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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holidays = Family drama

My sister and I have always joked about how it's not a true holiday until someone cries, and this Thanksgiving lived up to that.

My parents have been staying at my place for the past few weeks dog sitting for me while I've been in China and Philadelphia for work. Since it was so close to Thanksgiving, we decided to celebrate it at my house this year. My sister and her family weren't able to come down, but my brother flew in on Monday with his fiance. (It was my first time meeting her...she's real nice and I think she'll fit in really well.)

After they arrived on Monday we went out to dinner to my dad's favorite Las Vegas eating establishment...a casino buffet. (Barf!) As we ate we engaged in the usual dinner conversations, chatting about a ton of different topics. During the course of the conversation though, someone mentioned Glenn Beck. First of all, let me mother LOVES Glenn Beck. She watches everything he does and I honestly think she sees him as some type of prophet. This is odd to me because my mother has never been your typical Molly Mormon/Lemming/follower. She's usually a very good judge of character and doesn't suffer fools. For some reason, she believes everything that comes out of this man's mouth. Now, I'm not a Fox News hater. I'm actually quite conservative, and yes, I voted for Romney, but for some reason, Glenn Beck has always bothered me. I think it's just his delivery...he's over-the-top and he sees a conspiracy in EVERYTHING. Our conversation about Beck only lasted a few minutes, and from what I remember, all that was said that was he over exaggerated everything and sometimes comes off as being a nut. My mom didn't say anything, and she didn't seem to be upset. The rest of the evening went fine. Tuesday was fine. My brother's fiance left that evening to go see her family. Wednesday was fine. My parents, my brother and I went out to dinner. No problems. Well all of a sudden on Thursday morning my mother locks herself in my guest room and won't talk to anyone. My brother says that earlier in the morning when she came down to get some breakfast when my dad said good morning to her and she flipped him off. Then she stormed back upstairs and hid in the room. When it was time to go to dinner I asked if she was going to come with us and she told me that she wasn't going and then she started to cry. I asked her why and she tells me that we humiliated her in front of my brother's fiance and made her out to be a crazy person. I was completely floored. I didn't even know what she was talking about, so I asked, and she would only respond by saying "Glenn Beck." I don't know what happened between Monday evening and Thursday morning, but somehow she worked the entire two minute conversation up in her mind that because my brother and I don't like Glenn Beck that means she's a crazy person and we intentionally brought it up to humiliate her in front of her future daughter in law.

My mother is normally rational, but when she gets upset, the best thing to do is to leave her alone for a while so she can work it out. I bought tickets for her, my brother, and I to attend a show this evening (Saturday). Well, I woke up yesterday morning around 9:00 and found out that she and my father had packed up and returned to Utah. No goodbye...nothing. I'm not an insensitive person, but I am SO PISSED OFF right now. First of all, she completely ruined Thanksgiving and then she just takes off without even saying goodbye because we talked bad about Glenn Beck? Really? GLENN BECK is the reason our Thanksgiving was ruined?

I don't know what the hell is wrong with her, but she did something like this last Christmas. My brother and I said something. Whatever it was, we don't know, but she stopped talking to us and completely ignored us. I talked to my dad about it and mentioned that she may have some problems with depression or something, because this is very unlike her. She suffers from shingles, and the medicine she takes affects her memory, and I think too, her mood/emotions. You can't talk to her about it because she gets defensive, and my dad just tolerates her behavior now. I'm at the point that I have no desire to go home for Christmas for fear that I might say something that will set her off again. Our family is quite sarcastic and not PC at all...including my mother, but the past few years I've noticed her growing more and more sensitive. Now if I go home I have to walk on egg shells for fear that another stupid drama will come up.

I wrote her a long e-mail yesterday telling her that her behavior was uncalled for and it was mean. I told her that I was no longer planning to come home. She responded, but here was her main explanation: "...James, when I was looking at you while you were saying this to me, I felt that it was very clearly written on your face that you were enjoying every second of it.  You know that look that people have when they have just told you off good?  That's the look I saw." She didn't address the fact that I said I don't feel welcome in her home...nothing. Basically it was a non-apologetic apology.

I haven't canceled my plane tickets yet, but I still have no desire to go home. The problem is I know it'll just cause MORE drama if I don't, but I know that if I do go home things are going to be weird. I really would rather just stay here at home with my dogs. Maybe I'll go somewhere else on my own and have my own little Christmas celebration...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

God Bless America!

I love to travel. I think it's because of my background as an Air Force brat. We moved every three years, and for a total of nine years, we lived outside of the country (three years in Germany, and six years in Japan). I just got back from a week in China for a work trip. I got to spend a few days in Shanghai and then I went to Chongqing. Overall it was a great trip and I got to see some amazing sites.

On my first night in Shanghai we took a cruise on the Bund and saw all of the neon-lit buildings. It was breath taking! (When I say we, it was the other people who came for the same set of meetings. I didn't go with anyone I knew.)

I must say, however, that I am so glad to be back in the United States for several reasons. Number one, while I love Chinese food, having it for three meals a day for seven days is overload. The city of Chonqing is in Sichuan province which is well known for their spicy food. I've never been afraid of spicy food, I can eat hot salsa like a Mexican, but in Sichuan cooking, they use these evil little peppercorns called Sichuan Peppercorns. I call them DEVIL SEEDS. They made my tongue numb! If you ever encounter these things, STAY AWAY!

My second reason is that I love cold drinks. I want ice in my drinks. This is one thing that drives me nuts about other countries. I know that in many Hispanic countries they think that drinking cold drinks is bad for your health. As the Mexican sisters would tell me on my mission: ¡Ay Élder, el hielo le hace daño al hígado! (Oh Elder, ice damages your liver!) I've asked doctors about that and they look at me like I'm crazy. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, one of the sisters that told me that also said that squirting breast milk into your eye will cure allergies! (In a pinch iguana blood will work too!)

My final reason...I miss my dogs! LOL If you have a dog, you'll understand, if you don't have a dog, you should! :) They sleep with me in bed, and I missed them. They have been my constant shadows since I walked in the door last night. They're so funny. I know they missed me too.