Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ode to Joy

Men are that they might have joy. I present to you...
the cheesecake brownie.
Oh thou celestial union of two delights, wherefore dost thou tantalize my tastebuds so? Thou fellowship of fancy, thou of guild of goodness... Thou art a blessed marriage of ebony and ivory. Thy chewy cocoa mattress plays against thy tangy pillow of pleasure in a way that is both angelic and sinful. Oh cheesecake brownie, I shall never meet a morsel that deservest my affection as much as thee.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Random Dialogue

One of the most valuable lessons my dad has taught me is this: never go anywhere without a book. Thanks to my pops, I always keep my current read in my car, and when I get to work and realize I've left it on my nightstand, I feel completely lost. I am then forced to pick up a months-old entertainment magazine from the break room to amuse myself during lunch. And then I wander around for the rest of the day in a daze, "Did I really just spend 49 minutes reading about the evolution over the years of Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe?" I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. Instead of finishing another chapter and adding to the storyline, I just wasted an hour of my day! Not that I'm universally against wasting time. Sometimes that's the best form of therapy. But I'd rather waste an hour with a novel in my hands than a People Magazine from April 2007.

This morning I heard a Chevron commercial on the radio that left me deeply disturbed. In order to conserve the gas in our tanks we are encouraged to drive more slowly. The guy actually said that if you go 55 mph on the highway instead of 65 mph, you can conserve several miles per gallon. Whaaaa? 55 measly miles per hour on the freeway? Seriously? That's at LEAST 20 mph TOO SLOW! Well, if you're taking that genius's advice, you'd better not budge from the right lane, people. Don't even think about flipping on that left blinker!

Breaking news: there is a crazy man dangling from a rope right outside my window! He has metallic reflective sunglasses just like the man chillin' outside the fateful hotel room window on Minority Report. You know, the guy that turns out to be a face on a billboard? The guy outside my window seems to be part of an acrobatic window washing team. It's a bit disconcerting to have a rapelling dude suddenly appear 3 feet in front of my face.

I received great news yesterday. My due date has been moved up from December 18th to December 12th, which is the date they originally gave me. Yay! I graduated 6 whole days during my lunch break! This makes me 20 weeks - I'm halfway done! The punk is 10 1/2 oz, 6 1/2 in. long from head to bottom, and about 10 in. from head to heel - the length of a banana.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good Times

One of the greatest things about my life is this fact: I still keep in touch with friends I met when I was 4 years old. 

We grew up together in a time when it was okay to run out the door yelling, "Mom, I'm going to Melissa's," ride my bike down the street and play in the sprinklers in the front yard all day long. We would have picnics, play Barbies (Shanel had all the coolest stuff), and put on concerts... wait, maybe that was just me making my poor friends listen to me sing along with Mariah Carey. We would sport our stirrup pants, multi-colored rolled socks, and crimped hair while jumping on the trampoline or riding our bikes down to the school playground.

Here we are at Joyschool graduation on June 3, 1986. (Thanks Mom for dating the photo.)

Here we are at age 12.

And here we are at dinner this weekend. I just love that I have friends who have known me all my life.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Men Are From Mars

Here we are enjoying a lovely lasagna dinner atop Grandpa's houseboat at Lake Powell. About 90 seconds after I took this picture, we started smelling smoke. As we scanned the horizon, we noticed a large plume of grey smoke coming from the other side of the slip. Everyone dropped their forks and took off to see what was going on.

Even this guy was curious.

It turns out, this is what was going on. A houseboat was on fire! It was this poor family's first time on their houseboat. Their whole family drove up from Texas to have a magical week together on the beautiful lake. When they turned on the propane fridge, it exploded.

As we were observing the madness, my brother Michael said, "Uh, this boat is sitting on 200 gallons of gasoline. Perhaps we shouldn't be standing here." Good point!

So we swiftly moved to a safer location down the dock. Everyone except the two pyromaniacs in my family: Dad and David.

After a couple minutes of Rachel freaking out for their safety, Michael went back to convince them to get their arses out of there.... and he didn't come back either. While trying to placate the Little Sis, we moved even further from the potential explosive and waited for the boys.

After what seemed like forever, they finally returned with an explanation of their loitering. They had to make themselves available in case the boat exploded and they had to help pull stunned or dead bodies out of the lake.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Registry Research

It is time for me to start thinking about filling my rooms, my closets, and my life with baby stuff. Stuff that will jump-start the nesting process. Stuff that will inevitably invoke oohs and aahs from aunts, friends, and strangers. To tell you the truth, I am a bit overwhelmed by it all. There is just so much cool stuff out there, but I don't know where to get the good stuff! This is where you come in, my friends... yes, both of you.

What is your very favorite baby item? The thing that just knocks your socks off every time you use it? It might cost $5 or $500. You could have received it as a gift, purchased it for yourself, or bought it as a gift for someone else and secretly kept it. It could be an innovative bottle, a supersoft blanket, a user-friendly jogging stroller, a fashionable diaper bag with a million pockets... the options are endless my friends!

See, this is why I waited 5 years to get knocked up. So you experienced chicas can share your vast stores of wisdom with me. Go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mean People Suck

On my way home from work yesterday, I was waiting at the stop light to turn left into my neighborhood. I was the third car in line in the left turn lane. As the light turned green, I happily noted that we had a green arrow! A green arrow is a nice way to kick off a delightful evening, don’t you think? As I approached the front of the intersection, I abruptly noticed the minivan at the front of the lane next to me, whose driver was frantically waving her manicured hands out the window. Her left blinker was on. Instead of calmly gliding through the busy intersection and flipping a quick youee, she thought it would be beneficial for each driver on Antelope Drive if she held up everyone behind her, and everyone behind me, and turned left from the center lane.

I was still on my green arrow high, and was feeling especially generous; therefore, I stopped to let her in. In order to thank me for my courtesy as she screeched around the turn, she extended a specific French-tipped finger in my direction.

It’s probably not her fault. I’m guessing the pharmacy had run out of her Xanax.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Lies Beneath

Lake Powell in August. 11:00 PM. It was almost time for bed, but hours after the sun set, it was still too hot to relax. My brother David and I devised a brilliant plan. Let's take one final dip in the lake to cool off so we can sleep. We were on Grandpa's houseboat, which was still in the slip at the marina. Everyone else was down the dock at Aunt Celia's boat, so we had The Donner Party to ourselves. (Yes, that's the name of Grandpa's houseboat. You have no idea how appropriate the name is.)

Here's the problem. David had just watched the horror movie, What Lies Beneath. I am not a glutton for punishment; therefore, I do not watch scary movies. Ever since running out of the theatre while watching The Sixth Sense (sorry Steve), I can't even watch a commercial for a scary movie without peeing my pants. (I know that creepy girl is still under my bed. Every time I get up in the middle of the night - and that's often these days - she and her ankle-grabbing ways are top of mind.) Bottom line - I had not seen the movie, but David had told me about it anyway.

He had described the eerie ghost woman, dressed in white, floating in the water. And here we were, at the edge of the platform, poised to jump into a murky, black lake.

We had established a rule: do not think about the freaky ghost lady. Just relax and enjoy the cool water. Do not mention anything scary at all. This cool-down ritual was essential to our nocturnal comfort. The dip had to be done. Don't screw it up!

So we counted, "One, two, three!" and jumped in together. For about 13 seconds, we exchanged pleasantries.

"This feels so good!"
"What a great idea we had!"
"I needed this!"

Then, a shift in the atmosphere. I looked at David and he looked at me. Our eyes became wider, and a look of dread descended on both our faces. Suddenly, we darted to the ladder, screaming and splashing. We both grabbed the bottom rung and attempted to hoist our panicking, shrieking selves up the narrow ladder at the same time. Finally we fell, gasping and laughing, onto the houseboat platform.

What a bunch of pansies!

Meili & David, Lake Powell, August 2000

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cyclops Baby

Last night I had a dream that Baby Boy Bell was born. I was so happy and so proud. It wasn't until several hours later that I realized the kid only had one eye!

Pregnancy dreams are weird.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reluctant Shopper Syndrome

I've reached the breaking point.

I haven't been able to fully zip, fasten, or button my pants and skirts for weeks now, but it's come to the point that some of my attire is refusing to budge at all. I try to reason with my skirts, "Come on now! Just a little zip? Please?" The baby doesn't live in my hip! But apparently the poundage that comes along with this little person likes to nestle in unnecessary places.

Now, I've never been a big shopper. I'll go on sprees every once in a while if I have a big wad of unclaimed cash lying around. However, I've never really been one to enjoy the chase. My fashionable sister-in-law is a total pro when it comes to putting in the time and digging deep to find the real treasures. The haute couture. I would rather just walk into the first store that pops into my mind (usually Express) and grab the stuff they want me to buy - you know, the raiment that they put on the mannequins in the windows. Sometimes I'll even peruse the sale rack for about 13 seconds before giving up.

So here's my point. I have held out for a while on going shopping for maternity clothes. Every time I walk by Motherhood, I want to gag. Mostly because gagging is a favorite pastime these days. But also because at first glance, that store just depresses me with its fuddy duddy knits and its apparent tribute to the mom jean. So I need your help. Where did you chicas find the best maternity vesture? (I used a thesaurus for that one. It means clothes.)

P.S. Sorry to you friends who have not yet had the pleasure of giving up your body as you know it to science. Or nature. Or whatever you call this. I guess you guys are out of the running on this one. Or maybe you should just give me advice on shoes!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Bucket Brigade

Every 4th of July, the entire Johnson clan goes to The Ranch: my grandpa's beautiful 330-acre property outside of Vernal. And every year, we happen to start Saturday in our swim suits, and a major water fight just happens to break out around lunchtime. This year it began at about 10:30 and lasted for 3 hours! In years past, the major weapon has been a giant fire hose. I think the incident of 9 year-old Kalin tackling poor Grandma to the ground ended the use of the fire hose. This year, there were buckets.

A plethora of buckets.

Buckets claimed by mean men who stole them from their wives and children.

Many of you have warm memories of fireworks and barbecues on the 4th day of the 7th month. Me - I have ice cold memories of water.

River water,

pond water,

and now... buckets of water.

What's your favorite 4th of July memory?

See more pictures of The Ranch 2008 here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The MORTifying Funeral

If you are prone to sympathy puking, please stop now. The rest of you may proceed with caution.

About 7 years ago, we were attending a funeral for my step-grandma's mom. (No real relation. We were just there for moral support and lunch.) In the middle of the service, we heard a noise that resembled a collective shout, grunt, and cry in the back of the chapel - someone was puking their guts out! We looked up at the clergy on the stand, and the bishop's eyes were wide open with terror. Then my brother next to me whispered,

"Oh great, someone else just died."

I burst into uncontrollable, silent laughter - the kind that shakes the entire bench! And couldn't stop for the rest of the service. Even now while I'm writing, I'm laughing out loud.

We found out later, it was a guy with Down Syndrome. And the way we found out was a revisitation of the vomit fairy, complete with projectile vomit in the middle of lunch. My dad was just about to dig into his slice of German chocolate cake... you know, the kind with gooey chunks of coconut in the frosting... and all of a sudden, the kid turned into a fountain right in the middle of the lunch room. His poor mom ran up and held a napkin to his mouth, which just made the chunks spew out on both sides.

German chocolate cake, anyone?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's a BOY!

The doctor spotted a kick stand! 60% of you guessed correctly. Congratulations Rachel! You are the fortunate winner of the $15 Cold Stone gift card!

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