I just got home from our annual Family Christmas Planning Brunch. Thank God this only comes around once a year. There’s just so many of us (eleven kids plus two parents, though two kids are overseas and one’s at college so we only had seven), and everybody has to chime in on everything. It was three and a half hours that felt like a small lifetime. Even then we didn’t get everything done, so we’re going to have Christmas Planning Brunch: The Sequel sometime in November. I love my family, I really do. Just they make me feel so… claustrophobic.

What made it even more fun was that Heather, the sister I get along with the least, was especially fragile. She just found out that she’s being laid off. Her employers lost a major contract, and since she was the one most recently hired, she gets the ax. There had been some planning mix-ups about the brunch itself, and I hadn’t been notified that the time had been pushed back two hours to accommodate Heather’s schedule . At the beginning of the meeting, I asked that if we were going to change the time of a group event like this that we have at least a week’s notice. Heather decided that this was a personal attack against her, and said that the time had been open to change since no specific time had been set on the calendar. I stated that this wasn’t true, since I’d had it on my calendar with the original time for months. She decided this meant that I was calling her a liar, and proceeded to have an emotional outburst, complete with swear words, at the brunch table. Perhaps this is nothing unusual for most families, but I have a mother who doesn’t want us to even use the word “crap” because she considers it unacceptably vulgar. Thankfully Heather reined herself in about that point, or things could have gotten even more dramatic. Unfortunately, since this was in front of the entire family, everyone had to chime in immediately afterwards with their analysis, attempts to reconcile the two of us, recommendations for avoiding similar situations in the future, etc. By the time I got them to move on we were already an hour into the meeting and had accomplished precisely nothing. It was lovely.

The good thing is that we’ve established some important groundwork for the holiday season, including scheduling all the major family events, of which there are many. We’re a family who really likes to celebrate the whole Christmas season, not just one day. So there’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Family Gift Giving Day, Going To See A Movie Together, Preparing for Events, and the Huge Blowout New Year’s Day Party, with smaller things tucked in here and there between. I really like how we celebrate. I just wish there were a way to do it without the meetings.

In other news, I wore my Princess Pupule costume to the Halloween dance last night, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.  The costume was a hit.  As I was paying my admission, Jenn spied the basket of papayas I’d parked on the counter.  “Are those papayas?” she asked incredulously.  “Yes,” I said, “Do you know why?”  “Oh, yeah!” she said, and started laughing.  It was awesome.  And really, if you need a costume you can dance in, a hula girl costume is hard to beat!  It’s comfortable, not too hot, and the grass skirt really flies when you spin.  I wore two of them over my ballet leotard and tights, with leis around my neck, one pinned in my hair, and another twisted around my ankle.  I’ll wear the costume again at the weekly dance on Wednesday.  I have to say I’m looking forward to it!

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