Ode to Poo-Flowers

Yesterday I made a very happy observation. As I was walking around outside I noticed trees bursting with pink and white blossoms. The sun was shining. Bees were buzzing. BYU campus was a beautiful sight and I couldn't help but feel that popcorn actually was popping on the apricot tree(s).

But there's a catch.
Along with the buttery, luscious blossoms that ARE apricot-slash-other-types-of-blossoms comes a terrible stench. I haven't ever been able to fully appreciate the kernel-like blossoms that grace springtime because the overall smell of the season reminds me of, well, poo.

And there's another catch.


Pollen, pollen, pollen.

Pollen has been my arch nemesis since before the days of poo-flowers. That means forever.

In lieu of my hatred of pollen, I decided to educate you a little bit about my bothersome, nettlesome, provoking, galling, irritating, plaguy, troublesome, annoying "friend" that is Poky Pollen (not to be confused with Corny Collins).

Grain of pollen: microscopic part produced by the anther that serves as the male agent of fertilization in flowering plants.
Thickening of cellulose: fibrous thickening.
Exine: outer layer of a pollen grain.
Intine: inner layer of a pollen grain.
Nucleoli: control centers of cellular activity.
Pore: small hole.

Please note that a grain of pollen is, "[the] microscopic part produced by the anther that serves as the male agent of fertilization in flowering plants".

The male gender is the general root of my problems.

Okay so maybe I am overreacting a little bit. The thing is that pollen, just like poo-flowers and males in general, is somewhat mystifying, intriguing, and demands a closer look. But even though these things are pretty, they are really annoying and shouldn't be touched, inhaled, or tolerated. The fact that they get under your skin and make you itch all the time is pretty hard to overlook. I just made that connection in my head. I'm glad I did.


A Breakthrough

So I wore high heels yesterday.  First time ever.  I mean, I have tried them on before, practiced walking around the house, and worn them to look in the mirror and feel cool, but yesterday I actually wore them.  This was big.  For a long time I had kind of an "anti-heels" thing going, then it turned into serious "flat pride", and then it turned into a habitual avoidance of purchasing them slash learning how to walk in them.  Anyway, yesterday my skirt was just screaming for Rachel's ridiculously high yellow shoes.  It seriously wasn't even a question.  So I sucked up my pride and wore them.  OF COURSE I got a million compliments, including, "those shoes are amazing", "you are amazing", "those shoes are pretty sassy", and finally, "hey, will you model for me?  I've been looking for someone who can strut their stuff just like you.  Here is my number, 1-800-PRO-MODL (not to be confused with the Prada and D&G offers I got while walking out of sacrament meeting)".  Anyway, I'm glad I finally did it.

I rock.

PS - I forgot to mention my star moment.  I was walking down to Ben and Aaron's apartment and my heel (guys these weren't just any heels, we are talking 4-5 inches of pure madness) and the heel caught on the stairs that are serious death traps and suddenly I was in a blunder falling forward.  i didn't really have anything to grab onto so I flung my arms to the right of me and literally HUNG by the railings ABOVE me for a few seconds.  I just sat there screaming.  Glad to be alive.  Then I knocked on the door and Homeless Handsome Jeff answered.  Awkward.


Thanks, Pablo.

Picasso is cool.  Particularly because he said this:

"Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation from art.  The refined, the rich, the distillers of quintessence, desire only the peculiar, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art.  I myself, since the advent of cubism have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head.

The less they understood the more they admired me, through amusing myself with all these absurd farces I became celebrated --- but when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all.  Not in the grand old meaning of the word, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya --- they were great painters.  I am only a public clown.

I have understood time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contempories.  It is a better confession of mine --- more painful that it may seem, but at least and at last it does have merit of being honest."

The Blog Clock is Wrong

I just wanted you to know its really 3:00 am.  

Not 2 or whatever time the blogger said.

(I really do need to go to bed).

A Makeover

Okay so I lied.  I didn't really get a makeover.  

In fact, I was talking about my "blog" (hereby named "Madras", I think that we can all be on a first-name basis with...it).  

Anyway, I went through all these templates trying to pick an appropriate new do for Madras and I...I just...I just couldn't get rid of the polka-dots.  Maybe sometime in the near future I will go through ALL of the templates and take notes, write the pros and cons of each on a sheet of paper, and slowly eliminate them as I realize their dumbness.   

But I seriously need to go to bed.  

(And if they tell me that I didn't do a good job cleaning that dang shower, I'll feed them to the wolves).


Thanks, Bob.

Autumn Arabesque 
© Robert Marshall

Tonight as I pursued a random train of thought I came across a devotional talk given by one of my art professors, Robert Marshall, in 2003.  The entire talk is beautiful, but I found one thing to be particularly so:

"Bless yourself with quiet, uninterrupted, reflective moments when you can reaffirm how very fortunate you are and how beautiful life is.  Many times there is so much pressure in the quest to accomplish that we forget to value the need for meditative moments--and yet they are essential.  Protect them."

That's just what I needed to hear.  

Thanks, Bob.



Well kids, finals are over. It’s done. I’m graduating. I spent the past two weeks performing, critiquing, turning in projects, studying, and this morning at 11:00 I took my last undergraduate test.

Just kidding. Now I am free to finish making up the three classes I have had to take “incomplete” grades in over the past year. Then I have a year solid of classes left in my undergraduate degree. Then I have pre-requisites for graduate school. And then, from the looks of my recent (well, recurring) obsession, I have at least three years of graduate school after that.

But graduating was a fun idea, too.


The Johnson Family Rules

Anyone reading this probably knows that I didn't grow up with a lot of rules in my house. I was limited only by invisible boundaries that were implied by expectation and I didn't get grounded when I stayed out past curfew. The worst punishment I ever received was not a punishment, per se, but a consequence--meaning that it was for my good and not for the benefit of the person enforcing it (who happened to be my dad). The consequence was him being disappointed in me. That was/is the most terrible feeling in the entire world.

Anyway, I mentioned that I didn't grow up with "a lot" of rules--I grew up with five. These rules are extremely important and I'm pretty sure that all of you can benefit from them:

The Johnson Family Rules

1 - Don't be weird
2 - Don't do dumb things
3 - Be happy
4 - Don't be naked
5 - Deal with it

Simple, right? I agree. These rules may seem pretty random but they actually all have a history and each was inspired by a child in the family. Number five is in honor of all four of us.

1 - Don't be weird

This rule is in honor of Tyler. I'm not sure if there was a specific event that inspired it, but I'm pretty sure that it was just a general statement. I mean, Ty got into PENN...he has got to be sort of weird, right?

2 - Don't do dumb things

David inspired this rule. He broke his arm like 400 times when he was little. I think that his "dumbest moment" was probably when he crashed head-first (while sprinting in a torro stance) into the brick wall at Pete's house across the street. The puddle of blood was enormous and I'm pretty sure his black eye was in full effect within 15 seconds.

3 - Be happy

My fault. This seems pretty silly now, but when Natalie was born I was actually seriously depressed. She took my place as the baby, and (I felt like) she took my place as "Daddy's little girl". I was no longer the center of attention. It actually took me a long time to get over this, but now I am. I finally realized that Natalie is cooler than me and has more talent in her pinky than I have in my entire body, so I'm glad she was born.

4 - Don't be naked

Let's just say that Natalie had a problem with modesty when she was a toddler. We have a splendid picture of her totally naked, standing by the toilet with an entire roll of toilet paper piled on the floor while dawning authentic leather cowboy boots that go up to her mid-thigh. This rule was for her.

5 - Deal with it

This rule is for all of the Johnson children. I'm sure there are many reasons, including the fact that we used to always complain that things weren't fair, bla, bla, ("life isn't fair"), my dad would tell us. I don't know if I punctuated that correctly...

Anyway, those are the rules. I hope you learned something! Don't forget 'em!


50 More Things: High School Memory Style

So, I can’t really believe I am doing this AGAIN, but I thought it was so funny to look at my absurd train of thought last night that I decided I would give myself a theme for this little activity. I guess I’m giving you a sneak peek at the wiring of my brain or something…feel honored.

Today’s theme (I will NOT be doing this every day. But my stomach is killing me and I can’t sleep so I’m doing it again, but 100 things is a lot of things…too many things)…

Oh yeah. Sorry. Today’s theme: HIGH SCHOOL MEMORIES

1. Oh my gosh why on earth did I pick such a topic?
2. I was too cool for school in high school. Well only some of the time.
3. I never really sluffed I just cut class tactfully, skillfully—it never hurt my grade.
4. I rarely ate lunch in high school. If I did it was after skipping my TA period and going to Great Harvest to buy a giant loaf of cinnamon bread and eat it Alladdin style—you know, where he just tears off little pieces as he pleases. Oh and yes, I did eat the entire thing.
5. I was obsessed with Riptide Rush Gatorade. I liked to freeze it and then pour water in as the frozen mass melted away. It just got slushier and more watery—it was fantastic.
6. I liked getting bruises in high school. I don’t really like to anymore because I never know where they come from. In high school my bruises were from volleyball and I liked to compare the size, intensity, and color of my bruises to those of my teammates. I usually won the competitions because I bruise easily.
7. Volleyball was my job in high school.
8. I had a hot body and a six-pack. My hair was down to my waist.
9. I didn’t wear makeup for the first year or two in high school. Only glitter on my eyelids. I was weird.
10. My favorite foods in high school were Marie Calendar’s chicken pot pie and cheese fries from Training Table. I ate like a horse and I still weighed 110 lbs because all I did was play volleyball.
11. I didn’t like chocolate in high school. No I’m serious.
12. I didn’t drink soda (for the most part) in high school, either.
13. I was way loud. Obnoxiously loud. Teachers and peers alike hated me…
14. Actually that’s not true. My coaches thought I was really loud but one of them was my geometry teacher and she was fascinated by my energy on the court and my shyness during class.
15. My volleyball coaches were some of my best friends.
16. Rachel and I were best friends throughout high school and still are today. Our parents never thought we’d make it this far (though we have ups and downs).
17. I absolutely love(d) chemistry. I took AP and got an “A” in the class and a “1” on the AP test. I know that doesn’t make sense, but my teacher told us it was the hardest AP test she had ever seen. Oh, and I didn’t go to study sessions because I was hanging out with my loser boyfriend.
18. I had a loser boyfriend in high school. Actually, I had a lot of them.
19. I was obsessed with “journaling” in high school. I think I have ten full journals.
20. I was good at art in high school but I didn’t take a class until my junior year (which was a joke).
21. The art program at my high school was a joke. I mean it was really, really lame.
22. Before I played volleyball I tried out for the soccer team. I loved playing soccer but I have always had really bad asthma and those two things just didn’t mix. I had to leave the first day of tryouts because I had my first serious asthma attack on the field. The fact that it was the worst air pollution in fifty years didn’t help either. I didn’t make it.
23. I never had a crush on a senior boy when I was a freshman. To be honest I never really had crushes.
24. I was never in my life planning to ever attend BYU. EVER. I was going to the U and I was going to be an architect. I am eternally grateful I got out of the high school scene when I did.
25. I used to skip my art class all the time, but, skillfully of course. I would ask if I could leave and Mr. Thulin would tell me that I could go as long as I picked up “x”, “y”, or “z” for him. Then he would drop a five dollar bill on my desk and mark me “present”.
26. My first dance in high school was one of the funniest experiences of my life. I got picked up by a boy that I didn’t get along with (AT ALL—I never figured out why he asked me), and he was wearing a red polyester suit with bellbottoms. I almost wore a red dress. It could have been a true disaster.
27. All of the dances I attended in high school were with pretty random people. I went to three dances with people that I was “dating”…two of them were with the same guy.
28. Junior prom of my senior year was one of the most memorable nights of my life for multiple reasons.
29. In high school I was infamous for receiving bad citizenship marks at midterm and pulling off an “H” on my report card.
30. No one really told me that citizenship marks didn’t matter.
31. I was (and still am) a perfectionist.
32. My young women’s leaders used to cry every time they saw me and Rachel together because they knew that we were going to cause trouble.
33. Rachel and I got in trouble at every camp we ever went to together…and pretty much every activity, too.
34. Something about getting in trouble was really thrilling to me.
35. I was friends with all boys (except Rachel) in high school until my senior year, and even then I really only had a few “girl friends”.
36. I regularly skipped AP study sessions (English) to go to 7-11 or to soccer games. Katie Jensen and I wrote notes back and forth endlessly. Miss Lake couldn't stand us.
37. My brother Tyler and I were very close in high school.
38. My brother David and I…well we didn’t exactly get along for a while there.
39. Natalie and I DEFINITELY didn’t get along in high school, although she was in love with my boyfriend at one point.
40. In high school people called me “Wongan” because I hung out with “Tongans” a lot. That means “white” Tongan. I can’t help it they are part of one of the most amazing cultures ever. Besides my volleyball coach and 80% of my team was Tongan.
41. The most important growth spurt of my life happened when I was a senior.
42. I saw and learned more as a Madrigal than I have doing anything else in my life. I loved being a Madrigal.
43. Miss Applegate didn’t like me as much as she liked my brothers.
44. “I was so not like Tyler” in high school.
45. My brothers were really hard and good examples to follow. I don't think I will ever measure up.
46. Senior soccer season took place over some of the best months of my life.
47. I had Strep all the time in high school. I was also sick A LOT. I got my tonsils out between my junior and senior year and it was absolutely the worst experience of my life. I still have nightmares that my tonsils grow back and I have to get them re-removed.
48. My junior season of volleyball was my best season—I started varsity (I did as a senior, too)—and I kicked older girls off the team. I don’t care if it was mean. I worked my tail off.
49. When I decided I wanted something, I did anything I had to in order to get it.
50. East high ‘till I die.


100 Things

1. It is too late for me to be doing this right now.
2. But it really doesn’t matter because it takes me forever to fall asleep at night anyway.
3. Benadryl doesn’t help me fall asleep anymore…that’s probably not a good thing.
4. Tyler is going to be a doctor.
5. I miss him. I miss his wife. I miss my family.
6. I’m obsessed with my family. I love them more than anything else in the world.
7. Going home is actually really hard for me.
8. 95% of the time that I’m home I spend with my family.
9. The other 5% of the time is spent doing other stuff…like going to the doctor or maybe seeing an old friend.
10. But I only like seeing the friends that haven’t thrown their lives away. I have way too many friends that have thrown their lives away.
11. I’ve never been in love, but I have loved someone.
12. I have lost.
13. I love LOST. I want it to start showing again soon!
14. I love “my girls.” I love helping them. I love that they help me.
15. I love long names. I have the names of my children all picked out. Now I just need to find a husband or become really rich so that I can adopt without a husband (perhaps I would prefer that at this point…)
16. I love family names. I love the name Patten.
17. I love family history. I love my great-great-grandfather, David Patten Kimball.
18. I love ordinary people that do extraordinary things.
19. I love my Mom. I love my Dad. My parents are my best friends.
20. I love music. I love all kinds of it.
21. I wish I could play the piano like my brother.
22. I wish I had taken flute seriously for more than a day at a time (consecutively).
23. Sometimes I wish I had majored in music like my professor had told me to…
24. I would have hated it.
25. I love painting. I wish that I could get myself to paint in oil for more than a week at a time.
26. My professors are some of my dearest friends. I am forever indebted to them.
27. I have like ten million things that I want to study: audiology, speech & language pathology, dietetics, chemistry, music, art education, architecture, graphic design, history, journalism, broadcast journalism, English, Spanish, American Studies, advertising, psychology, art therapy, and more…
28. I have a secret desire to be a seminary teacher.
29. I love trio love.
30. I love memories.
31. Sometimes I get caught up in memories.
32. I am too forgiving.
33. I am hard to offend.
34. I have a grudge against grudges.
35. I want to move to Philadelphia.
36. I love Italy. I love sitting on the side of the bridge staring at the Ponte Vecchio. I love running by the Arno.
37. I want to live in Europe. Especially Italy. I want to move to Torino and open a little store selling old books or something.
38. A mi me encanta hablar en Español.
39. I am glad to know that I have Celiac Disease and I don’t care that I can’t eat gluten.
40. People think that’s weird.
41. I want to write a book with my Dad.
42. My Dad is the strongest person I know. He is also one of the weirdest.
43. My Mom is the other strongest person I know…it’s a tie.
44. I get obsessed with things easily. It’s a bad thing.
45. It takes me a really long time to “like” someone.
46. It takes even longer for me to “not like” someone.
47. I hate “liking” people. I hate how they get in your head and make it so you can’t think about anything else.
48. I am a health nut, but I have a sweet tooth.
49. I have made my incredible chili recipe at least 5 times in the past month.
50. I used to hate chocolate ice cream and wouldn’t eat it if you paid me…but one day I decided I kind of liked it.
51. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla Bean!
52. I like Candy Eyes.
53. I could wear plaid every day (I did in Italy).
54. Zion National Park is like a second home to me. Oh and it is Zion, not Zions!
55. I like clean stuff.
56. My two worst fears are aesthesia and jellyfish.
57. I think Facebook stalking is weird.
58. I get creeped out when people tell me “they found my blog”.
59. I love shoes and I love bags.
60. My favorite thing about me is my eyes.
61. I used to think my lips were tiny but I decided they are average.
62. I like wearing mascara, but I hate putting it on and I hate taking it off.
63. I enjoy face wash that makes my face tingle and my eyes water.
64. I like to be alone. Sometime I like to hike by myself or go up the canyon and spend time with just me.
65. My Mom doesn’t like that I like to do that.
66. I love watching ballet. I think it is beautiful.
67. I will never forget my senior year of high school.
68. I will never forget senior soccer season or the incredible t-shirts Grace and I made for the Super Fans.
69. I have never regretted playing volleyball in high school even though it took up all of my time.
70. I cherish my friendship with my sister even though it took a long time to develop and still has a long way to go.
71. My little sister is one of my heroes and examples.
72. I absolutely love to wear skirts. I mean seriously.
73. I have over twenty bottles of lotion on top of my dresser. Sick.
74. I wash my feet in the shower.
75. I love feeling cute.
76. I love being in the sun.
77. I love being tan.
78. I love the process of getting tan, though I have cut back on that immensely.
79. I like yellow gold.
80. I am fascinated by other cultures.
81. I want to adopt a baby from Africa.
82. Karen Hughes is one of my greatest teachers and friends.
83. Grandma LeNila is one of my heroes.
84. I love rice cakes dipped in orange yogurt.
85. I love cinnamon gelato.
86. Emil Nolde painted songs from my soul.
87. I think abstract is cool.
88. I enjoy fashionable scarves.
89. My Mom and I painted my room together when I was little and I will never forget it.
90. I just made my first real quilt, and I loved it.
91. I want to learn how to sew but I have managed to put it off for almost 22 years.
92. I like to be organized and have complete control. Not having control freaks me out.
93. I want to be the best at everything. I have a hard time when I am not.
94. I like writing in my journal and I hope that it can be of use to someone someday.
95. I like to have assorted washable markers and assorted permanent markers available most of the time (both in fine and regular tip size).
96. I like to follow my gut.
97. I hate change.
98. I peaked when I was 17.
99. Susan Lake is my secret weapon.
100. I have a hyper-sensitive nose and I HATE smelling like food.


A Bad Habit

In a final attempt to avoid editing my final that is due tomorrow, I would like to pay homage to a terrible habit that I have. This habit has cost me more this month than ever before, and I'm not exactly sure why. I credit it to lack of Diet Coke or something like that. I guess kicking one bad habit makes the others worse. Anyway...you are probably wondering what this habit is, right? I'll tell you. Toothbrush-chewing. Yes, you heard me. I chew my toothbrush. Compulsively. And it drives me nuts because I always try to stop, but before I know it, I've chewed the bristles off of another one. Today I bought a two-pack of toothbrushes--my fourth two-pack in a month. I am currently going through two a week. Sometimes I try to buy nice ones to counteract my chewing urge, but it doesn't work. And I just wanted to tell you about it. Mostly because I hate the library.



Live in Concert!

I went and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks live in concert on Friday. So funny. I wasn't really raised on the "Chipmunks", but Rachel and Rebekah were and they called me up randomly to go see them at the Provo Towne Center. So...we went and there were all these little kids dancing and squealing. It was pretty cute. And the concert was only twenty minutes long so I didn't regret going. Anyway, it was pretty fun so I took some pictures.

PS - My favorite song is "Witch Doctor"

Finally...I just wanted you to see this amazing picture of Rachel. Finals are coming up pretty quickly and apparently she has a ten page paper due tomorrow on the shown book (which she isn't even halfway through). I guess this is her way of dealing with it!


The Pains of Detox

So, the irony to be found in the title of this post is that there are no pains in detox. A while ago I realized (after personal observation/reading an article from the Mayo Clinic) that I personally did not benefit from the somewhat excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners that I took in daily (ahem: Diet Coke). So a little over a month ago I decided to give Diet Coke--and all foods containing any form of artificial sweetener--the boot. And I have noticed a substantial difference in the way that I feel. I'm not saying that I've been healed or that you will personally benefit from cutting this ridiculously artificial form of food/sweet out of your diet, but I kind of dare you to give it a try. Just for fun. It will at least boost your self esteem because you will be stronger than the sweetness.


Finger Painting Never Gets Old

So, this will be very short. I just had to share these amazing painted hands I saw on NOTCOT with you. For some reason creativity never really wears out its welcome with me. And I know that finger painting has been done, like, 700 times before, but I loved these little painted limbs and the smile they brought to my face!

PS - OF COURSE the artist is from Italy. I wouldn't have expected anything less!


A Successful Experiment: GF Oreos

So tonight Rachel and I decided that we were going to conquer one of our gluten-free woes. We have a favorite treat that we used to make using chocolate cake mix, and we finally decided that we have had enough homemade oreo deprivation and were going to eat a gluten-free version by the end of the night. We used a gluten-free cake mix and kind of did the rest improv...but it worked! Hizzah! I will now share the successful experiment with you.

1 bag Kinnikinnick chocolate cake mix
2 tbs GF flour
3 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
Preaheat the oven to 350*.

Mix the "cookie" ingredients in a bowl.
Round them into little balls (tbs size?) on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Sprinkle them with powder sugar (it makes them pretty) and let them harden and cool off before removing them from the cookie sheet.

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powder sugar

The cream cheese and butter MUST be softened to room temperature.
Mash them together.
Add vanilla.
Add about one cup of powder sugar, then slowly add the rest until the frosting is somewhat firm but isn't grainy from too much sugar. You don't want it too soft because it won't stay put between the cookies very well. Honestly, just do it to taste. You'll decide when you like it.

After the cookies are hardened, remove them from the cookie sheet and spoon frosting between two of them. It makes a tasty homemade oreo. And...it's gluten free! Sigh.