Little Birdie

“Ahhh,” I sighed stretching my arms wide. The Lord of the Manor and I had been sitting across the table from each other without speaking for a good fifteen minutes.

** His attention didn’t waver from his laptop.

“Wa-ahhhhhhh,” I sighed louder shifting from side-to-side in an even bigger stretch.

** Still nothing from across the table.

“Ba-caw,” I imitated a little bird softly.

** Nothing. Not even a flicker.

“Ba-caw-caw,” I increased the volume and waved my wings a touch.

** The Lord of the Manor sat transfixed by his screen. His eyelashes didn’t even flutter.

“Baaaa-look-up-here,” I tweeted louder, flapping harder.

** Still nothing.

“Look-up-here, look-up-here,” I hollered gesturing wildly and shaking my head.

** Without batting an eye or even cracking a smile the Lord of the Manor intoned utterly deadpan, “I know what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing?” I goaded him, trying not to laugh.

** “It’s not going to work,” he added, determinedly expressionless.

“Why not?” I demanded, grinning manically.

** Finally cracking a smile, he shook his head.“Dufus……”

Ah ha! Got him.

Yep, just another normal Sunday morning at our house.

Blonde on!

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Stir-Fried

When the Lord of the Manor found me in the kitchen surrounded by raw ingredients he stopped dead in his tracks. “Are you doing something scary?” He asked, appraising the scene from a notably safe distance.

I looked at him over the top of the recipe. “Maybe.” Then squaring my shoulders, “Yes. Yes, I am.”

He took one large step back. “Do you need help?”

If his back tracking wasn’t obvious enough, his tone left me in no doubt he wanted nothing to do with this. But where’s the fun in that?

“Yes,” I replied sensing a rare opportunity, “I do need your help.” If this escapade ended in hell and high water his assistance would assign us both equal blame.

His voice disappearing with fear, “What do you need me to do?”

“We’re going to stir fry this chicken,” I declared. “Using your jet burner.”

“Okay……” he drawled, a slow smile replacing his hesitation, a wary excitement filling his eyes. The jet burner makes a very big flame. It could literally launch a rocket. A big boy toy.

“Slice chicken, coat in flour, fry then add sauce,” I read. “Simple!”

I forgave his derisive snort. No. No… it was totally justified. Simple and I do not co-exist in the kitchen – EVER!

I can over-whip meringue, burn shortbread, bake flat cakes and generally stuff-up the most basic recipes. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve rumbled with the Kenwood, come to blows with the rolling pin and hurled the wooden spoon, but it’s a lot. Baking is by no means my favourite pastime.

Now, I tried my best to stuff this up, dear reader, I really did. There’s nothing funny about success, but the jet burner brought the wok up to an incredibly high temp and the chicken was fried to perfection within seconds; tender and juicy. I didn’t set off the smoke alarm – a usual sign I’m stir-frying – not once. The kids didn’t even complain when I set their dinner down in front of them.

“Why do you look so glum?” The Lord of the Manor asked. “Dinner was delicious.”

“That’s the problem,” I muttered darkly. “How am I going to finish my blog now? And worse, this completely ruins my reputation for being useless in the kitchen.”

“There. There,” he soothed. “You’ll always be useless in the kitchen to me.”

Perfect.

Blonde on!

Reality Check

I was sitting on the beach with my parents, watching my kids swimming and playing; remembering when I was the child and they had to watch me, when three girls sashayed down the sand wearing shorter than short Daisy Dukes and skimpy bikini tops, not a breath over eighteen.

They dipped pink coloured toenails into the waves and squealed as young girls do. Deciding against a swim, they were sashaying back up the beach when one suddenly stopped and released a hysterical, high-pitched shriek of alarm.

Staring with pained expression at the top of her thigh, she studied her leg carefully before emitting a slow sigh of relief.

‘Oh my God, for a moment I thought I had a stretch mark,’ she gasped then laughed breezily.

Satisfied it was merely shadow, she continued to swing her pert, perfect little buttocks back up the sand.

I turned to my parents seated in chairs behind me and shrieked, ‘Oh my God, for a moment I thought I was a buxom, middle-aged married woman with kids on the downhill run to forty…..

…..Oh wait….. Damn!’

Blonde on!

She’s a Lovely Boy

Tyler Croped

How many choices can an 8-year old really make every day – an apple over a banana, a blue t-shirt instead of red. But essentially, all decisions are made for them.

So when my 8-year old son decided to grow his hair long, it still fell back on me. Would I allow it or not? His conviction was strong, and because I couldn’t see the harm, we decided not to overrule his personal freedom and let him grow his hair.

It now reaches well below is shoulders and is causing lots of confusion. Strangers refer to him as ‘she’ and comment on his being ‘a lovely girl’. Ignoring his obvious ‘boy section’ clothing, people react only to the most obvious visual cue – his long hair – and decide, therefore, he must be a girl.

We take no offence, because at his age it is impossible to tell, and we no longer correct them, because it really doesn’t matter. But we had to learn to accept the confusion and common mistake about his gender with good grace.

To be clear, he has no gender confusion. He knows he’s a boy and doesn’t want to be anything else. So when kids at school comment and say, ‘you look like a girl,’ he simply smiles and shrugs, because he doesn’t care. He just loves having long hair.

Then this happened. One of his teachers threatened to tie back his hair if he didn’t behave in class. That ruffled my feathers. Did she threaten the female class members with the same punishment? Were the shorthaired people threatened with a scarlet letter pinned to their chest if they misbehaved? I doubt it…. but let it slide.

Then waited (somewhat anxiously) for the letter from school formally asking us to have his hair cut, and considered in advance how would I react to their request. Did they even have the right to ask? Thankfully, the note didn’t come and I breathed a sigh of relief.

….. But for the record, if we had been asked to cut his hair, I would have refused.

There is no reason why an 8-year old boy can’t wear his hair long, and it shouldn’t – doesn’t – mean anything other than the child has been allowed to make a bold, personal decision for himself.

Blonde on!

Goldie Locks

‘I need a new hairstyle,’ I announced loudly.

‘There’s nothing wrong with your hair,’ the Lord of the Manor responded with overt disinterest… although I suspected he was hiding immediate concerns about  how this new grievance was going to impact on his untroubled serenity.

‘It’s scraggy,’ I complained. ‘I’m thinking of cutting it all off.’

Now, I expected some objection…. But what the Lord of the Manor said next didn’t just send chills through me – but rather great, big, lacerating wedges of ice deep into my spine.

‘Perhaps you just need a new colour,’ he suggested thoughtlessly.

WHAT?

WHAT?

….and once again for those who missed it….

WHAT THE FLUFFING WHAT?

Not to blow my own trumpet… but I am a natural blonde, people.

A Natural blonde!

We’re talking lovely golden locks here. What colour would he rather have me be?

‘What colour do you suggest?’ I asked in a measured tone, though the The Lord of the Manor could be in no doubt the conversation had taken as very dangerous turn as my fangs slowly descended.

He paused to study me for a moment before answering somewhat recklessly, ‘Mousey brown?’

WHAT?

‘WHAT?’ I screeched in utter disbelief. ‘You did not just say mousey brown!?!’

‘Copper?’ He amended quickly, perhaps hoping for a reprieve. He hoped in vain.

‘Copper….’ I repeated breathlessly, my voice lost to the sheer horror. ‘With my complexion?’

It was clear, dear reader, the Lord of the Manor had gone stark raving mad. Absolutely and utterly taken leave of his senses. Insane. Who in their right mind suggests a NATURAL BLONDE dye their hair mousey brown?

…… Someone with a death wish, that’s who!

Mousey brown! I couldn’t believe it.

I can’t believe it.

There are no words, people…

I was speechless….

….. Then, he smiled.

Good one! He got me good.

Blonde on!

Leap

When birds fall down the chimney and land in the belly of the wood fire, they scratch and flutter, desperate to get out. So to aid their escape, we draw the curtains to darken the room and open the double front doors as wide as they will go, clearly laying out their path to freedom.

Then we open the wood fire door.

Half the fallen birds will fly straight out. No hesitation. The other half will stay buried in the ashes…. Staring at ‘The Light.’

The proverbial ‘Light’.

I sort of understand that leaving their safe, ashy pit is a leap of faith. After all, how many of us feel ready, right this minute, to fly toward ‘The Light’? But unless the bird takes a chance and leaves the heater, it will ultimately die…..

(….. not really. We get a towel and release it outside. Don’t panic. Let me explain.)

At some time or another we all must take a leap of faith.

So what would you do if you were that little bird, fallen down the chimney and sitting amongst the ashes. Would you stay or fly toward ‘The Light’?

It’s an interesting question. Have fun with that.

Blonde on!