Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to call this a journal.

Christmas 2013, And the cat came back the very next day.

His name is Mr. Cheddar Cheese. Born & bred in the back of a barn right here on Cedar Hill Farm in Rocky’s stall. Cheddar is kinda cheesy smellin’ and the cat has attitude and a whole lotta fur. He hit the road when he was 2. I asked the neighbors, and rumor has it the cat’s been cavorting with several fancy felines the past 4 years. Apparently he moved in at a place nearer the river for a spell. Probably took a liking to fishing, he often smelled like a fish. I tried to keep him home, even my offer of fresh scrambled eggs every morning took a backseat to the ramblings of Mr Cheddar Cheese. And I missed him with aplomb. It was a wild thing to witness, a cat playing in the sprinkler or pouncing on me as I picked beans, or both. So 4 years later at Christmas Cheddar came back. And I will take this as an opportunity to make more eggs, because it looks like he brought his wife with, so there could be a few Cheddar Jr’s soon. I’ll keep you posted….

By Jill Johnson
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night. Just like Snoopy, I have my eyes to the sky as I witness huge dark thunderheads of impending tornadic force roar in authority to obscure comparatively puny fireworks below. In a phenomenal display of power, subsequent lightning bolts make a boisterous entrance that is sending hosts of unprepared patriots scurrying to find shelter, covering their heads, ducking like ducks. Any remaining fireworks and patriot acts peter out quickly. “It’s not nice to blow things up in my sky!” Mother nature demands, “and if that’s not enough of a message, I’ll blow your toupees off.” “Hooray for Independence Day, what a grand finale!” I say.

Anyone who was listening to the weather today knew this storm was brewing, and brewing hot. It was hot, so hot today. “How hot?” you ask. Hotter than a pistol I tell ya. Sticky, steamy, sweaties of wet balls in the eyes kind of hot. So hot as to make any patriot wear, or other clothing for that matter, seem like a bad idea. Not to be outdone by weather, I’m having the kind of hot flashes that demand a nearby snowbank to throw myself into. Naked, preferably.

Not being the girly girl I am, and not far enough away from puritanical prying patriot peepers, I hoisted the air conditioner into the window instead. In the process of trying to handle an armload of slippery, sweaty, wet metal, I spilled water all over a nearby library book about proofreading. Sure, I can justify spilling all over a modern book about our “proper” English language, and this book was being used as a bedtime lullaby. In other proper words, it was boring. As a lover of books, I would not intentionally deface knowledge. I love books, I love reading. I love the red hat women who frequent libraries. I thrive of learning. Immediately I rescued the other nearby books about Ancient Greek Poetry from a similar fate. Spilling on hardcover library-bound Ancient Greek Poetry book seems like it should be bad karma, sacrilegious, not to mention heavy on the fine and possible suspension from a place I care about. That was a real close call!

So I assembled a sincere note of apology to librarians everywhere, and put the proofreading book in a plastic bag, and just like Snoopy, I keep my eyes to the sky tonight and am thankful to see the storm slowly rumble on towards another locale without inflicting any harm on our garden or horses. Look out Motley, here it comes.

by Jill Johnson
Copyright 2012 Jill Annette Johnson. All Rights Reserved

Red Hatted Women spotted at the local library

After my recent implosion onto a library book, as mentioned in my article of July 4, 2012, I returned my proofreading book to the library with such shame I felt I could not show any librarian my true identity. I inserted the wet (and now moldy) proofreading book (in a plastic bag) with a profuse apology note to all librarians everywhere, into the book drop box. Have mercy, I did not finish the proofreading book before I wrote this. And I saw a gang of red hatted women congregating around the periphery of the library. I take this as a very good sign that my month will improve now that I fessed up.

Believe it or not, I did not know there really was such a thing as the Red Hat Society until a friend of mine said there truly were clubs like “that” all over the country. Coincidentally, on a really bad day, a week after this conversation with her, it was inspiring to see a troupe of red-hatted women, each hat unique and purposeful tending to the power under their hats, on a mission to inform the public of the presence of higher awareness via education. Oh to have the time to join them!

Even though my friend is not a member, she would be accepted instantly because she’s smart. She owns the rule book: When I am
an old woman, I shall wear purple. Me too. And being a real friend, she of course borrowed me the book as I said I would perhaps like to join their club. For I too, was born to be a member of the Red Hat Society, almost.

My friend is my informant. I’ll not name her name, because as any red-hatted woman or friend of one would tell you, that’s not nice, and we need to operate with a certain amount of decorum. By the conventions of such a group we would prefer to keep name-calling to a bare minimum, and are expected to adopt a language which allows us to more precisely call it what it is. You know a true red hat woman has the information though. Whether or not the hat is on, that much is always apparent to anybody who is paying attention.

I don’t have a red hat yet. All the really fabulous red hats disappear too quickly from store shelves. I might have to wear my red bandana instead. Out of necessity, I wore red bandanas since I was sixteen so I could ride my bike wherever I wanted. surprize, surprise, the red bandanas are a current fashion statement. I object to following fashion though, I’d rather be a forerunner like my Granny and invent biscotti & faux finishing 10 years before it becomes stale with fashion.
red bandanas, always in fashion

I’d like to offer my services of predicting fashion to this honorable society.
I suppose you could call this my application for admission into the ranks of the official Red Hat Society. If you are a fan or member please contact me at your earliest convenience.

by Jill Johnson
Copyright 2012 Jill Annette Johnson. All Rights Reserved

Rites of passage: Hero goes the wrong direction……..

As a sixth-grader I was quite fortunate to have a teacher like Mr. Gunderson. He was progressive, learned, informed, well, just plain smart. One of his favored statements was “if you stop learning, you stop living.” One of his favorite subjects was nature. “The ecosystem is a very delicate balance, if any one item in this system is destroyed, the balance of the entire system can collapse”, he said. These pearls of wisdom became words to live by for me.

In a unit on recycling to lessen human impact on this fragile world, we were asked to present reports along with demonstrations of our knowledge of this subject. I was all too happy to oblige. Granny Pantzke had just shown me how to make a rocking chair sculpture out of an empty beer can. I went home and requested the large cans so I could practice. Now I should probably let you know this was way back in the era of bottles. Cans were a relatively new item in stores everywhere. A can large enough to practice with had to be a big Budweiser can more specifically. I did find a can in the trash though, and went right to work cutting & rolling it the rocking chair form Granny showed me. For a novice beer can sculptor, Granny said my artwork came out pretty good, and it was functional. It actually rocked.

A penchant for writing would help with the oral part of this report. I had that too, even though I was usually so shy I refused to speak. The whole report was good and I knew it. I looked forward to giving a great presentation and sharing my beer can technique with my classmates.

Having enough confidence in the subject at hand, I aced this baby. The whole class was dead silent as I explained the process, but they seemed interested and happy.

Within a few weeks I noticed I was being asked to participate in some of the so-called cool-kids groups. I was being invited to slumber parties more. The class bully left me alone, and the class genius asked me to be his girlfriend (I was too shy to say yes).

I stuck with my original friends. Science classes went on. One day a few weeks later, several kids were missing from class, and we all found out they had been suspended for having a beer party. The class genius was the brains behind the party. I missed out, but made up for the drinking later on when I could but did not get away with it.

Now I realize there were a few people who thought I had some kind of underground access to beer, thus my instantaneous popularity. I did not. And I do not recommend any sixth-grade attempts at this report unless you have the same Mr. Gunderson as a teacher.

by Jill Johnson
Copyright 2012 Jill Annette Johnson. All Rights Reserved


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