December is busy for everyone.  It's a lame excuse for not posting, so I'm not even gonna try it.  I mention the insanity of December only to highlight the most insane part of it: My Trip to Spokane,Washington For the Marriage of This Guy:

Just so you know, I went to a lot of trouble to rotate and re-save that photo, and it still didn't work.  Small wonder that blogging makes me  so defeated. Anyway, This Guy is my brother Ethan, in a picture taken just hours before his wedding to the beautiful and delightful Cami.

You can't see her face very well in this shot, but perhaps she doesn't want her face associated with this blog anyway.

On our way to Spokane, my brother Andy and sister Hannah were making very poor Spokane puns.  When we landed at the airport, Andy wondered if the local newspaper was called the "Spo-kane Word," which is just bad on so many levels it's embarrassing.  I did not have the pleasure of driving to the hotel with them, but by the time we arrived the puns had disintegrated into Andy commenting that it was "Spo-chilly."

Between the Spo-chilliness and the ceaseless Spo-jokes, the trip was shaping up to, more or less, blow.  Until I discovered we were less than a mile from designated Native American lands.  Noting that my hero, Sherman Alexie, refers to himself as Spokane Indian, I insisted Dan and I go on an impromptu trip to The Rez.

DAN:  What are we supposed to do when we get there?

ME: We see the sights, then ask somebody if this is indeed Sherman Alexie's birth-rez.

DAN:  Um, are we supposed to call it that?

This was my first time on a rez, and I have to admit to finding it baffling.  I had expected some sort of mobile-home community with people standing outside selling bracelets.  I expected this not because I believe stereotypes, but because my friend Nancy (who is not Native American but lives on a rez to provide health care) has told me it's actually the case. All I saw on this rez was a casino/restaurant, a soon-to-open luxury hotel, and a gigantic parking structure.  Upon entering the casino restaurant,  I noticed the people running the place looked as Native American as I did.  Which is to say they did not look Native American at all.

If you can't tell what I'm standing next to in this picture, no worries, because I can't either.  It was some sort of display case with dolls and stuffed animals, but neither looked very Native American.   Still, I couldn't very well pose next to the sorry-looking restaurant.  And I don't think I would have been allowed to take a picture of the vending machine selling both cigarettes and Grandma's Cookies (it was located in the casino). Finally, I asked a cashier with bleached hair and acrylic nails if she happened to know if a  famous writer named Sherman Alexie had ever lived on this rez.

WHITE LADY WORKING AT THE CASINO:  Do you know what tribe he's from?

ME: ...Spokane?...

Turns out there are like 14 reservations in Spokane.  I'm still not sure any people actually live on this one.

Spo-tastic entrance to what is probably not Sherman Alexie's rez.