Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh the joys of Christmas

Christmas was pretty interesting and weird this year to say the least. There is ALWAYS some sort of drama that goes on whenever my family gets together, it is inevitable. We are all so different. My mom has two siblings, my uncle John B. and my aunt Connie. John's family is all scattered around, so there's one excuse to not come to Spearfish, G & G's (Gramma & Grampa) house. The other excuse is my Gramma is very hard to take, I'll get into that one soon. It's really too bad, because they are all pretty fun to be around. John's family likes to have fun and do things, they are low key and low drama. Connie's family, I fondly call them the rednecks of the family, are the ones that live in town. Her oldest son, Troy is different from his siblings though, he has a good head on his shoulders, but his oldest child is a hellion! His siblings, Brett & Lisa are chalk full of dysfunction and drama. Brett is an alcoholic, and Lisa also likes to drink but is generally very loud and boisterous. Connie's clan tends to show up right when it's time to eat, doesn't help at all, they bring most of the chaos with them, and leave as soon as presents are open. Then there is my family. Yes, we are the more sensitive of the families, our feelings get hurt easily, but we are also the ones that show up early, help cook and set up, serve during the meal, and help clean up at the end. Last year, we had worked hard to set everything up, and we including my Grandparents had to sit at the "kids" table, while the rest got waited on by my mom and sat where ever they wanted without a care at all. This year, we were determined to make sure there was an actual "kids" table and my Grandparents spots were clearly marked. At first, this was met with raised eyebrows and snide comments, but it worked pretty well for the most part. The problem occurred as some adults consumed LOTS of alcohol, and the child voices began to rise. Gramma has no tolerance. She snapped several times. It was very hard to take, worse than most years. I looked around at all these people that are my family. Cousins that I don't see often at all. People that the only thing I have in common with is that we are family. As the kids grow older they are also getting louder, which is great. They are kids having fun. Why is Gramma still having these big get togethers when it is so obviously hard for her to handle. She has always been a stress case, but man it is really bad now. I want to have compassion for my Gramma, I really do. She has had a hard year. Bouts of sickness, dealing with Grampa's memory loss, surgery on her wrist, shingles on one arm that is still hurting her. I want to feel bad for her, but she uses all this as a way to gain attention and keep all focus on her. She has always been this way, now she just has more ammunition to work with. She is constantly yelling at my Grampa and calling him names whether he is joking around or can't hear something or forgets something. She behaves as if he is a huge burden that only she has to bare. It's so hard to take. No one can talk to her about it, she is always right. You also can not joke with her or tease her in any way shape or form. The last night I was there, my brother & his wife, Gramma & Grampa and myself were playing cards. We were laughing and having fun. Gramma was having fun too, telling a negative story that she has told about 5 times in the last week about someone who couldn't read her mind. I made a joke, not thinking cuz we were having fun, about her story. She blew up at me. It was horrible, hateful, and ugly what she yelled at me. We were all stunned. I tried to say that I was just joking and some other things but it didn't matter, she continued screaming at me. I then told her that she cannot talk to me that way and that she was hurting me. She yelled that she was my elder and could talk to me anyway she wanted to. I then stated that I was done talking to her. She then continued on with her negative story she started out with. We finished our card game in silence. I just started crying. I trying not to be noticed but I couldn't stop it. After the game, she moved away from me and wouldn't look at me. I really didn't know what to do next. It was time for me to go home. I was still crying. Part of me wanted to scream at her or storm out in some dramatic fashion. The other part of me was trying to figure out how to show mercy. This would have been a good time for a prayer. But I often forget to lean on God when things like this come up. God heard me anyway, and he took over for me. I was making the rounds giving everyone hugs good bye. Last came Gramma. I gave her a hug, she started crying and apologized. We talked quietly for a bit. It was good, but sad. I'm glad that God did that. It just makes me sad that this is how my Gramma is living her last years. And I'm not a good enough Christian to....I don't know.

So, long long rambling story short, this will be the last Christmas we all will have together under Gramma's house. It is time for a change. Not sure what that is going to look like at this time, but I know things will never be the same, and maybe that is a good thing. Isn't family strange? They may all be strangers and dysfunctional, but you love them anyway, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Text Color

It happens all the time. I am driving around, at the store, at work, doing stuff at home, and I am blogging in my head. A lot of times, I think about actually sitting down to type out my story, but either I am just too tired, busy and can't stop, or I can't decide or remember which story I wanted to write about. I must have had 6 or 7 blog stories in my head this week, but now, I can't really think about what to write. So, I am going to be lame and post a couple pictures. I really can't wait to have two weeks off! I need to get some brain cells back. Couple more days. I will leave you with this tidbit: Digby is coming home with me for Christmas. Imagine if you will. 4 dogs + 6 cats, all in one small trailer house.:) Fa la la la la!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Carey's idea of praying in the car. Sorry Carey, had to do it!;)
Carey's wish for Christmas, not world peace....gumballs!

Out to dinner with the girls!

Closet Hockey Star!

Score! Carey, littlest J Boy, and friend.

Skating with the Grosdidiers!

Thanksgiving dinner contributions- who brought what I ask you?

I had such a great time in Montrose/Mitchell with Carey and fam. I can't thank her enough. It has been such a long time since Carey & have got together like this, it all was so familiar and fun.
Trip account:
Flying into the Sioux Falls airport I kept telling this teen girl from Spokane that she should wear her warm coat, hat & gloves pretty much the whole time she was there because it is sooooo cold here in SD. I myself was wearing a wool sweater, down vest, scarf, and winter boots on the plane in anticipation. Stepped outside of the airport to greet Carey, and discovered 50 degree sunny weather....doh! Full-frontal hugs, J Boys in the back playing gameboys.
Thanksgiving dinner with the Grosdidiers was fun. The "small gathering" consisted of 32 people! Lots of food, and drinks, had a great time taking in the family dynamics.
Tons of family and friends went skating at a rink that Jamie coaches at. He rented it out for all of us. I was reminded, though, this wasn't everyone! We had a great time goofing around. Some played hockey on one side, while the rest of us tried to hit pucks in a net goalied by littlest J. Big J organized the games for all of us to play later on. We played Sharks and Minnows, a tag-your-it game. I fell 3 times! Then we had relay races, old people against the young. We lost! My only regret is that Carey accidently deleted a really cute pic of her & I!
Saturday, Carey & I went to Sioux Falls. We met up with Bobbi, and prepared for an event Carey & Bobbi were putting on for a client. Went window shopping at some of the really cool new stores in Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls has changed quite a bit since I was last there. It feels like a mini Denver really. Carey, Bobbi & I had dinner at a great Italian place. A much needed girlfriend time for me! We talked quite awhile about our crazy lives.
Sunday was football day at Carey's house. It was so nice just hanging out by the fire. Little J telling me all the stats and repeating the plays from the computer as I watched the actual game on TV. Big J & Littlest J playing games on the floor. Carey putting up Christmas decor, and me laying under a blanket watch/sleeping during a really good game. It was so nice.
Carey caught me up on what has been going on with some of the people we went to college with, and we talked a lot about our own lives.
Things I was reminded of during this trip:
My best friends are going to always be there for me no matter what is going on in our lives. You guys are my family.
Everyone is experiencing ups and downs, that life, even if it appears to be so to me, is not perfect for anyone. We are all going through stuff, and we all have a lot of blessings too.
I had such a great time with you Carey, thank you! I love you!