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,

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,

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!

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,

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.


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?


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.


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.

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


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