Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Actual Exchange of Text Messages

Let's revisit this sister crap, shall we?

Since I last discussed the issue, I sent my sister a birthday gift (she ignored my birthday). She returned the package unopened. (S very sweetly responded, "You should send her a note and say that it wasn't nice of her to do that.")

I called her to ask why she did that. She screamed at me. Something about how she was in therapy because of me and that I still need address what I'm doing to her. (Present tense noted.)

I responded asking what was I doing to her? I'm just living my life.

Then she hung up.

I had a discussion with hubby about the contact she's been making with C via Facebook, and if she's unwilling to have a basic relationship with us, is it appropriate for her to be contacting the kids, give them gifts, etc? We're very much wavering on that. But I don't feel comfortable with feeling like she's going behind my back to talk to my kids.

Today a package arrived for "The _________ Children: C, M & S"

So I sent my sister the following text message

Me: I have concerns about you sending things to my children while refusing a relationship with me. I'd like to try to work this out with you. I understand you are angry at me. I've been angry at you, too. But you are still my sister and I still love you. Let's try to resolve this. Please?

A few minutes later the reply came:

A: With the attitude that it is still all about you -- i'm not ready -- maybe after a few thousand dollars of more therapy about you I might be.

I then sent the following two texts:

Me: Huh? What attitude? I am trying to reach out to you for the sake of each of us and our families. Could we please talk?

Me: Please call me. We lead vastly different lives and have made very different life choices. I would like to understand how what I do 3000 miles away affects your life so deeply.

And...nothing from her.

For years I've known what the basic issues are with her:

  1. I was born
  2. I had a decent relationship with Dad (though still very complex). She like to claim I was Dad's favorite. I think we grew up in very different households with parents at very different stages of life and parenting.
  3. I did well in school and went to a decent college. That *was* totally calculated on my part, though it had nothing to do with her, because...
  4. I left AZ and stayed away. She has long said she hates AZ and always wanted to leave. But didn't in the end.
  5. I've had some professional success [despite current unemployment status]. I think the book thing has thrown her over the edge. She can't see that I had to *work* for all that.
  6. I have a mostly happy and functional marriage. Yup, i do. And proud of it.
  7. I have a daughter. She didn't even choose boys' names with her first two pregnancies, and I remember the call when she found out #3 was a boy, too. It wasn't a happy call.
  8. I'm sure there's more.

But now it's just exploded, apparently. I'm alternately amused and horrified that she ascribes so much power to me. I don't want it! I refuse it!

I refuse to take responsibility for the choices my sister has made in her life. While it apparently has yet to happen, she needs to accept responsibility for her own life. Her choices, the consequences thereof, and her future happiness. But this situation *is* hurtful to me. As much of a nutcase as she is, she's still my sister.

I talked with hubby about the package received and the text exchange. We agreed to accept these gifts. But we also agreed that we needed to open them to look at them to make sure they were okay. One gift (to M) was completely inappropriate for an 11 year old and C's gift was FAR more expensive than M's or S's. For someone for whom "favoritism" is an issue, she appears to be playing favorites with my kids. Ironic, no?

I'll send off the gifts for her kids. Trying to decide what to do about the gifts for her and her husband. And her birthday gift which still sits next to me. Send them to my mom's house perhaps? I don't know if that's the right thing to do.

At any rate, the saga continues.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Today in Suburban Irony and Ignorance

I've got two for you today.

First story

The other day, an acquaintance and Facebook "friend", joined the Facebook cause, "Stop Obama from changing the National Christmas Tree to the Holiday Tree."

I rolled my eyes. We all know this is bull. (We do all know it, right? Because if you don't know it, you should definitely click the link that follows.) I wasn't feeling in an "ignore it" mood, so I took the opportunity to look up the relevant facts on PolitiFact and posted the following comment to her Profile page. I edited myself several time to aim for the most calm response to this ridiculousness that I could muster.

"Hi, A__ - This background might be interesting to you. is a great resource for sorting out fact from fiction. The site won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009."

And I gave her this link:

Chain email claims Obamas plan to change holiday tradition

A replied:

"Thank you for sending this, at least I know its not true...I cant stand all this HOLIDAY is CHRISTMAS and we should embrace it!! Hope all is well...:)"

Fine and dandy. I made my point, figured I'd drop it from here.

In today's mail, we received A's family Christmas card. What do you think it said across the top? Merry Christmas? Nope. It reads "Season's Greetings" across the top and "Happy Holidays from the K_____ family."


Second Story

C's closest friend is M. M used to live across the street from us and M's dad is my kids' pediatrician. We always knew Dr. H was a tad more conservative than us, but the extent is only now becoming clear. It's never mattered much because we get along fine - we just don't talk politics.

Anyway, M is a very smart boy and has mostly stellar grades, is a mostly nice kid, etc. While we suspect Dr. H rides M HARD with expectation, M *is* smart. Well, mostly. In a very book-smart sort of way.

Dr. H, it turns out, is FOX/FAUX news watcher. He has also told M - and M believes him - that FOX/FAUX news is "liberal." We got a good laugh out of that. C tries to tell him differently, but M resists. If FOX/FAUX is "liberal" I don't want to know their definition of "conservative!" Whatever.

C and M are in 7 of 8 classes together. In the last several weeks, their english class has been reading parts of the bible from a literary standpoint. Mostly Old Testament. Apparently this exchange occured a couple days ago:

M: "I feel bad for the Jewish kids in school having to read the bible. It doesn't seem fair."

C: "Uh, M, the Old Testament is the Torah. Well, some of it is anyway. It's okay."

M: "No it's not."

C: "Yes it is."

M: "No, it's not. Next thing you're going to tell me they worship the same God as Christians do.

C: "Dude, they do!"

M: "No, they don't! It's a completely different religion!"

C: "Dude, they do. Jews came first. Christians came from Judaism. Same God. Muslims, too."

M: "Nuh-uh! You're lying. You're so wrong."

And apparently it went from there. C says M still doesn't believe him. Props to M actually thinking about those in another religion - but that's about it. (Major pride in my C, however.)

And that's the day in Suburban Irony and Ignorance...

Friday, December 03, 2010

This is Social Networking

Today I had a very humorous experience on Tw*tter. Bear with me, please, while I try to tell the tale. (And no, I did not get a job via Tw*tter - job search is a whole 'nother can of worms right now.) Just yesterday, I was trying to adequately describe Tw*tter to someone, and failing miserably. I realized several times in the last 24 hours details I should have mentioned. K, this is for you.

I have two Tw*tter feeds. One some of you know, the other you likely do not. One is more personal and local and political, the other more professional and sometimes more vanilla (more effort NOT to offend, I guess). I follow different people on each, and they each have their role. It can be confusing at times, sure, but I seem to be managing it thus far.

On the more "professional" feed, the one I set up to promote the writing a do for a website, I follow some food-related feeds, some mommy-blogger-like feeds, and so on. Keep that info in the back of your head while I go on to more back story. (Thanks.)

When the hubster and I lived a state away, while he was finishing his graduate degree, we went out to dinner maybe once every three months or so. The nature of the bank account an all that. But when we did go out, we were fortunate to have some decent restaurants from which to choose, at not horrible prices. The legacy of the former location of the Culinary Institute of America, actually.

In spite of this infrequent dining out, we did manage to cultivate a relationship with one restaurant and eventually were invited to a special wine tasting dinner. We splurged and went. And it was absolutely delicious. Wine, food, all of it. This is 1993 or 1994, mind you.

The wine being featured that evening was from this winery, and thus we were introduced to a very distinctive vineyard, with a very distinctive winemaker. From that point on, we sought out wines from this vineyard when we could and we visited the vineyard on a trip out west. We received newsletters and tried to promote them to friends when appropriate. When we moved here, hubby secured for me, as a gift, a subscription to their very special wine club. For several years, four times a year, we'd receive limited edition wines. Oh, they were so good. ARE so good. Just had one at Thanksgiving! But then laws caught up and the vineyard was no longer allowed to ship into this state. Alas.

Seriously, alas! I remain bummed on a regular basis that I can't get most of this stuff!

Anyway, this afternoon, on Tw*tter, a post from one feed I follow mentioned screwcap wine and what's that all about?


As a follower of this vineyard, I know that the Stelvin closure (aka screw cap) is really the preferred way to seal a bottle of wine instead of a cork for many reasons. I followed the cork funeral in 2002, and have happily unscrewed wine from the favored vineyard whenever possible (and even though they sold the brand of a couple of our favorite of favorites to another entity a few years ago - the Stelvin remains on those bottles).

So I posted a tweet about how my fave vineyard has been promoting Stelvins for years! YEARS! Then I posted a follow up with a link to some writing about the cork funeral mentioned above.

In the next forty minutes or so, my feed was followed by the vineyard...and the vineyard's more than a little esoteric winemaker. And then the winemaker -- the guy who started this whole thing -- direct messaged me thanking me for my comments about screwcaps. A guy whose work I have admired from afar for almost two decades sent me a personal message.


People, this is social networking. Awesome.

Please, unscrew a bottle of wine tonight. And think of the power of the 'net.