Shining through...

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 10:42 pm
auntbijou: (Steven Fry LOL)
Every once in a while, little glimpses of the woman my mom used to be comes peeking through...

So, I was talking to her today, and while we were talking, Flaky Sister walks in to show her something. The first I hear of it is Mom saying, "What's that?"

"It's broccoli, Mom," I hear my sister say.

"Huh," says Mom thoughtfully. "Okay." Then after a long pause, she says, "Is it supposed to be brown???"

I nearly fell out of my chair, but managed not to laugh out loud, because I was dying to know the answer, you know?

"It's dehydrated," I heard Flaky Sister say with exasperation in her voice.

"I see," Mom said politely. "That's... interesting."

"I'm gonna take it back to the kitchen and put it on a plate so you can eat it after you get off the phone," my sister said.

"Okay," Mom said. "That's fine." And then, after a moment, when she was sure the Flaky Sister was gone, she leaned close to the phone and said, quite emphatically, "I'm not gonna eat that."

Yeah, I completely lost it at that point. And I don't blame her one bit!! Brown broccoli??? WTF?????
auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
Okay, first... Friday night, I was on-line chatting, something I don't do often because (1) don't really have the time because of my Little Interruptions and (2) sleeping, I really like doing that when I can! But, I was chatting and really enjoying it when I heard something very large crashing around in the bushes outside my side-yard window.

Now, this is something we hear frequently, and it usually turns out to be a cat, a raccoon, a possum, or a lost dog. If it's a cat, we shoo it, if it's a raccoon or possum, we leave them alone. If it's a lost dog, we check for tags and either leave the gate open, or call the owner to come get it.

However, this was... large. Like... sounding like a drunk elephant large. And seconds later, the Impertinent Daughter texted me frantically that there was something outside her window and it was freaking Calcifer out to the point of hissing.

Well. That's new. So, being a brave and intrepid Auntie, I grabbed a flashlight, yanked on some shoes, and went out into the night to beard the Dragon, so to speak. And realized a few things.

(1) We have no lights whatsoever on that side of the house.

(2) It's really dark over there, because we have very little in the way of street lights in our town.

(3) I am 5' 3", didn't grab a baseball bat like I usually do, and was only armed with a mini Mag-light.

I shone the light into the bushes and started to stomp my way into the side yard, and... didn't, because it suddenly occurred to me what would happen if the critter in the bushes was on two legs instead of four. Already had the phone in my hand pre-dialed to 911, but you know, that just isn't enough, right? I shouted out for any person possibly there to come out, and nothing. Tossed a ball into the bushes to startle any four-legged creature into sprinting out.. and nothing.

That's when I decided to tell the daughter it was a possum and to go back to sleep.

So, yesterday, I was telling the Husbandly One about it when we heard a ruckus outside in the bushes again, except it was daylight and... we went outside to see what was going on.

This time, it was a squirrel hung up in a window screen, but it got itself sorted and took off into the bushes. Fine. So, THO and I went to look in the side yard, because we'd speculated about the big noise the previous night being a dog (a month ago, we'd had a stray dog settle himself in the bushes of the side yard quite happily). And... found something we had not expected at all.

Item One: Two milk crates shoved into place behind the bushes under the Impertinent Daughter's windows, convenient for standing on for viewing purposes through said windows.

Item Two: The wooden fence on that side is leaning INTO the yard.

Item Three: A nice little path through the grass and plants from the leaning in portion of the fence straight to the milk crates under ID's windows.


Then THO said, "Oh, the fence has been leaning in for a while..."

I said, "You know, a path that established takes a while to pound out."

It was rather startling to see the amount of fury building in my husband's eyes. And for a little while there, I was all for pounding down the door of the creepy neighbor's house in order to strangle one or more of their sons.

I am speaking, of course, of the Fireman and the Coffee Lady. However, upon further thought, I'm not convinced it was necessarily them. Why? Because, unlike our yard, theirs is open to the street behind us by expedient of having a large cattle gate in their fence, rather than a wooden one, and it has openings large enough for someone to just bend down and slip through. Plus there are handy garbage cans and barrels to stand on in that corner of their yard to use to climb the fence.

We've decided it would be worth it to install motion sensitive lights on that side of the house. And heavy shades for Miss Impertinent's windows.


The second thing to happen this weekend is that my mother called Friday afternoon and said she and the Flaky Sister were coming to visit on Saturday. Oh, well, at least I got 24 hours of notice this time, and not a call from my mom after they were already on the road!!

It was most fortunate that THO and I had already made a start on playing catchup, after two weeks of everyone being sick, because last week, the house looked like goblins had invaded and trashed the place. So there wasn't a lot to do other than cleaning the kids' bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, and tidying up in general. However, it was at some point Friday night, before I started chatting with [personal profile] keiramarcos and her minions, that I stopped myself from doing the manic "OMG-I-have-to-OCD-clean-EVERYTHING!!!" and said to myself, "Why am I doing this?"

Yeah, it was one of those moments. You know, the self-epiphany thing? And it all came about because of something I had said to my mother a few weeks ago, after Mom had gotten upset because the Flaky Sister had gotten sarcastic after a rather heated exchange between the two of them. I had said, "Mom, Flaky is 62 years old. She's more than an adult now, and you don't have to raise her anymore. Plus, Flaky, Blondie, and I all inherited Daddy's Smart-Ass Gene™, and you can't hold it against us. It's our sacred right to be sarcastic, especially when we're mentally exhausted, tired, or just plain cranky."

And Mom agreed.

Well, I was about to drive my family nuts with a frantic need to spotlessly clean my house when I thought, "Wait a minute... what am I doing? Why am I working so damn hard for approval I am never going to get from my sister??"

See, I had gone through this sort of epiphany about my dad back in my mid-twenties, so you could say I was sort of overdue this with my sister. The Flaky sister has a tendency, like my dad, to be hyper-critical, and to set impossible standards, and expect me to live up to them, and to withdraw affection and approval when I don't live up to them.

I started wondering when that became so important to me, when it hadn't really mattered before.

I have never been a model housekeeper. I never will be. My house will never, ever be spotlessly clean, nor would I want it to be. It will always be, at most, organized chaos, because I will always prefer spending time with my husband and children to spending time cleaning my house. Unless they're helping. And really, the only people I need to please are the three people who live with me. It's their opinion that matters to me, and if they don't have a problem with the way I do things, then... that's all that matters to me.

My husband loves me very, very much. And I love him very, very much. He pretty much knew what he was getting when he married me. He knew that I'm an indifferent cook, but I'm one WHEEE!! of a baker. And he's pretty okay with that. He loves me for my wit, my sly sense of humor, my fierce loyalty, my thinking abilities, and my extreme mattress-dancing skills. If my kitchen skills aren't quite the match of his, that's fine with him, and that's all that matters.

I had to remind myself of all of that. Because the Flaky Sister has the ability to make me doubt all of that, and I had to wonder when I gave her that power over me. Because it never mattered before.

That's some pretty stunning realizations to make about oneself, you know? Which is probably why I went online for chat, to distract myself from it, because believe me, the stress was incredible.

And Saturday, it was just worse. I actually asked the Tall Blonde to come hang out for the duration as a buffer because if there is one thing I know about my sister, she won't misbehave in front of company. She'll work at tearing me to shreds in front of my husband and children... but not in front of strangers! And while I realized that her opinion doesn't matter a hill of beans to me any more, I kind of need some time and distance to absorb it, and let it sink in, so I can parry her shots with indifference.

I love the Tall Blonde, by the way. She is... awesome. Period.

Had a good visit with my mom, who is looking better. Actually, she looks pretty darn cute, to tell you the truth, with her fluffy silvery-white hair and big smile! It gives me a pang to hug her now and feel how small she is. She's 84 now, and every time I hug her, I wonder how much longer.

So, Flaky was reasonably well behaved, and when they were gone, the Husbandly One made his awesome margaritas and poured one down my throat to combat the Killer Stress Migraine that hit me afterwards. I love his margaritas, they are delicious, and with my low alcohol tolerance, they knock me out pretty fast.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?


Friday, September 16th, 2011 11:10 am
auntbijou: (Death)

I think I can safely say that this comic, by the Impertinent Daughter, nicely sums up what the past three days have been like for the two of us.

Add a phone call from the Flaky Sister that left me wanting to spork myself, and yeah, it's been FUN.
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
So there I am, supervising the Impossible Son as he cuts butter into flour and salt to make pie crusts when the dulcet tones of Toploader crooning, "Dancing in the Moonlight" alerts me to the fact that someone is calling me. I look at the Caller ID, see my mother's name, and immediately think, "Uh-oh, the Flaky Sister is calling."

Yeah, I know, that's not a normal conclusion to jump to, but see when my mom calls me, she calls me from her landline hone to my landline phone, because that's just the number she's used to, and knows she'll get me eventually.

The Flaky Sister, however, when she calls me, she wants me to answer, dammit! And she knows I always have the mobile on me, so... she calls me from the landline phone she shares with Mom to my mobile. Because she knows I'll always answer (unless I'm at the doctor or in a movie theater).

So, I answer cautiously because lately, when the Flaky Sister calls, it's because something is wrong.

I say, "Hello."

"You and the Blonde Sister are coming here the day before Christmas, and you're staying the day after Christmas, because I. Am not. Doing this. Again. Ever."


Apparently, Mom was criticizing her cooking.

*pause to die laughing*

As some of you will remember from past Thanksgiving debacles, the Flaky Sister isn't exactly... the best of cooks. Ouch, I think I just strained a muscle saying that.

She thinks she can cook, but... gods, there just is not enough antacid on the planet, I swear!

Mom wants to be sure the meal is edible so... she's... trying to head Flaky off at the pass, so to speak, but... well, Mom and Flaky get along about as well as oil and water, you know? So, I said mildly, "Mom's micro-managing your cooking?"

"Gaaaaah!" the Flaky Sister said, then she asked in stern tones, "Do you know how to salt and pepper a turkey?" and I had a moment of utter panic, thinking OMG, is she dumping Thanksgiving in MY lap at the last minute, WTF???

Instead, I said mildly, "Yes, I do. Who do you think helped Mom with the turkey after you and Blondie got married?"

The Flaky Sister said, "Yeah, well... so do I! But does Mother think I can salt and pepper a turkey?"

I refrained from saying, "Well, she knows you can salt and pepper a turkey, it's probably the amount of salt, plus the stick of butter you're trying to add that has her concerned..." because, well, I don't know she was trying to add a stick of butter...

Instead, I said, "She probably misses being able to do the turkey herself."

Not the most diplomatic thing I could have said, but... there you are. I won't go into the rest of the conversation, which was short, but... I ended up promising that we would arrive earlier than usual, to help out. And you should be very proud of me, I didn't do anything more than wince when she told me she was making stringbeans with parsley, thyme, oregano, bacon, and oh, I hope, I so hope I misunderstood her, but... possibly basil or was it something that makes me think of lemons... oh, I dunno, but... it was not something that is normally added to stringbeans, and knowing the ingrained habits of my family... no one is going to want to eat it.

I called the Blonde Sister after I'd gotten the pie in the oven, just to find out what the HELL was going on. After asking if she had received a grumpy call from a very cranky sister, I said, "Remind me again, why did we decide the Flaky Sister would be handling Thanksgiving and Christmas?"

"Because she has a bigger house?" The Blonde Sister said cautiously. Then she laughed and said, "Guess I'd better take Christmas after all, huh?"

"Please! I mean, seriously, at least one of our holiday meals should be edible!"

She died laughing and said, "The Brotherly One said the EXACT SAME THING!!!"

I knew there was a reason I liked him so much!!

We chatted a while longer, laughing and venting a bit and shaking our heads over our sister. I didn't know until tonight that the Blonde Sister had no idea that the Flaky Sister thinks of herself as the "Good Daughter."

"What, is she trying to say that you and I are the BAD ones here?" the Blonde Sister asked with an amused snort.

"Well, I'm the Black Sheep, I don't know what the heck you're supposed to be," I replied.

"You're not a black sheep," she said, laughing, "We're both black sheep!"

"Own it, Sister!" was about the only thing I could say at that point.

Funny thing is, I only just realized lately how little my sisters have really talked with our mom. Well... let me rephrase that. How little my sisters have listened to our mom. Both of my sisters have complained over and over about how Mom refuses to open the curtains in the living room. Or raise the blinds over the kitchen sink. I pointed out that both sets of windows are on the side of the house, facing into the side yard which looks like an alley. And Mom has issues with that.

The Blonde Sister had no idea what I was talking about, so I had to explain yet again about when Mom and her family lived in downtown Houston next to an Italian restaurant called "Delmonico's." And that there was no restroom in the restaurant (it was 1930's Houston, what can I say?), so male patrons would go into the alley between Delmonico's and the house Mom was living in to relieve themselves, and because they didn't want to piss against the wall of the restaurant, they'd face the house.

They had no air conditioning, so the windows in Mom's family's house were always open, night and day, and so when Mom would go into her bedroom, it wasn't unusual to see two or three men's heads right at the window sill, peering in while they relieved themselves. And sometimes, they'd try to talk to Mom and her brothers, and it always, always freaked her out (can't blame her at all, either).

The Blonde Sister had no idea. "Mom wasn't like that about our house!" she said in surprise.

"Yes, she was," I said calmly. "That's why Daddy planted rose bushes by all the side windows of the house. It was the only way he could get her to open those windows. The rose bushes made her feel safe."

"How do you know all this?" the Blonde Sister demanded.

"I asked her!" I said, exasperated. "Good grief, Blondie, Mom has all these great stories, and you'll never hear them if you don't ask her about them. Try asking her what Houston was like when she was a little girl. Or ask her about how Aunt Dee Dee handled ice deliveries. Ask how Aunt Dee Dee kept the mockingbirds and blue jays from picking the paper caps off the milk bottles when they were delivered in the mornings! Or about how her brothers embarrassed her by putting boobs on the snowman she built."

Sometimes, my sisters annoy the heck out of me. Whenever Mom gets onto one of her fussing jags, all you have to do to distract her and get her onto another groove is ask about her childhood, or about the war years, or the summers she spent on the family farm in Louisiana, or how she managed to date our Marine dad despite three extremely over-protective Navy brothers who had no love for Jar-heads.

Well, the cookies are baked, the pies are done, the tarts turned out fine... and I am ready for bed.

And I promise not to kill the Flaky Sister. I don't look very good in orange, anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 09:17 am
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
I just had to say that, because I will be baking myself into oblivion today. Mom has taken over the reins for Thanksgiving this year, because the Salt-Encrusted Ham of Doom convinced her that the Flaky Sister just... should not cook for Thanksgiving. I mean, it wasn't just the ham, it was many, many other things, mostly... it's because after cooking since she was old enough to stand at the stove and stir a pot for our mom... the Flaky Sister just... can't cook. Mom and I were chatting about it a few weeks ago, and reliving last Thanksgiving, and then went on to talking about other meals we've had at the Flaky Sister's, and... *shakes head*
Cut because of length and pictures, omg! )
auntbijou: (Default)
I guess I should explain yesterday's complaint about my sister.


When one is having health issues, such as gallbladder pain, and one is ignoring the dietary restrictions the doctor has requested one follow, such as NOT eating highly acidic, and extremely fatty foods, AND one has been living in a highly stressful environment, one should not then jump in the SUV and drive ALL BY ONE'S SELF to Arizona to stay with a friend. Really, Bets, I do understand why you had to get away, and I'm not disputing that. Hell, I'm over 165 miles away... and I want to get away!!


(there's always a but, isn't there?)

This means that when one suddenly has an attack of acute gastritis and ends up in the emergency room in Flagstaff, Arizona, that your family is at a complete loss as to what to do to help you. Mom can't go to Flagstaff because she's just physically unable to. The Blonde Sister can't go because she's pretty much the only nurse left at the private practice she works at, since the other three are out. Your daughter can't go because she's an emotional and physical wreck right now and I can't go because I have a sick kid, and THO can't take time off right now to take on child care full time.

And yes, dear, I know you are out of the hospital and at your friend's home with all these wonderful medications, but I"m also aware that it will be at least a week before you are able to drive down the street, much less across Arizona, New Mexico, and all of Texas, and I also know (as Mom does not, and it's a good thing she doesn't know, too, or your ears would be blistered from her phone call) that you checked yourself out of the hospital, you weren't released. You stinker (and I'm bein' REAL nice now, dontcha know, because I really want to call you something else).

This is why my sister is an IDIOT. And why I am contemplating flying to Flagstaff, just so I can clock her on the back of the head and say, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????"

I mean... there's a reason I used to call her the Practical Sister!!!


*grumbles and mutters under breath as she starts hacking at the weeds in the backyard*

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