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I’m working on the postcards. Some are in the mail. The others will be soon. I’m still taking requests if anyone wants one. Lazy Cow admitted that I’m the first blogger she’s given her address to. I feel honored. Also, it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll stalk her, since she lives in Australia and I don’t have the money for a plane ticket. Also, with the way air travel is going, I wouldn’t want to try it. I’d end up dehydrated and crazy from lack of entertainment in my non-existent carry-on luggage.

Time has suddenly started moving extremely quickly and the next two weeks will be a whirl of weddings, birthdays, receptions, batchelorette parties, dinners, and turmoil. I can’t keep track of days. I can’t seem to grocery shop for more than a day’s worth of food. I’m barely reading.
I’ve also been watching House. Call him if I start seizing (someone seizes in every single episode. Anyone else notice this?) I expect to be diagnosed with an incurable disease at any moment. It’s enjoyable, but it’s no Grey’s Anatomy.


Originally uploaded by jessmonster.
This week’s theme is “strange things people accumulate.”  Only I don’t have swatches or salt & pepper shakers or matchbooks.  It was only when I looked at my desk, untouched since the great yard sale clean-out, that I realized what I do accumulate.  Postcards.  There, with the unframed prints and the extra matting and the Parcheesi board, were heaps of postcards.

The strange part is how many of them are unused. Only a handful have messages on the back. The bulk of them came from Bronwen, enclosed in letters (because a postcard never has quite enough room, but you still want the postcard image). Then come the ones that I bought but never sent. Then the used ones. A lot of them used to decorate my walls, college-style. (Not collage. College. As defined by a lack of money for proper framed art.) My fridge still has a healthy collection. I’ve framed a few of my favorites and theoretically I keep the rest to rotate through the frames.

But really? Postcards are for mailing. So I’m giving you a special one-time offer (with no expiration date). I will send a postcard to anyone who provides me with an address. Foreign or domestic, because I’m generous like that. You can express a preference, but no guarantees. Just email me at jessmonster at gmail dot com.

The ‘afterwards’ part of the wedding weekend story isn’t quite as touching and sweet.  It’s more smelly and sleepy.  This is what happened.

After the clean-up phase of the evening, after Laurel and I had been at Tail Skid Meadows for about twelve hours, we decided it was time to leave.  We were sleepy.  We were tired.  We wanted beds and to rest our feet.  We turned down an invitation to go to Jake’s house (I have no idea who Jake was – a friend of a friend who had a house who was out of town) where there would be much drinking and much staying up late and an uncertainty about the availability of beds and bedding.

Let us find ourselves a motel, we said, and let us rest.  So into the car and onto the 5 and south we headed.

And headed.

And headed.

Turns out?  You shouldn’t try to find a motel room on a Saturday night on I-5.  Just, don’t.  Because someone else already took them all.  ALL.

Except one.  I’m getting there.

There was the vaguely sketchy motel where the proprietor was yelling, “GET OUT! Just GET OUT!” at another potential customer.

There was the motel with a sign that read, “Please ring bell for assistance.  Do not ring too many times or you will wake up the baby.”  When Laurel rang the bell (just once) a middle eastern man appeared, stuck his head out of a tiny window, and said, “I have one room.  But it is stinky.”

We kept driving.  South.  And further south.  We zipped through Seattle at 1 am, thinking that at least we weren’t hitting any traffic this way (unlike the other direction, when traffic added an extra two hours to our trip).

We were nearly to Olympia, familiar stomping grounds, when the light of mercy shone upon us and we took possession, at 2:30 in the am, of a delicious king sized bed.  And in the morning we hit Otto’s Bagels and enjoyed a delightfully short two hour drive back to Portland.

The end.

This story, of course, doesn’t include Laurel’s difficulties in getting to Portland in the first place.  The seven hour delay her train enjoyed due to a suicide on the tracks.  Another seven or so hours added onto the train trip from general slowness.  You know, things like that.

I’m a little picture crazy at the moment, furiously organizing things on flickr and picking out things to order prints from and playing various wedding picture slideshows that people are emailing me and making Kate cry over them.  Stuff like that.  Not the stuff that I really should be doing.

I interrupt the wedding schmoop to say that I am flipping exhausted. Apart from obscene amounts of time spent in the car I’ve been constantly busy until today. And I celebrated the fact by sitting around in my pajamas till 12 and eating carrot cake while making lunch.

Yesterday I took my turn as the milk-picker-upper. A nice drive (more time in the car!) with lovely views of Mt. Hood and winding End-of-the-Oregon-Trail roads. You watch your mileage, make a couple turns, end up on a gravel road, and pull into a driveway of an incongruously ranch-style house with a chicken coop in the front yard. Milk should be picked up at charming Green Gables-style houses, with aproned milkmaids and a small herd of cows off to one side. But this is the 21st century and the milk waits in a fridge on the front porch. You grab the twelve (yes, 12) gallons of milk for your group (labeled #23) and line them up in coolers in your trunk. You write a check and slip it in a drawer.

Cow -> Jug -> Fridge -> Cooler -> Fridge -> Glass -> Stomach

Now you know.

It’s also best if, when dropping off the gallons that aren’t yours, you run into at least two families from church.  And discuss demolition derbies and book recommendations.  Then, when you stop to pick up milk from your second source (because you have two raw milk sources) you run into one of the same families again.  Who can’t believe that you’re picking up more milk.

I’m not sure where to start with the wedding stories. It was certainly an, um, eventful weekend. There are the driving stories. The behind the scenes stories. The inside jokes. The time in the kitchen. The times we cried. The wedding itself.

I’ve known Lis for – is it really seven years? She and Tyler have been together for nine years. For those of you counting, that’s since the middle of high school. They went to separate colleges. They did the long-distance thing. Tyler has always been part of the equation for those of us who met Lis in college. And he’s always put up with us, God bless him. He can hang out with the girls, and he knows when to go stay with a friend and leave the apartment to us.

Tyler’s brother gave a toast at the wedding, saying that he’s known Lis and Tyler as a couple longer than he’s known Tyler by himself. That Lis has always been his example. That he’d meet a girl he liked and go home and tell his mom, “She’s just like Lis!”

So, you know, we pretty much started crying when Lis walked down the aisle.  We were out in the middle of nowhere north of Bellingham, at a place where they rent out an airplane hangar and let you do your food prep in the garage and get ready in the house.  The chairs were set up by a perfect Anne of Green Gables pond (at which Laurel and I later reenacted the “you may call me Cordelia” scene from Anne of Avonlea, complete with dancing.  We left Gil at home, though.)  Lis said that when she and her parents were leaving the house to walk down the aisle, she was afraid she was going to lose it.  Until her mom dropped something or lost a shoe and said, “oh shit.”  And then Lis laughed and knew she’d make it.

When they read their vows, Tyler had a lovely, eloquent statement that he carefully read.  And we all teared up (someone had to pass his mom a tissue).  Lis started out with, “Tyler, I’ve been wanting to marry you for a really long time.”  And we all laughed.

(Later, when I told Kate the story, she started crying.  “It’s just so wonderful…[sob] to hear about someone… [wipe eyes] getting married!”)

And then we ate and drank and danced and toasted our friends and sat in the sun.  And then, well, afterwards is a story for another time.

our friend, the bride, originally uploaded by jessmonster.


Mr. & Mrs. Stevens, originally uploaded by jessmonster.

Back from Bellingham. More photos on flickr.

In a few short hours I am away to Union Station (built in the Italian Renaissance style, did you know that?)  That might lead you to believe that I am taking a train somewhere.  No one is taking a train.  I am picking up my long-lost college roommate Laurel and we are hitting the road.  We are fleeing to the fair (or so I’ve heard) city of Bellingham for the first wedding of the season.

Lis and Tyler have only been dating for about ten years, so I’m a little worried that they don’t know each other well enough yet.  (Cue the sarcasm).  But seriously, it’s going to be a good party.  And warm me up for the other three weddings this month.

I’ve printed out directions, I’ve purchased snacks, I’ve filled up my gas tank (in tone 7).  Now I just need to take a shower and pack.  Bellingham is supposed to be a sweet 75 degrees over the weekend.  Let’s hit the road.

See you on Monday.

mini beasts, originally uploaded by jessmonster.

Here is the photo that SHOULD appear below.

Do you give up on bad books?   Put them down before the end?

I used to be horribly stubborn.  I would wade through things I found numbingly dull, like Charlotte Bronte’s Villette.  I’m quicker to give up now, especially when I have a shelf of books beckoning me.  Just recently I gave up on Love, and Other Impossible Pursuits.  It may contain the “wry candor and tender humor” that the publisher claims, but it was buried beneath name-dropping brands and a painful display of grief.  Not the good kind of display of grief, where you put yourself in the character’s shoes and have a good cry, but the kind that you want to look away from, embarrassed, because it’s become ridiculous.

I also might have given up on Downriver if it hadn’t been our Wednesday book club selection.  The man doesn’t understand the delicate art of exposition.  He lays out the set-up like a couple two-by-fours. Clunky.  The characters don’t surprise you.  The plot does, because you expect it to be a plot-driven story.  A bunch of problem kids stealing equipment and setting off rafting down the Grand Canyon.  Sounds like a page turner, right?  Or at least you’d better hope.  And it’s going along decently until you turn the page and suddenly the game’s up.  Next to anticlimactic in the dictionary, there is a picture of the book cover.  And the summary gets boxed into a stilted letter.  I wasn’t expecting any True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle but I was hoping for a little bit more satisfaction.

Jeff thinks there’s something to be gained from finishing a bad book.  (Apart from a heated bashing, I suppose?) Which, yes, that’s sometimes true.  But how do you decide when to give up?

August 2006
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