We got back from California this morning after a red-eye flight from San Francisco. It was a direct flight, so not as bad as previous trips. I think I actually managed to sleep on this flight and I’m grateful for that.
There are a number of things I’m grateful for as this year winds down. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal; trying to make sure each day I write down 10 things I’m grateful for. There are a couple things that appear every day. I’m always and forever grateful for my husband. I totally won the lottery in that category. I’m always grateful for the purrs and snuggles of our cats. I’m grateful for my health (cliched I know, but I am). My point here is that I did not keep the journal while we were traveling. So, this post is a sort of catch up on gratitude for the last 10 days.
that we got to visit our families
that we got to peek behind the metaphorical curtain that is covering some of the family tension (it was enlightening and for that I’m grateful).
we got to walk on the beach on Saturday
we had easy travel days
we got to eat a lot of good food.
that we spent quality time with my cousin and his wife
that I got to spend time with my favorite cousin who is a sister and best friend to me.
I got to have lunch with my best friend from college.
And, maybe most of all, I’m grateful that I get to sit here on my own couch, surrounded by snoozing cats, while I write this.
So, a very happy, healthy, and enlightening new year to everybody. May 2019 bring you much joy and fun living.
To paraphrase the opening line of Anna Karenina, happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are unique in their unhappiness; or as is sometimes the case, in their weirdness. Here we sit at the end of 2018. I’m currently sitting in my father-in-law’s house while his wife cooks breakfast. So far for the last four days we’ve done a lot of eating and a lot of driving between father-in-law and mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Always an interesting balance.
This year, FiL’s wife had several different families over (she has four children); daughter and family live in the house behind this one, and one son and his family were up from LA until the day after Christmas. Another son and his kids came down from Sonoma for a visit yesterday. Mike and I have only met most of these people once, maybe twice. We ended up going for a walk for an hour or so to get away from the chaos and our feeling awkward and out of place. Somehow, that never happens with my family. Or at least I don’t feel like it does. Even Mike says it feels different. Maybe it’s because we are now the elders of the family and therefore we are keeping things together. But, I don’t see the significant others/partners sitting apart from the rest and it seems that Mike and I do at some of his side of the family gathering.
That feeling got me thinking. How out of place do people feel in blended families? In this case, my FiL has been with his wife for 25 years; he’s seen these grandkids, and now great-grandkids grow up. They call him Grampa Jim. Mike & I are not really a part of this family as much as my FiL would like it. Sometimes it’s almost as if people want my MiL to just disappear. Which, of course, is not going to happen, especially not for my husband, her eldest child. I don’t know. I’m rambling, but it’s been a weird week.
Today will be a day of hanging out. I will try to get some writing done and maybe we will go for a walk. Tomorrow, we head down to Santa Cruz to visit with Mike’s other sister and her family. And, meet up with mother-in-law and first sister-in-law (are you confused yet? I know I am). As usual, I’m just along for the ride. We head home this weekend and back to our comfortable routine. We’ll shake that up soon enough.
It’s the Friday before Christmas, which this year falls on a Tuesday. We are in California visiting family. Between the two of us we have several visits to make. In my case, my family does a big pre-Christmas Christmas the weekend before the actual day. This means that everybody gets together at one house and we eat, hang out, and exchange gifts and generally raise a ruckus. In other words, a lot of fun.
My husband’s family is our other crew. This is a bit more complex and jigsaw puzzle-like. We have to juggle my father-in-law, his wife, my mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and brother-in-law and wife. This usually entails Christmas Eve in one place, Christmas breakfast in another, and Christmas dinner in yet another. We drive around the Sacramento area A LOT.
It’s always nice to be back in California for the holidays. I have to admit, I don’t require a white Christmas in order to get into the spirit. A warm Christmas works just fine. What makes Christmas a bit more challenging out here is the amount of planning and re-planning that goes into each visit. I know that we’re not alone in dealing with this; plenty of other people travel back and forth between parents. Hell, there was even a movie, Four Christmases, that took on that challenge. We only have three and one of those is not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so I feel lucky. We get to spend time with family, eat good food, and be back in California.
We even braved a mall today. And, made it out alive! At least we’re not flying to Portland on Tuesday.
Lately, it seems as if everybody is looking for reasons to be offended. The latest petty reason that’s come to my attention is the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Bored Panda had a short piece that highlighted an English teacher’s discussion (maybe it could be called a reverse fisking) of the lyrics of that song. In that discussion the teacher explains that given the social mores of the day (1940s) the woman in the song is trying to figure out a socially plausible reason for spending the night with the man. He’s also working on persuading her to stay. In the end, as the teacher notes, yes, it could be seen as “rapey” (the guy is working hard to get her to stay), but it’s also a level of empowerment for the woman as she wants to stay, but has to figure out a way to do so without harming her reputation.
I posted this link on Facebook with the simple comment that this provided an interesting take on the song. The reaction was mixed, but what stood out to me the most was the response of a college friend (really not a good friend, just one of those you happen to reconnect with on FB, but who was not a close friend during college). This woman is far to the left and swallows anything coming out from the opinion arbiters on that side of the political spectrum almost without thought. And, her reaction to my post was no exception to that. Full bore “how dense can you people be?!” response. I initially responded with asking if she’d read the entire post, and copying the images of the teacher’s tweet/instagram response. A few minutes later I reconsidered and deleted my comments hoping she hadn’t seen them yet and wanting simply to ignore her comments. No such luck. Another comment along the lines of “I can’t believe you’re such an apologist for this crap!”. This one I’m ignoring.
This friend is typical of many on the left, or those who wish to be seen as on the left, who simply do not want to engage in any kind of discourse (while loudly proclaiming that they do). I know this is not a shock to many people, but when I run across it proclaimed so blatantly, it just sticks out; and most especially sticks out when it’s an otherwise competent and intelligent person. I am getting stronger about speaking out and holding my own ground as opposed to employing a go-along/get-along strategy. Mostly I’ve grown tired of getting yelled at for holding views that differ from what is considered by the woke crowd to be wrongthink. I’m just done. You want to be offended? Fine. Be offended. Spend your energy in a useless fashion. Me? I’m gonna be over here enjoying life.
Now, I’m off to ignore Facebook.
*I first saw the word “offensensitivity” in a Bloom County cartoon. All credit to Burke Breathed and Opus.