Derek Johnson Muses

It is my daily goal to make everyone around me better people, thanks be to God.

The Last Days of Winter. Ever.

Not This Again

Not This Again

I hated it when it snowed last Saturday, even though it saved me the trouble of going to Lincoln and fighting the Saturday rush at Menards for a drainage implement I ordered off of Amazon anyway. I can’t help it: I want to wear my shorts the second 55 degrees hits.

I’m just waiting until I can till up new ground. Waiting until I can stop running the heat. Waiting until I can drink a beer on my front deck.

Waiting.

Kartephose

Sideways

Sideways

I had been thinking for a long time about what to write about with the picture above. At first I thought back to when high school, through two-and-a-half years of youth group, the time spent maturing on our little acreage west of Seward. No story came to mind.

Then I tried to think of a quality, like sadness or control. No idea presented itself. Trends around Seward? Nothing. Stuff at church? I’d use a different photo for that, if I had anything.

Back when I started this blog, someone asked me what the theme of it was. Defiantly, I told her I didn’t need a theme. Now, I realize if I had come up with an answer to that question, I might not be as stuck as I am now.

In case you are curious, the photo above was taken in Clearwater, Nebraska, west of North Platte a ways. The reason it is crooked is, at the time, I didn’t feel like slowing down or stop, and decided to wing a photo. Thus a distorted perspective.

Pretty Grain Tower in Northwest Iowa

Full

Full

The grain tower above is somewhere in northwest Iowa, on the diagonal highway that runs from Storm Lake to the I-29-US Highway 30 interchange. It’s backlight because I drove past that area in the early evening sometime last August, heading for a nice dinner in Omaha, hoping to get back to Seward before 9 PM.

Last summer had too many nights were I drove until it was almost dark. Over the last two years, I felt like I told the story of my life on the road for Blue River, and there wasn’t anything new I could find about that those little family restaurants in central Illinois. It’s also why I’m going to take a short vacation this spring before I really get busy. I need perspective.

But hey, there were some good photos right?

Snow Falls

DSCN9967

Piles upon piles

Snow drives me crazy. From the multiple layers required just to go outside, to the shoveling, to the reduced outside time, snow creates so much extra angst. And since my place doesn’t have an attached garage, even getting to my car becomes an adventure.

But I think snow really helps culture. You get perspective when it snows and realize that stuff outside your control sometimes runs your life. Yes, it’s annoying and sometimes conducive to the spread of disease, but snow has taught me a lot of patience.

So when New York City bans people from leaving their homes during a snow storm or Seward cancels Monday school at noon on Sunday, I roll my eyes. What can we do?

Much a Tweet about Nothing

20140129-095754.jpg

While I didn’t celebrate Bo Pelini getting fired as Nebraska’s head coach, it did wonders for me on Twitter. All through the fall, I was around 150-160 followers and gaining 2-3 followers a week. The first 24 hours after Pelini was fired I added around ten followers, and now I have 211 followers, gaining around 3-5 every week.

In a limited sense, all those extra followers ramp up the pressure. I’m more consciousess of when and how often I tweet. I pre-write a lot of them, and put out more pictures and links. One night, I checked my phone before I went to bed, thinking that I had tweeted too little when I had in fact tweeted 33 times that day. When I think about that many separate thoughts, I wonder if I should be putting that time into writing a book instead!

Always looking over your sholder

Always looking over your sholder

Squash Soup.

20150120-172422-62662014.jpg

The Crookneck Squash I grew last year tends to be a lot of work. I have to clean off its thick skin, and beneath that skin is minimal edible substance. Suffice to say I’ll be planting another variety this coming spring, but I still have a ton of squash I froze to deal with.

So I went though a couple rounds of soup making with said squash. First, I decided to use the blender to cut the squash into little pieces. I had tried using the blender a few times before and it worked so well. So I cooked made broth seasoned with ground mustard, sage, and ginger and just dumped the squash in the blender.

20150120-172450-62690511.jpg

The results were-adequate. The soup was good for eating turkey, but then I realized that I could just try cooking the soup on the stove (like 95% of all soups) and it just might be less grainy.

I did that, and the next batch was smaller but smoother. Squash soup maybe bland but it fits the bill.

Pretty windows

20150109-112642-41202850.jpg

Windows like my front window are supposed to be like traps for suburbanites. (Ok, that’s a little too Revolutionary Road.) But it’s odd, going from the small kitchen window of my old place to my new big living room picture window that looks out at the mild traffic on First Street.

It’s harder in the winter when the snow and low temps keep you. I pace the floors and watch tv, forgetting that I’ll be mowing and tending to the outside once the sun comes. But then there’s a mid-January thaw and it’s all good.

Future Once Happened Here

 

20150114-182926-66566777.jpg

A tragedy has befallen Seward. Something terrible has happened in our fair city, so irreversibly terrible I won’t recover.

Dollar General has built a stand-alone store south of town and vacated their storefront downtown. That location had a Ben Franklin store in it until I was in high school, and right after it closed the Dollar General came in. And now, the General Store of Seward sits alone.

Ok, I’m being over-dramatic. Dollar General would not have built a stand-alone store if it wasn’t able to provide more products and better products. But that location has had a store inside it all off my life. And now it sits alone, who knows for how long. Maybe it will become office space, but that is going to take a lot of work.

20150114-183011-66611124.jpg

Since I moved, I’ve walked a lot to that store to pick up the occasional Gatorade or toiletry. I can still go to Sun Mart (sorry Mike) to pick up some of that stuff, but I’ll miss that store. That small, cramped, rolling floor store, with the cheap Husker gear in the window and the seasonal items by the counter. I hope they still bring out the Halloween candy in August at the new location.

Not-so Missed

The foresight

The Foresight

My headphones are missing. A few years ago, I would have overturned every couch cushion, or even cleaned my room in fervor to find them. Now, I don’t do that. I go about my business knowing they’ll turn up in a day or a week of whenever they do. Last time I found them strewn on the lawn outside. I’ll make due with my half-broken headphones until I find the others.

The Little Space

DSCN0262

Driveway is always there.

I met with a personal adviser on an ongoing basis. In these meetings, I detail my daily interactions in an effort to change my behaviors.

These conversations take me to daily places. Every time I encounter a decision, there is a small space in my head where two options arise. First option, the bad decisions I always make. After the fact, I will tell myself that I didn’t have any self-control. I did what I always did, and I can’t say the right thing. I can’t say the positive thing. I can’t make it about the other, and not about me.

Then there’s the right option. When it comes into my head, I just have to take it. Yes, usually it takes a bit more effort, but I always pose the question: do I really want to stay down in the dumps, blaming myself all the time? Do I really want to be lonely, and say that it was someone else’s fault? Or do I go out, and find the places in the world where I can make a difference?

Still

Junker...

Junker…

That’s what my half bedroom looked like last year. Here’s what it looks like this year.

Junker Part 2...

Junker Part 2…

So yes some new furniture and the photos have been hung in rooms I work in, but no real change. The other day, I went into my closet-room to hang clear plastic insulation over the window, groping over every box on the floor.

I could throw all that paper away. I don’t. Needless to say, I don’t have a woman in my life.

The Big Silence

The leaves collect the ground outside. It’s a glorious furnace now, but from December until April, the coloring of the earth goes silent. Oh well. At least I don’t have to mow.

20141021-151929-55169048.jpg

Wielding Tracks

Most of our lives pass with nothing remarkable happening, just days going by while we are none the wiser. If we slow down to appreciate things, we lose opportunities. If we bury ourselves in opportunities, we lose perspectives. Our personalities form through actions we don’t even realize we take.

Down

Down

You forget so much in life. The only knowledge in our head is what you need to make sense of your current situation. If that includes your history, so be it. It’s this silence that makes the big moments so memorable. You can pass years of your life doing the same thing every single day, and yet, something big and unexpected can be around the corner.

Or you can just lead a pleasant, stable life.

Lakeside...

Lakeside…

Limning the Psyche

The web site of Mark Yarhouse

GMO Free Girl

Changing The Way You Eat One Bite At A Time

StarboCho

Dragon Slaying: from the Lutheran Perspective

The First Premise

Looking at all things through suffering and the Cross

Final Mystery

"The final mystery is oneself" - Oscar Wilde

Biking with Coleman

Traversing North America by Bicycle

Christian in America

The blog of Matthew Tuininga

Cassie Moore

Adventures in the Mundane

For the Love of Food

...because a girl's gotta eat

An Illustrated Parsonage Life

A new pastor's wife writes about church, home, children, and life's general absurdities and mishaps.

Musings of a Country Parson

Just another small town preacher

Oratio + Meditatio + Tentatio

A theologian's pressure cooker.

Brent Kuhlman's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Peruse and Muse

The musings of a student teacher

Gamekeeping

Ensuring young baby boomers thrive in today's workforce

St. Matthew Lutheran Church

Bonne Terre, Missouri

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 168 other followers

%d bloggers like this: