I'm back, and my cats are back, and I have cleaned everything and done some laundry and even survived an incredibly halfassed class which I had not really prepared for well (as in, at all), and now I have some time to breathe and catch up on the massive amounts of blog posts people have put up since I left. Jeez people! I need a special sabbatical to catch up on them all or something.
And why is it that every time I leave the state it catches on fire? Quit it, awright? Man, I have to keep an eye on everything or else it all goes to hell as soon as I'm not looking. I hope that everyone affected by the fires is ok.
And the wedding? I have found my ultimate temptation and must do many days of penance for it in the gym. Not wedding cake --- oh no oh no. It was white with vanilla icing --- I ate just enough to be polite and participate in the festivities. (which were very nice.) No, my aunt, bless her for knowing the family so well, made sure that the chocoholics would be pleased by including a brownie bar. No, that's not "bar" as in a bar of chocolate. As in, right next to the free open liquor bar was a brownie bar. So you could get hot melty fudge brownies and then top them with powdered sugar, or more fudge, or nuts, or various brightly-colored sprinkles, or caramel, or whipped cream, or candy corn (don't ask) or powdered cinnamon or nutmeg like it was a foofy coffee drink. A foofy coffee drink of pure chocolate goodness, hot and a little bit too solid to actually drink but pretty damn close. So. Damn. Good. Surprisingly, the chocolate martini was not very good, so I went back to white wine after that and it was fine with the chocolate.
I also got to meet my aunt's side of the family, the side my cousins have that is not related to me. It was a very weird dinner as I have heard these names bandied about all my life but never met any of them. (Including whenever my family has been stressed by, for example, a suicide, discovery of schizophrenia, or an abandonment of a marriage, I have listened sympathetically and so have all sorts of intimate knowledge of stuff that I know the family never talks about and is all a big dark secret, which is very odd when you know this and are only meeting them for the first time.) I may post about them more later, especially one "uncle" who is very pugnacious and aggressive and crude and is a lawyer (the occupation and personality seem to be a necessary match, to me) who I didn't like at all but then by the end of the evening I totally loved and he was just wonderful and hilarious.
I only got to spend five minutes with the bride, who was constantly being swamped with well-wishers and all that stuff. Unfortunately she reminds me of a cross between Lindsay Lohan at her most blonde and tanned and Jenna Bush. The mother of the bride is an exact fit for Laura Bush. Not that that's such a hugely bad thing. The dad is nothing like Shrub in looks, intelligence or temprament, so no worries there. Of course I didn't talk politics at a wedding.
My mother, on the other hand, did. I cringed hearing her voice raise up to ranting level* and suddenly rant about how taxes were too high and the US's capital gains tax doesn't exist for almost any other nation and how we should be lowering not raising our capital gains tax. Or maybe it was the tax put on financial trades. I obviously need to go read up more on this. Not that it is possible to outflank or change the mind of my mother on any topic at all. Remember, this is the woman who I've had arguments with over what my favorite vegetable was; her memory trumps my actual physical experience every time. But yes, mom let her kooky libertarian self out of the bag again and there were several moments of awkwardness, particularly because other people seem to simply mention political things, in a "oh did you hear that" sort of way, and my family treats every one of those conversations as a battle to the death, if not a full-on crazy "the end is nigh" sort of speech you might hear a homeless person make on a streetcorner. However, she did like the brownie bar. On chocolate at least, my family is united.
* I should point out that my family is all pretty bossy and loud ... well, very shy and quiet around strangers or new situations (my entire immediate family were wallflowers and barely talked at the wedding reception and I suddenly saw where I got it from), but we love to have fights or "rants" about politics or anything really at the dinner table. Whenever I bring home friends they are shocked because we seem to be very angry and loud but really we just conduct all conversations at that level of loudness and ... emotional investment at home.