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Thursday, June 29, 2006

10 random things you might not know about me

1. I do not like nuts in my chocolate desserts. Yuck, why would I want to ruin them?
2. I cannot whistle a tune but dearly wish I could. My dad can brilliantly.
3. I prefer to write in pen, not pencil.
4. When reading fiction, I only read one book at a time. But when reading non-fiction, I prefer to read more than one non-fiction book at a time. Hmmm.
5. I don't hate the color pink as much as I used to, but I still don't really like it. I attribute this lessening of hatred to the fact that my niece loves pink.
6. After listening to NPR lately, I now understand a lot more Mallard Fillmore cartoons.
7. One of my favorite places to think is on the steps of the Kaysville Tabernacle. If only it wasn't so hot.
8. I wish I was as witty and charming as a literary character: Elizabeth Bennet.
9. I keep a list of books that I've read.
10. I like to read the letters to the editor that are in the newspaper each day.

A sad "biblio-death"

This week is the last that the Kaysville City Library is open. After five and a half years of working there, tomorrow is my last day. I thought I would take some before and after pictures of the library. This week, we packed up most of the books on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. After July 1st, it will be under the control of the Davis County Library system. They plan a huge renovation that will hopefully be finished around August 15th (that is if the contractors are all on time.) I won't be working there when it re-opens.

This is a view from my desk to the front of the library. It was taken last week. Below is the view is the view from my desk to the front of the library on Wednesday, June 28th.

The next two pictures are of the children's section. A lovely place where kids can sit at a little table and read books. It also has some fun stuffed animals. This was taken last week.

Below is the children's section as of Thursday, June 29th. We had a few kids come in today with their parents, who didn't realize that we were closing this week. The look of horror of their tiny faces was heartbreaking.

It really is the saddest thing you have ever seen. Well, perhaps not for you, dear readers. But for a librarian, it is a most pathetic sight. I am not looking forward to tomorrow. Maybe I will post some more pictures later.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Liberty Park and Strangers

On Friday I went to a birthday party at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. I only knew a few people there so it was strange and nice at the same time. It was strange because I only knew a few people, but nice because none of those people knew anything about me. They couldn't see any emotional baggage or know any issues that I am having in my life. It was like a clean slate. Maybe that is why I like talking to strangers so much. They don't know how much losing my job at the library is killing me or that I sometimes sing to myself, but don't realize it until someone points it out to me.
Anyway, back to the party. I hadn't been to Liberty Park in a long time. It is really nice. I would recommend going to anyone who is reading this. The only down side was the bathrooms. Sadly, park bathrooms will never be truly clean. When it started to get dark, we all relocated to a nearby house. That is where I took this cute picture of John and Ryan. Ryan (on the right) is my best friend. I have known John for the couple of months and think he is awesome. I am Ryan's best "girl" friend and John is Ryan's best "guy" friend. I think that it's nice that we share. :)

By the way, I saw an excellent movie this past week. It is a Scottish movie called "Dear Frankie." It is about a boy, his mother, and their search for a father. There is no violence and only one part with a little language. It took me me a while to find it but I finally found it at the Hollywood Video in Layton. I would recommend it to everyone.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"O Captain, my captain"

O Captain, my Captain
by Walt Whitman

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

This is one of my favorite poems. I'm not sure why I have put it on the blog today. I guess spending so much time in a library has turned my mind to more literary things. Whitman wrote it to honor Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


When I started this blog, I had thought that it would only be about what is currently happening in my life. With this entry, that is not true. While showing my blog to someone at work, they commented that I was lucky to have two nieces and two nephews. I quickly responded that I have three nephews, though only two are currently living. After much thought on that comment, I would like to write a blog about the nephew that has only been briefly mentioned on this blog, Caleb.
Caleb Noel was born on May 5th, 2004 in Provo, Utah. Despite being taken by emergency c-section, he was a seemingly healthy and happy baby. Both my brother and his wife continued in their schooling at BYU after he was born. I, along with my mother, went down to visit. As you can see by the picture of the two of us, he was a cuddly baby. (Also, I used to be a little skinnier :) This little college family was poor but happy in their student housing. After a few months, Caleb's head seemed a little big for his body size. We, in true Johnsen fashion, just laughed it off. (We tend to make jokes about each others differences.)
But by October, Alison was noticing other things that worried her. She took Caleb to the clinic doctor at BYU, who told her not to worry. She took Caleb to another doctor who gave her the advice to go to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. A CT scan revealed a brain tumor that was blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. On October 27, 2004, our little man had surgery to remove the tumor. The cells were found to be malignant (a dreaded word that mean cancer.) In the beginning of November of 2004, the doctors put in a Broviac line into his chest for the administration of drugs and such, and a shunt in his skull to drain off fluid. In the middle of November chemotherapy began. It was given to him through the central line in his chest. While Caleb was in the hospital, the Johnsen/Lowe/Roberts families rallied. Determined to not let Caleb spend a night alone in the hospital, we took turns sleeping in the converting sleeper-chair in his room. Jordan and Alison became exhausted, eventually withdrawing from their classes to spend time with their baby boy. Through it all, they were pillars of grace. Their strength became our own. I stayed the night with Caleb a few times and visited him when I could. I even made a shirt that read "Aunt" so that the hospital staff would be able to know who I was when I slept over. When he would awaken in the night or when he finally awoke in the morning, I would sing to him. I always felt that it was a bond between us. He would look into my eyes and I would smile and sing. Eventually, a feeding tube was inserted into his nose. He required a transfusion. In the beginning of December, he began having seizures. His parents decided that it would be best to move up with my parents. Our family, along with Alison's, moved them up after repainting and carpeting the basement. We managed to get the entire basement painted in a few days after members of the ward showed up to help. Caleb got to come home for a little while at Christmas but was soon back in the hospital. After another surgery and a stay in the intensive care unit, my sweet nephew past into the next life. He died on December 31, 2004.
I was at work at the time. I was sitting there, annoyed that I had to work on New Years Eve instead of being with my family or friends. I was worried about Caleb, so I called the hospital. I moved into a room so that I could talk alone without bothering my co-workers. Jordan answered the phone and told me that Caleb had died. After hanging up, I cried like I have never cried before. I had always thought that when people cried outloud and in an almost yelling way that they werejust beinging dramatic. I was wrong. My pain came pouring out of me and I couldn't have cried softly if my life had depended upon it. I sobbed on the floor of the library and thought my heart would break. I went home, then to the hospital to say goodbye. To this day, there are still songs I cannot sing outloud because they remind me of him. Caleb's funeral was a few days later.
I was angry with my Heavenly Father for a long while after that. How dare he take my beautiful nephew and leave the rest of us to grieve his passing. After a while I realized that it was not God's will to hurt me. Bad things happen that cannot be changed. It is no one's fault. As hard as it was, I wouldn't take away one moment of knowing Caleb. He taught me about love, patience, service, Christ-like attitudes, suffering, and the strength of people in times of great adversity. He would have been two years old this past May. I still think of him often, especially with the birth of the newest members of our family. If love could have saved him, he would have lived forever.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


n 1) a feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realized; 2) an act (or failure to act) that disappoints someone.
After having a conversation with a friend this weekend, I realized that I was disappointed without even realizing that I had expectations. It gave me pause. In order to be disappointed, one must have expectations. Was I really disappointed in the actions of my friend or was I disappointed in my expectations? Then I wondered: was I disappointed that my expectations for this person were too low or too high? To me, the expectations of acceptable behavior for this person were fairly low, or at least I had thought they were low. But now I think perhaps they might have been too high in the situation. Who am I to say what is acceptable behavior. Just because I abhor certain behavior doesn't necessarily mean that a behavior isn't right for others. Perhaps I shouldn't be holding people up to the same level of standards as I have. Hmm. Something to think about. Hopefully I hid my disappointment well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sidney and Wyatt

My oldest brother has two children. His oldest is a daughter named Sidney. She is five and will turn six at the end of July. She is smaller than most kids her age but she is very smart and outgoing. Unfortunately, Sidney seems to have inherited a stubborn streak which I also have. This picture is of my brother and Sidney sledding this last winter. It took my brother and sister-in-law a while to have her. She was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. I was going through a hard time in my life when she was born. Spending time with her helped me through it. Her sweet innocence and happiness still amazes me. My mom babysits Sidney almost every Wednesday after she gets out of Kindergarten so I get to see her for a few hours every week. She considers me one of her best friends. I can't express how much I love her.
This last April her little brother was born. They are five years apart. Wyatt was born on April 1st of this year. Here is a picture of him sleeping my his Daddy's chest. At 2 and a half monthes, he smiles and has laughed on more than one occasion. He is so precious to our family.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The "Triumph of evil" quote

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke, (1729-1797)

I like this quote. Everytime I see a picture of a Nazi, I think of this quote. How many of Germany's non-military citizens just turned their backs on what was happening? I do not know why this just popped into my head. I guess it is because I have had a bad cold for the last two days. I have been stuck in bed for two days and am losing my mind. I am sick of looking at my room or a laptop screen. I have been trying to read but my brain will not focus. I hope this post makes sense. Right now I am reading "Flirting with Pride and Prejudice," which is a book of critical essays about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Sadly, I am not understanding a lot of what I am reading. Maybe I will re-read it tomorrow.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My newest nephew


I was rushing around on Sunday morning, getting ready for church, when my brother Jordan called. My sister-in-law, Alison, had given birth to a baby boy. At 8 lbs 60z and 21 and 1/2 inches long, Isaac Ellis is doing well. After the birth of Lauren yesterday, we didn't expect another birth for another couple of days. What a wonderful suprise. We went to go see Alison, Jordan, and the newest arrival tonight after going down to Salt Lake to see Jen, John, and Lauren. Besides church, this is the way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
To the right is a picture of me and my newest nephew. Behind us is my brother relaxing. I am so happy for my brother and sister-in-law. After the death of their first child, Caleb, I cannot express how wonderful it is to welcome a new baby to their, and our, family. I should be going to bed now. I have to be at work 8 am to open the library, then work until 9 pm. I am getting very tired of working 50 hours a week. Hopefully, my schedule will change in July and I will get to spend some quality time with my newest niece and nephew.

My new niece

My new niece

My new niece, Lauren Noele, was born on June 10th, at 9:30 am. At 8lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long, she just wanted to get out. My sister, Jen, had to have a c-section after her water broke around 6 am. Jen's husband, John, got her to the hospital. Apparently, Lauren was breech with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Hmm, giving us trouble already. I hope she isn't taking after her trouble-maker of an aunt (me.) Mom and I went to the hospital to see them for a while and dad met us there with his camera. This is one of many pictures that was taken of our little beauty.

I love my new niece. It is amazing how much I adore my nieces and nephews. I now have two nieces and two nephews, with another nephew due any day now. I will have to post pictures of them some day. All of them make me want to keep breathing each day, no matter how hard life gets. Just looking at any of them brings a smile to my face. Well, I should probably go to bed. I have been having a hard time sleeping lately. Since I have to get up for churchtomorrow, maybe I should try to sleep. Welcome to the world Lauren!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hospital (an original poem)

by Jess, 2002

White walls; paper thin sheets, sterile.
Aliens with their language speak:
"MRI, EKG, CAT Scan"
Scenes familiar on tv shows but not in real life.

Pokes, prods, does this hurt?
"Time for medicine; just beep if you need me...
The doctor will see you know."
Clock ticks-breathe, clock ticks-breathe

Awaiting answers, beg for relief
Hurry up and wait. "Nothing's a hundred percent."
This won't be resolved in an hour plus commercials
Clock ticks-breathe, clock ticks-breathe

"HMO, X-Ray, CHEMO" - aliens again
Take me away to a hazy, angry place
Rain embraces me like a drunken stranger
No yellow walls, little blankets, still sterile.

"No man is an island" (not even me)

"No man is an Island"

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
-John Donne

I feel like an island sometimes. Alone; in the middle of a sea of confusion. I've decided that it is important to remain connected to those around you.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Optic Nerve Drusen

Optic Nerve Drusen

This is a picture of my eyes. I have Optic Nerve Drusen. Oddly enough, I think it is very pretty how my eyes are slowly becoming calcified. I recently read a blog that a young man wrote about his sister who was just diagnosed with Optic Nerve Drusen. He was wondering if anyone had pictures of it. I do.
In December of 2002, I started having horrible migraine headaches. I thought that maybe I needed glasses because my eyesight had become slightly fuzzy. I went to my optomitrist. He did a bunch of tests, then gave me the name of something that he thought I was suffering from. It was a long and scary name that I immediately researched. (The problems with being a librarian.) It turned out that it was a type of brain tumor. Since my optomitrist had made an appointment for me at the Moran Eye Center, I decided to try to keep this bad news to myself. For days I thought I might have a brain tumor. When I had my hours-long appointment at the Moran Eye Center in January of 2003, I was told that I have a genetic disorder called Optic Nerve Drusen. It means that my optic nerves are slowly calcifying. One day they will be solid and I will go blind. Hopefully this will not happen for another fifty or sixty years since I am only in my 20's. Still, I think this picture of my optic nerves is pretty.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My first blog

Well, I have never had a blog before so I hope this works. I was inspired by my brothers. One, Jeremy, has had a blog for his family for over a year. Another brother, Jordan, started a blog just last month. What can I say, I guess I was feeling left out.