Thursday, July 31, 2008

Word on the street: English as a second love

The scene: St. Matthews ESL program over at 18th and N. I helped out with hospitality -- fancy word for opening doors and serving snack -- during the summer session. What follows is a conversation between me and one of the level one students who always seemed very happy to see me ...

It's snack time. I sit at the table, taking money and dishing out snacks. The level one class comes down. One of the students is Ermelindo, a young man who looks about 19 or 20. He is smiling and stammering as he approaches the table.

Ermelindo: Hola.

Julia: Hello.

Ermelindo: Do you speak Spanish?

Julia: Only a little. I studied it in high school, but haven't practiced it since.

Ermelindo: You have to speak Spanish.

Julia (laughing): Why? You're here to learn English.

Ermelindo: You have to learn to speak Spanish so we can talk because I love you.

Julia: (stunned silence)

Ermelindo: Ok?

Julia: Um. (gropes for Spanish vocab)Ummm ... come se llama?

Ermelindo: Ermelindo. You can say Lindo. It means ... wonderful! And handsome.

Other student: No. Guapo means handsome.

Julia: Yeah! I thought lindo meant cute, as in 'aww, look at the 'cute little boy'!

The emphasis does not translate. Ermelindo continues beaming and stammering. The other students leave. He remains.

Julia: Lindo, you have to go back to class.

Ermelindo: I can't.

Julia: Why?

Ermelindo: I have to stay here and protect you.

Julia: Go!

He grins all the way up the stairs. It needs no translation. I'm grinning too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Word on the street: "Starphonics"

Menus can broaden our lexicon, as I learned today. In this literal edition of "word on the street," we're going to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, where the brunch menu introduced me to a new phrase this morning: Starphonics.

I found the unusual term buried within a list of rules on the menu back. "$8 minimum per table." "All major credit cards accepted." "We do not respond to Starphonics."

My first thought was that this was a rarely used form of ebonics, perhaps one with an astronomical bent, but that didn't make any sense. I asked the waiter, and he had no clue (having only worked there two weeks and apparently having not yet read his own establishment's menu.) Then one of my breakfast mates had a flash of insight.

"Starbucks!" he said. "It's the language people use to order drinks at Starbucks. Hence, Starphonics."

Brilliant! The reference fell into place, given Afterwords' short coffee menu and a fleet of hipster waiters who didn't look too keen on writing down complicated demands for "venti chai double shot espresso with lactaid, no foam, just cinnamon."

So that's the explanation I'm going with until someone tells me otherwise. (The only corroboration I could find was here.) What say you, dear readers? Is this the correct definition of Starphonics?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Clients and vendors: Two sides of a dirty penny

My workforce life is young, but I've already spent two years on the vendor side and 6 months on the client side (where one could argue that, as a writer, I'm an internal vendor). And I can tell you that all the stereotypes are true. Clients are major pains in the patoot.

Some common frustrations and their translations:

* You're a great writer! We just have a couple word suggestions ...
We know more than you do about your chosen line of work and God-given talents.

* Hmm, yeah, it's direct, but I'm not sure our audience will really grasp it.
WE don't understand it.

* Our audience is everyone.
We're incapable of defining any clearer strategy than that.

* Sorry we held you up with our internal decisions and delayed the project by two weeks. Can you work this weekend to turn it all around by Monday?
We enjoy being inconsiderate. We know you want our money and will dance like monkeys.

* No no no, you misunderstood us.
No no no, we changed our minds and don't want to admit it.

* We want to be transparent. Just don't publish this info ... or this ... ooh, or this ...
We want to be able to SAY we're transparent, but not actually BE transparent. (Thanks, Nemo!)

* Almost there!
Not there at all.

Don't believe me? Watch this. And then come find me crying in the corner where I've crept off to avoid the working world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How I put the "ER" in adventure

I am not dressed properly for the emergency room. Dress, heels, hair done up -- not a comfortable way to spend an afternoon on a gurney.

Then again, who can plan for these things? It's not the Expected room. Thank God I at least have clean underwear on. And my legs are shaved.

How did I end up here anyway, in the George Washington University emergency care unit, on the day before my 25th birthday? Well, I went temporarily blind in the metro on my way to work. The Ballston station (henceforth known as Balls-of-fire-HOT-ton) cooked my brain, sent my blood pressure into a tizzy, and caused my vision to pixelate, brighten, then gradually sink into a dark sea.

It wasn't fainting, per se. I remained upright the whole time, gagging on the thick perfume of the woman next to me, and making contingency plans for being that anonymous "sick passenger on the platform" who delays trains up to 30 minutes in the DC metro system. If I fall, I thought, will someone help me? How will my roommates find out? Will I hit my head? So I decided it was easiest all around to just remain standing.

What followed was 30-45 seconds of eyes-wide-open dark followed by lingering tingles and the urge to lie flat. The rush of the train's arrival delivered cool air that recalibrated my system. I couldn't see the train, so I didn't get on it. But the dark began to recede as the train pulled away. And the next train arrived just as the dark was coming back. I made it to work without further incident.

The rest of the morning was a bit woozy, dizzy, and nauseous. After 4 hours of not feeling better, and on the rec of a doctor's office I called, I decided to go to the ER.

Now, this is the first time in my life, with the exception of my birth, that I have ever been admitted to a hospital. And stupid stubborn me -- the same obstinate a** who overrode her own body telling her to fall down and faint already-- almost didn't go because she wanted to keep that golden record intact. But then my overactive imagination took the reins, and images of an undetected brain tumor made me all too willing to put in the time, just to be safe.

So here I sit, legs dangling, waiting for test results and people-watching. Spending time in a hospital is a stark reminder that somebody is always worse off than you. The young mother in the curtained room next to me who had to bring her two little babies along while she waits for treatment. The disoriented older lady trying to escape from the CT scan room, inching her wheelchair along with her toes and crying "Lord have mercy!" The man with the oxygen mask lying inert in a gurney in the hallway. The middle-aged woman who explains to the doctor that she's temporarily homeless, and she swears that her infected foot began as a sunburn.

This is where sudden, unexplained blindness will get you. Staff here have put me through an EKG, urine sample, and blood sugar test. All were good. I passed my neurological tests with the doctor. She didn't know what went wrong. (Though she did ask, "I have NO idea how you managed to stay standing up." My answer: "Sheer willpower.")

So I wait yet again, this time for results from my first-ever CT scan. I pass the time thinking of better ways to ring in my quarter-century birthday, which announced itself by expiring my warranty, it seems. I could eat ice cream. Go to happy hour with friends. Or update my living will ...

The unknowing is the scariest. The people are friendly here, the atmosphere calm, and the pace steady. Hardly the round-the-clock, tense drama depicted on popular doctor shows. Nothing overt to alarm me. Yet the possibility lurks in my mind that my flying-color test results will stop, and something abnormal will emerge.

I look calmer than I feel. Five hours imagining your certain brain tumor and fast demise wears you out. And while I'm glad no one is here wasting their time with me for what I'm (pretty) sure will be a clean diagnosis, I'm sad no one is here to distract and reassure me. (The one God-sent exception: my stalwart best friend Emily, who held my virtual hand by texting every 20 minutes to check in on me.)

The doctor comes back. She hands me my results. Not one thing wrong. My "near-syncope" is unexplained. That's at once reassuring and disturbing. Great, I won't die on the floor here, but will something happen later? Can I prevent my untimely departure? I'm only 25, woman!! Of course, I say nothing. Just take the papers and head home.

Jacob makes pizza for me that night. I update my parents, and learn that my mother had calculated her PTO days in case she had to come down and nurse me through my Helen Keller moment. Emily had checked train schedules to do the same. I drink some wine to banish my very dull headache. And I head to bed, ready to greet my birthday with renewed senses of gratitude for my health and happiness, and of awe for the mystery that our bodies occasionally like to remind us they are.


Ed. Note: After a follow-up appointment to this incident, it looks like I had a vasovagal episode -- a near-fainting experience spurred by a 'perfect storm' of my low blood pressure, a med I'm on, electrolyte depletion, and the heat wave here. Blood work will tell the rest. So nothing serious, and all entirely treatable. Can we get a *phew*?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scrapple: A study on branding

Scrapple -- the most mysterious meat you'll ever love.

Known and loved by all good Philadelphians, scrapple is what its name connotes: a conglomeration of the leftover pig parts that can't be used in other pork products. It's gray. It comes in a block. You don't want to read the ingredient list. But you close your eyes and enjoy it all the same.

Why then, you ask, are you waxing poetic about a weird meat byproduct that could possibly withstand a nuclear winter? Because of branding, my friend. You see, I grew up on Hatfield Scrapple, the packaging of which features bright colors, sunshine bursts, and at one time, a smiling pig whose grin seemed to say, "I fully embrace that my life is building to this moment -- to have my offal end up at your brunch."

With such friendly and diverting marketing, I found it easy to ignore scrapple's true nature, and enjoy its deliciousness instead.

Fast-forward to my adult life, which finds me in N. VA, where scrapple is not recognized to exist. I have managed to hold out the last 6 months, but the craving hit this morning: I must have scrapple.

So off I went to Harris Teeter to search, not expecting much. Imagine my surprise when on the shelf, all alone in its own little stack, sat scrapple! It even had a sign under it saying "new item." The timing could not have been better. I was thrilled beyond belief ... until I looked at the package.



Liver mush? LIVER MUSH??? Don't call it what it is, Jenkins! That destroys the necessary suspension of disbelief, punctures the willing ignorance of all die-hard scrapple eaters. First, you put together two words that have negative connotations for most sane people -- liver and mush. Then, you surround it with drab colors and boring design. Where's the happiness?? Where's the distraction?? Where's the manufactured sense of security in actually consuming this product and not inviting death, much less nausea?

So there you have it -- a tale of two scrapples -- proving that branding really can be all in a name. Oh, I cooked it. I ate it. But I wasn't nearly as happy about it -- and that's a lesson I will carry forward for the rest of my communicating days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Getting schooled about home

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome
There is a feeling that you should just go home
And spend a lifetime finding out just where that is


--"Cathedrals," Jump Little Children

Where do I put my welcome mat?

It used to be at my parents' front door. Then it sat in upstate New York under 10 feet of snow, next to a bar entrance in Pittsburgh, and now before a brick townhouse in NoVa.

Does this make home where my welcome mat is? It seems too easy to move, too transient, too ... flat. And it doesn't explain my comfort in church, or at the library, or in a good friend's house. I don't bring my welcome mat there. Yet I'm equally at ease.

There's always "home is where the heart is," I suppose. But that puts my home in a well-written book, or at the ocean, or with the relatives in Italy. And last time I checked, no one is sending my mail to my relatives in Italy (though let's not discount the mysteries of the Italian postal system.)

Home, then, must be bigger than a mat and wider than a heart. Tall order. This rules out bungalows, cottages, colonials, and McMansions. It does away with townships, boroughs, cities, and states. It even trumps countries, planets, and the whole schmeer of the universe.

In fact, forget coordinates altogether. Home is deeper than that. It's protection balanced by risk. It results from circumstance or decision, followed by adaptation. It's joy and contentment. It fits.

In a right world, home is with me and in me -- with or without the welcome mat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Save a whale -- ride a mermaid!

The rumors are true: Mermaids do exist, and they live in the Greenbrier River in West Virginia.

Don't believe me? You will soon. I was there. I was among them. In fact, I was one.



Here's my tail of adventure. Back in the cold winter, my friend Alyson brought up the 4th of July, and how her wacky West Virginia family was holding two annual traditions the same weekend: her Italian branch's family reunion, and the Mermaid Parade.

Yes, a Mermaid Parade. Aly started this tradition two years ago a) because she loved mermaids, and b) wanted to be in a parade. It quickly ballooned to include all of the women in the family, and involves building a float, dressing in mermaid tails, wearing as much sparkly jewelry as possible, and riding in the local parade.

She asked if I'd like to join. I asked if the Pope was Catholic. And so it was set that I would celebrate our nation's freedom by traveling to a new state, partying with relatives I wasn't related to, and getting me some mermaid tail.

Country roads -- specifically routes 66, 81, and 64 -- took me to Alyson's home some months later for the three-day adventure. To prove just how wild and wonderful it is, West Virginia set its speed limit at 70 one foot over the state line. However, the scenery was so beautiful I wanted to do 25. Ah, irony.

I even paused at a rest stop to enjoy the views. Did you read that closely? Julia Rocchi actually STOPPED speeding, and got out to smell the roses-slash-take self portraits.



I could tell WV was my kind of state already.

This sense was reinforced when I pulled down the gravel road to Aly's parents' house. (The relatives camping on the lawn helped me locate it.) No sooner had I turned off the car, Aly came running to greet me, shouting, "You made it! Want some gumbo??"

I didn't unpack the car until three hours later. The evening became a whirl of learning relatives' names, forgetting relatives' names, eating gumbo, drinking Chianti, visiting the river bank, and best of all -- helping to decorate the float. You have to admire these Capaldo women: They can take a truck, a hitch, a baby pool, an old couch, and leftover fabric, and turn it into Poseidon's perch, complete with cascading waterfall, within a matter of hours. (Must be the gumbo.)

The next morning dawned humid and gray. It was time for Alderson's annual parade. Now, a note on this event before we go back to mythical aquatic creatures. Alderson has a population of about 214.6 people and 54 teeth. But they don't let their relative smallness keep them from celebrating the 4th in style. I'm talking an entire WEEK of festivities dedicated to our country's independence -- shows, fireworks, picnics ... and of course, the parade.



The parade draws every citizen out of doors. They line the entire parade route (at least 1 mile), and fill every bit of sidewalk on the bridges, residential roads, and historic Alderson pavements. They come with chairs, blankets, flags, pickup trucks, tents, and all their relatives. "Big deal" does not even approach its significance.



So you can imagine the butterflies in my stomach as Aly and I clambered onto the float to head down the winding road back to town and get in line for the parade. Passing trucks honked and waved, other motorists gawked, and we nearly stuck the whole float on a tight turn into the (wrong) staging area. But we made it in one piece, and it was time to perform.

And by perform, I mean drown.

No sooner did we get all our mermaids in order, complete with tails, tiaras, and 3000 necklaces for parade route distribution, then the skies opened up and dropped the rain that had threatened all morning. Our soaked-to-the-bone-edness was rapidly justified by the claim we were being "authentic" -- after all, mermaids aren't dry! High spirits were restored, and the parade began.



Let me tell you, there's no better way to meet a town efficiently than march before them. Everyone is primed for a good time and already disposed to like you. Highlights of the event included:

* Being the banner bearer.

* Pandering to the very old and very young.

* Blowing bubbles.

* Accidentally running over the mp3 player that was pumping our float music.

* Meeting the inspiration for Hallmark's Maxine:



* Our official tagline: Save the river, save our tails!

* Our unofficial tagline: Save a whale, ride a mermaid!

* Having a mer-chihuahua along for the ride:



* Plus a mer-pig:



* And, of course, my lovely friend Alyson.



I even got to see this motel sign along the route (file this under "motel of many talents"):



After the parade, we returned to the Ficks' house for more revelry. This encompassed eating, drinking, corn hole, horseshoes, swimming, tubing, singalongs, and more eating. (I had to bum rush the table to get my meal. And this is coming from a girl who thought she already knew what bum rushing a table meant from her own family experiences.)

When evening fell, magic happened. This rather hickish-looking homestead -- covered in Christmas lights, clotheslines, garden equipment, trailer-turned-houses, and tents, cars and relatives on the lawn -- turned into a wonderland. The fire pit roared. The fireflies soared. And the children disappeared into the dusk to play and explore, making me wish I were 10 and with all my cousins again in this fairy-tale landscape.

Such round-the-clock fun continued straight into the family reunion the next day. A note on family reunions: Attending ones where you are not actually related to anyone are antithetical, lonely, and freeing all at the same time. I wasn't obligated to talk to anyone or make the rounds. I just got to eat pulled pork and play corn hole whenever I wanted. On the other hand, no one deeply cared who I was, why I was there, or what I was up to in life. Disconcerting.

That said, the Capaldo clan is as warm and hospitable a crew as you can ever hope to meet, and they adopted me happily. Here they are en masse:



Names include: Happy, Pat (called Susie), Toodles, Zeth, Leonard, Granny, Tooney, Tammy, Zed, Jud, Kimber, Zizzy, Tristan, Trinity (a boy), Braylin, Baylin, Collie, Jeremiah, Basil, Nellie, and Billy Owen. Billy Owen a special case because he's one of three brothers named Bill -- all by different moms. And he met his fourth brother named Bill when they were put in the same jail cell -- the same brother who was killed two weeks later in an auto accident.

The weekend ended with a literal and illegal bang during our home-grown fireworks show, with one rocket shooting into the grove of trees 15 feet from the spectators. This confirmed why fireworks are illegal in the first place for anyone but trained professionals. Still, a fitting and explosive end to a fabulous weekend.

And what did I learn? That I stink at tossing bean bags into holes. That river shoes are a must for painless river adventures. That sugar is an essential food group in W Va. That my friend has a stronger accent when she's back home. And that families and love are universal, no matter the state, the event, or the float design.

The End. Literally.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bear with me: A camping story

It's now been almost two weeks since the Great Camping Adventure of '08, and I'm still scratching bug bites and nursing a burned finger -- not so badly burned, though, that I can't forever commit our adventures in the wide outdoors to the worldwide web.

And since we behaved like children most of the time, it's most fitting to share this saga in story book fashion. Cuddle up -- here goes!

Once upon a time, there were four friends. They decided to test their friendship by spending two days together in the woods. Their goals: to see a bear, but not get eaten by it.

So off they went in their heavily packed car to Shenandoah, a place of unparalleled natural beauty and assorted woodland creatures. Along the way, they stopped at Wawa. The native Pennsylvanians rejoiced.

When they got to the campground, the mosquito-infested campsite near the bear path that they originally picked turned out to be reserved. Few tears were shed, especially when the camp host pointed out the timber rattlers. Instead, the intrepid crew moved to a lovely wooded spot around the bend, populated mostly by deer and obnoxious lute players from a couple camp spots over.

A fire was soon started with flint. There was much excitement over this feat of flame mastery. A delicious dinner of silver turtles and a couple hours of Bible School songs followed. The first night in the so-called "tent of sin" was (disappointingly) sinless, though a bad case of tent giggles did ensue.

The next morning saw a grand adventure -- cooking pancakes. Some of the crew proved adept at this; others, not so much. Soon, though, all pancakes were consumed and the merry band headed first to see Stony Man, then to the trail for a day hike.

The hike was going splendidly -- with sightings of deer, bridges, waterfalls, outlooks, and places to pee -- until lunch. At that point, the crew decided they were going to take a different route back "to enjoy new scenery." This turned out to be a grave error, since the end of that route consisted of climbing 2100 feet in the space of 1.25 miles.

However, all was not lost (just feeling in our kneecaps). The new route provided ample opportunity to use iodine tablets for potable water; carve walking sticks; watch for bears; and take a dip down a natural rock side mercifully positioned halfway through the hike from hell.

After what seemed like a long while and countless cries of "just 15 more minutes!," our brave crew parted ways, with the stronger ones retrieving the car and the blinded-by-pain ones taking their sweet time. It was at this juncture that the unthinkable happened:

We saw a bear.



And we knew it had all been worth it.

We celebrated our bear sighting victory that evening with hot dogs, baked beans, and pain medication (read: alcohol) around yet another spectacular fire, hardly dampened by a sudden thunderstorm. This revelry was followed by swift collapse in the tent of sin, and a long, dreamless sleep (which prevented your author from realizing she was on a rock).

The next morning, the adventurous crew arose to a fine Sunday morning brunch and a quick decampment. Before they knew it, they were back in the car and are on their way home (read: back to Wawa). They even had time to fix a broken radio fuse. That's how resourceful this group was.

By the time they arrived home, the burns/scratches/aches/rain/woodsmoke/blisters were forgotten, and all that remained were the sweet memories of becoming one with nature and closer to one another. Not to mention (not) pooping the woods. And the gun shack uncomfortably close to the child care learning center.

The End


Epilogue: Campy Quotes

If we need to start a fire, we can burn The New York Times -- that rag. But not the Style section. We can keep that.

My great-aunt and my grandmom got kicked out of Friendly's.
For what?
For fighting.

Sign: Antique tables. Made daily.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Girl Effect

If you do nothing else today, at least check out The Girl Effect. This is a terrific example of activism-meets-foundations-meets-new media-meets-social media-meets-POWER. Missions like this make me proud to be a woman, and inspire me to help the next generation feel the same way.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Send Me On My Way": A dialogue

Life has a few great mysteries: Does life exist elsewhere in our universe? Who built Stonehenge? And what is Rusted Root really saying in their song "Send Me on My Way?" We attempt to answer this last conundrum here:

RYAN

I thought this might be an interesting comparison,

What we think the lyrics might be:

I would like to reach out my hand
oh be say o
o be say o torun
yo bedese yo bedeya
well pick me up with geldan hiweh
o meh say o
o mey say o torun
yo bedese yo bedeya

I would like to hold my hand
Oh, i will run, oh I will cry
I would like to hold my hand.
Oh I will run, I will cry.

Seme on me weh, seme on me weh...

And the actual version:

On my way ( 12 times)
Rusted Root

I would like to reach out my hand
I may see you, I may tell you to run
You know what they say about the young
Well pick me up with golden hands
Oh may see you, Oh may tell you to run
You know what they say about the young

Well I would like to hold my little, hand
I will run I will. I will cry I will.
I would like to hold my little, hand.
I will run I will. I will cry.

Send me on my way, on my way

JACOB
Send me on my WAAAAAAY-ay-ay-ay-ay-aaay-ay-ay-AAAAY!

JULIA
Dohn wana mek me cry, bebe -- dona wan meh cry-i-i-i-i-
simmy and the whale.

JACOB
I was actually mishearing the misheard lyrics ... when you sang it, I thought ... Simeon the whale. :o) So many layers. Dude just needs to enunciate.

JESS
OMG! There is no way that's what he's saying. What happened to Merceo? Did they just forget about him? I totally thought it was "Oh Merceo, oh Merceo to run, bude saya budey umm."


Note: My "simmy and the whale" interpretation is courtesy of Mrs. Chevlin, one of my high school teachers, who blithely sang along with these lyrics when we picked it as our senior song, and never questioned why we'd be singing to a whale. Further justification here for this song's incomprehensibility.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You're invited to a redneck wedding

Let me preface this post by saying I can't make stuff like this up. This story comes courtesy of my friend Alyson from Philly by way of West Virginia.

The following is her quick take on her cousin's wedding this past Saturday, hosted near or around Alderson, WV.

Keep in mind this is the exact same place I'm headed this weekend for Independence Day, and the exact same family I'll be spending 3 days with (dressed as a mermaid, no less ... more on this later).

God protect me and grant me many hilarious pictures. Now, on with the honest-to-god unedited show:

Just wanted to let you know that the wedding surpassed even my estimate of insanity and redneckishness. I will tell you all about it with pictures so you get a full idea of what I am talking about, but here is a small sample:

First, we get there at 2pm and the place is a wreck b/c we have been having major thunderstorms for two days. The wedding is at 4pmand nothing is decorated. The tent was up and there were tables under it and a few strings of xmas lights. My aunt and I stopped along the road and cut Yucca flowers, we strung more lights, added some crepe paper hearts, glitter hearts on the table etc.

Nobody could find the topper for the cake (eventually did)except found this weird thing with a bride dragging a groom which we later found out was the topper for the groom's cake. My cousin told everyone that I was the wedding coordinator so everyone kept asking me what to do. I had arrived at 1:30am the night before and hadn't even spoken with my cousin thebride so had no idea. I just kept making things up!

Anyway, my dad, granny, Anna and I had to stand under the tent and walk around pushing water out of the sagging areas during another storm while my Uncle and Anna's boyfriend put together an arbor from the dollar store. My mom then decorated it with ivy from a nearby chimney and tulle.

The bride was 35 minutes late, the preacher tied the rings on the pillow in a knot, I sang while my uncle played the wedding march on the guitar. They kept telling us to reserve a table for the dj, but no dj ever arrived (or was ordered) so my uncle ended up playing tunes out of the back of his suburban.

We had enough ham and baked beans for 300 people, but nothing else. Most of the crowd were holy-rollers (not our family) who don't approve of drinking so everyone walked around with beer in Styrofoam cups. Frida Kahlo's long lost relatives showed up and my sister's and cousin's got stoned.

End scene.

Update: These responses were far too good to leave in my inbox. Feel free to comment here too!

*~*~*~*~*~

Forget the glitter hearts and yucca flowers . . . the baked beans and beer make for an instant party!

Sounds like love was in the air. Or was it just the beans? ;o)

Mmmm, JACOB

*~*~*~*~*~

OMG, Julia. I would love to see the pics. You better be REAL careful when you're out there this weekend. 'Caus yer reeel perdy an' sumun might have a hankerin' fer ya.

Love, Mom

*~*~*~*~*~

I'm horrendously out of the loop...why are you dressing up like a mermaid??

I could take money savings tip from that bride.

Sue

*~*~*~*~*~

Sounds like fun. How come our family can't get stoned at our weddings? We're so pedestrian!

Your Dad