Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Communications 101

Welcome! You've recently enrolled in Communications 101. Our objective, in this class, is to show what not to say when communicating with people. To help drive this points home, I'll be sharing a real life scenario, they may have occured this past weekend.

Let's get some back story established for this scenario. Being the age of 28 and single, people like to set me up on dates. Misty* is a coworker who asked if she could give my number to her neighbor, T-Dogg*, and I told her that would be fine. T-Dogg sent me a text a few days ago (I'm not a huge fan of first introductions over text, but that may be a whole other post on my issues with texting) and we exchanged a few texts back and forth. He called me later that night, but I was at dinner with my friend and missed the call. I sent him a brief text explaining where I was and that I may not be able to call him back till later. By the time my friend and I were done, he had called again, but when I noticed the missed call it was late so I didn't return the call. The next morning I tried calling him, but he wasn't available. T-Dogg sent me a text saying he understood my dilema the other night and that he'd try me again. Well he never did. Normally I would just count this as a loss and move on, but since he was a set up of a friend and he had tried to call me twice, the least I could do was call him one more time and make another effort.

I called him Sunday night and here's what happened. (majority of you may not be shocked by what happens here - this is just my luck)

T-Dogg: Hello?
Me: Hi, T-Dogg? This is Erin - Misty's friend.
T-Dogg: Who?
Me: Erin. Erin Johnson.
T-Dogg: I don't know an Erin.
Me: Misty gave you my number and we've texted a few times and we've played phone tag for a while.
T-Dogg: ... hmm... oh, Erin! Yeah okay. Sorry, I forgot who you were.

Well, I'm dying of embarrassment at this point. I just called a guy who forgot about me!

Erin: (clearing throat and trying to muster up whatever self-esteem is left laying on the floor) Have I caught you at a bad time? Can you talk right now?
T-Dogg: Oh yeah, now is fine.

So we make small talk. He tells me he's working on a christmas gift for his dad and i start to ask him another question when he says:

T-Dogg: You know what, I'm really busy right now. Can I call you later, tonight?
Me: Oh, sure. No problem.

I run downstairs and begin sharing with Michelle what's just happened. I tell her how I just called this boy, who I've been "talking" to for a few days, and he has no idea who I am. How I called him and had to explain to him  how he knows me. I go off and say things like "How can someone send you handfuls of texts, call you 2 or 3 times and two days later have no clue who you are?!" "Are you that busy of a dating fool that you can't keep your girls straight?" "Who tells someone 'oh yeah, I'm not busy, let's chat' and then ten minutes later they are too busy to talk? Why can't he just say 'I'm no longer interested'?"

After this small rant, T-Dogg sends me a text that says:
"hahaha you just butt dialed me and you so didn't know. i liked your conversation with your roomie"

Yup! Somehow along the way from my room to the downstairs I had called him and he heard everything I said. I even made Michelle go upstairs in her room and I called her and left my phone on the couch and recreated the conversation. She came down and informed me that minus the echo, she could hear everything!  I'm mortified and feel like a fool! This is just my luck -which is no luck. I have no luck in several areas, and dating is one of them. After a good five minutes of freaking out, I sent him a text apologizing for what happened and he graciously accepted it. T-Dogg then started texting me and all I could think was "Wait. Aren't you too busy to talk? How do you now have time to text?"

About two hours later he asked me if he could call me and I said yes. He called and I again apologized for what I said - even though I don't think I said anything way mean or inappropriate - and he said not to worry about it that it's a crazy situation. I explained to him that being set-up isn't crazy; however overhearing a conversation you weren't meant to is a crazy situation. So I start asking him a few questions and then I decide - hey, he called me, let him ask a few.  That wasn't a great idea. We sat in silence for 15 seconds (which is like ten minutes in silence when face-to-face with someone).

I started asking questions again and he started mumbling so I had to ask him about 10 times to repeat what he was saying.  I learned he was a baker and then I learned he has to be up by 4 am. I made a comment about how early that was and that I was shocked he'd be up still at 11 pm. Suddenly he replies "Yeah, it's early, so I better go. Well it was nice talking to you and you know what - I can guarantee you'll hear from me again." I just say "Oh, ok then. Goodbye."

So what have we learned?
1- Don't forget the names of people you are talking to.
2- Always lock your phone and avoid accidently calling people and then talk about them while they hear everything.
3- When calling someone, be sure to initiate some conversation and don't leave it up to the one person.
4- Don't mumble. No one likes a mumbler.

Thank you for your attendance.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, not so innocent, fools and mumblers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yes, it really happened

Two good friends begged me to share this incident*, so here it is. Please, don't judge me.

Sometimes late at night, I find myself starting the most pointless projects - organizing closet, cleaning out the 'junk drawer' in my nightstand, dusting, organzing my book case, etc. This night I was trying to glue my glasses case back together. I had some super glue, a napkin and my glasses case all lined up ready to put back together - this all started around midnight or so. I open the glue and start putting it in one section of the case. I screw the lid back on the glue and hold down the case for about two minutes to make sure it sticks. I take my hand off and so far the lid is sticking. I unscrew the glue lid again and start squeezing out more glue, but nothing is coming this time. I hold it upside down for a bit and squeeze harder, still nothing. The cap is still in my right hand, and the tube is in my left hand. I screw the lid on and go to move the case when I realize my right hand won't let go of the lid. I yank and it doesn't even budge - not even a wiggle! I try release my left hand - nope, it's sealed to the tube. My hands are stuck to a tube, it's midnight, I'm in the basement, all alone and I don't really know what to do.

I unscrew the lid so at least my hands are somewhat free. I panic and find the carton for the glue to read what happens when it makes contact with skin. Well, no shocker here, but it's highly discouraged to let super glue touch your skin - "May cause irritation and rash". I just sigh and think about what I can do. I decide that warm, soapy water is my best bet to help relax the glue. I run to the bathroom and go to turn on the water, but then realize that my hands aren't really in the best position to be moving things, like faucets. My right hand is stuck as follows: My thumb and pointer finger are stuck to the lid and my middle finger is glued to the pointer finger and they are stuck in a claw-like position. My left hand has the tube stuck the same fingers, but it's running along the inside of my hand. Glue also spread to my ring finger and pinky and they are in a claw like position as well. I soon realize that I can't get my hands around the faucet and turn them - my solution is to go upstairs and use the sink where all you have to do is lift the lever to turn the water on.

I tip-toe upstairs, get the water running and then realize my next dilema - get a bowl down from the cupboard so I can soak my hands. I basically have 3-pronged claw hands and simple tasks are seeming impossible right now. I open the cupboard and then proceed to do this scoop and lift thing so I can basically knock the bowl out out and hopefully catch it. After a few attempts I get the bowl out, put some warm water in it, and then head downstairs so I can do the soaking down there. Getting water soapy when you don't have hands, is a bit tricky, so I decided to just throw in a bar of soap and let it soak and in-turn make the water soapy. I get my hands in the bowl and after ten minutes the tube and the lid finally wiggle loose and fall off; my fingers, however, are still glued together. I keep soaking them and keep trying to free them, but when I try, I just feel my skin tearing, and it really hurts. Every ten minutes I have to add more warm water, but I'm able to use the faucet downstairs now that the glue tube and lid isn't stuck to my hand. I repeat this process for about an hour, and finally my middle finger, on both hands, is freed. It's bright red, hurts a bit, but it's free!  I decide to just soak one hand at a time and this proves to be a better idea. My left hand is finally free and I can use it to help my right hand.

I lather up soap as best I can and just massage my fingers hoping the glue will give way soon. The soap is really stinging my left hand, and I'm starting to wonder at what point I can wake my parents and ask for help - but then I realize how crazy that sounds and I just keep working at it. Thirty minutes later I feel my fingers start to wiggle and then it's a matter of just working more soap in. FINALLY - my hands are free.  As I examine them, I notice that they are bright red, some skin is missing and red blotchy marks are all over my hand.  I washed them a few more times to make sure the glue is completely rinsed and I'm nearly brought to tears from how bad it hurts to have hot water and soap touch them. I manage to get some bandaids and ointment on them - took me almost another 30 minutes cause it hurt to bend my fingers - and I finally go to bed.

In the morning my hands are still aching; washing and doing my hair was a bit difficult, and I just stare at the mess in the bathroom as I remember everything that happened that night. I eventually shared the story with my mom - who just laughed and shook her head, and then my friends who rolled with laughter and to this day still ridicule me. Sometimes they hold their hands up in a claw-like manner and try to pick things up. I may need new friends... or I need to stop doing dumb things...

*There's a whole other piece to this story, but it's a bit... gross and potentially offensive to some. If you really want to hear it, ask me in person.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's A Wonderful Life!

This post has nothing to do with Christmas, but it is wonderful. Back in October my brother and his family were sealed to each other. It was such a wonderful and amazing experience to be there and witness this great event. I was more than choked up when they brought in the kids, all dressed in white. My nephew Boston was so excited and just burst into room and just stood there smiling at everyone. Brighton was very calm and glowing as she held Avery - who handled the event fairly well. I'm so excited and proud of them. I love you guys!

How can you not love these kids?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whoa? What? I'm fine! Just walking it off!

This post is dedicated to Emily - she challenged/told me to post this. I have lots of embarrassing stories (drugs on my driveway), and here's another one.

Lately my days have been filled with meetings. Not just a meeting here and a meeting there, but days where I don't see my desk till about 3 or 4 pm. Well yesterday I had one meeting. ONE! And I decided to celebrate the only way I know how - going out to eat. I've been really good about bringing my own lunch - cheaper, healthier, saves time, etc. So I felt like I really deserved this little treat. I didn't have anyone to go with me, so I decided to just run in, grab it and come back and eat at my desk and read.

I pulled into the parking lot, entered the restaurant and just walked straight ahead to get in line and place my order. Halfway up the line my right foot slips and goes flying forward! I didn't even quite register what was happening, but dance techniques must have kicked in. My left foot went backwards and I dropped into the splits. Something I haven't done in over ten years. Do you know what happens to those muscles over ten years of not being used? They get tight, really tight!

As I went into my awesome splits, my hands flew up and grabbed the ledge that was next to me; the same ledge that had a table of four guys on the opposite side. I quickly bounced up, looked around and then just walked forward as if nothing had happened. My groin was in some serious pain and I was fighting off a limp, but there was no way I was about to let people see that I was hurt. I had a few stares, but I refused to acknowledge to anyone what had just happened.

Am I prideful? Yes. Am I a klutz? Of course. Can I walk-off any injury thrown at me? I'll try my hardest and make my father proud. Suck it up!

Hiroshima & Sayonara!

Hiroshima was a more somber part of our trip. We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which provided a different view point of the attack (not that I'm saying what we did was right, but it was interesting to hear it told from their point of view instead of America's point of view) and some haunting images of the aftermath of the bomb. We spent probably 2 hours in there and then briefly walked around the Peace Gardens. This is a picture of the Atomic Bomb Dome, a memorial to those who died after the bomb.

After that heavy, emotional day we decided to go out to dinner and our friend at the Hostel recommended a great place. We quickly learned that the restaurant owner and cook did not speak English. Thank heavens a girl was there to help us and stopped us from ordering cow tongue for dinner. This meal may have been my favorite, purely based on the experience we had while eating. You basically buy a plate of raw meat, lettuce and veggies and then you get to grill your meat at your own table and make delicious lettuce wraps. We were having a ball doing this. Turning meat with chopsticks is not the easiest thing to do, but it's certainly fun!

We spent the night just relaxing, doing laundry and eatting junk food in our hostel room. The next day we headed off to Miyajima to see Itsukushima Shrine and the beautiful, floating torii gates. Here's what it looks like.

Torii gates are common among Japanese shrines, but these torii gates that appear to be floating is what makes them so neat. As the tide comes in they appear to be floating and the reflection off the water is also beautiful. We had a fun time strolling around this area and we even encountered some wild deer. They warn you as you enter the area to keep all food sealed and put away or be prepared to share and get head-butted by one of these. We didn't see any mean or aggressive ones, but they certainly follow you around and will nudge you for food.

After we left Miyajima, we grabbed some dinner and chose a delicious Mexican restaurant. Yes, a Mexican restaurant, owned by a man from Peru who moved to Japan. It was familiar, tasty and they had chips and salsa. I was in heaven! We headed back home, backed our bags and got ready for the journey back to Tokyo. We took the train back to Tokyo, found our hotel and did some last minute souvenier shopping. Not shockingly to us girls, but Stephen was the last one back from shopping. Pirate only needed about 30 minutes, I used up a good hour and Stephen spent about 90 minutes +/-.

We met up, grabbed some dinner - where I experienced the tastiest, most refreshing sushi I've ever had! YUM! We then hit a gas station to grab some treats to bring home and share with people and a few snacks for us for the night. Our flight didn't leave till about 1 pm, so we decided to quickly tour the fish market. I didn't take a lot of pictures of this place, but the size and amount of fish in this warehouse was unreal. Early in the morning, like 4:30 AM, they have auctions for restaurants to buy their fish. Pieces of tuna will go for amounts ranging from $5000 - $25000. TUNA!

After the fish market, we headed back to the hotel, washed our feet (fish guts and juice) and then started the long journey back to the airport. We said goodbye to Japan the best way we knew how - we ate at McDonald's. I had a long flight ahead of me and I needed to feel assured that my food would sit well for the next 11.5 hours.

Japan was gorgeous, the people very friendly and helpful, the city is very clean and all around a wonderful place to visit. I actually can't wait to go back!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Ninja's, Castles and Squid

Sorry for the delay in finishing my Japan trip. I wasn't even going to finish it till a few people asked me to. So here it is.

After our whirwind Kyoto-in-a-day trip, we had a few more sites to see before we headed to Hiroshima. Our first stop was Nijo Castle, also known as Ninja Castle. The great thing about this castle is the squeaky floorboards. Unless you walk on the very edges, the floorboards squeak - and are supposed to squeak so the Emperor/Ruler/Whatever could hear anyone coming.

I'm known for my awesome ninja skills. Here am I fighting with Stephen. I obviously won.
And yes, I'm wearing a skirt. The weather was so hot and so humid I wore that skirt for majority of the trip. Here's another gorgeous garden shot of Nijo Castle.

After Nijo, we headed to Osaka to visit Osaka Castle, and sample some tasty food (or so we thought). Osaka Castle - a lovely castle on the outside that has sadly been gutted on the inside.

The castle was gorgeous and we learned lots of neat things inside, but it's not the original interior. However, they did have a super cold drinking fountain that I sat at for about ten minutes.

After Osaka Castle we wanted to wander around downtown Osaka, sample some food and do a bit of shopping. Osaka is supposed to be known for their cuisine and we were so excited to sample some. When we first arrived in Osaka we stopped at a fun restaurant and had some yummy ramen, pot stickers and fried rice. It was very tasty and we were excited to see what fun things we could get for dinner. Boy were we let down! After the castle we wandered up and down this street/shopping area and we decided to get a little something to eat to tide us over till dinner. We saw these large skillets cooking up some tasty treats and we decided to buy 8 of them and just share. Here's what I HEARD as I talked to the lady:

Me: What's inside?
Lady: Tasty delicious food
Me: Yes, I'd like 8 of those.
Lady: Would you like BBQ sauce?
Me: Sure
Lady: Mayo?
Me: Um, no.
Lady: Bacon shavings?
Me: Okay (Pirate LOVES all things bacon and I enjoy the flavor as well, so it seemed harmless)

We get our treat, head to a table and I pop one in my mouth. They are about as big as a quarter but about an inch thick. I started chewing and immediately stopped. I was chewing but something was bouncing inside my mouth and not getting smaller. I spat it out to see giant tentacles in my hand. Delicious treat?! LIAR! Nope - giant squid fried into a ball.
So here's what the conversation really was, but I sure couldn't tell what was being said.
Me: What's inside?
Lady: Chewy squid
Me: Yes, I'd like 8 of those.
Lady: Would you like BBQ sauce?
Me: Sure
Lady: Mayo?
Me: Um, no.
Lady: Dried fish shavings?
Me: Okay (Pirate LOVES all thing bacon and I enjoy the flavor as well)
Yup, what we thought was bacon shavings, was actually dried fish shavings. We had just pissed away 1 yen each - no big deal, but very upsetting. So we headed to our restaurant a few hours later. I ordered chicken - trying to play it safe - and what I learned later is that Japan just mushes all their chicken together - tendoins, veins, everything. It was super chewy and hard. I didn't eat dinner that night and the rest of the group didn't fair as well either. We ended up hitting up a convenience store that night for dinner and eating treats and drinking Coke Zero.

We made it back to our hostel, backed up and prepared to leave for Hiroshima the next morning. On our way to Hiroshima we stopped at Himejii Castle - probably the most gorgeous castle we visited. The weather was beyond awful. 100% humidity (may be a slight exaggeration) and 75 degrees. My jeans were wet and sticking to my legs and my shirt had grown 5 sizes. This was the closest Stephen and I dared to get for this photo. It was too hot to let anything touch you.

After Himejii we boarded the train and headed to Hiroshima for a brief two day trip and then back to Tokyo for our flight home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

posts, posts and posts

I've got a lot of posts about Japan. If you want to read the adventure in order, start here:

I'll hopefully have more posts up soon.

Kyoto: Ramen & Teapots

Tuesday we hit a few more sites in Tokyo and then left for Kyoto. We took the JR train and arrived there about 1.5 hours later. We found our hostel and started sightseeing. It was too late to see and do much but we were able to visit a paper lantern park and strolled around Gion - the Geisha district. We searched everywhere but we didn't see one Geisha. Apparently they were all at some evening, nightly show.

Since that was a bust, we decided we'd eat dinner and just enjoy the night. You can't go to Japan and not try their Ramen. They have a museum dedicated to this food. We visited a department store where they have "Ramen Street". Tons of different styles of ramen - who knew there were so many ways to change this basic noodle dish? Our friend Yoshi, from the hostel, told us to try a specific restaurant. Ordering ramen is tricky in Japan. We saw a line, so we just stood in it and figured we'd be seated soon enough. Well we kept seeing people put money in a vending machine, grab a ticket and then get in line. We soon learned that you make your selection through a vending machine and give your ticket to the hostess. Then, when you are seated, you only wait about 3 minutes for your meal to come out. The ramen was quite tasty - even if the photo doesn't appear show that - and we all enjoyed ours. Aftewards we wandered their market/food floor and we were able to sample and see hundreds of different types of food. Some were delicious and others made me gag.

We stopped at a china/glass shop and looked at some teapots, tea cups and other dishes. I wanted to buy a teapot for myself and I spotted mine within mere seconds. I walked over and grabbed it and a worker came over and told me it wasn't for sale - display only. I asked him if I could have that was for sale and he told me that all of them were gone; so I told him I wanted to buy the display and he told me no again. We argued back and forth for a bit and I decided to walk away and snatch the pot when he wasn't looking. Well he followed me like a hawk. Pirate and David Archuleta tried with all their might to distract him but he wouldn't take his eyes off me. I finally just started chatting with him and here's a sample of our conversation:

man: Where are you from?
me: I'm from the states.
man: Ah, I know the states. Which one?
me: Utah
man: Utah? ah - Oregon! I know Oregon.
me: well, Oregon is close to Utah.
man: I know lots of states. Are all of you from Utah?
Adam A: No, I'm from Ohio.
man: Ohio... Florida! I know so many states. Florida, California, New York state, Empire state (we didn't even bother to correct him on that one), Washington,
me: Yeah, the states are great. Wouldn't it be nice if I got to take this teapot home to the states and show everyone what I found while I was here?
man: I don't know. Very special teapot.
me: Yes and I'll take very good care of it. People in Utah will love my teapot.
man: ok, but take it and hurry before I change my mind.
me: Thank you so much!

As we leave he waves and starts mumbling more states. It was such a great night! Our next day was going to be insane so we headed home and went straight to bed.

Kyoto - Temples, Shrines, Bus rides and more Temples

Kyoto - Temples, Shrines, Bus rides and more Temples

Today would be our whirwind adventure in Kyoto. We got up early and starting our journey we were assaulted with warm temperatures and awful humidity the minute we left our hostel.

Sanjunsangendo - the temple with 1001 golden Kannon statues - was our first stop (maybe a 20 minute walk) and we were already wet from the humidity. The inside of the temples were okay, but it was the temple grounds that I found beautiful. So many trees, ponds, mini shrines - it was just gorgeous.

Our next stop was Ginkakuji - a Silver Pavilion with a neat Zen garden. Again - gorgeous grounds. I'm pretty sure I'll have a mini Zen garden when I own a house.

We then headed further up to Kiyomizu Temple (pure water temple). The walk to Kiyomizu isn't a bad walk, but when it's hot and humid it seems like the longest walk of your life. The tempuratures were probably in the low 80's but with 80% + humidity, that's a lot for a desert dwelling person to handle. These grounds were again gorgeous, but how I made it out alive I'll never know. I'm a bit of a klutz at times and between this temple and Ginkakuji, I fell about 5 times, twisted my ankle twice and slammed my head twice into two low door frames.

Here's a fun fact about Kiyomizu. You know the english phrase "to take the plunge"? Well Japan has one "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu". Well people used to actually do this. They believe that if they jumped off the stage at Kiyomizu (about 50 feet), and survived, their wish would be granted. 234 people attempted this jump and the survival rate was about 84% - sadly this practice is now banned.

Next stop was for the Ryoanji and to see it's Zen rock garden. It felt so nice to take our shoes off at this point (shoes have to come off at most temples in Japan). We were able to sit and just stare at the rock garden.

I'm not sure if were relaxed and content because of rock garden or because we had covered 40% of Kyoto at that point in seven hours. Whatever the reason we were content to sit there for a good 20 minutes and just enjoy the quiet.

After Ryoanji we headed to Arashiyama to see the bamboo forest. To get there we had to take a bus ride with a few transfers. We got on the first bus and when our stop approached, we pressed our call button to notify the driver. The bus approached the stop, but then made a u-turn and didn't stop. After a brief, but hilarious, freak out moment provided by David Archuleta we realized the bus was done with it's route and we had to transfer to another bus. I've never seen a man panic like that, but it made my night.

We eventually made it to the bamboo forest and of course my camera battery died right as we entered. This forest is gorgeous and breathtaking and I would encourage you to go when it's still light outside. We were there right as night was coming and we weren't able to see it as well as I wanted. This photo isn't mine, but it gives you an idea of what this forest looks like.

Next up: "Ninja" Castle, Osaka for a day and bad food experiences


Since I was delayed a day, I missed out on visiting and staying at the Tokyo temple, but I still got to see it and even use the restrooms inside (heated toilets and bidet!).

We visited Asakusa that afternoon/night and were able to see a giant paper latern that leads to Senso-ji - Japan's oldest buddhist temple. We enjoyed a nice night of walking around and then headed to our hostel. Tonight we were staying in a capsule hostel. Capsule hostels are basically small little tube like bed chambers. They are cheap and popular in Japan.

For one night it wasn't too bad, but one night is more than plenty. The bathrooms were Japanese bath-house style (no privacy) and they offer traditional Japanese toilets (floor) or western style for us foreigners.

The next day we went to an English speaking ward in Japan and then headed off to see the Imperial Palace grounds. You can't actually go onto the grounds of the Imperial Palace, but you can walk around the outer lying park. From there we headed to Tokyo Tower where we met it's interesting mascot.

After visiting the tower, we went to Harajuku. Harajuku is a great area where the young people of Japan hang out and display their unique fashion, dancing and more. Sunday is a big day for them and we definitely got an eye-full.

While in Harajuku, we visited the Meiji Shrine. We were able to see a traditional Shinto wedding procession take place in the courtyard of the shrine area - it was beautiful. As you head up to most major shrines in Japan you will see a water station that is there for people to clean their mouths and hands with. It's believe that this purifies them before they pray at the shrine.

We spent the rest of the day at Yoyogi Park and were able to see more kids dressed up in the Harajuku style, a band peforming in the park, a demonstration of fighting with bamboo sticks and tons of little dogs. The park was gorgeous and it was a fun way to spend our evening.

Our next day in Tokyo we headed out to Mt Fuji. We weren't going to climb Mt Fuji, but we still wanted to go there and see it. Three hours and a few bus transfers later we were there and Mt Fuji wasn't. It was too cloudy and Mt Fuji was completely hidden.

In front of Mt Fuji

Since Mt Fuji was a bust we visited Akahabra, the electronic capital of Japan (and possibly the world, this place was huge). We then headed out to Rainbow Bridge and saw the Statue of Liberty. I've now seen all three statues - New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Next up: Kyoto!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Konnichi wa

Since I can't be brief about anything, I'm warning you now that there will be several posts for my Japan trip. You can read all of them, none of them, or just scan them.

This first story isn't about Japan exactly, but the adventure of just getting there.

My arrival to Japan was delayed by a day. The initial plan was that we'd meet up at the airport since I was scheduled to arrive about two hours after my friends landed (coming in from Ohio), and then we'd all head out together to our hotel. Well, after sitting for four hours on my plane, taxiing 4 times, deboarding for a "brieft period of time so the situation could be addressed" I was finally informed that my flight was cancelled and I wouldn't be leaving till the next day. I was mad and slightly anxious as I thought about how I'd meet my friends. I was also beyond tired due to two dramamine (I get motion sickness pretty easily) and also two doses of codeine laced cough syrup (I got pretty sick 3 days before I left and I didn't want to be quarantined in Japan - it seriously happens). I went home, called Fumiko (neighbor who is Japanese and helped me with planning some of the trip) and I had her help me plan a route to get from airport to hotel since I'd not longer be meeting my friends and going with them. I also emailed my friends and told them I had a plan worked out to meet them and that everything should work out. Fumiko helped me get everything straightened out and I went to bed somewhat calm that everything would work out. My parents picked me up, again, and I was back at the airport by 5:30 AM. After a 30 minute delay due to the pilots not showing up, we finally boarded the plane again and we were on our way. Just before the plan took off I checked my email once more only to read an email from Pirate and to find out that the address I had given Fumiko was for a hotel at a later date in our trip. I slightly paniced, but what could I do? Plus, I trust Pirate quite a bit and I knew she'd work something out.

I landed in Japan 11.5 hours later and I kept thinking "what if I never find them and I wander the streets of Japan alone?" The adventurous side of me loved this idea, but the logical side hated it and wanted to find my friends. I found an internet cafe in the airport and I was relieved to find an email from Pirate with instructions of where to go and what to do so I could find them; three subway transfers and several sets of stairs later I found them on a corner. I was so relieved to see them!

To see our adventures in Tokyo, click here.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Just wanted to share a comic that made me chuckle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A West Side Story

Operator: West Valley Police Dispatch. How can I help you?
Me: Yeah... I found a suspicious package on my driveway this morning. It's a clear bag full of money and some sort of mixture that looks like sand and salt.
Operator: Can you tell what it is?
Me: No, but I thought it might be drugs so I called. I can clearly see a $100 bill.
Operator: Ok. I'll send some officers out there soon.
Me: Should I move the bag away - in case the person comes back for it?
Operator: No, don't touch it till they get there and see what it is.

So I patiently wait and because I'm certain that the person who dropped this will be back, I wait outside and stand right over the package. Ten minutes later a cop car pulls up.

Officer 1: Hello Miss. So, you have a suspiscious package huh?
Me: Yes, it's right here. I'm not sure what it is, but I haven't touched it.
Officer 2: You found it this morning?
Me: Yes, as I was taking the garbage out. I checked with my roommates and it doesn't belong to them.
Officer 1: Okay, let's take a look at this. Uh, Miss... this is a fake bill.
Me: What?!
Officer 1: Yeah, it's fake. Let's open it up.
Me: Do you want me to go get some gloves?
Officer 1: [chuckling] No, that won't be necessary. Well you did find something... this is an advertisement.
Me: What?! An advertisement!
Officer 1: And the drugs... that's actually sand. It's an easy way to advertise. Fill the bag and toss it.
Me: [laughing pretty hard at this point].... I thought I stopped a drug drop
Officer 1: Nope, but it appears the advertiser caught your attention.

At this point my neighbor comes around the corner to see what's going on.

Officer 1: Hello Ma'am. Did you get your $100 this morning.
Brooke: Yeah, I sure did. I already tossed mine.
Me: Not me! I thought it was drugs so I called the police! I even made sure to not touch the package. I must watch too many cop/crime drama's cause I could just see CSI out here tearing up the front yard. I feel really stupid right now... I'm so sorry to waste your time.

Officer 2: Well you've made our morning a lot funnier.

Me: Well, I'm glad I could help.

Officer 1: Well have a great day, cause you've made ours!

This is how my Tuesday morning started. How was yours?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I know you are, but what am I?

I know that majority of my posts are rants - but that's who I am and I ask you not to judge me.  Today's rant is for engaged people everywhere.  I have lots of married friends and several engaged friends and about 90% of them have all comitted this crime - the crime of assuming that because they are engaged and happy that I must follow suit. I love to celebrate an engagement/wedding; it's an exciting time and deserves rejoicing but doesn't need to be used as a tool to discuss with me my current state of bliss (which is usually quite high).  I was talking with The Pirate the other day about this very topic. We both have engaged people in our lives who are now suddenly wanting to know who we are dating, who we like, what are we doing to "find our eternal best friend", etc.  I'm very happy for these friends, but I'm not quite sure why the mantle of happiness spreader comes to them. Is there a sense of obligation that an engaged person feels to help others?  Is happiness spreader a real term?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One more time!

It's book club time! Our next selection is posted.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh the places you'll go!

If I don't have a vacation to plan, I get really ansy. In fact, one of my greatest fears in life is that I'll have to stop traveling. I know there are greater fears to have, but this is one of mine, and until I have a family of my own I'm sure it will stay this way for some time. Over the past four years I've been able to see Italy, Greece, France, Jerusalem, Jordan, Egypt, London, Chicago, NYC, St Louis, Cincinnati, Columbus, and more.

And now I get to add one of my all time desired destinations... JAPAN!!! That's right, I'm heading to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Domo arigato!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Every little thing you say, brings me one step closer to the edge...

You know those people in your life who make you want to scream all day long? Well I have mine, a co-worker, who I refer to as Troll. She is nicknamed Troll because she looks like one - she's under 5'0", she has a trollish face, and she uses her powers for evil, not good. I also wouldn't be surprised if she lived under a bridge and terrified small children on their way home.

Today is one of those days where I just have to walk away, and ignore her - since I can't walk as far away as I want to, I'm venting via blog. Let me give you some insight to Troll. We started out as average coworkers and within a week I had nearly offended her. Troll is approaching her third marriage and when she told me this I blurted out "Hey, third time is a charm. This one will take!" As the words left my mouth I was trying to stop myself. So while not a huge mistake, she already eyed me as an evil person who spoke too freely. So Troll and I manage to work together and we even became work friends, eating lunch together, chit chatting, etc. A few weeks later she asks me if I'm dating anyone and if she can set me up with her nephew. Well, in the what came to be the worst blind date I never went on - that story later - Troll and I also stopped talking unless it was work related.  She started texting me in the morning if I wasn't at work at my normal time.

We have this great rule that states "in by ten or call". I, being in the late-to-bed, late-to-rise category, take this rule for all it's worth.  I'm usually in by 9:15/9:30, but there are the ocassional days where I don't come in till 10. Around 8:50-9:00 AM I start getting texts "are you coming in today?", "hey, no word from you yet - are you showing up today?", "it's past your normal time, is everything okay?".  Being the brat I am, I refuse to answer these texts. Troll is not my boss and my boss has never expressed concern over my attendance, so I don't see why she needs to know. So I continue to ignore these things and she then changes tactics. She goes for the public display of motherly badgering. "Erin..." [closing her eyes and clasping her hands] " would really help me if you could do this one thing for me [she then names the favor]. I just need it done right now and I haven't seen it yet."  My polite response, all while smiling, "Oh, you mean the document I emailed to Marge (mine and Troll's boss) yesterday? Cause she has it and everything looked good to her."  Troll: "Oh, well that is just spectacularay! Who would have thought you'd catch on so fast!" Yes, she says it Speck-tack-uuu-lar-ae and she thinks it's cute! So that's how a typical conversation will go between Troll and I.

We have a big event happening over the next few months as one of our companies splits off and goes on its on; and we have a lot of documentation that needs to edited for any references to this company. This hasn't been a task of mine till Troll gave me 20 documents last week that need to be re-written within a week. I later learn that she has been sitting on these docs for at least a month, doing nothing with them. So while I'm working on them and cursing her, she stops by today: "Erin, when you're done with those and ready to upload them, let me know and I'll help you out." Kandy, my cubicle neighbor says : "Oh, good be sure to grab me cause I don't know how to do it either." Troll responds (in her classic condescending tone) "Kandy, the steps to do it are on SOP #blah blah blah. You can handle the directions. Erin, when you're ready, come grab me."

I'm at the edge and I'm about to break!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Doin' it our way!

My friend The Red Head Pirate and I have started an online book club. We'd love for you to join us -

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The One Where She Cried, Uncontrollably

I love music and I especially love seeing bands perform live. Last night my friends and I went to the Keane concert, and I was not disappointed –but for more than one reason.

Two bands opened for Keane; first it was Helio Sequence, a band from Oregon that I enjoyed. Next was Matt Kearney! I love Matt Kearney and I could have listened to another hour of him. One of my favorite moments of the night was when he said “You write these songs and you put your heart and soul into them. And then people set Dr’s making out to your music” (referring to Grey’s Anatomy of course). I thought it was hilarious and giggled quite a bit. Matt Kearney has such a great voice and he’s sounds amazing live. The only down side – Matt’s pants are too tight. I don’t get why boys feel the need to wear tight, skinny jeans. It’s not healthy and it’s not attractive – even girls look ridiculous in skinny jeans. Perhaps I’m jealous, but I’m still right.

Well as Matt Kearney ended, we had about 15 minutes while they set up for Keane. A lady came and sat in the row in front of us, all alone. She came over and talked to me for a minute about my necklace and said things like “I noticed it during the break and I’ve been mesmerized by it all night long.” I was flattered and taken back by her words.

Keane came out and started off with several upbeat, fun songs. We danced, sang along and cheered. After 3 songs the band chatted with the audience and the lady in front of us started chanting “Bedshaped! Bedshaped! Beeedshaaaaaped!” (a popular song of theirs). While she’s chanting this, she’s running her fingers through her hair, rubbing her neck and her sides. She was thoroughly enjoying this concert and we couldn’t help but stare and laugh. Keane did not play that song, but went on to play others. Our new friend went with the flow and just kept singing and dancing. We looked over at noticed there were tears on her cheeks. Surely that’s just sweat, right? No! Tears. Real tears on her cheeks!

We watch her off and on and during the next song we see her hang her head down for a few moments and when she stands back up, she’s sobbing! This woman is so moved by them that she can’t help but cry. I appreciate music, but I’ve never cried at a concert; although I did come close while at Coldplay and a few DMB concerts. Keane is a decent band, but cry-worthy? No.

For the next 30 minutes she cries and dances, calling out “Keane!”. The concert ends, we shout encore, and they come back out. They start their encore song, and what song do they choose? Bedshaped. She can’t control herself at this point –she rushes the stage. She’s down there dancing and singing and I’m watching every moment and loving it. As the song comes to and end, she is doubled over, crying. She can’t even stand up. The show is over, the house lights are up and everyone is leaving. Being the horrible person I am, I asked my friends to wait because I wanted to see what was going to happen with this lady. She started walking back to her seat, but she had to hold onto the chairs on her way back up. People are starting to think she’s hurt and they are asking her if they can help her in anyway. She gets back to her seat, where she sits down and begins to calm down.

I know it’s awful to laugh at people, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve never seen anyone so overcome with emotion. I thought only the Beatles elicited this type of behavior.

Oh, and if I thought Matt Kearney’s pants were tight, they were nothing compared to the lead singers of Keane! Wowsa!

So what have we learned? Nothing really. Just that ladies in there 40 - 50’s love Keane and can’t control themselves.

Women's Conference

Tradition! (raising arms in air)

I attended Women’s Conference again this year with my sisters, sister-in-law, aunt and three cousins. We’ve been doing this for several years, and while I tend to hate Provo, I love Women’s Conference. I’m not sure why I hate Provo. It may be the fact that everyone there jogs; everywhere! Swerve an inch and you’ll hit a jogger. I blame it on the fact that everything is banned in Provo and some additional reasons for why they jog, but I won't share them here.. (I may be confusing Provo with the small town portrayed in Footloose, but really, is there a big difference?)

I love going to Women’s Conference because it gives me a chance to just hang out with my family and have fun. I of course love the classes and I do learn neat things; but I just love being able to get away for three days and just have fun.

The past few times I’ve gone to Women’s Conference I always check out the art they have on sale. Last year I purchased this painting of the temple, by Sandra Rast. I was so excited to see this painting on sale. I’d been eyeing it for a year or so and here it was, matted, framed, signed by the artist and on sale. Without even thinking, I bought it and then had to figure out how I’d get it home (It’s quite a large print). Luckily the husbands drove up to pick up my mom and sister and join us for dinner so I was able to stash the painting in my back seat. There are so many things I love about this painting. The visual of the temple standing out amidst the dark clouds and rain, the mother walking with her daughter on the temple grounds, the reflection of the temple in the puddles… I just love it.

Well this year was no different. I skipped a class and went to the book store to browse the art work and meet the artists. I met these two wonderful sisters and ended up purchasing work from each of them. I first purchased two prints from Emily McPhie – “In the Strength of the Lord” and “Big Apron, Little Girl”. If you have a chance to read Emily’s blog, she does a great job of explaining In the Strength of the Lord and what everything in the skirt means. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to frame it! She also had this great picture of a girl in a pink dress with an angel and devil on each side of her, but I couldn’t justify the $400 asking price.

Cassandra Barney was the other artist and I’m on the waiting list for this print. Click on the third print – the red ballet shoes. These two sisters were so much fun to talk with and hear them explain how they were inspired to create these paintings.

I always leave Women’s Conference energized, pumped, and determined to do good! I love the boost it gives me! I’m already eagerly awaiting next years conference.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Blast From the Past - Starring Burt Reynolds as The Cube!

I had some free time at work today and I got into a conversation with Pregnant Emily on all our favorite TV shows we watched while growing up. We then played a game where we listed every show we could remember from our childhood. I've decided to share this list with you and ask you to include any we've overlooked. In no particular order -here they are:

Small Wonder
My Two Dads
Out of this World
Doogie Howser, M.D.
Golden Girls
Perfect Strangers
Unsolved Mysteries
Tales from the Crypt
Facts of Life
Mr Belvedere
Just the Ten of Us
Punky Brewster
Charles In Charge
Saved By The Bell
Quantum Leap
Wonder Years
Babysitters Club
Full House
Step By Step
Family Matters
Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman
Walker, Texas Ranger
Cosby Show
Living Single
Head of The Class
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
Boy Meets World
Who's The Boss?
Growing Pains
Silver Spoon
Family Ties
Sweet Valley High
Different Strokes
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Living Single
Fraggle Rock
Baby Muppets
Kids Incorporated
Mickey Mouse Club
America's Funniest Home Videos (hosted by Bob Sagget)
Night Court

Did you Know?
Burt Reynolds was the voice of the dad on Out of this World (the cube on the table - remember?)

What ones did we leave off?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What makes me happy

I never know what to blog about and just the other day The Red Head Pirate (I'm using code names for my friends - inspired by The Read Head Pirate who gave me this idea on her own blog) called me names and told me to blog about something because she was sick of not seeing an update.

I've decided to share with you what a great evening I've had.  It takes very little to please me; as you'll soon learn what made my night so great. I spent half the evening with Hoops running errands and during our errands we encountered several ridiculous people. One of the joys of hanging out with Hoops is that we find humor in any given situation so while most would be irritated with our night and the sales people who helped us, we instead loved every minute and laughed all night long. 

After running errands I came home and finished reading Crossing to Safety (highly recommended). Reading is probably one of, if not, my favorite things to do. I love everything about books - the smell of books and book stores just make me smile. I can spend hours in a book shop, library or in my room reading.  One of my dreams is to open a book store/travel shop/bakery/daycare with Hoops and The Pirate. 

After a delightful hour of reading I decided it was time to listen to music. I'm very passionate about music and I love to check out new bands. Tonight I spent a good hour buying new music and then another hour just laying on my bed listening to music.  Some of the new bands (new to me) I'm checking out are  - Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, Tokyo Police Club, Carolina Liar and Chromeo.   Here's a sample of what I've been listening to tonight: David Gray, Joshua Radin, The Weepies, Sufjan Stevens, Kings Of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Iron and Wine and Band of Horses.  I'm obviously in a mood to chill - these aren't exactly upbeat bands.  

This is what makes a great night for me - hanging out with friends, a good book, good music and of course a diet coke. Like I said - I'm easily entertained and pleased.  

So to anyone who reads this blog, what is your ideal relaxing night?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

10 Things I Hate About You

Well Kristin tagged me and I'm bored, so here are my ten things.

I am... a geek at heart.

I know... everything about Harry Potter and I'm proud of it

I want... a Nikon D90

I have... to iron my shirts

I miss... my tap classes

I hear... the theme song from Mario Bros in my head all the time

I smell... like fish and tempura right now. (thanks for dinner Hoshino's)

I crave... turkey sandwiches w/ sprouts and avocado

I search... for fun and interesting websites everyday

I always... giggle at the most inappropriate moments (Grandpa's funeral, the chapel in the temple, etc)

I believe... that anyone and everyone would want to be my BFF if they only knew me.

I sing... like a rock star when I'm in the car but whisper when I'm in public or in church

I lose... everything, especially chapstick.

I win... being the favorite aunt. Hands down, no contest!

I never... know what to do with my hands in any given situation

I listen... to books on my iPod at work and pull up screens on my computer so I look busy when people walk by. (Kristin and I are pro's at this)

I am scared... that I may drop a baby and of my grandma's basement

I need... to stop watching Lifetime Moment of Truth Movies, but damn I love them!!!

I am happy... when I'm planning a trip, reading a good book or in a book store

I tag... you and your mom - aka Dean, Charity, Stacy, Beth, Corine, Rachel, Jenny, Steph, Lyndsey, Erin Cazier (if you even read this blog Erin), Julie, Jill, Brooke, Tiffany, Megadeath, Michelle, basically if you're reading this I'm tagging you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Stand All Amazed!

This past weekend was a very memorable one for me;  I received my endowments. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite a long time, but wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons.

Mt Timpanogos Temple (can you see me in the middle?!)

Well after several lengthy conversations with my parents, siblings and a few close friends, praying and fasting, I knew that I was ready. I called the temple, set the date and then notified friends and family.

I won’t go into details here about my experience, but I will tell you that I’ve never felt more beautiful, loved and calm as I did that day. I also strengthened my testimony about my Savior and His plan for us. I haven’t stopped smiling since Saturday, but thank heavens I stopped crying. It was such and amazing emotional experience for me and I’m so happy to have been able to share it with my family and friends!

Here are a few photos from the day.

Mom, Me and Dad

Me, my parents and sisters

Me, parents and Granny and Papa Jay

Julie, me and Jill

The Johnson Clan! No, we aren't at Prom but you'd think we are by the way we're posed. My defiance is shown by tilting to a slightly different angle.

Thank you to everyone who was able to be there for me. I loved being able to spend such a special day with so many loved ones - even if I didn't get half of you in the pictures.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Good things happen late at night - despite what your bishop tells you!

Back in November I got a phone call late at night from Tasha. She found a great deal for airfare to Florida - the only catch was that we had one hour to buy the tickets before the sale was over. So, without much planning or even looking at our calendars, the four of us (Tasha, Nicole, Michelle and myself) bought our tickets and decided we'd plan the details later. The other perk to this trip is that Tasha's dad lives in Florida and we had a place to stay for free.

Tasha, Nicole, Michelle & I starting our vacation

We spent our first full day there at Universal Studios. I love roller-coaster rides and Universal didn't disappoint. We attempted to ride The Hulk, but after 20 minutes in line the ride was shut down, so we moved on to other rides and then came back to The Hulk. While waiting in line I had a kid behind me who kept getting a little too close for comfort. His hand kept grazing my bum and I kept giving him "the look".  I starting telling Tasha how bad he was bugging me and she jokingly kicked her leg forward towards the back of his knee cap. You know when you'd kick the back of your friends leg and make the leg buckle - well that's what she was mimicking. Well Tasha slightly misjudged the distance between us and actually nailed the kid right in the back of the knee cap. Tasha flipped around and just stared at me as I said - perhaps a little too loud: "Did you just kick that kid?" The mom looked at Tasha and I and Tasha apologized right away. Needless to say, the kid didn't bother me or my butt any longer.

Well after waiting 20 minutes in line again for The Hulk, and after the kicking incident, the ride shut down again! We were pretty pissed and headed straight for Customer Service. Tasha marched right in and explained to them what happened to us and wanted to know what they could do for us. The lady was more than helpful and apologetic and gave us 5 VIP passes on any ride of our choice.  We spent the rest of the day running onto all of the busy popular rides! It was great.

The next day we slept in and bummed around and finally got ready to go out to dinner in Downtown Disney.  We enjoyed some delicious food and then decided to catch a movie. This is the only low point of the trip. We picked 'Paul Blart, Mall Cop'. Don't ever see this movie and if you do - SUCKER! It's horrible! About ten minutes into it I kept wishing I knew how to perform a lobotomy!

On Sunday we spent the day at Disneyworld. We started out at Hollywood studios and hit Tower of Terror first - which may be one of my favorite rides! We did a few more rides, got a churro (my #1 priority), few more rides and then made the transfer to Epcot. Epcot is neat, but you only need about 3 hours there. We stopped off in London for lunch and enjoyed some Fish 'n Chips. While we enjoyed our lunch, we were preyed upon by Seagulls. It's quite bothersome to eat lunch while a bird is staring you down. Well no one got pooped on or attacked - although Michelle did body-check Tasha.
Strolling down Main St in Disneyworld

We then ended the day in Magic Kingdom, which I loved! I'm a sucker for anything classic Disney! Once of the great highlights was when we were on Thunder Mountain and as the train was climbing up the hill we got stuck. Normally it sucks to be stuck on any ride, but as we were waiting the fireworks started! To our right was a perfect view of the Cinderella's castle and the fireworks going off behind it! It couldn't have been planned better! Everyone booed when the ride started.

Our firework show on Thunder Mountain!

We finished up the park and made our long journey back to the car. We were so exhausted -covering 3 parks in one day is possible, but you are exhausted.
The next day we decided to sleep in a little and then spend the day at the beach. The weather was delightful - about 71 degrees and very few clouds in the sky. It was so nice to get out of the inversion! As we got ourselves situated, we broke out our snacks and the birds descended on us! It was straight out of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".

After about an hour or so Tasha and Nicole decided to document what it's like when the birds attack. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Tasha and Nicole feeding the birds
Michelle being attacked
This is how we ended our visit! Gorgeous!

After a delightful day at the beach, we headed back home and spent the evening just lounging in the house and putting off the fact that we had to pack - we left the next day. Tuesday morning we got up and packed up our stuff and cleaned the house. Nicole even discovered a seashell in a unique location while we cleaned up . I would say where, but you wouldn't believe me so I won't even bring it up. 

We said our goodbyes to Tasha's dad and family and made our drive back to the airport. We had managed to get around Florida without too many delays, but I more than made up for that at the airport.  We were doing fine until we actually got into the airport area. I was trying to follow the signs to the car rental area, but I was also trying to navigate.  I thought I was heading in the right area when I suddenly realized I had entered the "Shuttle/Bus loading Zone".   I couldn't reverse and I didn't have a key to get through the gate. We buzzed the lady at the gate and I had to explain to her what happened and that I needed to get out and get back to the car rental area. She let us through and told us to go straight, through one more gate, make a left and then we'd be back at the lane for car rentals. I drove through, got to the next gate and then wondered if I needed another key to get through this gate. I didn't dare chance it so I got behind a van and decided to try and sneak through with him. As I'm going behind him, the gate starts coming down, so I gun it and the Tasha, Nicole & Michelle scream. We also all ducked - thinking the gate would somehow come through the car and get us. We made it through, miraculously, but we were then in the middle of several large shuttles. I got back on the right road and we finally got the correct exit this time.  We returned the car and started the trip home.

I still wish I was in Florida! I'm ready for warm weather!