The Random Writings of Rachel: November 2016

One Dress, One Suit, Six Years.

2010-2015

All combined into one high-tech collage. Crazy how advanced technology is these days. I'll leave you to guess what years they are from top left all the way around clockwise, since they're entirely out of order. No fair if you look back at blog posts from past years to get the answer right/see the larger photos. 



2016
Photo credit to sister Rebekah, it's the second year she's taken anniversary photos for us!

A getaway was much desired after this year, and I'm so happy we booked 2 nights at a REAL HOTEL on another island not too far from home, but just far enough. I've banned laptops from coming along with us on the trip, but I'll probably instagram a bit along the way. Year six is the year for the "candy" gift, which is the easiest year ever since Angel's favorite thing is Kit-Kats.

I love our annual 'photoshoot'--when we got married, we had a professional photographer, in the years since, twice we have propped up our camera and started the self-timer, and 4 times we've had one of my siblings take the photo. It's so practical to have so many siblings.

What traditions do you have for anniversaries? 

Wedding Day Cold Feet, Mothers, and Roman Philosophers

I have a story to tell you that has to do with my search for an inspirational quote. I'm not really the inspirational quote type. I like a few authors that are very quotable...Lemony Snicket...C.S. Lewis...but I don't fall in love with quotes on a regular basis.

However, back in college I'd read a line in one of my literature texts that had really meant a lot to me. My early semesters in college were a tough time emotionally--living in the USA for the first time as an almost-adult and being far away from family and friends and trying to fit in to a completely foreign culture was tough at that age. I distinctly remembered reading this quote and it impacted me so much that I remembered having written about the quote to my mom in the daily emails I sent her.

Problem was, I couldn't exactly remember the quote. I knew it was written in the context of soldiers or warriors, and it was something about even if they had fallen in battle, they wouldn't give up and lie still--they would fight on their knees. Basically, it's the Monty Python idea--get all your limbs chopped off and still scream "I'll bite you to death!" As I've been facing this recent season of loss and emotional turmoil and feeling like I'm fighting a vicious battle merely to hold onto my joy and my sense of self, I've been drawn back to the quote, which to me, describes tenacity and courage and never giving up even when giving up would be so, so much easier.


But I didn't remember the quote word-for-word, which made it impossible to find. I searched "fight on their knees" to no avail on Google, because it came up with a whole bunch of references to prayer. Not what I was looking for. I searched my email to see if I'd saved the email I sent Mom. Nope, not there. Finally, I asked Mom to search her email. You see--Mom is my most avid blog follower. She has always loved my writing, and I know that even when I sent her daily emails during my early years of college, she saved most of them in her "Rachel" folder.

I guessed that I'd sent her the email sometime around 2009-2010, so that narrowed it down a bit, and she started looking. Funny thing was her stumbling across other old emails long-forgotten, including an email from Dec. 1, 2010 where I wrote, "I'm really reconsidering marrying Angel. I'm trying to think of reasons for and against getting married and at the moment the only reason I can think of for getting married is that it would be too inconvenient to uninvite everyone from the wedding."

Poor Angel. No wonder he's always said he was nervous that I'd get up to the altar and say "I don't." Ever since I said "I do," he's been perfectly content. I vaguely remember getting cold feet a few days before the wedding, but I don't think Angel had done anything at all, it was just probably a side effect of being 19 and making lifelong commitments. I do remember him giving me a hug that week and saying "Just...please...don't break up with me." Good thing Mom was not overly worried by the emails I was sending her.

Anyways--after getting sidetracked by emails that make me laugh as we quickly approach our 6th anniversary, we actually found the email with the quote! I'd sent it during the second semester of my sophomore year, and I'd originally read the quote in Michel de Montaigne's "Of Cannibals." Strange text to find an inspiring quote in. However--armed with the exact wording, I was able to do research and discover that it appears 16th century Montaigne was actually borrowing from 1st century Seneca (the philosopher)! Very much the same line appears in De Providentia by Seneca. It was originally written in Latin, which I don't read, so I looked up a few different translations. The context is basically a conversation about whether bad things happen to wise people/the response of wise people to what normal people would consider tragedy and hardship (you probably remember from your college philosophy class, that, generally speaking, wise=good in their usual view of the world).

I used a different translation to draw the quote above, but here's my favorite translation of the surrounding paragraph:

"A complete bliss can't withstand any stress,
but injustice and offenses can't frustrate him
who was constantly in harm's way.
He's nothing daunted and never the prey of
no matter what kind of crisis
And when he falls, he fights on his knees."

I'm not much of a philosopher, but you can probably tell from the preceding paragraph about my search for the source of this quote that I am a bit of a nerd. I'm also still grieving, still recovering--but though I may be wounded, I won't give up the fight.

..................................................................................

Did you get cold feet before your wedding and the commitment of a lifetime? Have you ever had to go on a search to find the source of a quote you almost-remembered but not quite? What do you think of Seneca and these words of his?

DIY Christmas Card Designs

I make handmade Christmas Cards every year. It's tradition, and that's a good enough reason for most things in life, right? I usually design both my parents' cards and my own cards. I typically pick a more complicated design for my own cards, since I send out about 20 Christmas cards and they send out about....200. (Is that the generational difference talking? I simply don't have the addresses of a lot of people I know.)

Here are 2012's cards, 2013's cards, and 2015's. I wasn't in charge of family Christmas cards for 2014 because we were in China that year.

The thought procedure that goes into planning our card design involves just a few criteria:

1) No Santa or anything related to him. I'm not a fan, although I think The Santa Clause is hilarious. I just can't take Santa seriously.
2) No designs that are impossible to replicate at the required quantities. I've seen utterly gorgeous handmade Christmas cards--we will never attain to that level of beauty just because...we make 220 Christmas cards every year.
3) Choose some symbol to pattern the design around and make sure the symbol is very different between my mom's cards and mine so that no one confuses the two. For example, we can't both have Christmas tree cards the same year. That's too boring.

Now I'm unveiling this year's designs (here me out y'all, I'm just trying to make this sound awesome and super professional, okay?)


This line from this hymn seemed especially apt this year, and that's why I chose it for our card. Angel wants it to be noted that he highly disapproved of the wreath made of individual leaves because it was too complicated. What can I say? He's no artist.


My parents' card was a lot less time-consuming regarding lettering, and it only required three cut pieces, although cutting the fabric for the 'table' required more technical skill than some of our card-making crew possessed. Also, sticking the candle on straight was surprisingly difficult for some who shall remain nameless. And...Angel was caught purposely sticking the candle flame on upside down, claiming that he thought it looked better with an upside-down flame. Their card also features glitter, which, whenever my mom is involved, is always a bonus.

Do you send out Christmas cards? DIY, store-bought, or photo cards? Approximately how long is your list?

Superhero Birthday Party {Sarah's 10th}

This past weekend, we threw a Superhero 10th birthday party for my youngest sister. She loves costume parties, so guests were encouraged to come in superhero costumes, and Sarah and MaryGrace worked together for weeks before the party to make 'badges' out of perler beads for guests to wear who didn't come in costume. There was no escaping the superhero theme.

When I say 'we' threw a party, what I mean is that we used our usual division of labor--I planned and came up with the menu and all party ideas, Mom did the grocery shopping, Mom and MaryGrace did most of the food prep, Rebekah cleaned the house, and I was in charge of decor, Sarah's costume, leading party games, and artistic table set-up. Teamwork for the win!



First of all, there were WonderWoman invitations--created by MaryGrace and Rebekah. I don't typically do invitations for parties, I just tell everybody to come, but these were really cute!


Sarah's WonderWoman costume consisted of a top I'd made using my new sewing machine--finding a sewing machine-friendly way to make an iconic WW logo seemed too difficult, so I hand-embroidered that part. MaryGrace made the crown and Mom surprised Sarah with the golden armbands on the day of her party. (Last time I sewed Sarah something to wear was for her 7th birthday in 2013...she's grown so little in the three years since that she can still wear the dress. Is there any wonder I always call her my 'baby' sister?)


MaryGrace dressed as Queen Mera. Since no one else among us is quite as knowledgeable about the superhero universe, she spent the whole party explaining to us that Queen Mera is the Queen of Atlantis and is married to Aquaman and has some cool water powers. Had you ever heard of her before? I hadn't.


I didn't feel like trying to be a glamorous superhero so I went for a Christopher Reeve-era Clark Kent since my normal glasses already look like nerd glasses--wearing a borrowed shirt and tie from Angel, a borrowed jacket from Mom, and a borrowed fedora from Rebekah. The black slacks are actually mine, and Angel recognized them instantly as my old cosmetology school uniform and complained constantly that me wearing them brought back bad memories of beauty school. It must have been a difficult time for him.


Angel believes that the only costume worth wearing is a bear costume, but Sarah gave him a black cape and a Batman badge to wear, so he was Batman for the night.


Now, I'm going to warn you, prepare yourself for a few too many food photos. We were pretty proud of our food for the night, mostly of the labels we came up with and the theming that was put into action.



(This dip is Mom's absolute favorite, a creamy buffalo chicken dip, which inspired the name.)


Our green-with-hints-of-purple (weird combo!) punch was appropriately titled:



I crack myself up...


Spiderman isn't a favorite in our family, but even he got a nod with webbed rice krispies!


I'd seen the idea of serving 'superfoods' at a superhero party before and thought it was hilarious, also, I like fruit and veggies, so they were definitely on the menu!

 Cutest cupcake toppers ever!


Jellybean infinity stones were Angel's idea.


More superfoods!

Okay, okay, enough eating! What really makes a party fun is the games. I had MaryGrace build "Thor's Hammer" (actually, two of them) before the party, our of a tissue box, a paper towel roll, and a lot of foil and duct tape. The hammers were weighted with a bag of popcorn seeds inside them and stuffed with cotton balls for maximum throwability and durability. My goal was to have a game where everyone got a chance to throw Thor's Hammer and see who could throw it the furthest. We weren't actually sure if the hammers would hold up to being thrown by all of the guests but we decided to treat them like pinatas--the game lasts as long as the hammer lasts.



Impressively, the hammers lasted through two whole rounds of everyone at the party taking their turn of throwing them, and this was a highlight of the night, as it was a game that everyone could take part in--this was quite a feat, as this particular party included guests spanning an age range of 3-55+ and speaking a variety of languages.

After the hammer-throwing, it was beginning to get dark, so we headed back to the house for more snacks and to wrap up our night with indoor games. We first played a round a game-show style superhero trivia, where two contestants would race to be the first to answer a trivia question correctly.

After that, we divided into two teams for superhero charades. I came up with charade options by filling up one page with people from the superhero universe, and another page with locations, materials, and objects from the superhero universe, so we'd get a good bit of variety. 


Pro tip: If you want to make charades that are ridiculously hard, include the words: Vibranium, Adamantium, Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Gotham City, and Mutant. Those words are surprisingly hard to act out. Also, it's hilarious to watch Angel act out Mutant. Also hilarious is watching Dad desperately trying to act out Groot while everyone on his team is repeatedly screaming: "Poison Oak! Poison Oak!" Is Poison Oak even a superhero thing?

Sarah, who is the biggest Youtube expert of us all, requested that we make a birthday vlog covering the party...at some point, I stopped remember to take video and/or assign Angel to take video, but we did capture these fun moments, including the hammer-throwing:



Of course, the guys always have to get some credit for playing a productive role in the day, so Angel and Dad headed up the clean-up project as we saw off the guests of the evening.


It was a bit of a non-traditional birthday party, as we didn't have a cake or candles, nor did we sing the "Happy Birthday" song. Mom and Dad did surprise her with a WonderWoman doll, Sarah shows off her new doll in the video, but I wish I would have gotten her reaction to opening the present on tape. Safe to say, it was the perfect present for a perfectly superhero-filled birthday.

What's the best birthday you've ever had?

Things You Do When You're Hoping for a Baby

(This post was written months ago, BTW)

Here's a list of both the ridiculous and the not-so-ridiculous realities:

- Take prenatal vitamins every single day. Until you realize how expensive those are and how much you hate swallowing pills, and so you reduce taking them to every other day. And then you start forgetting, since it's no longer a daily habit, and then you don't take one for a whole week at a time, feel guilty, and then you try to restart good habits.

- Months in advance, purposefully choose to NOT book a trip to a remote Thai island for your 5th anniversary getaway, even though it sounds like quite an adventure, because it would require roughing it, plus speedboats are bumpy and not recommended for pregnant women, and you'll most likely be pregnant by then and not feel like roughing it anyways.


- Then, months later, switch and try the opposite method: purposefully DO book a trip to an amusement park where you know you won't be able to ride several of the rides if you are pregnant. The strategy is espousing Murphy's Law: the idea that but of course you will be pregnant by the time you go on said trip since the timing is inconvenient. This is a bizarrely backwards plan to attempt to get a baby by planning a trip that would be more fun if you weren't pregnant, hoping that the very fact that the trip exists will cause you to get pregnant.

- Refuse to buy any new clothes for months, because you don't want to fall in love with and get attached to clothes that you'll soon never be able to wear again, because you've been told your whole life that you'll never again be slim after you have a baby (Literally--more than once, the very first thing a stranger has said upon seeing me is, "Enjoy that figure now because you'll never get it back after you have kids!"...because that's a normal way to greet someone you've never met). After many months go by, decide that this is a rather unsustainable way to live and resume buying clothes...however the clothes that you do buy are suspiciously baggier and less form-fitting than your previous fashion sense dictated...for no apparent reason.

- Abstain from eating ham or pepperoni or bacon. Consider abstaining from fresh fruit juices, too, since they are supposed to be risky, but then decide that life without fresh fruit juice would be too sad.

- Only do 'pregnancy-safe' exercise videos from Youtube, just to be on the safe side. Bonus: They're really easy.

- Pray daily for your baby to have a "healthy body, a sound mind, and a heart that seeks wholly after the Lord."

- Daydream about the kind of announcement photo you want to take.

- Actually. Visit. Doctors. (dark scary music with thunder crash)

...............................................................

(Postscript written now)

So, yeah, basically, this is just an announcement that wishing for a baby and not getting one apparently has a side-effect of making me a wee bit crazy. It's ridiculous the number of ways I've tried to mentally control a process that can't be controlled. Also, I still believe Murphy's Law could work, even if it doesn't work every time. Don't worry about me. I'm in the process of actively convincing myself to be less crazy because devoting this much thought and energy to the normal, timeless objective of having kids is not sustainable. I want to feel normal again, to be me again, to just relax and live the life I have.

(or is this all yet another multi-layered scheme...? (more thunder))

The Story of My New Ring

It took me only a day or two to know what I wanted as a 'memory' of my first baby. I wanted a piece of jewelry--I wear earrings for their weirdness factor (forks, safety pins, paperclips, scissors, etc), I wear necklaces for style, and I wear rings for memories--which meant it had to be a ring.

May's birthstone is an emerald. I was very glad to find this out as I've always loved emeralds. I was glad the birthstone wasn't something like, say, opal or citrine. Not a fan. Sorry, October and November.

Very quickly after making the decision that I wanted an emerald ring to wear in memory, I started to realize that it wasn't the best idea. For one thing, I live in Malaysia. Here, the gem of choice is diamond. Comparatively few options exist for other gemstones in fine jewelry stores, though we visited about a dozen stores around the city. In addition, there's not much of an 'affordable fine jewelry' sort of option here, at least not for emeralds, and Angel insisted it had to be genuine emerald, not green glass. I saw chunky emerald rings that clocked in at the equivalent of $30K USD, and the one ring that was actually more of what I was looking for was equivalent to $1000 USD--and it still wasn't quite what I liked. Where's a shocked face emoji when you need one?

So, I turned to my resources on the other side of the globe. I like rings and don't have thousands of dollars to spend on them, which leaves me well-aware of the options for fancy-but-not-too-fancy jewelry stores in the states. I sent my sisters on a mission to find a dainty ring in my price range that could be resized to a 4.5 (previous ring-shopping expeditions have taught me that it's not always possible to resize to that size). And they came through with a little ring from a shop in their local mall.



A tiny, imperfect emerald, perfect to remind me of my too-tiny but much-loved baby. The ring was on sale at a great discount, a small fraction of the prices we'd found here in Malaysia, but even so, as I got ready to send the money to my sister and approve the purchase, I was a bit overwhelmed. I don't spend that much money on myself for anything. To some extent, it seems silly to want to buy something just for me after this kind of loss. Why would I deserve an emerald ring? I didn't do anything to earn it. Shouldn't I be less selfish? Shouldn't I think of some other kind of memory thing, something cheaper and more naturally shared with Angel and others?

What gave me the confidence to go ahead and buy the ring was the knowledge that this is the only money I'll ever get to spend on this baby. If she'd lived I would have had the privilege to spend so much--on her food, clothes, medicine, diapers, school books, everything. But this little ring is all I get to buy. I only wish I could have had a lifetime of spending money on her.

And now comes the logistical problems. All I have is a picture of my little ring to look at, because the ring is on the other side of the world. Anna models it, because we have identical hands (no, seriously, you should see our hands and feet side by side--if it weren't for my perpetual Chaco tan, there'd be no telling the difference between feet, either). Considering Malaysia's customs department and import fees and the unreliability of international mail services that we've experienced, I'm unwilling to trust it to the post office. Maybe my sister will come for a visit next June and could carry it along with her--but that feels too late, as I don't want to face my due date without the ring, silly as that sounds. In my ideal world, my parents have a friend in Michigan who happens to be flying to Malaysia for work in the next couple months and can bring it by. It could happen. I don't know when I'll get that little ring but I'm glad I got to spend something on my first baby.

How to take a Family Photo


Step 1: Choose one all-powerful figure to serve as artistic director for the year's family photos.

This was, obviously, me.


Step 2: Artistic director decides on a color scheme and refuses to heed the complaints of others regarding said color scheme. In this case, cool, dark colors. Also, artistic director chooses a level of formality--this year, jeans for all!

"You can't wear that--it's bright red!"

"Dad, no, not a white shirt. Everyone is wearing dark shirts."

"How am I supposed to wear jeans when I don't even have any jeans?"

"Should I wear my pink sandals or my flip-flops? I don't have any other shoes!"

"I feel like I look too casual."



Step 3: Choose a time when everyone is available. This is extremely difficult when it means balancing multiple work and school schedules and everyone's social and educational commitments, but it can be done.

It can, right? I mean, there's got to be a single hour during daylight when all 7 of us are available, right? It just might take a few weeks to find one



Step 4: Find a photographer. I mean, there's always the tripod route, but actual hands make the job easier and give Dad a more natural smile. Ideally, your photographer friend is willing to work for ice cream.

Thanks, Jess!


Step 5: Choose venue. Or have several brilliant ideas for picturesque venues, choose one based on a practical location, and keep in mind a rainy weather location just in case, because you'll not have another chance for family photos again before Christmas!


Step 6: Day of, make sure hair and makeup is flawless. Don't forget details like...the camera.

"Who's going to do my eyeliner?"

"You're using too much hairspray! I can't breathe!!"

"I'm serious, we're leaving in 10 minutes, whether or not your hair is done."

"But nobody told me I was supposed to get the camera ready."


Step 7: Smile, and never, ever, ever....blink.


Step 8: Take plenty of poses, even the weirdest ideas that are composed on the spot, because you never know what might end up being a keeper...

Step 9: Give the photo card to the artistic director so that she can tackle the monumental task of choosing the right shot and making a photo collage that fits perfectly on a printable 4x6 card and includes any missing family members (that step only applies to families scattered among several states/countries).


And it might turn out looking a little something like this. Bam! All 10 of us on one card, and it didn't take a family trip to Cambodia to achieve it, though nothing will probably ever be as epic as this shot from 2015:




Have you taken a family photo this year?

Tears, Utter Confusion, and Laughter after Miscarriage

I feel more like a David than a Paul these days.

When I saw my dream for my future shatter and crumble in the arms that cradled it so carefully I didn't find it so easy to say

"I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation."

I admire Paul. I want to be more like that. I wish I could be content, even in this. But instead I want to cry out, to scream, as it seems David did when he wrote many of his Psalms.

And then there's this:

"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more."

A verse which has a very interesting meaning and story in Scripture, but the Rachel right here whose one child is gone is less interested in exegesis than in simply feeling solidarity with the one in the verse.


I've tried to read about life after miscarriage in the past few weeks--but I've noticed that the calm, peaceful, hope-filled sorts of articles tend mostly to be written by moms whose loss occurred 1, 2, 3, or 5+ years ago. They don't sound as low as I still feel. Writing about this in the very days and weeks of having to accept this loss is probably crazy. Taking time and knowing that things take time is a challenging concept for me.

There was such joy. I never want the darkness of October to overshadow the light of September. Because there was light. And I wish I could talk about that light without awkwardness or spontaneously bursting into tears. There was fun and excitement and jokes. The responses from our family members when we told them the good news ranged from "Hallelujah!" to "What does this mean?" to "Okay...Good job..." depending on the personality of the person told. I wish I could tell my pregnancy symptom stories with the other moms.

Seriously, guys, for a month there, speed bumps felt like roller coasters. I could not handle going over them--it was as if I was suddenly on a ship being tossed by stormy seas the instant the car jolted over a speed bump. There are 4 speed bumps to get out of my apartment complex, and 4 to get back in. I contemplated walking all the way to the front of the building to escape from most of the speed bumps. I implored Angel to drive at a snail's pace in order to crawl over the bump. I avoided leaving the building because the very thought of those speed bumps brought on seasickness. It was intense. Oh yeah, and I once threw up about 30 seconds after eating a chapati--after never having thrown up in over a decade. Guys, a chapati is like a tortilla. There's nothing more basic and non-vomit-inducing than a tortilla. I was constantly thirsty and woke up multiple times in the middle of the night to drink water and eat tortilla chips. The day before I found out I was pregnant, I ate a bowl of ramen and four slices of pizza for dinner--surprising Angel with my appetite.

But it's hard to laugh about me being intimidated by speedbumps when I don't even notice driving over them anymore.

One of the most difficult things is not feeling like 'me' anymore. It's weird. I've been 'me' my whole life. How could losing someone important to me make me feel like I've lost my very self? Spunk, joy, excellence, everything that felt like an integral part of my identity feels distant from who I am at the moment. I look at old pictures of me and don't want to take new ones if I can help it because I feel like I don't even look like myself right now. I just want to be the old me again. The creative thoughtful overly-sensitive limelight-lover who gets a little too excited about everything and has boundless energy. Now I feel like I don't even have the energy to accomplish my own responsibilities, let alone dream of new ones.

And besides that, what about next year? I thought I knew what 2017 would look like. Not the details, but you know, the generalities. I definitely wasn't traveling back to America at all, as I'd be pregnant and then taking care of a tiny baby for the whole year, and that trip is brutal. I had a plan in place for scaling back on commitments. I'd take a break from teaching for June and July and get back into it in August. Now what? I have no idea. November and December are full of commitments that have existed since earlier this year but it's hard to even see life after December 31st. I know that, logically, it exists. But old plans are gone and I feel like it's better to not make new ones.

I don't feel very comforted by anything at the moment. But I cling to something else that highly-contented Paul wrote, because even if I don't feel like him right now, I'm sure he was on to something:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18

I've seen this verse everywhere on the internet shortened to "The pain you're feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming." And I can't figure out where that shortening came from, and I think it's kind of a terrible paraphrase that's a little too self-centered and fails to really capture and clarify the meaning of the verse. There may not and possibly won't be glory revealed to us in this lifetime. If any, maybe a little. There are glimpses of glory, I believe, from time to time. But right now there really, really are sufferings. All I know is that no matter how much pain exists right now it's nothing in the light of the new heavens and the new earth. Although my heart still cries, that comforts the logical, linguistic side of me. Because when something is 'not worthy to be compared to'...it means we can't even imagine the difference.

A Sister's Intuition

I've been having wacky dreams recently. Among them: Presidential candidates offering $50,000 rewards to assassins to kill people they didn't like. Also, me being tasked with chaperoning a group of teens at an amusement park. More plausible, but really stressful.

And then, I dreamed that my sister Lizzy, the one who's getting married, got a large floral tattoo, stretching from her collarbone to a few inches below her shoulder. I was slightly shocked, and asked her what had made her think of getting the tattoo. She told me that she'd long planned on getting a full sleeve and figured that there was no time like the present for getting started.

I bit back any concerns about the combination of her career goal of being a teacher in Asia with the fact of a full sleeve of tattoos, and remained cautiously congratulatory. It's not everyday your sister gets a giant tattoo.

And then. I ran into Angel. And it just so happened...that he's gotten a giant floral tattoo, stretching from his collarbone to a few inches below his shoulder...and it matched Lizzy's exactly. My response to him was not nearly so cautious or congratulatory. I couldn't understand 1) why he got a huge tattoo without even mentioning it to me first, 2) why it was a tattoo of flowers? He's not the floral type. and 3) Why it matched Lizzy's? Couple tattoos are risky enough, as far as I'm concerned, BIL/SIL tattoos are a little further outside the box.

......................................................

So, that's the dream. The interesting coincidence is--a few hours after I woke up from that dream, my sister Anna (not Lizzy!) texted me a photo of her with a pixie cut. Let's look at a comparison of the Anna I knew and the Anna of the pixie cut to emphasize that this is basically as dramatic a change in appearance as a shoulder tattoo.


The Anna I knew


The Anna of the Pixie Cut

Obviously, I had to call her on Skype to see the 360* of the cut, ask her why didn't she think of this when I was around to do it, and ask if it was a blond who did her eyebrows...they're looking a lot better in these pictures, but the original stylist must have been going for an "Amy Poehler" look (??? Stylist, what were you thinking?) instead of the "Lily Collins" look, which would have made a lot more sense on Anna.

And then, as Rebekah and MaryGrace and I crowded around the computer, I jokingly mentioned that her cut was now about the same length as Angel's, particularly as he was overdue for his regular cut at the moment.

Later, I noticed the interesting fact that my dream seemed almost intuitively related to an event I didn't yet know had occurred at the time--one of my sisters made a major cosmetic change, and somehow Angel was connected. This cracked me up. On the whole, I think most dreams have no connection with reality whatsoever, but I found this a pretty funny coincidence---just goes to show these kids are never far from big sister's mind.

Have you ever cut off 12"+ of hair at once? I haven't--even though I've had pixies before, my hair never actually gets long in between times, my max is around shoulder length or slightly longer.