Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Traffic Jammer

Driving back north toward Lahaina, traffic slowed to a crawl. We were tired after our long hike, but okay, good-naturedly snapping pictures and listening to our favorite island radio station. (We developed a favorite early on; it has a certain parody quality like the radio in Grand Theft Auto Vice City.) Then the radio announcer said something like, "If you're driving along the road south of Lahaina and are wondering why traffic is so jammed up, it's because there's a guy--or girl?!--in a bikini out on the rocks playing drums, and people are slowing down to look at it. If you're down there and you are interested, just pull over! Don't slow down the traffic." No sooner did we hear that, then we actually saw the phenomenon she was referring to! It made the island feel like quite a small place. Below is a detail photo.

Postcards from Maui, Day 2

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wedding Eve (1 day)

There have been many things to write about these past weeks, but at this time more than any other, I have been too busy living to think about recording. It has been a very vivid time, especially the past few days: staying in a hotel long enough almost to call it home, having all together these different sets of relatives and friends, being faced with crises and adventures and things that need to be arranged, trying to see everyone all at once. Imagine, today I saw a high school friend I haven't seen face to face for some twelve or thirteen years! And family members I haven't seen for years either... as well as members of my new family whom I had never met. Having my mom near has been somehow quite indispensable psychologically. Even if it's just little things, knowing that I can run over to her room or call her on her cell somehow makes all the difference. The same is of course true about my dad, whose presence is comforting and supporting in quite another way, but maybe it's a deep strange feature of impending marriage that I want very much to run to her and be soothed.

Actually today was quite a relaxing day. We had the rehearsal yesterday, and that was very stressful, very heavy somehow. I can see why people have them, but it was a difficult thing to do. Maybe some of the nervousness will be dissipated. I have heard that when the bride gets married she is often very absent and numb during the actual ceremony, but I didn't feel that way during the rehearsal. I was totally and almost excruciatingly there! We are going to say our vows holding hands. Mom commented that we are glad we are holding on to each other (or holding each other up!). I think we were both a little overwhelmed by even the dry run. Today, though, we went on a long hike with a large group of friends and had dinner at a pub afterwards. There was a lot of jollity, different friends leaving and arriving, a very kicking back mellow kind of night. Pocket of Bolts and I got along quite well considering...! Possibly I was a bit peevish but at least not a total basket case.

I told Pocket of Bolts that the wedding experience is partly for me the process of learning how to be not a princess but a queen. I feel that, a gradual increasing feeling of dignity and gravity. It is not a role that comes naturally, one I am having to grow into, but I think I am succeeding in doing so. Except at odd moments. It is grand to have supportive family and good friends around me, people I care about and whose presence is simply pleasing. One thing that really pleases me best is the guest list, the people who ended up being here. It is marvelous that they are here, every last one.

Well, I must go to my parents' room, as we are spending the night apart. It seems silly, but at the same time one of those traditions that we'll only have this one chance to experience. I presume it is intended to prevent us from having some stress-related fight...! In any case, I am slipping out of the room now, while Pocket of Bolts is down the hall having a last round (or many) with the jolly company of our friends. When next I write I suppose I will be someone new, but then I am already starting to feel like someone new.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Picnic by the Lake (11 days)

Today we went for a picnic by the lake. We ate watermelon slices, feta, olives, hummus, and pitas. Also we had a water-bottle full of "grape juice." Here is a picture of the handsome guy I am marrying. I think he looks quite dashing!

It's been a quiet day. I spent all morning at home doing items from my to-do list, mostly wedding-related. Small last details. Most of them are not as stressful as those big decisions. Just things that have to get done.

One thing I did do was type up the vows. Using a template of course, but with a few touches of my own. It was strangely moving, even just going over them carefully. I got all teary. Pocket of Bolts got teary too when he read over them. Same with my mom. Maybe we're getting all the teariness out of the way now so we can say these things in proper clear voices during the actual occasion!

Pocket of Bolts went in to school for a lunch meeting, so I was on my own for lunch. I managed to make an amazingly tasty one:

1/2 cup (dry) whole wheat penne, cooked

1 original boca burger, heated on a pan with cooking spray until browned, then chopped into small pieces
1 t olive oil heated in a pan with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
1 c kale, sauteed in oil
1/4 of a red onion, chopped and thrown in with the kale, also the boca
1/2 c very ordinary plain spaghetti sauce, poured over the sauteed mixture with 1/2 c water and heated thoroughly

Sauce poured over pasta, so elegant and tasty, a perfect 6 point lunch (i.e., around 300-350 calories).

My Chinese friend called me just as I was about to leave the house. She's in Germany now, soon to start a PhD program. She was very curious about and interested in the wedding. I talked to her for some time. My Chinese is imperfect, but still good enough to get through a conversation. I really should work on it more.

Spent all afternoon shopping but unproductively. The lastest fashions don't suit me very well, and I'm just kind of waiting around for them to change. Pocket of Bolts found some interesting groomsman gifts, so that was something!

Then evening, our dinner picnic by the lake. This is Pocket of Bolts striking a pose, like Monsieur Crevelle in Balzac's Cousin Bette. Me looking oddly pliable. Lately I have a million and a half freckles, despite diligent application of 50 spf sunblock. It's just hard to stay out of the sun, especially on gorgeous days like this.

I suppose it's time to turn in. Pocket of Bolts is already sound asleep. I have been up answering e-mails from the last few people on the guest-list. I sent them little reminder e-mails and am fascinated by the types of responses they send, all very quickly, several with a story. How complicated lives are; each circle of like a machine with so many moving parts, and they move in impossibly complex ways, caught up in the gears of other circles which in turn are turned by other gears. I sometimes think it's amazing that anyone comes together or stays in contact at all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Quick Pic

Here's me giving the talk at grad school grad conference. It's a LOUSY-ass picture, but anyway here's the sole record of me doing something that most of you have never seen me doing. (Choose one or more:) Giving a talk. Wearing a blazer. :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

My Old Burrow (15 days)

I am posting, just briefly, from my old burrow in grad school library. It's strange to be here. I came for a grad conference, but tacked on an extra day in case I wanted to meet with people or take care of loose ends--just a way of making the trip more relaxed and productive. Now I'm a bit homesick and I miss Pocket of Bolts, but overall it was a really good choice. I've found a ton of interesting stuff in the well-stocked library, got a lot of electronic goodies from one of my younger classmates, and reconnected with one of my old grad school buddies that I had drifted out of touch with. It's a nice feeling.

The first time I came back here after being in China, I felt incredibly disconnected and ill-at-ease. But maybe because this time I'm here for a conference or maybe because I have finally started to get to know all the younglings, I have felt a little more comfortable.

Last night I stayed with one of my bridesmaids and her significant other. They live in the same housing complex PoB and I used to live in, and it's one of those where all the units are either identical or mirror. My friend's unit is identical, and also we gave them our old dining room table when we left. So being in their place is extremely nostalgic, a whole complicated set of memories from more than two years ago, when the relationship between PoB was much younger than it is now!

I didn't sleep very well (too much caffeine I think), worrying pointlessly about things that turned out to be small and trivial when I woke up and actually thought about them. Around 6:30 this morning I went out for a run. I ran the old loop that we used to do when we lived here. I remember it being so hard! But my body is such a machine now. I finished the loop, even did an extra curlicue, and was still ready for more. So I ran down to the nearby canal, a much longer run. Everything was so interesting, though, that I barely felt it. Honeysuckle is in bloom here right now, and there's a lot of humidity in the air, making the smell of it very heavy and thick. It's not hot, however. It is very late-spring, everything lush and green.

Well, I must go catch my plane now. Every time I come here I vow that I should really spend more time here, that I would get a lot more work done if I did. But then when I'm in Chicago and contemplating leaving there, I feel that it's all a dreadful mistake. It's strange belonging (and not belonging) in two different places.