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

1.24.2012

Mushy & Embarrassing Brother Stuff.

Today is my little brother's birthday. At 34 he's not exactly little anymore. He's taller than me... which isn't saying much, seeing as pretty much everyone in the world is taller than me. But he's still my little brother. And the older I get, the more I appreciate having him around.

My very first two memories actually revolve around him: I was almost 3 years old and my mom and I were shopping at Ingles, (a grocery store here in the south). I don't remember the actual shopping part of the trip, but I do remember our walk out to the car when we were done. My mom was pushing the cart across the parking lot and her belly was huge. I looked at her belly, then looked up at her and said, "I'm having a little brother." She smiled at me and said, "But you might have a little sister. Don't be disappointed if you don't have a brother." I told her again, "No. I'm having a little brother." To which she replied, "How do you know?" (Ultrasounds weren't done at the time.) And I said, "Because he told me." And I believe he did tell me. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, when I looked at her big swollen belly, that there was a brother inside there for me.

My second memory is of being in the hospital, the day he was born. Back in the 70s kids weren't allowed to visit the nursery, so I was stuck in the waiting room with my grandparents. I remember being really pissed off that I couldn't go up there and see my baby brother. I kept asking Mama, (my mom's mother), why I couldn't go up. She tried to coddle me and make me feel better about it, but I wasn't having it. I was mad, arguing, and pouting. She finally went up to see my mother, and when she came back down she said my new brother had a surprise for me. She handed me a little brown stuffed monkey that sucked it's thumb and told me that my brother had brought it for me when he arrived. For years and years after that, even when I should have been too old to believe it, I actually believed my brother came out of my mom's stomach with that monkey. In my mind he bought it in Heaven and brought it down with him into the world as a gift for me.

We're really tight, but we're not the most lovey-dovey siblings ever... My brother and I can argue and bicker like nobodies business. We can get mad at one another over the most asinine things and not talk for weeks. But when it comes down to it, we both know that we will be there for one another no matter what. I recall being about 12 years old and a neighborhood boy, a year older than me, was picking on him in our front yard. My brother started crying and I lost it. I slammed that kid up against a tree, picked up his bicycle, and bashed him with it with everything I had. The kid fell down dazed and then hopped on his bike and quickly rode away. I got into big trouble with my dad for fighting, but I didn't care. The thing is, I could beat the shit outta my brother, but no one else was allowed to touch him. Those were, and still are, the rules.

As little kids we played matchbox cars, GI Joe, He-Man, and "little verdy van." We made up songs and choreographed our infamous ballet swan dance. We watched Honey Honey, Transformers, and Voltron. We played for hours with Good Pooty, Bad Pooty, and Hot-Dog Wiener (our imaginary friends). We'd zoom around the yard in our go-cart (with the lawn-mower engine) that went 3 miles an hour. We climbed the little tree on the side of our house and played in with silk worm nests. As teenagers we sometimes partied together and got into things we shouldn't have. We came *thissss* close to getting arrested and going to jail one particularly interesting evening. I gave him his first hit of...... anyway, bad sister, moving on. As young adults he lived with me and helped me take care of my new baby... and then he introduced me to my Husband. And now, as middle-aged old farts, we watch each others kids when the other has to run to the store. And our "partying" now consists of sitting around, being tired, watching all the kids run around like we used to... and listening to our mom bitch about everything 'cause she's old and that's apparently what old people do. So many of my life memories involve him and could fill up volumes upon volumes. But I will stop with this...

Our childhoods were less than easy. He's been through hell and back with me, and he's one of the only people who understands the depths of abuse and craziness I've been through. Because he went through it too. And even though I hate that he had to go through all of that horror, I'm glad we had each other to lean on at the time... glad we still have each other to lean on. So happy birthday brother, hope you have many, many more... and hooray for siblings and all that shit.

©Flippa Bird
Photo by: Our Dad
(My brother. He's not this cute anymore)

1.09.2012

Dontcha Wish... Ya' had GFs Like Me!

My birthday was this weekend and I had the great blessing of being able to have 6 of my closet friends over to celebrate. Some of these friends I've known almost my entire life, some I've known for several years, and some I've only known for a year or two.... but all of those ladies have played an important part in my life at one time or another. There have been turbulent times with some of them, but we've always managed to work through it and come out of it closer than before.

My daughter doesn't yet have the luxury of a close knit group of friends. She's having a rather hard time in school. She ended up going to a different middle school than all of her friends and had to start over from scratch. Middle school is just a flat out shitty time anyway, so to lose all of your friends... It blows. I know; it happened to me at that age. But with the advent of cell phones and social networking, she's been able to stay in touch with her best, best friend. And she's made a sweet friend at her new school too. Even still, it's been difficult for her at best.

Let's face it, females in general are mean. It starts early too. As soon as the hormones hit, some of them become competitive, jealous, and insecure. And unlike boys, they don't beat the crap out of each other with their fists... Oh no. Their weapons of choice are backhanded insults, gossip, and social games. And, unlike boys, they hold grudges forever and a day. Most flock into cliquish groups and exclude anyone who is even remotely different from them. It's difficult to navigate through all of that as a young girl and unfortunately, as a result, you learn how to "play the game." As much as I wish for my daughter to avoid all of that, to escape the game completely, I know it's inevitable that one day she too will play.

I've explained to her that there are girls like that everywhere, that even when you are grown up you won't escape them.... and that their actions stem from jealousy and fear, so it's best to just ignore it. I let her know she should try not to be so hurt or angry when girls like that attack her.She should feel bad for them and pity them, because they are obviously hurting and feeling extremely insecure about their own selves. I let her know to raise her head up and ignore their hate. Sometimes that's so very hard to do, they will try their best to bait you at every turn. And sometimes they will bait you. But the best way to piss them off, the best revenge of all, (and the best way to stay classy), is to just completely ignore them and be the best person you can be. I've also explained that it's not the quantity of friends you have that matters, but the quality of the friendships you do have. Having a single trusted friend of substance and value is a thousand times better than having 9 fair weather friends or 47 acquaintances.

I have to have this pep talk with her at least once a day... sometimes several times a day. But I don't mind. In fact, I love that she opens up to me and doesn't shut me out. So until she is a little older and develops those important life long friendships, (and even after), I will be here to support her. Just as my dear friends support me.

 

©Flippa Bird
(I Love My Lovely Ladies!)
Photos by: Different Family Members

Back to School

My Hubby starts back to school this week after a little hiatus. He'll be studying mechanical engineering at a certain orange college. He's gone before and is now a junior. The sucky thing is, it will take about 3 years for him to complete his degree as the college doesn't offer evening classes and he works full time. The weird thing is, his mom graduated college the day before she turned 40 and it looks like he's on schedule to follow in her footsteps. The awesome thing is, his job is paying 100% of his tuition, books, etc, etc... so there will be no student loans and nothing owed when he has that degree in his hand.

This is sure to be a stressful time... engineering classes are no walk in the park and he'll be surviving on little to no sleep. And the brunt of the household "stuff" falls to me now. Which most of it did anyway, so it's not going to be that different, but the kids and I won't see him nearly as much (which wasn't a lot in the first place with his new work schedule). Blah, Blah, Blah and all that jazz. I'm not complaining. We have been extremely blessed and I'm so thrilled that he's able to do this and that I have the luxury of being able to stay home while he does. But I do feel like I should be doing more of something. But Hubby is right, I do a lot. I raise our kids, I make sure he's rested and they're all fed, clothed, and cared for. I home school our eldest. I taxi everyone around. I schedule every ones appointments (and make sure they make it to them), among other things. So I guess I'm like a social planner/taxi driver/chef/personal shopper/maid/handy woman/advocate/finance manager.... man, if only I got paid for all that!

At any rate, I'm really proud of my little family and all that we have managed to accomplish. I know I'm going to bawl like a baby when my Hubby finally walks across that stage to accept his degree. Not only because of how proud I will be of him... but also because I'll know it belongs to me too. And to our children. All of the sacrifices we all have to make during this time will be worth it and will culminate into great things for us. Go family, GO!

©Flippa Bird
(The sky's the limit for us!)
Photo by: My Cell

1.05.2012

Amusement Park Love.

I've heard it said that marriage is like a roller coaster. But I disagree. It's not like a roller coaster at all. I'm about to make a really long analogy that only people who truly understand what marriage is all about will understand....
   
Marriage is not like a roller coaster. A roller coaster ride is one big thrill after another and then it's over. And marriage isn't like that. It's more like an entire amusement park: You make big exciting preparations to go and then you enter into it excited and curious as to what it will bring. Everything is a new mystery just waiting to be discovered. You have expectations as to what it will be like.... But then you discover that you don't like the ferris wheel as much as you thought you would (in fact, you hate it), or you're shocked to find you are completely enamored with the cheesy variety show and could watch it all day long. You also find out that it's not all thrills and excitement. Sometimes you drift along on the lazy river: comfortable and relaxing. Other times you cruise through the tunnel of love: sweet and romantic. And yes, quite often you do get on the roller coaster rides: thrilling and exciting.... even scary at times. There are even times when you have to hold your spouses hair back while they puke in the bushes after a particularly rough ride. So yes, there is a lot of excitement going on.... only not quite as much as you envisioned when you first walked into the park. Because in reality, you spend about 60-70% of the time trudging along the park to get where you're going and then standing in line.

I believe it's how you spend that time that makes all of the difference in how your day goes. No one wants to walk across the park, in 98 degree weather, on that hot-ass black pavement, alone, to buy go buy the sodas while their partner is off on the log flume living it up. One of you will wind up saying, "To hell with this!" and leaving the park early.... alone. But if you wait to take the ride together and walk to get your soda together, you can provide each other a little shade, and give one another a hand to hold... to help direct each other through the crowd, drag one another up the hills.... and then you can sit under the shade of a tree, together, to commiserate, and enjoy your icy-good reward. And sure, you can jump on a ride by yourself, but really.... how much fun is that? Who wants to ride on the tilt-a-whirl alone while their partner is across the park on the drop-tower?? No one! It's a zillion times better to experience everything the park has to offer, together.

And while you stand and wait, wait and stand, to get to all of the exciting parts... what is it that you do? I suppose you could both stand there, talking to the person beside you or typing away on your smart-phones, disregarding one anothers company.... But it's much more enjoyable when you communicate. When you talk, sneak a kiss, laugh, complain, discuss the sights and events of the day, observe the goings on around you, and sometimes even stand in silence, just quietly enjoying each others company. Occasionally one of you may have to dash off to the bathroom or concession stand while the other holds the place in line. But you/they always hurry back to continue waiting in line together and get on whatever new ride awaits. And at the end of the day, when you've experienced all that the park had to offer, when you're body is worn out and the park is closing down, you walk to the car, hand in hand, to begin your journey home... You are both happy and satisfied, having only fond memories, knowing that the two of you made the very most of your day together.

©Flippa Bird
(The real happiest place on earth is in your heart)
Photograph by: Me

1.03.2012

Kinder By 2013. Maybe.

Ahhh it's a new year. Time for new year resolutions that I won't stick to. Of course, every single year I go on a diet. That's kind of my "go to" resolution... and probably the most overdone of all the new year resolutions. Yes I'm still working on losing weight, (although I did completely give it up over the holidays and eat everything in sight).... and I decided that the low carb thing was just not for me.... so back to Weight Watchers it is. But I digress... losing weight isn't my resolution this year.

I think this year I will resolve to be a better person. That's really an ongoing quest for me, because I'm not the nicest person ever. But I'm going to try and be more cognisant of how I treat people and how I react to people. Namely in the joking department. I have the absolute worst habit of making fun of people. Not toward people I know really, although they do occasionally fall victim to it, but mainly to strangers I see out and about. I honestly don't mean it in a hurtful way and I would never outwardly mock or abuse someone, unless they did something to absolutely deserve it, (and even then I know in my heart that it's no good). I just find some things too hilarious! But it's wrong... what I do is still terrible, really. For instance, if someone makes a fashion no-no, or is acting differently, looks different, etc, etc. I think up what I believe to be funny little scenarios in my head about them. Most of the time I voice these scenarios to whoever is around me and we get a good laugh about it.

But the more I think about it, the meaner it seems. Cruel even. I mean, I don't make fun of people who are obviously impaired in some way... ok, not most of the time anyway. But the thing is, how do I know that they're not impaired? And even if they aren't, who cares? Why should I be laughing at them when there are hundreds of moments in my day when others could laugh at me for probably the same reasons. I hardly ever make an effort to dress up anymore and so I look like a crazy-ass homeless person about 90% of the time, and I do and say stupid things constantly. I do laugh at myself quite often, because honestly there's a lot to laugh at. No, I'm not trying to rationalize my actions, (ok, maybe just a teensy bit). I'm still going to make an effort to not be as jokey-mean toward others. But gahhh... there are sooo many stupid people, I really don't know how I'll be able to refrain! See?? There I go again. Yikes! Wish me luck....

©Flippa Bird
(My mean old eye)
Photograph by: Me

1.01.2012

Don't Be a Fruitcake...

Be a french toast instead! I know. I know what you're thinking... "What the hell are you talking about this time, Flippa?!" Well this isn't a deep, thoughtful, funny, or sentimental post. This is a post about fruitcake. Yes, fruitcake: That horrible, God-awful confection filled with nuts, green cherries (really??), and Lord knows what else, that gets regifted 14 times or sits in your pantry for 2 years before you remember it's there and throw it out, (or use it as a doorstop or weapon). More importantly, this is a blog post about what to do with that horrid little stale cake.

There's nothing even remotely appealing about fruitcake, yet millions of people give it away as Christmas gifts every year. In fact, you probably got one too this year and by now it's gotten nice and hard.... which is a good thing, because I've figured out a way to eat that icky old cake. And not just eat it, but enjoy the hell out of it! I'm talking about fruitcake french toast. I know this concept sounds bizarre, but I promise you, you and your tummy will thank me for it. So here is the recipe. And you're welcome.

Fruitcake French Toast:
Makes 4 servings
Approx. 72,061 calories per slice... It has Crisco, wuddaya expect... sheesh.

1 nasty old fruitcake
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of Bisquick
1 egg
1 tbsp of cinnamon
a shitload of Crisco (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Butter, powdered sugar, and syrup to taste

In a medium sized bowl beat together the milk, Bisquick, egg, and cinnamon until just combined, (you want it to still be a little lumpy). Cut 4 pieces the size and thickness of a slice of bread from your nasty fruitcake and then cut those pieces in half (so you'll now have 8 pieces total). You'll probably have left over fruitcake, but that's ok.... just save it for next time. While you're slicing, heat up a heaping spoonful of the Crisco in a heavy skillet over med-high heat. Now dip a slice of the nasty fruitcake in the batter, coating both sides evenly, and then place it in the hot skillet. Cook until it puffs up and get golden brown & crispy (adjusting the heat as needed so as not to burn). Repeat with the remaining slices. Top each slice with a pat of butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. I hate syrup, but you can put that on there too, if you're nasty like that. Eat & enjoy!

©Flippa Bird
(I serve it with crispy bacon. Mmmm.... Bacon!)
Photo by: Meh