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My family is smack bang in the middle of birthday season. One is down, three to go. Fun, fun, funity, fun. With all this birthday cheer going around it gets me thinking about some fun party ideas.

For the next b’day shin dig we are going Christmassy in October. It’s my little girl’s 5th birthday and I kinda led her towards this I must say. Imagine it. Decorating your house for Christmas in October. Ridiculous, some might say but I say smart. Because then the Christmas season will last for MONTHS instead of weeks, I will get awesome use out of my beloved christmas decorations and I will be able to watch christmas movies and listen to christmas music way before the rest of you.

This party will have gingerbread house decorating  (which will double as a lolly bag), a christmas tree for the guests to put presents under for my girl, pass the christmas stocking and fun dress ups. Any more ideas out there? Can’t wait.

If you had an enormous budget, no real constraints what would you do to celebrate your birthday? I was thinking I’d love to recreate the diner in Gilmore Girls, get my hubby to wear a baseball cap backwards, a la Luke and the rest of the guests to adopt a character from the show. We’d drink coffee, eat pizza, tater tots, red liquorice, dessert sushi and lots of different sweet pies. Fun huh?

Or how about a party based on the Dr Seuss book, ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’? We’ll turn up really late so that everyone will be just waiting…We’ll hire the local Boom Band and import some howling Hakken-Kraks (I think pulling their tail does the job). We’ll make people think they’re awesome and then make them fail on tv or make them play against themselves so they always win and lose at the same time. Shoes! We’ll provide shoes with feet in them, heads with brains in them and elephants towing large sunshades over each person. And will it be great? Yes! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.

Oh the parties we’d have if we actually could. Money, time, stuff, things, venues, food, friends, creativity, energy… But I love a good party. Sometimes the simple ones are the best.

How about you share some funky party ideas of your own? We could start a movement of awesome, quirky parties across the globe.

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I love it when writers, directors, actors etc hit that sweet spot. You know those scenes from your favourite TV shows that take it from good to incredible? Ah. There are some brilliant scenes that have made me fall deeply, madly into addiction with some series. Here they are. They may not be your cuppa tea but to me they are pure gold!

1. Gilmore Girls – This scene is perfecto! It depicts family life in such a dramatic, humorous and ‘real’ way. I loved it! My number 1!!!

2. Arrested Development – One of the best comedies of all time! Which scene to choose? My husbands all time favourite scene is the following. The Bluth family are trying to sell land to Japanese investors. They use a train set to trick them into thinking building has already begun. Throw in a few misunderstandings and ridiculous props and you’ve got yourself a great scene!
3. Community – Oh my new love! This is a quirky little number starring a whole heap of unknowns and Chevy Chase! It’s a little silly sometimes but I love the characters, especially Ahbed and Troy who do these funny little bits at the end of every episode! Here’s a pearler:
4. 30 Rock – This series can be hit and miss sometimes but when it gets it right it’s down right hilarious! Go Liz Lemon.One of the best characters is Doctor Spaceman (pronounced Spachee man) who is less doctor and more um madman! Hilarious. And you can’t go past a Tina Fey dance routine!
5. ER – On a more serious note we head to the ER where every episode is guaranteed to make you cry. This one was particularly disturbing. When one of the ER docs died they had to wheel him through the corridors he used to walk in front of all his colleagues… gut wrenching but incredible TV.
It’s so hard to choose the best scene from any fav TV show! What are some of your favs?

Image by Tony Peters

Say I’m in a foul mood, dark thoughts drift in and out. My mind is filled with ‘grump’ and I just cannot seem to shift it. Frustration rises as I realise the effect I’m having on those around me, the grump intesifies and I’m on the verge of an all out explosion. What to do? Gilmore Girls.

I don’t know why this show affects me like it does but every time, without fail, it cheers me up. It touches something in me deep down, beyond the muck and the growl of the day and makes it come alive. I think it’s the desire to belong, to have a place in the world and when you’re in the ‘depths of despair’ you feel alone.

Gilmore Girls is all about community. Not a perfect place where everyone is normal and gets along but a small New England town where everyone’s nose is firmly planted in each others’ business and that’s how they like it. It’s a sort of democratic town with regular meetings that the townsfolk vote on important things like whether the town troubadour is ok, or if the old town troubadour is allowed to sell fruit and veges in the main square.

Even the harshest of people has their place like the Korean sergeant major mother who sells antique furniture. She is beloved and accepted, warts and all. The townsfolk simply work with what they have. They genuinely care about each other. One of my favourite scenes is Babette’s cat’s wake. The whole town turns up to celebrate Cinnamon’s life in Bab’s tiny house. Food is served, music is sung, tears are shed. You can only understand the importance of Cinnamon if you live in this town, no one else understands.

Then there’s Lorelai and Lorelai (Rory), a single mother and daughter who have been embraced by this crazy place. Lorelai snr has a string of failed relationships, a cool jeep and a head for business. She can be rude and demanding but once again, the town accepts her and loves her for who she is. Drama seems to follow her wherever she goes, but that’s cool, daddy, she’s Lorelai, that’s just how she is!

In reality, our community experience isn’t tight knit. It’s like we’ve given ourselves permission to care from a distance, not to get too involved. And that’s partly a shame. It would be irritating having people spying on you, knowing every fight or tear you have but it is nice to be known as well. There’s something special about being completely accepted for who you are within a bunch of fellow misfits. It’s a place you can be yourself and know you are always home.

Image by Böhringer Friedrich

I tried to laugh, I promise! I sat there, waiting to hold my aching sides as I laughed my adorable head off! But it never came. I gave the occasional polite laugh, a little fake, but I wanted to feel hip and cool and like I actually had a sense of humour. But I failed.

Last night I watch the Mel Brooks (hang your head in shame, Emma) film sensation (apparently) Silent Movie. It was referenced in my beloved Gilmore Girls so I thought I’d be a bit ‘Lorelai’ and watch this cool, classic film but it was a little slow. Mel seemed to try really hard to be funny. It was like I was reading ‘Slapstick For Dummies’. Beautiful girl gets offended at weird looking man hitting on her: TICK; massive amount of people exiting lift: TICK; fat man eats all chocolate in gift box: TICK.

And then there were all the ‘stars’ that made an appearance, like Brooks was saying, “Look who I know!” I love you Brooksie but I was disappointed. I even had to watch the second half in fast forward to find out what happened. The wheelchair race with Paul Newman was actually funnier in fast forward.

I don’t know what it is with humour from the past. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Would I have laughed if I was watching Silent Movie in a 1976 cinema? Am I too sophisticated or not sophisticated enough? Have our comedic palates changed over time? Have I lost my funny bone, what if I don’t find anything funny ever again?

You see, Monty Python is ok, a little creepy at times, a little silly but sometimes amusing. I don’t really like Chevy Chase and Steve Martin is over-the-top. Adam Sandler has lost the plot, employing all his friends in semi-funny films relying on fart and sex jokes -meh! Jim Carey has gone all ‘serious actor’ on us and done quite a stirling job, actually but are his funny days over too? Mike Myers has probably retired to the swamp, Lesley Nielsen has died and Dan Ackroyd has lost his ghostly shine.

I love the 80’s comedy classics, but I think it’s more out of nostalgia. It seems the only films that make me laugh these days are the foreign ones (I love you Amelie and Life is Beautiful). Ultimately, retro funny is fun. That is all. I need to lower my expectations and laugh-o-metre and simply enjoy them for what they are and the times they represent.

What do you do when you’re feeling low? What is your ‘happy pill’?

When my growls are in full flight, when they are soaring in stormy clouds and cannot be safely brought in to land, I ease them down with the following:

  1. 1 x  episode Gilmore Girls / ER Seachange or film (make mine romantic comedy!)
  2. 1 x glass of wine
  3. 1-2 rows of Cadbury‘s finest (usually Snack)
  4. 1 x silent bath, perhaps with wine, but silence is a MUST!
  5. 1 x ridiculously processed packet of orange tasty chips (think Twisties or Cheezels)

And if that doesn’t work, I glue myself to the television until my entire body has relaxed and my smile returns.

We all have those growly days, at least I hope we do! It is now week 6 of school holidays and my baby grrrr is slowly growing into a full blown GROWL. It’s not that the kids are being particularly naughty, it’s just that the same stuff is still going on that has been happening for the last 5 weeks.

Let me enlighten you…

  • When you are out and about, even just doing the regular grocery shopping, you’ll find the holidaying child full of “Oh mum, I really want…” You roll your eyes and say a stern “no” through gritted teeth for the umpteenth time.
  • The holidaying child will want to watch a movie everyday (at least mine do). It is tempting to the overwrought mother to say “yes”. But deep down in the ‘good’ mother part of you, you know that too much tv is not a good thing. Besides the sun is shining and the beach lives just around the corner, so it would be criminal to do a daily movie thing.
  • Before school starts back there may be a few ‘panic’ play dates. Perhaps you have lost touch with particularly good friends or there are group reunions. This requires energy. There’s small talk to do, the effort of getting in the car (especially to the beach) with all the stuff is an effort in itself. Though you may love the social aspect of play dates, it still revolves around the children!
  • Technology – kids on holidays crave technology. When all Lego has been played with, all Pony’s tails are brushed and the Barbies can’t bear another change of clothes, the children turn to computers or ipods etc. For this they need adult help with the setting up and the rules and the tears when they inevitably lose. Then there’s fighting over whose turn it is with the darn thing.
  • Late nights are a common feature of the holiday period. There are countless barbeques and festivals to attend, some ending at your bedtime, let alone theirs. The following day everyone is cranky, even more demanding as the little darlings haven’t yet learned the art of sleeping in.

We all love our kids and the time we have with them is so precious. But we’re not robots, we’re not paid enough to be happy chaps all the time. There is very little reward for all the STUFF us parents do for the ones we love so dearly. We may do it with a growl in our throats but it is comforting to remember that at the end of the day, they have to go to bed early and we can indulge ourselves in our ‘happy pills’ all night long!

image by Sanjay Acharya

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