Sunday, June 22, 2008

New gi...

Here's one of my new BJJ gis, pre-shrinking... it's a Gameness Platinum. The belt is obviously pretty stiff. It's a size A1.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Getting ready for Thailand.

The big honeymoon trip is right around the corner, hooray! Everyone who asks seems to think a 3 week trip is "wow, so long!" but from my perspective, it's wow, so short. I remember when I was backpacking through Central America (five months) that I promised myself it was not the only time I'd do a good trip like that, and I fully intend to keep that promise. Unfortunately I think at this stage of my life, 3 weeks will have to do. Kudoes to my kick-a** husband Mitch though, because on the rare occasion that I do voice a wistful longing for "real travel" he generously encourages me to abandon ship and go backpack for a while. We intentionally limited ourselves to a mortgage (and a life) we could afford on just his income so that when the pup or pups come along, I can stay home to torture them on a round-the-clock basis instead of giving them breaks with daycare. The nicer side of such a limitation is that, should I chose to take him up on the offer, I guess I could go gallivanting again for a few months. But that wouldn't be fair, or as much fun, as bringing him along. So I am proud of saying no to that temptation. It makes the littler trips I take as a "real grownup" all the more precious.

So-- this weekend we are researching Thailand! On our agenda of possible or must-do's:
scuba diving
Thai cooking
Thai massage
rock climbing
ride an elephant
the Tiger Temple
Chiang Mai

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

At last-- the wedding pictures are here!

We got married in St. Louis Church on the morning of April 26th...

There's quite a story about my ring. I picked out an unusual, cognac-colored sapphire from Tanzania and designed the setting with the help of a fabulous jeweler in NYC. (You can check out some of Leon's work here.) With my affection for all things old, it was natural to have at least one of my rings be an antique, so I found an antique platinum wedding band at an estate jeweler's website. It was from a wedding in 1921, so I think it has good karma! Anyway, my sapphire ring arrived just in time-- the Fed Ex truck pulled up as we were getting in the car to head to the church! So here's our rings.

Mitch and his father wore traditional Filipino dress shirts called barongs. The fabric is made from the fiber in pineapple leaves and is entirely hand embroidered. Mitch's dad Johnny had theirs custom-made on his last trip to the Philippines.

We saw each other privately before the ceremony, and I clowned around a little.

Right before things got started, my Uncle Art and Mitch's dad had a moment. Paternal pride? or relief?

I hope this is a picture of me singing... but I suspect I just couldn't keep quiet.

At least some of the time I managed some decorum, however.

Father Larry conducted a beautiful and moving Mass.

The choral group was amazing, and our organist Chris helps make the Saint Louis music program famous. He put a lot of effort into making our music unique and inspiring.

I apparently made some faces, showed some expressions etc. during the vows...

And after we were pronounced husband and wife, I started jumping up and down!

This is Heather, my best friend since we were eight! Since we did not have a wedding party, best man, maid of honor etc, Mitch asked his brother to be a witness, and I asked Heather. They stood up for us in the most literal sense, as well (of course) in the metaphysical sense.

My long-time family friends, Art and Linda Matthews, babysat me when I was four and five... I grew up with their boys... and basically they're second parents to me. I cracked my "Uncle" Art up during the formal portraits by telling him not to pinch...

My family-- from left to right: cousins Carolyn and Judy, my mom's sister Aunt Pat, me, Uncle Art, Aunt Linda, and cousins Liz and Jackie.

Mitch's family...

After the ceremony we all headed to our house for the reception in the back yard.

Yum- mojitos!

My best friends from grad school, Janet (on the left, from Richmond VA) and Shelley (from Little Rock). True Southern ladies to the core, bless their little hearts...

Mitch's friend and coworker, Kari, with his newborn son Dax.. and a friend from the salsa scene, Sara, in the background.

Part of Mitch's harem-- Adriana, Jessica, and Sara...

Sarah, Mitch's brother's daughter. She'll be a heartstealer in a few years!

My girlfriend Ali in the foreground, and Lauren, my law school roommate's wife, in the background.

The titas and titos enjoyed a good laugh..

It would not be a Filipino get-together without lots of fabulous food. I can't say enough good things about the food at Gammad, a local Filipino restaurant who catered some of the dishes at our reception.

Our other caterer, Frauke with Blue Trout Catering, did a fabulous job on the rest of the meal-- hors d'ouerves, salads, fruit, drinks, pasta...

And I made a big deal out of the cake-- there were four separate, different cakes! and all delicious!

As far as portraits go, I like these...

By around six that evening, most folks went back to their hotels to change, nap, and relax. At eight, we regrouped downtown at Copa, the club where Mitch and I teach salsa each week. We taught a quickie merengue dance lesson and got people back in the party mood.

Uncle Art and Nicole, a friend from Houston...

Mitch and his Tita (aunt) Ciony (short for Concepcion, pronounced "shoney").

Me and Sergio, another Houston friend..

Mitch's mom Norma and my Aunt Pat.

Mitch's cousin Sharon from Florida and family friend Richard...

And when we danced together, it was to my favorite salsa song, "Otra Oportunidad" by Jimmy Bosch..

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Just an update-- if it was obsession before, is it addiction now? I'm training 20-25 hrs a week, I've joined two dojos aside from my regular gym, I read grappling and jiu jitsu articles on the net all the time, I attend weekend seminars... I even dream about grappling positions and when friends hug me, I think "overhook underhook."

I love my instructors-- William Vandry, Tony Morel, Robert Reed, and Tom Krausz-- not to mention the colored belts and black belts who also instruct me (sometimes it's more like "schooling" me).

I'm constantly covered in bruises that usually form matched pairs on each side of my body, marking leverage points, pressure points and handholds... my knees and elbows are getting a little tweaked... but I'm not complaining. It's too much fun.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ahhh, the garden...

I've been seriously obsessing with my martial arts training and somewhat letting the garden go... each weekend I weed and deadhead, but now the tomatoes are starting to get ahead of me, so looks like every 2-3 days I'll be out there harvesting. It's a wonderful feeling! The sun is warm, but not too hot (about 91F outside right now) and I just grabbed about 8 ripe or almost-ripe tomatoes. Sadly, lost 3 to birds or animals-- but did find two lusciously ripe strawberries hidden under the leaves, and I got a handful of carrots too. The carrots are only about 4" long but they're sweet and cute, and I'm very proud of myself. Next year, I have to devote an entire bed just to the fruits/veg (transplant the roses elsewhere) and I need much sturdier tomato cages. I think I'll need bell pepper cages too-- the fruit are starting to turn red on the edges and they're so big, they drag the plants down to the ground. I took some pics but Mitch is away on a conference until Thursday so I probably won't upload till next weekend.