I wish I had a prehensile tail

Kurt and I have spent the last three months trying to buy a home. Sounds easy enough, right? Not so much. We've seen things no potential buyer should see (red heart wallpaper, dirty towels tacked up as "curtains", etc), and our three attempts at purchasing a home have ended in disaster. The last attempt was especially disappointing because I loved the house. Unfortunately, I didn't love what we found in the inspection. I've found myself moping about and saying "I wish the house had been in good shape" repeatedly these last few days.

Then this thought came to mind: "And I wish I had a prehensile tail." Which I do. I could hang upside down and swing about with my hands free. A prehensile tail is high on my list of God's most awesome creations. But the point is that I don't have a prehensile tail, and I never will. For all of the Botox and rhinoplasty and enhancements I read about in my spam folder, no one has yet found a way to give humans this magnificent appendage. And I am ok with that. I don't stay up nights lamenting my lack or find my days dampened with disappointment. I accept the way of the universe, and I get on with my life. Which is why remembering that I also wish I had a prehensile tail puts things in perspective for me. It's my version of "It is what it is."

So I've let my disappointment about the house go. Clearly it's no more meant to be than my dream of having a snack while swinging from the rafters. Of course, we still need to find a place to live ...

Drawing by Brehms Tierleben


A month in the life

I generated a "TweetCloud" of the words I used most on Twitter this past month. Looks like I was all about the wedding, the death flu, and New Orleans. Oh, and food, of course. A fun snapshot of life!


Muppetian Rhapsody

Thanks to Ben of Tweep for the link!


Wedding photos!

Our wedding day was wonderful! 70 degrees and sunny in Indiana in November? Unheard of! As you can tell from the slideshow, it was a small, non-traditional wedding, but that fit us perfectly. The best part was that it marked the start of a new life with my best friend. I love you, Kurt!

Many thanks to Country Mouse, City Mouse for amazing food and going above and beyond in every possible way with the catering, Taylor's Bakery for a delicious red velvet cake, McNamara for creating gorgeous flower arrangements, Hillary Gordon for recovering beautifully from a fender bender on the way to the church (!!!) and taking fabulous photos, and Pastor Schulz at Divine Savior for being so gracious and officiating the ceremony. You all were wonderful to work with and made our day very special!


Golfing frog, how I love you

We found golfing frog at a wonderful/bizarre lighting store by the Chinatown Gate in San Francisco. Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area, especially if you're in the market for a 10 foot tall chandelier.


Don't call it a bucket list

It's become apparent that, contrary to my assumptions, most people do not have a life list. You know, a bucket list (dislike the term, disliked the movie even more) of things to see or do before going paws up. I thought this was fairly standard practice, but I've yet to meet anyone else who has one. And believe me, I ask.

My life list isn't about lofty goals and impressive achievement, instead it's a way for me to remember all of the things I want to be sure to experience while I'm still here. Instead of "write the great American novel," I include things like "ride an ostrich" (#9) and "have dim sum" (#43). So far, the list includes 88 items, and I've done 19 of them. I seem to add them quicker than I can knock them off, but that's fine. It's there more as a reminder, so the next time I'm in Paris I can check my list and remember to try the deux-milles feuilles at Pierre Herme (#80) instead of spacing it and kicking myself when I get home. Maybe no one else is scatterbrained enough to require a list of this stuff? Quite possibly.

Scatterbrained or not, I highly recommend making a life list. There's something exciting about compiling all of the wonderful, kooky things you've ever wanted to do. It's a reminder that we won't be here forever and that all of the minutiae that makes up our days will eat up our lives if we let it. You have to make room for bi-plane rides (#64) and seeing the Taj Mahal (#37) or whatever your special dream is, or it probably won't happen.

So I encourage you to rack your brain, dig up those things you've been itching to do, and set about doing them. Maybe they're for yourself, or maybe they're things you want to do for others. Either way, I think your life will be richer for it. Mine has been.


Wishing I were a Soviet bride

The above slogan is from a t-shirt (available here). Funny enough, but lately the idea of limited choice has become seriously appealing. We're having a small wedding, but even with only 10 guests, I am faced with limitless choice as I plan the event. I can have any color scheme I choose, any theme (whatever the heck that means!), any flowers, any cake. You get the idea. Google images sounds like a bride's best friend, but after sorting through page after page of options, I longed to be a bride in the pre-Internet age.

Camera shopping was nearly as bad. Like a wedding, it's a big investment, so I wanted to do it "right" and make choices that would work for me over time. Once again, my ol' friend Google was there with pages of data, reviews, and forum discussions. I'm thinking the Big G is the passive-aggressive friend I never wanted.

The whole thing, particularly the wedding, reminded me of the book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. His premise is that trying to optimize your choices in a culture of limitless options is a recipe for stress and depression. He advocates "satisficing" which means setting a standard for yourself, taking the first option that meets it, and not looking back. I'm usually good at this, but somehow the pressure of the wedding got me in full on maximizing mode.

Thankfully, the big choices are made, and my job this week is to sit back, handle some minor details, and look forward to the big day. Because it's not really about the flowers or the cake anyway, it's about being excited to marry my best friend and one of the greatest people I've ever met. I just had to step away from the Big G for a moment to remember that.

My advice to brides: Hire a wedding planner or strongarm a friend into presenting you with a small subset of options based on your basic likes. Maybe 10 bouquets or cakes or whatever else you need. Choose one, and get on with your life. You will save time, feel more relaxed, and enjoy the process infinitely more. Plus, no one cares about the details as much as you think they do. They do, however, care if you become a raving nutjob. Just sayin'.


Oh, the irony

I don't like poetry. I've said this frequently and fervently for nearly three decades. When we had to write poems for a young authors' assignment in seventh grade, I penned "Ode to a Cheeseball" in rebellion (I got an A on the project. The teacher said she enjoyed the absurdity. Sigh ...). I have called poetry 'nonsense', 'jibberish', and gleefully quoted Tom Wolfe's scathing essay on modern poets.

So I've been as surprised as anyone at my recent poetic output. Poems come at writing group, in response to prompts, and sometimes out of the blue. I'll often want to write prose, but all my mind produces is poem after poem. Even worse, I enjoy it. The shame! The horror! I created (un)modern verse to house the results of my newfound obsession. If you'd like to read some poetry (or maybe just bear witness to the destruction of my identity), please check it out.