Sunday, November 30, 2003

Blog Notes

I'm revising the blog templates for Letters to God and Streams of Consciousness. For one thing, I do not care how people get there, and as such I do not need a Sitemeter to track statistics. For another thing, I'm removing comments on Streams of Consciousness, since I'm making that a private blog. I've never had comments on Letters to God, and I do not plan to put them there either (It's intended to be one-sided communication between me and God, as you may already know.).

Get That Job!, QuotesBlog, and this one lend themselves to being public blogs, and I plan to keep them that way.

I've added a section to the links to highlight the Officials of this website. I appreciate you for the service you provide! *grin* For more information about Officials check out the FAQ page.

Sunday Musings

Keisha and I went to church in Cincinnati this morning. It had been nearly six or more months since we'd visited the church down there. I had to take today off work because Jennie was working today as well. I would rather not work on Sundays at all in order to spend time with the body, the church.

I was so encouraged to see so many people I've known over the years, and they were encouraged to see us two. The church put on a one-act play from the book of Acts in the Bible. It was not what I had expected, yet it was wonderful all the same. Convicting, powerful, encouraging, too.

Afterward, Keisha and I stopped at the Hardee's in Middletown for a quick bite to eat. I tried one of their thickburgers, and she had two of their slammers.

I guess I could say more, but I'll wait until tomorrow.

Unlocking the Body's Secrets

U.S. Newswire - U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for Dec. 1: Unlocking the Body's Secrets

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is the daily "Profile America" feature for Dec. 1 from the U.S. Census Bureau:


Profile America -- Monday, Dec. 1. One of the most important scientific efforts in history was announced on this day four years ago -- the mapping of the first human chromosome. Since then, all 23 pairs of chromosomes found in human cells have been blueprinted, allowing researchers to study the genes they contain. So far, this physical map has led to the identification of about 100 disease-causing genes. Attention is now being focused on the role genes play in diseases that have a complex pattern of inheritance, such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and mental illness. Cancer alone claims the lives of more than half a million Americans each year. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at
Isn't science wonderful?

Friday, November 28, 2003

The Cat In The Hat

We saw it today. Zany, crazy, bizarre, and funny. A lot like the book, as a matter of fact. I was also glad to see Alec Baldwin get his just desserts.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Officials Update

Clarence, from 'Can You Hear Me Now?' has asked to become the Official Hillbilly Prince of Journey Inside My Mind. See? It's that easy! I've even been able to disregard that he's from Kentucky of all places? (touché, Clarence! :D)

So, to recap... here are the Officials of this blog, in the order in which they assumed their position:

Check out the Officials section of my Links page to see the updated list soon.

How can I become an Official of this website, you ask? It's pretty simple. It's a good way to ensure that you stay off the Mooch List, too.

All She Wants for Christmas Is Her Two Front Teeth

Thanks to everyone who has already commented about the disagreement between me and my wife.

Yesterday morning, Keisha showed me that the remaining tooth was hanging crooked, barely attached to her mouth. She asked me if I could help her. I instructed her to get me a large piece of floss, which she did.

After a little bit of tugging, we took a break. Then, on an impulse, I took the floss, wrapped it around the loose tooth, and gave it a firm but quick tug. The tooth came out. We put it in a glass of water, and I had Keisha rinse her mouth out with some salt water. Now she's got such a cute, half toothless smile.

This also helps me appreciate how important those incisors are when eating. This morning we went to an all-you-can-eat fruit and salad bar. Keisha, who loves to eat melon, could only eat Jello.

I've also been reminded of when she was just beginning to get her teeth in as an infant. I loved putting my hand into her mouth from time to time as she was teething, to feel where the new teeth were coming in.

So the Tooth Fairy made another visit last night. This time she left $2; apparently, she took advice from others who have commented to this blog.

Now Keisha can tell Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

How Does the First-Down Line Work?

Watching NFL Football in the United States lately, I've wondered how it works. This article explains. It's a lot more complicated that you would think.

Reclaiming Some Privacy, So To Speak

I've decided to change my creative writing weblog, Streams of Consciousness, to a private blog.

Uncovering Your Family History

The MSN Family website has a page set up for searching family history.

More Adventures in Toothdom

I cannot believe my wife. Last night, as I took the dog for a walk and spent some time talking with a neighbor, she pulled one of Keisha's two front teeth out.

Of course that's not that big of a deal in and of itself. I mentioned earlier that we'd made arrangements for the Tooth Fairy to come by to exchange Keisha's tooth for some money. I asked Jennie how much we thought the Tooth Fairy should leave, and, would you believe she said, "$20."

"$20?!?!?" I was floored. I told her I didn't think we had a savings account that allotted that much money for a tooth. Whatever happened to just a quarter? I mean, that was over 25 years ago. I told her that a dollar should be enough.

She kept trying to haggle with me. ?$10. C'mon, Dan. Two $5 dollar bills. It's worth it for what she went through."

I wouldn't budge. Finally, we woke Keisha up to go to the bathroom, and I noticed that the "Tooth Fairy" had left a $5 bill. I exchanged it for a $1 bill. After all, I don't want our daughter to get expectations for future visits from the Tooth Fairy.

Am I being unreasonable here? I mean, what's the going rate for a tooth these days? Help me out here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Men Rules

via email from Corky

We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note...these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday = sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...Really.

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, TRAINS, cars, trucks, tools or monster trucks.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.

1. Thank you for reading this; Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know men really don't mind that, it's like camping.

Yet Another Tooth

Keisha has had her top two front teeth loose for the past couple weeks. It's gotten to the point that they have moved away from their adjacent teeth and are "scrunched" close to each other. Well, until we got home from dinner tonight: Jennie helped pull one of them out.

Keisha looks so cute, with the one tooth hanging down in the front of her mouth! We've already talked about how I'm going to call the tooth fairy, who happens to have dog treats for those houses that have dogs. You see, Keisha is concerned that the tooth fairy won't want to come in because of our dog Jake. Keisha had even promised that she'd hold Jake while she slept.

Needless to say, she's been a little excited. Earlier, however, she was a bit lethargic, having had a cold and runny nose. This morning, for example, while we were taking Jake for a walk, as we waited for her bus to arrive, she sneezed and her nose leaked a bit, if you know what I mean.

Then her bus arrived, and the driver asked if I had a tissue, and I replied that I was going to ask her the same thing. She handed Keisha a paper towel instead.

This just in: Keisha showed me the tooth, and, as I held it, this conversation ensued:

"Daddy, you know what I was thinking? I was thinking that, tomorrow morning, you could give me a 'prise (i.e., surprise) because my tooth came out."

"You already have the tooth fairy coming out," I replied. "I don't think it works out that way."

"I know," she said, "but I was thinking you could get me a doll or something like that."

"I don't think so," I replied.
It sounds like she's trying to milk this moment for all she can get.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Bizarre Facts and Pearls of Wisdom

From the website:

"Beer is an ancient beverage that has been consumed as part of a balanced diet for centuries — it contains the goodness of sprouted grain extracted into a rich liquid and fermented to produce a nutritional 'liquid cereal' beverage."

At the Library

Greetings from the Dayton Metro Library's Main branch, located near the heart of downtown Dayton, Ohio USA!

I've always found it ironic that, situated diagonally from the library are two establishments with what I would think are diametrically opposing missions. One place is called Today's Adult Entertainment Center, and next door to it is Dayton Church Supply. I want to take a picture and post it to my photolog so that you can understand the juxtaposition.

Why all the wordiness today, Dan? you ask. I don't really know where it's coming from. I just had two awesome pints of Guinness draft from the Dublin Irish Pub. They were not consumed on an empty stomach, however. I ate a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Medium Fries, and Medium Coca Cola (light ice) from McDonald's beforehand. By the way, that would be a Double Royale with Cheese for my European readers (I'm reminded of the movie Pulp Fiction for some reason.).

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Work and Some Advice From Behind the Bar

I got home from work about an hour ago. I worked from 11 AM Saturday until we closed, which was after midnight. I'm tired.

I also see this as an answered prayer; I prayed to God to help us get more money, and, by working the extra hours today, we did.

In more general news, on the humorous side, I'll send you to this article on the Top 10 Worst Pick Up Lines. I've had the opportunity working at the bar to see a few people (mostly men) crash and burn as they tried to pick up on another person. The latest was last Monday or Tuesday. What a doozy!

Friday, November 21, 2003

JFK - Has It Really Been 40 Years?

"There can be no progress if people have no faith in tomorrow." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy, via QuotesBlog
He may have been killed 40 years ago today, but words like these still persist and are ever true today as they were when he spoke them.

The Humorous Side of ADHD

I don't remember if I ever had linked to this site before, so I'm linking to it now, in hopes that I'll not remember if I linked to it later. *smile*

Keep in Touch, No Matter What

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. -- Hebrews 3:12-13
I am so grateful to live in an era in which the technology exists that I can communicate with so many people across so many boundaries. I recently mentioned that I found a way to use my home PC and an internet connection to talk to deaf people. I just spent the last hour doing that, in fact:
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
-- Proverbs 11:25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. -- Hebrews 10:24
I find that, when I'm feeling down or lonely and I want to be cheered up, all I need to do is encourage someone else. I know that by doing that I myself get encouraged. I find great joy in seeing great qualities in others. I learn to appreciate them so much more.

I spoke with A., for example. She and her husband are expecting their third child in May. He's been working so much lately that they haven't been coming to church. She felt upset that I was yet another person calling to ask her why she hasn't been to church, and I can tell that it's been a sort of stumbling block in her relationships with others. I just told her that I miss being encouraged by her and the chance to encourage her as well. I mentioned to her that when one part of the body hurts, every part hurts with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). I said this not to be down on her, but just to convey my love for her and her family. I want to call her husband, who is hearing, this evening.

Then I called to talk to T. She and her husband recently had their second child, and I was fortunate to call when the baby was asleep. She, like I, tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, which means that it's not hard to tell that she was encouraged by my phone call. I asked her what I could pray for her about. She mentioned that she didn't have a Bible, and that she wanted to get one so that she could read and learn from God. We talked about some of the main points from last Sunday's message, and I shared with her a passage I read yesterday:
Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. -- Joshua 21:45
This passage clearly indicates that God keeps his promises. I have a difficult time in trusting God, and it's manifested itself in a host of dysfunctional ways, as regular readers of this blog can attest. As I shared this with her, I could tell she was encouraged by that, too.

I just want to keep in touch with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and others, too. Over 12 years ago, I read this book called Balcony People, by Joyce Landorf Heatherley. It's only a short volume, and I got the point after just reading the first couple of pages. From that time on, I have desired to be a Balcony Person to as many others as I can.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Library Blogging

Greetings from the Northtown-Shiloh Branch of the Dayton Metro Library!

Jennie, Keisha, and I are here -- the whole family (Johnson Family Home Page)! It's actually a great time to work on the computer; I'm the only one signed on.

I'm using this time to blog (Letters to God, Streams of Consciousness) and to update my reading list (Dan's Domain).

I'm also going to check my email. I am really glad I built a web page that contains the links I visit most often (Dan's Links).

Monday, November 17, 2003

Hanging with a Truck Driver

I spent the late morning with a truck driver who is a fellow brother in Christ. He is based in Orlando, Florida, but he travels around the country most of the time. It was great to get to know someone who I most know through internet conversations.

You Go, Bro!

I just received this email from my sister M. in Texas. It concerns my baby brother PJ.


I'm writing to let everyone know that P.J. has advanced rank in the Navy. This is an amazing task because he was 1 out of 17 out of the entire Navy
who took an exam to make it. He is now classified as an E4 and he is now a 3rd Class Petty Officer.

I'm sending him a congratulations card. If you would like to send him your thoughts please respond by Friday, so I can promptly mail out his card. I will print out what you send and put it in his card.

I'm so proud of him. He finally is where he wanted to be and is finally happy for a change.

Feel free to ask anyone else in our family to send along a message to him as well he does get lonely at times and I'm sure he'd love to here from everyone.

With love,

That's great news! I don't know if you ever read this, bro, but I am so glad to have you as a brother!

At the Fariborn Library

Greetings from the Fairborn branch of the Greene County Public Library!

Yep, I'm here in beautiful downtown Fairborn, Ohio USA. This library has changed so much since I last lived here six years ago. I'll be here for a little while until I head to work.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Newcomer's Guide to Dayton, Ohio USA

So, now you know where to look when you come to visit and relocate!

Bengals End Chiefs' Chance At Perfect Season

Oh, this is HUGE!!! Almost like the Browns tearing up the Cardinals today.

Who-dey? Who-dey? Who-dey think gonna beat 'dem Bengals?

Handing the Kansas City Chiefs their first defeat of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals are now tied for FIRST PLACE in their division with the languishing Baltimore Ravens.

I'm on the bandwagon this year, folks, and this is my team. I honestly would be satisfied with a winning season, but this could very well turn out to be more than that.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Your Home PC as a TTY Machine

I have a few friends from church who are deaf, and, because my daughter's hard of hearing, we've been able to meet many others in the deaf and hard of hearing community in Dayton, Ohio USA:

Usually when I call one of these deaf friends I have to do it through the Ohio Relay Service; I simply dial 711, and the relay attendant (a human) takes me through the process to call my friend's TTY machine. The relay individual then reads what the TTY user types and types what I say in return.

I've been wondering whether TTY software exists that I could somehow transform my home PC into a TTY machine. So I Googled and found a post about such a thing in the forum. The group over there recommends the service that provides. The great thing about it is that the service is free! You do have to register and download their software, but you can call a TTY user with it.

I have since tried it out on my three friends from church and found out that it works!

AT&T has a relay service via the internet that enables a deaf or speech-impaired person communicate with someone else without a TTY machine. Their website is

Family Time

I'm taking a little break to blog today, since Keisha has laid herself down for a nap. I helped her make her bed, and then she lined up all of her dolls in front of it, as if to play "class".

After I'd phoned a few friends, I noticed that she'd fallen asleep on her bedroom floor, holding her favorite doll. Moments like that are too precious! So, I called my wife at work to tell her.

Jennie had the day off yesterday, and she took Jake to the dog groomer. He came back looking like a new dog! "Handsome," Keisha said.

Also, a couple days ago, I noticed that Tinky and Binky had passed away. As I think about it, we never really committed in our hearts to take care of fish in a bowl. It was simply an emotional decision on my part to buy Keisha some fish.

It's cold here in Dayton. I looked at the online forecast, and it's going to stay in the 40s all day. Not much sun, either. It kinda makes me want to stay inside snuggled up in a warm blanket and a good book.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Seasonal Employment, Part 1

We've been slowly unpacking the rest of our stuff. I say 'we', but I really mean my wife Jennie. One of the items she found is fond reminder of a job I had at Christmastime while in college.

A clipping from the December 24, 1993 front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer contains a photo of me. The caption under the photo reads as follows:

Dan Johnson, Jr., a senior at the University of Cincinnati, helps Logan Abner, 2, put money into the [Salvation Army] kettle at the Madeira Kroger store Thursday. Johnson plays the saxophone to lure donations.
The photo was taken by Glenn Hartong, and it shows me bundled up, wearing a Santa cap, with my alto saxophone hanging from my neck, helping Logan put his coins into the kettle.

I remember that job fondly. I needed it to have money for rent and stuff. The folks at the Madeira Kroger warmly welcomed my music. Every so often, as I would get cold, I'd go inside for a break. The crew of cashiers would ask me to play "O Holy Night" for them. I did, and everyone applauded. I was grateful to be able to cheer them up.

I also recall being encouraged by one of my friends' mom. I actually knew her because she took a class with me in college. She lived in Madeira, and once, on her way out of the store, she handed me a cookie and cup of hot chocolate. How very thoughtful!

I read in this past Sunday's classifieds that the Salvation Army is looking for talented musicians to man their kettles again this year. It something to consider.

crossposted to Get That Job! - a job hunting and career development resource

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Movie Watching

I recently saw a couple of movies I'd never seen but had wanted too. Some people might consider them classics. Both happen to have Paul Newman in them.

Cool Hand Luke
"What we've got here is... failure to communicate." -- Captain, played by Strother Martin
It also has the part when Luke eats 50 hard-boiled eggs.

The Sting
Featuring Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. Great ragtime piano music, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Veterans Day 2003

A big salute and thank you to all the veterans, past and present!

Pill May Help People Overcome Fears

This is an interesting development.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Miami Valley Hospital - Support Groups

"Thousands of people find answers to questions like these through support groups offered free of charge by Miami Valley Hospital. By meeting and talking with others facing the same health problem or life situation, participants discover the strength to carry them through.

"For more information, call CareFinders at (937) 208-FIND (3463)."

Google Search: full-spectrum light

Good information for those whose mood is affected by changes in daylight hours (i.e., Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short).

I wonder if I can find these anywhere I buy other types of light bulbs.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Home from Work

I've been home from work for almost an hour now. It's almost 5 AM EST here in Dayton, Ohio USA. Frost is on the windshields and grass. It's a balmy 25 degrees Fahrenheit:

We were not that busy tonight. I found myself, during part of my shift, feeling down and wanting to go home. I simultaneously feel that yesterday (Friday) was one of the worst and one of the best days I've had.

I'm reminded of my need to take my medicine and head to bed. I've been picking at the scabs on my left foot and elsewhere. My left foot, near my ankle, feels very raw.

Anyhow, I also am realizing that business at the hotel is very seasonal, and as we head toward the holidays, it also means we head toward a slow time. I'm wondering if I should get another job, maybe one closer to home.

Also, it looks like we're going to have my Mom's car as our primary mode of transportation. The amount of money needed to reinstate the loan we have on our car is something we cannot afford right now. Working out the logistics for Jennie and I, when we both work on the same day, presents a bit of a challenge. I was thinking about this as I drove home.

I need to get to bed. The longer I stay up, the more scabs I'm finding to pick open.

Good night.

Friday, November 07, 2003

An Overnight Visit From the Repo Man

As Jennie left the apartment to go to work this morning, she discovered that our car was missing! We contacted our insurance company, who, by the way, told us that our insurance had been cancelled. Yet they started a claim for us.

We contacted the police department, and they told us our car had been repossessed. So Jennie is staying home from work today while we figure out what we're going to do. We've already contacted the creditor and left a message with their "reinstatement" department. So, now it's our turn to wait for the return phone call.

This is a good exercise and overall lesson for us. I can see that.

To deal with the emotional stress of this situation, I have reopened some existing scabs, and I realized that it's been my typical method of dealing with it. I either try to avoid the stressful situations altogether, or I deal with it by creating physical pain. The physical pain is something I'm better at controlling than the emotional pain.

I'm glad that I'm realizing this. I'm also glad that Jennie is here so that we can work together as a team. One thing we've realized is that communication is a weakness in our marriage; there have been a lot of assumptions and expectations that have been unrealistic or, better yet, not made known.

I pray to realize the strength and power I have to deal with the emotional stress in a constructive manner. I pray to be able to communicate my thoughts and feelings openly, constructively.

I'm also grateful for the medication and therapy. I can tell I've been very distracted this morning, and it's helpful not only to realize this, but also to have someone else around to help reign me in.

Please keep praying for us!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

When Emotional Pain Becomes Physical: Exploring My Self-Injury Behavior

"A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step." -- Chinese Proverb, via QuotesBlog

A quick glance here and you will no doubt realize that this is a long post. It’s four pages on my word processor at home. I haven’t really tried to make it sound organized; it’s been mostly an outpouring of my heart. Just so you know, it’s a pretty heavy post. Note: the text in this post may contain graphic descriptions of self-injury. Please use caution when reading. Read on, if you so desire. It does get better at the end. Here we go...

I’ve been reading through this book entitled Cutting: Understanding & Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron. It’s causing me to think about my own behavior: where it comes from and how I can overcome it. Actually, that’s the reason why I checked the book out from the library: to help me to overcome the self-mutilation.

I keep trying to remember when I started to self-injure. I think the first time I saw it was when I was about six or seven years old. I was sitting on the front porch with a girl in the neighborhood. I think her parents, or maybe just her mom, was inside with my mom. I saw her pick at a scab on her arm. I don’t remember anything else about that moment. I felt a little bit of respect for her because she was older than I.

My mom and dad were separated when I was six years old. My sister and I would hear them argue, and I remember that it hurt me deeply to see Mom and Dad so mad at each other. I remember, some time later, actually seeing my Dad throw my Mom down the stairs. She wound up wearing a neck brace for some time after that.

A young child hasn’t the ability to cope with his parents’ fallibility. I sure wasn’t. My entire feelings of security were threatened by this separation and the ensuing divorce. My Dad was an alcoholic and my Mom was yet undiagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mom came to rely on me for emotional support, as I grew older.

I know now that it’s not supposed to happen that way. Children are supposed to get a sense of protection and security from the authority that parents have. I don’t recall having that from either my mom or dad. Mom always tried so hard not to disparage Dad in front of my sister and me. We lived with her, and we would visit Dad on the weekends.

I guess I naturally began to hate what was going on. I envied friends whose parents were still together, longing for the family I didn’t have. Yet in my mind, I felt that Mom and Dad could do no wrong. After all, they’re Mom and Dad.

I guess that’s when I started to turn my anger inward. I have always had a hard time expressing anger outwardly.

When I was 15 years old, my sister and I spent the summer in Texas with my Mom. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but somehow I got into such a heated argument with my mom that I ran away for a little while. I was so upset with her, and I didn’t know how to handle my feelings, so I walked out of her house.

I wound up in a Catholic church building near the neighborhood. I was praying about what was going on, and I resolved to head back home. Mom sat me down, and I tried so hard to stay angry with her, yet as she laid into me verbally, I saw that what she was saying was right. Since that time, Mom and I have been close.

Yet I know that there are moments with her and also with Dad that I don’t feel comfortable expressing anger. In a way, I suppose that I have no right to be angry. I guess that’s how it feels. And so I turn inward.

I remember one incident, as a teenager, living with my Dad and stepmother. I’d been studying, and I suppose that I’d gotten frustrated at something with it. I started scratching my face. I don’t really remember why. It started to feel “good,” and I continued to scratch. Eventually, I used all the fingers on both hands, and I scratched my face until I’d broken skin.

My room was downstairs, and I had a separate bathroom, too. I remember going to the bathroom to wash my face off, to try to hide what I’d just done. Yet, as I went to the dinner table, it was obvious. I don’t really remember what I told Dad and June.

The next day at school, people were asking me, joking with me, that I’d lost a fight with a cat. I went along with it; too ashamed to tell them what really happened.

I guess that’s a big thing about the self-mutilating behavior, too: shame. I’d have to say I feel a lot of shame right now for the recent behavior. I’ve often had a hard time seeing my faults, but maybe it was just a way of not having to deal with the pain of my own fallibility.

What I’m trying to say is this: I eventually came to realize that I had to fend for myself. I couldn’t really trust my parents and stepparents enough to really talk with them about how I was feeling. I found self-worth in things I knew I could do well; namely, schoolwork and, later on, playing the saxophone. I was pretty confident that I could do these things well and get praise for it, so I began to rely on my own strength. And as others saw me do these things well, I felt good, too.

I would take any criticism really hard; so hard, that, pretty soon people stopped trying to relate to me. They felt that they had to handle me with “kid gloves,” which only made me feel worse.

At no time did it occur to anyone that I needed help. On the outside everything looked normal. I was, after all, a clean-cut, high-achieving student. “Stay the way you are and you’ll go far” was a common phrase other classmates would write in my yearbooks.

After my first year of college, the time came for me to get a co-op job with a company who did work related to my field of study. I saw this as a great opportunity for me to move away from home for a little while, and I found such a job.

I had never been out on my own before, so my natural instincts took over. I did a pretty good job taking care of myself. Yet when I received a letter from my stepmother during that time that basically told me that I was going to need to find a place of my own when it was time for me to head back to school, I felt crushed. I felt like they didn’t want me around. Looking back, I can see that in general it was a good thing. At the time I felt abandoned, however.

So I continued to trust in my own abilities to fend for myself, and I got frustrated with myself when I failed. I took the frustrations out on myself. I had such high personal standards that when I didn’t reach them, I felt more and more inadequate.

I can see that this is how the perfectionism exhibited itself. It was prevalent long before I moved out on my own, however. I think it started when I was much younger, after my folks had gotten divorced.

As I see these written words, I cannot help but feel grateful to God. He has shown me through his word that I don’t need to be perfect. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He knows how I’m made; he knows me better than anyone else. Jesus was perfect, and his perfection is all I need.

I am realizing how important God’s grace to me is. Words like “lavished”, “freely-given”, “overflowing” mean so much to me in this context. I need help remembering all of this.

I realized this morning that it’s Satan who wants me to stay mired in the feelings of inadequacy. It’s Satan who’s been telling me all these lies about myself. I’ve found myself wanting to believe them.

If there could be one single thing I could ask for, spiritually, it would be this: to be able to trust God and others.

I struggle with trust. I’m afraid of opening myself up to others because I don’t want to be hurt. I resort to self-mutilating behavior because of the hurts I’ve experienced in the past from trusting others.

I’ve written these things here mainly to help myself, but I realize I’m not writing this in a vacuum. It helps for others to know me a little better, and perhaps it will help someone else, too. With that in mind, I’d like to find a support group of others who deal with the same things as I.

This passage from 1 John 1:5-10 (emphasis added) also helps:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
These are some of the many promises of God for me to hold onto.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Depressing Day in the Journey

I've had a rough day. I came home from work last night and got on the computer. I was on the computer for three hours, and during that time I took my shoes and socks off and began scratching my left foot and ankle. I scratched really hard, breaking skin. At the time it didn't hurt much, but, as the day progressed, it has.

I finally went to bed at around 5 AM this morning, taking the Lexapro, the antidepressant which is supposed to set my brain up with more seratonin. It's the seratonin that is supposed to help me with the depression and self-injurious tendencies.

I slept for a few hours before Keisha woke up to get ready for a morning doctor's appointment. Jennie had today off, so she got Keisha ready. I fell back to sleep until Jennie returned home, a little after noon. I took Jake for a walk.

I heard from Jennie that the pediatrician has concluded that Keisha has the weight of a 14 year old and the height of an 8 year old. She's 112 pounds and a little over 4 feet tall. She's only 6 years old.

As I began to realize that I've been responsible for my daughter's physical condition, I got depressed. I realize that if we continue living how we've been living, she'll have a lot of health problems in the future. I feel like I could be killing my own daughter if I don't do something.

I spent a little time remembering how she was as an infant, toddler, and younger girl. She's already getting teased by other kids about her weight.

Jennie mentioned that her pediatrician wants us to meet with a nutritionist soon. I know that we'll have to make some lifestyle changes, and it feels overwhelming right now.

Also, we've been getting daily phone calls from the company we have our car loan with. We haven't made a payment in a few months. They're talking about pursuing "recovery action". I know I need to call them, but I don't really know what to say.

I feel a little down at how much my life has changed. In a way, I long for the time when work was more steady, we could pay our bills, and life seemed a lot more manageable.

I feel like I just want to retreat into a cocoon and stay there until spring.

Check E-mail When You Want

I know I've spent so much time on the computer checking email that I've lost productivity. This article (thanks, Ian, for the link!) provides some help on how to take control of your e-mail in a healthy way.

Mind Your P's and Q's

From the "Learn Something New Every Day" department:

To "mind your P's and Q's" refers to English drinks being served in pints and quarts. In older times, bartenders would advise a customer to mind their own pints and quarts when they were becoming unmanageable.
And now you know.

Source: BARTENDER Magazine - Fun Trivia

The Matrix: Revolutions @

Enter your zip code to find a theater in your area.

Those 80's Lyrics

Thanks to KateSpot for the link!

Monday, November 03, 2003

Man and His Best Friend

Man and his best friend are quite alike. This is something I've realized when I've taken our dog Jake for walks.

I like to surf the internet, looking for interesting websites here and there. If I find one that's particularly interesting, then I may stay there for awhile to take it in. If it is really interesting, then I will bookmark it or add it to my blog.

Jake enjoys surveying the area where I take him for his walk. He puts his head to the ground and sniffs around. Sometimes he finds something really interesting, and he stays there for awhile. Then he has his own way of "marking his spot", if you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I should be in bed, asleep

... but I had to tell you about this...

I got home from work about 45 minutes ago. It wasn't a crazy night, but it was busy enough for me. There was one moment when I got into a fight with a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri over whipped cream, and it won. We don't have the aerosol whipped cream; instead, we have the stuff that bakers use. I struggled to squeeze it out and wound up knocking the glass over. Fortunately, the glass didn't break. It was just a big mess for a little while.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

President's Nov. 1 2003 Radio Address to the Nation

This transcript is good and worth reading, unless you happened to hear it already. Even so, it's still a good read.

I Have a Common Last Name

A long time ago, somewhere in Sweden, there was a man who was the son of another man named John. Let's say his name was Ivan. Perhaps there were several Ivans in his neighborhood. It became necessary to distinguish which Ivan he was. So he added some form of "Johnson" to his name and became Ivan Johnson, or some variant of that.

Whether it was really in Sweden or somewhere else, I've come to realize that by doing research on the origin of my last name won't get me very far. I only have to look in the local phone book to see how many "Johnsons" there are. I'm sure that my great-grandfather Ivan from Sweden probably changed his name somewhere between the time when he lived in Sweden and the time when he arrived at Ellis Island, in New York near the turn of the 20th century.

I've certainly found several variants myself: Johannsen, Johanssen, Johanson, and so on.

I'm not surprised that there are many other "Dan Johnson's" on the Internet.

Bengal's receiver fined for throat slash

I wish someone could help me understand the problem with a player celebrating that he made a touchdown. Is it me or is the NFL unneccesarily looking for ways to add to its money coffers?

Fighting Spyware

I'm disgusted that there are individuals and organizations in the Internet world that can place programs, etc., on my computer without my knowing it. I revised the Privacy settings in IE6 so that I get prompted whether to accept a cookie from a website or not.

In addition, I've used Ad-Aware, which scans the computer, alerts you when it uncovers spyware, and gives you the ability to remove it. It might also make you a sandwich, but I haven't figured out how yet. (*wink*)