Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Things to Do in Your Garden in September

Last May I was ecstatic to be in my backyard. After a winter of being cooped up in my little house with three pets and three dudes, I was ready to be outside! With the strength of a plow horse, I tilled the earth and planted seeds. With the energy of a sugared up child, I weeded, raked and watered. With the work ethic of an Amish farmer, I cleaned dead leaves out of the rocks, swept cobwebs from the house and trimmed branches from trees and shrubs.

I grew things. Yes, I live in Colorado. No, I did not grow that.

All summer, I warmed my skin in the Western sun while I watered, clipped, weeded and mulched. Then that warm sun turned to hot sun. Then hot turned to motherfargin' scorching. Then we had a week straight of temperatures in the 90's.

My grass died along with my enthusiasm. The dogs dug a giant hole in my front yard and shat all over the rest of it. My children graciously removed rocks from the garden beds and presented some to me as "gifts", while others they spread on the patio, on the picnic table, through the grass and into the playground mulch. Weeds sprouted up from the nutrient deficient soil and choked out once beautiful flowers and healthy grass.  Our sprinkler system (me dragging hoses) was lacking consistency and enthusiasm. Flowers turned brown and went to seed while my attention turned to staying cool and drinking Sangrias. I found multiple dead things in my driveway, courtesy of Smelly Cat. The magic of spring was lost.

School is now in session and September is almost here. Helpful lists are springing up all around us in preparation for fall, so I decided to make one that is a little less Better Homes and Gardens and a little more It's Hot, Mom's Tired, and The Laundry Refuses to Wash Itself.

Corn Fed Girl's 14 Important Things to Do In Your Yard and Garden Before Fall

1. Harvest your garden treasures and spell your name with them. Put them onto a stained dishtowel that your husband used to clean his muddy bootprints from the floor and photograph them while your dogs, cat and child all lay on the living room rug and watch Brother Bear for the 345 millionth time.



2. Mumble under your breath about how the children refuse to pick up their toys and complain about the canine lawn destruction. This will make you feel better about the fact that you simply did not water the sad grass enough.

3. Feed the damn cat before he trips you. You don't want to break a hip. Never mind that you caught him eating a full sized rabbit this morning. He's hungry and needs his dry, limited ingredient food that cost $40 per bag and is formulated especially for pathetic people who have sensitive, high maintenance pets that chew the hair from their tails. He will thank you later by drooling on your arm, or better yet, your pillow.


4. Feel useful in the 95 degree heat by collecting seeds from your cosmos and marigolds. Sure, it is hot and you would rather be drinking that one PBR that always seems to be in the back of your fridge, but you will thank yourself next year when they are the only thing besides rouge sunflowers blooming in your yard in late August. Stash those puppies in a envelope, seal them up and label them. Then store them someplace dry and cool- like the filing cabinet or your husbands sock drawer.


5. Lament the fact that you never got that camper project completed. But it was fun planning! And there is always next year... now grab a wheelbarrow and scoop some more manure.


6. Admire the pumpkin patch from afar, because the snakes moved in a few weeks ago and there is no way you're walking through a snake patch wearing flip flops.


7. FORCE yourself to go into the pumpkin patch because you planted zucchini in there. Discover a previously unnoticed zucchini. Pick it and practice batting.


8. Apologize to the flowers that received too much sun and not enough water. Remind them, "It's not you, it's me." Tell them that you still love them, even if they are mostly brown and really quite ugly.



9. Check out your children's latest yardscaping. Pat yourself on the back for spawning such creative little people. Then yell at your husband for leaving his construction crap lying around.



10. Collect all of the veggies that are ready to eat and bring them inside, where they can be either eaten immediately or forgotten about in that dark corner of the fridge where halved lemons and hunks of cheese go to die.


11. Congratulate yourself on your twelve-year-old boy humor when you pick the cucumbers.



12. Find new veggies still growing and give them a little pep talk. Throw some water on there while you're at it.



13. Pull that weed that is taller than you already. It's time.


14. Go inside, open the fridge and stick your head in there to cool off. While your in there, dig out a beer and crack that bastard open. Enjoy. You worked hard today.




Follow these tips closely and you too can have an overgrown weed patch, just like me!

Peace, Love and Beer,
Johi

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sorry About Your Cat

Around five o'clock every evening, the back porch storm door would slam. The sharp noise rang out like a dinner bell. It was evening chore time on the farm. The horses needed to be fed. Pens needed to be cleaned. Water was to be filled. Work needed to be done. You were never alone walking the beaten down grass path to the barn yard, as a gang of twenty-one vocal and demanding felines would deftly weave between your ankles and lead the way in a tangle of high held tails and delicate paws. All the animals needed to be fed, yet the tenacious cats were always the first ones to receive their meal. A menagerie of meows, their insistence could not be ignored. The cat population on our farm was uncontrolled, so they were plentiful. They were also useful hunters, earning their keep by keeping the barns and tack rooms rodent free. In turn, they were compensated for their efforts with dry cat food from the feed store and plastic, recycled LeMenu plates full of kitchen scraps. On the farm, the animals were abundant. Their need to eat was never ending. The work was constant and plentiful. Sensitivity, however, was scarce.

My parents were dog people. Cats were barnyard animals and the dogs slept in the house. But they did not allow dogs to kill cats. In fact, they did not allow the dogs to even LOOK at the cats. That was an enforced farm rule. It's not that my parents didn't like cats; my mom certainly had some favorite feline friends, and when he thought no one was looking, my Dad would bend down and kindly pet an affectionate ankle rubber. I, on the other hand, loved them ferociously with barely controlled cuddling through gritted teeth. I would spend hours in the haystack, playing with litters of fluff-ball kittens, secretly giving them names and little saucers of milk.

Naming a cat out loud was strictly forbidden, because as soon as a cat was claimed and named, complete with feelings of love and attachment, it was surely marked for the death. So we were careful not to name the cats, instead we chose to 'call' them something for helpful identification purposes. Instead of  "Dolly", "Maxwell" or "Mr. Higglesbottom", we would notice that the one grey tabby female loved our dog, Bobbie Sue, so we 'called' her "Bobbie's lesbian friend"; which quickly became "Lezzi" because the other was too long. But it was understood that "Lezzi" wasn't a name, it was simply a word to describe her. Of course we only troubled ourselves with finding odd, not-name descriptors for the friendly cats; if the cat was feral, it was simple called by it's sex and color, as in "The Black Tom". Some of out favorite cats were referred to as "Skunk" (a black cat that once walked under the white fence we were painting), "Fluffy" (who was remarkably fluffy) and "Callie" (a special calico that used to be a town cat, until my friend donated her to our farm).

I broke all the rules with Callie. She was my cat and I was her person. Where ever I went in the barn yard, Callie was there. In fact, she would often drape herself across my shoulders like a feather boa when I did barn chores, lounging comfortably around the back of my neck while I squeezed between 1,000 pound horses in their stalls. Even though it was strictly forbidden, I loved that cat. She was not just a barnyard animal, she was my pet. I should have known better.

My parents left for a horse sale one weekend while I was in high school. They left during school hours and I returned home to an empty house and this note, which was written casually on the back of a used envelope and left on the round table in our farmhouse kitchen:

Johi- 
Please do the horse chores morning and night. Dan is up to two scoops of grain now. Don't forget to doctor the cut on Baldy. We'll be back Sunday night. Here is some money for pizza. 
Love you, Mom and Dad

P.S. Sorry about Callie.

I recoiled. What was she talking about? I yelled to the empty house, demanding an immediate answer, "WHAT HAPPENED TO CALLIE?" I asked the dogs, "What HAPPENED to Callie?" They looked at me, yet said nothing. Then I busted through the back porch door into the yard and I ran through the tromped down grass towards the barn yard calling, "CALLIE CALLIE CALLIE!!!!" Upon the slamming of that storm door, twenty barn cats appeared and ran to me, meowing, bolting between my legs and demanding the kitchen leftovers. But Callie was not there.

This was before cell phones so I had no way of contacting my parents. In desperation, I called my sister at college. Thankfully she picked up.

I was frantic and breathless, "Hey, it's me."

She asked, "What's up?"

I asked her, "What happened to Callie?"

She replied, "Who's Callie?"

There was no hope.

So I did the chores, ordered pizza, doctored Baldy, and waited two long days until Sunday night when the truth holders returned.

When my parents pulled into the driveway, I ran barefoot over the gravel to their red truck and demanded to know the story behind the casual post script message. After two days of no sign of my wonderful cat, I was afraid I already knew her fate. I was right. I listened as my mom told me how Callie had apparently entered the garage. She was unknowingly locked in the garage with the dogs while I was in school. The dogs' food was in their bowls, on the garage floor. The same food bowls that our crazy blue eyed dog, Sarah Jane, guarded with every ounce of her snaggle toothed old body. One chomp was all it took for my precious Callie to be no more.

I was distraught, emotionally wrecked and deeply affected by the loss of this friend. My mothers' apology was weak. My father walked away to "check on something." I allowed myself to cry. Over a barn cat. Meanwhile my mom and dad exchanged sideways glances and made mental notes that their daughter was emotionally unstable. In that moment of truth, they realized that a scribbled, cryptic "Sorry" at the end of a chore list was maybe not the best way to break the news to me. They agreed that, in hindsight, maybe they shouldn't have even addressed the dead cat at all.

I looked up through my tears and noticed the time. It was five o'clock. I put the leftover pizza on a white plastic plate and walked through the storm door, which slammed behind me. Twenty cats stampeded through the grass. Once again, it was chore time on the farm.

Friday, August 23, 2013

TMI Fridays- Let Me Start By Saying

So there I was, standing on the sidewalk at BlogHer, trying to analyze how in hell that scary, child molester-looking guy running the ice cream truck was going to successfully sell anything, when this fabulous, gloriously tall angel walked up and spoke to me. I don't remember what she said because I'm a terrible listener, but it was something lovely and gracious. If had been wearing pants, she would have charmed them right off of me.

That angel was Kim Bongiorno, and I pick her to be my sister wife. Let the hair braiding commence!

When I look at this picture, I hear heavenly voices singing a sweet melody.
Black Dog is also barking, but that is the soundtrack to my life. 


Seriously, this lady can do it all. She is an excellent writer. She is extr extree super intel intelle smart. She is beyond competent. She is organized. She is NICE. She's pretty. She knows how to do all kinds of confusing computery stuff. She can master a to-do list with ninja skill, people. She is FUNNY and ferocious. She probably even remembers to buy people birthday cards, then she actually sends the cards to those birthday people. (That part always gets dicey for me.) And I have it on good authority that she bakes.

If you don't believe me, just ask her to make you a pin-able graphic! Or go and read her writing! You can find her eloquent words and magnanimous wit in a crap ton of books, including I Just Want to Pee Alone, on her blog "Let Me Start By Saying" and pretty much anywhere on the Internet.

Kim was an obvious choice for this TMI Fridays series.

Plus, she signed that little document that I made called "Sign up HERE for TMI Fridays!"

Johi: I'm going to start by asking the question that everyone wants to know: HOW THE FUCKITY FUCK DO YOU DO IT ALL? Seriously, three books, countless websites, your blog, all the pin-able graphics anyone could ever want, that whole parenting thing, knowledge that seems to actually STAY in your brain and so much more... your ability to get shit done astounds all of us. Tell us all of your secrets. We have time.

Kim: I embrace the fact that I’m a terrible homemaker, so my standards are one level above “urine-scented cardboard box in alleyway next to liquor store” as far as cleanliness and order are concerned. And I don’t brush my hair much or make real meals. My kids are 8 & 6 now so I pretty much let them raise themselves. But other than that, I CAN DO IT ALL.


Johi: Was there a moment that you knew you wanted to be a writer? Please explain.

Kim: Always. I had lots of alone time as a kid, and would make up elaborate tales/productions with my toys. I was an early reader, and by the time I was 8 or 9 years old, my mom had to limit me to taking out 7 books each week when we’d go to the library. I ended up reading just about the entire children’s and Young Adult sections in my small town. I drank up books and wanted to make stories of my own. Sometimes I’d finish a book, then in my head rewrite the ending or create the ongoing saga of one of the supporting characters. I couldn't not be a writer.


Johi: If you couldn't/didn't write, what would you do? (If I were you, I would pick supermodel. But this is about you, not me.)

Kim: I’d be an actress, since I’d at least get to still play pretend. And someone else could deal with dressing me, which would be a nice task to not be in charge of. 


Johi: If you were an animal, what would you be and why? 

Kim: Grumpy Cat. Because he’s on coffee mugs, and I’d LOVE to drink coffee out of a mug with my own mug on it. Isn’t that everybody’s dream?


Johi: Now for the hard-hitting stuff. Who is your celebrity 'free-pass'? 

Kim: Chris Evans won me over when he emerged as Captain America, all glossy and shirtless and taller than me. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have a slice of the Cap’n.


Johi: Describe one of the most defining moments of your life.

Kim: I was in high school during track practice, and had to run into the locker room. Long story short, I was randomly told by a lower classman that she looked up to me. I always thought I was alone in noticing everyone around me individually, noticing that some people were special. To know that plain old me was seen – really seen – by someone really hit me. It solidified a lot that I believed in people and humanity. 


Johi: What do you think happens when we die? Is it just lights out or do you think our souls live on?

Kim: I never believed it was over when it’s over. I’m not sure what’s next, but I feel pretty darn confident there is a “next.”


Johi: How do you feel about porn? Wait, I'm sorry- that was inappropriate. I mean, it was a typo. I meant to ask how you feel about corn? What is your favorite corn product?

Kim: I’ve had two anal surgeries. Corn and I are still on shaky grounds.


Johi: What is your preferred mode of travel?

Kim: Walking while looking and listening all around me. No headphones on, ever. 


Johi: What is your soon-to-be-not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Kim: Pepperidge Farm Gingerman cookies (the thin, crispy ones) with Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream on them, while watching a movie by myself in my dark basement. Your mind has just been blown. You're welcome.


Johi: You're super organized, so tell me the outline version of your life's plan. I know you have one. Also, will you make a pin-able<< am I even typing that right? graphic one for me? (Mine involves a ranch and a large log home, other than that, you can make up the rest)

Johi: Where's the part where I stopped in for a lottery ticket on my way to a pedicure and won big?
Crap. What's this WORK thing?

That donkey is redonkulous.


Kim: My kids will both be in full-day school for the first time this year. I can very soon truly write full-time and get the Life Plan rollin’. Hip! Hip! Hooray! So, in short, get a Lit Agent and sell my Young Adult (fiction) novel this year while growing my blog and continue with my professional writing gigs online and in anthologies. Within 5 years, have built a literary reputation for myself that allows me to continue writing full-time year-round (affording childcare in the summers because OMG SUMMER PLEASE HELP ME). Travel with my family of four, so my kids can grow up with a wider world view. Allow my husband to retire early and golf as much as his heart desires. Become a Dancing Granny. Use grandkids as an excuse to eat lots of cotton candy.


Johi: What is the greatest fear that you have overcome? 

Kim: I had a crippling fear of heights due, which I overcame by rock climbing. Yes, I chose to beat that one the hard way. Please don't try this at home.


Johi: Who is your inspiration/mentor?

Kim: Everyone. I never had an individual person I could really name as a mentor, ever. I see things in people or creations of people that inspire me, teach me, move me, make me want to do better or be better. So, you. My neighbor. My kids. David Sedaris. The list is ever-changing and always growing.


Johi: What is your favorite essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone and why?

Kim: Mine. Can I say that? No? FINE. Meredith Spidel’s about her mother’s funeral. I get it. I so get finding the humor in such a sad situation. That’s basically how I’ve lived my life for almost forty years: laughing during The Terrible. 


BIO:
Kim Bongiorno is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Known best for her award-winning blog Let Me Start By Saying, she is also a weekly columnist for InThePowderRoom - as well as their Social Media Manager, writes for various other publications on the web, and is a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. Her books can be found on Amazon.com, but she can be found on Facebook and Twitter consistently avoiding housework.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Beautiful Life

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Each night, these words flow through my mind. With my head nestled into the downy soft pillow beneath it, I breathe deeply into my lungs and exhale the weight of the day. Forcing away the tiresome, the irksome and the downright loathsome, I return to my home- my loves, my friends, my family, myself. Reminders of laughter and food, snuggles and kisses, with tousled hair and silly smiles warm my heart. Thoughts of sunsets and walks, with wind at my back and warm light on my skin, wash over me like a gentle tide and I give thanks.


Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Flannel pajamas whisper comfort on my flesh as the bare floor slaps softly under my growing feet. Youth invades my senses like the heavenly waft from the knotty pine kitchen. Mornings of smiles and easy talks... of hearty farm eggs and bacon... all held together with the scent of brewed coffee, weave through the corners of my memories. Warm sun through the glass offers shiny reflections glinting off the still water that sparkle like diamonds. Horses dotting the hillside beyond, beckoning adventure, while the stone fireplace popped hot sparks with a sudden yet comforting crack.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Surrounded by loving arms and connected laughter, the smiles of familiar faces and kind eyes decorate my view like a favorite meadow. While music plays in the background, like a soundtrack of our time, the real story unfolds all around. Even with constant changes, from viewpoints to physical growth, the support is unending, coming from a seemingly magical well of love. Wafts of sweet treats and savory bites mingle with warmed flesh gently dabbed in perfume. Jingling bracelets mixed with soaring hoots of glee, blend with the tinny roar and hiss of victory and loss, which all combine in a warm glow of deep affection and unshakable comfort.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Feeling the heat of the quivering beast's flesh under a smooth coat of hair, I bow my head into the welcome blast of cool air. Auburn and crimson leaves dot out the golden rays, creating a shimmering, liquid dance of light and shade as the heat slowly dies away. The thunderous roar of the hooves on the grassy embankment cuts through the still of the forest like a war drum. Ultimately connected and utterly free, we race together until ragged breath is exhaled. With burning lungs and soaring souls, we collect ourselves and return.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

The pounding of my heart and the burning of my legs escapes me when the summit is crested, where 360 degree splendor abounds and distant horizon fades, yet never truly ends. Thin air whips icy tendrils at exposed flesh, but the internal heat explodes with triumph and awe-inspiring beauty. Worth every haggard step and struggle, the destination was beyond imagination, and the self doubt hurls itself over the rocky ledge so that internal strength can fill that sought after space.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Stories are shared over cheap pitchers of pale beer and delicious hot globs of fried dough. Tough courses are navigated hand in hand, with growing self-knowledge leading the expedition. Hysterical, gut cramping, cheek hardening laughter are infinite, and a new kind of loving support flourishes like a tree planted in perfect black soil. Hot coffee steams up the cool morning air as dreams are told and held onto with tender hands and unspoiled hearts. Lasting bonds are tethered by mutual admiration, love and high regard.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Stomach butterflies and a racing pulse are caused by a simple touch. This path becomes viable, with aid from the easy laughter and instant comfort. Scratchy stubble nuzzles my neck, as strong hands explore my back and I feel safe. I allow myself to feel worthy again. The moments are multiplying, the interests line up and the humor is like super glue. Undeniable attraction, admirable work ethic and again, the seemingly magical well of endless love. Like yin and yang, dressed in white and black, "I do"- and from there on we take every moment possible to make a wonderful life together, yet continue to grow as strong individuals. I am blessed.

Thank you. God, for my beautiful life.

From the very first flutter in the womb to the full body scaling bear hug, the world lit up with those cherubic blue eyed faces. Full of mischievous innocence and precious naivety, two little mops of blonde brought back our own youth, just as they stole some of it. Viewing life through young eyes is not a gift to be squandered, nor is their love. The circle feels complete, the blessings abound and my heart is full. Roots are being planted, in hopes of building strong wings. Love and hope replace judgement and fear. Nothing is greater than this. Nothing.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Ulta Video Clip

It is best to be well-rested before going on camera with a beautiful celebrity. I suggest a good nap prior to any recording. What I do not suggest, is napping in the clothes that you will be wearing on camera, but I guess that is why hindsight is 20/20. Also, maybe a windy boat ride and a 16 mile hike that causes profuse sweating may not be the best idea either.

In my BlogHer 2013 post, I recounted how, through an opportunity with Ulta Beauty, I met the hilarious, resplendent and talented Wendi McLendon-Covey from Reno 911 and Bridesmaids. Her resume is much longer, but I'm too lazy to type it all. Just believe me when I say that her mouth is like a rose and her skin looked like moonbeams sprinkled with fairy dust. Anyhoo, Wendi and I shared a super private Ulta Beauty LOL. When I say "super private", I mean "to be shared with the entire Internet".

I know you've all been DYING to see it. Well, the wait is over.

Here is my 43 seconds that will certainly lead me straight to fame and fortune- let me apologize in advance for my hair. I will not, however, apologize for the topic I chose to discuss. No I will not! We, as a society, should talk more about this sort of thing!

No. No we shouldn't. I'm just inappropriate and lacking a filter, but you all know that already.


video



Don't forget to vote for my Ulta LOL here. Leave your own and enter to win a $2,000 prize! If I win, I am spending it all on hair products, lip plumping devices and gifts for my fine readers. That's right, if I win- WE ALL WIN.

I feel like this is a good time to tell you that there is a waxing studio in my town called The Screaming Peach. My blogger buddy, RachRiot, told me the name of her local wax shop was The Pretty Kitty. Now I'm obsessed with names of waxing salons.

What is the best name that you have seen (or can make up) for a grooming/waxing studio? Tell me below in the comments!

Peace, Love and Hairless Unicorns,
Johi

Friday, August 9, 2013

TMI Fridays: Snarkfest

TMI Fridays is BACK with yet another talented and hilarious writer. Today I am interviewing the sometimes sweet and always sassy Teri Biebel from Snarkfest. She refers to herself as "snarktastic", but I think she is more snarkalicious or snarkific. Either way, Teri always speaks her mind; she is not afraid of the truth, nor is she fearful of the snark.

Snark is a weird word, sort of like fork.

In fact! Teri has an entire tribe of snarky followers, including myself, and she calls them Snarklings! I'm a Snarkling! That sounds like something from Star Trek!

Teri writes about a variety of topics, ranging from book reviews to totally douchebaggery to her beautiful, and equally smart and funny, teenage daughters. I think you all will LOVE her. Naturally, Teri is one of my co-authors from I Just Want to Pee Alone. She wrote the true story based on her actual life, "Kids and Cleaning: Just Kill Me Now". Dude, this story is so relatable, and my kids aren't even teenagers yet. Crap.


Her hair is fiery auburn,
Her skin in ivory pure.
Her eyes are pools of ocean blue.
Your blahs, her words will cure.
Teri is so lovely,
also snarky all day though.
You should buy her book
about alone time in the loo.


I also want you all to know that Teri is partially responsible for me cutting waaaaaaayyyy back on sugar and getting my tocks into shape. She set me up with the LeanMoms.com program. In fact, she is doing the program herself! GO TERI!

Bio:
Teri Biebel was born in Philly, and raised in Jersey. She's 45 years old and after
working 24 years in the casino industry, wanted nothing more to do with slot machines, table
games and stealing people blind, so she left for the private sector. She's married and has
two amazing (and trying) teens, 15 & 13. Teri spends most of her time living like a circus clown,
juggling schedules and chauffeuring large groups of people in a 5 passenger car. She's sarcastic, she's snarky and her oldest has coined the term ‘Snarkastic’ to describe her. People tell her that she's funny and as long they don’t follow that up with the word “looking” shes' totally okay with it.

Let's get to the interview!

Johi: Why a blog? What inspired/motivated you to write?
Teri: Why not? I'll talk to anyone. I love the sound of my own voice and if I have to listen to me, why not put my voice out there for EVERYONE to listen to? When I first started working in my current job, I was asked to do some blogging (all about environmental issues, nothing says snark like saving the environment). So I did get a little blogging experience under my belt. What motivated me to start writing Snarkfest was the subject of my very first blog ever. I took my kids shopping for summer stuff. When I left the dressing room, they were little girls. When I got back to the dressing room with more clothes, they had blossomed into teenagers. That rant led to my first blog ever. And I've been ranting ever since. I like ranting and like to try to make my rants humorous so that people won't look at me and say 'shut the hell up already!'

Johi: If money were not an issue and you could do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and why?
Teri: I would hire a maid to clean my house, then I'd hire someone to use a taser on any member of my family who dared to make a mess once the house has been cleaned. No, wait, that sounds too mean and violent. Maybe I'd just buy a NEW house and not let anyone else in so that it would always stay clean. It would be in Hawaii. On a beach. Definitely with a pool. And a pool boy. Is George Clooney free? I hope he's not allergic to chlorine. I'd hire a personal trainer to kick my ass back into shape, a cook to make me all sorts of healthy and delicious meals because I'm too Goddamn lazy to do it myself, and seriously, if money wasn't an issue, I'd hire Mike Rowe to be my personal man-slave. Massages, odd jobs, read to me, he'd be kept busy.

Johi: What characteristics do you look for in your friends?
Teri: Honesty, wit, and money. Honesty because I absolutely hate liars with a passion. Wit because I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh. And money because I deserve to be taken care of and treated to stuff. So basically if you're a lying poor bastard with no sense of humor, you ain't no friend of mine.

Johi: What traits of yours do you hope to pass along to your daughters?
Teri: I am truly thrilled that I've passed on my sense of humor to my girls. They get my snarky humor and they have the ability to think fast on their feet and come back with some great, witty one-liners and come-backs. Of course I can't take full credit. My hubby is funny as well, so we laugh a lot in our house. Usually at one another.

Johi: What traits of yours do you hope skips a generation?
Teri: I'm drawing a complete blank on this question. Is there a replacement question I could answer? Like 'what's my favorite candy bar?' THAT would be so much easier. It's Cadbury Milk Chocolate. I have no idea what trait I'd want my grandchildren to have that my children don't have. My children are wonderful but sometimes drive me batshit crazy. I definitely hope my grandchildren get that trait. My mother always said "I hope you have a child just like you" and now I get it. I do. I have 2. The talking in endless. I hope my grandchildren are just as talkative as I was and as my kids are. Every child deserves to have that, it should be a law.

Johi: Where do you clip your toenails?
In my 15 year-old daughter's bed. Where else? There's nothing that warms my heart more than hearing her cry out as a jagged nail pokes her in the butt while she's sleeping. I wear my 'Mom of the Decade" tiara with pride.

Johi: Tell me how you feel about dragons and unicorns.
Teri: When I was little my Mom took me to see the Disney movie, Pete's Dragon, and that's my earliest memory of a dragon. He was cute and innocent. Then I saw Godzilla and thought, 'that's not cute! What's up with that?' Scarred me for life. Now I hate dragons. But is Godzilla considered a dragon? I don't know. I just know I don't like them now.

Unicorns are just cute rhinos, aren't they? The rhino gets a bad rep because they're always charging after people and skewering them like a shishkabob with that horn, but seriously, the unicorn could very well do the same thing! I'm not sure why everybody thinks unicorns are all that. They shit rainbows and fly, but deep down, they're no better than the rhino. Rhinos have big asses and are battleship grey. No rhino can compete with a unicorn, but I'll bet unicorns are stuck-up creatures (much like high school cheerleaders) who look down on rhinos. And that's just wrong.

Johi: Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Teri: The lead actresses from the movie The Heat. I would LOVE to have Sandra Bullock star as me, she seems so down to earth and self-deprecating like I am, but it would most likely be Melissa McCarthy, because she's built more like me and has that snarky streak.

I'd REALLY prefer Michael Clarke Duncan to have played me but he's dead, God rest his soul. He'd have NAILED the part of me.

Johi: What is your superpower? What superpower do you wish you possessed?
Teri: I am Super-Snark, able to reach new lows in a single bound. I would love to have the power of invisibility so that I could go up to someone who can't see me and slap the shit out of them. THAT would be one awesome super power. Invisible bitch slapping. I could medal in it if it was an Olympic sport.

Johi: What is on your nightstand (that includes the inside of any drawers)?
Teri: Beneath the 3 inches of dust is my collection of birthday cards from this year (and last year) my iPod clock radio, ear plugs and TV remotes. Inside the drawers are my drawers. And inside the inside of my special secret drawers are stuff that may or may not go INTO my drawers, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Johi: When you use the use the restroom in people's homes, do you peek in the medicine cabinet?
Teri: Only if I'm looking for Tylenol. Or crack. Or meth. Whatever, sometimes I need floss and I need it NOW. And if it happens to be in the medicine cabinet next to their HUGE stockpile of Oxycontin or Xanax, who am I to judge?

Johi: What is your guilty pleasure?
Teri: See the answer to what's in my nightstand. Just kidding. But not really. So I do this thing where I obsess over stuff. For example, when Michael Phelps won all those gold medals in the 2008 Olympics, I wanted to know all about him, I bought a DVD that I never watched, I even wrote to his mother! I recently got Netflix streaming on my computer and have become obsessed with Bones. I can't get enough of David Boreanaz. I was that way with Mike Rowe once I started watching Dirty Jobs. So in a nutshell, once I find a show/star/athlete I like, I do everything in my power to learn as much about that person as I can. Then I move on to the next. Sorta love 'em and leave 'em.
And eventually I'll watch that Michael Phelps DVD. Nice marketing scheme, well-played, NBC.

Johi: If you were stranded on an island, what three things/people would you want to have with you and why?
Teri: First and foremost I'd have Mike Rowe with me. That man can help birth a baby cow, sterilize a sheep, make chocolate and bologna, he can do it all. Not sure if I'd actually NEED someone who could sterilize a sheep, or birth a baby cow, but he's so damn hot and he sounds so awesome. He's resourceful, see, so he could find things to make a fire, he'd keep me warm and sing some opera to me. Hell, he could read the phone book to me and it would turn me on.
Next, I'd need a laptop with a power supply that could hook up to a solar panel (which Mike will make because he's creative and resourceful like that) so we'd have access to Pandora and ESPN.com. I'd need to know how my Phillies are doing in the race for the Pennant. Mike and I would sway to the music playing on Pandora as we danced at sunset by the fire he made us, while eating steak and veal from the cow he helped birth. (Sorry, vegans).
Lastly, in my head we've been shipwrecked, just the two of us, from a ship that carried nothing but Godiva chocolates and good red wine. And the whole stash of wine (WITH CORKSCREWS) and chocolates from the ship would be washed on the shore with us. Mike and I would get old and fat together eating chocolates, drinking red wine, and talking about who the best captain on Deadliest Catch would be.

Johi: What has been your greatest 'defining moment' and why?
Teri: Wow, that's a tough one. I'm sure if I was a normal apron-wearing, chicken-cooking June Cleaver type mom I'd have to say the birth of my darling children. But I'm not, so screw that. Probably my greatest 'defining moment' was when Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat emailed me to let me know that she wanted to put me in a book. She thought my crap was funny enough to be included in a book with, honestly, a bunch of hilarious bitches who crack me up on a regular basis. Seriously, I feel like I'm sitting at the cool kids table, that someone I admire finds my stuff funny enough to be included with the likes of Patti from Insane in the MomBrain, Karen from Baby Sideburns, Michelle fromYou're My Favorite Today and YOU, J-Cock. I'm totally honored to be considered funny enough to be grouped in with you ladies, and for people whose blogs I love to read to consider me good enough. It's made me feel like people recognize and give me credit for being funny. And that's pretty damn cool.

Johi: Awe thanks. I like you too. Which essay in I Just Want to Pee Alone is your favorite and why?
Teri: The essay in the book that comes right after mine is my absolute favorite. It's called 'Love, Tears and a Few Scattered Ashes' by Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year. Oh my God it's awesome. It's poignant, sad, moving and absolutely freaking hilarious. Two others that made me laugh out loud are 'Bubble Baths and Shaved Legs' from Rebecca Gallagher of Frugalista Blog (who I LOVE!!) and 'Parenting is Taboo' from Bethany Meyer of I Love Them Most When They're Sleeping. I was lucky enough to meet Meredith and Julie from Rants from Mommyland and appear on TV with them (which was so cool and so scary!) Those bitches are awesome, no lie.

Favorite posts:
One of my favorite posts on Snarkfest is one I wrote in October which created a little controversy between some peace-loving life coaches and me. It's called Positive Panties. And I wasn't afraid to release the snark:

http://snarkfestblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/positive-panties.html

*Note from Johi: I would totally buy those panties. I thought they were hilarious.



Check out more of Teri (sexy whistle noise inserted here) by clicking the links below!
Snarkfest Blog
Facebook
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Trouble with Unsolicited Advice is the A$$holes that Give It.

An Open Letter to All the Unsolicited Advice Givers, Specifically that Judgy Biz-nitch at Cost Cutters:

I would not call myself a kid person.

I would call myself a horse person, a dog person, an animal lover, an artist, a book lover, a nature person... but not a kid person. 

It's not that I don't like kids. It's just that sometimes... well, I don't like kids.

That is, until I had my own. When I became a mother, I went beyond liking kids.

I love kids.
Specifically, I love my kids.

I love them so fiercely that I would throw myself in front of a garbage truck for them. I love them so wholeheartedly that I overcame my fears of phlegm, poop, vomit and a variety of other unbeknownst to me bodily fluids to care for them. I love them so abundantly that I often think I should have more children before I get 100%  old, crusty and curmudgeony, because I love the sight of little legs running and their blonde hair flopping. I love them so deeply that I set boundaries for them and follow through with my actions, no matter how tired or overworked I am. I love them so much that I have missed sleep, a social life, showers, eating hot meals, sex and my entire pre-children lifestyle- including my hobbies and my horses- and I still am hopelessly devoted to my little people. They are also really cute and sweet and squeezable... and those tiny high pitched voices are the freaking adorable.

In all sincerity, having kids has been the best decision I've ever made in my life. It's also been the hardest thing I've ever done.

Kids are needy. Kids are loving. Kids are loud. Kids are hilarious. Kids are hungry. Kids are silly. Kids are draining. Yet kids can enrich your life and make it better than you ever imagined. Kids will embarrass you beyond belief, then fill you with so much pride that you think your heart will burst.

This is the never-ending dichotomy of parenthood. 
All parents know this.

Time with children is fleeting. Youth is precious. Innocence is quickly lost and often replaced with ego and self doubt. 

This, I know.
Again, all parents know.

This is why, when well meaning onlookers purse their lips in judgement and instruct annoying things like, "Enjoy every moment" and  "They grow up so fast", I try my hardest not to snarl at them. 

Easier said than done.

As a parent, as a human, it is not possible to enjoy every moment; which is why I choose to enjoy my good moments with my children. I engage with them on a daily basis. I play with them. I read to them. I show them the things that I love. I take interest in the things that they love. I talk to them. I listen to them, even when they are talking about Transformers. I take lots of pictures. We go many places together to have new adventures and experiences as a family. I enjoy those moments. I also enjoy when they are playing quietly and sleeping, or when they are safely with a sitter and my husband and I are drinking margaritas on a breezy patio, because I am not a raging bag of falsification.

My family is beautiful, happy, healthy & I am incredibly blessed. This I know. I do not need to be reminded, or rather, reprimanded, by strangers. 

So THANK YOU, but I do not need to be told that my children's youth is fleeting. I may be blonde and look vapid or stupid to you, but I do indeed realize that my children's youth is not eternal. In fact, just the other day, I sat on the floor and wept because my oldest is going to Kindergarten and my youngest to Pre-School and it makes me so unbelievably sad. 

I also realize that you, lady at Cost Cutters, would not appreciate it if I had let my child destroy those blocks in the manner that he had intended, which would have sent them flying at mach speed into your bare shins. He does this often with his toys, and it is a method of fierce play that I am advising against, because I am actively PARENTING him and would like him to have friends at school. Quite frankly, my reprimand was as gentle as motherfucking butterfly wings. 

So shut your pie hole, stifle your judgement, and get your kids the same cheap, crappy haircut that I'm getting mine. You are not better than me. Nor am I about to believe for one moment that your kids never annoy you.

Peace, Love and Fuck Off,
Johi


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ulta Beauty LOL and a GIVEAWAY!

While in Chicago at BlogHer, we were invited to share our beauty lol moments at the Ulta exhibit. The pretty Ulta gals explained the procedure, mentioned something about winning $2,000 in prizes and then waved a perfectly manicured hand toward these Jetson-like video booths where we were to sit and share our LOL with a camera.

At first I drew a blank, so I walked around so that brilliance could spring forth into my lazy skull.

I would have walked a long time because "brilliance" never felt like springing. It didn't even feel like falling. Or wintering....

So I climbed into the booth and did what I do. I winged it.

I stared at my giant fivehead on the monitor and talked about my beauty tragedies. I mentioned with pride how, although I was indeed wearing purple eyeliner, that I never fell prey to that one horrendous fad of my youth. You know what I'm talking about. That cringeworthy makeup trend of the late 80's: electric blue mascara.

I watched it back and felt a little bad about my buggy eyes and thin lips, but okay about my topic selection.

Then I went to the incredible BlogHer fashion show that was sponsored by Ulta. They generously gifted each one of us with a goodie bag. I looooooove free stuff so I tore into that thing like a rabid terrier on a bare ankle. The first thing I grabbed was lipgloss. I love lip gloss! In the arid, moisture sucking climate of Colorado, I wear lip gloss all through the day and night! YAY for lip gloss! Then my sweaty little paw found yet another free treasure! I was thrilled! The box said "Calvin Klein". I had worn a Calvin Klein dress the day before! It was fate!

I opened the box to discover mascara. All blondes LOVE mascara. It is a beauty staple- primarily so that people know that we actually possess eyelashes. It also says, "No, I do NOT have the flu, thankyouverymuch." I opened the mascara to gaze upon the wand. The wand is everything, you know. And on that wand, I saw electric blue mascara. Naturally.

This is a picture of me when I reunited with my twin sister at a family reunion.
I am not wearing mascara.
No, I am not suffering from an illness.


Needless to say, when I logged onto the Ulta Beauty LOL website, I was not surprised that my snarky diatribe about electric blue mascara was lost on the cutting room floor.

So I wrote another LOL, which you can kindly vote for here. If that doesn't work, go here and to page 6- lower right hand corner. But I was limited to 500 characters and it was honestly quite stifling for a gal of my wordage. Then I posted a picture of me pretending to be a ninja. It had absolutely nothing to do with my story but I felt like it was the most accurate depiction of me.

Then I blew out my back.


Check out the Ulta LOL site, enter your own story and vote for your favorite (this one).

I'll write the long-winded version of the story next week. Hell, I'll most likely illustrate it.

Until then, I will satiate your desire for entertainment with a GIVEAWAY.

That's right! All you have to do to win is click on my ULTA BEAUTY LOL and hit "like". Feel free to share it with your friends. Convince them that is is good to have an albino ninja in their corner. Tell them whatever you like! Then comment here, on my Facebook page or there (under my story) and tell me something that you loved about the 80's.

One person will be the lucky winner of a slightly opened tube of electric blue mascara! Yeah! I'll bet you didn't see that coming! BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! If I win the $2,000 prize, I will SHARE it with the winner! Think of me as Nicholas Cage in It Could Happen to You, except I'm not going 50/50, it will be more that 95/5 or something. I don't know. I haven't worked out the details yet.

So go forth, enter your beauty lol and VOTE for PEDRO. I mean, VOTE for CornFedGirl! (that's me)

Peace, Love and Blue Eyelashes,
Johi


Friday, August 2, 2013

BlogHer 2013- CornFedGirl in the City

Sometimes I fly to faraway places to meet people that I "Know" from the Internet. Just last weekend I spent time in Chicago at the BlogHer conference. I went alone. No kids. No Brock. Just me and a 37 pound suitcase which may or may not have been filled entirely with shoes, tampons and my bubble wand.

My first BlogHer was last year. It was held in New York City. I was nervous. I was anxious about flying alone to NYC. I was worried about my kids (and the state of my house) without my presence. I obsessed over clothes and luggage weight and seminars and everyfrickenthing. I was kind of a wreck. The worst part, in all honesty, is that I was embarrassed to tell people that I was flying across the country to meet people I only knew from the Internet. It felt a little desperate. Or pathetic. It was making me feel like I spent all my time in a Dungeons and Dragons chatroom, pant-less and friendless (except for my cats). So instead of using the word "blog", I told people that I was going to a "Writers Conference". In my mind, the word "Writer" felt less... lame. I simply was not embracing my title of "blogger" and I did not know what to expect.

Guess what? BlogHer is not lame. BlogHer is awesome. In fact, blogging is awesome. My readers are incredible. The opportunities presented to me that derived from sitting in my living room and typing on my laptop have been mind blowing.

So this year was different. This year I was proud to say "I'm going to BlogHer!" Then, because sometimes life is kind to a girl, I got to add, "There is an I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing where 15 of the co-authors get to meet in person, sign books, and read some funny stories. I'm one of those authors!"

In fact, BlogHer is so awesome that I wish I was there RIGHT NOW, experiencing all the people and topics and Chicago food and culture that I missed out on last weekend because there was so much to see and do and listen to that I couldn't fit it all into one short weekend! But instead, I'm home! Doing laundry!

Chicago- I heart you.

So I happily flew alone to Chicago to meet up with my Internet friends. Yes, I am a 38 year old woman who has Internet friends. And guess what? My Internet friends are AMAZEBALLS, even if some of us don't wear pants and do count our cats as friends.

THURSDAY

I roomed with the lovely Jen. It was a roommate match made in heaven. She brought me gluten free treats and goodie bags from her friend, Christian. I gave her a magnet made by the Cotton Floozy and promised not to snore. We shared hair products and clothes and earrings. Jen is hysterical, stylish and magical. She has nice boobs, too. Rooming with Jen was a highlight of my trip.

Jen and I enjoyed many a romantic walk on the riverfront.
We also ate some really greazy fries here, which gave us both gas.


The first night, Jen and I met up with fellow Funny Bitch Leaguer, Elizabeth, and her fabulous friend Lauren for dinner. Elizabeth is so talented, beautiful and thoughtful. I knew that I like Lauren immediately when I noticed we were wearing the same dress. We piled into a cab to head towards a place called Mana Food Bar. Upon arrival, the ladies witnessed me giving the cab driver the business for trying to short us on our change. Apparently, much like that controversial talking Barbie from the late 80's, I look like I think that "Math is Hard!" I almost felt bad for the swindler. But soon the delicious tapas and enchanting conversation blurred the memory of my missing $2 and the night was fabulous. Seeing Elizabeth again and meeting Lauren was a highlight of my trip.



FRIDAY

Jen and I hopped the shuttle to the Expo, where we mingled with our peers and some of the sponsors. I particularly enjoyed the personable gals at the Ulta Beauty booth and the friendly folks at Honest Tea. Of all places, while waiting in line in the ladies' room, I met up with a few of my I Just Want to Pee Alone co-authors. Then poor Jen, who had run 10 miles that morning, almost passed out from hunger. Because I'm a giver, I made her wait a skoosh longer before we headed for lunch; I had super duper important business to attend to at the Trojan booth which may or may not have included procuring enough lube to fill a swimming pool. This was where I flagged down the gregarious and charming Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear.

There was some foodage and drinkage, then I saw Queen Latifah up close. She's really pretty.


Then all of the co-authors went to the I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Jen from PIWTPITT, Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Just Start By Saying and Bongiorno's Deli for making the signing and location happen. Next, I want to thank my family who came to support me. They were probably the only four people in the crowd who knew me. Thirdly, thanks to all who bought tickets because they enjoyed the book. There were so many lovely faces in the line of people and I seriously enjoyed meeting everyone. Lastly, I want to tell you all how INCREDIBLE my co-authors were in person. It is now my life goal to organize some sort of pee alone reunion tour every three months or so, just so I can hang out with these fabulous women and get to know them better. We can talk about life while we braid each other's hair and share the tinkling sound of our glorious laughter.

Seriously, none of them were weird in person. At all. They were all the shit. I want them to be my neighbors.

Also, I am kicking myself for not taking more pictures.

It was a whirlwind. I did give my camera to my wonderful uncle, one of the very few, brave men at the book signing. He gallantly snapped some shots for me.

There was a line. For us! Thank you to all of you who stood in line
(to see Jen and Patti) and pretended like you knew my blog!




This is Keesha from Mom's New Stage. She's beautiful and sweet and so tiny.
I wanted to see if she would fit in my suitcase because I planned on
bringing her home with me but we were somehow separated as the night when on.
Keesha- come back!!!!


RachRiot, I love you so.
This is one of the funniest women on the Internet.
Follow her on facebook. Do it now.


The really pretty, fresh faced one is the lovely and very dramatic
Rebecca from the Frugalista Blog. She is hilarious and her skin is like porcelain.
 I obviously need to figure out what products she uses. Help me, Frugie.

And last but very certainly not least,
this is the one and only Patti from Insane in the Mom Brain.
I love her. If people still wrote letters,
I would force her to be my pen pal. She would sign her
letters with tiny squirrel paw prints and I would spray every
letter with pony pheromones.

SO. Many. People.
Such a wonderful night.
The I Just Want to Pee Alone book signing was a highlight of my trip.


SATURDAY

There was some touristing, art looky-louing, a boat trip where we viewed some architecture (including an undulating curved building), a protest (that I somehow ended up in the middle of), a delicious soy latte, a short nap and an angry man on a bike with a Bozo horn. It was a wonderful and chaotic day in the city where I walked about 16 miles. I was happy, although windblown and sweating profusely.

Oh, and this happened,. Naturally.

I lunched with Jen on the lakefront, then dinnered with some lovely blogging ladies at a pub. Upon walking alone back to to motel from dinner, I got lost. When I looked up and noticed that I was East of the Undulating Curved Building, I realized I had overshot my destination by about three miles. I turned around and found my inner speed walker for the journey back. I map via landmark and I knew that I was finally in the right spot when I noticed the ice cream truck. Rather, I noticed the familiar creepy man that had parked his ice cream truck outside the hotel all weekend, in hopes of tempting the BlogHer ladies with some frozen treats. I doubt he was successful, as looked like the type of person that would try to lure children into his big white windowless van with his puppy.

Still, I was a little relived to see him because I knew that I was finally back at the hotel.

Then he yelled toward me, "How about trying my chocolate covered banana?"

Then I almost stabbed him.

I arrived at the motel a deflated, sweaty beast. Almost immediately, I was whisked away to a private area with about 15 other bloggers. We were hand selected by the Ulta Beauty team purely on the merits of our AWESOME for some interviews. So without a shower or a clothing change, at 9:30 that night I was filmed by a crew of people with fancy television cameras.  Naturally, in my hideous state, I was positioned next to a stunning celebrity. I have always admired the humor of Wendi McLendon-Covey from Reno 911 and Bridesmaids, and she is truly a vision of beauty. I think she drinks water from the Unicorn River and only eats butterflies and fairy dust, as her skin was pore-less and her hair was shiny and appeared to be spun from gold. Seriously, that women is glowing. And she is warm and welcoming and so so funny. Meeting her was THE highlight of my trip

As Wen-to-the-Di and I casually chatted for an Ulta Beauty interview, there were mics and cameras pointing at us while a flock of people gathered around, staring at us with stone faces. I tried to be cool, even though I looked at hot mess and was wearing clothes that I had napped in and a pin that Jen gifted me that spelled "OH SHIT" in rhinestones.

Oh, and when I get nervous, I shake like I have mild Parkinson's and sweat some more and do this weird barky seal laugh.

So do you want to know what I said?

Do you want to know what fascinating topics I selected to discuss with this talented, accomplished and beautiful woman?

Do you REALLY want to know?

I talked to Wendi McLendon-Covey about periods, pimples and pubic hair. 

And someone filmed it. And I received an email from Ulta that the video is on its way.

Then I flew home, with a 40 pound suitcase that may or may not have been full of shoes, my bubble wand and lube.

Peace, Love and Unicorns,
Johi