October 08, 2004

The Answer To the Big Question Is:

Yes, they’re real.

But the answer to the SECOND most-asked question is…..
Well, this might take a while. Go get a cold drink and a cushion for your tushion.
I think for the first part at least, that answer might be served by duplication here of an email I sent to my best friend Tonya, upon my return from the infamous Visit Back Home……

Miss T.,
Well, I have return-ed. And I am, if possible, more full of...
Stop it. I haven't even started this email and already you're telling tales on me. :-)
Full of, as I STARTED to say before someone got smartass telepathically (ahem), tales and tales of Life Outside the Boundaries of Normal Genetics. Shortbus Land. The Kingdom of Damian-clones.
I'll pause and let you absorb the majesty and awe that are my great Intriguing Intro Skillz.
You through yet? No?

This is probably my main storytelling downfall: the inability to omit boring, meaningless details.

But just look at the time... here I've dithered away about everything but what's been going on in Holy Shit These Can't Be MY Relatives Land and now I have to go start my day of errands designed to get this place back into liveable shape. The car nearly didn't start yesterday, I'm only hoping it will this morning. Poor neglected battery. And it has cobwebs going from the tires to the ground... so weird. Inches-deep dust and bird poop on it.

I also have to go to the post office and collect all the mail they've been holding. I suspect the tires will go flat from the weight of it all.

Speaking of weight, nope... haven't lost an ounce. I've probably gained, since my mom is the queen of gravy. That woman can make gravy out of anything.... I bet she could take olive jar leavings and whip up a lump-free bonanza. I was sorry to have to push back from the table.

Returned home to find the goldfish had ALL survived, even though the automated feeder thingy had gone empty who knows when. Amazing. And the water wasn't even green and scummy, so I'm guessing I have a better filter than I suspected. But one of my kitchen drawers had tasted the forbidden fruit of breakage, and was dangling precariously from a busted holder-upper bit. (Doncha love it when I flash my mad techno-wordage skills? ) So either Carlos or one of the Joses will be over today to look at it and say "Ooooh, seeenyooora, dat is bad bust. I go geet part." and disappear for a week or two.

Holy crapatoly, until I tried to organize all that my disappearance from the face of the civilized world contained, I didn't realize how impossible such a task is, so let me try to sum up:
Do not ever, ever let me get on a plane with the intention of visiting anyone but my mom ever again. Seriously. Come to my house and put a paper sack over my head and leave me on the freeway median with a sign that says "Pathetic Attempt To Be Loving Family Member... Please Give Money or Pizza".

Now, I love my mom. I would walk through fire and brimstone for that woman, despite the fact I spent my teen years wishing she would be abducted by aliens, but only after supper because I always need gravy. My mom has kept her sense of humor and her good nature despite the travails of her children. And she went out of her way to keep me entertained and make sure I had my favorite mom-cooked meals and shielded me as best she could from Dad's constant requests that I fix his computer.
It was a great three weeks with my mom.
And then I completely fucked up.
I went to stay with my sisters.

So.... on Thursday, my mom and dad put me in the car and drove me out to the farm, where I'd have other little puppies to play with, and fields to romp in, and would never ever get in trouble for constantly piddling on the good rug... or at least that's what they told Timmy, when in reality they stuffed my ass in a sack and gave me to Wong's Special Yummy Chop Suey Palace, and how do you like your fucking eggrolls now, Jack?
Sorry... previous life flashback......

On the 19th we went to North Carolina, to my sister Marie's house, because Marie and Ames had paid half of my plane fare and deserved some Quality Time with me. Quality Time means "thank jesus there's someone else here to absorb the constant shrieking demands for attention from Our Little Princess".

And they give the kid EVERYTHING she wants, and most of it is very loud battery-operated toys. I did not, in the three days I was there, see the kid eat anything. She would stomp her foot and demand this and that be prepared for her, then leave it sit on her own private "Elizabeth's eating place" table. She went to bed when she wanted. She had a very elaborate waking-up ritual that entailed staggering while whining down to the couch, refusing to talk to anyone until she screamed for juice and poptarts, which she of course promptly ignored, and huddled in the corner of the sofa while Mommy and Daddy hovered, asking over and over in soft, "poor little lamb" tones.... "Elizabeth baby, do you want some toast? Eggs? Filet of hummingbird?" "Sweetie girl, what can Mommy do for you?"

I watched NOTHING but Olympics while I was there. The television is never allowed, even in the middle of the night, to be tuned to a station that MIGHT show SOMETHING that could possibly upset Elizabeth. Even the weather channel is verboten, because Elizabeth-pooh is afraid of storms.

On the upside, Marie has a cat. Well, she has three cats but Murray is a scratching, biting bitch that lets no one but Ames touch her, and Daffy should be on kitty lithium. But Shelly.... oh how I wish I'd had my camera with me.
Shelly weighs over 25 pounds. Shelly has one eye. Shelly will let you pet him when he is in one position ONLY... draped over the left arm of the big sofa. Shelly loves being petted this way so much he drools. And once Shelly finds out you will pet him, he loves you.
Shelly followed me around the entire time I was there. I would have gladly sold Elizabeth to the Albanians if it meant more quality time with Shelly. Hell, I would have given her to the Albanians anyway. But a little spare cash is always good.

Mom and Dad stayed the night, and then went on to Lynn's, an hour and a half away. On their way back to West Virginia on Sunday, they stopped by again just so Mom could tell me goodbye again. Marie and Lynn, who was there to pick me up to take me to her hell.... er, house.... found this "stupid". "Why does she need to say goodbye to you again? It's pathetic."

I am not in jail for homicide... does this give you an idea of what good behaviour I was on?

So Lynn loaded up the chairs she'd begged off Marie's neighbor who was moving, and the table Ames really wanted to keep but had nowhere to put it, and anything else she could lay hands on, and then allowed that maybe there was room for me to fit in, if I didn't mind holding her purse and a case of soda in my lap. Considering I would have to fly out from the airport the following Thursday (this was Sunday) and considering Lynn lived 30 minutes from said airport and it would be the only way I would escape eventually, I agreed.

So I wound up at Lynn's house, home to Lynn, husband Mike, son Payne, daughter Claire, and baby Brooke. Also elderly, incontinent dog Tyler and new kitten with contagious ringworm, Toby.

I should have borrowed a gallon or two of Valium from Mom.

Lynn managed to get lost on our way to her house. I made jokes about being found, skeletal in the woods beside the freeway, bears wearing our lingerie hovering near our bones..... had I only know, I would have gotten out of the car and gotten the bears their own Victoria's Secret account and taught them the best way to barbeque Californians.
Preferable. Trust me.

Once I got there, Payne (age 8) and Claire (age 6 but weighing over 78 pounds) tried immediately to go through my luggage. I stopped them and Payne actually smacked me in the face.
Lynn laughed.
This was not a good omen, but was an accurate predictor of the way the rest of the visit went.

Typical day in Lynn's house.
1. Mike wisely leaves for work at 5AM, not to return until 8:30PM or later. Mike is a Smart Guy.
2. Lynn drags herself, complaining about EVERYTHING and talking ceaselessly, in between screaming fits at the kids, about how much she has to do today and how she cannot STAND IT ONE MORE MINUTE if she has to leave the living room walls painted off-white, because it's so tacky to have white walls.
3. I make trivial comment about weather. Lynn snorts that I don't know what I'm talking about.
4. Payne and Claire are screamed at repeatedly to get up but DON'T YOU DARE WAKE UP THAT BABY (Brooke, age 2 1/2).
5. Lynn expresses loud anger and disappointment that Brooke wakes up and clings to Lynn's leg demanding juice. This, of course, is the fault of Payne and Claire.
6. Payne and Claire pass the time before the school bus arrives by loudly mocking everything I say, backtalking Lynn, refusing to get dressed, and complaining about the quality of the lunches Lynn is packing for them.
7. I try to help out by getting Brooke juice, but am rejected by shrieking toddler who will only let "Mommy do! Mommy do!"
8. Lynn tells me to quit upsetting Brooke.
9. Lunch making is the process of asking Payne and Claire what they want, debating loudly with them what they want vs. what is available, lots of screaming back and forth about contents of lunch and how horrible it is, and then bitching throughout process of making it about how it's keeping her from her true goal today, to paint the playroom.
10. Kids go to school in a whirl of screaming.
11. Lynn sits down with her coffee to talk nonstop about painting the playroom, inability of finding just the right color of yellow for the living room which so far has cost her over seventeen gallons of test paint (at $38 a gallon). She will remain like this for the better part of the morning.
12. Incessant whining from Brooke to "go pool" finds us in the mini-van, going to the pool at the YMCA. (PS... never been so miserable in my life as I was going there. My fat, snow-white flesh exposed to a horde of Perfect Young Mothers with a combined body fat of 12%... I mentioned maybe I'd just wear my capri pants and Lynn reassured me with a kind "Nobody gives a shit about how fat you are, shut up.” )
13. Come home, and Lynn goes into panic at how she has only 2 hours left before the kids get home from school to paint. Paints in between phone calls to various friends, to discuss how stressed out she is about getting painting done.
14. Kids come home.... jet plane-level decibel discussion begins about doing homework.
15. Other battles include dinner, bathtime, bedtime, and rants about how the kids treat her so badly.

Now, let me say that until this, Lynn and I had a fine and dandy phone-based relationship. We'd talk and laugh for hours, albeit quite often about how she needed to get things painted and how the kids were driving her insane.
I smiled and bit my tongue until it bled for 2 /12 days. I listened to many many lectures about how "stupid" it was for my husband and I to continue to live in California after he retired. Explanations of that it was where we CHOOSE to live were brushed aside as "ridiculous". I listened to many recitations of how much this piece of furniture had cost, and how much that landscaping had cost, and why it was so important for the house to be perfect and why only losers didn't own property. I had, absolutely no exaggeration here, every single opinion I expressed dismissed as "wrong" "stupid" or "oh shit, don't make me listen to that." Eventually I stopped talking and was scolded for "clamming up".

On Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of Lynn yelling about how "ignorant" it was of Mom not to paint her eggshell-beige living room a nice cerise, I felt it coming and made a break for the bathroom. Lynn, of course, needed to know where I was going.
I turned around and managed to get out "To the john" and began just crying.
Lynn went ballistic.

She started screaming at me how DARE I act like this in front of her children, how DARE I make them see me behaving this way.
Let me explain: I was crying. Not yelling . Not cursing. Just crying from stress finally overwhelming me.
She screamed I was scaring the kids. The kids, by the way, were watching it all like it was a circus act and making fun of me all the while. Brooke was yelling for "joosbox".
I tried to get to the bathroom and Lynn pushed the door open and demanded I tell her what the FUCK I was acting like this for. I tried to explain I was just tired of hearing everything I had to say knocked down. Lynn screamed, so close to me spit flew into my face, "NAME ONE TIME! ONE FUCKING TIME!" Then she came at me with her hands up like she was going to hit me. I grabbed her arms, shoved her away and hissed "Don't you fucking touch me".
And then, friends, Romans, and countrymen, I lost it too.

It was nothing but a scream fest for over fifteen minutes. For my part, after the first five I got it out of my system and tried to walk away. But that wasn't dramatic enough for Lynn. She stood over me as I got my stuff together with only ideas of escape, shrieking "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW! GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!"
I finally said "If you'd shut up and leave me alone, I might be able to."

Need I mention that set her off anew? She stomped and raved and babbled and shrieked and blamed me for it all. She said I was an ungrateful bitch who had begged to come visit and see how I behaved.
I interrupted to say I had NEVER asked for the ticket, it was offered and I accepted ... and since when did "grateful" mean "eat every bit of shit given to you"?
She went on to clamor that I didn't appreciate my nieces and nephews who only wanted to be close to me and love me, these perfect little children. These are the same children, might I add, that she had in sobbing hysterics the night before because she'd told them she was fed up with how they acted toward her and was going to leave and never come back.
Finally she realized I was a boring audience because I'd ceased to acknowledge anything she shrieked and went off to call someone to rant at. I took my stuff and the T pages out of the phone book and sat on the front porch, dialing taxi company after taxi company from my cell phone, trying to find someone willing to come to the 'burbs to get me.
I finally found some Middle-Eastern sounding guy to agree to come fetch me in "two or tree hours, mizzuz", when Lynn slammed open the front door and smacked me on the shoulder with the phone.
"MY mother wants to talk to you."..... stomp stomp slam.
Mom asked me what happened and how did it start?
All I did, Mom, was cry.... and it made Lynn go nuts.
Mom said to wait for Mike to get home and have him take me to a hotel near the airport and did I have enough money? I said I'd called a cab, with that plan in mind, and Mom said the usual trying to make me feel better things and we hung up.

Then Mike came home. I sat on the porch and waited for my cab.
Mike came out on the porch and stood on the step above me. I finally looked up at him and it was amazing. He wasn't pissed. He said "I heard you had a hard day." I very nearly started crying again. I told him I had gotten stressed and started crying and it made Lynn just explode and then I exploded and while I had said some things I know I shouldn't have, I didn't think it should have come to this.
Mike just shook his head and said he'd been estranged from his brother for over 10 years and he knew how stuff like this could happen, Then he offered me a ride to the airport. I asked if Lynn wouldn't give him grief over it. He said no, it was her idea... the exact words had been "Get that fucking bitch off my property."

So Mike gave me a ride out to a hotel near the airport, and made sure I got a corporate rate, and told me not to worry.....
This is the brother in law I'd been absolutely sure, up until that day, thought less of me than dogfood. And here he'd been the only thing that kept me from sleeping in the airport bathroom.

And so I got a room, called Mom and reassured her I was okay.... listened to her tell me Lynn's version of it....
Apparently I started yelling at Lynn for no reason and called Claire an "ungrateful bitch".... which is just what Lynn had called me. I told Mom I just wanted to drop it, but my opinion of Lynn was that she was a self-centered, controlling drama queen who was, if not already, very close to certifiably crazy.
Mom said she really couldn't disagree.
And I went to bed, fell asleep watching "Family Guy"..... I love that show.

My husband called from somewhere in the Gulf this morning and I told him about the whole Lynn debacle. He got that kind of quiet that meant, from past experience, he was getting his voice under control. Finally he said "We can visit your mom. We can visit your brother. But if I ever, ever see your sister, I will have to be forcibly restrained from killing her."
I do love that man so much.

So there you have it. I am persona non grata in all of North Carolina, since Lynn has undoubtedly gotten out the phonebook to the entire state and possibly South Carolina and northern Georgia as well. Ah well, I like Florida the best... it has Disneyworld.
For my part, as soon as I came home I took down any pictures of Lynn or Marie or their kids and put them away. Yes, childish but it made me feel better.

So there you have it. If you boil it down without all my tedious detail, it probably would go like this:
1. I love my mom, so visiting her was good.
2. My sisters have terrible spoiled children who get on my nerves.
3. Lynn is an ego-centric control freak who verges on obsessive/compulsive.
4. I am not allowed to ever ever show emotion, because if I do....
5. All hell breaks loose and I am voted off the island.
6. But my flight home was fun because it had a stop in Vegas and was packed with two separate bachelor parties on their ways there.
7. And I will never ever leave my nest again, no matter how nice the worms are on the other side of the fence.
So.... how was your weekend?
Later, tater!

Now…. after I’d sent this encyclopedia off, I re-read it, and read it again, and I began to think. Since this was something new, I had to stop and start a few times, but the summation of it all came to this:
A mother’s love is truly without a doubt the most non-judgmental in the world.
Yes, I realize this is a given. Yes, I realize this is not a new thought. Yes, I realize I have to stop using “Yes, I realize” to begin all my sentences.

What led me to this epiphany was the fact that my mother, throughout this whole homegrown Chernobyl, never once assigned blame. She loves me. She loves her other daughters.
Unconditionally and without judgment.
Fine. In fact, absolutely wonderful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dear readers, here is where I left the Rationality Train and began my own individual choo-choo down the track of Spontaneous Tangent Freakouts.

If a mother’s love is unconditional and non-judgmental, sez I to myself, then it means mothers admire and praise their children’s every effort. Witness countless refrigerator art galleries of scrawled smudgings that are second only to the Sistine Chapel, according to Mom.
And, let’s take it a step further… if Mom loves everything regardless of its true value, and if Mom has been telling me every since I was a little baby Cheese that every word I wrote was Steinbeckian in its perfection, then could it be…
Just could it be…
That I write like crap? Really write like crap?
And a mother’s love was my all-obscuring white-out?

So I stopped.
Cold turkey. Dead in the water. Full stop.

I had full intentions of deleting the entire blog. In point of fact, I couldn’t bring myself to even read any other blogs. Good, bad, indifferent…. babbled, reasoned, poetic….. I was a papercut and they were lemon juice.
I didn’t even read my emails for weeks.
Until today, when I finally read some of them.
I decided I don’t need Viagra nor do I want a Nigerian pen pal.
Then I read the others. The ones from other bloggers, and those who read me, and those who think I don't suck too much and those who miss me.
And I boiled it all down to the most basic of facts….. I don’t make you puke.
You have read me in the past, you would read me in the future, and I don’t make you puke.
A girl can’t ask for much more than that.
I don’t have to be Shakespeare. I don’t have to even be coherent. Obviously.
I just have to (for my own fidgetty, wanna write but don’t wanna suck, self) continue.

And that’s where I’ve been, you guys. Curled up inside my own stinky navel.
Worrying about psychotic ex-sisters, a mother’s love, and non-reguritation.
And now I’m back, and blogging will resume as per usual.
But first, I need a shower. I smell like bellybutton lint.

Posted by LeeAnn at October 8, 2004 05:54 PM

Holy shit girl...That's one crazy ride. I am soooo glad you made it back in one piece. Just confirms my belief that most people are insane and hazardous to my health. Really though, I missed you bunches and I'm glad you're ok. BTW, what does bellybutton lint smell like? Just curious...

Posted by: Lynn (Not your crazy sister) at October 8, 2004 08:54 PM

I did have something inspiring to say but it sounded like crap. I'll just say that I'm glad you survived and are back to blogging. I missed your story tellin'.

Posted by: zenwanderer at October 8, 2004 09:13 PM

Whew! Now that's a ride and a half! I don't know what to say, except that I've missed you so much while you were gone... and not being your mother, I don't gotta be nice. *grin*

Now - I haven't quite achieved this pinnacle of family give and take (my sisters don't have kids) but I do know that as siblings go - the relationships in our family do ever so much better over phone lines. My husband and I get the family stress from both sides - not quite so loudly, but very nasty nonetheless.

So, here's my suggestion - how bout we dump the siblings and form our own family??? We'd do even better since... we blog! Hang in there!

Posted by: Teresa at October 8, 2004 10:00 PM

Many many hugs. :)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 8, 2004 11:01 PM

I love your blog. It's on my favorites list and I read it daily. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Tiffanie at October 9, 2004 07:37 AM

Wow. Nobody deserves that. It will be interesting too see how her kids turn out as she is seriously damaging them on so many levels. It seems like 'Lynn' needs to get some type of counseling. I have three boys, much closer in age than hers, and things got bad... but I promise you... our home has never been like that... not even close.

Posted by: Boudicca at October 9, 2004 04:45 PM

Welcome back sweetie! No, you're not Shakespeare, but that's ok because we've already got one of them. You're you, and that's who I come to read and enjoy.

Take care and be well.

Posted by: Ted at October 9, 2004 06:47 PM

I know that you don't know me from Adam's off ox, but I like your stuff. I, too, have had problems with my family, so you have my sympathies.

Posted by: Terry at October 9, 2004 07:55 PM

You so do not suck.

Spin it back up, oh Cheesy One. We's waitin'!


Posted by: Light & Dark at October 9, 2004 09:41 PM

If you give me enough alcohol, you could make me puke. Otherwise, we're cool.

Welcome back!

(Lemur pics on the way)

Posted by: Da Goddess at October 9, 2004 09:48 PM

Damn. I just feel like the "original heel" for not being one of those who sent you an email asking about your whereabouts and your condition. I just checked back every two or three day's, saw your "Blog on hiatus" post, and figured that "Life" had just happenned, and you'd be back when you got back. I expected an interesting story, but nothing like this.

I realize that I don't comment enough (here or elswhere) to let other bloggers know that I appreciate them. It is my solemn promise to correct that.

I'm very glad that there's others out there who showed their concern in a more visceral way, and that they convinced you that your particular brand of writing has merit. If a world without cheese is bad, a world without the "ChesseMistress" would be hell.

Much Love,


Posted by: Johnny - Oh at October 9, 2004 11:35 PM

LeeAnn, you are SO a good writer. I also have a borderline-psychotic sister (who thankfully has not reproduced) so my empathy is enormous. Hugs...

Posted by: Susie at October 10, 2004 09:30 AM

I'm very glad you're back!

Your post gave me flashbacks: I had a cousin just like Elizabeth, and his parents exactly the same. I used to hate HATE going to their house, but since they were the only relatives living in CA we spent a lot of weekends, all holidays and a few vacations with them. And Lynne... I went to England to visit a friend who'd moved there with her husband. She pulled the same crap on me, the only difference being after the fact she went to her room and refused to speak to me for the rest of my stay. It was scary, and I can well imagine how awful it was for you . What makes it worse is that it was family. [HUGS]

Posted by: Ith at October 10, 2004 12:26 PM

I came over from Beth's link. Friggin fabulous post to read! Friggin fabulous! I'll be back. I had a crummy weekend, in some weird, freaky, far out way, you made it all better.

Posted by: BeeBee at October 10, 2004 05:17 PM

I dunno about Steinbeckian, but damn, girl, you're FUNNY at times, and I love reading your stuff.

My own blog isn't that great, but it's just a way of keeping involved with friends while I am living under a rock ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H a life whose activities are confined to whatever I can do with a 3-year-old with special needs and 1-year-old twins. (Since the nanny left for a more convenient job closer to her home (we haven't found a replacement yet), a lot of that has been shopping after 8PM and gleeful blogging about actually going to WHOLE FOODS! just to give you an idea....)

And if you're not writing for yourself, it's probably not worth reading. What I've read seems to be by someone who enjoys just writing for herself, and the exuberance of that at times is what keeps me coming back.

And I'm reading blogs that are crap compared to yours, just because I care about the bloggers -- and your blog has made me care about you.

Love your writing, glad you're back, and hope to read a few new entries from you this week.

Posted by: Julia at October 10, 2004 07:42 PM

Lee Ann, I won't try to add much here, just this. It is because of the fact that there are only a few things that interest me (not something I brag about) that my visits here are fairly infrequent and my comments few. I make no claim to be a well rounded individual (though I get rounder the further past 55 I get), I have a few things I care about and not much to say about anything else.
Having said that, when I do drop by I tend to read and scroll until I've read everything since my last visit, even when you are writing about things that ordinarily I would avoid for lack of caring.
I figure that means that you're a pretty fair writer. The only other explanation would be that I'm some kind of wierd stalker and I don't visit often enough for that.
As for your sisters? Ain't like we get to pick out our siblings.

Posted by: Peter at October 10, 2004 11:13 PM

Wow, "what a strange trip it has been" for you! But let me just say this, I can relate as I have a sister similar to yours. I went for a visit once and my 4 year old son very respectfully said to my sister when she stopped by one day, "Please Aunty, could we not talk for 5 minutes. You have talked ever since you got here and I'm getting a headache." Out of the mouth of babes. That was my epiphany. Sisters are that way with everyone. Others tolerate them because (a) they have a greater capacity for patience, or suffering
(b) they are just like her and not only empathize, they understand and accept this behavior as normal.

There's a reason why we have blogs, and that post is why. It gives us a space to deposit the toxic fumes accumulating within our brain that would otherwise corrode our insides!

I can say that I've always enjoyed your writing. And the first rule of writing is to accept where you are with your writing. Shakespeare re-wrote his plays and poems over and over and over again, so the end result seems like effortless genius. It wasn't, he struggled and struggled, and we only got to see the end result.

YOU have a wonderful style. It's not like Shakespeare's or Hemingway or other's, it's uniquely your own, reflective of who you are. We come here not for any of those guys but to read Lee Ann's perspective on life and the world around you. Which to this reader is pretty funny and interesting perspective. I don't comment on many sites due to my carpel tunnel but this entry deserved a response this length.

Here's a hug to you and being that we are both sisterless, I'd be happy and honored if you'd be my sister... no strings or skreeching attached.

Sending you a great big electronic loving((((((((((hug))))))))))

Posted by: michele at October 11, 2004 10:02 AM

I will give you the necessary hugs {{{LeeAnn}}} and then tell you that you shouldn't stop blogging. I can't come up with any better reasons that those already listed so I won't try.
And I sympathize with the whole crazy sister thing. I haven't talked with my sister in over 5 years.
Take care!

Posted by: Xinh at October 11, 2004 10:48 AM

You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family.

Truer words were never spoken.

I am glad your back, we missed you! You brighten up our days with your brand of story telling.

Posted by: Machelle at October 11, 2004 12:51 PM

Geez, LeeAnn...I had no idea why you weren't posting after your return from the trip and the only reason I didn't send you an email was I figured maybe you were just busy. You DEFINITELY do not suck and you're one of my favorite bloggers. You are, in fact, the Anti-Limburger or The Cheese That Does Not Stink. So, you and the GM are welcome here in Georgia anytime.

Nolo carborundum illigentimi est! (Latin for "Don't let the bastards wear you down".)

Welcome back. Missed ya.
- Zonker

Posted by: zonker at October 11, 2004 05:32 PM

Glad to see you back as well. I figured you were like me and had just needed a break. Little did I know...

Dang, girl. You are a HELL of a lot stronger than I am, because there is no way I could've handled being with someone like that for as long as you did, even if she was my sister. From my own experience, it's hard to deal with family like that because you don't want to mouth off to blood relations and all, but wow, NO ONE should be allowed to treat you like that.

I started reading about your exercise class excursions, and you've cracked me up. Please keep writing, but only if you truly want to.

Posted by: Michelle at October 11, 2004 05:36 PM


Sounds like any holiday/get-together/dinner where my wildly paranoid, queen of the back-handed compliment,uber self-centered niece is present. Don't feel too bad. It's not just you.

I missed your blog so much! It is guaranteed to make me spray a beverage through my nose or at least smile. You are a great writer. Don't doubt yourself. You are the Cheese Mistress. Humor seems to come naturally to you. You're on my daily read list and my days felt incomplete for a while now. Welcome back and there's lots of us who love you!

Posted by: Momotrips at October 11, 2004 11:09 PM

Why am I always the last to know these things?

Oh, honey. . .you SO do not suck. In fact, I'd say that you're giving Erma Bombeck some concern over residuals in Heaven.

Mah gawd, you can write. And the best part about it? I feel like I'm sitting there next to you, with a cuppa, commiserating.

The worst part? When you're done, I can't give you a hug and tell you that yes, indeed, sometimes families suuuck.

You have most definitely been missed.

Hugs and love,

Posted by: Margi at October 12, 2004 02:35 PM

Egads. I thought I had a stressful few weeks with family, but this takes the award for Vacation From Hell.

I understand crying because you don't know what else to do. I wanted to take a photo of my friend and her daughter when I was leaving her house last week. And it turned into a full-blown argument between her and her husband. I'd witnessed probably six thousand of those arguments in the preceding days. And the last argument was about the fact that the baby was not DRESSED appropriately for a photo. I gave up -- I ran in the next room and cried for 20 minutes. It was partly because I was sad to be leaving, and partly because I had to smile or ignore them or tune them out so many times that the one freakin' time I wanted something from them (to pose for a f'in picture two minutes before I left for the airport), I flipped. *sigh*

Anyway, glad you made it back without bond having to be posted anywhere! ;)

Posted by: dawn at October 12, 2004 06:17 PM

I'm glad you're back, too. You are not a bad writer. I was riveted reading this post, actually. It seemed I could hear her screaming in my ears. Gads, I thought she'd never shut up! Hang in there, all of us have crazy families.

Posted by: Denise at October 13, 2004 02:06 AM