Christmas 2010

Australia Day Fireworks

Image by Sam Ilić via Flickr

Top tenning is THE new year eve’s week thing to do in the blogosphere.  Mostly because bloggers need vacation time too.

Thanks to the wonderful tech team at WordPress’s need to constantly justify their paychecks, I have a plethora of data aggregating goodies to help keep track of posts by popularity.

So here are the top ten posts by page views at anniegirl1138 for the year we are about to bid adieu:

10) Brad Pitt shaved the scraggly thing off months ago, but it lives on in my post about goatees and dead husbands.

9) Though I’ve successfully steered my daughter away from the cash-grabbing universe of “dance” studios, my contempt remains. Remember the Single Ladies? 9 year olds hoochie dancing for the dirty old men who troll the Internet?

8) Although I wrote this ages ago and it’s true intent has been repeatedly misunderstood, Angelina’s non-weight problems continues to be a big draw.

7) Another oldie but goldie, Lisa Parker still pulls readers and comments.

6) It’s hardly the only Facebook Meme worthy of scorn (I ignored the equally awful Movember Movement), but breast cancer awareness meme’s, and pink ‘s co-option by Susan Komen for that matter, sparked a rant that people read.

5) Jennifer Petkov was another post that missed its mark but certainly got read.

4) I’d originally planned to write this for Care2, or maybe I did and it got rejected, regardless, young and dumb in America was a huge hit.

3) Jillian Michaels is a poor role model and apparently I am not the only one who thinks so.

2) Musing on my life of plenty.

1) And the biggest post of the year? Women with no basic understanding of dressing for body type.

“You know,” my husband observed as he glanced through this list, “not one of these posts is about your family … or me.”

“Can you believe that? ” I said, “No one wants to read about you guys.”

“I am dismayed, disappointed and disgusted, ” he replied, ” but not surprised.”

Nor am I.  My best stuff is usually not the most popular, but that is the bane of all bloggers.

I hope you enjoyed the year’s effort and will continue to read in the new year.

Christmas Eve in Bulgaria

Image via Wikipedia

After the last family member packed up goodies and said goodnight, Rob and I snuggled up in a delicious hug and he complimented my fine turn at hostess, a role that hangs on me like a Snuggie made of sandpaper.

“We haven’t done too badly, ” I agreed, “for two people who are as anti-social as we are.”

He just laughed.

Inadvertently, we find ourselves in the midst of a blizzard of relations that is slowing but not completely stopped.

My mother-in-law and her fiance arrived on Wednesday and will not leave until tomorrow night. Shelley’s ex-brother-in-law’s sister hosted us for Christmas Eve after the nephew she shares in common with Shelley invited us.

It is an odd thing for some to wrap their mind around – family that is not family – but one I grew up. Many of my “cousins” were actually the children of my parents’ friends.

Dee wanted to know how everyone at the Christmas Eve gathering was related to her. Because her older sisters are related, she believes she must be as well. My attempt at explaining the metaphysics relationship just caused her brow to crinkle so I said,

“They are cousins.”

Cousins is a handy term with elastic possibilities.

Shelley’s older sister, who drinks a bit and has the convenient memory thing to boot, couldn’t attend, so the evening was stress-free and enjoyable.

Christmas Day couldn’t have gone any better. Really. There is nothing to top “perfect”.

The older kids arrived promptly for breakfast despite having outlasted us the night before and not getting to bed themselves until 3.

The Fiance fit in well. And food, presents, Wii, lunch, movie, more Wii and dinner later found us still companionable and pleasant.

Rob’s younger sister twisted the tension knob and amp’d it last evening with her arrival and we are having lunch with them today, so the fun will continue.

Oh, it wasn’t a trailer park death match in a cage. More like kitty claws.

Her older sister was much the same. They both revel almost in telling tales on their mother, who apparently could have used a book or two on the topic of parenting.

It’s not that I don’t understand having a mother who didn’t have natural instinct for it, but I don’t personally think that it does anyone any good to beat a horse that died long ago or keep its stinking juicy carcass in your main living space.

I tried to coerce Edie and Mick into coming for dinner last night in the hopes that they could steer conversation. Lord knows that the boyfriend my SIL brought along was doing his level best to deflect and distract, but Rob’s siblings are like dogs with new chewies when they see an opening. Give up a chance to rehash a miserable childhood? Not happening.

My own family managed a bit of shared time on the dysfunction front.

N2 and his father are moving back to the hometown and N2 is in full emo regalia. The likely outcome of this move is his finally dropping out of high school because the world needs another can’t-tell-him-anything skill deficient half-assed educated teen pounding the pavement for employment.

“Just don’t let him suck you into funding the beginning of his wasted life,” I cautioned my Mom – not that any advice I might have given or ever gave her she’s listened to and acted on.

“Oh, I won’t,” she assured me.

Of course that remains to be seen. The likeliest scenario – because N2 is an emotional carbon copy of his mother – is quit school, be a burden, knock up his white trash girlfriend and be more of a burden.  But some people need to be forty-four and burdened with children of their own before they catch the clues of the universe instead of head-butting them. I refuse to be drawn in and will send a baby gift when the time arrives and coo at appropriate times.

Family is like too much curry though. Spicy eventually numbs and dampens the appetite.

Despite the scary success of the holiday, I am ready for it to be over.

In the word’s of Bilbo Baggins, “Don’t adventures ever end?”

Last night in the quiet of what will be our awesome new living, I told Rob,

“Next year – no big family things at our house.”

I want the neutral corner.

Wall between office/living room

Image by adamrice via Flickr

Apparently, houses stay up better with load bearing walls. Who knew?

No, the house hasn’t collapsed and the beam didn’t drop on my head as I helped steady it though I had visions of an ER visit, split skull and concussion whenever it wobbled.

Unsurprisingly, my husband did not ask for help even though I was sitting not ten feet away in the office and he could have called Silver earlier in the evening as Edie offered his assistance not once but twice in the same number of days this week.

I had to insist a bit. Not because I enjoy helping. All things hoisting provoke visions of muscle tearing and ligament wrenching when it doesn’t simply make me fear for my safety in general. I offered because the grunting is scary and the thumps – alarming.

By quarter to eleven – yes, that’s P.M. – one of new beams was in place and Dee, at least, was not likely to wake up in the former dining room.

The dust had settled enough to vacuum, which was good because my skin itched even where there were no hives and my eyes, one of which had nearly swelled shut, felt as raw as my sinuses. This was not, perhaps, the best week to be scheduled for allergy testing as I am not allowed any antihistamines or cold medication.

Fortunately, a yoga buddy clued me to the awesome power of gogi berry capsules. Two and my eyes were merely itchy as opposed to clamping shut.

The beams replace the load bearing wall and should be up and secured by end of week – all six of them. After that the front room opens up to us again and we can begin making hurried preparations for Christmas.

Rob’s family – blood and in-law – are converging from all directions, and I have a feeling that things will be Chinese curse equivalent at the very least.

But one interesting moment at a time.