Sunday, December 23, 2007

Poisonous Plants and Family Fun

Christmas is an interesting time. Young adults returning home are re-integrated into their families, and reminded, more often than not, just how crazy their families are. Fortunately, my family is crazy in a loving and entertaining way. I snapped this photo around the lunch table the other day.


My mom's parents (foreground) are in their 90s, but still absolutely sharp. That can be a problem, though, because we can't hide any dirt or interior decorating imperfections from Grandma, who has a college degree in home economics (really!). My mom (clutching coffee mug) is a hyperactive dynamo, who insures that our days are full of activity and confusion. I.e. right now everyone is running around getting things ready for a dinner party, to which Mom has invited everyone she knows on the island (it should be fun). Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary Garland (back of table) do their best to adapt their quiet, organized natures to our hectic ways. My dad, in the green shirt at the end of the table, bears the brunt of the family stress and converts it into humorous grumpiness and industry. His sleeves are constantly rolled up because he is suffering from Toxicodentron striatum poisoning acquired by touching the potent poison ivy relative three weeks ago in Venezuela. He says even the softest shirt now feels like burlap on a raw wound. My sister (not pictured) is perfectly at home in the chaos, able to talk at 1000 words per minute to three people at once. Her husband Joonas (dark hair) deals with our family by living nocturnally and sleeping all afternoon. I haven't seen him yet today.


My own strategy is to be very passive, and to escape frequently for windsurfing, beach walks, or computer work. Yesterday I got a great session in with a 6.9 sail and 114 liter board. It was a lot more relaxing than Friday's intimidating, washing-machine conditions, and I was able to practice riding both upwind and downwind on a wave while on the same tack.

Despite our often-divergent agendas, our family managed to unify last night for dinner in Charleston, and to watch "The Golden Compass". The movie was really good. A lot better than I thought it would be.

No comments: