Sep 29, 2008

The Fam

In my last post I said that the first photo I went searching for in the photographer's proofs was the one with me and my sibs.

Here's the second one I looked for: the photo of the whole family.

This photo includes my brothers, sister and their spouses, my nieces and nephews (minus 14 of us couldn't make it), plus my girls, my excellent son-in-law, my grandsons, my future grand daughter-in-law, plus all the Spencers. What a nice looking bunch, eh?

When Morley looks at that photo full of relatives, he gets all warm and fuzzy. He relishes--no, he craves--family, and now thanks to me he has a big 'un. He loves, loves, loves his new mega size family and they love him right back. As a bonus, all his life he'd wished for a daughter and now he has three. He's in Family Heaven. I give and I give, people.

Soon after Morley and I starting dating he mentioned the one thing he'd always wished for but never had was a big family. Since I already knew I wanted to marry this guy I instantly jumped on this information as giving me a tactical advantage. I happen to specialize in Big Family.

And so a month or two later I invited him to go with me to Tennessee for Thanksgiving with the 'fam. I knew this was my big chance to either (1) tempt him with the potential of being part of a big family, or (2) send him running for the hills screaming like a girl when he saw what he was getting into.

And as I expected he'd be, he was a bit overwhelmed that first year, not only because there was so many of us but also because he was awestruck that we actually seemed to like each other. Fortunately the temptation of family won out, and to tell you the truth I think that first Thanksgiving is what hooked him (of course it took me another few years to get him to the altar but that's a story for another time).

To give you an idea of the culture shock he must have felt in meeting my family for the first time, here's a photo of the Dockins family (minus 14) who were at the wedding:

...and here's a photo of the entire Spencer family (minus 3) who were in attendance:

PS: I didn't tell him I have 98 first cousins until a couple of years later. There's "big family" and then there's "ridiculously out of control procreation". I'm just saying.

PPS: On a totally different topic, here's an alarming article I spotted in an English newspaper. Anybody who has ever seen me around a hot pepper can understand the chill of fear this news gave me. I'm gonna have to be more careful.

Sep 26, 2008

The Sibs

When I received the proofs of the nearly 1,0000 photos the photographer took at our wedding, the first one I went looking for--literally--was this one. And when I found it I let out a contented sigh and let the other 999 photos sit and wait while I looked at this photo and smiled for about five minutes.

There is a bond between siblings that's totally unlike any other. It's unique and special and it endures almost anything that comes along in life.

Despite my childhood fantasy that my folks would drop the other five kids off at an orphanage so I could have some peace and quiet and a room of my own, I'm glad they didn't. It was nice having siblings who were my surrogate parents when the real ones were busy and who let me spend summers at their house after they got married and moved away. Sometimes they even took up a just cause on my behalf, such as when Judy lobbied on my behalf until I got permission to go on that date with Harold in his hot GTO. Okay, so the date with Harold wasn't exactly a noble cause but you know what I mean.

Oddly enough, when I was growing up I was fiendishly jealous of a girl in my class named Anne because she was an only child. Anne had her own bedroom painted whatever color she wanted and her school papers were always proudly posted on the fridge door. Best of all, Anne had her own exclusive set of parents who thought she was the smartest, most talented, most clever kid in the world. Anne The Only Child was clearly the apple of her parents' eyes.

On the other hand, over at our house there were no apples in our parents eyes. With six kids to choose from, there was just too damn much fruit in the orchard. And unlike Anne with her own personal bedroom and her own stash of personal stuff, our house operated as a collective where most things were owned by the group. None of us possessed much of anything that we didn't have to share with at least one other person in this photo. I was almost a teenager before I got to sleep in a bed without a sister in it and was in college before I got to brush my teeth without somebody standing on the other side of the door yelling at me to get out of the bathroom.

As for any one of us being the smartest, best, brightest kid in the world? Fuhget about it. No matter what I did as a kid one of my siblings had already been there, done that and usually with a lot more flair than me.

It's been a running joke between us for the past fifty years to figure out which of us Mom or Dad liked best at any particular time. Except I'm not joking when I say I was always Dad's favorite.

The rest of them will just have to get over it.

Sep 25, 2008

Redneck Fire Alarm

Carol emailed this to me this morning with a comment that it made her think of Bratley's tie rack. I'm just happy I could bring my little brother's ingenuity and craftsmanship to the Internet.

P.S. You're welcome, Brad. Heh.

Sep 24, 2008

Nicaraguan Babe

I'm finally getting around to posting some of the photos we took in Nicaragua last month.

Now that I've had a chance to look through the nearly 1,000 shots we made, I count my lucky stars that Morley is apparently not into glamour chicks because I looked like something the cat hacked up in most of them. For example, this photo was taken of Yours Truly sitting in the back of a pick-up truck after we got caught in one of those torrential Nicaragua rainstorms. It took courage to let my groom see me like this a week before the wedding. I'm just saying.

Anyway, rather than taking up space here I've created (yet another) website here and am busily uploading more cheesecake shots for your viewing pleasure.

Just don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Sep 21, 2008

A successful endeavor

Evening on the dock--the best time of day on the water.

I think "All About Carol Day" was successful in putting her back in the condition she was in before she spent a couple of weeks getting us married off.

We started off in historic Buford, a charming little town near the lake, to have lunch at Picasso's, a swanky bistro serving dainty girl food such as butternut squash ravioli. My ravioli and Carol's lemon chicken penne were delicious and we enjoyed a wonderful red wine with our meal. Then we packed down two massive portions of fat-laden desserts that had words like "doubly decadent" and "sinfully rich" in their descriptions, then we washed it all down with Irish coffees. At this point the relaxation process was well underway.

After lunch we waddled two doors down to the Blue Lotus Day Spa where I had signed Carol up for the royal treatment. Of course it was only reasonable for me to sign myself up for the exact same treatment as she was receiving since I was in charge of "All About Carol Day" and thus needed to ensure she was getting properly relaxed. My motivation was strictly for purposes of quality control, you understand. That's just the kind of friend I am, people. I would never ask someone to do something I'm not willing to do myself. I give and I give.

When we waddled into the spa, the cute little receptionist who, poor little thing, didn't have a single wrinkle or fat cell on her body and had obviously never eaten anything with the words "sinfully rich" in its description, gave each of us a fluffy robe and slippers to change into then escorted us into the "relaxation room" to wait for our treatment to begin.

The relaxation room was dimly lit and furnished with overstuffed sofas and chairs with big fluffy pillows and there was soft music playing in the background. The skinny chick served us hot herbal tea and draped warm pillows filled with lavender buds around our necks, and told us to relax while we waited for our facialists to come fetch us. I'm not sure if it was the soft lights and soothing music, or the combination of the warm lavender scent and the herbal tea--or more likely the wine and Irish coffees--but we were definitely starting to mellow out by the time our facialists showed up and took us to our respective rooms to receive our rejuvenating facials.

I would tell you the details of the rejuvinating facial but I slept through the whole thing. For all I know I laid there by myself sleeping it off for an hour while my facialist was out back smoking a few cigs, but I can tell you that when she woke me up I felt quite rejuvenated and relaxed so whatever she did while I was out had obviously worked. She assured me I hadn't snored during the rejuvination process but I think I might have because she didn't look me in the eye when she said it.

Afterwards Carol and I met back in the "relaxation room" to wait for our masseuses to arrive. In performing my duties as relaxation project manager, I asked her if she was feeling relaxed yet and she said she felt like one of those cartoon characters that have crosses on their eyes...something like this:

Then we each had a full body massage--which I also slept through--and then we poured ourselves back into our clothes and went to the boat for more relaxation.

Morley showed up at the boat just as we did so he then presented Carol with our thank you gift and served us a tasty dinner with a terrific red wine, at which point Carol declared herself fully restored to her pre-wedding state of mellowness and headed for bed. Mission Accomplished.

So "All About Carol Day" was a resounding success and I highly recommend that you declare one for one of your deserving friends. And of course you should be responsible in your duty to make sure everything goes as planned by tagging along every step of the way. It's a sacrifice you should be willing to make for your friend, yes?

Sep 18, 2008

All About Carol

Everybody needs a friend like Carol. She's one of those dependable, sensible, organized, kind and caring people who always come thru in a pinch. She's right there in good times and bad and she instinctively knows when she needs to kick it up a notch to see things through to completion.

During the recent period of madness referred to as "our wedding", Carol was utterly indespensible. Truth be told, without her we might not have ended that crazy week as husband and wife. Left to our own devices Morley and I would probably now be patients in a loony bin sitting in the corner drooling and chanting "I do" while picking at our strait jackets, and you might have attended a big old beach party for nothing.

Carol was our wedding Field Commander, Nagger Supreme, Keeper of the To Do List, Detail Coordinator, Emergency Seamstress, Problem Solver, Calmer Downer, and Comfort Giver. No detail, no matter how small, escaped her watchful eye. She was simultaneously bossy and nice to keep us on track and on schedule during a time when we couldn't find our asses with both hands.

Each time I would start to freak out over some task or another, she'd calmly add it to her already ridiculously long list and tell me not to worry about it. She must have said a thousand times "Just relax and let me handle that. It's your wedding, Susan--this time it's all about you".

So today is the day that we repay Carol for making sure the wedding was all about us. We're calling it "All About Carol Day" and we've had as much fun planning it as we had planning our own wedding--no, more since we aren't stressed out crazy lunatics this time.

The repayment begins promptly at noon when she arrives at our house and I stuff her in my car and then... Well, I can't say. She might read the blog this morning and get the scoop on what we have in store for her. Let's just say our goal is to make sure that by bedtime tonight she's relaxed and mellow and we'll have repaid her in a tiny way for everything she did to get us to the altar on time.

Of course I'll take my camera along so come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it.

Jim makes heavenly music

Last night Carol and I went to Emory University to hear a our friend Jim Zellers in concert. You will remember him from the wedding when he played that exquisitely sweet song during the service.

Jim has studied flute all his life (he has a doctorate degree in flute from Julliard School of Music) and that flute of his isn't just any old flute. It's solid gold and was made by one of the masters (I'd tell you which master but I can never remember the name even though he's told me a dozen times). His flute cost more than my car, seriously, but the sounds he can make with it are simply heavenly.

Last night he was the concert's featured performer, and at one point everyone else left the stage and Jim performed alone. You wouldn't think one tiny flute could fill a huge concert hall with sound, but it did. It sure did...

Here's Jim totally lost in his music. I think this was the part of the aria where the man realized the woman he loved with all his heart was in love with someone else:

...and this is where the guy decides to kill himself because he couldn't live another day without her:

...and here's the part where the guy begs the flowers to grow on his grave so his lost love will think of him after he's gone:

...and here's the part where the usher came over and told me photography was forbidden in the concert hall:


Sep 17, 2008

Which candidate is for you?

Take this "Match-0-Matic" quiz at ABC News' website (pretty quick to do--takes maybe five minutes or so) and see which candidates' position matches up to your political positions on various issues.

Here are my results:

As it happens, I agree with McCain pretty much across the board--who wouldda thunk it?

Actually almost everybody who knows me wouldda. I've always been a political Conservative, starting in junior high school when I worked in the Nixon campaign* as a "Nixon-ette" (I am not making this up). This was an important political position which involved me wearing the official Nixon-ette outfit--spiffy blue pleated skirt, white blouse, red kerchief tied around my neck--and standing on the stage with other Nixon-ettes and clapping at appropriate times during political speeches, then passing out election flyers afterwards. Since Maryville was a hotbed of national political activity wasn't exactly a political hot spot in the '68 election I got quite a bit of national TV exposure out of school early a couple of times. Good times.

Anyway, take the Match-O-Matic quiz and tell me who your candidate match is.

*By the way, I was also a "Baker Belle" in Howard Baker's re-election campaign. My duties were the same but the outfit was different--blue skirt, white blouse and a green kerchief. (For you kids under age 50, Howard Baker was a Republican who held the senate seat later occupied by Al Gore.)

Sep 16, 2008

GuestCam Photos

All bazillion photos taken with the cameras passed around at the reception have been uploaded for your viewing pleasure--go here for the link.

The photos taken by the professional photographer still haven't been released and now I'm starting to worry it's because all the photos of me turned out really bad. (Call me insecure, I can handle it.) (No I can't--who am I kidding?) Anyway, as soon as she uploads them to her preview site, I'll post a link here so you can see them.

By the way, if you took any photos using your own camera, I want to see them! You can upload them (free) at the same site where the GuestCam photos are posted. Unless the photos of me turned out really bad, in which case I hope you will please destroy them immediately.

Sep 15, 2008

Monday's Stray Neurons

Miscellaneous thoughts for the day:

Sarah Palin: Part of my daily reading includes the online issue of a UK newspaper, the Daily Mail (my new sister in law is horrified that of all the English newspapers, I read this particular one--it's like the National Enquirer, except more newsy). Anyway, here's what they have to say about Sarah Palin--too funny, especially the line about moose hunting being the Alaskan equivalent to playing darts.

Wedding Photos: We're still waiting to see the professional photographer's photos, but yesterday I picked up the photos guests took with the cameras passed around at the reception. Morley and I were so busy during the reception that we missed most of what was going on, but looking through the photos gave us an idea of what everyone was up to while we were eating cake and working the crowd. Obviously, there was a lot of fun going on that we missed out on entirely.

Here are a few good shots taken with the guest cameras:

...and here's my favorite (so far):

A couple of classy broads. I just love those girls.

I'll post more on the wedding website today and tomorrow. There's nearly 700 shots so it will take me awhile to go through them and get the best ones uploaded.

(PS: Shea and Brandi, please don't kill me. I couldn't help myself, truly I couldn't.)

Sep 11, 2008

The Gilligan

Even though the captives passengers aboard the rental houseboat Gilligan had no cameras (or food, or beverage, or luggage, or running water, or power, or lights, or working toilets, or anything else for that matter) my niece Heather managed to take a photo of the magnificent vessel before we returned it to the rental company to demand (and receive) a full refund.

I really do plan to tell the story of our wedding night gone wild, but first I'm waiting for our symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to subside. In the meantime, you can get a few insights into the events of that fateful night by reading the chatter in the guestbook (first link at top right).

By the way, the photographer has sent a few of the wedding photos and I've posted them on the pages of our wedding website:

Sep 8, 2008


PS: lots more photos plus a tale of mass terror on the high seas to follow soon

: Actually mass terror is probably a bit of overstatement since the only person in terror was me wondering if Bratley was going to kill me once he got back on dry ground. And it happened on a low lake not on the high seas. But I do have a doozie of a story to tell you when I finish catching up on approximately 2,458 emails and get to the bottom of my voicemail.

: He didn't kill me but he wanted to

Sep 2, 2008


Yesterday I had an ephinany of epic proportions: it suddenly dawned on me that in less than a week I'm going to be a married woman. Holy crap.