I often ask my niece and nephew about their dreams. I don't know why. They're just little kids  (4 and 2 years old, respectively). Most of the time, Kat (the older one) tells me she can't remember her dreams. (The little one, James, who is relatively new to the business of conversation, just blows raspberries and laughs.)

But last summer, Kat had a nightmare. And I've been thinking about it ever since.

She said she dreamt of a "little alien guy in a shell" with "one eye and a little horn" (to demonstrate, she curled a finger up by her forehead). She said the dream was scary because the alien was a "bad guy."
Katherine's been having bad (or at least unsettling) dreams for her entire life, I think. When she was just a couple of months old, she'd often cry out from her crib, and whimper in her sleep. I always wondered about this. What could such a little baby be dreaming about that might make her so upset? A shortage of breast milk? An especially dirty diaper?

I've always suffered from nightmares. I generally have a couple a week. I can't really remember a time when I didn't have them, so it's not so bad any more. I'm used to it. Sometimes, I even enjoy it. But Kat is still a little girl. And I worry about her. I don't like the idea of her having bad dreams.
So, with her birthday coming up, and the dream still in my mind months later, I wrote Katherine a little story. My friend Patty did some drawings to go with it.

I scanned the whole thing into my computer and am having it printed as a book for a present.

Neat, right?

It's not a great tale or anything. I use far too many commas, as is my wont. The rhymes are forced and sometimes awkward. But Katherine is only 4. I have a feeling she's going to like it.

Having a niece and nephew is great, by the way. None of the work of parenthood, and all of the fun. Basically the best thing ever. I know that makes me sound baby crazy, and maybe I am (a little), but seriously. Cuteness abounds.
If you want to check out the book, I've included a preview below, or visit the self-publishing site I used to lay it out and have it bound: Blurb.
Planning a wedding, even a small wedding that you hope will be as little like a wedding as possible (ha ha), is a dangerous business.

I knew this already. I've always known this. But there's a big difference between knowing something and experiencing it.

In my case, things have already gone far beyond what I initially planned. More guests are coming, we'll be serving far more booze, (and more varieties of booze), and I've tried on actual bridal, which I never intended to do.

It's all been... a bit much.
Photo from the Bering Photography vintage wedding gallery.

Nathan, being a weirdo Marxist, is helping. Like me, however, he's a people pleaser with a tendency to give in when pushed, so we have to bolster each other regularly with rousing exclamations of "Just say no!" and "We not doing that!"

Sometimes, we just won't answer our phone.

But I admit, there have been moments when we've been swept into the river. As I said, I tried on "real" bridal, and once you head down that road (or any of these wedding roads) all the cliches come to life. It really IS a slippery slope. Within an hour of dress shopping, I found myself thinking, "Well, $900 isn't really THAT much for a dress, is it?" And "maybe I DO need custom-dyed shoes..."

(I know that there are people for whom $900 would be a major bargain, but practically my entire wardrobe is from Goodwill... for me, it's insane.)

Insane or not, its just easy to get caught up in the bullshit. It wasn't my fault! The bullshit is powerful and hard to resist.

Luckily, when I got home, I came to my senses, found a $5 dress at the thrift shop*, and moved on (at least emotionally).

But still... despite our little rebellions, expectations continue to weigh on us.

Interestingly, I find that what helps the most is the Internet. All it takes to remind me of what is inauthentic, saccharine and vile about so many contemporary weddings is a quick visit to Pinterest or a Google search of the words "best wedding traditions." The results are truly horrifying. From those "suddenly we're doing choreographed hip-hop!" reception dances to people who engrave their wedding bands with phrases like "I will wuv you for eternity" and "Love you, Shmoopie" (Shmoopie, being the most disgusting pet name ever and very likely what you'll be forced to call the devil in hell), the internet is rife with helpful aids in aversion therapy.

Thank goodness for the modern wedding ick factor. Without it, I think I might have been suckered into a lot more hoopla.

My wedding (or rather, marriage) is just a few weeks away, so I don't have to resist for much longer. Soon this will all be over and we can go back to answering our phone and being our regular selves.

All we have left to do is ... a lot actually.

In fact, I don't want to think about it. Ugh.

*Yes. I am wearing a $5 wedding dress. It's fuschia. Why not, right? That's who I AM, dammit.