in an apartment, without a yard of any kind, fenced or otherwise. It really makes me mad at shelters because they're always talking about how much they need stuff but then when someone like me comes along to help it's not good enough. The dog I wanted to foster doesn't have a chance in you know where of getting adopted because it's not friendly. And I was willing to help, but nooooo my help isn't good enough.

Sorry about the jumping around. It's been awhile so there's a lot of ground to cover.

I do think I need to make a to-do list of things that I need to/want to do... Back to monthly goals. We'll call this May goals because that's just easier.

1. Look into learning to make cheese
2. Research event planning
3. stop dozing because I can't remember what else I want to put on my list
4. Finish list later when brain is functioning....

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 11, 2011

sucking out the juice - upper downer

I was writing a letter to a friend and I used this phrase to explain how I thought we both like to experience life... we both want to suck the juice out of life. Regrettably it doesn't always happen the way we want it to and we whine just as much as anybody about the unfairness of it all. ... but overall we both enjoy life. I think we all go through phases of being happy with our lives and being disheartened by them.

(I like this musician - Joshua Radin... & this is a great song/video)

So what do you do when you're feeling down and traumatized by life? I started writing this entry about a week ago when I was feeling high off of life. But now I've come full circle and I'd started feeling blue. But today I'm back to "normal" again. Not high and not low. Even keel. Which is good. I noticed when I started feeling differently and I've been trying to pay attention to what it is that's making my emotions change. I've noticed that as I've gotten older I can pinpoint changes in my body as well as my mood. My body is starting to stabilize (finally! it's been feeling like a teenager for years!!!) ... I can't say the same for my mood though. I don't think it's capable of stabilizing.

So after paying attention to my changing mood I think I pinpointed a couple things...
1. a few of my close friends have been feeling blue lately & maybe it rubbed off a bit 
2. i'm mad that my job isn't doing a better job of training me & it's making me feel useless
3. money. of course.
4. during my CASA training sessions I'm feeling like people don't value my input

I think that all of these combined (except for $) is keeping me from having a genuine connection with another person. In my classes & training we're learning about Active Listening, Motivational Interviewing, and Successful Communication Techniques... Ok... the point is to make sure the other person feels heard. I think I do that pretty darn well. But I've been feeling like no one is hearing ME. And every time I bring up something in my training or class sessions it seems like I get blown off. I need someone to listen to me. So what happens is after a few times of being cut off I just shut down and don't offer any input at all because no one's listening. Which in turn makes me feel crummy, but I'm not one to butt into something if no one is paying attention to me. 

So that's WHY I've been feeling like that. But last night during work I had a nice chat with one of the overnight girls. She was very nice and is also still pretty new like me, so we had some fun griping about all the things that we think are going wrong in our job :) It was nice because we both listened to each other, especially nice that she listened to me. I felt heard and valued, and I hope that she did too. 

I think it's important to figure out WHY you feel bad when you do. How can you get around it if you don't know what it is? And if it's something that you can't do anything about, at least you know it and can work on accepting it. So that's my big advice. 

What I need to know is... if what you need is something from someone else how do you get that? How do you get someone to give you what you need? Like a listening ear, without outright telling them "HEY! I need you to listen to me!"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Story of a Child Soldier

DID YOU KNOW THAT: over 30 wars and conflicts rage around the world.Many of these wars go unreported, often due to political expediency or lack of interest. -WarChildInternational-


I  just finished this book and it was incredible. It's about the civil war in Sierra Leon and Ishmael and other children and families' fights to survive. Young boys were turned into soldiers in order to defeat the rebels and many many lives were ruined. It's a tragic story. As far as my opinion of the book... it has a lot of difficult things to read but was written incredibly well. I know that I personally enjoy reading about controversial topics and also enjoy true crime books, so I have a little higher tolerance for that sort of thing. But the way that Beah wrote the book was in such a way that the painful things did not completely overwhelm you. They are facts, as I'm sure they were to him at the time. Get through the day. That's it. Cut & Dried.

Here is Ishmael reading an exert from his book

I'd like to make a comment the part that music played in his life. I've always thought that music can heal and in this case it not only helps him do that but saves his life in certain instances. Growing up he listened to American rap music with his friends and they would learn the lyrics and dance and sing for crowds... not too different from what my friends and I used to do back in the day... after the war started and they were forced to run from village to village people didn't trust them because so many young boys were being recruited into the war; both on the rebel side and the soldier side. They were taken into villages and threatened and given tests to prove they weren't soldiers. Many times his rap cassette saved their lives. And after he was taken to the rehabilitation camp listening to music again brought him back to reality and sanity. Props to rap music! I never would've thought!!! -----------sidenote----------- in the last youtube clip I've included here he mentions hip hop; he says that he enjoyed the early hip hop because of the words that were used in the lyrics, like soliloquy... which he says are not used in rap music today. Interesting. ----------------------------------

When I read a true story I like to do more research after I've finished it. I've read enough memoirs and non-fiction that I can say I believe that truth is stranger than fiction. It really is. You can't write some of the things that come up in non-fiction books. It's incredible. I have such respect for this incredible person. And he is so well spoken. I've included several links throughout this post - UNICEF was the organization that stepped in to help rehabilitate these children. I've also found WarChild which is another organization that does the same things. TheChildrenOfWar is another one.

Here's another interesting clip from youtube... it's a clip of Ishmael on some tv show talking about the book. It's a great clip, especially if you'd like to hear about the story before reading the book, or just hear about stuff from the author himself. check it out.......

And another... where he speaks at a school. Very interesting. This one is a lot longer than the previous one. His English is so good! .....cute guy too :) Too bad his facebook says he's "in a relationship". darn that facebook! haha Oh well. ;)

Ishmael's attitude is so inspiring. For a child to go from incredible daily violence to the well spoken and positive man he is today is incredible. He mentions how the human spirit is resilient. How true. Especially a child's. It never ceases to amaze me the things that people get through and can turn around and use for good. "it's a long term goal, it is difficult, but it's possible". These kinds of stories remind me that life is ultimately beautiful and we should respect it.

Oh, I also have to mention... when he finally comes to New York for a child of war conference they didn't tell him that he needed a COAT in DECEMBER in NEW YORK!!! What!? hahaahahaha. How could they do that to this poor guy from Africa!? He had no idea! He says it was snowing and the only relationship he had with snow was Christmas movies and he said he thought "it must be Christmas every day!" I love the way he describes his experience of New York in the book. It's so funny! He says it's the most uncomfortable country in the world! Freezing cold outside and HOT inside! (cuz they didn't show him how to turn down the thermostat!). The things we take for granted... interesting stuff man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm trying to speak your language

I have some thoughts on friendships. I've had the good fortune to have some wonderful ones over the years, some that I've had since middle school. I am slow to make friends, I always have been that way. But when I make a friend it's usually for life. I have been burned by people who I thought were my friends. It happened recently and was a shock to me. I'd never known people like that existed, at least not in my world. I guess maybe it's made me take another look at how I trust people. I trusted those people and they turned on me and made my life as miserable as they possibly could. I thought I'd always been careful to keep those kinds of people out of my life. But they got in and that kindof shook my little world.

It's not just that though, the past 3 years of my life have brought people into my life and I've also lost people. It's caused me to value my true friendships that much more. I realize that I may have alienated a few friends more than I thought I did. It's a shame, but in the end you find out who your true friends are.

Some people have not made much of an effort to be my friend and I have to accept the fact that maybe they don't really want to be. I have to be okay with that. People grow, People change and if they don't want to put value in my friendship then that's the way it has to be. I can't force people to give me the attention I want. I have to recognize that maybe they don't value me in the same way I value them. And so be it. Instead of focusing on a loss I can focus on those people who have reached out to me and been there for me.

One thing I've learned over the years is that sometimes you have to be the one to mend a friendship, even if you don't believe you were in the wrong. I've been through some rough times with friends and at times I truly felt that they were in the wrong. But in the end, I value their friendship, I value them as a person. So I reached out, and it's been so much more rewarding than focusing on anger and resentment.

Also, sometimes you have to speak the other person's language. I think it's the same as a love language; it's the way that person communicates and feels valued. For example, I'm a letter writer and I love to write and send letters. I realize that not everyone likes to write letters. But, I have a friend who takes time out of her busy day to send me a letter every once in awhile. It's nothing long or elaborate, but she's speaking my language! It makes me feel special and loved to receive a piece of communication from my friend who is trying to communicate with me in a way that she knows makes me feel good.

Give your friends a break. This can be hard for me sometimes. I want my friends to do everything the right way! haha. But that is just not real life. Sometimes my friends frustrate me and really anger me, but I have to remember that they are people too. If I expect for my friends to cut me some slack sometimes then I need to do the same for them. It's all small stuff anyways. In the end, it doesn't really matter.

So I vent about things and complain. So what! Who doesn't? I just hope that my friends know how much I value them in my life. You should tell your friends too. Every once in awhile let them know you care. It will mean a lot to them.

"Whoever says Friendship is easy has obviously never had a true friend!"
- Bronwyn Polson