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Things that make me puzzled >

[Comments] (12) Life's Lessons from the Passenger Seat: Today we had dinner at Grandma June's in Lehi. She made homemade pot pies that were really good. The kids wouldn't eat theirs so she tried to get us to eat the extras. I politely told her that if you shouldn't force children to eat food, then that rule applied to me as well.

My Grandma is obsessed with Coke, so I indulged and had one. It reminded me that I really dislike Coke. I imagine my dislike of Coke is similar to my imagined dislike of beer. It just tastes wierd to me. If it doesn't taste good, why deal with the unpleasant side effects?

My brothers' families and my little sister all came. Family dynamics are rather fun to watch. We had this whole conversation teasing my parents about what we all "claim" when they die; I personally found the conversation to be eerie, ill-timed, and trite. How could my almost 90 year-old Grandma have found any joy in such a conversation? Then the conversation turned to my brother-in-law talking about how my sister has a large bottom. He always says stuff like that and my sister just laughs. I can't help but think such talk causes wounds he can't see, but it's not my place to get involved. Rest assured I never say stuff like that to Susie--I just don't find that brand of "humor" to be funny.

At that point I went downstairs to be with the chilluns. They were playing mock court, and I got to be the judge. When it was my turn to be the plaintiff, I said the defendent, my three year-old niece, had me abducted by aliens. She didn't like that so we instead played hide n seek, one of my favorite games. I am not good at hiding anymore because Ember and Hannah always had to hide with me.

When I tired of the kids I listened to my oldest brother talk about their recent trip to Cancun. Even though my oldest brother is inactive, I have a lot of respect for him and his family. His red head children are very well-behaved, and he treats them strictly but fairly. He also gets down and plays with his kids a lot. He's a good role model for me, though I just have to turn the other cheek when, for instance, I housesit for him and discover the cabinet with every flavor schnopps you can imagine. I have actually confided in Susie that I would like to try some wine just to see what it tastes like, but have no desire to try beer. Susie thinks I should go for it on our cruise, but I am not so sure. What if I liked it? Where would that leave me? But now I am off topic.

Family dynamics. My sister bad-mouths her husband to me sometimes, and while they are newlyweds, I find it unhealthy. My dad does the same thing to my mom. But he has an excuse: Insanity. He gets worse and worse these days. Today some of the stuff he said made no sense at all, but I just smile and nod. Sometimes I try and imagine what he was like when my mom married him, but that depresses me.

My other brother's marriage is better; I never hear him and Ashley fight anymore. And their kids are slowly outgrowing their annoyingness. James, the five year-old, is in kindergarten and has anger management classes on the side because sometimes he honestly loses it. Ashley told me today they are done having children because she feels like her two children are four children, and they kind of are. She has done the math, and noted that when Hannah hits legal age, she'll only be 42 and they can then party. I feel they peaked way to soon in life, but those were their choices.

They are all coming to California for Thanksgiving to go to Disneyland. Susie and I are going to get season passes when we move, go every weekend, basically OD on Disney, and then we'll be so sick of it we won't need to renew our tickets for years. By then we will be ready for kids anyway, so we think. Unless our plans change in this fast-paced world of ours, as Joe noted. It'll give us a built-in date night every week.

The evening was fun. It's just interesting to me to see how people choose to live their lives. I consider myself fortunate to be the youngest; I got to watch all of my older siblings start families. I fully intend to learn from their mistakes. We'll see how well that goes; I'll keep you posted.


Comments:

Posted by frances at Mon Jan 31 2005 16:04

You wouldn't like wine. Don't bother.

However, things cooked in wine are good (as you probably know.) Some flavors are only soluble in alcohol, so if you deglaze with a little wine,the nasty tangy alcohol boils off and leaves the dissolved flavenoids to strengthen the taste of the dish.

Posted by Susie at Mon Jan 31 2005 16:42

Mmm Flavanoids...


John, thanks for not telling me I have a big butt in front of everyone!

Posted by Sumana at Mon Jan 31 2005 17:05

I have heard that there is wine that tastes good. But I have tried various wines and beers and they all taste sour or bitter to me. Some hide it better.

I think coffee, wine, and beer taste better to people who have forced themselves over the initial hump and have "developed their palates." Also, don't the bitterness receptors in human taste buds develop over time so that what tastes incredibly bitter to a young'un (e.g., beer, greens, dark chocolate) actually tastes good to an older person.

If you cook with wine, almost all the alcohol can cook out, but a tiny bit always remains, or at least Alton Brown says so.

Posted by Sumana at Mon Jan 31 2005 17:11

Thank you for sharing this side of your life with us. I feel as though I understand you better. I also wince at that sort of harsh "banter" and have only been able to deal with it recently.

You ask - what if you try alcohol and you end up liking it? This is indeed why we have to steel ourselves from temptation and stop ourselves from taking the first taste of the forbidden. I was a teetotaler for years partly for that reason. I am thinking of switching back to temperance, because alcohol can become an escapist crutch, just like bad fantasy novels, only with more harmful side effects.

My condolences on your father's condition.

Posted by Kristen at Mon Jan 31 2005 21:01

I don't know what I would do if a family member of mine was inactive. I guess I couldn't do anything, but I would be very sad. The thought of it is very foreign to me. From an outsider's perspective, it is very cumbersome for a husband to demean his wife in anyway, and to spend the night with friends is bizarre. I take it your siblings and parents don't know about your weblog?

Posted by Kristen at Mon Jan 31 2005 21:05

Speaking of cooking with alcohol, I made beer brautwurst today, and we also like to splurge on beer battered fried halibut- now that is good. It is "nonalcoholic beer" but there is still alcohol in it, but I thought it all cooked out. I guess I am in trouble if it doesn't like Alton Brown says, and since he knows just about everything about cooking I assume he is right. I will still make beer battered halibut though, and have the alternate reality that there is no alcohol in it.

Posted by John at Tue Feb 01 2005 07:22

My brother went less active when I was like eight, so I really don't remember any better. It makes me sad when I think of his kids, but I just have to think that it will all work out.

My mom knows about the blog, but she never reads it. Susie and I are the "forgotten ones" in the family, so to speak. Plus, I find I can be more candid if they don't know about it. Then I don't have to hide who I really am, like some people have to on their blogs, to merely satisfy their families.

I guess my in-laws all read this, but I kinda figure my reputation with all of them cannot possibly be more tarnished than it is.

Posted by Susie at Tue Feb 01 2005 07:23

The website address is taped to my mother-in-laws monitor, but I don't think she's ever looked at it.

Posted by Alyson at Tue Feb 01 2005 07:23

At the Matkin family reunion last summer, Dave's cousin baked a ham in a glaze that she announced had prohibitive ingredients. Thinking that she must have included wine in the glaze, I got a little brazen and started talking about how much I'd always wanted to purchase a bottle of wine for cooking sakes (this in front of several of Dave's siblings that have the most iron clad Mormon sensibilities). Then the cousin told me she made the glaze with Coke. I was mortified that I had divulged such a naughty desire, and all because of this misunderstanding of Coke for wine. Yikes. The thought of it still makes me shrivel up inside. Oh well. Dave and I continue to be the heretics of his family.

Posted by Alyson at Tue Feb 01 2005 07:28

I am envious that you are so safe. My mother-in-law reads my blog on a regular basis. Or at least once-upon-a-time she did. And I have one other sister-in-law that reads it, or says she does. It is hard for me to know. I totally can empathise with being the forgotten ones. Dave and I are that way, too. We've never gotten a visit from Dave's parents that wasn't either en-route or in conjunction with a visit with Dave's sister, Amy. And Amy gets at least four visits a year! I might sound bitter, but I've gotten over that. In fact, one reason I like being here in Kansas is I don't feel the injuries of the unbalanced relationships so much. I like being separate from all of that, and it doesn't bother me so much.

Posted by Alyson at Tue Feb 01 2005 07:30

Here's to being the independents!

Posted by Kristen at Tue Feb 01 2005 12:19

Are we just a family of rejects or what?! Aaron and I are the forgotten ones as well (his side, not mine). If you have ever been to a family get together with them, it is fun, however you will not be able to say anything unless you scream it. It is such a 'center stage' family that unless you talk over someone else, you will not get heard. So basically everyone is trying to get a word in about their funny stories so it is just a bunch of people shouting over one another. It is rather annoying b/c usually there are pauses in conversations for which you may begin speaking, but in their family there are no pauses, and no one waits for you to speak if you are trying to, so you basically just end up talking to yourself. Mainly there are 3 brothers that hyjack the converstaion, and it is always about their bowel movements, color and consitency, or sports, or the same old stories I have heard a billion times of them growing. They pretty much get together so they can talk about themselves with an audience. Having said that, it is still nice to have a strong family that actually does care about one another in their own weird way. None of my in-laws know about my weblog (heck, my own husband doesn't even read it). I actually told one of my brother in laws that I do have one, but I don't think he reads it b/c I didn't tell him the website. I wouldn't care if they did read it, but I so have a reputation for being a little abrasive (it's a dog eat dog family so I feel like I have to be) so it is nice that I can talk about one of them once in awhile without them getting offended. Having said that, I can feel Aly's and John's and Susie's pain for being the "outcasts".


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