While I was singing and playing the guitar for Annie, Sniff hid under the bed and kept thumping his hind legs. We sounded like a badly rehearsed duet between a guitar and a bass drum. After a while, either my playing had improved or Sniff’s curiosity got the better of him as he came out from under the bed and began to inspect the cause of the ruckus. Pictured: Sniff helps me tune the “G” string, as I was presumably a bit flat.
Archive for the 'happenings' category
Annie recently took the time to write a short report on our new arrival, Sniff:
Meet the newest addition to our home, Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage!
His former owners had to find a new home for him because one of the family members is allergic to him. In addition to giving us their beloved bunny, they also gave us a nice cage, food, chew toys, litter, and a leash and harness. They also drove down to meet us halfway! We are lucky to have found them and Bun-Bun. A BIG and special thank you!
When we got him inside the house, we didn’t try to pet him or fuss with him. We gave him time to adjust. We put the cage in the living room so he wouldn’t be lonely. When it seemed like he had adjusted to his new environment, we opened the cage door and stepped back. We were both lying on the ground waiting for the bunny to come out. It took him about 20 minutes before he came out for the first time and then hopped right back in. A little while later he came out again and started looking around. Once he was more comfortable he started sniffing us and everything in the room. Matt named him Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage.
The first day he was here he was afraid to go into the kitchen and foyer because the ceramic tile and hardwood were too slippery for him. The first time he tried it, he slipped and it must have scared him half to death because he ran out of there as fast as he could. He’d follow us around the house but won’t follow us into the kitchen or the foyer. It has been three days and now he’s more comfortable in the kitchen. As for the foyer, he had learned to jump from the carpet in the living room to the rug in front of the door but he won’t go further.
It wasn’t long before he started running around the living room and dining room. He would dash from one end of the room to the other. Sometimes he’ll do a little happy-go-lucky twisted jump. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Then he would run over to a wall or a piece of furniture, do a little side flip and lay down next to it heaving with contentment. His other favorite spot is by the vent with the cool air blowing out on him.
We let him out a couple times a day so he gets lots of play time. He has also been upstairs. He won’t go up and down the stairs by himself though. He runs around in the hallway and goes to the bathroom to pee in his litter box. He’s not allowed in the office because there are too many wires. We don’t let him out of our sight if there are wires around but we haven’t seen him even try to chew on any wires yet. We put a harness and leash on him and we took him outside for a walk. He was really cautious at first but once he got used to it — oh boy! We thought we were taking the bunny for a walk but instead HE took us for a run.
He likes to jump on top of us if we’re lying down. He also likes to jump through our arms and legs. Maybe he thinks he’s in the circus. He also likes to run in circles around us. He loves attention and loves to be petted. He would flop down when we pet him. He was a little uncomfortable about being held at first but now he just flops down for a good rubbing. He doesn’t stay long though. About ten minutes at most then he would run off and hop around again.
He’s good about using the litter box for pooping and peeing. He hadn’t peed anywhere else yet and we’re hoping he won’t start. He had pooped on the carpet but not the same way he poops in his litter box. It’s usually just one dropping or scattered out in a line or circle. He would run around us and before we know it, a circle of scattered poop is surrounding us. We were a little confused at first since he was so good about using his litter box. In a book that we borrowed from the library and from online sources, it says that he’s just marking his territory. The poop is very small and dry and can be picked off the carpet without leaving any stain or odor.
We went to the vet today and he was well behaved. The veterinarian said that Sniff is healthy and confirmed that he’s a boy. She doesn’t recommend neutering him unless he gets very aggressive, which may have to be soon. He’s getting a little frisky.
That’s all for now from Sniff world! More to come later.
Annie and I braved the afternoon heat and took in the sights of the The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. While I went more for the pigs, Annie was there for the rabbits. Lucky for you, you’ll see photos of both.
In late May I was given the opportunity to join the web management team at the FAA. I enthusiastically accepted a position and started earlier this month.
FAA happens to be right next door to my previous location at the Department of Energy, but while my commute has barely changed, my job description has been given a huge shot in the arm, so to speak. However, I must point to serendipity rather than pure ambition as the reason for the “career” change — all the pieces came together at exactly the right moment. If you were to ask me what my ideal job would be, my answer wouldn’t differ much from what I’m doing now at the FAA: web management for the FAA’s various websites, coding, design, upkeep, testing, etc.
This is quite possibly my first truly fulfilling position.
- Sleeping in until 10:45am
- Light reading at home
- Getting the kitchen completely clean
- Working out at the Gwendolyn Coffield Center
- Shopping at Montgomery Mall: getting things for “free” with gift cards and having way too much caffeine
- Browsing the stacks at Davis Community Library
- Celebrating mass at the century-old St. John’s historic church
- Watching a baseball game in wide screen HDTV on Fox
- Finishing my laundry
- Listening to classic country music on KEXP
- Web developing into the night
Annie and I were married at 11am on Saturday, October 21, 2006 at the Historic Chapel of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg, Md. The weather was perfect: bright, clear, and brisk. My grandparents, the groomsmen, and I greeted guests until about 10 minutes till. Then, Msgr. Paul, my best man Ray, and I assembled in the rectory while my nerves went haywire. Msgr. Paul then took our hands and said a prayer. Before I knew it, we were walking around the altar; Ray and I took our places.
After a couple of gathering songs that I wasn’t really paying attention to, the organ then belted out Wagner’s wedding march, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen started walking down the aisle. As Annie stood at the doorway of the chapel, the sunlight hit her white dress and temporarily made her glow. I will never forget her smile as she walked arm and arm with her father. He escorted my bride to the sanctuary steps and lifted her veil. We took our seats and tried not to reveal our nervous enthusiasm. When the actual marriage sacrament began, we both became more relaxed. Msgr. Paul helped, too, with his whispered comments to us like: “I’m gonna take care of you both..” and “Don’t worry about a thing…”
During the nuptial blessing, I remember thinking, “Gee, they’re making all this fuss just for us. Everyone is here for us. We were blessed to have not only St. Rose’s pastor, Paul Dudziak, but their finest cantor, Alice Henning and their former director of music, Nancy Novelly. The former has a beautiful, effortless soprano; the latter is a virtuoso at the piano and organ. Their presence really helped; it was much better than having “just anyone” in those roles.
We walked down the aisle together and were followed by the wedding party. One of my groomsmen had the fortunate experience of escorting not one but two bridesmaids. After a brief rendezvous around a fountain in the church garden, we went back into the church for an extended photo session. What we didn’t know until later was that, while the session was taking place, most of our wedding guests were congregating outside the church, apparently waiting for us to come out and say hello.
Our photographer, J. Stuart Harris, had a way of being commanding and authoritative without being bossy. He was definitely in control (and organized) and squeezed some fine pictures out of us in record time. All the while, our faithful videographer, Dean Dykema, documented everything while preserving our spontaneity. When the church photo session was over, we headed outdoors to take advantage of the fall colors (see second photo).
After the outdoor session, we all drove over to my parents’, who were hosting a luncheon for a few dozen guests. We made our appearance, grabbed a few roast beef stuffed tortilla wraps, and then headed back to the townhouse to prepare for the Thai wedding ceremony and reception, held at New Fortune restaurant in Gaithersburg. We arrived there a few hours early to set up the tables and the Phakhuane tree for the Phiti Bai Sri Su Kwan (Holy Threads) ceremony (see third photo).
The ceremony is just a small part of a traditional Thai wedding. Another part would have been a parade from the groom’s house to the bride’s house. That would have meant a seven mile walk up Georgia Avenue in traffic. Oh, and I would have had to yodel a lot. That would have not been good.
Annie and I came up with this text for a postcard we sent out with the invitations:
The Phakhuane (pron. PA-kwon) is a conical-shaped floral arrangement that is the central focus of the Bai Sri Su Kwan ceremony. It is traditionally prepared by respected elders who have had long and happy marriages. At the base of the Phakhuane is food that represents fertility, such as rice, eggs, fruit, et cetera. Flowers are placed throughout the Phakhuane as decoration; in between them are the Holy Threads. At the very top sits a burning candle.
When everyone is seated, we bow down to our parents. This is a time to reflect upon the good and the bad, the past, present, and future. We bow down to thank them for everything they’ve done for us and to ask for their forgiveness for any wrongdoing that we’ve done. It’s also a time for our parents to give us their blessing. The wedding officiator will take the holy threads and place them between our hands as we pray. We will be seated on the floor in front of the Phakhuane opposite from the officiator and surrounded by friends and family.
We will all sit in a prayer position during the ceremony while the officiator chants his blessings and advice for us. He will then ask everyone to call to the spirits (or kwan) to come. Since weddings are big transitions, this is traditionally done to ask the kwan of the bride and groom to come together. Afterward, the guests take the holy threads from the Phakhuane and tie them around our wrists. This is a chance for the guests to give us their blessings and advice for a happy marriage. Please join us to “Thai the Knot!”
The ceremony lasted about an hour; it seemed that nearly everyone in attendance knelt down with us and tied holy threads around our wrists. We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Following the ceremony was dinner and dancing. We didn’t get to eat but a few bites of food, as we went around to all the tables for photographs. The food looked really good, though. We were too wound up to notice that we were hungry.
Barry Lyons was our master of ceremonies and DJ for the evening. He can be considered a “freelance” DJ, as he has a fine day job as well. Barry was a must-have for the reception — in fact, we changed our wedding date to accommodate Barry’s schedule! It was well worth it. He gets a lot of gigs through word of mouth, and for good reason. He can get a dance floor jumping and is a master at getting the crowds to participate. Even with the language barrier with some of Annie’s guests, he got them to do strange, American traditions like the Hokey-Pokey, the Chicken Dance, and the YMCA.
Annie and I were seriously on autopilot by then, and smiled at anything that remotely looked like a camera. We danced for hours and the crowd started thinning out at around 11:30 or so.
After the wedding rehearsal — which was actually more nerve-wracking for me than the wedding itself — we made our way over to the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg. Many thanks go to my parents, who paid for the occasion.
So I walk into the Silver Spring, MD Trader Joe’s last night to return some two-day old nectarines. Nectarines that looked as if they had been sprinkled with all manner of mold spores and left in a moist, warm environment for a month. I was expecting that I would at least have to explain myself and show my receipt (which I had). However, the cashier asked for the supervisor to come over, and the man simply asked me how much my item cost. “$3.29”, I said. He opened the cash register and handed me the cash. No fuss; no muss. They took my bag containing the three uneaten, rotting nectarines and I went on my merry way.
I was impressed with the level of (perceived) trust they had in me. They didn’t bother checking the receipt to confirm that 1.) I had indeed purchased a container of nectarines two days earlier, and 2.) that the price I paid was indeed $3.29. Since I had paid with a credit card, I thought my refund would go back on the card as well; the cash refund was unexpected, but above all, tangible.