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

2.29.2012

I Took My Kids to Jail.

Parenting is hard work. Sometimes it can be wonderfully fulfilling and other times it can be flat out challenging. Sometimes you have to do things that you don't  really want to do because you know it's in your children's best interests. Well, tonight I had to do something I didn't want to: I took my kids to jail. No, no... I didn't have them arrested. Although I kinda wanted to after this evening. But I did take them to the police station to show them what will happen if they don't straighten up.

You see, my oldest and youngest are like oil and water. They do not get along at all. The fighting & arguing was much easier to handle when they were younger, but the older they've gotten the more difficult it is to manage. They've gotten to the point where they are now hitting each other. Not hard, mind you, but hitting is hitting. If they get in the habit of coming to blows now, I can only imagine what they'll think is acceptable behavior in the future. They need to know it is not to be tolerated... and since they haven't been listening to me, I figured they could listen to a police officer and see where their crappy actions can lead them.

I called ahead and spoke with an officer to make sure someone was available. I explained what was going on and they were more than happy to assist. I calmly told my kids to get in the car and I let them know I was taking them to jail. Everyone was somber, except my oldest (he's 16). He thought the whole thing was funny. He was laughing as we walked in and actually laughed again as the officer was speaking to him. I'm pretty sure it was nervous laughter, but I was still appalled. However, he didn't laugh so hard when the officer took him back to the holding cell... and then made him sit in there for a while. My youngest (she's 12) was scared the second we walked into the police station, but I let the officer talk to her and give her the grand tour as well. Just in case.

We're home now and everyone is on their best behavior for the moment. I think they are taking the whole "don't hit each other" thing a little more seriously now. We'll see, I guess. I hated taking them there, but at least they know I absolutely will not put up with that crap and hopefully they realize how serious coming to blows is. And yeah, maybe I'm a mean mom, but I love my kids enough to bring them to jail. I even love them enough to have them arrested if it comes down to it. Although I hope it never comes to that. Man... parenting is hard work.

©Flippa Bird
(Do wrong, you're gonna burn)
Photograph by: Me

2.21.2012

Sleazy Casserole Recipe

As you know I love to cook. But some days I'm just not feeling it and I still have to feed my family... darn them! Anyway, yesterday was one of those days so I made an old standby that I'm going to share here. It's perfect when you don't have a lot of time or when, like me, you just don't feel like cooking - (but don't want to feed your family fast food). It's also very inexpensive to make (around $11... I priced it for ya') and makes enough to feed a family of six twice. That's only $6 per meal!! Even if you up-grade and use all organic fancy food, it's still only around $10 per meal. You can also substitute the tuna for any left over meat you have and the peas for a different canned or (thawed) frozen veggie. Oh, and it tastes even better then next day! Bon App├ętit!

Sleazy Casserole:
(You heard me right... it's cheap & easy)
Approx. 12 servings & 72 zillion calories

3 boxes of Mac-n-Cheese ($1.50)
2 cans of water packed tuna - drained ($3.00)
1 can of sweet peas - drained ($1.00)
1/2 cup of shredded cheese - any kind ($2.00)
1 cup of cottage cheese ($1.50)
1 tbsp minced garlic ($0.50)
1 cup of bread crumbs ($1.50)
Seasoning to taste

Prepare mac-n-cheese as directed. Add next 5 ingredients  (tuna, peas, cheese, cottage cheese, garlic), along with however much of whatever seasoning you like (I used taco seasoning... don't judge me) and mix it all together. Pour into a large casserole dish and top evenly with the bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes or until bread crumbs turn golden brown. Serve with a simple salad (mixed greens & chopped tomato) for a well rounded meal. Eat & enjoy!

©Flippa Bird
(Your kids will devour this... Kid friendly goodness!)
Photo by: My Cell Phone

2.18.2012

About Looks & Beauty.

I have some girlfriends that struggle with the whole "looks" thing... So I'm just gonna throw this out there...

I never felt like a cute kid. I didn't feel like an attractive teenager either. In fact, I personally don't feel like I blossomed until my mid-20s. But there are two things about looks that I've come to realize: 1. No matter what you look like, someone, somewhere is always gonna try to tear you down and 2. Everyone is beautiful.

Looking back at pictures, I see now that I was a cute kid and an ok looking teenager. But I grew up with family members telling me I was too skinny, and then too chubby. One of my aunts once told me, "You have such fair skin, but you have that olive undertone," like it was a bad thing. I thought I must be some sickly green color for the longest time. My grandparents were always comparing me to my cousins and telling me how fat I was, even when I weighed barely 100 lbs and looked anorexic. When I entered adolescence I didn't go through an awkward phase... I pretty much lived there the entire time. While other teenager girls were sporting long blond or shiny chestnut hair, I had horrible black hair cut above my ears because my dad said long hair made me look like a whore. While other girls grew boobs, mine stayed flat. My butt grew too big and I felt unproportioned. I never grew past 5 ft tall. I had what I thought was a pig nose and horribly thick man-eyebrows. And I got called a slew of names... from Beetlejuice to Chewbacca. I wasn't a girl that boys asked out. No one ever had a crush on me. Other girls didn't want to be like me. I felt like an ugly hairy snow white (too pale, too dark and too hairy... thank God for laser hair removal). And I felt that way because I let other people influence how I saw myself. People are going to be mean to you and make you feel less than no matter what you look like.... case in point: Angelina Jolie is absolutely gorgeous, but I can't tell you how often I hear people bash on her looks. It's crazy.

When I finally embraced the fact that yes, I am beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks of me, I gained weight and felt crappy all over again. It's just been a recent thing that I let go of all that and finally, for the first time in my life, decided that I am beautiful regardless. Regardless. It doesn't matter than my hair is starting to turn gray. Hell, it doesn't matter that half the hair on my head fell out. It doesn't matter that I'm 50 lbs overweight, or that I'm short. It won't matter when I get wrinkles. It wouldn't matter if my boobs fell off and my booty deflated. I am beautiful regardless. And not just because I say so with a stupid affirmation... I can look at myself and see the physical beauty of me. It's difficult to get to that point. I'm only 3 years shy of 40 and it's taken me about that long to get there.

I honestly think it helps to start seeing the beauty in others.... and here's where the "everyone is beautiful" thing comes in, because honestly everyone is beautiful. It's easy to look at a person and see ugliness or what we perceive as faults. But I really believe we only do that because we feel bad about our own selves.... anothers physical "faults" or "ugliness" are the things we see in ourselves that we've been made to not like, and so we push that onto others in attempt to feel better about ourselves. When we are able to strip away the negative emotions we've pinned on ourselves, and subsequently to others, then we are free to see the beauty in another person.... we can see them through unfiltered eyes. And we can then see ourselves through unfiltered eyes. When you take all of that away, everyone is beautiful. Even yourself.

©Flippa Bird
(Try to find something beautiful about yourself today)
Phot by: Me

2.14.2012

Valentines Day

Some folks think Valentines Day is a consumerist quasi-holiday started by Hallmark to drain our pockets of any cash we might have left over from Christmas. However that's not quite right. Although nowadays there is a big push to give/get the biggest flowers/presents, it started out as a pagan booty holiday. That's right, Valentines Day started as a fertility (sex) holiday called Lupercalia. It basically went down like this: All of the single chicks put their name in a pot and all of the bachelors would go up to the pot and pick a name. That couple was then paired together for the rest of the year...sex and all.... and sometimes they even married afterward. Of course when the Christians came along, they quickly outlawed this ritual, (darn them, we'd have less divorce if they didn't!) However, in order to make the Christian transition go a little more smoothly the day wasn't canned entirely. Instead it was deemed "Saint Valentines Day" in honor of a martyred priest named Valentine.

The story of Saint Valentine is as follows: Emperor Claudius II banned marriage based on his wonky opinion that married guys just didn't make very good soldiers. So this priest, Valentine, performed secret marriages. When Claudius busted him, he ordered him put to death! While Valentine was imprisoned and awaiting his death, he fell in love with the jailers daughter. But before he was killed he sent her a love letter and signed it "From your Valentine." That expression has stuck to this day.

The first Valentine wasn't sent in the 1920s and it wasn't a Hallmark greeting card. It was actually sent in the 1400s from a Duke to his wife (who was imprisoned), and it was a love letter. That Valentine still exists today and is housed in a Library in ye' old England.

By the 1600s Valentines Day was celebrated fairly regularly in England. And even as early as the 1700s, Valentines were exchanged in America. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that Valentine Day cards were mass produced. So there you have it.

I know there are a lot of people out there that hate Valentines Day... and Christmas... and any other holiday they deem "laden in consumerism." But it's my opinion that it's how each individual celebrates a holiday that determines it's meaning. I personally like the fact that there is a day devoted solely for love. And so I'm gonna celebrate it!

©Flippa Bird
(I love flowers. And candy and dinner out and perfume and presents...)
Photograph by: Your Valentine, Flippa

2.10.2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means.

As I posted previously, my Hubby got a promotion at work a few months back. He worked a little over 12 years on the floor as a "mill-honky" (i.e. manual labor), so he is very familiar with the workings/politics on said floor. This has given him a bit of an advantage in managing his new employees. 1. They respect him because they know he spent a really long time doing the exact same thing they're doing, and 2. He spent a really long time doing what they do, so he doesn't look down on them and he understands any challenges they face. Because of this, things in his department run smoothly, efficiently, and there is little to no work place BS. Even when Hubby has to write someone up, he handles it in such a way that everything is still peachy afterward. He's a born leader in the sense of what a true leader should be.

However, his boss came up to him the other day and told him, "Every damn one of your employees likes you. They love you! I want to hear at least one person come up to me and tell me you're an asshole so I know you're doing your job right."

Really?!?

I worked for a while at a very large corporation in a leadership role. I found out really quickly that I got more out of my team when I was polite and positive and not an asshole. I consistently had great numbers from my team and the better they did, the more praise & perks I would throw their way. People like to be recognized for their good accomplishments. And you will always get more out of them for praising the good than for harping on the bad.

I think too many people think the way to get ahead, or to get what they want from people, is to be an asshole. But in reality instilling fear, distrust, and animosity into people only gets you so far before it all implodes. It truly shows you're doing your job correctly when the people under you respect you to the point that they want to perform well for you. They may not like what you're asking of them, but they respect your authority enough to know that what you're asking of them will be best for everyone involved. That's the key right there. Fear = Bad. Respect = Good. Respect isn't gained through fear, it's gained through trust, admiration, and positive action. So Hubby, keep up the good work, and please don't ever change.

©Flippa Bird
(My Hubs fave pic I've taken)
Photograph by: Me

2.08.2012

On Artistic Snobbery...

I have been annoyed all day. If you're an artistic-snob in any way, shape, or form, you my want to stop reading this now.

That said, I'm about tired of people putting down various people/books/movies/music in today's popular culture. There's a lot nowadays that I don't care for, but I'm smart enough to realize that the people, and people behind these things, obviously have something I don't have to have gotten to where they are today... be it talent, luck, ambition, money, connections... whatever. So I'm not going to hate on what I hate; I'm just going to like what I like and leave it at that.

The intellectual-snobs of the world are constantly spouting to everyone what is good and what isn't good. I hate to break it to you snobby folks: that's just your opinion.... and honestly, in the scheme of things, a few intellectual-snob's opinions don't really count for much, except within your small group of snobby friends. It's the masses that rule the market. You're not going to change anything by whining about it, so why not just shut your traps and let people enjoy what they enjoy, instead of chiming in with how awful this and that is, and how much better this and that is, every 10 minutes. I hate watching TV, but I don't blast others for watching, (what I think are ridiculous), programs. Live and let live folks!

You love the Beatles? They are really freaking popular. You think Lewis Carroll was a brilliant writer? Millions of people read his books too. Tootsie and A Clockwork Orange are numbers 69 & 70 (respectively) on AFIs Top 100 movies. That's right, Tootsie, one of the highest grossing comedies of all time, is listed right next to, (and above), an intellectual-snob favorite.

Let me break it down for you: Just because a song is so obscure that only 127 people in the entire world have heard of it, doesn't make it a great song. Just because a book is 1,893 pages long, and is filled with words that no one uses in normal conversation, doesn't make it a literary masterpiece. Just because a movie is in black & white and spoken in Swahili with French subtitles doesn't mean it's entertaining. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that all of the above is probably crap. Oh, and just because one has a literature/english/dance/music/art degree does not make one an authority on those subjects. So unless you're rocking a PhD, you should probably pipe down. That make ya' mad, huh? Well too bad. I get irritated too, constantly putting up with every one's unsolicited opinions... it's not cute anymore after the first 14 times.  I guess my point here is: Unless you have something nice to say, please just shut up. Mmmk? Thanks!

©Flippa Bird
(Yes I love the Twilight books, Avatar, Katy Perry, & LOTS of pop culture.)
Photo by: My Friend