Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012!

Having just reread my "Shit to Conquer in 2012" post, I realize that I'm not all that awesome at achieving my goals. I don't know, it could be the fact that I've been suffering from the flu for nine days now, or it could be the fact that in my NyQuil induced fog, I decided it would be a great idea to look through some old photo albums. I mistakenly chose the one from the mid eighties when I was have the height of my awkward adolescent insecurity. Let's just say that the experience was as painful looking back on it as it was living it. *shudder*

So in the midst of feeling like a phlegmy, rotting, useless bump on a log, I will quote an unknown Indie holiday song,  "Maybe next year I'll be good. Maybe next year I'll be better." And then again, maybe not. I'm kind of an asshole and it's been working fairly well for me so far.

Me thinks that nine days into a flu is not the best time to find motivation.

Looking back on 2012 I can say that I did actually achieve a few of my goals. I traveled a bit and I met some wonderful new people. Some exciting opportunities came my way, all of which are still in the works, so I feel unable to list them as actual accomplishments at this time.... but still! Some shit happened! The wheels of progress are turning,  even if it is at an agonisingly SLOW pace.

In hindsight, in 2012:  I wrote , I parented, I created, I taught, I learned , I laughed, I wept, I loved and I mostly enjoyed my life. I guess that means I'm a winner, no matter what that photo album from 1986 tells me.

My goals for 2013 are simple.

1. Be thankful.
2. Be kind.
3. Be generous.
4. Be healthy.
5. Be funny.
6. Take naps.
7. Give hugs.
8. Say "I love you" everyday.
9. Learn the dance to Ice Ice Baby.
10. Write and draw.
11. Wear fabulous shoes.
12. Live in the moment.
13. Try something new.
14. Banish old, unproductive ways of thinking.
15. Clean behind the toilet.

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting my blogging habit. You all have made my world a little brighter. As we bid 2012 ado, let us remember that parts that made it great and vow to have more of those moments in 2013.

Peace and Love,
Johi



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas?

As much as I prepped and planned for the holidays, I didn't prepare myself for what happened.

.....On the 12th day of Christmas was a special gift for me, a bout of Influenza B!

But I donned a mask, cooked a giant meal and proceeded to "celebrate" the holidays with loved ones, because, damn it! I love Christmas! Besides, I'm stubborn and naturally ill- tempered, so I doubt anyone noticed anything...

When I say "celebrate ", I mean point the people at the food, pour myself a generous serving of NyQuil and go lay down on the couch with my contaminated blanket and pillow.

Seriously people, I really feel like ass. Not cute Jessica Alba ass, more like first day of The Biggest Loser ass... This year was almost as much fun as the year that I got the stomach flu for Christmas! Oh, the memories ...

Nonetheless, we got a magical Christmas Eve snow, Santa made it to our house with *almost* all the right stuff and the boys were both awake at 1:30 this morning, ready to start the celebrating! Wow! 1:30 a.m.!!!!! I know!

Also, Brock's Christmas has been quite spectacular. Not only did he get to celebrate with a group of attractive women, but his wife lost her voice. Lucky man.

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

Peace, Love and Joy to all of you and yours,
Johi

Friday, December 21, 2012

I suck at nothing!

Last Saturday, I woke up and proclaimed, " I am doing nothing today!"

The hectic holiday season schedule had taken its toll on me and I was overdue for a break. Never mind that I had family arriving at my house Sunday evening. Never mind that I had yet to mail Christmas cards or bake cookies. Never mind that I had yet to finishing wrapping gifts, or buying gifts for that matter. I have been DETERMINED to enjoy Christmas this year and on Saturday, for fear that I would break,  I required a break!

"NOTHING! I'm doing NOTHING!", I shouted at the cat. He looked at me a meowed in that long, painful way that he does when he is requiring a human to service his dietary needs.

I poured some food into his cat dish and climbed onto the couch, wearing my sleep-rumpled pajamas. Just as my bones settled into the thick couch cushions for a long day of nothing, I exhaled and my tiny Thing 2 toddled up to me and demanded, "MOMMY! I'm hungry! I want hungry! MOMMY! MOMMY! Candy cane!!!!"


I repeated my mantra of the day in my head, "I'm doing nothing!" as I prepared the first of seven breakfasts that Saturday for my tiny tape-wormed tyrants.


"I'm doing NOTHING today!", I told myself while I geared up for my 3 1/2 mile walk with Red Dog.


Upon my return, I looked at Brock and said, "I'm doing nothing today! I need a day of nothing!" And Brock replied, "Good idea. I'll take the kids." Then he disappeared outside for three hours and left the children inside the house with me.


As my shrieking children, who were fighting over a toy, followed me into the bathroom, where I was attempting to shower, I thought, "This will be my much deserved day of NOTHING!" Then I noticed how disgusting the bathroom was, so I scrubbed the toilet, sink and shower while diffusing the escalating sibling fight.

Later, while I was preparing the first of 11 lunches for my precious children, I noticed how messy my kitchen was, so I scrubbed the counters, washed the dishes and cleared off the table. Then, as I diligently combatted the crack-like effect of Christmas on my children, I swept, mopped and vacuumed the entire house. Then I cleaned the spare room, the second bathroom and dusted. Then I did a load of laundry. All the while, I weakly repeated, "Nothing. I'm doing nothing today."

Brock finally returned inside from working on "man things"  outside and I said, "I'm doing nothing!" Then I read a 168 page book from cover to cover while preparing dinner.

As I wrapped 10 Christmas presents, planned the menu for our impending guests for the next three days, and prepared a package for shipping, I silently told myself,  "I'm doing nothing today. I'm resting. I deserve a break. I'm enjoying this Christmas season, for Pete's sake!"

After I mopped the sweat from my brow after herding my overstimulated by Christmas children into the bedroom for an oh-too-late 9:30 bedtime complete with two books and a prayer, I looked around my semi-clean house, with the wrapped packages around the carefully decorated tree and I admitted to myself, "I suck. I suck at nothing."

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi

P.S. I'm exhausted and I'm not doing cards OR cookies. I fear the ink would run from my tears and I would eat my feelings via cookie dough. No really, I'm fine. How are you all feeling this holiday season?


Announcing the WINNERS of the giveaway! FINALLY.

The "Magic Purple Wand" goes to: AC
The print of my watercolor/colored pencil of Twin Sisters Mountain goes to: Savvy Pants

CONGRATULATIONS! You can officially show up at your family holiday gathering and inform that judgemental person- the MIL, perhaps- that YOU ARE A WINNER!

Contact me at jkokjohnwagner@yahoo.com with your info and I will promptly-- hahahaha-- ship your lovingly wrapped packages to you!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Looking for the Light

After the abhorrent events in Connecticut yesterday, I struggle with what to make of the black hole of emotions that I am experiencing. It is all just. Too. Much. While it is true that I sheltered my children from the horrifying news, I failed to distance myself. As a mother, a US citizen, and a human being, the fact that crimes like this, particularly on precious children, are still being committed in our "progressive society" makes me fearful, angry, ashamed, and epically mournful. It is exceedingly difficult to not have a knee- jerk reaction to such a terrifying event. What was even more difficult, was to read the knee-jerk reactions, finger pointing, hate and blame that was taking place on the Internet. While I will not deny a person their right to their own feelings, I personally think that so many people are truly missing the mark here.

No one can bring back any of these innocent people that lost their lives in this criminal act of violence. No political message will change the events that already occurred in Connecticut. No group or organization can shoulder the blame of the actions of one person, as each of us, individually, make up our society. Period.

We, as individuals, are responsible for our own actions. We, as individuals, are responsible for the things that we say and do. We, as individuals, are responsible for the way that we treat others. We, as individuals, are the ONLY ones capable of improving ourselves, learning, and growing as humans. We, as individuals, are creating our society. 

Today, I am acknowledging that I am human. I am looking hard at my flaws. I am making a plan to fix them. I'm heading towards the door that opens to love and acceptance and I'm closing the door on hate and revenge. I am telling people in my life that I love them and I am praying for peace for all humankind.

I will start with this admission. I'm a yeller. I grew up with yeller. I hated being yelled at, yet I yell at the people that I love the most. I'm sure it's because I'm frustrated and I don't think that I'm being heard (and I'm not, I assure you), but that doesn't matter. I should not yell. I stood at the bookstore the other day, looking at a book called Peaceful Parent. Happy Child- How to stop yelling and start loving... or something like that. My hand hovered over it, yet instead I grabbed a comedy book so that I could laugh. Guess what? I'm not laughing. Sweeping your problems under the rug is not the same as fixing them. I'm going back to the bookstore and I'm buying myself that book, because I am responsible for my actions and I don't want to raise another angry yeller. Today, I am taking ownership of myself and the impact that I have on society.

My desire in writing this is that each of you look at yourself, and ask yourself some questions. Are you being a person that you want to be around? Are you living your life from the perspective of love? Are you giving enough to those around you? Are you helping people? Are you leading by example or are you stuck in an old, ugly pattern? Are you being the best person you can be?

My guess is that we can all do a little bit better, and in turn, create a better world in which we live.

Share some of your love today.

Peace, Love and Hope,
Johi

Friday, December 7, 2012

Giveaways!!!! Sorry, no free toasters...

I would like to start this post by saying that I still haven't written the thank you cards for Thing 2's birthday.  You see, I tend to run a wee bit late on things. His birthday was in May. I would like to take this opportunity to say "Hey you guys, thanks for the awesome toys. He loves them all so hard that they may or may not be broken now. "

Once again, I'll bring up BlogHer in August. What an amazing trip that was! Not only did I almost die by trash truck in New York City, it was also there that I received a titillating little treasure from Trojan. Said treasure was donated to me so that I could share it with one of you lovely people! Now I realize that August was something like four months ago, but I like to be exciting! and unexpected in whatever I do. Also, I know that it is the Christmas season and many of you are out there right now wondering what to buy your mother in law.

Never fear, the corn fed girl is here to solve your holiday problems!!!!

As giveaway number one, I am presenting one lucky person with a brand-new-in- the-box-not-purchased-on-eBay-or- Craigslist Trojan personal massager.

The fine people at Trojan also insisted that I keep one of these for myself. When I got mine home, I was feeling extra tense having almost met my maker through the front grill of a garbage truck and being forced to put my hand on the naked Cowboy's greazy ass. Needless to say, my stress level was a tad high. As with most people, I needed something in the form of .....a release. Unfortunately, my husband was not at home. I had however, gotten the children down for a nap so the house was quiet. It was then that I remembered my special battery operated treasure. So I ripped into that purple foil box, extracted the massager from within ..... and dug that sucker into my shoulder blade where there was a giant knot in my muscle. It worked like a charm, or Swedish man named Sven.

I also believe that this magic purple wand would double as an egg beater, an immersion blender, a fill-in nose for your Frosty the Snowman, or a fun filled cat toy.*

* it is highly unlikely that Trojan with endorse any of these extra curricular uses.

The second item which I will be gracing one reader with is a print of a genuine, original corn fed girl painting! The original painting was done in watercolor and colored pencil. I was completely sober when I made it. The subject matter is Twin Sisters Mountain in Estes Park Colorado. I made prints for my family members but my only sister informed me that she does not like landscapes, so I have an extra one on hand. Thank you, sister, for your honesty. This is only one of the reasons that I told you that those frightening red pantyhose looked fantastic back in 1989.

A few years ago, I had joined a MOPS group. MOPS is Mothers of Preschoolers, in case you're wondering.
Being the charitable person that I am, I framed one of these paintings and donated it to a Christmas auction. Apparently that year, people were interested in baby blankets, baby room decor, and baby toys. What they were not interested in was my painting. As I sat in the audience watching no one bid on my art, I was reminded as why I do not make art for public display. I was also reminded why I don't like the general public. After what felt like five arduous months, someone made an offer. It was most likely out of pity for me as I sat there silently sweating. At one point,  the Baptist lady playing Auctioneer For A Day tried to persuade people to bid on my painting by telling them that the frame was worth more than that one, lonely, pathetic bid. I'm telling you this story because I am offering this painting to you with no frame on it, which probably makes it completely worthless. It can however be framed inexpensively to a standard, pre-made 11 by 13 size, by using a half off coupon at your local Michael's or Hobby Lobby!

Now I feel sad. If you'll excuse me I'm going to eat that chocolate cake that I made yesterday.

To enter this give away, you simply need to leave a comment in the comment section of this blog, or on my Facebook page, stating the item which you would like to win. You can type in Vibrator! If that makes you uncomfortable, you can type in Magic Purple Wand! You can type in Crappy Landscape! You can type in Both! Or you can simply tell me how fabulous you think I am and you will be entered multiple times. Also, on an unrelated note, I am easily persuaded by gift cards to DSW.  I'm sure that you can find good uses for either or both of these lovely items this holiday season.

Be sure and like my Facebook page and share with your friends!

Peace,  Love and Presents,
Johi

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A review and a recipe

Do you remember way back in August when I went to New York for BlogHer? Good, I'm glad someone can remember that far back.

Anyhoo, around that time I received a lovely package from Enjoy Life foods to consume and review. While my family did not fail to devour the food, I failed to create the post in which I reviewed said food. Well here I am today, four months later, ready to tell you all about the chocolaty wonderful Enjoy Life food that we slammed into our pie holes.

In other news, my children are miraculously both napping right now which means that it is quiet and I can hear myself think. What I realize is that I'm thinking thoughts that shouldn't be shared, so maybe the constant noise level from my children is a blessing for all on planet Earth. Namaste.

Where was I? Oh yes! My family and I taste tested two Enjoy Life products: Double Chocolate Crunch Granola and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks. As evidenced by the quickly emptied bags we all loved both of these products. (Chocolate! Duh!) I thought that the double chocolate crunch granola was especially delicious on my favorite black cherry Greek yogurt and the children enjoyed it cereal style, in a bowl with coconut milk. I barely got to eat any of the allergen friendly Chocolate Chunks from the original bag, as Brock found the bag and devoured them all. Brock has no food allergies. Good for Brock.

The great thing about these Enjoy Life  products, other than the delicious taste, is that the cereal is nut and gluten free and the chocolate is nut, soy and dairy free. In essence, even us high maintenance eaters can have delectable food and treats! Winning!

In moving forward with my Dolly Domestic, overachiever ways  *cough* I experimented with yet another of my favorite recipes and made it gluten free. It was a triumph! * high kick*

Ouch.

Let me start by saying that I love quick bread. And when I say love, I mean LUV love love. A friend of mine had given me her pumpkin bread recipe which I adored. And when I say adored, I mean I devoured it like a teenage boy that had been stranded in a snow bank eating ice chips and tree bark for four days. Well, pumpkin happened to be on sale at the store the other day and I felt an unusual surge of inspiration. What happened was a little baking...and successful baking at that. So if you are wondering what to make for that normal-food-intolerant holiday guest, let me present to you this fabulous recipe for gluten and dairy free pumpkin bread.

I would love to show you a picture, but we ate it all. Sorry.

Johi's Gluten free pumpkin bread

2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour.
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 small cans of pumpkin
1 1/2 cups of Enjoy Life mega chocolate chunks

In a large bowl combine flour, flaxseed, xanthan gum, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.

(I added a little shredded coconut and some pecans to one of the loaves and it was quite tasty)

Bake in 3 greased two pound loaf pans at 350 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes.

Eat and enjoy the lack of hives, skin rashes and digestion problems.

Alert: Two Giveaways before the end of the week! Two unexpected and completely unrelated items! Be afraid!

Peace, Love and Chocolate,
Johi

Friday, November 30, 2012

Probably a Valid Concern

A horrible thing has happened. It is truly terrible. It is affecting me physically, creatively, and mentally. It is so tragic that I'm not sure how to recover.

My children have basically stopped napping.

Now, I realize that things could be far worse. Yet, this simple act of defiance from my children is wreaking havoc on me. I no longer get my much needed 1 to 2 hours to myself in the middle of the day. Back in the good old days, I used this time to write, draw, start dinner, fold laundry or unload the dishwasher in precious uninterrupted silence. Sometimes I would think or read. Occasionally, I would sneak in a nap or watch a selection of reality TV off of my DVR. But that was then, and this is now.

Today, after returning home from a busy morning which included taking the children to visit with Santa, I forced Thing 2 down for a nap. Post-candy cane and thoughts of gifts, Thing 1 was not even close to being tired. Being the understanding mother that I am,  I made him a deal that he could stay up with me and watch a Christmas movie. I made stipulations though; he had to be quiet and I got to choose the movie. This apparently was not a great deal in his eyes, as he seemingly has no interest in turn of the century Christmas romances or prolonged periods of silence. After he required four snacks, too many answers to too many questions and the incessant bouncing, I encouraged him to "go play outside!" It seems he went out there, not to play, but to do some thinking. For when he came in the house, he walked over to me where I was relaxing on the couch, watching TV, and with a concerned look on his face, he said, "Mom, I think the TV might be rotting your brain."

I, on the other hand, am blaming the lack of naptime.

Peace, Love and Wine Tonight,
Johi

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

As the holidays near, I always find myself reflecting more on the loved ones in my life. I think about all the love around me. I think about how I am blessed. I am grateful to be a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a niece, a cousin, an aunt and a wife.

Even though my feelings of thanks may equal my feelings of fear, I'm grateful for my creativity. I often trivialize my ability to decorate, help a friend select the perfect outfit, take a photo worthy of a frame , make a drawing or write a story, yet I feel those things make me different than many. Therefore I am thankful; mostly because being just like everyone else seems epically boring.

Oh! And I am grateful for my ability to laugh at myself and the crazy stuff around me. Yeah, I'm really grateful for that.

A friend recently posted on facebook a link to a story about living a non-ironic life. I thought to myself, "Huh.", then I didn't read it because I just am not that interested in growing as a person. But mostly I didn't read it because I feel that comedy is the spice of life, and without irony , there is no comedy.

For example: my phone wanted me to write "iron on my knee" instead of "irony". For your information phone, there is a dog on my knee, not an iron. And that dog happens to be a dachshund, a breed which I normally find abhorrent due to the fact that every one that I have met has attempted to bite off my face or the face of a fellow human, but this dachshund happens to be adorable and I probably love it, so how's that for ironic? Huh? AND! My husband snored so loudly at 5 am that he jolted me awake and now I'm on vacation and up at 5! Whaaaattt?

......

So what I'm really saying is that I'm glad my life isn't perfect, because perfect people are intensely boring.

Hey, Type A people! Since we cannot control all the people around us today, specifically that one creepy guy who will show up at Thanksgiving dinner ( because there is ALWAYS one) let's make a list!

Things to be Thankful for on Thanksgiving.

1. People that love you, even on your bad days. Like the folks that still love you despite the fact that you say "a whole nother". Or the ones that stuck with you through those outfit choices in the late 80's. Or the ones that didn't shove you out of the car while you attempted to harmonize with The Cranberries. Those people. Thanks.

2. People that you love. It's probably the same list as number one, minus an occasional stalker.

3. Ponies, puppies and kittens. Duh.

4. I know that there are "trendy" sayings lovingly plastered all over bathroom walls that state "The best things in life aren't things" but I am grateful for a roof over my head, a vehicle to get me around, food on the table, clothes on my back and shoes ( preferably expensive ones) on my feet. The last I checked, those are all pretty good "things".

5. Laughter. Specifically the kind that doubles you over, makes your face hurt, gives you a side cramp, and makes you cry until snot pours out of your nose.

6. Long walks where you don't see another person, specifically a park ranger, especially since you have your dog off leash...

7. Those days when everything goes right and you feel like you're succeeding at this whole life-thingy! Woohoo!!! WINNING!

8. Those days where everything goes wrong and you are humbled and small. Some of our best stuff (you know, growth and shit) comes from those days.

9. Wine.

10. And last but not least, Faith in something or someone greater than yourself. "Thank you for this beautiful life."

Peace, Love, and Laughter,
Johi



Friday, November 16, 2012

Olfactory Overload

I've been holding out on you guys. I have a superpower. It's not a good one, like laser vision, flying or lottery number prediction, but I possess a superpower, nonetheless. My superpower is olfaction. I have stellar schnoz sniffer powers of perception. I can detect odors that other humans and some farm animals apparently cannot. Granted, most of the time the smells that infiltrate my nostrils are jarring, unpleasant and make me vomit in my mouth a little, but I cannot deny the unintentionally overzealous nature of my first rate snout.

Since there are no truffles for me to sniff out in Colorado, I have decided to put my super sense of smell to fruitful use. Because I am an nothing if not an American ingenue, I am teaming up with my friend Sarah to create cologne-type and perfume-like products to sell to unsuspecting idiots the general public.

Sarah and I have recently been hard at work  texting stupid memes, consuming booze and talking to each other in funny accents creating an enticing new fragrance line to market to people for the upcoming mass consumerism holiday season. Our company name is COMB OVER (a Couple OMouthy Blondes Operating a Vodka-based Entertainment Research center*) and we are very excited about our low quality product line. Look for the COMB OVER label soon at your local 7-Eleven, Pet Smart, Cabela's and the meat department at Wal-Mart!


*acronyms were never my thing.



Le Facebook Stalker (Said like Pepe LePew)
If you are a sad, sad person that lives your life vicariously through the vacation pictures and random ecards of people you once sat next to in junior high school, then Le Facebook Stalker is the fragrance for you!

Lacing the malodorous notes of coffee breath with the twangy stank of social failure, Le Facebook Stalker* creeps up on you like a cheap pair of K-Mart underwear. Comingling the plastic smell of hot hard laptop to the musty scent of your perspiring thighs, Le Stalker unfolds like a sensory assault from Best Buy. Sad, bitter and undeniably Zuckerbergian to the very last personally invasive advertising note.

*Buy today and get more "likes" in real life. Or not.

All-American Underachiever
Finishing what you started is often way more difficult than your pawpaw made it out to be, especially when it comes to school, jobs or waking up before 11 am.

All-American Underachiever* blasts you with the familiar, yet repulsive mixture of patchouli, vintage upholstery and taco. In the top notes of Underachiever, you will detect the infused hints of unwashed hemp fiber, matted with armpit hair, and a breeze of the 1970's wood panelling in your apartment/parent's basement. This fragrance will transport you from the hardships of 'real life' right to that X-Box tempting you to the futon.

*May induce cravings for bong hits, peanut butter, Nickelback and Doritos.




El Presidente Candidato (no, this is not a POTUS yeast infection)
Do you interrupt others without guilt and speak with oddly timed pauses? Does the sound of your own voice and more or less true-ish ideals please you to no end? Do you often make promises that you cannot keep? Do you think it is fine to spend a titanic amount of money on self promotion and use terms like "those little people"? Then El Presidente Candidato is the fragrance for you!

Featuring notes of Tarp funds, special interest bribes, jet fuel, and teleprompters, this scent is as expensive as a Kardashian shopping spree. Laced with the whiff of inflated ego delicately mixed with hot air, this initially enticing scent will eventually unfold into the bold, rancid balm of Monica Lewinsky's weeks old laundry. The grassy notes of greener pastures give way to the final commanding fragrance of steaming fresh bullshit. El Presidente Candidato* comes beautifully wrapped in a binder full of women and your choice of Gee-Oh-Pea green or Democraptastic camo.

*Affordably made in China


Eau De Mutha

Do you have offspring? Do you actually care for them? Then you are familiar with the smells of pride, exhaustion, elation and disbelief.

Eau De Mutha* wafts like the anticipation of a much needed nap that dissipates into needy shrieks of a Napoleonic dictator. This scent begins with the sweet, powdery notes of tender care and precious treasures, then unfurls into explosive diapers, curdled milk, sour armpits and Clorox CleanUps. In this complex fragrance, you will be surprised by the unexpected bursts of Whine (not to be confused with wine), Tantrum and Public Judgement and Shaming. In the end, if you allow the the scent to its fullest note, you will detect the essence of emerging grey hair, mini vans that reek softly of stale french fries, Ambien laced with Xanax and soul nourishing love.

*Complimentary coupon for a discounted canister of Comit with every purchase!




Gigilo
Do you have more hair products than the entire cast of Jersey Shore? Did you buy stock in Viagra? Do your pants hug your package so tightly that people can see the crinkles in the foil in which you wrapped that cucumber? Do you go to the gym to watch yourself lift weights in the mirror? Then Gigilo* is the stench for you!

Seriously, this shit smells BAD, yo. It smells worse than Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore in a cagefight. It reeks worse than Kid Rock's trailer after a drunken orgy with carnies and barnyard animals. Do we really need to elaborate here?

Yes, yes we do. This scent has the gamy musk of a Tom Cat urine saturated carpet pad in an un-airconditioned trailer outside of Reno. It will attract nothing but desperate, slowly dying flies, unsuspecting minors in Internet chat rooms and Charlie Sheen.

*This bottle can be personalized with your photo! You know, the one that you took of yourself in the mirror when you were pretending to be Chuck Norris! aka. Your Facebook profile picture.



...and last but not least...


Cougar Noir
Purrrrrrr- hork hork guwhack! If you are experiencing any combination of the following: Hot flashes, a passion for animal print, erotica novels, varicose veins and inappropriate thoughts of Zac Efron, Cougar Noir is the fragrance for you!

With spicy top notes of progesterone cream, Botox and Spanx, Cougar Noir is bold right out of the gate. As the scent delicately unfurls like the confetti out of a vacuum packed canister, you will start to detect that familiar bouquet of loneliness and desperation... and maybe cats. Do you want to smell like Teen Spirit? Cougar Noir* will inspire you to inappropriately rub against any spirited male teen that you desire. Rawr.

*Order today to get your complimentary AstroGlide!



Sarah and I hope that you enjoy these COMB OVER fragrances as much as we have enjoyed creating them. We're certain that they will be the perfect choices for those on your holiday gift list. If you order the entire collection today at the low price of $79.99 (plus creation, packaging, marketing, shipping, handling, a few Starbucks runs and my vet bill), you will receive not only one of each scent from our 2012 Holiday collection, but also a free cat in need of shots and a great deal of dental work!


Look for more COMB OVER fragrances and other products coming soon to a blog near you (this one, specifically).....





Peace, Love and Burning Nostril Hairs,
Johi and Sarah


















Thursday, November 15, 2012

Look Mom! I can almost blog from my phone!

I don't know why I picked that title. My mom doesn't even retrieve messages from her "travel phone". She sure as hell doesn't read my blog. Well, hardly ever...
Here is where I would like to say thank you to all of you kind people who have printed off my blog posts for my mother to read. I should probably also apologize to the same people for my normally foul, wretched mouth. Today, in lieu of curse words, I would like to bow and say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (And it is times like this that I most love speak to text.)
Thanks to Jinny, I heard about this new fangled, handy dandy blogger app. Now I can post right from my phone in between picking my nose, taking all those important calls from my peeps and playing draw something! I would love to link to her blog, Just a Girl in the Real World, but I can't figure out how to select text for the link from my phone. I've tried everything, short of duct tape, dog saliva and electrical wire.
Instead of bursting a blood vessel while trying to pretend I'm tech-savvy, I'll post this picture of my children, which was taken today, post-pony ride. I was tending to their steeds; unsaddling,  brushing and turning them out, while the Things were inside the house...alone... reorganizing furniture and opening windows. I should really teach them how to load the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. Maybe I'll do that next week, right after Thing 2 potty trains himself.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday morning quandry

Every Sunday morning, as Brock and I sit in the living room, drinking our coffee and trying to wake up, we discuss the up and coming events of the day. This morning was no different. After we stall to see which one of us will break down and make breakfast, it is always the same question: Do you want to go to church?

This is code for: Do we have time to go to church and still get all those lingering projects finished? Also it is code for: How much do you need to be reminded that you need to be a better person?; or alternately: Yo a$$hole, you need some perspective.

Today, when we posed the church question, Thing 1 piped up, "Yes! We should go pray to Jesus!"

Admittedly, Brock and I were both shocked by this little announcement. Up until this point, we both believed that Thing 1 thought that "church" meant going to play in the nursery with awesome new-to-him toys. Just like when I asked him about the meaning of Christmas the other day and he replied, "Santa?", even though we go over the whole "It's Jesus' birthday" thing every freaking year (then Santa delivers all the sweet new toys that the children want... what?)


Thing 2 brought us back to Earth when he responded with, "I want to go Trick-or-Treating and get some CANDY!"

....

That's more like it....

I said, in an all-knowing fashion, "Oh sorry little buddy, no more trick or treating until next year!"

So this morning we dedicated ourselves to putting on our Sunday best (mine included a pair of demonic tights that kept sliding down my legs) and we went to church.  We committed ourselves to an hour of God- an hour of filling up our loving cups so that we could go forth into the week and smear our goodness all over society. It was there, at our church, that I listened to the sermon and was reminded about the importance of giving. It was there, at our church, that I sang until my heart felt peaceful (and the poor people's ears in front of me bled). It was there, at our church, that I cried for my friend, who lost her daughter. It was there, at our church, that I smiled at the precious baby in the pew in front of us. It was there, at our church, that I felt a little lighter as I mentally shed the baggage of my week. It was there, at our church, that I gave thanks for all the gifts of this beautiful life. It was also there, at our wonderful church, that our pastor made a liar out of me.  He produced a big yellow bag full of goodies and handed out treats to the kids who participated in the children's sermon, specifically... my children.

Later, in true Wagner fashion, Thing 2 had a meltdown and Thing 1 attempted to chug the entire cup of the "Blood of Christ" juice.

Listen, at least I'm trying.

Tomorrow I am taking the boys on an educational field trip to the racetrack. My offspring apparently possess some strong intuitive powers about the future and Mrs. Claus needs a little spending money to make this Christmas merry, bright and an economic stimulus. Ho ho ho. Please pass the juice....


Peace, Love, and Jesus Candy,
Johi








Friday, November 9, 2012

Name calling is for all ages?

I was sitting in the living room the other day, trying to grab a moment of peace by reading my newest copy of Sunset magazine, when I heard, "Hey! You little butthead!!!"

I looked up and yelled, "Seriously Brock! You can't call the kids buttheads! Please apologize to them and STOP DOING IT!"

I heard some halfhearted mumbling from my 48 year old adult husband as Thing 2's tiny voice gleefully sang an entire tune of "butthead butthead butthead!!!!".

Brock turned to me and said, "What? There is a cartoon with Butthead in the title!"

I said, "That cartoon was not made for children ages 2 and 5."

He argued, "They know I'm joking."

I said, "You aren't the one who will have to listen to them call some other kid that name on the playground. Nor are you the one who will be talking to the teachers at preschool about our kid name calling at recess. Nor are you the one that will have to deal with the fact that no mother wants their kid to hang out with the little boy who taught their precious angel the word butthead. Please. Just stop it."

He said, "I won't do it again."

I probably rolled my eyes, smirked, then poured myself a glass of wine.

Today, at preschool pickup, I was enlightened by the teacher that Thing 1 had been participating a little name calling when playing with the other kids. Seeing how I was not at all surprised by this, I asked, "Was the word, perhaps, butthead?"

Indeed, it was.

Shocker.

After a long conversation with Thing 1 about what a nice boy he is, and how nice boys don't want to hurt people's feelings by calling them names, even if the names are supposed to be funny, so could he please never do that again; I can only hope that he listened and absorbed my words.

As for that six foot tall guy that I live with.... well, that butthead has another thing coming.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's been up with this buttercup.

You may or may not have noticed my lack of presence in the blogosphere as of late. It is not because of any lost love for any of you, I promise. I have excuses! Lots of 'em!

1. Halloween.

Thing 1 is OBSESSED with Halloween. He not only forced me to decorate the house in the middle of September, he also dressed up in different costumes almost daily until Halloween, thus requiring me to follow him around and take pictures of the utter cuteness. This year, he has been an astronaut, a pilot, a pirate, a farmer, a Native American and a vampire (traditional, no sparkles). He also coerced his father to (gleefully) construct a scary pumpkin head scarecrow; which involved a chainsaw, no safety glasses, me cringing and me carving a pumpkin face. We now need to pack up all the orange and black, say goodbye to the scary pumpkin head man and talk some turkey... pilgrim.



2. Nuts.

Thanks to the kids' Halloween candy, I have been slowly reintroducing myself to nuts one Snickers at a time. It's been working out pretty well. I have done such a thorough job that I polished off an entire piece of English Toffee with no throat swelling. That takes some real focus and dedication, people. Wish me luck with my next encounter- a full bar of Almond Joy.

3. Exhaustion.

I'm so freaking tired it is not normal. I'm pretty sure that I'm dying of bird flu. Or maybe I'm just reserving energy in preparation for the zombie Apocalypse or the Mayan end of the world. Or maybe it is because the Things have basically stopped napping and I have NO TIME ALONE. EVER. Whatever the cause, I desire more time to sleep. And time to bathe without someone entering the bathroom. And time to actually chew my food before swallowing.

4. Art Studio.

Brock and I fixed up my "art studio". It is in the spare room.  Now I can make my house guests pose nude so that I can brush up on figure drawings! I'm assuming that won't make anyone uncomfortable. And hey, I just got a bunch of toothbrushes from my dentist, so you don't even need to pack one! Who wants to come and visit?


5. OMG PONIES!!!!

The ponies are back and the boys and I are busy scooping poop, talking to them in excited, high pitched voices and riding (they ride, I walk alongside). The Things are turning into quite the little horsemen. We even did some trotting the other day. There was much giggling. It's basically too much adorableness to handle.


This is just what we do on a Tuesday evening around these parts...

6. Laundry.

Doi.

7. Husband Training 101.

In the past week, my main squeeze has been documented folding laundry, vacuuming and cleaning out the refrigerator. I'm not sure what I have done to deserve this or if Brock has been abducted and replaced by an alien, but either way, I'll take it!

8. Dusting off my Crock Pot.

The leaves are mostly gone, the air is growing cooler and I have too many good shows clogging up my DVR to be standing in the kitchen, cooking. (Hello- Nashville!!!! Where have you been all my life?) Once again, I have rekindled my love affair with my Crock Pot. Like the other night, when I made a stew in the crock pot. A kind of pot roast stew. A Crock Potty Roast Stew, if you will. If that sounds appetizing to you, let me know and I will post my recipe.

9. Geek Love.

I read this book by Katherine Dunn and let me just say "Me oh my!". It was very well written and deeply disturbing. One thousand Disney movies cannot erase the images Ms. Dunn's words have imprinted onto my brain. Read it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

10. Avoiding political calls.

Pretty much any call to my home phone have been telemarketers or political calls. (Yes, we still have a home phone. No, it is not a rotary one.) Aside from getting a personal call from Clint Eastwood, no one that I know even calls that phone. No one except my husband's sweet 84 year old mother. I was working in my studio the other night and I hear this message. "Hello Brock and Johi! It's your mother! I've been trying to call for three days! Call me! Call me collect if you can't afford it!" Like a good wife, I hunted down Brock and forced him to call her immediately.

11. Spamming facebook with Instagram photos.

Because I can, and I want to. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it! Or "unfriend" me. Whatever works better for your schedule.

12. OMG, I finished something!!!! You guys, I actually finished something!!!

Well, I still need to do one more picture....but.... I was hired to illustrate a children's book! I did it in a little over two weeks and as soon as it is published, I will tell you all about it. Stay tuned! I'm pretty excited!!!

That's about it for me. Well, there used a lot more, but I have forgotten most of it.
Cheers!


Happy Election Day~ May the best man win and the political ads go to hell.

Johi


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gluten Free Goodness!

Gluten free living has paid off with our health- my gut feels better, the kids' hives and eczema have cleared up and Brock lost 20 pounds *eye roll*- but sometimes there are traditional foods that you just can't seem to replicate with a gluten free version. A lot of those foods fall into the category of breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, French Toast, Waffles and Pancakes, to be specific.

After a lot of hogging down carbs bread testing, I have discovered that Great Harvest makes hands down THE BEST gluten less bread for not just french toast, but just eating (it doesn't even need to be TOASTED). It does contain dairy - fyi.
Check out their Dillon gluten less bread ... I couldn't find a link online for it, but both Ft. Collins, CO locations make it.

Because yeast frightens me, I have steered clear from attempting the cinnamon rolls and continue to pathetically drool over the pictures of The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. Instead, I have been playing around with the less daunting task of pancakes. Over the last two years, I have altered many homemade pancake recipes to make them gluten free while attempting to maintain the correct texture. I think I finally hit the jackpot this morning.

Brock and I typically go through the week eating and serving extravagant things like toast, oatmeal and cereal for breakfast. Every once in a while, we join up in effort to make one of those delicious, heavy breakfasts that are super enjoyable to eat, make the entire house reek of bacon and make you want to nap as soon as the kitchen in cleaned up. We did that today (but both of us have a TON of work to do- so NO NAPS FOR YOU!) If do say so myself, it was fabulous! Please make and share with your loved ones.... if you are serving people that you don't particularly like, just email me and I will send you all of my failed recipes. *smiley face*

Brock and Johi's Saturday "Sunday Brunch"

The Best Gluten Free Pancakes- EVAH (in my humble opinion).

1 3/4 cups of Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 large eggs
2 cups of "buttermilk" (2 cups of vanilla coconut milk with 1 T apple cider vinegar- gently stir and let sit for a few minutes)

1/4 cup of melted butter

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk and gently stir into flour mixture. Fold in butter. Do not over mix batter.

Cook on a 350 degree griddle until bubbles form and burst in top of batter and bottom is golden brown.

Serve with real maple syrup, Wright's bacon, fried eggs, orange juice, coffee and LOVE.

Happy Saturday, mah people!

Peace and Love, Johi

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Conversations with children

Admittedly, most of our conversations around here lately have something to do with the upcoming holidays. When I say 'holidays', I am mainly referring to Halloween. Yet Thing 1 is an observant young boy and he cannot help but notice all the Christmas that is infiltrating our world via store displays and catalogs. He wants to think about Frankenstein and Ghouls, but occasionally Santa creeps into our conversations. He is also very confused about where Thanksgiving fits into the grand scheme of Events That We Decorate For In The Wagner Household. Unfortunately, I don't have any convincing answers for him so I choose to distract the children with sudden bouts of singing my weird,off key version of The Monster Mash while dancing around the kitchen like a double jointed scarecrow. For extra emphasis, and to complete the manic enthusiasm for all things Holiday, Thing 2 toddles around and randomly yells "PUNKIN PATCH" with great volume and frequency.

Ready? Okay! WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DO! WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, HOW 'BOUT YOU? *high kick*

Ahem....

Here are some of our other recent conversations:

The other day Thing 1 and I were having a chat about food. Thing 2, as usual, was parroting everyone.

Me: If you want to grow up to be like Daddy you need to eat those vegetables!

Thing 2: Daddee need to eat Vejebals!

Thing 1: Because Daddy is big and strong?

Thing 2: Daddee beeg an strang?

Me: Yes!

Thing 1: So Daddy's are big and strong and they go to work?

Thing 2: Daddee at work?

Me: Errr.... yes.

Me: So if Daddy's are big and strong and they go to work, what are Mommy's?

Thing 1: Mommy's are little and tiny and they clean stuff!

Me: .....

At least he thinks I'm little.



A few days later Thing 1 runs into my art studio/spare room/library/Brock's closet/my private dance studio.

Thing 1: I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up!

Me: Awesome, buddy!

Thing 1: Are you going to be sad when I grow up and move to my farm?

Me, kissing hid head: Well, yeah! Of course I will. Can't I just keep you this size forever?

Thing 1: No, I'm gonna grow up. But you can come and live with my on my farm!

Me: Really? What will I do there? (fully thinking that he was going to tell me that I could clean for him)

Thing 1: You can ride my combine with me!

Be still my heart.


Tonight, Brock and I sat at the dinner table and tried to convince Thing 1 to wear one of the FOUR costumes that he already possesses for Halloween. He decided two days ago that he wanted to be Frankenstein. Frankenstein is not one of the four costumes already in our possession.

Me: How about you be a pirate? You are an AWESOME pirate!

Thing 1: Can you paint a scar on my face?

Thing 2: Hot? Yummy!

Me: Of course! I'll even give you a goatee and put black around your eyes, just like Captain Jack Sparrow! I'll show you a picture of him!

Brock: Can't we just show him Pirates of the Caribbean?

Me: ....
Brock: Is he too young?

Me, flatly: He's five.

Brock: Man! That's too bad! He would LOVE that movie! Maybe I could just show him one of the tamer scenes.

Me, raising one eyebrow: Or I could just Google a picture of Captain Jack Sparrow and show him that.

Thing 1, pointing to his cheek: I want the scar to go right here!

Thing 2: French Fries!


Hope you are all gearing up for a fantastic Halloween! I'm going as witch. Again.  The beauty of that character is that I don't even need to dress up (but I will anyway....). *Cackle Cackle!*




~What is your favorite Holiday? Do you dig Halloween? And also, should I try to make Thing 1 a Frankenstein costume when he can be a Pirate, an Astronaut, a Pilot or Count Dracula for FREE?

Note: I have been unable to upload any pictures to this blog for well over a month. I keep getting a "server failed" response, which means that you don't get to see things like my gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and my adorable kids and their adorable ponies and random black lacy bras lying in the gravel path of my local Natural Area. It's a shame. A SHAME! HELP ME. Thank you.






Friday, October 26, 2012

"With Love for Dotter"

As life swirls around us, often feeling haphazard and out of control, we sometimes struggle to make sense of things. We feel desperate to know the meaning or to find our purpose in this life. Many of us have faith, family and love as our safety net. These are places that we go to for comfort, peace and security. These are things that we always have... until we don't...

Bridget, a blogger friend of mine, whose humor, intelligence and wit I greatly admire, lost her 11 year old daughter this Wednesday.  Bridget writes at Stumbling Towards Perfect and has remained fairly anonymous with the identities of her family members. Her precious girl, whom she refers to on her blog as "Dotter", died in a car accident. Her 17 year old daughter, "Bean", was driving the car.

Becoming a parent is one of the most frightening journeys that a human can embark upon. Not only are you navigating the waters of often unknown territory, you are doing it with the deepest love in your soul and the fiercest feelings of protection and loyalty that you will ever know. That tiny, angry, shrieking infant instantly becomes the most important thing in your life. From the moment that you meet them, you know that your path is forever changed. In that moment that you first hold your child, you are suddenly overwhelmed by a kind of love that you were unaware existed. Your actual being is transformed when you become a parent.

Children change everything in your life. They can be charming and hilarious and exasperating and draining. Yet, no matter what they do, you unconditionally love them with every fiber of your being. Even though you do your best to enjoy every moment, you often live in fear that you will mess up somehow as a parent. Ever present is your greatest fear, which is to lose your child entirely.

I cannot imagine what Bridget and her family are feeling at this time. I can only imagine that it is akin to having a gaping black hole in your soul... a horrendous chasm in your very being.

Words cannot properly express my deep sympathy for this family. I struggle to make sense of any of this world, but it is particularly difficult when a child is taken from this earth. I'm a woman of faith, and I believe "Dotter" is in heaven, but I cannot imagine the anguish that Bridget and her family are experiencing. So the question arises, "What can I do?"

Another blogger, Brenna Jennings at Suburban Snapshots has set up a memorial fund for Bridget and her family. Please visit this site and donate.

In leiu of donating online, you can also give funds to a charitable account set up by the Walworth State Bank, where 100% of the funds go directly to Bridget and the family:
In Memory of "Dotter", C/O Walworth State Bank, PO Box 66, Walworth, WI 53184.

With a prayer in my heart that "Bean" recovers and that Bridget and her family can again find their way in this crazy world; I thank you all in advance for helping in any way that you can.

Hold your loved ones close.

Peace, Love and Hope,
Johi


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I ain't dumb, ya know.

My good friend sent a song my way with a message that it reminded her of me and Brock. She said, "Only someone who knows you as well as I do could see you and Brock when I hear this song!!"

Here's the song. Maybe not appropriate for every situation.... but you all know how I operate by now.




Later, after I had listened to it ten times, laughing every time, I played it for Brock.

His response was, "I'm offended that everyone thinks I'm so stupid."

I was puzzled, as Brock is thick skinned and rarely offended. I said, "Really? That offends you?"

He said, "No. Because it is not just me. It is all husbands."

That received no arguement from me, so I nodded solemnly in agreement.

He said, "The only way I could get smarter is if I became a woman, and that ain't gonna happen."

As I walked out of the room with the silent hysterics emanating from my pores and tears running from my eyes, I tried to compose myself. Later, I lamely apologized on behalf of womankind for the general implication that our menfolk consist largely of ignoramuses and cretins.

I said, "I'm sorry that people think you are a moron."

Brock shrugged and said, "That's all right. I know what I am."

I asked, "And what are you?"

He said, "I'm awesome."

Oh my, and a humble caveman to boot.

Love you, honey.

xxoo

These are the moments that I will forever cherish

My children are cute. They are so precious that I love them regardless of their behavior. They are so adorable that I easily forgive them for not giving me a moment's peace to write... or eat... or bathe.  They are so captivating that they elicit random comments from passersby instructing me to "Cherish every moment, they grow up so quickly!"


I want to thank everyone who has offered up that gem of wisdom. It is all I can do to not reply, "I will, especially that last moment where Junior here shrieked and grabbed for that toy and knocked down the entire display of Thomas the Tank Engine, then the entire store sneered at me like I should be tarred and feathered and banished to Mars. Yes, that is a moment that I will cherish."

But seriously, I love my kids. I love them more than anything on this planet. Being a mother is the most challenging thing that I have ever done and it is also the biggest blessing in my life. That is the gosh darn truth. I love, love, love those little people that Brock and I made, and I am doing my damnedest to mold them into people that not only their mother, but most of society, can love as well.

That being said, I'm not always awesome at my job. In fact, just last week I should have been fired and replaced with someone with a better attitude. And as hard as I try to steer my kids in the right direction, sometimes the advice I give them gets misconstrued and comes back to bite me in the arse.

For example, Thing 1 is a sweet, handsome boy that enjoys wearing a snappy outfit. When he let's me dress him puts together something particularly jazzy and heads off to preschool, his teachers will often compliment his appearance with a comment like, "Why! Don't you look nice today!" His reply to this sort of statement is usually to rub his shirt and coolly and confidently say, "I know!".

After hearing him take these sorts of compliments with zero humility, I decided it was time to mother-up and create a teaching moment. It loosely went like this- Life lesson number 458: Be humble. Say thank you. Give compliments back, especially to the females. Tell them that you like their outfit or that you think they have a pretty smile. This will get you far in life, my young Jedi!

After having this monumental chat with my offspring, I was feeling empowered. I was getting this parenting thing DOWN PAT, by golly! AND, he will thank me later when he has a gaggle of cute girls chasing after him.

A few days after this lesson, Thing 1 walked into my bathroom where I was standing in my bra and undies, drying my hair. He looked me up and down and slyly said, "You look nice today, Mommy."

Hmmmmm.

Someone remind me not to ever tell people what to do. Ever. And that Victoria is not quite as secrective as she believes.





Oh, but it doesn't end here. You see, I wisely birthed not one, but two babies. I get to inflict my socially awkward misinformation onto not one, but two people. Yay for 'Merica.

Thing 2 is at an age where we are talking a lot about the potty. Not only does Thing 2 love talking about all things Poop, but I am attempting to spark an interest within him to USE the potty. Little dude needs some encouragement to forego the diapers and "be a big boy!". Lesson number #213:  Big boys are helpful! Big boys clean up their toys! And big boys use the potty!

Of course, Thing 2 has no interest in sitting on the potty unless it is to get out of naptime (naptime being so pesky and all). And when he is on the potty, he is merely sitting. His only real interest is to yell "All Done!", hop down, slam the lid closed and flush the still empty bowl (flushing being so enjoyable and all).

What Thing 2 does have great interest in is when anyone else uses the potty. And when I say 'anyone', I mean me. If I shut the door, he busts in like a barbarian looking for a turkey leg. If I lock the door, he stands directly outside and howls like someone is removing his toenails with a spoon. So, like many mothers, I am never alone in the bathroom. Ever. This is a parenting moment that I do not cherish.

Thing 2 was spending some quality time with me in my tiny bathroom the other day, chanting the word "poop!" loudly in a sing-song manner as I quietly used the facilities. I reached for some toilet paper and leaned in that way that I do right before I use said toilet paper. Thing 2 pounced on that TP like a fox on a hen house. He and I had a mini wrestling match right then and there because, you see, he was trying to be a 'helpful big boy' and wipe Mommy. I, on the other hand, did not want or need assistance in that area, thankyouverymuch.  It was all I could do to not weep softly into a cottony wad of Charmin and whisper, "Please.... go...just go...." Instead I manned up and met the challenge head on. With some cutting edge fake-out moves and a 103 pound advantage, I won that wrestling match and wiped myself. I then stood quickly to flush, wash my hands, and to try and erase that earlier moment from my mind. Upon my sudden jolt off the porcelain throne, I left my skinny jeans momentarily around my thighs. Immediately upon spotting my misplaced pants, Thing 2 scuttled around me, positioned himself behind me and attempted to hike up my skin tight, spandex laden pants. I was desperately trying to dry my hands as I heard his tiny 2 year old voice moan the word, "Ugh! Heavy!".

Seriously, someone kill me now. I will be locking the door and letting him have a screaming tantrum outside of it from here forward. I will also be wearing my headphones and listening to anything but the yelling on volume 11.

So, as you can plainly see, it is not a good idea to teach your children how to compliment people or to use the potty.

Other than that, I seem to be doing everything perfectly. Except for that "cherish EVERY moment part", because that is horseshit advice. Here's my advice, Life Lesson Number 4,567: Be present and enjoy the good stuff. Write about the bad stuff on the Internet so that you can laugh about it later (after therapy).

Peace, Love and Tons of Inappropriate Behavior,
Johi




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Finding Your People

One of my favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde~
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."

The first time I heard that line, I laughed out loud. As a person who bores easily, I completely understand this sentiment . As a butthole who loves to make gross stereotypes, I find this way of dividing people not only gratifying, but also whimsical and slightly devilish.

A while back I had drinks with some lovely friends that I hadn't seen in awhile. We started talking about our busy lives and how difficult it is to find the time to clean the ceiling fan- wait that is just me maintain friendships. We had this conversation under a thin, socially acceptable guise, as we all knew that two of the women at the table talk on a daily basis, just as I have a handful of people that I chat with almost every day. Even though I adore both of these women and consider them friends, they are not in the innermost center of my circle. This fact is not loaded with harsh feelings or judgements, it is merely the truth.

As our conversation progressed, one of my friends expressed concern with some of the relationships in her life. We all listened and nodded knowingly as she described something that each of us had personally experienced. I thought for a moment, then I said, "I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone has 'their people'. It doesn't mean that you aren't a good friend or a good person, it's just that people find others who best understand them and stick with those folks. It's easier for everyone that way."

Then I proceeded to tell them how "my people" laugh at inappropriate things and get through life's hardships by finding the humor in every situation. As much as I love being around a diverse herd, my adolescent boy's sense of humor and lack of filter occasionally makes integrating difficult for me. My gut reaction is often to crack a joke, offer up a multiple choice answer or snort at something instead of offering consolation. I'll just say it; I suck at solace. I'd rather get you drunk, try on stupid hats, make you laugh, distract you with quotes from "Mean Girls" and help you burn pictures of your ex husband/wife. I can also redecorate your living room, help you write the Match.com profile or take you shopping for a new wardrobe, as I have been gifted with special talents in those areas as well.

Unfortunately, many of "my people" have migrated to new scenery. In the past few years I have lost my wise, witty and wonderful bestie to San Francisco; my smart, sexy and sassy soul mate to Estes Park; one most crafty, charismatic and comical Sarah to Iowa; and one genuine, state of the art, original funny lady by the name of Erin to New Jersey. Don't cry for me, I have found more of "my people" here (and I always keep spare Erin's and Sarah's in a box under my bed); but no one can replace those fuckers that keep relocating. Damn it, you people. Don't you know that YOU are MY PEOPLE!

But really, I miss your faces and please come and visit. I promise I'll clean all of that crap and Smelly Cat out of the spare room so that you can sleep there.

I do have a point here, I promise...

To all of you who are struggling with relationships, don't worry about it (unless you are just a giant, raging asshole- then you should really fix that). Just be yourself, find "your people", continue being yourself around those people that make you happy, and enjoy your life. Don't misunderstand my sage advice, this doesn't mean that you can't make friends with folks outside of your comfort zone. In fact, I highly recommend befriending someone unusual from your normal scene, as those are generally the sorts who can teach you all of those pesky lessons that we are here to learn about ourselves and others. Blah blah blah.



"To know thyself is to know thy people." ~Johi

or

"To know thy people is to know thyself." ~Johi

or

"I like fart jokes, y tu`?" ~Johi

You pick!
Rock on, "my people".



Peace, Love and Social Acceptance through Scrupulous Selection,
Johi





~Do you recognize "your people"? Who are they?












Thursday, October 4, 2012

Desperately seeking sanity

"Excuse me ma'am? You seem to have dropped this."
...and the friendly stranger hands me back my mind, which I have clearly lost.

Tragically, today at 11:54 a.m., my children reduced me to tears which I hid behind my sunglasses. The kids were not fighting nor were they doing anything wrong. They were only talking. Their sweet little voices were telling me stories. They were TALKING- something that I ENCOURAGED them to do. Something which they had both been doing incessantly since they climbed into my bed at 6:45 this morning... and since 6:15 the morning before that... and at 5:46 the morning before that. The past few weeks, between the constant talking, my trashed out house, the snot snorting from round two of colds since school started, the coat refusal, the effing laundry, the fruit fly infestation in my kitchen, the whining noises and begging for food from the dogs and children, the explosive noises of boys playing and Adele Arakawa's  horrendous hair, every nerve in my body is fried.

Er... Adele? 1989 called, they want their hairstyle back.
So much hairspray, so little time.
 
 
I've never before wanted so badly to be a part of a giant overbearing family, ala My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as I do now. Please. SOMEONE. Take my kids for the day! Entertain them without charging me money! You can even judge my unkempt house and lazy parenting! I WILL WELCOME YOUR CRITICISM IF YOU JUST HELP ME! I'll become Jewish, Mormon or even Catholic again if I need to- just HELP ME. Upon desperately wishing for even a Monster-In-Law type figure in my life to love my children for me, I've realized that I am clearly in need of a little "me time". I can't think straight. I can't sleep. I can't write. I can't figure out 40% off of $160 pair of boots (this is BAD, people), and in no way am I keeping pace with my own life. In short, I'm basically sucking at living. I'm becoming a crappy friend, a nagging wife and a checked out parent. I am worn out over here.   I would love a Xanax, but I don't take prescription drugs, folks, which is why I am teetering on the edge of alcoholism. (OMG! Have you ever tried a Moscow Mule? MIND NUMBING GOOD FUN. Just know that you will need to rewatch the last half of Castle to remember who done it.)


 

Therefore, in a vain attempt to find my sanity in a world full of plastic toys (not mine), unfortunate pooping schedules for the diaper wearing individual in our family (not me, thankfully), constant yelling(me and others) and noise (every damn thing), wadded up sweat socks (not mine) on the living room rug or three steps from the motherloving hamper and the never ending cleaning/folding/sorting/wiping/helping/listening/responding/driving/selfless giving that is motherhood, I have again started walking in the mornings.

And I hate mornings.

Fortunately, I have a timer on my coffee maker beautiful natural area full of trees and swamps ponds by my house. Unfortunately, it also borders the interstate and a Super Wal-Mart so even when I try to find some Zen space, I am sharing my time with road noise, truckers and people that think a stain free "wife beater" is 'dressing up'. None of this surprises me, it is merely par for the course of the Glamorous Life of Johi.


Most of the time on these morning outings it is just me and Red Dog, whose walking off-and-on-leash obedience reminds me of why I actually love her. Together we increase our heart rates and burn off negative energy while enjoying the crisp morning air. With Pandora's Indie Dance Mix station in my ear and this awesome app called Map My Walk where I can... wait for it... map my walk while channelling my inner George Jefferson jive step. I can listen to Jack White and also keep track of pace and distance, which assists me in achieving a daily goal and knowing when to push myself, something that every Type A sicko person enjoys. Sometimes, out of pure guilt and being the sole human in the house to acknowledge that all dogs need to be walked, I take Black Dog, too- who pulls on my arm the entire time and barks at cars. If I let her off leash she runs too far and rolls in dead stuff, thus stealing my happiness.

Responsibility sucks.

But still! Even with Black Dog dragging at my arm, thus ensuring that I will soon have to shell out the big bucks and see my chiropractor, I see the bluest skies on the planet (because Colorado rocks a blue sky like no where else). It is also a time to think, reflect, plan and prepare myself for the coming events of my life as a slave to my thankless family doting and loving mother and wife. I remember to breath all the way into my diaphragm. (what????) These fairly quiet walks are also a great time to spot wildlife. Red Dog and I see Canadian Geese, Blue Herons, Blackbirds, rabbits, jumping fish, turtles, Doves, Blue Jays and Hawks. We once even witnessed a Red Tailed Hawk diving into the lake to catch a fish. Its mealtime attempt was as unsuccessful as the self medicated Pamela Anderson on Dancing with the Stars, but I felt honored to get to watch the carnivorous effort and of the slightly drunken elegant bird.

Even though there are many things to discover on these morning walks, I have yet to find my sanity.  Be that as it may, I have found some much needed solitude. It is a great chance to connect with nature. I can listen to my body (it says "Ow, you decrepit thing") without having to drown out the noise of children fighting over the toy trash truck, or the phone ringing with yet another political call, or the demands of "I'm hungry!" "He hit me!" "I need a band aid!" "I want to watch Transformers!". And best of all, on my morning walks, I don't have to repeat myself (unless I take Black Dog, then I spend the time repeatedly yelling her name constantly). However, sometimes the morning reveals things that I do not expect to find. Things that are black as the night and full of wonder. Things that are so wrong, they are right. Things that are lacy, sexy and should not by lying in a gravel path between a port-a-potty and a sign about the length of fish. Things like bras.














"Um... excuse me ma'am. You seem to have dropped this."

... so there's another one of us, but instead of
early morning walks with the dogs, she is
getting back to nature with Victoria's Secret
and a midnight rendezvous at the port-a-potty.
Good on her?

M-kay.




 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fifty Shades of Oversharing

*Warning: This book review may contain a spoiler alert or two. Also, my opinion may differ from yours. And I ate beans AND cabbage for dinner. Proceed with caution.*

A few months ago, my book club selected Fifty Shades of Grey. I originally looked into the novel (i.e. I read The Cotton Floozy's review of it- please read her blog, she's hilarious) and decided against it. Unfortunately, I have spent so much time (that I can never get back) around emotionally challenged people in real life that I do not desire to spend my leisure time with them as well.

Then I read Gone Girl and was shamelessly enjoying the unhinged, schizo nature of the main characters. Let's be honest. Drama can be fun... but only from a voyeuristic standpoint.

That is when I loaned my copy of Gone Girl to a friend, and in turn, she loaned me the entire series of 50 Shades- which she delivered in an unmarked brown paper bag.*

*This may surprise you, but I rarely buy material that needs to be delivered in plain brown paper.

So I made the decision to read the books in the same fashion that I make the majority of my life decisions. I said "What the hell! Let's do this shiz!" Plus, I'm under stimulated and bored so I like to take part in controversial conversations, and what better way is there to do that than to actually read the books that are causing such a ruckus?

As a person who feverishly loved Kirk Cameron for at least four years of my life and once literally cooked my shin skin under a heat lamp in vain attempts to tan my adolescent mayonnaise white flesh, I long ago decided that I am in no position to judge anyone or anything. (But I will judge those fugly shoes.) So I picked up the first book and started reading. During the second book I had fully developed my love/hate relationship with the characters (Kate Kavanagh is my kind of gal). And by the third book, I was explaining to my child that there were handcuffs on the front because it was a story about policemen. And no, I am not ashamed of myself. I also un-ironically watch talent shows and pretty much anything produced by Aaron Spelling. And I dance un-apologetically at weddings (with video documentation). And I sing at the top of my lungs in my truck. And I scratch whatever itches. And I almost always speak without filtration. And I often drink lemonade right from the container. And I like cats and throw pillows. Deal with it.
What I found with the 50 Shades series was a mostly entertaining, typical romance novel read. While it is true that the main two characters of the book did often annoy me, that is a normal feeling for me, as most people in real life often irritate me. And while BDSM does not 'blow my skirt up', nor did I find the the main male character of Christian Grey appealing, I'll admit that I was curious to continue following the story. Much like a chocolate covered train wreck, I could not look away.


After finishing the series, I sat back and considered all of the opinions that I have heard and read from my peers regarding the content. What I decided is this: I think all the backlash towards the book is amusing, for it is a work of FICTION, people. IT'S A MADE UP SCENARIO for the sake of the author's own indulgent whims and clearly (New York Times Bestseller, anyone?) it is popular. As an aspiring writer, I would like to say congratulations to E.L. James. As a fellow mom, writer who belabors her readers (James' "mercurial" is my "creepy"), and hedonistic person that says and types whatever the hell I please (simply because it pleases me), Mrs. James' success gives me hope that, someday, maybe I too can pen a best seller.

Aside from being a guilty pleasure, an kick start to one's sex life or a subject of controversy, I think that the book inadvertently asks the question, what would you do in this situation? While admittedly there are many, many times when I wanted to shove Anastasia Steele's head into a toilet (seriously? she was concerned that he would burn himself when heating food in the microwave?) and dropkick the controlling Christian Grey from the balcony of his penthouse, I believe that my reaction to the book says more about me than anything. As a woman of questionable morals myself, I will admit I considered what I would say, if I were in Ms. Steele's position (specifically the one with her wrists bound to her ankles). For instance it may be, "Thanks for the orgasms, the money, the clothes and the car. You're fucked up. I'm Audi." or "Thanks for introducing me to the silver balls and the vibrator- you just showed me how I don't need a man for pleasure. You have WAY to many mommy issues. iPad outta here." or "If you want to control something, may I recommend getting a dog? But not a terrier, cuz those bastards do whatever they want. But seriously dude, you are beyond damaged goods. Thanks for the house in Aspen and the Loubitons. Laters, baby." You get the picture....

If you have not read this book, I will divulge this: Anastasia Steele was neither a women's studies nor a psychology major and all of my jokes in the prior paragraph will be lost on you.

Aside from the fact that I mostly enjoyed reading this series and the way the leading lady was naively pushing every boundary of the emotionally stunted Grey, I have four major issues with the content- none of which being the "kinky fuckery". Feel free to judge me on my personal "hard limits".

1. Any dude that controlling will eventually come between you and all of the people in your life that you love. Don't walk away from this book thinking that you can change that hot, messed up guy that you have been seeing on and off for five years. No matter how much you think you know him, he most likely won't ever become the guy that you have convinced yourself he is- or can be. He's a douche. Leave him immediately. Run.

2. Any dude who sits in a bar and orders himself a white wine is NOT a manly man. Sorry. No. Just NO. No. Hey Grey, ever heard of Scotch?

3. No one can possibly have that much sex without the follow up urinary tract infection that is issued with that much sex. COME ON. That is so not realistic.

4. I don't care HOW sexy you are, do not fucking blindfold me and feed me my food. I can cut my own motherfucking meat, thankyouverymuch. And if you take a drink of something and attempt to spit it into my mouth, prepare yourself for the feeling of my fist getting rammed into your throat. I don't want your backwashy wine or water, because I'm a grown-ass woman and I control my own food and drink intake. Don't. Just don't. Just... uh uh. That is all.

In conclusion, it is true what you heard. The phrase 'butt plug' is scattered throughout the books like the sprinkles on your cupcake. And the leading lady makes some horrible decisions. And the leading man is in all ways fictional. And, against your better judgement- much like watching Honey Boo Boo- you just might find yourself enjoying the distraction from your own reality. Don't be too hard on yourself because, quite frankly, we can't all be intellectuals all of the time.*

* Good Lawd, how fucking boring would that be?

I don't want to hear another Saab story. I'm gonna Charlie Tango Audi here because somewhere there is a glass of wine, a private jet and a tattered copy of Tess of the D'ubervilles that beckon me.



Peace, Love and Butt Plugs <---such a sexy term... er... no,
Johi




Monday, September 17, 2012

Pardon mah Regiolect

As an aspiring writer, I have become uncomfortably aware of my many, many language faux pas. Many. MANY. Many.

While I can pretend to be educated, Klassy and grammatically correct when I am sober and thinking clearly (an unusual combination for me), I often hear myself slipping into that well-worn bathrobe of my down-home speak that I learned back on the farm.

I can't help it. Dropping the 'g' off of anything ending in 'ing' and saying 'gonna' instead of 'going to' just feels natural; sort of like eating bacon, using a Q-Tip to clean my ears, and laughing at people when they fall.

Think about how you really say "I'm going to go driving in the country tomorrow." Most likely (if you are reading this blog) you say "I'm gonna go drivin' in the country tomorrow." You might even replace 'tomorrow' with 'tomorrah', which is fine by me.

I also think that ending sentences in prepositions is underrated. Sometimes being correct has the verbal flow of a Arkansas pig farmer quoting Shakespeare in an Australian accent while speaking Spanish. For instance, if someone walked up to me and asked, "From whence do you hail?" I would most likely contemplate throwing an apple at their head while simultaneously wondering just how far up their bum they shoved that corn cob.

While I do not go so far as to use the shudder-inducing phrase of "I seen them guys the other day...", I do hear myself making multiple grammatical and verbal errors whenever I choose to speak without first thinking freely. Then I usually shrug, stop trying to converse with other adults and go back to making up songs about kittens in the haystack for the benefit of my offspring. ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Kittens in the haystack, all over the barn! Crying out for milk and searching for some yarn! me-ow me-ow mew mew mew!*♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

*I just made that up right here and now, I've never even used the word 'yarn' in one of my songs. I'm CrAzY today!

Upon having a mini-seizure after hearing myself work the word 'snuck' into a sentence with a stranger, I decided to make a list of words and phrases that I feel should be pardoned from the standard rules of speech and grammar. If nothing else, I will create this list and then site it when I break the rules, thus using it to indemnify myself. Winning!

Johi's The Standardized List of Acceptable Dialect and Text Speak.

* SNUCK:  past tense form of sneak. "I called Red Dog a creepy butthole because she snuck out of the house, stalked my scent and found me a mile away on my dogless, peaceful walk." (apparently 'dogless' isn't a word either- WHATEV)

* GONNA: how normal people talk when they are relaxed or somewhat comatose. "I'm gonna watch Real Housewives now, are you gonna order a pizza?"

*  WHERE ARE YOU FROM? :how to ask someone about their place of origin without sounding like a stuck up arsehat, therefore risking fruit flying at your face or groin area.

* YA: instead of you when talking to people that you aren't trying to impress with your magnanimous wisdom. "Where ya goin'?"

* TA: in speech, instead of to. "I'm goin' ta the store."

* I WAS JUST LIKE: instead of "I said". "I was just like, 'OH MAH GAWD, you can't wear a striped shirt with striped pants!' But he did it anyway and I was all, '...then I'm sorry, but that means that we can't date.'" Listen, we all do it, even if we aren't from The Valley.

*WHATCHA DOIN'? :when speaking to people that you actually like or when you don't want to sound like a bitchy robot. "What. Are. You. DoinG?"

*SORTA: sort of not a word, yet somehow it is for so many, including myself. "I sorta know that I sound stupid when I say 'sorta', but I can't help myself."

*YEP or YEAH: instead of 'yes'. Even my two year old does this, so I know it's okay.

*WANNA: more efficient than 'want to'. And easy to use when inebriated.

*I DUNNO: because I don't know enough to enunciate.



I won't even get into punctuation. I hope you all enjoyed your lesson in acceptable Southeast Iowa dialect. It is my goal to take the stoopid out of the world. Yer welcome.

Peace, Luv and Lazy Linguistics,
Johi