The Thief of Life

(pic from Washington Post)Season 5, Episode 2 introduced the wireless radio.  Here the DA crew is huddled around listening to King George's address.

I'm sure you know I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan so it won't surprise you that today's blog idea is sponsored by Downton.  This week I got caught up on the two episodes of Season 5 after a long and lonely wait from last season. Episode two had a line from Lord Grantham that I felt compelled to share with you because I literally felt a shockwave run through me when Lord Grantham expressed his opinion on the wireless radio.

He called it a thief of life.

He even said it was a fad.

He said it wouldn't last.

Oh if Lord Grantham could see us now.

I've been chewing on that revelation for 3 days and I'm finally ready to voice my opinion on why it stuck with me.

The Internet is OUR current day Thief of Life.  And if that is in fact true, then I've been robbed more times than all of the 7-11s in the world. 

How many minutes per day have you lost over a post on Facebook that bothered you?  A buzzkill comment on a funny post?  A photo that was meant to be a day lightener is ruined by a stupid comment.  A video clip overshadowed by political banter. A news story that was highjacked by troll comments. 

I honestly don't think a day has gone by in the last year of my life that I didn't do one of the following:
*slam my laptop closed
*exhale loudly and with utter disgust
*rolled my eyes
*exclaimed "are you freaking kidding me with this?"
*wondered why I was friends with someone that posts hateful things
*swear off Facebook
*asked myself why do I do this to myself

It seems like we lost the basic civility we once had at the beginning of Facebook.  In the early days, it was reconnecting with old friends from schools and workplaces, family overseas, and friends we lost touch with.  It was a happy place where we sent a friend request with a little note that said "hey hope life has been good to you" and they replied back "so glad we reconnected - your family is beautiful!"
Civil.  Easy. Breezy.

Wall messages were written, Happy Birthdays were exchanged, family photos were updated, friends were poked, profile photos were chosen.  Fun was had.  You'd sign off Facebook with a feeling of contentment.
Remember when poking was the only thing that might have annoyed you in the early FB days?

And then things started to change.  Facebook got Timelines and Newsfeeds and Groups and Reply Boxes and Likes to Replies and and and and.

People started to use it as a platform, for a soapbox, for a statement.  And that was still okay because things were civil.  People gave benefits of the doubt, people exercised their right to scroll past something that didn't concern them or interest them or have anything to do with them.  They may have scratched their head, or contemplated a thought, but they still remained cool.

But things kept changing.  Friends who you thought you knew at one time in your life started to exhibit unflattering character flaws.  Differences of opinion were no longer politely exchanged.  A simple post about one thing quickly spiraled into a heated debate about health insurance or religious views or who you voted for in the election, and why everything wrong in the world was basically caused by you because you are what's wrong with the world today.  Hurtful, right?

Facebook became uncivilized.

You saw a blogpost that made you laugh really hard.  It was tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted, and a fun read so you shared it and though the majority of friends liked it, someone, of course did not and had to exercise the right to to be offended and offer their dismay in the thread:  "I didn't find this funny at all and it was a colossal waste of time."  Ummm.  Thanks- your opinion is noted and you also destroyed the fun vibe of the post on my page.  To me, when people do that, it's like them walking their dog on your lawn when you're having a party, letting the dog poop in the yard, then leaving it there to stink everyone out, disgust everyone, make everyone ask 'WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ABOUT?" And finally,  leave the hostess to clean up the pile of poop.  Is that a relatable analogy?  I think so.  Why don't people respect someone else's Facebook page?  I mean if I post something to my page for my friends to see, I'd ask the respect of my friends to respond and react in a civil, cordial way and if they are incapable of that or of seeing my opinion, or understanding the post, then SCROLL ON.  Hell, if it was that offensive (which I never post anything like that), then unfriend me - by all means.  But unless it is something incredibly important like defending children or talking about poverty or animal abuse or something really life altering and important - then use your ability to scroll and move on.

Some people need Scrolling 101.

I guess I've never been one to understand why anyone would go out of their way to be cruel to another person they are friends with on Facebook.  This goes for pages too.  If you joined a group called Sarcastic People - why would you get up in arms over a sarcastic meme and comment "this isn't funny at all."  I mean, you don't like it?  Unfollow the page - you are the one that liked it in the first place.  You're free to go if it's not everything you hoped for and more.

You can control the majority of what is in your newsfeed.  I mean every single one of us probably has one of the following at any given time in our feed: 
The friend that hates the President.
The friend that vaguebooks about hating his/her life.
The friend that comments something negative no matter what you post.
The friend that blames everyone else for everything bad in their life.
The friend that is a fearmonger.
The friend that makes you ask yourself why you are friends with them in the first place.
The friend that makes you gasp.

But back to Lord Grantham as far as the Internet goes, I love it too much to give it up so I am certain I'd let him down in that manner, but I hope I would make him proud of the fact that I promise to use it to make my life better and not worse. I've lost too many seconds, minutes, and hours that have probably accumulated into days of lost precious time over nasty posts, comments and threads.  That's the real thief of life - that's time that you could have spent doing something to make yourself or someone else feel good.

So, like anyone who has been robbed, I'm putting up a security system in the form of accountability for my own newsfeed.  I will not engage in negativity, I will not tolerate unkindness and catty crap, and I will continue to like the hell out of Kitten You Tube videos and photos of food people are making.  These are the things that make my newsfeed happy.  Maybe you find your joy in motorcycle pics, or airplanes, jokes or dogs, books a friend read or art they've drawn - fill your Facebook up with happiness.  Make Facebook a tool to enhance your life, to strengthen your spirit, to boost your mood.  Take the bad stuff and filter it out - get it out of your feed and out of your life. 

Take your day back.  Take your life back. Step back, regroup.  Don't participate in the ugly. Filter. Strain. Hide.

Surround yourself with good as much as possible and watch how easy it is to get back to the great stuff when you do.

Anyhow - these are my thoughts for today because I've lost too much time on the bad stuff.

Until next time, scroll on and live happy,


How I Ended Up in a Twitter Book in 72 Easy Steps..

Long ago, when I first had my Facebook page, when Facebook pages were all the rage, I knew OF Twitter but had no idea how it worked.

I was easily confused by Twitter.

But friends of mine kept telling me, inviting me, begging me to try Twitter

The thought of having to limit my unlimited sense of funny to 140 characters was terrifying.

Pretty soon, all I was hearing about was Twitter and all about how funny the tweets were. Tweet Tweet Tweet was all I kept hearing.

Alright, alright.  I'll start a Twitter or whatever the hell you say when you join the Blue Bird Club.

Guess what happened?    I LOVED IT. Total thumbs up.

I didn't know what the hell I was doing.  I couldn't get it all in under 140.

I had to think.

And then...I figured it out.  Keep it short.  Keep it funny. Use abbreviations.
I got addicted to the funny.  I got high on the laughs...


The laughing continued...

I needed the laughs to get me through the day.  I was scrolling Twitter as much as I could in my downtime...just cruising for more laughs.

Is it appropriate to be hysterical laughing in the pick up lane at school?  I hope so.

At the DMV waiting for my license?  Seems like a good place to get a chuckle...

Know what I DON'T recommend? Reading funny tweets while eating or drinking.

I started telling MY friends, and anyone I talked to they NEEDED TO BE ON TWITTER!

But then Twitter showed me it's not always a funny place...sometimes, I followed people...and they were like...

And sometimes my Tweets got no response....

I was addicted to Twitter and I didn't care who knew it.

But some places didn't have wifi and I COULDN'T GET TO MY TWITTER.

I needed MORE laughs.

 I hung in there. I put the time in.  I figured out what I was doing - and would you believe I even won a trip to Florida at a Twitter Party? THAT was awesome.

Sometimes, I even get my NEWS from Twitter.  It's all I need in a tiny little appetizer of tastiness.

And today...I'm proud to say...I'm in a HILARIOUS book with some of the FUNNIEST people on Twitter.  It's appropriately called The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. (Huge thank you to Kate Hall from @katewhinehall and also to the brilliant writers behind  Science of Parenthood - Jessica and Norine and to the other contributors of this cleverly written collaboration - and for inviting me to be in the company of some of the greatest gut-busting, tweeters around.  I have no idea how I ended up in the land of the comics, but I'm hoping no one realizes I'm in the wrong place and let's me stay!

buy here!


So what are you waiting for??? You need this book!  You need to laugh!  And since we don't get much time to ourselves, you can read these little snippets of funny in between fishing Legos out of the toilet and making snacks!  It's THAT quick!

Thanks for reading!  Happy Tweeting! xo DG


My Car Isn't Leaking Wiper Fluid, Those are Tears...

Dear Click & Clack...

I woke to find a leak under both of my front headlights.  Alas, it wasn't wiper fluid, it was tears - for one of the greatest friends to all cars and car owners has gone to the auto repair shop in the sky.  All cars big and small weep for this great loss.

Please know there is a gaping hole on our Saturday mornings, in our hearts, and our radiators that cannot be filled.



By now you've heard that the country lost one of it's greatest treasures -  Tom, co-host of NPR's 'Car Talk' died yesterday of complications from Alzheimer's.  The news came to me after a particularly crappy Monday and it really hit me hard.  I'll tell you why.  Not only was he part of my Saturday morning for more years than I can remember, but he was part of my family. Maybe it hit me that slowly, all of the comforts of childhood, and growing up, and constants of life are slowly leaving, changing, ending.  This is just one more sad loss that brought comfort and laughter for many years.   These 10 reasons are a tribute to you, Tom.  Rest in Peace, & I just know you are driving around heaven in your beloved Dodge Dart or something like it.

10 Reasons Why Car Talk Was Much More Than Just Car Talk:

10.  It was from him that I learned that it was for a very serious reason that my very first car, a VW Jetta, smelled like maple was leaking anti-freeze.  And here I thought my car was just a sweet little bottle of Vermont Maple Syrup on wheels.  I was 16, what did I know?

9.  I learned so much from THEIR Top 10 Lists like the top 10 cars THEY hate the most,  Top 10 Signs You Should Pull Over Immediately,  & Top 10 Most Annoying Things Drivers Do.  Even advice to help with road trips that include wishes like May the remembrances of your next road trip bring a smile to your face, rather than inducing a bad case of post-traumatic stress.  It's like they had a camera in my car on my last road trip.

8.  Car Talk made it okay to run errands with my dad during the awkward teen years when conversation was painful.  With the Tappet Brothers making us laugh in the background, our car rides were pleasant and easy during a hormonal period of life.  It also built a bridge to NPR.  I went from mouthing the words to Salt-n-Pepa on my Sony Walkman, to actually wanting to listen to the funny guys on NPR.  Car Talk was the bridge, and Click and Clack pulled me over the hump.  Saturday mornings  with Car Talk became a ritual - a way of life - that stuck with me for years.  Eventually my Saturday mornings with my dad became Saturday mornings with my husband, running errands to Home Depot with 3 screaming kids in the backseat. Car Talk helped us forget about the mundane tasks that waited to occupy our Saturday, and started our day with laughter.

7.  Speaking of Laughter...Their laughter was infectious, contagious, catchy...whatever other word I can find for it.  It was a magnet that drew people close and held them tight in its grasp.  You couldn't help but laugh when they laughed.  Tom was a brilliant man, but used self-deprecating humor more often that not, proving that even the brightest bulbs can shine on others to give them some laughter at their expense.
6.  In this crazy world, the most pleasant, good-natured people win.  Millions tuned in every week to be around the brothers' good humor and cheerful ways.  They laughed at almost everything and found a positive spin on the questions and circumstances that filled the hour.

5.  They are proof that life is 98% human interaction and 2% business.  When they answered a caller's question, they spent 2 minutes fixing/addressing the car problem, and the rest of the time addressing life.  What a brilliant metaphor.  It's all about the human side of things - the other stuff is just a minor detail.  

4.   No matter if you are a mechanic, car salesman, or any type of job you have, your greatest tools are free and easy: honesty & trust.  Entertainment value aside, these guys were trusted by everyone - they were painfully, brutally honest on most occasions.  We could all learn that with the right amount of panache, humor and genuine care, we can build a reputation that is unbeatable. Don't take yourself too seriously, but be serious with a sprinkle of happiness and hope.  A little kindness never hurt the recipe either.

3.  When you love what you do, it shows.  It's so obvious they loved everything about cars.  How else could you so effortlessly and endlessly talk about it for so many years and keep it fresh and funny?  To make radiator fluid funny is a gift - but the gift comes from love.  They shared their gift with the world and the world loved them back.  Brilliant.

2.  They helped me understand brotherly love.  Honestly, most of the time I didn't listen because I wanted to hear about cars.  I'm a girl - that's borrrr-inggg to me.   I loved the interaction between two brothers who not only genuinely liked each other, but they loved life and it came through show after show. I can't imagine the gaping hole Tom's passing left on the family.

1.  SLOW DOWN.  A near fatal accident with a semi in his younger years caused Tom to reevaluate his life.  He quit his job, started a small shop with his brother and essentially changed their entire life path.  He was an advocate for a slower speed limit but I think it was just a metaphor for our life in the the fast lane.  We all can learn a lesson to slow down and enjoy the car ride.

Thank you, Mr. M...for your endless laughs on Saturday mornings since forever.  You will be sadly missed.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time~
Love, Light & Contagious Laughter - - and Don't Drive Like My Brother,


Fun with Pinterest 1950's Edition

Official Song of the 1950's Housewife.  Read on and find out why...(as if you don't already know).

One of my favorite social media sites is Pinterest.  I can't tell you how many times I have stared hopelessly into the depths of my fridge to find meat with no inspiration to follow.  I only have to worry for 2 minutes until I can get Pinterest up on my computer to help me.  But what about the holidays!

What appetizer can I make for Thanksgiving? 

What can I do for a side salad for Christmas?

What can I take to holiday parties?

How can I jazz up my Thanksgiving table without too much effort?

Luckily, I am living in modern day where all I have to do is type those questions in and Voila! More answers await than I have time to even explore.

But what if I was in the middle of life in the 1950's?  I would have to turn to magazines and cookbooks like those poor housewives of the old days.  As I wandered around the local antique store in town, I happened upon three Better Homes and Gardens magazines from the 1950's and almost fell over as I anxiously turned the pages and read the Holiday Tips and Recipes section. Could you imagine if Pinterest was around back then - you'd have basically three boards:  Jello, Loaves, and Casseroles.  Bahahaa!

I decided to share some of the funniest photos, articles and recipes so that you could really embrace the idea of what Pinterest has done for us and how far we've actually come in what we have to work with.

I hope you get a good laugh out of it - and since the holidays are, in fact, coming, and we will be using Pinterest more than ever, this should help you really take time to appreciate the gift that program really is to us.

Enjoy, and until next time, stay away from surprise Jello.

The first colorful page that not only caught my eye, but also made my stomach turn immediately, was the article called "Thrifty Hamburger Dinners."  This collection of recipes include  Hamburger Ring Barbeque; a recipe that involves baking meatloaf in a jello mold and decorating the middle of the ring with green beans slathered in butter and topped with a sweet and spicy barbeque sauce, and several other gag-worthy nightmares.  Center stage of the photo stars a recipe for "Upside Down Hamburger Pie" that  calls for a combination of ground beef, FAT, and tomato soup on a bed of biscuits and topped with raw onion rings.  Not sure about your kids, but I might have a complete uprising if I put that on the table, not to mention, I try not to stock my pantry with fat in a jar.  One of the funniest things I noticed that 6 out of the 10 hamburger recipes call for tomato soup, fat, and green beans.  The lack of choices when pulling these dishes together was equal parts funny and sad.  Other recipe titles in this article were:  "He-Man Casserole," "Chef's Surprise,"  (you will see the word "surprise" used often in these recipes), "Savory Meatpie," and "Steak and Onion Pie."  I don't know about you, but none of those yell "MAKE ME TONIGHT."  Maybe I'm too picky?

This comes from an article called "Thrifty Hamburger Dinners."
 I had to include this advertisement for Libby's because it caught my eye as I flipped through.  I am kind of jealous that I don't own a Vegetable Tilt-a-Whirl.  Imagine how fun a buffet table would look with one of these - preferably not with succotash-like themes in the mini-cars of the ferris wheel.  Maybe hummus, dip, raw veggies, fruit?  Not sure, but I NEED this 1950's  server on my Holiday Table. 

Because your table is plain old naked without the Veggie Ferris Wheel.
I had to post this Prize Recipes photo because it is such a sad representation of what these people had to work with for exciting new dishes in the 50's.  Think about what a recipe needs to win a prize THESE days of Pinterest and then consider the "winners" of that year.  Some of the winners include:
Pennsylvania Dutch Pepper Cabbage - main ingredient is Heinz canned Chicken Stew with Dumplings.   A close second place winner include Macaroni Tuna Loaf starring a can of "Macaroni in Cheese Sauce" (sorry folks, no longer found in can variety in stores!), and get this - "Hearty Beans: a masculine favorite with a special feminine appeal when topped with onion braised in butter."  Because nothing yells feminine touch like being braised in butter and smelling like onions.  Oh the creative writing of Mad Men agencies to make Heinz Cooking Contest sing the praises of women all over the country.  For dessert, the big winner was a 'Big, Cool, Refreshing Fruit Salad" made with canned fruit, GARNISHED WITH FRESH FRUIT and  - wait for it - topped with HEINZ VINEGAR.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO NO NO NO! 
One of the "Prize Winning Entries"  consists of Cream of Canned Macaroni.  *Shudder*
Moving on to desserts.  You can't imagine the poor choices and horrible ideas that were suggested in these magazines.  First of all, everything is a BIG SURPRISE.  I'm not sure if the 50's lacked that much zest for life, or general lack of surprise - but why did the element of fun and shock have to come via dessert?  I don't know about you, but I like birthday surprises, and party surprises, but NOT surprises in my spoonfuls of food. Maybe we just aren't risk takers like the people of the 50's?  Take this "WHITE Mystery Fruitcake"  (why is white capitalized? was it that big of a shocker that the cake would be white?) Aren't there enough surprises in fruit cake as it is - why more?  Because MORE surprises make it MORE fun to NOT eat!  Guess what the mystery ingredient that makes it white is!  Betty Crocker WHITE cake mix.  WHO KNEW! Those were some wild and crazy contestants in the kitchen of Top Chef Betty Crocker Corporation.  Oh, and just for fun, don't forget to throw in white frosting to really confuse them.
Why all the mystery?  Were the 50's missing that much excitement that their surprises had to come by way of their food?
You guys, I can't.  I don't know if I'm ready to talk about this one yet.  I'll try.  Want to know what the fun surprise ingredient is in these Thanksgiving dinner side dishes?  Mayonnaise.  Oh, and Pineapple....or maybe the walnuts?  or the unflavored gelatin (why did EVERYTHING have to be Jello-like consistency?)  Don't you dare forget to serve it on a bed of lettuce and TOP IT WITH ANOTHER TABLESPOON OF MAYO!  
Cranberry Souffle Surprise - Jello Plus Mayo Plus Lemon = NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and the slogan "This is the place for Hellman's?  No...actually, this is NOT the place, like at all...for Hellman's. Go home to your tuna salad where you belong."
I feel like the sad part about the Holiday Edition of the Better Homes 1950's edition was the large section DEDICATED to fruit cake.  What was so damn elegant about fruitcake?  NO ONE ATE THEM.  Everyone brought them to each other's house and smiled their June Cleaver smile while secretly rolling their eyes to heaven as they placed it on the dessert table.  No seven layer bars?  No three tier cake boss type cakes at these parties?  Ooof.  No wonder the ladies were so damn skinny - the food choices were disgusting! 
Yay for more secrets!!! Oooh tell us! What is the BIG SECRET in this beauty?  Double rich Pet Milk!  WHAT THE HELL IS PET MILK ANYWAY?? Turns out it was just evaporated milk...and they thought that was a great idea to name it. I know they claim that Pet Milk was the big surprise ingredient, but as I look over the list, I have to say I am torn between the Marshmallows, dates, and the surprise alcohol flavoring.  All of them just so unexpected it's hard to say who wins. 
 I was utterly terrified while reading the treats that every holiday feast must include.  Take the Yuletide Mold for starters.  Of course the recipe calls for even more unflavored gelatin (why..for the love - was jello the only consistency they could eat??? What the hell?), SOUR CREAM, AVOCADO (weren't they just ahead of their time using avocado!?), TABASCO - oh make it stop! Your Yuletide Mold cried for only the BEST salad dressing, pimiento and oranges.  Are you starting to wonder if anyone actually ate any of this?  Could you imagine the poor kids?  "Now honey, be a good boy and eat all of your Yuletide Mold that Grandma made!"   GROSS!  Moving on to the Gala Fruit Wreath pictured below, that bowl of white creamy stuff in the middle is in fact, NOT cream cheese fruit spread or anything fun like that - no delicious goodness to dip your fruit in.  It is, my friends, MAYONNAISE.  More Mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise and jello, mayo and veggies, mayo and meat, mayo and fruit. MAYO MAYO MAYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  Do you think when these ladies were making their holiday dishes they just started singing, "I throw my hands up in the air sometimes singing "MAYO...GOTTA USE MAYYYOOOO." 
 Come on people!  Don't you just want to yell back in time and tell them that some day they will live a life without JELLO AND MAYO SURPRISES!  Hang in there - Pinterest is commmmmmminnnnnnnng!    Okay let's talk about the frosted King Henry grapes on the Gala Fruit Wreath.  Maybe their grapes weren't already white from pesticide like ours are now - maybe they didn't have to wash them six times to get that film off?  So they had to create their own frosted look with using egg whites and coating them in sugar.  Egg whites and sugar.  Egg whites and Sugar....on their grapes.  Who ate this stuff?  They suggest using the Wreath as a centerpiece AND a Salad OR Dessert.   Wait, what?  When they give you the choice of using something as a salad OR a dessert we have a serious problem. I feel extremely sad that they suggest garnishing your wreath with - are you ready?  Holly leaves.  What poor, unknowing man will innocently grab a holly leaf, dip it in that irresistIble mayo dip and end up in the guest bathroom with side effects of eating holly leaves like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach and intestinal problems.  It's just not a party until you have Poison Control on the heavy rotary phone.
Gala Fruit Wreath: Center a large round platter with bowl of Fluffy Mayo, apple cups placed on groups of 3 lettuce ruffles, fill in with fruits like canned pears, canned peaches, canned pineapple, canned apricots, frosted grapes AND fresh kumquats.  Oh that made me laugh - everything canned and frosted - but must add fresh kumquats.  Who the hell does Kumquats thing he is? lol!  Don't forget the candied ginger to ease stomach upset after eating the poisonous holly leaves.  WAY TO GO BETTER HOMES.   THIS IS A CLASSIC.
 Shoot!  I forgot to pop this in under Fun with Holiday Appetizers!!  This amazing Holiday Cheese Ring is not enough when served on a platter with crackers - it MUST be adorned in toxic glass Christmas bulbs!   You guys, really?   Why would it ever, EVER, be necessary to adorn a cheese ring with GLASS BULBS??  I mean WTF? STOP THIS MADNESS 1950's housewives!  I'm begging you! 
Be extra careful how much you have to drink at this holiday party because slicing into a cheese ring could poison you.
 Why should Pillsbury have all of the fun with their bad ideas of cheese roll center poisoning decor?  What about this brilliant idea for your cake center?  In this recipe for "Cherry Candle Cake" it will LOOK like Christmas when you light this candle on your dessert table!  When you cut this deliciously light and airy cake, folks will see the red flecks of candied cherry and not know whether they are part of the outside lead paint of the red candle or actual bits of cherry!  Nothing says risk taker like throwing caution to the wind and really digging into this toxic cake!  I'll tell you, folks will be lined up outside of the guest bathroom at this awesome party!

That's it for now my friends.  I hope you got a good laugh like I did - - and now you will really appreciate Pinterest, and the millions of recipes at your fingertips this holiday season.  May your season be merry, bright, peaceful, and without Jello, Mayo, Food Surprises, & Poison.  We've come a long way, baby.