Well, the news is that I'm in Morocco.
I've been here since May 23rd or something and I'm leaving on Thursday. I have been very bad about writing because I spend most of my computer time emailing the old ldnmbf, whom I may as well now refer to as Himself.
Here in Morocco I have done the following things:
Gone to my niece's 7th grade energy symposium.
Watched my niece's piano recital.
Attended my nephew's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. My sister and I sang "God Bless America" at said Court of Honor. Yes indeed we did.
Attended my sister's little church group.
Shopped in the medina in Rabat.
Visited some Roman and Moroccan ruins now inhabited by giant storks and diseased cats.
Gotten henna. Washed it off in the Atlantic Ocean.
Attempted to visit the casbah in Rabat but been thwarted by some grody, leery young men who led us instead to their balcony and showed my sister their chair. At least it was a lovely view.
Eaten some of the most delicious food of my life cooked by my sister's very talented maid. Yes, she has a maid. It has been hard for me to get used to. It makes me feel weird.
Visited an orphanage in Meknes and realized I could indeed adopt a baby and love it as much as my own child. Saw in the eyes of too many babies how desperately they need near-constant physical closeness.
Been treated with extraordinary hospitality by a family my sister knows who lives in Meknes. Eaten lots of delicous food there and made to dance a Berber dance in front of everyone.
Taken a train to Casablanca and visited the second or third largest mosque in the world (there seems to be some dispute) and eaten a delicious meal in a jewel of a restaurant and enjoyed conversation with some friends of my sister's with whom I was wrongly convinced I would never get along.
Attended my nephew's high school graduation, at which he very capably spoke (he was senior class president).
Climbed aboard a mini-bus with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, sister's friend and her her husband, other sister, niece, and nephew, and drove to Marrakech.
Ascended in said mini-bus the mountains above Marrakech and saw an old old man bent more than 90 degrees crossing the road with an enormous basket on his back.
Been accosted by unenthusiastic performers at Chez Ali, a touristy dinner spot with "entertainment" provided by dancers and singers from different regions in Morocco and with actual entertainment by tricky horsemen. Dubbed said dinner spot "Cheese Alley."
Wandered the square in Marrakech at midnight.
Slept in a dingy little hotel room with my niece and sister.
Driven to Essouira by the sea and eaten a bad lunch, swum deliciously in the cold cold Atlantic Ocean, shopped, fallen in love with the myriad cats on the streets, and eaten a mediocre dinner in a touristy restaurant that was a source of contention between certain factions in our group.
Climbed to the second floor of a greasy spoon after stint at aforementioned touristy restaurant and eaten delicious frieds and brouchettes and spoken in German to a Berber fellow named Said.
Driven through the back coastal roads between Essouira and Casablanca, observing how dependent country dwellers are on burros and donkeys (anyone who can explain the difference gets a prize).
Eaten an enormous meal at a roadside restaurant on one of said back roads. Fed many leftovers to the delectable kitties hanging about.
Given a mini-concert to my sister's friends along with my dad and other sister at which I sang "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" and "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
Had tea with my lovely graduate school friend who had her birth here in Rabat and now calls Casablanca home.
And now we are all caught up. On the important things. No one wants to hear about my last couple of months in graduate school. They were stressful. But now I've written that, I remember they were also satisfying, and I got to know my four lovely project partners so well, which was an honor and privilege.
I graduated. Well, I still have a few little ends to tie up. But I wore my cap and gown and pomped and circumstanced. Sting was at my graduation. He didn't speak or anything. He was just there. Maybe he had a kid graduating. At any rate I was within about 2 feet of him and thought "That guy looks familiar. Oh, it's because he's Sting."
And now I'm really caught up.