Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good News! (Mostly)

I'm supposed to be packing right now because Penn and I have to head to the airport to catch our flight to Chicago in a few hours. But! I just checked my e-mail and I found out one of my papers got accepted to a conference! This is the second conference I've been accepted to this summer.
One of them, the one I got accepted to last month (but for some reason never wrote about here), is one of the most prestigious conferences in my field. There are two major conferences that you really need to get on your resume at some point to be competitive in the job market, and this is one of them. I thought it would take me YEARS to actually have a paper accepted at this conference because I've heard horror stories of some of my colleagues putting together panels with major scholars and still not getting accepted. My original plan was to sit this year out: go to the conference (since I've never been) and see how it works but not actually submit a paper. But Dr. AMP talked me into submitting an abstract. I waited until the very last minute, then churned something out based on a paper I wrote last semester and sent it in a few hours before the deadline, mostly just because I thought Dr. AMP would be disappointed in me if I didn't at least try. I was absolutely shocked when my paper got accepted to a panel. Nicole got accepted to the same panel, which is really exciting. My theory is that I only got accepted because Dr. AMP is one of the panel chairs this year, but hey, take advantage when you can, right? Plus there are five other panel chairs, so it can't entirely be favoritism, can it? At any rate, my paper got accepted and I am very excited about that mostly just because it's a weight off my shoulders, one of those must-do-if-you-want-a-j0b-eventually things that I will now be able to cross of the list. I'm also terrified, though, because there are some very important people on this panel and I am horrified of the idea of them reading and discussing my piddly little paper. It's all style and no substance at this point. I'm going to need to work on that. Soon.
Especially since I now have ANOTHER conference to go to in the fall! The one I found out about today is a conference that is not in my field. It's only minorly related to what I actually study, but I dabbled in it a bit in a class I took in the fall, which is where the paper I submitted came from. I put together a panel with some friends from my university and some people from another university since the conference is all about interdisciplinary collaboration. I figured our panel had a very good chance of getting in since we are not only from another discipline, we are collaborating between two universities. Plus one of the faculty co-sponsors for our panel is a pretty big name, so I figured that would give us an advantage, too. But even though I figured we'd get in, I sort of forgot about the whole thing altogether since we submitted the proposal months ago. Getting the e-mail today was a nice surprise. Conferences always bring up such contradictory emotions, though: excitement to get in, fear about actually having to write and give a paper.

The problem with getting accepted to both of these conferences is that they are both in November, one right after the other, and on complete opposite sides of the country. November is a difficult time of year anyway, what with the end-of-semester rush, and now I'm going to have to be in Boston for several days and then immediately after that I'll have to fly out to San Francisco. I'm not complaining, exactly. I'm honored that people like the idea of my research enough to invite me to speak at conferences, and both Boston and San Francisco are cool cities that will be fun to hang out in for a few days. But it's going to cost a lot of money to do the traveling, and it is going to be very stressful to get two conference papers written in the midst of all of my other school work for the fall. Still, overall this is good news and I'm very excited.

Alright, back to packing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I'm having an excellent fashion day. First of all, I got my hair, washed, cut, and styled this morning for only $18! And it's a good haircut, too! I went to the Aveda Institute in City A and got my hair cut by a student. Yes, I suppose it's a bit of a risk to put your hair into the hands of someone who is just now learning how to cut hair, but you get to have your hair washed and treated with the Aveda products (which I love but don't generally buy because they're a bit pricey) and there are instructors there who monitor the students and basically give them a grade on your haircut, so I'm sure if the student was totally botching up my hair I could have begged the instructor to fix it. Anyway, I felt comfortable having a student cut my hair. I'm not all that picky about my haircuts. It's hair, it will grow back. My only requirement about my hair is that regardless of the style it needs to be possible for me to pull it back into a ponytail and I need any face-framing pieces to be long enough that I can tuck them behind my ears when I get annoyed with them. Today I was just getting my hair trimmed, anyway, so it's not like I was asking for anything complicated. I'm in a growing-out phase right now. I go through definite phases with my hair. I guess most women do. All I know is that I'll enjoy growing it out for a while and then suddenly, BAM, I need to chop half my hair off, stat! But right now I'm definitely in a growing-out mood. Incidentally, Victor, the guy that cut my hair back in Hometown, once told me, "I can always tell when you're having relationship problems because you come in here and want me to cut your hair short." He said it wasn't just me, either, that was his theory about all women: when things are going well in a relationship, a woman never wants to do anything too drastic with her hair, but when a woman comes in and says, "I want a change," that's a sure sign that there is trouble in the relationship. I have no idea if that's true of all women (or even true of me, to be honest, even though that's what Victor thought) but it's interesting. And I will admit that while I've been growing my hair out ever since I moved up here, a part of the reason that I'm continuing to grow my hair out right now is that Penn is really obsessed with it and we made a bargain that if I grow my hair as long as I can stand it, he has to keep his facial hair in check this winter and can't grow a full beard all the way up to his eyes, which is apparently what he usually does. So I'm willing to wear my hair longer than usual if it means I don't have to date a hairy mountain man as soon as it starts getting cold. We'll see who breaks their end of the bargain first! Actually, no, I'm sure I'm going to have to break the deal first because I have a very finite amount of patience for my hair and I already know that I'm going to get grossed out with it right about the time it gets chest-length, because that's just what I do.
But anyway, in summary: $18 haircut? Fabulous.

Then when I got off the subway on my way home I walked into New York & Company to see if they had any cute, wedding-appropriate dresses, and I ended up buying this. (P.S.-is it just me or are those shoes really wrong for that dress?) I really like the color, I love how silky it is, and it doesn't hug my stomach at all, which is a nice quality in a dress. I like a dress you can actually eat in, you know? Plus while the color and fabric is pretty flashy, it's cut fairly conservatively, which is good because the bride at said wedding is from an extremely conservative Baptist family and the less I scandalize other peoples' relatives, the better. Oh, but do you want to know something crazy? I bought the dress in a size 2. A 2! And the only reason I bought the 2 is that they don't make a smaller size. Yes, I actually wanted to try on a size smaller but as it was I had to buy the smallest size they sell at the store. What the heck?! I am NOT a size 2, people. Seriously, I'm not. The other dresses in my closet range from a size 4 to a size 8, and they all fit my body so I know various stores have major differences in sizes. Still, a 2? Just so you know that I'm talking about, I will disclose that I am 5'7" tall and weighed 128 pounds the last time I checked (which was when I had to go to the doctor back in March). So I'm thin, but I'm by no means tiny and I am definitely, definitely not a size 2. There are tons of women in the world who are shorter than me and many who are thinner, too. Where on earth do those people have to shop? What is up with this? Is it supposed to make us feel better about ourselves, like I'm supposed to feel proud that I'm a size 2? Whatever. I'm just getting annoyed because this is not the only time this has happened to me lately and I'm tired of sizes being so unpredictable.

Now I just need to find something to wear to the other wedding occurring during Wedding Weekend 2008. Have I mentioned that I know four couples getting married the third weekend of August? I'm only going to two of the four weddings since I'm not completely crazy, but I just think it's wild that I know so many people getting married in the same weekend. And that's not even all of the weddings this summer. One of my friends from grad school got married on Saturday, and another is getting married later in August. Oh, and one of my college friends is getting married this summer as well. That's seven people I know who got/are getting married this summer, and two people I know who got engaged this summer. I guess that's just what happens when you're in your mid-twenties, huh? Everyone decides its time to take the plunge and get hitched. When does the madness stop? Or is it pretty much just one wedding after another until we're in our thirties? I actually don't mind. I really love weddings. What's not fun about putting on a nice dress, reuniting with friends, and getting tipsy on someone else's bill? Still, I wasn't exactly prepared for how big a part of your social life weddings become once you hit 24-25.

Anyway, I should probably just pull a once-worn dress out of my closet for the other wedding since I can't keep buying new clothes for all of these things. But Cas mentioned shopping on the Magnificent Mile and if we do that I may not be able to resist some other pretty shiny thing. I'm so excited about this trip to Chicago, by the way. Cas and I have been friends since we were in 8th grade. She wasn't my very closest friend when we were young, but we always hung out and, at this point, she is the person in my life that I have consistently been friends with the longest. There are other people I've known as long or longer, but none of them have been consistently a part of my life as Cas has been. We stay in touch on the internet and still see each other every time we're in Hometown. I was in her and Jay's wedding when they got married in 2006 and she has been wanting me to come up to Chicago to visit ever since they moved there after the wedding. I'm so glad I finally get to do it. Turns out it's going to be a whole weekend of old friends because Ryan, one of our other friends from high school, is a stand-up comedian now and he happens to be doing a show in Indianapolis this weekend. So we're going to drive to Indy and spend the night there so we can see Ryan's show and go out for drinks afterwards. And, bonus, I get to add Indiana to the States I've Visited list! I'm almost to 30! Anyway, I haven't seen Ryan in four or five years and the last time I talked to him was just a very brief run-in when I was home one Christmas, so it will be really interesting to catch up for real. Other plans include jet skiing (which I have never done but am SO excited about) and eating pizza, of course. Here's hoping that Cas and Penn get along (I can't imagine that they won't, but I guess you never know...) and that it's a fun, safe, and sunny weekend.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I just saw the biggest slug ever. Ever! I was outside walking the dog and I saw something on the ground that looked like a black pickle and I thought, "Huh, that's weird," and then I saw it sort of wiggle and I realized it was a giant slug! It was the size of my big toe! And then it gradually stretched out and got all skinny and then it was almost as long as my foot! Ah! I was pretty enthralled by the slug. I took pictures of it with my cell phone and sent them to half the people in my phone book (the half that I thought might appreciate pictures of a giant slug, anyway). I'd post the picture here but I'm not sure that I'm savvy enough to get the picture off my phone and into my blog. So just trust me, it was HUGE. Or actually, maybe that's perfectly normal for a slug. I have no idea, I haven't seen many slugs in my life.

Also, somebody found this blog by searching for the phrase "my brother's naked body." What the hell?! That phrase is actually in the entry I wrote back in February about my brother's 21st birthday when he passed out naked on my sister's couch and her roommate came across him in the morning, but GROSS. What is wrong with people?! Why on earth would anyone search for that? The sad thing is that I'm sure they found something on the internet that fit the bill. Sick, sick, sick.

P.S.-I touched the slug. It was really, really sticky. Don't worry, I washed my hands.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Being Yelled at By a Hound Dog

You know that mind-numbingly stupid MTV show Engaged and Underage? I really wish they would also make 22 And Divorced! Don't you think that would be much more interesting? Follow up with the young couples and see how many of them are still happily married three years later. My guess is 0%.

Not much interesting is going on around here today. I had a coupon for a free Chipotle burrito to use tonight and my car is doing this really annoying new thing where it doesn't want to actually stay parked when I put it in park, so unless I also put the emergency brake on it goes rolling around. That's really safe. I can't get it fixed until next week, though, since the auto shop is only open from 9 until 5 and I'm still working camp every day this week (seriously, how do people with normal jobs ever get any errands done? Do people just save all of their errands for Saturdays? Doesn't that suck?). So, yeah, that's the extent of the excitement around here today.

I had a really nice weekend, though. Penn came down here this weekend and on Friday night we went up to City B and had dinner with my cousin and her husband. She has a sweet roof deck, so we grilled steak and drank a bottle of wine on the roof. And then we went downstairs and let Rock Band take over our lives for a few hours. I got 100 percent singing Red Hot Chili Pepper's Dani California, because I'm awesome like that. (Admittedly, there were a couple of moments when I had to sing things like "Black bandana, sweet Louisiana, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah-blah blah blah blah...," but did you know Rock Band doesn't care whether or not you sing actual words? As long as you get the rhythm and the pitch, you're good to go.) Anyway, it was fun hanging out with Rae and her husband, but I'm a little wary of making Penn do too much "couple stuff" with me. I don't want to overwhelm the guy. Most of my friends here are already in relationships, so now that I'm dating someone too everyone is like, "Oh, yay, we can double date!" And I'm excited about that, don't get me wrong. Since I have so many couple friends it's nice not to have to be the third wheel for a change (although actually my coupled up friends have always been great at never making me feel like a third wheel anyway). But I'm a little worried that he's going to think I'm trying to domesticate him, which is not actually my intention at all. It's weird having so many married couples to hang out with. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte wants to have a baby with Trey so she invites her friends with kids over so they can see what it's like? Sometimes I sort of feel like that. Doing stuff like having dinner with Rae and her husband or planning this trip to visit my high school friend and her husband in Chicago makes me feel like I'm taking us on this tour of Married Couple Land to see how we fit. Which may not be freaking him out yet (at least, not that he has indicated to me), but it's kind of freaking ME out. I mean, I like the guy a whole lot but we haven't even known each other for four months yet! Good thing a lot of his friends are single beer-swilling guys who are still racking up the one-night-only conquests. It balances out the domestic couple-ness of the majority of my good friends around here.
Anyway, Saturday was a perfect lazy summer day. We didn't even get out of bed until 1:00, and the only time we drove the car all day was to go to the frozen custard stand when it started getting too hot in the afternoon. We killed pretty much the whole rest of the day after that watching movies on the couch and drinking beer. There's this massive liquor store near my apartment that lets you build your own six packs. They have dozens, maybe even hundreds, of beers and you can mix and match to make whatever six packs you want. It's a great way to taste new varieties without the commitment of buying an entire six pack. On that note, this beer was particularly awesome. I have no idea if they distribute it nationally, but if you can get it, it's really worth trying. It's a bit pricey, but it's the only chocolate stout I've ever tried that really did taste chocolate-y. Eventually we got hungry so we left the house to walk over to this Italian restaurant near my apartment for dinner and after stuffing ourselves with pasta we went home to continue our movies-and-beer party. It was great.
It's so nice not to always have school work hanging over my head. I keep pretending life can continue like this forever. I haven't yet wanted to acknowledge the fact that pretty soon our fun weekends are going to have to occur under the cloud of coursework (me) and thesis writing (him). I think I'll let the denial continue a little bit longer. Until the beginning of August, at least. This summer has gone by way, way too fast, and I haven't really had any free time. I had some projects that I wanted to get done, but I'm beginning to think it's not going to happen. I was too busy working at the beginning of the summer, and now at the end of it I'm going to be too busy traveling and then entertaining my brother. In all honesty, the routine of being back in school is probably going to be more relaxing than life is right now. But at least it's all fun stuff that's keeping me busy.

Anyway, my dog is howling his fool head off and he needs to go for a long walk before it gets too dark, so I'm out of here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Stuff You Never Needed to Know

So today my little brother (who, at 21 years old, is not actually that little, but whatever) got a plane ticket to come visit me next month. I'm excited for him to come up here. I've lived here for about a year now and my sister has visited twice and my parents have visited once, but my brother has never been here before. I think he's going to like it. Really, he's pretty easy to please. As long as our plans involve plenty of opportunities to drink beer he'll be happy, and I'm fine with any and all plans that involve drinks. He has also already informed me that we're going to a baseball game. But I don't really know what else to do with him. My brother's interests are as follows:
1) Baseball
2) Sports in general
3) Alcohol
4) Seinfeld
Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little bit and he actually has more depth to him than that, of course. But really, that's my brother in a nutshell. It probably goes without saying that beyond our shared DNA he and I don't have much in common. We bond over drinking and episodes of Flight of the Conchords and making fun of stupid people behind their backs, and that works out quite well for us and we get along great. But I really don't know how to entertain him while he's here. With my sister it's easy because we both really like history and museums and we have historical sites and museums every twenty feet around here, but I don't know what will interest my brother. He says he'll be happy with anything I decide, and I know he will be, but try putting yourself in the mind of a 21 year-old guy visiting City A for the first time and tell me what you think you'd like to see. So far I'm thinking about going to the zoo because it's free and I've never been and I love zoos and he likes animals, but what else would be fun? (Oh, and if you know City A I'll tell you that the most obvious must-see sites are definitely going to happen, but all those photo ops really only take up one day and he'll be here for three)

In other news, Penn is looking into becoming a Mason. Apparently his grandfather is one and is recommending that he do it, too. He doesn't know if he's actually going to do it yet, but the other day some guys came over to his place to talk to him about it, which I guess is the first step in the whole possibly becoming a freemason process. In my imagination freemasonry is all Da Vinci Code-style with secret hand shakes and robes and bizarre initiation rites. But really, I think Masons are probably just a bunch of retired men doing charity work and hanging out in lodges with big "No Women Allowed" signs. I asked if there are any perks to being the girlfriend of one and because he's ridiculous Penn said, "You get to have lots and lots of hot sex." I was like, "Considering the majority of them are 65 and older, I'm pretty sure that's more of a perk of being the girlfriend of YOU." Ha. Apparently they do have "ladies' night" once a year, though. I imagine it would be really easy to scandalize some blue hairs at that!

In yet other news, there's this woman who works at the camp I'm co-leading as an "inclusion specialist" for one of the campers who has autism. The thing is, I don't think this woman has any idea what she's doing. Admittedly, I don't have much training in dealing with special needs kids, I just have the basic knowledge I needed to get my teacher certification a few years ago. And yet I'm pretty sure that a so-called inclusion specialist shouldn't be doing the following things:
1) Walking around and talking to other kids while her charge is anxiously pacing the room and yelling to himself
2) Questioning decisions the other director or I have made right in front of the kids, thereby completely undermining our authority
3) Losing more things than the kids do
4) Interrupting group instruction time every two minutes or so to ask questions that are completely unimportant and have nothing at all to do with the kid she's supposed to be helping
5) Doing craft projects entirely by herself while the autistic boy sits beside her and watches her, then handing the project to the boy and saying, "Look what he made!" when he knows quite well that she made the whole thing
6) Using the camp phone to call her daughter four times a day because she "doesn't want to waste [her] cell phone minutes"
7) Etc., etc., etc.
Like I said, the other counselors and I don't know much about autism, and yet he is significantly more involved when he's working with one of us than when he's working with her. I have no problem finding projects that he can do by himself with just a little bit of supervision, when I can tell he's getting stressed I go and sit beside him and ask him some questions to distract him and get him calmer, I walk him over to other groups of kids and help him get involved as much as possible in their conversations...why are the other counselors and I better at helping him than the "specialist"? Well, today this whole long series of events took place that eventually led to the other director sitting in the office with the inclusion specialist and talking about all the problems. Well, the specialist refused to acknowledge that she wasn't doing her job properly (when, by the way, there are always at least three other adults in the room at any given time who can confirm that she's more of a hindrance than a help, AND when my supervisor has already told me that she's had complaints about this person before). And then when the specialist realized she was fighting a losing battle she suddenly said, "Is this because I'm black? Is it because of the color of my skin?" My co-director was so taken aback by this question that she just sat there for a minute before finally saying, "No. That has absolutely nothing to do with it!" But the inclusion specialist just kept going on and on, "It's because I'm black. I know that's it. It's because of the color of my face." And once someone plays the race card, that's it. Conversation over. There's absolutely nowhere productive a discussion can go once someone accuses another person of being racist. That drives me CRAZY. I hate when people do that. Yes, there are times when discrimination happens. Of course there are. It happens way too often. But I cannot stand when someone knows they're losing the battle and they pull out that trump card without any basis at all just because they know it works to effectively give them a leg up and end the conversation. It's so incredibly frustrating. And in this situation it's made all the more ridiculous because a) 50% of the campers, including the autistic camper, are also black (and another 25% are Latina or Indian, it's a really great ethnically mixed group of kids) and b) out of the seven staff members at this site, three are white and four are black. And nobody has had any problems with my co-director's "racism" prior to today and we've all been working together for two and a half weeks now. My co-director was so upset by the whole thing that she was crying and crying, and the other counselors came in and tried to convince her that they know she's not racist at all and that the "specialist" is insane, but the whole thing was just...ugh. I really hated that part of today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fourth of July Recap

I am in a fabulous mood right now. I got home from work this afternoon and my contract for the coming school year was in my mailbox. I'd heard through the grapevine that other grad students had been told that we were going to be "quite pleased" with our stipends for this year, and I even got an e-mail last month talking about a grant that was going to provide a "substantial increase" to our salaries, but my feeling on that was, "Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it." I figured that with the state budget in its current condition, we'd be expected to be "quite pleased" that we're still getting funded at all. But lo and behold, my contract says I'm getting a huge raise! I'll be making 30% more than I made last year. 30% more! That's nothing short of amazing to me. This past school year, my salary pretty much only covered my rent and the only reason I could afford to live without taking out loans is because I'd managed to save up a pretty substantial amount of money bartending all last summer while not having to pay rent since I was staying with my parents. I'll manage to save up some money this summer as well since this current job pays decently, but I was starting to get worried about how I was going to make it all the way through the next school year without taking out loans. (Due to lots of scholarships and assistantships and some financial support from my parents when I was an undergrad I've been able to make it through seven years of higher education without taking out any student loans, and I am not eager to start racking them up now) But now I'm going to be okay! I'll be able to pay rent each month and actually have money leftover to buy groceries! And fill up my gas tank! Seriously, this news is such a relief and such a huge unexpected surprise. I keep re-reading the contract just to make sure I'm not making this up. I'm turning it in at the office first thing in the morning before somebody changes their mind about this!

This raise is the finale to what ended up being a really fantastic holiday weekend. I went up to Penn's place for the weekend, and it was just one fun thing after another. On the 4th of July I went to his mom's house to meet the family, and it went well. I was a little unsure about how I was doing at first. They're more quiet and reserved than my family, so they're a little hard to read (then again, every family on the planet is more quiet and reserved than my family). But in the end I think everyone ended up more or less liking me. I hope. And in general terms our families seem very similar: same race, same basic religious background, same basic economic background, etc., so none of that major stuff is a hurdle we have to get over.
In general, I'd say it was a good first meeting. And I ate a ton of food because it was all really good. It's entirely possible that I ate a dozen deviled eggs all by myself. And corn on the cob! And potato salad...and cupcakes...Anyway, after eating lunch and hanging out for a few hours and helping Penn's nephews blow a few loud explosive things up in the driveway, he and I escaped for the rest of the afternoon to go kayaking!
That was my surprise, by the way. Kayaking! Who would have guessed?! He told me to wear clothes that could get messed up because he figured if he told me to wear my bathing suit that would have given it away, which was probably true. See, we'd been walking by the river a couple of weeks ago when I was at his place and watching the kayakers and I had told him how I had wanted to try it for a really long time but had never been. Back when I lived in MA Town I was obsessed with the kayak guys that I would see paddling up and down the stream where I walked my dog. It always looked so fun, and I used to think about how cool it would be to have someone teach me how to do it. And now I have a boyfriend that knows how to kayak! Funny how sometimes life gives you what you want, isn't it?
Anyway, I was totally giddy at the prospect of kayaking. I was like a little kid, hopping up and down in the driveway as we loaded up the boats to drive them to the dock. Fortunately, it completely lived up to my expectations. It was a good workout, but not so hard that it exhausted me. I wasn't even really sore the next day, which surprised me because we kayaked for almost three hours. We clocked the ride in the truck the next day and figure we went about six miles down the river. Given, we didn't paddle that whole entire time. Sometimes we'd rest and just bring the boats close together and drift for a while. But I'd say that's pretty good for my first trip! The really nice thing was that we pretty much had the entire river to ourselves. It was really overcast that day, so I guess most people assumed it was going to rain and didn't bother to bring their boats out. Luckily, it barely sprinkled at the beginning of our trip and then it didn't rain anymore, so it worked out perfectly for us. We saw one fisherman when we first started out and once we got into downtown there were a few boats out, but for most of the three hours we had the entire mile-wide river to ourselves. It was awesome, being out there all alone on the water. So peaceful, and kind of romantic, too. It's like we were the only people on the planet. We saw a bunch of river birds, a snapping turtle (!), and even a group of river otters cavorting around an island. I was so excited about seeing otters in the wild I almost couldn't contain myself. It was such a great afternoon.
Then that night we went out for drinks with some of his guy friends. They were fun and they were really friendly to me. He has been friends with the same core group of guys since high school, which is just amazing to me. I mean, I'm still friendly with some people from high school, but at this point most of my very closest friends are people I met in college and grad school. Maybe it has something to do with going so far from home right out of high school? Or being a girl? (I've noticed that guys are much better at maintaining high school friendships than girls are) Anyway, needless to say, the guys have a ton of dirt on each other so it was really entertaining getting to hear about dumbass things Penn did as a teenager. Frankly, I'm surprised he has lived as long as he has. Boys.
The next day Penn and I continued our Weekend of Awesome Dates by hanging out at the free three-day music festival going on right down the street from his apartment. It was fun. We listened to a bunch of bizarre international music, ate chicken-on-a-stick and waffles with scoops of ice cream on top, and wandered around looking at goofy crafts. Then that night we hung out with some of his guy friends again. We went to an outdoor movie. There's this group that uses an old movie projector-the kind where someone has to switch out the reels-to project movies onto the side of a building downtown. They do it every two weeks, apparently, and it's only five bucks. The best part is they don't care if you bring drinks, so we brought a few six packs of beer and our lawn chairs and watched Raising Arizona. Which is really freaky, by the way, because remember when I told you about Penn's Raising Arizona pillow talk? Well, talking about it made us want to watch it, so he bought the DVD and we watched it a couple of weeks ago. It was a pretty strange coincidence that out of all the movies in the world they just happened to be showing Raising Arizona at this outdoor thing.
As for Sunday, I kept joking with Penn that we'd managed to have his ideal day. We woke up at about ten, took a shower, ate chips and dip leftover from the 4th of July and then watched Aqua Teens for a while before falling back to sleep on the couch. Because all that cartoon watching and eating was exhausting, I guess. I woke up a while later and both Penn and my hound dog were using me as a pillow. Penn was stretched out one way with his head on my chest and the dog was stretched out the other way with his head on my lap. I wish there had been someone there to snap a picture of us, because it was hilarious. Once we woke up again we took the dog for a walk and then went back to the music fest and watched a random rock band and then got Hawaiian shaved ice to eat by the river. Then we met a couple of his friends at a bar for chicken wings and beer, which is apparently what they usually do on Sunday nights. I was planning to drive home on Sunday night, but after four beers and laughing until my stomach hurt at Penn's friend's elaborate plan to build a boat out of plywood and five gallon paint buckets full of air (don't ask), I realized I wasn't really in any shape to go anywhere. So Penn and I went back to his apartment and, okay, this is maybe a tiny bit too much information but I have to talk about it because it was just too ridiculously perfect: we were making out on the window seat and things were getting pretty heated and then suddenly we heard explosions and we stopped kissing and looked out the window and, I swear, there were fireworks going on over the river right outside his window! Hi, welcome to my life. I apparently now exist in a perfectly orchestrated romance movie.
Seriously, it was a great weekend. I didn't want to come home. I'm really enjoying this honeymoon period. This is such a fun time, when you can't imagine ever getting mad at each other and it's just one fun date after another (when you can actually convince each other to get out of bed and put clothes on). Both of us just keep looking at each other and saying, "Okay, when are you going to do something to scare me or disappoint me or freak me out?" Because right now it's honestly just too good to be true. But maybe we should just hope the flaws end up being little things that we don't mind dealing with because the rest of it is so good.

Anyway, now I'm back home and I have to get through another week of camp. Luckily this week's group is smaller and substantially easier to deal with so far. Here's hoping it stays that way!