Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Or, We Can do the Chicken, which is not Chic, but Cheap"

While Dwayne Johnson (aka, THE ROCK, seen at left, in all of its pixellated glory) and I have been gallivanting around the wonders that are the preliminary stages of wedding planning, it occurs to me that my readership of the blog (oh, this old thing?) has grown. How did I come to this conclusion? Well.

The Boy had an appointment in a neighborhood in Columbia with which I am familiar from my high school days (chillin’ out max and relaxin’ all cool). I accompanied him, since his doubleheader softball game immediately followed. To maximize the effectiveness of my time spent waiting in the truck (don't be confused, as I’ve mentioned before, The Boy is the proud owner of that marvel of Swedish engineering, the Saab 9-3. We had to borrow an uncle’s truck to transport his unwanted dining room set to The Boy’s living room. You know, one man’s trash…) I called Tara. But I had terrible reception. So, braving the muggy air that harvested surprisingly hostile bugs (I’ve been employing the Benadryl Anti-Itch Stick all day, and I don‘t even care who’s looking), I walked around the neighborhood trying to hear my friend.

There is only one family on my radar screen of influence living in that neighborhood. Wouldn’t you know, on the phone, swatting at bugs that were invisible to anyone but me, in the middle of the street, I ran into the mom of that family (hi, Joyce). Naturally, she looked puzzled and asked about my presence in front of her home. Because she hasn’t seen me in years. I explained to her that my fiancé was running an appointment with one of her neighbors. She appeared unfazed. This unfazedness surprised me, because she has always been one for news. The surprise must have taken up residence on my face, because she fessed up, “Yeah, I’m one of the people stalking your blog.” Wow. Apparently, it’s not singing that is my fake claim to fame, as I had initially thought, it’s blogging.

So, this wedding planning thing, really. Martin Short with a fake accent, if you’re out there and you can hear me, please come over, stat. This is just ridiculous. So many variables. So much money. So much “planning ahead” and “thinking of all possible circumstances” and “avoiding conflicts.” I’m trying to have a small wedding, I am. But if all of Mom’s guest list “suggestions” are incorporated, that’s not going to be in the cards. This is what I’d like: Can’t I just nail down the location and the date and the food provider and let someone else do the rest, with periodic opinions and absolutely no payment from me? Please?

Frankly, I don’t even have time to handle all of this. The Boy is headed home for his all-important Fantasy Football Draft this weekend (no, not the one that is causing him to reschedule our anniversary; that one is tomorrow). I am heading in the absolute opposite direction and driving to Texas with my dad tomorrow. Yeah, that’s what I said, Tay-haas. In a Corolla and a day and a half. We are delivering little brother’s car. So I’m psyched to see him, and it will be nice to have some Father-Daughter time (now that the big, scary questions with ambiguous answers are out of the way—thanks to Dwayne Johnson). But maaaan, is that a long trip. So, I’ve got that.

Next week we have meetings with caterers and events coordinators and then, of course, my birthday, which, naturally, is trumped by my pre-marital status. Because, really, who expects The Boy to carry on about a year together and my birthday when he’s faced with a lifetime with me?

In unrelated relational news, Little Sister just called, dubbing herself "Consuelo" and telling me that some phrase I've never encountered means "see you tomorrow" in Spanish. I said, "Wouldn't that be 'hasta manana'?" She countered, "Really, C, don't you know there's more than one way to say good-bye?"

Monday, August 29, 2005

Detroit Rock City, Baby

Well, my dear crickets, it has come to my attention that some of you are not pleased with my posting schedule…or lack thereof. For that, I really have no apology. Take heart! Instead, I have an update.

Thursday night, best friend from college, Amber, arrived with her child. Now, I have mentioned before that I inhabit the tiniest apartment ever. So small that, when I saw the “All of This Fits in 520 Square Feet” display at Ikea, I marveled at that set-up’s relative spaciousness. I would like to make an amendment. I thought it was the tiniest apartment ever, but until I spent a day and a half there with a 16-month old and her mother, I did not appreciate the definition of tiny. Poor Amber and child. Bumping into walls and what not. Child had to play with plastic coasters on my coffee table for fun and sit in her little chair on the floor to eat. Amber and I sprung for the boxed set of Felicity: Senior Year (try asking for that at Wal-Mart in the ga-heht-to. No, really, just try it). That show is glorious. I feel like I grew up with Felicity. And I still really can’t pick between Ben and Noel. Why can’t I have a combination of BOTH?

So, quality time (if not luxury accommodations) was had had by all. Saturday we had lunch in the harbor with Amber, so that The Boy could try to redeem himself from the horrendous first impression he made at the child’s first birthday party. When we decide we’d like to have children, I think I’m going to start sending him to nursery school once a week, then perhaps more often. He needs to get acclimated slowly, methinks.

That night we did a dinner-and-Broken-Flowers double date that resulted in my acting like a typical woman about wanting to get married yesterday. Now, I realize I have been hesitant to write about this part of my crazy life in this publication, but it was out of respect to the prospective proposer.

Contrary to what public opinion would be if it were derived from my postings on this blog, we have actually been consumed in, “when we get married,” and, “are you sure you prefer that setting?” and “really, you don’t have ANY available Saturdays in April?” and, “BigJohn, I’d like to ask your blessing to ask Christina to marry me,” conversations for quite some time now. But I made a promise to myself not to discuss it much until it was “official,” so that a proposal and engagement would not become formalities, even though I’m aware that that’s exactly what they are. Now. Like a scud missile in 1991, I am engaged. And Lord willing, I’m not planning on ever … uhh … disengaging. So, hooray! I’ve been glassy-eyed all day, distracted by the brilliance of my left hand. My mom tells me she’s jealous of it. Which, really, I would be too. You know, if it weren’t mine. Yesterday, I kept commenting on the ring, then feeling guilty and saying, “But, you know, it’s you that I want and love and am excited about. I don’t need this. But, umm…oh my God.” It’s stunning. I am ecstatic. All day yesterday I announced “firsts,” par exemple:

“This is the first time I’ve walked into my apartment since I got engaged!”
“This is the first time I’ve had to run back into my apartment because I forgot something since I got engaged!”
“Sorry if I didn’t do a great job parking, but it’s the first time I’ve done it since I got engaged.”
And so on.

Now begins the planning. Fneh. I know you might not believe this, but I just don’t care. I mean, I want it to be a nice day, replete with mermaid dress and sunflowers and what have you, but I just don’t care about very many things. The biggie is trying to nail down a way to do it all where and when we want, but the venue formerly known as “our building” isn’t being very accommodating. And they sent us a contract with a price $900 higher than it was the last time. We are working on some alternative ideas and should have a date nailed down in the near future, and I am trying to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, 7 months is not forever. And, if everything goes the way we’d like, that’s about how far away it will be. We need to get on it, though, because our Pastor is about to verry busy. If the busy-bodies who frequent this blog had blogs of their own, well … you’d know that apparently it’s the time to get married. Ordinarily, for me, this might be reason enough not to do it. But I can’t wait to be married to this boy. (I know, you can remind me I said that when I’m complaining about picking up his dirty socks for the 47th time.)

Pictures of Dwayne Johnson (aka, THE ROCK) will be forthcoming!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Moving on Up, but This Ain't No East Side

I'm such a cry baby. I didn't know what a good thing I had, down on the first floor, in the darkness and amidst the Hawaiian shirts, but only on Fridays. When I was there, I did not appreciate the khaki-olive-grey half-walls around me. I got irritated when tall people leered at me (or my screen) as they walked by. I didn't cherish the anonymity, even getting annoyed when another employee did not recognize me. And now. Well, the Hawaiian shirts are still around, and the pseudo-married-guy flirting continues. (And, a note on the benign flirters-- they're all growing goatees. At a loss for words, I called them the scruffy chin club and they laughed hysterically. Because everything I say is hilarious. Because I'm a girl.)

I have moved, against my will, to the fifth floor, in front of everyone. I sit at a counter, my back to the main door of a suite that houses 50+ people, my screen facing them. I know, this makes it sound like I want to surf for questionable materials while I'm at work, but it's not that. It's just that I don't stay busy enough there, despite my cries for attention and assignments. I fear it's causing me to go crazy and develop at least one facial tic. Every time the door opens, I jump, try as hard as I can not to look over my shoulder, then switch my screen to a spreadsheet. Much like in college when Parker called me out for selling myself out when I hadn't read the assignment (I would participate more on those days. I wasn't fooling anyone), I feel like I'm totally giving myself away by trying too hard to look busy. I don't mean to do it, but I find myself scrunching up my face in mock confusion and making deep sighing noises of frustration. It got so bad this afternoon that I was rubbing my eyes and a passerby suggested that if I had a headache, I should probably take a break. Evidently, I'm not winning any Emmys for daytime drama here.

Otherwise, big things, HUGE things in the works, but you know how I love the element of fake suspense. Best friend from college and her child are coming up on Thursday night, so I need to buy whole milk and the like. Otherwise, keep on anticipating, my crickets.

Speaking of crickets, it has come to my attention that you are multiplying! Modestly, I'm aware, but I have gained an elementary understanding of how to read my site stats. Unfortunately, none of us know each other so well as to know our corresponding IPs (except for a select couple of NASA and Hopkins employees--slackers, you know who you are). So, because I'm nosy (as, obviously, you all can relate to, or else why would you read my blog?) would you mind stopping by the address book (at the bottom of the page) or leaving a comment? It would be much obliged.

Okay, time to hit the sack. The Boy and I are supposed to check out this new thing called jogging tomorrow...or maybe it's "yogging." Might be a soft 'j'.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Non-Committal Update

Had to wait a few days to let the novelty of my fame wear off. No, but really, the concert went very well and, as far as I could see, there was a good turn out. Because it was dark and we had bright lights in our eyes, all I could see were t-shirts in the front row. With no heads on them. But the cheering was loud enough that it couldn't possibly have come just from those shirts or, rather, the hands that belonged to them, so I think we did all right. And it was fun. But, alas, I am not a star. I just wear these oversized sunglasses (that the boy isn't afraid to tell me he loathes) to increase the mystique.

Everything and nothing doing here. Brother successfully made the move to Texas (pronounced Tay-haass, if you've been watching Into the West. The Boy and I TiVo'd it for a while and watched the first two episodes, but we just can't make that kind of a commitment to a TV show, especially when Felicity is only in snippets.). Anyway, Brother is doing pretty well. I hugged him good-bye and he picked me up and spun me around ten times, so I think that sufficiently scattered the tears so that he didn't see them. I already miss that kid.

The bigger of the two younger brothers moved into his first apartment in North Carolina this weekend, leaving only Little Sister and I in the state, and leaving only Little Sister at home. She is nervous about that, and I'm sad for her. As the "Trailblazer," as my dad would sometimes call it, I never had that loneliness and everyone was always excited to see me. I have to be more deliberate about my relationship with her from here on out.

Went to the Ravens pre-season game last night. They wouldn't let me bring my purse in. The Boy tried not to laugh as I raged to anyone who would look at me about how ridiculous their "policy" was. We sat on the 50-yard line...three rows from the top of the stadium. A really good view, but I had no idea you could sell those for $75-- face value. Another potential reason I've never been as big of a football fan as I am of other things?

S'all for today, it's crazy muggy and hot and I'm tired and bleh. And who wants to hear about that? Big things going on otherwise, but those are for another day...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Summer Beverages with JC

If you are not already in possession of a copy of my autograph, so sorry. Tonight is my big shot at stardom: That's right, the concert on the lake. Okay, so honestly, there is no chance at even a hint of stardom. Not even a little bit. What there will be: Me in a peasant skirt trying to de-emphasize the flotation devices because I'll be singing about/to God. And you know how people are apt to forget that God made boobs. Gahh, I can totally empathize with Jessica Simpson. But, you know, old-school JS. Before the "Oh I forgot I'm not wearing any clothes, and here I am washing my car in a music video" JS. So yeah, there will be that. Also, a synthesizer. Be honest, just reading that word makes you yearn for Herbie Hancock. A little bit, right? What else? Our drummer has a mullet. Yes, the haircut, not the fish. And, I'm not making any promises, but there may be a bolo tie cameo. That greatness is usually reserved for Sundays, so I'm not sure.

In all truth, I'm hoping it will be a nice time, and that we might get the chance to play for people who don't hear us every week. We're playing 8-10, and on a Wednesday, that can be a little late for that crowd anyway. Apparently not for my pastor, though. On Sunday when he gave the announcement about the concert, he invited the congregation to come out and enjoy some "summer beverages" while listening to the music. "We can make it a really happy hour!" He exclaimed, while I tried my darndest to control my facial expressions on stage. Because these people are baptists. And that's only part of the reason I think he's so fabulous.

Anyway, if, after tonight I am suddenly a star, don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Assessment of Goals

How could I have forgotten to revisit the goals for the trip...

1. Thanks to Little Sister's spray-on sunscreen (which does NOT spray evenly, as its package suggests), I got more pink than bronze, but it is working its way to tan. Except for my nose, which threatens to peel.
2. Really, any walk I take on the beach, especially one as crowded as this one, is long enough that I can't find my stuff upon my return.
3. The waves were fantastic for boogie boarding, leading to many more than one that took me all the way onto the sand.
4. The intra-bikini sand thing wasn't too bad, but I've got ugly strawberries on my thighs and torso. Sigh. I guess that's the price I pay for being such an amazing pseudo-surfer.
5. Thankfully, Little Sister is, so far, most attractive to poorly groomed boys with skateboards who wear shoes that look like they are inflated. Also, the brother didn't let anyone get NEAR her anyway.
6. Unfortunately, I am no longer 12, so this one couldn't be avoided. It was a bit of a consolation to walk around with Brother and make them wonder what I was doing with such a young kid. But also sad because, apparently, I cannot be mistaken for 17 anymore. The jig is up.
7. I didn't bash any skulls. I did tell a skater boy he needed a haircut, though.
8. It's hard to read anything when you've got a 12-year-old standing above you, dripping on you, telling you she wants to go back in the ocean.
9. I laughed my head off.
10. The gig was a success and resulted in some local guy offering to record Brother's music when he's back home at Christmas.
11. Teenager voice was, thankfully, kept to a minimum, but the emo-rock couldn't be avoided. Thank God for earbuds.

Catching up with the Past while the Future Calls

Hmm, as it turns out, I'm a big, fat exaggerating exaggerator. (Also, it would seem, I'm not so hot at formatting blog posts. Sorry for the disorganized pictures.) I am not currently in posession of as much proof from The Wilderness Adventure as I had originally thought. Like, for example, of me shooting guns for the first time (inadvertently when I shot the 12-gauge, I yelled "Woo-hoo!"). Alas, here is a sampling...

The top left is self explanatory, je pense. This is the "backyard," as it were. The one on the left is the lake around dinner time. It really was beautiful. And, it goes without saying that the whole thing got increasingly beautiful the farther I stood from the outhouse.

Last but certainly not least, the one above on the right is our "lovely" and "spacious" cabin. There I slept in a twin bunk with The Boy's head at my head and The Brother's feet at my feet. And, I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feeling here, but I have never been in the company of snorers of such a high...caliber. Fortunately, The Boy was one of the least offensive of the bunch, or I'd be thinking of a separately-roomed Ever After, which, let's be honest, isn't really as happy as what I had previously imagined for us.

Yeah. So, this isn't exactly the excitement I had planned for you either. And now it's been so long since then that I've lost the drama that had previously been inherent in my storytelling. I would be remiss if I didn't fully disclose that I did not part entirely with my prissiness on this trip. I shaved my legs in the lake. Twice. The Boy came upstairs to retrieve something and caught me looking into my compact. "I know you're not putting makeup on." I didn't respond. "Because there is no makeup in Maine." I acted like I was merely getting something out of my eye. And muttered under my breath, "Maybe there's a little makeup in Maine." Because, honestly, the transformation from my natural self to the one often seen parading around the Mid-Atlantic is just that-- a transformation. Let's put it this way: To my knowldege, no one has ever passed me on the street and marveled, "Maybe she really is born with it..."

But in addition to the unprissy new experience of shooting guns, I drove a waverunner for the first time (like a pro, I might add). The Boy was not nearly as lucky, as he fractured two ribs falling off of the aforementioned waverunner (someone else was driving). Talk about an inconvenient injury. He can't do anything without being in pain. Probably it doesn't help that we went to the grocery store to "pick up a few things" yesterday and came back with a cart-full of very heavy items that had to make the journey up the 76 stairs in the 103-degree heat. (No, he's not stereotypical when it comes to injuries. Not at all.)

When we got home from Maine I went to the wedding of my oldest friend (that is, the one I've had the longest. Not the one who is chronologically the oldest. She's only 24, actually). She cried her eyes out when she saw me, but The Boy maintains that I cried more than anyone else there. Which, he tells me, makes him fear for the future. I'll have to reassure him I'll manage to keep my composure, lest I hear, "What are you doing? Are you putting on MAKEUP? Beacause there is no makeup in weddings." The beauty of this wedding is that what had initially felt like an obligation ended up feeling like an honor. It was so wonderful to realize that not everything good goes away.

Also in the "Not Everything Good Goes Away" category, Tara, my first college friend spent a fabulous weekend here. Well, to me it was fabulous. To her, it may have seemed like a travel brochure with a subliminal track in the background screaming, not so subtly, "PLEASE MOVE TO BALTIMORE, YOU JUST HAVE TO." Hopefully we'll be able to schedule some additional time to further persuade--visit with Tara in the coming year.

The trip with the kiddos this weekend was also a blast, but don't think that means it wasn't educational. It could have been a field trip in parental preparation. Keep in mind, Brother is 17, Little Sister is 12 1/2 but looks much older. We got out of work as early as we could, already exhausted at 1:00, but Brother had on his Panama Jack hat and aviator shades and Little Sister couldn't stop giggling for no reason. We got to the beach around 4:30 and spent some daylight teaching them to bodysurf (yes, broken ribs and all). We then walked from our 21st St. hotel to the very end of the boardwalk and back up again. Little Sister got the attention of not a few "skater boys" as we walked by and she informed me, "If I see a hot guy tomorrow, I'll probably talk to him, but don't worry, I'll be good." Wow. When we got back and sat down to our pizza a little before midnight, Little Sister said, "What are we going to do NOW?" The Boy just looked weary. "You see," he whispered to me, "this is why God gives you children as BABIES. Because then you have YEARS to prepare to be the parents of teenagers. Like, if we had little kids, we could just call it a night at 9:00 and blame it on them that we want to go to bed t hen too. But this is just making me feel so old. Really. I don't know if we'll ever be ready."

The next day on the beach (after I broke up a pillow fight in our hotel room screaming the words, "BOYS, if you don't cut this out, someone is going to get hurt!") The Boy witnessed a toddler dance his way into a faceplant in the sand. Concerned, The Boy consulted the child's mother. "He's durable," she laughed.

"But I don't think you understand," The Boy ventured, "I think he has sand in his eyeballs."

"Just wait until you're a father and you have to take little kids to the beach," the mother smiled.
"What?" The Boy responded, "They'll have to be 25 before they can go to the beach. 35 if they're girls."

Do you hear that? Yeah, it's my future calling. At least it's not snoring, right?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Big News and a Little Trip

Quel surprise, I am unable to post pictures at this time. S'ok, right? Keep on keeping on with the anticipation.

Somehow, in all this not posting, I have neglected to share BIG news! I am finally funded and enrolled in grad school!! I'll be taking two classes (the content of which would reduce the vast majority of the population, myself potentially included, to rivers of tears) starting September 12th. Woohoo! I am trying not to focus on the fact that I could already have obtained an advanced degree by this time, what with the now officially three-year separation from the ol' B.A. Because it's not a race. And really, in the words of BNL, "If I pass, if I fail if I drop out, does anyone give a damn? And if they do, they'll soon forget, cause it won't take much for me to show them my life ain't over yet." (DISCLAIMER: When I begin to do what everyone thinks I'm gonna do, which is just flip out after this undertaking commences, someone please hit me on the head and send me the link to this post.)

Getting ready to head to the beach with the kiddies and The Boy. We will not, as Little Sister for some reason assumed, be attaching the old school car-top carrier to The Boy's Saab. We will be getting out of here as soon as possible to beat all the other clowns who think it's a good idea to go to the beach on Friday afternoon. We will then ridicule these others for having the exact same idea as we do, and then express mock outrage that we are "the only people who know how to drive anymore." Oh, I'm sorry. It seems I've confused The Boy's DayTimer with mine. I'll just be sighing and rolling my eyes while the above ensues. I apologize for the inadvertent royal "we."

Goals for the trip:
1. To acquire lovely and naturally bronzed skin
2. To take a walk on the beach that is so long I almost forget where my stuff is
3. To ride at least one wave all the way onto the sand
4. To keep the intra-bikini sand and torso-cuts to a minimum
5. To avoid watching disgusting men ogle my 12-year-old sister
6. To avoid watching said men ogle me
7. To avoid bashing the skulls of said men
8. To (finally) read some of Anne Lamott's, Blue Shoe
9. To laugh with my sister and brother
10. To get Brother home in time to shower, set up and play without vomiting on his sweater (already)
11. To survive, at minimum, 6 hours in a car listening to Little Sister's newly acquired "teenager voice" set to the background of adolescent emo-rock

Wish me luck and Happy Friday!

[PS-- I'm still tweaking it a bit, but check out my new links section in the sidebar.]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wait for it...

Please hold, your call is very important to us. And while you wait, a little Blue Steel... Please know that you don't have to inform me; The Boy reminds me every day that I am, in fact, a tool. The key, I find, is in embracing it. As you can see, I'm really quite fine with it.

Yeah, I know, I'm such a tease. I fear it will all backfire, this fake suspense, and make you all say, "FINE, I didn't care about your stupid Wilderness Adventure ANYWAY!" And yes, I'm aware the assumption that there is ANYONE out there who is waiting in breathless anticipation is impossibly narcissistic. For that, I halfheartedly apologize, because I only halfheartedly assumed in the first place.

While you wait (or curse me for causing you to think of another way to waste your time, since this was, quite possibly, your last resort) check out my new favorite blog (which trumps Paul Shirley's, but only partially because his no longer exists). This, for me, would be like introducing The Boy to a stunning and brilliant friend. It is with trepidation that I link to her, because she is far wittier than I, and I fear you might leave me for her. But this was always and mostly continues to be for my own amusement anyway, and so it will go. She raises many questions I have stumbled into myself, as a twenty-something single Christian woman, sometimes without a paddle. She has fallen in areas I managed to avoid and stood her ground in places I couldn't always, and I appreciate her perspective. Her conclusions are often sage, even if her means of finding them doesn't always appear that way. And she's hysterically funny. So anyway, you should check her out.

And I promise to return with some good stuff soon. Hopefully tomorrow, but tomorrow afternoon we are venturing to the beach with the younger siblings, as a belated present to my brother, who will have his second official gig on Saturday night before he heads off to the heart of Texas (the stars at night are big and bright there, I hear). Re: the gig, comment or e-mail me if you'd like les détails...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Rant and Recollections

I sincerely hope none of you were contacting the local authorities. I have returned. And, let me just say, I could really use a vacation. Since last we talked I entertained The Boy's parents, spent the better part of last week in Maine and entertained The Fan (Tara!). So much love, yet also so much...information. I will hold off on Maine, as I have some gorgeous pictures on my home PC and, since I haven't yet splurged on any form of internet there, I can't figure out how to get that goodness in here. But, don't despair! I still have plenty of gems for your enjoyment. Or distraction. Or for whatever it is that possesses you to come here.

Let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start, n'est-ce pas?). Somehow, The Boy and I (with the help of Ryan, barbecue chef extraordinaire) pulled off a nice little cookout for The Parents and their friends before the game last last Friday. I walked to the stadium with The Stepmother, who is neither ugly nor mean, and lamented being left by our respective others to catch up. My parents beat us there, and we all had a good time. Except when some jerks followed me up the stairs (where I was meeting my mom) waving money at me and applauding. Men: Please tell those in your gender to stop this. Or buy them some sunglasses or something. Leering is not okay. And yes, that's what they are doing, and yes, even with said sunglasses we can tell, and no, you are not discreet. It is not flattering. It is not funny; it is not acceptable. And these opinions do not make me a bitch. Having to voice them as often as I do makes it apparent that there is a problem, and it isn't with my perception.

Saturday morning I picked my little sister up and we spent the day with The Boy's fam. At the aquarium I saw possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen. (Also, how cool are turtles?) The male seahorse in one of the tanks had just given birth (minutes ago), but I couldn't spot the babies (seacolts?) until another bystander pointed them out. Nearly transparent, they were maybe a centimeter long. I expected them to look something like tadpoles, but even at that size, they were completely formed. I have never seen anything so small, yet so intricately designed. Sometimes it's not the sunset or the stars that remind me of God's greatness; sometimes it's the details. I can't help but think, if He cares enough to form seahorses that completely, from the beginning (if someone knows of the importance of seahorses, shoot me a line), doesn't He care about everything I've got going on, no matter how trivial it seems? I tried to take pictures, but they were so small they wouldn't show up. The Stepmother came back to get me because I was holding everyone up.

That night, my youngest brother joined us for dinner, and we had a blast. We walked everyone through Fells Point (in my poorly chosen heels). Here, we revisited the leering thing, but in a much more offensive manner. Little Sister and I walked together. Little Sister is 12 1/2. Little Sister looks much older than she is. So, as she and I walked, I noticed that much older men were giving her attention. The most grievous offenseoccurredd when a man walked by and jokingly included her in his conversation, touching her arm while he did so. "Why does he think he can just touch me?" She asked, outraged. And to that, all I could say was, exactly. Men: If she looks young, assume that she is. But more than that, leave girls alone. You'll know if they want to be bothered, and if you're that guy, chances are pretty good that they don't.

Anyone want to give me a hand as I step off this soapbox? It's hard to balance in these heels.

So, keep on anticipating stories from Maine, which will be accompanied by lovely pictures. I know you're probably disappointed that it doesn't sound like I hated it, but be encouraged, I'm pretty sure you'll laugh anyway.
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