Taking Stock: June 2019

Making : Nothing much.  Really just wishing I could knit better.  It seems like something that I should be able to do better.  I’m just so low on patience lately.  Maybe when things slow down a bit.  The knits from Highlander are inspirational.

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Cooking : Not much lately.  It seems like the last two months we have just been in survival mode.  Nico’s soccer season is finishing up, and I am hoping to try my hand at making beef wellingtons.  They look amazing.
Drinking : Maybe about 7-8 years ago, I tried bourbon (Maker’s Mark) for the first time. It was mixed with ginger ale and it tasted like burn.  I didn’t like it.  But… back at Christmas time, we were visiting friends and I tried this bourbon, mixed with ginger ale.  And it was not bad… not bad at all.  Apparently, it is very “smooth”, I don’t exactly know what that means.  But I do know that I like drinking this.

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Reading: So, I am ahead of schedule on my 2019 reading challenge (52 for the year).  So far, I have read 25 books!  Great, right?  Yes, I am rather impressed with myself.  I just started Elizabeth Warren’s book from Audible and am reading the ebook version of Theft of a Decade.
Wanting: Still wanting a true travel backpack. Still can’t justify pulling the trigger and getting one.
Waiting: For summer.  So much waiting,f or so many reasons: for summer to be over, to start riding my bike again, to be done teaching the class that I am currently teaching (qualitative methods), to start teaching my favorite class (two sections of statistics for nursing students). Just waiting.
Liking: I like spring so much.  It is, I think one of the best ways to be rewarded for winter here.

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Loving: Ali Wong’s “Always be my Maybe.” It’s brilliant and funny. And it has Mariah Carey on the soundtrack. And while we are on this topic, I love the fact that Netflix releases movies to stream and for theaters at the same time.  Honestly, I would see a lot more new releases if I could stream them at home.
Pondering: I follow Chase Reeves on social.  A couple of years ago, I came across his YouTube channel, where he creates videos reviewing bags.  He is doing a new thing where he is expanding into reviewing every day items (like shirts, etc).   He said something to the effect of “When something that you use or need everyday is disappointing, then, it is disappointing every day.” Which is remarkable.  As someone who thinks about and cares a lot about the experience of using things, this resonates with me, a lot.
Considering: Taking up cross-stitch. Like, a lot. I discovered Subversive Cross Stitch and honestly, it’s my jam. Smaller scale projects. Some with cursing. 🙂
Buying:
Watching: I finally pulled the trigger and started watching Outlander. Basically the level of curiosity has been there for a minute. When I saw it pop up on Netflix, I was like, “Ok. I’ll be the judge of this.” It’s not bad. Questioning: The life choices that have lead to our live situation in the last 2 months. It’s unreal.  And its been a wet spring, so we’ve had a lot of baseball games early in the season get post-poned, which spins them to later in the season.  So, it seems like we have something going on every night of the week.  Or day of the week.  Really looking forward to the end July, which we basically have *mostly* off.
Sorting: Nico’s room.  I basically spent last Friday night cleaning his room.  Honestly, I don’t know why it is already a disaster.  It’s not like he spends copious amounts of time in there. Trying to keep up with all of the equipment and stuff he needs for sports reminded me of a solution that my mom had when we were kids, which was to threaten to throw away a lot of our stuff, so we could find things (like library cards and calculators for school) better.  I kinda see her point.
Getting: I ordered a book about tartans, mostly because I realized I knew absolutely nothing about them.  The tartans that are used in Outlander are kind of cool looking.  So is the one for Dave’s family (the Gordons).  Also, I kind of want to know what tartans from my family might have looked like.  I am not really sure if I even have any Scottish ancestry… I just sort of assumed I did, given how English my ancestry has been.  Also, I really like the idea of different types of tartans, like modern, ancient, dress, etc.  I think it’s very cool.
Bookmarking: I came across paper.li last week.  I am not really sure what it is.  It looks like an easy newsletter/aggregator tool.  According to the “learn more” page, it is “the easiest way to collect, publish, and share content on the web.” When I came across it, it was as a sort of career newsletter.  I am not sure what I would use it for.  Like a curated twitter feed of interesting links?  I don’t know.  But I am, indeed, intrigued.
Coveting: A yard. This time of year is just full of growing things. And I wish I had a big ass yard to grow produce in.
Giggling: at my son’s giggling. His best friend from school has been in town this weekend and they just make each other laugh. And it devolves into giggling about non-sense. It’s awesome.
Feeling: Elizabeth Warren. She has a response to a question about abortion that I thought was really articulate and thoughtful.
Snacking: I went into a grocery yesterday that had cases on cases of beautiful ripe mangos. I cut it up and ate it yesterday and it was honestly, the best mango I’ve ever had.

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Me, an intellectual…

In a book store, I cannot ever NOT by a book.

Honestly, it is worth considering why I am the way that I am.  Seriously.  Why?

I don’t need anymore books.

It’s just that I want more books.  I know I don’t need to purchase more books, when I should just visit the shelf on my desk and make my selection.

I think it is weird.  I would rather stroll the aisles of a bookstore looking at covers and deciding on the fly (and rather dumbly) the books that I am interested in, than walk to my desk at home and choose the next book to read.  I think maybe  because I don’t read the synopsis of a lot of the books that I add to my “want to read” list,  the reptillian aspects of my brain that are attracted to shiny pretty things, takes over and I buy books that I am not really all *that* interested in reading.

This might be the case.  I have figured out that I have grand ideas about what I *think* I’d like to read.  I know this because sometimes I will, willy-nilly like go through GoodReads, clicking “Want to Read” somewhat cavalierly.  About once a month, I sit  down and decide to request some of them from CPL.  Lately, I have gotten a few books and once I read a bit of the book or the book description, I’m like:

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But at least I am not spending 100 pages reading these books before deciding I hate the book and quitting it.

This is progress, people.

I wonder if this is partially about wish fulfillment.  Maybe I want to be a person who has the time to read so voraciously that I can afford to waste time reading books that I have carelessly decided to read, because, big deal.  I have plenty of time! I worry about this a lot with some of the things I want to do.  Like, do I *really* want to hike the Appalachian Trail, or do I want to be at a place in my life where I *could* hike the AT?

Because they aren’t exactly the same thing.

Honestly, I could just see me having decided to hike the AT and bailing before I even got out of Georgia, like, “NOPE.” But it would be nice to be *able* to hike the AT.

Or maybe this is just about identity and impression management.  Like, I just want to seem like the kind of person who reads some books.  I could be this shallow.  The more Man-Booker books I read, the more I wonder if this is the case.  When I decided to read the Man-Booker books, I mostly knew what I was doing.  I knew that the MB Prize is awarded to the “best” English literature published during the year.  Not the most popular.  But “best” awarded by literature types who read for a living.  They read and eschew the popular and plebian.  That is how you end up with The Finkler Question (a “comedy” about old Jewish dudes obsessing about their dicks, being Jewish, and philandering).   Maybe if I read these books people will think I am smart?  An intellectual? Is that what is happening?

Oh, you can definitely tell it is the end of the quarter and I have a shit ton of grading to do.  When I am getting meta about my life, it’s time to sit my ass down in a chair and grade some more.

 

 

Short-Timers

We’re limping to the end of the school year and the soccer season.  Honestly, how is it that the school year is still going? It feels like Nico has been in fourth grade for 65469898 months.

Since he has been old enough to entertain himself (more or less), I stopped stressing about summers and days off.  When Nico was little, it could be stressful trying to figure out what to do with him when he was out of school and I still had to work.  Particularly during those times when I switched jobs and didn’t have any PTO or that one spring break when the guy I was working for was a real son of a bitch and didn’t “get” childcare issues.  I said what I said.

For about the last 2 years though, I crave summer.  During the school year, we have to get Nico up for school between 615-630.  It was 6am when we lived in North Park.  Then it went to 615 when we moved to Rogers Park.  Back in March, we chopped the routine down further, so that we can get him up at 630 and still *mostly* make it to school on time (which starts at 730).

But because I don’t want Nico to be a surly bastard at school, it means we have to get him in bed by 930.  I mean, I would prefer that he is in bed at 900.  But sometimes a lot of times, we will settle in on the couch to watch a Cubs game and he’ll fall asleep there. Even so… right now we have three sports going on: judo on Mondays, soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, baseball on Wednesdays and Fridays, Me playing soccer on Wednesday night, Dave playing soccer on Friday night.  Not to mention the myriad of baseball and soccer games that happen on the weekend.  Most nights that we have some type of practice, we’re getting home at 8pm.  Which means that we are whipping through the night, getting dinner, showers, homework done, etc.

But that is only because we have to have a dropdead time of 9-930 for bed.  When Nico doesn’t have school the next day, nights are luxurious.  We take our time with dinner… I don’t have to crack the whip at Nico and Dave.  We can listen to music and read and go to bed when we are ready.  Sometimes, if Dave is still working and Nico isn’t ready to sleep… I’ll go to bed when I am tired. Or early if I want to catch the gym in the morning.

In my opinion, we don’t talk enough about how much of a beat down the school year is for parents.

In any case, this is the first year that we haven’t signed Nico up for park district summer camp.  The first two years, he was really into it.  But he’s nine now.  And has a play station, ipad, ipod touch.  And wifi.  And a dad that works from home.  So, we have had progressively more resistance to going to summer camp… which I don’t really blame him for.  I would be the same, particularly since some of most relaxing times involve laying on the couch reading stuff on my phone.

We have some plans though… Nico would like to do a lot more crafting this summer.  Which is absolutely fine with me.  We need to overhaul his room and I want to get a crafting nook/work space in his room that I can just stock with stuff from my craft closet.  And stuff he wants to learn to do.  Also, despite the fact that I seem like I am on him all the time to stop being a dickhead about stuff, he is actually fairly mature.  I would be proud to pop into any pottery studio or any place that is doing craft stuff with him and I think he’d be all in.

Some of the things we’d like to do this summer:

  1. Do some of the crafts on 5 minute crafts (Nico and Jessi).
  2. Learn to paint with water colors (Nico and Jessi).
  3. Practice french (Nico).
  4. Piano or guitar lessons (Nico).
  5. Get a planner set up for next year with quotes, pics, etc (Nico).
  6. Learn to use a camping stove (Jessi).
  7. Lake Michigan Circle Tour (Jessi, Dave, and Nico).
  8. Craft nook for Nico’s room (Nico and Jessi).
  9. Purge craft closet (Jessi).
  10. Lego robotics lessons (Jessi and Nico).

I think this has the makings of a fun summer!

Smug A What?

Do you wanna feel better than others for a minute?  Do you want to be smug for just half a second?

There is a thing I have been doing… mostly it started just to mess with Facebook and Instagram’s logarithm.  I should start by saying, I am not even all that mad at the idea of logarithms.  I mean, if you’re going to put ads in my feeds, I would rather see adds for books, notebooks, pens, food, bags, snacks, and crafts and NOT dick pills, HRT, and ANY MLM. Truthfully, January was blissful in my feed because it was all bags all the time.  Kickstarters for new bags, newly designed and produced bags, bags *clearly* made in China, ads for accounts that review bags.  It was great.  That is some logarithm shit I can get on board with.

So, a few months ago, something in my profile on Facebook pulled in an ad for a newly published romance/erotica book.  Which is interesting, because it is the genre of books I find least interesting and because I don’t have all that much time to devote to reading, and don’t read for pleasure all that often.  At all.  And, because of the sections I walk through at any given book store or library, they are the books I am least likely to pick up/acquire, and read willy-nilly.  And you can bet your ass that I am not blowing an Audible credit on a romance/erotica.  No.  Just no.

My initial intrigue at what part of my profile flagged the logarithm set to display this romance/erotica book in my feed was soon replaced by three things:

  1. Interest in the “genres” of these novels.
  2. What clicking on any of these ads would do to future logarithms.
  3. The comments.  The comments are always entertaining, but also make me sad for humanity.

First, these genres are ridiculous. So, when you go to Amazon to see the listings for these books, there are tags to let the reader know generally what the content is: standalone or series, cliff hanger, hotwives, first time, billionaire, baby, bad boy, boss, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, etc.  Which is unreal because that’s giving away a big part of the plot, don’t you think? So, you go to a listing for a book and in the about section and comments, etc, a big part of the book is told to the reader up front. For me, it removes any premise that these books are written for literary enjoyment.  That is not their purpose.

Also, it is funny to me, because the success of the billionaire, baby, and boss genre tells me a lot about what these writers think women want to read about.  If that is in fact what these authors write.  I mean, we’ve already established that they are not writing the great american novel. To read these descriptions, you would think that most women want some billionaire boss bad boy, with him they have a happily ever after.

I clicked a post with a book about a billionaire boss… because it is funny as fuck and unrealistic.  Sure, some 30 year old nitwit with a body also happens to be a boss, who “needs” a “personal assistant”.  Its hilarious because actual 30 year old billionaires look like the biggest nerds on the planet:

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I look at each of these guys and think: they probably know their way around some html code or bitcoin.  There is nothing about the looks of any of these dudes that make me think: oh yeah, probably good in bed.  I don’t mean to be a hater, like, I recognize that when its all said and done, Elon Musk is probably going to have the biggest impact on climate change of any person on the planet.  And I am glad to exist during the same era as him.  Again, just not realistic.  Completely fantasy at this point.

Second, clicking on one of these ads ensures that more will come up in your feed.  Obviously, that is how logarithms work.  A few “books” I have followed to Amazon’s page  have only guaranteed that more like that have come up.

Last, let’s talk about the comments and the real reasons why I feel like a genius.

I am also going to start from the premise that most, if not all comments on a romance book’s ad on Facebook are fake.  Because… well… Its an ad… and if there are farms of computers in Russia and Moldova commenting on political articles to win Trump elections, I have no doubts that there is a market for commenting on other shit.  So, obviously, skeptical.  But, even if we assume that some of them are real, I have some real questions about people who comment on an ad for a self-published erotica on Facebook.  Because the comments are never: “Meh. This was kind of a waste of time and money… but it beat reading the newspaper.” The comments that I see are: “This book is the BEST! Absolutely love Lainey and Brayden together! New favorite couple!”  or “Caiden sounds so fucking hot!”

So I read one of these “books” and it was a nightmare.  Start to finish.  Little character development, completely implausible dialogue.  And not funny.  Not even like breathe loud once through your nose funny.  Basically, I think the book had 6-8 sex scenes… and it was just terrible dialogue and shitty character development stringing from one scene to the next.  It was fucking awful.

And so how do I feel smart?  First, I am smarter than any real person who comments that they love one of these books on a social ad.  Full stop.  Again, assuming that most of the comments are fake, I am, at the very least, smarter than the fraction of real people who comment that the books are amazing.  The best!  The best series!!!  AND I am smart because the majority of the books I read are about real shit. Or they are actual literature… about boring shit (looking at you Finkler Question).  And not completely unrealistic trash being sold on Amazon for $0.99.

That also makes me better than a lot of people.

 

The Things We Forget

Mother’s Day is weird this year.

Mom’s birthday is May 11 and usually it falls within a couple of days of Mother’s Day.  My mom was an extraordinary gift giver.  For me,  it was always a struggle to get on her level for Mothers Day and her birthday, which we always treated as separate days.   She understood the struggle of people who have birthdays on or near holidays… of course, my birthday is on National Boss Day… I guess I know the struggle as well?

It just caught me off guard last month- I came across an ad for Menards or something that was like, “Make Mother’s Day Special.”  I was like, “Wow.  There is that, too.”

Growing up, I did a lot of the cooking.  It started when I was in about 5th grade, Mom got really sick over Thanksgiving and I made Thanksgiving dinner.  Up to that point, I made the occasional hot dogs  or macaroni and cheese or ramen.   But after, we realized I could more or less follow directions for cooking meals, I took over a majority of the cooking.

It made sense, because in 6th grade, I would come home from school and “get dinner started”… and once you’re trusted to boil pasta water, it’s not that big of a step to make hamburgers.  And no one every bled out from cutting themselves while making a salad.

I learned at an early age how to get food to the table at the appropriate temperature, at the same time.  Seriously, my mom would flip shit if I brought out fries 10 minutes before burgers were ready. Or a pan of baked ziti getting cold on the table while you’re still waiting for salad to come out.  I learned that you cannot use flour or granulated sugar to thicken up buttercream frosting that you carelessly made too thin.  That first year I made Thanksgiving dinner, mom talked me through the whole thing, including dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  I cooked the turkey breast down because I didn’t know any better.  When I got the meal to the table, the turkey did not look like what you see in magazines, and I assumed I had messed something up.  Mom was like, “breast down is how Martha Stewart cooks her turkey”.  And it keeps the white meat from drying out.  Ever since, I’m like, “Martha Stewart can get on my level!” And I cook the damn thing breast down.

Growing up, we had a weekend routine that I continue to be in awe of.  We’d get up Saturday morning and do JJ’s soccer games/tournaments, and wrestling meets.  If Nicole and I were reffing, we did that. Often, mom would work in the concession stand or field marshal at tournaments or do whatever portion of the seemingly endless work of volunteers in youth sports organizations.  Then we’d hit the library for books.  We never had a limit- we’d each leave with a stack of books that would reach our chins.  Then the video store, back when that was a thing.  Usually we’d get 2-3 movies… some new releases, some that we had seen before.  Usually there was something for all of us to watch as a family and then something that was Rated R, which mom and dad would watch after we went to bed.  Then groceries and the feed store, then home.

After unloading the horse feed and groceries, we usually have 1-2 hours to immerse ourselves in reading.  Mom would turn on college football or PBS, while she sewed or crocheted, or quilted.  And then we had pizza. Chef Boyardee makes a pizza mix, that comes with the dough mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese for two pizzas.  Throw some mozzeralla on top, and it was not a half bad pizza.  Once JJ got a little older though, two pizzas made as prescribed didn’t go real far in a family of five.  So, we’d get another pizza dough or use flour to thicken up the crusts.

Around the time I was in 5th grade, I was making the pizza myself.  And I got good at it.  I figured out how to make it, so that it was filling and delicious.  Pizza plus nachos made with doritos, bean dip, taco sauce, and cheddar cheese.  That is Saturday to me.

When Mom was in hospice, she explained the origin of that family tradition.  Her father had died when she was kid (11-12 years old).  Her mom was trying to raise four kids and keep a roof over their heads.  She made pizza for the family because it was cheap and it was good, and it was one thing just didn’t suck.  It was something they could look forward to for the week.  And back then, soda was just becoming a thing. They’d have glass bottles of soda and pizza, and for that night, things were okay.

The thing is, I forgot the recipe.

There was a time when I knew that recipe better than I knew the star-spangled banner.  I’ve made it a couple of times since she died, and its just not right.  Its actually kinda terrible.

I have two thoughts  on the matter- one is to let it go.  Before she died, I didn’t make pizza from scratch because it is a little bit of a beat down.  Especially when you get get a Hot and Ready at Little Ceasar’s for $5.  Or a decent frozen pizza from Aldi for $4.

But, then there is the other part of  it… that I ought to re-develop the recipe, so I can pass it down to Nico.  But he has such trash taste in food… I can’t imagine he would like it.  And that would be disappointing.

Growing Stuff

We had planned to move back to the northwest side…

There have been 4 high profile murders in Rogers Park in the last year or so… a couple of bystanders caught in drive-bys… one at the CTA stop just south of where we are.  Another across the street from the Jewel we went to a lot.

Then, Rogers Park, had the makings of a serial killer.  Back in the late summer/early fall two people were murdered, in separate incidents, execution style in East Rogers park (where we live).

But there are other annoyances to living where we do.  There is a neighborhood bar katty-corner across the street.  Which I thought would be cool… but its not cool when the same drunk lady is outside yelling her face off at 2am.  And parking.  Oh, the parking is the definition of a cluster f*ck.

So, the plan  was to move when our lease was up (April 30).  We *wrongly* assumed that we would be able to go month to month at our current place, not really checking to see that that would be an option.  But it wasn’t and our leasing company would extend the lease by only one month.  For a fee.

We looked at some places… but honestly, Dave and I weren’t sure we’d be able to actually move in order to not be homeless.  Honestly, it scared the hell out of me, the prospect of giving our place up and having to find a new place and move in 10 days.  I’m not going to lie.  Also, April has been completely bonkers for us, with me playing three times a week, Nico’s baseball and soccer schedule picking up.  Judo.  And work.  It just was not going to happen.

So, we’re still in East Rogers Park for another year.

Its actually okay, because I was getting ready to burn the Chicago rental market to the ground.  Truthfully, I hate it.   I absolutely hate it.  We can have a conversation about what should be “required” for a rental space… after months of looking, I just got this unbearable smugness from listings I was seeing.  A third-floor walk-up 3/1 with 900 square feet, no dishwasher and no laundry?  For $1300 a month? In a transit desert? F*ck you.

I don’t know anything about the rental market here, but I know some property developers/leasing companies that have a hell of a lot of nerve with the shit they pull.  I get the sense that so many of these companies are just blinded by the market that they have no sense of decency.  I don’t understand how it isn’t immoral to rent properties that don’t have laundry facilities.

Honestly, at this point, I welcome the revolution.

The good news is that it only took Dave one month of looking at rentals to understand the sociological  implications of vast inequality.  I mean, he’s not throwing Molatov Cocktails… yet…but he gets it.

I guess that one of the upsides to not moving back to the Northwest side means that I can get my garden hopping this year.  Last year, I was supposed to get some new soil amendments o I didn’t start my garden till after.  By then, it was too late.  But, I am on it this year.  I plan to get the lettuce box going again this year, which was great for salads two years  ago.  I am also not kidding myself about the tomato situation.  I’m doing 2-3 plants, tops and they are going in my garden plot, along with Kale.  My strawberry plants failed spectacularly in their strawberry bucket.  But I am not sure what I am going to do there.

My succulents have been doing well.  I had read (on the internet) that succulents don’t like water and to not water them.  Ever.  I had 10 plants in my office window last year this time, and I managed to kill all but 3 of them, just by not watering them.  Well, I read a book on taking care of succulents.  Turns out that they actually like to be watered.  So  they don’t die.

I know what you’re thinking: Could JBR be any more basic?  Of course I would be into succulents.  They are having a moment right now.  You know ya girl: she basic AF.

 

 

 

 

JJ and Elena Sitting in a tree…

My brother got married.

THAT is a weird sentence to write.  Only because he was so anti for so long, it was like, “Yeah, we get it, you don’t want to get married.”  But he did.  He found a sweet girl that puts up with his shit.

It is funny to type that.  Because he’s actually a nice person to live with… he’s super considerate and pulls his weight with stuff. At least he did on the few occasions that he has lived with us.  Of course, maybe he knows I would put the hammer on him if tried NOT pulling his weight.  It’s hard to say really.   

 

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In any case, they decided to get married.  She is from Germany/Italy, and her family couldn’t make it.  And JJ is anti, as we’ve discussed, so it was small.  Just us and our Washington Aunt Judy.  Plus one of JJ’s friends.

JJ works in marine carpentry; right now he is working on the Swiftsure, the oldest remaining lightship.  Which is really cool.  I got to tour the old boat when I got to town.  Really kind of annoyed I couldn’t get a t-shirt or a coffee cup or something.  Can you imagine it on swag?  It would be brilliant!

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The next day, we headed to Pike’s Place for flowers and to walk around.  I haven’t been in over 20 years, so it was cool to see it.  Still still still love buckets of flowers.  Honestly, I could live my whole life and never get tired of buckets of daffodils, lillies and tulips.

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Nicole and I were also on the prowl for gifts for our kids.  I hit the jackpot with a complete set of baseball cards from 1989.  Nico was all in on that, you can bet.

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JJ’s soon to be mother in law treated us to a fancy dinner the night before at a place on the lake.  Like an idiot, I didn’t bring any other jackets with me to Seattle.  I had my black adidas travel jacket, but that was it.  And it rained a lot… so… I ended up buying a windbreaker from target to keep the rain off of me.  But it meant that I went to dinner looking like a hick that doesn’t know how to dress for fancy restaurants.

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I have decided that my sister is the Barney Stinson of us kids.  She photographs well and always looks like a million bucks.  For traveling, she throws on Adidas trainers and a FSU hat over loose wavy hair and looks like an influencer on instagram.  I wear a hat on a plane and people assume I am a man with poor manners. Also, I don’t know if my face is just permanently swollen, but you can pretty much never see my eyes (FAT… its fat, I just have a fat face?). Also, I have come to realize that my face isn’t very symmetrical.  Due to my broken nose and my partially ground down teeth (from grinding my teeth when I sleep).  What is kind of remarkable is that I don’t even see how messed up my face is anymore.  That is what my eyes have done.  They have automatically applied a Facetune edit so I don’t notice on a daily basis on not symmetrical my face is.  So, at least I have that going for me.  SUUUUUUUCK.

The ceremony was a small justice of the peace deal on Sunday morning, which is something I can’t recommend enough.  I didn’t realize it, but the court house was basically closed.  They let us in for the ceremony, but no one else was there.  So it was nice to be able to get pictures without random people being in the way.

After the ceremony we headed to fisherman’s terminal for some pictures.  As he has done for 35 years of his life, JJ was intent on ruining a lot of them, with his face and his general “JJ-ness”.  LOL Elena, joke’s on you, he is yours now!

While at Fisherman’s terminal, we had brunch at Chinook’s, which was fantastic.  It was the best meal I had there.

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After brunch, we scooted to a light house for a few more pictures before JJ whisked Elena off for a surprise honeymoon.  He actually got in touch with her boss to get her a couple of days off so that they could go, which I thought was really cool.

When they split for that, Nicole and Aunt Judy and I went to the Chihuly exhibit, which is at the base of the Seattle Space Needle.  It was pretty cool.  I wasn’t REALLY interested in hitting the exhibit, but we had like 10 hours still my flight and 6 for Nicole’s so, we were like, “Sure”. I was blown away by the intricacies of the work.  So, I was glad we went.

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