Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yes, I'm definitely neurotic.

I have been eating HORRIBLY the last four days. My diet has consisted primarily of coffee, chocolate (in the form of brownies with a fudge topping), red meat, salty/crunchies and wine. Healthy, huh? Not so much.

I finally decided that this splendid diet has been the reason that I have been tired, bloated and cranky all week. I know, I'm like some kind of a genius.

Last night I decided that I was going to commit to eating healthy and exercising! I took the pups on a brisk three mile walk. I decided to have a big fresh salad for dinner. Upon our return I dug into the refrigerator to get the bag of lettuce that I saw my husband bring home from the store on Monday. It was unopened and slimy. So I ate a leftover steak sandwich with a few slices of mushy tomato and washed it down with some red wine and American Idol. The picture of healthy living....

Now about this rotting produce that apparently beckons "BUY ME!!!" to my husband..... I appreciate my husband helping me out by sometimes doing the shopping. I really do. I loathe the grocery store (and the bill) with the same passion in which I loathe fabric stores (migraine, anyone?) and sometimes I would rather stay home and ignore do housework then drag two kids to the store. For some reason, regardless of my countless "lessons" on selecting good produce, the man still always brings home mostly decaying goods. I don't know how to fix this, so I end up either finding creative ways to cook with rotting food or just filling up the trash with nasty slimy stuff (which in my mind is like throwing actual dollar bills away...)

He shopped Monday because we were having dinner guests Monday night. Between cleaning the house, watching the kids, and catching up on laundry (and writing a blog post...what?), I was quickly running out of time. I was frantically deep cleaning all day on Monday so that when my cousin came over for dinner that evening she could breath in my home without going into some kind of anaphylactic shock. She has severe allergies to cats and I apparently had severely allergies to the cleaning the house last week. This was shown to me with a previous visit over the weekend, which resulted in my cousin having to leave because she was getting itchy and asthmatic. This would be fine if I didn't like her, but I happen to adore her so I had to take action. Plus, there is nothing like knowing your dirty ass house is not allowing someone to breathe (which, you know, is necessary for survival) to spur a deep cleaning. I even wiped off the ceiling fans. I know. I think I should get a medal for that. Cat dander- BE GONE! (and I kicked his hairless, smelly ass out of the house for the day). But I digress.....

So today was the start of my "Road to Better Health" kick (plus I am taking a yoga class on Sunday and don't want to accidentally rip ass in a class full of people):

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon and soy milk. ONLY ONE cup of Joe.

Exercise: 3 miles on the treadmill accompanied by the standard mental whirlwind of: "This giant piece of exercise equipment is totally fucking up my rooms Feng Shui and we probably need to either move or build an addition because this house is SO TINY but what I really need is to declutter this house and it would be great to have a basement to put the equipment in because is shakes the floor so badly that my tchotchkes fall off the dresser and break and why the hell do I have so many effing tchotchkes? I hate clutter! If I have a bigger house, how the hell will I keep up with the cleaning and we probably wouldn't be able to have such a big yard with a barn and where would Brock build his "stuff" for his business? and should we stay in Ft. Collins or move to a farm back in Iowa? I really miss my horses but could I even handle the weather there? OMG, I would totally miss my friends and ......" wretch wretch wretch! goes my brain.


Pretty.
 This is always what happens to me when I work out, spend too much time inside, read too many decorating magazines....Oh yeah, getting to sleep at night is fun too. I can't even watch the news because all they talk about is horror stories about fatal illnesses and people hurting children and then that is all I can think about. Neat huh?

Lunch: Quinoa with Chicken and Apple Brats, spinach and white beans. (Thing 2 inhaled this, Lord help us all when we introduce him to red meat. I might lose a finger.)

Snack: Only the tiniest piece of the frosted brownie. More like a nibble.... from a baby mouse.

Dinner: ???? I don't know yet. I would say salad but I threw out the $2.50 worth of slimy lettuce. *sigh* maybe I'll have to go to the blasted store. There is always leftover steak sandwiches, wine and American Idol.....

So, as you can see, I am like a highly disciplined soldier on my "Road to Better Health".

Okay! I'll share my lunch recipe. Do you guys even like it when I post recipes??? If not, I'll stop posting them. Just let me know.

Here is the recipe for my lunch. It took about 20-25 minutes from start to finish. It is gluten free.

20 Minutes to Good Food

1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups water with 2 Tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (bring water/bouillon to boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.)

Heat 1 T olive oil with 1 T butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add in the following order:
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
saute about 2 minutes
1 package of chicken and apple brats, sliced
~2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1 can drained and rinsed great northern beans
1 1/2 (mostly rotted- bahaha!) large tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
*I drizzled the tiniest bit (1 or 2 Tablespoons?) of molasses over this. It was good.

Cook until heated through. Serve over quinoa.Congratulate yourself for being so freaking healthy.




I purchased this giant skillet at Target.
Best $40 spent. Ever.


What is quinoa you ask?
This is quinoa!

Tada!
Okay, I realize that it sort of resembles dog puke.
Once you get past that, it is good. I promise.








Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Things are growing like weeds, I mean... a well-tended garden.

It's Tuesday!!! Do you know what that means???
Me neither.

But I thought that I would take today's post and dedicate it to my precious Things.

Exciting new developments around the Wagner house in the past few weeks:

Thing 1 and I started some seeds for a vegetable and flower garden. Then we sang to them (and watered them and all that jazz). Then we patiently waited (Thing 1 watched Max and Ruby and I stared blankly at them while hovering over the coffee pot every morning). They are now sprouting, which makes us officially awesome.


Thing 1 and me on planting day. I'm reading the instructions
because, as usual, I don't know what the hell I am doing.

These tomato seeds are from Elmo. Guaranteed to grow!
Shazam!

Only nine days later and Thing 1 and I are officially Master Gardeners!

When it stops being bi-polar on the weather front here (i.e. 70 one day and snowing the next), we plan on transplanting our precious seedlings into the wonderful new (made with wood recycled from an old fence) garden beds courtesy of my handy dandy husband. Once again, we are right on schedule with our projects. We have been talking about doing raised beds for 5 years now. The weeds out here are ridiculous and I am pretty lazy, so I thought raised beds would not only be of great assistance with the weed control, but also helpful for my old lady back. We put the beds out by our little barn, which makes the fact that the horses no longer live in it a bit easier to swallow. Plus, we planted grass out there and tore the fence down, thus giving us more yard to mow (one acre with a push mower- yippee) but less dirt to blow into my kitchen. A decent trade off, I guess. If the grass will actually grow....

Here is a picture of the beds, complete with new barn doors (thanks honey! Now the neighbors can't see how much shit we store in there.) and a fresh pile of dirt that Thing 1 basically has been living in:
We need to add some nice black top soil to prepare the beds for planting.
I hope that the grass comes in a little better than this,
maybe I should remember to water it.....
I look forward to May, when the weather is wonderful and I can plant the seedlings and the rest of my seeds in the garden. I fear that Thing 1 will be sad when he is no longer allowed to play in the dirt with Red Dog and his tractors. I'll deal with that when we come to it (cue: me crying because the dog/child combo ripped out all my hard work).

In other news, Thing 2 is now speed crawling, splashing violently in water and putting absolutely everything into his mouth.

Let me translate that:
  • Thing 2 magically disappears and then I hear splashing only to discover him gleefully playing in the toilet.
  • Thing 2 is playing quietly... too quietly... and  he is drooling. A lot. I do a finger sweep to discover one of the following items: a magnet, a toy, an orange peel, dog food, dirt, a rock, and whatever else he finds (or that Thing 1 gives to him on the sly). Yay for the "everything goes into the mouth" stage. Good times.
  • Thing 2 loves his bath time so much, and gets so excited, that the bath water churns like the sea that sunk Titanic. Clean up on Aisle 8!
  • I have to mop my floors more than I desire because he is crawling all over them and then jamming his fists into his mouth. Cat dander + dog hair + baby drool = gagging (and that is just what I do..)
Today, after I entered his room post nap time to discover a code green diaper explosion (I'll let you figure out why I called it a code green...), I plopped him in the tub to recover that yummy baby smell. When he got out I pulled out the Baby Hefner robe. I'm surprised that I didn't chew on him.



OMG.
The letter N is delicious.
Please excuse the door trim.
Wait... what trim?
EXACTLY.
  So, as you can clearly see, my children are perfect.
Never mind that I run around yelling "Get off your brother", "Stop that!", "For the sixteenth time! Get in here NOW! one....two...three...", "Ouch! Stop pinching my fat!", "No! Don't touch!", "No! Don't eat that!", "Where are your pants?" or moaning "Oh my GAWD- GO TO SLEEP!!!!" at 3 a.m.
The end.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cousins!!! and another Gluten Free Crock Pot Recipe.

I had a magical weekend. I visited. I relaxed. I had a date with my husband. I watched a movie. I drank a little vino. I painted my nails. I shopped (a sale rack). I exercised! Twice! I avoided getting anything accomplished. It was like I had an out-of-body experience. Now it is Monday and I am kicking myself for getting absolutely nothing done. My house is a wreck, the laundry has been breeding like rabbits and if I don't go shopping soon I will be diapering Thing 2 in my husband's t-shirts.

Most of the reason that my weekend was so wonderful is because I got to visit with family. You see, I am one of those fortunate people who absolutely adores my extended family, so any chance to spend time with them is warmly embraced. Once upon a time (over the weekend) there were three fabulous cousins who went out on the town. We ate. We drank yummy stuff. We went window shopping in Old Town Fort Collins. We even each picked up a little something special at Kansas City Kitty, one of my favorite shops in town. We browsed other shops where we tried on hats, admired all the young ladies trying on their (flashback to the late eighties!!!) sequined prom dresses, and absorbed some always welcome and much needed Colorado sunshine and fresh air. It was refreshing in every way. The End.

And now it is Monday, I am back to reality and I need to do all the crap that I denied the existence of for the past few days. *sigh*

Wait! I'm having a flashback!


The cousins enjoying a leisurely lunch in Old Town.


How cute are they???

Look! More hats!
 In other news:
While I was eating my lunch yesterday (3/4 of a can of black olives and 2 pieces of dark chocolate.... what?), I was multi-tasking by throwing dinner in my beloved crock pot. I used chicken, in honor of Easter chicks.

I know... bad humor. I'm still on my first cup of coffee.
The following crock pot recipe is what I created = my favorite dish to date. I'm writing it down so that I don't forget, because this girl has some major memory issues. Good thing I have a belt buckle with my name on it because I would probably forget that.... hey, where is that belt buckle?

Let's call it...

Johi's Black & White Chicken Chili

3 frozen (or thawed) chicken breasts (toss 'em in whole)
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. diced red pepper (green would be great, but I had red)
3/4 c. frozen corn
4 oz. can of diced green chilies
20 oz can of diced tomatoes
32 oz. of chicken broth
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can great northern beans (drained)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice- optional

Toss everything together in crock pot. Turn crock pot on low and cook at least 6 hours. Once chicken is cooked, remove and shred, then add back to soup.
Add rice about one hour before serving. (You could leave out the rice for a more brothy soup, but I had some left over in my fridge and really liked the addition.)



OMG, this is so freaking good.

Serve with tortilla chips, shredded jack cheese and beer. Or in my case, deliver to cousin who is visiting from San Francisco (and is staying with other cousin, because Smelly Cat makes her itchy), drink tea and talk about living with intention- which we both highly recommend. Enjoy!

Cheers,
Johi

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's just like riding a bike, unless you never learned to ride a bike.




There are certain things that people need to function in society that one is supposed to learn in childhood: smiling, saying"please" and "thank you", sharing *cough* bullshit!, rollerskating, cutting a straight line, hopscotch, blowing bubbles with your gum, ice skating, snapping your fingers, whistling, walking, running, skipping and biking. I can confidently say that I have mastered only three things on this list. I have a firm grasp of four of them. I am shaky on some and on the rest I would absolutely get an "F" for "Fat Freaking Failure".

I could tell amusing stories about all of these things, but today I would like to focus on the bicycle. Thanks to Guten Strudel's recent post for reminding me of my story and this post from the hilarious Hyperbole and a Half, I know that my sister and I are not alone in our lack luster cycling attempts. Sorry to drag you into this, my dear sister- but now is the time and the time is now.

bicycle 1


It was the Christmas of 1985. I was 10 (almost 11) years old and my sister had just turned 12. We had finally finished unwrapping all of our gifts from Santa (what?), playing with the things he brought us from "The Land of Misfit Toys" (i.e. otherwise known as a Craigslist type newspaper called The Thrifty Nickle) and admiring all of our preppy new sweaters with matching plastic beads (and colored socks) from the mall in Keokuk. All of a sudden our dad disappears into the basement and pops back up with two matching shiny burgundy Three-Speed bikes! Wow! Everyone knows that wheels=freedom.

My sister and I were thrilled at our new found freedom. We imagined riding the paved road to town and meeting our friends at the Dairy Delight for ice cream and gossip about how cute Kirk Cameron was on the latest episode of Growing Pains. We conjured up images of flying on our bicycles with the wind blowing bugs into our Laura Ingells-esq braids! We had wheels! We were going to be awesome! We were going to be FREE!!! Just like the TOWN KIDS!!!!

Then our parents looked at us with a great seriousness in their eyes. I feared that they were going to tell me that one of our six dogs had died. But no, they said "Now girls. You can only ride these in the driveway."

Ummm. Okay. LAME.

We lived on a farm. With a gravel driveway. Big gravel. More like giant boulders. The kind that throw a bike tire right out from under you. And then there was the hill, which combined with the boulders was a sure fire ticket to a head injury. Lord knows that I don't need any more head injuries.

Here is a map of our bike route, the whole course took about 1 1/2 minutes:


Guess how much we rode our shiny new bikes? I'll give you a hint: The first time I rode mine I rammed my pubic bone into the bar so hard that I was crying, because our father, who so desperately wanted boys, bought us two BOYS bikes.

So what happened? Because my sister and I never rode our bicycles, we never really learned to ride bicycles.

Instead, we rode horses.

Flash forward to 2001 where I totally invited myself on a girl's getaway to Glenwood Springs. There were three of us, having a wonderful time in the hot springs, browsing the quaint shops, playing pool and eating out. The second day one of the girls said "Hey! There is a great bike trail! Let's rent some bikes!!!".  I heard this "You are going to look like a total asshole when we find out that you haven't ridden a bike since you were 10. Especially when you mow down some nice lady pushing a stroller then topple over on a busy street corner."

Since I had butted in with my self-invite, I wanted to go with the flow. So I smiled nervously and said "That sounds like.... fun. You just can't go too fast because I haven't ridden a bike in like, 16 years.... and I'm not very good."

They laughed at me. I think they thought I was making light of the situation. They soon found out that they indeed let a socially inept, athletically challenged person (who gets loud when she drinks) come along with them on their weekend getaway.

The bike shop was in the middle of town. After we rented the bikes and wheeled them out onto the street, I realized that the empty wide road that I was hoping for to "practice" on was a fantasy. The reality was that I was going to have to mount the bike in the middle of town, which was busy with pedestrians and drivers and other cyclists (who could actually steer their bikes) and ride through all of the hustle and bustle without killing myself... or a passerby... or some poor dog on a leash.

My first attempt at go was wobbly and wonky and made my friends wonder how I even walk without a cane and a helmet. I couldn't get both feet on the pedals and balance and steer. Biking is HARD, people! I ended up doing that awkward walk with the bike between my legs. I decided that I could just do that the whole time and I would trick them all into thinking that I was actually riding the bike. I was slick with the nasty sweat of fear and failure, a combination that is all too familiar to me. I think that my girlfriends were beginning to feel the gravity of the situation, but they were kind and continued to offer words of encouragement. After a few minutes of that, with the help of a small hill, I gained a little balance and control. I was starting to feel less like everyone was staring at me and more like I could pull this off! Then we approached the bridge. The bridge was on the main drag through Glenwood Springs. It was long (stretching over I-70) and four lanes of traffic wide. On our right was the skinniest fucking sidewalk I had ever witnessed in my entire life. That tiny 6 inch wide sidewalk was where I was supposed to ride my rented bike. The bike that I could hardly keep upright, much less in a straight line. On the left of the sidewalk were rushing cars and trucks and on the right was a 20 foot drop off to the interstate. Super.

 I was pretty sure that I was going to die.

 But my girlfriends gleefully cheered "It's fine! You can do it!". I was not so certain. In that moment I hated myself for being such a brazen hussy and inviting myself along. But once a brazen hussy, always a brazen hussy; so I gathered up my courage, teetered, tried to push off, tripped on the pedals, went sideways, and caught myself before I fell headfirst into oncoming traffic. Then, my face beat red with humiliation, I took a breath and tried again. I had moderate success. ("Moderate" meaning I somehow navigated the bike over the bridge and didn't mow down any people or kill myself in the process.)

The trip ended up being wonderful. I even eventually enjoyed the bike ride so much that I went home and bought a really nice bike (a purple one from Walmart that was made for a tween.) I didn't care if it looked like I pushed a Girl Scout off her bike and stole it, that little Schwinn built up my confidence and ability.

I am now a serious biker, if you call biking in a skirt to the Dairy Queen "serious". But I do own a nice cruiser (currently with a flat tire) and have only almost fallen over on it once. I even learned the cyclist lingo. Read: My bike has a basket. Sometimes I even wear a helmet. I own padded butt shorts. umhm.

But that leaves my poor sister..... she still hadn't ridden a bike since the mid-eighties. Three years ago she and I took a 10 month old Thing 1 on an airplane ride to Washington state. We visited Leavenworth, which made me want to throw out both arms while running and sing songs from The Sound of Music. After they kindly asked me to leave town (just kidding?), we visited Lake Chelan. We stayed in a cute little resort where they had bicycles to rent. They even had one with a baby seat. I convinced my super athletic sister that biking was great exercise! and once she remembered how to do it, she would have fun and fitness, all rolled into one.

The rental bicycles were the high quality kind with no speeds and no brakes (you pedaled backwards to stop). The resort was full of hills, but they were all paved, so that was a major improvement over my parent's rock driveway. My sis was really doing well until we came upon the big hill.

The big hill was completely devoid of cars and people, save one house, where men were working on the roof and their vehicles were parked on the street. My nervous sister started down the hill carefully and slowly. She was doing okay at first, then she started to get more and more wobbly as she continued down. With the front tire lurching and jerking in every direction but forward, she wandered off course and was very slowly careening toward the three cars parked on the street. She started moaning "Ohhh!" and cursing. I witnessed as all the workmen stopped hammering to watch my sister come within inches of crashing into their parked vehicles (all at the speed of about .25 miles per hour.) Good thing she remembered to put her foot on the ground! Whew!

She was mortified.

I was laughing so hard that I had to stop my bike~ because I was losing all muscle control and feared that I might soil myself.

Here is a picture of our route, my sister's is pink:


So what is the point of this story?
If you need to feel like a professional cyclist (or just moderately competent), invite my sister and I along on for a ride and enjoy the feeling of your ego inflating- just stick to the bikes, not the horses.

And oh yeah, teach your kids to ride bikes.
I'm off to motivate Thing 1 to get out of the dirt pile (doesn't everyone have one of those in their yard?) and onto his bicycle.

P.S. I want to thank my other horsey friend for sharing her fairly recent biking story of yelling "GET OFF THE PATH! I'M COMING THROUGH!" at all people who happened to be on the bike trail while she was there, because she felt like she couldn't properly steer her bike. You know who you are and your story made me love you even more. 

What do you do with a freezer full of beef? You cook it. And eat it.

I wanted to share a recipe, because it has been awhile and I need for you all to know that I do still cook for my family. (More than just cereal and brownies.)

My parents graciously bestowed "a whole lotta" beef upon us. The best thing about it? (Besides the fact that is was FREE!!!) It is grass fed Longhorn that they raised themselves on their ranch in Iowa. It is soooo delicious... and yes, to answer your question, Iowa does have ranches.

I am a Crock Pot whore for multiple reasons:

A.) I can prepare a meal during Thing 2's morning nap while Thing 1 is outside chasing the Red Dog around with a hammer or something shaped like a hammer.

2.) I don't have to think about cooking later in the day, when I am exhausted and the children are feral (like children like to be when you are trying to prepare dinner.... while exhausted).

3.) It is shiny, which immediately qualifies it for my love.
 I am considering bedazzling it...or writing a song about it.


Oh Crock Pot, how I love thee.

To the delight of my family (who are luckily extremely easy to please), I made up a recipe using a 2-3 pound arm roast, some cabbage, onion and tomatoes that needed to be used. Then I baked some potatoes, poured myself a glass of vino and served up some delicious gluten-free dinner to the fam. If you haven't read my recipes, prepare to be confused. Sorry, I cook with my gut more than the written word. It usually works out. Here is my "recipe", proceed with caution:

Johi's Roast and Cabbage 

2-3 pound beef roast (I used an arm roast)
1/2 head of green cabbage- coarsely chopped
1/2 white onion- chopped
3 large tomatoes- chopped (could use a can of tomatoes instead)
3/4 cup water with 1 tsp beef paste dissolved
dash of celery seed
dash of pepper
dash of Mrs. Dash

Cut the roast in half (it was half thawed) and put it in first. Then mix up the onion, cabbage and tomato and place on top of the roast (the Crock Pot was brimming, but I shoved it all in there). Pour the broth/water mix over the top and sprinkle on the seasonings.
Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn down to low for 3 hours. I turned it back up to high for the last hour (when I put the baked potatoes in the oven). In all it cooked for 6 hours (half the time on high) and was perfect. I believe if the roast was fully thawed you could easily cook on low the entire time for ~8 hours.
Serve to family. Watch with glee and wonder as your child eats it.
Disclaimer: Dish contains cabbage, which is known to cause "cabbage butt"----you may want to open some windows.

+
=

Yes, we know that we are dorks.
 Have a superfunderful weekend! My cousin is coming to visit so I need to go scrape the dried banana off the floor under the high chair so that she thinks that we are civilized.

Love,
Johi

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Got a Prize! And it didn't even come from a cereal box!

Just two days ago a fellow blogger by the name of sluicers inflated my ego and bestowed upon me a Pay it Forward blogging award. Apparently I entertain her because the other qualification for the award was to be "inspiring". Blahaha.

By the way, sluicers, I am totally jealous that your mom reads your blog.

Like anything in life, the award was not totally "free". I was instructed to link back to the person who gave me the award (see above for a general link to her blog, but please check out this post about her grandmother, because it is truly wonderful).

In sluicers' own words, this is what I am supposed to do: (I wrote the crap in blue- surprise!)

Here are the rules of the award:1. Link back to the person that bestowed the award to me. (check!)2. Disclose 7 things about myself. (are you sure that you want this.... really???)3. Pass this award along to 5 of my favorite blogs. (I did it- keep reading!)4. Contact the authors of said blogs and tell them of their awesomeness.  (can I just stand inside and yell out the door, like I do when I call my dogs?)5. Gush, blush, and do happy dances because I got an award. That's not an official rule, but I'll be doing it just the same. (I dance every day wearing my PJ's in my living room, so this won't be a problem)

Seven More Things That You Do Not Need  (or Want) To Know About Me:

1. I was probably the only bride on the planet that, two weeks before her wedding, was not concerned about losing weight, the seating chart or the menu, but was freaking the fuck out because I thought that I had contracted ringworm from the cat. All I could think about was how no makeup could cover a crusty, scaly patch of ringworm skin on my face...
P.S. Ends up that neither the cat or I had ringworm. Whew!

2. I once had some condescending ass tell me that "sarcasm doesn't suit you". Boy, was he wrong.

3. I really love digging in the dirt and you probably are in for a long spring where I drone on and on about my garden. Do you want to see a shit ton of pictures of flowers and vegetables? No? Too bad!

4. I used to be a Rodeo Queen. Don't be a hater. It was fun because rode my horse at full speed carrying flags and chased cattle. I tried out against one other girl and the judges told me that I interviewed horribly and that I only won because of my horse. Apparently I was not the most poised 15 year old on the planet....  who give a rat's ass because I WON. Suck it! But the best part was where I got to drape myself in socially unacceptable things like gold lame`, RHINESTONES (no, these are real diamonds!) and sequins. We all know how much I like shiny things.

5. I have written and started illustrating a children's book, but my fear of failure keeps me from doing anything with it, so I do laundry and dishes instead. I know. Inspiring stuff, huh?

6. I often have dreams (premonitions?) that later come true. I'm like a mother-effing seer.

7. I believe in ghosts because of personal experiences. None of them have been frightening, but I am still afraid of dying, horror movies and Michael Bolton.

Five People That I Know are Worthy of THE PAY IT FORWARD AWARD because they entertain and/or Inspire Me:

1. Crystal @ Surviving and Thriving in Mom-Dom : this mom of four boys is fun, poignant, real and wonderful. She'll make you laugh, nod while saying "Yessss!" and then she'll break your heart. Start reading and keep reading; I know you will love her as much as I do.

2. Elizabeth @ Flourish In Progress : She gave up shopping for a year and is taking a simultaneously comical and serious journey of self-discovery. I'm addicted to her (which is ironic because she talks a lot about breaking addictions.... see what you have done to me Elizabeth???? By the end of your blog I am going be a chain-smoking alcoholic with a gambling problem.)

3. Phoenix Rising @ Stumbling Towards Perfect : She is a mid-western gal who puts her dry, comical twist on the common place, real life stuff and literally makes me laugh out loud almost every time. I think I know my readers, and I am certain that you'll love her writing style. Go. Read. Snort.

4. The Cotton Floozy @ The Cotton Floozy : Just go~ look, laugh and order from her etsy shop. She fucking rocks. I love her creativity, her talent, and the fact that we share a sense of humor. J.K.W. + C.F. = Forever (too much? I think not.)

5. Aubrey @ The Inherited Table : A very well-written food blog from a fellow foodie, childhood friend and mom of four. Prepare to laugh, salivate, learn and be inspired!

So there you have it! More useless information about me and 5 GREAT New blogs to read!

Thanks again sluicers, I hope you are enjoying your friggin' cherry blossoms in sunny California.

Peace, Love, and Unicorns (or manicorns....),
Johi

P.S. If you are really nice to me, I may or may not post old rodeo queen pics.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sick and Wrong, People. SICK AND WRONG.

Every day my Google Stats (that come free with this blog) gives me a plethora of information. It tells me how many page views occur, which posts people are reading, the traffic source and your home address. Just kidding, but it does tell me what countries are reading (can I get a WOOT WOOT for Singapore? Whoever you are- you're awesome). It also gives me a little gem called "keywords". These are words that people are typing into their search engines and the search engine is then leading them to my blog. Normally they are just variations of my title, but last week I got two special ones, and I am suspicious that the same person may have typed them both:

corn fed vagina
corn fed butt

Come on people. What is wrong with you???? Is this really what revs your engine/blows your skirt up/ ignites your flames of passion? Really? GET A HOBBY. I hear that people enjoy a crazy little thing called READING. Shit, just do some popsicle art or macrame. Go watch an episode of The Golden Girls. Anything.

Also in the past, these keyword searches have led people here:

hard red dog poop
turkey butt jeans
wet sheets
chicka nownow
redneck's confession
still not potty trained
prayer for our sons
Mary Madonna images
...and a variety of ways I say my name (stalk much?).

So I think that it is obvious that my blog is full of farm grown, backwoods, religious porn (and other bodily fluids). Thank you for reading.

Maybe I need to rethink my content....
 I can't believe I haven't gotten a "unicorns" or "classy bitches who blog" keyword. I am going to try harder (later).

Monday, March 21, 2011

10.5 things that demonstrate how I am completely unreasonable.

**Sometimes thoughts come to me at 2a.m. and then I have the brilliant idea to turn said thoughts into a blog post. I apologize in advance.**

  1. I know not to eat dairy before bed, yet I continue to do so, then I wonder why I am alert and sweating at 2 a.m. because of that dream about my kids in a bouncy castle, scuzzy men too old (and high?) to be in a bouncy castle and broken glass in the same bouncy castle woke me up at night. Or maybe I just fear bouncy castles and scuzzy men, which on the other hand, is completely reasonable. (side note to my girlfriend who fears the circus- I get it)
  2. Every year I am severely disappointed when I don't actually win the HGTV Dream Home. Because, you know, THAT is a completely realistic goal.
  3. I actually expect my husband  to not only finish the project that he started, but also to clean up after himself. Obviously I am insane in the membrane.
  4. I would like people to like me. I'm talking about everyone I meet. This is impossible because I speaks my mind, and we all know some people cannot deal with snide, mouthy women delivering the facts. "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" (Look at me quoting movies. Probably incorrectly...) But seriously, I'm super nice. I hope you like me....
  5. I still keep anticipating the day the I sleep through the night, get up when I am done sleeping (done=to be determined by me) and don't have an ache or a pain in my body. Blahaha!
  6. I believe in fairies. Next time I go for a walk I will take a picture of the tree that they live in and show all of you, so that you too will be believers.
  7. I don't want my dogs to chase cars anymore. I'm pretty certain that my neighbors feel the same way.
  8. 
    Who me?
    Yes. You.
  9. I would like to feed my food allergy sensitivity prone, high maintenance family (yes, I am one of them) perfectly healthy, balanced meals for under $300 a month.
  10. I really want a jet pack (or a hover craft).
  11. I would like people to stop telling me to get a job and start telling me what a great job I am doing raising two precious little boys. Seriously. Stop.
  12. I want to live my life "at 11", which is obviously better than 10.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why is the sky blue?

Huh? Let me think about that....

I would like to put a FAQ tab on my home page, but I have a little problem. No one has asked any questions yet. Maybe I need to be more mysterious and give people something to wonder about..... or maybe all of my readers are from my itty bitty hometown and already know everything about me. Hmmm. Well, if you can think of some great question, even if you think you already know the answer- please ask away. Here is my formal request:

Dearest Readers of the Land,
Please submit questions for me to answer in one (or all) of these three places:

1) Leave something fabulous and thought provoking in the comment box of this post.

2) Send your questions to my email

3) Post your questions on my facebook page (don't forget to click "like" and receive posting updates)

Also, if you are having any personal dilemnas and would like some advice, feel free to email me with your problems.  These problems could include, but not be limited to: relationships, children, cooking, decorating, and fashion.  I will post your emails with my responses on Thursdays. I can post them with or without your name- just let me know what you prefer. By doing this, you will give my something to do other than strutting around in a green polyester leisure suit and talking to myself.

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Prank Calls and Leisure Suits

This morning I checked my phone and it alerted me that I had a message. When I checked the message, it was a sexual proposition from a blocked number that called at 1:03 a.m. In it they called me a "sexy bitch". Well, at least they got half of that correct. The most interesting part was that the voice sounded vaguely familiar... and it was a woman.

Well folks, even though I have at times told creepy grinders in a club (you know, the guys that "dance" toward you with their pelvis) that it would not "work out" for them because I was with "her"(cue grabbing my girl friend and together we would dance away from the creeper), I am not a lesbian.

So to the caller who raised my eyebrows this morning:

A) I have no idea how you got my cell phone number, but please do not call me at 1 a.m., because if you wake up my sleeping children I will have to hunt you down and flog you with a garden hose.

2) The only kind of proposition that I am likely to say yes to is the one where you offer to pay for the babysitter so that I can go to the spa treatment (that you also paid for).

45) Really?  REALLY? If I didn't personally give you my number, it is because I don't want you to call me.

D) I'm 36, which makes me officially an antique and too old for bullshit (see yesterday's post). Respect your elders.

765) Even though I love "the gays", I am not one of them. If you (blocked caller) are a man, you have your own issues to work out.

Z) Since I will not submit to your anonymous demands, I can only provide you with pictures of me in my one-of-a-kind St. Patty's Day lime green double knit polyester leisure suit. I hope this helps ease your sexual tension/needs/frustration/desires? You can thank my mother for making (and saving) the suit and my husband for taking the photos.



My husband was enjoying his job as photographer so much, and I was just so darned comfortable in this suit that the following photos are in the "photojournalistic style" of "a day in the life of Johi... in a lime green leisure suit...". Enjoy.

The laundry needs attention.

I hope you enjoyed your dinner last night.

Ohhh! I think the brownies are done!
Have a great weekend everyone~ and remember, don't be creepy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

If you want to be my friend then show me your scars, sister.

Disclaimer- I am still in pain and probably (okay certainly) feeling a bit stabby. Intolerance is at a high.

Sooooo, we have all been around those women who live for competition, right? I'm not talking about Foosball/Pictionary/Taboo/Poker type competition (because I love you people). No, I am referring to the women who compete "at life".


Example of an "at life" competitor: Here is my fabulous house designed by the top architect in our area. We added the elevator because my baby hasn't learned to walk yet, but he loves to push buttons. Our eldest child is top in her class at the private Preschool which we enrolled her in while she was still in the womb. The staff there said that they have never met a brighter child in all their years of teaching. My husband and I own five Internationally known companies and I have my Doctorate in the most inspiring thing you can imagine. I used to model but after having children I really wanted to spend more time volunteering and instructing my nanny on how to raise my kids. My husband stays in great shape playing rugby and rowing, and every year we split time between our beach home in Florida and our cabin in Aspen. Blah blah fucking blah.




Oh darling, just leave that for the maid.


Oh honey, I am the maid at my house. Just look at the treasures
that my husband leaves for me on the counters.
You know, because to put them in the trash can he would
have had to turn around and step on the pedal.

Example of a conversation with me: Don't mind the neighbor, he eventually puts a shirt on when he gets chilly. Oh you like the house? Thanks. Some day we'll actually finish it. No, I haven't signed my child up for any extra-curricular activities because I need that $40 a month to support my boxed wine habit. My husband just lost his business after 16 years and I stay at home with both kids. Nanny? Blahahahahahahaha. No. I went to school for Art then worked 10 years in retail~ I feel that is a perfect example of my stellar planning for the future. *eyes glazing over as I think about last night's episode of The Biggest Loser* Vacation? Hmm? No we don't do crazy stuff like that. Gee, this has been fun, but I need to go remove this hair that sprouted out of my chin while you were talking to me.

Let me tell you something. I have no desire to be around people who compete at life.  I don't need judgement when I slip into my small town vernacular and tell my kids to go "wash up", and I don't need to hear about how effing perfect your life is. Why? Not because I am jealous (okay, if you have a nanny I'm a little jealous). Because I don't believe you. No one has a perfect life. NO ONE. We all get (intensely) irritated by our spouses. We all have moments where we consider selling our children.  We all wonder about their intelligence when they spend a week pretending to be a dog, picking their nose or talking about poop. We all get broccoli stuck in our teeth. WE ALL FART. So, ladies, let's do each other a giant favor and stop the betrayal. If you are constantly selling how great your life is, you leave me to assume these sorts of things about you: your children barely know you, you read trashy novels concealed by National Geographic, you and your husband hardly touch (because he is probably screwing his secretary), your "friends" are shallow back stabbing bitches and you cry when you look at your postpartum, deformed body in the mirror. Be real with me ladies. We owe it to each other.



If I am giving you this look- shut the hell up.

Oh, and if anyone wonders why I avoid playdates, this is it. Plus I hate stuffing Thing 2 into the teeny teeny weeny backseat of my 12 year old pick-up truck. I'm too fucking tired to compete with anyone, or pretend that I care when they compete with me. A butler, you say? Congratulations. You win. Come on kids, wash up! We're going home.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where is my Irish luck-you tiny little bastard?

I would like to apologize for being delinquent with my posting. To be honest, my back hurts to the point of making me want to either cry, vomit, or sleep all day. I am not sleeping well, because of how sore I am, and I don't like to cry in front of my children (and vomiting makes me cry- because I am tough like that). Since I am actually doing none of the things that I "want" to do, that narrows down my daily options to:
1.) eating copious amounts of chocolate
2.) watching every reality TV show that will fit in my DVR's memory.

Because in the past five days I have only managed to (barely)cook for my family, read some children's books to my precious Things and watch The Bachelor, I have absofuckinglutely nothing interesting to say. Chili, no... hamburgers... And the cow jumped over the.... He has a TEMPER? Shocking. 
See?

Please excuse me, as there is laundry to fold and some Advil with my name on it. Don't give up on me. I'll be better soon and sassier than ever.

Hey~Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Please drink a green beer for me (because there is no effing way I am leaving the house today).
 I'll have to reunite with my lime green leisure suit next year for its annual "air out" evening in honor of my Irish heritage (and apparent love of lime green double knit polyester). Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.

I have never found a four leaf clover in my life. Is that some kind of a sign?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pillow fight!

I did something on Saturday that I am now recommending to anyone and everyone I meet. No, I am not talking about going door to door to inform you of Jesus Christ~ I am talking about a slumber party for adults. Yes. YEEESSSSS.
(Get your minds out of the gutters!)

I can't say too much, because many really REALLY REALLY great secrets were divulged, but I will say that it was one of my favorite evenings of my entire life.

5 women+5 bottles of wines+5 hours on non-stop eating, laughing and conversation= AWESOMENESS that you cannot buy in a store.

Thanks ladies. I love you all.

The best part of this slumber party was that no one forced me into watching The Exorcist (You know who you are- and yes, I am still scarred!) and no one froze my bra, dipped my hand in warm water or short sheeted my bed.

Here are a few pictures from our evening (I am shocked that no one has asked me if I am a professional photographer):



It is sad that I didn't do a better job of capturing the label of this wine.
It was really good.
I think.
It was the last bottle we cracked open.
 

Self-Explanatory.



I don't remember what all this meant, but it was deep.

Ladies, tell your husbands that you have been craving a pillow fight with your hottest girlfriends, promise him pictures, then "forget" your camera at home. And always remember "What happens at the slumber party, stays at the slumber party."

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maybe Jesus Doesn’t want you to save the chickens.

::My day started with Thing 1 hovering over my bed, staring into my sleeping face until I awoke so that he could gleefully announce to me, "Mommy! Your face looks like pizza!"
 
For some unknown reason, that kind observation combined with the fact that my children immediately threw themselves into a manic tournament of "spit, laugh, play, play poorly, yank toy out of baby brothers hand,screaming, put blanket over baby brother's head, screaming, chase Red Dog around with Daddy's hammer (thanks for leaving that out, darling),  watch Mommy's head explode, screaming....screaming...screaming.... TIME OUT!!!!", I decided that today was a good day for you all to hear another Montana tale from that hot smoke jumping friend of mine who provided us with these posts in the past.
Enjoy!::
 
Guinea Hens are stupid.  As a species I have no idea how they have survived, and they look like dinosaurs- which makes me think they have managed to survive for some time.  Maybe they were too dumb to evolve and have managed to survive with pure meathead survival tactics.  They are durable.  Now that’s something I can appreciate. 

Anyway- my husband is a big believer that everything needs as much time outside as possible in order to “get the freshness”.  This includes humans, cats, dogs, plants, and sometimes blankets, furniture, shoes, and other inanimate objects that somehow are in need of “freshness”.  This also includes our two guinea hens. And this is where it all began.  While the guinea hens were getting their freshness a few weeks ago, they flew up into the pine trees that border our property.  And they decided to stay there.  Three cold and blizzarding days later, they were still there.  Apparently they could not figure out how to return to the food and water supply, so they did what guineas do best- they screamed like a fat lady stuck in a bathtub.  Between the unhappy neighbors and my inability to watch something slowly kill itself, I decided it was time to launch operation “end the freshness”.

How do you get tiny vultures out of a tree?  First I threw snowballs but I have bad aim and guineas can hang on.  The only thing I managed to knock over was my wine, so I switched to a shovel and knocked guinea number 1 (we’ll call her the LOUD one) out of the tree.  The loud one was starved enough that she couldn’t fly back up into the tree, but she apparently still could duck and dodge.  Sooooo, once again I found myself flailing around in the snow chasing chickens.  After several near misses I yelled “I can’t fucking believe this is happening again!”  But that’s just the thing.  I can believe that it happened once, and I am not surprised that it is happening again.

The surprised part came when I actually caught the naked, purple headed little fucker.  I stuffed her under my arm and pinned down her wings and her GIANT naked purple talons.  I briefly thought about an acquaintance that named her son Talon, and wondered if she had ever actually looked at one.   Feeling as though my vulture was sufficiently restrained, I headed towards the barn- taking some time to lecture it for being a total vagina wagon.  Apparently it took offense to this because it PECKED ME IN THE FUCKING LIP.  Twice.

The only solace I can take in the whole thing is that the rooster tried to hump her against her will as soon as I put her back in the pen.  High five rooster!  Needless to say, I kept my face clear after I caught the second one.  Today’s Montana lesson:


"Getting the Freshness"
+
Tree
+
 Rescue Mission
+
Angry Prehistoric Bird
=




As Johi likes to say. . . you're welcome.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm surprised that I even try.

I had high hopes for the day. 

It started by the fact that I woke up (on my own) at 6 am. That may seem early (because it is), but I did NOT wake up between the hours of 2:45 and 4:45 (in the a.m.) like I normally do, so it wasn't that torturous.  Of course I laid there until 6:25 just to be sure that it was, indeed, time to get up for the day.

What happened after that was some miracle of God.

No one else was awake.

I know.  ?????

I did yoga for 30 minutes.... in solitude.

Then I looked around at my house.  It was quiet. It was peaceful. It was tidy? Yes! The kitchen counters were clutter free and wiped clean. There were no dishes in the sink (only clean ones in the dishwasher). The toys were in an acceptable pile in the corner of the living room.  I felt empowered.  I was on top of things. My house was under control. I was like Wonder Woman!  I was going to conquer the fucking day!

I started the coffee when Thing 1 appeared around the corner with wet pants.  Immediately, as if he sensed his big brother's presence in the room, Thing 2 woke up crying. I rushed Thing 1 into the bathroom to rid him of the wet clothes and ran a bath. Then I rushed into Thing 2's room and changed the poo diaper. Then I ran back into the bathroom and shut off the bath.  As Thing 1 was crawling into the tub he whined "My tummy hurts! I'm hungry!" so I rushed into the kitchen to start the water for oatmeal and prepare a bottle for Thing 2. Then Thing 1 yells "I'm cold!" and I juggle Thing 2 on my hip with the bottle under my chin and dry off Thing 1 and get him dressed for the day. Then I remembered the laundry that I left in the dryer and the two baskets sitting in my room that still needed to be put away and the wet sheets on the bed in Thing 1's room and the....... blah blah blah.

As soon as I walked out of my child's room loaded down with the wet sheets, I noticed the house, which was the picture of tranquility only 15 minutes earlier, now looked like part of the set of the movie Twister. It was trashed with dirty dishes, food and toys. Every pillow and blanket on the couch was now covered in dog hair on the rug. Dora the Explorer was once again making me fantasize about pushing her off of Candy Cane Mountain. The kids were feral and practicing some baby wrestle mania moves. Brock was trying to leave for work and I, ever the picture of class and dignity, was still in my pajamas (which I wore for my yoga session) and in need of a shower, food for myself and food for Thing 2. I'm surprised I didn't find a cow in my refrigerater and a motorcycle wrapped around the ceiling fan.

That is when I realized that thinking that I was in any sort of "control" of my life was the equivalent to thinking that I have tiger blood and Adonis DNA know everything about parenting; which I will now prove that I most assuredly do not.

After doing a surface cleaning of the house, I yanked the baby out of his nap so that I could retrieve Thing 1 from preschool. I got there late because the electricity went out the other day and I reset the clocks wrong. ... *I now get up and change them*... As I was walking out of the school, lugging my sumo baby, Thing 1's backpack, a stack of loose paper and his newly crafted puppet bird, I noticed some other parents letting their boys play together in the front lawn of the school (which is a church). I told Thing 1 to go and play for five minutes with his classmates and then we would head home. My heart surged with love as I saw my adorable little guy run over to his classmates as fast as his little cowboy boots would let him. Then it broke when I heard one little boy say "NO! I don't want to play with YOU!" and stop my guy in his tracks by putting his hands on his chest.  I held my breath and bit my lip to see what my little guy was going to do. He waited until the boy turned around, then he ran after him, giggling and laughing.

Thank God he has his father's thick skin.

Then I noticed about three minutes later that Thing 1 was standing under a giant pine tree, in the middle of town, in front of a church, with his pants around his ankles peeing on the lawn.

Whoops.

I don't know where on Earth he picked that up...


Hey, we are just simple country folk. Where IS my banjo?

On the way home I talked with Thing 1 about hurting people's feelings.  I felt like we made progress as he informed me that he would never want to hurt anyone's feelings.  Satisfied that my child was an emotionally advanced steward of moral consciousness, I cranked up the radio and was singing along to "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield . Then Thing 1 piped up from the backseat, "I don't like that song. It hurts my feelings."

Universe: 3, 567
Johi: 0