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Human, Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend & Aspiring Unicorn Breeder

11.27.2011

Kids as Pawns... NO!

My best friend called me tonight in tears. Her ex-husband, who happens to be 2 years behind on his child support payments, is threatening to take her 17 year old son away from her. He also told her he's going to stop making further (partial) child support payments. His (vengeful) reason? Her house is "messy" and "she has too much stuff." Which brings me to... how did he even know this?? Well, he went into her home while she wasn't home, without her permission, and went through her home & personal belongings. Now the real reason for his threats? He broke their court order this weekend by staying at his girlfriends house with their son. They have a cohabitation agreement written into the divorce documents, and when she politely let him know that this made her uncomfortable, he retaliated with a slew of ridiculous threats.

I calmed her down and pointed out the facts. A) Ex-douche is homeless and lives at a YMCA some 800 miles away. B) He's 2 years behind on his child support payments. C) He basically committed the crime of breaking and entering when he entered her home without her express permission. D) Her son does NOT want to move anywhere. E) Her son is almost 17 and no judge anywhere is going to pull him out of his home & school and move him anywhere, (not to his ailing grandmothers home in Florida and especially not to his fathers girlfriends house in town... yes, that's what ex-douche told her), unless there is abuse going on. Which there is not. She's one of the best mothers I know.

But I have seen this happen on so many occasions: Ex-spouses/partners using their children as pawns. They get angry and all that love they have for their children goes straight into the shitter. They may think it doesn't, but their actions prove otherwise. My question is WHY?! How in Gods name does it help your children? So you're pissed at your ex, big deal... Talk it out like an adult and get over it. But if you're that mad, and just have to be that fucking immature about it, then punch your ex in the face, slash their tires, shit on their front porch, spray paint obscenities on their car/house... hell, do anything else. But don't involve your kid(s) in your petty, juvenile bullshit just because you're mad and you know that that's the one thing that will hurt your ex the most. Because I will tell you this: You're only hurting your ex for a short time, but you're hurting your kid(s) for the rest of their lives. And here's the kicker: Kids eventually grow up, and when they do they see the truth. They see that it was you who carelessly played with their lives, they see that it was you who was manipulative with their mother/father, they see that it was you who cared so little for them that you put your need for revenge over their need for love and stability. And in the end they will resent you. For. The. Rest. Of. Their. Lives.

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: Me
(Selfish parents, you're just throwing yourselves in the flames...)

11.23.2011

Shut Up & Eat Some Turkey.

Some folks get really bent out of shape when it comes to Thanksgiving. They go on about what a horrible holiday it is because "the white man" slaughtered Native Americans hundreds of years ago. I know this is not going to make me very popular when I say this, but that's not a good reason for me to not celebrate. That reasoning is akin to me apologizing to every human I meet because one of my ancestors may or may not have enslaved/killed/raped/pillaged another human and/or group of humans hundreds of years ago who was probably not even related to any one of the said humans I'll ever meet. It's pretty ridiculous. People celebrate Thanksgiving to give thanks for the blessings in their lives. And that's it. In fact, I don't know one person who celebrates the slaughter of anyone on Thanksgiving, (or any other day). I mean, can you imagine?? "It's Thanksgiving y'all! We slaughtered the Indians, so let's eat some fuckin' turkey and partaaay!"

Ummm, no.

I'm of Hispanic & Germanic descent, so I'm pretty sure some relative somewhere down the line slaughtered someone... (hell, maybe even recently over some booze or drugs. just kidding)... but I didn't. So I'm going take every occasion there is to celebrate the good things in life: be it the Pagan based Halloween, the completely made up Valentines Day, and yes, even the horrible holiday that is Thanksgiving. So you Bah-Humbuggers can just keep your Shammy McFrauderton stories to yourselves.... I'm gonna thank the good Lord for the many blessings in my life and eat some turkey!

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: Me
(Happy Thanksgiving!!!)

11.17.2011

Good Friends

Here's the thing about being a good friend...

You always support your friends in their endeavors. You don't judge them, ever, on the decisions and choices they make in life. You don't make back handed comments to them, or take petty jabs at them for any reason. If you think they're screwing up, and you're really concerned, you can tell them how you feel (tactfully) once, but after that you leave it up to them as to how they live their life. You are not jealous, but happy for them, when they have good things happen in their lives. You understand that they have a life outside of you. You don't trash talk their other friends to them. When a friend vents to you, you don't bash anyone/anything they're talking about... you listen and offer your shoulder; and you don't interject with your opinions... unless they specifically ask for them. You don't one-up them when they tell you good news or bad news. You keep their secrets, no matter how juicy they are. You don't bog them down with every single problem you have all of the time, or stay in a state of constant negativity around them. You ask them how they are and you listen, instead of talking about yourself all of the time. You talk about them behind their back the same way you would talk to their face. You are honest and upfront with them, without being tactless and hurtful. In short, you treat them the way you want to be treated.... Golden Rule 101. Simple common sense. But common sense doesn't seem to be so common anymore.

There are times that I'm lacking as a friend... especially in the unwanted advice giving department. I do try really hard to be a good friend to the people I care about, (and I can keep a secret forever). But if I'm failing miserably at it, I want to be told I'm failing.... as kindly as possible. I promise I'll give the same respect.

©Flippa Bird
Photgraph by: Me
(Friends Walk With You Through Thick & Thin.)

11.16.2011

Marriage Secrets.

Today the Husband and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage. It has been quite a feat for us, and it's really somewhat of a miracle nowadays for anyone. I'm always curious as to what makes couples successful. When I see a shriveled old couple hand in hand I wonder what they've done to make it that long, what are their secrets. My Hubby and I have been through every relationship scenario possible, and I do mean every scenario. But here we are, still kicking and happier than we've ever been. We've accumulated a few secrets to happiness ourselves. So for anyone who is curious, these are a few of the things we've learned over the last 15 years.
  • Be each others best friend. Like really be their best friend. Put your spouse before everyone else and think of their feelings in everything you do. Extend to them the same courtesies you would to your BFF... and then some.
  • Be on the same team. Having an "It's us against the world" mentality makes it harder to go against each other. That goes for raising kids too!
  • You can make it through the really horrible stuff: Money woes, infidelity, deaths, lies, illness, betrayal, loss, anything. You can make it through and be happier than you were before, as long as both of you decide to be on the same page and communicate honestly. 
  • Go into marriage with the mindset that divorce is not an option. And keep that mindset even when you want to rip your spouses face off.
  • Grow together. Try new things together, discuss religion and politics, find hobbies to do together. Make sure you talk often. People grow and change as they age, better if you do so together
  • Don't hold a grudge. Ever. It's ok to be mad, but if you're still bringing up the same thing after 4 years, there's a problem and the problem is with you. When you forgive, you don't always forget, but you do need to let things go. Otherwise you're just slowly poisoning your relationship.
  • Have a date night at least once a week. Even if you have 14 kids, even if you're not getting along, even if you're flat broke... even if it's just hot dogs and ramen noodles on the living room floor, light some damn candles and have a date night once a week.
  • Accept your spouse the way they are, faults and all. The only person you can change is yourself. So maybe try changing your own crappy behaviors and you'll notice a difference in your mate.
  • Trust your partner. If you don't trust them it's for one of two reasons: either you're insecure about your own actions or they are up to no good. Either way it won't work if you don't just let it go and trust them. Smoke always clears up anyway, so just trust them.
  • The grass is not greener on the other side. Sometimes it feels like it might be, but it's not, not, not. If you want greener grass, try watering your own lawn. It truly works!
  • Learn to say you're sorry. Own up to it when you are wrong, even if you don't want to. Coddling your partner and doing a little ass kissing when you've hurt them doesn't hurt either.
  • Kiss each other. And hug and touch and caress and massage each other whenever you can. Human touch is a powerful thing. And it really does make you feel more connected.
  • Say "I love you" every time you greet one another, every time you depart from each other, and every time in between. And tell your spouse why you love them from time to time... it's not just a good reminder for them, it's a good reminder for you too. 
  • Have sex. Do it. Even if you're tired, especially when you have a headache, always after an argument, and sometimes just because. Seduce each other and make love to one another like you did when you first dated. It keeps the fires burning.
  • Don't ever compare your relationship to anyone else's. The two of you have a special connection that only the two of you can understand. The way you do things will be different than how another couple does things... and that's ok!! Find what works for you two and then do it, because that's all that really matters: the two of you.
There is a lot more I'm sure. But that's the gist of what we've learned throughout our time together. Marriage can be tough.... It's not always smooth sailing. But those principles have helped us immensely in growing and loving together.

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: Me
(Oh yeah, hold hands too! It's very romantic!)

11.13.2011

In Defense of Twilight.

I'm an avid reader and always have been. And I've never been one to restrict myself to just one or two genres of literature. From historical romance novels to historical nonfiction, from the classics to the contemporary, from "how to" to sci-fi, and pretty much anything in between: I like it all. One of my favorite subjects to read on is vampires. From the moment I picked up a copy of Interview with the Vampire at the age of 15, I've been hooked. Anyone who really knows me, knows this: I am a vampire fanatic! Which is why some people were surprised to learn that I, Flippa Bird, love all things Twilight. In fact, I read all four books in 5 days. I devoured them. I know a lot of people out there loathe the Twilight series. "Vampires don't sparkle, they can't go in the sun, there's no such thing as a vegetarian vampire, vampires can't father children..." are among their arguments. But I'm going to break it down, nice and easy like, and explain to you why vampires can in fact do all of the above. So open your mind and read on...

1. Here's a little history on Vampires. It wasn't until Christianity started taking hold around the 11th century that vampires became a thing to be feared. It was thought that anyone who committed suicide or didn't receive last rites was doomed to walk the earth for eternity. But before that time blood sacrifices and the consuming of blood and human flesh, (from the pure: babies or virgins), was practiced quite commonly. In fact, many doctors prescribed virginal blood for certain ailments. And then around the 14th century the plague swept through Europe. With medical care being what it was back then, (and in the haste to get rid of the contaminated bodies), some people were inadvertently buried alive. These folks would dig their way out from under the earth, only to be found very much alive, confused and covered in blood and filth. Because there wasn't time to perform last rites on many of the people, it was assumed these "dead" rising from their graves were indeed vampires and that they were the "creatures" responsible for "killing" everyone. So the original vampires were not the dashing, intelligent, sexy, debonair creatures that we have come to think of them as. They actually started out rather zombie-like: filthy, sickly, foul smelling, disoriented beings. They were seen as nothing more than a reanimated corpse with a thirst for blood. They were no Lestat or Bill Compton, if you will.

2. Vampires in literature and film have been portrayed in many, many ways. In fact, it seems one of the only traits they all have in common is the need to consume blood. For instance, Bram Stokers Dracula could could shift into animals, had to have soil from his native Transylvania to sleep among, he could venture out into the daylight, (although it does limit his powers), and the transition from mortal to immortal was a slow process. Then came the 1922 flim Nosferatu. It was this film that made sunlight lethal to vampires and again reverted vampires back to hideous creatures, quite unlike the brilliant, seductive Dracula from Stoker's novel, though Stoker's Dracula was the (unauthorized) basis for the film. Then came Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles, which is what my generation sets as the standard for vampire purism... even though it didn't actually follow original vampire lore either. Her vampires were shrewd, devious, brilliant, dashing, killing machines. Although she does write in one of the later books in her chronicle that vampires "evolved" from those zombie-like creatures into what they are today. Even Lestat, having given up the will to go on, ventured out in full sun, only to emerge with a luminous golden tan. And then we have the wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse novel series from Charlaine Harris, which has gone on to become the wildly popular TV show TrueBlood. Her vampires are all drop dead gorgeous, many of them have quite human emotions, and have come out of the vampire "closet" after a Japanese company creates synthetic blood, which is what the majority of them now survive on. They can even venture out into the sun for short periods of time after consuming fairy blood. So as you can see, they are all very, very different from one another... but most people agree that these characters are "true vampires"... even despite the glaring discrepancies between them.

3. And this is the most important argument in my defense of the vampires of the Twilight series. Vampires are not real. Gasp! They are fictional creatures. And as you can see from above, many liberties have been taken by every author and film maker, deviating from original vampire lore and from each other. So does it really matter, and is it impossible to think, that a fictitious vampire could have skin with the appearance of diamonds when in direct sunlight? Emma Frost from X-Men is pretty bad ass and she sparkles. Diamond Lil from Marvel Comics has skin and hair as hard as a diamond, just like the vampires of Twilight have skin as hard as marble. And so what if they're "vegetarians" that only drink the blood of animals? The take-no-shit vampires from TrueBlood drink synthetic bottled blood for the same reason the Cullens of Twilight drink only the blood of animals: They don't want to be monsters, they just want to fit in with the rest of society. And as far as vampires being able to father children goes, Stephenie Meyer pretty much summed it up like this: When a male becomes a vampire, the sperm is suspended in motion. But it's still there. Given that the Edward character was a virgin when he was transformed into a vampire, and given the time period he lived in, it is possible to think that he never pounded his pud in that 100 years, and when he finally released his man-juice for the first time on his honeymoon it produced a baby.

4. So let me stress this again: VAMPIRES ARE FICTITIOUS. They are not real. Vampires are pretend. So saying you're a vampire purist and that vampires should only be this way or that way is ridiculous. You can say white people can only be white, because white people do in fact exist, and we know that nothing will change their skin color, (aside from a shitty spray tan). You can say an octopus can only have 8 legs, because octopus do in fact exist, and we know that nothing will change the amount of legs they have. You can say bluebirds are all supposed to fly, because bluebirds do in fact exist, and we know that nothing will change the fact that they can fly. BUT, you can not say a vampire can't go in the sun, or a vampire can't drink animal blood, or a vampire can't procreate, or a vampire can't sparkle... because the simple fact is they aren't real, and so it is up to each individual author to decide how their creature will be. There is no formula, there are no rules.... and there shouldn't be. In the world of fantasy and make believe, in literature and film, our imagination is the limit. And we should never, ever put limits on our imaginations.

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: My Bff, K
(Me as Jane at the Twilight Ball)

11.09.2011

Happy = Scared.

Happiness has become a frightening emotion for me. It has been since I was a young teenager. I am scared to death that something bad is going to happen in my life. I don't know what, and there is no particular thing or event, I am afraid of.... but it always seems that when the going gets good, the good goes straight to hell. I've become so conditioned to this that it's become difficult to enjoy the happy moments in my life, because I'm waiting for the bad to happen. Again. 

For the last little while, my life has been so incredibly happy. My Husband and I have finally reached a smooth groove, after 15+ years together. We're on the same page and we just flat out enjoy each others company... immensely! It really took us a while but we're happier and more content with each other, (and ourselves), than we've ever been. Our kids are now at an age where they still need us, but not so much to where they need constant supervision. They are developing into their own really cool people and it's an awesome thing to witness. I have a wonderful, close-knit network of friends that accept me, (flaws and all), who I can relax, commiserate and laugh with. And my Husband and I are at a point now where we don't struggle financially... money is getting put away for retirement, all of the bills are paid on time, and there's always money left over for leisure and other last minute things. It hasn't always been that way. We struggled with everything for the longest time....

The last time things were starting to go really well in my life, all unholy catastrophic hell broke lose. It was so horrible that I completely lost my mind due to the events, and it took me literally several years, (and several loony-bin stays, numerous prescription drugs, and many, many doctor & therapy visits), to recover from it. In fact, it damn near tore my family to shreds. So you can see why I'd be a little hesitant to just accept the good in my life and go with the flow. But I am trying. I'm cautiously enjoying just living my life and enjoying my family and friends. I try to stay in the present, I count the blessings that I have today... and I pray that things stay even keeled for a long, long while.

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: My Insanely Talented Daughter
(Sometimes I feel like a clueless bug, never knowing when I'll be squashed.) 

11.04.2011

So Pooped.

My Husband's been promoted at work. I can't express how proud I am of him. He's worked for the same company going on 12 years. We like to jokingly refer to him as a "mill honky," but he doesn't actually work in a mill. He works in a large manufacturing facility, and had alternated between working strictly on the floor as a fabricator and working on the floor in a quasi-supervising position. I say quasi-supervising, because although it was a supervisory role and he had a team of people under him, he didn't have any real authority, it was an hourly position and therefore not considered management, and the position could only be held for four years at a time. So he would work in the quasi-supervisory position for four years, go back on the floor for one year, and then they'd put him back in the quasi-supervisory position for four more years. They kept rotating between the two until they finally figured out, "Hey this guy is super smart, he's a great leader, he's really good looking, he has an awesome body, and we need to have a person like him running the show." (I may have added the good looking and awesome body parts...)

So they finally offered him an honest to goodness, salaried management position overseeing a rather large area of the facility. And now here we are: Our little white-trash family that started out in a governemt apartment, eating government cheese has beat all, (and I do mean ALL), of the statistics to become a happy hoity-toity family. But the promotion has its pros and cons. The cons are: he works more hours, he's on a different schedule than we are, he actually gets paid less (it's salaried, so no gigantic overtime paychecks), the kids see him less, he stays super tired, the work is a lot more mentally demanding for him, the kids have to be extremely quiet all of the time (which is damn near impossible), and I'm pretty much running the house alone now. The pros are: I see him more, we get to workout together, he will now be able to advance in his career, the work is less demanding for him physically, we'll be better off financially in the long run, and he'll finally get to finish his engineering degree (with no student loans to pay back).

Here's the thing... I feel like I could sleep for the next ten years and we've only been at this a week. I wonder if I'm going to be able to do this for the next 3 years. He's a junior, but since he works full time he'll only be able to take 1-2 classes per semester. I worry that he'll not be able to keep up the pace. He doesn't function well on little sleep and I worry he'll fall asleep at the wheel during his long commute and get in an accident. He's come close to doing that several times before. And I worry about his health a lot. He has high BP and the way he's just going and going can't be good for it. We've done his crazy routine before, although we were a little younger then and had a lot more energy. But now we're so old and so pooped all the time. And no matter how tired I am, I just can't seem to shut my brain off at night.... so I'm not sleeping well at all. And the kids are driving me bat-shit crazy, especially our oldest. And I don't like having to be tighter with our budget. Complain, complain, blah, blah, blahhh...

I honestly shouldn't be complaining. There are millions of people in this world who would love, love, love to have my "problems." We're all in great health, I don't work, we have a gorgeous house in a wonderful area, my husband makes good money, we have great kids, we don't have a lot of debt, we have four stupid animals we love, our parents are still around, we get to go on vacations every year, we live very comfortably... life is really, really good. It's just a little busier than we're used to at the moment. We may be tired, but we can do this. We've done a helluva lot harder. I love us and I have faith in us. Go family, GO!

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: Moi
(Always a Light At The End of a Tunnel)

11.01.2011

We Women.

Women are contradictory creatures by nature. We will want something, be it a physical or emotional want/need, but most of us won't tell you what it is that we're wanting. We expect everyone around us to read our minds. And then we get pissed off when you can't and we have to tell you what it is that we're wanting. Well, I believe I've figured out why we expect everyone to be mind readers. It's because we ourselves have the ability to read minds. Ok, ok... maybe not literally. I couldn't tell you what you are thinking about at the moment, but I'd more than likely be able to tell you how you're feeling, even if you're trying to hide how it is that you feel. And the reason I could do so is because (most of us) women are extremely clued in to other peoples body language and non-verbal cues. And because we are fine-tuned into the emotional world around us, we of course expect everyone else to be tuned in as well.

Men on the other hand are pretty straight forward. There's never any real mystery there. They're hungry, they get grumpy. You feed them, they get happy. They're tired, they get grumpy. You tuck them in bed, they get happy. They're horny, they get grumpy. You give them a romp in bed, they get happy. And if they're grumpy for any other reason, simply feed them, fuck them and let them take a nap afterward and they're happy again. It's simple science really.

We women are not so simple; we're very complicated. But I'm going to explain a little of how our minds operate, so perhaps you will understand. For instance, If we have to tell you we need a hug, then we don't want it anymore when you try to give us one. And here's why: We want you to see that we're upset and offer your comfort because you love us and want to make us feel better.... not because we told you to hug us. Because in our my minds if you can't tell we're unhappy and need love... well really, what the hell is wrong with you?! And when we eyeball that perfume in the store and mention the next day how lovely it smelled, we expect that you'll remember that for the next 7 months until our anniversary/christmas/birthday comes around. And when you give us that sexy lingerie instead, YES, we will be disappointed and need that hug that we dont want to tell you we need. We'll be disappointed because in our minds you were thinking of yourself and the hot sex you'd be getting when you bought the lingerie, and not about us. Had you us bought us an oven mitt, you'd have done slightly better. But only slightly as we'd still be thinking, "Nice, so he just wants us to cook more and he has awful taste in gifts."

BUT...

You didn't have the money for the perfume, so you picked a bunch of beautiful field flowers or wrote us a sappy love letter from the heart? You packed a picnic of our favorite foods and took us to our favorite spot in the mountains/ocean/park? Well then we're in heaven because you took time out of your day to do something original, romantic and thoughtful.... you thought of us and what would make us happy. Do ya' understand?

I know that all sounds terribly selfish and confusing. But the thing is, we think the same way when it comes to your needs fellas. When we see you sad, our first instinct is to wrap our arms around you, ask you what's wrong and just listen to what you have to say. When you mention that book/tool/game in the store, we catalogue it in the backs of our minds and pull it out on the appropriate occasion... or sometimes "just beacause," because nothing makes us happier than seeing your face light up from getting something that you really wanted... you work hard and we know you deserved it. And when you tell us everything is fine (when it's not), we can tell, and we'll act accordingly. You can't hide boys. We know all of your emotional secrets, even when you think we don't. And sometimes we won't let on that we know, because we also know you really just don't want to talk about it. We're hard wired that way. Just think of us as psychic-friends with benefits. So when you think we're being unreasonable or crazy, think about the times we've left love notes in your lunchbox/briefcase for no reason, or the extra hugs and kisses we gave you when you were feeling down. Think about the $78 hammer we bought you even though we thought spending $78 on any tool was ridiculous... Hell, think about the food and sex we give to you on a regular basis, and our efforts to keep kids/animals quiet so you can get some sleep. Think about the things we do for you, without you having to ask for them to be done... And then remember this: We only expect from you what we give to you ourselves. When you think of it that way, we women are pretty simple.

©Flippa Bird
Photo by: Me & My Cell Phone
(Pestering My Poor Hubby...)