Sunday, February 27, 2011

The House of Hilbert

Another birthday post?  Oh, yes.
Apparently, Didi's birthday post was a hit and I couldn't think of a single thing to send my dad... so...
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Bill Hilbert - 1966

In all seriousness, I'm going to see him in a few weeks...So, this post will have to cover me until then...

Oh, the things I know about my dad.
For those of you who know me, these things should be another piece of the puzzle:

Things I know about Bill:
  • He doesn't call me by name, usually.  To Dad, I'm either Grace, Gracie or Duckie.
  • My father's isn't a tall man... he is rather short, but his voice and presence make him seem like a giant.
  • Dad looks like a cross between Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood.
Mom and Dad... not Clint/Sean-like here

  • He taught me how to pour drinks at a young age (Hey - we're Irish, gimme a break).  He was perplexed that his request for 2 fingers of scotch was pathetic, until he remembered that my fingers were so small.  He later would request 3 fingers of scotch by holding up 3 fingers sideways.  No other words were necessary.
  • My dad made all of the kids work in the house.  Really work.  We replaced the roof, added rooms, refinished cabinets and every winter we would carry 3 cords of wood behind the garage.  It was a real pisser when I was the last kid left in the house.  3 cords of wood is a lot for a 14 year old girl.
Dad starting child labor with Stacia, age 2

  • My father had an antique wheel barrel that dates back 125 years.  It has a metal wheel.  It is really awesome.  It is not so awesome when you're transferring 3 cords of wood.
  • Pneumatic tires were brought to America in 1892. (*Dad... really?  You couldn't BUY A NEW WHEELBARROW?)
  • My Dad knows everyone in every store he has ever shopped in.  In Ireland, it is called the craic.  He has the ability to have a conversation with anyone.  I think I inherited this.  I can't help myself.
Dad - Probably telling a story

  • My dad was once so bored in the military that he had a mustache growing competition with his friends.
Dad is on left... Yes, that is a real mustache.  We're so proud.

  • Dad once chased me around a Christian bookstore with a cross and made it sizzle on my forehead.
  • During a different shopping trip, my dad once walked around the Christian bookstore muttering Jewish phrases.
  • I no longer go to Christian bookstores.
  • When I was 13, my Dad woke me up at 3 am to take me to breakfast and to watch the sun rise on Galveston Island.  We later rode horses on the beach.  
  • My dad likes to do things like make shark meat sandwiches and watch a Jaws marathon.
  • My father forced us to watch "This Old House" and eat tuna sandwiches every Sunday.  I can do great impersonations of Bob Villa and... Steve.  No one likes Steve.  No, Steve... you can't try it.
  • We have Bob Villa's autograph.
  • I inherited my Dad's love of reading.
Dad holding Ana and Keira

  • Dad woke me up every Saturday by playing the 1812 overture as loud as our stereo would allow.  
  • I played a practical joke on my Dad by having my college graduation ring sent COD to his house and didn't tell him about it.  He thought it was funny enough and paid the remaining $479 dollar balance.  I think he was proud of me for playing the joke.
  • My Dad played a CD of rain and thunderstorms during a rain shower.
  • My Dad's favorite speech to all of his children starts with "This is the house of Hilbert..."  It was a speech all of us heard a thousand times.  He reminded us that family is the most important thing and that we would always have each other.
Dad and Mom with the grandchildren.  The House of Hilbert lives on.

  • We do.

I love you, Daddy.
I have your present on it's way to your house.
You'll love it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Didi!

Diane, Stacia, Billy.  Diane looks... concerned.

This is what I know about my sister Diane:

  • It is her birthday today.  This is her present.  Yeah, not so good to be my sister this year, huh?  Don't worry...Christmas is going to rock.  I bust arse on that.  Usually.  Sometimes.
  • She bugs me a lot about updating my blog.  (Your birthday wish has come true, Didi.)
  • I call her Didi.
  • She was not impressed when I came into this world when she was 5 1/2 years old.  In fact, even when I was older I would bug my mom into FORCING HER to take me to the mall.  She hated it.
Diane, Stacia and wee little me

  • She talked me into keeping her smelly guinea-pig in my room when I was 6.
  • Didi and I started spending most of our time together when she hit college, where she: tried to get me electrocuted and mauled by giant rabbits in one go; introduced me to crappy college beer; taught me how to drive a standard; brought me to bars; let me march in her place with the Rice Mob.  Good times.

  • She has an infectious laugh.  If she really gets going, she stops breathing all together and turns bright red.
  • She also turns red if you poke at her or pretend to poke at her.  She hates this.  I would not recommend it.
  • Didi can beat teen-age boys (and anyone else) in Wii boxing.  While intoxicated.  

  • She once brewed her own beer.  It is still the only beer I truly enjoyed in my life.
  • She makes magnificent braided bread and can cook the pants off of anyone I know.
  • Left to her own devices, she will eat only carbs to sustain herself.  And mustard.  
  • Didi always seems to own crazy, tiny dogs that obsess over her. 

  • Her house is impeccably decorated.  She inherited this from my mom.  I did not.
  • She is Auntie to 2 sets of twins and one very crafty, funny college boy.
  • She has embraced being the "funny" Auntie that fills them with sugar and makes "snowman poopy" jokes.  It's a hit.
  • Her favorite joke starts, "Why don't sharks walk on land?..."
  • Her most annoying habit is eating popcorn... each piece of popcorn... in multiple, open mouthed, teethy, crunchy, annoying effing bites.  She loves popcorn.  She'll eat a bucket in a theater... just to bug me.
  • She likes to bug me.
  • She has more degrees than I can count... even from ivy-league universities. It's impressive.
  • I never tell her I love her enough.
  • I love her.

(Both of my sisters - Diane and Stacia)

Happy Birthday, Didi!