Thursday, November 22, 2007


300 ways to leave your lover?

Friday, November 16, 2007


If at first you don't secede, try, try again.

For the record, I was born in the uppest part of the great state of New York. I split my formative youth between Plattsburgh, New York and Omaha, Nebraska. My mother's family spent much of 1861-1865 being thoroughly oppressed and occasionally starved by British rule in Ireland. My father's family spent the same time thinking out word problems and likely arguing the logistics of the Nation's current events in New Hampshire -- in the end, picking up the musket and joining the ranks of Massachusetts and New Hampshire brigades.

My time south of the Mason-Dixon line - compared with time lived elsewhere- is only recently tipping the scale in a C.S.A. favor. I spent most of my first 15 years not knowing much at all about "The War between the States" and "The War of Northern Aggression". It didn't figure into my life and didn't interject into my daily paradigm. Within my first month of living in Virginia, the cruel bullies of my suburban middle school swapped "new girl" for "Yankee girl". I didn't realize I was a Yankee -- more so that we were still having to label people thusly.

Long story short, I have in these short 15 years since, cultivated a real love and appreciation for the Civil War. I'm interested in less of the political "why we fought" aspect (except that I'd be happy to tell you that they were fighting for their "rahts" in my best period Southern accent), less about the dates and the outcomes of the battles, but more about across-the-board topics: battlefield medicine, biographies of the key players, espionage, sabatoge and this country's still strong fascination with what happened across 5 Aprils from 1861-1865 -- from Fort Sumter to the Appomattox Courthouse.

Here's what I can tell you -- briefly.
That all being said -- and really, there is so much more to be said -- the Mister works with a gentleman in his office who is an actual takes-it-very-seriously reenactor (Stickles translation: He's on team T.I.T.S.). And while he belongs to a Virginia regiment for the Confederacy, he does own both uniforms. Most reenactors do, in fact. And this is what a lot of people don't get. It isn't about replaying a battle to show who was mightier or who ought to have won. It isn't about freaks trying to live in the past. It's about conveying history. It's about telling a story. And I dig that. I dig it from a distance because I'm not into reenacting (yet?).

So dude-who-works-with-Mister had a battle engagement a few weekends ago commemorating the Battle of Cold Creek out in Western Virginia. And as the Mister was unable to make it, I went. And I dragged nursing-school-now-kickass-O.R.-nurse Jenni with me. And it's safe to say we both had a pretty awesome CivilWar-tastic time.

As we skulked around the camps -- eating some lost southern delicacy known as "Fry Bread" -- we encountered so many reenactors. Not one to miss a good photo opportunity, we kept asking to get a picture. The strange part was that though they very graciously and excitedly agreeded to be photographed with us, every last one of them had a startling element of surprise -- like no one had ever asked them to be in a picture in uniform before. And that's what baffles me. How could you NOT have people queueing up to get in a picture with you dressed like that?

No matter. I took advantage of them. I took pictures with the best dressed, the worst dressed, the guy claiming to be General Custer, and the man who looked like an emaciated Robert E. Lee in desperate need of a shave.

Somehow two nurses managed to find the Confederate medical corps completely by chance. Apparently there's a niche in reenacting for everyone. Real doctors and nurses will suit up and act as their professional ancestors would have in a real battle. This gentleman, who I only approached for his rotund good looks and silver cup of grog, turned out to be a real medical doctor in a DC hospital.

The first of our Confederate dead that day. That fry bread'll get you.

Seriously. Dude was just sleeping. Like in the shopping part, not the camp part. Weird.
Robert E. Lee? He's rocking it here, but imagine what he looks like normally, like everyday.

Not only did I stalk this man for a better part of the afternoon -- waiting for my chance to get a picture with him -- but I managed to acquire a slouch hat and confederate flag over the course of the day to match my aforementioned Civil War t-shirt that I felt might only be worn outside my house for just such an occasion without wry looks from others.

Jenni with the artillery boys.
The apparent Confederate bias in picture taking was merely a product of 'not that many Yanks' in the spectator area -- and the ones that were there weren't interested in pictures with the girl in the Confederate slouch hat and Stonewall Jackson t-shirt. It's a rough feeling when a Civil War reenactor thinks YOU'RE dressed funny.

General Custer actually had to be talked into taking the picture with me because of my Rebel garb. I think the General did protest too much, though, because I don't know how he didn't hear and secretly love me exclaiming to Jenni, "Holy shit! It's General Custer! Get my picture with him!" Custer's little lacky there thought he was pretty funny. Cha. See if they appreciate that humor at Little Bighorn, friend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Not much, what's new with you?

My apologies for keeping you all waiting so long. That is, if any of you continue to be waiting. After all this time, I'm wagering this blog has tumble weeds and sounds like crickets chirping.

But, I come bearing pictures. Everyone likes pictures. Less wordy words, more fun pictures. So, dear friends, let me chronicle for you the last month for me.

I had a pirate-tastic bachelorette party.

Highschool, College and Adult-Life friends all in attendance. And dressed as pirates.

Even my mom came ready to pillage.

then, I got married. Before you ask, yes, married life is treating me pretty well and please don't ask about babies.

We rehearsed it.
Given away.Taken (sexy)back.

Did a little posing.
Did a little dancing and made some kissy faces.

Taught young ones the art of "fingerguns". I think she's got it.
And still had time to hang out with some more pirates.

then, I honeymooned in exotic locales.
Like the back deck of a cruise ship where they didn't allow children, had ample sun, empty deck chairs and frequent waiter visits from the bar. A place where a newly married girl could shake her new husband in the casino and reading smut and Civil War historicals all by her lonesome. THAT'S a vacation.

And some windy putt putt on the top deck of the ship after a formal dinner.

Hair in my face does not alter my golf skills. I have no golf skills.

The sunniest moment we had in Cartagena, Colombia as we sailed into port. He was still sleeping and I was busy mastering the "self-taken" shot. I'm getting so awesome at it.

And then it rained. And then we experienced the lagoon that is the poor urban drainage and sewer systems of Cartagena's Old Walled City. I have no idea what the significance of this statue cluster is. Seriously. But let's play "Find Cathy's Feet". At which point the Mister says, "Do you think the sewers are so bad here that we're wading in raw sewage?" Thanks for saying that outloud, my love. It wasn't a real worry until just then. (Note: I spent the majority of the time in Cartagena quoting "Romancing the Stone" to the Mister only to find out that he had never actually SEEN it. Which is a crime unto itself. So then I just spent the day saying "Jo-ahn Wyyy-l-der" in my best Colombian accent.)

And then we drank Colombian coffee. Which warmed up our drenched rat appearances.

And as we sailed away, the rain miraculously and ironically stopped. And then we were dry again.
Early morning arriving in Panama.

The Panama Canal -- arguably one of the most impressive feats of engineering. Like the nerd that I am, I have awaited this Canal trip for a very long time. It was nothing short of amazing.

The cruise ship itself is considered to be "Pana-Max" -- meaning it is the largest permissible dimensions for passage through the Canal. While in the loch, the ship had no more than two feet of buffer on either side. And we never bumped - not even once. It was an amazing operation. The picture here looks down the side of the ship from our balcony to the concrete of the Canal below. Notice our proximity to the edge.

With the cruise ship, we sailed from the Atlantic through the first set of lochs to the Gatun Lake where the Mister and I boarded a very small passenger boat that took us the rest of the way to the Pacific. Wouldn't you know -- it rained most of the day.

As the water empties from the loch, the ships in the loch go down with the water level. This loch took us down nearly 35 feet, hence our ability to touch the wall. So they say, and so we're gullible enough to believe, a married couple touching the wall of the Canal is destined to be together forever. Which makes no sense whatsoever. But, I wager, with this legend plus the Crim Dell where we became engaged, I think I've got this "forever" thing in the bag, man.

The largest doors in the entire Canal system. They were built and shipped each as one piece from Pittsburgh, PA -- the Mister's hometown and site of our recent nuptials. These doors fit together to within a few millimeters of accuracy, metal-to-metal, creating a perfect water seal when shut without rubber or other materials.

We boarded a bus to traverse Panama back to our awaiting cruise ship that evening. My camera is still catching its digital breath. The Mister was quoted at one point saying, "I think you have enough pictures. Seriously. Stop taking pictures."

And then I got rigged up the next day to zip line through the rain forest in Costa Rica. Scared straight by the infectious disease doctors at work, convinced I would come home with Malaria/Yellow Fever/Typhus, I appeared to be the only asshole on the excursion with any real intent on covering up and closing the would-be mosquito buffet of my integumentary system.

I warned him, I swear I did. But he decided to shirk the long sleeves. Point of him keeping a nurse around only to ignore her: none. (He didn't get bitten and remains disease free. But that's beside the point.) Ah, love at 250 feet above the rain forest floor. (P.S. No bug bites. Not a one. Could have been the 35% DEET spray I was wearing, too. Or the 3rd world variety vaccines I got before I left. )

And finally, the pinnacle of the trip. Being conned into a cruise ship game show whereby I ended up stuffing balloons into a sumo suit to beat out a Norfolk, Virginia (ironic to come so far to end up so close to a neighbor) firefighter (who beat me by one damned balloon!). And the crowd went wild.

I shook it at someone else's wedding days after returning from our honeymoon.

I traveled to Tucson for a dear, dear friend's wedding which I was honored to be a part of.

You'll note that he is the pirate from my wedding. Yeah, we make the rounds.

Wow, it's so nice when it isn't your wedding.

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