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