ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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I need to boycott any and all events on my side of the family when my stepsister will not be there. When she and her family show up, it is easy to forget that my family is not actually fun. They are good people, mind you, but the kind of good people that bore you to tears.

Let’s take, for example, a typical gathering involving me, my two brothers who do not consider me to be the living dead, and my stepbrother. Mostly, they will all stare the TV watching what ever kind of sport is in season or maybe Fox News (which my dad watches when there is not a game that he cares about being broadcasted). Any conversation that takes place will happen during the commercials, when my father will try to convince me that America is in a state of decline and it is mostly my fault because sometimes I vote for Democrats. I will smile and make a comment about the weather, and my dad will say that no, I need to listen to him because…and then the game will come back on and the conversation will have to be continued during the next commercial.

Hours go by, and the pattern repeats at commercial intervals until I feel I have done my time and I can make an excuse to leave. But when my stepsister is there, the TV may not even be on. Even if it were, you couldn’t hear it over the ruckus. )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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We survived Christmas. Well, so far. Christmas is still happening this evening at my father’s house, when my stepsister and her kids come down from Fort Worth. My son will spend the night at his grandparents’ this evening along with all of his cousins, and Jeff will pick him up in the morning. I’m just praying that he doesn’t bite one of my stepsister’s kids this year, as he has each of the past two Christmases. Usually it happens as the kids (who range in age from 5 to 15) start to get energetic around 8 PM and Sweet Pea shorts out a little when someone bumps into him or fails to perceive that he no longer wants them so close. Not that they have time to perceive much of anything, since the moment between “everything is okay” and “I’m going into overload now” is so brief that science has yet to measure it exactly

I just hope he doesn’t bite the youngest child, who is 3 months younger than Sweet Pea. My stepsister’s youngest child is a cancer survivor. Cancer is a scary thing, and biting the kid who had cancer makes Sweet Pea look even worse than he already does. Even though my nephew is tough as nails (meaning he can take it) and has been blessed with a gracious and forgiving demeanor (meaning he won’t hold it against Sweet Pea), I cringe at the idea of hearing that my son has bitten him. The child who could have died is naturally a more sympathetic character than the child that has behavioral problems.

No, if someone must get bit, let it be one of the older children. Or maybe one of the adults. He almost never bites adults, though. Unless they are teachers (he seems to find PE coaches to be particularly tasty).

Should I stay or should I go? )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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To my dear niece,

I have not seen you since you were 11 years old, I think. It was around Christmas and your family was visiting your grandfather’s house. It was the last Christmas that y'all would visit that house when the rest of the family was there. I heard that your parents brought you and your siblings around a couple of years ago, after your grandfather got out of the hospital after being treated for the pneumonia that almost killed him, but it was done on a day when the rest of the family was around. I have missed half your life and am now a complete stranger to you.

You used to be a beautiful baby, and baby look at you now… )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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No rhymes, no reason, and no clever observations to this post. Just a few random photos of things I’ve written about in the fast couple of months. Why now? Because I finally loaded the pictures off of my camera last night, that’s why.

A teapot, Santa's air fleet, fishing for cats, red staplers, how to discourage free loaders, and tasty treats )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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One of my personal secrets to happiness is setting really low standards in life that even a dullard like me can achieve. I am happy to say that I have surpassed my 11-year-old niece in Farmville. Since I have still not managed to have an exciting and fulfilling career or even a steady-but-unsatisfying job to pay the bills, I have to take my joy where I can find it. My niece had to start back to school this week. While she is away from her computer learning things in the 6th grade, I get to stay home and goof off on the internet between scouring the job boards.

FarmVille is not the only game on Facebook that lures people in and makes addicts of them, but it's the only one I play. I notice other people playing games created by the same company, Zynga. Games like Mafia Wars, World Café, Vampire Wars, and PetVille, just to name a few. But I don't partake in those games. The way I see it, FarmVille is like digital crack, and once one is hooked on crack, there is no need to get hooked on heroin as well. It will only add to your misery.

Why Can't I plant Pot in FarmVille? )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Anyone who is my friend on FaceBook probably thinks that I love that Farmville game on there, because my profile is always posting that I've won this award, of given my Farmville neighbors some gifts, or fertilized their digital crops. The truth is, I hate Farmville. I hate it a lot. I've had a long standing FaceBook policy of declining all invitations to play silly FaceBook games. I don't want to start a zoo, or an aquarium, or be a mobster, or be a vampire, or start an island paradise, or plant stupid little trees in a stupid little digital garden, or any of that crap. Seriously, what's the point? For a long time I cheerfully clicked "ignore" every time someone tried to give me a Farmville gift or invited me to be their digital neighbor and take up farming.

But then the one of the Tween Divas begged me to, and I gave in.

Hello, Country Bumpkin )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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"You know, I'm gonna stay up until midnight on New Years Eve not to see 2010 roll in," my brother-in-law told me as he nursed a beer on Christmas Day, "I just wanna see 2009 finally come to an end and be over with. This year has been lousy."

Hey 2009, don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Four-year-old humans are pieces of work, as well as being works in progress. My son might have his moments, but I can usually put him in his place. On the other hand, life has enabled my stepsister's little boy, Reese, to throw his parents a curveball when he wants to.

Shortly after his second birthday, Reese was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer called Wilm's Tumor that only happens in children under the age of 5. He endured a surgery to remove his kidney followed by 6 months of chemotherapy, and these days he is healthy and thriving. If you ask him, he will willingly raise up shirt and show you the scar across his midriff where they took out the diseased kidney and another scar on his chest where they inserted a port to administer the chemo. With his shirt on, though, he looks like any other skinny little kid.

He knows something rotten happened to him. His brothers and sisters don't have to have blood work done twice a year to make sure they are cancer free and that their kidney function is normal. He's well aware that he has more hassles to put up with than they do, and that can give a guy an additude.

This last week his father was correcting him for some minor infraction when Reese interrupted him.

He sighed, put his hands on his hips, cocked his head and said, "Oh, take it easy, will you Dad? I'm a cancer survivor!"

What's a toy or two left on the living room floor when you consider the big picture? Preschoolers have a way of putting things into perspective for you.


* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * # * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
ninanevermore: (Default)
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The annual Christmas Family get together (which was held the Saturday after Christmas this year) was fun and cheerful. It was not boring because everyone was too busy watching television or was too nervous to bring up a topic lest someone get offended. It was not explosive because someone said what they really felt and then someone else responded with how they really felt, only in a louder voice. It was almost like a Hallmark Card commercial, except all the adults were a lot less attractive and the food was h'ordevres and a sandwich tray instead of a Norman Rockwellian feast.

This has thrown me off of my bearings. What other things that I held to be true in the universe are going to prove to be unreliable? Will the sun start rising in the west instead of the east? Will spring no longer follow winter? Will rush hour traffic disappear? Will radio stations stop playing the same old 40 songs over and over again in rotation? There's no telling. Christmas at my father's was pleasant and fun this year, so anything is possible. Be afraid, be very afraid.

In Other News, Beelzebub Befriends Jack Frost )

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