Saturday, July 30, 2011

so cool

sometimes i love customer service. other times i don't.
the reason i sometimes love it is because i can laugh at people. i know that's unfriendly and a wee bit mean, but i don't necessarily feel bad for doing it. we get enough crap from customers at tuacahn that it feels like some sort of vindication to laugh at the not-so-bright ones. for example:
  • i was helping one particular gentleman on the phone one day; he was calling because when he and his wife came to the show, we had given them the wrong receipt on accident and he thought he was being charged $100 more than he really was. so i got his information and put him on "hold." (i say "hold" because with our phone system if we put someone on hold, it drops the call, so when we say that we're putting them on hold we're really just muting the call so they can't hear us, but we can still hear them--which is important in this story.) anyway, so while i was looking up his information and i can hear him talking in the background, and i hear him say "come on, this isn't rocket science" (talking about me). just to let him know i could still hear him, i unmuted the call and said "yes, i know, sir, but i have to look up your information to make sure you were charged the right amount." he seemed embarrassed after that. (i would be too)

when it happened, i was mad at first (don't insult my intelligence; i'm the only one allowed to do that) but then i realized how comical the situation was. i was really glad that i heard him say that because when i called him out on it and he realized i could hear him, hopefully he felt sheepish enough that he would think before mouthing off to another customer service representative.

i guess think was a bad example of a laughable situation, but i thought it was funny.

speaking of funny, i'm now going to reminisce about when tuacahn did "jospeh and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat" (for the third time), and we had enough funny that season to last for the rest of my life:

hi, can i get tickets for "joseph and his amazing shorts?" for "joseph and his electric coat," or "joseph smith and his coat" (only in utah). oh, and this was my personal favorite: "jose and his colored garments," (the guy had a brooklyn accent and said "hey, i'd like tickets for 'jose and his colored garments, or whatever the h** it's called; sorry, honey, i'm from new york." so just imagine a guy with a 65-year-old smoker voice with a brooklyn accent saying that and you get the idea.)

oh, people. how i love them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

the sum total

I just took a vacation from my online/blogging life to explore the astoundingly green state of Washington with my family (the whole time we were exploring Seattle, I kept hearing "one short day, in the Emerald City! one short day to have a lifetime of fun!" we were there for more than a day, but you get the idea).

Okay, so I got back five days ago, and I've been itching to blog ever since I got back. So expect muchas fotos of my trip in the next little bit. For now, I just wanted to sum up my Seattle experience with this quote by Virginia Woolf:

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

(Thank you, Virginia, you make my life.)

In other words, if you want to hear about my trip, I will probably start with telling you about the food. Seattle has such good (mouthwateringly delicious) food that it makes up for the excessive amount of dreary cloud cover.

But instead of giving you all the drooling details right now, I'm going to bed. This has been a tiring work week (two jobs, lots of hours the last few days. tomorrow and saturday are going to be no exception.) I thank heaven that I have not only one, but two jobs this summer because I need to be saving money. But to be completely honest, sometimes I just want to play!

(I better be careful, or I might turn into a yellow)

Cheerio for now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Something I will probably never do

I say probably instead of definitely because every time I say absolutely definitely never, it always comes back to bite me in the butt.

Like working at Tuacahn, for example. I worked at Tuacahn from 2004-2006 year round (most employees are seasonal, but I worked as an off-season employee as well), and when I moved up to Provo, I parted ways with Tuacahn until I returned home for the 2007 summer season as I was preparing for my mission. After I got home, I worked there for the 2009 summer season then went back up to BYU in the fall. The next summer, I had a break thanks to my study abroad, but this summer here I am, back at Tuacahn. What can I say? It's the perfect summer job (it's hard to find a job that will hire for a three month period of time), I work with people I love, I get to see the shows for free (maybe I should have mentioned that first; it's probably the most important reason), and I can skip training every summer because I already know everything about selling tickets (really). Anyway, I don't know that I'm going to be back in St George next summer, because I'm sick of moving back and forth. We'll see. Again, I'm not going say never.

Anyway, back to the something I will (probably) never do:

Read Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce.

Really though. I've only skimmed a couple of pages in a British lit anthology, and on most pages there were more annotations than there was text. Half of the words are gibberish (idiosyncratic, if you want the technical term), and for heaven's sake, it starts and ends in the middle of a sentence! (It's actually the same sentence, interestingly enough. Where the sentence cuts off at
the end of the book, it picks up at the beginning. If that makes sense.)

I've read The Dead by James Joyce, a short story, and I actually enjoyed it a lot. The Dead, though, is very intelligible. Finnegan's Wake, on the other hand, is a mess. In one of my lit classes, my professor asked the class if anyone had completely read the book, and out of the whole class of 60, only one person raised his hand. The professor seemed surprised, and said "what are you, a masochist?" So I'm not the only person who thinks you would have to be crazy to read it.

It is very interesting to me though, so it's funny that I'm saying I'm not going to read something that is so fascinating to me.

Which is why I don't say definitely never.

I remember several years ago saying that I didn't think I would ever read the unabridged Les Miserables, and a few months later I started it. And finished it, although it took me awhile to get through the whole thing. (I had to take a break halfway through and read something else.) Reading Les Mis was one of the best literary decisions I have ever made; it's a pretty monumental, life changing book. I was glad I didn't hold myself to my previous statement saying I would never read it.

Never, then, doesn't always mean actually never. It might mean maybe possibly never, or absolutely definitely never.

You just never know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fotos I should've posted a long time ago

Behold, the annual Valentine's Day party that the Johansen aunts throw for their nephews and niece! Notice that this was in February, which gives you an idea of how long I've needed to post pictures.

These were fudge brownie bites filled with raspberry jam. They were yum.

Valentine's Day tea sandwiches with hot chocolate. I think that is Gavin's place mat that he lovingly colored.

Millie's place mat

This is William after "eating" the brownie bite cookie (aka smashing it all over his face)

The kids! Millie, Ashton and Gavin. Cutest sobrinos ever!

Here are a couple of pictures from my birthday (also in February):

I just wanted to show you my delicious birthday cake, raw raspberry (and strawberry) tiramisu (no coffee, only chocolate and love).
I LOVE this picture! Me and the nephews.

I just had to include this picture of Merlin and my feet. I love my Merlin!

He would know! (the little squirt)

I was babysitting Millie and Will, and of course like most other toddlers, William wanted to walk around in his diaper. Who am I to stop him? They always have fun at our house with the complete collection of Chevron cars.

The line-up

Let's jump to April, when I walked at graduation and commencement even though I graduated in December. I was really glad I did though; I'm really not sure why people don't walk. I like to celebrate with pomp and circumstance! I have quite a few more pictures from graduation I need to steal from my dad's camera, but I wanted to post this one because even though it's kind of blurry, it's cool to see all the caps and gowns.

After graduation we went to the BOMBAY HOUSE, my favorite restaurant of all time. Ever.

El fin.

Angels Landing

This year's climb up Angels Landing happened in May, so I'm only a couple months behind posting pictures! Mindy, Hailey and I hiked together, and we were glad Hailey made it because last time she almost fainted on the way up :) We blame it on Mindy, because if we don't keep her in check then she turns into a power hiker who practically runs up the trail while we are trailing behind smelling the roses. Anyway, Zion was so green this year--definitely more so than last year. You can't really tell from the pictures, though, because it was also kind of misty so the pictures didn't turn out as spectacularly as it looked in person. They never do! Well, I'm not the best photographer, but I like to take pictures anyway. Anyway, here goes:

the goal: it's only a little intimidating to know that at the end of the hike, we will be on top of this peak

switchbacks, also very intimidating

the chipmunks were VERY friendly at the top, probably because of all the people who think it's fine and dandy to feed them. I'm pretty sure these chipmunks would starve if the hike was closed!

this is the view that makes it all worth it!

Hailey, Mindy, and me, taken by an obliging hiker who was probably laughing at our attempts to take a picture of ourselves

this is the bottom part of the hike--cool shot, no?

once again, the friendly wildlife. we didn't see many squirrels but practically an army of chipmunks

Mindylou and Haileyjo

When we were hiking back down, we heard this really strange noise (a loud chirping, almost) and discovered that the source of the noise was this squirrel at the very tippy top of a tree. Mating call?

Monday, July 4, 2011


I must study politics and war that my sons have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail
I don't think I have ever properly thanked the Founding Fathers for everything I have because of their sacrifices. When I read this quote today, I was struck that I have much more to thank them for than I fully realized before. I am so grateful for them, for everyone one who has gone before me and studied mathematics, philosophy, geography, etc., so that I can study literature and music--two of my greatest loves. The Founders understood that they would have to make sacrifices in order for this country, for their posterity, to have liberty to live the way they wanted and to study what they wanted. They might have preferred fine arts to the art of politics and war, but they sacrificed so much of themselves so we could do what they perhaps wanted to, but couldn't. They gave us our future.

As I was coming home from my mission, the airplane landed and we went through security and customs and all that, and when the security guard checked my passport, he smiled and said "welcome home." I don't think I have ever felt more proud to be an American than I was at that moment. I had gone to Uruguay for 18 months and loved every minute of it, and last summer I went to the UK and fell head over heels for England, but America will always be home.

So no matter what anyone says about America's flaws, if we believe in America and preserve the legacy of the Founders, our children can have the same right to study and live however they choose.

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

And finally, graveyards

Without further ado:

The first set of pictures is from my mission in Uruguay. I was fascinated with the whole process of burial in Uruguay. This is from what I understand about Uruguayan burial traditions: After the funeral ceremony, a person is laid to rest in a cemetery, or more likely, an above-the-ground niche. After a few years, the body is cremated and the remains are place in an urn. It sounds a little weird compared to our culture's traditions to, in essence, dig up a body after a couple of years and cremate the remains, but in such a small country as Uruguay, it makes sense.

First, here is the tomb of Jose Artigas in Montevideo, who is like the "George Washington" of Uruguay, according to one of my companions.

These statues of Artigas are ALL OVER THE PLACE in Uruguay. There's pretty much one in every city (maybe an exaggeration, but not by much).

Under the statue is the tomb, where lies:

the remains of General Jose Artigas himself, guarded carefully

This is a Jewish cemetery in La Paz, near Montevideo, Uruguay. Unfortunately, it was always padlocked, so I was never able to go inside and look around.

Instead, we just took pictures through the bars.

This is the cemetery in Pan de Azucar. I love this statue; she's so beautiful.

This is an example of the "above-the-ground niche" where people are buried for the first few years of being... dead. I suppose more wealthy people's graves or tombs looked more like this:

These seem to be more permanent than the above-the-ground spots, so maybe if you have enough money, you can afford a permanent residence in a tomb.

There are rows and rows of urns in the cemetery. It's fascinating to walk around and see all the different urns.

And now, we will travel to a different continent to visit some graveyards in the UK:

This is Oxford. My dream is to study there one day! This little graveyard is right inside of Christ's Church college, which is the area where we spent most of our time at Oxford. Christ's Church is the old stomping ground of Charles Dodgson (more commonly known as Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice books).

This, my friends (you can't read it unless you zoom very closely) is the tombstone of Thomas Riddell in Edinburgh, Scotland. This awesome little graveyard is right by the Elephant House, which is a little cafe where JK Rowling supposedly started writing Harry Potter on a napkin. She is said to have walked through this graveyard getting ideas for names in her books. Looking through the graveyard, we not only found this grave, but also Mooney, Black, and McGonagall. Pretty neat!
This, if you notice, is not a graveyard. This is Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen herself was laid to rest.

There you go.

Glastonbury Abbey is the fabled burial site of Arthur and Guinevere (for awesome pictures of Glastonbury, see this blog)

This little graveyard in Bemerton, which was George Herbert's rectory.

Bemerton, again.

Stoke Poges, the graveyard that inspired Thomas Grey's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."

Stoke Poges, again.

This is the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth. Amaaaaaazing! I loved their little parsonage, and as I have mentioned before, I can definitely understand where Charlotte and Emily Bronte were coming from writing their creepy Gothic novels. Loved Haworth, love the moors, love them.

Love, love, love.