Tuesday

GIVEAWAY! Holiday Survival Kit!

Bitter...party of one....


Hello everyone!!

Hard to believe I am 2 weeks short of doing this DG thing for a whole year!!  I can tell you exactly how it started!  A funny lady named Jen, or as I call her Professor Punch wrote a post about the elf on the shelf that went viral overnight.  When I read it (if you haven't already, click here to read), I laughed so hard I had a stomach cramp.  It takes some VERY funny stuff to get a laugh out of me, so I continued to read her stuff that night, and ended up reading her blog - in. its. entirety.  I had been keeping an unpublished blog just for my own sanity and survival of being a mother to 3 boys, but never had the guts to publish it, until I read her stuff.  She openly admitted she was not perfect, nor was she trying to be.  I loved that honesty so much that I decided to put myself out there too.



Little did I know that she and I would become friends.  She's been a mentor, a friend, and an endless resource of information and laughs.  I had the pleasure of spending an entire weekend with her at Blog Her NYC 2012.  She is just as funny, bubbly, and wonderful as you would hope she'd be.  I am fortunate to have a signed copy of her book, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat made out to me - and she was generous enough to send me an extra one to give away to one of my lovely friends. 
Not only will the winner get a copy of the signed book, but I will also send a long a holiday survival kit with some goodies in the box!

If you'd like a funny review of this hilarious book, my dear friend over at You Know it Happens at Your House, too posted a good one.  We are going to do the giveaway together so there are TWO winners! So here's the link to enter below! Winners will be announced on our Facebook pages on Wednesday December 5th!  We'll post winners on our blog, too.  Winners have 24 hours to claim their Survival Kit and if they don't, we will yank the prize out of their invisible hands and rafflecopter will pull new ones.

PS - What I'd really like to give away is lunch with her (and me of course) but the logistics are kind of tough unless we do it in Chicago next July when both of us are there for BlogHer 2013.  Maybe that will be my next giveaway?  Spending your lunch hour with People I Want to Punch in the Throat and DG?  Takers?  (why do I hear nothing but *crickets*??)OK - we'll add a chair for You Know It Happens at Your House, too just to sweeten the deal - and maybe she'll bring Johnny Depp.  Ha!  Stay tuned for that contest.  


 GOOD LUCK! 
~DG a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven't got a ha'penny then God Bless You!



Tis the season of extra hours dedicated to my non-profit organization that I volunteer for.

We provide outerwear (coats, snowpants, boots) to kids in need. 

We have served over 400 people in three weeks.

We are exhausted.  Inventory-wise, money-wise, and personally - emotional-wise.

It is overwhelming to see first-hand, the need, the poverty, the circumstances of so many--too many people.

I know wherever you go you are being bombarded with requests for donations.  You check out at a retail store they ask you "would you like to donate a  dollar to St. Jude?"  "kids with autism?" "Alzheimer's research?"  You name it - BOMBARDMENT.  We are put in a position to say no at every turn because most of us are just getting by as well.  Salvation Army bells are ringing at every corner, food pantries have bins at every grocery store, headlines constantly read Food banks need your help.  Every time you see this, hear this, read this, you feel this. Eventually, it takes its toll.

Everyone needs your help.  Hell, even you need your help.

We're becoming numb to needs.  We have to, otherwise, how will we get through the day?  There is so much need that we throw our hands in the air because we can't fix it all.  The news is wearing on us, too.  Stories of horrific tragedies, disasters, etc - all of which have a place to donate should you choose to. $1 here, $5 here, it adds up.  How can we do it all?  And that little voice in your head telling you how fortunate you are to have a roof over your head, healthy children, food on your table, that voice keeps chiming in, it's just a dollar.

I find myself saying DAILY - please just let me win Powerball so I can help everyone in need.  I can't help it.  I am a fixer by nature.  I know what it is like to struggle and I want to help anyone and everyone in my path.  But I simply cannot.  Admitting this is difficult.  But it's true.  I simply cannot do it.  So I volunteer.

As I handed a pair of Princess pink snowboots to a little 5 year old girl a few nights ago, she hugged them tightly in her arms and said, "I love these more than anything."  Her smile lit up the room and my heart. It brought me back to earth.  That's why we do what we do.  That little girl might remember that moment and pay it forward some day.  We can only hope.  Another little girl, slightly older, tried on her boots and they did not fit.  She said, "I think I can get one more winter out of the ones I already have so you can save these that don't fit me, maybe they will fit another girl somewhere.."   That right there is proof that there is hope for the future.  That little girl is wise beyond her years.  That little girl gave me the energy I needed to push through another volunteer night.

On Saturday, I sat down and made my grocery list of things I needed to make our Thankgsiving Dinner.  As I continued on with my to-do list, I could feel my shoulders tightening, my teeth gritting, my blood pressure rising.  How in the world am I going to get it all done? I have to work this week, volunteer, go to school programs, clean the house, get ready, blah blah blah.  I got in the car and drove to the grocery store.  It was so cold out.  I cranked up the heat, turned up the music and made my way to the store.  As I was driving, I noticed there was much more traffic than usual. Was there an accident?  Why were so many people lined up in the road? What were people doing standing out in the freezing cold weather with their little children?  As I inched closer through traffic, I realized it was the food pantry.  Today was the day to get your turkey dinner from the pantry.  Chills went up and down my spine as I saw babies' breath freezing in the air as their mothers held them in line for what I can only assume would be hours.  I am an asshole. I couldn't help but think that.  I know that seems harsh but that's the first thing I thought.  First world problems lady - yep  - that's me.  Here I am complaining and stressing in my head about having to go to the store to buy my Thanksgiving groceries, and having to balance work with cooking, and running my kids to their extra-curricular activities.  Perspective.  The great silencer.   I have invisible duct tape over my mouth now.  I have a pasta strainer in my brain now to drain out the insanity of the things I was thinking just before I left the house.  Remember to be grateful.  Ok.  I got it.   I'm grateful, I'm grateful.  Sometimes we just lose our way, don't we?  Aren't we all just doing the 'best we can?'


Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!

Our job as human beings is to live our lives to the fullest, make the most out of what we are given, maximize our happiness, health and brains, and hopefully somewhere along the line,  show kindness to each other.  We need to free ourselves from the burden of thinking we have to fix everything and everyone.  We need to start with ourselves and work on fixing us, and making us the best people we can be, and then pass it on.  Life is hard right now, but there is still beauty in every corner if you look with both eyes open, there is still hope in our hearts that things are getting better, there is still laughter and happiness if you allow there to be, there is still a bright side of things should you choose to find it.  Whether you are in a position to help others because you are in a good place, or you are in a position to get help because you are hurting, I hope you can reach out and touch someone's hand, and hold on tight, ask for help, give something to someone, make amends with family, visit a neighbor, donate some clothes you don't wear, invite someone to your Thanksgiving table who might not have anyone.  Something. Anything.  We determine the world we live in..every single one of us.  We might not be able to change the world completely, but we can make our little section  brighter.



Until next time, take care of yourselves, be kind to yourselves, find happiness, joy and love within yourselves, so that some day you  might pass it on...

Happy Thankgsiving to you and your family!

Love and Hugs - and lots of gratitude for reading,
~DG



Sunday

The Kids' Table: A Trick? Or a Treat?



Every holiday it happens.

There's not enough room at the 'big people's' table so your grandmother, mom, you, someone digs out a rickety old card table with rusted, mismatched folding chairs from the garage, throws a stained tablecloth on it and calls it the Kids' Table.

No one over the age of 14 ever wants to sit at the kids' table.  Why???


WHAAAT??? That's just crazy talk!

The Kids' Table can be made up of several different people.  Could be toddlers, grade schoolers, tweens, teens, that one unmarried Aunt that shows up for the holidays, the new mom who has to watch her tiny one so they don't choke while eating cut up pieces of turkey, you name it.  Anyone could end up at the kids' table for a number of reasons.  Why do people get so bent out of shape if they have to 'take one for the team' and sit there to give up their spot at the adult table for someone who may seem more worthy that year?  If they could only be a little more open-minded, they would see that the kids' table is where all of the good stuff happens.

I've had to sit at the kids' table many times in my adult life.  Whether it is because of having little ones in high chairs, or just being the 'martyr' of the family and saying, "no, you go ahead and sit with the adults, I'll sit at the little table," I've been there and have to say, it's a lot more fun than not.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you are in a position to make a move to the kids' table this year.....

1.  Kids are much more fun than adults.   You will most likely hear more entertaining stories at this table, brutal, blatant honesty about life in general, and have more belly laughs than you would at the adult table.

2.  It is socially acceptable at the kids' table to do things that are frowned upon at the adults' table.   Burping, farting, blowing bubbles in milk, and eating mashed potatoes like Randy from A Christmas Story is not only acceptable but expected at this table. 

3.  The kids get served first.   Want your pick of the buffet items?  The kids are ushered through the kitchen first, so if you are picked or volunteered for the kids' table, you have a right to get in line behind 5-year-old cousin Timmy.  You do risk cousin Timmy spilling his wobbly paper plate on your foot, thus covering your new wedge boots in gravy, but this is a risk you will need to take in your position.  (This brings us to another point - you will most likely be eating on Chinet or something less sturdy at the kids' table - good news comes with eating on paper plates - you are absolved of dish-duty.)

4.  There is always a toddler you can blame things on.   Spills?  Food on the Floor?  1/2 chewed Brussell Sprouts spit into a napkin?    Just. Blame. The. Toddler.

5.  Specialty items at the kids' table.  There is always that one child at the holidays that is a picky eater.  They don't eat turkey, they hate green beans, they gag at the thought of stuffing.  If your family is like mine, there is inevitably a plate of chicken fingers at the kids' table only to ensure they have something of substance to eat before the almighty dessert table is visited.  So if you are seated at the kids' table, you may get to indulge in some kid-happy food like chicken fingers and pizza bites or something of the sort.  If you are at one of those Pottery Barn-type Thanksgivings where the Hostess actually goes all out on the kids' table, you may even find a chocolate favor or something like it at your place setting.  BONUS!

6.  No one notices how much wine you are drinking.  Kids at the table are not going to pay attention to how many times you have refilled your wine glass (or in this case, whine glass?).  At the adult table, you may be silently judged for how much sauce (not cranberry) you are taking in to help get you through the holiday madness.  No one cares if you spill on the already-soiled tablecloth either.  If you are at the adults' table and spill your wine, you will be marked for life.

7.  At the kids' table, you get honest answers.   Is the stuffing dry?  You will hear about it.  They will just plain old say.."this is disgusting..."   If someone burps/farts, they will admit it proudly and belly laugh about it for the next 5 minutes.  No topic is off limits, however, topics will most likely be limited to video games, possible Christmas/Hanukkah presents to come, Legos and Barbies. If you ask them what they are thankful for, you will get honest, simple answers such as their Wii, candy, and Sponge Bob.

8.  You can be as loud as you want there.  At the kids' table, there is no limit on how much noise you can make.  You want to throw your head back and cackle loudly at a joke - go ahead.  Maybe you've had a few too many glasses of eggnog and are feeling a little obnoxious? No problem.  At the kids' table, no one really cares.  The louder, the better - there are no etiquette rules at this table. Oh, another perk - - they laugh at all of your jokes, too.

9.  You can get the dirt on loved ones here.   Want to hear the skinny on what's really going on in the family?  Here's a good place to get all the dirt.  You could ask an innocent-yet-probing type of question and sit back and listen as each child tries to shout out and even top the answers regarding their family's habits.  These tidbits of information may come in handy later at other holiday gatherings.

10.  No one cares if you clean your plate.  If the parents and other adults are in at the big table, trying to enjoy their hot, spectacular holiday meal, then no one really is paying attention to who ate all of their dinner, who gets dessert, and what not.  So you didn't particularly care for the stick-in-the-throat turkey?  You can put it on one of the other kid's plates next to you and not be judged.  At our big fat Greek dinners oooohhh, if you get caught leaving food on your plate, my Yia Yia will start crying and say, "didn't you like my stuffing? Yia Yia made it just the way you like it..."  At our functions, all foods are (not-so)secretly infused with guilt.




Whether you are at the Adults' Table or at the Infamous Kids' Table, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  May you find the joy in the holiday no matter where you sit.  Remember to be thankful for what you have, not just on Thanksgiving, but all of the days in between.

Cheers, burps and giggles, this is me signing off from the Kids' Table,
~DG  



Friday

Who is DG?

 

Who is DG?

(who cares?)

 

 

If you are reading this, it either means you have come here to learn some unknown and obscure facts about me or that you still need more coffee and are desperately looking for a blog to read while drinking it, or it's Friday and you are at work, but not ready to actually work so by reading this blog you are staring at your screen intently, giving off the image that you really are working and concentrating.  Regardless, you are here and that makes me happy.
 
Yesterday,the spectacular man behind the funny blog called The Hubs tagged me (shaking my fist at you Hubs! You know I can't ever say no when someone throws the blogger gauntlet down in front of me!) in a WHO IS_____? post, delivering a challenge to let readers get a closer look at the person behind the blog.  So, here we go.  As if anyone really cares.  I will indulge.  (Hi mom, I know you are the only one reading this...love you.)
 
I will not be tagging other bloggers because then I'll be the one getting the fist shaking and shin-kicking. I will say this - please, if you want to try this on your page, please do so..but I didn't want to be the one to peer pressure you into it. 

1. I am Greek. I speak Greek, terribly and incorrectly - but I can say what I need to and get my point across. NO I do not eat Gyros and Baklava every day.  Yes, I am a good cook and a good little pastry baker/maker.  Yes I know how to work with Filo dough - and here's a newsflash:  IT'S NOT HARD TO WORK WITH...it's just an act.  All of these years, Greek women have been pretending that Filo is hard to work with and Baklava and Spanakopita are 'so hard' to make and take HOURS and backbreaking effort to put together.  It's a lie. If you know how to wrap something in tissue paper, you can use Filo Dough.  There.  I spilled one of the biggest secrets of Greek women.  Guilt and Martyring ourselves are our specialty. We, as Greek women pride ourselves in being martyrs for the greater good of the family.  We are the LAST to sit during a meal.  We walk around and hold a very hot plate (my Yia Yia would say, "it's very hot, let ME hold it for you..(as if her skin wasn't as important as mine), while making sure everyone is 'served' first at the table.  We do NOT sit down, until nearly everyone at the table has begged with exhausting undertones...'SIT DOWN WOULD YOU??? THE FOOD IS GETTING COLD!' This ridiculous act is something that is passed down and learned through the generations.  The matriarch, or the hostess of that particular dinner party needs to sit in the chair closest to the kitchen as she will get up every 5 seconds if she gets wind of anyone needing anything at all.  Soon, shouts of  "no really, I can get it.." or "please finish your meal" will fall on deaf ears.  This is what we do.  We are raised to feed, serve, and protect our family.  If you DARE say no to the food we offer, you are put on a shameful, blackballed-type of list.  (See Greek Theory: 'He/she said no to my cooking, they cannot be trusted.") In order to fall in the loophole of having an acceptable excuse to decline said greek woman's cooking, you must get into some detail on your intestinal issues and/or say you are about to go into surgery and can't eat for 24 hours. WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE DON'T EAT NO MEAT? <---This line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a perfect depiction of a Greek woman.  Vegan? Gluten Free?  Forget it - don't even try to explain. One final note, because we aren't weird enough, I am a Greek Dance Teacher and have been for 20 years.  No we do not break plates unless we are at a greek nightclub or a wedding whose venue allows for this practice, yes I know how to dance Zorba the Greek and no, I do not walk around yelling "Opa" every five minutes.
 
 
2.  I speak fluent Movie Quotes.  Anyone who knows me knows that for every occasion, there is a movie line to help make it funnier.  My specialty is Moonstruck, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (obviously), Sixteen Candles, Coal Miner's Daughter, and The Breakfast Club.  If, on the rare occasion I can't come up with anything from a movie, there is undoubtedly a jingle of some sort that I can sing a line from (terribly I'll admit) to do the trick.  Finally, while I cannot for the life of me remember much of anything, I know every line to every 80's song and will use it at any given time.
 
 
SNAP OUT OF IT!!
 
 
3.  I am not a writer, but I play one on the Internet.  I did well in school with my writing classes, yes.  But truth -be- told I am no pro (go figure).  I use too many .....'s and make lots of errors when it comes to punctuation.  I get my point across though -  so whatever.  I know I will never make money doing this - but I do it for the laughs, for the friendships and because it's my hobby and I love it.  What I really hope, though, is that my readers truly understand how very very grateful I am that I've been allowed into their lives, their days, and their hearts.  That is probably the coolest thing about my hobby.  I read every comment, though I can't always reply.  I appreciate the time taken to write me!
 

4.   I have three boys, plus a 12 year old boy disguised as a 40-year-old man to call my husband.  They are sweet, funny, Lego-loving, Star Wars fanatics and I wouldn't trade them for the world.  They are my little fortress around my castle, adoring and protective.  I am one fortunate woman to call them mine.  My husband put me on a pedestal the first day he met me, and has kept me there ever since.  He knew my worth from the get-go and has loved me unconditionally, and has shown me that you can laugh and love every single day - no matter what you are going through.  I have been through some bad stuff in my life, and that only makes me appreciate my second chance at happiness even more.  I don't even mind having to play Princess Lea or Padme every. single. time.
 


 
 
 
5. I love animals.  Especially cats.  I have three of them. Two calico bad-attitude bitches, and one silly little Ewok named Manny.  We lost the love of our life a few years back - Biggie Smalls, the Notorious C.A.T.  and I still have an empty spot in my heart because of him.  I give them all ridiculous voices, usually with accents.  They all play a role, probably begrudgingly, in my daily entertainment. 
Manny the Putz - he likes to poop in his litterbox while I am cleaning it.  Jerk.  I love him though.
 
Rest in Peace Biggie Smalls.
 
6.  I am a shopaholic.  I don't go out and just buy anything though.  I am a sale scavenger.  I love getting good deals and using coupon on top of coupon to score a win.  It's one of several vices.  (See food and gambling).  I am terrible, awful, horrible at Math - but Sale Math - I could be a damn Professor. 
 
 
 
7.  I have a not-so-secret love affair with slot machines.  Especially Wheel of Fortune.  I seriously get a high off of the chinging- bell ringing- crazy -annoying sounds of multiple slot machines ringing.  It's not to the point where I need to call gamblers anon.  I only go twice a year - but between those visits, my arm and elbow twitch with desire to pull the arm of that damn machine.
Hellooo lover!
8.  The most frequent question I get is "are you from New Jersey?" - Seriously.  If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that.  No.  I was born and raised in O-H........anyone, come on finish it for me...(you there, thank you!)  I-O!  Which is why I am such a kind heart.  :)    I've lived in New England for 19 years and still no one thinks I am a New Englander.  I do not walk around in Birkenstocks with a bulky sweater and handmade earrings - nor do I EVER go out in public without makeup.  Does that make me stand out up here?  Apparently so.  Funny story - last week in Chicago with a bunch of my favorite bloggers, we got out of our car, and some people on the sidewalk said..."hey, ain't that the girl from Mob Wives?"   No.  It ain't.
 
 
No.  I do not star in the show Mob Wives.  I am not a Jersey Girl (no offense to them at all, they are gorgeous), and I am not EYE-talian.  (I love Italians ...they are like a happy cousin to us Greeks..)  But no.  None of the above am I. 
9.  I am a runner.  Only different.  After 25 years of believing my Track coach when she told me I "wasn't built for running"  I finally proved her otherwise.  I taught myself how to run last year and can count on two hands the number of 5Ks I have suffered through in the past 24 months.  I hate running...and I hate exercise - but let me tell you.  I LOVVVE the results, I love to eat, and I love to say that I can do something that someone clearly stated that I CANNOT do.  Will I ever run a 10k? Nope.  13. whatever 1/2 marathon - hells no.  Full marathon ?  NOT UNLESS THERE IS A CHECK FOR A MILLION WAITING FOR ME AT THE FINISH!!
 
 
 
That's all for now, loves.  Loves?  Oh nooo, you're sleeping...there, there.  That's ok, you take a nap there on your keyboard and I'll just wait here. 
 
Until next time, happy napping,
~DG

Tuesday

Little Life Lessons at the Grocery Store...

Please enjoy this repost from last November 6, 2012.  I thought it was worthy of revisiting today, November 6, 2013.  Always a good reminder, especially during the holiday season kickoff.  xo, DG




Today I had to do a mega-shopping at our local wholesale club.

It was one of those shoppings where I needed everything.  Paper towels, TP, napkins, all things great and small that keep my household running.

I had my four year old with me, which is always pleasant.  (Mommm...I'm hungry, are we done yet, this is boring...)

We were making our way through the bread aisle when an elderly woman was stopped in the middle of the aisle.  I waited for a moment because I know she didn't realize she was in my way.  I stood, pleasantly, patiently, waiting for her to move.  Finally she glanced at me, slowly pushed her cart, and gave me a dirty look.  Always being the first to apologize, I quickly and softly said, "excuse us" for what I have no idea, but she was old so I thought I would just be kind.

We finished up our shopping and headed to the checkout line.  There was only ONE open.  Fine. No problem.  We'll wait.

I had a FULL cart that I knew would take a while to ring in, and I turned and saw the elderly woman huffing and puffing behind me.  My first thought was, there is no way I am going to let grouchy grandma go ahead of me after the look she gave me a little while ago.  But alas, the good side of me said - ohh just let her go ahead. 

Next thing I know, I hear myself sweetly saying, "you know what, I have a lot of stuff in my cart, and you just have a few things, why don't you go ahead of me.."

She barely acknowledged me, just about ran over my 4 year old, and pushed ahead.  Now I was kind of pissed because if she couldn't muster up a thank you, then a smile would've been nice.  But no.  Nothing.

It was our turn next.  The checkout girl got us right through, quickly and efficiently.  We were on our way out the door.  We head to the car, and who do we see?  Grouchy grandma...just 2 cars down from ours.  She is having a hell of a time trying to get the cat food and litter from her cart to her little Subaru stationwagon.  Here we go again. No, no, no.  I'm not going for the trifecta of niceness.  I am going to get my car loaded and go.

Nope.

"Would you like some help with that litter?  I know, it's really heavy and hard to lift!"

She looked at me, with a very sad look.  "That would be really nice of you.  My husband was usually the one to do it, but he passed away a few weeks ago, and this is my first time here without him."

I told her how very sorry I was and loaded her car.  She grabbed on to her cart suddenly as if she was going to fall, and I shot up from the trunk of her car to make sure she was ok.  She was not.  She was sobbing uncontrollably.  I rubbed her arm and said it would all be ok and that's when she lunged forward and hugged me.

My poor little man in the cart didn't know what to do when he saw her crying so he looked at her and said, "I like your car."  It was perfectly innocent and well-timed.  Even his heart broke for her.

She looked at him and smiled and said, "I like your car, too."  (He was  in one of those obnoxious red race car-shopping carts.)

"Thank you for stopping to help me.  This has been a really hard couple of weeks, and I just miss him so much.  After so many years, it's just really hard to learn to live without someone."

I did everything I could to choke back the tears.  I stood there with her for a few minutes, made sure she got in her car ok, and waved to her as she drove off.



What a lesson in kindness.  My inner voice told me not to be nice to her for the third time, but my heart moved my legs right to her car to help. 

In a world where our patience is tested daily, hourly, by the minute even, it is so easy to get wrapped up in drama or sucked in to someone else's poison.  My challenge to you is to make the choice to walk away from the negativity, choose the high road, give someone the benefit of the doubt, and be kind.

Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart.

Until next time...
xo,
DG

Monday

Blogstruck Weekend..Chicago 2012



Ok..ok...lots of you have been asking for the low down dirty deets on this past weekend in Chicago when some of the funniest women from across the US came together for big laughs.

I'll give you a quick (as quick as I can) recap of my take on things.


First, the background.  Everyone knows I want a dumpster baby..and her incredible journey of getting sober, getting healthy, quitting smoking, and trying to have a baby.  When she was blessed with finally getting pregnant with twins, the whole bloggerverse was spinning with excitement.  Friends, bloggers, etc came together to hear her story.  It's full of hope, inspiration, and good stuff.  She brings people together.  Simple enough.  So a bunch of us thought, hey, it might be fun to have a little get together in her honor before the babies arrive.

I had never met any of these ladies before - just online. 

Last June, as you might remember, I went to BlogHer in NYC and had the incredible thrill of meeting the very funny and fabulous Jen from People I want to punch in the throat (as well as the lovely AND brilliantly funny Leslie from the Bearded Iris, THE chuckle-inducing Robin O'Bryant, author of Ketchup is a Vegetable, and the hilarious blonde bombshell Kim from Let me Start by saying)...and I thought my life was complete having met these (and many many other funny girls; ninjamom, motherhoodwtf, etc. etc) ladies.  But having tasted the awesomeness that was those ladies, I wanted more funny - so I booked 2 nights in Chicago.  After all, Mary Tyler Mom, Moms Who Drink and Swear, I want a dumpster baby all lived there.  It was worth the time and effort to just meet these ladies.

After some messaging back and forth, we booked tickets, a hotel suite (very affordable, thank you Chicago suburbs..), and forged ahead.  Some of the replies from friends, coworkers and husbands all echoed the same worries.."what if they tie you up and cut out your kidneys and sell them on ebay..."  etc. etc. etc.  Even the famous Young Jonathan from Katy's (IWADB) work was on standby with ransom money ready to wire if need be.  Alas...believe it or not, the only thing any of us wanted, was to experience each other live and in person, and laugh hysterically at anything and everything that anyone said at any given time.

A friend of mine had this conversation with me when I arrived (in a zombie-like state) on Sunday.
Friend:  SOOO...what did you do???  What awesome clubs did you go to..make me jealous!  GO!
Me:  Ummm...no clubs...no fancy outings...nope.  Nothing.  Just sat around mostly, and laughed.
Friend:  Surely you went shopping on Michigan Avenue?
Me:  No.  We got a coffee at Starbucks on Michigan Ave and stared longingly in each others' eyes.
Friend:  Did you just laugh yourself silly from too many cocktails, too?
Me:  Again..no.  I think 1/2 a bottle of wine was consumed the entire weekend.  These people are funny as shit..SOBER.
Friend:  Ok then I gotta go !! Talk to you later!
Click.
I know...some people don't 'get it'..you know, the whole blogging thing.  It's weird, whatever..but we do it, and we love it.  And no, we're not getting rich off of it either.  Not even a little.  Most of us make about 3 cents a month if we have a really good month.  Anywhooo..

And that, in a nutshell...is what happened.

We laughed.  And talked.  And yelled over each other (keep in mind a bunch of A-type personalities all finishing each others' sentences and one upping the funny with everything that was said...and everyone hanging on to every. single. word of those we consider the 'great ones' of blogging.

What were they like???

OK - I'll do a quick security breach here and spill some simple deets about these ladies.

Mary Tyler Mom:  For someone who has been through the hellish agony of losing a child to cancer, and all of the countless curve balls that have been thrown her way, she is a beaming ray of light that warms everyone in her presence.  I loved her so much I wanted to sit on her lap and have her rock me to sleep.  She exudes love, peace, beauty and HOPE.  I wish I could convey how many times the thought of her strength in what she's gone through has made ME strong in my daily life.  She is as priceless and wonderful as you think she is from her blog.  I wish I could've bottled her and taken her home with me.  Not in a creepy way of course.



Moms Who Drink and Swear:  You all know this - she is a L E G E N D in the blogosphere.  How do I describe her and do her justice??  She is a firecracker..high voltage burst of concentrated energy.  When you are near her, you feel adrenaline rush through your veins like you just had a 5hr energy drink.  And not only is she funny as hell, this woman is a social worker who has given herself and her time to help so many people in need.  How she has been exposed to the sadness she has and still find the funny in life should be a lesson to everyone.  Though all of us were incredibly awestruck to be with her, she had no idea how much we all loved her and why.  She is as humble as they come..cool, wild, fun, and sweet as honey.  Unreal.



I Want a Dumpster Baby:  This girl is a people magnet for a reason.  She sucks people in with her natural charm, her smile, her silliness, and her ability to just BE who she is.  She spreads a gracious vibe every where she goes, and with a genuine appreciation for life, she lives every day believing that anything is possible.  I totally get why so many people love her  - - and not just in an 'i love chocolate' kind of way - like in a serious, 'no, i really LOVVVE that girl..' kind of way.  She is as cute, if not cuter than her spaz dance pics demonstrate.  And, if I'm being honest, it's kind of ridiculous that she looks better with twins than I ever did with just one.   One of the highlights of my trip was meeting the infamous 'grandmama' necklace she wears, and coming face to face with Sally Boy, the cat.  What a naughty little love he is.



Blissfully Discontented:  One of my very first loves in the blogging world.  She supported me when I thought my blog was total solid gold shit.  She was always there commenting, encouraging, reading, laughing and I couldn't wait to squeeze her in person.  All she has to do is smile and the entire room lights up.  She is ridiculously beautiful but she is so much more than beauty.  This girl is smart as a whip, knows every stinkin' movie quote I threw at her (and followed up w/ another), and has the most caring way about her.  Her journey to discover her son's Asperger's has been an inspiration to so many.



You Know It Happens at Your House, too:  Ahhh yes, the Johnny-Depp loving, Farmer's Wife.  If you look up America in the dictionary, her photo should be there next to apple pie, baseball and the flag.  She is proud, happy, witty as they come, and one of the funniest people I have ever met.  She's so quick on a joke it will make your head spin.  You know the movie "I don't know how she does it?"  That's her.  She has 1001 things to do in a day and gets them done..and done well.  Her disposition is happy, and her sense of humor is killer, but she finds the good in people like you wouldn't believe.



Tripping While Standing Still:  This firecracker here...where to begin?  She has been through more than anyone could ever even imagine, and yet she is nothing but grateful for what she has.  She cares more about people than most and if there is an opportunity to help someone she is on it.  This girl has taught me that no matter what life hands you, you go with it.  If you don't like what life handed you, you do whatever it takes to change that.  Clean and sober for almost a year, she has had every reason to drink this year, but spit in the face of temptation.  She doesn't put up with whining or bs..she will tell you like it is, and when she's done telling you, she will hug you and tell you that no matter what, you can do it..you can do what you think you can't.  She's a survivor..yet so much more.


That's it...that's all I got for ya!  All I can say, is that we have one big thing in common...we love blogging, we love making people laugh, we genuinely love our readers (except the mean ones, of course), and we all put ourselves out there daily to make this world a better place.  If you think for a minute, you are just a reader, just a commenter, just a cyberfan, you're wrong.  We read every comment you make, we appreciate all of you, and we are just like everyone else...we just took it to a different extreme.  :)

Until next time...I'm a zombie and need a nap.
~DG