Friday, September 29, 2006

Countdown to the weekend

I made up my own meme in celebration of the weekend. If you're going here on Saturday, come say hi! I'll be the drunk one.


Five personal shortcomings:

1) Making small-talk can be hard for me. I'd love to join you in a deep, meaningful conversation or a side-splitting joke-a-thon, but I'm not very good at talking for the heck of it. I'd make a really terrible politician.

2) I cheerfully let my husband do things that I’d rather not: clean the bathrooms, deal with contractors and car repairs, go to church. It's okay to send a representative to church, right?

3) The bag that I carry to work is always a mess. Old receipts, hair clips, a pair of pom-pom gym socks, Kleenex wadded up around chewed-up gum, a menu from a Thai restaurant… I’d be embarrassed if any of my co-workers discovered my secret shame. Strangely enough, my car is usually spotless.

4) In situations where I need to stand up for myself, I often question my actions after it's all over. Did I do enough to make my point? Did I go overboard? My meter seems to be broken sometimes.

5) Knowing how much my dog loves to steal socks, I frequently “let” him snatch them from the laundry basket. Cesar Millan would say, “You’re the sorriest alpha I’ve ever seen! Get down on the floor on all fours and get those socks back, bitch—WITH YOUR TEETH!”


Four things that shouldn't be in my closet:


1) You know what.

2) A hideous sweater that my husband gave me for our first Christmas together, and which I have worn exactly once. Sentimental value. I also still have the matching earrings!

3) The French maid outfit. Okay-- to be fair, it depends on who you ask.

4) The Doc Martens that I never wear anymore but which I can’t throw out because they’re such great, indestructible shoes and I may need them if I ever want demo my bathroom with my feet or slonk around in flowing lava.


Three things that excite me (in a good way):

1) The arrival of any Williams Sonoma catalog.

2) The smell of fireplaces burning in the fall.

3) Thoughts of hang gliding, which I’d really love to try.


Three things that excite me (not in a good way):

1) Preparing for travel, especially that involving flying. I have this really awful paranoia that flights/trains/buses will be missed due to any number of highly unlikely incidents.

2) People talking during a movie in a theater. For the love of Williams Sonoma, please shut up! Please. This is why I rarely go to movies. Too much excitement.

3) Preparing to cook a meal for guests. I have to start with a perfectly clean kitchen. I liken it to clearing your mind before a big challenge, like Daniel-san and his hands-moving-up-and-out breathing routine. Floor, stove, countertops—everything must be clean before I can begin my delicate craft. I know this must seem neurotic, but it's the only way. I also feel compelled wear a tin-foil hat and whisper furtively into a measuring cup when I mince garlic.


Two talents I have:

1) A freaky ability to remember every detail from conversations. Such as, “Oh, your great Aunt Betty? The one who accidentally used Kosher salt instead of flour when she made those chocolate chip cookies in 1979? What a hoot! She drives a green Buick LeSabre with a fuzzy steering wheel cover, right?”

2) I can wiggle my ears. Without using my hands.


One childhood memory:

Hiking Blue Job Mountain with my family as a child and imagining in vivid detail that there would be a winding yellow waterslide at the top that would deposit us back in the parking lot.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Numbers

M took two of my rings to the jeweler today. He's getting one sized and engraved, and he needed the other one to determine what size ring I wear. Do you know your ring size? Maybe this is one of those things I should know, but don't.

Kind of like my parents' ages. I can get within three years of their ages if someone asks me, but I can never for the life of me remember exactly how old they are. A former co-worker once asked me about this and when I said I wasn't sure, she actually gasped. "You don't know how old your parents are?" she asked. Well, it's not that. I have a ballpark idea, I just couldn't tell you with certainty in which year each of them was born. Am I a bad daughter?

Anyhow, I think this person was only asking because she was trying to figure out how old I am, even though she had twice come right out and asked me already. Hey, if she can't remember what I said, is that my fault? And isn't it supposed to be rude to ask people how old they are? She seemed a bit fixated on my age for a while, which bothered me. I've always been sensitive about being the youngest one in the workplace, and her constant comments about it didn't help (M thinks it's only because she was sensitive about being one of the oldest people there. One day I put an end to it by saying, "Sarah, it's funny-- you seem to think about my age a lot more than I do.").

Remember last week, when my belt broke at work? Someone asked me where I bought the new one, and I told her how I'd gone to three different stores because the selection at the first two was a little "young". With rhinestones and studs and butterfly buckles.

"Oh yeah," she laughed. "Like you're so old."

I can't tell you what a strange juxtaposition this is, comments like that standing next to pressures to act my age ("Why don't you have kids? Why are you waiting? Don't put it off too long!").

So which is it? Am I too young, or too old? Maybe this is one of those things you don't really need to determine for yourself, because everyone else does it for you.

I tend to think I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Anyhow, my finger feels very naked today due to the missing rings. Don't laugh when I say that Alex noticed their absence right away. He's very cognizant of the patterns of the household.















Ohmygod... something is DIFFERENT.












Too scary! Must hide!


Monday, September 25, 2006

Udon Noodle recipe and the story of The Girl Who Will Probably Need Rhinoplasty.

I made this last night and it was delish. The recipe is from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times (Oct 2006). Don’t you just love pomegranates? They are just so-so looking on the outside, but cut them open and the seeds glisten like rubies. I love scooping them out with my fingers (see also: fingernails, pink). Dried cranberries would also work nicely if you don’t like the crunch of pomegranate seeds.

Udon Noodles with Walnuts and Pomegranates
(Vegan – Serves 6 – 30 minutes or less to prepare)

1 10.25 ounce package dried udon noodles
1 lb broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 T. toasted walnut oil, divided
1 12 oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 T.)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 T. maple syrup
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
5 scallions, white & green parts chopped (about 1/3 cup)


Cook noodles in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Add broccoli and red pepper to the water and simmer 2 minutes more. Drain.

Heat 1 T. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add tofu cubes, and cook 10 minutes (or until browned), turning occasionally. Remove from heat and add garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in walnuts, maple syrup and remaining walnut oil.

Toss pasta mixture with tofu mixture, pomegranate seeds, and green onions.


Notes: Next time I make this I’ll probably add extra broccoli and tofu. Love the pre-cubed super-firm tofu from Whole Foods, as it stands up well to the skillet activity. I added a bit of salt to the final product. Did not have walnut oil on hand, so added a little crushed walnut to the first T. of oil (I used olive) and sautéed gently before adding the tofu.


On Friday night M and I headed out to see the Billy Taylor Trio at the Kennedy Center. Our first time seeing Billy… he was outstanding and seems like such a kind man. I’d put him right up there with Garrison Keillor and Morgan Freeman on my list of men who really should come over and read me bedtime stories every night. We sat right in front of the stage and could hear him scatting as he played the piano.

I may have developed a crush on the drummer by the end of the night. Why did I marry a bass player instead of a drummer?

Oh yes, the whole "soul mate" thing. Oh, well. M plays a pretty mean air drum, so that's close enough.

Dinner before the show was at Notti Bianche, which for the past year had been on my list of places to try. Are you wondering how it was? I’ll put it this way: when the waiter came to check on our initial impressions of our entrees, M was chewing blissfully with his eyes closed and didn’t even hear the polite inquiry.

Jason, our waiter, totally rocked. Best. Service. Ever. Completely knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. And I love their policy on cell phone use in the dining room: “Notti Bianche’s dining room is a cell phone free environment – their use interferes with the making of risotto.” I think we’ll be going back next month before we see Twelve Angry Men. There aren’t many good places within walking distance of the KC, so check it out if you’re planning to see a show.

I don’t have too much more to report today, except that last week I ran face-first into the wall as I was making my nightly 2 a.m. bathroom visit and my nose is still quite tender. Never mind the fact that the bathroom door is only two feet from my side of the bed-- I still managed to miss it completely.

The incredible whack! was loud enough to partially wake M (who mumbled, “What the hell?” and I moaned, “OWWW! Ooooh, I just crashed face-first into the wall!” and he said, “Oh, okay.” and promptly fell asleep. Clearly he’s accustomed to my self-injury). And the incredible whack! was all nose. I think the nose must protrude from the face for exactly that reason—to serve a bony, crunchy bumper for the rest of the face.

The next morning I crept toward the mirror, filled with the dreadful certainty that I’d be sporting a black eye. But no! Just a swollen nose. Not like the time when I was bending over the bed, tucking the sheet ends under the mattress, when suddenly Alex flew in and did his patented leap-like-a-maniac-from-the-doorway-onto-the-bed move, somehow not seeing that my FACE was in the way. Hard puppy skull made contact with my nose and the instant tears were so hot I wondered if my eyes were bleeding. Even Alex fell backwards and shook his head like, Wow! Painful!

I was sporting a lovely yellow-and-green eye the next day and had to go to the doctor.

Anyway, the morning after my nose-meets-wall experience I was describing the trauma to M in detail, so as to make him feel guilty for not becoming fully conscious and running to my aid (to his credit, he did feel very, very bad, and I could tell, which had a somewhat mollifying effect). As I talked I wandered into the walk-in closet where M was picking out the day’s shirt and tie. Somehow during those five steps I managed to lose my balance, pitch sideways, and clock my head loudly on the door frame.

M stared at me in disbelief. Then he laughed and helpfully suggested that I buy a padded helmet with a face guard.

I thought about kicking him, but I was afraid I'd miss and break my foot on his dresser.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The great actors are the luminous furry ones.

Firstly, can I just say how much I am loving Pink's newest album? I've been saying that for three months and the enjoyment just lasts and lasts! I really want to dye my hair and get a nose ring.

Secondly, my favorite belt broke this morning and my new pants almost fell down at the reference desk. Just this morning I tried them on for M and boasted, "Look! They're just a little too long, but if I pull them up and cinch the belt, they're perfect!" So of course that was the belt's cue to commit suicide. I had to take a very early lunch and go shopping for a new one with my waistband clutched in my fist. As I slid my credit card across the counter I whispered urgently to the clerk, "Can you please cut those tags off? I want to wear it RIGHT NOW."

And thirdly, Whole Foods had the most gorgeous raspberries on sale yesterday, two for five dollars. Maybe you're thinking that since I was at Whole Foods, I bought two individual raspberries for five dollars. But no! Two whole containers. I almost fainted from the joy. I wanted to eat a pint right away, but I was on my way to the dentist. The raspberries sat on a chair next to the X-ray machine while I had my cleaning done.

Quick math problem:
If raspberries are two for five dollars and Liz spent ten dollars, how many boxes of raspberries did she buy?

Bonus question: If one of the boxes tipped over in the car on the way home, perhaps because someone couldn't keep her greedy fingers out of them, how many berries are now merrily rolling around under the seats?

The world may never know.

Okay. On with the real issue, which is that I have a drama prince on my hands.

UH!
You don't have to be BE-YOOT-ti-ful to turn me ON!
I just need your BODY bay-beee, from dusk till dawn...


Sorry. I got lost in a Prince moment. Where was I?

Oh, yes. My dramarific dog.







(UH!)

Basically, Alex refuses to talk rationally with us when he's upset about something. He seems to prefer a healthy dose of melodrama. I present the following examples as evidence:


Example #1:

If he has recently voided his bladder outside and M and I are both in the kitchen, and there is food visible (or even slight movement toward the refridgerator is detected), it must be time for him to eat. Never mind the fact that he just ate a bowl full of Nutro Natural Choice one hour earlier. If we ignore him, he collapses dramatically on the floor and weakly licks the inside of his empty bowl.

She is totally lying.

Example #2:

Alex is sensitive to scary things. "Scary" things include thunder, heavy rain, the vacuum cleaner, the baby gate moving even one millimeter from its original position, trash trucks, construction, the smoke alarm, large men, or anything else that is a) loud, or b) takes him by surprise.

(this may seem unbelievable, but he is 100 times braver than when we first adopted him!)

Try to take Alex for a walk within 24 hours of him observing something scary and he races downstairs to cower behind the washing machine. Try to pick him up and he sighs and hangs his head as if to say, "Torture is my lot in life."

Pants on fire!

Example #3

If we take a toy or rawhide chew away from Alex at bedtime (because the joyful gnawing and smacking is downright annoying when you're trying to sleep), he gets MAD. To express his ire, he crawls under the bed and scratches at the carpet and butts his head up against the mattress. Occasionally he'll let out a slow, grumpy growl, which makes us snort with laughter. In the morning he'll race to the dresser and stare gravely up at the rawhide until it's retrieved for him.

Ludicrous! I wouldn't read
this blog if I were you.

And then there's Example #4, or Alex Gets Upset When He Realizes That We're Getting Ready For Work:

Assuming that #3 didn't occur the night before, Alex begins his mornings with astounding happiness and energy. This all changes when M and I make our way upstairs to the bathroom. Alex knows that if both of us are in there at the same time, we'll shortly be leaving him.

He gazes mournfully at us from the bed. Within five minutes he'll make his dramatic move:

Just try to resist THIS heartbreak, humans.

Ding dong, the dog is dead!
Bed came down,
He's flat as bread!

He remains in this position just long enough for us to notice him, until one of us laughs or tries to coax him out, and then his legs disappear completely as though the mattress has devoured him.

I'm going to buy him some long, striped socks and send him out for auditions. It's time he started earning his keep.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Short History

Let's be honest. Do you have an item of clothing that should have gone to the dumpster a long time ago, but with which you cannot bear to part?

Meet mine:


My beloved denim shorts, purchased in 1993 and worn faithfully for 13 years. You know what that means, right? They've been with me for as long as my husband has.

This may explain his aversion to my shorts. You know, because he remembers me wearing them in high school and it feels a little weird.



"You're still wearing those?" (In case you're wondering, the look on his face would be mix of amusement and mild disgust.) "Go shopping! Buy some new clothes!"

I suppose many women would love to hear their husbands say this very thing. An invitation (nay, a command) to go shopping. Hallelujah!

But I love my shorts. And I don't really like shopping. Especially for shorts that will never measure up to my vintage lovelies.

Guess which finger this is.


But eventually I had to admit that they'd gotten too shabby for anything other than lounging about the house or maybe walking the dog. Every time I wore them outside I had an overwhelming suspicion that I was secretly being filmed for an ambush on What Not to Wear. Alex got pretty tired of walking behind trees and parked cars.

So I went shopping. I went to J Crew and bought a new pair of shorts.

But there was one problem.

They weren't as nice and flannely as the originals. You know what I mean-- when the denim gets so worn and soft it can curl up into a cozy little ball, like a cat.


The new ones were stiff. They felt unnatural. "They just feel like they're not 13 years old!" M argued.

To M's dismay, I went back to the originals.

Earlier this week I was pulling some laundry out of the dryer when I felt that familiar softness at my fingertips. My shorts!

The only thing better than my shorts is my shorts when they're all warm and cozy from the dryer. So I put them on. Funny, they felt a bit drafty. Oh, well. I plucked an unruly bobby pin from my hair and shoved it in the back pocket.

The next thing I felt was the bobby pin sliding down the back of my leg.

Nooooooooo...


Look, there! A huge, gaping hole, where yesterday there was only the hint of a hole!

I raced upstairs to confront M.

"You did this!" I huffed. "You sabotaged my shorts because you don't like them!"

He deined it, and I supposed I have to believe him. He's never lied to me before. But I'm not completely sure. M is much more positive about the shorts now that half of my rear end is visible when I wear them.

So should I just throw them out already? Because I was thinking about patching the holes.

If they make patches that big.



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Muffin

My father was an Air Force pilot, so my family moved a lot when I was growing up. Mom and Dad often planned special treats when we moved to help ease the transition. When we got orders to move from Delaware to Alabama in the middle of the school year, they told us we would finally get the cat we'd been begging for. I remember opening my Smurfs lunch box on my last day in my Delaware elementary school and finding a note from my dad.

"Don't forget!" it said. "A pet!" A little cat face was drawn next to his words.

We got to our new house in Alabama, and what do you know? The next-door neighbor had taken in a stray cat for the winter, only to discover that it was pregnant. Trust me, when we found out that there were six wee kittens next door, we forgot everything else. They were small enough to crawl through the chain link fence so we could play with them

We kept one. We named him Muffin.

-He saw more of the United States than most people.
-He really did have nine lives.
-He once rode on top of our station wagon for several highway miles until an alarmed motorist yelled, "There's a cat on your car!"
-It took a while to unclench his paws from the cartop carrier rack, but he was okay.
-He slept with one of us every night.
-He used to follow me to the bus stop and sit in the tree across the street, tail swishing.
-He chased dogs out of our yard.
-He single-handedly brought the mole population under control when we lived in California, becoming something of a neighborhood hero.
-He once curled up for a nap on the wing of a T-39 in front of the Officers' Club.
-He loved to be outdoors.
-He smiled when he was content.

Yesterday he died peacefully at home, the way I hoped he would. He was 22 years old.

He was a good cat.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Gone to the Dogs (Or, "Yuppified")

After all the Labor Day weekend fun is over, one of the pools in our neighborhood opens its gates to the resident dogs. The annual Doggie Paddle is one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. For $5, your dog can swim in the pool, enjoy snacks, and engage in unlimited butt-sniffing for four blissful hours.

They have lifeguards there, and even "waiters" (volunteer teens) who offer trays of dog biscuits to the furry friends. There was even a special game this year-- bobbing for hot dogs. M was telling someone about this on the phone last night. "Oh my God!" the friend gasped. "That is so yuppie!"

"Actually," I retorted, "There were more puppies than yuppies."

Alex loves to swim, but he needed a little coaxing at first. The smaller dogs seemed less able to judge how deep the water was.



Once he figured out where the steps were, he was off.





He didn't leave the water for almost 2 hours.

Other dogs played it safe and kept to the edge:




And some preferred to sunbathe:



There were a few near-collisions in the pool...



...but everyone was in good spirits.



A bigger dog took a liking to Alex's toy and snatched it away from him. Alex scurried back and forth, making worried pigeon noises. Although the bigger dog's owners saw the whole thing, they acted like it was no big deal. I finally said, "Could you get that toy from your dog, please?" They said it was no use trying to pry it from his mouth. We had to wait until he dropped it, then we all dove for it. Alex was very relieved. We went to the other side of the pool, where there were no bullies.

Alex has jumped into deeper water a few times, but he doesn't seem to like having his head submerged, even for a few seconds. In this video he struggles to decide whether he should take the leap as other dogs close in on his toy:





Thursday, September 07, 2006

Except that in my fantasy, my dream date had short hair.

I was in sixth grade when my best friend Mary Anne and I swore each other to secrecy and penned descriptions of our dream dates in our diaries. They were way cliché, but sweet in the way that only a 12-year old's dreams of ultimate romance can be.

Mine involved the obvious dinner at a nice restaurant, a walk on a darkened beach afterward, and the presentation of a single red rose. However, I did note that my dream date would probably drive-- and I quote-- "something old but reliable... like an '82 Honda."

I also fantasized that on my first date with my future husband (of course he's my future husband), our easy yet intimate dinner conversation would enter a comfortable lull and we would look meaningfully into each other's eyes and I would know, just know, and I would murmur, "Where have you been all my life?" and then he would kiss me tenderly over the table without singeing his ears on flame of the white tapered candle.

I was seventeen when I first met my husband in our local public library. He's been right here all my life, so I never got to use my fabulous, totally original line.

The last person I dated before M was a guy named Jim. He was older and therefore appealing. We were together for about a year, but I knew it was just for fun. I mean, seriously-- for my birthday he treated me to three hours of Monty Python.

I'm sorry. I know lots of people love Monty Python, but it's just not my kind of humor. I guess the three-hour-long blank look on my face didn't communicate that, because Monty Python stayed on the television until the very bitter end, and then he wanted to make out in honor of the glorious day of my birth.

The end came one sunny spring afternoon. We had spent another afternoon studying (read: making out) together in his bedroom. I finally stood up, grabbed my chemistry book, and announced that I had to get home. He pulled me into another embrace. I looked down and saw the textbook sandwiched there between us.

And it came to me. The BEST. JOKE. EVER.

You know what I said, right? Right?

"Hey, look!" I exclaimed, pointing to the book. "We've got chemistry between us!"

And I broke into peals of laughter, stopping only when I realized that he hadn't.

He didn't laugh. Not a chuckle, not even an appreciative snort. He just stared at me like he couldn't figure out why I was cracking up.

Maybe it was revenge for my rejection of Monty Python?

Anyway, I knew that was the end. Because the only thing I love better than laughing at a good joke is laughing at my own good joke. And I'm not embarrassed that I usually laugh the loudest, but I don't like to do it alone.

A few months later I met M. He was older and had just returned from living in London, and therefore he was very appealing.

Plus I just had this funny feeling about him.

Eventually M gave me that dinner at a nice restaurant and the walk on a darkened beach afterward. We got there in his ancient Honda Civic. But instead of a single red rose, I got my engagement ring.

After I tearfully accepted (did you doubt that I cried?), he yelled to some passing people, "I LOVE THIS WOMAN SO MUCH THAT I JUST ASKED HER TO MARRY ME!"

And the people cheered, and I thought, Whee!

AND-- just to be completely honest-- I also quickly prayed that we wouldn't drop the ring in the sand and have to spend the night on the beach in order to mark the spot.

On the way back to our hotel we got pulled over by the police for driving 28 mph in an endangered squirrel zone. Squirrels. I only wish I were kidding about that.

But not to worry-- at least I was with someone who laughed as hard as I did. And I'm not talking about the police.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why I was in the parking garage with a dishtowel and a razor blade yesterday morning

Time for a game! Read descriptions of two people below. Guess which one is me, and which one is my husband:

Person A:

This person gets up when the alarm goes off. He leaves plenty of time for everything he wants/needs to do. He takes the dog out, uses his weights, and makes his lunch for the day. Then he leisurely eats a bowl of cereal in front of the television, alternating between the news and MTV.

He takes a nice, long shower, then gets ready to go. He always has plenty of time for last-minute tasks: putting the trash on the curb, setting out donations for the charity pick-up van, convincing the dog to poop. When it's time to go, he walks calmly to his car, places his laptop and briefcase in the backseat, and starts the car. It's almost like he is from another planet.

He is never late for work.


Person B:

This person gets up when the alarm goes off. She leaves just enough time to get ready, down to the minute. She likes to be efficient. She cuddles with the dog for a minute, then runs downstairs to throw her salad together for lunch. She might make a quick mug of coffee or tea. Then she dashes upstairs to shower. Afterward, she puts on her body lotion while standing under the bedroom's ceiling fan, which is set to HIGH in order to speed the drying process of her hair. She listens to the daily traffic report while she applies makeup. She throws toys for the dog to fetch as she uses a blowdryer to finish off any lingering dampness in her hair.

Toothbrush in mouth, she goes to the closet to pull out clothes and shoes for the day. Then it's a race downstairs to throw her lunch into a shopping bag, kiss dog and husband goodbye, and make one last pitstop in the laundry room for clean nylons or socks. She hops to the car as she pulls her shoes on with lunch bag, work bag, and gym bag hanging from her shoulders. There is not a minute to spare. DO NOT ask her if she can stop to mail some letters on her way out. She might forget that she's balancing on one leg and fall down the stairs.

She eats fruit and dry cereal as she drives. She is rarely late for work.


Did you guess yet? Oh, wait, I should have added this part:

Person B gets the updated workplace parking sticker for her car three weeks in advance. She is feeling awesome. Totally on top of things! But then the sticker parks itself on the dining room table and stays there. For some reason it does not magically affix itself to the car! Person A drops subtle hints, such as, "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO PUT THAT ON YOUR CAR ALREADY?" Person B tells him not to worry, there is plenty of time!

Tuesday Morning:

Parking Sticker D-Day. Sticker, razor blade, and dish towel are thrown into lunch bag. Person B arrives at work with three minutes to spare. Plenty of time! She runs to the back of the car, scrapes the old sticker off with the razor blade, dries the rain from the glass, and affixes new sticker.

Waves hello to parking police on way into building.

Mission accomplished.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Wedding pictures-- the good, the bad, and the freaky

A few pictures from last weekend's wedding. These are just of M and I, because I don't feel comfortable posting pictures of other people without permission. And if I ask permission, they'll want to know where my blog is, and most of them don't know about it.

That's too bad, because I have some shots of my 7-year old niece (also the flower girl) dancing with the 7-yeard old ring bearer. All night long. Complete with twirling and dipping, I kid you not.

I think I know who will be getting married next, because she is in loooooove.

M's 23-year old cousin did my hair. She wants to be a hair stylist but hasn't gone to school yet, so she was very nervous. I probably wasn't a good beginner client because I'm horrible at getting my hair done. I never know how to describe what I want. Actually, I usually don't know what I want in the first place.

After saying, "Um, kind of like this!" and making vague flapping gestures with my hands, I finally told her I wanted something "up", but "kind of natural-looking" and "not too fussy". She delivered. Every time someone complimented my hairdo I'd point at her and she'd blush.

And it stayed in place all day and night, which is nothing short of miraculous.

Here we are entering the reception. Yes, the long-haired guy is my husband "M". When the DJ called our names we did two butt-bumps to entertain the crowd, and just after this picture was taken we clasped hands and tangoed the rest of the way to the dance floor. We promised Laura that we'd help make the night lively. Butt-bumping always livens things up, don't you agree?


I suspect that had we enjoyed some wine first, we could have been much more creative with our dance moves.

Here we are during the wedding party dance. I just finished crying. Again. Still, I think we look very respectable and weddingish.

Then things started to fall apart.

The woman to the right with her arms out is my mother-in-law, egging us on in our mildly pornographic display. To the left is my father-in-law's wife. The one from Ireland. Apparently things like this happen all the time there.

Did anyone get this on video? I'd like a copy, please. I want to see exactly what's going on behind me. That's a mighty big grin on M's face.

And I have no idea about this next one. It looks like the beginning of my patented dance move for the song Brick House, where I throw my arms over my head in a triangle shape. Like the roof of a brick house, get it? I'm always surprised when I'm the only one doing it because it seems like such a natural movement to the music.

Moments Not Captured by Camera:

- When I Had the Time of My Life came on and M and I were clumsily reenacting the famous last dance of Dirty Dancing and I quipped to M's young cousin, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" and she looked at me like I was crazy and I realized that she was too young to have seen the movie.

- Me poking myself in the eye with a bobby pin. Accidentally. Because I hadn't cried enough already.

- M and I sneaking into the honeymoon suite and making a rose petal trail to the bedroom and a pink heart on the bed.

- Me dancing to Super Freak with my father-in-law.

Actually, you might be thankful that last one wasn't captured.

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