The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Family Traditions Series- Reunions!! August 6, 2014

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My Roots- Kyle and Ethel Findley and their children, Harold, Howard, Margie, and Donna

My Roots- Kyle and Ethel Findley and their children, Harold, Howard, Margie, and Donna

Hello all!  So in my last Family Traditions series entry, I promised a post about all the crazy things my family gets up to in the month of May, and I will definitely deliver that.  But not now.  I’m too excited, and of course the title of this post will give you a clue as to why.  Oh, yes, Virginia, it is definitely that time again- our family reunion is this weekend.  This is an event not just limited to my crazy nuclear family  (my parents and siblings and myself).  Oh no.  This event draws in the whooooole crazy family- all the progeny of my great-grandfather Kyle Guy Findley.  Let me tell you about us.

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We have this family reunion, the Findley reunion, every two years.  It alternates years with an even more extended family reunion (the Hoffman reunion) we have that also occurs every two years, so that barring some weird complication or problem, there is some sort of reunion on this side of the family every single year.  The one I am going to be describing to you is the only one I have been able to go to since Daughter S. and Daughter J. were about 4 years old, which, sadly, was the last time I was able to make it to the Hoffman reunion.  Now, the Hoffman reunion has one advantage over the Findley reunion and that is that it’s always in the same place, Ulysses, Kansas, where I was born.  The Findley reunion has changed locations several times over the years.

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As far as I can remember, the tradition of this reunion began the weekend of June 4, 1993.  I know this, because that was the date I chose to get married, so that all the family would definitely be able to be there.  Yeah, I’m sneaky and manipulative like that.  I hijacked the family reunion so everyone would be at my wedding.  Anyway.  The first several years, the reunion took place at the same location, one of the group campgrounds at our local lake.  Rustic cabins, no A/C, lots of trees and a big lake for boating, skiing, tubing, jet skis, and just general tomfoolery in a water setting.  I say this because my mom’s brothers have a notorious history of being wild and crazy when it comes to water sports.  They like to go fast and hit hard.  They’ve slowed down a little in the last 21 years, but I cannot count the number of pics we have of Uncle R., Uncle B., and Uncle D., life-jackets on, hair and mustaches dripping, clinging to a jet ski or a sailboard, big huge identical grins on their sunburnt faces.  That tradition has extended to their sons now, and we have just as many pictures of cousins in the same poses.

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While the boys are out running wild like hooligans on the lake, the moms are usually staying behind, either in the camp kitchen, or at the water’s edge watching all the “little ‘uns” swimming and playing.  There is always a time when the guys put away all their fast toys and just take the girls on a leisurely evening boat ride around the lake, so it’s not like the moms never get to have fun.  Back in the day, my mother, I am proud to say, used to be able to water ski like crazy!  My dad would get her out there and hit the throttle and she could just pop up out of the water like a cork.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last time she tried, because we don’t go to the lake much anymore these days when it’s just us, but she always used to say she planned to water ski on her 100th birthday.  Dad used to say she “could water ski in a teacup!”  Rarely, we have bad things happen on the water.  One year, an uncle was pushed unexpectedly off the pontoon boat into the water, and his wedding ring got caught on the gate hinge, almost ripping his finger off.  They rushed him to the hospital and all was fine, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like to remember that particular reunion.

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Our family also has some much happier traditions, such as talent night; we’re a talented bunch, if I do say so myself.  Usually people either sing or do skits, which is always a hoot.  This year, I’m particularly excited because… da da!  We’re having karaoke Saturday night.  We’ve hired a local karaoke DJ to come out to the reunion and help us party for a couple of hours.  I am very familiar with this particular lady- we grew up and went to the same church together.  And boy! can she sing.  She is absolutely and utterly amazing.  (File that one under hashtag: sojealous!)  Anyway, she also provided the DJ service when I gave Daughter S. and Daughter J. a big, special party when they turned 18.  It was super awesome, but that’s another story.

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Once we had a family auction to try to raise funds for the next reunion.  People made arts and crafts, special food, anything they had that had a “market” value, so to speak, and we auctioned them.  My personal contribution to that effort was two copies of a collection of my poetry that I put together.  I think they made me stand up and read a couple of the poems, and then they auctioned them off.  I forget now who won them, but that was pretty cool.  It gave me a bit of a big head to know that my family members would pay money just to read my romanticized, dramatic drivel.   What can I say?  We’re a supportive bunch, and I love us.

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In other years, the family reunion has taken place down near my grandpa’s house in the Hill Country area around San Antonio, Texas.  There are a number of nice lakes there, and my grandpa lives right on the Guadalupe river, so there are always a few that go floating every time we are there.  Our last reunion was a bit of a departure.  We met at Cuchara, Colorado.  It was beautiful there and so cool at night, but always, always too short.  One weekend is never long enough to enjoy with this family.

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So THIS year, we’re at a church camp about 45 minutes from where we live, called Pettijohn Springs Christian Camp.  It will be a lot more comfortable than the lake camps, because (Hallelujah!) the cabins have air conditioning.  My cousin and I are the food committee (although my mother ALWAYS ends up doing more than her share of the research and planning) and therein lies another reason I am so excited:  she’ll be here tomorrow!  Yay!  I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but she is one of my two favorite cousins, because the three of us are the closest in age.  From my birthday in early September to her birthday in mid-September, we are all three the same age.  Tomorrow when she gets here, we have to spend all day grocery shopping.  I’d like to say that sounds like a chore, but running all over town with this particular cousin, making big fools of ourselves in all the local grocery stores, laughing like hyenas when we remember all our favorite escapades, just sounds like a really good day.

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So yeah, if you live around here, and tomorrow you see me and someone who kind of looks like me, staggering breathless with laughter through WalMart or Homeland or Aldi, with a cart piled high with groceries, now you know, it’s the Findley Family Reunion Food Committee, just doing their duty to our family to keep them from starving.  And having a darn good time while we’re at it! Ha!

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The last, and most special tradition that you will always hear mentioned whenever we talk about our family and the essence of who we are, either together or apart, is our family church service.  On the last day of the reunions, Sunday, we always have a family worship time together.  I have said many times that I am so proud of the fact that I come from a family with a strong tradition of faith.  In past years, one of my mom’s cousins would get up and share a few scriptures and a few words with the family, then my wonderful, beautiful grandfather, the family patriarch, would get up and speak, talking about our family history and maybe sharing a story or two about his parents, and praising our family for its strength and love, but always giving the glory for that to God.  We would sing a few hymns, and be dismissed with a prayer.  This year, my father will be leading the singing, and we have practiced some of the songs we will be sharing.  In past years, my dear grandpa and his siblings would share their beautiful family harmony and sing an old hymn called “Out of the Ivory Palaces” but now he is the last of his family.  He told my mother he didn’t feel as comfortable now even to get up and speak at the worship service because he has become so forgetful it is hard for him to keep his thoughts organized.

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Families stay the same, and families change.  Our reunions are so special because they allow us to spend just a few treasured moments together, to catch up on each others lives and see where we all are today, but more than that, they remind us where we came from, where our roots began.  We are reminded of the strength and determination of the pioneer fathers who came through the Civil Wars and the Dust Bowls, and the Depressions, whose simple lives and strong faith became our story.  We are reminded of them, and of the debt we owe them to live our lives in such a way that we carry on their legacy, that our children and grandchildren can look back on us and be proud that they are the continuation of a story worth telling.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

Poetry and Duets April 3, 2013

POETRY SOCIETY POSTCARD

POETRY SOCIETY POSTCARD (Photo credit: summonedbyfells)

Hello all.  Well, not 5 minutes ago, I discovered that April is National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo.  In the spirit of creativity, I thought I might try to throw some poetry out there.  Most of my poetry usually stems from my darker, more despairing moments like divorces and deaths and terrorist attacks, (unless it happens to be during a time when I’m taking a class in which writing poetry is an assigned activity.)  But I’m willing to give it a shot on an ordinary day.  I do have to confess that I’m feeling…not super-happy right now.  It’s my own fault.  I listened to that d*** Thousand Years song from Twilight a couple of times and that never fails to depress me to no end.  I’m just feeling the urge to twist off a little, and that is never a good thing.  I just feel like I’m just aching to sing, and life is supposed to be a duet, so where the h*** is my partner?

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I was listening to another song a while ago, Paint Me a Birmingham, and thinking how I would love to perform that song as the harmony to a male duet partner.  Or any song, really.  I almost sung a duet with my cousin at his sister’s wedding but he backed out at the last minute because he was worried he didn’t know the words well enough.  Sometimes I just want to march into ANYplace that has karaoke and volunteer to sing with the next guy who wants to perform.  Anyway.  Just for the record, this particular post may not conclude with my own poetry, because it’s about 15 minutes before I leave work, The Boy is here, chomping at the bit to leave as soon as possible, and I don’t work well under pressure when it comes to poetry.  I mean, I could probably spit some out, but it might not be a masterpiece.

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Instead, I think I’ll just post the lyrics to that Thousand Years song.  I just can’t seem to get that song out of my head today:

A Thousand Years – Pt. 2 (Christina Perri)

The day we met
Frozen I held my breath
Right from the start
I knew that I’d  found a home for my
Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be  brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand  alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved  you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time  stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let  anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every  hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting  for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find  you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand  years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer

I have  died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For  a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I  believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved  you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

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Well, maybe tomorrow I can come up with some poetry.

Until next time,

D.

 

Allure Trip Journal Part 4: First Night’s Dinner and Our First Cruise Show! June 7, 2012

Hello all!  The Saga Continues…

 

 

We arrived at the MDR (Deck 4, if you’re interested) a little early and there was a crowd waiting for the doors to open.  I had seen pictures of this phenomenon on… ahem…a different line’s board, but I didn’t realize it happened on Royal.  I don’t know why I thought this- maybe I had just never heard people mention waiting for the doors to open at dinner.  It wasn’t the ‘waiting for the doors to open’ part that made me feel a little disconcerted, it was the crowd.  Here was an example of one of those supposedly few moments on the Oasis class where you felt the crowding.  But it should be noted that this only occurred on the first night.  (I’m assuming on that night everyone wanted to be on time, and also that perhaps more people went to the MDR on the first night than on subsequent nights.)

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Anyway.  Once the doors opened, the crowd dispersed pretty quickly and we went to our table (#403, if you’re interested.  Our waitstaff:  Head waiter- Cesar, Waiter- Dalton, Assistant Waiter- Silvestre).  It’s kind of a funny thing, but we ended up in the same places at the table every night.  We automatically sat every evening in the same spots we did on the first night.  So we met the aforementioned Dalton and Silvestre, and they were really nice.  Dalton was very friendly and chatted, especially with my son, calling him My Boy every time he talked to him, giving him the Fist Bump every time Adam shared some fascinating bit of information with him.  On later evenings when The Boy was displaying his usual tendency toward occasional surliness, Dalton was very engaging with him and usually managed to get him to smile.

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Of course, I had already scoped out the menu ahead of time and I knew I was definitely interested in trying the Vidalia Onion Tart as an appetizer.  The kids didn’t bother with appetizers, of course.  I enjoyed the tart, but it wasn’t quite as Wow-inducing as I expected.  It seemed just a little bland.  Again, I did like it, but after reading about it for so long, I was underwhelmed.  (Please note, I am the farthest thing from a food snob there could ever be- you surely can’t get to be as overweight as I was, with a picky, discriminating palate.  This is in no way a huge criticism of Royal’s food.  I ate it, I enjoyed it, and my WW weigh-in proved it.  But I will admit to being less than impressed with the tastes and flavors I tried during the week.  Again, I would not rate them as low as other people I’ve read from my sailing.  They just weren’t as amazing as I expected.)

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Ok, enough of that.  Daughter S. and The Boy both had the pasta selection from the Alternative Menu Selections and Daughter J. chose the grilled chicken.  Remember I said they were all about habit and repetitiveness when it came to food?  This was the beginning of a trend that would continue throughout the week.  The Boy mixed it up a little, but if we were in the MDR, Daughter S. was having pasta!  Yes, I am a little chagrined that they aren’t more adventurous about trying new foods and acquiring new tastes.  I was hoping they’d be more open-minded on this trip, but alas.  Indeed, I originally planned that I would order for everybody every night so that I could try it all myself, and if they didn’t like it, there was always Sorrentos.  The WJ buffet, however, would later come to play an important role in their dining experience later in the week!

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For dessert I had the sponge cake, which was good, and The Boy tried the chocolate cherry cake, which he quickly dismissed as being bitter. (He’s from Oklahoma and he’s 11- his appreciation for chocolate comes solely from Hershey.  What can you say, right?)  I don’t think the girls bothered with dessert either, although J. might have had some sherbet or vanilla ice cream.

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During the dinner itself, we got our first big taste (pardon the pun) of the feeling of the ship’s movement and the beginnings of seasickness.  We didn’t feel sick, exactly, (except for Daughter J.- I ordered her a Sprite with her dinner) but we definitely just felt loopy and drunk.  The Boy enjoyed laughing about that, and pretending that he was, in fact, drunk. (Don’t worry- he doesn’t actually know what it feels like.)  We all had a few giggles.  Finally, we ended the meal and said goodnight to Dalton.  Before we left the table, The Boy expressed to me that we definitely needed to leave Dalton a tip, because he was a lot of fun.  I skimmed over the whole ‘ship’s gratuities’ tradition, and promised him that we would most certainly give Dalton a tip at the end of the cruise.  The Boy can be so sweet at times like these.  : )

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My recollection of exact events gets a little blurry here.  Probably what happened was that the girls went back to the room for a bit and The Boy and I went exploring again.   (Or possibly I went exploring by myself) but in my actual journal from the trip it says that I walked the decks, walked the walking track, checked to see if OceanAria would still be on, and found that it was.  I collected the kids from the room, and we went to our first cruise show-  OceanAria!  It was really amazing.  The athleticism and grace of those performers is so incredible.  We enjoyed the Funny Guy who got the crowd warmed up at the beginning.  He is supposed to look all clumsy and silly, but he’s probably one of the best athletes in the show.  Note here:  I agree with previous reviews I’ve read that there is absolutely no perceivable story-line to this show, just a sort of a theme of a primitive, underwater society.  (That happens to spend a lot of time diving, bouncing, and swinging on things that hang from the sky.)  It still rocks, and it’s worth watching.

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After OA, we went back to Boardwalk (again!) and they rode the carousel (again!).  I think this might have been the first time I rode it with them.  Then we went back to the room for a bit, and Daughter J. and The Boy took full advantage of the Dreamworks programming on TV (another of their trends for the week). and Daughter S. and I- well, I took my daughter clubbing.  Because of a variety of indoctrinated religious and parental stuff, I did feel some slight sense of guilt or ambivalence about this, although I really enjoyed it.

We had planned on hitting up what is billed in the Compass as the Traffic Light Singles Party, where you get a cool little glow-y glass with the color that reflects your relationship status- Green = single, Red = unavailable, and Yellow = It’s complicated.  This party was held in Blaze, and we finally found it, went in, sat down, and discussed what beverage we wanted.  We decided on Virgin Margaritas.  I went to the bar, ordered them, and received… no glow-y glass!  😦  Oh well.  Such is life.  We sat there and watched the dancers and sipped our drinks.  I don’t think she liked hers all that much.  (Later she would discover a flavor that she found “de-lish-us, fo’ rizzle!”  Yeah, she just talks that way sometimes, I dunno.)

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So since both of us either a)can’t dance worth a flip (me) or b)wouldn’t show off our groovy, quirky moves in front of strangers if our lives depended on it (her), we finished our drinks and split.  I was interested in checking out Jazz On 4, and so was she, so we did.  It was a really cool, vibe-y little venue that would have made a great place to hang out and chill, but unfortunately we found the woman singer’s voice to be… um… not particularly pleasing.  (Ok, we thought we could have sung better and if we had to listen to her very much longer, we might stick forks in our ears.  I just didn’t want to say it like that.)

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So we left after about 3 minutes, and grooved on down to the Karaoke Club.  Success!!!  We had found our Mother Ship!  We sat there and watched and enjoyed the atmosphere as we listened to the performers.  There was one girl who we thought seemed totally cool and talented (an African-American girl with short braids- we said hi to her later and told her we were big fans.)  We really love the idea of singing karaoke (in fact, we had a big K party for the girls’ 18th b-day in November, and it was too much fun) but in this instance we were too shy to give it a go, and in any case it was almost closing.  Among other memorable attempts, we watched the guy who sang Sexual Healing and ended up on the Cruise DVD, and after the final performances we went back to the room and she crashed while I got ready for our port stop in Nassau the next day.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 
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