Living With Don Johnson

Archive for the ‘Daily Life’ Category


Posted on: June 9, 2012

Today (Saturday, the night I am writing this. But, it will probably get posted on Sunday) is 4 weeks since Douglas died suddenly. It still feels extremely surreal. I imagine it feels the same way for my mom. It probably feels worse for her than it does for me. I didn’t talk to Doug every day or even every week. We’d probably text once a month or so. We saw each other once a year on our traditional 4th of July vacations with my parents. He and mom sent text messages every day, and they saw each other weekly. So, I know that it is hard for my mom. I

I can sometimes forget that he is gone because, while I love(d) him, he wasn’t a part of my everyday life. So, I haven’t had that part of my life disrupted. I feel terrible for saying that sometimes I can forget. It doesn’t mean that I miss him any less or that I loved him any less. It does mean that when I do think about it or something triggers a memory, it hits me hard each time. My friend, Kristi, was watching the Memorial Day Concert on TV and told me there was a song (If the Sun Comes Up) by Trace Adkins that made her think of everything that had happened recently. I waited to watch it when it was replayed on the PBS station out here, and I was bawling like a baby because the song hit home.

It’s rough. And there is no handbook or rules on how to handle a situation like this, so we are all just floundering along and hoping that one day we will find a new normal. I wish I knew what day that was gonna be. I’d love to be able to count down to that day and know that on this particular day, I’m going to wake up and life will feel normal again.

They say that funerals bring out the best or the worst in people. I have found that to be true. Sometimes, it also brings out the crazy, but I won’t go into that here. That will be a locked blog post that will happen in the future; hopefully, it won’t take me too long to get that posted. Some of my friends from high school and college really stepped up to the plate to help out. Karen came down the day we made funeral arrangements. Kristi brought food the first night I was back in Killeen, and she read my post about Doug at the funeral. My Head Start and Starbucks coworkers helped by picking me up from the airport and bringing food. I won’t go into the worst either. That will probably be a part of that password protected post in the future.

I was out there in Killeen for a week. I don’t think that anyone has any idea of how difficult it is to have to pick out a burial plot for your younger sibling. It is something that no one should ever have to do unless they are 90 years old already. But, I did it, and I survived. And there was a lot of thought that went in to where Doug was placed. We were good friends with the Tuthill family when we attended Immanuel Lutheran Church in Killeen. I babysat the 3 Tuthill children for many years. Becky, the mom, died a couple of years ago, and she is buried in the same cemetery. There was a plot available right in front of Becky. I picked that spot so that Doug would be close to someone he knew. The logical part of my brain knows and understands that the Doug I grew up with really isn’t in that casket it is just his shell. So, I know that the body in the casket really didn’t care about where or how it was buried. But, the mommy part of my brain and heart needed to know that he was next to someone he knew.  The day of the funeral, I didn’t want to leave the cemetery because I felt like I was abandoning him. Me, who was prepared to fight the doctors when he was an infant to keep them from taking him away from me, had left him there all by himself. How could I have done that? We went back to the cemetery the next day, and I saw how close he was buried to Becky, and my mom and I talked about it. We knew that Becky was a mom and that her kids were the most important things in the world to her. So we knew that Becky would look out for Doug. That made me feel a lot better about leaving him there.

I don’t know if it was fate or Doug or just coincidence, but we had 3 funny things happen during the funeral service and immediately afterwards. When I was growing up, my mom always mentioned that things seem to happen in 3s. Famous people always seem to die in sets of 3. During the funeral, a Bud Light truck drove by. Doug was a good German kid and liked his beer. And a school bus drove by the gravesite (Doug was in his first year of teaching). And as we were driving away from the cemetery, some teenagers were playing catch with a football, and they threw the football over the limo as we were driving away. Were they signs from Doug? I don’t know for sure, but each event did make us smile and think about him. Just this week, we were in Vegas. As I was walking through the casino at Caesar’s Palace, the TVs switched to the Mariner’s game right as I walked by. Vegas was the last place that Doug and I spent time together.

It was hard telling Wendy why I was gone for a week. She cried. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell her initially, but I remembered that we’d talked about her great-grandma dying a couple of years ago, so I brought that up and transitioned into Douglas from there. I knew that she’d have a hard time dealing with it. So, I had a stuffed animal that belonged to Doug to give to Wendy. And I told her that she could write a letter to Doug and send it up to Heaven on some balloons. So, we did that. We got blue and green balloons to send Wendy’s letter up to Heaven. That seemed to help her. The day Wendy released the balloons was also the same day as the eclipse. We took Wendy up to a park in Palos Verdes in an attempt to view the eclipse. We were having some difficulties since we couldn’t find the eclipse glasses, but then something cool happened. As we were sitting there waiting for the moon to get into place, the fog rolled in. And the marine layer moved in. This acted as a filter for the eclipse. We could see the eclipse without needing sun protection. It was so cool. There was just enough fog to see the eclipse but not enough that we couldn’t see the sung. It was pretty neat. As we were packing up, Wendy says “Mom, I know why that eclipse happened.” I asked her why she thought the eclipse happened. She says “That was Uncle Doug’s way of telling me that he got my letter.” I got choked up a bit, and I had to agree with her because thinking that Uncle Doug got her letter meant so much to her, and I wasn’t going to take that away from her.

Don, Wendy, and I flew back to Killeen last week. We had the tickets and it seemed a shame to let them go to waste since my mom had promised Wendy a shopping spree for her birthday. We went to visit my grandparents while we were in town. That was hard. Growing up, my grandma was my most favoritest person in the entire world. I grew up having her tell me that the sun rose and set for me. Every single time she saw me, she’d tell me that. And she’d sing me “K-k-k-k-Katy.” She didn’t do that this time. She’s been having some memory issues for the last couple of years. So, while I was visiting my Grandma, it still didn’t feel like I was visiting my Grandma. That was really hard. She had a certain way of laughing and saying “Oh, Katie” when she was going to tell me something funny or crazy. And she didn’t do that. While I saw her, it didn’t feel like I was actually visiting MY grandma (if that makes any sense).  The constants in my life are changing. They aren’t so constant anymore. My mom is a constant. That constant hasn’t changed. Being the center of my grandma’s universe was a constant (or at least being told that I was the center of the universe was the constant). That did change.

I know that life changes as we get older. I just wish it didn’t change this much. I don’t care for change.


So, I sat down at the computer tonight to write a blog, and I was faced with writer’s block. I knew I wanted to write something, but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Usually when I publish a post, wordpress will give some prompts but having prompts AFTER I publish a post just doesn’t work for me. Yes, I am aware that I could save some of those prompts on my desktop to use at a later date, but that thought never occurs to me until I actually want to use a prompt.

As I sat here on the couch enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree lights and the sound of Don Johnson playing xbox, I looked over at the pile of books stacked up on the edge of the couch and decided I could write a post about the books I am currently reading or my favorite books. Truth be told, this will probably be a combo of the books I am currently reading and my favorite books. I have tried to include links to the authors pages or information about the authors where possible.

Let’s start with the books I am currently reading (or have lined up to read).

  1. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – Inheritance is the final book in the Eragon series. I truly enjoyed the first two books in the series; I believe that I finished reading them in just about a week. It took me a year to read the third book in the series. Don’t get me wrong, It was a good book, but I just had a difficult time sitting down and getting started on the story. I’m hoping that this last book reads more like the first book.
  2. The Queen’s Fool by Phillipa Gregory – Phillipa Gregory also wrote The Other Boleyn Girl. While I didn’t read that particular book, I did watch the movie. And I found it to be pretty good. When I saw this book for only a dollar at work, I decided to go ahead and pick it up. The story deals with a young girl, Hannah, who finds herself in the Royal Court as the Queen’s fool. I can’t tell you how the story ends because I haven’t reached it yet. However, it is a fairly intriguing read and when I have time to sit down and read it, I don’t want to put it down. Right now, it is in my drawer at work so sometimes I get to read it at breaks if it is quiet.
  3. Tainted and Torn by Julie Kenner– These are books one and two of the Blood Lily Chronicles. These fall into the fantasy type books. I’m only a few chapters into Tainted. It is starting off a bit on the slow side, but it is fairly similar to an upcoming book on the list as well as a series I just finished reading, so that maybe why I’m not as into it yet.
  4. Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance– This books is in my ‘to read’ stack. I really liked the Cassie Palmer series that Chance wrote, so I am hoping that this will be along the same lines. The Blook Lily Chronicles do feel similar to the Cassie Palmer series.
  5. The Servants Quarters by Lynn Freed– Another book in my ‘to read’ stack. I picked this up at Borders when it was going out of business. I bought it because it looked like it had promise, and it was only a couple of bucks. I figured if the story was terrible at least I wasn’t out a lot of money.
  6. This is Where We Live by Janelle Brown– In the ‘to read’ stack and purchased at Borders. I had high hopes for this book based on the cover. Yes, I am aware that you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover. I read the first several chapters, and it never drew me in the way I had hoped. The story just seems to plod along. I’ll finish it eventually, but it will probably move its way down to the bottom of the stack.
  7. Being Polite to Hitler by Robb Forman Dew- Another ‘to read’ book and Borders book. Not sure why I picked this one up. Probably because it was cheap and looked like it could be interesting. I haven’t read any part of it yet.
  8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen)- I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice as a tween, and it seemed to get pretty decent reviews, so I figured I’d give it a try. This is at the top of my ‘to read’ stack.
  9. Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong– This is one of the books that seems similar to the Blood Lily Chronicles and the Cassie Palmer series. Don got it for me at Borders. I’m about half way through and, to be honest, I can’t tell you what happened in the book because it has been so long since I sat down to read it.
  10. The Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay– Yet another entry in the ‘to read’ stack and purchased from Borders. The cover drew me in, so let’s hope it is entertaining at least.

Books I am looking forward to reading.

  1. The new Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich– Book number 18 was supposed to come out in November, but I haven’t seen or heard anything about it. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t out. It just means that I’ve been busy with work and life that I haven’t bothered to look up the publish date or title. I enjoy the Stephanie Plum series. They are a lighthearted series and they don’t require a lot of my brain space. It is always interesting to guess how many of Stephanie’s cars will blow up and how many times she will have to be rescued by Ranger.
  2. The new Sue Grafton book- To be honest, I don’t even remember what letter she is on now or what the last one I read was titled. I think U was the last one I read. Kinsey Milhone is a great female lead for the series, and I have grown rather attached to her over the years. I almost think I like her more than Stephanie Plue, but Kinsey doesn’t have Ranger, so I guess it is a draw for the moment.

Books that I will read over and over again.

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott– I adore this book, and without a doubt, it will always take the number one spot in my favorite books list. I think I’ve gone through several copies. I even have it on my eReader! I love the March sisters and Marmee. I still cry when Beth dies. There isn’t anything about Little Women that I don’t love. Josephine was always near the top of my list of names for potential children, but that never panned out. Although, our toothfairy’s name is Josephine.
  2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery- I can’t think of a girl who didn’t read Anne (with an E) growing up. We had a copy come into the store today, and all of the girls who work with me were fawning over it because it was such a pretty book.
  3. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling– It’s a great series in my opinion. I find the story to be well told. It’s entertaining and an all around good series.
  4. The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss- I first read this when I was only a little bit older than Wendy, I believe. I read my mom’s copy. The book is about Helen and her husband, Carl, and their journey to have a family. They wind up adopting 12 ‘unadoptable’ kids. The story never gets old.
  5. Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth– Another one I read as a pre-teen. It’s the story of the Gilbreth’s. It’s been years since I read it, but it will always hold a spot on my list.
  6. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand– Finally, a book that isn’t a young adult book! There are lots of different opinions about Atlas Shrugged. I could go into the politics aspect of it or even the business and financial aspects of it, but I won’t. While there are parts of the book that are heavy on the descriptions and light on action, I still enjoy it. I’ve read it so many times now that I generally just skip over the parts that I know are going to be overly descriptive.
  7. Any book by Katherine Paterson– Yes, another juvenile literature selection, but really, can you argue with Bridge to Terabithia or Jacob, Have I Loved?

One author that you will NEVER (and I do mean never) see me read is Nicholas Sparks. Even typing his name makes me want to gag. He’s so formulaic and sappy. Ugh and blech

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. I look forward to the day when I can start to make a dent in my ‘to read’ pile. What about you. What books are stacked up in your ‘to read’ pile? And what are your favorite books that you can read over and over again.


So, the cheerleading season is over for Wendy. She is sad that the season is over for her. There is actually one more game this Saturday, but she will be on an airplane to her father’s for Thanksgiving. While Wendy is sad about the season being over, Don Johnson and I are nothing less than thrilled that it is over.

Wendy enjoyed herself, and we tried to make sure that she didn’t know our opinions on the coaching staff. The season didn’t start of well. I registered her the day after the initial deadline, but then they extended the deadline, so I was well within the cutoff date. I provided contact numbers for me and Don Johnson and indicated that they should call Don Johnson’s phone since he is the one who would be doing all of the transporting to and from practices and games.

The coach called him shortly after registration to ask him what size to order Wendy’s uniform. Don wasn’t sure, so he asked them to call him back later after he’d talked to me.

Problem number 1- The coach never called him back.

Problem number 2- The coach never called to tell us when the first practice was. I found out when my exhusband placed an accusatory phone call to me about why I didn’t take her to practice. Then we had to call Parks and Recreation to find out the times and locations of practices and games.

Problem number 3- The coach was late to Wendy’s first practice. It took me 15 minutes to get the coach’s attention to tell her what had happened, and I was standing directly in front of the coach.

Problem number 4- The coach stated that practices would be closed practices. That is fine. But, if you are going to say closed practices, then you need to ensure that you have a method of delivering information to the parents because 7 year olds are not reliable sources of information

Problem number 5- The coach was  not able to enforce the close practice policy; however, she failed to tell all of the parents that practices were open again until the next to last practice.

Problem number 6- The coach knew next to nothing about football. No explanation needed for that one.

Problem number 7- The coach wasn’t aware of game times or teams. According to Don Johnson, there were several times when the cheer squad was told to show up for games at 1130 a.m. at the park, and they wound up cheering for the last 10 minutes of the game. And she didn’t know which teams they were cheering for each week nor did she know which side of the field to go to.

Problem number 8- The coach had no control over the girls at all. As the coach, I expect you be in charge. You are there to ensure that my most precious possession stays as safe as possible. I should not have to step in and remind the girls to spread out because someone is about to get kicked in the head.

Problem number 9- The coach was not coaching. There is something wrong when the older girls on the squad are teaching the cheers and the routines  (and I use the term routines loosely). And when you see my child doing said routines incorrectly, it might be a good idea to show her the correct way at practice rather than ignoring it and then mentioning it in the middle of a cheer at a game. That is not the time to teach her something new.

Problem number 10- The coach didn’t bring any water for the girls during the games. She also did not provide a sign up sheet or rotation for parents to bring water or a snack. Each week, there were some girls who remembered to bring their own water bottles and some who forgot.

Overall, this experience left a very sour taste in my mouth in regards to our local parks and recreation. At the same time, I know that it is this particular coach and experience. I’ve seen the dance practices that happened right before cheer practice. Those seemed to run like a well oiled machine. If this had been my first experience with cheerleading (I participated in a similar type squad when I was just a little older than Wendy), I would say no to any future cheerleading. But, I know that there are better cheerleading programs and there are better programs at the parks and recreation. So, I’ll try not to let this sour my opinion of our P&R or cheerleading.

Wow, it’s been almost a month since I had some time to sit down and update. Okay, truth is, there hasn’t been much going on other than work (for me and Don Johnson) and school (for Wendy). Our days pretty much consist of me taking Wendy to school, then going to work. Don Johnson goes to work. We all get home and then try to figure out what to have for dinner. Then, we all go to bed. Our manny picks Wendy up from school on the days that I work. She enjoys having him watch her after school. They have a joint love for Phineas and Ferb, which is great because I don’t particularly care for the show. You’d be surprised at the number of people who are shocked that I have a male babysitter. Men are just as capable of taking care of a child as women are. I had male babysitters when I was growing up. That may be why I don’t have any problems with the idea of a man babysitting Wendy.

While I’m on the subject of men and babysitting, has anyone read this post on Rants from Mommyland, Foreign and Domestic Enemies of the Involved Dad? He makes a point that I feel everyone needs to remember. When you are the dad, it is not considered babysitting! When you are the dad, it is parenting. Plain and simple. No one ever says that I’m babysitting Wendy. Oh yeah, it’s because I’m not. Don Johnson doesn’t babysit Wendy. He parents her and takes care of her when I’m not around to do it. I don’t pay him to take care of her because he is her parent. I do always try to check and make sure that Don Johnson is okay with being on dad duty because it’s the polite thing to do given that he didn’t give birth to Wendy. He always steps up to the plate and does what a dad needs to do. He’ll be doing lots of fun dad type stuff with Wendy for the next several weekends.

Wendy is registered for cheerleading. She is supposed to have her first practice this weekend. She is beyond excited. Wendy has been teling everyone that she ‘just can’t wait’ for cheerleading to start. She also thought it was pretty neat when I told her that I was a cheerleader once (just for a year) and her Nana and Grandmama were both cheerleaders, too. I’ll have to make sure to ask for a Saturday off sometime at the end of October/beginning of November to see her cheer at one of the flag football games.

Here in California, we are often subjected to this little known phenomenon known as earthquakes. (I guess the east coast is subject to them, now.)  Because we live in earthquake country, many of the elementary schools here ask that parents provide an earthquake kit for their child/ren. We are supposed to pack some non-perishable snacks, a drink or two (something like the canned pineapple juice), some small toys, and a sweater or a sweatshirt. It all gets packed into a gallon size ziploc bag and stored at school. The school returns them at the end of the year. We send these kits into school so that on the off chance that there is an earthquake during school hours and it takes some time for the parents to pick up the kids, the kids will have some snacks and something to play with. Last year, I went to a few different grocery stores to get what I needed for Wendy’s earthquake kit. This year, Albertson’s was selling premade earthquake kits. It cost a little bit more than what it would be if I assembled it myself, but the convenience of having it already done for me was worth the price.

Wendy's earthquake kit


I removed some of the food from the premade kit so that there was room for a sweatshirt, a book, and some small toys. It will go to school with Wendy tomorrow.

Today was the first day of 2nd grade for Wendy. I can’t believe she is in the 2nd grade already. It still doesn’t seem possible. When we got to school, we had to wait for the gates to open. When it was finally time for the gates to open, I walked with Wendy to her classroom. Her teacher was not there yet. I think she had playground duty. Wendy hung up her backpack, posed for two pictures, and then she was off to play with friends. I had to chase her down to get a goodbye kiss. I asked her if she wanted me to stay for a bit, and she gave me a look that said “I can’t believe you are still here, Mom. What ARE you still doing here?” This was a big change from last year when she started  1st grade. Last year, I almost had to pry her off my leg so that I could leave the school. What a difference a year makes.

Wendy walking to school


I am excited to hear how her first day of school went.

It has been crazy in the Johnson household for the last couple of days. And not crazy in the Patsy Cline way. Just plain crazy. Let’s see if I can recap what has been going on.

On Friday, my good friend Holly and her son, R, came down for a visit. I met Holly when I was living with my exhusband in Germany. She was there with her exhusband, as well. We were Army wives. We met when I started working at a little shop on post, Kaethe Wohlfahrts. We bonded over pregnant bellies. Apparently (and I don’t remember this at all [I must have been in that newborn baby fog at the time] but it totally sounds like something I would do), I took her through the baby section at the PX and went through what she would need and what she shouldn’t waste her money on. I left a couple of months after Wendy was born, and several weeks before R was born. We kept in contact through emails and instant messages. In 2010, Don Johnson transfered out to Southern California. By this time, I  knew that Holly was back in her hometown. I emailed her and sought her advice on where to look for apartments and where to avoid. We were excited to know that after several years, we were only about an hour and a half from each other. We promised to try to get together as soon as we could. As Holly put it, weeks turned into months and months turned into over a year. It seemed that whenever we drove through Holly’s town, she was out of town. And when she came down this way, we were out of town. Last Friday, when I finally had a day off, I invited Holly and the kiddo down for a visit, and Holly said that she’d love to come down.

When they got here, Wendy and R played in her room and got along swimmingly. It was like they’d known each other for years. This gave Holly and I a chance to catch up and chat. When we all got hungry, we packed up and headed to the store to get some picnic supplies. Then we headed down to the beach. It was a little windy and cool, but that didn’t stop us. We plunked down our blankets and had a nice little picnic on the beach. Wendy and R wanted to get their feet wet, and they did. I think Holly may have put her toes in the water, but I did not get my toes wet.

After the picnic, it was time to pack up and head back to our place so that Holly and R could have one last potty break before heading home (she wanted to avoid some of the holiday traffic, but she still got stuck in some of it). Wendy and R, being the little hams that they are, convinced us to take some pictures of them. R kept saying “ok, just one more picture.” So, Holly and I would take one more picture. As they were leaving, R gave Wendy a big hug and said “Wendy, I might marry you.” Too cute. Wendy then ran to her room and waved from her windon.

It was so good to see Holly again and to finally meet R in person. If you’d like to see pictures, you can visit Holly’s blog Bring on the Holly . We all had a good time, and hopefully, it won’t be another year+ before we get together again.

I’ve worked the last 4 days in a row, so I am looking forward to my days off. Tonight, I came home to a nice dinner. That was nice. Work was crazy today since we had some people from corporate coming to visit. The last two or three days have consisted of everyone running around cleaning everything they possibly can in the store. The visit went well, and everyone can relax now. Thank goodness that is over.

Wendy starts school on Thursday. She’s going to be in the second grade. I can’t believe it. I don’t quite know if she is excited about it or not. We shall see.

I haven’t seen any new movies recently. Don Johnson was on daddy duty this weekend while I was at work. He and Wendy got to have a dad-daughter date on Saturday. He took her out to lunch and then to see Kung Fu Panda 2. From what I hear, it was a pretty decent sequel. I wouldn’t know since I didn’t get to go see it! I love that the two of them are close and can have an enjoyable afternoon out on a “date.” I absolutely love watching the two of them interact and play with each other. She and I are so lucky to have stumbled upon Don Johnson. We love him.

Fall is upon us now. You can’t tell by the weather, but there is a sure fire way to know when fall has arrived. Pumpkin spice lattes. Fall has officially arrived when Starbucks rolls out the PSL. I think the PSL is one of my all time favorite drinks that the ‘Bux makes. I will drink it and the Caramel Apple Spice until December. And then I’ll alternate with the eggnog lattes. I am a summer girl through and through, but there is something about the chill in the air that I love. Perhaps I should request a place where the leaves change colors for Don Johnson’s next place of work. I enjoyed my first PSL of the season today as a reward for surviving the visit from corporate. Fall in a cup. Yum.

I think that should about catch everyone up. Oh yes, I hope that all of my friends and family in the central Texas area continue to stay safely out of the paths of the fires that are happening there. I hope the state of Texas gets everything under control soon. Love you guys!

À bientôt


Wendy is home!!! It’s time to do a happy dance. I’ve missed her so much. Don Johnson let her stay up until I got home from work so that I could see her. We’ve all got tomorrow off, so that we can celebrate Don Johnson’s birthday and relax.

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