Derek Johnson Muses

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Monthly Archives: June 2014

World Cup of Tea

I just say this to all my tweeps out there: I’m glad you’re going crazy over World Cup soccer even though I’m not. Listen, I went all-in on college basketball this past winter, and, in the middle of football season, I’ll be all in when basketball comes back in November because Nebraska will be good. But I’m too drained to follow soccer, even though it’s the best soccer there is.
I got into the World Cup when it was played in the US 20 years ago, and it was a lot of fun then. Since then, I’ve grown up and had to ditch a few passions. I don’t follow the NBA that closely, so I don’t see why I’d follow the World Cup. I watch greatest game reruns on BTN all the time, and can only be a degenerate for so many things.
But you go crazy.

I Force It

I’ll admit it-there are a lot of times I sit down at this computer and post something simply for the sake of posting something, or for the sake of sharing a photograph. I wish I had done something earlier in the week worth sharing like cleaning off my coach or purchasing new furniture. Actually, I did just get new furniture.

The truth is, I don’t tell everything on this blog. There are things I want to say, but I don’t feel like it’s for the best. Okay, sometimes my courage is wanting, but otherwise there are plenty of things that will stay inside me own word processor. I am sorting through major decisions about my future. When the time is right, I’ll share them.

So, why do I keep throwing up posts without a second thought? Maybe because it takes so much energy to keep what needs to stay private private. Or because I just don’t know how else to express myself. Or more likely, because I’m an attention hog.

Right now today, I have a story inside me. I feel today that I will write it, but it will take a lot of struggle until it sees the light of day. Until then, here’s another calming photo to tide you over.


Aforementioned Picture



Road Notes: Far From Home

Oh, those early mornings

Oh, those 6 A.M starts. In a filter no less.

Even on familiar roads, I set a personal record, hitting over 15 fields in five days. There were plenty of Subway sandwiches, coffees, lunches in the truck, and desperate map checks in between. Praise the Lord for my iPhone’s map app. The longer I check fields, the more my time on the road becomes simple directions rather than complex thinking. Gives me time to reflect on things.

The highlights:

Southeast Iowa has a bunch of towns (Pella, Burlington, Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Washington and Fairfield) that I can’t tell apart. I spent 15 minutes driving around Fairfield looking for a Subway that was really in Oskaloosa. I think.

Fairfield, Iowa. Passed this very same light in September of 2009.

Fairfield, Iowa. Passed this very same light in September of 2009, and photographed the diamond store on the corner.

In an odd juxtaposition, Shelton Fireworks has locations off I-29 at the Iowa-Missouri border, and off Highway 27 in the eastern part of the state.

St. Louis seems to have a need to keep all of its office buildings close to the interstate. You rarely even see shopping centers there or even just houses, just miles of glass windows. It’s as if St. Louis has to keep reminding itself that it’s a major city for influence, even though it’s fallen down a few rungs over the past 100 years or so.

I have no hope of finding a better place to eat lunch or dinner than Subway or Culver’s. It’s always Subway and Culver’s. I know everything on their menus. At least Culver’s has variety; my final meal at Subway I searched for a special I hadn’t tried before.

My grower in southeast Missouri is suffering from what he calls the worst rainfall he’s ever had in his life (he has grown daughters, by the way.) The beans are up, but they have a ways to go. Tuesday afternoon, it rained on me for three hours, and one crossing of the Mississippi River.

Tear Drops

Tear Drops

Cairo, Illinois is a dead city. Everyone there has to have moved to either Kentucky or Missouri to get away from paying high taxes for the pensions of lazy government workers.

I’ve had two bad experiences with Wal-Mart oil changes, one in Dubuque where I was rejected and another in Kingdom City, Missouri which took forever when I was in a rush. One guy named Dean at the Wal-Mart in Mount Vernon, Illinois salvaged their reputation.


Empty Street in Cairo, Illinois

The Wisconsin-Illinois border should be shaded in gray between the small towns on either side of it. The land and farmhouses between the two states are indistinguishable. But the run-down houses of Dakota, Illinois are nothing compared to the brightly-slanted houses just across the border in Brodhead, Wisconsin. The difference in pride is so obvious.

I found a favorite new restaurant just north of Madison called The Pine Cone, a bakery/dinner. I had all the signs: a menu I couldn’t put down, employees who helped each other and were always communicating, and shelves full of beautiful pastries, all of which I wanted to try. I’ll be going back.

Wisconsin Woods

Wisconsin Woods

Tomah, Wisconsin needs a coffee shop. Like, four years ago.

The biggest challenge I have in making these trips is discernment. When do I need to stop for the day? When can I keep going? There was one night when I stopped sooner than I would have liked, but I got my oil changed, rested, read, and started out that morning at six A.M.

Every night but the one I mentioned above, I worked until 9. One night I got an early motel room and took a leisurely dinner, but I still went to my field that night. Thought I would have time to get a Huskermax post up sometime that week, and that pipe dream went out the window.

I missed my garden.



Random Stuff I don’t Understand

Why some guys, if they have a choice between an extra helping of meat or dessert, take the extra meat. Or eat two meat sandwiches in place of one sandwich and sides of potatoes and vegetables. Okay, maybe I get the whole power-protein thing but come on. There are some great foods out there to try, why are you just crushing the roast beast?

All of the various filters that Apple puts in my generic photo editor on my phone. Seriously, the one called Chrome must be to help Google sell stuff. And why isn’t there a plain sepia?


They call it transfer, but it looks more like half-transfer.

Older adults who keep ambling out to Husker home games year after year. Of course, I will probably be clinging to “silly traditions” at their age too. Still, I don’t know why they’d rather stay home in their easy chairs and get a better view on TV.

How I can sit on the couch next to a mess of paper, unopened mail, and charging cords, and find whatever’s on TV at the time more interesting than cleaning up that mess.

Why I watch TV and play video games for another hour late at night, even when I have to get up and do something the next day.

Why I long to be married and am completely happy being single at the same time.

Why everyone in New York-LA-Chicago-San Francisco looks down on Seward, the state of Nebraska, and the rest of flyover country. Due to e-commerce, the world has leveled off and you can have a successful life anywhere in America. You don’t have to pay the high city rents.


Why other people make meeting new people look so easy.

Why Almighty God sent His Son to die for me. That quest never ends.

My First Garden at the New Place

People, get ready for me to begin hitting you with morally superiority of doing what’s best for my body and for the earth! I planted a garden this year!

I am being a bit feticious, but I’ve got a lot of stuff in the ground, and to be honest, I’m enjoying getting my hands dirty and wish I had tilled up more ground than I did. I’ve planted cabbage, broccoli, green beans, sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, and corn (of course).

Like every time I get up and do something, I’m surprised at how easy it is once I start. Just a rotation of till and plant, and water and weed. I’ll have to freeze some of what I grow, but that’s just another lesson to learn. (Those who live around Seward, feel free to put in a offer on anything you may want.)




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