About Me

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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A-Z Letter Z is for Zoo

Can't believe we're done-but here we are at Letter Z. Faith and I made it!! Thanks to everyone who commented and kept up with this theme-less hot mess of  A-Z posts. And great, big thanks to everyone who commented and/or  followed Faith's blog.  (Today she is featuring my mom's recipe for zeppole; go check it out. They are made of awesome) I am so happy Faith and I were able to do this challenge together. It wasn't always easy- especially while we were on vacation, had Internet issues or were both vying for the same computer,  but we managed. Any time we spend together is very special to me. Thanks!
Oh, how fast they grow! These are my girls, a few years ago, at the Cape May Zoo.
The zebra exhibit at the Cape May Zoo.
 Letter Z. Z is for the zoo. I absolutely LOVE the zoo. (Maybe because it reminds me of my life.) Ever since I was a little  kid, I have loved visiting zoos. I've been to zoos all around America and have a strong fondness and affection for every single one. From the small- like the Popcorn Park Zoo, who has my kind of heart because they rescue hurt, abandoned or disabled animals, to the very large, like the San Diego Zoo in California. While honeymooning in Hawaii, I dragged The Husband to visit the Honolulu Zoo. The Honolulu Zoo has to be the most beautifully landscaped zoo I've ever seen. But my favorite zoo of all, is the Cape May Zoo, right here in South Jersey.

Cape May Zoo doesn't have all the animals or notoriety some of the other zoos have but what it does have, is special.  First and foremost it's free! Can you believe that? They suggest you make a donation but you decide how much you'd like that amount to be. Which I adore. Because that means no one has to loose out on going to the zoo for lack of funds. They have lots of picnic areas and covered pavilions and playgrounds, where the girls and I like to camp out. We bring a picnic lunch and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. They also have nature paths and a train and a carousel and ice cream. Oh, I want to go right now! Too bad the kids are at school.
Faith, Frankie, Farrah and G'ma (my MIL) at Cape May Zoo. Love the expression on Faith's face. 
Are you a fan of zoos? What's your favorite animal? I love elephants. They are pregnant for two years straight! (I can relate to that, LOL.) Another cool elephant fact- a momma elephant won't leave it's baby without a babysitter. And they only choose babysitters that are familiar- like Aunts or cousins to watch their young. That  fascinates me! But... deep down you all know I'm a crazy cat lady :) Those big cats are simply astounding. I have been at the Cape May Zoo when the lion wakes up, opens his mouth and roars. Holy H is it FIERCE. The whole ground shakes!! You hear that roar loud and clear no matter where you are in the zoo. He is King of the jungle, for sure.

Hope you all enjoy your day and the relief of completing another A-Z Challenge. Peace Peeps! ~Jaybird

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A-Z Letter Y is for YES

YES! We are almost done. These last few days of  A-Z posting for Faith and I have been a little trying. Faith has an unrelenting schedule and I'm always in awe of how that kid keeps it all together. Me, on the other hand, can just forget about ever pulling my shiz together.  It's not going to happen. I'm not being pessimistic here, just realistic. Last night, I fell asleep before Jeopardy even started. (That's earlier than a baby and every senior citizen I know!)  I wound up having very weird and disturbing dreams because of it too. And I woke up, still tired. Thank God for strong coffee!! Did any of you ever fall asleep on the couch and wake up disoriented, still tired and wondering what the heck is wrong with you to dream such bizzaro dreams, like me?
Faith and I on our recent trip to "Italy" or  Disney's version of it.
She really, really wants to travel to Italia for her 16th B-day.
The Husband and I told her if she can learn to speak fluent Italian, we will take her. :)

Here are a few completely bizarre Jaybird dream facts:
1. In my dreams, I'm super tough and physically strong. (The polar opposite of how I am in real life)
2. Nine times out of ten, this Bird can actually fly. (Which would be awesome if I really could, wouldn't it?)
3. In my dreams I often return to this one house that I recognize as being mine, but it's not any of the houses I've ever actually lived in. It's so weird! Funny thing is, I would love to live in this house. It's a huge, old Victorian that's got turrets and hidden doorways and tons of bedrooms. It's big enough to comfortably fit my entire family and all the strays I host at the Bird's Nest. My hope is one day, in real life, I will actually find that house and be in a position to buy it!
4. There are quite a few times I show up places without my shoes on or missing some vital thing I need.
5. Almost every night, I wind up dreaming that I have to pee. And I wake up and have to go do just that!!!

(**Just a reminder, anyone who comments on this crazy blog between now and May 1st will automatically be entered in my Sweet Peep Giveaway!)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter W is for Woo hoo and Whaaaa?

First, I am very excited to announce I made it to 200 peeps/followers. So great big Woo Hoo- Check back in on Monday for details on Jaybird's Sweet Peep Give-Away to properly celebrate that!! Now on with the whaaa portion of this post:

Recently, on our travels the fam and I pulled up to a McDonalds drive-thru window (don't judge) to place an order. The first thing we heard was the requisite,

"Welcome to McDonald's. Would you like to try the new bacon onion cheddar burger?" In this deep, velvety-smooth Luther Vandross/James Earl Jones perfect-for-cartoon-voice-over kind of voice.

The Husband said, "No thank you."

And the beautiful, deep, rich voice replied, "What can I get for you today?" 

The Husband proceeded to rattle off the long and complicated standing order our family of five has whenever we hit up a Mickie D's. It usually takes a while to get it right. But that brilliant voice repeated everything back with complete accuracy. Then said,

 "Will that complete your order today?"

The Husband, with so much military and southern breeding, can't help from answering any question without adding a very respectful  "Yes, sir."

But to our surprise, the deep, velvety-smooth voice came back out of the box sounding completely indignant. She said, "I'm NOT a sir."

The Husband, sputtering, managed to say something like  "Whaaaa?"

She repeated herself. And this time she was clearly indignant and a bit put out: "I said, I'm NOT a sir."

Well I'll be darned! Everyone in our vehicle went completely silent. The Husband and all the kids looked at me and each other, eyes bugging out of our heads trying not to burst out laughing, but not wanting to insult this woman further. Because clearly we had already insulted her without meaning to. How could we have possibly known? With that kind of voice, we all automatically assumed it had to belong to a male who was somewhere around 6 "5" and roughly the size of a barge. Thankfully, The Husband recovered enough to throw out a quick apology as we headed over to the pick up window. I'm sorry but there is no way we were the first or only people to think that woman was a dude with that kind of voice!

My voice is definitely feminine, but it's on the low end of the register. It's also whiny and usually comes out  louder and much more nasal than I intend it too. One of these days I am going to figure out how to do a VLOG so you all can get a good laugh from hearing my New Jersey accent. Recently, I found out the kids in middle school made up a nickname for the boys whose voices didn't quite change yet. They call them  "squeakers".  What's your voice like?

Friday, April 25, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter V is for Von Willebrand

Today I wanted to talk about von Willebrand. Is he some sort of conductor or musician? Isn't that a type of car?  No! Erik von Willebrand is the name of the Finnish doctor who discovered the bleeding disorder that I have. Since it is not commonly known and a lot of people ask me about it,  I thought I would take the opportunity to explain a bit about it.

It is not a rare disease, just wildly misdiagnosed. It is caused by a defect or deficiency of a blood clotting protein, called the von Willebrand factor. There are three different levels/degrees of severity, one being the mildest form. In type one the factor is lower than normal, and/or levels may be reduced. In type three you may lack the factor all together and it is the most serious form of this disease. Von Willebrands is familiar. Which means it is inherited and passed down from a family member. That is one of the reasons why it is very important to know your family medical history.

It's funny, I went 28 years without being diagnosed.  It wasn't until my first "trauma" that I was finally diagnosed with this disease. What was my first trauma you ask? That would be the fun-filled delivery of my first born, Miss Faith.  I bled uncontrollably after delivery and had complications. At first, the young, good-looking intern and on-call OB-GYN doc that they tell you-don't worry you will only get him if there is some kind of disaster and your regular doc is dead- well, I got him. Although he was very nice, he had never dealt with or saw someone bleed like me before. He thought I had a cervical tear and started to prep me for surgery. Thankfully, my old, ugly but wizened and just-about-ready-to-retire or die doctor who I happen to adore, returned in the wee hours of the morning. He was able to figure out what was going on and stop my bleeding.

So, here I am, 12 years later. I'd like to think I'm a little wiser about this disorder. I found out (through multiple blood tests and specialists- not only do I have this disease, so does my sister, my mother, my Auntie and my cousin all on my mom's side of the family. My girls have a 50/50 chance of me passing this on to them too. ) I am so thankful I was the first to be diagnosed. Especially since my cousin Lauren is about to have her first baby. Knowledge is power and I am so very grateful she is well informed and prepared for her delivery.

Have any of you ever hear of von Willebrans disease? Any of you suffer from some form of bleeding disorder? Have you ever suspected you may have a bleeding disorder?

I'm not a doctor but in case you suspect you might have a bleeding disorder, here are some of the more common symptoms of von Willebrands: lots of bruising or prolonged bleeding, recurrent nosebleeds, bleeding after brushing of teeth or tooth extractions, women with VW have increased severe menstrual bleeding and deep joint/body aches.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter U is for Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness is a hard subject to touch on. Without bringing religion into this post (cause God knows that's an unforgivable thing to do LOL) I'd like to talk about forgiveness.

What kind of person are you? Are you quick to forgive transgressions or are you a grudge holder? When you get mad do you stay that way for quite a while or do you have the ability to shake offenses off and move on? I have experienced something in my life that really bothers me. Certain people I know, who are very quick to condemn and judge others for trespasses, are the very same who expect their transgressions to immediately be looked over and forgiven! How is it as human beings it is so hard for us to forgive when our flesh is hurting  but as soon as we are the ones who have done the hurting, we expect mercy?

In the course of my life, I have been hurt deeply by many different people. Some I trusted implicitly and never thought in a million, trillion years would inflict such harm on me. I'm not going to get into the details but one thing I can say with absolute certainty is despite the offenses perpetrated against me, I needed to forgive the people who hurt me. I lived a lot of years bitter, resentful, angry and full of hate. (Which is not really living at all) It wasn't until I forgave the people who hurt me, that I could go on and live my life unhindered. I'm not going to say it was easy, but it was necessary. I believe it was the very first step in my healing process, because it wasn't until I forgave their transgressions I could truly live again.

Bottom line is this- I want to be the type of person who affords the same amount of forgiveness to others who hurt me as I would want extended to me when I am the one who commits the offense. (Yes, I hurt people. I'm not perfect. I don't set out to purposely hurt anyone, ever, but it still happens nonetheless.) What's your position on forgiveness? Do you lend it freely? Hold on to grudges? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter T is for tidbit

Here's a little tidbit from a YA urban fantasy called "Cursed" I started working on a couple of months ago. I had to place it on the back burner when I got sick. I've been wondering if I should pick it back up and work on it again or just let it go. Let me know what you think. Please keep in mind this is a first draft and a very rough one at that. Thanks!

Chapter One

“Crap!” This is not happening. But it was. I thought if I fought hard enough, I could stop it. Guess not. Look, I'm not some whiny little girl, I can deal with the wicked head aches and the nausea. It's the waking up in some other place, in God only knows what year, that's the real kick in the pants.

Slowly, I open my eyes. Picking my head up, even an inch, made the vomit happen. But that's OK, I'd rather just get on with it. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and cautiously sat up, so I could take inventory.

Since I like to look on the bright side of things, I'll focus on all of the positive stuff I've got going for me. This time, when my back slammed onto the ground, I happened to land on something soft. Thrusting my hands down into the pile of softness underneath me, I grabbed and came up with two fist-fulls of straw. Nice! Since I didn't eat before I teleported, it looks like that initial pukage is going to be it for me today. Looking around at the biggest and ironically most literal bright side, the sun was shining. It was day time.

Flipping sweet! I am so far ahead of the game than I was last time. You don't even want to know what a complete and total freaking disaster that turned out to be. But I can't get into all that now. I have to focus on my one colossal and currently screaming negative here: I'm not alone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter S is for Sweet Ride

On our trip to Florida, I overcame some big fears/phobias of mine and tried something new. I am so happy (and a bit proud of myself) for venturing outside my comfort zone and taking a risk.  Because I loved, loved, loved it! What did I do? This chick went on an airboat ride!! To some of you that may seem so tame and stupid to be afraid of, but allow me a minute to list a few fears I had to overcome just to step onto that boat:

#1. I had to walk past him! This is Bubba. He weighs around 1,000 pounds. He was not overly fond of Jaybird. When I walked by him, at first, he was so big and so still, I thought he was fake. Then he growled at me and I almost shizzed my pants.
Say hello to my "little friend" Bubba!
#2. This was the water we had to walk over on a rickety bridge to get to the boat. I started hyper-ventilating and needed a minute.

So, like any good mother, I made the kids go first.
Thankfully, my girls inherited zero of my fears.

#3. Then, I spied this in the swampy water on the way over the bridge:
Not sure what kind of snake this is, someone riding on the boat with us said it was a water moccasin;
I don't care what kind it is, I'm not a fan of any  kind of snake.

#4. At this point, I was so proud of myself that I made it onto the boat and didn't run away screaming, I thought, nothing is going to stop me now! But then, they gave us the safety speech (like on an airplane) informing us where the life vests are and all about how airboats, are prone to tip! I'm not a very strong swimmer. But I can tell you if that boat tipped, and I fell into that alligator/snake infested swamp water this fat girl would take off faster than Michael damn Phelps for the shore! I had to block all the bad thoughts of capsizing right out of my mind. So I put on my earphones.
Faith, like the little trooper she is, took one for the team and sat next  to this hot mess. 
Her two sisters and cousin, chose to sit as far away from me as possible.
Not, that I blame them. Little did they know, whoever sat up front got soaking wet!
In the end, overcoming all of my fears, was so worth it. Because ultimately it allowed me to view this:
I had no idea how beautiful Florida could be. Seeing this up close was breathtaking.

And the memories we made on this little excursion: PRICELESS!
My girls. They are fearless!! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter R is for Rest and Relaxation

After enduring such a tumultuous winter, The Husband and I received an offer we couldn't refuse- a free place to stay down in Orlando! Thanks to my lovely sister-in-law and brother-in-law, we were gifted with a week at their time share in a beautiful resort near Disney. My kids have never been to Disney, and have always wanted to go, so off we went.
My girls at the resort.

Although I often think I can catch up on some R&R here at home, something or someone always interrupts it. Because of  all of my ailments and recent surgery, I knew I would have to take it slow and easy, but taking a little time off and getting away, was just what the doctor ordered.

Blogging through this vacation, for Faith and I, proved to be most difficult. We had spotty connections and on more than one occasion we had written entire posts and lost them! Sometimes, when we would try to comment on other blogs our comments and responses got eaten. It was so frustrating! And then, the days we were on the road traveling, it was impossible to post. I am happy to be back at home, and yet very grateful to have had the opportunity to get away with my family and take a little break. If you haven't had a comment from me or Faith in a few days, now you know why.

I have a ton of pictures to sort through, and oh, a million stories to tell about our little adventure (traveling anywhere with me always becomes an outstanding memory, LOL) but I need another day or so before my vacation brain reboots itself and gets going again. How did you spend your Spring Break? Did any of you manage to get in some R&R?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A-Z Letter Q- Q is for Quick

Sorry this is such a quick post- but I have company coming in and lots of cooking and cleaning to do! Plus, we just drove through the night and got home at 4:00 this morning from Florida. (That was a fun-filled fifteen hour trip with three kids in the pouring rain with major traffic back to Jersey!) More posts and pictures on our trip to come. Have a wonderful day and Easter Sunday everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter P for Peeps

I am super excited because I just realized I am at 199 peeps!! I can't believe 199 people actually follow this blog! That's insane. (Especially since when I first started, I had exactly two followers; one of which was me the other was my sister) I am thinking up a sweet give-away for when I hit 200. It must, of course, involve a box of Peeps. Any of you ever try making  s'mores with Peeps? We do it around Easter time every year.

I'm expecting the usual crowd of Italians to come and overflow my house this Sunday for  Easter. The cooking and crazy has already commenced. Thank God I have Faith to help me! In our family, just about every holiday involves lasagna, even Thanksgiving. What about you? Any food or holiday traditions in your family?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Letter O is for Over-sharing

OK, this would be one of those times I might possibly be accused of over-sharing and giving out TMI. But I'm gonna do it anyway. Recently, I had to undergo some surgery to remove a tumor on my breast. Thankfully, it was not cancerous. But it was quite a large tumor and it required a fair amount of stitches. Any of you know what happens to stitches after a while? They start to itch.  Really bad. But this itch happened to be in a private place. A place most polite people don't go around scratchin' or picking in public- unless you are Honey Boo Boo's mom.
Mama June doesn't really care where or when it happens, if she has an itch, she's gonna scratch it!

As time went on and my stitches started to itch and pull and I was out in public, I had to get really creative on how to scratch that itch without anyone catching me! I felt like my cat, looking around for some scratching post I could shimmy up to. LOL I was counting down the days until the stitches could come out. Wouldn't you know, the same day I was supposed to get my stitches out, we got hit with about a foot and a half of snow!! I was whining complaining about the itching incessantly.  Ironically, I know about five people in my immediate family who were all qualified to remove the stitches for me. The down side, the stitches are in a place where I don't want my family's face. I waited two more days in agony until my surgeon's office could reopen and I could finally, finally, get those itching stitches removed!! Anyone else ever have an itch they couldn't scratch? LOL

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter N for Nosy

Are you nosy? Do you find yourself having to be all up in everybody else's business? I know some extremely nosy people.  They ask about a million questions and are never satisfied with vague answers. I am a very open person. If you read this blog you would know I don't hide much. And if I don't volunteer certain info about myself, all you have to do is ask and I'll answer you.  I am often accused by The Husband and the kids of volunteering TMI (too much information) or over-sharing.  Believe it or not, I actually reign it in and censor myself, for their sake. Although I give out a lot of info about myself to others, I'm not nosy. I don't need to know what my neighbors are up to; I'm too busy trying to keep my own stuff straight. I mind my own business. The Husband, on the other hand, is closed up like a fist. He keeps his emotions locked up tighter than a death row inmate. He never volunteers even the most trivial information about himself to anyone, ever. But for some reason, he's nosy as all get out! Especially about what goes on in our neighborhood. We live in a very tight-knit community. Everybody knows everybody else. So if a car even turns down our street that "doesn't belong", The Husband is out of the house in a heart beat ready to take the license plate number down and/or start an interrogation! As usual, he is the exact opposite of me.

Which way are you? Do you over-share? Give out TMI? Are you nosy? Do you care what your neighbors are up too?

PS:  Faith and I have been experiencing some technical difficulties with the Internet lately. Also, we are quite convinced our lap top is possessed. Sorry if commenting is slow and our posts are out of whack. Not sure what's going on there!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter "L" Love

L is for Love. When The Husband and I first got married, he was still in the military. He would have to leave for days and/or weeks at a time training with the USMC. It would kill me to drop him off at the airport or up at the base, knowing we were going to be separated for a long period of  time. I give all the career, full-time military families major credit! They have to go so much longer without being able to see their loved ones than I ever did. The women and men of the military, who keep it all together back here on the home front, are heroes to me too. It's not easy being left behind.  That's love.  Its often mocked and quoted at weddings, but if you really read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, to me, it's the perfect example of what true love should be.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight  in evil but  rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres. Love never fails.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter M

M is for Mickey Mouse. My kids have  never been to Disney. The Husband and I are going to try and remedy that in the very near future. At what age are kids too old for Disney? Do they ever get too old for Mickey Mouse? How old were you when you first went to Disney? What's your favorite or least favorite thing about Disney? Any of you old enough to remember the Mickey Mouse Club...with Annette? M-I-C-K-E-Y, MOUSE!!

A-Z Challenge Letter K

K is for Keyboards. I abuse the heck out of my keyboards! My brother came over to use my computer and couldn't believe how beat down my keyboard was. A few days later when he was out and about, he saw a keyboard and decided to pick me up a new one. (I am very blessed. My brother is super generous and very, very thoughtful. He is always doing stuff like that for me and my girls; he is made of awesome:)
This is my old keyboard. If you look closely, you can see that I wore the letters right off the keys! 

Even though my brother gifted me with the new and improved keyboard, I'm ashamed to admit it took me two years before I finally broke down and installed the new one. I fear change. And I was afraid that if I had to adjust to a new keyboard it would slow me down. Last week, right before the A-Z Challenge, my old keyboard died. I'm still adjusting to the new one. It's shaped differently (it's the kind that's supposed to help with carpal tunnel) and I keep hitting the wrong keys. So if you notice that I am making a few more typos than usual, I'm blaming it on the new keyboard :) What kind of keyboard do you prefer? Anyone else fear change?
Here's my new fancy smancy keyboard. Courtesy of my brother Chris.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter J

A-Z Challenge Letter J. J is for Jenny.

My first name is Jennifer. But the people closest to me, always call me Jenny or Jay. Some of my friends call me Jen. It doesn't really matter which derivative people use, I answer to them all.  But man can I tell you how much I hated how popular my name was growing up. When I was in kindergarten, there were EIGHT of us!! Since there were more than one Jennifer B's I was forced to be called Jennifer B2. I sounded like a robot! It irritated me to no end, but what could I do? I've made peace with it now, but when I had my own girls and was searching for baby names, I swore to choose names for my girls that were less popular.  (Little did I know I would have to come up with 3 baby girl names!)

What are your favorite names? Do you have a nickname? Italians are big on them. Everybody gets one in my family and they stick. Whether you like it or not! How do you come up with your character names?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter I is for Inspiring

Good Morning! I have a short but sweet A-Z  Letter I post for you today. This is what I have on my wall, next to my writing desk. Even when I'm not feeling it, this inspires me to keep going. What inspires you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter H is for Hooks

Welcome to Letter H. H is for Hooks. Hooks in books, not the other kind. Get your head out of the trash, he he he. Creating a captivating hook is essential to grabbing readers attention and luring them into your story. What makes a hook great? What captivates you? Here are some of my favorite hooks:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." - Who could forget that famous Tolkien hook? I remember thinking, what in the world is a hobbit?? I was intrigued, and had to know.

"I was sixteen years old the day I was lost in the forest-sixteen the day I met my death." That amazing hook is from Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Levitt (recommended by Ilima, and what a great read indeed!).

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind, Paul Newman and a ride home." S.E. Hinton-I'm not even entirely sure why, but this hook stayed with me from the first time I read The Outsiders, until now.

Who can place this one- "The boy with the fair  hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A-Z Letter G G is for George Orwell

G is for George Orwell. Today I'm writing about George Orwell. Not the George Orwell who first springs to mind, the one who wrote 1984 or Animal Farm. Nope. I'm writing about George Orwell, my daughter Farrah's beloved veiled chameleon. He sits right next to King Tut. Once again, not the King Tut you are familiar with. King Tut, in our house, is a leopard gecko. Who lives in a ginormous tank right next to George Orwell in her room.
Isn't George cool? 
Farrah has a knack for picking quite unique names for her pets. Then again, she is quite a unique girl. Not too many eleven year old girls have a bedroom full of salt water tanks and lizards and chameleons (or read Orwell in their spare time). There are no pink walls or frilly curtains or ruffled bedspreads in Farrah's room. And it sure as heck doesn't smell like sugar and spice and everything nice up in there. It's smells more like Animal Planet; but this is what my kid loves.
King Tutankhanun, the non-mummified version. Isn't he cute?
I'm all about encouraging my  girls to develop their own tastes and creative outlets. With Faith, her passion is cooking.  Which was a win-win for everybody. But I want to encourage my kids individuality, even when it hurts. And man does Farrah's hurt. I think it goes without saying, that buying bugs and bringing feed crickets into my house, hurts me. I think you all know how creeped out and psycho I get about bugs. Even the thought of bugs camping out in my house, gives me all kinds of anxious thoughts and fears. But I love my kid more than my phobias.

How far are you willing to go for love? Any strange creatures live in your  house?

PS: Great BIG thank you to everyone who commented yesterday and/or  followed my daughter Faith! It made her feel so special and much better on a day she was feeling so sick and miserable! You guys are the best, thank you!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A-Z Challenge, Letter F

This was the easiest post for me to come up with for the A-Z Challenge yet.  F is for Faith's a Foodie!  Who is Faith's A Foodie? If you don't already know, please allow this momma a shameless promotional moment to highlight her blog today. Faith is my adorable, uber-talented, 12 year old daughter who is taking this A-Z Challenge with me. It's such a privilege and joy to do this challenge with her. She inspires me everyday. Here's a little saying we have in our house about Faith:  "When Faith cooks, everybody wins!"
My Faith xo
Let me tell you a little bit about what kind of amazing kid she is. Because of my frequent illness, I'm not always able to cook. My daughter, instead of complaining about our tough situation, never said a word.  Instead, she took it upon her self to make meals for her sisters and father. She has been foraging around in the kitchen and coming up with recipes since she was quite young. (She also pitches in around the house with chores without being asked.) Faith volunteers at church and is one of the most sought after teacher's assistants. (They "fight" over who gets her help in the Sunday school classes!) Faith loves to learn and challenge herself. She is in a very competitive academic program at school which is highly demanding. She gets anywhere from four-five hours of homework a night-and still manages to make the Honor Roll every marking period. It's comes as no surprise to us in the Bird's Nest, that Little Miss Faith, at age 12, has long since surpassed many adults in culinary talent. (her mother is one of them) She continues to wow us with her creativity, talent, compassion and intelligence. Overall, she is one AWESOME kid. And in case you can't tell, I am so very proud of her.

Thanks to followers, like Far Away Eyes and Brandon Ax, who have been continually commenting on her blog and providing Faith with (non-parental) encouragement. It means a lot to her and to me. Even if you don't follow culinary blogs, it would be really cool if you took a moment and gave her a quick shout out before this A-Z Challenge is all said and done.  I'd really appreciate it. (Poor kid is sick as a dog today too. Bad things are going around school like upper respiratory infections, strep throat and mono! We are going to the doctor this afternoon,  fingers crossed it's none of the above!!)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A-Z Challenge Letter E

A-Z Challenge letter E. I have some flash fiction for you. E is for Eddie. Hope you like it!

Eddie. Eddie Du Bois is here. Standing less than five feet from me. I only caught a glimpse of his profile, but I know it's him. I know it with a certainty and truth like one knows the sun is hot and ice is cold. But what do I do when presented with this truth? That's the million dollar question. Do I dare approach him? Call his name? Do I run away and give up what could be my only chance to speak to him again? Dear God, am I capable of such cowardice twice? How could I choose to run away from him, again? I've lived with the regret of that choice for the last fifteen years. The only hope I clung to was somehow, some day I would run into him again and could try to explain. Well, some day is here and my feet are caught in indecision like thick mud.

Eddie stops at the end of the aisle in the Piggly-stinking-Wiggly of all the stupid places for this reunion to take place. He turns around, and it takes him a split second, but I know it the instant he recognizes me. Eddie's whole body stiffens. He snaps his shoulders back and thrusts his chin up, like he's standing at attention. He does an about-face and marches away from me, in double time. And just like that, the decision about what to do next has been taken out of my hands.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A-Z Challenge D is for Dress Code

Day 4. Already. See how fast this challenge moves? It's crazy. Happy Letter D. D is for  Dress Code.

Living in a Shore town changes most peoples perspectives on what's acceptable to wear. Our dress code here is super slack. For the most part, even the fanciest restaurants will let you in, as long as you have on flip flops, a shirt or a cover up over your bikini. Even our Pastor wears shorts to church in the summer. I'm cool with that. Especially since tons of people have told me how much they appreciate our church simply because we are so welcoming and not stuffy or pretentious, at all.

The further you drive up north Jersey, the dressier people tend to get. I always try to look nice. That doesn't mean I'm dressed to the nines everyday, but I do, at least, attempt to look decent. I do not like most people down the Shore, think it's OK to visit Walmart in my pajamas. That drives me nuts. I'm not expecting you to show up at the Mart wearing your Sunday best, but dang, at least throw on a pair of pants! Some things, as I may have stated before, can not be UNSEEN. Just saying...

My husband fits in great down here at the Shore. Although he (THANK GOD) wears pants not pajamas when he goes to Walmart, the bottom line is the man is a terrible dresser. And I mean awful. I'm not sure what's wrong with him or why he can't  recognize his outfits are so bad. I also don't understand why he doesn't throw away t-shirts with giant holes in the pits! Why doesn't he know shirts with holes are no longer acceptable options? Maybe it's because he was forced to wear a uniform for most of his life, first in Catholic school, then in the Marines and now as a law enforcement officer. Perhaps it killed his ability to pick out acceptable clothes when left to his own devices. When he gets ready and all dressed for a night "out" my girls and I just laugh and shake our heads in disbelief.  The colors and combinations he comes up with are so bad you think, he must be joking! I wish. I also wish he would allow me to photograph him, so I could post the photo proof here to show it. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you, it's bad. The worst part is he doesn't believe us!! He has this one pair of red sweats (not just any red, but bright, frickin fire engine red) that I really want to light on fire so he never, ever wears them anywhere again.

What can you do? I've tried buying him new things, but he  shoves them to the back of the closet never to see the light of day. It's so frustrating. Does someone you love lack the dress code gene? How do you feel  about people wearing their PJs out and about? Are you cool with it or does it irk you too?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A-Z Challenge, C is for Crazy Cat Lady

C is for Crazy Cat Lady. Yep. That's me. And although I only have one, instead of forty or fifty running around my house, I am more than OK with the label. The absolute, overwhelming, unconditional love I feel for my cat isn't at all may not be normal. But I don't really care. I will defend my little fur baby to my last breath.
Here's my fabulous attempt at a selfie. Minus, my head.  My kids bought me this tee shirt for Christmas. I won't wear it outside the house though. Not because I'm embarrassed about the saying but (as I'm sure you can see) the material around the cat is kind of  s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to the max. Ha.

Why is it we are filled with an overwhelming love for our pets, but can sometimes care less for other human beings? In my house, the running joke is that I never, ever, get mad at the cat. And it's true. Even when she does something naughty, I find and/or make up some excuse for her bad behavior. I view her bad behavior as cute or funny and never get angry at her. If The Husband ever purposely pooed on the floor, I certainly wouldn't find it cute nor would I find any excuse for it. (I also might knock him out.)
Who could get mad at a face like that? 
Why do I have infinite patience with my kitty? Even when she wakes me up early on a Saturday morning. It's my only day of the week to sleep in. No one else gets away with waking me up. But when she does it, just because she wants me to pet her and snuggle, I don't get angry. I think it's stinking adorable. She can do no wrong in my eyes. Do any of you suffer from some crazy cat (or any pet) love like me?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A-Z Challenge B is for Bad Boys and IWSG Support Group

For those of you here for the A-Z Challenge; it's day two. Letter B. And B shall represent Bad Boys. As a bonus, today is also the first Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which I never miss. In the interest of keeping things concise, please allow this post to serve both purposes. This one is for you, fellas.

Oh how we love our bad boys of fiction! When well written, those celebrated scoundrels stick with us through time and space and are never far from our minds. But if we are being honest, do they truly stay in that fictional space in our minds? 

If you think about it, whose profile do most women choose to date? Is it the perpetual bad boy, the one with an edge, the one who has no job, no car, major baggage and serious mental problems? Isn't it obvious, he's just wildly misunderstood. Clearly, he needs a girl just like them, to help "change" him.  (I wish I had a dollar for every time one of my girlfriends has used that line.) It really upsets me. Because I'm a fan of the nice guy. 

What about the "nice" guy? He has all the qualifications and characteristics a woman should desire, on paper. Yet he's the one that's usually  left in the dust. He's the one you could connect with instantly. A girl could find herself opening up to him, without fear. You also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, (unlike bad boy) he would always be there for you. But he's expendable. In books, movies and sadly, all too often in real life.

When does the good guy NOT finish last? For once, can he not get thrown out into "the friend zone"? And if he did, would that book suck? Why, oh why, ladies are we so attracted to those bad boys, when we know deep down he is not right for us? OK, this protective Mom, who knows and loves some really nice boys, (who have all gotten the major shaft lately)  is done ranting. Let me throw some questions at you: 

To my fellow members of the IWSG and writers everywhere: When you form characters, do you think about who's going to finish last? Can the nice guy EVER snag the girl? Do you ever fear that if he does, your readers' interest might fade? Who are some of your favorite bad boy characters? What about good, nice boy characters? Does he ever get the girl? 

And now to my A-Zer's:  What about in real life? Why are girls/boys always drawn to the wrong choice? How much heartbreak does one have to endure before they realize it all could have been avoided if the nice guy/girl was chosen?  Did you ever pick the nice guy/girl?  In your life experience, how many times has the bad boy truly been converted from the dark side? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A-Z Challenge A is for All Aboard!

Woo Woo!! All aboard! Who's ready to jump up on this A-Z crazy train? I am. With both of my freshly manicured feet. I did struggle a bit though, trying to pin myself down to one theme. I've always struggled with coloring within the lines. Any of my regular followers can attest to that. I decided it was in my best interest and everybody else's to go theme-less. And just like when one decides to go bra-less** (see disclaimer below) it's quite a liberating feeling.

So, what kind of posts can you expect from theme-less me throughout this challenge? Who knows what I will think up? The possibilities are endless. You may read about my gigantic Italian family or my screwball husband and three spirited kids, (all tween-age girls, one year apart.) Cripes, I could generate enough posts for five challenges if I focused on each one of them. But posts about my psycho family and busy life are not all you can expect. There will be serious, humorous and reflective posts. Let's not forget about posts that seem like they are going somewhere but are really about nothing. (very similar to this one) I also love to write fiction. Don't think I have the ability to limit myself to one genre either. Nope, not little ole ADD me. You may read blurbs from some of my WIPS (works-in-progress) which include but are not limited to: fantasy, sci-fi, middle grade, romance, YA, NA, poems, flash fiction and any other voices I hear in my head. That's a lot of material to cover. 

Overall, from the steam engine (A) to the caboose (Z) of this crazy train, I'm ready for the ride to begin. Last year was my first A-Z experience. Taking what I learned last year into account I'm on a mission to discover heaps of  new blogs. But I'm equally stoked to check out what themes all of my peeps, (a/k/a Jaybird's original gangster friends/bloggers) have chosen to entertain me with. Last year, they produced phenomenal themes. Their creativity and talent never ceases to astound me. 

If you're new here, welcome to The Bird's Nest. I'm Jaybird. And I sincerely hope you decide to stick around and take this wild ride with me.

**Disclaimer: I can only imagine this to be true.. Personally, I never leave the house au natural. I'm not judging; it's just not a viable option for me. Unless, of course, I feel like tripping over my boobs. :)