Monday, February 28, 2011

Wrangler Butts Drive Me Nuts... or maybe it is the lack of sleep.

Anyone who ever attended any kind of "western function" in their lives has heard this saying.  It is true.  There are some really spankable attractive cowboy tushes out there all wrapped up in their Wranglers.  I was browsing The Pioneer Woman today where she graciously gave her readers yet another glimpse of her Marlboro Man's Wrangler clad booty.  It is indisputably good.

On the other hand, my husband and I are relatively assless.  It wasn't always this way. I used to have a great arse.  I can say that because it isn't great anymore (plus I have no boobs, so it was only fair that I have something to entice the opposite sex).  If my husband ever had any junk in the trunk, it fell out on a washboardy gravel road long before we were introduced.  Now we both fall prey to the Wonderbread Monster. You know him, right?  He sneaks into your house at night, puts on your jeans and does deep knee bends until the ass section is stretched to oblivion. Then when you slip into your denim the next day, they are tight everywhere except for the "good places".  Because of this asshole Wonderbread Monster, we both look like we store loaves of bread in our britches. Sexy, I know. Things just shifted weirdly after bearing children. I won't go into details. I don't know what my husband is using for an excuse.  Although, he is a guy, so he probably thinks he looks awesome.

On the other hand, our offspring sport a couple of cutie patootie booties.

I may not have Marlboro Man, but I have Thing 2 in his size 1T Wranglers.  Does anyone have a crock pot that I can put this baby into?  I seriously have to stop myself from chewing on him.


Cerealy? How cute is this???
Anyone who doesn't think
 that this is cute has no soul.
 I'm off to do squats...and change the locks on the doors.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reason #458 supporting why I'm unstable.

I have many wonderful, fabulous, diverse, beautiful female friends. Seriously, I have hot friends. (Just ask my husband- the creepy butthole.) They range in height from 4'10" to over six feet tall.  A handful of them are my height.  Honestly, these are the only ones that don't make me feel like a circus freak. When I am walking with a petite friend, I feel like some sort of Amazon Woman or Andre the Giant, complete with a massive head and clown feet.  When I am walking next to one of those glorious six footers, I feel short and frumpy or like that little dog that jumped around "Spike" on Looney Toons.  Why can I not ever feel like I'm adorable and petite... or supermodelish tall and glamorous?  Clearly, because I am a girl am unstable probably need medication  am ridiculous.

I've always said that I am 5'7".  I've never actually been 5'7" in bare feet, more like 5 foot 6 and 3/4 inches,  but before having children I was usually wearing shoes (you know, because I left the house on occasion).  My shoe of choice is cowboy boots, because they feel good, look good and make that awesome clicky noise when you walk. My kick ass boots typically sport a 1 1/2" heel.  So technically I was 5 foot 8 and 1/4 inches (if I am doing my math right) in my boots.  That seemed suitable to me; short enough to find men to date who were taller than me (yes, I am that shallow) and tall enough to buy clothes off the rack, block a few shots in my lustrous high school basketball career and reach the good liquor stuff on the top shelf.

My girlfriend came for a visit last September, which was sadly also the last time a professional cut my hair, and we did all kinds of fun girl things.  We talked about our feelings, we painted our nails, we told our children to eat what was on their plate, she watched me drink wine, we attempted to go shopping with a 4 month old Thing 2 (fail) and we measured how tall we were, obviously.

When we measured each others height, I measured 5 foot 6 and 1/4 iches.  WTF?  I am half an inch shorter?  WTF?  When did that happen?  I figure it was from all the hard farm labor I did as a child (thanks again Mom and Dad), or maybe bearing two babies (thanks husband), or maybe sitting for too long slumped at my computer searching for things to amuse me and/or distract me from the fact that my house is a mess and my children are drawing on the walls again and the Black Dog rolled in ______ and is smearing it on my living room rug and the Red Dog is outside chasing a car and the cat is still allergic to some unknown source and looks like I started shaving him but got distracted when the phone rang, then never finished the job.  Or maybe I am just getting....gulp...OLD.

For whatever reason, it blows.  I've always been comfortable with my lie about my height because it was only 1/4 of an inch. But now that I know it is 3/4 of an inch, I feel dirty and immoral.  Okay, not really, but being overly dramatic looks like so much fun on TV that I thought I should try it.  So now that I know this, do I have to change my drivers license to my actual height (and weight), or can I continue to present myself as something that I am not?  I feel like honesty is always the best policy... right? Never mind that my picture was taken when I was 27, with a great tan and virtually no wrinkles, and I intend to keep this picture as long as possible.  Just because I don't look like this now doesn't mean that I won't look good again someday- right?  Shhh.  Don't answer that.

Sadly, this is one of the best pictures ever taken of me.
I am actually laughing here... at the DMV... I know. ??
I wasn't even drinking.
The lady taking the pictures was holding a bird and said,
"Look at the birdie!  Or the crazy lady!"
 In other news, it snowed yesterday.


Oh hai!  Is there something on my nose?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree, Part Two

People have been heard asking my mother, after reading my blog "Where does Johi's (insert: weirdness, wit, sarcasm, humor, sickness...whatever) come from?"

My sweet, sweet mother replies, "Well, not from me."

Case in point:

My parents recently returned from a two week trip to Florida (we won't talk about how much Thing 1 would love to go to Disney World, because everyone knows Mickey Mouse is for grandparents- not children).  On said trip, they visited Naples, Florida, where they discovered a doggie day spa, perfectly manicured lawns, and lots of well-mannered, high society people walking well-behaved, highly pedigreed dogs.  They saw one well dressed lady pushing an particularly ugly, hairless pug in a doggie stroller.

My cowboy hat wearing John Wayne of a father clomped up to this perfectly coiffed lady and peered into her dog stroller. 

He looked from the dog to the lady and said with a stone sober expression, "Surely he favors his father."

Apparently, the lady was not pleased (or amused)... but I sure was.

So, where do I get "it" from? It's not a great mystery.  Surely I favor my father.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Then we tormented our family pets with baths and brushing. Muahahaha.

I used to be a great dog groomer. Okay, not great... but sufficient. Since I birthed a couple of carpet monkeys, my energy to bathe our animals has depleted~ like the Ozone... or Tab soda.

There are situations that actually require me to take action, like rancid smells and putrid odors and more putrid odors.  Because of the powerful, pungent, paralyzing waft emanating from the Black Dog, we broke down and tended to our pathetic junk yard mutts.

Unfortunately the Red Dog was looking sadly unloved with ear mattes and overgrown butt fluff, so she was brushed and now has a haircut that looks like it was done by a blind Hibachi chef.  After her shrieking like a hyena during the entire brushing torture, I called my husband to come over and hold her so that I could trim her feathers and the mattes from her ears.  Our little drama queen proceeded to give in to our horrible haircut persecution by throwing herself on the ground like a dead fly and alternately crying and moaning loud enough for the entire block to hear.  I'm surprised the Humane Society didn't show up with handcuffs and chloroform masks. 

The Black Dog officially smelled like ripe roadkill on all points of her body.  Even though she works very hard on this process, the fact that she has also decided that she is a teacup poodle instead of a 56 pound lab mix, therefore attempting to climb onto your lap or the lap of any visitor, makes frequent bathing a requirement.  This is where my husband comes in:

Me, "Brock.  Brock.  Brock?  BROCK! "

Him, "Huh?"

Me, "Your dog smells like open ass.  Still.  Will you give her a bath?"

Him, "Sure."

Me, "When?"

Him, "I will in a minute."

Me, "Could you do it now?  I asked you two weeks ago and you said you would then."

Him, "Sure.  I'm going to watch the rest of this show first."

Me, "Fine.  I'm going to do it now."

Him (imagining the chiropractor bill from me leaning over the tub for 15 minutes) *gets up* "I'm doing it."

15 minutes later the Black Dog is fresh and clean.  30 minutes later she smells like cat poop.  Snuggle, anyone?

The best part of the grooming process for our dogs is the adornment of clean bandannas.  Everyone knows the importance of doggie accessories. Besides, they love their bandannas.  So much so, that the Red Dog once lost her bandanna in a creek after a stick was thrown into the water for her.  Red Dog LOVES to fetch.  She LIVES to fetch.  She looked at the stick, then her bandanna. She swam past the stick over to her bandanna, grabbed it with her teeth and delivered to my mom, who was standing on the bank waiting for her to retrieve the stick. Red Dog loves her bandannas.

Here are the dog with their matching Saint Patty's Day bandannas that Thing 1 and I found in the dollar bin a Target.  I'm renaming the dogs "Sassy Irish Lassie" and "Patty O'Furniture" for the month of March. 



The Black Dog has already trashed out her once clean hide and is frightened of the acid rain camera.
The Red Dog wants me to throw the ball.


Monday, February 21, 2011

And then I ate cake.

Because I am nine years old (we are talking emotional maturity here), I enjoy it when people make a big "to do" out of my birthday.  Because I am unresonably high maintenance, I expect my husband to plan something special and wonderful on the one day each year that was made to honor my existence on this planet.  Because I have such exuberance towards (my own) birthdays and I married an non planner person, I usually end up frustrated and teary when I find out that nothing was planned and realize that I really am not all that special after all.  Until this year......

Today I turned *gulp* 36.  I honestly have never had a problem aging, and actually pitied the poor souls who did.  Age is just a number, right?  Like a fine wine, we just get better with age.  Well, pity me people, because this year 36 feels less like a party and more like a creepy, lurking obligation.  I am that wine that they waited too long to open and then realize, when the fumes hit their expectant quivering nostrils, that it did indeed turn rancid.  I feel old, haggard, creaky, acidic and plum out of brain cells.  (What is it the old people take for memory retention?  Ginkgo? PBR? Crossword puzzles?) Even with this number 36 looming over me, which I really didn't know I was dreading so much until I was wallowing in it, I still hold fast to those damn expectations that I have of my husband to WOW me with his thoughtful celebratory planning of his "fabulous" wife's day of birth.  Expectations above the normal "So, what do you want to do for your birthday?" that he asks me the day before the event.  Way the fuck above that.

After 7 years with my man, 6 of which I spent my birthday sorely disappointed and sullen (except for the one where I had food poisoning, which was sadly good in comparison), I was fucking determined to make my husband plan something special for me.  We won't even talk about Mother's Day right now.

Three weeks ago I said to him, in my very own subtle and sweet way, "You have three weeks to plan something.  If you ask me what I want to do, or make me plan my own birthday again, in any way, you will pay.  If you need help, I have about 15 girlfriends who I am sure would give you ideas.  Call them.  If you make me hire a sitter, you will be sorry.  I want YOU to plan it, arrange it and make it happen.  If I cry again on my birthday, you will pay. Am I clear?"

He said "Yes Dear" and he didn't even belch first this time. He must have known I was serious.

To get my point across even more clearly (yes, it was needed, this is the man who thinks my name is Huh? I didn't want to leave anything open to interpretation), I also listed these birthday demands in front of my funny, witty, fabulous friend who happened to give me this card:


Guess what?  The scare tactics and straight talk paid off! (So did saying it in front of my friend.)
Not only was I not asked the dreaded, "....so.... what do you want to do?", but he actually planned a lunch with my girlfriends and surprised me with three hours at a spa.  That was Saturday.  Today, he searched all over town for a rare and necessary gluten-free cake and presented it to me after dinner while singing "Happy Birthday" in a g-string.  Not really, he was wearing his standard baggy butt jeans.  The wonderful planning and the cake took all the sting out of the card that he selected for me.  Mainly because I married an old fart 10 1/2 years my senior, so any age jokes coming from the geriatric genius over there are weak and dismissible.  I posted the card below.  He signed my children's names onto it too.  Special.  Apparently my Valentine's Day card has set the new standard for the type and quality of card exchanged in our home.  Yay me.


So all in all, the husband scored some major "atta boy!!!" points for this stupid stupid day on which I am officially old.

In all seriousness, I want to thank everyone for the Birthday cards, greetings and wishes today. And a big thanks to those of you who gave me birthday treasures and goodies!  I love them all and I love you guys!  I have the best friends ever.  I guess the husband isn't so bad either....  :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I need better craft supplies...and some other stuff.

I was drinking my cup of Yogi Ginger tea and I looked down at the used teabag to absorb the Yogi's words of wisdom:  "Delight the world with your compassion, kindness and grace"

I almost spit my tea all over Thing 2, and then I thought to myself, "Hey!  I'm compassionate and kind!"  I think graceful might be pushing it, as I am thinking about breaking my knee by tripping over my teammate's foot, or the countless times that I have sprained my ankle because I fell off my shoes, or stepping out of the saddle only to have my boot get caught and landing "ever so gracefully" on my head.  So yeah, let's stick with compassion and kindness....

I'm going to challenge myself with the Tea Yogi's insight for the remainder of February.  I won't even count things like smiling at the really cute guy driving the truck who is sitting next to me at the stoplight.

Until then, let me show you what Thing 1 and I made yesterday while the wind was howling outside.

When my childhood bff and I were in Denver to meet The Pioneer Woman have lunch and pick up some new books, we passed a shop with the cutest crafty decoration hanging in the window.  They had taken pages of an old book and cut hearts out using the center fold. Then they strung them together with red yarn and made a window dangly thingy. Each heart was made of two pages and opened up to have four points.  Am I confusing you yet?  Well, anyway, it was cute and yesterday I used that string of hearts as inspiration for our new window decoration.

I refuse to cut up books (mainly because I sold my college text books back to the campus bookstore many years ago) so I used the [still unanswered] book club questions that I printed off the Internet and shared with my girls last Thursday.  Thing 1 and I cut out shamrocks and leprechaun hats, glued them together so there was text on both sides and painted them with green finger paint.  We stuck a few of them on the glass.  The others we punched with a hole punch and strung together with some green twine (as shown above). We hung those in the center of the window.  It was actually pretty fun.  Although, just like every other day of my life, I found myself jonesing for spray glitter.....  Now I am just waiting around for my green beer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunny and warm with a chance of hillbilly and annoying wind.

I was looking forward to yesterday and today all week!  The forecast was calling for the upper 60's both days.... with sunshine!  I need a megadose of Vitamin D like Catholicism needs married and female priests.(Yes, I just said that.)

Yesterday, after I picked up Thing 1 at preschool, we buzzed by the grocery store and bought a delicious rotisserie chicken, red grapes and a ring of fruited jello.  I declared that we would go home and have a picnic outside! ...where we would dine on the beautiful food from the deli that mommy didn't have to make!  It sounded like heaven to both Thing 1 and I, so we quickly loaded up our purchases and headed home.  When I turned onto our street my gut did a flip as I saw the billowing black smoke over the road.  It was coming from the vicinity of our house.  I drove further to discover that our house was intact (whew!), but our neighbor was using the beautiful day to stand in his yard and burn (tires? appliances?  lawn furniture?) items that smelled horrible when in flames and smoked even worse.  I knew that my plans of a picnic outside had been foiled when I almost choked on the smoke while removing Thing 2 from his car seat.  I have been so deprived of heat and sunshine at the same time that I almost gave into my inner dragon and created a major scene with said neighbor. Instead I bit my tongue and stalked into the house, making sure I closed the door quickly so that the smell didn't seep into my home; therefore ruining the aroma of diapers, cat box and dog hair that I have spent the last four years of my life perfecting.


Buying jello is really taking laziness to a whole new level.
I love jello.
I declare the rest of this week "Jello Week!"

I told myself that it was fine, because tomorrow was supposed to be equally as nice, if not nicer, and we would spend the entire day outside~ frolicking in our crunchy dormant grass and eventually picking up the dog crap that my husband fails to see.

When I went outside today I was immediately greeted with one of those 50 mph bastard winds from the west whipping me in the face and the red dog touching me with her slimy ball and whining that I throw it for her and touching it to my hand and whining and touching it to my leg and whining... I was out for about five minutes in wind pushing at me, howling in my ear, whipping my hair and blowing crap in my face when I started gritting my teeth and feeling like I wanted to pull out my best Billy Blank's roundhouse kick to pummel that wind.  I lost my steam when I was struggling to get my sumo baby inside and the wind blew the door into us so hard that I almost lost a finger.  My years of wind(codeword for winter) in Estes Park has stoked my hatred of wind to the point of lunacy. Wind+Johi+kids+red dog=MAJOR INVASION of my personal space bubble.  OMG! Stop touching me!!!! 
It wants someone to throw the ball.  Please throw the ball for it.


I gave into my defeat and I put the kids down for their naps, watched some episodes of Hellcats that had been stored up of my DVR, thought about exercising when I looked at those cheerleader abs, and finished Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by The Pioneer Woman. Now I am still not exercising, but I am drinking a Bard's beer (best Gluten free one I have found) and listening to Thing 2 destroy Thing 1's beloved Buzz Lightyear.  Gee.  Maybe it will be nice TOMORROW.  And maybe I will wake up in Mexico with a slight headache and sand in my crevices. A girl can dream.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Seriously! Do as I SAY, not as I DO.

We "adults" are always telling our children to share.  Share your toys. Share a hug.  Share share share.  If I may be so bold, I think that we "adults" are ginormous fucking hypocrites.  We don't like to share our things.  In fact, when our neighbor comes over and asks to borrow a ________(hammer, snowblower, rake, sugar...) we get a little itchy.  Cranky.  Irritable.   Now imagine said neighbor picking their nose before grabbing the handle to your garden hoe, or licking your screwdriver like it was his favorite Popsicle.  How does that make you feel?  Skeeved out?  Angry?  Bitter?  Well, let's take a good look at what those other children are doing with your beloved offspring's treasures.  I'm guessing boogers and saliva aren't too far off the mark.

Yesterday I received the best Valentine's gift any mother could ask for; my husband magically arrived at that demonic hour in the day when it was physically painful to keep my eyes open and relieved me of my mom duties so that I could take a nap.  A glorious sun-bursting-through-the-clouds-over-the-majestic-mountains middle of the day slumber.  When I awoke (two hours later), I was greeted by my boys.  Husband was holding Thing 2 in one arm and a dozen roses in the other and Thing 1 was presenting me with a box of 19 delectable heavenly-yet-sinful Godiva Chocolates.  As soon as I peeled back the plastic wrap, Thing 1's little hand darted in and stole a sweet.  Little shit stinker.  Good thing it was my least favorite- the white chocolate.  Let's all stop pretending it's chocolate and call it what it is~ frosting.  I smiled and hid the box behind my back.  Then he asked 457 times for another, to which I replied sweetly "No way in hell."  Okay, I didn't SAY that to the three year old, but I was thinking it.  Those Godiva Chocolates were mine.  I wanted one of those trucker mudflaps with Yosemite Sam that says "Back Off!" to pull down over my face. 

Later in the evening, during the bedtime rush, my husband and I realized that we were missing our bedtime victim (because everyone knows that a bath, clean pj's, snugly blankets and two books read aloud is sheer torture).  I wandered into my bedroom where I found Thing 1 bouncing on our bed with yet another of my rare and precious Godiva Chocolates dripping from his mouth.  I considered whacking him on the back of the head to launch the chocolate into my awaiting hand, but I'm not big on other people's mouth juice so I let him eat it in peace.  Meanwhile I snatched my golden box of dwindling treasures and maniacally ran around the house trying to locate a suitable hiding spot.  I picked a sufficient one and all is right with the world again.

So what did I learn from this?  Sharing sucks!  I am going to start teaching my children how to properly hoard their things from this day forward, using techniques like distraction, crazy eyes and martial arts.

Daily tip: Remind husband to buy child crappy M&M's so as to distract them from the "good stuff" next Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gettin' *all kinds* of lovey dovey on Valentine's Day.

My husband and I received a special gift last night when Thing 1 finally went down for his nap at 3pm......  then he stayed asleep- all glorious night. This allowed for a few irregular events:

1. Thing 2 (for maybe the first time in his entire life) got the full attention of both mommy and daddy.  He was full of himself.  He thought that he was a rock star, or Ryan Seacrest.  Then we bathed him in the kitchen sink (maybe for the last time because the little dude is quickly turning into a big dude), dried him off and put him in the most ridiculous pair of baby pj's on the planet.

Yes folks, that is a baby trap door. 
2. Neither my husband nor I were hungry so I didn't cook!  Therefore, I didn't have to clean the kitchen, or the table, or the floor under the table.... and IT WAS AWESOME.  We chose the nourishing meal of wine and chocolate.  Yay for antioxidants.

3. Thing 2 goes to sleep at 7:30ish, so we had a little time before the imminent evening zombie transformation. Instead of watching The Grammy Awards, we used it to actually organize *gasp!* our office. Okay, we did it while watching The Grammy Awards (We heart Mumford and Sons!!!)... Anyway, do you remember what the office looked like last week?  It was shameful.  Honestly, it looks like that most of the time. If I had any energy left in my sleep deprived body to care, I would be mortified. But, with our magically gifted time last night we made major headway. We sorted.  We payed bills. We pitched.  WE FILED.  We cleaned. Miracles really do happen. Look!!



Aha!  There really are smooth surfaces here.


Then, because I am a caring, loving, thoughtful and considerate woman, I generously presented my husband with a box of chocolates. I made sure to buy the kind to which I was allergic, because itchy hives and a swollen throat are the only guarantee that I won't inhale them all while he is at work.  Yes, I am the epitome of willpower.  I also gave him this card...

It is hard for me to pass up a "teaching moment",
even if it is Valentine's Day.  I know.  I'm really neat.

My shitty card was supposed to be funny, but it was completely upstaged by the sweet, romantic card that I found this morning (on the desk in the spanking clean office).  This should thoroughly demonstrate the fundamental difference between me and my husband.


This card also contained a heartfelt handwritten message
that is too private to share. Once again, it is clear who is
the better half in this relationship.


I read my card, sighed and then I threw some pork steaks and root vegetables in the crock pot for dinner.  All done~ I'll serve it with wine and cornbread and call it a "one pot romantic dinner that I don't have to think about later".  I'm oozing gush.

Hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day.  


Happy Valentine's Day to my fabulous readers.
This Valentine reminds me of my favorite bathroom stall poems:

Jack and Jill went up the hill to smoke a little leaf,
Jack fell down and broke his crown
and Jill said "Where's the Beef?"

Just keeping it classy.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

...and this is why I don't go anywhere.

I tried to meet The Pioneer Woman yesterday.  She was in Denver at a book signing.

I should have known what kind of day it was going to be when I tried to get out of bed and my bursitis was raging.  What the hell?  Am I Betty White?  I'm supposed to be in my sexual prime but my hip feels like I bought it at the rigor mortis store.

It only took 4 hours to get myself ready, the kids fed and cleaned and the bag packed.  I think we set a new record for leaving the house.

Then, as I had both of my precious treasures packed up in my truck and pulled onto the interstate for the hour long drive, the screaming started.  First it was happy screaming and spitting. Then it was angry screaming. And screaming.  And screaming.  And screaming.......

It lasted for 42 minutes, or until Thing 1 passed out and stopped poking Thing 2. But not before my forehead became permanently creased and my nerves were so raw that they were bleeding.  It was awesome. 

Of course, as I was in stop and go traffic for the last few miles of the trip, driving in first gear in the center lane of five lanes on I-25, Thing 1 woke up crying that he needed to use the potty.   So did mommy honey, so did mommy.

I pulled up to my friend's house as I was contemplating Valium, other numbing pharmaceuticals and shock therapy the convent purchasing earplugs and inventing a wine box that mounts to your dashboard.

When I entered her house we noticed that we were dressed the same.  Yellow long sleeved tee, dark skinny jeans and brown boots.  We both laughed.  We have been childhood friends and then were college roommates.  In college, we would meet in the hallway after spending an hour to primp and dress to "go out" where we would discover that we had put together the same outfit.  I would say that this happened 80% of the time.  Apparently, we are still sharing a fashion brain wave and {obviously} both of us have stellar taste.  So off went in our matching ensembles to have a quick lunch and meet The Pioneer Woman at her book signing.  We left Thing 1 with her husband and their three year old to play trains and watch Disney movies.  We toted precious little Thing 2 with us.  It was about 1:00.

Lunch was wonderful, except for the 467 times I had to visit the restroom to wash off the miscellaneous items that Thing 2 gleefully threw onto the floor.  That baby is fast and sneaky.  I see a profitable future for him as a pick pocket, especially when he disarms you with giant blue eyes, squeezy cheeks and the best smile ever.

We headed over to the Tattered Cover and arrived at 2:15.  The signing had started at 2:00. I, being the ever savvy and prepared shopper, bought a couple of PW's books at full retail price and we headed upstairs to see her.  When the lady handed us our numbers (399 and 400) and told us that the room was at maximum capacity, so we couldn't see her but we could hear her, I tried not to feel disheartened.  I knew it would be busy.  Everyone loves The Pioneer Woman and I knew we were going to be a little late.  As my friend and I were visiting with some people nearby, we learned that fans were lined up outside the store before it opened.  They told us that the line for tickets didn't even start until 1:00.  They had gotten there at 1:15 and they were number 280.  Great.

My friend and I mused how we both thought that book signings were about small quaint gatherings of about 50 people.  I told her that if I ever write a book, that is how my signing will be, and I will know (and probably be related to) all 50 people.

We waited two hours in the book store with Thing 2, who was supposed to be napping, but with all those people there to see him there would be NO NAPPING. I did see The Pioneer Woman from my peripheral vision while I was walking back to the restrooms.  I also saw her beautiful daughters and her sister in law Missy.  We smiled at one another.  They seemed lovely. I should have had someone take my picture with them, but I didn't want to annoy anyone. My friend called her husband at 4:15 and I saw her grimace into the phone, while in the background they were only calling numbers up to 180 on the loud speaker.... we needed to go.  Husband had other things to do besides play with a couple of three-year old boys.  *shocking*  I did some estimating in my head and figured it would be close to 6 pm before I could meet The Pioneer Woman.  I had left my house at 11:20 and neither Thing had napped.  Then I learned that Thing 1 didn't eat.  He always eats.  No food, no naps, no schedule. I needed to treat these children like a time sensitive bomb, because that is exactly what they were.

As we headed back to her house to relieve her husband, it was dawning on me that I would probably not get to go back to the book signing.  It was going to be dark soon and I really don't see well at night, not to mention I needed to get the kids home.  When I told Thing 1 that we were going, the response that I got was what I expected; the no food and no nap body racking sobs, complete with wailing "I want to stay heeeerrrreeee!"  At that point, it became very clear that I would definitely not be heading back to the book store to wait another hour and a half with two sleep deprived "precious treasures".  All that I would have been able to say to the Pioneer Woman at that time would be some gibberish like "Fleener neener neener.  Pickles.", while crossing my eyes and drooling on my sweater.

I will not lie, the feelings of disappointment were strong as I loaded up both children and ventured back onto the interstate, where I immediately merged into more stop and go traffic. Yay. I love driving in Denver, especially in first and second gear. Good thing I drive a stick shift, because that makes that kind of traffic even better.  I may or may not have cried a little as I followed a line of people on the hour drive home who thought that 60 mph was close enough to the speed limit of 75 mph, and was certainly a fine speed to drive in the passing lane.  Slow drivers are awesome.

When I entered the house, both children were overstimulated, hungry, groggy, incoherent, sobbing rag dolls. I wasn't in much better shape. I was worn out from having both kids solo for the 6th day in a row (Brock works a second job on weekends), fried from the screaming, tired from the rushing and immensely unfulfilled that I didn't get to do yet another thing that was "for me".  Selfish stupid me, thinking I could do something that didn't have the word laundry in it.

So that's it.  Yet again, I failed. I will no longer leave the cave, unless it is to get laundry detergent, diapers or formula.  Because that is my life, which basically has no "me" in it at all.  *sniff sniff* I hope it changes at some point, because I am no where close to being a saint and I need a little breathing room sometimes, even if it is sitting for 4 hours in a bookstore to meet someone for 30 seconds who happens to inspire me.  I am grateful that I got to put on a real outfit (one not made out of pajama pants and a sweater) and some make-up to have lunch with my friend though.  We had wine, too. So there's that.

Hork Hork Hork. Verbal vomit is fun. The End. 

I'll get back to funny as soon as I am done with my pity party. Meh.  Send chocolate.


My unsigned copy. 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sticks and stones my break my bones but some words make me laugh

You know when you skim over words and your eyes trick you into thinking that you are reading a different word?  No?  Well, you are clearly not the competent speed reader that I am... 

I just thought that I read the phrase "Vagina Wagon".  I didn't.  But I feel like it could really catch on and I came here to share it with you.

To apply to undesirable people:
My coworker is a total vagina wagon... she ate my yogurt when I clearly marked it with my name and social security number.

To apply to slow moving mini vans driven by mothers with 400 kids in tow:
This vagina wagon in front of me is driving under the speed limit and swerving like a drunk man salsa dancing.

When your man is feeling moody and hormonal:
My man was quite the vagina wagon when he cried last night while we were watching The Bachelor.  I gave him some tissue and a Midol.

For a man who is a gigolo, or The Bachelor:
He's given rides to so much pussy that he should now officially be labeled a vagina wagon.

I hope this doesn't mean that I need to get my eyes checked.  If I have to wear my glasses all the time I guess I will just dye my hair brunette and tell everyone that I am Tina Fey or Sarah Palin, depending on whether I am hanging in my dad's garage or at my favorite gay bar.  You match the people to the appropriate locations...

From the corn fed girl to society:
Go forth and use this flexible phrase in your everyday speech, your facebook status updates and the lyrics to that country song you've been working on.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm going bananas.

Bananas are offensive.

I take that back. 

For the most part, bananas are offensive.

They have about a 24 hour period where they are remotely edible; right after the too green and they feel like they zapped all of the moisture from your tongue and replaced it with their banana fur; and right before they loose their firmness and become a phallic blob of fermented mush.

They are mostly smooshy, and smooshy food offends me.  Just as any food that resembles phlegm, whole baby animals, brains or eggplant.

Apparently it is hard to eat them without smacking your lips, which is a noise that makes me want to stab myself in the leg with a fork.

When bananas are combined with baby slobber and cat hair and smeared on my jeans, I actually want to strip off my pants and run panicked and pantless down the street.

Come to think of it I am kind of smooshy and sometimes my husband smacks his lips when he is around me..... my hair is yellow.....and I have a tiny window of time in which I am even remotely pleasant.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Huh? I'm with Chalwy.

Multiple times a day I find myself reprimanding Thing 1, you know, since I am his mom and he is three years old.  What I have discovered, beside the fact that the majority of what I say sounds like "Wah wah wah" to my family, is that I have a really irritating habit of saying "shall we?"; especially after I gently recommend a change of plan to my child to help guide him through his life. Never fear, Thing 1 is determined to fix me.  Let's hear the story, shall we?

Thing 1 ::playing the musical bunny that sings Jesus Loves The Little Children 800 times in a row::
Me:      "Let's turn that off, shall we?"

Thing 1  ::rolling around on the floor and "accidentally" clobbering Thing 2 with his flailing feet::
Me:       "Let's calm down, shall we?"

Thing 1  ::admiring his peanut butter accented hand prints on the big mirror::
Me:       "How about we wash our hands, shall we?"

Thing 1  ::testing his "volume 11"::
Me:       "Let's play the quiet game, shall we?"

Thing 1 ::mining for gold::
Me:      "How about we don't pick our nose, shall we?"

Thing 1 ::exploring::
Me:      "Let's not touch our private parts so much, shall we?"
Brock:  "It's only the start of a life long love affair."
Me       ::chuckle and eye roll::

The problem with this, aside from being redundant and irritating, is that I don't think that Thing 1 is even listening to my profound messages.  Like, at all.  Because he always has the same response, which I somehow am always surprised and amused by- probably because I didn't realize just how often I was saying "shall we".


Thing 1: "I'M NOT CHALWY!"  ::runs out of the room::


This is how I know he is not listening, because he doesn't even think I am talking to him, and if I am, I am just that moronic lady who keep forgetting his name.

Following this line of thinking; according to both Thing 1 and my husband, my name is actually "Huh?".

Monday, February 7, 2011

Don't worry. It's normal to feel like a loser when there are people like me around.

I know that I have tricked a few men into reading this here blog. I'm sorry.  I'll try to talk less about laundry and more about taxidermy and team sports.  But since you are here....  Just an FYI~ Valentine's Day is a week away (and my birthday is in two weeks) so you still have plenty of time to get your poop in a group and plan something spectacular for your lady (or your flavorite blogger, whose birthday is in two weeks).  To help you get motivated, let me show you how much I can accomplish here in one week.

Once again, I put my Art Degree to stellar use by designing and creating these fabulous decorations with Thing 1.  I was super excited for craft hour, where I could teach him all about important holidays like Valentine's Day; namely how he should tell daddy to get mommy Godiva Chocolates and flowers.
He was just thrilled that I let him use scissors.
Don't feel bad.
Not everyone can do hard stuff like this.
I even rolled scotch tape to make it double sided.
I know.  I'm an undiscovered crafting genius.

Then I thought about cleaning up the office.
It looked too hard, so I decided to do laundry instead.

I don't understand why I would get late notices.
Then I took some pictures of my fur-kids. I stole that saying from a friend of mine.


Hi.  I'm really fucking cute.
And it is really fucking windy.

I can't tell which look this is~
"Is that one of those canine killing cameras?"
or "Is that cookie for me?".

I DO know that this meow means "Open the door and let
me in NOW- you servant human." 
Does he look like a flesh eating zombie kitteh
 from Pet Cemetary to anyone else in this picture?



Then I held Thing 2.  All week.  During every waking hour. Because if I set him down he did this...




 I then found a picture of clowns that didn't frighten me, a feat which I thought was impossible.


I had at least two deep thoughts....


Okay, one and a half.
And I took my kids on an airplane ride. 
I was the "airplane" and I "flew" them on my feet.

On top of all of that, I also changed the background of my blog twice, thanks to the graphics fairy, updated my facebook status at least three times, and cooked at least four meals for my family.

So as you can see, I can get a lot of super important "stuff" done in a week, which should be inspiration enough for you boys to plan a lovely romantic Valentine's Day for your gal. 

Hint: It is impossible to go wrong with shiny things {that are also known as diamonds}. 
Hint squared:  I never even liked Valentine's Day until I met my husband, who gave me said shiny things on our first Valentine's Day together.  Then my gay cat and I moved in with him and I tricked him into marrying me.  muahahahahaha!  Bring on the house dresses, support hose and ceramic cat collection. it has been a fairy tale ever since.

And They Lived Happily Ever After.
The End

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Look, Same Old Shit.

If you have ever visited this page before today, you may first think that you are at the wrong place. But no!  I just fancied it up around here.  If you don't know me personally, let me introduce myself.  My name is Johi and I have a little addiction (some call it an illness, I call it a GIFT).  I like change.  I crave change.  I need change.  So, where I used to change my boyfriends, what my smoke jumper girl referred to it as "the catch and release boyfriend training program", I now use my illness...er... gift to redecorate my living room (or spruce up my blog).  I will now thank God that my husband is kind enough to help me move furniture, as I was the runt of the litter and I have a weak back.

I hope you like it.

If you don't, never fear, it will change again soon. It is only because of my computer illiteracy that it stayed the same for this long, but I broke a sweat today and gave myself a headache learning something new.  Yay me.  Way to grow. 

Happy Superbowl Sunday.  Half of the people in my house never got out of their pj's today. Go.... (who the hell is playing again? Oh yeah, I don't care) Go PJ's!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Read this post and you will achieve enlightenment.

Unlike the ridiculous, often infuriating dribble that we read on fortune cookies and Dove Chocolate wrappers, I feel that the tea industry is light years ahead of those fools, with their relevant and thought provoking messages.

I was drinking some Yogi Ginger tea the other day and I read my tea bag. 
It said, "Don't sleep counting sheep, count blessings then sleep." 
Sage advice. I seriously do find it easier to shut the ADD off when I say a little prayer of gratitude before bed.  Thank you God, for making boxed wine....

Here are a few other gems of wisdom from some tea in my cupboard:

"It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards."~ Baltasar Gracian
What really struck me with this one was how much the name "Baltasar" makes me think of "Battlestar", which is so completely awesome. I totally want a pony, or a goat, named Battlestar.  Too bad I fear chickens, because a chicken named Battlestar would be out of this universe.

"We turn, not older with years, but newer every day." ~Emily Dickenson
That's nice. It is obvious that she never had children.

"Have wisdom in your actions and faith in your merits"
Huh? I once won a horse packing competition.  Does that count?

A few days went by and I pulled out a box of Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Complete Care.  On the box was a story called The Art of Giving by Kent Newborn.  Letters to My Son

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.  We are all children of chance, and none can say why some fields will blossom and others lay brown beneath the August sun.  Care for those around you.  Look past your differences.  Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily made.  And give.  Give in any way you can, of whatever you possess.  To give is to love.  To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than how it is shared, and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace."

Isn't that lovely?

Because I am a student by nature, and I always listen, absorb and go forth to spread my new found knowledge; I feel this message on the tea box (that happened to give me hives all over my arms) is telling me to "give" you (or re-post) my former piece of serious literature about how I was severely offended by an "inspirational message" on a Dove Dark Chocolate. We won't talk about the fact that we have been contemplating selling our house and I unsheathed a chocolate whose wrapper read "You are exactly where you are supposed to be."  I then stuck it on the refrigerator as guidance for our future.  Decisions are HARD, yo.  I like it when someone tells me what to do.  Wait, no I don't....

And remember.... First enlightenment, then the laundry.

Peace, Love and Unicorns. 
Johi



FU Dove "Inspirational" Messages

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So there I am, standing in my kitchen contributing to my family's' sugar intake by mixing up banana bread. I open the pantry to get my BIG mixing bowl (I am making a double batch- duh) and find an errant Dove Dark Chocolate with Almonds laying in the bowl. It is clearly lost and needed a home so I quickly unwrapped in and popped it into my mouth.
 
As I was revelling in the creamy, chocolaty, nutty goodness I read the inspirational message inside the wrapper. "Live like you are wearing your skinny jeans". WTF? Are the Dove marketing people SERIOUS? If I was wearing my skinny jeans I wouldn't be eating a fucking chocolate! The only people that live like they are wearing their skinny jeans are the people ACTUALLY wearing their skinny jeans. Let us take a quick look at who it is that eats Dove chocolate; PMSing women (most likely NOT wearing anything skinny), Someone cheating on a diet (just reminding them of skinny britches is likely to piss them off), Pregnant women (at least a year away from fitting into anything described as skinny), and someone not exercising at the moment (let's face it, sweaty people don't want chocolate). All of the reasons above make this little statement way beyond a bad idea. I can see why this chocolate was all alone. All the other chocolates thought it was a social misfit and kicked it's ass out of the bag.

What is a girl to do at this point? I mean, I have just been degraded by a chocolate. Clearly I have only one option. So as I am unwrapping the second chocolate , I am willing the message to be truly inspirational. "Never let others' opinions change the way you feel about yourself". Seriously- why don't you just say "People think you are gross but you should try and look past that". Something has to change here. I propose truly inspirational messages such as: "You are an undiscovered supermodel", "The only reason that bitch hates you is because her boyfriend was checking out your ass- which is FINE", "Your ex that cheated on you got herpes from that slut", "You are a fucking genius ", "The company that fired you went bankrupt", and "You are a sexual dynamo and the subject of many fantasies". Seriously- that wasn't even hard.

I hope that no one else falls prey to Dove's passive aggressive messages, but if you do, just remember "fear no one but the bitch who doesn't eat chocolate, because she is probably in a really foul mood".

Friday, February 4, 2011

My brain is like my dog's poop in the neighbors snowblower (also known as the "poo fountain", and "why I am a bad neighbor")

In light of the fact that I have virtually no sense of humor, am in full-on winter-hatred-pathetic-mopey mode, and have possibly the whiniest post on the entire Internet stewing in draft form on this blogs post box, I was moved to tears by this email sent by my awesome friend and author of Jesus Would Want You to Save the Chickens.  It was in response to my last goal post (and maybe because she knows that I am slumped over in my bathrobe, mindlessly browsing the Internet while avoiding housework and feeling grumpy because I can't go outside and dig in the dirt or play with my horse -who is in Iowa- or that I am worn out by the all-day-long-every-fucking-day shrieking fest that Thing 2 is drilling my eardrums out with or.... you get the picture).  

I have to say that I have THE GREATEST friends on the ENTIRE PLANET.  Like the one who got drunk on PBR while rescuing chickens, and wrote today's post... and the title to today's post..... And the rest of you, well~ you guys know who you are.  You're the only ones who can make me laugh when all I want to do is go back to bed.  You are the ones who make me mashed potatoes when I am hung over.  You are the ones who invite me to dinner and entertain my children, so that I can just "be still" with my glass of wine.  You are the ones who put me on speaker and quietly do the dishes while I psychoanalyze my life and question the world.  You are the ones who make me laugh so hard that I chip my front tooth on a beer bottle (and then laugh at me for breaking my tooth). You are the ones with whom I have all of my very favorite memories. You are the ones who make me feel worthwhile on those days that I feel like a failure (and just want to go back to bed).  And to answer your question, you smokejumping hottie, the pillows are for you to rest your pretty red head on when we are watching a Top Model Marathon (and to pull the color of the drapes into the room....).  I love you. 

xxoo, Johi



Yes, I DO know Johi. . .

I got to work this morning bright and early, and immediately spent 20 minutes taking a shit in the only bathroom you can lock that nobody knows about and looks like it might double as a bomb shelter or gas chamber. Next I chewed on my hair and dug around in my desk looking for a toothbrush because I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Then I thought about how if they had a shower and a box of wine here I would just sleep under my desk and it would save me lots of time and gas money. THEN I read Johi’s blog entry and realized that reminding Johi why she is fabulous is WAY higher on the universal karmic priority list than any kind of "real" work I have to do-and I never called her back last night so I figured I'd better suck up a little bit.

Long ago when I was a wee college girl and needed money for beer and scented candles; I got a summer job working at a trail barn in Estes Park, CO. During the first week when it came time to choose days off I was informed that the owner’s daughter (whom I had yet to meet) wanted to hang out with me and therefore my day off would be Wednesday- which was also her day off. Although some people would find this move bossy, I couldn’t wait casually mention to everyone else that I worked with that I was apparently IN with the owner’s daughter. And because Johi ALWAYS knows what she wants, and greatness can ALWAYS smell its own, she was right and we have been friends ever since.

Now at this point in my life I felt that I was “special” and “going somewhere” at that I had people lining up to bask in my unique yet totally unpretentious glow. 15 years later, I have found that a most of the people in my life can be divided into two groups: 1. People that liked to party and knew that after 2 drinks I would pick up the tab, 2. Guys that hoped to get into my pants (soooo, your sayin there’s a chance?!). Now that I am married and my liver is too tired for anything except box of wine and television, I have found that the line to bask in my glow is much shorter that it used to be. Point being that the stragglers that have hung on are real people who genuinely care about others. . . and aren’t scared of profanity and friendly competition. . . and are also really good looking because I don’t like to be friends with unattractive people. Anyway, Johi is one of those people, and for always being there for her friends- I want to remind her that I proudly say: YES! I DO know Johi! With the same feelings of superiority that I had way back in the day when I was hand-picked to bask in HER glory! And these are just the top few reasons why:

1. Before I met Johi I never knew that Pictionary could be an aggressive sport

2. Throughout the 90’s, Johi’s catch and release boyfriend training program touched so many lives with the gift of men that were taught by her what a woman wants.

3. She is the only woman I know that likes to shop for shoes, loves to put little pillows on beds and couches, but would still be a good choice to get your back in a bar fight.

4. She has a GIANT Christmas village and she lets me play with it even when I am drunk on eggnog. Need I say more?

5. She will tell you when you look great and you know that she means it because she will also tell you when “maybe you should try on this shirt and skirt of mine and see if you like that?”

6. I like her kids and her dogs and I don’t like ANYONE else’s kids and sometimes not even my OWN dogs.

7. I am a smokejumper and I CANNOT keep up with her walking- yet another thing I had not realized could be a competitive sport

8. Her house smells like an organic food store and she gives off this vibe of freshness- she would deny it but seriously it’s like she just got off of a fucking a boat after going across the lake to fill her basket with vegetables and milk from the local farmer. Which actually annoys me but probably because I am jealous and usually hung over.

9. If you are her friend or family and you need help (even if you don’t realize it) she will be there for you ALWAYS. Even if it means driving you home when you are drunk and screaming in her ear or letting you live in her spare room.

10. She could be a professional personal shopper. She will continue to help you pick out stylish clothes even after you throw a public tantrum because shopping is hard.

11. Groups of her friends are often compelled to do things like wear strange hats when dropping her off at a train station on Christmas- I am not saying she asks for it, it just happens.

12. She has given a real firefighter a pat-down while dressed like a hot cop on Halloween. Recently.

13. Her child is willing to help my husband shovel snow while I am too busy working on her box of wine.

14. She is so witty that when you bring over the asshole that you are dating she will make sure that everyone else will laugh openly at his expense but he will leave saying “I am not sure if Johi likes me”. This also works with obnoxious family members.

15. I went to her house one day and she was busy lighting her fence line on fire to kill the weeds.

16. She says fuck while wearing an apron and baking cookies.

17. She IS the real-deal

Love you girl! I am not a mom. All the mom’s I know are beautiful, patient, and talented mothers that NEVER give themselves enough credit. They don’t get good performance evaluations or raises when they do a good job and they can’t go look for a new job if they get tired of theirs. They never get a day off, and they work 24 hours a day with no sick leave or vacation. So here is your performance evaluation- be PROUD of yourself! I would give you a raise too (if I had any money). By the way Johi, what are all those little pillows FOR anyway?!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Goals that I intend to consider again, at least once, in the next five years.

  1. I would like at least one person to tell me "You look well-rested".  That statement would mean a couple of things: *I actually am well-rested. Which would mean that I no longer suffer from insomnia, hence I would no longer be typing blog posts at 4 a.m. *I actually went on a vacation. *I am now surgically enhanced to appear well-rested.
  2. I would love it if someone was talking about me and said, "Now THAT is the real-deal."  I really don't even care about the capacity of the "real-deal", I have just always wanted to be referred to as a "real-deal".
  3. It would be great if someone would ask me, "Can I borrow a large sum of money?"  In my mind, this means I would have a large sum of money to loan.
  4. If a group of people (random strangers are my top vote) would say to me, "I have never met children with more God-given talent than yours."
  5. If my friends would get to tell people, "I knew her before she was rich and famous (and diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder)".  Really, if my friends could talk about me with any pride I am pretty satisfied.  No more, "Yeesssssssss. (gazes to left) I DO "know" Johi..... (looks at shuffling feet) *sigh*"
  6. It would be great to know everyone on my facebook "friends" list- like, we didn't just go to the same dinky high school, hence sort of recognize their name, but as in, we both actually recall having had a live conversation..... *smiley face*
  7. When people look at my family, they say (without sarcasm), "Now they are the picture of health".
  8. I hope to be writing this blog while travelling in our hovercraft.
  9. I would like to know how to make good dough from scratch at high altitude. (i.e. actual bread that is soft, chewy and wonderful... and could not double as a weapon.)
  10. If my body could decide between pimples and wrinkles, once and for all. Neither is even better. This "best of both worlds" thing isn't really working for me. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Happiest Horse on the Planet.

My parents started a business in the summer of 1976 in Estes Park, Colorado.  They offered guided trail rides on horseback through Roosevelt National Forest.  My sister now runs that business, which grew to two locations, as well as managing a large herd of horses for a children's camp.  My parents own and operate an incredible campground, run an AQHA breeding program and a herd of grass-fed longhorn cattle, and every fall their ranch becomes a hunting lodge (of sorts). All together there are approximately 500 horses that my family cares for.  I do laundry, change diapers and pick up dog shit.  Someone had to be the voice of "the people".

This summer will mark the 36th summer in business in Estes Park. Between the two stables, there are approximately 120 well cared for and much loved horses. Through out the years, the stables have been served by many wonderful horses with some pretty amazing stories. Look for my collection of children's books.... It may be awhile, I still have to write them.... and illustrate them.... and publish them..... Hmm.

One of my favorite livery horses of all time was an old appaloosa named Casper.

30 years ago, my parents purchased a big white horse called Casper from a neighboring family in our small Iowa town.  Although there were no papers, they were told he was 18 years old at the time of purchase. He worked for 20 summers at the stable in Estes Park, putting him at the ripe old age of 38 when he retired. Casper was about 16.2 hands tall (for you non horsey folk, one hand equal four inches and you measure at the withers, which is the top of the shoulder where the neck meets the back.)  He stood tall and strong, although he was rather narrow with quite large feet and a huge head.  His color was like a "flea-bitten grey", but his appaloosa breeding was apparent in his pink spotty skin on his nose, under his belly and around his eyes.  He really rather resembled a large gangly goat, and was pretty unimpressive to look at, as horses go.  But Casper was special.  Casper was the happiest horse on the planet.  He loved his job, and every one (including the other horses) loved him.  He was the perfect trail horse.  He was never cranky, never tired, never ate grass and he was always was excited to go.  In fact, every time the horses would line up for a ride, Casper would try to speed walk to the front of the group, so that he could be the leader.

Because of Casper's towering height and endurance, he was selected to carry some of the larger "passengers".  For the first 12 years or so, Casper's only disappointment in life was to walk at the end of the line, as the guides were first, followed by the small children . Yet Casper never tired. He never had a cinch sore, a back sore or even took a lame step.  He always had strong eyes and a strong mind.  He was as steadfast as they come. Only because of his increasing age, he eventually "graduated" to carrying children.  He was the biggest horse in the barn wearing the littlest, tiniest saddle.  But with that tiny saddle, Casper was granted his wish- he got to walk at the front of the line.  The satisfaction and pride bursting forth from this old horse, who was filled with so much love and strength and who finally got to be at the lead, was enough to bring a tear to your eye.  In fact, I am tearing up as I type this.  I can still picture him, his domineering height making all the children who rode him look like tiny birds perched on his back.  He would stand at the front of the line, waiting for the guide with his head high and his ears pricked forward, just happy to be there.  Happy to go.  Happy to do his job.

At the age of 38, Casper was still in perfect health.  He officially "retired" from the livery business and moved into the position of "babysitter", which is honestly what he did at the stable.  This time, instead of tourists, Casper was to babysit weanling foals out of the breeding program.  He was assigned to a number of babies who had just been separated from their mothers.  Casper's job was to give them a sense of security, be their companion and teach them respect at feeding time.  Casper was like their live-in nanny or their daycare provider. Anyone who mentors youth, must enjoy them. They must be patient, tolerant and consistent.  Casper was all those things.  Casper always had all of his pupils standing quietly at feeding time.  No one was allowed to bite or kick or he would make them stand away from the bunk.  In fact, Casper's only downfall in his new profession was becoming overly attached to his young herd.  When it was time for them to move on (to trainers, new pastures or new homes), Casper would be penned with the other "mentors" on my parent's ranch.  He was the only one in the group that would whinny for days for his young friends.

Because part of the breeding program is raising Quarter Horses to sell, potential buyers would often look at Casper's group of weanling foals.  He always greeted the shoppers at the fence, and would stand proudly between the people and his herd, so that people would have to gaze at him.  My mom would always lovingly tell his story and his age, to every person that looked.  Casper was alert, sweet and strong to the end.  I believe that his love of his work and his zest for life kept him alive for so long. Casper died just last week. According to our records, he was 48 years old.

47 year old Casper spreading some love.
 

Casper two years ago with one of his favorite people.
 

15 signs that you have given up.

  1. You think that you look nice because you picked out a sweater to match your pajama bottoms, which you fully intend to wear all day.
  2. You actually encourage you child to jump on your bed- so he can get some exercise.
  3. Cake for breakfast?  Why yes!  Is there a better breakfast food?
  4. You don't use your hairbrush.... or your toothbrush.
  5. The dog doesn't even want to sit by you.
  6. Two hours of television for children is a "loose guideline". Who is up for a Toy Story MARATHON????
  7. Your child wet YOUR bed when napping.  You "air dry" the down comforter and proceed to sleep under it... (you turned the pee spot to the foot of the bed, so what's the problem?)
  8. The highlight of your day is drinking 8 cups of coffee out of this mug.
  9. You hope and pray that today is not the day when Publisher's Clearing House brings you that 3 million dollar check, because you don't want photographic evidence of you looking so horrible.
  10. You are so thankful that you cooked earlier in the week because "leftovers" is all that is on the menu.
  11. You take to jumping over that sticky spot on the floor, rather than wiping it up.
  12. You hear a strange sound from the bathroom and realize it is your husband- cleaning.  You know it had to be really dirty for him to notice.
  13. You are flattered when your husband tells you "You could make soup out of an old shoe and I would eat it."  What does this say about the quality of the meals that you have been preparing?  It doesn't matter, because you are too vacant to think that hard.
  14. You investigate and consider hiring a service to do your grocery shopping for you, just because you don't feel like getting dressed in anything other than your pajamas.
  15. Your "to do" list for the day contains three things: *Hey Stupid! Drink water so you don't get a headache again.  *Find your slippers. *Huh? I forgot what I was going to write.....
Okay- I gave in and showered.  I was skeeving myself out.