Saturday, December 22, 2007

St. Louis is Dangerous

Yes, we know St. Louis is the "most dangerous city in America." I can't write about the whole incident right now, but there was gun fire outside of our apartment related to an armed robbery. You can see the crime scene from the same perspective that Nick witnessed the crime. You can see where the police made Nick wait (by the stop sign) in case they had any more questions. We're all OK. No one was shot. We keep our doors locked.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Petition for Canine Companionship

Vincent has been asking various people to buy him a dog for Christmas. The most heart-felt pleas have been left on Jo Ellen's answering machine. If you believe this young, sweet, charismatic boy should be allowed to have a dog; a dog to love, to play with, to have as a friend, then leave your name in comments as signing this petition. Let the boy get a dog. Better yet, let the boy get a four-year-old dog, Caesar.

**The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of the blogger's spouse.***

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And the Cookie Award goes to . . .

The annual St. Mary's 4ICU cookie competition was today. After a lot of anticipation and trash-talking, there was a total upset. A dark horse won the competition: Nicholas Johnson was declared the grand champion of the cookie-off. Since the rules stated that anyone may participate, I invited Nick to Join us. A couple of participants had backed out, and I wanted a healthy level of participation to make it a real competition. Nick's entry would flesh things out a bit.

As the scores were tallied on a spreadsheet, I was certain that I had conquered the competition. I was a bit surprised, but pleasantly so, when the final cookie's score came through: Nick's cookies had the highest average score, 4.06, with my cookies coming in second at 4.03. His award ribbon reads, "Grand Champion," so he has now requested he be referred to as "Nicholas Grand Cookie Champion" Johnson. He will also accept "Grand Champion" for short.

My cookie entry was my family's traditional Michael Jackson cookies, made with dutch processed cocoa.

Nick made Sarah Page's cookie recipe, posted as a comment to my previous blog entry regarding the cookie competition. He called his cookies "Santa Hats," which are sprayed with canned whipped cream just prior to eating.

For the record, Nick's extra points came in appearance, not taste. Although his cookies were delicious, nothing tops the marshmallowy goodness of the Michael Jackson cookie.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Katie!

Only this is not her cake. And she's 24 today, not 30. This isn't her future cake either. But happy birthday Katie! Everyone be sure to call Katie to get on her list today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Phone on the fritz

My cell phone, which I just paid to have a new antenna in last week, is currently having some "interesting" functional issues. I have found that once I take out the battery to reset it, as long as I don't close it, it will probably work. I've taped the earpiece to the new $15 antenna to attempt to remind myself not to close the phone when a conversation is over. If you are trying to call me, not that anyone besides my mom does, try leaving a message or calling Nick's phone if you don't get me on the first try.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Calling All Cookies!

The nurses on my unit have an annual cookie contest. Last year our "Michael Jackson" cookies, as we call them, took only second place. I was shocked that there was a cookie someone considered to be better than these chocolate and melted marshmallow pieces of heaven. But the time has come for the cookie contest once again. The ladies who placed first and third are already talking smack; they each insist that I'm going down, but don't taunt each other.
I am sending a plea out there for the best cookie recipes you have. In order to win, I think it will have to be more than just delicious. It will have to be cute, perhaps slightly unusual, and have a clever name. If your recipe doesn't have a clever name, we can always create one. Last year we renamed the Michael Jackson cookies "Thrillers" since M.J. was not as cool in 2006 as he was in 1986.
Post your recipes. I already have Bob's amazing oatmeal cookies, but I just don't think they're flashy enough to take home the prize. I still proudly display last year's second place red ribbon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas at the Johnson's

We put up a Christmas tree. More accurately, we put up a five-foot tall plastic picture of a Christmas tree. Right now it's in our window, we may move it to the wall so we can put presents beneath it. The great part about being in the window is at night, you can see it from the freeway.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Liz's Close Call

While I was in Utah, my little sister Liz came way too being close to being crushed while working on a school project. The project itself wasn't dangerous, but it did bring her into a copy store. Liz was working with her back facing the window when an old lady drove her call through the storefront. Liz wasn't hit directly, but a table hit into her, pushing her into another table. She wasn't hurt beyond a bump and bruise, but understandably traumatized.

See, homework is bad for your health.

I am a Bad blogger

I know it's been far too long since I've updated anything at all. The good news is that I've seen the vast majority of people who read my blog in the last week or so. And with one or two exceptions, the people I didn't see read my siblings blogs, so they've been updated. For updates on my Grandfather's death, check Dallas's blog.
I'm written a list of blog topics I hope to post soon. I just need to get caught up on my school work first, and that pesky little thing I call a "job" keeps getting in the way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saint Louis Happenings

As always, there are a few odd things going on in St. Louis that amuse me.

Out in the county, the county wants to take over garbage pick-up, instead of having literally 90 separate tiny municipalities coordinate it. On a radio interview, someone compared this to the suspension of the constitution in Pakistan. In fact, they said it was EXACTLY like it.

The ward Thanksgiving dinner was Saturday night. We had a nice time, the dinner had been very well planned. The best part though was a ward member retelling the story of how several years ago, her visiting teaching companion had died in her car on her way to the appointment. The didn't get their visiting teaching done that month. It was this lady's time to go, certainly, but it was still a little traumatic for the companion she left behind.

Nick and I are very excited to be going home next week. See you on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I keep finding things to distract myself from what I'm supposed to be doing- studying for an O-chem and physics test tomorrow. I also have a general chem test on Saturday, so I better keep plugging away at this stuff.

I also just finished reading Shannon's recommended book, "Twilight" which is my new favorite book. I've ordered books 2 and 3 in the series, but fortunately it won't be here for several days. That means I will have time to get through my tests before they're here. I don't have the self-control to study when such compelling books are in the house.

I was almost done with book one when I went to my O-chem class Monday night. My teacher stopped class and asked why I wouldn't stop smiling. The answer was I was constantly thinking about "Twilight" but I really didn't want to explain that to everyone. She referred to me as "Giggles" a couple of times after that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treaters

I here mom had about a hundred people come to her house for trick or treating. Nick was home last night, and had a grand total of one knock at the door. There were four kids on the step, bringing our grand total to four. I had bought a bag of candy just in case someone came so we were prepared.
I went to lecture with Nick on Wednesday. The teacher began his lecture with the Phantom of the Opera overture, throwing candy from the balcony dressed as the Phantom. He proceeded to give the whole lecture in complete costume including mask, top hat and white gloves. That's commitment. It turns out, it was also his birthday, so lecture was followed by cake. It was a pretty good day to pop into class.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Impounded Property

I took a cake to work on Friday for my and a couple of coworkers birthdays. It was another delicious carrot cake. However, Friday was a horrible, bad, day at work. It was so overwhelming for everyone that there was no fun in the cake, and I finally got a piece of it at 6:30. I was leaving work after this bad day, cake carrier in hand, when I arrived at the car realizing I had left my keys inside. It was already 8:40 because I had been so far behind. Not wanting to lug the cake through the hospital . . . again . . . I left it on top of the car.
Being so late, no one was up that high in the parking garage. Besides, a cake carrier that was $1.50 at D.I. is not the same as your purse. I came back 8 minutes later and the cake was gone. I then noticed a "Parking Violation Warning" slip on the windshield, with the "Other" box checked, then describing the cake carrier "found on car." It also came with a flier about avoiding auto theft. Apparently leaving the cake on the car was akin to leaving the ignition running.
It then took 45 minutes to get the stupid cake back from security. The guard who had impounded the cake didn't report in or answer his radio for that entire time. Finally another guard said, "Well, I know a spot he likes to hang out," and found him in about 3 seconds. Seeing it was past 9, and I had a test at 9 the next morning, I thought the whole thing was entirely ridiculous.
To top it all off, the guard, Gary, chewed me out when he finally returned the cake to me. What about him not being available for security purposes for the better part of an hour? I'm know the cake is not a real emergency, but the method of contact is the same.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sleep Deficit

I stayed up way too late on Saturday night, slept in Sunday. Fell asleep on the couch Sunday at 9:00, which is totally unheard of. I'm still tired today. I think I finally caught up with the loss of sleep with my one-hour afternoon nap.

Nick finally installed the shower hose, which was a challenge because the shower pipe is higher up than any bathroom we've previously seen. It took two pieces of hardware to extend the pipe low enough to where the hose is low enough to do any good.

Nick is now disagreeing with my comment that it's unheard of me to fall asleep at nine on the couch. I will argue it may be common at eleven, but it's at least uncommon at nine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Nurse For A Year

Yesterday I celebrated my first anniversary of being a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital. I marked the occasion by cleaning up things you don't even want to know about. Some days, my job is particularly gross, and luckily yesterday was one to remember.
In nursing school, I was told you spend your first year as a "baby-nurse" so I suppose now I've grown up to be a toddler.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Test Results

I got the results from both my Wednesday exams. I only got 88% on my Chemistry test, which is a tiny bit disappointing. It turns out it was the highest score in my section. I think that says more about the weakness of others than it does about my strengths. My physics test scored a mere 95%, down from 100% on the last one.

I baked a cake for work yesterday. It was well received and highly praised, including by one doctor who is very particular about desserts. So was so thrilled with the cake, I'm tempted to take another one in soon. It was fun to have cake-party in the middle of the day in a place that can be so crazy sometimes. I promised the night shift I'd make them a dessert in the foreseeable future.

This carrot cake was America's Test Kitchen's recipe. The cake was good, but I think I like the Better Homes and Garden's frosting recipe better. Combing those two would be awesome. The cake carrier I used came from D.I. this summer. It's great. You can carry a ten inch cake in it, and has a pretty secure handle. I get excited about some mundane things.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where's the Support?

When I was in town this summer, I went around everywhere ripping tabs off 12 packs of coke to get the coke points. Several people promised to save their coke points for me. Thus far I only received two codes (the numbers allowing you to redeem the points,) and both were from Kate. Have the rest of you stopped drinking soda? I'm guessing not. Save those bottle tops! When you open a twelve pack, the code is in the piece you rip off. You don't even have to mail me anything, you simply email me the numbers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My Desk is Haunted

We've had the same pair of "Kinyo" computer speakers the entire time we've been married. I've never been really satisfied with the purchase, not that "Kinyo" has built itself a great reputation. They easily are affected by interference. They click if you use your cell phone near the computer. Since we moved, if you turn them all the way down, you can distinctly make out what songs a hip-hop radio station is playing, even though it's really fuzzy. All of these quirks have been tolerable, but with our move bringing us so close to the freeway, there's a new one I can't really live with.
The freeway is directly across the street, and the road surface is about even with our floor on our second story apartment. Several times a day, you can hear CB messages come through our speaker. I'm sure it's truck drivers who are passing by, but at midnight sitting at the computer desk, hearing from nowhere, "I think he's about four miles up," is a little shocking. I don't think I do well with surprises, and these random messages from beyond always catch me off guard.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Two Tests Today

This evening I have tests in both Organic Chemistry and Physics. One is usually enough to make me study efficiently, so two is throwing me into overdrive. As usual, the headlines in St. Louis are about various murders/murder-suicides/police standoffs. Just another Wednesday. Heroes premiered Monday night. With my newly restored (thanks Dallas) ReplayTV, I was able to watch it yesterday. Pretty sweet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Check out Kate's Pics

Katie has had a Picasa account for a while, but didn't tell anybody about it. Today, I've organized her photos into albums, and am telling to you click here to see them. She can also be found as a linked favorite on my Picasa web page. If you see her, tell her to get her Red Bull pictures online. Harry, you too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Red Bull Video

The Awesome Red Bull Trip

We've safely arrived home after our California Red Bull adventure. We had a great time, as I'm sure you can see in our pictures posted on the picasaweb album. We were the only spectators with Red Bull Air Race San Diego T-shirts because Red Bull doesn't sell them. Katie designed them using Red Bull's web page art and had them printed. They were a hit. Everyone wanted to know where we got them. "Oh, these are custom."

We had great "seats" which was an area next to the bay, around a bar height table without chairs. But through our capability to network with people everywhere, we were able to add some actual chairs to our spot. When we got the chairs, people were on us like piranhas. We did give one up for a 78-year-old lady. But really, when you bring a 78-year-old lady to an all-day outdoor sporting event, you should come not planning on having any fun.

We got to San Diego on Friday, in time for the second round of qualifying flights. That evening we went to the Red Friday party aboard the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that is now a museum. The party was a little too "awesome" for our tastes, in that we don't drink, smoke, have tattoos, have STD's, or a substance abuse problem. We did have fun though. We met the helicopter pilot, took a ride in a flight simulator, and ate h'ors deurves including mini-hamburgers. Harry took every opportunity of getting his picture taken with Red Bull hostesses.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Red Bull Air Race Rocks

We're in San Diego, the morning after our Red Bull Air Race adventure. The race was really exciting to watch. We had VIP tickets, so we felt very special. We made good use of the open bar by drinking a lot of bottled water. The buffet had excellent tacos and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. We got a little too much sun, but had a great time. We'll put up the photos soon. The only thing that could have made it better was if Mike Mangold had won.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nick is Super Cool!

As many of you know, Nick and I are fans of the Tour de France. Well, now there's a bike race in our own backyard. The Tour of Missouri completed its first race this weekend in downtown St. Louis. The race had started six days before in Kansas City. Racers included the Discovery Channel Team, including the Tour de France first and third place winners.

Nick rode his bike the few miles to the race route. After watching the race go by, the opened up the route for people to bike to the finish line. Nick was able to ride the route until a couple blocks before it ended. He stayed for the awards presentation, and got surprisingly close to some major racing stars.

Nick with Levi Leipheimer

Tale of the Flatulent Physician

As promised, I bring you the story of the tale of the flatulent physician. In the ICU, our doctor's manage the patient's care, but their primary care doctors come in and check on them, get updated. One of these doctors is old. Really old. I think he could have gone to high school with Grandpa. He may remember "The Great War" from back in the day. In reality, he has lost his car in the parking lot before and a nurse had to go help him find it.

So, this really old doctor was talking to me about his patient, when he began to pass gas. Not just an accidental toot, but a long, stream of gaseous bursts. It was all I could do to continue to keep nodding with a poker face. A nurse was in a patient's room about ten feet behind the doctor. The ongoing sound caught her attention, and the look on her face changed to horror and disgust when she realized where it was coming from. Seeing her made it all that more difficult to keep a straight face.

By the way, the doctor was talking to me about some orders he wrote for the patient. As it turns out, the treatment he ordered is so obsolete, the hospital doesn't own the equipment anymore.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's been too long.

We were without Internet for two weeks. It was terrible. Dallas said he felt tortured because I kept calling him to talk. Not having the Internet definitely makes you feel a little isolated. I had to call Kate to do a few Google searches for me, because you just can't go completely without it. Now, we're all set in the new apartment, but we're still not quite all organized. We're moved in enough that we could have friends over, but not formally entertain. I'm way behind on my blogging, but it will have to wait until after my Chemistry class on Saturday. There will be exciting tales, such as the center garage, the gaseous physician, lights out in school and more! Stay tune! In the meantime, check out my Picasa albums. They have captions which are like mini-blog entries.

Monday, August 27, 2007

World's Largest Catsup Bottle

OK, it's not really a Catsup bottle. It's not even really a ketchup bottle (as I prefer to call it.) But this water tower is a prime example of 1950's Americana, at least according to the town hosting this landmark. My parents visited for the weekend and visiting this object d'arte was the highlight. The low points of the visit included the incredible heat with humidity, and helping Nick and me move our stuff over to our new apartment. We also had a great burger at Blueberry Hill, Sunday Dinner with Patti and Stan, and assembled four sets of wire racks. My mom and dad were very good sports about the whole move. I think the catsup bottle was merely the side trip.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's hard to come home

Nick and I just spent a little bit of time visiting family. It's fun to go and see everyone, but it hard to leave. It's especially hard to leave when Caesar looks at me at the airport with those puppy-dog eyes at the airport. Also, knowing you have to get up and go to work the next morning makes it tougher about getting excited to go home.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Air Conditioning Update

Good news everybody! Nick was able to fix the fan in the Taurus. After a couple of hours of research on the web, he figured out the most likely culprits, got a diagram of the fuse box and away he went. He replaced the fuse, the relay box, and finally the blower. For the entire repair, it was about fifty dollars in parts and a few hours of his time. Isn't he handy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We think we're moving!

After months of waiting for a particular apartment to be ready, we've given up on it and have spent countless hours and several gallons of gas looking for a new place to go. Today, I think we found it. It's about the same price we're paying now, only it has a WASHER and DRYER and is nicer, bigger, and quieter. I felt so much better after walking inside. I've been reminded of all the things I don't like about St. Louis while we've been looking for housing. Finding an apartment I could comfortably call home makes the city seem quite a bit less ghetto.

Compare the new apartment's kitchen(above) to our current apartment. Our current kitchen I describe as standing in the aisle boarding a Southwest flight. Once you're inside, you don't have to move to reach anything. You can get it right where you are. But don't touch the cupboards. There is one piece that has fallen off and hit my foot. It hurt.

Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

Last summer I discovered I had not truly known what it is to be hot. I had been in 100 degree weather, even climbed the great wall of china in it. But I hadn't been in 98 degree weather in 98% humidity. It's getting that hot here this week, and close to that humidity. Hardly my favorite season. The real trick is to not go outside after about 10:30 in the morning. If that cannot be avoided, I'd recommend the Becky Faddis method of having remote started your car which you left on high AC last time you were in it.

Unfortunately, the once powerful air conditioning of the Taurus has stopped working entirely. There's some problem with the fan, which is currently undiagnosed, but Nick will be working on that later. Our electric bill is close to $100 a month when it's this hot. Which of course seems expensive, but I am not willing to go without it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter Support Group

Nick said I need to find a Harry Potter support group. I read the book and cried through the last hundred pages. Not to say it's sad, I just cry easily when it comes to literature. In the past, there have been a few pamphlets that have brought me to tears. I bought Harry Potter on Tuesday, about 4:00 PM. I finished it Wednesday at 9:00 PM. I was slowed down by helping a friend move for a couple hours, and having to go to work for four hours this morning. I really enjoyed it, but now what do I look forward to coming out? A series of unfortunate events is over, now Potter. I may go back and read the "Book of Three" series, which was the first book series that brought me to tears.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Check out our pictures!

I've newly discovered Picasa, a service from Google that allows you to post a Gig of digital photos, and your friends can all look at them. That assumes that you have friends though. Check it out at It's going to be awesome!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Either you're out or urine

Nick and I spent most of today helping our friends clean and work on the house they just bought. The previous occupants left the house more than a little dirty. The fridge was pretty gross, but the worst (by far) was the bathroom. Nick and I agree that it was the most disgusting toilet we've come across yet (and we've seen more than a couple.) We had to take it apart to even get it close to clean (removing the bolt covers and toilet seat.) We used the kind of toilet cleaner that has hydrochloric acid in it. It still took a lot of scrubbing. We feel that if we ever needed a favor from this couple, we could probably feel very comfortable calling them. The bathroom still smells. We're working on it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Viva la France

The Tour de France is not quite half over, and Nick and I have already had so much fun. With Tivo you can watch each stage quite quickly, who makes all 100 miles of the race pretty exciting. I'm still heart-broken over Floyd Landis's doping scandal from last year's tour, but we're getting very excited about some new riders. Keep your eyes out for Michael Rasmussen. He may look like he's starving, but boy can he climb. For the last two years he's won the polka-dot jersey for being the greatest climber. He's holding his baby who's also wearing polka dots. Katie and I of course, really are more interested in the polka dot dresses the presenters wear. They change all the time.

Addendum: Michael Rasmussen, you broke my heart, again. This year has been very bad for the tour and cheaters. Two of my cycling favorites were sent packing in shame, including the leading Rasmussen.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Kara's Excellent Adventure

I'm venturing out of my cave and starting a blog. If my five-year-old nephew can manage it, I hope I can to.

Nick and I went to his sister's wedding in Vegas on 07/07/07. Katie and Liz were the caterers. They did a lot of amazing work and did a great job on everything. And we ate the leftovers for the next couple of days. My sister-in-law Shannon provided the music for the reception by sending her Michael Buble CD's. I provided much of the wedding photography, supplemental floral arrangements, and helped with anything else that came up. Nick helped a lot, but during the reception he was able to mostly be a normal groomsman and mingle with his family.

We finished cleaning up about 9:30, and headed off for Salt Lake City. Since I-15 was closed and we were all dead tired, we got a room in mesquite and resumed our trek in the morning.