Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off, ok?”

Me: “Dude, if it’s a choice between your leg or your life, guess what? I’m cutting your damn leg off. End of story.”

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off!”

Me: “Chances are you won’t even be awake.”

Lobsterface: “I KNOW! That’s what scares me!”

Me: “This issue is closed.”

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off.”

We have this conversation at least once a week, ever since that episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Callie cuts off Arizona’s leg to save her damn life and now she’s all pissy about it.


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I recently read this post by Lisa at Privilege, all about growing up with Money and then realizing, suddenly, that you no longer have Money, with a capital “m”. It made me pensive about the similarities and differences between growing up with and without money. And then getting used to a different situation as an adult.

I grew up without money. My dad and his brother ran a small dairy farm, and my mom worked part-time at a local hospital. We shared a house with my grandparents and wore many hand-me-downs. Ordering pizza and renting a video on a Friday night was a special occasion. Growing up in rural America without money meant many things for me, both good and bad. Mostly good, though.

  • No cable TV, and thus many hours playing Little House On The Prairie or pirates with my sisters and cousins
  • Not enough money for a mortgage payment, which meant being raised by my parents and my grandparents
  • Pride at being a “farm kid” and the knowledge that I was learning to work hard, live on little, and appreciate the occasional luxury
  • A three-bedroom apartment that meant my sisters and I stayed up far later than we should, a slumber party every night
  • Always going as a pioneer, hobo or hippie for halloween because all that required was raiding Mom and Dad’s old clothes
Lisa describes her young life as having many luxuries that mine did not, but a few things, namely “an understanding that one ought to rise above the material, despite its charms. Said understanding is fostered by a very good education and lots of travel,” and “almost unlimited privacy, nutrition, and time to explore,” were part of my childhood as well. Maybe to a lesser extent, library books and trips to nearby historical sites instead of private school and international travel, but still. I did go to a private school, but it was run by a local church. And I did travel internationally, but later, and not with any type of luxury. Except for boxes of peach juice, random heaps of pineapples, and bracelets hand-made by new Bolivian friends.
Bolivia 2

Bolivia 3Bolivia 1

We had a smallish house, affording us little privacy (I once tried to set up a reading nook in the cellar, among the cobwebs and dirt, just to get away), but a hugefarm where we were free to wander and explore at will. Haybales became the walls of our castles, a pond in a glade of maple trees became Narnia and Terabithia.Pile of Kids

Eventually, I grew up, struggling financially in my college years and early career, as I expected. But then I got married, and with Lobsterface came actual financial security. We don’t have Money with a capital “m”, but I no longer have to shop at thrift stores and fix my car with wire and tin cans.
I still do (with varying levels of success), but I don’t actually have to anymore.
We’re not planning to have kids, thus no braces, ballet lessons and colleges to finance, and, if our careers remain on track, we could someday, conceivably, have More Than Enough, and I wonder how I’ll deal with that. The concept is so foreign to me, it’s nothing that I ever expected. I hope that I grow into financial security and handle it with grace. I hope we give much to charity, and continue to travel and learn more about our world, even far into adulthood. And maybe occasionally get dressed up and drink champaign in abandoned demolition sites.
Bein' Fancy
That’s what fancy people do, right?

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Sister: You know, my ex and I had some good times.

Me: You and your ex had the most awkward relationship in the history of ever. Hitler had less awkward interactions with Jewish people than you had with your ex.

Lobsterface: (yelling from the other room) THAT IS THE WORST THING YOU HAVE EVER SAID!


Mom: Well, I don’t think it was very nice, but it’s definitely not the worst thing you’ve ever said to your sister.

Me: Dude, he wasn’t talking about how mean I was being, he was talking about how insensitive I am about the Holocaust.

Mom: Oh.

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You may recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to acquire a corgi puppy that doesn’t have a vendetta against Thomas’ remaining fingers (he only has eight-and-a-half to begin with).

WELL! We got one! He’s not a puppy, exactly. He’ll be a year old next month. But he’s just the sweetest little corgi anybody ever met. And lots of people meet him, he’s very gregarious. I’m going to teach him how to tell knock-knock jokes.

Striking a pose

Please excuse my grainy photos. My house is dark and I have yet to purchase a decent flash.

Our original plan was to adopt a freshly-minted puppy from a nearby breeder sometime in the spring. There are lots of advantages to working with a reputable breeder, and lots of disadvantages to adopting a dog that you don’t know much about, but sometimes life just hands you a puppy. And when life hands you a puppy, it’s downright rude to hand it back.

A few Saturdays ago, I got a text from my sister saying that a friend of hers had a corgi that needed a new home. Apparently this friend was given this pup for free, but turned out to be HIGHLY allergic to him. So I gave this friend a call, kind of expecting to be subjected to an intense interview process, but our conversation basically consisted of,

Me: “So…is this dog bitey? Or is he generally in a bad mood all the time? Or any of the time?”
Him: “Oh no, he’ll lick you all over and then sit down and want you to scratch his belly for all eternity.”
Me: “Sweet! Sounds like the dog for us.”
Him: “Can you meet halfway between our houses tomorrow?
Me: “Um, sure!”
Him: “Great! See you then!”

He really is just as awesome as all that. He loves belly rubs and playing tug-the-rope above all other things (except peanut butter). He’s starting to understand “sit” and “stay.” He doesn’t love the car, but he’ll sit there and take it without much arguing. We took him to the vet last week and nobody there could stop talking about how great he was. He got a shot and had some blood drawn, all without complaining one little bit. He’s housebroken, only chews on cardboard (for the most part), and has made friends with Pixel already. We’re big fans.

more posing

Speaking of Pixel, she’s gotten SO fat. And ridiculous.




Anyway. We took Neville (that’s corg’s name, you see) to visit my parents’ farm last weekend.

happy dance

Boy loves snow, the deeper the better.


Unfortunately, anything deeper than six inches is too deep for his stumpy little legs.


But! He shall overcome.

he believes he can fly

And then he sniffed all the things.

must sniff ALL THE THINGS

And that is Neville. He’s not so great at “come” when he’s outside among many interesting smells and has zero concept of “cars” and what they can do to short little dogs, so he almost got squished in the road. At that point I tackled him and dragged him inside, and that was the end of the outside-without-a-leash fun.

Little shit.

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And we’re back! If you haven’t already, you should go read about the adventures leading up to our wedding.

And while I’m at it, you should read this post that Thomas wrote years ago, before he even knew I existed. Then you should compare and contrast his dream wedding with our actual wedding. Like you’re in eighth grade. I always hated those questions on tests. “Compare and contrast The Three Little Pigs and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Compare and contrast A Tale of Two Cities and Season One of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” So pointless. But I’d totally read that essay. The one about vampires, not pigs.

Sorry. I’m on a lot of cold medicine.

So. When last we met, we were just about to head into Union Station to get married. First, I must rhapsodize about Union Station in downtown Utica, NY.

Utica is not an awesome place to live.

I live here because my family is here and Thomas and I both have great jobs that we love can tolerate without crying too much. It’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer and despite being home to several colleges and universities, the art scene here is a bit lacking. But we do have some decent architecture (and rather fantastic Italian food). Union Station was built in 1914 and it’s gorgeous. The whole interior is white marble and sparkly lights. It’s totally out of place among the burned-out former factories that surround it. Virtually every couple that gets married in or around Utica has photos taken there (there were three weddings there when we had our first meeting with our photographers), but I’d never heard of an actual wedding inside the train station. We decided to hold it there because neither of us really wanted it to be in a church, it was free, it’s roaring-twenties awesome, and our reception hall was actually inside the train station to begin with. So yay.

Before the wedding started we were all hanging out in this random lobby sort of area on the 2nd floor of the station. I was spying on our guests as they filtered in.



That was a huge waste of time. It was way too early in the evening for people to be picking fights. We should have started handing out alcohol much earlier than we did.

We were done with the formal photo shoot and upstairs before most of the guests started arriving, so we had some time to kill.

Kate on Kate

Me, Beth and a little Kate-on-Kate action. Also, boobs.


Molly and her Sailor Boy

After a lot of mother-corralling, bouquet-finding, vow-reviewing and line-assembling, it was time to march down the really long aisle. I was freaking out about my Merry Maids walking too slowly and the short processional piece running out before my dad and I made it to the end. This is me encouraging them to step smartly.


My dad was going, "I'm so proud of her..." to random passers-by.

Speaking of random passers-by, we didn’t reserve the train station in any way, shape or form, so trains were still coming in and going out the whole time we were weddinging. People were still milling about with luggage and harried expressions on their faces. It was fine with us, really. Part of the charm of the place is that it’s not just a showpiece, it actually is a working train station. We even had to wait until after the DMV closed to set up the chairs and stuff for the ceremony.

I think, in this picture, my dad is trying to hold my fingers down so that I’d stop flipping off my wedding party. I reminded him that I had a whole other hand. Jeez Dad, basic anatomy.

Can't keep me down

Dad should know better than to try to control my behavior by now.

And then we were off!



If you did what I told you and read Thomas’ account of his dream wedding, you’ll expect there to be some sort of power ballad involved. There was not, but our incredible, adolescent cellists (they were all literally fourteen years old) learned Enter Sandman by Metallica for the Groom and Groomspeople’s processional.

I’m so jealous, when I was fourteen the most ambitious thing I was doing was experimenting with sparkly blue eyeshadow.

But I rocked the sparkly blue eyeshadow.


Very dramatic right now.

After all that prodding, my Merry Maids veritably sprinted down the aisle, so my dad and I got there a little bit too early.

You spin me right round

So we started dancing around to the rest of Cello Suite 1.

Weepy already

Weepy already.

heavy ring

Thomas' ring is ridiculously heavy.I'm glad I didn't drop it, it might have dented the floor.

Thomas and I both have Irish blood in our veins, so we chose to have a Highland handfasting ceremony. We didn’t observe many traditions (I had nothing blue or old, we didn’t read 1st Corinthians, we didn’t have a bouquet or garter toss, we didn’t even have a wedding cake), but this tradition is one that I’d always wanted to incorporate into my wedding, so incorporate it we did.


Fastin' our hands. Very amusing.


I'm not sure what was distracting Thomas and Josh here.



Friends of ours in the audience later told us that we kissed for an unbelievable amount of time. I believe them.





up for air

Coming up for air...


Thomas tried to dip me. It didn't go so well.


And then we were married!

We marched back down the aisle to the train-boarding region where we had started. There was much loud rejoicing while my dad was trying to say grace before dinner and tell everyone that they weren’t supposed to wait for us to finish taking family photos before they started eating, drinking and generally making fools of themselves.


Lucky Kate got paired up with sexy groomsmaid, Amber.



More hugs!

More hugs!

Gratuitous flower

A gratuitous flowers-and-tattoos picture.

Boob grab

There are a TON of photos of me grabbing my own boobs. I'm only showing you one. Sorry. Not really.

As part of my family’s Welcome-Thomas-Into-The-Madness efforts, they officially invited him to our very own made-up holiday that was invented just so that we have an excuse to spend more time together than we already do, Be Nice To Cousins Day. Seriously, they made him an invitation on notebook paper and everything.


We're exactly as crazy as we look.

Thomas’ family was just as welcoming to me, though. I must say.


It's nice to be close to one's inlaws.

Also, Thomas’ dad proves untrue the statement, “No man is an island.”

Pretty mama

This is my mama. Isn't she pretty?

And then we were on to the eating, the drinking and the merrymaking. It was all way too much fun. I need to throw another wedding just for the party afterward. Anyone want to donate to the cause? You can come dance with us!

Old Time Rock and Roll

I believe this was Old Time Rock and Roll.

Wiswell thing

This is a Wiswell thing.

Ten years ago

It started about ten years ago.

The story

The story involves candy canes, Christmas, getting locked out and a complete lack of access to cable TV.


And old Shania Twain CDs.

no idea

I have no idea what's happening here. I'm sure it involves the open bar.

This too.

This too.

Cotton Eye Joe

I know this one was taken during Cotten Eye Joe. It's one of my very favorite photos from the whole day.


Or maybe this one's my favorite. Do I have to choose just one?

This is another possibility.

This is another possibility. I'm pretty sure they snuck off to do this during Cotton Eye Joe.

As much as I wanted to keep going all night long, I started to lose focus after a while. At one point, our photographers absconded with our rings.


I forgive them.

We had two competing cake toppers, but no cake. One was an heirloom piece given to me by my grandmother.

bride and groom


And the other is a modified Christmas ornament that Thomas bought as a memento of how he proposed to me. His exact words were, “I spend a lot of time pretending to be a beast, but you make me feel like a prince.”

Belle and Beast


You can even see the part of Beast’s head where we ripped out the little ornament hooky thing and forgot to buy paint to touch up his injury.

Anyway, we didn’t have a cake, just a dessert display, so we put out both toppers and they didn’t even have to fight. Which would have been awesome. Belle totally would have taken that dude in the bowtie. I just took some more cold medicine.


This is me contemplating how to get Thomas back to our hotel room. Winkwink, nudgenudge.

I didn’t change my name after our wedding, and I don’t intend to. All of my friends LOVE this, for some reason. We now get cards (and cars, apparently) addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Wiswell.

Dollar store lipstick

Dollar store lipstick takes FOREVER to get off car windows. Just so you know.

so last year

Tin cans and inflated condoms are so 2010.

Before the wedding, I was obsessing over the artsy-fartsy, pre-ceremony, posed photography. I wanted it to be edgy, but not too snide and self-righteously offbeat just for the sake of being offbeat. You know (You probably don’t know. Nobody else things like this. Or at least I hope not.)? I cared DEEPLY about all of those photos, and I still really do. I absolutely LOVE the way that Chris and Lauren took my initial vision and ran with it. They were absolutely amazing.

But I’m IN love with the pictures from the reception. Really really in love. Every time I look at them I remember the joy and love given to me by the friends and family that are such an integral part of who I am. I just stare at the pictures with this big, stupid grin on my face. I’m insanely happy with the way that our wedding came out and so incredibly grateful to everyone who came together to support us, not just on our wedding day, but through our whole lives as individuals and as a couple.

Thanks, everybody. I love you all 😀

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Lobsterface: “Dear, your blog is in desperate need of updating.”
Me: “I know, but we haven’t done anything interesting on the house, we’re not finished painting the hall yet and I haven’t even cooked anything fun lately.”
Lobsterface: “Okay.” (goes back to watching Supernatural)

So here I am, to update all of my lovely reader(s) with the snippets of things that I’ve been doing.

I went shopping! At the moment, we’re using wooden TV trays instead of nightstands. TV trays don’t have drawers, so my contacts, my earrings and spectacles are all sitting out in the open to be smacked around by a particular kitten who sleeps all day and regards every waking minute that she’s not destroying personal property as time wasted. So I went shopping for some nightstands. I like the ones that have tall legs with drawers at the top better than the chunky, rectangular kind with cabinets or drawers all the way down. I found this one at Home Goods, but there was only one, and it was red.

I was really looking for one in a dark-stained wood to match the headboard that came with the bed that came with Lobsterface. I ended up ordering this one from Amazon (and using our Amazon Rewards points to pay for the whole thing! Woo!)

While I was at Home Goods/Marshall’s (they were all in one giant store), I found these loveiles on sale.

They were looking like they might be contenders in the Wedding Shoe Wars (I’ve tried three pairs so far. All duds.), and they were the only pair left in my size, so I snatched them and went dashing for the checkout line.

Alas, I tried them on with my gown, and they just don’t look right. My gown is this shimmery, very bright white tafeta, and the behind-the-lace fabric on these shoes is too warm and cream-colored to work. Drat. And they’re kind of too fancy for every-day wear, so it looks like they’re going back to the store. I’m sorry, girls. You’ll find a home soon.

Last week, my littlest sister, Molly, turned twenty-one. So this weekend Lobsterface and I went to visit her.

We ate sushi, went to a rodeo, and then ate burgers and wings. I’ll be running and not eating for weeks now.

While we were there, Molly’s landlady brought home a large box of 3-week-old kittens that someone had cruelly tossed over the side of a bank from their moving car. The poor nubbins were absolutely covered in fleas, so a group of us sat around on the porch de-fleaing the tiny kittens for an hour or so.

Kittens don’t like to be wet.
Wet Kitten

So we dried them. They didn’t really like that, either.

When they were all dry and fluffy and flealess, they had lunch.
Nom nom nom

I bonded with the one on the top left, with the white spot on her back. I was half tempted to bring her home with us, but I don’t think I’m ready to spend another $500 on a “free” kitten. Also, my established Grande Dame cat still isn’t speaking to me after I brought Pixel home.

Most of the kittens headed to a no-kill shelter nearby, but one of them found a new home with a lovely young lady who needed a roommate. So Molly and the kitten went on a road trip. She only let the kitten drive on back roads.

And in other kitten news, Pixel is recovering from surgery. She has recently been relieved of her lady equipment. I’m at a point in my life when I rather wish someone would relieve me of mine, so we’re commiserating. On the couch. With ice cream (so much for not eating).

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As I may have mentioned, we have a new kitten. She’s been with us for about a month and has already doubled in size. It’s ridiculous. She’s just as spastic as ever, but now she causes more damage when she crashes into things and it actually hurts when she tries to remove my hands and feet from my body.

She’s almost constantly in motion, but I happened to catch her the other day during one of her sudden, brief power naps.

Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight (name that lyric and Lobsterface will love you forever).
Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight.

Tiny feets!
Tiny Feet!

She looks deceptively angelic here.
angelic kitten

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