Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Santa Doug

I hope you, your family, and friends all have a
Very, Very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am: supposed to be relaxing for Christmas break.
I think: this is the first time I have been officially tagged by name.
I know: I like being with my family.
I want: my efforts with POS to pay off.
I have: two of everything.
I dislike: green veggies. And so does my stomach, very much.
I miss: having a lot of friends around all of the time, a roommate with similar interests, and having all of my family together this Christmas (missing one sister).
I fear: the state and direction of our society.
I feel: like I have had a good year, even if it has been stressful.
I hear: vocal disappointment with BYU's performance tonight.
I smell: like I probably need a shower.
I crave: Jelly Bellys right now.
I cry: at movies way too frequently.
I search: for new, more creative, ways to do things.
I wonder: should I stay or should I go?
I regret: nothing.
I wish: this weren't so hard to fill out with meaningful answers.
I love: my family and friends.
I care: when someone I love has a bad day.
I always: sleep too little and work too much.
I worry: I may never have the opportunity to marry.
I am not: lonely, even though I spend a lot of time by myself.
I remember: being able to remember everything.
I believe: I can fly.
I sing: in the car sometimes.
I don't: have much to say most of the time.
I argue: very rarely, and only for things I know to be true.
I write: software.
I win: if I can finish every question here.
I lose: anytime I participate in sports.
I listen: constantly. I am an observer, and take everything in.
I don't understand: chemistry. At all.
I can usually be found: in my cave, otherwise known as an office, bedroom, or studio.
I need: for business to improve, or I'll have to start looking for a job pretty soon. :(
I forget: what I had for dinner more than two days ago.
I am happy: always, even if I have a "bad day."
I tag: any family or friends reading this that hasn't done it already.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I should be given a medal

So today is the day I fly to my parents' house for Christmas break.  I hate flying.  Not because I have any fear of flying, but because I can't stand being cooped up in the atomically small space of an airline seat, tied in with a seatbelt by Hercules himself, prevented from even breathing or blinking, let alone getting up to walk around.  I'm one of those people that has to always be doing something, and to be told I can't move is fairly irritating.  Add to that the inevitable delays due to weather or whatever, the increased risk of picking up some unknown incurable disease from the guy coughing in your face, and it just isn't a fun experience.

So on my first leg of the flight I am walking down the aisle to find my seat when a guy in front of me makes a motion to the lady sitting in the seat next to mine that my seat is actually his.  (He didn't speak English, and apparently speaking only Spanish makes it difficult to discern the difference between 22F and 23D?)  Anyway, the lady asks him if he will trade seats with her brother, and he apparently understands this (apparently this request is easier to understand than the letters and numbers on the seats), so he starts to make a move toward the seat she had pointed to just a second beforehand.  So my seat has just been given away to someone else.  I speak up, and mention that the seat is actually mine, and the lady seems confused as to what is going on (wouldn't you be?) and in reaction to her confusion she starts to get up to allow me to sit down, even though she had already made it known that she would like to have her brother sit next to her (I don't think she thought I was within earshot of the earlier request).  So I asked her if she still wanted to trade seats, she said yes, and she pointed out which seat was her brother's assigned seat.  Which is unfortunate in a way, because this woman was by far the most beautiful on the plane (and she was single), and she seems very nice.  I rarely have the opportunity to sit next to a single girl, let alone one as beautiful as she... perfect shoulder-length brunette hair, deep brown eyes.  Anyway, as I am settling into my seat the woman in the seat next to my new one starts talking to her husband, seated on her other side, in a voice that would normally be reserved for conversations taking place across the stadium of a football game between two rival teams.  I have no doubt whatsoever that everyone within 6 or 7 rows could very clearly make out everything she was saying, even while listening to their iPods.  Oh boy.  This is going to be a fun flight.

Not only was she loud, she also liked to think out loud.  And read every headline in her paper.  And summarize every article.  Nobody is even listening to her, but she goes on and on.  If I had been actually paying any attention I could tell you about every article in the section of the paper she was reading, with intimate detail. 

Her poor husband is first trying to get some work done on his laptop, then get some sleep, but she just keeps yapping away.   Man, is she loud!  And saying absolutely nothing worth saying.  And she's got one of those voices that makes my hair stand on end... think Fran Drescher, or Janice on Friends.  At one point she was trying to joke with the flight attendant that her husband beats her, but it isn't funny, both because of what she is saying, and the way she is saying it.  And she is very elbowsy.  I stopped counting how many times I got poked in my side after the numbness set in. 

About a half hour into my flight I put in my in-ear monitor headphones, which seal out almost all external noise very well.  Thank goodness I charged my Zune before I left so I had something to drown out the nasal chatter from the woman next to me.  Normal headphones certainly wouldn't have done the trick.

As soon as the flight landed she promptly announced to everyone nearby that she had to get out of the plane immediately, because she only had 45 minutes until her next flight.  Considering that this flight was 2 hours late, I have a feeling that just about everybody on the plane had a connection within a matter of minutes, but, of course, this doesn't occur to her (the attractive woman behind me replied to her comment by indicating she had 5 minutes to make her flight, but this didn't seem to matter).  She then proceeds to boss her husband around like he is a little boy that doesn't know how the egress of airplanes works.  Very embarrassing for him, I assure you.  By this time I think everybody was feeling bad for this guy.

How do people end up like that?  Having absolutely no regard for anyone around them at all?  Treating everyone like they are morons?

So I think I should be given a medal.  I gave up my seat next to a stunningly beautiful and polite single woman to sit next to the loudest, most obnoxious woman on the plane, being poked in the ribs throughout the trip.   Is that deserving of something?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have you ever…

My cousin Colleen posted this on her blog and it seemed fun.

Rules are: Anything you have done has to be in bold. How much have you done?

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (sort of… ward talent show)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a Praying Mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (photography)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Been to the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
20. Slept on an train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (short-lived, though)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (if a caricature counts)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Tied a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a Bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (twice!)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (I’m not going to count just being on the grounds)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Visited Italy

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Happiness that is Low Gas Prices

I filled up the tank in my truck last week for less than $30.  That is amazing!  Not too long ago it cost me $80 to fill the same tank on the same truck.  Low gas prices make me happy.

The ironic thing, though, is this comes at a time when I don’t drive much.  I noticed on the sticker on my windshield that it has been six months since my last oil change, yet I have driven less than 2000 miles since then.  And about 500 of those miles have been airport trips, so in reality I’m only averaging about 250 miles per month.  That really isn’t very much.  But it’s happening when gas prices are the lowest they have been since I got my truck.  The ironing is delicious.

The Happiness that is Packages

I get really excited when I have packages arriving at my doorstep.  And it really doesn’t matter what’s inside.  It could be an empty box and I’d still get excited.  It’s just fun to open a box in anticipation of what it may be hiding.

Once a year we experience the joy that is Christmas, with Santa Claus visiting and leaving gifts for young and old.  So how happy am I when the Brown Santa Claus visits periodically the rest of the year to leave his presents at my door.

Yay for packages.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Grandma Johnson

My grandmother on my dad's side of the family passed away this last Monday morning, December 1st. She was 92, and ever since she broke a hip a few years ago her health had been going downhill, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but it is always a bit of a shock when someone you know leaves us.

Although it is sad that I won't see her again in this life, at the same time this is a chance to take joy in knowing that her departure does not mean the end of the relationship that I have with her. It also means that she will be together with her husband, who passed away 27 years and one day before she did. She loved my grandpa dearly, and has missed his company for a very long time.

Though a sad occasion, it did bring her immediate and extended family together. My parents flew into town on Wednesday. All of my dad's living siblings and most of her grandchildren also made it a point to be here. Even Grandma's living brothers and sisters came as well.

Grandma's funeral was on Saturday morning, and though there were tears shed, we all knew that she is in a better place now, reunited with Grandpa. The Spirit was definitely present during the service, and we all knew that Grandma had lived an amazing life and she is surely going to receive a great eternal reward. The service focused on Grandma's strength and on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was wonderful.

During the viewing just prior to the funeral I took a few minutes to just stand and look at her, and take some time to reflect upon the portion of her life that I have been around to see. Every memory I have of her is positive; there hasn't been a single moment with Grandma where I don't have fond memories of her.

Seeing her body in the casket was a faith building experience as well. It was her body laying there, but her spirit was clearly not a part of it. The presence I have always felt when she was nearby was missing. Everything about her that made her who she was was not there. But at the same time there was a quiet peace that everything was happening as it is meant to. I knew that she continues to live, even if it isn't here with us.

I will miss my Grandma. She was genuinely very loving. She was a pillar of strength through adversity. She was gentle, but firm. She always set a great example for everyone. Even down to the day she died she did all that was asked of her, and more. She wanted the best for everyone. She offered gentle guidance to her children and grandchildren, demonstrating her love for them.

You would never hear Grandma complain. But when you asked how she was doing, she wouldn't lie to you if things were difficult. Her manner was matter-of-fact, though... she wasn't complaining; just stating facts of her circumstances. She would tell you things as she saw them, not how she thought you wanted to hear it. She was incredibly honest, almost to a fault.

Though I haven't ever lived close by her, I always knew that she loved me and that she cared about what was happening in my life, even though I am one of many grandchildren. She was also very generous with me and all of my relatives; every Christmas, up until this last year, she always made sure that we had something that we wanted, even during those years when it was difficult to do so. And she contributed generously toward my mission.

She knew what was important in life, and knew how to avoid those things that aren't. She never had any interest in material possessions other than to make sure that others' needs were being met and that they were happy. She took joy in blessing the lives of others. She and her family were always willing to share whatever they had with those that were less fortunate, even during those times when they really didn't have anything to spare by definition of the rest of the world. She always put on a face of optimism, no matter how difficult her circumstances. And she always put the needs of everyone else ahead of her own, even down to the end of her life.

She lived a life of quiet dignity, never seeking any attention for her acts of quiet service. She was the sort of person you could always depend on. Any time anyone would ask her to do anything, they could rest assured that it would be done, be done well, and be done quickly.

She raised seven wonderful children, all of which have lived upstanding lives. All five of her sons served LDS missions and have served in prominent church positions. Almost all of her grandsons also served missions, as well as several granddaughters. And she has been more than supportive of every one of them in any way she can. She even served two full-time missions of her own.

Grandma, you will be missed. But we all know that we will see you again, and that you must be rejoicing in reuniting with Grandpa. I am grateful that you have been a part of my life for 35 years. I, and all of your family, love you with all of our hearts.

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