Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Airborne Contemplations

"How do you feel about your little brother getting married?" I was asked that question several times, and the answers I gave while not untrue, per se, never really satisfied me. My opinions kept changing on me. I could never really put my finger on it, and I wasn't quite sure how "in control" I was of the emotional journey.

Spring had been so full after a quiet Winter. Sure, I fell asleep at least once a week writing/editting a toast for my brother, but I think that was more about my nerves than my feelings about his impending life change. Okay, some of that was in there, but not as much as there could have been. Why?

Part of it must have been his bride-to-be, Sister BrightEyes (as she shall henceforth be known here). He was marrying someone I didn't know terribly well, yet I though her delightful, beautiful, godly, and a good match, ultimately. My own thoughts about the timing never went beyond acknowledging that, while they were young, it was very hard to say whether the timing was good from the outside looking in on a relationship. I could only trust them - and that wasn't hard knowing the quality of their minds and hearts and having discussed it with them a little.

I'd come to terms with the many young marrieds that surround me - with the friends and family (and self, for goodness sake) I know who get hitched young. For so many of them it seems to have been a good decision. Life might later prove it was a tougher way to go, but so far it still seems to have yielded good fruit for so many. Why should I think that some of the most mature people I know would be any different?

All of this, however, only answered part of the question. How did I feel about Brother J getting married?

I felt pride in him as a person. He's delightful, responsible, mature, godly, and he's in love with Erin in a way he hasn't been in love with anyone or anything else. He's grown wise throughout his life and even wiser through this relationship. He's ready, as far as I can see.

I also felt joy for him and for Erin. They truly seemed to be happy and display a self-sacrificing delight in each other, too. I worried that struggle, pain, dull daily life, and plain old disillusionment and frustration will rob them of it. Still, Hubster and I have weathered that before and we're still standing together.

As the wedding day drew closer, I started to sense the simmer on the back burner was bubbling up a bit more. My thoughts for the toast progressed from trite platitudes to unoriginal-but-true reflections to a final resting place nearer to pithy and heartfelt, if not totally profound. God gave me inspiration to hold on to some of those ideas I'd already developed and drop others that weren't quite right.

The day dawned a shining testament to the Michigan summer climate, and thank God with the wedding and reception both outside. I saw my brother as I approached the site, and he looked unmistakably like a groom, less because of the tuxedo and more because of the purpose in his smile. He hugged me tight, and I prepared to stand and witness as he'd asked me to. I was surprised at how sisterly I already felt toward Sister BrightEyes. I listened as the pastors discussed and developed some of the ideas I'd rejected for my toast. They did quite well, and I was glad to hear the ideas properly explored.

Then it was upon me - the moment of truth. Soon I was talking, the words flowing out with the aid of my bullet-point notes (keywords in quotation marks - ever the student over here). My hands shook when I had to pick up my notes for the reading of the quotation I'd included, but my voice and my thoughts flowed from my firm purpose and God's unfailing strength granted for that moment.

I looked down as I talked, but Jon and Erin's faces only registered briefly - I had a job to get done and I wanted to do it well. This was no time to process. I could see it was pleasing them and I pressed on. When I finished (my arm shaking a bit as I raised my glass), I sat and turned to my pillar, my own husband for support and approval, in a sense - hoping that what I'd said was worthy of the moment. Only then did I hug the objects of my toast, my brother and new sister, and come down off the adrenaline a bit at a time.

It's taken until now, as I sit on a plane and contemplate those glimpses of their faces, can I truly see my own thoughts in context. That context is the look of love mingled with sadness and something unexpected that crossed Jon's face - admiration, aspiration, maybe just appreciation. And I cannot stop crying. The joy, the recognition of God's great gifts to me in the form of my family, my new sister, and my dear brother are too profound. My body cannot contain all that.

I catch the tears with the same tissues I took down the aisle hidden in my waistband for Erin and maybe for myself.

Strangely apropos.

Behind, but back in the game . . .

The wedding was AWESOME! We had a fantastic few days there, and we took ENTIRELY TOO MANY PHOTOS. If I ever I felt like I wasn't getting enough quality time with my Camera Raw interface, it is NOT now. I did just get my CS3 upgrade in the mail, though, so I get to play with Camera Raw 4 with the new design suite. So far? LOVES IT.

Moving on, I have some pictures of the famed J Morgan Birthday Weekend, Quarter Century Edition below. Goody, goody for you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Farewell, Cruel Maryland

My brother's getting himself hitched this weekend, as I haven't ceased to mention recently. That blessed time in which I have to focus my complaint beams on something else is ALMOST upon us. It's not that I'm upset about him getting married, it's just that there's a lot of work to be done and a lot of obsessing to go along with that work.

Anyway, we leave shortly. I'm surprised at how some of the pieces have snapped into place, but others are still outside the frame, annoying my peripheral vision. Hopefully being within shouting distance of the bride, groom, parents of both, and some of my friends will assuage my anxiety about all the details. It brings back bad memories of my own stint as a wedding planner (that is, a bride-to-be).

It's been hot lately, and the forecast looks pretty good for home, so I won't miss being home too much. Okay, I won't miss the weather. I miss strange things while I'm gone. Sometimes it's yerba mate in the morning. Sometimes its my pillow. Often my cats. I'm sure I'll be fine, though, and it just makes me appreciate all those things when I return.

This drivel has gone on long enough. At this point I'm only typing to hear the sound of the keyboard. I'll be back next week.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fresh Out of Pithy Titles

The weekend hits keep coming! This time J Morgan, Mair, Charles and TheHair all showed at the casa for a fiesta. J Morgan had a birthday so what better way to celebrate that than with too much meat on a grill, Lemon Asparagus Risotto, and a chocolate cake from Whole Foods that killed any self-control I might otherwise have had?

None better, kids.

The posse arrived and we cooked and prepped to our hearts' contents. The meat was purchased at organic/halal establishments in Charlottesville, VA. Nothing but the finest meant we were all stuffed to the gills by the time we were through. Hubster manned the grill and the wine flowed and a fine time was had by all. It was delightful. Wish I could do that every weekend. Okay, not the cleanup, but IT WAS WORTH IT.

The next morning, we got up lazily. I made the obligatory cinnamon rolls (tradition!) and then we headed over to Daedalus Books. J Morgan and Mair had to go to a wedding in the afternoon, but we shopped for quite some time. I bought several books which I will read then forget to blog about like the stack of books currently on my desk. You're welcome.

Hubster had two wisdom teeth removed last Tuesday and he pushed himself a bit hard after taking only a day off, so he started feeling ill and Charles and TheHair decided to leave earlier so he could take it easy. It was sweet, but naturally a little disappointing. "Not wanting it to end" and all that.

He got back on his feet by Sunday morning. After church we did a little shopping to prepare for this weekend's festivities. And then the family calls started. We spent large chunks of the rest of the day on the phone with family which never really happens with us. Of course it was Father's Day so we talked to the dads. Then my family has a ton of stuff to plan in conjunction with this weekend's aforementioned festivities, so of course we had to discuss the wedding gift and who/what/where/how much. We managed to decide on something, but then I had to go and volunteer to make something to go with it. (Sorry about the ambiguity, but it hasn't been given yet, so mum's the word. Okay, "vague's the word.") I managed to make it yesterday night in one fell swoop despite my relative lack of experience with certain aspects of its construction. Also, my sewing machine totally needed to be oiled and I'm fresh out of that. I hope I haven't ruined it by my laziness.

Anyway, then my mother had a line on a cheap and awesome laptop and my brother had a line on the skydiving the groomsman and groom are going to be doing this week for the bachelor party (I KNOW!) and then . . . oh, we had to plan Hubster's family's visits - and yeah, that's plural - in the next few weeks. AAIIIIII!

Needless to say I got to bed too late last night, but I did get a lot accomplished but, as I may have mentioned before, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cheapness is the Mother of Nerdiness

We've been trying not run the air conditioning as much as possible all spring. It's been hard not to cave and switch it on sometimes, but I've gotten good at remembering to open the windows at night, close them during the day, and keep a look-out for the weather to see if I can skip that step for once. We're both so lazy about that kind of thing, but we'd like to think we're a little more in tune with nature, but the truth of the matter is that there's not much truth to that. Like most suburbanites, our days are spent on suburban concerns and paying attention to what the weather does is way down on our priority list - unless it involves snow or rain. Sometimes even when it involves rain we can tend to get caught unawares and unconcerned. What's a little wet hair once in a while compared to constantly keeping posted to prevent it? Hair dries.

It's been refreshing to pay attention a little more, actually. I say "actually" because I fully expected to hate it. One more thing on the to-do list, one less minute of time for work or play or sitting around. I didn't expect to like it when I noticed an evening breeze. I didn't expect to like knowing which side of the house has the sun during which part of the day so as to keep air flowing without adding a hot breeze. The day is coolest during the morning, or after a cloud front has moved in mid-day and taken out our previously high heat index. Birds are loud until the garbage man comes at 8. Then they briefly shut up to note the extremely large and incredibly loud object encroaching on their perches before striking up the chirp once more as the beeps travel further down the street, become less menacing, and finally disappear to bother another set of birds somewhere else.

All that to say that today was the most rewarding yet during Nature Ain't Half-Bad Fest 07. The house was stifling because I forgot to close a sunny upstairs window earlier. I brought a big fan downstairs and pointed it straight at my gyrating form during my workout. I still had to keep a water bottle nearby lest my mouth become so dry and my skin so sweaty that I fall and slide across the floor and down the stairs, unable to cry for help. I went upstairs and showered only to find myself still sweating a bit. By the time I got downstairs again, the sky was dark and I could see the boughs of our backyard trees swaying in the wind. Rainstorm - SCORE!

I opened the back door, admiring the fact that our newly-installed screen (thanks, Hubster!) meant this could now be a big-ole source of fresh air for just such an emergency. I stood by the door, watching the wind swell like a wave and hit the trees, the sound so like the ocean, the sight strangely reminiscent. Finally the lightening and thunder arrived, but only after the wind had died down. I kept the screen open as I cooked nearby, the sound sometimes so loud it felt like a kick to the sternum. The rain seemed like an afterthought of the storm so it never sullied my carpet and made me close myself off, a suburbanite again.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nietzsche Would Not Be Pleased

I might have been watching too many episodes of Heroes on NBC's streaming video portal, but I need to have a superhuman ability, and I know just the thing. I would like to be able not only to think of an entire post (which I can already do) but to be able to post it magically on my blog. Instant content, no need for a computer, an internet connection, or the time it takes to type it. What we they call me then? The Über Blogger? Yeeees. Yes, I like that.

Too bad you're stuck with the Underwhelming Blogger.

I went to Richmond this past weekend for the last of my three-in-a-row. The convention went fine, and AquaWoman and I did great work. Kicked butt, took names, drank a LOT of Diet Coke in between explaining, once again, "what all those CDs are." Not that this means anything to do you, but if I had a dollar for every time someone uttered that phrase, I wouldn't work have to work anymore. And then I could devote myself to developing my powers. That's why I don't blog - I haven't tempered my gift yet. Yeeees.

Anyhow, we ate at the Penny Lane Pub whilst there. Their Portobello Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper, and Spinach quiche will knock your blooming socks off, and everything is Beatles/British themed. Smashing. (Maybe I should stop blogging before your heads all explode from the relentless cheese of it all. No?)

I'm sure I could write more, actually, but my brain is fried from all the logistics I'm trying to run on it. I've got a posse coming over this weekend for a party, half a week at home, then I'm off to my brother's wedding (with a bachelorette party and a toast to execute), and then I'm back before Hubster starts working like mad and we barely connect for a while. Oh, and there's the church website I promised to work on, pictures to retouch/order for family, a house to clean, and a little thing called NO TIME LEFT FOR ME.

Enough spazzing out and whining. I'm out. Maybe I'll post some pictures Hubster took this week. They star Tiny and a lizard. Again. It's not über, but it'll do.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sweet mercy, I'm tired.

Okay, so Hubster had a wedding last weekend and I had a convention to attend. We were less than two hours apart in New Jersey, but I had to work most of the time. The convention was meh, though sales were low. I did, however, meet two fabulous people in the next booth. They watched my cashbox whenever I had to pee, which is a handy thing during the 7-8 hour shifts I endured alone. If memory serves, wetting your pants is definitely on the Bad Customer Service list.

The best part of the convention was eating at the Akbar Restaurant in Edison, NJ. I tried it out the first night and enjoyed myself so much that I returned the next night. Great service, delicious food, and nice atmosphere. I tried two dishes in a brown sauce whose names totally escape me. Murg Lababdar, maybe? I think that was chicken. Kashmiri Rogan or something for the lamb dish. I've had so much on my mind and no itemized receipts. Anyway, the food was out of this world. Also, they had a mint and cilantro sauce with the lamb. I shall no longer enjoy Greek mint sauce because this sauce? Kicks its minty BEEP. So, if you're visiting Northern New Jersey - eat at Akbar! If you're local, my jealousy burns against you.

Keith said the beach wedding turned out great. It was cool enough for all the lads in tuxedos (they went barefoot, which I kinda love) and the reception afterward was lots of fun. I got done with work and headed over for the after-reception party which lasted into the night. I crapped out at 10:30 from exhaustion, but I managed to stay awake for the snarking of most of Quicksilver, a Kevin Bacon movie that was just WAY TOO MUCH FUN TO SNARK. Rent it next time you need to vent some cattiness. The dancing scene with the prissy ballerina girlfriend and Kevin Bacon DANCING ON A BICYCLE does NOT disappoint.

So we got back Sunday and acted like zombies for the rest of the day. I got a little house stuff done, but not much. Today was work, work, then dinner at El Patio with friends, and now I'm up late talking to you. It's wall-to-wall around here. I'm gonna go find a corner and lie down.