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 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.

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 family, friends, pets, who giggle at me, with me and around me on  a daily basis.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Smile.  Life is Good.


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


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

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 chia 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   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?!)

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. 


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! So fun.

For the blogger in your life...again,

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

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,

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!?


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.


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.

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!


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 

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

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.