The Watermelon Fairy of 2011

Around August of every year, Cali and I sit down and she picks out the costume she wants me to make for Halloween.  This year?  A jacked-up watermelon fairy (see above).  Really, Cali?  A watermelon fairy?!  Not only that….I’m gonna have to make a pettiskirt.  Chiffon.  I hate sewing chiffon.  I curse the chiffon.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to make those watermelon wings either.  I’m thinking wire, pantyhose and craft paint.  There’s a good chance she’s going to hit the streets looking like a hot mess on a tin plate.  Stay tuned for future progress.

Here are some of the costumes she passed on…thank gawd!  Don’t you wish you could dress like this every day?  I do.  I’d totally go to Publix dressed like a magical mermaid.  The majority of these costumes are available for purchase at Chasing Fireflies.

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Easter Peepin’

I’m a Peep freak.  I particularly like letting them sit out for about a month until they’re good and stale.  Then I eat them.  There’s just something about soft marshmallow that bothers me.  Kinda like wheat germ on ice-cream.

Anyway…I couldn’t let this weekend skulk by without honoring my fave Easter treat.  So enjoy my little Peep Peep treasury and a Hoppy Easter to you and yours!

Click on Peeps to enter treasury.

A Bird Named Bing

Five years ago I stood in a petshop and picked a bird out of a bin of about 100 Budgies.  “I want THAT one.”  The clerk tried to catch him with her hands, but the bird was Charlie Manson crazy and wouldn’t let her anywhere near him.

“Ma’am are you sure you want this one?  I mean, they’re all the same anyway.”

I assured her that THIS was the one I had to have.  With a huge sigh she went and fetched a fish net….you know, the kind you clean out an aquarium with.  After about 5 minutes of struggle, she finally trapped him under the net.

It was an early birthday gift for my husband because he’d mentioned he’d always wanted a bird.  But it became quite clear that the bird was to be mine.  Not necessarily because he preferred me….more like I was the one stuck doing all the cage-cleaning and feeding.

I didn’t know a thing about birds.  Quite frankly, pet birds have always scared the beans out of me….with their sharp little beaks and feet.  After about a week of his incessant singing, we decided on a name.  Bing.  As in Bing Crosby.  I sat by his cage for at least an hour every single day…for close to four months.  Talking to him, easing my hand into his cage.  I can remember the day he stepped cautiously onto my hand, his eyes skeptical.

I’d read somewhere that Budgies were very smart birds, so I set about testing this theory.  He had hanging bells in his cage….so I started telling him, “Ring your bells, Bing!  Ring your bells!”  After about a week, dang if he didn’t start ringing those bells!  When he saw how we reacted, he started showing off even more….putting this bells on his head and squawking like an avian comedian.

My daughter has taken Bing to school for the past two years…and Bing never failed to put on a show for the kids.  He would actually pout when it was time to go.  Yesterday morning, he joined Cali in singing “Oops, I did it again” and kissed her hand through the slats of his cage.  His happy singing filled the house all day yesterday…just like it did everyday for the past 5 years.  I always said, “How can you have a bad day when a bird is singing in your house all day?”

This morning we found Bing….dead.  He lay peacefully below his bells….eyes gently close, his wings wrapped snugly around his body.  He must have died in the early morning hours.  I fell apart.

Bing was more than just a bird to me.  He’d come into my life just as I was beginning to fight this bipolar.  He taught me patience.  He taught me about trust.  He taught me that fear was unnecessary.  As my five year old sat on the floor, wailing right along side of me….all she kept saying was, “Bing brought me so much happiness!  He made me happy!”

But then to hear her begging God to make Bing alive again…I mean, what do you say?  Cali immediately grabbed her crayons and paper and began drawing a picture she wanted Bing to have when he was buried.  A couple of weeks ago, a squirrel got fried on the transformer behind our house, and it nearly traumatized Cali.

I was so unprepared for the whole “Death” conversation.  So I just told her what I believe to be true.  That every living being has a soul.  And each soul is here for a purpose.  We may not always know what that purpose is.  We may go to our graves still not knowing.  We may shake a fist at God at the unfairness of certain deaths.  So I tried to explain that even though the body gets sick or hurt, the soul continues to live.  Always.

We lived in a mint chocolate green house before we moved to our new one.  Cali loved that house.  She took her first steps in that house.

“You know how you loved that green house?  It was sad to leave it, wasn’t it?  But even though we’re not in that house…we’re still alive aren’t we?  We just live in a new house.  Well, Bing lives in a new house now.”

That seemed to make sense to her.  But then she promptly pointed out that she was able to still drive by the green house to make sure it was still there.  She couldn’t do that with a dead bird.  No.  You can’t see Bing with your bare eyes.  But when you have a happy memory of Bing….he’s there.  Or when you see another bird hop up onto your window sill and give you a knowing look…he’s there.  When you hear bells ringing…he’s there.

In explaining this to my child, I realized I was also telling it to myself.  Because I’m just as lost and sad as Cali.  I don’t understand it either.  I’m angry that our beautiful bird is dead and our stupid mean cat is still alive.

As the three of us sat huddled together on the floor beneath Bing’s cage, my husband said, “Bing finished what he was here to do.”

So all morning, I’ve been thinking about how far we’ve come in the past five years.  I’ve successfully kicked bipolar’s butt and become a published writer.  Cali is starting Kindergarten in the fall…a whole new world.  We’re in a beautiful new home.  In a failing economy, Matt has a thriving and stable job.  And through all of this, Bing stood singing.  He never once stopped singing.  And maybe…even though we didn’t know it….it was Bing’s song that gave us hope when we felt like we were drowning.  Maybe Bing’s wordless song urged us to get up and keep going.

Today is Ash Wednesday and across this nation, people are kneeling in front of their priest and are being reminded, “For dust you are and to dust you shall return”. A painful reminder of our mortality.

We plan to bury Bing later today under our Dogwood tree….with his bells and Cali’s pictures.  The Dogwood tree has historical symbolism.  That being divine sacrifice, triumph of eternal life, resurrection and regeneration.

Like a child, I’ll be watching to see signs of Bing’s presence.  Because even though I’m pissed and in pain right now…I know Bing’s soul is still with us.

His final lesson?  Teaching me that I don’t need eyes to see….I need vision…and a fearless trusting heart.

Family: They Don’t Build ‘Em Like They Used To

Get this.  Last night we were eating at the Cracker Barrel because that’s where the kid wanted to go for Valentine’s Day.  So we’re sitting there, cramming pot-roast, meatloaf and pancakes down our gullet and commenting on the lack of diners.  Across the way, I spied a family of five.  On one side of the table sat the parents.   On the other sat three teenage girls.  Every slap-dab one of them had their heads down…intent upon texting, playing ‘Word Mole’, watching YouTube videos, updating their Facebook status.

I sat and watched them for a good 10 minutes.  Not one single word was said amongst them.   I told my husband to discreetly turn around and check them out.  Of course, he whipped around like his chair was on fire to gawk at them.  They didn’t even notice.  Nor did they notice when Husband nearly set himself on fire with a lit kerosene lamp.  Everyone else did though.  I don’t doubt that a few people soiled themselves whilst laughing.

We “tsk-d, tsk-d” like a couple of senior citizens and shook our heads.  Meanwhile, our kid is hunkered over in the corner pretending to play a video game on a Valentine card she got from school.  Five minutes later, she shoved an entire cathead biscuit in her mouth and periodically swallowed.  It was like watching a snake eat a gopher. Disgusting yet fascinating.

But at least we were interacting!  Although, who am I to judge?  That family could’ve been talking to each other with their mechanical devices.  I’ve been known to pick up the cell phone and call Husband at the other end of the house to ask for bacon and cough drops.  So maybe my perception of family communication is a bit antiquated.

Maybe all this high-falootin’ technology has actually brought some families together.  But I’ll tell you this right now here today.  I don’t care how far our technology advances….I’m still gonna force my kid to look me in the eyeball and talk to me with her mouth.  She may hate me for it, but I don’t care.  I’M the decider.

Now I must go plug in my cell phone so Husband can reach me, should he try to set himself on fire again.

Love Losers

Aren’t you just OVER the whole roses and chocolate stuff?  That’s what I love about Husband.  He buys me expensive clothes and office supplies on this blessed and totally unnecessary day of love and reckoning.  It’s kind of like a jacked up, low-grade Christmas around here.  Stupid Cupid leaves candy and gifts.  It’s all quite enchanting really.

But some of you out there…no matter how hard you try…you just can’t get it right.  You buy your Olive Oil looking wife clothes from the fat store.  Cubic Zirconia.  Walmart chocolates.  Lip balm.  Satin granny panties. Don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing wrong with ANY of that.  But alot of wenches out there want diamonds, top shelf perfume and liquor.

So for all you losers in love…this one’s for you:

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Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places

I know there are some of ya’ll out there right this very second, prowling around…trying to find yourself some lovin’ by Monday morning.  And that’s fine…I ain’t mad atcha.  But for all things holy, don’t go anywhere near what you’re about to see here.  Unless you’re a freaky weasel. But let me be the voice of reason.  Come Tuesday, you’ll be stuck with a human hemorrhoid that cannot be removed with the salve.

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Ms. Late McTardy

Okay, I know it’s practically Valentine’s Day and all.  At least that’s what Hobby Lobby is telling me.  But I don’t believe I posted pics of my Christmas celebration happy times, so……you got it.  Lazy post day.  Just some ornaments I made, junk around the house…that kind of thing.

May these pictures be a reminder: 347 days, 3 hours and 35 minutes until Christmas.  By the time you read this, it’ll be even closer. (Insert ‘Jaws’ theme music here.)

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