Flamingo Day 2023…Move Over, Groundhog!

While the flamingos were enjoying their coffee the other morning, they happened to be watching TV, and once again saw all the commotion about Punxsutawney Phil most likely seeing his shadow again, and how it meant six more weeks of winter. Which did not make them happy. For a number of reasons.

“Why should a groundhog get to predict the weather?” asked one of the flamingos. “What does he know about warm weather and sunshine? He lives in the ground and sleeps all winter. How can he have any idea what the weather is?”

“That’s right,” another Flamingo said. “Everyone knows groundhogs are notoriously unreliable. They say they’re going to do something, but they’re always forgetting because they’re too busy hibernating! They don’t even look at their calendar to see what appointments they have!”

“And did you see those groundhog shaped cookies someone was passing around? All brown….no color…not even a touch of pink! How boring!” (Naturally the main flamingo chef made that comment!)

“That groundhog couldn’t even carry on a good conversation ,” added Freddy Flamingo. “All those clicks and squeals…if he didn’t have an interpreter we’d have no idea what he was trying to say!”

“We went through this several years ago, and I thought we’d gotten it all settled!” said Frankie Flamingo. “What the heck??”

flockYes, the flamingos were quite upset. And if you’ve ever seen a bunch of upset flamingos, you know it isn’t a pretty sight! When I left for work that morning, they were once again still squawking about Groundhog Day!

When I came back home that evening, they had all calmed down. Or so I thought. Little did I know….

You see, unbeknownst to me, they’d once again planned their own version of Groundhog Day, and were calling it, what else…Flamingo Day?!!

And since they didn’t want to share their day with any other animal, they once again chose February 6 for their big event! Why they didn’t make it an annual event that first time, I’ll never know…but I guess they will from now on. They still didn’t have a lot of time to plan, or send out press releases and invite the media, but I’m going to make sure next year they’ll make all their plans well in advance, and have just as much of a celebration as Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, probably more. After all, how often do flamingos get to be weather birds?

You may not have seen the event for yourself the first year they did it. But it was actually quite spectacular.

Since flamingos are quite flamboyant, as opposed to groundhogs, they wanted to create a splash on their day. There was no emerging from a hole in the ground, being half asleep, and certainly not looking your best. On the contrary, on Flamingo Day the chosen flamingo had to look her best when she emerged onto the stage, her pink feathers immaculately groomed, her makeup perfectly done, and her jewelry especially designed for the occasion. With the appropriate cocktail in hand, of course. After all, it’s always 5:00 somewhere, and no self respecting flamingo ever has an important event such as this without the appropriate cocktail!

As the flamingos explained to me, it doesn’t really matter where the sun is in relation to the star of the show, because on Flamingo Day the sun will find her, and she will definitely be able to make the determination whether or not she sees her shadow. And if we will be having an early spring or not.

keleas-comSo the time arrived. For some reason they picked 3:00 in the afternoon for the event to take place. By the pool, of course, even though it was definitely too cold to go swimming! And at exactly 3:00 Vincent von Flamingo, the host of the event, strutted out, appropriately dressed in top hat and tuxedo jacket, and proclaimed that Dazzling Dorothy, Flamingo Prognosticator Extraordinaire, and Weatherperson of Wonder, would in just a few minutes be presenting herself on stage to make her first major prediction about spring.

The crowd went wild! Actually it was a huge crowd of flamingos who had flown in for the event, some from as far away as Puerto Rico and Aruba. Dressed in an array of colorful hats, sparkling jewelry, and of course sipping from an array of pink cocktails garnished with hibiscus flowers and pineapple, they were more than ready to witness the inaugural event of Flamingo Day!

And Dazzling Dorothy did not let anyone down, as she strutted to her place on the makeshift stage to stand under a floral canopy designed to shield her from the elements until it was time to see if she saw her shadow. What a sight! She was perfectly attired in her very own floppy hat, adorned with jeweled pink feathers and tropical flowers. Her jewelry, sparkling with colorful gems, pearls, and beautifully crafted silk flowers, wrapped gracefully around her neck. Perfectly completing her outfit was a stylish pair of sparkling shoes, with 4 inch heels, making her appear even more impressive!

alice-tams-birdsinhatsThe crowd went wild, taking pictures, videos, and squawking in delight! They knew this was going to be a day to remember!

Dorothy looked around, smiled at the crowd, and said, “Are you ready for spring? Me, too!” She raised her glass, downed the rest of her drink in one gulp, tossed the empty glass to Vincent, and stepped out from under her floral canopy. Taking a quick look around, she took off her hat, looked up at the sky and then back down, and happily announced, “The Groundhog was wrong! There’s no shadow! I proclaim an early spring! Now let the party begin!”

Cheers erupted throughout the crowd. Glasses clinked together in celebration. Pink feathers flew, and from the stage, Vincent announced, “The party’s inside! It’s time to celebrate!”

And the flamingos certainly celebrated! Shrimp of all kinds. Special Flamingo Day cocktails! And of course, instead of those unexciting groundhog cookies, bright pink flamingo cookies, all beautifully decorated for the occasion!

It was an awesome day to remember. And trust me, this year’s Flamingo Day celebration, will most definitely top that one! They’re even inviting Punxsutawney Phil himself to join in the fun and see how NOT seeing your shadow is done!

And you know what? I think this time he’s going to join them! I wonder if he’ll be wearing any flamingo attire? Wouldn’t he look good in a pink top hat? And maybe he’ll even bring some of those groundhog cookies decorated with pink icing and sparkly sprinkles!

Happy Spring! It’s definitely coming soon!

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The Flamingo Cafe

A few months after the flamingos tried their wings (unsuccessfully) at baking, they had another brainstorm. 

When they walked into the kitchen with magazines and pictures of restaurants in their wings, I knew we were in for another adventure. One that most likely called for advice from my husband. 

And I wasn’t wrong. 

The flamingos gathered around our breakfast table and spread out a bunch of pictures of tropical restaurants, menus, and flamingo- friendly foods and drinks. Then they started chattering all at the same time, flapping their wings in their excitement!

“Ok, guys, calm down,” we said. “One at a time. What’s going on here?” Ben asked. 

Frankie had obviously been designated to be the spokesbird for the group. So he proudly explained what they’d been secretly investigating for the last several months, which actually explained their unfortunately unsuccessful interest in baking.

They’d come across a beachside cafe location for rent at a good price, and had been putting plans together to open their own cafe featuring flamingo friendly food as well as items we’d enjoy as well.

And they really seemed to have their plans in order. We were both impressed.

They’d found several locations, but the place they really liked was right off the boardwalk with an ocean view. They’d planned some remodeling to include lots of palm trees, tropical flowers, and a sandy floor to go along with the beach just outside. With a colorful salt water fish tank at the entrance.

The bar would have tiny colored lights all around, with, of course, a tiki bar theme. And they knew it would be quite popular with their clientele.

They’d also planned a little gift shop for t-shirts and other flamingo gift items. “And eventually we’ll even have our own cookbook to sell,” added Frankie.

Their own cookbook? Now that was certainly something that would take time to put together! And it certainly wouldn’t include any cakes and cookies after their last kitchen experience!

“Plans look great,” Ben told them. “Reminds me of one of our favorite places in Ocean City, Maryland. Only smaller and easier to manage.”

Frankie continued his presentation, showing us their carefully planned table decor of casual mismatched dishes in flamingo designs and coordinating plain colors. And of course, a huge selection of acrylic as well as hand painted flamingo glassware. With tropical flowers and tea light candles as centerpieces. 

Flamingos obviously have a good sense for decorating. We approved their designs fortunately, since they’d already started buying pieces online and at discount stores. They were obviously very serious!

They did ask our opinion on the menu, since they wanted people like us dining there as well as other flamingos. They’d selected shrimp and other seafood dishes (oysters Rockefeller, calamari, escargot)…appetizers as well as salads, sandwiches and wraps. Charcuterie boards. Dinner selections with seafood and pasta. It all sounded quite good.

Then there would be tropical desserts starting with key lime pie and lemon meringue. Citrus soufflés. Fruit and sherbet. And chilled crème brûlée.

Of course they were going to offer a variety of tropical signature drinks, the “Pink Flamingo”, “Hibiscus Margarita”, and “Twisted Pink Lemonade”, to name a few, along with wine and champagne, of course.

What they hadn’t thought about were employees. Of course they wanted to hire mostly flamingos, but we suggested they needed to have a combination of both people as well as flamingos. After all, we reminded them, not all flamingos are that great at cooking. (Remember their baking experience?)

Plus they had to remember to train the flamingo servers not to grab any shrimp off the plates they were serving! And to not sample the drinks they were bringing out. Their customers would most likely not appreciate sharing!

But our biggest question…could they afford it? “After all,” Ben explained, “there aren’t a lot of banks out there who’ll loan money to flamingos!” He was just waiting for them to ask us for a loan!

“That’s not a problem,” Frankie replied. “We already have an investor. And he loves flamingos as much as you two do! In fact, we have to go meet with him next.” And they packed up their papers and headed out, still chattering among themselves about their plans.

Well…this should be interesting.

What they’ll end up doing, who knows!? It all sounds great, but actually running a restaurant? It’s a lot of work, and flamingos do like to party, as well as to be flexible and take off whenever they feel like it. I guess they could always find an experienced manager to run it for them. And since it’s going to be at the beach, they’ll have several months to work on the renovations and get everything in order before it’s time to open for the spring season.

Will they go through with it or not?

They’re flamingos; so who knows? It’s a great idea, and one that could certainly work with the right location, menu, and staffing. Time will tell.

Wine and Paint – Flamingo Style

By now I’m sort of used to the flamingos just wandering into the house at any time. It’s what they do. They get an idea in their pink heads, talk and squawk about it among themselves til they get their ideas planned out, and then come and tell us about it, knowing that (usually) we’ll support them in their ideas.

I had no idea what they were planning this time, since they walked in carrying blank paint canvases, an easel or two, and boxes of watercolor and acrylic paints, as well as a selection of colored pencils. With a lot of various shades of pink, I might add.

“So what are you all up to this time?” I asked, looking at all the supplies they were carrying. I wondered what room in the house they were planning to disrupt with their latest project.

“Don’t worry,” they said. “We’re not leaving all of this here. At least not this time. We’re going to a party.”

“With paint supplies? What kind of party?”

Have you ever seen flamingos roll their eyes? Sort of like they’re saying, do you not get it? 

So they explained their plans. And actually it sort of made sense. In a flamingo kind of way, of course.

It started with their wine tasting trip a few months ago. They’d had so much fun (and drank so much wine), they’d decided to find more activities to do which involved wine. Why not? They’re flamingos, and they like to party.

So they looked around and found several places that offered wine and paint nights. They called around and found one that could accommodate a group of flamingos 

“They told us if we wanted to, we could bring our own supplies and brushes that would fit our wings easier, so we have everything together. We’re going tonight, and our limo is on its way. Hey, would you like to join us?”

I was sort of tempted, but I explained I’d let them have all their fun this time. “Maybe next time,” I added.

They agreed, and headed out to the limo, ready to have an evening of fun.

The next morning we found several paintings in the foyer, as well as a few wing-painted wine glasses. They’d actually done a really good job!

A few hours later they came in and told us all about the night. They’d obviously had a great time! You could tell from all the paint all over their feathers! Obviously when they’d gotten home they sort of just fell into bed! 

They’d been given a private party room, which is not unusual for such an event. The restaurant set them up with three or four selections of wine and champagne, along with charcuterie boards with cheese, fruit, and shrimp (of course).

They had their choice of painting on canvas or watercolor paper, or selecting a plain wine glass and painting that with their own design. And since the flock couldn’t agree on the same project, the restaurant let them do whatever project they each selected.

Fortunately there were two art instructors there to help them, and the flamingos said the instructors were quite impressed about how well they did, and said they’d love to have them come back and do it again.

“They even asked to keep a few of our paintings for display pieces to show how anyone can do art, even if they aren’t experienced, and even if they’re flamingos!” said one of the birds quite proudly.

“And the next time we go you’re going with us!“ they added. “You and Ben haven’t partied with us for awhile, and it’s time!”

“We shall see,” I answered. “Now go wash the paint off your feathers from last night. You must’ve been really tired when you got home.” They started grumbling a little, and I had to remind them there’d be no going in the pool until they did.!

That was one way to handle those cute but pesky and somewhat hung-over flamingos!

So stay tuned for the next flamingo adventure which certainly sounds like we may get to experience first hand. You just never know what they’re going to do next.

The Flamingos Try Baking

In our household, fall usually means along with football, the baking season is about ready to begin. I’ll start with blueberry muffins and definitely cornbread to go with chili on a fall Sunday afternoon. But then pie and cookie baking season starts.

The flamingos never really showed a lot of interest in baking, except to eat as many cookies as they could, sometimes taking entire batches away as fast as I’d make them. Which didn’t make me happy, but how can you stay mad at a flamingo?

However, one day recently they strolled in the kitchen and announced they wanted to learn how to bake and decorate cakes and cookies! Their reasoning…they enjoyed the beautiful and tasty desserts at their recent bridal and baby showers so much, they decided it was time to learn how to make their own! “Think of the money we can save for our parties,” they said! And it’ll be so much fun!

Fun for who? I wondered, knowing they’d use my kitchen as usual, turning it pink while they were in there, and making a mess. But they always cleaned up afterwards, so how could I really refuse? So I told them they could, as long as they shared some of their creations with us!

They readily agreed, and told me they’d already picked out several cookbooks from Amazon that they were planning to buy…with my credit card! Uh, that was a no! They looked at me with their big flamingo eyes and blinked their huge flamingo eyelashes, and I agreed to buy one, with them getting the rest. What’s a flamingo mom to do?

When the cookbooks arrived, the flamingos spent hours going through them, picking out favorite cake and cookie recipes to try. I suggested they try just one of each at first, but each bird wanted to try their wings on their own creation. I knew we were in trouble.

The following Saturday they strolled into the kitchen, wings full of shopping bags filled with baking ingredients, cookbooks, baking pans and cookie sheets, and of course a supply of wine and champagne. (Remember, they ARE flamingos!

Of course I left them to their fun as they started setting everything out, turning my kitchen pink, putting on their flamingo aprons, and spreading out their cookbooks! I must admit, I was a bit worried about what the house would look like when they were done!

When I came back I did find a bit of a mess, which I expected. The flamingos’ feathers were full of flour and cake frosting, not to mention my kitchen floor and countertops. And they were all a little tipsy. But surprisingly, there were a number of flamingo cakes and cookies set out on the counters. 

“So explain what happened here,” I asked. The flamingos looked at me, obviously a bit embarrassed that I’d caught them in that shape. They looked around to see who was going to speak up, and Flossie, who looked the least inebriated, put down her wine glass and tried to explain.

“Actually,” she began, “mixing the dough and baking everything wasn’t hard. But then we had to decorate them, and well, it was a lot harder than we thought. So we decided we’d just have a bit more wine to see if it helped…and it sort of did. I mean, look at these creations!”

They were quite good. I was impressed. But I still had to wonder…then the doorbell rang. With a delivery of another beautifully decorated flamingo cake and 2-3 boxes of decorated flamingo cookies!

I looked at the flamingos, and they looked incredibly embarrassed. “Well,” Flossie began, taking a big sip of wine,“  we’d promised the rest of the flock to bring home our goodies got a party, and none of them really turned out that well, so we had to order some from that bake shop you told us about, so the rest of the group wouldn’t know how bad we did! Please don’t tell on us.”

I promised them their secret was safe with me. They looked so relieved. 

So they cleaned up their mess, turned my kitchen back to normal, and promised from now on they wouldn’t try their wings at baking. And they’d be sure to continue to buy their cakes and cookies, rather than try to make them. 

“Good idea,” I replied. And before they left I even had a glass of wine with them along with a couple of cookies! 

And I got to keep one of the cakes and all of the cookbooks!

Now, I wonder, what are they going to think of next?

The Flamingos Tour a Winery?

You’re probably finding that idea to be a bit unusual just like we did, but after all, they’re flamingos. They love to party and enjoy good food and drinks. 

And as much as they like their champagne and fruited margaritas, they also like good wine! Just like us.

So one early fall morning they strolled in the house and informed us their limo would be there shortly to pick them up. I should be used to these excursions by now, but when they said they were going to visit a winery, I was a bit surprised.

They explained how they found this place a few hours away in the Virginia mountains that specialized in some of their favorite wines, and when the owners discovered they were flamingos, well, they were only too happy to arrange a special day for them there. 

“Don’t worry,” they said as they were leaving, “we’re not driving! Our limo service knows us by now and we’ll be fine. We’ll even bring back a bottle or two for you guys! And don’t wait up for us, because we’ll be late getting back!”

What more could we ask, I guess. However, they at least could’ve asked us if we wanted to go! 

Guess there wasn’t enough room for any more in the limo….

The next morning we found three cases of wine in our foyer, so we guessed they had a good time. However, we weren’t sure whether the wine was ours or the flamingos’!

We found out later when they told us all about their day, and what a fun time they’d had, and of course showed us all their pictures.

The winery looked more like a mansion, a huge estate in the mountains surrounded by acres of vineyards. Being a part time event planner, I immediately imagined planning beautiful weddings and parties there!

They had a private tour of the winery itself and got to see the inner working of a winery. They’d asked about stomping the grapes with their feet, and were quite disappointed to hear that it was no longer done that way.  Evidently they’d been looking forward to that.

After the tour they were treated to a picnic on the grounds of the winery. Complete with wine, of course! The views were amazing! And the food was delicious!

After the picnic it was time for wine tastings. 

Of course they took the time to look through the gift and gourmet shop first. And they had a great time shopping!

But the most fun was the actual tastings!! Of course. Complete with tasty crackers and bites of cheese to help cleanse the palate after tasting each wine.

It’s a good thing they had the limo waiting to take them home! I have no idea how much wine they consumed!

And neither do they! But they did say the limo ride back home didn’t seem to take very long. Most likely they fell asleep or passed out as soon as they crawled in the back!

Gotta love flamingos that like wine! Hopefully they’ll take us the next time!

Flamingos Need Pampering, Too

Flamingos at a spa? Impossible, I thought. What in the world would they do at a spa?

When they told me they’d booked a weekend retreat at a very exclusive and probably expensive spa a few hours away, I thought they were crazy.  And I told them so.

“Did you tell them you were a flock of flamingos?” I asked. “What kind of spa treatments can they possibly plan that you all could use?”

They just looked at me and smiled the way flamingos do when they’re up to something. Or when they have a plan they don’t want anyone to know about. 

We don’t call them feisty flamingos without good reason.

And with that, they hurried out to their waiting limo, and said, “Don’t worry about us. We have it all under control. We’ll tell you all about it when we get back!”

Well, at least my husband and I had the house and backyard to ourselves this weekend, I realized, hoping they wouldn’t get into too much trouble at the spa! But I kept my phone nearby, just in case we had to go there and bring them home.

But obviously I was concerned for no good reason, because the flamingos walked into the house Sunday night, looking relaxed, refreshed, and happy, their bright pink feathers looking softer and even seemed to be glowing a bit.

“Let us tell you all about our weekend!” they said. “It was fabulous!” And they had pictures, of course.

The limo had dropped them off at this luxurious pink (of course) spa which was nestled a few hours away in the mountains near a lake. They were shown to their suite of rooms decorated, of course, in perfect flamingo style. There were even pink fluffy bathrobes and slippers for each of them, along with welcoming gifts and baskets of herbal treatments they’d be using.

The next morning the pampering started with a special cucumber treatment for their eyes. And being flamingos, after the treatment was over, they ate the cucumbers! 

Their beaks were soothed and polished with a coconut milk treatment which they thoroughly enjoyed. 

Then it was on to the sauna. Which wasn’t their favorite thing, but they had to try it out.

After a relaxing lunch on the patio by the pool, it was time for more pampering.

This time it was a massage. They’d never had one, so they weren’t sure what to expect, and they were concerned that no one at the spa had experience in massaging flamingos. 

They were assured there were masseuses who had that experience, and actually they did, and the birds received excellent massages with lotions and potions they didn’t know existed!

After all this excitement they were relaxed but exhausted, and looking forward to relaxing on the patio with some refreshing cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Spas don’t usually provide alcohol to their guests, but they ARE flamingos, and you just can’t deprive those pink birds of their favorite refreshments. And they were certainly treated to an array of choices, even including raspberry popsicles (most likely with a touch of framboise!).

After a refreshing swim in one of the saltwater pools, they went to bed to prepare for the next day, which started with a yoga class. If you’ve never seen a flamingo doing yoga, well, here are a few pictures!

Then it was time for pedicures! The flamingos enjoyed a luxurious foot soak in a floral and citrus foot bath. And they really needed it, since they’re on their feet all the time in mud and sand as well as ocean water. In fact, the spa had prepared an extra special and extra long session, since their feet needed it so much.

They even selected special nail polish designed to last longer than regular polish. They proudly showed us their toes, and they really did look good! And of course they had designs put on each nail. They ARE flamingos, you know!

The last part of the day was having their feathers washed, conditioned, and fluffed. And I must say the spa did a great job! They even got eyelash extensions!

And they must specialize in pampering animals at this particular spa, because they took a picture of this cute little dog getting her hair done as well!

So did they have a good time? Absolutely! I think these pictures are proof!

And now they want me to go with them next time! That’s something we’ll have to discuss a bit later.

A Flamingo Baby Shower

Did you know that flamingos lay one egg at a time? But before the egg is laid, both parents help to make the nest, carefully mounding it just right with mud and twigs and feathers. Then after the mother bird lays the egg it incubates 27-31 days, and both parents take turns sitting on the nest.

We didn’t know it either, until some of the flamingos came to us ask us to do a baby shower for one of the flock. And they wanted it in two weeks, because they had to be sure to have it before the baby was hatched. And since Felicia had just laid the egg in the nest she and Frankie had built, the flock only had two weeks to plan and have the event. 

And Karen and I were already in the middle of planning baby showers for our own daughters! “Please, PLEASE help us,” they said. “It’s important!”

So what were we to do? It’s not pretty when flamingos start crying, so we had no choice but to squeeze another baby shower into Karen’s company’s schedule. Fortunately she didn’t have anything on the books for that day so we were good! 

How to do this quick? Well, first of all there wasn’t time to print and mail invitations, and since all of the invitees  had email and Facebook accounts, digital invitations were perfect! We’d suggested the flamingos could fly to each home and deliver them, but they said they had too much to do and that would simply take too long, plus flamingos don’t really like to fly a lot!

And all of the flamingo ladies invited accepted immediately! This was going to be loads of fun! Decorating was easy, because we already had decor stored from other parties.

What to serve? Not too tough, since by now we were used to planning parties for our flamingos, and we knew what they liked, but we still had to make it a bit unique, with more appetizer items and fruit. You know, nothing heavy, because the mom-to-be had to get back to the nest for her turn incubating the egg. 

And course there had to be cakes, cupcakes, and cookies! And the cuter the better!

Only at this event, since it was a baby shower, we elected to serve an assortment of non-alcoholic punches and drinks, along with limited cocktails. Momma had to get back to her nest, you know, and she couldn’t be tipsy!