Monday, November 24, 2008

Still. just... still.

Yes. I'm still here. mostly there, but still here.

There really are no proper words as to why I haven't been posting. The biggest factor is that it's 4th quarter. I feel like I have literally been going non-stop since September. between the new school year, Rachel's passing, Rhena's birthday, consignment sale, the Avon Walk, Halloween, Trying to appeal the new scholastic birthday cutoff date that will be taking effect in NC next year (means rhena will not be able to attend kindergarten with the rest of her class cause she will miss the new date (which she currently meets by well over a month, btw) by being a mere 17 days too late starting NEXT year, a kick-ass round of bronchitis that has EVERYONE out of sorts, Danny's birthday, and now with thanksgiving, birthdays, christmas parties and all THAT fun stuff.... mix it all up with the REGULAR happenings like cooking, cleaning, laundry, take a shower and shit occasionally... and again.. I'm busy.

and tired.

Also? two other things. One.. I've been working with Troy a lot on a side project. I'll do a big reveal in the new year... once we can tweak a few more things.. but it's exciting. SOME of you may know what it is already.. it's not a complete secret.. but I'm also not willing to go totally public yet. so just 2 more months.. I promise. more info is coming.


the other thing I'm finding is that maybe I'm a little TOO publicly available. Now there's the rub. the girl who wanted all that attention is now thinking maybe it's not such a great thing? I mean... I'm not out doing anything I need to be embarrassed about... so that's not an issue...

I guess I just have less to say? or maybe the more 'real people' that know of my blog, the more filters I feel I need to have. But that would insinuate that I'm either talking shit about everyone or leading some secret life that I'm afraid of friends finding out about. And that's not the case, either.

now.. that's not to say I don't talk shit. I certainly do plenty of that. But how much negativity can one person promote? And really? in the olden days when it was just a bunch of random readers and a handful of family around the country that read of my adventures and trips into embarrassing situations.. it was fun. cathartic. validating. safe.

can I REALLY say here on my blog that I had the shits so bad the other night I thought my boobs were going to implode? well.. I guess I CAN, as I just DID... but do I need my neighbors knowing that? I dunno. double standard, I guess. I mean... it's ok if you live across the country and know my bowel and menstrual habits.... live on my street, and suddenly... shit's not so funny anymore.


Anyways. I need to re-search myself and remember why I blog. I think once I can sit down and find the time to figure that out.... I can get back to doing so. Maybe this will become just another window for people to see into my/our lives. I mean... it always HAS been... but there's no doubt that lately the blinds have been shut.

And part of me misses blogging. there is SUCH a good world of people (readers and writers and friends and strangers alike) that I have been very blessed to have come across in the past four years of being on the net. But then I get back to being busy again.. and bleh. so even though I'm not INCLINED to write anything lately.. I still like the IDEA of blogging.

anyways. I'll get there.

but now? for now I'm still here. just... very still.

Friday, October 24, 2008

See you on the other side!

ok... first of all.. thank you SOOOO much to the awesome awesome AWESOME words of support y'all have given me these past 2 days.

I had my event eve check-in this evening.. I met 5 of my team members (hoping to meet the other six tomorrow... praying that they show up????) They're great, and this weekend is going to be amazing. I just know it. all my hesitations about this one or that one being team leader are gone, and I'm ready to just go and do what I signed up to do.

I stopped at Target on the way home for 2 last must-have items.. I bought a shower curtain to lay under the sleeping bag.. cause did I mention it's raining here? also got a foam pad so it's not just grass and gravel on my ass, too.

I packed the bag and popped my camera battery into the charger... attempting to set up my text messaging so I can update my twitter this weekend... but who knows if that'll work. if not.. I'll be blogging about the walk next week.

again... thank you all so much. the donations, the encouragement... each of you has been SO GENEROUS time and time again. really.. I was just reading through some back comments, and some of the notes y'all left when you made your donations.... I am like FLOATING right now with the love. I promise you, I plan on giving that back out to the walkers this whole weekend.

thank you all. you'll be with me this whole weekend!

And to my financial donors? I seriously can not express in enough words how much I appreciate you giving money to this cause. I know we all have our reasons for donating... but I truly feel blessed to be associated to your giving.

+ Mom and Dad + Uncle Roy and Aunt Karin + Hector + Avani , Nimish, and Rushabh + Jody, Brad, Dov and Zoe + Fergie, Jamie, and Jackson + Jessica, Mike, Blake and Bella + Jennifer + Maria, Joel, Maddie, Adian, and Clara + Troy, Rhena and Danny + Mom and Dad J. + Stacey, Matt, Emma, and Sophia + Alanna, Todd, and AJ + Marianna + Cathy, Mike, Quinn and Liam + Erin and Chris + Suser, Dan, Liam and Seamus + Kate, Kurt, Max and Georgia + Erin, Marc, and Mason + Nancy, Mike, and Annie + Kelli, Mathew, Kendal and Ava + Hännikins and AHP +

I can't wait to tell all the walkers and crew members I meet about each and every one of you, and how you're not just supporting me.. but them as well. Like I said... you'll be with me all weekend!

now.... it's time for me to get some shut-eye. I need to leave the house by 3:30am... and it seems to be getting closer as I type!


see you on the other side!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stressing Out

So this weekend is the Avon Walk.

I am stressing out.

On one hand, I'm VERY excited to be doing the walk again. After losing Rachel, my affiliation with the fight against breast cancer came to very razor-sharp focus. So there is no question in my mind that this weekend is as necessary as BREATHING to me right now.


Did I mention I'll be camping overnight?


me. in a tent.

I know, I know.. quit my bitching... I don't even have to walk this year, so sleeping in a fabric contraption on the cold wet ground outside with bugs is the LEAST of the physical sacrifices my body can make for this cause.

but still.

I haven't even attempted putting UP a tent since I was in the girl scouts... and judging by my calculations.. I think that was ABOUT twenty years ago. if not, longer. so there's that.

also?? I'm kind of fearing the team leader thing. If I'm being PERFECTLY honest.... this was not something I signed up for last year. I mean.. I was thinking I would be WALKING this year. then.. you know.. the whole broken toe and shower-door incident. So, ok.. decided to crew.

turns out I was put on a team where the leader MAY or may NOT show up for the weekend of the walk. not once did I get contacted... not once did I get welcomed. but whatever.. I was all new to the crewing thing.. didn't know what to expect.

The week after Rachel died, the Coordinator for the entire crew for the Charlotte walk sent me an e-mail and asked if I wanted to be a co-team leader... explaining that the current leader may not make it the weekend of the walk, and someone should be a point of contact for the team for the event.

ok. So I committed to doing that... and over the past month I have attempted to contact the other leader about 3 times. I WANTED to contact the entire team.. but didn't want to step on any toes... so I kept my attempts to the other leader.

I never heard back from her. NORMALLY... this would have been my green ticket to just bulldoze my way into the group and take over.


I really can't explain why I haven't. I ALSO can't explain why I lost my gumption to confront the coffee shop as to why I didn't see my donation pig on display... or at the very least ask for it back. I just have chickened out.

I do not like feeling like I'm sitting with my tail between my legs... too frightened to go forward, too timid to go back and confront. but yet.. here I am.

I NEED to man up and contact the team, cause I know for sure if I was on the other end I'd be frustrated that I hadn't heard anything yet, and the walk is this weekend. And it's clear the other leader is a flake. (not saying she doesn't have a reason.. just that it is what it is, and she has been totally void of communication.)

I also need to pack my gear bag. and food shop so Troy can keep our kids well-nourished this weekend while I'm at the event. and wash the sleeping bag. and write my thank you notes to everyone who has supported the cause, Rachel's passing, or just me in general.

perhaps 'stressed out' is not the word I'm looking for. Overwhelmed may be more like it.

anyways... I'm here. I'm excited. nervous. ready. TOTALLY not ready.


I'm going to go breathe into a paper bag or something.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Santa Baby!

It started innocent enough. I clicked on to Amazon so I could order my coffee. Of all the coffees I've tried for our super-fab machine.. I love Emeril's the best. Mind you, I still think HE is an annoying tool... but MAN he has some good recipes. and this coffee is top notch.

anyways... turns out there are some new books out.

Giada has a new cookbook. so does Elisa.

I know, I know.. you thought I was going to talk about a REAL book.. like a story. please. it took me 6 months to get through Wicked, and I'm on month 2 of reading Son of a Witch. Sadly, I only really get to read a section or two at a time when I'm in the toilet room.. and being that I don't always get the chance to take a quiet poop every day... UPSTAIRS for that matter... it takes me a while to get through books.

(which.. side note... what IS the toilet room called? like when the toilet is in a room by itself from the rest of the stuff like the shower, sinks, tub, etc... commode? shitter? really.. no clue here!)

And has anyone read the newest in that series yet? A Lion Among Men? I'll probably be ready for it like NEXT year at the rate I'm reading. but that's ok.. cause by then either my parents or my brother will have bought and read it, and I can just borrow it from them.

so yeah yeah yeah. cookbooks. but not just ANY cookbooks!

First up.. Elisa. SO DARN CUTE!!

LOVED her original confetti cakes book. not only did it have some GORRRRRGEOUS cakes, but THE most adorable cupcakes.. and cookies!!! I love her work, I really do. now she's got a book of kids' cakes. I saw an excerpt that said she's got farm animal cookies in here. uh.. ding-dong! Danny's b-day party theme is farm stuff!!! I may not be able to wait til Christmas. or even my birthday. (I feel justified in that, though, as both occur AFTER danny's party.. and really.. me getting this book would only be for HIM. right?)

Really.. if you EVER wanted to be inspired to do more than a regular cupcake, cake or cookie.. Elisa's your girl. she has very clear-cut instructions and often templates as well. If I ever meet her in person I may just chew on her a little. like she's THAT good. I don't just go around claiming I want to eat people, you know. cute babies, yes.. but adults? am I painting the picture yet?

ok.. and my other woman crush... Giada. I do not know WHAT it is about her.. but I just LOVE HER. like even her annoying way of saying things as she smiles too wide is ok by me!!! Rachel Ray says EVOO and I want to flick her forehead. (btw.. thank you Jody.. that debate visual has been with me ever since, and I TOTALLY want to do it to every annoying person on TV now!)

But Giada?? she's got me. and I love her food! my WORD do I love her food. from her espresso brownies to the macaroni and cheese.. ooh! and she's got a roasted red pepper aioli.. SO GOOD! mmmm.. now I want grilled eggplant. ISSUES, I tell you. I have no idea how she stays so thin. maybe I really hate her? no.. I love her. like crazy stalker love. (there.. I said it. I want to stalk her.)

so I imagine it won't be long before this book makes it to my kitchen as well.

however... now I just realized it's going to be a long week for me. I noticed that amazon is out of stock of my coffee. (that's what I get when I save my linking til last in my post!) damnit.

I guess the up side is that I won't be tempted to add Giada or Elisa to my order. the down side, of course, is that I need to go find my coffee. cause I promise you.. there's a LOT of things I can handle. being without coffee is NOT one of them.

have a great weekend, gang!

Friday, October 17, 2008

If you're ghetto and you know it, clap your hands!

I am full on APPLAUDING over here.

I know. I AM GHETTO. I am SO GHETTO in so many ways.... go ahead and ask around... I'm sure any person that knows me could come up with at least ONE example of how I am ghetto. but I'll save you that trouble and offer up some of my better moments in a friendly round of "Have you ever...."

so.. without ado, I ask you, dear reader....

Have you ever -

  • smuggled travel sizes of vodka, a knife, sugar packets and lemons into club so you could do 'free shots' in the bathroom?
  • used the same make-up pencil as a brow liner, EYELINER, AND lip liner?
  • pretended you were pregnant when in actuality you were walking slow because your 'bump' was really 4 opened cans of beer that you wanted to bring back to your seats in a concert and not chug in the beer garden? (fyi.. this works very well if you also have a friend that is willing to flirt unmercifully with the beer garden security as you try to wobble by unnoticed...)
  • been in church with your two kids by yourself with no diaper bag, have your youngest make a gigantic poop, go to the bathroom, pluck the poop out, flush it, and put the diaper back on him? Did you also stick an apple-scented antibacterial wipe in between his pants and diaper hoping the people around you wouldn't smell the trace poop/skid marks left on the diaper?
  • use an iron (as in CLOTHES IRON) to straighten your hair? (ok.. I've actually never done that but my college roommate in the dorms used my iron to straighten HER hair and I haven't gotten over it. I mean.. SERIOUSLY!)
  • refuse to pay $20 for a pair of shoes for your daughter's halloween costume because you could spray paint a pair she already has? ok, maybe that's not so much ghetto as frugal... but still.. it's not like we can't afford the $20 shoes.
  • poured 'store brand' V-8 juice into the V8 container because your husband will only drink brand name juices and you know there's no WAY on this green earth that he can tell the difference?
  • stayed at the IP, prefunked, or had the buffet at Spearmint Rhino? (believe me.. if you have... I don't need to explain this one!)
  • bought your daughter (and let her WEAR) boys' underpants because she liked Thomas the Train so much, and saved them so your son can wear them some day now that she's outgrown her love for Thomas?

anyways.. I'm sure I could go on, but I actually need to spend the rest of today's nap time putting another coat of red glitter spray paint on rhena's old shoes.

happy weekend, gang!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TOTALLY one of those days

This morning was one of those perfectly stepford mornings.

Both kids were up, fed, dressed and ready (as well as in the car and buckled!) 15 minutes before we typically fly out of the house to get rhena to school only a few minutes late.

I was wearing my contacts! and a skirt! the sun was shining, and with LESS than 50% humidity.. we were ready for another day in the mid-80s.

Came home, hand-washed some dishes, and began making a pumpkin spice cake. Boy child was happy! music was playing! and yes... the sweet smells of pumpkin were beginning to make their way through the house.

I said something on twitter that I half expected to see a cartoon woodland animal show up and start singing to me. kinda like this:

I know.. Blame Rhena. all these damn Disney princess videos I'm having to watch are starting to creep into my everyday thinking. it's freaky.

So I KNEW all was too good to be true... the cakes? came out perfect. There was even a little extra batter to make 6 muffins/cupcakes.

Then... then I started the cream cheese maple frosting. And danny came and hugged me. (hear the birds? c'mon.. I know you do!)


yes. this is where my perfect morning came to a shit-assed stop.


Danny took a MAN-sized crap, and the smell not ONLY overpowered the once-delightful aroma of pumpkin spice in my kitchen.. but kinda crept up my nostrils and CHOKED ME. like JOLT TO THE BRAIN make you GAG CHOKING!!!!


we have perfection in cake form... this will not stop me.

change Danny's diaper, SCRUB hands in antibacterial.. and resume.

cream cheese. butter. maple syrup. powdered sugar... mmmm. mmmmmm. uh... HUH! ACK! what the??


Danny crapped again.

seriously. I KNOW!

so anyways. take him upstairs... get him all cleaned up... come downstairs, SCRUB HANDS.. get back to my frosting.

hmm... frosting is just about filling up the kitchen aide (decided to do a double batch, cause mmm.... cream cheese frosting! with 100% pure maple syrup!).. but the frosting is... runny. hmph.

maybe add some more powdered sugar. taste. ok.. a BIT sweet.. but not bad. still runny... still runny. holy what the.. DANNY!

again my boy shits.

go upstairs AGAIN and get the boy cleaned up. At this point.. my nose feels permanently STAINED with poop smell. I'm verging on gagging, and crap smell has taken over both floors of the house. SCRUB hands again (getting slightly raw now) and get back to frosting.

I decide to let it sit in the fridge for a bit while I slice one of the cakes and chop pecans for garnish. sure enough, it firms up a bit... only to turn into a sloppy mess when I put some on the cake.

it was ugly, people. and at this point.. Danny, who apparently is now like 6 pounds lighter, decides he's HUNGRY and will not let go of my leg.

Where are my birds? where are my cartoony woodland creatures that will bring my prince and make my feet look cute? I'll tell you where they are....

thank you. thank you very much. Now.. for your information.. I'm going to go eat my perfect spice cake and wash it down with a shot of cream cheese frosting.


where it doesn't smell like poop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And so it grows....

I'm going to apologize ahead of time for this post. I'm still a bit out of practice with my blogging habits, so I imagine this will be choppy and full of tangential thoughts at best.

I've been very 'off' since Rachel's death. not the full-on depressed and mournful as I was in the beginning of September... but yet.. I've been feeling raw. exposed. weak. tired?

like I said.. off.

Don't get me wrong.. things are returning to normal. Rhena's back in school, we have our schedules to keep, I'm baking again, and just life in general is just moving right along. this is good. Even though for quite a while I have just been going through the motions of life and not necessarily FEELING them.. I look with confidence on those actions in a way that I can say at least I was moving.

But this moving along has brought me back to a sense of remorse.. kind of similar to what I felt when I first discovered I was pregnant with Danny. not that I was sad that I was pregnant with our second child.. no.. I was SO deeply happy and feeling blessed about that. but yet... I felt a nagging guilt that i WAS pregnant, and I had friends that were still unable to conceive. I even kept the news from my cousin Rachel for several months because I felt guilty that she would never be able to be pregnant again.

Nowadays, I see myself trudging forward in my daily activities... little by little moving on and becoming whole again... and once again I feel guilty because Rachel can not. who am I kidding. because Rachel is no more. It's not right. and don't get me started about it not being fair.

so yeah.. there's that. and I KNOW I need to let it go, and accept. and I am. I have. ok... I'm trying.

but the guilt. and anger. the anger more than anything. like the kind of anger that makes me actually see myself punching someone. like a real Rocky Balboa punch.. not some weak-wristed bitch slap. bleh. I'm trying.

The walk (and my involvement in it) is helping. To date... over $1600 has been raised... and I have some piggy banks out in the community, hoping to wrangle in more just on spare change and generosity of strangers.

The walk is next weekend.. October 25-26th. Being there and around all that PURPOSE is surely going to be healing. It was last year.... and I didn't even think I needed it last year. This year? I NEED that walk. I need to be around survivors and others who have lost and are still living and know that it's ok to say goodbye. Because as much as I know it in my head... I still can't wrap my heart around it.

Anyways... I was pruning the trees in our front yard yesterday, and it really made me think about all of this. Rachel, me, loss, moving on... the works. I hacked and sawed major branches off. big, leafy, HEALTHY limbs from the tree. gone. When I was done with the two trees, there was a MOUNDS of branches on the ground. like taller than my kids MOUND.

It made me wonder if the tree knew I knew how it felt. I mean.. over time.. pruning those limbs away will be healthy for the tree. It will be taller, stronger.. BETTER for having lost them.


Last night I went back out and cut up the pruned branches to be placed in our yard waste bin. I looked at the trees. While I feel I was pretty conservative in my pruning yesterday... I couldn't help but notice those open spots on the trunk. they were ME.

now if I was a good writer, I'd find some poetic way to end this ramble that would encourage you all to comment.. but I'm not. I'm just a girl who misses her cousin and is trying to deal with that. Take my word when I tell you that I'm here and I'm fine. or at least I will be. me and the trees.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thank You Momma GT

ok... no secret I'm in a blogging funk lately.

Thanks to Momma Ginger Tree for tagging me. more thanks for it being easy. The rules are to choose the sixth photo from your sixth album and post it along with a description or the story behind it. There's no rule saying I have to tag anyone else.. so even better.

I went on to shutterfly, and my sixth album happens to be the birth of Rhena. The sixth picture is one of me laying in the hospital bed.. moments after another voracious puke session. I'm gonna spare you that picture, cause really? do we NEED to see me big and pasty? didn't think so.

So since I'm bucking the rules, I'll endow myself with bad luck and pick picture #13.

This is the very first moment I saw Rhena. September 17, 2004. She was eight days late, and after being in the hospital with contractions for about 18 hours... her heartbeat kept dropping. Despite the 12+hours of pitocen, my dilation hadn't progressed past 6cm . and did I mention we were told the baby's heartbeat was getting weaker?

We went with the C-section, and had an amazing nurse in the OR who took these pictures for us. I can't remember his name, but to have this picture? it's been a wonderful gift.

See her arm hanging down? she was reaching towards me. I didn't get to physically hold her until about an hour later.. but that moment she reached out was the instant she grabbed my heart.

She just turned four last month, and to this day... when she looks at me a certain way or reaches out helplessly yet purposely? I'm right back there in the operating room in Reno... unable to move yet soaring in space; just from her love alone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Down for Maintenance

so I know.. CLEARLY something has been going on over here.

lately... I've been a little down. Not the huge depressing sad way I was when Rachel passed away.... but still... down.

I have lots to say and share, but meh... just haven't had it in me. no blogging, no baking, not e-mailing or sending letters... just... going through the motions kind of.

but I'm working on that.

I think we've just about settled into our new routines for the year. By the power of all things holy associated to time management... we only really have ONE major task each day. Rhena has school on monday, wednesday, and friday... *I* teach class on tuesdays, and then we have to get Rhena to dance school on thursday. So really.. not bad at all. not too overwhelming, but definitely that kick in the ass such that we have to get out of the house every day.

Danny has been behaving better... I think he's happy to have his one-on-one time with me back. Not that we johnson women tend to be CONTROLLING or anything.. but I think Rhena tends to push him around a little when she's here.

And he's SUCH a moo moo. love him, I really do. and HE loves his girlfriends. he's got a few regular ladies he sees here and there, and MAN he throws on the charm for them. He's also perfected a 'wounded' look these days... so make no mistake, he's got the flair for drama like his sister. I haven't caught him looking in the mirror while practicing crying and sad faces yet... but he sure does love an audience.

As for Rhena... well.. she turned four. That's just nuts. The things she says and asks me about are mind-boggling. We have one more appointment for her nose coming up... a while back in august we had one of her nostrils cauterized to stop the incessant bleeds she's been getting since birth. It wasn't a pretty process, but the results have been amazing for the one nostril that was done. So we've opted to get the other side done so she can (hopefully) be done with her nose bleeding 5 or more times a week.

I looked into the work I need to do to get Rhena into kindergarten next year (what open houses we needed to attend, what registration forms and/or applications we needed to fill out) but alas... next year will be the first year of North Carolina implementing a new cutoff date for minimum age of school entry. Currently she is within the cutoff by about 4 weeks to spare... next year she will MISS the new cutoff by 2 weeks. That has been a tough pill to swallow for me. I've exhausted myself trying to find some loophole or testing process that would allow her to progress to kindergarten next year with her peers that she has been attending school with... but no luck.

meh. All will be fine.... it was just one more thing on the pile.

The election has been weighing on me very heavily. but I'm not ready to go there right now. Let's just say I've seen a LOT of stuff I don't like, and sadly... not enough things have been done or said that I feel I can believe in. but whatever. I'm not going there now.

NOW.... I'm going to get off this thing and flip the laundry and rassle the group to go food shopping. and prepare my lesson. and finalize my pitch for someone to get them to donate to the cancer walk. oh, and you know.... do the parenting thing. apparently the kids need supervision during the day. WTF is up with THAT?

Take it easy, crew. I'll be around again.. eventually.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back in the Saddle

hmmm. I think I've used this title before. seems like I make a habit of breaks from blogging.

oh well.

Things are in full swing 4th quarter here, gang. just as well. last week was emotionally tough, and the distraction is actually nice.

Tonight is my first class for CCD. apparently we have 14 kids this year. I'm with a new partner, too.. cause my partner in crime decided to do some silly shit like MOVE TO NJ to be with her husband. pshaw! what's THAT about??? I jest. I just miss her, is all.

My new partner is very nice. I do not think she has an inkling of the train wreck that I really am... but alas.. we all have to find out things in our own way.

speaking of own way.. Tomorrow the boogie-loo turns four. say WHAT??? on one hand I find it hard to believe it's been a whole four years.. but being perfectly honest, it surprises me that Rhena has only BEEN IN MY LIFE for four years. but that's another post.

but anyways. 4th quarter is here, and all the craziness that comes with it. Have coffee... will handle.

catch you soon, gang.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Going forward by going back

AS you know.... last week, my cousin Rachel lost her battle with breast cancer. Originally I got the call from my mom, and I had THOUGHT I was going to get to drive up to jersey and see her in the hospital to cheer her on one last time.

Sadly, this was not meant to be, and Rachel passed away that very afternoon.

This caused me to be in a world of hurt on SO many levels. I'm not sure if there are scientifically proven levels of grief... but I'm sure I took a turn on all of them. Sadness, Shock, Anger, Denial, Avoidance, Depression, Emptiness, and more recently... Acceptance.

I have TRULY been on such a roller coaster of emotions this past week that it is only now, in my own home, that I am beginning to feel at peace.

I did SO much thinking this past week, and on my drive back to NC today. In the wee small hours of the morning, as we started our trek home today... I happened to catch a (distant) view of the solitary beam of light from the World Trade Center. It was still lit from yesterday, and it was quite the kick in the ass. I had been SO CONSUMED with my own loss, I had really forgotten that other people are hurting, too.

Yet.. despite whatever was happening in each of our worlds.... I found myself with a stream of e-mails, phone calls, text messages, cards, and comments offering condolences and support for MY loss. Tonight... a manager from Dressler's (a restaurant Troy and I like to go to) showed up at my door with six different entrees and some of their signature desserts. SO I WOULDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT COOKING.

This was a gift from my girlfriends... NONE of whom actually live in this town or even have MET Rachel. And did I mention that this restaurant does NOT deliver? Nonetheless... despite remembering their own friends and family lost on 9/11, facing hurricanes, being on cruises, having sick children, and just regular life struggles in general (to name a few)... these women were taking care of me.

Looking back on this past week, I can truly say I am humbled. I am blessed for the friends, family and acquaintances I have in this life, for in THEIR recognition of my loss.... I have gained a true appreciation for the kindness and light that surrounds me regularly. Yes... Rachel is gone. Her departure has and will continue to bring heartbreak, suffering and loss to those who loved her, and for those who will never get the chance to know her.

But to all of you? thank you. Your words, your prayers, YOUR ACTIONS have not gone unnoticed, nor will they be forgotten.

again... thank you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I was asked to do a reading at my cousin Rachel's funeral. In continuation of my inability to put my feelings into words, I offer these thoughts:

A reading from the Book of Wisdom:

The just man, though he die early,
shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not
with the passing of time,
nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men,
and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
He who pleased God was loved;
he who lived among sinners was transported -
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind
or deceit beguile his soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right
and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
he reached the fullness of a long career;
for his soul was pleasing to the LORD,
therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
nor did they take this into account.


Make a difference. Visit Rachel's Memorial Page, or my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer page.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Still no words

The words still escape me.

Rachel's wake will be Tuesday, and the funeral will be Wednesday.

I didn't think I could handle the drive today, so I will be leaving tomorrow.

In the meantime, I would like to extend my thanks to so many of you who have reached out to ME during this time. I feel guilty in receiving such an outpouring of love, because TRULY... my emotional needs PALE in comparison to what Rachel's surviving husband and daughter must need.

Please take a moment to visit this site that has been set up as a memorial for Rachel. SO MANY of you have already contributed to the Avon Walk at my request, and that itself is such a tribute to women and families like Rachel. Please do not feel obligated to donate to Rachel's fund... but if you could spare a kind word? There is a 'notes' section, and while Rachel herself may not be able to read the sentiments left... we as her friends and family can. More importantly, Rob and Lindsay can.

Thank you all again. your compassion and kind words have truly been a grace to me during these sad, sad days.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I just got a call from my mom.

My cousin Rachel entered the hospital this morning. The doctors are not hopeful, and it may only be a matter of time at this point.

I really have no words at this point. just please... keep her, her husband Rob, and her 4 year old daughter Lindsay in your prayers.


edited to add:

Rachel passed away this afternoon. I'm sure I will post more at a later date... but for now, know she is finally free from cancer. Amen, and rest in peace, Rachie.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SO MUCH going on!

Well, it's Saturday.... and there's lots going on in these parts.

First up... I'm still taking song suggestions for this week's Mix Tape. It's the last week, so it'd be nice to have a good turnout. if you haven't already.. go play!

Second... I'm hosting a CONTEST over at Crumbles..... looking for names for my newest Happy Jane creation. I'll be taking comments all week, then put them to a panel of judges for a vote. Winner gets a free batch of Happy Janes made especially for them... can you say YUMMY? so go check it out, do some thinking, and take a chance!

This afternoon... troy and I will be taking the kids to Carowinds.... we're doing the after-4pm route.. cause 1 - it's cheaper, 2 - the kids have attention spans of GNATS... so no use paying the full amount for a few hours. Plus factor in the BALL ASS HEAT we have here, and it does help to wait til the later parts of the day.

Speaking of Troy.... While his spine/neck still seems to be slipped (read MANGLED).. the pain has been dissipating some. Not that I actually know this for sure.. but he seems to be less and less cranky these days. so hoorah for that!

ALSO.. my husband is slowing joining the world of technology. ODD, as all the man does is web developing and boring stuff like that. He just joined Twitter... so if you're interested in C++ java java DLL to the ICP in sequel formation (or whatEVER in hell that crap means) go check him out. Or if you know someone else who twits about that stuff.... send them troy's way. (ps.. secretly loving what a rookie troy is in a computer-related thing. HAH)


time for me to pack some bags so that I may smuggle some snacks into amusement central. oh.. and did I tell you I got my new glasses??? very funky. They match my roots. which, NO.. is not a good thing. but at least I can laugh. I do like the glasses though.

alrighty... have a great weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008


aaaah, yes. Summer is coming to a close. Labor day is rapidly approaching, and while it will still remain HOT AS BALLS here in the south for another good 3 months or so....

tis time to retire the mix tape.

now now.. fear not. I WILL keep the player up in my sidebar, and I think when all is said and done, I may make one last 'master mix' of all the songs that were suggested these past 2 months. now understand that will give y'all a grand ole hodge-podge of tunes to listen (or SKIP) through... but it will be fun to keep the tunes playing, regardless of not having a new topic each week.

and who knows? I may get my shit together and bring back another round of the mix tape come the fall or winter when I catch my breath and get into a routine again. but for now... I think it's time for me to hang up my links and start focusing on fall. or you know... the season in which we have hot weather in the last half of the year.

but blabbity blah. too much talk, not enough topic!!!

for this last week.. I would like for you all to give me a song (and ONE SONG ONLY!) that given all the money, magic and/or miracles in the world.... what ONE SONG would you want performed for you LIVE by an artist?

That's right. picture it. you. the artist (or band). one song. performed BY THEM, FOR YOU... right in front of you. (mood lighters not included, but yes.. you can invite as many friends as you want to gloat in the glory that this band or artist is performing for YOU AND ONLY YOU.)

being that this is the last week for the mix.. you have until MONDAY NIGHT to make your comment. one extra day to think about it, and maybe even to tell a friend (or your mom and aunt like Angela does!)

so what do you say? what's your show stopper?


edited to add: YES, you CAN bring back the dead for this special fantasy performance. Granted... it would HAVE to at least be someone who has been recorded singing the song... No fair saying you would have Jesus sing "Back in the USSR", for example.

But Elvis, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash and their likes?? all included.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

of Packages and Packages

Hänni!! you're so fresh! I wasn't talking about THAT kind of package!


naaah. I'm talking about good old fashioned packages. as in mail.

first up.. I finished up the contents of one very special MONSTER TRUCK PARTY package. Two dozen cookies decorated with monster trucks.


no really.. that monster truck shit is crazy. it's like NASCAR or something. like some entire WORLD of rednecks and just.. STUFF.

CLEARLY my little boy is neither of the monster or truck having age yet... cause this shit was NEW to me. (which side note.. how am I living in the deep south literally a stone's throw from the redneck capital of the world and not know a thing about monster trucks??? I mean.. I'm not complaining... but some level of me feels like I should know about this kind of stuff. at least insomuch as to protect myself from it? I mean.. I've never seen a vampire, but I know the garlic and cross and silver steak tricks. what's it gonna take to keep the monsters (trucks) away? Do I need Obama quotes on hand? perhaps a picture of Hillary? just sayin'....)

But alas... as any mother of an about-to-turn-four year old can attest... sometimes you just take one for the team (see "near future, as I put on a princess gala party for rhena's benefit")

And since I DO love this particular 4 year old OH so very much.... I researched the monster trucks and piped til my hands hurt. Check out the Crumbles blog for more pictures of these 'rockin' cookies.

so THAT package got done and has been sent out. Now.. I'm just sitting back and waiting for some packages to arrive to ME.

yup. I noticed that amazon is now like a mini FOOD STORE, and I was able to order some of my newest most favoritest coffee (for our snazzy jazzy coffee machine). Given that on any day I'm only going on about 4-6 hours of sleep.. you can imagine how I NEEEEEED my morning cup of coffee. So I'm TOTALLY waiting for that.

also.. cause I'm ghetto like that and appreciate free shipping... I added in a new book I've been eyeing up. It's called Hello, Cupcake. I flipped through it one afternoon when my folks were here and I was able to leave the house without the kids for a few hours.

it is THE most adorable book. inside features some cupcakes that look JUST like corn on the cob. and one page features some tv-dinner looking creation. I TOTALLY want to work that shit. I'll share more when I get it. but let's say I'm looking forward to that package.

anyways.. in other news... I was flipping through yet ANOTHER oriental trading catalogue. I need to stop looking at shit and just ORDER the stuff for rhena's party already. (or at the very least make some damn invitations) but I have to say a big hearty WTF to one page I saw recently. It was for some crafty things, and this 'page' featured frames and banners boasting that said child is DRUG FREE and PROUD OF IT.

uhhhh... is it ME, or does that image make you wonder how BAD shit must be when claiming to be drug free is a good thing for a kid that can't be more than FIVE YEARS OLD???? Makes me wonder just what and with WHOM the Oriental is trading. just saying.

ok. I'm off to make some new confections. if all goes well I'll have yet ANOTHER post for crumbles before the weekend is through.

peace out.. oh, and check back tomorrow for what I think will be the FINAL week/topic of the mix tape game.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Little Engine that Could

Dear Stepford Parents -

please stop. I'm not kidding. the parties are KILLING me. A couple of weeks ago, I took rhena to a birthday party at a house that made Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion look like a double-wide trailer. I shit you not... the POOL house alone was bigger than my backyard. Let's not mention the LOT that was sectioned off for the industrial PARK-sized play area, or the other lot they had for a volleyball court.

when my folks were here, we had yet another birthday to attend. This one was a Thomas theme, and for a little boy turning two on my street. Since it was at a house on my street, I knew I wouldn't have to feel TOO ghetto for gawking at everything I saw.


They rented a little blue train. yeah.

so we all got on the train and it choo-chooed around the neighborhood. To say my kids were excited would be an understatement. To say that every child we passed on the street was JEALOUS would be an understatement. SO happy Danny still wears diapers, as he was squealing so much, I have no doubt he was pissing himself from excitement the whole time.

As for Rhena... the girl who had JUST had her nose cauterized and was STILL milking my guilt for having her go through the ordeal... well... she seemed to be able to rise above the pain for long enough to enjoy the train.

So while I am INDEED happy at how much my kids enjoyed attending these parties.. I'm STILL putting the plea out there for this kind of shit to stop. all I have are cookies, and the occasional cute invitation. kids are gonna be a tad disappointed when it comes to a Johnson party.

I jest. I love the parties, and I'm totally fine with what we do for our kids. I'm totally not gonna get into that whole 'keeping up with stepford' mentality. I mean.. if worse comes to worse... I MIGHT start putting REALLY LOUD toys and SUGARY CANDY in the favor bags.... but that's all.

party on!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home On The Range

As you know.. my folks were here last week. In between bearing down and getting shit done (doctor appointments and pierogies to name a few dozen) good times were had.

It really got me thinking about HOME. For a long time "home" meant Sayreville, New Jersey to me. it's where my family was, it's where I grew up, and no matter what craziness came about in Daytona, Seattle, and Reno... Jersey was always home. I suppose in many ways it still is.... ask ANY Jersey Girl and she'll tell you something along the lines of being from jersey, despite living wherever now. It's like a little badge of some sorts... like by us telling she's from Jersey, she's letting you know right off the bat that you're PROBABLY going to love or hate her, and she's fine with either one.

My dad sent Troy an article one time about dating a jersey girl. he and I had a few good chuckles on how very true it rang. But all of that is an aside.

NOWADAYS... my home is here in Stepford. well.. not necessarily STEPFORD... cause you CERTAINLY don't see me joining any pageants or flying rebel flags or even worse.. watching NASCAR. No.. by Stepford, I mean where Rhena and Danny and Troy are. THEY are my family now. THEY are my home.

I enjoyed reading some of the comments that went along with the song suggestions. It's interesting getting that tiny glimpse of the wheres and whys of each of you.

So without further ado... here's this week's mix:

Cze-Johnson Fever's Home On The Range Mix:

Dixie Land - by Dan Emmett
Puff the Magic Dragon - by Peter, Paul & Mary
Over the Rainbow - by E.Y. Harburg (and the OTHER version)
Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor
White Wedding by Billy Idol
Golden Slumbers - by The Beatles
Two Out of Three Ain't Bad - by Meatloaf'
Teach Your Children - by Crosby Stills & Nash
Cowboy Take Me Away by the Dixie Chicks
Where the Green Grass Grows - by Tim McGraw
Helpless - by Neil Young
Alberta Bound - by Gordon Lightfoot
Battle of New Orleans - by Johnny Horton
Bohemian Rhapsody - by Queen

The last song by Queen is my contribution. for all my talk about which home is home... one of the most constant things in my life is the process of GETTING home. Whether driving with the kids, or past times of driving with my mom in a car... somehow the journey home is always an interesting (read 'stressful') one, and SOMEBODY ends up crying.

One time in particular, my dad and I reduced my mom to a hot mess of tears and curses on route from Florida to Jersey. It's hard to remember which song in particular it was that set her off... (it was either Led Zeppelin or Queen) but the way that Bohemian Rhapsody is just ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE... it will always be associated with driving home. To this day the song makes my mom cringe. hee hee hee. (LOVE YOU, mom!)

alrighty.... the tunes will be pumped into the player during naptime this afternoon. right now... we're off to do that thing we do.

Happy monday!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

To Have and To Hold

ok.... perhaps not quite the best title... but given a chance to win free stuff???

you know I'm in.

Thanks to Stacey for tipping me off to Cool Mom Picks. They're hosting a little giveaway for any blogger that posts their button on a blog. So yeah. sign me up!

Cool Mom Picks Back to School Guide

really.. go visit.. I won't mind!

speaking of visiting.. my folks are gone, so you SHOULD be seeing me on the regular again. updates to come this week.. including PICTURES!!! I know.. try to contain yourselves.

and hey.. if you haven't left a comment/song for this weeks mix... please do!!! Suser got cranky on me cause some of you were e-mailing me your song suggestions.. so please.. just go and actually leave a comment. it really is more fun when there's more songs, too.

alrighty then. I'm off and running again.. while the caffeine is still working.

Friday, August 15, 2008

MIX TAPE - Homebodies!!!

so this past week or so I've been busy here with my folks visiting. Tomorrow they're heading home, though. It's been a good visit and all that... but you're here for the tunes, so I'll save the recaps for next week.

Anyways.... I was watching the Olympics.. thinking about my folks leaving... or even just them BEING HERE... and it was pretty clear what this week's topic should be.


whatever that definition of "home" is for you... maybe it's where you live now.. maybe it's when you're with your family... maybe it's a nod to the state or city you grew up in or near.

but the point is... everyone is from somewhere. Let's take a minute and suggest a song that evokes a feeling of 'home' for you.

One song, and one song only, gang.

new list will be up on monday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

hey gang.

sorry I've been scarce in these parts lately and around the internet. As I said earlier, my folks are here, and I've been busy.... surviving.

surviving isn't really the best word, though. I was BARELY surviving before they got here. Since my folks' arrival, I have finally gotten a chance to regroup just enough to man up and get shit done around here.

last week we had Rhena's nose cauterized. anyone that knows my child knows she has been getting severe nosebleeds since like.. BIRTH. we go through phases where she doesn't have many, but then we ALSO go through phases where our house and her clothing typically resemble some crime scene. so despite not wanting to put her through any ordeal... we decided it would be better than many more years of having to stop what she's doing with whomever she's with so she can tend to the red fountain above her mouth. The process was gut wrenching for me. but more on that later.

we made THREE attempts to get Troy an MRI (yes I said three... his spine is jacked up and despite being on 3 different pain meds and taking a valium, he has been unable to lay down for the hour-long test.) we just added some oral steroids to the mix, though... so we're hoping to try again on saturday.

we've been making pierogies (yesterday completed 13 dozen potato ones), dealing with moosey's clockworkingly predictable tantrums, eye doctor appointments for me (since I ripped my last contact and have been wearing 4 yr old glasses for 2 weeks).. and you know.. just regular tomfoolery that comes with the folks visiting.

on a POSITIVE note... I really do know that my folks being here has helped me get everything done. Them being able to watch one or both kids so I can get some things done with complete attention has been a GRACE. I actually feel stronger than I did a week ago. ok.. a little constipated (haven't crapped since saturday. WTF???) but stronger for sure.

I was allowed to do a guest post over at Mama Ginger Tree's House. so that was cool. go on over and say hello!!!

The cancer walk??? have you been over there lately? We're currently standing at OVER $1100 dollars in donations. This is so amazing.. and I can't thank you enough!!!! Some of you have e-mailed me and asked when the donations have to be in by... I believe we have up until just before the walk, so October. I KNOW you can find $5 by October!!!! please donate if and what you can!!! because really.. every dollar does count!

I'm currently working on a pitch for a local place in which I'm going to try to convince them to host a fundraising event for the walk. strike that. I AM going to find a place to host an event... and I have one place in mind.. just hoping they'll see my vision. I'll share more when I have everything official.

alright. I ought to put this thing away and prepare for another day of pierogies. we still have more potato to make, then we move on to the kapusta. I've been taking pictures, so will have a post next week of the whole process.

OH!!! so important!!!! I need some suggestions!!!

part of my 'pitch' to the bar/restaurant includes featuring a drink (one that can be alcoholic, AND have a non-alcoholic version available that's at least semi-similar)

anyways.. I'm looking for a drink to suggest. I want to call it "The Pink Ribbon Rock Star"

My first instinct is pomegranate, raspberry vodka, and 7-up....

I've done martinis where I've mixed keylime sparkling water with pom juice and raspberry vodka, and those are refreshing... but I'm looking for something new and GOOD. PLEASE share any recipes you just love... preferably ones with a pinkish hue. I've heard lots of you talk about blueberry vodka. so hit me with some ideas, gang!!!

ok. pierogies are calling. I'll post more as I can. but for sure will be back ont he regular next week.

oh, and SORRY about the mix tape last week. oops. I'll make a point to schedule a topic for friday this week... so for sure check back so we can get our music on!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hurricane Alley

I suppose that isn't the best title given all the weather issues the gulf states are having....

but what I mean to say is that today is going to be a busy day for the Fever.

My folks are currently en route.... and while this makes every clock in my house look a little larger and tick just a tweensy bit louder..... and every little mess seem to have magically GROWN overnight.... yes.. while this means I will be as busy as a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest today (and please notice I DID say MAN.. cause you KNOW any one-legged WOMAN in an ass-kicking contest could do THAT, drink coffee, AND write thank you notes and pay bills at the same time....)

so yeah. me? busy. but very excited.

excited to have the folks come so we can hang out and just BE. oh, and of course, the free babysitting should not go unmentioned. I'm for SURE gonna pimp them out so I can go to dinner and maybe a movie with troy. and you know.. get some basic stuff done like GO TO THE EYE DOCTOR SO I CAN STOP WEARING THESE OUT OF DATE GLASSES.

Did I not mention that yet?

oh yeah.. TOTALLY ripped the shit out of my contact, irritated my eye to no end.. and yeah.. no more back-up contacts.

anyways. today we're gonna hustle to get this place in tip-top company ready shape. and get creamer. I'm drinking my coffee this morning with danny's whole milk cause I'm out of creamer. If you know me in any capacity... this substitute for me is just about the same as ordering a fillet Mignon in a steak house, and getting a White Castle burger instead.


alright... have a great day, gang.

and listen.. if you HAVEN'T made a donation yet??? PLEASE go to my page. EVERY dollar counts, and every PERSON on that honor roll offers a new surge of hope for SO MANY FAMILIES. Don't believe me? check out any one of the +2500 pages of the tribute book.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Guilt Trip

Y'all know I'm Catholic. and we Catholics LOVE us some guilt trips. at least I am. I am GOOOOOOOOD about guilt.

I get this mostly from my mom. She has an innate way of taking personal responsibility for just about everything. Having shitty weather? meh... it's cause my mom said something the other day. Constipated from eating too much junk food? must be my mom's fault cause she didn't cook you a meal. even though she doesn't know you.

ok... so that's exaggerating just a LITTLE... but you get the point.

Anyways.. as the whole apples-tree-and-not-falling-far saying goes.... I also tend to walk around with an extraordinary amount of guilt at any given time. did I do enough? did I say too much???

Take this morning for instance... not 10 minutes ago, I left a comment on one of my favorite blogs.... Erin Cooks. Erin is awesome.. always hosting contests (btw.. go.. enter!! free books!!) and if you recall.. she's the one who hooked me up with the free ice cream. LOVE HER for that.

She makes amazing stuff, and takes even better pictures of it. I told her once how I had to stop reading her for a while cause I caught myself wanting to lick my laptop. but seriously... love her blog.

so the comment I left remarked how it would have been nice to see some chocolate in the icing of her cookie creations. and while there was absolutely NO ill intent of what I wrote... I TOTALLY have been second guessing what I wrote. so much that I immediately stumbled her page. and started this post about guilt. BAH!

Anyways... me and guilt.. like I said and you can see... we go back. (btw... go and take a peek at her cookies.. they DO look fantastic, and you can tell her as much. and that I'm a jackass for talking about the chocolate. I totally deserve it.)

Now with the Avon Walk, I've been feeling a whole NEW set of guilt. first off... holy CRAP.... we totally blew by the $500 dollar goal in like what.. 2 days??? and donations are still coming in. The generosity and love that has been so quickly given is BEYOND humbling. I have been regularly crying with appreciation.

But yet.. now that the goal has been officially 'met'... I'm at a quandary. TRUE.. I don't HAVE to go out and seek more donations. but yet... something's.... missing. i totally do not feel like I have spoken about it enough. Because while the amount of money that has been raised so far is awe-inspiring... I feel like it should be MORE. but not MORE as in dollar amount. MORE as in number of people.

Am I really doing enough to share my vision? Is it greedy that I think people donating just ONE DOLLAR can inspire hope? and that I want MORE people to donate just that one dollar? Is it crazy to think that I CAN get 100 people just to make even the most minimal donation so my cousin and many many other women and families like her can see the VOLUME of people that believe in LIFE for her?

Part of me feels SO incredibly guilty for wanting that... that VOLUME.... because honestly??? the VOLUME that HAS been given thus far is, as I said.. humbling. I certainly wouldn't want to shadow anything that has been done so far.

but last year.. when I arrived at the walk before sunrise, and I looked around in the stadium.. I couldn't help but feel PART OF SOMETHING as I saw the hundreds of men and women that were there for the very same thing I was... that hope.

I dunno. that's where I'm at. I'm kind of percolating on an event of some sorts... either at church or local pub or grocery store where I can set up camp until I can get x-amount number of donations. Maybe charge everyone a dollar to sign a big assed banner to be hung at the walk or something.


but so far??? I can not express my thanks enough. 11 donations so far representing 31 people who believe.

11 donations, and we're OVER $800. incredible. INCREDIBLE, I say!!!!

so again.. thank you to all who HAVE donated, or WILL donate. every dollar DOES make a difference. And if you have any ideas of how I can shake some of this guilt for not doing more??? I would love to hear them.

I may start off by apologizing to Erin.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The So Bad it's Good Mix

Hey gang! thanks to all that participated in this week's mix tape. Y'all brought the best of the worst out there.

That's right.. I asked you to tell me that one song that you JUST CAN'T stand.... but can't stop singing.

so without further ado... I give you:

Cze-Johnson Fever's So Bad it's GOOD Mix:

See You Again - by Miley Cyrus
7 Things - by Miley Cyrus
Ice Ice Baby - by Vanilla Ice
Hot Dog! - by They Might Be Giants
SexyBack - by Justin Timberlake
Baby Got Back - by Sir-Mix-a-Lot
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) - by Phil Collins
Piece of Me - by Britney Spears
This Kiss - by Faith Hill
Stronger - by Kanye West
I'm Too Sexy - by Right Said Fred
Without Me - by Eminem
The Choice is Yours - by Black Sheep
Baby One More Time - by Britney Spears
Macarena - by Los Del Rio
Karma Chameleon - by Culture Club
Feliz Navidad - by Jose Feliciano (sorry, Marianna!!!)

ug.... just typing these out makes me a bit ill. but there you have it. Thanks so much to all that played. We missed some regulars this week... perhaps they didn't want to lose clout in the blogosphere by admitting they like crappy music (cough cough Erin Cooks loves Mariah Carey cough cough) but you know.. whatever.. not gonna judge!!! ;)

Enjoy... or try not to. or you know.... at the very least.. put some headphones on!!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

And so it begins (again)

by the way.. if you haven't made a suggestion for this week's mix tape.. PLEASE DO!!! we're looking for REALLY BAD SONGS that people just can't help but liking. click here to join in the fun! you have til monday morning to get your song in!

last year... I spent the month of August talking about and soliciting funds for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I did a lot of reflecting, and I turned to you, my readers, to help me reach my financial fundraising goal of $1800 dollars.

We as a group were able to surpass that goal, and I was humbled by the outpouring of love and generosity. I thought of each and every one of you as I walked 26 miles on the first day of the event.

unfortunately, what my brain wanted and what my body was able to do were two different things. I was unable to walk the second day of the event, and did not complete the proposed 39 mile journey.

I've already discussed it, and most of you know how I feel about the subject. This year, having the experience of understanding what a physical undertaking walking 39 miles is.. and a better grasp of my own capabilities.... I have opted to not walk in the Charlotte event this year.

I HAVE, however, decided to take on the challenge of being a Crew Member for the Walk. Being a Crew Member will not require the physical strength that walking 39 miles demands. It does, however... require a different kind of strength. It requires making EVERY walker know how appreciated they are, and helping them believe in the difference they are making.

For every one that has given ME a kind word, I feel obligated to pass that love, that strength, that BELIEF... THAT HOPE on to someone else. So I'm going to Crew.

As a crew member, I am asked to raise money. I have set a goal of $500, and am determined to find at least 100 people to give just ONE PERCENT of that goal. $5 dollars. 100 people.

I sent an e-mail to some friends and family yesterday, and I'm happy to say that as of this morning, we're well on our way to reaching the goal of $500. This alone is fantastic, because each Walker or Crew Member's collected contribution will help to support medical research into the possible causes of and cure for breast cancer, education and early detection programs, and clinical care and support services for women with breast cancer in communities across the country. so yeah.. the more money the better.

but 100 people. can it be done?

my personal theme for this year's walk is HOPE. imagine the sense of HOPE my cousin Rachel will feel if she knows that 100 people believe in her and her fight against cancer. Imagine the empowerment YOU could feel knowing you were in a room of 100 people that felt the same way you do.

help me find hope. help me GIVE hope. help me SPREAD hope.

please visit my donor page for more information or to make a donation. Donating may not change the entire world.. but it sure can make a world of difference for someone with cancer.

Click here to visit my personal page.

If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

thank you for even thinking about it.

thank you 100 times over.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Love to Hate You!

ahhh.. love-hate relationships. we've all had them. some of us more than others.. some, with inanimate objects. or food. (oh please.. like you've never had a white castle burger before ??!!??)

Anyways.. this week has been nothing but contradictions and conflictions here in the Fever... so I'm gonna roll with that and make it the base of this weekend's Mix Tape Request Line.

are you lost yet?

Really... the theme is easy.

I want you to name one song (AND ONE SONG ONLY!!!) that you HATE that you LOVE.

You know the song. there's like a THOUSAND of them out there. Like Biz Markie's "Just a Friend". yeah. THAT kind of song.

it's AWFUL. you know it is. everyone ELSE knows it is. but yet... either you know all the words, or you TOTALLY bust a move when it comes on. but the song sucks. but it's SO FUN! But.. oh shit, did that person just see me singing it???

so come one, come all!! fess up and give us your worst! I mean best... well.. you know what I mean.

Get your songs in before monday morning....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of limits and limitations

Recently, a blog I've been reading had a post about 'naked blogging'. By her description, I'd generally say that MOST of the blogs I read tend to have a 'naked' side to them. sure, I like humor, but I also prefer to read sites written by real people. and by real, I mean authentic.

Being authentic in this world (at least in MY observed world) is an art. All too easily, we can smile and say all is fine, we can make small talk with a neighbor we truly do not like. We stuff, we fluff, we hide when we're snide. To be authentic... to show, act and speak as one truly feels takes a tremendous amount of courage. Granted, when one can finally find some congruency between head, heart, and external environment.. the rewards can reach limitless levels.

Lately, I have had something heavy weighing on my heart.

Last year, I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here in Charlotte. I spent all of last August seeking donations, and reflecting on my desire to be aligned with the cause. I spoke of my cousin, who is living with and fighting cancer. I spoke of my Gram, who passed away after battling cancer. I spoke of my girlfriend Denita, whose mother passed away from cancer when she was 15 years old. I had CAUSE. I had PURPOSE. I wanted to make a difference and raise money to not only help support those suffering from cancer, but for research so MY daughter will not have to blog about HER sense of loss and helplessness to the varying forms of cancer. I wanted to walk for those who couldn't. I wanted to walk so Rhena would never have to.

and so I did. I walked. and walked. and cried and walked and laughed and cried and walked more. I made it through that first day, and I collapsed into the love of my supporting husband, daughter and son. And then.. my legs stopped moving.

The next day, I was still unable to move my legs without extreme pain, much less get out of bed, head back downtown and walk 13 more miles. I was so physically out of shape, and my body called it quits.

I was heartbroken. I was guilty. I was angry. I was SO disappointed in myself.

To know my cousin FIGHTS TO LIVE so she has that much more time with her daughter, and I could not will my legs to move was the most devastatingly humbling experience I have ever had. My cousin once again proved how strong she was and forgave ME and made ME feel better about not being able to complete the walk. my friends forgave me. my family forgave me.

it took a long while, but I eventually forgave myself. Mostly, in part, because I consoled myself in thinking I would train more and be better prepared and COMPLETE THE WHOLE WALK in 2008.

well.. here it is.. 2008. on the eve of August, where I would begin my month of seeking donations and speaking about a cause and disease that rests around my wrist every day. that sits on my soul in every good and bad parenting moment. that filters my eyes when I go to jersey and see my cousin. that affects TOO MANY PEOPLE right this very second.

This year, I have dropped a 10 pound barbell on one foot and a shower door on another. and guess what? I'm not in any physical shape to walk 39 miles in less than 90 days.

Despite my vowing last year to make amends this year, I got caught up in life. I succumbed to grueling temperatures. I've been sidetracked with surviving Daniel's recent stage of violent tantrums. I have not been training like I should. and I know it. yes, I've gone to the gym, I've walked here and there, but deep down.. I know I haven't done enough.

So... to avoid feeling like a failure AGAIN... I did not register to walk this year. I registered to be a crew member. support staff, volunteer, behind-the-scenes..... call it what you will.

I know I should be happy about this decision. I'm still aligned to a cause I feel SO PASSIONATELY about. I can still raise money. and I can be right there cheering for those who do walk.

but it hurts.

it brings back the feelings of regret. regret for not preparing more. regret of incompletion.

it brings back feelings of anger. anger that I have an able-body and I'm not doing more with it. anger that I can't fix my cousin.

like I said.. I know I should be happy about still having the chance to be part of the walk. cause believe me.. I know me making my body walk for 39 miles will not be what cures cancer. I DO know that. and I feel that being part of the 'crew' will be every bit as rewarding, if not MORE SO, since I will not be physically distracted from taking part of the event in both a give and take fashion. I have no doubt that I will be SO rewarded when the Walk weekend is done.

it's just that right now?? well... it just is what it is. but i'll get there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No place like Home

so here in the south... it's hot as balls out.

no, really... I logged on to weather channel and I could SWEAR that the reported temp was 5 degrees higher than the expected high for the day, and that was before they factored in the humidity index.

I firmly believe that if I had one of those thermometers outside of my window that it would be giving me the middle finger, telling me to get back inside and don't come back out until at LEAST september. maybe october.

ok.. I lie. before 10am, and after 8pm, the temps cool down to low eighties.. MAYBE in the 70's if there's a cold front moving through. but even then.. the air is... as snoopy gingerly called it... MOIST. (that's for you, Katy!)

anyways.. I'm sure everyone else is having their share of dog days this summer. my point is that we have been spending a LOT of time indoors. the library, the book store, the food store... every errand has become a major attraction, just as long as it's inside and there's snacks involved.

we've been doing a LOT of dance parties. Rhena's passion for dancing and all-things ballerina has only gotten STRONGER over the summer. At any given time, you can usually find her in SOME fashion of leotard, tights, tutus, slippers or shoes.

Not one to squelch creativity.. I just roll with it.

Speaking of rolling.. I TOTALLY need to get cracking on rhena's birthday plans. it might be an age thing, cause Suser was talking about this yesterday... but holy good gravy.. Rhena has changed her mind AT LEAST a gagillion times about her party theme. Top runners have been princess, wizard of oz, a 'dark' party (hang on.. I'll get to that in a second) and most recently.. a pink poodle party.

The dark party was an interesting one. she came up to me one day and the conversation went like this:

Rhena: "momma... I want a dark party for my birfday. Say 'rhena? what's a dark party'"

Me: "rhena.. what's a dark party?

Rhena: it's a party in the dark, silly! momma.. say "Rhena.. how will we see the cake if it's a dark party?"

Me: Rhena.. how will we see the cake if it's dark?

Rhena: No, momma.. say dark PARTY. say 'how will we see the cake if it's a dark PARTY.'

Me: *sigh* Rhena. how will we see the cake if it's a dark PARTY?

Rhena: With Glowsticks, silly! really, momma.. you are just so silly! we can't see a cake in the dark, so we need glowsticks! lots and lots of glowsticks, ok? so I want a dark party for my birfday, ok?

did I mention it's been a long summer?

Anyway.. she has until today to figure out what exactly she wants as her party. as of breakfast, she was leaning towards the Pink Poodles ("but maybe a black spot doggie for the boys, momma")

we have a few errands to run... so who knows where the wind may blow her thoughts today. oh wait. there's no wind. just the stillness of hot, humid death outside. anyways. what I mean to say is who knows what might happen today. we could be talking dolphins before the day is through.

keep it cool, gang.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mixin' it up - Old Skool Style

at last. I know.. this week I suck the big biscuit. and with new commenters, too. (hello and THANKS to Angela's mom! and Amber!! and Cathy! and Erin! and Daddy!!!) yeah. all these new peeps, and here I am, a day late.

say it with me. ME = FAIL.

alright. now that THAT has been said.. let's get the party started and turn up the bass.

Last week, I had some fun and scanned in some old pictures from my college days. anyone who's anyone on Facebook (ok.. anyone who happens to be my FRIEND, is what I mean) had the distinct pleasure of seeing me and my former cohorts in what can only be labeled as a fashion MESS. Of course, much laughing was had. of COURSE much of this was at my own expense. but seriously? after 2 kids... things being at my expense just seems natural to me.

but ANYWAYS. to keep with the fun of the week, I asked y'all to tell me a song that reminds you of college. for the first time ever, I offered a chance for you to pick TWO songs... but only if you swallowed some of your pride and shared a picture of YOU from your college days.

apparently most of my readers have a stronger sense of PRIDE than I do.. cause I only got a few takers. to the takers? Jodes and Hannikins??? and ok, Stace.. cause she's got her own scanner wars from Rutgers going on.... well.. BRAVO my friends. I applaud you in your ability to recognize that things CAN get better in time. and thank GOD for that, right??

ok ok.. enough narration. y'all have certainly waited long enough!

Cze-Johnson Fever's Back-to-School Mix

Last Dollar (Fly Away) - by Tim McGraw
True Faith - by New Order
So What'Cha Want - by Beastie Boys
Tonight's the Night - by Rod Stewart
Little Earthquakes - by Tori Amos
Back That Ass Up - by Juvenile
Polyester Bride - by Liz Phair
No Scrubs - by TLC
Trouble - by Coldplay
The Piano Man - by Billy Joel
Angry Johnny - by Poe
The Joker - by Steve Miller Band
Unbelievable -by EMF
Because - by Dave Clark Five
Crush - by Jennifer Paige
Dominator - by Human Resource
Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
Open Arms - Journey
Mr. Jones - by Counting Crows

ok.. I still need to upload the songs into last FM. from what I can tell, if you hit the 'play' arrow on the widget in my sidebar, you can hear the most recent songs (ie.. last week and this week)

I have to say, I WAS going to share the pictures that were sent by the daring girls mentioned above.... but now.. after watching the rod stewart video.. I realize that NO ONE. and I mean NO ONE can have a more embarrassing documentation of bad fashion choices. THANK YOU, Angela's mom.... if not for the music choice, but for the very needed laugh at Rod.

lastly, as I only have like THREE minutes before I need to wake the kids up... as I sat here doing the links and watching videos.. I have to remark on how very interesting the varying 'college experiences' seem to be. good times, sad times, drinking, love, loss, strength, dancing.... how we each chose different songs, yet probably each had the gamut of experiences. so have a listen.. even if it isn't 'your style'. You might be glad you did.