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May. 6th, 2012

Bobby's great aunt, Aunt Lil, died on Tuesday at the age of 86. It was one of those long-time-coming and almost merciful deaths: She had been suffering from severe dementia for the past few years and had recently broken her hip. I've known Aunt Lil (and her husband Uncle Frank--he died back in '08) since Bobby and I started dating. Without children of their own, Bobby's family served as the children they never had. Aunt Lil was unfailingly generous--she was always slipping money to children and grandchildren--and had a certain my-way-or-the-highway attitude that was hilarious without being overbearing. In the later years of her independent life, she was known for crossing Merritt Boulevard--a busy divided highway near her home--by sticking out her hand and just going, no matter the traffic. If someone dared to honk at her, she gave them the finger. Only, to Aunt Lil, "the finger" wasn't the middle finger; she would jab her index finger repeatedly up and down in the air while scowling at whomever dared suggest that she wasn't Queen of the Road!

All of the women in that branch of the family tree are set in their ways and very outspoken about it. Now, with Aunt Lil gone, Bobby's grandmother is the only one left.

Aunt Lil once, upon leaving a family wedding, loudly declared, "Well, I thought it was a beautiful wedding. And anyone who doesn't like it can go float!" On another occasion--possibly the same wedding; this was before Bobby and I were together, so the stories have been passed down to me--she arrived in the midst of busy preparations, stood in the middle of the room (apparently wearing a huge black hat with a feather nodding against her nose), and shouted, "Everybody shut up! Shut up! Ludja has arrived!" (All of the sisters call themselves and each other by their Polish names ... well, "Polish" in the sense of the mutilated version of the language they speak. I don't actually know if Ludja is a Polish name, but Aunt Lil has been Aunt Ludja or Aunt Ludj to me for as long as I've known her.)

At the funeral home yesterday, Bobby's mom asked us if we had been up to see her yet, and I realized that I didn't need to (I never do; I don't like viewings) because I had so many memories and stories of her that meant much more than the physical manifestation of the woman she was.

Cut for Musings on Death, Religions, and Spirituality that Could Be Potentially Offensive )
I have reading to do for school, but Bobby is making breakfast, and it seems silly to start something when I'll have to walk away in a few minutes, right? That's my excuse anyway.

I didn't want to mash this stuff in with my post for Aunt Lil, as this is comparatively frivolous. I beg pardon of my flist for the two posts in close proximity.

This weekend, I spent more time in malls than I think I have spent in the past year. The reason is one I thought I was long-ago rid of: I needed a prom dress! Yes, the handsome self-contained teacher has asked me to prom. ;) Okay ... in reality, Bobby and I are chaperoning, and my 30-year-old self will no longer fit into the gowns I wore when I was in high school.

I don't like malls. I probably spent too much time in them as a kid, going every blessed night with my parents. First we went to Westminister Town Mall and completely struck out; aside from a dozen dresses in Deb, there wasn't a single prom dress in sight. I guess Carroll County girls don't go to proms?

Friday was "Earth Day" at school, which actually translates to staff-clean-the-school-day-while-the-students-are-technically-supposed-to-help-but-mostly-don't. So I was already pooped and didn't feel like a completely futile walk around the mall. Alas.

After Aunt Lil's funeral, we were in White Marsh and so stopped at the much larger White Marsh Mall. Between going for myself and going with Erin, I've probably been dress shopping here a dozen times. Most of the stores have gotten rid of their prom dresses. :^| Macy's had some; they had a pretty white gown with black lace trim, but the only dress in my size, the zipper was so jammed that I couldn't even unzip it enough to get the dress on. The mall was crowded and hot and I was still in my funeral clothes and so extra-uncomfortable as a result.

The mall does have a store that specializes in formal clothes for women, and we finally found something there. (I offered to do this on my own, but Bobby insisted on going with me, brave man that he is.) The dress I ended up getting is very Roman-looking and, of course, red. Yes, I'll post pictures when the time comes. ;)

Bobby and I are auditing an elementary Latin course this summer via the Mythgard Institute. We've both wanted to learn basic Latin for some time now--enough that we can fumble through translations of primary source texts--and this opportunity seemed too perfect to pass up. I'm really excited about it. The only bad thing is that I will have pretty much turned in my paper for this current course and I will be starting the Latin course. This semester's class, the History of Pop Culture, has been somewhat disappointing. Turns out it is an urban studies course, which has proven interesting in some regards but in no way includes anything that I could see myself studying in the future. My paper is on the relationship between agriculture and urbanization in the mid- to late 20th century, which is the most interesting topic I could muster and is probably telling that I ended up finagling a rural studies topic into an urban studies course. But the reason I took the course was to get a stronger understanding of the history of popular media--which I assumed would be a part of any pop culture course--so I could apply it in the context of fan studies. Pfft.

This morning, I was working at my desk and looked over at the wall, and there was a jumping spider there! I like spiders in general but really enjoy jumping spiders; I had one as a companion in my study two years ago. I might never see this one again, but I'm hoping I do. I'm also hoping it eats some of the brown mamorated stinkbugs that perennially invade the house.

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