Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stellar Parenting Moment #4562 with Brock and Johi

Other than those women who claim to eat the placenta after birth, I rarely get irritated with parenting ideas that differ from my own. We are all individuals and our unique ideas and world views deserve a bit of respect! Unless you are an idiot who eats your own afterbirth*.

*Because we only have a few things that separate us from the animals as it is.... like iphones, Slushies and DVRs.

Then I heard of another type of parenting that made me squint my eyes, scrunch my nose and say "Whaaaaat the...?" A friend told me about lady she knew that used a parenting/teaching "style" that involves no leadership directives from the parent. There is no formal schooling, no discipline and no guidance. The parents take a permissive stance as the young child's naturally curious mind navigates their own specific learning process. The child then asks the parent/teacher about a subject and VIOLA!, learning happens!

You know what also happens? The children HAVE NO DECORUM, thus destroying their surroundings like a pack of rabid dogs. And I know this, because my dogs have no boundaries and they are total assholes. They chase cars, sleep on my furniture, bark aggressively at delivery men and chew through drywall. It's a problem. Also, if I let my children solely map out their entire existence, my five year old would still be wearing a diaper (potty training was seriously worse than labor with that one) while watching SpongeBob Squarepants and my two year old would be pulling his brother's hair and laughing maniacally while he smears chocolate into the couch cushions. And they would eat nothing but Popsicles, chips and chocolate rice milk.

Everyone (that was raised on a horse farm in SE Iowa) knows that, like dogs, children love guidance and boundaries! Right? They CRAVE attention! And what better way is there to give children your attention than to show them some sort of a moral code, let them help you do yard work and teach them to read? Much to my husband's chagrin, sometimes I even guide my children through some stellar song and dance maneuvers, just to let them know that their options in life are unlimited. *jazz hands!*

So when Brock returned home from a long day of work and joined me out by the barn, where I was relaxing with a beer in the red plastic Adirondack chairs that we purchased for 17.99, he told me about this "free range parenting" thing that he heard about on talk radio- I immediately thought of four children climbing the curtains, kicking the cat and knocking over the coffee table and exclaimed "Oh! I HATE that!". Then he went on to talk about this woman letting her 9 year old ride the subway alone and I realized that he was talking about this specific woman and I was talking about something entirely different. I was talking about lazy, checked out people who don't want to parent and therefore shouldn't have kids.

Then we clinked our beer bottles together in honor of our long day ending in a slight buzz and I noticed it was quiet and asked, "By the way, where are OUR children?"

Brock replied, "hmmmm..... In the barn?"

I got up and walked around to the barn door, where I saw my adorable spawn playing noiselessly in the wheelbarrow with shovels and water.

I looked at Brock and said, "They have water and are playing in the wheelbarrow. What was in there?
Brock said, "Once dry bags on concrete. I guess I'll be setting that gate post now."

And then, just like we do at least once a week, we ate a big steaming plate of placenta humble pie for dinner.

Parent on, Mother Truckers,
Johi

What style of parenting do you prefer?
What flavor do you add to your humble pie to make it more palatable?









Connecting to Mother Earth with Cat Feces and Tonka Trucks

I recently read an article about feeling out of balance in your life. I perked up, as this seems to be a common theme for me. I continued on, absorbing the information, as the article explained that frequently "grounding yourself" with Mother Earth can combat the feeling of being disjointed and grant you some inner peace. You can accomplish this "grounding" through many simple activities: putting your hands in the dirt (gardening), standing barefoot in grass or digging your toes into sand.

And just like I do with all important information (like when I catch a glimpse of People Magazine in the grocery store checkout), I committed this new found bit of wisdom to memory for use at a later date; most likely when I am lying wide awake in bed at 2 am.

The other day,  I felt like I needed a little "grounding". My house was a trash-hole, my kids were feral, and I was PMSing. Basically, I was going batshit crazy and desperately seeking sanity.  Remembering what I had read, and taking into consideration that standing in the grass in November would be the equivalent of standing barefoot on a bale of hay/rug of dull razors, I braved the cold, ran to the kids'  sandbox and dug my naked toes into the sand. As I stood in the splendor of my Colorado yard, breathing into my diaphragm for maximum effect, I noticed many elongated lumpy shapes, and that the sand was also wet in spots ... and it hadn't rained in quite some time here. It was then that I realized that the cat has been using my Zen Garden as his personal litter box. Not only was I currently touching cat dung, but my children were playing in it on a regular basis.

I wonder if buying dewormer for your children at Whole Foods counts as becoming one with Mother Earth?

As it is, the next time I feel the need to ground myself with the Earth, I'll put my sheepskin slippers on my feet, turn on the Discovery Channel, sit my cotton robe clad arse on my leather (ish) sofa and drink a dirty martini. Dirt. Earth. Done.

Peace, Love and Sandbox Lids,
Johi

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sometimes the glass is half full of pee.

Being the positive person that I am, I like to pretend that every freaking day is new- therefore it will be fabulous! Because everyone knows that new things are the bomb.

* New shoes- yes please!
* New food- so much better than the old dead food that was growing mold in the back of the fridge!
* New underwear- fresh and clean! sounds great! just like Mom told me to wear in case of a car accident!





When I awoke at 4:30 am the other day because I felt the tickle of the tiny legs of a spider on my neck, I didn't even get angry! I merely smashed the damned spider with my fingers.  Being the glass-half-full type of person that I am, I thought, It's FINE! It's a new day...soon... like right after I get three more hours of sleep... then it will be a new day...

Then I laid in my bed for at least 45 minutes and felt like there were creepy spiders crawling all over me, and I realized that I was not getting back to sleep anytime soon.

Quietly, so as not to wake my snoring slumbering husband, I crawled out of bed and slipped into my walking shoes. Nothing starts a new day right like a quiet early morning walk with the canines!

As the dogs yanked and pulled on my arm the entire way so that they could shit and piss all over everything we encountered, I thought, IT'S OKAY. It's a New Day! As soon as I have a little coffee, all will be grand!

The rest of the family had awoken upon my arrival home. As I entered the chaos of morning at my house, I fell into my normal routine: I sipped the required amount of coffee, changed a poopy diaper, broke up a fight, yelled at some people, put some people into time-out, told the dogs to stop barking, submitted to the demands for popsicles for breakfast, stepped on three Legos and one HotWheels and watched Scooby Doo with the kids. It was magical, just as it is every morning. Then Brock took the children outside and as I was carrying the various water cups to the sink I realized something was unusual. I was ALONE. I was alone in my house. I looked around at the total destruction that was formerly known as my kitchen and living room and sighed. I knew that it would take hours, if not days, to shovel through the massive piles of crap. So instead of cleaning it, I decided to take a rare luxury for myself and I ran water in the tub for a bath.

Please know that I have fairly decent hygiene. I floss regularly and I shower almost every day, sometimes twice a day. Every so often I even brush my hair! But a BATH is a special occurrence that only happens about four times a year, mainly because I am in a house full of boys and dogs, all of whom use the tub. And the caulking is black and needs to be replaced. And there is a weird horse head shaped hole in the door to get to the plumbing that I KNOW is housing a spider colony. And did I mention that it is the bathroom that the BOYS use? It is not exactly a tranquil environment, no matter how many candles are lit and how loud Sarah McLachlan is playing. And I'm a parent, so alone time in any room is laughable.

Once the bathtub was full, I slipped my weary mom body into the lavender scented water. I laid my head back, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Still a new day. Heaven.

That is precisely when I heard Brock yell from the back door, "Johi! You have to come and see this!"

I politely hollered, "I'm in the tub! Take a picture!"

Then I listened for more demands but heard nothing. Again, I sighed as I laid my head back, rested my eyes and felt the hot water soothe my achy muscles. I washed the spider trail from my neck and sedated myself with the relaxing smell of lavender, the feeling of the water as it enveloped me and the sounds of silence.

That is when I heard Brock again, this time just outside the window, "You HAVE to see this!"

I calmly screamed, "NO! I DON'T!"

Except he was relentless with his enthusiastic demands, "Just look out the window!"

I emitted an exasperated snort as I climbed out of the tub and wrapped myself in a towel. It was clear that he was not going to stop harassing me until I looked at whatever it was that was so damned exciting to him.

This is what I saw it, and I immediately knew that there was no hope for the remainder of the day.


Brock stood just outside the bathroom window, with both boys' eyes fixed on him and their mouths skewed in simultaneous fascination and horror, holding an extremely thickset snake.



Thing 1 said, "But Mommy DOESN'T LIKE snakes!"

I replied, "That's right Buddy, so don't ever pick one up, LIKE DADDY IS DOING RIGHT NOW."
(I have also been recently heard saying, "Don't throw rocks at your brother!" then 30 seconds later, "BROCK! Don't throw a tennis ball at his head right after he got in trouble for throwing rocks at his brother!")

Brock, heady with exhilaration, asked, "Is this the biggest snake you've ever seen, OR WHAT?"

And because I am a lady, I chose not to tell him at the time that NO, it was not the biggest snake I have ever seen, because my childhood friend and I once busted into her mother's stash of PlayGirl magazine and saw some HUGE, mind blowing, mothereffing snakes. Instead I simply replied, "No."

And I shrugged on my bathrobe, declared the "new day" dead to me, and spent the remainder of the day on the lookout for my entire list of phobias, which may or may not include clowns, fallen electrical wires and Michael Bolton.
There are certain days, no matter how new I like to believe they are, that just cannot be recovered.


Peace, Love and PlayGirl,
Johi

Don't forget to cast your vote for me HERE, so that when I flee the house make a resume I can add "League of Funny Bitches, MOTHERFUCKING ALL-STAR" to my long list of awards. It will go right under "I won a guessing contest in the 6th grade. It was a jar full of buttons. I have a trophy."


Friday, August 17, 2012

Never trust the silence.

Staying at home to raise my boys is such a blessing!

That's nice, but let's get real. Being a Stay at Home Mom is wonderful about 50% of the time. When we are all snuggled together, reading Little Blue Truck and talking about the awesome toad, it rocks. When I am cleaning the kitchen for the 56th time before noon and scrubbing poop out of the carpet, it sucks. Unfortunately, this summer heat brought out the feral nature of my Things and so I am currently riding the gratitude wagon only 30% of the time. The other 70% of the Colorado Heat Wave of 2012 has felt like I am continually being zapped by an unwavering current of electricity while someone is shoving me into an oven against my will.

I'm a wee bit fried, my peeps.


The constant toy throwing, screaming, fighting, crying, whining and nap refusal that is coming from my precious offspring is making me comatose. I clench my teeth at night. My right eye has been twitching involuntarily since Saturday. I'm yelling. A lot. I am watching WAY too much reality TV. Oh! And did I mention the path of destruction that was formerly known as my house? *sigh* All of this (and more) is why I enjoyed the much needed moment of peace when Thing 1 happily drew pictures and Thing 2 toddled out of the room, post crayon argument. And when I half heartedly enthusiastically congratulated my 5 year old on his artwork, I noticed something was awry. I felt peaceful because it was QUIET.

As much as parents and caregivers would like to imagine that quiet equates 'happy play', anyone with small children knows that quiet means only four things:
1. The child is pooping somewhere. Hopefully, but not necessarily, in a toilet or a diaper.
2. The child is asleep. HAHAHAHA!
3. The child has been kidnapped by a creepy clown driving a windowless van.
4. The child is eating magnets, shoving beads up their nose, drinking Draino, painting the wall with markers, splashing in the toilet with your cell phone or duct taping the cat again.

Thing 1 left the room and I attempted to follow him. I audibly groaned at the pain shooting from my tweaked out neck and shoulder as I sat up, then hobbled out of the room to discover exactly WHY it was so quiet in my house.

What I found was Thing 2, my two year old, perched on his hand washing stool at the kitchen counter. He seemed quite content as he stood there on his pedestal with his back to me. As I walked around the corner, to further inspect the scene, I discovered that he held an open bottle of pills with one hand and had the other hand jammed into his mouth. He was completely silent as he shoveled in fistfuls of the Vanilla flavored Calcium and Magnesium supplements that I had just purchased for his tiny, picky, "I only eat apples and popsicles!" body .

Then I saw a blur which I assumed was Thing 1. He sprinted away from the counter while he crammed the vitamins into his piehole with speed, accuracy and 'the knowing'. Because he KNEW that they only got TWO per day, he KNEW that he was being naughty, and he KNEW a giant storm by the name of MOM was brewing.

I snatched the supplements away from my baby and immediately poured them on the island. I channeled my veterinary clinic pharmacy past and I swiftly counted the pills. There were 44. I looked at the label on the bottle. It read "90 Tablets". After I asked Thing 1 how many he ate (two! Only two! Well, okay... four. Just four!), I subtracted the four that I had given them the previous day. I figured that my itty bitty, 23 pound Thing 2 had just eaten about 38 tablets.

*breathe, Johi.... BREATHE!*

Desperately, I looked around for someone to blame, but I only saw myself. Incompetent, bedraggled, sleep deprived, overstimulated me.

I wanted to vomit. Violently.

Quickly, I dialed my pediatrician, got the after hours answering service and waited for the on call doctor to get back to me. As I waited, I read the ingredients list on the supplement bottle. "...blueberries, carrot, beet, kale..." It was all food. My baby had just downed a bunch of vanilla flavored, condensed super food. Thank the Lord that I had purchased these at Whole Foods and not from the judgemental vitamin peddler in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

After I spoke with the doctor, poison control and a fellow mom, all of whom reassured me that he would be fine, I started to feel a bit better about the situation. I figured that my frail little boy with the 'discriminating' palette was probably close to being malnourished on his self imposed strict diet of air, sand and frozen juice on a stick. I breathed a little sigh of relief and hoped that this superabundance of nutrition would at least boost him up some semblance of a normal level.

Then I just waited. I watched for any side effects to show up. But there were no hives. There was no diarrhea. There was no constipation. My baby boy seemed fine. And the next day, as I cleaned the immense defecation that flowed down his leg and into his socks, I knew that all was well; for only salad, fiber and prunes can purge a system like like.

Now I sit in my favorite chair and sedate my children with Pixar in anticipation of the arrival of Daddy!  With the supplements safely tucked away on the top shelf, I am looking forward to the weekend so that Brock can feel the kind of exhaustion that only small children can inflict upon an adult. Lock the cabinets, put away the duct tape, and hide the magnets, because I'm sleeping in tomorrow morning.

Over and Out Mother Truckers,
Johi


If you get a chance, go here and vote for me!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

HOME sweet Ho... oh no you didn't!

While my trip to New York was an exciting adventure, I eventually found myself missing my guys, my house and the comfort of my own bed. Fortunately I was able to end my East Coast visit by spending time with my good friend Erin (Jersey Erin) and her adorable family. For anyone who thinks New Jersey is only strip malls, spray tans and concrete, you are so so wrong. New Jersey is beautiful! And the diner food is the bomb! And to my knowledge, Erin had never even HAD a spray tan! And while I very much enjoyed my travels, where I was almost hit by a garbage truck then forced to molest Naked Cowboy, where I spent time with Erin and her family, visited so many places for the first time, learned so much from BlogHer and met so many wonderful people, I really was ready to go home to arid Colorado. It's true what those crazy old coots say, absence does make the heart grow fonder. And New Jersey and New York are really fucking humid.

It was dark by the time my flight landed in Denver. I was excited to see Brock, show him my treasures from New York and sleep in our sacred marriage bed. After talking to my husband via travel phone for a good portion of my drive home from the airport, I announced that I was approximately 15 minutes away and reluctantly hung up. I was travel weary, but feeling re-energized as I heard the familiar sound of my tires crunch on the gravel of our driveway. Add to that the standard high pitched excited yips of Red Dog, who convulsed at my door like an epileptic monkey, and I was awash in wistful homey goo. Red Dog was so loud that I feared her enthusiastic barking would wake my sleeping children. I shushed her and looked at the house, where through the picture window I could see my gorgeous husband, sitting in my favorite chair, Eleanor (yes, I name my furniture) and I sighed with relief.

Then I gathered my purse and reached down to pat my faithful Red Dog. When I stood up, I looked again at the house, and there, still in my chair, was my husband, staring at the TV with his mouth slightly agape. As I schlepped my 50 plus pounds luggage over the wretched pea gravel, I looked again through the window at my deaf, oblivious husband who had parked his ass in my chair. MY CHAIR! And I have seen those Western Movies that he watches- they aren't THAT engaging. And then I realized that it was dark outside. Very dark. Not just evening time dark, but no-porch-light dark. Because the inconsiderate man that I publicly declared my love for couldn't even muster up concern for my well-being by turning on a damn light for me. And as I struggled with obscenely heavy bags, unstable footing and pitch ass black, I knew what was going to happen next. I reached for the door handle and my premontition was confirmed. The fucking door was LOCKED.

So I did what any jet lagged delicate flower would do. I kicked the door as hard as I could with my cowboy boot clad foot.  When my Prince Charming, whom I hadn't seen in five days, finally got off his unconscious butt to let me in, I glared at him and said, "Thanks for being so thoughtful. I bought you a fucking tee-shirt, and if it weren't such a pain in the ass to get to New York, I would totally return that shit."

And from my hand he took my suitcase that I had just hauled across the driveway and said, "Wow! This is heavy!"

And as I glared and grunted at him, I tripped on a toy truck that was in the middle of the floor, for, indeed, I was home. Back to reality.

Naturally, every day since has been sheer, non-humid magic!






Monday, August 13, 2012

Wrapping Up BlogHer 2012

For the first two days of my trip to NYC, click here and here.....

THE CONFERENCE RUN-DOWN:

I learned so much at BlogHer.

1. BlogHer gave me a much needed boost of enthusiasm about my own blog, which I have grown a bit disenchanted with lately.

2. BlogHer gave me a new perspective on my style of writing- it seems that my (brutal?) honesty will ring true with most readers, but I need to implement more editing (what??? People LIKE typos, it makes them feel sUpeRior!) and a more of an essay style that will reach a broader audience.

3. While I attended and enjoyed both the fashion and the graphics sessions, my favorite was an intimate (six people) half hour long grammar session where I talked one on one with an "instructor" and four other bloggers. I did not realize that one could (and should) sign up for these small sessions prior to BlogHer on Eventbrite. Next time... next time.

4. The celebration of women exhibited at Voices of the Year and the Fashion Show was a beautiful thing to behold. GO to these events. They are well worth your time.

5. Schedule yourself an extra day or two for sight seeing. I flew all the way to New York and spent one entire day not even stepping outside the hotel/BlogHer to see the light of day. I missed the Guggenheim, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art and sadly, Saks Fifth Avenue. Somehow, having my hand on the spandex clad arse of the Naked Cowboy did not make up for this devastating loss.

6. Take a moment a talk with the sponsors at the Expo, particularly those whose products are a good fit for your blog. You never know what could happen! You could get food to review, free manicures or meet The Pioneer Woman.

7. Don't shoot women dirty looks because they are wearing a  fabulous navy blue disco ball and you are wearing ugly khakis. Just Be Nice.

THE NYC HILTON AT A GLANCE:

I stayed in an acutal HILTON, you guys! Neat, huh? I'm FANCY now! Don't be fooled by the the highfalutin name, I have stayed at nicer Holiday Inns in Nebraska. In an effort to maintain my formerly mentioned brutal honesty, I will now share my disappointment experience with the hotel. If you are to become a guest at the NY Hilton at close to 300 bones a night, you will know prior to arriving that you should lower your expectations before you check in for your stay.

1. You will probably not see Paris Hilton. Do not run up to every skinny blonde with a tiny dog and yell, "You know what would be HAWT? If you posed with me in a picture!"

2. It is in a great location. In fact, it is just a few blocks from Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square and 5th Avenue.

3. While the rooms were clean and a good size, the lack of counter space in the bathroom was appalling. Trying to use a hair dryer and curling iron with two inches of counter space was basically like volunteering for death by electrocution.

4. The elevators were s l o w. So so slow. And hot. Imagine waiting 10 minutes to catch an elevator, and then when you finally do, it is like entering Tim Tebow's jockstrap in the final seconds of overtime.

5. THERE ARE NO COFFEE POTS IN THE ROOM. Whaaaaaaaatttt whaaattttt whhhyyyyyyyy? While there conveniently was a Starbucks on the main level, I don't want to put on clothes (and deal with the despondent elevators) to get my morning coffee!

6. There is a not only a Starbucks, but also a cafe and two bars on the main level. There are two gift shops for souvenirs and such, as well.

7. There was a refrigerator in the room that we were not allowed to use, hence my leftover salmon turning into "that horrible stench the filled the entire 35th floor". Sorry to all of you who smelled that. At least it was not some one's ass or a severed, rotting foot- like you thought that it was...

8. The maids were super friendly. I was greeted with a smile and kind words every time I walked by them.

9. I had to pay $15 to use the workout center. I did it, and it was quite nice, but we were paying almost $300 per night for the room, I would think that a portion of that could cover the cost of getting a little sweaty while avoiding eye contact with the creepy guy next to you on the treadmill.

10. There was a wonderful selection of pillows on my bed. I think that they provided you with four different levels of firmness. I liked that.



HOW TO BUY SOUVENIRS:

Although I did find my boys some cute t-shirts in the Hilton gift shop and one for Brock in The Dairy at Central Park, I did not get myself anything from New York.

Well, I did buy one pair of shoes. Doi. They were on sale.
And this:



Authentic New York tampons.

Not leaving the hotel for 24 hours was making Jen and I crazy. We needed to see some green and some squirrels or we were going to lose our shit. When we couldn't get into the desired session (because we hadn't previously registered on EventBrite), we made a last minute decision to bolt to Central Park. It was BEAUTIFUL. Naturally we got lost on our way out of Central Park, so we did what any city savvy girls would do; we swiftly walked past all the excellent cafes and sushi bars that New York offers. Instead of dining in a swanky air conditioned restaurant, we slipped into a pharmacy (for tampons) and bought sketchy looking salads out of a cooler. We ate them on the street while searching for our sense of direction hotel. I am happy to report that neither of us died of botulism.

And watch out for garbage trucks!
So there it is, Johi's incomplete recollection, ramblings and guide to BlogHer and the New York City Hilton on the Avenue of the Americas.

Peace, Love and Souvenir Tampons,
Johi




Friday, August 10, 2012

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're just a giant, flaming a$$hole.

An Open Letter to the 20 year old hootchie that honked and glared at me yesterday while I was crossing the street with two small children,

First of all, you saw me and the children waiting on the curb by the crosswalk and you halted, seemingly for us to cross the street.

B. There was nowhere to go in front of you. The street was backed up with road construction and you would have ended up stopping in the middle of the intersection like a jackhole.

23. Honking at pedestrians, specifically people (that you braked for) hurrying across the street with small children, automatically makes you an asshole.

And lastly, I was recently almost killed by a motherfucking garbage truck in motherfucking New York City. If you don't think that I can handle your 2001 Honda Civic, you underestimate me.

Fortunately for you, Hootchie Coo, I was carrying my 2 year old on my hip and walking with my friend's 7 year old. Had I been alone, and had there not been so many witnesses, I would have walked the 20 feet forward to spot that you so impatiently had to rush to just to stop again, and yanked your snarling little face out of the car that daddy bought you by your damned nostrils.

You see, my darling little snot, you should never ever ever fuck with a sleep deprived mother who harbors anger issues, has a broken Air Conditioner in her truck in 100 degree heat and is not above acts of occasional violence. In my trashy past, I have fended off bullying by punching the bitch IN THE FACE, I have punched/kicked more than one frat boy jerk for uninvited ass fondling and I have no problem getting scrappy with stupid whores and abusive douche bags. Luckily for you, I'm obviously a damn Klassy grown up now and I will sit here on my insignificant computer with my children screaming in the background, protesting yet another nap time and passive aggressively call you out on the Internet like the angry troll that I have become.

Good luck dodging that train that I willed to smash your precious car. Did I mention that I'm a witch?

All the best,
Johi



An Open Letter to my dogs,

Do you remember this morning, when I walked out of the house before the sun came up to take you bitches on a walk? Do you also remember yanking on my arm the entire time? Do you remember (Black Dog) running TOWARD all the cars that passed us on the road? Do you remember (Red Dog) practically killing me when you dodged under my feet to evade the hot air balloon that was floating a good 3 miles away from us?  Do you both remember pulling so hard that you gave me rope burn? Because I do, and it is so not cool that all of this happened before 6:30 a.m. My pre-caffeinated black heart and your assholish behavior is what caused me to yell, "If you pull on me again I am beating you* then dropping you off with the homeless dude that lives under the bridge." And while this ventilation was necessary and somewhat amusing to me, I doubt that it was to the random stranger that I immediately discovered sitting 10 feet from the trail. Now that stranger thinks that I am the asshole and yet it was YOU (Black Dog) who knocked over my two year old today, causing him to hit his head.

You see, my darling dogs, I am not required to walk you. I do it because I am a damned loving and giving person. And I do it in hopes that you will stop chasing children on bikes, joggers and that one creepy dude's vehicle down the road in front of our house. So straighten up and show a little gratitude to the hand that feeds you and the only person in the house that remembers to fill your water bowl!

*For the record, I don't actually BEAT my dogs. They are far too fast and I can never catch them when I am persuing them with a stick after they have attempted to attack yet another car bumper.

Any more shenanigans like this and I will be downgrading your food to the Wal-Mart store brand. Science Diet is only for GOOD dogs.

Oh, and I foresee many baths in your future. Muahahaha!

Peace, Love, and Dog Bones,
Johi


An Open Letter to my children,

I will not call you names because I don't want to injure your formative little minds, but I will say this: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD (like glitter and unicorns)~ STOP FIGHTING, STOP SCREAMING, BE THE GOOD BOYS THAT I KNOW THAT YOU ARE AND GO TO SLEEP! You two, with the yelling, the tattling, the shrieking, the whining, the constant demands of food and the toy hoarding are making me into a crazy person. And this no-napping, go to sleep after me and wake up before me business is for the motherfucking birds. I'm losing my shit here. I came home from a trip, excited to see you and you repay me by smearing something that may have been poop onto the walls, throwing your toys into the ceiling fan, spreading Play-Doh ALL OVER EVERY SURFACE in the house, spraying glass cleaner onto my bedspread when I am cleaning up your lunch dishes and kicking me in the lady garden when I put myself into timeout in the hammock. This behavior from you two is making me out to be the most epic ASSHOLE of all time. Stop it. Stop it right now. I am doing my best to form the two of you into well adjusted, kind and empathetic members of society and apparently I am FAILING. YOU ARE BOTH TORTURING ME. Please stop before these frown lines become permanent. I'm begging you.

Go. TO. SLEEEEEEEEP.
And NO MORE DAMNED POPSICLES!

Hugs and kisses,
Your loving and supportive mother.


So, to follow my own advice, if you think that everyone else in the room is an asshole, YOU are probably the asshole (except that bitch in the Honda was clearly an asshole.)

I know it's me at this point, which is why I am refusing to go into public for the next three days. I feel a movie marathon weekend in our future. And I've officially declared this day of August 10th to be "Sangria Day!".

Bottoms Up!



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 1 at BlogHer 2012, Alternately titled: How to transform yourself into a Trollop

I am constantly surprised by the things that I hear myself say. For instance, I enthusiastically told random people, "I am going to a blogging conference in New York to meet a bunch of people that I have only corresponded with online!" *insert my best cRaZy face and listener backing away from me here* Because those words also started sounding completely insane to me, I reported to the next batch of people, "I'm going to a writer's conference in New York! Katie Couric and Martha Stewart are speaking! I think it is a pretty big deal!" *insert my best charming smile and listener congratulating me here*. Then I read my BlogHer emails and I was also able to add, "And President Obama is personally addressing us!" I was practically getting a standing ovation from those conversations.

BlogHer was a grand adventure and a wonderful learning experience. Although I really wasn't sure what to expect from the conference itself,  I was certain that I was supposed to be there and that the learning would somehow just, well... penetrate me (thanks to Noa for opening my mind and allowing me to use that word in so many new and improved ways). And it did. I absorbed so much information that I was psyched to come home to my computer and WRITE. (And no, I did not take my laptop. I packed too many shoes and handbags. There was no time to write as I was too busy being penetrated with information.) Honestly, one of my main reasons for going was to connect in person with some of my online friends. I achieved that goal as I was able to meet Jen, Noa, Misty, Elizabeth, and Thoughtsy- bloggers that I have been reading for some time. I also made some new connections with JulesAccidental Stepmom and Miss Savvy Pants.

I saw a snippet of Obama's address, but it was on the day that I arrived and I was travel weary, so I tiptoed away from the monitors and went to my room to stretch out on the bed for a few minutes. Because I do many lame things, I have become quite schooled in which of my friends I need to talk to when seeking validation for my actions. So I texted Jen, a staunch Republican.

Me: Is it bad that I am choosing a nap over the President addressing us?
Jen: You're asking a Republican that? Pfft! Bitch, please!

And I kicked back and closed my eyes.

Early the next morning, I was sleeping while everyone else at BlogHer was attending the free breakfast. Jen saved Misty and I by personally delivering Starbucks.

Of course, I showed up late for the first session that I attended, which led to me sitting on the floor of an overcrowded, under-air conditioned room. I quietly left early because whatever was being discussed wasn't capturing my attention. I knew this when I found myself thinking about other things- like the fire code and if my husband remembered to return our Netflix movie and why people don't wear deodorant...

I soon found myself in the Expo, along with Jen and Misty, talking to sponsors and collecting some rad swag. I located my breakfast in Oikos yogurt booth and washed it down Dole frozen fruit cup (pineapple- get those enzymes!)- both got a big thumbs up from me. After a bit more aimless wondering, I spoke with some reps from the Verizon booth and talked to the Honey people about honey (not the Jessica Alba movie, the food). I was super stoked to find the Udi's Gluten Free (from Denver *fist pump*) booth in the Expo! My family buys Udi's products every week from our local King Soopers and I was able to try some delicious new food at their booth. Just before leaving, Jen and I signed up for a free manicure at the Bailey's booth. Doi. It was FREE.

Jen and I headed to our second session of the day about fashion blogging. It was fantastic, very informative and had a lovely, diverse panel. I definitely got some grand ideas for my next fashion post. Unfortunately, the lure of free manicures was dangling over our heads and we excused ourselves a little early so that we could have pretty hands for a day or two (or about 8 hours, in my case). As everyone knows, getting your nails painted expends quite a bit of energy, so I left hungry and searching for food. Being from Iowa, I'm a big fan of meat, more meat and meat-like products. I eventually wound up sniffing around in the Hillshire Farms booth. The friendly chefs there created a custom plate of delicious, drool inducing chicken apple sausage with rice and veggies. Then we saw the sun dude from the commercials.


Jen and I are tight with many celebrities.


There was also quite a buzz about a certain, special booth at BlogHer. Women all over BlogHer were pulsating with excitement about the Trojan booth and all the talk it was causing quite the ripple effect. You see, the lovely people at Trojan were giving all of the hard working bloggers VIBRATORS! (Look for a giveaway from me soon!) Naturally, that booth was on our list of places to stop, merely so that we could see for ourselves what all the titillation was about.

Jen said, "I going to grab my dildo, then take a shower."
I replied, "Let me finish with this sausage and I'll come too."

(You put a couple of humor bloggers together and the shit practically writes itself)

Upon exiting the Expo Hall, loaded down with swag, stuffed with sausage and heading to the Trojan booth, I noticed that it was lunch time- also known as "Martha Stewart time". Between you, me and the entire Internet, I have only tuned into Martha's show about five times, and every time I watched her show I noticed that she would always work the fact that she was once a fashion model into her dialogue. I also noticed how she was constantly interrupting her guests and then inserting her own expertise when they should have been speaking. I will not deny her business savvy, her wealth or her ability to create a beautiful table, but I'm probably not signing up to be president of her fan club anytime soon. Plus I was completely STUFFED from all of the grazing I had done in the Expo. BUT, in an effort to look less insane, I had shamelessly used her star power and told people that "Martha Stewart will be speaking!", so I felt like I should engage. I walked into the crowded room to snap a picture and was immediately yelled at by an angry blogger carrying not only soup, but some sort of a God complex. I took it as a sign that Martha was going to interrupt the interviewer to mention her time modeling, so I left for a more important activity.


There she is. She used to be a model, you know.

And then we picked up our free vibrators and headed to the room....




where the legendary sister wives hair braiding commenced. Finally.




Jen has GREAT hair, by the way.

After a quick pillow fight, then a shower, it was time to deal with a bit of a fashion quandry. The time had come to prepare ourselves for The Voices of the Year reception, where our friend and fellow Funny Bitch, Elizabeth was reading this masterpiece. Yet, earlier in the day, I had been informed that Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, was going to be at the Land O' Lakes booth right before The Voices of the Year reception. I am a big fan of PW and had a previous failed attempt at meeting her. Since I am a firm believer in second chances, I saw this as my opportunity!

It was 3:30.

So I did what any girl would do, I slipped into my blue sequined dress that I had selected for The Voices of the Year reception and went to the butter booth to meet the squeaky clean, wholesome, all American Pioneer Woman.


It was 3:30 in the afternoon and I was decked out in a navy blue disco ball.


Surprisingly, I was the only one at the "I'm a butter-loving, serve your dinner with a non-ironic smile, Betty Crocker baking" Land O' Lakes booth dressed like a low to moderately-priced call girl at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Also to my surprise, I did not find my picture with the Pioneer Woman on the Land O' Lakes facebook page, like they said I would. I saw pictures of the women to my left and right. I saw pictures of the women in front of and behind me. But I did not see a picture of me in a sequined frock at 3:30 in the afternoon standing beside the lovely, flame haired PW. I told myself that they didn't post it because the glare off of my dress inflicted momentary blindness and/or seizures, but I think it may have been because my Hooker-look didn't fit their Mother Earth Butter Love image.

Whatever. Trollops love butter, too.


Here is the Pioneer Woman, my strumpet whore dress
and my GIANT NOSTRIL. I could probably fit
an entire stick of Land O' Lakes butter up that thing.

The Voices of the Year Reception was PHENOMENAL and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering BlogHer 2013. Fourteen amazing woman and one hilarious man read their stories in the categories of humor, heart, identity, OpEd and parenting; and I was riveted and moved by every one of them.

When that was over, Misty, Jen and I went to an "Open Mic Night" where both of my friends read a piece of their own to a crowd of people. Speaking in public makes me heavily perspire, then vomit, so I cowered in the back of the room and cheered on my friends.

Then the time had come. It was Sparklecorn Time. Sparklecorn= THE party of BlogHer parties.




And we Sparkled.....



And we glittered like Solid Gold Dancers!




And we were Corny....
(with a despondent Kristen Stewart)





UniCorny!




And we missed Bex....


Then we left early because we are old, boring and need sleep. And when Misty and I opened the door to our refrigerator-less room and walked into a wall of stench that can only be described as a thrift store gym bag filled with farts, failure and roadkill, I realized that I should have thrown out my $90 piece of salmon from the previous evening.

To be continued.....



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My time in The Big Apple. Alternately titled: Do you remember that time that I almost died?


When I heard that BlogHer 2012 was in New York City (aka. The Big Apple) this year, I knew that I was meant to attend. I like apples. I really do. When I was growing up, every day I would eat one apple and two chocolate chip cookies as an after school snack. I did this because I was hungry and those things taste good to me; especially the part of the cookie with the chocolate. I figured that they might have chocolate in New York, too.

It took me a week to pack my luggage, making sure that I would look fresh and fashionable while keeping my luggage under the 50 pound weight limit. I carefully refilled my tiny tubes of moisturizer and cleanser and the variety of "girl Shit" that I feel that I must have with me in case of a hair or skin emergency. It took me hours to book tickets and sign up for the conference. I browsed the conference schedule to contemplate how to spend my time. I looked at the map around the hotel to see what I should do while visiting. I made a list and checked it thrice. I bought a new canister of mace and packed my favorite knife, because not only am I a Funny Bitch, I'm a feisty bitch. I fought the acid in my stomach from the anxiety of the impending trip schedule with lots of Tums. Then on Thursday, I woke up at 1:20 am, poured coffee into a mug, pulled on my new cowboy boots and drove myself to Denver International Airport. Surprisingly enough, at the asscrack of dawn, traffic was light. I found a parking spot so close that I just knew my guardian angels were helping me with this trip to visit New York and experience all of its over stimulation and grandeur.

When I breezed through the bag check line and headed to security, I was feeling confident. Maybe even a little cocky. In my head, I was thinking: This travelling shiz is easy breezy! I'm doing this like a damned professional! Fuck yeah! I ROCK!

Then I got to security.

Apparently, in all of my planning, purchasing and printing, I didn't read the airport's 3-1-1 policy. The screening lady that was studying my facial and hair operations and emergency situations bag looked up and asked me, "How MANY of you are traveling?"
I stared at her like a deer in the headlights and quietly said, "Just ...me...?"
She motioned to a guy and they bowed their heads together in a private, conspiratory conference. Then she sternly said, "Follow him."

I grabbed my boots and purse and followed the security officer to a private corner so that together, he and I could talk about my problem with product whoring. Instead, he informed me of this elusive 3-1-1 policy. Then he made a show of lecturing me with very kind eyes and sent me on my way. With all my  goopy, goppy, wonderful girl stuff. Still winning.

The flight was on time and tolerable, even with an obligatory bit o' screaming baby.

Then I got to LaGuardia in New York. When I went down to get my bag from the luggage carousel, I noticed signs portraying a slick, used-car-salesman-esq man. They were warning signs about not getting "taken for a ride" by con-artists offering to drive you. I snorted to myself at the naive people that would fall for a scam artist in a plaid blazer and applauded my own shrewd intelligence. Then I grabbed my 47 pounds of wardrobe and 18 pounds of beauty necessities and boldly walked outside into the swampy armpit of humidity that is New York to catch a cab.

As I was striding down the sidewalk toward the yellow cabs, I heard a friendly looking man say something in an accent. I turned and asked, "Did you say taxi?" and he said, "Yes. Follow me." I asked him about his accent and he informed me that he was from Brazil. Then he relieved me of my heavy bag and together we were walking. And we were walking away from the yellow cabs and crossing the busy street. And we were walking on into the dark underground parking garage made of concrete, past the commotion of the airport, past all of the taxis, past many lonely, empty cars. We were walking into the dimly light, almost empty garage. We had already walked past all of the people that could hear my cries for help. And we were walking and walking and I started to realize that I was potentially getting taken for a ride by a man who had the bag with both my mace and my knife, not to mention an entire new wardrobe. But he was not wearing the plaid blazer that the signs had indicated! And he looked so friendly! And he was Brazilian! I both read and watched Eat, Pray, Love and had decided that I loved Brazilians! And I thought to myself: I'm going to die at the hand of a Brazilian and I hope Elizabeth Gilbert knows that it is her fault.

So I said, "I'm feeling uncomfortable about this! Are you with an actual cab company?" and he replied, "I'm a private driver. I will show you my papers in the car." and then I wondered how hard it would be to knock him over to get my bag back and run. But he seemed so NICE and I was kind of tired from waking up at 1:20 a.m., so I continued to walk with him by default of my own laziness and the nagging fact that he was Brazilian.

And as we approached the big dark blue Suburban with the tinted windows, I wondered if there were door handles on the inside, or if they had been removed. And he opened the door and showed me his papers and his ID. And I pretended to look at them as I scanned the interior for bloodstains, rope, duct tape, body parts, men in dark glasses or clowns, and when I didn't see any I decided that it was fine; because I was wearing my cowboy boots- which are my equivalent of a superhero cape.

And then the nice Brazilian man drove me in his dark blue Suburban to my hotel. And he pointed out the sites as he told me about his life and his kids. And he even invited me to climb into the front seat if I wanted so that I could take pictures. And by golly, I did. And it was pleasant. And I thought to myself: I'm such a savvy traveller!

If you ever find yourself in New York City and need a car service, just call Xavier at Elegant Limo and Car Service. His number is 1-646-500-3842. He has two kids in college, is a wealth of information about New York and he has a very clean Suburban, complete with interior handles!

I arrived at the hotel and met up with some members of the League of Funny Bitches. We decided on dinner at Wolfgang Puck's near Times Square. When we reached our destination, one of the fine bitches exited the cab to cross the street. I swiftly followed her and immediately heard a horn. I looked up and there was a trash truck about a block away, honking at me. I was already halfway across the street and I thought to myself: What the fuck, dude? I have plenty of time to cross. And I continued my pace. Plus I was wearing four inch heels and running was really not an option. As the garbage truck sped up, I continued bravely forward in my quest for sustenance and righteousness. As the motherfucking garbage truck hit the back of my skirt as he flew by me at a speed of what must have been 60 mph, I thought to myself, Are you fucking serious? I hate people. If I would have been a tenth of a second slower, or had I tripped, my life would have been over by the hands of some toothless bastard named Don who only finished 8th grade and picks up TRASH for a living. Don, or Duarte, whose ex wife was leggy and blonde and ran off with the cable repair guy. Don or Duarte or Harold, who was having a bad day so he resorted to hunting me down in the street like I had no business stepping in front of his precious smelly motherfucking truck when he was any ENTIRE BLOCK AWAY. And I thought, A trash truck? Really? That would be how I would die.My kid has been talking about growing up to be a trash truck driver for three years now. Beautiful.

But I didn't die. Instead I made it to the sidewalk, then into the restaurant where I drank three Cosmos to ward off the tremors that I had taken on after I was almost killed in the street by the grill of a fucking garbage truck that accelerated when the asshat driver saw me.

What does one do after spending all of their spending money on one meal that they were too shaken up to consume? Why, they wrap it up and venture out to Times Square, where the real shitshow happens. What do you get when you cross tourists, brightly lit signs and pregnant despondent girls in ratty Hello Kitty costumes with elbow tumors? You get a brightly wrapped package of sadness, self loathing and shame. I added to that unshakable feeling of more than mild discomfort when I not-so-slyly (three Cosmos take away my stealth) tried to photo bomb the "Naked Cowboy". Let me begin by saying that I have a bit of contention with said "Naked Cowboy". First of all, he is wearing some sort of underwear, Speedo, or stripper garment, thus making the "Naked" part of his title a bold faced lie. Second, a straw Resistol does not a cowboy make, believe me, for ten years I sold hats to douche nuggets that had never even smelled a horse, much less ridden one. Third, ew. Just.... ew. So said Naked Cowboy caught me photo bombing him and turned. Then he grabbed my hand, slapped it on his scantily clad ass and pulled my hair. I had no other option but to pose for the photo as my friends looked on in all consuming nausea and horror. This one occasion may have been the low point of my entire existence.... and I once was married to an alcoholic trucker with back acne... and have also passed out in the gutter of my lovely city then later puked in my own bed.... and the family dog once urinated on my back when I was a small impressionable child... and I once ate squirrel. To top it off, when I refused to give the "Naked" "Cowboy" money (because being a stay at home mom does not earn me any a great deal of cash) he shouted on at me about "entitlement!".  Entitlement, indeed.


I'm sorry about your eyes.
Isn't my skirt cute though?
Ann Taylor Loft.


So, to the Funny Bitches, I apologize that I made you feel like you needed to go home and wash the memory of that moment away with a Brillo pad, bleach and a fifth of whiskey. And also, I wish that I had put my hand sanitizer in my clutch before venturing out to Times Square. Lesion Lesson Learned.

And yet I still remain.

And this was only my first day in The Big Apple.

TO BE CONTINUED........