Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The annual trip to Savannah

The annual family trip to Savannah, GA was today. It was the typical chaotic cluster fuck that always happens when you get 3 kids (5,8,10) and 6 adults together and attempt to maintain order and calmness while wandering the streets of Savannah. It just can't be done without someone getting pissed off for not getting to go where they want, when they want. Try it sometime. I dare you. It can't be done. No matter what you do, everyone will want to go where they want and do their stop first.

Lessons learned this year, besides to not go next year, are:
  1. When you arrive at your destination at 11:30 with 3 kids EAT LUNCH FIRST! Waiting until 2:15 to get on a waiting list somewhere is too damn late. The kids are already spent and beyond cranky having burned up all their energy reserves hours ago.
  2. Unless you ALL want to go to the same store/street, DON'T try to stay together. It just won't work. I spent a lot of time waiting outside stores I had no interest in and later being dragged past stores that I knew Jess wanted to go into. Splitting up into smaller more manageable groups/couples is just smarter and will work out better in the long run for everyones sanity sake.
  3. DON'T change the return time plans out of the blue in the middle of the day. It just fucks up the mood and pace of the rest of the day.
  4. Take more than one car. We did do this but I wanted to mention it as a requirement. Had we not taken more than one car then splitting up would not have been possible and I'm pretty sure I'd have gone psycho stabby at some point.
Don't get me wrong. I like Savannah. I don't mind going to Savannah. I just wish I had more time to enjoy the trip and see all the sights. There is a ton of history all over the town and I never have the time to appreciate it. I think I'll schedule a weekend get-away sometime in the Spring and make the time to enjoy the sights.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Shaming (or at least a weak, ineffective attempt at one)

Ah the Holidays..... A time when friends and family come together to eat, drink, and be merry. A time of year when people try to "be good for goodness sake" as the song goes. A time when everyone is trying to be happy and just be jolly.

At least that's the plan.

Enjoying the holidays isn't always fully possible sometimes. This is mainly due to the actions of the self-important and arrogant masses "defending Christmas". These people use this time of year to lay claim to the entire holiday season as THEIR holiday and demand that you refer to it by THEIR holiday name and ONLY that name. Anyone who doesn't is in a "War on Christmas" (to use their own words). They demand that you say "Merry Christmas" and take personal offense at "Happy Holidays". Businesses that use open minded, all inclusive phrases like "Happy Holidays" are met with hatred and calls for boycott. They expend so much energy trying to shove their version of the holiday down everyones throats that they forget to just be thankful for what they have and actually enjoy the Holiday Season.

My own personal experience starts with the countless emails I get from a particular family member around this time of year. (Hi Dad) Despite conversations where its been clearly stated that we just won't agree on Politics or Religion, I am still bombarded with email forwards. Everything from repetitive "Jesus is the reason for the season" to racist political emails disparaging President Obama, his policies, and his attempt to turn this country around. Yes, I see the conflicting messages in the two types of emails listed. Sad aren't they? Members of a supposed religion of peace and love are the first to throw stones and spread fear and hate when they aren't the ones in control of the government. When they are in power, science is pushed aside, countless thousands die in illegal and unnecessary wars, phones are illegally wiretapped, intolerance reigns, people are tortured, and basic rights assured in the U.S. Constitution are ignored by the administration because they're inconvenient. When they aren't in power, education and science are encouraged, healing and caring for people (healthcare for the masses) is a key issue, and tolerance is encouraged. It's no wonder I'm on the opposite side of the fence.

My personal persecution continues in the annual family gathering (father's side) on Christmas Eve. For most of my adult (18+) life I've been attending this gathering. It's always been a time of food, fun, and many laughs and good times. A time that I get to see people that I only see around this time of year. (That is partially what the Holiday is for after all.) That all changed the year my brother got married. He married a wonderful woman who just happens to be Jewish. Yeah, I know, I don't see the big deal either but it apparently rocked the house to the foundation because the first holiday gathering after that marriage began what my brother and I referred to as "The Shaming of the Jew". Never before, in all the years of gatherings, has the Bible been brought out and a reading held. Once a Jew was present at the gathering, I guess the need was felt to shove a particular point of view in her face. Thus the new tradition of reading from the Bible came to be. My brother later moved away (I wonder why?) and the tradition has now evolved into "The Shaming of the Atheist". So this year I sat quietly as scripture was read and a speech spoken detailing how Christmas is a Christian holiday and the 'Primary' reason for the season. (I love how the word "primary" was worked into the speech this year. It at least shows some inclusion of myself.) When the "Shaming" was over it was back to the fun and good family times. I didn't push my view down their throats, I didn't rebut their opinion, I just let it be because I'd rather expend my energy in fruitful and creative ways rather than attempt to open a mind that has been rusted shut. There isn't enough WD-40 in the Universe to open those particular minds.

I hate to break it to the masses but Christians do not have a monopoly on this time of year. You should just chill out and learn to have a good time with your friends and family. (the stuck up ones that is, I know many Christians that are cool and don't shove their views down others throats. They have their beliefs and a respect that they are THEIR beliefs and not mine or to be pushed onto others every chance they get.)
I think the latest best writeup on this time of year that I've found was penned by Alyx Bradford -> http://alyxbradford.livejournal.com/84031.html It's more than worth the read and might even open your mind a bit from all the sheltered teachings you may have received over the years. If it's one thing I've learned, it's that organized religion HATES it when you try to learn and expand you knowledge of things outside of their dogma.

So where does that leave us? That's a good question really. Suffice it to say that I put up with my situation to see some of the members of my family and try to enjoy the Holiday Season. I say a plethora of Holiday greetings. I say Happy Holidays, I say Happy Solstice, I say Happy Saturnalia, and yes I say Merry Christmas. I don't get my panties in a wad when someone greets me with a holiday greeting that is not my specific version of the season, I simply reply in kind and continue on. It's the Holidays after all, now go be Jolly.