succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Megan's First Christmas

So I hosted my first Christmas this year. And it's funny, because I didn't really think it was any big deal - I'm lucky enough to have a large enough apartment to provide sleeping quarters, I generally get along with my family, and I love playing hostess. Plus, I knew Dad would still do all of the cooking, so I didn't really think of it as hosting Christmas, just providing a convenient location for Christmas to happen. But everyone I talked to sort of oohed about the size of the undertaking, and honestly, it did take some work. And the nicest surprise, was that my family noticed! I hadn't really thought that much about the preparations as I was going through them, they were just the things I do when people are coming to stay at my place. But Mom and Dad both made a point of thanking me and saying what a nice holiday I had provided everyone. Which is just really, really sweet and important to me.

So overall, the holidays were good. I was pissed at my brother prior to his arrival*, and we didn't get the opportunity to work it out, but he didn't get on my nerves all that much while he was here, and even seemed to get along ok with my parents. We're spending Easter together, so I'm hoping to work up the nerve for a more serious heart-to-heart about our relationship and his communication skills.

Mom and Dad arrived last Friday evening and we went out for tapas for Mom's birthday. Saturday was shopping and other errands and a nice long walk around the neighborhood and cooking and a large dinner party at my friend Brian's. Sunday was picking my brother up from the train station and baking cookies and making chex mix and midnight mass. Monday was sleeping in, opening presents, noshing on bread and cheese and wine, the big Christmas dinner (and a lovely toast to family), Thank You for Smoking (hilarious, but troubling that apparently several people have told my brother he is exactly like the main character, and he seems proud of this comparison), and a nice dessert visit from Flick. Tuesday was braving the post-xmas mall crowds (not too bad) and making mocha log (imagine fudge + coffee) and hanging out (Mom is now also addicted to My Boys). Wednesday was the High Museum for Louvre Atlanta (very nice, but a smallish exhibit, so I'd say you should be interested in other aspects of the museum as well to make the entrance fee worth it) and sunset at the Botanical Gardens and then the aforementioned drunkapades for my brother's birthday. Thursday was dropping him off at the airport, spending forever in Best Buy so Mom and Dad could get new cell phones (then giggling the rest of the afternoon as they became two little kids with technological toys that they had to explore), picking the Canadians up at the train station, then dinner and drinks at the Cuban place across the street. Friday was the MLK center and a walking tour of King's childhood neighborhood (all excellent and highly recommended; I'm ashamed to have lived here nearly four years and not been before) and strolling around the gardens at the Carter Center. Dad made a great pasta dinner and we indulged in several glasses of wine and rum and eggnog and dorked out to a PBS special about all the various musical guests on the Ed Sullivan show. They left this morning, and I miss them. It doesn't help that we don't have our next visit planned out. It'll happen, we don't live very far apart, it just isn't on the calendar yet, but it contributes to the missing.

So I crawled back in to bed after they left and indulged in a couple of hours of The Long Way Round (really a must see for any Ewan McGregor fan). I've managed to start a few loads of laundry, but am otherwise staving off a return to reality. One of the nicer aspects of having the family here was that I was actually more on vacation than when I go home to WV. On most of my trips there, I still manage to sneak off for a couple of hours every few days and get some work done. But I was totally turned off while they were here, which was great. I occasionally checked and responded to e-mail, but zero work. Remarkably, even after a full week of family time, I really didn't find myself needing some private time, and using work as an excuse to get it. Sure, part of me is thinking that it's nice now to have the place to myself, to lounge around and watch too many hours of tv and really dig in to my latest novel some more...but while they were here, I really didn't get claustraphobic.

Anyway, enough rambling. Laundry calls.

*One of the (many) things I'm working on in therapy is untangling my relationship with my brother from his relationship with our parents. Family mythology dictates that he is unreliable and a nearly pathological liar. It's hard for me to get a handle on how much of that is really true, based on things that I know first hand, versus things that I've come to believe based on interactions with my parents. So I'm slow to judge, and full of excuses for him. But I have to confess, I think Kathy is right - he does choose to lie and/or withhold information in a manipulative way so that he can feel like he has the power in a relationship. And I need to stop making excuses for him, and call him on it, because I am hopeful that I can convince him that I am not so much like Mom and Dad, and that he and I can work around to a much more honest collection of interactions. Or, perhaps, that I won't continue to be a part of a manipulative relationship with him. Honesty or nothing. I don't think I quite have the balls for the latter ultimatum sort of conversation. Sigh.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Clermont

Ah yes, my previous drunk posting definitely left out some key details. It is, in fact, a little weird and creepy and awkward to go to a strip club with your brother on his birthday. But the Clermont is a far cry from, say, the Pink Pony. In fact, it's an Atlanta institution, and on Saturday nights features the best dance party in town. The rest of the week, well, the rest of the week it's a mostly sad little dive bar featuring equal parts hipsters and alcoholics. But as the brother's birthday was on a Wednesday night, and he was displeased with the 12:45am last call, the bartender at the Irish pub recommended the Clermont and there was no denying a tourist excursion with hopes of seeing Blondie crush a PBR can between her boobs. You see, the strippers at the Clermont are all, well, interesting. And bitter and funny and yell at the patrons. So it's an adventure. We had already agreed to add bowling to our evening (my friend has recently become obsessed with our all-night bowling alley, and the promise of more beer convinced my brother). So the strip club was just a brief detour, and it was easy to convince to boys to stick around only long enough for one beer. The End.

The brother left yesterday, the parents leave tomorrow. Hopefully a return to 'normal' blogging will ensue shortly thereafter.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


So my family has been here for nearly a week, and they're actually not driving me all that crazy. My brother and I still need to have words (I caught him in a bald faced lie, and need to confront him about it, and tell him that if our grown-up-sibling relationship is to progress, he has to stop lying to me), but the opportunity hasn't presented itself. Tonight was his 29th birthday, and one of my friends was gracious enough to not only join us in the festivities, but be our DD. Here are the highlights:

"I'm only tipping her because she has nice teeth"

That's right. My brother's birthday celebrations started at an Irish bar (I tipped the local performer to do Country Roads), included a strip club, and concluded with bowling.

"Not once, not twice, but thrice."
in reference to my friend's claim that the last three times he had heard Mariah Carey it was in a strip club (I just like the use of thrice in a strip club).

"You can tell a lot about a family by their chex mix...M&Ms in there, maybe a gay kid in the family."

Earlier today also included trips to the High Museum for Louvre Atlanta and the Botanical Gardens. I'm too drunk for other highlights/insights.