Living With Don Johnson

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Living with Don Johnson has now gone bi-coastal! Sounds super big and exciting, but it isn’t quite as big as it sounds. What this means is that Wendy and I are now living on the east coast while we wait on Don Johnson to find a job in the Virginia/DC area. Then, we can once again be a one coast family.

How did Wendy and I wind up on the east coast, you ask? Well, sometime near the beginning of November, one of my friends from Germany called me. Her husband was working in DC and found out that he had contract money for an assistant. Her first thought was me. So, I jumped through all the hoops and wrote and rewrote resumes so that I could get this job.  Wendy and I flew out to Virginia on January 10, and I started the new job on January 14. It all happened rather quickly, but so far it seems to be going well.

Leaving California was hard. Don Johnson is still there. I miss him. And so many of my friends are still out there in the Torrance area. Luckily, some of them are making plans to come out and visit over the summer, so I have that to look forward to. I’m not sure what C&J want to do just yet, but we still have plenty of time to get things figured out.

Hopefully, Don Johnson will get out here soon.

That’s about it for now.

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It’s not fair.

I think I’ve said this nine or ten times an hour over the last 4 days. Growing up, my mom would always tell me that life isn’t fair, and it is just something that I have to learn to deal with.

But you know what? Sometimes life just plain sucks. And this is one of those times. And quite frankly, I’m more than a little pissed off at life and God or Buddha or Allah or whoever the hell is in charge of what happens on this green rock of a planet.

Here’s why I’m upset. In May, my baby brother passed away. At the age of 27. He was too young and it never should have happened. But, there wasn’t anything that anyone could have done to prevent it.

And now, not even 6 months later, I’m losing my grandpa. My brother was named after him. Whenever they were in the same room, my brother was called Little Doug. Although he didn’t remain Little Doug for long.

My grandpa is the strongest guy I’ve ever known. I always felt safe when I was with him. I remember being cold one day when I was probably 8 or 9. We were living at Ft. Lewis as the time. My grandma and grandpa were up for a visit. I remember slipping my hand into his, and then telling him that his hands were warm.

Growing up, my grandparents would always take Little Doug and me out to buy a new outfit for school. When I was teenager, I’d sometimes have a problem deciding between two outfits. Grandma was usually a stickler for the rules, but 9 times out of 10, Grandpa would tell me to get both outfits.

My mom has a picture of me, and I think I’m, I don’t know, 2 maybe 3 years old. And I have the wooden hammer from some toy in my mouth, and I’m pretending that it is a pipe. Grandpa Doug used to smoke pipes. I believe I called it Poppa’s bad pipe or something along those lines.

When I was finally old enough to join in the family games of Russian Rummy, I’d always sit to the left of Grandpa Doug because he’d feed me the cards I needed

He always made the best stuffing at Thanksgiving. It was never the same recipe from year to year. He’d always experiment.

My most favorite Grandpa Doug story is how he and my mom used to listen to the Indy 500 on the radio when my mom was a kid. And they’d move little cars around to show who was in the lead. As a kid, I remember my mom watching the Indy 500 on tv, and then immediately calling my grandpa afterwards. I hated watching the race as a kid. I’d usually watch one or two laps and then I’d get bored and go play with my toys. I didn’t quite understand the significance of it all until I was an adult. One of my Grandpa’s dreams was to see the Indy 500 in person. In May 2004, I made that happen. For Christmas 2003, I got my mom two tickets to see the Indy 500. She, of course, took my Grandpa. I was in Germany that year, and I’d just had Abby a couple of weeks before. I watched the race that day as I fed and rocked Abby. There were 4 generations watching the race that day. The next year, I watched the race and after it was over, I called my grandpa to wish him a happy Indy day. And then I called my mom to wish her the same thing.

As hard as it is for me, I know it is 12 times worse for my mom. To say good bye to both the Douglas’ in her life, her dad and her son, in a 6 month span is inconceivable.  I wish there was something that I could say, but there isn’t anything that I can say or do to make it better. In this situation, there is nothing that anyone can do to make it better.

Are you there God? It’s me, Kate. If you’re listening, please stop. This isn’t fair. Can you pick on someone else’s family for a while? We’ve kind of reached our limit. Thanks.

Okay, time for a movie review since it has been awhile. We have had lots of company over the last couple of weeks, so we have seen a few movies. My mom and dad (Nana and Popsi) came for a visit the first weekend in October. And the Darling boys just left after a week stay with us.

Para-Norman: We took Wendy to see this one sometime in September. It was kinda cute. There were some scary moments for Wendy, but nothing too bad. Not as good as other movies we’ve seen recently.

Hotel Transylvania: Nana and Popsi went to see this with us. I thought it was really cute. I know that some reviews have been so-so. But, we all enjoyed this one. Wendy didn’t get too scared. The characters are voiced by some big names in the movies. We may or may not be quoting from this movie all the time. If you’ve got a grade schooler and want to take them to a light hearted Halloween related movie, this would be my choice.

Franken-weenie: I was really skeptical about this movie. I’m not a big Tim Burton fan, so I really didn’t want to see it. But, we had all of the Darling children, so we needed a movie that everyone could see. Let me just say that this one is my favorite out of the three “cartoonish” Halloween related movies. The black and white motif adds to the movie. Wendy cried during the movie. Several times. I teared up some, too. I don’t know if she was crying because it was just a sad part of the movie or if she was thinking about her Uncle Doug. She wasn’t inclined to talk about it, so I wasn’t going to push the issue. Although, I will say damn you Tim Burton, did you really have to do it twice? Once was bad enough, but to do it again in the same movie? We’ve also been quoting this movie throughout the week. But, it is always the same character. We all quote Edgar. Don Johnson does the voice the best.

Taken 2: I hadn’t seen Taken, so I didn’t really want to see this one. Well, even if I had seen part 1, I don’t think I would have watched this one. The John and Michael picked this one because they didn’t want to see something scary. All in all, if you’ve ever seen one action movie, you’ve already seen this movie. The plot and action scenes were all predictable. You will have the end of the movie figured out as you’re watching the opening credits.

Paranormal Activity 4: I did jump a few times while watching this with Don Johnson and the Darling boys. The filming and story line don’t really deviated from the original, but if you’ve watched the others, might as well watch this one. The entire movie seemed like a giant set up for a big 5th movie, but we’ll see how that goes.

What we will be seeing soon:

Alex Cross: I want to see this because I’ve read all of the Alex Cross books. Don Johnson wants to see it because he thinks it looks cool. I’m a little wary of Tyler Perry playing the title character considering that Alex Cross was previously played by Morgan Freeman. Those are some decent sized shoes to fill.

Sinister: This is the one I wanted to see when we went and saw Taken 2. I think it looks rather creepy, and I’m hoping that I’ll jump a few times.

Here Comes the Boom: This one just looks like a good story.

Pitch Perfect: I like Glee and musical theater. It looks like it might be worth the price of a matinee.

Atlas Shrugged 2: So only I want to see this one. I don’t know if I’ll actually get a chance to see it in the theaters or not. Part 1 is on Netflix, so I’m hoping that Part 2 will wind up on Netflix as well. Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books, and I enjoyed part 1.

As the school year approaches, everyone seems to be heading down memory lane and talking about their favorite teachers. I don’t know that I’ve ever done that before, so I figured that I’d might as well try my hand at it.

I’ve had lots of great teachers throughout my educational lifetime. And I’ve had teachers who weren’t so great. There are two who I’d like to highlight, Mr. Fix and Kim.

Mr. Fix was my 8th grade history teacher. We had just moved to Texas from Washington states, and I didn’t really know anyone yet. Mr. Fix had a way of making each student feel important. I wasn’t the bravest student in the class. I was shy and usually had to be called upon before I would speak up in class. There were lessons in self confidence and bravery that weren’t on the lesson plans. Everyone I have ever talked to who had Mr. Fix as a teacher always speaks highly of him. A few years later, my brother, Doug, had Mr. Fix for history in the 8th grade. And Doug felt the same way about Mr. Fix as my mom did. Mr. Fix was the inspiration behind Doug wanting to be a history teacher. And he was looking forward to doing that this year. Every single student who went through Mr. Fix’s class had a favorite project. My favorite project was the history presentation. Each student had to create a person from a specific time period. We also had to create the entire history for our character. And then we had to present our character to the class. We got bonus points for dressing up and using props. It was such a fun project.

Kim was my aerobics teacher at CTC. I remember being nervous the first day of class because I was not an athletic kid. I used marching band as my PE credit in high school. My mom had been in Kim’s class a few semesters before and had mentioned to Kim that I’d be in her class.  After class, I mentioned to my mom that I didn’t think she knew who I was. She mentioned it to Kim, and the next class, as we were doing crunches, Kim said “I know who you are.” Kim loved what she was doing. And she showed us that love every day in class. You can’t help but get excited when you’ve got a bubbly blonde at the front of the gym bouncing around. She made exercise fun. And somewhere along the way, I became a teacher’s pet (TP). I’m still TP to her.

I loved going to classes with Mr. Fix and Kim. Learning was fun, and I learned more than just what was on the lesson plans each day. I learned a lot about myself in their classes. I can only hope and pray that as Abigail continues on her education, she has teachers like Mr. Fix and Kim. Teachers who become friends and remain friends long after you step out of their classroom.

I finished 50 Shades of Grey on Saturday night, and I’m just now sitting down to write my review. I could, essentially, sum the entire book up in one sentence like I did on Facebook. 50 Shades of Grey is a pornified version of Twilight. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that it started as fan fiction. That being said, I’ve always encountered fan fiction that expanded on the story or the characters rather than just renaming the characters and retelling the story. I found several lines in the book that were pretty much copied directly out of Twilight.

I didn’t feel like there was any character development throughout the book. The female lead, Ana Steele, is a contrived stereotype of every classic literary heroine out there.  She’s a virgin, never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, and all of those other “good girl” qualities that we’ve come to expect. She can’t fight off the advances of an overly romantic friend, so she winds up being rescued by Christian Grey.

I found Christian Grey, the male lead [who the books are titled after], to be a compilation of both the hero and the villain. I don’t know if this was the authors plan, but I found myself annoyed by his, oh, let’s just call if a bipolar personality. He’s quick to go from one extreme to the other. Christian obviously wants to pursue Ana, but it is much more than wanting to pursue her. He wants to possess her and think for her. Due to the human sexuality class I had a TAMUCT, I’ve done some research on the BDSM lifestyle. (Yes, that was an interesting class. We actually had to read erotica and discuss what themes were going on and whatnot. It was actually an interesting class, and I learned a lot. But, I digress.) I know that in the Dom/sub lifestyle, there is a pattern of the Dom thinking and making decisions for the sub. I get that part of it. However, Christian decides that he wants to control Ana’s choices outside of their relationship.

The sex scenes I found to be just so-so. I think I’ve heard better descriptions of sex sitting in the ladies locker room at a gym. Although, I did read a section to Don, and he thought it was pretty decent. But, this is my review and my thoughts, so we aren’t going to include Don’s thoughts on the books. I understand stream of consciousness, and it has its use in writing. But, I don’t like it so much in these scenes. I feel like I’m inside the mind of someone with ADHD or a toddler. Things start to go in one direction, and I think “Okay, this has potential” and then all of a sudden she’s focusing on something else.

There were a few spots in the book where I thought the author was on to something, and I started to get intrigued. I wanted to know more. Most of those moments happened during the email exchanges between Ana and Christian. I think I liked those moments the best because they were playful moments, and they were moments where we started to have some character development. The emails were the only spots where I started to care about the characters. It’s the spots where James attempts to delve into what makes Christian tick that are the most interesting. I think that if she had pursued the book from Christian’s point of view and given us more information about Christian that the story would have been amazing.

Would I recommend the book? Meh. Perhaps if you had run out of cereal boxes to read. Was it worth the ten bucks I spent on it? Not really.

So, I haven’t decided if I am ashamed of the fact that I just bought this for my eReader or not. I have heard so many conflicting reviews and thoughts on the series that I decided that I should just see what the fuss is about it. I get asked about this book on a daily basis by customers at work. And some honestly ask me what I think of it. And I have to say “I’ve never read it, but I’ve heard mixed reviews. My sister in law loved it, but one of my best friends couldn’t even finish the first book.”

So, I am going to attempt to read it. And then, most likely, I’ll post a review with my thoughts about the book. I don’t have a problem with smut. I do, however, have a problem with stories and books that are poorly written. So, that will obviously play a factor in what I think of the book. If I have to mentally add commas or rephrase a sentence in my head in order for it to make sense, then we’re gonna have some problems.

All I can say is “Thank God I have an eReader so no one will actually be able to tell what book I am reading at the coffee shop.”

Dear Doug,

We survived our first major holiday without you. I wasn’t quite sure how we were all going to do. We’re so used to having our annual 4th of July family get together. But, we just couldn’t do that this year. It would have been too hard. So, while I missed hanging out with Mom and Dad on the 4th of July, it would have been way harder to actually spend it with them. They went to San Francisco this year.

Don and I stayed in town and celebrated the 4th with my coworker, Courtney, and her family. There was lots of food, and all the guys picked out this huge box of fireworks which set off behind Courtney’s house. It reminded me of the 4th of July’s that we used to have with the Ayers family setting off fireworks in the cul-de-sac. It was a good night, but there was still something missing.

I don’t know what we are going to do in 12 days. I have to work that day, so hopefully, I will be able to not think about it.

I do have to laugh at some of the things that people say. Anyone who actually knew you knows that you didn’t believe in God. Therefore, you didn’t believe in Heaven. I find it highly amusing that people are talking about what they think you are doing in Heaven. I understand that they believe in God and Heaven, and it helps them to deal with your death. But, for some reason, I find it to be extremely funny to talk about what a person who didn’t believe in Heaven is doing in Heaven. Yes, we had a Lutheran funeral service, and we buried you in a Lutheran cemetary, but that was done more as a comfort thing for those of us who are left. I know that you would have been shaking  your head and wondering why we were going through all of this for you. I think if mom and I had truly been allowed to have our way, your body would have been cremated and we’d have taken a trip to Seattle for the 4th and we would have spread your ashes around Seattle and the Puget Sound. But, sometimes things don’t always work out they way we want them to.

You were always a sciencey guy, so I understand that Heaven and God didn’t quite factor into the scientific explanation of things. So, I don’t think that you are in Heaven because you can’t be somewhere that you said doesn’t exist. I do think that your energy is still floating around somewhere. I find that to be a little more comforting.

Kate


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