Wednesday

A Case of the Blahdays.


I'm feeling down today.  It happens to all of us doesn't it?  I made the mistake of watching the news this morning while I waited for my morning elixir of strong coffee and French Vanilla creamer.  The sweet helps the bitter go down.  Ironic isn't it?

Last week, it hit 80+ degrees here in New Hampshire.  Last night, however, it hit 20 degrees.  I watched the apple farmers wipe tears from their eyes as they talked about how significant this year's losses will be.  As if people aren't struggling enough, at every turn there seems to be something else to make swimming upstream even harder.  As happy as everyone was last week while the sun was shining, there were people who knew that the other shoe would drop when it went back to normal March temperatures.  I feel awful for these people, but I shut the tv off before I hear anything else that breaks my heart.

As I try to change my disposition and turn my focus to my kids, my 4 year old tells me that he no longer likes the Orange Juice with 'a little pulp.'  This never was a problem before.  I make a mental note of this as I pour him some milk instead.

My three year old looks at the plate of breakfast in front of him and tells me that he doesn't want cream cheese on his bagel this morning, he wants peanut butter instead.   Exhale, Mommy, Exhale.  They are just little guys being honest.  Work with it.  As I stand in the kitchen, dealing with this silly scenario, I hear the sound of the garbage truck whirring down the street.  Shit!  It's Tuesday!  I stop what I'm doing, throw on my shoes, and drag the garbage cans down to the road as fast as humanly possible.  The trucks pull up and laugh at me as they see I'm hyperventilating in my Yoga pants and ponytail, mascara smudged down my eyes.  I give them a pathetic, forced smile along with a thumbs up and a nod of my head and I run back to the house.  Back to the breakfast crisis at hand.

A few simple situations seem like a mountain to overcome while I struggle to pull myself together.  Middler lets out a huge sneeze, blowing everything built up in his nose all over his face.  I reach for a tissue, only to find the box is empty and still on the counter.  Maddening.  I run to the bathroom to grab tissue - the roll has one square left on it.  As I run TO the bathroom, I see that the cat has pooped outside of the box, and smeared poop all through the hallway on the floor.  Snot on toddler, poop on floor, empty kleenex box, toilet paper roll needs changed, Youngest doesn't want cream cheese, Middler hates pulp.  Tears are welling up in my eyes.  Stupid, yes.  But true.

30 minutes later, I have things under control.  Kids are fed, floor is mopped, toilet paper is refilled, kleenex box folded in recycle bin - feelings of sadness and frustration are still there.  You'll always have days like this.  It's not a big deal. 

No matter how I try to fight these feelings on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis, they are there.  Isn't everyone just holding on by their fingernails?  We put on a good show, but underneath the hair and makeup, fun clothes and pretty handbags, we're glued together not by superglue, but more like an elementary school type of glue stick.  You know, the kind that barely holds stuff together long enough to make it home for parents to ooh and ahh and then falls apart?

So how do I pull it back together?  I call a friend or two, ask how their day is going, and listen to their responses.  Same type of day, different scenario.  Someone was up all night with a fever, another one got bullied at school, someone else is struggling with a diet, toilet training, a sleepless toddler. We manage to throw a few jokes in between, just to show that we're ok and still keeping it together, but are we?  First world problems, I get it.  Doesn't mean that they don't matter.  Life is hard sometimes.  That's why I depend on humor so much.  I'm not feeling funny today - and that's ok.  I know when something is really funny, I'll laugh.  In the meantime, I will be content to draw strength and courage from the innocent, hopeful smiles on the faces of my kids.  They are all I need on days like this. Well, one more thing that helps.  I'm Alright by Jo Dee Messina.  Just a gentle reminder that everything is ok..even when it feels like it's not.

Tomorrow will be better...I'm sure of it.  I'm not a complainer - I am blessed beyond words - we have health, happiness and home...but today I'm giving myself permission to feel shitty. 
~DG

Friday

Dante's 9 Circles of Hell: AKA Phys Ed Class



As part of my childhood therapy homework, I've decided to start getting into the crux of where my self esteem hit the shitter.  It finally came to me the other day while watching an episode of The Simpsons.  To get a better idea of what Dodgeball (Bombardment) was like for a girl like me - watch this little Simpsons clip.

Gym Class.  Also called Physical Education.  Should be called Dante's 9 Circles of Hell.

I'm going to begin with a typical disclaimer that I like to do, because I really want to make it clear how much damage my little spirit suffered being an overdeveloped 10 year old chubba girl in elementary school.  First part of the disclaimer:  this is a humor blog, please don't get all up in my grill about how important movement is for kids...blah blah blah.  This is about exorcising MY demons, not exercising the world's children. Capish? Second of all, I don't want to know how great YOU were at any of these things.  If you really feel like bragging about the fact that you got top numbers in all of your tests and your BMI was effing perfect at 10 years old, then go start your own blog.  I ROCKED THE HOUSE IN PE, BUT I SUCK IN LIFE.  Truly, however, I tell you all of this from a place of love.  If we're good, and you promise you won't judge me (but you certainly have my permission to laugh), then read on.  Otherwise, go to another story of mine in peace and good tidings. 

Gym class terrorized me.  I was a 32D in 5th grade; a joke that Mother Nature played on me for no apparent reason other than to start character building at age 10.  As if being a 5th grader with a moustache and hairy legs wasn't enough of a cross to bear, throw in boobs and butt and watch me roll.  I hated gym class with a passion.  I certainly wasn't the sportsy type - not with my frame anyways.  My gym teachers shook their head when they saw me, and I am pretty sure they gave up on me from day one.

I was, of course, picked last for any team sports.  And why not?  I can understand this.  Unless there was a sport that caught a ball with the side of your face, I was useless.  Which brings me to my first circle of hell.


Dodgeball - I had to know who the sick bastard was that created this game.  I did some research, and this is what I discovered.
It is estimated that Dodgeball started back in the Caveman Era. Where cavemen, frustrated by the sun in their eyes, hurled rocks at the sun. When they came down, some caveman would be killed while others learned to "dodge" the rocks. This carried over into the Egyptian era to where they pharaoh would hold weekly "Dodgeball tournaments". Slowly but surely it evolved into what dodgeball is today.
So easy, even the damn cavemen could do it.

The closest I ever came to being as cool as Marcia Brady, was the day I was pummeled in the face by a Dodgeball, making my Greek nose even bigger, and giving the boys one more joke to tease me with.  Needless to say, that was the last time anyone wanted me on their team.  I had the 'cheese touch,'  'cooties,' and no one wanted to be 'stuck with it.'


Kickball -  Is kickball any better?  No...it is not.  Picture me, up to kick.  Everyone is rolling their eyes just hoping it will be a quick and painless out so they can continue the game with real contenders.  I step back, take a running start to the ball - but the ball goes through my legs as I try to kick, causing me to trip and fall.  I just saunter to the back of the line, shrugging my sloppy shoulders and let someone else take a turn. 

Volleyball - What is it with all of these high-speed, intense, ball smashing, cheek pummeling games in this country?  Once again, no matter what position they put me in, I was either going to eat an elbow of a real contender plowing into me to save the ball, or I was going to completely miss the ball and hit myself with my arms entwined into the other.  I can recall the sheer terror of the ball coming at me full blast and me flailing around trying to hit it off of any limb, any body part, anything.  Fail.

The Presidential Fitness Test - Who's idea was this? I think it was Reagan's back in the 80s.  I remember thinking ohhh this is important and I better do well or I am going to be in so much trouble with the President!  At ten years old, the mere label of Presidential was intimidating.  I didn't know what was going to happen with the results.  Poor me.  I remember trying desperately to push out a few crunches while my PE Teacher held my feet and counted.  The only thing I managed to push out was a toot.  Humiliating.  Do you see why I need therapy?   I failed the test miserably.  I fell below the recommended level of fitness by no one's surprise.  I believe instead of taking an award home, I took a form letter home from the President regarding the importance of Nutrition and Physical Fitness.  My mom read the letter as she melted 4 sticks of butter while preparing our big fat Greek dinner. 

Failed miserably.

Rope Climbing - There are few memories that haunt me more than walking into the gymnasium and seeing the bright blue mats underneath the hanging rope of terror.  Son-of-a biscuit.  They're going to make me climb that effing rope again.  Sure enough, everyone, or most everyone made it more than half way up.  Almost all of the boys made it to the top to ring the victory bell.  No matter what, we had to stay on and try as long as we could, or plunge to our social death on the blue mat of shame.  I always told myself this time I was going to do it!  Only to find myself holding on for dear life, swinging back and forth like a pendulum and getting rope rash on my sideburns. 


Trampoline Day  - I know, I know you are shaking your head and yelling - how could she NOT enjoy trampoline day????  I get it.  Don't you think I wanted to jump on that thing and giggle like all of the other kids??  Of course I did.  But someone in my class decided that for every girl that went up for a turn, the boys would look under the trampoline and measure the distance from the ground to determine what a fat ass said girl really was.  Since 90% of the other girls were twigs, they had a ball when it was my turn to go up.  My excitement quickly turned to shame as the boys looked under the bouncy contraption from hell at how close I came from hitting the ground and breaking the record of biggest lardo to hit the trampoline.  I hate that gym teacher more than you can know for not putting a stop to that.


Gymnastics Day - This is the day that they brought all of the spectacular gymnastics equipment into school.  They brought the uneven bars, high balance beams, the pommel horse and lots of colored mats.  I didn't take gymnastics, or ballet for that matter.  I wasn't really built like Nadia Comaneci so it wasn't worth the money to try and make me fit into a leotard.  The only thing she and I had in common was a difficult spelled name and facial hair.  When it came time to do anything, my gym teacher put me at the low balance beam.  You know, the one that is 2 inches off the ground.  She had me walk like a tightrope walker back and forth while others flipped their way around the uneven bars.  That was enough to ruin me from ever watching the Winter Olympics again.

Nothing makes you feel like an Olympic gymnast quite like this low beam.  Eyeroll.  Thanks for the shot of confidence, teach!

Scooter and Rope Day -   Anyone remember these little torture devices?

There was nothing more exciting than scooter and rope day.  Unless you were me.  I was like a pack mule good for flinging the skinny girls around via the rope around my waist.  Here's where I start to get bitter.  What in the hell purpose does learning how to get flung around on a scooter by a rope?  I will never, and have never used that skill in my life time.  Bitter, party of one.  Your table near the all-you-can-eat emotions bar is ready.

Parachute Day -  I don't know.  I guess I really can't find a beef with Parachute Day.  But I'm sure it was traumatizing in some way, shape or form.  Perhaps I've put it out of my mind, for now.  It'll come back to me eventually.
source: the chive


Track & Field Day -  Oh ho hooooo, I saved the best for last.  Here's the day when I gave up on anything physical ever.  They stuck the fork in me, exercise-wise when they sent me over to do shot put and discus with the other big girls.  Wow.  It was so cruel what they did.  I have to say, however, I put my Dolly Parton chest into catapulting that effing solid ball of hate as far as I could, praying I would knock my gym teacher in her stupid head.  I missed.  But I got 3rd place out of 5 girls.  It wasn't last.  For once.
 

That's it for this session of my therapy.  I feel better letting some of that pain go.  I think I might even go for a run.  Or not.  Maybe I'll just go grab some nachos and a beer.  Regardless.  My 32D rack got me a lot farther in life than that gym teacher could ever hope for.  So to her I say - take your scooter, and your rope - and ...well...just ...whatever.

~Big words from a Bighearted girl..
Love and Hugs-
DG














Thursday

The Circle of Moms Contest is Finally Over..Verdict: You like me, You reallly like me.



THANK YOU FOR VOTING ME #6.  IN TYPICAL UNDERACHIEVER FASHION, I'D NEVER DREAM TO BE #1 - I WAS JUST HOPING TO BE #6.   ;)
Friends, Bloggers, Countrymen...lend me your....eh - never mind. 

I hate contests.

I never win anything - not a thing - not any-thing.

I buy raffle tickets at every turn to support every cause.

I enter sweepstakes and complete surveys...it's all bullshit.

This is one contest that got to me.  Maybe, if I got in the Top 25, it would mean I mattered.  It would mean that the hours of writing weren't for nothing.  It would mean that I was actually succeeding at what I set out to do:  make people laugh, make people feel like they aren't crazy, make this world a little less scary.  I think it might be working - but it's a collaborative effort of many great bloggers.

Ahhh yes - laughter - the great equalizer.  It knows no race, color, religion - it brings people together.

Somehow I got to the top 10.  Perhaps my self-esteem is just too warped to understand this madness.  It's like Sally Field, as brilliant and as deserving she was of an Academy Award, she was baffled and humbled when she said in her acceptance speech, "you like me...you REALLY like me."  I get it.  Sometimes you can get smacked right in the face with something wonderful, and you still can't imagine you're worthy of the love and admiration of complete strangers.


I began writing my blog right after I had my third child and my husband went back to work (but never published any of it).   I had Facebook, which helped me get through the long days with 2 babies under 2, and one in elementary school, but it still wasn't enough. Besides, all I ever saw on Facebook were perfectly dressed babies, and moms in glamorous poses and perfect cookies and dinners and birthday parties.  It was making me think I wasn't good enough.  I don't have any family around so the days were long and lonely, I was frustrated and tired, sleep deprived and isolated.  I chose to write.  I found humor in everything I possibly could, and laughter rescued me from the post-partum depression I was slowly trying to pull myself out of.  I don't care who you are, what age you have children, what it took to have children, it is NOT all happy happy joy joy...it is difficult, draining and exhausting (and yes, the greatest gift in the world).  PPD, no matter how light or extreme, is an awful joke to pull on women after they've already been through 40 weeks of pregnancy.


In December of this past year, I read Elf on the Shelf by People I Want to Punch in the Throat.  I howled.  I cackled.  I belly laughed.  I pulled a muscle in my neck from throwing my head back and laughing so hard.  I cried from laughing.  (I have to thank one of my sorority sisters, Dawn at Sugarchic  cookies (one of the most beautiful people and cookie makers in the US!  You've never seen such amazing cookies - and she posts funny stuff about trying to parent AND  be a cookie maker - reminding me that no one is perfect!)  for posting this brilliantly funny link on Facebook.) I remember the day I read that.  It was an AHA! moment.  I feel like Punchy (Professor Punch, the Jeneral, Jen, Throat Lady, etc)  gave me permission to not be perfect - to get out of the shadows of the Pottery Barn Perfect Posers and the Martha Stewart Posse.  It finally hit me that there was NO way I was alone in thinking that this Parenting stuff is hard effing work and it is impossible to pretend like we have it all together.  It was all about acting skills - and some people were just better performers than others.  I finally gave myself the ok  to be imperfect and laugh about it, and finally publish the stories I was writing.  I admired the fact that Punchy was not afraid to admit she's less than perfect, and with such humor and brilliance at the same time, and  I thought, what a great way to help someone, anyone, like me to feel like they are NOT alone than to make people laugh at my expense.   That was one bill I was willing to foot.  Making fun of myself and watching others laugh with me, at me, whatever - as long as they laughed, it didn't matter to me.  I also felt like, even if someone isn't a mom, or a wife, or a woman - anyone, anyone, could use a little help getting through these days of what I like to refer to as the Even Greater Depression.  This world is crazy - times are really tough - and I just wanted to create a place where people could escape reality a little and just laugh.

The BEST feeling in the world - the uncontrollable belly laugh.

I look at this honor of making it to the Top 25 and I shake my head in disbelief.  I look back on my life and remember that there was a time where my it was dark and sad and hopeless during a painful and loveless marriage and I would pray to God and say, if you get me out of this awful mess, I will live my life without regret, I will live each day to its fullest, I will appreciate everything that comes my way.  I finally made a decision to leave and though it was humiliating to admit that I failed at marriage, that I married the wrong person, that I was 'unlovable,' I marched forward, slowly, one step at a time to a better life.  This hardship is why I am now able to share my happiness with the rest of the world.  Every wrong move, every mistake, every good or bad decision in my life was a brick in the pathway to my beautiful life, and I am grateful. I am now married to the man of my dreams, who from day one put me on a pedestal and has kept me there ever since.  To repay that blessing, I have committed to making people laugh, to make someone feel special, to help out a friend in need, to touch the life of a stranger.  Each and every one of you reading has made me a happier,  richer person, just by welcoming me into your home.  I thank you.

This is me but I am sharing the spotlight with the spectacular Sangria my friend is drinking.  Many lemons were harmed during this photo. I feel terrible about that, but not really.  Regardless, it is me, saying Cheers to YOU for your kindness.

Am I a writer? No.  I'm just a girl.  I'm flawed, I'm a little silly, I'm human...but I'm here, and I am loving this gig.  Will I ever get rich off of it - not unless I start getting paid in giggles - and if that's the case - I'm already a millionaire.  Thank you.

I would like to congratulate all of the brilliantly funny women who were in this contest with me.  It is not easy to put yourself out there, be ridiculed, be criticized, all for the sake of a laugh - but they do it anyways.  I am thankful for all of you.  (I would love to name all  175 of them personally, but that's just obnoxious, so I'll encourage you to look at these bloggers not just the top 25, but as many as you can because they are all funny in their own way).


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this incredible honor..
~Andrea....aka  DG

Legos - A Real Pain in the Nose.



Every year I host my family's Big Fat Greek Thanksgiving.  It is a day to go all out food-wise, much like most of us in the US.  I start cooking, baking, and preparing days before Thursday.  I knew my little ones would be home from pre-school with me, so I planned ahead.  I bought them each a little set of Legos.  Usually, they either get a new set for their birthday or a holiday, and since the day before Thanksgiving, when I really needed them to keep busy, was neither of these, they were very excited. 

Our kitchen is wide open with a decent sized island in the middle.  It was what made me fall in love with this house, because I really do spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  The dining room wall was knocked out a few years ago so most of the first floor is all open.  We sold our dining room set because it was too fancy shmancy to have with kids around.  The wide open dining room/kitchen has turned into a great place for the kids to play while I am cooking.  Hubs and I always say that when we grow up, we'll get a dining room again.  (More like when our kids grow up, but we can't bear to say it that way). 

They couldn't have picked a better day to do this to me.  Thanksgiving Eve...the most complicated day in the kitchen.

So picture the two little ones, on the floor in the dining room, joyfully playing with Legos.  There I am in the kitchen, baking not one but two different things.  I had baked cut out cookies (a huge hobby of mine that I enjoy immensely) and while waiting for them to cool before icing them, I was making cornbread.  I had mixers, bowls, icing, tools, pans, half of the kitchen all over my counter.  It was making my blood pressure soar, but this is the chaos that you take on when volunteering to have Thanksgiving.  I hadn't even started the really complicated stuff yet.  When my kitchen, and stage of baking was at its most involved point, the boys started arguing over one particular Lego piece.  It, apparently, was a hockey puck.  Each of them claimed it was theirs for various reasons.  Next thing I know, Youngest is crying.

I stop what I am doing, wipe the gook from my hands on my apron and run over to them to see what is going on.  I ask Youngest why he is (hysterically now) crying, and he answered that he hid the Lego. In. His. Nose.  My first thought was to ask Why would you put it in your nose????!!!!!  And through his hysterics I heard,  I wanted to hide it in a place he couldn't find it!  Wow. 


I turn into Freak Out Mama.  I start to panic.  He could aspirate this  Lego and then we're really in trouble.  I try to assess his nose, his breathing and I'm like - forget this.  We're getting in the car.  All of this assessment took approximately 60 seconds.  I grab my purse, shut off the oven, and fly out the door.  While buckling the kids into their carseats, I am fueled by Youngest's terrorizing screams.  I dial my doctor's office which is literally 2 minutes from the house, as I figure it'll be safer and quicker to go there than to the ER, not to mention the fact that the ER will cost an arm and a leg (and quite possibly a nose), so if I can avoid a $200 emergency room bill, I would like to!  I quickly rattle off to the receptionist what's going on and she urges me to just bring him in and skip the ER.  I feel a sense of relief as I know we just have to hold on a little longer.



I rush them both into the office.  They are waiting for us.  We get right into the examining room and the doctor has me hold him still as he inserts a long, tweezer-like instrument into his nose.  He winces, in a big way, and kicks his leg and I am thinking this is going to be bad. I'm grateful that he didn't kick the doc in the junk since his foot was pretty darn close to that region. The doctor pulls the tweezers out carefully and quickly and Youngest lets out a huge sneeze, shooting the Lego into the doctor's face, nearly shooting his eye out.  (You'll shoot your eye out kid..is what immediately comes to mind and I think, No More Effing Legos - 'I don't want anybody shootin'-his-eye-out in the voice of Ralphie's poor mom in A Christmas Story).  I am mortified at this point.  The doctor rebounds nicely from the snot covered hockey puck-to the eye he just endured.


I don't want anyone shooting his eye out.

That was it.  All of this took under 90 seconds.  The Dr. washed his hands, wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, told Youngest to never put anything in any openings in his body every again, and was on his way.  For a brief second, I thought hmm, I wonder if they'll even charge me for this since it was a blink of an eye.  Bahahahahahaaaaaa...ohhh that was funny.  I gathered my composure and the kids, and headed home to my mess of a kitchen.  When we got home, I made them clean up all of the Legos and put them at the kitchen table to draw Thanksgiving pictures for the family until I could finish my baking.  Crisis (somewhat) averted.


Not long after, I got the bill.  $540.  The $200 Emergency Room bill isn't sounding so bad.

Legos - $20
Removal of Lego from Nasal Orifice - $540
Shooting the Dr in the eye with a mucus-covered flying hockey puck - Priceless


Grateful no one got hit in the junkular region.

On Thanksgiving, it was very easy for me to say what I was thankful for.  A great doctor with a wonderful sense of humor, quick thinking, and a cheery disposition. And thankful for my boys.  Always for my boys.

Until next time, the sign reads, 113 days without a Lego accident,
~DG

Tuesday

Bedtime Help ~ From The Help



Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England (from the book The Cider House Rules by John Irving). http://www.etsy.com/listing/38208078/good-night-you-princes-of-maine-wooden 

The Help has inspired me to try a new way to say good night to the kids.  Not the rushed - get-in-bed so I can run down and have some quiet time kind of good night.  Not the FOR THE LAST TIME, YOU DON'T NEED A DRINK OF WATER, NOW GET BACK IN BED kind of tuck in.  Not the -THIS IS THE LAST TIME I'M GOING TO SAY GOOD NIGHT  kind of tuck in. Nope.  This one is different.  This one is brilliant.  This one is how we all should go to sleep at night.  Doing this has brought so much joy to me at the end of a day..it has brought so much happiness to them before they go to sleep after a long day in their tiny world.  It brings my husband a smile, it brings us together.  It brings me comfort and peace.

I look at each one of them individually and tell them why I am proud of them, why they are special, or give them a compliment.  The looks they give me back nearly reduce me to tears of joy, and fills my heart with a sense of accomplishment that is simply indescribable.  They've also taken to giving me compliments in return.  No matter what kind of shenanigans they pulled during the day, no matter if they listened on the first try or I had to tell them three times to do something, no matter if they had to sit in time out or had the perfect day, this is the great Equalizer.  The cherry on the sundae.  The perfect tie of the bow.  It's a gentle reminder that no matter how good or bad we did the parenting thing today, we did it - and we'll do it again all over tomorrow.  I want the last thing these little men to hear is that they are loved for the special creatures that they are.

Tonight, as part of my blog, I recorded on my video cam what they in turn told me.

3 year old:  "Mama, you are brave, funny, you make all the stuff good.  You are huggy and kissy and are the best player when you play with us.  Also mama, you are a good lamp post and I love you."
(I have no idea what being a good lamp post entails...)

4 year old:  "It's my turn now, be quiet! (to 3 year old)  Mama, you are smart, you stay up later than we do and I don't know why because that's not really fair, you are beautiful and sometimes you give me a time out when I don't listen, but sometimes I don't listen and you DON'T give me a time out.  You're nice and you are a good teacher (I sub at his preschool often),  and I love when you buy us nice toys.  Oh, and mama, I would like you to buy me some more Star Wars Legos, and one more thing you put out the best clothes for us, and I love you).   Verbatim.

12 year old:   "Mom, you're weird - why are you video taping me right now? Ok, ok, I'll do it.  You're weird but you are funny and you are cool and I love you.  Can I go back to my Kindle now?"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMD0XtQqfkg
This clip in the Help breaks me up every single time I watch it.  But I won't cry for any other reason, but for the gratitude I have for my mother who believed in me and made me feel like the smartest girl in the world, and for my children, who absolutely do the same thing for me.  The least I can do for them, is give them the same gift in return.

Sweet dreams, dear friends.  Try this with your children.  Try it with your spouse.  Better yet, look in the mirror and try it with yourself. 



Hugs,
~DG

Monday

Star Wars for Mummies: A Breakdown of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

 

Whether you are are the Wife of a Crazed Jedi Wannabe...or the Mom of a young Padawan..or a little of both, this little blog is for you if you are finding yourself drifting aimlessly around the galaxy.


Growing up with a brother, I got a chance to know about boy stuff.  I went to movies like Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, Star Wars - all three of them.  When I met Hubs, I had a good base of understanding, or so I thought, of Star Wars stuff, but after having three boys, I realized that really, I knew nothing at all.  Hubs decided to take me under his Millennium Falcon wing and give me the Kindergarten - all -you-really-need-to-know-about-Star-Wars tutorial.  I finally figured out the difference between a Clone Trooper and a Storm Trooper, the difference between Padme and Queen Amadala, and finally the difference between Anakin and Darth Vader.  My hope here is to shed a little light on these foreign topics on a level that you can understand and hopefully find humor in.

The Basics:  

There are 6 movies.  The one that you and I remember from growing up was the very first one called Star Wars: A New Hope.  This is considered Episode 4.  I know, I know.  It's stupid.  The following two episodes that you remember from the 70s and 80s are The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - considered to be Episodes 5 and 6.  Here's where it gets tricky.  Not long ago, they released the Prequels; Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, Episode 2, Attack of the Clones and Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith.

Let's Recap:
1.  The Phantom Menace
2.  Attack of the Clones
3.  Revenge of the Sith
4.  A New Hope
5.  The Empire Strikes Back
6.  Return of the Jedi


The following is an excerpt from Wookipedia (giggle) on Star Wars along with plenty of my notes to add a little 'insight.'  Only read this is you really want the backstory and the summary of the movies and what the basic sequence of events are  (otherwise skip this part!):
The prequel trilogy follows the life of a young slave named Anakin Skywalker who is discovered by the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (played by the lovely Liam Neeson), who believes him to be the "Chosen One" foretold by Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council, led by Yoda (our favorite little green guy), sense that Anakin's future is clouded by fear, but reluctantly allow Qui-Gon's apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) to train Anakin after Qui-Gon is killed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul (the scary guy with the painted red face and ninja moves like Jagger). At the same time, the planet Naboo is under attack, and its ruler, Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), seeks the assistance of the Jedi to repel the attack. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious secretly planned the attack to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine (this is the gross, crusty little old man in the black hooded cape), a pretense to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and take his place.

The remainder of the prequel trilogy chronicles Anakin's gradual fall to the dark side of the Force as he fights in the Clone Wars, which Palpatine secretly engineers in order to destroy the Republic and lure Anakin into his service. Anakin and Padmé fall in love and secretly wed, and eventually Padmé becomes pregnant. Anakin has a prophetic vision of Padmé dying in childbirth, and Palpatine convinces him that the dark side holds the power to save her life; desperate, Anakin submits to the dark side and takes the Sith name Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire—appointing himself Emperor for life—Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order, culminating in a lightsaber battle between himself and Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan ultimately defeats his former apprentice and friend, severing his limbs and leaving him for dead beside a lava flow. However, Palpatine arrives shortly afterward and saves Vader, putting him into a black, mechanical suit of armor that keeps him alive. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins Luke and Leia. The twins are hidden from Vader and are not told who their real parents are.  Are you following this?  Luke and Leia are brother and sister...just as an FYI...Pops is Darth Vader - who is actually Anakin underneath the Black Suit - and their Mama is dead - Natalie Portman.  Are we good?
Tatooine has two suns, as it is in a binary star system. This shot from A New Hope remains one of the most famous scenes of the entire saga. (So if your little one says Good Night, I love you from here to Tatooine and back, take this as a compliment).
The original trilogy begins 19 years later as Vader nears completion of the massive Death Star space station, which will allow the Empire to crush the Rebel Alliance, which has formed to combat Palpatine's tyranny. Vader captures Princess Leia Organa, who has stolen the plans to the Death Star and hidden them in the astromech droid R2-D2. R2-D2, along with his counterpart C-3PO, escapes to the planet Tatooine. There, the droids are purchased by Luke Skywalker and his step-uncle and aunt. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers a message put into the droid by Leia, who asks for assistance from Obi-Wan. Luke later assists the droids in finding the Jedi Knight, who is now passing as an old hermit under the alias Ben Kenobi. When Luke asks about his father, Obi-Wan tells him that Anakin was a great Jedi who was betrayed and murdered by Vader.

Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo (dreamy Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (played by Rush Limbaugh - kidding! Kidding!) to take them to Alderaan, Leia's home world, which they eventually find has been destroyed by the Death Star. Once onboard the space station, Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed during a lightsaber rematch with Vader; his sacrifice allows the group to escape with the plans that help the rebels destroy the Death Star. Luke himself fires the shot that destroys the deadly space station.
Three years later, Luke travels to find Yoda and start his Jedi training, but is interrupted when Vader lures him into a trap by capturing Han and the others. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals that he is Luke's father and attempts to turn him to the dark side. Luke escapes, and, after rescuing Han from the gangster Jabba the Hutt a year later, returns to his training with Yoda, who by this time is on his deathbed. Before he passes away, Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father; moments later, Obi-Wan's spirit tells Luke that he must face his father before he can become a Jedi, and that Leia is his twin sister. As the Rebels attack the second Death Star, Luke confronts Vader as Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice.
During the subsequent lightsaber duel, Luke succumbs to his anger and brutally overpowers Vader, but controls himself at the last minute; realizing that he is about to suffer his father's fate, he spares Vader's life and proudly declares his allegiance to the Jedi. An enraged Palpatine then attempts to kill Luke with Force lightning, a sight that moves Vader to turn on and kill his master, suffering mortal wounds in the process. Redeemed, Anakin Skywalker dies in his son's arms. Luke becomes a full-fledged Jedi, and the Rebels destroy the second Death Star and, with it, the Empire.  (This part is sad - I remember my 6 year old watching it for the first time - he sat there and cried and cried wishing Darth Vader could have another chance.)

Characters:
Anakin Skywalker - ok folks if there's one thing you need to remember it's this guy.  He starts off as an adorable child in the prequels - then turns to sexy Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and goes to the dark side eventually being Darth Vader. The kids love this guy - he's good - then he's bad - then he's good...and oh how he loves his mama. Just like them.


Qui Gon Jinn - Liam Neeson - takes young Anakin under his wing. (I'm sorry, I had myself at Liam Neeson..can you say tall drink of water?)

Obi Wan Kenobi - the young version is played by Ewan Macgregor - trains Anakin after Qui Gon dies.

Qui and Obi -  Good guys, easy on the eyes.

Queen Amidala - Queen of Naboo people - also known as Padme - also known as Luke/Leia's mother.  Natalie Portman.

Don't try this hairstyle at home, girls.

R2D2 - if you don't know who this is - there is no way I can help you at this point.

Jar Jar Binks - from the Prequels - he is an amphibious creature with a Reggae-Rasta-Raggamuffin style.  He's very annoying and clumsy and most big time Star Wars fans would like to remove his existence from the movies.  He refers to himself in 3rd person and calls himself Meesa.  It's maddening.



Darth Maul - bad ass nightmarish red and black double bladed lightsaber usin' creeper.  The only thing you need to remember about this guy, is that if you buy your kids a lightsaber like his, you will have broken things around your house..and it doesn't get put away somewhere nicely - it's too damn big.

Try to convince the wee ones NOT to get the Darth Maul costume - it's all fun and games until someone breaks shit.
C3PO - Anakin built him in the early movies - he ends up being one of the main guys throughout.

Count Dooku - is cuckoo for cocoa puffs - no, kidding - ok he's a creeper played by Christopher Lee (you know, Saruman from Lord of the Rings? What does this guy only know bad guy roles?)  Anyhow - he was once a Jedi Master but ended up going to the dark side.

Clone Troopers - these armed guards are good guys until episode 3 and they become bad - and then they are called Storm Troopers.  They just aren't the sharpest tools in the shed - and the Jedi Mind Trick gets them every time.


Tusken Raiders - Sand people that remain completely covered from head to toe and like to wave their stabbing pokey things over their head all of the time.

Hasbro makes these Galactic Heroes - they are very toddler/kid friendly, nearly impossible to break and affordable.  My kids have played with them for years. Should run about $6.99-$8.99 for a 2 pack at ToysRUs, Target, Walmart, etc.

General Grievous - Cyborg - warlord - has 4 lightsabers. Bad ass. Bad guy. The kids love him - why? Because he has the most lightsabers of course.  The more lightsabers, the better.

Chewbacca - 200 year old wookie from Kasyyk.  Well traveled, witty, compassionate - kind of a smart ass too.  I once knew a guy in college with almost as much back hair as Chewy.  Only a few characters in Star Wars understand when he speaks his native language of  Shyriiwook which I think is wookie speak for Jibberish.



Darth Sidius aka Palpatine aka Senator - I don't even know where to begin with this freak.  He's the Senator from Naboo but is Darth Sidius in disguise.  He has some freaky lightening at his fingertips that apparently causes terrible pain to people - go figure.  Wouldn't our Senators like to have that power?  I have been notified by a dear reader Katie Davidson that he "was a Senator, then Chancellor and then Emperor. When we are first introduced to him - in Episode 4 he is The Emperor".  Katie, thank you for helping me illustrate my point that I don't know where to begin.  He's complicated. But I stand humbly corrected, and thank you for your note.  :)

Lando Calrissian - Billy Dee Williams back in his sexy days.  He's a gambler with a winning smile and is friends with Han Solo. You'll remember him from the Colt 45 commercials from the 70s.  If you're really young, you'll know him from the Janitor on General Hospital.  Oh how the mighty have fallen.


Jabba the Hut is what I look like one week out of the month.  Bloated, grouchy and with a bad disposition.  He's a crime lord that eats nine meals a day. Sound familiar?


Ewoks - the furry cute little guys who live on Endor.  They help fight the attack on the stormtroopers.

The Cantina - Not unlike many bars around town, this is the hangout for awkward, unattractive, unskilled people and weirdos to go and socialize.  The bartender keeps order by threatening to poison anyone who gives him trouble.  The band at the cantina is led by Figrin' D'anand & his band.  These guys are hilarious - until you go to buy some of the figurines on ebay - then you'll be crying.  They go for a lot of money and are very hard to find.



Yoda - I've saved the best for (almost) last.  This little guy's species is unknown.  He's the leader of all of the Jedis and is so cute that we all want to squeeze him and kiss him...just a little.  The kids love him - how can you not?


Yoda's most famous quote is "Do or do not. There is no try." 

Princess Leia - I saved her for last because of course she's my favorite.  She is the one I loved the most growing up.  Only Princess Leia could pull off the sidewind-braid-bun, and the slave girl teenyweeny purple sequined bikini.  Poor Carrie Fisher said she had to (literally) go to a Fat Farm to lose an insane amount of weight to fit in that bikini in the movie.  When I play with my kids, most of the time they let me be Princess Leia and I'm happy to play that role - but on occasion, they make me be Jabba the Hut...that's when I get grouchy.



Well - that's it folks.  That's the mommy/wifey crash course in Star Wars.  Hope it helps.  Until next time,
I will continue to fight evil with my trusty lightsaber, coffee and laptop!
~DG

Friday

Bloggy Blog Awards!


An award?? Several of them?? To me, Queen of the Underachievers? It's like the time I got an award for Perfect Attendance in Sunday School.  All I had to do was show up.   THANK YOU...for bestowing these resume worthy awards.  I hope I can use them when I head back into the job world.  Obviously, as with any award shows, I need to spend the next 2.5 minutes being flabbergasted and thank the necessary people that got me here. 


 


  You Know It Happens At Your House Too! nominated me for this one.  There have been others, and I am so sorry that I cannot remember - I want to say Because nobody likes Mondays yes, that's it for a creative blog award as well.  My dear friend Katy at http://www.wantadumpsterbaby.com/ gave me one of these awards back when I was a tiny speckle of a blogger and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.  Thank you to my hubs for putting up with the constant sound of pecking my keyboard when he's trying to read his silly game of thrones books every night, to my three beautiful babies, or muses I like to call them for the countless supply of material for my blog, but most of all, my spectacular readers who laugh and cry with me faithfully.  I would NOT be here if it weren't for People I Want to Punch in the Throat.  She is a leader of strong voices and a great mentor.

Stipulations of this award (slight eyeroll).  I don't follow directions well, so this might not go off as planned. 

*Share 7 things about yourself - will do
*Pass the award along to other bloggers you love reading - would love to but then they are obligated to these stipulations and they are too lazy to deal with it I'm sure.
*Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know they have won the award - meh..they'll find this if they want to .
See?  I'm an underachiever in all ways.

So, just 7 things about me.

1. I am 39 years old.  The other day when I said I was 39 to someone that asked me (*gasp!) he replied, "for the first or second time?"  Ahole.

2. When my teachers asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said Cruise Director every time.  They thought I would make a good Bus Driver.  Damn those fools.

3. My middle name is Elaine.  Like Elaine Benis from Seinfeld, only different.

4. I hate camping.

5. I love the smell of gasoline at gas stations.  Perhaps I have inhaled it one too many times while pumping.

6. I can't remember what I had for breakfast, but I can sing you every single lyric of any Wham! song out there.  Gladly.

7. I am Greek.  I eat.  I yell.  I feed people and I swear.  It's what we do.
If you are still reading, I feel badly that you're this bored and feel like I should applaud you for your kindness.

Want to pretend like you are working and need some good reading material to appear enthralled at your research when really you are dying from laughter?  I am way too lazy to list all of the blogs I love - but please, check them out on the right hand side of my blog and go visit them.  You're guaranteed a laugh or 100 of them.  xo  DG

PS - PLEASE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO POST A LINK TO YOUR BLOG FOR OTHERS TO CHECK OUT. 



Thursday

Don't Be Tardy to the (Potty) Party...

Well, as most of you know, I have three boys.  11, 4, and 3.  Over the years, I've learned that there are few things that result in the stomach grabbing, heavy duty laughs and giggles quite like Potty Humor.  With these boys, all one person has to do is toot, or hear a toot, and they are breathless and hysterical for a good 8-10 minutes.  I, on the other hand, usually sit there, baffled, rolling my eyes, and on occasion,  fight back the giggles that just encourage this silliness.  We're girls, we're taught to not talk about making poos and tooting and 'crap' like that.  Boys are made of the kind of cloth that revolves around the toilet and their junk.  It can't be helped.  It is in their DNA.

The other day, one of the boys called the other one Poopyhead (a favorite name of one of their fellow preschoolers).   I'd had enough of the shenanigans for the day so I stepped in.  I followed the advice of a friend of mine who suggested on Facebook that a good way to remedy this problem is by, what I'll call, a Party in the Potty.   This is how it went down:

I got all of my boys into one bathroom together, closed the door, and let them have at it.  I told them anything potty-related could roll off their tongues without getting into any trouble.  Suddenly, outbursts of anything having to do with butts, poop, pee, etc. started flying through the air like July 4th Fireworks.  I told them NOT to even think of coming out until they were done.  At first, they laughed uncontrollably, as they yelled...BUTTHEAD, POOPYHEAD, POOPYPANTS, PEEPEE, DOODOOHEAD, FART, POO, etc.  The little ones repeated whatever the other said, and they pretty much laughed as they yelled the same several words over and over again.  The laughter continued for another few minutes and then...it happened.  They were asking if they could come out because it wasn't fun anymore.  Mission accomplished!  Give them Carte Blanche on Sewage Verbiage and they quickly maxed out their credit limit and wanted to cancel their account.  Give them what they think they can't have and they'll quickly discard it with yesterday's toys.  Thank you FB friend for your brilliant advice.

If you have this problem with potty mouths and want my advice, here's what I'd do...

*Keep Calm and Stop Laughing:  I'm sure that your first instinct is to crack up, high five your spouse and make jokes.  This gives them the attention they crave and the laughs they thrive on.  Try to stay cool and give them little reaction.


*Divert Divert Divert!  "Would you like a cookie?"   Usually works for me.  I'm Greek - when in doubt, I offer food.  Don't judge.

*Use Shameless Tactics:  "I think a new episode of Ninjago is on! Want to watch it!?"  or  "Mommy would really like to learn that new Wii game you guys love, want to show me how to play it?"  That should change the poopyhead name calling to instant friendship, camaraderie and excitement over a video game!

*Suggest alternatives:  "Don't call your brother poopyhead..why don't you try something more fun like 'Gummyworm Breath' or 'Supermanhead' ? "   The less these alternatives make sense, the funnier they are.  You will find that your children won't opt for the foolishness of these names and lose interest quickly, thus returning to their previously scheduled activity.

*If all else fails, try the Potty Party.  It could last anywhere from one minute to one hour - but you'll see that it tires quickly.

Rememember that God awful song "Don't be Tardy for the Party" by Kim from the Real Housewives of Atlanta? I have her to thank for the title of this post.

Whatever works for you, just know that every mom, child, parent, goes through it...it's all part of growing up.

Until next time,
~DG (aka Queen of the Doodooheads)

Wednesday

30 Years of Shaving & I Still Cut My Shins.


I like this gal - look at her - big head, skinny legs, flawless arms - yes, she is a cartoon.  Point taken.


I love winter for so many reasons.  I love being able to cover up my imperfections with countless layers of cute clothing, boot legged jeans, leggings (NOT jeggings), long skirts, adorable sweaters, etc.  I also love the fact that I am not in sundresses, bathing suits, shorts, capris and other leg exposing paraphernalia, not because I loathe any of the above (ok, I'm lying, I DO loathe bathing suits), but because I have to shave my legs.  As you know, I'm Greek.  We don't have hair that is light and airy, we don't boast that our hairs bleach out at the first sign of contact with the sun.  No - our hair is coarse, heavy, thick, and awful - and it is NOT uncommon for 3-5 hairs to sprout out of one follicle.  Bastards.  That being said, these little disposal crappy single blade Bics and cutesy Ban de Soleils and what not simply do not, I repeat do NOT work on our hair.  This is one of the many reasons I hate shaving.  Here's a fun little flow chart I found to help me decide on days where shaving is a possibility.



After being mercilessly teased at 10 years old by fellow mates on my Midget League Cheerleading Squad, I knew I was different.  I looked darker and wayyy hairier than my blond, blue-eyed counterparts.  A few weeks later, during a cruise with my parents (of the Greek Isles, of course), I snuck into our shoebox of a bathroom, swiped my mom's travel razor and took it to my virgin stubble.  OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!   My shrieks were heard all through the Promenade deck, I am certain.  My mom came running (it was actually more of a hop since our cabin couldn't have been more than 80 square feet.  LOL).  She looked at me as the blood dripped down my shin and just shook her head. 
"Well, now you are going to be shaving for the rest of your life."  She tried to explain to me how to successfully shave the shins and the knee, but to no avail.  To this day, I still cringe every time I skim over my shin, just waiting for bloodshed.  Once, for Christmas when I was, ummm 13?  My overtrusting mother bought me an Epilady.  Do you remember those torture devices?  I was soo excited, I immediately ran into the bathroom on Christmas morning and tried it out.  My poor mom.  Again, she heard blood curdling screams coming from the bathroom.  Let's just say that little contraption went back to the store the very next day.


Slow and steady over the shins and knee.

The Epilady: Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman? No.  Too painful for a man to handle, but made by a man for women to suffer.  The developers at Remington were real masochists.

Nowadays, I use Hubs' super heavy duty four blade razor for men.  Isn't that sexxxxxy!?  AND I use shaving cream.  Sometimes I hear profanities coming from the shower.  "HAVE YOU BEEN USING MY RAZOR AGAIN????  WHY CAN'T YOU CLEAN IT WHEN YOU'RE DONNNNNNNNE!??"  I give him an apologetic and loving smile followed by a guilty wink and promise to do better.


Those of you thinking, or getting ready to suggest Waxing to me.  I'm Greek..I've waxed all of my life.  Unless they come up with a Jacuzzi sized Wax Tub and charge for the full body dip, I'm not doing it.  It takes too freaking long and I don't have $200 to wax every 6 weeks.  Thanks for the thought though!

Thanks for reading friends! Until next time, I've got a 5:00 shadow on my legs already, and it's only 8:00am,
~DG