Day off. Lead and follow.

 Behold, the X and the Y. My Mama and my Papa. Pretty hip, eh! I'm sure they will have a few choice words for me if (when) they see that I have posted this photo of them for the whole world to see. Sorry you two, but it really was necessary. Not to mention, you really should be proud of all that luscious hair!

Family is a weird, weird thing. Especially when you have several to deal with.  Those two smiling faces up there have been divorced for well over 20 years now. My multiple families have always been a constant source of frustration as well as joy, which I am sure is the case for just about everyone that comes from a divorced household. I'm certain we also share many of the same frustrations. Too much time. Not enough time. Not enough effort. Too far away. Obligations that pull you in opposite directions. Always having to be the tireless cheerleader, even when you know the game is over and your team has lost. You know the drill, typical family stuff. And really, the good does outweigh the bad. That being said, there are those times that really leave you scratching your head. Those times when you look at a picture and say "O.k, I get you, and I get you, but where the hell did we come from!" The "we" being my brother and I. More on him in a second.

If you met my parents you would really have a hard time believing they were ever a couple. I'm sure that at some point they had something in common. Probably their penchant for big hair and funny smelling cigarettes. The 70's and 80's did strange things to people, I guess. But in the here and now, two people couldn't be any more different. It is this dramatic difference between the two that has always puzzled me. Because, just as they are nothing alike, such is the case with my brother and I. Not only are we nothing like each other, we are also incredibly different from our parents. We are cut from the same cloth, but at the same time, so strikingly different that it's amazing we grew up under the same roof. How can people spend that much time together and be so different.
Obviously, we do share a few things, those things that all brothers with the same blood share. Those little quirks that parents pass on, both good and bad. You can thank our Mom for our subconscious need to remove our shoes and wade around in any body of water we are near; also for our ability to procrastinate, even in extreme circumstance. You can thank our Dad for our appreciation of male grooming products and having shoes for any occasion. You can also thank him for our cockiness and ability to make anything a competition. Other than that, we are day and night. They say it's healthy when you acknowledge you faults as well your strengths. Maybe he can do the same. Here is to hope, brother.

I say that because it's what people say when they run out of ideas of how to help someone. Really though, I have kind of given up of the idea of hope.

A friend recently asked me about my childhood and how I turned out the way I did. She asked why I decided to move away from Michigan. She asked how I ended up looking the way I do. Liking the art, music, food, books, etc that I do. All the things that are so different from everyone else in my family, especially Justin (that's my bro). Being out of step is something I have always been aware of, but never really dug into the origins of the how and the why. What was the catalyst that (mostly) kept me out of trouble. What was it that prevented me me from choosing the narrow paths that are the only options to many people living in small mid-western towns. Work your way up on the production floor, or work your way back down to the jail. Without even thinking, I answered her.

A skateboard. That's why. That's the difference.

It may seem stupid, but skateboarding saved my life. It really was that thing that opened me up to everything I hold dear to me now. The first time I got my hands on a Thrasher magazine I knew what I wanted. I wanted to listen to the music they listened to. I wanted to make art like they made. I wanted to go to the places where these people were. So I did. Then It snowballed. Skateboarding turned into Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll led me to the love of my life. The love of my life made 2 amazing boys. My life is pretty damn good.

Wondering why he didn't follow me keeps me up a lot. Maybe I should have let him tag along more. Maybe I should have spoken up when I knew he was making a bad decision. But we were kids, what the fuck did we know. He thought I was a jerk and I thought he was a brat, and that's how we did it.

And now we don't speak. And it sucks.

So, I have taken to casting words into thin air. Maybe, in the hope that somehow he catches wind of what it is that his big brother does with his time. Maybe, someone will tell him that they saw his name on the internet (somewhere other than a non government owned site). Maybe then I could tell him he is important and to stop fucking around and treating his life as though it's not worth anything. I could tell him that it is a privilege to be a father and to not take it for granted. At the very least, he could give me a good address so I can send my niece a skateboard. Because, unless he makes some serious changes, it's the only chance she's got.

Here's to maybe, brother.



Another Peek

 Here is another peek at stuff headed to the shop. We are both so excited to get it up!  Only a little over a week away!
*If you haven't already, you should enter the Pussycat Vintage Giveaway.  There are some pretty cute dresses that would be great for this heat wave...


Giveaway from Pussycat Vintage. Shop update// Closed!

 In a little less than two weeks we will finally open Bird and Cleaver on Etsy. April 1st marks our 9th anniversary together, and in that 9 years we have managed to combine all of our favorite things into a little space that really feels like home to us.  Our space is filled with pieces that represent us both, but with singular elements where there is no debating its owner. It is this idea that we hope to share with everyone in our shop. His and hers.

Along with the focus on distinct pieces, comes our love of old/vintage things. At the risk of sounding cheap, we won't call it our passion or our life calling. No, nothing ridiculous like that. It just so happens that we both really love it, always have. Searching through piles of junk for that one thing that catches your attention, that one piece that you know has a story. That's what we are after. Many of our first dates were spent road tripping to wander around antique shops with no intentions of buying anything. These same trips often ended with a car packed full of dusty old treasures that we couldn't live without. Back then, these things were bound for the cramped corners and walls of a tiny one bedroom apartment. We have since graduated to (slightly) larger accommodations. Unfortunately for us, we are running out of room. Again.

And since we can't stop ourselves from rescuing all those unloved treasures and trinkets out there, we need your help. We are asking you to step up to the plate and take on these misunderstood and discarded items. Polish them up. Give them a special place on your mantle. Impress your friends with your "really rare find". Get this stuff out of our garage, we want to put our car in there!

We are happy to have Nicole from Pussycat Vintage doing our first giveaway leading up to our shop's opening.  We go waaaaaay back and it only seemed natural to have her participate.  Nicole is generously offering a $30 gift certificate to Pussycat Vintage 

*The lucky winner will be determined via random number generator on Sunday March 25th, and announced Monday the 26th.

To win, leave a comment about you favorite treasure/s you have rescued.  For additional chances to win, follow Nicole's blog and tweet:
" @Pussycat Vintage giveaway @birdandcleaver. Win a $30 dollar store credit!"
Good, luck!

Best Days

 Seriously, 80° in March. This is nuts! While we are totally ecstatic to be barefoot and sporting tank-tops, there is definitely an element of genuine concern that comes along with this freakish weather. We live in Indiana because of the seasons. It would be a shame if we have to travel North to do things like use the brand new sleds that have been collecting dust since Christmas. However, to finally be out of the house and not in front of any kind of screen, or playing the same games for the millionth time. Doomsday or not, we will take it!

Bikes, Barbecue, playing at the park, party's on the patio, cutting down wayward shrubbery in all four corners of our sad looking landscape. This weekend was pretty fantastic!



Roasted Fingerlings and Cauliflower with Tahini dressing.

I often go to the store with the sole intention of purchasing dinner, only to find when I get there, I have absolutely no idea what I'm actually going to buy. And that, was the birth of this dish. I had that brief moment of panic when I realized L was at work and I could not call her for a quick consult. I decided I would surprise her with a special dish just for her (with no help or hints on what she wanted). I had a few guidelines to work with:

No meat - 90% of the time, this is her preference.
Cheap - Because........
Something different - Because it is still technically winter, and were all in a rut. Pick me ups are always welcome.

 Pretty simple.
 She loved it.
I win!
Here it is.

 Roasted Fingerlings and Cauliflower with Tahini dressing.

1 1/2# Fingerling potatoes // 1 Medium head cauliflower // 1/2 White onion, small dice // 3 Garlic cloves, minced // 1 Serrano chili, sliced thin // 2 Tb. Toasted sesame seeds.

 Heat oven to 425°. Chop cauliflower into pieces similarly sized to fingerlings. Toss potatoes and cauliflower with olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Roast in oven until potatoes are cooked through ad cauliflower begin to brown, about 30 min. Saute onion, garlic and chili in olive oil until soft. Toss all vegetables with 1/2 dressing and sesame seeds, add additional dressing to taste. Serve with brown rice (or whatever rice you want). Garnish with cilantro and hot chili sauce (if you roll like that).

Tahini Dressing

2 Tb. Tahini // Juice of 1/2 lemon // 1 Tb. soy sauce // 1Tb. olive oil // 1/2 tsp. cumin.

Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl, until combined.



orange + chocolate muffins

 Chocolate and orange.  I love this flavor combination!  Earlier last week I decided to bake something and my only requirement was that it had to include these two ingredients.  I had a million ideas, so I decided to enlist the help of my three favorite boys.  Bad idea.  John is open to anything, Gavin wanted muffins and Finn wanted cookies. It was less than entertaining to listen to the boys debate the subject from their bedrooms when they were supposed to be sleeping.  
"No, Gavin.  Cookies"
Adorable, right? Wrong!  By this point, I was ready to make a chocolate orange cocktail.  Ultimately, muffins won the battle.  And surprise, surprise, the only fighting was over who got to eat the last one.

Orange + Chocolate Muffins

1 cup sugar // 10 tablespoons butter, melted // 2 eggs, beaten // 16 oz plain greek yogurt // 4 tablespoons milk//  1/2 teaspoon vanilla // 1/2 teaspoon orange extract // zest from small orange // 3/ // 3 cup all purpose flour // teaspoon salt // 1/2 teaspoon baking soda // 1 tablespoon baking powder  // 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips //

                  *pre-heat oven to 400° // grease muffin pan

  In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,  salt, and zest until well mixed. Mix in chocolate chips.

 Combine melted butter, yogurt, milk, orange extract, vanilla extract and beaten eggs.  Mix until well combined. Fold in dry mixture until just combined. Spoon into muffin pan.

 Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly brown.  Remove from pan and cool on a rack.  Enjoy!



Best Days.

 This weekend was basically spent outside or making food.  The weather was beautiful which is good, because we are all finished with winter. FINISHED.   Being stuck indoors is no fun.  And while movie nights, fort building, legos, and playing games are fun, we are over them.  We are ready to ride bikes, go to the park and zoo, have cook-outs and just be outside.  This weekend was a good start.  We managed to hit the playground and have our first cook-out yesterday, but did not accomplish all of  the spring weather activities we had planned. 

    Really though, not getting to all of our plans was alright, because next on our agenda is yard work. If you're anything like us, once the snow melts (if you actually got any) and the ground stops squishing, looking out the window is a pretty sorry sight. We do however, have some big plans for some fun tutorials and DIY projects for the patio,stoop,deck,fire escape,alleyway,porch or veranda. So, stay tuned. Until then, go outside and play.



Day off. Antique shopping spree. (In our dreams)

 Pretty typical Friday. The likes of which you are probably pretty familiar with by now, so I won't bore you with the details. As with most of my Day Off posts I floundered until the last minute deciding what to write about. This drives Lindsay totally crazy, by the way. She is the ultimate idea person. Hands down, the best. She is also, very calculated in the execution. The problem is, I don't work like that. She gives me all these great things to work with and I kind of get overwhelmed. I mean, how do I choose? So I end up sitting at the kitchen table staring at a blank screen, wasting my days, indecisive.

 Or maybe......that's what she wanted all along.

Maybe, she was trying to tell me "Hey dummy, I know we don't work the same way. You don't need my help. Just write".

Nah. I need her, and she knows it.

We are so similar and so different at the same time. This has become really apparent recently when I look at the pictures of our home and the space we have created for ourselves. It is an exact representation of both of us, with a huge emphasis on Vintage/found objects. It has taken us a long time to get our house just how we want it (more or less).  Sometimes, it comes with great compromise. Others, we agree without speaking (Romantic/Creepy/Gross. read it how you will.)

Finn and I stopped in at one of our favorite spots while we were out today, and I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to capture, what I think it would be like if L and I both had a mini shopping spree and were only decorating a house for ourselves. I wish I could say that the results were astonishing, but they weren't.

Thank god we found each other.



 I guess a little of each of our styles goes a long way, and by our styles I mean:

Drunky Chic with elements of destitute Sailor and primitive tool Aficionado (read hoarder)
50's mod Foo Foo cat lady with a penchant for creepy shit and kitchen wares.
Over the top when separate, but together, you get Bird and Cleaver.

Have an awesome weekend!


snippets of our days




 Okay, so this recipe isn't earth shattering.  But it's good.  And fast. And easy. Which were all requirements for last night's dinner.   


6 eggs // 1/4 milk // 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas // 4 corn tortillas // 1 small onion, diced // 1 serrano pepper, minced // 3 tomatoes, finely chopped //  2 yellow peppers (optional) // 1 small garlic clove, minced // 1 cup shredded cheese (your choice) //  a big handful of cilantro, roughly chopped // 1 avocado, diced // salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add tortillas, fry two at a time, turning once.  Remove when nice and golden. Drain on paper towels.  When cool, cut into large pieces.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Remove all but 1-2 tablespoons of oil from your frying pan. Add onion, garlic and the serrano pepper, cook over medium heat for about two minutes.

Reduce heat, and add eggs and tortilla pieces.  Let sit until the eggs start to set on the bottom.  Gently stir.  Add cheese and cook until eggs have set completely.  Stir in tomatoes and pepper (if using).  Top with avocado, cilantro and hot sauce (optional)

Serve with refried beans and more tortillas (we ran out of corn and were forced to use flour).  Or if your husband is doing a post for another blog, feel free to eat it with a side of fried okra.  Either way, it's tasty.



The future of boys.

 There has been much talk in our house lately. Talk of the future, and  prospects. About the changes we have chosen and some that have chosen us. Others, are the kinds of things you don't really think about until they are happening. Sorry if this sounds kind of vague, unfortunately for you vague is what keeps us with content for another day, and keeps you (hopefully) coming back.

Many of Lindsay and I's discussions lately have centered around the boys and how much they are changing, and how much different their lives will be in the next year. Finn will be starting Kindergarten and Gavin will be headed off to *cough*  Middle School. As any parent will tell you, these events hardly seem possible. This is especially true for me.

Not thinking that these scenarios would ever actually happen to me (this was many years ago, mind you), doesn't mean I never mused about the "what ifs" of little Johns running around. It probably comes as no shock to you that miniature versions of me, are indeed, exactly what I thought having children would be like. Exact replicas running around terrorizing the neighborhood. Little Toehead gremlins on skateboards throwing rocks at your daughters window and eating everything in the cupboard. All after midnight, of course. It should also come as no shock if you have children, or if you have spent any time around them, that I was a complete moron! Kids are who they are! They have personalities straight out of the womb, and no amount of wishful thinking or good vibes is going to change these little creatures into anything other than what they are. Which, as you soon find out, is perfect.

 And really, who wants a spitting image of themselves running around anyway? Not to mention, that the more I analyze it, the worse it sounds. I was a pretty gnarly kid. I have no idea how my mother made it through the formative years of my life without having a nervous breakdown. I also have no idea how I survived those same years without any extensive hospital stays. Cat like reflexes, I'm sure. I wasn't a bad kid, just hard to wrangle. The kind that makes you cringe every time they ask to go outside, for fear of brush fires and rickety ramps built from cinder blocks and boards not meant to bear weight. As I write this,  I have the sudden urge to call my mom and both thank her for always letting me do my thing and just be a kid, and then scream at the top of my lungs "Why didn't you warn me that having kids is scary shit!"   

We have had the debate about "how much is too much" several times in the past few months. Be it T.V, video games, cell phones and just being exposed to the reality of life.  I am sure I sound like some sort of curmudgeonly old man (which Lindsay often tells me, is quickly approaching) when I say, "when did all this happen?". Why I remember when............
Whatever, we are living it and there is no going back. All we can do is nurture, guide and thank our lucky stars they aren't totally like us!

As with all things parenting related, it is always a matter of picking your battles.

Me: Hey Gavin, let's watch RAMBO while your no one else is home!
Gavin: How about we watch "My wife and Kids".

Me: Hey Finn, let's ride bikes and try to do wheelies.
Finn: O.k Dad, but how come we can't just ride slow and look at stuff. (This ride often ends with both of us walking and me pushing the bikes home whilst picking flowers and pointing at dogs)

Me: *Upon buying The Dangerous Book for Boys* Hey Gavin, did you see this tutorial about building a Bow and Arrow.
Gavin: Yes, did you see that rules of chess are in there too?

Me: Hey boys lets take our shirts off, listen to Sabbath, ride skateboards, give each other head-butts and dig a giant hole in the yard for no apparent reason!
Them: How about we just watch you do it while we run around the yard and sing Carole King songs.


I suppose in their case, nurture was on the winning end, and that's o.k. All I want is for them to know who they are and be happy. That's really all any of us could hope for, isn't it. Well that, and despite all my talk of raising the daredevils of tomorrow, I kind of went soft(ish) somewhere along the way. I always pictured myself as the "shake it off, and try it again" kind of father. Try until something breaks, or you succeed. I guess since I am now on the opposite end of the coin, I realize that Dads like that are Huge Assholes, and their kids totally resent them for it! As you may have gathered from previous posts, I have a big issue with being an asshole. So I changed my tune, and I grabbed a helmet and ran out into the yard to look for flowers for the tea party.

Which, much to my delight ended with a Nerf axe straight to my face!

They do love me! *sniff*

Have a great weekend, be safe!


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