A Banjo Fool – #IST646 Final Project

The end is near!

The end of this class that is. Today I finished my FINAL PROJECT!!!

I can honestly say that this project was a labor of love! There were many mishaps, miscommunications, and missed nights of sleep. But it’s as done as it will ever be!

My Final Project is titled “A Banjo Fool.” This story is about how I wanted to surprise my Dad and do something special for him. I decided to learn the banjo. This video is my journey, and mishaps, of learning the banjo.

Enjoy!

(P.S. Make sure to watch all the way till the end! There is a surprise after the credits 😀 )

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Lord Help the Mister (and anyone else for that matter) Who Comes Between Me and My Sister

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There is many a day when I wish I could have done better in the “Big Sister” department of my life. I have only one sibling, and that is my sister who is 4 years younger than me. I look back on times that we spent together and how we used to (still do) torment each other, how we used to (still do) fight all the time, and how we used to (still do) make fun of each other – and I just see where I came up short.

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I look around at some of my friends that are my age, who have younger sisters that are my sisters age, and they just seem to have that “we are such best friends” vibe going on… And I’m over here like “How do you do that? How do you not pick on each other and get irritated with each other?” I wish I could be my sister’s best friend. Maybe later on in life we’ll get to that stage, but for the last 21 years that she’s been around, most of the years we weren’t even what you would call “friends.” 

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Sadly, I feel like I wasted a lot of years wishing my sister wasn’t around. Wishing she wasn’t so different from me, and wondering what her problem was and how it was her fault that we never got along. Which was totally wrong. It was my fault. The truth is, my sister and I are very different – like night and day different. I’m night because I’m the bad sister and she’s day because she is the good sister. I have had some major screw ups in my life and made TERRIBLE life choices. My sister seemingly has done no wrong in that area and is on the straight and narrow path. I have had a pretty healthy life, but not a healthy body. My sister is like the epitome of health, she works out, and runs, and lifts, and eats vegetables, and doesn’t drink soda – but she has had some SERIOUS health and heart issues in her life and several surgeries and procedures done. I am terrible at sports, she’s good at everything. I am a very dependent person and my sister is fiercely independent. I am outgoing, loud, obnoxious and usually rude, my sister is quiet, calm, polite and bottles all of her feelings up. My sister consistently walks the line of cute/adorable and beautiful looking and I usually look like troll. I should have been more open and understanding of our differences. How boring would it have been if my little sister was just like me? Then my parents would have 2 terrible daughters instead of just one.

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I do feel lucky to have the sister that I do, she is very understanding of my shortcomings (or maybe she’s just used to the fact that I suck as a sister). She’s never asked too much of me, because she’s never really asked anything of me. And I think that’s because she doesn’t expect anything from me, which is a failure on my part to be loving, kind, and supportive. It’s sad to say, but we get along the best – when we aren’t near each other, or at least, not living with each other. I’ve never expected anything of her, because I never wanted to put any pressure on her to be there for me. I never thought it was my little sister’s place to be my emotional crutch and my pat on the back. We also weren’t raised that way – we both seem to have the belief that “my problems are my problems and no one else’s and no one is going to help me deal with them except myself.” Maybe due to that “common belief” we share, we just figured the other person didn’t care. I hope my sister knows that I care. 

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Today, as I was whining about what an awful human being I am and the fact that I think I’m a terrible sister – I had a friend remind me of some memories: 

     She reminded me of this one time in high school, at an away basketball game, how I stood up for my sister. It was her first year on the basketball team, and my last year. She had missed a pass or a shot or something and it had upset another member of the team. During half time that other player made a snide remark about my sister. And then I basically screamed at her “DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT MY SISTER THAT WAY.” 

     Another time was at summer camp, I was a counselor and my sister was a camper still I think. And there were these twin boys who kept picking on her and they called her chubby. I found out about it (and probably legally crossed a line) as I grabbed each boy by the arm and dragged them through the courtyard and threatened to take all of the free time away and making sure they would be severely punished (definitely didn’t have that authority) if they didn’t immediately apologize to her.

     I was then reminded of the time that I was supposed to be watching my sister, and I couldn’t find her (she was still with my parents at my grandparents house, they hadn’t left yet) and I called my friend to come over to help me find her and I was screaming and crying and sobbing and I called 4 different relatives to help me because I was so scared that she was going to get hurt on her own. 

    And then of course, there is the fond memory of me hearing one of my sister’s “friends” say something not so nice about her and I might have called them a “not very nice word” to their face. (Really I’m a terrible person and example.)

So it’s good to know that in any case, I can at least be verbally abusive in my sister’s defense. 

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I think it’s okay that I write all this here, because my sister tends to not actually read my blog, and I’m okay with that. I just wanted to say that I do have regrets and I do care. I regret not being able to come to her Sweet 16 – I was sad all day that I missed it. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for any of her heart procedures, but I will state that I was a crying and praying mess those days. And I want to tell her that I’m her biggest cheerleader, but I do it quietly because I know that I embarrass her a lot. And I’M SORRY that I repeat stories, jokes, and facts a lot, I’m old okay, and I’m turning into our mother, I just FORGET!  

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I hope she knows, that even if I said “I hate you” – I never ever meant it, ever. I hope she knows that I care about what she has done, what she is doing, and what she does in the future. I hope she knows that I pray for her every night and think about her every morning. I hope she knows that if there are things I didn’t tell her, it’s not because I wanted to keep secrets from her, I just didn’t want to burden her. I hope she knows that I will always be on her side no matter what. I hope she knows that I’m sorry for not being a better example. I hope she knows that the 911 call was the scariest moment of my entire life and that I still have nightmares about it. I hope she knows that when I say “I miss you” I mean it and when I say “What are you doing” it means I wish she was with me. I hope she knows that I regret that I couldn’t give her better advice. I hope she knows that she is the most important person in my life, and I hold her above all others on this earth. I hope she knows how much I love her.

My Handpicked Family

Have you ever seen the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch? It’s my favorite Disney movie of all time. I am Stitch. We are one. Because sometimes I feel like an outsider, an alien, sent to this earth to just destroy things (mainly my own happiness). And yet, I haven’t yet. Something on this earth has kept me in check enough to be happy. And that is my friends, my handpicked family. If I’m Stitch, then my lovely friends are all Lilo.

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Picking your friends, especially your closest ones is like picking your own special family. Like most blood/marriage families (like mine) they have to love you and care about you, it’s the rules. But your friends? They become your family because they choose you and you choose them and there is a mutual choosing of each other because you like and love each other. They don’t have to love you, but they do. My close friends are my family and I love them and I would do anything for them. I like to call them my weird little family – but they don’t know that… Well now they do. Some of my WLF (look at that, I’m so cool I shorted my weird little family) don’t like each other, some of them have never even met each other, but that’s ok. They all help me become a stronger person. They all make me better somehow and some way (mostly stopping me from murdering stupid people). 

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Just to clarify – my friends are Lilo, but they don’t kiss me.

Maybe we work so well because we’re all a little broken. Stuff has happened to all of us. Good stuff, bad stuff, stuff that has changed us and made us stronger. I’m certainly not perfect, and neither are any of them. Perfect people are boring and annoying. My friends are vibrant and amazing and they make life more exciting. I learn from them. They all teach me things. I hope someday I can repay them for all that they’ve done for me and all that they are to me. I hope someday I can show them just how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I’m not me without them.

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Some of my friends and I talk almost everyday and some of them I haven’t spoken to in months, but that doesn’t lessen our friendship. When I see them or speak to them again, it seems like we just pick up where we left off – like nothing has changed. There is a mutual respect there, that even if we don’t talk ever day, we don’t take that as a snub of rejection. I mean for crying out loud – WE ARE ADULTS. We are in school, or working, or trying to find a job, or moving, or having babies, or taking care of our families. We are busy people. 

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Social Media can sometimes make friendship lazy. ‘Well I don’t need to talk to them because I see them on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. So I know what’s going on.’ But sometimes I see it as a blessing. I can see what’s going on, even if I’m not right there with them in South Carolina, or North Carolina, or California, or New Jersey, or Virginia, or Florida, or Hawaii. Do I wish I was with them? Of course. All the freakin time. If I could just squish all of my WLF into my apartment forever I’d be so happy (they’d all hate me though). But being connected with them in any way, even by the internet, means that I can be happy for them from afar and see their children, pets, accomplishments, and what their having for dinner. 

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I think of all the things in their lives that they’ve shared with me: weddings, parties, graduations, laughs, hugs, tears, joy, memories, amazing fun times, children (no one is actually physically sharing their children with me, that would be weird). 

Also, they all know that I’m weird. Not a single one of them thinks I’m a normal and sane person. They’ve seen me, happy, sad, angry, crazy, obsessive – the whole spectrum of emotions, and they are still friends with me. That says a lot. They’ve all been through my bad life choices, my terrible boyfriends, some were there for my emo stage in life, when I’m sick all the freakin time, my weird obsession with One Direction and Unicorns, and all the times I’ve hurt myself physically, emotionally, and mentally (because I’m an idiot). I’m crazy, so they must be a little bit crazy/weird or they wouldn’t be friends with me. So kudos to my WLF, you’re clearly not as normal as you hoped you were!

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I couldn’t ask for better people in my life (unless a very rich and famous celebrity wanted to be my friend… Jennifer Lawrence I’m waiting for your call). I’ve had other friends in my close circle before who I thought were here forever, but sometimes friendships don’t stick and sometimes people don’t care, and sometimes people change so much that you don’t even recognize the person they are anymore. But the close friends I have right now, my WLF – they stick. No matter what. The relationships forged in this handpicked family I have will hopefully never end. I care too much to let them end (too creepy? this sounds creepy… like I stalk them). 

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No one gets left behind. No one thinks they are better than anyone else. Every single person in my WLF treats me like an equal. We are on the same plane. And we always bring each other back to reality. I don’t think any of them have ever spared my feelings before with telling me the truth. Sometimes it’s brutal, some of them have made me cry (some more than others, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) but they are always looking out for me. They try to show me what’s best for me. Does it hurt sometimes? Yes. Do we get mad at each other sometimes? Of course. Is it worth it? How could it not be worth it. It’s worth it every second of every day.

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Could you ask for anything more? A bunch of honest and loving friends who support you and want you to be happy. Somedays I’m in awe of how lucky I am. I think about other people who might not have that kind of support system and it just breaks my heart. I’d probably be in prison or severely depressed if I didn’t have my weird little family.

I love them. It is really just that simple. I love them and I am so thankful that they are in my life. Each one of them means more to me than they’ll ever know. 

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Now let’s take a visit down memory and thankfulness lane!!!! I figured I’d do a little name dropping, a little recognition, a little bragging, and throw them all under the bus. Whether they know it, or anyone else knows it (and I’m sure someone is gonna be mad about this post) – Here is my Weird Little Family:

Elisabeth – It’s always good to start with the person you’ve known the longest. And I feel like I’ve known her forever! But it’s actually just been 20 years. 20 YEARS!!!! I survived Elementary school, middle school, Junior High, and High school with this lady by my side. Sometimes we despised each other and sometimes we were inseparable, but that’s what happens when someone knows basically everything about you! I can’t imagine growing up without her by my side. She is genuine and caring and amazing.

 Alissa – Never have a met someone as similar and as different than I am. I feel as though she has become my other half. I am so thankful we met Freshman year because I know if I hadn’t befriended her I would have gone off the deep end. There were days when she has been my lifeline. Somedays have seemed so hopeless for me and so dark but she was always there to help me. She’s like my own personal sunshine, showing me all the good things in life. My life would be bleak and cold and just plain yucky without her. She is so beautiful inside and out.

Danielle – She is the sweetest person I’ve ever known in my entire life. The most tenderhearted, understanding, loving person on earth. We make each other laugh and smile and there are so many wonderful things about her that I could just go on forever. I can’t imagine life without her, she was always just down the hall in college. All I had to do was walk a few steps and she’d be there waiting for me to hug her and have her help me pick out my clothes or share some funny story with her. I know she will always be there for me no matter what.

Leslie – Her’s is the type of friendship that you think only happens in sitcoms. She’s my parents next door neighbor. She is also one of the most supportive people I’ve ever met in my entire life and an amazing mother with 3 awesome kids. She is such a good listener and I know I can just ramble on and on and on and she just patiently waits for me to shut my mouth. The advice that she gives is always so positive and thoughtful. 

Beau – He never lets anything get in his way. He is so determined. He looks at what he wants and he goes after it and I admire him so much for that. I look up to him and his strength and I just think ‘Man I wish I could be like him and I wish I could do that!’ He brushes negativity aside like it’s nothing, water off a duck’s back. He is determined in his friendships and he is loyal. 

Tim, David, and Jamil – I always wanted to have brothers. I finally got them in college. These three guys know how to have a good time, know how to give great advice, and each one of them has made me cry (that might not be positive now that I think about it). Jamil is like my little brother. He’s adorable and kind and sweet and always so excited about everything. He is so positive. I wish I could be as positive as him, always seeing the bright side of things and the silver lining. Tim is like my older brother, always giving the wise advise and teaching me life lessons. He always has people’s best interests in mind. He is fiercely honest and supportive. David is like my twin brother (and that statement is gonna freak him and other people out). I feel like David is my opposite in the best way. He’s what I could be if I were a good person. All of my bad equals all of his good. He is so happy, friendly, and kind. He is also one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met in my life.

Stephanie – This lady is funny. Not just funny, hilarious. Everything she does is amazing. The things she has accomplished in her life are amazing and I look up to her as a role model. She has also got to be one of the most lighthearted people on earth. Nothing I ever do seems crazy to her. She is always up for anything and I always know I’m going to make amazing memories whenever I’m with her. 

Phil – He was one of the first people I ever met in college and I’m so glad I met him. He is a loyal and dependable friend. Kind of like a rock (like a rock in a positive way). He was one of my first friends and my chapel buddy. In college he was always ready to make me laugh or to chase my tears away. He can always take a negative situation and somehow turn it positive.

Monique –  She is wonderful. Everyone should have a wonderful friend and I’m so lucky I have one. She is so kindhearted and attentive. Nothing slips by her. She is accomplished and crafty and lovely and all the other adjectives I can think of for amazingness. She is so supportive. My freshman and sophomore year, she was either right across the hall or right upstairs and I can’t count the number of times I went to her to vent and share my feelings. She always has my back and I’ll always have hers. 

Becky – I can tell her anything. Most of our relationship is either us talking or laughing. We can sit and have a conversation for hours. She is an amazing listener and she always knows how to turn my frown upside down. We can be crazy and goofy and silly together and not have a care in the world. Our summers spent together at camp are memories that I cherish close to my heart. The ridiculous situations we’ve been thrown into together have made us so close. I feel like she is the sister that God forgot to give me. 

Annie – I wish I could be more like her. She is so levelheaded and she always stopped me from doing really stupid things at camp. She is always there with a kind word and sageful (is that even a word) advice no matter what the situation. The times we’d sit and talk and I’d be so lost and confused about life, she would set me straight. I can always rely on her to put me back on the right path and remind me about the most important and amazing things in life. The giggles and memories we shared during our summers together are tucked into my heart.

JathanCaleb, and Nathan – These three are the three stooges in reality form. These guys always know how to bring me up, sit me down, and bring me back to reality. When my brain and heart go out of control and I start talking nonsense and acting bi-polar, these guys can ring me in. Jathan is my realist. Whenever I have some absurd thought or some ridiculously negative notion about something, he bring me back, he reminds me what is real and takes me out of my head. He can always make me smile. Caleb is so uplifting. Whenever I’m down in the dumps or upset about something, just his presence can ease my mind. He is always there with a positive or inspirational comment. Nathan is my sit down guy. I mean we can sit down and have a dead serious conversation for hours. I could talk to him about the craziest things that I believe in and he will talk to me about it for hours. It could be nonsense, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve had some of my best conversations ever with him. He is so smart and he makes me wish I was smarter. 

Jessi – I met her during one of the worst times in my life and she was like some bright and shiny angel sent from God. She is such a blessing and she is just so good. She’s one of those people that you look like and you think ‘Aren’t you bad at anything? Haven’t you ever made a mistake? How can you be wonderful at everything you do?’ She is supportive and so loving. She has shown me so much love in the short time I’ve known her these 3 years. 

These are my people. My Weird Little Family. I love them so much. I miss them all every second of every day. I can’t imagine my life without them. 

Christmas

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Let’s talk about Christmas since I skipped blogging about it.

Christmas in my family is always 50/50. You never really know what you’re going to get. And I’m not just talking presents. You would think that with all this good cheer, and present giving, and whatnot that everyone would be happy. That is not the case. Lets be honest, that is never really the case.

Now I have 3 Christmases. 1 with my Mom’s side of the family the Saturday before Christmas, 1 with my family Christmas morning, and 1 with my Dad’s side of the family Christmas afternoon. I used to have 5 Christmases at one point and that was just overwhelming. There is such a thing as too much family time.

I’ll start with the 1st Christmas celebration with my Mom’s side of the family (I had to work on the day of it this year so I missed a bit of it but it was still quite eventful). We all meet at my Aunt S and Uncle A’s house. It is usually EXTREMELY hot in the house because of their fireplace. I always end up sitting in front of it somehow. I sweat for the entire day basically. We have big “linner” meal (lunch/dinner) and then we play some games, eat dessert, and then open presents. Now it is tradition that between dinner and dessert that my Uncle A and Uncle P get mostly drunk. It’s tradition and at their age now it’s just plain old adorable. My Uncle P gets very giggly. My Aunts and my Mom and my Cousin make a TON of amazing food that is wonderful. My Aunt T makes the best mashed potatoes ever. Do not argue with me. They are the best. There is so much butter in them that at any point there is a real risk of heart failure, but it’s worth it. Present time has gotten shorter each year, since now we basically all just get each other money and gift cards. We don’t like to mince around with lists and what not. It’s just “Here’s some cash. Have fun with it. I love you. Merry Christmas.” And I am fine with that. My 2nd cousins (all boys) will watch TV or play video games. Well they used to. Now they are older and they make me feel much older. One of my 2nd cousins even brought his girlfriend this year. Nothing makes you feel old and alone than your 2nd cousin who is almost half your age bringing a date to Christmas while you play with the dog. There is always, as I like to call it, a “highlight” of the day. Usually it’s something one of my Uncles does whilst tipsy (like the one year they did shots of jalapeno juice) but this year it was my new 2nd cousin. He is just a few months old and is the cutest baby on earth! It was my delight to basically ignore my entire family and just play with him.

My 2nd Christmas celebration is my family Christmas. Every year it starts later and later in the day. We used to have everything unwrapped by 7am. This year most of us didn’t even come downstairs till 9am. We have the same schedule for every year though, we turn “A Christmas Story” on in the background (since it plays for 24 FREAKIN HOURS STRAIGHT), my sister and I open our stockings first. My Mother will wrap every single individual present in the stocking. Mine always has candy in the bottom, my sister (the vegetarian) gets healthy stuff at the bottom (probably grain or seeds or something else equally distasteful to me). My parents will then open their stockings to each other. They are usually FULL of candy. Christmas is a big candy holiday in our house (honestly every holiday is big on candy… we just really like candy). The pets will then open their presents. Yes we are those people. We get our pets several presents and wrap them (I only buy for the dog though, I have no interest in spending my money on the devil cat). Then my mom passes presents out to everyone and we all kind of take turns unwrapping and watching each other unwrap. I don’t know if other families do this, I don’t even know if my family realizes that they do this, but I noticed it this year – after anything we unwrap, any present, stocking stuffer, anything – we will say thank you. Thank you to whomever bought it for us. Every. Single. Present. My sister and I must say ‘thank you’ to our parents at least 50 times during the unwrapping process (I guess we are just super polite people). After all the unwrapping, the paper is thrown away, presents are placed in rooms, I will gorge myself on Reeses Peanut Butter Christmas Trees while everyone else actually eats breakfast food. Then we start making food to take over to my Grandparents house.

My 3rd Christmas is with my Dad’s side of the family at my Grandparents house. The 1st tradition is that my family is always late. We live the closest to my Grandparents and every year we are late. And because we are late, the lunch is never on time (I assume most of the Harvey side of the family resents us for that, though they’ve never vocalized it). Whilst my Aunts and Mother finish preparing the food (and trying to make my Grandma get out of the kitchen) my cousins and I (we are all girls on this side of the family) set the table, pour the water, and put the food out. We all sit down and have a lovely meal, just kidding, it never works out that way. As stated before in my Thanksgiving post, family dinners on the Harvey side of the family consist of a copious dodge and weave of words, stories, questions, and insults. We cousins usually stick together, unless we need to attack our siblings. Someone always comments on which of us is dating or aren’t. My Uncle D usually says something inappropriate without even realizing what he’s saying, my Uncle B will be condescending about something, my Grandma will spill something on herself, my Grandpa will spill something on the table, and someone will make a mean joke about how my Grandpa and Aunt P’s hands shake a lot (I’ll be honest, it’s usually me). Many of the traditions stated in the Thanksgiving post carry on at Christmas.  After dinner we all just kind of sit around. Sometimes we have to wait for other relatives who didn’t come for dinner and just came for desserts and presents (lets be honest, dessert and presents are the best part… of family togetherness of course). Some years we eat dessert first, other years we open presents first. Honestly, it all just really depends on how full we all are. Sad but true. This year I got to be “Santa” – basically the person in charge of passing out presents- I have a system I adhere to. One present, per person, per round. That way there is a nice spread, everyone starts and finishes at the same time, and we all can watch with joy. Basically it’s the perfect system and I should be “Santa” every year. After presents there is lots of sitting, card game playing, watching TV, and napping.

After a few hours my family heads back home. We usually watch a movie, nap some more, watch “A Christmas Story” for the 100th time that day, and eat candy (ok, so just I eat candy).

And then I go back to work the next day.

Merry Late Christmas guys!

It's a Christmas Moose.

It’s a Christmas Moose.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving. A day to be thankful. A day to count your blessings. A day to stuff your face and hide until the pie because your family is legitimately crazy… Wait, that just might be mine.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving. Probably because I’m not a very “thankful” or “thoughtful” or “positive” person. Also I always feel fat for the rest of the day and that is an undesirable feeling. 

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love my family. But “love” does not always equal “like.”

I’ve harbored a legitimate concern for my extended family’s mental health for several years now. I remember the first time it hit me. It was my sophomore year in college and I had to spend Thanksgiving break with my “foster grandparents” (it is another long story about who these people really are – I promise to tell it another day) because I couldn’t come home and they lived close to my college. Thanksgiving with them was so odd to me. It was quiet. We ate slowly. It wasn’t rushed, there was no yelling, no making fun of other people, no constant questions about who I was dating, no falling over, no farting, no burping – nothing of the sort. It was simple, quiet, pleasant, with normal guests. It hit me during dessert, that this is what “normal” must look like. I honestly felt like a stranger looking into the window of some make believe world. 

My family spends most, if not all, major holidays with my Dad’s side of the family. Both my Mom and Dad’s families have their quirks, their stories, their traditions – it’s just that I get more of my Dad’s side on a monthly basis. 

My extended family is just interesting… Not crazy… Yet. Though I do have a running bet with myself about who will snap first (it’s gonna be Me or one of my Uncles, I just know it).

Traditions at family gatherings include: 

   – someone always leaving early because they are sick/mad/sad/hurt/angry/bored

   – someone (usually Uncle ‘D’) making an inappropriate joke during dinner and no one laughing

   – someone (my sister the vegetarian) informing people of the fat and caloric content of all the meat

   – someone (my sister the vegetarian who is also in vet school) making me try to identify/guess the different bones of whatever meat we are eating 

   – someone taking a joke too far and actually hurting another family members feelings

   – someone asking all of us cousins (all girls) who we are dating/why we are still single/don’t we want to get married/don’t we want to give them great-grandchildren

   – someone spilling something on the table

   – someone (Grandma) spilling something on themselves

   – all of us cousins will be on our phones/iTouches constantly

   – 1/2 of the family falling asleep in different places

   – there will be a meltdown (usually a cousin, or 2nd cousin, sometimes a Mom/Aunt/Grandma)

   – someone will say something racist

   – someone will complain about how skinny/fat another relative is

   – someone will get way too into a game of Yahtzee/FanTan/Skip-Bo

   – my cousins will try to make me play Apples to Apples which is never fun with just 4 people

   – we will all be sarcastic

   – we will all make fun of each other at least once during the meal

   – there will be at least one dish that almost no one touches, and whoever made it will get mad

   – there will be some sort of accident/injury that will occur within the 24 hours of the holiday 

   – someone complaining about having to do this for every holiday

And these are just a few of the lovely things we do within the first 2 hours.

Family togetherness…