Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Words_NYC 2011

This year, I'll once again, pack my little bags (and Carebear) and head to the Big Apple for the 2011 Gel Conference. It's tradition now that post-conference, I lock arms (lips?) with my dear friend Emily who lives in Brooklyn, has no idea who Channing Tatum is, and is sometimes chased by old men making unusual dolphin noises. What a life. Additional, monumental, cataclysmic bonus to my trip? I'm rendezvousing with Misie and am planning on running away with her into the city sunset. But then I remembered that she's married and I'm going to be married so we probably shouldn't run too far. Maybe just run to the corner and back. And then draw a sunset in the air and squint our eyes like we're disappearing but really, our eyes will just be closed.

Back to Emily, one of my favorite people. Because why? Because this:

On Sun, Apr 17, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Kimi wrote:
HI Hi hi hi hi,
So it's our annual reunion. Get excited!
Is it ok if I stay with you Saturday, April 30th and then I'll have to leave Sunday afternoon. There's also a chance my friend might come with me too. Would that be okay if she stayed too? Let me know little flower.
<3 Kimi

On Apr 20, 2011, at 9:57 AM, Emily wrote:
YEP Yep yep yep yep.
I have drawn a little kitten on my calendar for Sat the 30th, which means that you & friend are coming.

On Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM, Kimi wrote:
I'm glad that you chose a kitten as your symbol for my arrival. That couldn't make me happier. Yay I can't wait to see you! Can we hang Saturday (make out) and hug until the early morning? (heavy petting)

On Apr 20, 2011, at 3:57 PM, Emily wrote:
Yep! I'll even shave my legs. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photos_June 2012

After searching high and low, we've finally found our wedding place, thanks to Lt. Dan (dad) who happened upon this hidden gem while driving around the surrounding area one day. Wouldn't you know, it's practically in our backyard. I'm absolutely in love with it and am already taken with how beautiful it is with nothing added to it. Now, if everyone can just pray that it doesn't rain... 

Behind the seated area up a hill is a very dated graveyard with tombstones as early as the 1800s. Not sure if I'm going to incorporate this into my walk down the aisle, but it's certainly an option. 
Lt. Dan, I owe you a big one. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Words & Photos_A Raych Arles Wedding Weekend

This weekend, one of my dearest most precious friends took those terrifyingly wonderful steps down the aisle and committed herself to an amazingly sweet and loving man. I've known Rachel since she was 14, when she was crafting duct tape purses in my Mom's kitchen, teaching me animal sign language on the floor in Barnes and Noble, showing me what my college experience should have been like while visiting her at Covenant College. I had no idea that my relationship with this teenager would blossom into the sisterhood it is today. She is probably one of the most unique people I know: a tender-hearted, enormously lovable and charming black woman trapped in a white girl's body. She communicates more in noises than she does in words. She's unpredictably hilarious, a true marcher to her own drummer, seeing at times the worst in people as their best, and could fill a day's worth of audio with her own clever Raych Arles-ism sound bytes.

I asked Rachel and Asher, as I do most wedded couples-to-be, if they think they're going to cry during the wedding. Both answered pretty confidently "no."

During the ceremony, the pastor (who was also Asher's uncle) took about a minute or so asking Rachel and then Asher to look at the other's hands and take into account their meaning. That Rachel's hands would be the ones to one day hold their children. That Asher's would be the ones rough and worn from working to provide. I remember looking at Asher, unsure if the glare off his glasses was just a glare or in fact, tears. I settled on a glare when I realized he was sniffling and his nose had burned red and he was nervously darting his eyes from Rachel to us bridesmaids. I had to look away so not to lose it. What hit me the most was the pastor turning to Rachel and saying: "These hands are the hands you will support and defend, when everyone else has turned their backs against him." I suppose this hits home for me as I'm traditionally a people pleaser and tend to choose at times compromised peace over conflict. But in this statement, it really surfaced how much I am putting someone else first and championing them no matter what, even if it reflects poorly on me. It's losing my own self dignity for someone else and saying that whatever happens, I'm in 100 percent.

I loved everything about Rachel's wedding. I loved that she walked down the aisle to "For the Beauty of the Earth." I loved how she made nearly all of her decorations and executed such creative and unique ideas. I loved how we danced on a stage to Kanye West as she apologized while dancing when the "shit" and the "f" word among other expletives were unleashed. I loved how we were able to take gangsta photos. I loved seeing how much she is loved and the incredible fold of support she has surrounding her in this new phase of her life. I loved having time with just her early in the morning the day before and the day of her wedding to laugh, talk, and pray together. I love that this is honestly just the beginning. Rachel and Asher will be in my life for a very long time, for my own wedding and our probable move to Baltimore and I feel so blessed to have them by my side.

So, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Warren. The world is better now, as am I, that you are bound together for life.

Words_Long Distance Lover

The glamorous life of an Indian Summer bass player.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Words & Photos_What the Kids?

One word to describe this weekend: Kids. Everyday. Asking a million questions about, well, everything. "Who is that? Why is that there? Is that real? Is Gracie here yet? Will we get to play on the playground? Did you know I know what zero times three is? Who do you live with? Whose is that? Can we have popcorn? Did you know my 1st grade teacher became a farmer? Did you know this is a Hannah Montana song?" (Well, it was actually an Avril Levigne song but whatever.)

Having kids under your authority for any x amount of hours opens your eyes to a lot of things.

1. They're a lot of work. I kind of knew this already having witnessed my brothers produce three children each in the last seven years but this concept is magnified when they're at your mercy for everything: safety, finances, conversation, direction, intellect, discernment. I think I exerted almost every fiber of my being trying to plan and direct a Saturday visit to a local book festival, disciplining when necessary while being loving and gracious and not overbearing but of course not forgetting to be fun all at the same time. Oh, and making sure they weren't abducted, too. Kind of important.

2. Playgrounds are freakin' stressful. When I have kids, I'm sitting just far enough away that I know they're having fun and they're safe. I don't need to know that girl #1 butted in line and now my niece and her are having this weird unspoken staring contest. I don't need to know that my niece is taking way too long on the slide or that she's a little timid to go down it and therefore holding up the line. I don't need to know that the moves the girls are doing on the monkey bars might warrant an ambulance. I don't need to be the playground police, stressing over every broken cultural rule. I just need to take a deep breath, open the flask, and drink it down.

3. Radios aren't safe for kids anymore. I know, that statement makes me very old now, which I am, but it's true. I thought one of our local stations 106.5 or 107.3 was a safe place for young ears but I was wrong. Although Rihanna's "S&M" song has an infectious dance beat and the girls loved it for oh, three precious seconds, I had to turn the station. I also had to turn off Ke$ha as a sheer matter of principle. Which left me with Avril Lavigne (Hannah Montana) singing about how all of her life she was good and now she's doing whatever she wants (hey thanks Avril, so when my niece becomes a coke addict and ends up on Intervention, I'll play your song as a memento). Of course I found out AFTER the fact the song was called "What the Hell" (how apropos on so many levels) so the next time they hear that song and Mom asks where they heard it they'll trace it back to my car which will guarantee me an unfit babysitter for life and probably also in the afterlife if they do end up being cokeheads on Intervention screaming unpleasant things in the same lyrical vein as Lavigne. The other choice which I settled on was Katy Perry's "Firework" which is pretty harmless (right? RIGHT?) and if it's not, well, it was the lesser of the three evils and we ended up listening to it twice on two different radio stations because I was overly stressing trying to decipher a song's message against a seductive beat in a matter of five seconds. Next time, I'm bringing pre-approved CDs.

4. Sometimes kids know best. Sometimes they know how to disarm a situation better than you can. Sometimes they know how to be the leader and garner the support of the majority more graciously than you.  Sometimes they're smarter than you. Sometimes they need pure unconditional love instead of tough love.

All in all, my weekend of baby-sitting, celebrating a 2-year-old's birthday party, and more baby-sitting was incredibly fulfilling and always a learning experience. I know kids are in my future but just not now. I think taking care of myself and Carebear will do for now.

The Weekend Gallery:
Annapolis Book Festival 
  • Entertainment featured at the festival worth watching: Mutts Gone Nuts
  • FML Moment: Realizing after we left the festival that NPR's Michele Norris was on a panel discussing race in America

Chuck E. Cheese Celebration

The birthday boy "rode" in a car which took your picture each time and he ended up collecting a handful of photos throughout his time there. This one was my favorite, of course.

The end.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Words & Photos_Where have all the ligres gone?

Top Moments of Washington D.C. National Zoo 2011

1. Well, this face of course. Robbe's. Not the panda's.

2. Robbe overhearing a little boy asking his Mom: "Where are the armadildos?"

3. Free admission and free parking on the street on Sundays.

4. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp

5. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp googly eyes

6. I was at the zoo but kept taking pictures of the blooming trees and all the wonderful signs of spring.

7. Robbe tried to speak parsel tongue to this one but he wasn't interested.

8. This one seemed a bit stressed out as he was continuously pacing back and forth. I thought maybe his wife was in labor or something. I'm sure that was it.

9. Seeing people take pictures of the exhibit of cockroaches. Wow.

10. Eating a delicious burger at Nanny O'Brien's post-zoo and taking this one home.

Unfortunately, there were no elephants or pandas or ligres to be found.
If you're not Zoo-ed out yet, the rest of the photos can be found here. Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Words & Photos_So Fresh and So Clean Clean

In just one week, Robbe and his band mates will embark on a 2-week journey I like to call: "So Fresh and So Clean Clean." True story: Robbe and band Farewell Flight have shed their band name and a smidge of their DIY responsibilities and lassoed themselves a proper contract with a legit music label. (Sadly, no it's not the same label as Zack Attack.) The new label has prompted a new band name: Indian Summer (loving it more everyday!) and of course, a new tour under this new name. Needless to say, this is all a Very. Big. Deal. And to honor this big deal, I had to do something to recognize this fresh, exciting chapter in Robbe's five-year-and-counting musical career. And nothing says "I honor you" more than a crate of candy, snacks, a lint roller, magic cards, a Spongebob coloring book, some mini composition books, pens, and a harmonica. 

Their spring tour map

The band. You know who you are.

Did I mention there was a crown, too?

Crown test. Survey says: Fits well.

Check out Indian Summer (formerly Farewell Flight) coming to a city near you!