Monday, November 25, 2013

alisonism #20: boggarts

Joel and I are reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban right now.  As I do every time I read this book or watch the movie, I think about what a boggart would turn into if I met one.  An animal, like for Ron?  A person, as in Neville's case?  Or a situation, like for Hermione or Mrs. Weasley?

I don't know what one would turn into for me.  I don't know what my biggest fear is; it would probably be similar to Mrs. Weasley's.  But I do know this:

There are two public places - extremely common places for people (including myself) to go - that I am HUGELY afraid of.  I hate going to both of them with all my heart, they're so scary.  But no one will ever know what those two places are, because I also happen to have an irrational fear of someone using it against me.  I've never admitted this fear (with the places' names) out loud and never will, just in case someone I didn't want hearing heard.  I've considered writing about it anonymously, like if someone put out a survey about irrational fears or funny quirks, but I know I never would, in case someone somehow found out which answer was mine.  

Can a boggart turn into that?


“Fawkes,” said Harry, “isn’t an ordinary bird.”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Friday, November 22, 2013

pop! went the question

As per your requests, here is the long-awaited story of how I proposed to my husband.  :)

Joel and I went on our first date in April, the night before I went home from college for the summer.  We talked some over the summer, dated on and off during the school year, around February decided to date each other exclusively, and almost exactly a year after our first date, got engaged.  

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, my last before going home for the summer again.  Joel and I liked to take walks at the park on sunny Sunday afternoons, so he came down [he wasn't attending the same school as I was] and off we went.  As we were driving to the park, I asked, "Is it okay if we go to a different park this week?  The one we usually go to is really busy, and I just found this cool other one that's not too busy.  It might be fun for our last sunny Sunday afternoon walk to go somewhere less crowded."  He agreed, thinking I was just being sentimental.  Ohhhh no.  I was setting it all up.  

We laid out a gigantic beach towel on the wet grass and sat down to chat for a while before walking around.  I needed to be home in half an hour to make Oatmeal Craisin Patties with my roommate before dinner, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time to pop the question without being rushed.

It was a pleasant chitchat.  And then...

"Do you remember how you told me once that sometimes a person has to make a decision first in order to know if it's the right one?"


"And how it can be scary, but sometimes you have to do something to know it's the right thing?"  [Joel later told me that he was DYING because he thought I was breaking up with him for the summer.]


At this point we were sitting cross-legged, so I elegantly got up (instead of down) onto one knee and then said some romantic things that ended with, "Joel [Middle Name] Johnson, will you marry me?"

He didn't get it.  

Or at least, he didn't get that it wasn't... a joke, maybe?  Because all he could say for like, five minutes, were variations on "Are you serious?"  

I finally convinced him that I was, in fact, serious, and presented him with a color-changing plastic ring I'd gotten at the Career Fair that he could put on my finger.  And that was that!  We were officially engaged.

taken right after the proposal

We waited until later that evening to tell people - that was one of the stipulations I'd made.  I was pretty nervous about getting engaged because it WAS one of those situations for me, where you have to make a decision and then later learn if it's right or wrong.  I was scared about deciding to be engaged and then finding out I was wrong, so right after we celebrated getting engaged, I told him it was on a trial basis.  I was still waiting for spiritual confirmation, so I asked him to promise and understand that if I got a confirmation and found out we weren't supposed to be engaged, we'd break it off.  He graciously agreed.  So anyway, we waited until later in the evening to tell people because I was hoping I'd find out soon if we were wrong.  

after getting the ring

The rest of the week was a whirlwind!  As you might remember, it was the last Sunday before I headed home, so we only had about four days of being in the same state while engaged.  Monday was my last day of finals, and then Monday evening we went ring shopping for the first time and bought both of our rings.  Tuesday I had to pack and work; Joel picked me up from work and proposed in the same park with the ring.  On Wednesday we got our engagement pictures taken; Thursday, he helped us [my brother, friend, and I] pack our storage unit; and Friday, I went home for the summer.

We got married three and a half months later.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


There's a trend on Facebook right now to write a certain number of things about yourself as a status and then give a number to anyone who Likes the status.  They use the number you gave to write their own list... and so on and so forth.

I've been avoiding Liking anyone's status to avoid writing a list, but I Liked one on accident and was the lucky recipient of the number eight.  I posted...

1. I've never dyed my hair.
2. I proposed to my husband.
3. I'm obsessed with fairy tales.
4. I have the best job in the world.
5. My favorite foods are pizza and macaroni and cheese.
6. I once won an air guitar contest during a 3-stake youth dance.
7. I'm in love with all three High School Musical movies, have been to HSM: The Ice Tour, and own an HSM: The Ice Tour jacket.

You, faithful blog readers, know many of those, but apparently no one knew about #2 because the interwebs went crazy! [I say, as if it were more than just that one status that went crazy...]  I actually thought that was something most people knew, but I guess not.  So stay tuned, blogosphere, for later this week, you will be treated to the story of how I, She, proposed to my husband.  :)  Same bat time, same bat channel.


“There’ll be an attack a day with him gone.”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Monday, November 18, 2013

Makes Me Think

I occasionally read a website called Makes Me Think.  People submit short experiences - sometimes happy, sometimes sad - that made them think, and then we get to read them.  I recently read this one written by someone named Roo:

Today, an odd, very eccentric, but very cheerful man came in for dinner where I work.  I chatted with him as he ate, and he kept telling me, "You're so young, you can do anything you want!" It was only until I told him I hoped to get into grad school, when he became dead serious and said, "What does hope have to do with it?  Either you do it, or you don't. If you don’t get into one school, you apply to another. It’s a choice. It’s something you must truly want for yourself." Nothing has made me more determined and it MMT [makes me think].

It made me think, too.  I have talked to several people recently who have hopes for the future but won't start working on them.  It's so hard for me to look at them and their potential but also see them selling themselves short.  In fact, I recently said to Joel (saying what I wished I would've to someone else), "If you want to do something, do it!  Stop talking about it and thinking about it and waiting for it to happen, and DO something!"

A friend of mine once asked on Facebook for people to tell her what their dreams were.  I thought about that question for a long time.  Like, it was in my mind every day for longer than a month.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I don't have many dreams. Everything I dream about doing in my life, I have either accomplished or have already started planning. That, in my mind, makes them goals, not dreams.  Dreams are more... unattainable? or, bigger, maybe?

"a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal"

Reaching your dreams takes work.  I dreamt of graduating, so I worked and studied really hard (even when I didn't want to because I knew what the result would be) - check.  I dreamt of having a job that made me happy, so I experimented in many different areas, did a lot of research, and said a lot of prayers - got it.  I dreamt of starting a family; I did what was in my power, and thankfully, I'm now married and we'll have children when it's time.  Together, we dreamt of owning a home, so we saved our money and made sacrifices, and we've reached that dream.  I dream of traveling to as many Spanish-speaking countries as possible, but I've already gone to one and have made more travel plans.

The one dream I do have is to live forever in heaven with my whole family.  My part of that is a goal, but since I'm not the only one who has to do something for it to be accomplished, it's also a dream.

I guess another current dream is to eat Oreos as cereal one day... I haven't been brave enough to do or plan that one yet.  The fear of excessive guilt afterwards is keeping me from it.

What are your hopes or dreams?  What is keeping you from accomplishing them?  And, "What [do dreams and] hope have to do with it?  Either you do it, or you don't.  If you don’t [accomplish them one way], you [accomplish them] another.  It’s a choice.  It’s something you must truly want for yourself."


"Let no one ever say that a poor tailor cannot do great things and win high honors; all that is needed is that he should go to the right smithy, and what is of most consequence, that he should have good luck."
"The Glass Coffin," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Thursday, November 14, 2013

alisonism #19: brownies

I like chocolate.
A lot, actually.
But I really don't like chocolate chips in my brownies.


"And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived."
"Cinderella," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Monday, November 11, 2013

that reminds me... "Somebody to Love" - Glee cast

This song always reminds me of doing the dishes at our old college apartment...particularly of looking into the inside corner of the corner cupboard above the countertop.  I was putting dishes away into that corner cupboard while singing this song when I learned I could hit that high note at the end (3:45) using my chest voice, but only if I swooped up to it.  It was a proud moment.


“I think,” said Harry, more quietly still, “it’s time to get my dad’s old Cloak out again.”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Thursday, November 7, 2013

late night hashtags: #whyimsingle

A couple weeks ago on his late night show, Jimmy Fallon asked people to post things to Twitter with the hashtag #whyimsingle.  When the show was over, Joel and I went to Twitter and looked at what funny things people had posted.

I'll admit, I haven't always had the highest self-esteem, and there are still days when I struggle.  But some of what I read on Twitter made me so sad.

"Still don't understand #whyimsingle... I was cute that one time."
"because I don't meet people's looks standards"
"I'm ugly, boys don't like me, and that's it"
"because I look like this"
"There is nothing to love about me"
"wanna know why i'm single? one word... face."
"there's a reason why i'm single and it's called my face."
"well just look at me"
"because I'm convinced I deserve this: (picture of cute boys)"
"I know nobody likes me."
"Because who would love a girl with huge thighs, cuts up and down her arms and legs, and an ugly face?"

Recently I heard someone, in front of girls her own age and much younger (read: still dressing like princesses), talking about how she was so ugly she needed plastic surgery.  I later told Joel I never want our daughters to hear people they look up to talking like that, regardless of whether they're part of the conversation or paying attention.  

In my experience, there are two major groups of people who call themselves ugly: those who really have issues and need help, and those who don't - people who think it's funny or acceptable or want someone to tell them they're wrong. (I'm not discounting their insecurities - probably all of us have days or moments where we don't feel 100% about ourselves.)  I had some rough years self-esteem wise growing up, and when I hear people discuss their insecurities with so much exaggeration, my experiences feel... is cheapened the right word?  When you talk vehemently about hating your body when you don't, I literally feel sick.  You make me feel like you cannot possibly understand real struggles people have regarding their bodies if you can make such jokes about them. 

Think of someone you love and admire.  A hero.  Imagine (s)he gave you a car.  How many of you would drive it around, with him/her in the passenger seat, complaining about how ugly it was?  And yet, how many of us do exactly that about our bodies?

Please, ladies and gentlemen.  Stop talking this way.  Stop teaching children it's okay to hate their bodies.  Stop shoving God's greatest creation in His face and telling Him it's not good enough.  When you talk about it over and over and over and over with so many people, it just gets worse.  You think about  it longer and more often; it becomes more real.  And you make it harder for me, too.

I'm pretty happy with my body.  It's a different weight than I wish it were, but I have learned to appreciate that that's me.  That's my body.  It is a gift and it is wonderful, and even though I have occasional rough patches, keeping that attitude has really been working out for me.  I purposely haven't weighed myself in three years because it only results in negativity.  When I go to the doctor, I stand on the scale backwards and ask the nurse not to tell me.  But when I hear my thin friend call herself fat, I feel like a whale.  And I'm not a whale!  If she can call herself fat when she's obviously not, what in the world does she think about me when I weigh more?  So I suck in.  Or I hold a blanket or pillow over my belly.  Or I leave the room, stand up to straighten the skin folds, or bury my face in a book so I can tune out the world.  And that's not fair.

Are you responsible for my self-esteem?  Of course not.  And the fact that your insecurities remind me of my own are merely a sign that I have more improvements to make.  But please.  Can we please support each other?  Can we please stop pretending like it's okay to trash talk our bodies?  Can we please accept ourselves as we are and help others do the same?  I'm not asking you to throw out your makeup or stop trying to lose weight, but please start letting yourself see that you are, in fact, good enough.  My future children will learn too soon that it's an option to dislike their bodies, but you can bet they will not learn it from my example.  And I'm asking you to please be a good example, too.    

As for those of you who think you're single because of how you look, learn what you can do to dress in more flattering clothes or learn to use makeup properly, and then get used to yourself.  Learn to like you.  Your confidence will make you more attractive than your attractiveness will.  

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."  - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


"The three dresses of the sun, moon, and stars she put into a nutshell, put on her mantle of all kinds of fur, and blackened her face and hands with soot.  Then she commended herself to God, and went away, and walked the whole night until she reached a great forest."
"Allerleirauh," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Monday, November 4, 2013

not too small for a mouse

As a general rule, I don't mind chore-type work.  Straightening, organizing, scrubbing - I don't always want to start doing it, but once I do, I'm fine.  There is, however, one exception:

Taking care of dried food crumbs.

When I wipe a countertop, table, microwave, or stove, I walk around with the trash can and wipe crumbs into it.  Even thinking about wiping them into my hand literally makes me feel nauseous.  Like right now.  I would rather clean 100 other people's toilets than my own dry food crumbs.  I don't even mind cleaning wet old food - like rotten stuff from the fridge.  Just please don't give me the crumbs.  At least, don't make me touch them.

I have to go distract myself now.


"Turn and peep, turn and peep, / No blood is in the shoe, / 
The shoe is not too small for her, / The true bride rides with you."
"Cinderella," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween, Johnson style

Joel's work has a Halloween party every year, and for the past three Halloweens, Joel's costumes have been the talk of the office!  It's hard to think of another good one every year, but somehow we've managed it so far!  It's fun to do costumes that utilize his height, so this year he went as "something that everyone wants and loves..."

The long skinny [teal] piece in Tetris.  It was a hit!  He had the Tetris song playing on his phone all day, and when he first walked into the office, he got a standing ovation.  Nice! :)

I had a hard time deciding on my costume, too.  If I went as something I thought was funny [like last year when I was a hipster], none of the students would get it, and if I went as something they loved [like a Disney channel character], I wouldn't think it was cool.  Or so I thought...

I sewed about a thousand strips of crépe paper onto a white t-shirt, covered two party hats with the same streamers, and voila!  A piñata!  And when the kids at school would hit the piñata, aka give me a high-five, they got a piece of candy.  It was so much fun!  Everyone loved my costume. :)

At night, a friend came over and we watched Halloweentown - a DCOM classic - and answered the door for a million cute trick-or-treaters.  When one batch of my students came by a second time [with masks so as not to be recognized], I even got to use the line, "What do you think I am, a piñata?"

I love Halloween!


“'You know what, Harry?  If he doesn’t stop trying to save your life he’s going to kill you.'”
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets