Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Trouble with Tomes

When I decided it would be a good idea in 2014 to read all of the novels I own but have not yet read, I underestimated my bibliophilic buying tendencies as well as my stunning lack of follow-through when it comes to actually reading the books I purchase.

The list clocks in at 70 novels.

This doesn't count the collections of short stories and poetry, the memoirs, the plays, the various nonfiction tomes that have taken up residence on my shelves over the years (nor does it include the pile of books tagged for giveaway, many of which I also have not read). That's more than a book a week! (I can math, too. Cool, right?)

While I am a skilled and confident reader, that number is daunting, particularly considering that according to my Goodreads profile, I only read 23 books in 2013. Granted, this doesn't include books I re-read but rather only books I was reading for the first time. Even so, I'm fairly certain my 2013 reading didn't even come close to 70 books. Some of these are beastly long, too: Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind; Leo Tolstoy's War & Peace and Anna Karenina; Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Oof.

Is there time enough in a year? Should I split it up over two years? Three? I mean, three years would put me about on par with this year's reading, but is that making it too easy? Besides, I don't know how I'd choose. Plus, it's all so heavy, and I'm sure to get distracted. I didn't plan on reading half of what fell into my lap in 2013, and look what happened! Not that it wasn't heavy. A lot of it was. I mean, I read George R.R. Martin's whole Song of Ice & Fire as released to date in less than two months. (Did I accomplish anything else? Not really, but what's a bookworm to do when she's stuck in an epic series of novels?!)

Okay, so I guess I'll just read and see what happens. If I get through them, great. If not, 2015 is just around the corner. Besides, I'm more than a third of the way through the first book on the list (admittedly the lightest book on the list when it comes to content) so maybe . . . oh, wait. I forgot about Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Unless I trade my NYE movie marathon for a night with a book, I'm unlikely to finish that one before the new year begins. So 70 it will be.

3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

What are you reading this year?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

intellectual conversations with a guy you once had a crush on

This post is part of a writing project called #30daysofessays. For more about the project, click here.

He intimidated me. Easily the best-looking, most crushed-upon guy in town. Plus he was smart. Talked about books and music and social issues. And he listened to me when I talked. *Swoon*

But seriously. We would never be a thing. Acquaintances. Game for a good conversation. Now and then, he'd let me have a free cup of hot tea at the bakery I frequented and where he worked. He was nice, you know. He smiled. Not just at me. A lot.

And I looked forward to encountering him. Mainly for the banter. Sometimes I still had trouble stringing words together. I wanted him to think I was smart. I forgot that I actually was (am) smart. I didn't have to pretend.

I've gotten past the idea that it's better to act like I know what he's talking about rather than just to admit I don't. Have you read this author? No. What's she written? This is happening here and it's amazing. Oh, really? I had no idea. Tell me more.

I'm making things up now, but conversations with him almost always brought intellectual stimulation. I felt selfish talking with him because he was giving me so much, and I didn't think I had anything to give him in return.

We'd known each other a while before we finally sat down to have lunch as actual friends to talk about this essay he was writing. It had been a while since we'd even had much of a conversation beyond hellos. Casual meetings in the street. Waves across a crowded bar or through a shop window.

But we sat for an hour and only briefly talked about his essay. Conversation careened from topic to topic. Highs and lows. You look happy, he said. I am.

Story after story after story. Mundane and exciting and covering so much ground. I wasn't hunting for words, worrying what he'd think of me if I said this or that, hoping he'd like me, over-eager to be the one he's paying attention to. I was those things once, but we were just talking, and I realized I'm not anymore.

Then it was over. Back to work for me, to the essay for him. We smiled and said good-bye. I saw him sitting in the window another day. Once upon a time I'd have ducked in to sit. Any excuse to bask in his eyes. I smiled. Waved. Kept walking.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tucson, AZ, Spring 2008

This post is part of a writing project called #30daysofessays. For more about the project, click here.

She was taking pictures of them as they stumbled from the bus, their belongings in plastic grocery bags. Tying shoelaces. Fastening belts. Herded like so many cattle back to the border. They might have called a handful of different countries home, but dropping them just that side of the dividing line put them out of our hands. America's hands.

We attending a hearing in Tucson. Not for those people. For others like them. People we call "illegal." (Because people can be "illegal"...) One man had crossed the border and been sent back thirty-seven times. Others just once, twice, half a dozen times. Those for whom the court could not provide a translator were released on time served and sent back across the border. Others would serve longer sentences before they, too, were returned to the desert. We learned many of these would attempt again to enter the country. They had nowhere else to go.

At an aid station near Nogales, Mexico, we saw the effects of prolonged exposure in the desert. Burned and calloused feet. Mouths dry with thirst. Skin parched from the dry heat. Water barrels marked by blue flags are scattered along the US-Mexico border, filled regularly by Humane Borders volunteers. Opponents of the organization's work contend that such provision encourages illegal crossings. Research refutes this idea, but research cannot stop the destruction of barrels and the waste of a life-sustaining resource.

They're breaking the law and should be treated like criminals, one side argues. This means robbing them of their humanity. Reducing them to less than livestock. Turning a blind eye to officer behavior that would not be out of place in a concentration camp. Deporting people to a place that is not their home. Naming this justice because it appeases the supposedly law-abiding masses. Because at least it looks like some effort is being made.

But to what end?

A nation built on the backs of immigrants turns its nose up at a new generation of immigrants. Their path may be different, but that doesn't make them unworthy. A person willing to trek thousands of dangerous miles across hot sand just to attempt to gain entrance into the United States seems like a person with the kind of work ethic held in such high esteem here.

That ethic is irrelevant because that person failed to obtain a visa and enter the country legally. Why? Surely, the system is perfectly formed and allows entrance to all people and doesn't put any kind of barriers in place that would limit people's opportunity based on economic status. That's an absurd suggestion. Is it? So he sits in limbo, waiting, expecting to be deported, to end up in that aid camp in Nogales. No better prospect awaits him than to try again and again and again. Until maybe one time he slips through and gets a low-paying, long hours job and hopes against hope he isn't found out.

Forced to march with dozens of other migrants across the border while a wide-eyed college student takes his picture.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I was having lunch with a friend last week and telling him about this bizarre day at Rotary the week of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. He asked if I ever thought, during an experience, that if it were happening to David Sedaris, he'd write an essay about it. I really can't say I've ever thought that. Until now.

Of course, I'm not David Sedaris. I can, however, write an essay so I figure I might as well. I've let enough time lapse since college without adequately exercising my creative writing/critical thinking/whatever brain muscles. Hopefully they haven't atrophied too much in the intervening years.

So here's the deal:

I've got this bag of writing prompts. Sort of. They're just tidbits of things I find interesting or want to write about or that strike me on a given day enough to write them down and toss them in the bag.

I'll choose a prompt from the bag each day and write about it. A page or two. Maybe less. However long it takes until I'm finished.

(I'm writing from the library now and there's this clock at the bottom of the screen telling me how much time I have left in my session. Ticking the seconds away. It's making this feel rather like a test.)

Whenever I can get to a computer, I'll upload the essays to the blog and publish them one by one. Essay one will make its debut tomorrow.

The days might not be consecutive. Here at Day 3, I'm doing all right.

If you're reading and think I should write about something specific, let me know. If you like a piece, don't like a piece, feel really middling about a piece, leave it in the comments. I like to know what you think.

You can follow this project on twitter at #30daysofessays or just subscribe here or just check back now and then to see what's new.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Free Books: Part Two

Okay, here's the deal (in case you missed the first round): I've got all these books and I'm trying to downsize so I'm giving some away. All of the books in this round have been listed on paperbackswap, some for years and some for not so long at all. So now I'm posting this list of them here. If you want one, it's yours. Just let me know which you'd like and how to get it (or them) to you. They're all still listed on my paperbackswap bookshelf so in the event that anything is requested through the site, I'll do my best to make sure this list reflects that change.

Here goes:

Diana's Boys: William & Harry & the Mother They Loved (Christopher Andersen)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Alan Ball)
The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (Jean-Dominique Bauby)
A Delirious Summer (Ray Blackston)
Lost in Rooville (Ray Blackston)
The Last Summer (of You & Me) (Ann Brashares)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
Tune in Anytime (Caroline B. Cooney)
Absolutely Normal Chaos (Sharon Creech)

Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage (Dorothy J. Gaiter & John Brecher)
Troy (Adele Geras)
Ellen Foster (Kaye Gibbons)
Just Ella (Margaret Peterson Haddix)
October Sky (Homer H. Hickam, Jr.)
Indigo (Alice Hoffman)
About a Boy (Nick Hornby)
Mossflower (Brian Jacques)
Redwall (Brian Jacques)

Penelope (Marilyn Kaye)
The Mermaid Chair (Sue Monk Kidd)
Goose Chase (Patrice Kindl)
Hearts in Atlantis (Stephen King)
Winds of Fate (Mercedes Lackey)
Ghost Boy (Iain Lawrence)
Shopgirl (Steve Martin)
The Painted Veil (W. Somerset Maugham)
Battlefield of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)
Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)

Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson)
Scribbler of Dreams (Mary E. Pearson)
Push (Sapphire)
The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim (David Sedaris)
Journey Through Heartsongs (Mattie J.T. Stepanek)
The Distance from the Heart of Things (Ashley Warlick)
The Charm School (Susan Wiggs)
More Than Words: Stories of Courage (Susan Wiggs, Sharon Sala, Emilie Richards)
The Lizzie McGuire Movie (junior novelization)

There you have it. Once again, if you want anything, it's yours (unless someone else asked first).

Happy reading!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hi friends!

On October 15th, the local library will start accepting donations again. Until then, here are the titles from my library to which I'll be bidding farewell. Some of them I've read; others have been sitting collecting dust (and being packed and unpacked in various moves) since I acquired them.

If you'd like any of these, let me know, and we can work out how to get it/them to you. On October 15th, whatever is left will go to the library. (Yes, I know about PaperbackSwap. If you don't, you should.)

Seriously. Free books!
Watership Down (Richard Adams)
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (Julia Alvarez)
Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Weetzie Bat (Francesca Lia Block)
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
The Land that Time Forgot (Edgar Rice Burroughs)

My Antonia (Willa Cather)
The Professor's House (Willa Cather)
The Quilter's Kitchen (Jennifer Chiaverini)
A Pair of Silk Stockings and Other Stories (Kate Chopin)
Gigi and The Cat (Colette)
Seventeenth Summer (Maureen Daly)
The Origin of Species (Charles Darwin)
Nicholas Nickleby (Charles Dickens)
The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens)
The Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens)
Sister Carrie (Theodore Dreiser)

Too Great a Lady (Amanda Elyot)
The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
Devil's Food Cake Murder (Joanne Fluke)
Where Angels Fear to Tread (E.M. Forster)
Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia (James Fox)
Mary Called Magdalene (Margaret George)
Herland (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

On Reflection: An Autobiography (Helen Hayes)
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
Mules and Men (Zora Neale Hurston)
The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novels (Henry James)
13 Little Blue Envelopes (Maureen Johnson)
Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness (Sheila Kohler)
The Red Queen's Daughter (Jacqueline Kolosov)
You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant (Jeff Koon & Andy Powell)

Hector and the Search for Happiness (Francois Lelord)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeleine L'Engle)
Mandie and the Secret Tunnel (Lois Gladys Leppard)
Mandie and the Trunk's Secret (Lois Gladys Leppard)
Mandie and the Hidden Treasure (Lois Gladys Leppard)
Perspectives on the Jack Tales and Other North American M√§rchen (Carl Lindahl, ed.)
Jack in Two Worlds: Contemporary North American Tales & Their Tellers (William Bernard McCarthy, ed.)
Morgan's Run (Colleen McCullough)
Sula (Toni Morrison)

The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Franny and Zooey (J.D. Salinger)
Nine Stories (J.D. Salinger)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Jennifer E. Smith)
Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli)
Girl in Hyacinth Blue (Susan Vreeland)
Affinity (Sarah Waters)

Some of them may have scribbles in them from surviving various university classes, but they are all in good to good-as-new condition.

Happy reading!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Like Letters

I have a penchant for writing long-winded letters, fraught with emotion, to guys I find attractive. If you've ever been the receiving party of such a letter, I apologize. (There aren't that many of you, and you're probably not reading this anyway, but just in case. . .) You probably didn't deserve it, and I shouldn't have inflicted it upon you, but I'm certain that I meant every word I wrote at the time that I wrote it. Still, that's no excuse for actually giving it to you. I probably should have kept it to myself.

Then, I had a breakthrough of sorts. I wrote a short note and spent a day agonizing over whether or not to give it to someone. In the end, I didn't, partly because I am a little shy sometimes, partly because my gut told me not to, and partly because I was terrified someone else would find it and read it and hello awkward!

The note didn't say anything incriminating. There was a comment on his looks (sort of) and a compliment on a recent project. It shouldn't have been embarrassing to give him the note or even to say those things to his face . . . if I only thought of him as a friend.

There's the trouble, though.

I like him. I probably shouldn't, but I do. A little, anyway. Enough to make me awkward.

If I didn't, I could tell him the things that I wrote in that note, but since I do, anything I say is going to sound like I'm flirting. Which would be okay, I suppose, if I knew he also liked me. But I don't. And anyway, he shouldn't. We're really all wrong for each other. Probably.

So I'm erring on the side of caution when it comes to "Like Letters" these days.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gracie Dances (and Talks to Strangers in Restaurants)

She was four years old and sitting with her family at a table near mine at the restaurant. Barefoot and dressed in a baby pink leotard and hot pink tutu, she tiptoed near my table and then back to her own. Three or four times, she did this dance, moving closer and closer while her parents called her back, telling her to leave me alone. I asked her if she was a ballerina, and suddenly, Gracie was regaling me with the minuscule details of her colorful life.

For nigh on ten minutes, we chatted. She climbed into the chair opposite me and while I ate my soup, told me about pre-pre-K, homework, dance class, her dislike of the color of her ballet slippers, and her excitement for an upcoming trip to Disney World. When I told her I met Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Belle when I was at Disney World but that Ariel was on vacation and so I didn't get to meet her, Gracie giggled and then firmly corrected me: Ariel was just upstairs changing.

Her mother suggested that Gracie color a page from her coloring book for me. On presenting the gift, she explained that she'd left the white parts that way on purpose. I promised to hang it on my refrigerator. She told me I'd have to put a magnet on it first. I assured her I would.

As she and her family prepared to depart for dance class, Gracie invited me to visit her anytime, told me her address (oops!) and asked when I would be there. Her mother smiled indulgently and said of course I was welcome anytime. Gracie told me to leave a note in the mailbox by their driveway to say when I would visit.

Gracie transformed my lonely meal into an exuberant conversation merely by being herself. She shares her smiles and her laughter with strangers at restaurants because why wouldn't we want to laugh with her?

Can this child-like confidence be contagious? Please!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why I'm Afraid to Let You Read What I'm Writing

Too much of how I feel about myself is all tied up in how you feel about me. Good or bad, important or not, I value your opinion. Even if I don’t know you, I’ll take your response personally. Even if you just evaluate the grammar, I’ll internalize it and somehow manipulate your comments into a personal attack. They’re not meant that way. My brain knows that on the most basic level, but the emotional side of my brain doesn’t believe the rational side of my brain so I will struggle to keep the writing separate from who I am.

Except that, in a way, the writing is who I am. We are one and the same. It’s my thoughts and my opinions and my imagination run amok and my contribution to the world, however insignificant in the long run. It’s what will remain when I’m gone. So if you don’t appreciate it, if you don’t like it, if you don’t respond to it, what was the point of it? Why did I bother? If what I created isn’t worth your notice, does that mean I’m not worth it, either?

Again, I know that’s not true. I know my worth extends far beyond some words on a page. My contribution to the world is so much more than a physical remnant. My most valuable impression will not be measured by its physical presence. It will be the cheer that someone feels when they remember our interaction or the smile that creeps across their face when something reminds them of me.

So I guess what I’m saying is that how you feel about my writing will affect how I feel about myself, but I hope what you remember most about me is not my writing but me. Just me. My smile and my heart and the love and laughter I shared with you. I hope my writing doesn’t get in the way of that, and if all you have of me is my writing, I suppose my writing had better be full of love and laughter.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recently, I've Been Writing...

Okay, I've been writing more than just recently. Since elementary school probably. When I was a kid, adults showered praise on my writing, impressed with my command of grammar and vocabulary, imagery and symbolism. (Yikes, that sounds conceited, doesn't it?) It made me uncomfortable, being singled out.

So I stopped sharing things and started keeping them to myself. Eventually, I lost that youthful ability to give over my thoughts to people to read and instead hoarded them, terrified to let anyone else see or hear what was happening in my head.

In college, of course, as an English major, I had to share my thoughts, had to write them down and let professors and peer-readers evaluate them. I was successful (mostly), and my confidence grew. Reading over some of those papers now, I wonder who that writer is. Surely, I didn't write those papers. I did, though, so where is she, the person who thought those things and phrased them the way she did. Not that anything I wrote was particularly commendable or memorable, but the thoughts were interesting and the writings engaging.

So what happened?

Well, whatever happened, I'm back to writing and figure I might as well put the words out there for reading. Some of it will be fiction, some introspective, some just for laughs. I'll leave it to you to decide what's what.

I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments. I hope you'll tell me the truth, even if it might hurt. I hope you'll help me grow, and I hope you won't give up on me the way I had nearly given up on myself.

And thanks, in advance. I'm glad you're here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

You're So Keen: Eight Years of Vintage Jazz, Sassy Ladies & Dapper Gents

Eight years ago, when we were freshmen living on the third floor of Hume Honors West, my friend Marianna got an email from a student organization at the University of Florida. She told me she wasn't really interested in what they were offering but thought I might enjoy it: swing dancing. Faintly terrified, I ventured to the Reitz Union Colonnade and met some of the best friends of my college years.

One of my first nights of swing dancing.
Pedro, Ashley, Bob, Allyn, Kim, Michael, Mike, Jeaux & Co.
The 1920s at Stompin' at the Swamp 2008: Leaping Through Time
Jim F., Kristine, Jim M., Micah, Mika, Patrick, Rainey, Andrew, Bonnie & Rett
Before I begin in earnest, though, notable people missing from this post (except maybe in those big group shots above) include: Bob, Ashley, Andrea, Pedro, Jeaux, Craig, Jenny, Miranda, Stewart, Suzy, Ilana, Greg, Paula, Shelby, Paul, Jim S., Jim F., Tim N., Sheila, Kurtis, Matt K., Grace, Kyle, DJ Natch and a fair few more. It doesn't mean I don't love you so here's your shout-out, right at the beginning.

In celebration of eight years of kicking up my heels, here are eight of my favorite swing dancing memories, in no particular order and acknowledging that my swing dance experience goes so far beyond these eight events/people/dances that I could not express the entirety of it to you.

(Be sure to check the photo captions for extras!)

This Guy

The last time I saw Michael...
Eight years ago today, I met Michael at my first Florida Swing Dancing Club lesson at the University of Florida. He was wearing black dress pants, a pale pink polo shirt, and shiny black dress shoes (even though we were dancing on concrete). In that first dance lesson, we became friends and for long afterward still remembered the combination we learned. (I don't know if he's since forgotten it, but part of it still lives in the back of my brain.) For two years, we danced together, referring to our partnership alternately as a "dance marriage" and a "darriage" until we were "dance-vorced" out of necessity when he left town. We learned together, taught together, laughed a lot, had serious conversations about non-dance things, and continue as friends despite having last seen each other in person on February 14, 2007. Just can't quite turn that page . . .

This Gal
At DCLX 2011
It was Pittsburgh in the winter of 2009 when I met Julia at PittStop Lindy Hop. We were staying at the same house and would become fast friends in the matter of three days. We now have visited each other in our own towns, reunited in Florida and at two subsequent events in Pittsburgh. Our shared faith in Christ and enjoyment of swing dancing, reading, and classic Hollywood musicals have joined us inextricably. (Once, we even gave one another near-identical little books of advice from Jane Austen for Christmas. There was much laughter.) A number of times, we have also been mistaken as related, once rather bizarrely with our friend Jonathan at a church in Pittsburgh.

The Clothes/Costumes (and Shoes)
Being part of the swing dance community, particularly in college, gave me an excuse to indulge my secret enjoyment of costumes. I have far too many pictures to share here without making this post interminable, but here are a few of my favorites:
Halloween 2008 - winning the Jack & Jill with Ross
2007 Taxi Dance with Jake
Halloween 2007 with Weston

There were also fabulous clothes that leaned less toward costume. Here are some of those:

Kristine and her grandmother made these dresses from a vintage Vogue pattern.
South Florida Lindy Exchange 2008
(That fellow in the background is Matt, another dear friend.)
Wearing my favorite pants ever and dancing with Tim, one of my favorite guys ever.
Orlando Lindy Exchange 2010
Zendah Grotto
Being goofy, as usual, with Julie
Tampa, June 2010

These Lovely Ladies (and Gentleman)

Spring 2008 with (L to R) Betsy, Bonnie, Chris & Kristine
Dubbed the midget brigade (probably a moniker we gave ourselves), Betsy, Bonnie, Kristine and I ruled the Florida Swing Dancing club for a few years. Okay, there wasn't much ruling, though we all did serve as officers or instructors or both at one time or another. Chris, deceptively tall here because of his roller blades, was (is, I'm sure - or would be if we were all still together) one of our favorite dance partners and a dear friend. These folks brought so much joy into my life and, as you can see from the picture, laughter. Oh, and there were all of those impromptu, vaguely burlesque dance numbers to "Big Spender."
Our impending separation upped our affection.
L to R: Kristine, Micah, Bonnie, Betsy & Erin
(Erin is one of the best bakers I will ever know.)

This Dance

(Thanks for that, Jim. It was awesome. For those of you wondering, the tune is Keb' Mo's "Henry.")

Lindy Exchanges

My first lindy exchange: Soflex 2007
with Tracy, Alex, Elaine, Mika, and Tara
lindy exchange (n.) A pile of my best dance friends from all over, gathered in one place for the express purpose of dancing the night away.

with Glenn at PittStop 2009, an unexpected reunion
Quiet moments in between dances
with Mikel at Soflex 2008

A shimmy-off with Hurley at DCLX 2011
Silly dance breaks: What's on the ceiling?
with Hurley at Soflex 2010
A moment captured during a steal dance.
There's something about the angles of our arms that I find fantastic in this shot.
with Patrick W. at Soflex 2010
Solo goofiness with Julie & Alex at DCLX 2011
This picture of me dancing Charleston at DCLX 2011
An afternoon with Kate & Julia, seeing Jane Eyre, and eating incredible cupcakes from Crumbs
post-DCLX 2011

Florida Dance Weekend Birthdays
For four years, I spent my birthday weekend having a grand time in Orlando (and other Florida locales) with some of my best friends, including my superb 25th at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (with the lovely Lisa) and Disney's Animal Kingdom (with the handsome Hurley). This year, I'll be missing the Orlando Lindy Exchange (a.k.a. my built-in birthday party), and while I'm sure watching David Tennant as Hamlet while eating cheese and chocolate fondue will be indescribably marvelous, it won't be the same without you. Anyway, thanks to the many people responsible for making birthdays 23-26 absolutely fantastic! All my love to all of you!
Reuniting with long-unseen friends.
with Patrick F. at ORLX 2012
Happy 25th on the beach in St. Pete with Brendan, who is wearing my sunglasses
This shot would be even better if I were wearing my ORLX 4 shirt, too!
with Hurley at ORLX 2011
When I met Blake at a previous ORLX, he claimed someone had told him he just had to dance with me.
He later admitted he'd just seen me dance and thought I was awesome. The feeling is mutual.
ORLX 2012
Hugs are one of the best things about friends.
Sometimes, a dance is just an excuse to hug for 3 1/2 minutes.
with Tim at ORLX 2010

It's corny, yes, but you should all be used to that from me by now, and it's true anyway so keep reading.  I am ever so grateful for and overwhelmed by the number of incredible people I've met in the eight years I've been swing dancing. You have opened your hearts and homes and arms to me, and I love you for it. So here's to you, you awesome folks. A hat-tip to you, a hug when next we meet and until then . . .

Love always, Micah