Tag Archives: family

Some Vacation Ramblings

17 Apr

So, I’m on vacation. It’s kind of weird, since I’ve been unemployed going on three weeks now, and usually a vacation is enjoying time away from work. Which I’ve been doing. Since I don’t have a job.

I’m down here in super sunny Orlando, FL with my three stepsisters, my stepdad, and my mom. (Adam‘s coming on Thursday! I can’t wait till he gets here!) Ever since we blended our families together, we’ve been doing the whole Family Vacation Thing, which I’ve gotta say, is way more awesome when there are suddenly five kids hanging around. I can’t imagine anyone ever complaining about having too many siblings.

We got down here two days ago and I wasn’t sure if I was going to post anything, but I did bring my computer and we do have free internet, so here are some thoughts I’ve been having. They are disjointed and disorganized, but at the end there are some pictures!

… Even though I’ve been slathering on the SPF, the Florida sun is strong and I’m well on my way to displaying my mysterious ethnicity. For the record, I’m not actually any kind of exotic ethnicity, but I frequently get asked “what” I am. As my skin tans, my hair lightens, and I have almost-black eyes that confuse the general population into regularly thinking I am some kind of Pacific Islander.

… We’re staying at this resort  and it employs this DJ who, on a daily basis, rocks out to random unrelated hits like these, with some Celine Dion and self-accompanied country karaoke thrown into the mix. He’s hilarious and his presence is just so awkward.

… He also runs what I’ve dubbed Afternoon Contest Time, during which I’ve seen little kids learn and perform the Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, and Cha Cha Slide, cheat shamelessly in a limbo contest, and hula hoop with three hula hoops at once. The kids at this resort are talented, obviously.

… I’m going to DisneyWorld tomorrow for the first time ever in my entire life and I can already tell I’m going to regress into a 10-year-old. I’m giddily thrilled to pieces to ride the teacups, see Cinderella’s castle, and hopefully hug Mickey.

… My stepdad is proving to be absolutely hilarious. I’m sitting here with him and my mom watching Glee (the stupid disco episode – my god, I hate this show) and this conversation between them just happened:

Mom: Did you do those dances back then? I did. I loved them. I knew all the moves.

Stepdad: Up North we only drank beers and killed bears. We didn’t dance.

For the record, my stepdad is from Michigan.

Here are some delightful photos as a reward for making it through my ramblings. Or maybe just scrolling down, but don’t actually tell me if that’s what you did.

Clockwise from top right: Tropical Popsicle/Worst Book Ever/Sandals, Mysteriously Ethnic (and/or sunburned) Self Photo, Strawberry Marg/Original Goldfish, Orlando Sunset

Wine & Love v.4

8 Mar

Hosted by Nora

I missed last week’s Wine & Love post and actually considered skipping this week, too. Life has been infringing on my writing time! I decided, though, that it’s far more important to me to make this a real priority. Perspective is integral to maintaing my own sanity, so without further ado …

… Wines …

  • I’m feeling restless again. My new job and new apartment sated me for a while, but apparently not long enough. I’m trying to figure out what I need to change (my location? my mindset?) to still my itching-to-go legs.
  • This week has been insanely busy. Between work and hectic social plans, I’ve had almost no time for myself and I think my body’s angry at my neglect.
  • I’m at a point where I feel very torn between the sentimental value of all my things and the undeniable impulse to get rid of all of it. This is both new and frustrating and I’m not sure where to go from here.

… Loves …

  • I’ve been having weekly Skype dates with Katie! It (almost) feels like we’re hanging out for real.
  • I successfully surprised Adam for his 25th birthday. He was so shocked and excited and we had so much fun celebrating! (Aside from the part where he blacked out and almost broke his foot. That’s probably in his “Wine” column this week.)
  • Despite the chaos, I’m so happy to have gotten to connect with some of my favorite people. Friends from college, old jobs, and my stepsister all made it onto my social calendar this week!
  • Being a vegetarian for March – so far, so good! Maybe I’ll dub this Meatless March. (Why did I just think of that?)
  • The Hunger Games (!) and the Kindle app for my iphone (!). Enough said.

As usual, go link up with Nora and let us both know what you’re loving and w(h)ining about this week!

Wine & Love v.3

23 Feb

Hosted by Nora

Presented without additional comment…

… Wines …

  • I’m totally have one of those ugh weeks. I’ve been cranky and irritable for absolutely no reason. Ugh.
  • I totally failed at making time for myself this week. I haven’t worked out, eaten well, or written at all. All of these things make me feel better when I make time for them and I know that – so it’ aggravates me that I slacked this week.
  • Since I’ve eaten like crap this week, I don’t feel great about my body right now. I know, I know, here’s the girl-comment-on-being-fat. I’m not fat, I just know I can feel better. I just need to take care of myself!
  • I still don’t have enough time to do everything I want. I’m going to whine about this every week until I find a solution that I love and can implement it.

… Loves …

  • My brother was in town for President’s Day weekend! We went out and got all drunkity one night and then my mom and stepdad came to hang out with us. We saw “The Vow” and my mom cried three times or possibly for the entire movie. Then we visited one of my aunts. It was a really good weekend balanced between family and friends and partying and chilling out.
  • The night Adam and I went out, Alana came too! It was so fun to meet her – I have to say she’s totally awesome (Hey, Alana!). I cannot wait to make her be my new friend here and also hang out in Vegas!
  • Speaking of meeting bloggy people, tonight I’m going to Bob‘s birthday party! We started g-chatting pretty regularly when we discovered he’s friends with a bunch of girls I know from college and now I get to meet him!
  • I’m going to the Poconos this weekend to ski. This should be interesting, considering it’s been 60 degrees and sunny all week, but whatever. I can’t wait to sprawl out in front of the fire with a bunch of friends, exhausted after flying down snowy (or not) hills all day, and roast marshmallows.

Everyone’s On Fire, or That Time My Grandma Set Me Up

13 Jan

So I got fired recently. Oh, you heard about that? Ok well lucky for you that’s not the point of this story.

I sent the obligatory Crappy Life Update Email to my ginormous immediate family since they are all (very loving) gossip mongers and hounds and if I didn’t tell everyone the (simple) story myself, it would snowball out of control until what really happened is that I was actually lit on fire.

(Yes, I actually got laid off, which is different from getting fired, but I didn’t want to make a joke about my family thinking I got laid. Or something.)

Moving on. So my grandma calls me shortly after this email goes out. She’s so frantic you might assume she was actually on fire, but no, she’s just very concerned and loves me very much and wants to know how I’m doing.

Unfortunately, it’s in this same conversation that I have to admit to having a boy roommate. It sounds like her already palpitating heart comes to a complete halt until she very nicely composes herself and accepts my explanation that it is 2012 and girls can live with boys and not date them and not be awkward and also not be destined to burn in hell. (Again, with the fire. That was unintentional.)

After her shock wears off and she’s sure I’m definitely not on fire or going to be on fire or suffering some deep emotional duress from being laid off (hold the sex jokes here, it’s my grandma), she has some other news.

Her friends from church have a daughter who just moved to New York. Will I please call her?

Seriously – that’s what she says to me. “My friends from church have a daughter who just moved to New York City. Can you call her?”

I said, Grandma, that’s awkward. But if you get me her e-mail address I’m happy to reach out to her that way!

Did I mention my grandma lives in Idaho? Can you imagine that phone call?

“Hi, Sara. [Oh, yeah, we have the same name, too.] This is Sara. My grandma knows your parents at church in Idaho. Want to hang out in NYC?”

Right? Awkward.

But then I get a letter in the mail with some stationery with Sara’s information printed on it. All of Sara’s information. Her e-mail address, her phone number, and her physical address. Like I might mail her something. Grandmas!

So I got this letter the other day and I sent Sara an email seeing if she wanted to hang out. Of course she did, since I’m nice and we have the same name and we are both from Idaho and now we’re in New York. Also, since she’s new and wants to make friends.

I met Sara today at Cafe Lalo, which is that super cute cafe featured in that horribly dated movie You’ve Got Mail, which is of course all about being introduced by that awkward old guy telling you that … you’ve got mail.

Appropriate setting, I think, for a blind friend-date set up by my grandma. In Idaho.

Oh, and there’s still no one on fire. Or getting laid.

An Open Letter to Stepmoms

13 Oct

Dear Stepmoms,

I think it’s about time I address you as a whole. There are a lot of you in the world and while many of you are awesome, there’s a reason the “evil stepmom” stereotype exists. And it’s not just because of Cinderella.

I won’t pretend to be an expert, but I do have two stepmoms in my life, which is more than a lot of people I know. See, I have a stepmom of my own and my actual mom is a stepmom to my three stepsisters. They’re on opposite ends of the evil-good spectrum, but neither is perfect.

So, having spent the last several months semi-coaching my mom on how to be a Really Great Stepmom and also having just spent the last five days avoiding my own Terrible Mean Stepmom, I think it’s time I outline some very basic points for you all.

Keep in mind that I’ve been a stepkid for almost 10 years now; I know what I’m talking about.

It’s called a “blended family” for a reason.

If you’re planning to marry someone who already has kids, accept the reality of the situation before you walk down the aisle. What I mean to say is that the kids are always going to be part of the package deal and if you’re not ok with that, you shouldn’t be getting married to this person.

Nothing you do can ever remove them from the equation and you may as well accept this as soon as you can. The sooner you’re able to do this, the sooner everyone else in the family can relax.

You are and always will be The Adult.

If you’re old enough to be getting married – especially to someone with kids – guess what? You’re an adult! Even if you’re inheriting adult kids, you’re still an adult. Even if the adult kids struggle with welcoming you into their lives, you’re still an adult.

You know what this means? You have to act like an adult. You may not have parental authority of any kind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t demand the same respect you would demand from anyone else. It also doesn’t mean you can be disappointed when unarticulated expectations remain unmet.

Just because your new stepkid is pushing your buttons and testing your limits doesn’t mean you should become a doormat just to appease them, nor does it mean you should lash out in anger or resentment.

Demand respect. Require it – but also give it where it is deserved. Stand up for yourself – but stand up for your stepkid, too. Articulate your expectations.

Be understanding, patient, and kind. Be an adult.

“In with the new and out with the old” – It doesn’t work here.

There are two scenarios in which a stepmom is introduced: divorce and death. Both are incredibly painful for the kids. Both are abandonments of different sorts. Both draw a deep line in kids’ lives separating the Before and the After.

Respect that line, but never ignore what came before. If you’re part of the After, you’re either blurring that line or you’re making it deeper. Whichever you’re doing (and neither is more or less okay than the other), you need to recognize your role.

Lots of stepmoms would prefer that the Before didn’t exist; some of them wish it so hard that they begin to resent it. Some stepmoms want to dwell on the Before. They walk on eggshells, terrified they will overstep their invisible boundaries. Both of these stepmoms will fail if they don’t strike a balance between the Before and the After.

To stepmoms everywhere: We know it’s hard for you. It might be harder for you than it is for us, even, but I’m pretty sure that’s part of being an adult, right? You have to take responsibility for your choices – and stepkids are always a choice. You make the choice to have stepkids the second you choose to say “I do” to someone with kids.

All we ask, we stepkids of the world, is that you work with us. Being a step-anything is never easy for anyone. We get that – we need you to get it, too.

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