Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This week I got banned from an office supply store

Let's be honest. My brain's a lil fried today. This week I've practically lived at a Kinko's knockoff store. Which would be all right for any other person but nooo- I have to be the idiot that breaks the copy machine. And it all started with those ridiculously high platform shoes.

Oh, my brand new shoes are more sparkly than the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. And now, they are broken because I tripped over a cord and rammed into the copy machine. Let's be honest, momentum and my 6'2 tall body are not a good combo. My body just flew across tile, like I was sliding into home.

So, not only did I have to find a way to resolve the fact that I demolished a copy machine but I also had to gather up my dignity and stroll out the door.

Let's just say after a stupid start to the week I retreated to bed. Where my new foster cat Eponine decided now would be good time to vomit on my head. Seriously? My head!

I awoke not but 10 minutes ago and all I want to do is tuck back into bed and forget the world-but who doesn't want that, right?

We push ourselves so hard to achieve our dreams. We deal with tons of crap, I vote we take a moment for ourselves. You wanna see a movie? Go for it! Been dying for ice cream? Treat yourself and pronto. Because the only way we can continue fighting for our dream is to look out for ourselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to achieve sobriety

Let's get intensley personal.

Today, I about had a mini heart attack.

I walked, okay, more like tripped with style, with my little neice to her summer school program. In between a bite of pop-tart coated with peanut butter, she says, "Mommy says you're made of angel dust."

Her one sentence causes me to stammer. I know she overheard my sister blabbling about my party monster days. The lil niece has no idea that angel dust is slang for a drug. She just thinks angel dust sounds magical.

I knew this day would come but not at freaking 7 years old. The only thing I can do is give her a super mild drug talk and hope that she makes better choices then I did.

In truth, we are bombarded with stories of addiction. So, how do you chase a dream when battling a deadly disease? The trick is to take sobriety one day, or even one hour at a time. Cliche but true. I would be lying if I said, its easy to face yourself and your fears.

Sobriety is an on-going process. You have to be constantly aware of your triggers and weak moments. And it doesn't just start with day one of coming clean. There are many resourses for you. There's therapy, support groups and yes, there's hope.

If you have a loved one who is in the thoes of addiction- of any kind- do not forget that one word-HOPE. Yes, there are the stories of tragic losses. I have already lost two close friends before the age of 30. But for every downfall of an individual, there is also a success story of beating the addiction.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Horrid situations while on an operating table

Its nice to know that I still have the ability to gross people out. I say that with a smile. I don't know about you but I don't deal with health trials very well. The other day, I had dental surgery.

I made a complete fool out of myself. I'm pretty open with my past- you all know I was a bit of a party monster. Sure, nowadays I am subdued but who knew my past would help.

Yesterday I gave everyone in the operating room a surprise. The nurse did a horrible job of finding my vein . No joke, she stuck the needle in my arm, couldn't find a vein, so she just twirled the needle in my flesh. It was the sickest thing I have ever had to endure. What would you have done in my situation? I'm dying to know because I turned into an absolute control freak.

After five minute of dealing with her incompetence, I told her, "Give me the needle now."

I then proceeded to open and close my hand really fast. She just stared at me. All the while, I held the needle, smacked my forearm, found the vein and shoved the sucker in.

Yep, a party girl past does have its benefits.

The lesson: there are some situations in life that you don't get to pick. Even so, sometimes your biggest mistakes can be a blessing in disguise. They teach you to be mentally strong and they also help you deal with trials. Embrace your mistakes, I say. And if not, make a fool of yourself. It makes life way more exciting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Digging out a bullet wound

Most people don't know this but I can stitch a wound like no other. Needle, string and all. One of my relatives was the woman they based Dr. Quinn medicine woman on- my mom repeatedly tells me the story of that ancestors life but I never listen. So, I can't tell you any more on that subject. Although, now I am curious who you, the readers, are related to.

Anyways, this weekend was full of gross and disgustingly-cool mini surgeries. And they were done all on my kitchen floor. So, at 2am, I am dancing around to Kanye West trying to get over my writers block when I hear this super loud screaming outside my condo. Would you have gone outside if you heard screams? Just curious because my sorry-butt went running out the door, all while in my Hello Kitty PJ's. I can't believe I just admitted I wear Hello Kitty attire.

The cries sound like mix of a bat and owl in a standoff- I knew immediately the guy in trouble was my bestie, Jameses. The dude is shaking in pain. He has BB gun pellet gashes all over his tatted up body and one mean bullet wound. I don't even wanna know what mischief he got into while shooting soda cans in a remote country farm.

He's crying like a baby (I'm sorry, Jameses but you really were.) So I had to dig the bullet out and dress the wound.

Then his friend- who looks like a lot like Simon Baker, lifts his shirt sleeve up and says, "Maybe you could clean this wound too. I've had it for about a week."

Could you resist a guy that looks as hott as the Mentalist? Because I so couldn't.

Jameses informs me the wound's sickening. I shrug my shoulders and grab my tools. The problem- the wound was seriously infected. The puss was green and the gash was as big as my large toe. I was beyond nervous. I've never dealt with an infection that bad.

I grabbed a wooden spoon (I resisted the urge to smack Mr. Simon, the hottie and Jameses for being complete idjuts) and placed the spoon in his mouth.

Without saying a word, I dug the infection out of the wound. I won't go into detail but let's just say there was a lot of cussing involved. And sure, I almost barfed in the process but I have to say, it was pretty cool.

Lesson learned-Not only did I score a date with Mr. Handsome but I also learned that the scary stuff is where the real growth really lies. The more you have to dig deep,the better you will be. Whatever dream you choose to pursue requires you to have no fear. Just go for it.

Update- I may have snagged Mr. Handsome's digits but the poor bloke had to be turned down. The definition of hott is pretty vast where I am concerned but I have to say that gangrene is a HUGE turn off. Plus, someone else has me totally intrigued.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Author Interview! With a REAL author! Caleb Warnock: Part 2

*Big announcement

Caleb Warnock, our Literary God-Like Instructor, has released his first book, the Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency. And lemme tell you, this book is definitely a good read because of the incredible skills it teaches you.

When opening this book, you are immeditely taken aback by the stunning photos. This man lives in paradise. Yummy food, vibrant colors and all.

Secretly, I've always wanted to have a bit of Martha Stewart-like qualities. But alas, where she uses her kitchen to whip up a good meal, I use mine as an operating room to extract BB gun pellets (more on that another day.)

Caleb's book has helped me get even closer to my goal of self-sufficiency. And trust me, if I can attempt the skills in his book, anybody can. And the recipes are divine. His succulent slow roasted vegetables are delectable.

This man is a genius, in writing and in life. He's one of the few people that can look me in the eye and tell me that I am full of crap. He's also someone who can make me dig down deep and try harder. You are in great hands with this person.

Below is a clip Janiel made of our venture into Caleb's garden. You'll see his stunning garden full of things like stevia and Jerusalem artichokes. You will also meet his dog and darling chickens (which you can try to name and win a free copy of Mr. Warnock's book.) Read Maegan's post for more details. (Its right below mine)

This video is rare - you get a one millisecond shot of moi. Caleb offers us gnomeslayers a piece of fig and I (in typical fashion) cuss.

In this video, we see a few more plants and the neighbor horse and Janiel has to calm my sorry-butt down.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Author Interview! With a REAL Author! And a Contest! Caleb Warnock: Part 1

That was the intrepid Janiel, reporting from Caleb Warnock's chicken coop. The Gnome Slayers owe a lot to Caleb, not the least being that we first met each other in his writing class. To celebrate the publication of his first book, FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY USED BY THE MORMON PIONEERS, the three of us invaded his back yard with a video camera. We discovered that not only does he know a whole heck of a lot about writing, he also knows a whole heck of a lot about gardening. And Eqyptian walking onions. And exploding eggs.

We're so excited for Caleb's book to come out, we're going to be celebrating all week! Oh yeah, and we're also giving away a free copy, signed by the author. We each got our own signed copies too, so we can honestly say that the book is awesome! And user-friendly. And full of pretty, pretty pictures that Caleb took himself.

We learned in that last video that Caleb has 33 chickens. That's a lot of chickens, folks. And they all need names. Russo and I named three of them, as you will see in a later episode, but there's still 30 left. So if you would like your very own, signed copy of THE FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY USED BY THE MORMON PIONEERS, just leave a name for one of Caleb's chickens in the comments on any post this week. Leaving a comment on more than one post means you have more than one chance to win. But you must leave a chicken name in your comment in order for it to count as an entry. We will announce a winner via random drawing next Monday. Easy enough, right?

Here's more about the book from Caleb's blog:

7/25/11– Provo, Utah -- Journalist Caleb Warnock announces the Aug. 8 2011 release of his book, “Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers,” on pre-sale now at Amazon.com.

Many people dream of becoming self-reliant during these times of fluctuating prices and uncertain job security. Using truly simple techniques, you can cultivate the pioneer's independence to provide safety against lost wages, harsh weather, economic recession, and commercial contamination and shortages. Strengthen your family's self-reliance as you discover anew the joy of homegrown food, thrift, and self-sufficient living.

Using truly simple techniques, homestead families harvested sweet, crisp carrots out of the snow-blanketed garden soil in December. They raised robust summer vegetables without expensive seed catalogs or nurseries. They created spectacular flower gardens at no cost. They ate fresh out of the garden twelve months a year, a skill that has now all but vanished. Their self-sufficiency provided security against lost wages, harsh weather, economic depression and recession, and commercial contamination and shortages.

Today, that kind of family security and self-reliance has never been more appealing. Many of the pioneer techniques are now lost to the general population. I was lucky enough to grow up in the kitchens and gardens of the last generation to provide family meals without relying on the grocery store. They managed their family budgets by putting to work centuries of received wisdom about food and self-sufficient living. My book teaches the reader just how simple and fulfilling the path to increased self-reliance can be, along with the pleasure of eating fresh garden produce with robust, homegrown flavor twelve months of the year.

This is not a book about bottling peaches or digging a root cellar. This book begins to overcome the myth that self-reliant living is practical only for up-before-dawn farmers or green-thumb gardeners with huge yards and no social life. The reality is that self-sufficiency need not be elaborate, time-consuming, or back-breaking. Any modern family can be strengthened by discovering these forgotten skills:

Growing Hardy and Perennial Vegetables: From Egyptian walking onions to self-seeding lettuce and spinach which thrives in below-freezing temperatures, our ancestors knew how to benefit their families with vigorous strains of garden goods. The early homesteaders ate fresh corn on the cob long after snow covered the ground and homegrown tomatoes at Thanksgiving -- with flavor beyond anything offered in today’s grocery stores.

Home-Grown Garden Seed: How did the pioneers garden without relying on seed catalogs and nurseries? Open-pollinated seed in the garden is the vegetable equivalent of wheat in food storage. My book explains the pioneer seed bank, the pros and cons of open-pollinated and hybrid garden seed, and a new effort now underway to revive it.

Eat Fresh in Winter: Following in the footsteps of the settlers, savvy modern gardeners can store their carrots, onions, parsnips, turnips, and beets over winter by leaving them exactly where they grew in the garden, or by using their garage!

Fresh Eggs: Taking a Second Look: Eggs were among the most valued homegrown pioneer foods. My book discusses how the backyard chicken coop disappeared, and why many cities, petitioned by residents, are allowing them once again. What every family should know when considering whether a few backyard hens might be right for them.

Baking with Pioneer Yeast: Learn about the health and nutrition benefits of baking with pioneer yeast instead of commercial quick-rise yeasts. Learn how bread was made for thousands of years before yeast was every sold in a grocery store.

Forgotten Recipes : Delicious hunger-gap omelets, roast vegetables, winter pioneer treats, family-pleasing meals entirely from the garden and storeroom, heritage recipes, and more.

Caleb Warnock is a full-time journalist and have been working for a central Utah daily newspaper for the past ten years. He has won more than 20 awards for journalism and creative writing, including the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Contest, the David O. McKay Essay Contest, and voted top reporter in Utah. His freelance publications range from articles on wolf-watching in Yellowstone to backyard poultry-keeping to perennial gardening. He has published several true stories about his ancestors in the Friend magazine. Caleb is a full-time journalist for Provo's Daily Herald.

"Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" is available at bookstores everywhere, in addition to Walmart and Costco stores, and Amazon.com. Caleb Warnock can be reached at cwarnock@heraldextra.com.

"Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" by Caleb Warnock
Cedar Fort Publishers
$16.99, available Aug. 8 2011