Thursday

You've Got to Know When to Hold 'Em...

(pic from zazzle.com)


The Gambler lyrics.

Wouldn't it figure.

You know how I love to hit the casinos, so it's only right that the most relatable lyrics I could find for this blog post were to The Gambler by Kenny Rogers.  I often find the best way to express how I feel lies in a quote from a song or a movie.  This is no exception.


You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
(sometimes you just know you need to walk away for a little bit - hopefully before you feel the urge to run)



I've written this post 100 times over in my head; in the middle of the night, in the car, while shopping, at work - over and over.  I'm finally at a point where I just need to get it on the blog and explain how I feel.  All of these thoughts, coupled with the fact that Facebook shows my posts to 1% of my people have made me finally just want to put this out there.

When I had my third baby, I was deep into the clutches of Post-Partum.  I had 2 under 13 months old, no family around to help and friends that were at least an hour away.  I was lonely, tired, frustrated and sleep-deprived.  My best friend told me to sign up for Facebook and that it would be a good way to connect with others, laugh a little, and help me to feel a little less isolated.  Facebook immediately became a friend - especially at 2 am when I was up feeding a baby.  I could scroll through my news feed and see what everyone else was up to - for it sure felt like my world was at a stand still.

I began posting quirky little one liners - usually about babies or diapers - or sleep deprivation.  I would get a buzz off of the responses I got from friends.  You crack me up!  You should write a book!  You need your own blog!

All of these comments went to my head and I started writing a blog.  A few months later, I found the courage to actually publish my thoughts after I read a few really funny blogs.  It was a little nudge of courage telling me that it was totally okay not to be Pottery Barn Perfect.  Self-deprecation was my specialty for years - so why not share it with the world, right?

I started the FB page to go with the blog and planned my day around making ecards and memes, all while tending to the wee ones.  I became hungry for likes and comments, shares and wall posts.  I read every comment, good or bad, and took them all to heart.  I read blog after blog, page after page and became immersed in the blog world.  I made friends, met the funniest people ever, witnessed talents being exposed and developed a love for my hobby.

And then it became too much.  It actually became an addiction - an obsession.

Wait, honey, not now- I just have to check Facebook 'real quick.'
Mommy didn't hear you - say that again?
Can you just give me five minutes, I just have to comment on something before I forget.
Oh no, one of my friends is having a bad day, I just have to send a quick message to her.

The twitching started.

I need to check my page.
I need to respond to a comment.
What did that blogger write today?
Did I support so and so when they put themselves out there today?
Did I like a status?
Did I share a friend's post?
What did I miss while I was gone?
Did I catch up?
Did I this?
Did I that?
OMG I haven't commented on that thread, they are going to think I'm a self-absorbed jerk.
Gotta go.
Gotta go.
Gotta get it done..
Hurry kids...we're late.

No.
No more.
This is crazy.

I mean yes, I want to know what my friends are eating when they go out...via Instagram photos.
Yes, I want to 'like' that my friend's little girl started pre-school.
Yes - I do want to read someone's Jerry Maguire-like thesis about life that they wrote at 3 am.
Yes- I truly care that my friend had to put her dog down.  I care. 
I do.

But at what price?
My sanity?
My kids' precious moments?
Why do I feel the constant need to respond to every post, every text message, every email every everything in record time??
Why is there so much guilt associated with commenting on everyone's everything?
I can't keep up.
And admitting this, is hopefully the first step to fixing the need to do so.


I get that I cannot possibly be all things to all people.  And at 40, I am ready to stop trying to be.  For my soul's sake, I have to do what makes me happy and what makes my days with friends and family worth reflecting on at the end of the day.

So I don't make an ecard for 6 months straight...the world will keep spinning.
So I don't write the world's most brilliant blog post...life will go on.
So I don't comment on my neighbor's photo of her cake she slaved over..the sun will shine again tomorrow.
So I wait until tomorrow to respond to an email...it'll be okay.

It has been so much fun.  This hobby.  Doing something that made me truly happy and proud.  I love watching others who love to blog find their success, reach their goals and celebrate their achievements more than I can express. The one aspect I don't care for at all is reading the posts that rip other people apart -  - then the rebuttal to that letter - then the rebuttal to that letter.  You've got Pinterest Perfect vs. Imperfect  posts - then more rebuttals, then more open letters - it's too meanspirited to read all of the time.  Add the nasty comments on those that multiply like rabbits and what do we have?  A tornado of negativity swirling around the internet that is so destructive people find themselves slamming their laptops shut from disgust and rolling their eyes so hard they damage their optic nerve.  I keep seeing articles on how Facebook users have depression tendencies - well is it any wonder?  When you are constantly being bombarded with the War of the Words in your newsfeed every morning?  My original goal was to make people laugh and spread joy.   My goal now, however, is to forgive myself if I don't write, forget the fact that I didn't make my kids' latest one- liner my status update for all to read, and to savor the moments in between instead of trying to work every highlight into a post or funny photo.

I'm not saving lives here...I'm nobody's poet, hell, I'm nobody in general.  I'm just a mom who tries to make her follies into funnies, to make lives a little happier, to spread thoughtful joy and a few laughs and make the world a little less scary. It's just time for me to get back to the basics right now and sometimes that means rearranging priorities and how you look at things on a daily basis.  I just want to write like I am one of your girlfriends that you have coffee with.  The one that makes you feel important and that listens to your stories and laughs with you, never at you.  I want to be the kind of blogger that always leaves you thinking about something pleasant, or that makes you think in a way that maybe you didn't before - or even someone who is a bright spot in your day.  Maybe I'm asking too much - but that's my goal.  Blog when I've got a story to share, a smile to spread, a laugh to send through the computer.

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
(same applies to blogging - sometimes you write and it's perfect, and sometimes you write and it's total shit...you just have to know what to publish and what to leave in drafts...)  


I'm so grateful to everyone who has read and supported and been a friend to me through this experience.   My new hope is not to be the funniest, most wonderful blogger in Cyberspace, my hope is to write when I feel moved enough to do so, to write quality, not quantity, and to love to blog again so that it shows and spreads joy to others.  In the meantime,  I'll still be around, just not running to my laptop like a crazed person anymore.  Baby steps to a simpler life.

Happy 2 Year Blog-iversary to me.  I hope this gift continues to give in the most positive way possible. 

Love and Hugs..Now and Always -
Until the next time I have something worth writing -Merry Christmas, and may 2014 be full of joy,
~DG

Tuesday

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the City Council Meeting...




It's no big secret that I volunteer for a few non-profits in the area.  And it's no big secret that I spend much of my extra time running around trying to find bargains on toiletries, outerwear and boots for kids.  It's been an interest of mine for the past few years and as the needs of this area continued to grow, so have the hours I've put in.

I've always said, the reason to do these things is simple:  you can't fix everything, but you can volunteer some time here and there to help someone who's struggling and in turn, you surround yourself with good karma and a heart that overflows with gratitude.  Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine a day would come when those things big and small that I did would be recognized in such a surreal manner.

It started just a few weeks ago at the height of our volunteer work for the Santa Fund (providing boots, snowpants and outerwear to kids in need).  We distributed hundreds and hundreds of items in a short amount of time.  One evening, I got an email from our fearless leader, Janet, saying that on Monday, December 9th, the Santa Fund would be recognized for its service to the children in the community.  I was absolutely thrilled at this knowing that it might prompt the residents of the area to donate money or coats once they are reminded of the good we do at the city council meeting.

It was a long Monday.  I had worked all day, drove my kids all around town, found time to prepare dinner and even do some laundry in between.  It was one of those days where I couldn't catch my breath, my nerves were shot and I was feeling the sensation of my throat closing up from the stress of way too much to do.  It was snowing and freezing rain, absolutely miserable, raw weather and my first thought was I don't really need to go to the City Council meeting to get my photo in the paper, let some of the other board members go and be recognized.  You know how you just kind of start talking yourself out of things?

I mentioned to my husband, maybe, just maybe the weather might have canceled the meeting and he quickly shot the idea down.  Those don't get canceled, like ever.  This is New England.  It's right down the road, just go and you'll be glad you did - it's about time they recognize the volunteer work you all do.

He followed me around as I got dressed.  I was like what do you want?  He just found things to chat about from the day's events.  I found it very odd and then it hit me.

He's going to wrap my presents or something - there's definitely something fishy going on.   So I finally just called him out.

You're up to something - are you hiding a present or something?   He started to laugh.

Okay I'll let him have his fun.

I threw a few curls in my hair, added a fresh bit of lip gloss and off I went in the cold.  As I drove over there, a car skidded left of center and just about plowed me into the next town.  I swerved quickly and just about hit the sidewalk.

This is crazy.  The weather sucks.  I don't need accolades for my charity work..what if I got in an accident on the way to the meeting that would be horrible! 

So I took it slow, almost to a crawl - still shaking from the near tragic moments just minutes before.

I got to City Hall.  Just about fell on my ass three times trying to get through the icy parking lot - and entered the warm building.  Mark had told me that there would be one meeting prior to the CC meeting and not to panic if it looked like it started without me.

I just stood in the hallway, not wanting to go barging in.

I waited.
And waited.
And waited some more...

Where the hell are the other board members - they should be walking in any time now - I'm not walking in alone.

Finally - I heard the door open to see some of my very favorite people in the world enter.  Friends, children of friends, more friends.

Hey, what are you all doing here?

Stonefaced.  All of them.

They were there for the City Council meeting segment dedicated to the walking trail.

How weird.

We all went upstairs to the meeting.  We walked in right at 7:00 pm as the pre-meeting shuffled out.

When I walked in, I saw more of my favorite people..some board members...and then family...my old boss...my kids' friends' parents, when I tell you all of my most treasured people (except my family in Ohio).  My legs started to shake when I saw Mark and my three beautiful boys walk into the meeting with flowers and cards.

Heart attack city.  Hands trembling, tears in eyes - all I could think of is  - what did I do and what is going on here??? The board isn't getting recognized, are they?

The head of the board of the Santa Fund led me to the front two rows of the meeting.  We sat through some approvals of the minutes, some banter about downtown restoration and what not.  I had no idea that the entire back of the conference room was filled with my loved ones.

The Mayor came to the podium and started to speak about the Debra Bieniarz  Memorial.  I was very aware of this award and its recipients because it recognizes one person a year for their dedication to children in the Lakes Region.  Debra  was a police officer who died tragically.  Every year a committee selects someone to be recognized based on nominations from city residents for this award.

I can't breathe at this point. Surely I am not the recipient of this award, I am NOT worthy of this.

He started speaking of all of the things I've done.  I heard every other word because I was fighting the urge to do the ugly cry.  And I mean the sobbing, bent over, drooling, snotty ugly cry.  I was trying to breathe and stay calm but at that point I even forgot how to inhale.


"This year's recipient is always willing to help out our community's children and families.  She is resourceful and uses her community connections to help guide families to services that are needed.  The Lakes Region is very lucky to have her in our community; she is loved and respected by many and has truly made a huge difference in many children's lives...In recognition of this year's honoree's tremendous commitment to the youth of Laconia, I am very proud to present this year's recipient....Andrea..."

I stumbled to the Mayor's side.  Took the beautiful gold plate and shook his hand.  I might have stopped crying long enough to get a photo for the newspaper and say a few words.  As I looked out into the audience and saw myself surrounded by the love of friends and family, I am pretty sure my heart exploded because I couldn't breathe from the pressure in my chest fueled by an indescribable level of pride.

I will never ever be confident or secure enough to say that I accepted the award with a feeling that I deserved it.  I still do not feel worthy enough to carry this honor as there are so many people that give tirelessly to this community, but I am gracious enough to accept the accolades and use the trust the community has in me to continue to pay my blessings forward.

As we all walked out of the meeting, and I was handed bundles and bouquets of flowers, letters, cards and other gifts - coupled with already shaking, carrying my coat and purse, I knew what was coming next.

I dropped the plate.

CRASSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

It made the LOUDEST noise.  Imagine the sound the crashing of 2 cymbals make when  a bandmember slams them together during a performance in an orchestra.  Then multiply that by 100.

I've had this award for 4 minutes and I dropped it.  This is why we can't have nice things.

My husband, who was still in the meeting, addressed the concerned council goers.

"We're Greek.  We break plates when we celebrate."

The meeting erupted in laughter.

So in typical DG fashion, I'm awarded one of the highest honors in this community, and I almost break it before I even get out the door.

There's a scratch on that plate from the fall.  It's flawed, it's imperfect and I love it.

It's just like me.

Thank you all for supporting me in my adventures en-route to making this world a better place.

xo Cheers and love,
Andrea
the Do-Gooder known as DG

Ps - I had to scan in the letter my 13 year old wrote me on behalf of my boys...I almost drown in tears.


Thursday

7 Songs a Singin'...

Teeny tiny disclaimer - my opinions are my own - there, I said it.  Everyone has their personal faves and worsts, right? Carry on...


I work in a very small office.  People take certain liberties in that office - like turning on the office stereo to blare Christmas music since way before Thanksgiving.  I don't mind it - I love Christmas music - good Christmas music. But the station we have it on is kind of pushing me over the holiday cliff when I'm already stressed enough. I would have to say that there are ups and downs to listening to an all-day Christmas music channel - I mean there are only so many songs out there.  So, much like the emotional ebbs and flows of the workday, there are mood highs and lows invoked by the playlist of the local radio station as well.  Experiencing the range of roller coaster - like emotion during this playlist, I felt compelled to come up with a Top 7 List of songs to avoid at all costs if you are stressed this holiday season.  The feelings the following songs bring range from maniacal to mental, cranky to crazy and looney to loco. Please don't get me wrong - I love 98% of the holiday songs out there but the 2% make me wanna bang my head on my keyboard, not a Christmas drum.

Based on the past few days of constant caroling in and around my desk, I've compiled a list of the top 7 songs you should avoid at all costs if you are stressed out this holiday season.

These will only make it worse.

Trust me. (And yes, these are just the ones that make my head hurt - I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but please, feel free to comment with your most -loathed or most -loved carols..)


#1, Numero UNO, Absolute Worst song to listen to -   Jingle Bells - Barbara Streisand
If you are already tipping the crazy scales - one listen to this Christmas-on Crack song will push you over the edge.  Don't do it.  When this song comes on I want to beat my printer with a baseball bat Office Space-style.  

2. The Christmas Shoes by New Song - I thought Christmas jingles were supposed to be upbeat and happy?  Sweet Baby J - this one makes me want to drive off the road from the sobbing.  Must. Change. Channel.  If I had a flask of whiskey at my desk, I would have consumed every last drop of it to get me through the depression that song put me through.

3.  Christmas Wrapping ~ The Waitresses - Not sure if it's the monotonous sounds of the singing, the fact that I miss my early twenties when I hear this song, or that I still don't know the words after 3 decades of listening to this over and over again.  The fast, rap-like lyrics make me equal parts jittery and stabby.  I feel like I need to be marching with a baton in Big Lots when I hear this in the store.  The horn makes my ear bleed.  Is that a real horn or one of the New Year's Eve blowers?  Ooof.  Painful.

4. Santa Baby - Madonna's version.   - also known as the Gold Digger's Christmas song.  Awful.  I hate everything about this song.  It should be the theme song to the Real Housewives' Christmas special.   Sadly enough, it's one of the few hit Christmas jingles written by a woman.  *cringe*  Sure we all want nice things for Christmas - but no one wants to hear the innuendos promised in exchange for a yacht.  

5.  I'm sorry - I'm sorry in advance, truly I am - and for the record I am a peace loving nutter for the most part...but I have to put John Lennon Happy Christmas.  I'm going to follow the Barenaked Ladies lead on this and just blame it on Yokey.  Is it just her singing the background lyrics or is it an entire group of first graders?  Regardless, it makes me want to staple my ears shut with my red swingline.  Sorry folks - it's coming in at number five.  This is a good lead in to my number 6...

6.  (Simply having a ) Wonderful Christmas time - Paul McCartney.   And why wouldn't he? He's rich as rockefeller, a successful musician - one of the most loved people in the entire world so yeah, it's simple - ding dong - ooohhhh ohhhhh ohoh ohhh doot do doot doo doot do.  No.  Not even a little.  It's just a slow, painful earbleed.  The kind that sticks in your mind all day so no matter what you do, you're either whistling, humming, or struggling with the words for the rest of the day.

7.  Santa Claus is Comin' To Town - Bruce Springsteen.   I'm so sorry, I do love the Boss - seriously I do.  I could do without this song though.  I feel like he need a hot chocolate and a blanket - maybe a back rub or something - he seems tired, out of breath, and in dire need of a break from even speaking.  Shhh...don't sing - don't speak...just chill out Bruce.  What's so funny?  Are you drunk?   Ooof then he starts struggling at the end and I just have to turn it off - he can barely finish his words and I'm not sure if he's laughing or he's crying - what's he doing? I never know what he's dooooing at that part.  I'm exhausted by the end of the tune.  And I need Motrin.    Why put that happy little piano jingle in the last 4 seconds and try to make it all better?  It's too late, I'm traumatized.

That's all for my Holiday Earworms - - I'm hoping I get some of those Bose noise canceling headphones for Christmas so that next year, I can just pop those on at my desk when any of the 7 Deadly Songs come on.

I will leave you with a laugh - and let me tell you - if this cd was available - I would buy it and play it on a constant loop because it makes me cackle hysterically every single time I watch it.
Enjoy.
Watch the SNL video A Very Buble Christmas


Until next time, 
Cheers, love and turn the volume down wouldja?
~DG

PS - - MY FAVE THIS SEASON IS THIS ONE BY JD MCPHERSON! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTTKis3IJ-s#t=89

Friday

Paint Your Own Traditions



When I was a flight attendant, people would ask me all the time what my best travel advice was.

I always answered the same thing.

Don't just assume you're going to get from Point A to Point B without any problems.  Things happen, delays, weather, equipment malfunctions  - and even cancellations. If you can mentally prepare yourself to roll with it - to accept that it might be harder than you thought to pull off a flawless flight plan, then you won't be devastated, shocked or angry if something goes wrong. Always have a back up plan because you might have to leave on a later flight or even the next day. Be resilient.  Be calm. Be ready.

So many times I'd see families en-route to Disney who had flight delays, missed flights, or cancellations. When they finally got on the plane they would tell me how it 'ruined' their vacation - the weather or the delays, etc.  How they were heartbroken that things didn't work out they way they imagined, or that they couldn't believe they could have such terrible luck and wouldn't it figure they had to take a later flight. Don't even get me started on the holiday airline passengers if something went wrong.  I saw some of the worst behavior in my airline career during the holidays if people experienced a hiccup on a travel day. Most of the time it's for safety reasons that passengers aren't getting out at that particular time and not because the airlines are trying to ruin family holidays. It's upsetting for sure - but it's out of our control - what can we do but grin and bear it and hope we don't get too delayed - or stuck too long in an airport.


When I first got divorced, I had to deal with sharing holidays with my ex-husband.  I knew it was part of the deal - part of the way of life I was choosing.  Kicking and screaming wouldn't solve anything - and sitting around crying and gazing out the window wishing things were different certainly wasn't going to get me anywhere.  You can't imagine how many people would say, "oh you must be absolutely devastated that he is not with you this Christmas!"   The things I heard..you wouldn't believe.  I know people mean well, but it's crazy what people will say when you are divorced through the holidays.  I learned early on that I needed to rearrange everything - the holidays, sharing, compromise - in my mind to mentally survive. The bottom line I had to remember was that my son had so many people that loved him, he got to have two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two of everything.  Not so bad, is it?  So although it was very easy and tempting to be devastated for the holidays gone wrong, I chose to reframe it all in my mind.



What if this year I didn't get him on Christmas Day.  I'd have Christmas Day on the 26th!  My Christmas celebration would be the day I had him - and I would celebrate twice as hard! I'd be Merrier than Merry, Jollier than Jolly!  No Thanksgiving with him? Well who said Thanksgiving had to be on a Thursday?  How about the Saturday after?  That would be my Thanksgiving that year!   I learned that it was important to savor the day we celebrated - not the date of the holiday. The first few holidays I didn't have him were tough (but not nearly as tough as the ones that I spent in an unhappy marriage!) -so I did something nice for myself on those days.  I kept busy.  I helped others and I tried my best to laugh at every possible moment. People get too wrapped up in the postcard perfect holiday - and it's the DATE we celebrate and if it can't be that day then just forget it.  Why? Why forget it?  Things happen - you have to adjust how you look at it in your mind - it's not the end of the world if that day doesn't go exactly how you think it's supposed to go.  You're not going to always get through the holidays point A to point B without any problems.  Unless you live in a Thomas Kinkade snow globe, sometimes, you might have some stormy weather to deal with during the holidays.



Last year, I recall so many Facebook posts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that kids were throwing up, had fevers, were in bed terribly sick with the terrible stomach bug that went around like wildfire through families everywhere.  People had to postpone their gatherings, their dinners - reschedule parties and dinners. It happens.  Our kids are a reflection of us.  If we freak out and start crying hysterically that everything is ruined,  then they will do the same - but if we stay calm and say - we'll celebrate twice as hard tomorrow when everyone feels better - they'll be thrilled with that.   A little resilience and creativity goes a long way.  Keep calm and have a backup plan.  We can't always celebrate on our birthday or our kids' birthdays - sometimes we wait until the weekend - sometimes a few days - sometimes a week or a month later.  Why should holidays be so different?



So many people have this idea of the Norman Rockwell  holiday.  Everyone is smiling, the turkey is perfectly browned, the kids are neatly dressed and happy, sitting politely at the dinner table.  The family is together - loving, laughing and exchanging pleasantries.  There is no illness, no sadness, no strife, no resentments, no anger, no grudges, no nothing.  The holidays are a time to put everything on hold and sit still for the painting. But that's not realistic.  We all have problems - some bigger than others, some not as serious.  We have sick family members, friends that are struggling, maybe more than some, maybe less.  The sooner we learn to find the joy in the time we have together during the holidays, the more we'll actually enjoy the small stuff instead of sweating it.


As far as Norman Rockwell goes - I like to think of him painting those perfect holiday scenes while in a room all by himself, hiding from the arguing  and bickering at his own holiday dinner table.  He had three sons, just like me - and I'm thinking if they were anything like mine, they were kicking each other under the table, complaining about the cranberry sauce they didn't want on their plate, or asking if they could be done with their dinner.  He painted 'the America he knew and observed..' and ended up creating an illusion in so many minds on how the majority of Americans look during the holidays. An illusion that so many of us stress out trying to make happen.  The picture isn't what's important.  The memories, the giggles, the spills and chills - the impromptu silliness - the real behind-the-photo scenes filled with crazy, merry chaos - that's what the best stories are made of.



Whether you have the most perfect holidays known to man (and if you do, then good for you!), or whether you are divorced and either new at sharing the holidays, or it's old hat, or maybe you're overjoyed during the holidays, or loathe them and everything they bring - it's your choice - you can find joy should you choose to find it. You can re-write the stories, you can paint your own Rockwell. You can celebrate on the day you feel like celebrating - the day you're able to celebrate it - or whatever makes you happy and works for your family.  It's a choice.  Don't let the date dictate how to handle it.  Don't let the painting make you feel like you're missing out on the real picture of happiness.  The holidays are not about dates.  They are about love and kindness when those things are so hard to find.  They are about reaching out to people, doing the right thing, forgiving, accepting, trying something new - creating new traditions, and making our own stories and memories.   Celebrate the day, not the date.  Paint your own holiday happiness.



That's all for now - keep calm - and pass the giggles.
xo
DG

Silly Thanksgiving Memes..


As the woman of the family who cooks the entire Thanksgiving meal, I have found over the years that there are certain people that I want and need in the kitchen with me, and there are certain people who I do not.  So Aragorn here from the Lord of the Rings meme says it beautifully...

 Then, I've got my little guys, who God love them, want to help me, but make everything 10x harder for me.  I try to find something simple for them to do even if it means one or two more messes to clean up.


Then there's this guy - who parks himself in front of the TV and watches football the entire time.

 Luckily, it is not my hubby.  Thankfully, at Thanksgiving, my hubby is a huge help...much like Ryan here.

I made a meme that would best describe how I feel when I am trying to get everyone to come and eat while it is still hot.  I mean the timing of the food is so crucial - and you only have so much oven space and time to carve the turkey while it's at the perfect temperature - so I get a little stabby when I have to repeat myself that dinner is ready.  This. Is. Sparta.  My Greek temper flares up.
One year, I decided to buy Heinz gravy from a jar.  EVERYONE raved about my gravy that year.  What. The. Hell!  So guess what, every year - I sneak a jar of gravy into a saucepan and wipe the sweat from my brow.  Shhhhh it's my dirty little secret.

If I am going to cook this much food, what I really need is a fancy shmancy commercial sized wall oven that can accommodate a turkey, a ham, and all of the side dishes.  Oh, and Santa, bring me another refrigerator, too.  What's First World Problems girl complaining about?  I have to put some of my stuff outside in the cold  when the fridge is booked up.  


There's one person in the crowd that has to make a comment if I forgot to put something out...and it's not their first time at the rodeo - so they could just get it for me and quit complaining.
and then...

And there you have it, another successful Thanksgiving where everyone ate, drank, and was merry all day.

And I'm thankful for you...all of you...my family, friends, pets, who giggle at me, with me and around me on  a daily basis.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Smile.  Life is Good.

xo,
DG

(all memes made by me. I meme me.  I mean me.)

Tuesday

The Yankee Swap/Gag Gift Holiday Party Help/Idea Guide



Fear not FWP lady, help is on the way.

Gag Gifts make me want to gag.

Crude Yankee Swaps make me crazy.


USED Yankee Swap Gifts are a nightmare of mine.


EWWW...I hate them.


I'm old-fashioned, I guess.



Rarely, someone will bring a gift card because they were too lazy to find something -
only success kid usually is lucky enough to get that gift.


I want spa gift cards, scarfs, perfume, makeup, purses, wine glasses, coffee mugs, easy peasy girly twirly types of gifts.  I'm a no-brainer - so easy even a Caveman could buy me a gift. 



pic from geico.com


Get me a gift card to pretty much anywhere.  Hell, get me a card with a few sentences that are sweet and it's the best gift ever.  I'll even take a handwritten note on construction paper - but please - no butt banks that fart when you deposit a coin for savings...no chia pets...no phallic symbol paper towel holders..and please lord no rubber chickens. Okay, I get it - it's supposed to be funny.



I don't want a Duck Dynasty Chia Pet head - but in case you do, you can click here.


I know, people, I know.  Get a sense of humor.  I have  a sense of humor - but I'm traumatized from past years' parties and the gifts I've gotten at these parties.  One year, I kid you not, I got 4 dirty, nasty placemats.  Gross.  It looked like either Tomato Soup was spilled on them or someone used them to clean up a murder scene.  I almost vomited when I opened it up - was it funny? No.  Was it clever? Hells no.  Was it a gag gift?  If you're asking me if I gagged, then yes. Yes, I did.



That awkward moment when you open the swap gift and no one laughs.  That's bad.  Really bad.
Look - if you're going to do a Yankee Swap one of those Elephanty type parties whatever you call them - then get clever.  I'm going to help you.  


Wine Flask Bra, click here if you really need one.



1.  The Wine Flask Bra:  "Have you ever been somewhere where you've been denied a beer, cocktail, glass of wine, or bottle of scotch? It's not fair and can ruin your evening! Don't take "NO" for an answer anymore. Take matters into your own hands with the Wine Rack Flask Bra. You can fill the pouch Flask with the Liquid of your choice, place it in the black, sports Bra and you're set. The handy Straw can exit from either side of the Bra and reach around your clothing for easy access. You'll be sippin' easy with this Wine Rack Bra Flask and the only think you'll compromise is how every dress fits just a little tighter. The Bra is stretchable yet very secure. If you love the full look with the Bra on but run out of liquid, simply blow into the tube and you'll have the look once again. This Flask holds up to 25oz of liquid, which is basically a bottle of Wine and increases your bust up to 2 sizes."



Nothing says Yankee Swap like a stuffed blue testicle.  Available at http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/reproductive-plush-organs   Ovary and Testicle have been discontinued. When they sell out, they will no longer be available.  Wow.  HOT items! lol!



2.  Reproductive Plush Organs: "It takes a lot of guts to share the more private parts of your story. But whether you're getting prepared to give your teen "the talk," you know a friend going in for a tough surgery, or you'd like to congratulate a recently graduated med-student without blushing, you don't need to be bashful about bringing up difficult topics when you can lean on these plush reproductive organs. Created by anatomically-obsessed illustrator Wendy Bryan, this charming line of stuffed innards make great substitutions for get-well cards, and are the perfect pals for doctors and surgeons to prop in their offices or waiting rooms to help ease the tension for patients of all ages. In your home, each personality-packed organ makes touchy subjects less scary and can bring a little humor to the ever-awkward "birds and the bees" chat. No matter how you decide use them, these squishy anatomical specimens will leave you in stitches."


3.  Crotch Gear: When you have a need - a need to find the most hilariously inappropriate boxers and/or sweatpants for the guy in your life. Humor below the belt at its finest. Have a guy who lives and breathes Twitter?  Why not give him the hashtag boxers so he feels like his holiday package is trending?  Now that's a gag gift that would keep the party laughing!

(side note:  although my hubby isn't big on Twitter or wearing clothes that point to his junkular region, these guys that created crotch gear are some pretty good guys, I highly suggest if you are looking for inappropriate sweats or boxers, you check them out.  Apparently, they have rave reviews on the softness of their sweatpants - who knew inappropriate could be so comfy?!)


http://crotchgear.myshopify.com/products/now-trending-boxers#.Uotc-NI3uSo

4.  A Mohair Sweater: Ok you guys, I'm really really struggling with this one because I don't get it.  I do NOT get these sweaters at all.  So, I'm going to very lightly address/poke gentle fun at these sweaters with one question - WHO IS WEARING THESE AND WHERE AND WHYYY!? These sweaters go way over the $50 budget because they are handmade from mohair and are selling on ebay light hotcakes.  What am I missing?  Call me fashionably conservative but I just don't think I can understand this trend so I'll sit it out.  I can, however, imagine being at a Yankee Swap and someone pulling this out of a bag and the whole room dying in laughter. You tell me, what do you think about these?? I cannot imagine the talent it takes to make these, so I'm giving them credit where credit is due - but I REALLY can't imagine who/where/how you wear these.

Click here to order this.





I'm concerned that she's having an allergic reaction to mohair? Her lips look swollen and so does her chest.
 

5.  Batman/Harry Potter/Character Snuggie: "Made of soft, thick, luxurious fleece with oversized loose fitting sleeves, the Youth Comfy Throw with Sleeves by The Northwest Company lets shoulders, arms and upper body remain protected from the cold while leaving arms and hands free to use a laptop, TV remote, read a book, talk on the phone; or enjoy a snack."  For the man who wants to be a superhero from the comfort of his own couch - or the woman who wants to cast her spells in the most comfy way.



Batman Snuggie on Amazon.
Harry Potter His/Hers Snuggie

6.  Funny Books:  Okay - I either contributed to these or know the authors of all of these - so I personally think they'd be a big hit at a Yankee Swap party. 



Lipstick!
  

I Just Want to Pee Alone!  
  For a complete list of funny books I recommend, I will send you to my dear friend You Know it Happens at Your House, Too's page for this list!
Baby Sideburns' Book!


 7.  Coffee Mugs: Who doesn't love coffee?  Everyone can use a funny coffee mug..whether you're a Star Wars fan, Someecards fanatic, Cafe Press junkie - whatever you like - you can make your own or find some already made.  Here are a few faves:
I made this from one of my own ecards on cafepress.com! So fun.


For the blogger in your life...again, cafepress.com


How about for the movie quote guru of the party...a Glengarry Glen Ross to go coffee mug?

8.  Scarves....Baby, It's Cold Outside.   Let's see what we can find for funny, ridiculous scarves...
There's the bikini scarf at stupid.com




The Stop-Telling-Me-to-Keep-Calm Scarf is pretty damn funny.

9.  Hats:  Can't forget funny winter hats....

Pretty awesome - my kids wouldn't mind being on the receiving end of this white elephant gift!
 A few left on amazon.

..
For the Lord of the Rings Gandalf/Ski/ZZtop fan - this ski hat is so versatile! lol!!!

10.  Funny Notepads:  When you don't have that much to spend on a gag gift...

Oatmeal Studios Sticky Notes




Any Anne Taintor notepad will be a hit...



That's all I've got for now my friends.  If you are going to a Yankee Swap/White Elephant/Whatever they call it these days, Godspeed.

If you have a moment, be sure to leave me your best/worst gifts you've given/received at your Yankee Swap parties!

Cheers, love and gag-free gag gifts to you,
~DG

Getting Caught with Your (Snow)Pants Down..




We have months to get ready for it.

We know it's coming.

We know what we need.

And yet.

Every year, many of us get caught with our snow pants down.  You know, that first snowfall that people talk about for days, kids get excited waiting for, and everyone is anticipating -  but no one is prepared for!?

Still.

Not ready.

So, when do we realize that last year's winter coats don't fit?  We can't find matching gloves?  Hats have gone missing.  Boots are a struggle to get on.

When?

5 minutes before the bus comes.  10 minutes before you have to leave to take the kids to school.

Despite the Carpenters famous song The First Snowfall - it's hard to bask in the joy of it when you are rushing around like a crazy woman trying to get everyone ready.  Their first snowfall they were singing about must have been on a weekend.  Go figure.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkM8MfM_oOs


Despite last year's vow to be prepared next year.  We didn't follow through.

Never mind last month's promise to clean out the coat closet in anticipation of the changing season - it never got done.

So now, in sheer, all-out panic - - gloves, mittens, hats, scarves and curse words go flying into the morning air.

But mommmm these don't feel right!




But mommmm, this is HIS coat from last year and it's TOO BIG!


I can't help it - funny Ikea monkey is a good model for this illustration.  His coat looks a little too big for him.

Mamaaaaaaaaa I can't walk in these boots!  
THAT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE ON THE WRONG FEET!!! Damn Kamiks - is it me, or does the left look exactly like the right? To a kid, they look the same.  To a frantic adult, boots on both feet are a win, regardless!  JUST PUT THE  BOOTS ON AND LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


Sometimes they go to put their winter coat on from last year, and their hat and gloves are still in the sleeve from last year when they wore it because you never sorted anything, washed anything, or even bothered to check the pockets.  Success Kid.


Success Kid Meme - always the exception to the rule.


Despite the fact that you started last winter season off with mittens tied together with string, you never anticipated one of your boys would swing it like a lasso in the air and hit his brother in the face with the Polar Express Glove to the eye.  Stop swinging your mittens! I don't want anyone shooting his eye out!


  I DON'T WANT ANYONE SHOOTING HIS EYE OUT.


So you took the strings off to ensure another year of good vision for your children, but alas, a mitten left his spouse behind and headed for the hills with a lonely sock that escaped from the laundry.

What's it going to take to get ready for winter?  Every year we know it's coming.  We need mittens, hats, scarves, snow pants, coats that fit - - is it that hard?  Some years I was lucky enough to buy them at the end of the previous season, only to forget about the fact that I put them up in the attic to store them until I needed them.

My Darling Husband


  I've practically fallen down the stairs trying to make it in time, as I'm biting off the tags with my teeth while skidding Risky Business -style across the kitchen floor.

(Gif from Perez Hilton.com) 


I'VE GOT THIS!  I squeeze everyone into their everything and with 22 seconds to spare!  My workout is already done for the day!
(Thank you http://giphy.com/gifs/jceZduJsrpq80)


And somehow, we manage to get everyone out the door and off to enjoy the first day in the winter wonderland.  None of them match, but their feet, hands and heads will be warm and that is what matters, right?



(Of course, the second they are gone, we dump out the winter hat box and find every single winter accessory we couldn't find just minutes before.)  Undoubtedly, come Christmas time, there will once again be enough hats and gloves in this house to clothe a small village.  Where they'll end up in just a few short months is a mystery.  Actually, it's no mystery - have you seen the lost and found table at an elementary school in March?  Enough for several small villages to wear!



There's always next year.

YES! Next year I'm going to get organized.

It'll be one of my resolutions!  HA!

Until next time..
Cheers and Hot Chocolate Clinks - I'm off to clean out the closet.
xo
DG