The best best-man video ever

Ireland vs Georgia, Rugby World Cup 2007. Stad...
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Smarty Pants is a big rugby fan, and because he’s part Irish he supports the Ireland national team.

I’m a fan of big burly men, and because the Ireland national team has lots of big burly men I’m a fan of them, too.

So on our wedding day, our best man (Smarty Pants’ brother) managed to get us a card signed by several of Ireland’s players, including the legendary Brian O’Driscoll.

We have many photos of me jumping up and down in my wedding dress.

It looks like a Kiwi best man has beaten my brother-in-law. (Hat tip to Bronwen Evans and Elyssa Papa for tweeting it yesterday.)

He somehow got four All Blacks (the New Zealand national team) to pretend they were the bride’s ex-boyfriends and to wish the couple luck on video.

This is priceless – especially Sonny Bill Williams (on the exercise bike), who’s got “romance hero” written all over him.

Too bad the hero of my rugby romance novel is English, not Kiwi. That’s a freaking adorable accent.

What’s the best best-man gift or trick you’ve ever seen?

Video: Why men and women can’t be friends

Answer’s pretty clear (at least, it is if you’re a guy at Utah State University’s library): Because we’re men, and we have those feelings.

This clears up why all my very-close straight guy friends from college dropped off the face of the earth once they got married.

Do you think men and women can be friends? Does a bit of attraction get in the way of friendship, or does it enhance it?

P.S. Why didn’t I go to Utah State??

The sexiest trait a man can have

When Smarty Pants and I were living in Prague, we got caught in sudden summer thunderstorm during a picnic. We had only a few seconds’ warning before the clouds rolled in and torrential, frigid rain pounded down on us.

We threw our food back in the basket and ran for the closest cover: a copse of trees. Soaked through, we hugged each other and shivered, waiting until the rain passed. I felt Smarty Pants trying to tug the back of my pants down, something I thought was odd since we were outside, it was broad daylight, and he’s a pretty reserved Brit when it comes to public displays of affection.

Then I realized I also felt Smarty Pants’ hands on my upper back. Two hands.

He wasn’t the one pulling my pants down.

I jerked out of his arms in time to see a tiny animal, like a rat, drop from where it had clung to my wasitband. “Frickin’ hell! A rat! A giant, nasty rat!” Continue reading “The sexiest trait a man can have”

Grandpa’s Christmas atlas: Why bookshops and print books still matter

Last night (December 23rd) around 8pm, my grandma called me with a special Christmas request.

“Will you do me a favor, sissy? Will you buy Grandpa a new atlas and wrap it up and put it under the tree, from Grandma?”

Grandpa
Grandpa, mid-story, on 4th of July (hence the beads)

It seemed like a pretty random request. She’s never asked me to buy anything on her behalf, but I know that this is the first year she’s struggled to get out of the house. Pain from a few injuries and arthritis has kept her home more and more. Grandpa, too, has had a tough year. When I flew home a week ago, he looked much more frail than he had in July, when we celebrated his 90th birthday. Like the indestructible man he’s always seemed to be, he hasn’t let that stop him from working construction with my dad.

Feeling honored to have such a task – especially one where I could spend time flipping through map books – I quickly agreed and asked what kind of atlas she wanted to give him.

“It don’t matter. I just want it to be a new one. Every time you kids travel somewhere, he looks it up in his old atlas that he inherited from Grandpa Latham in the 70s. Now you’ve moved to Holland, he can’t find the town where your livin’ or the one where you’re workin’, and he’s flustrated.”

She told me, “You’re the only one I know who goes to bookshops. I don’t know nothin’ about them, so I wanted to ask you to do this for me.”

So last night my husband and I drove to the nearest bookstore and spent time looking at their atlases until we found one that had our new hometown in it as well as large-enough print that Grandpa could read it.

I started writing this post this morning, and I was going to make it about why brick-and-mortar bookshops and print books still matter: because with only one day until Christmas, I would’ve struggled to get an atlas delivered in time. And the one I would’ve chosen from the brief browse I had online before going shopping ended up not having the town where I work in it.

But this morning, as I paused in my writing to wrap gifts, we got a message. Grandma left it on dad’s cell phone early this morning, but he only noticed he had a message four hours later. Grandpa is sick, and Grandma had to rush him to the doctor at 6.45am.

We can’t get hold of her. We don’t know what “sick” means, and we’re clinging to hope because she said “doctor”, not “hospital”. My cousin Will lives with them, and he said everyone was fine when he left for work at 6, so whatever it was must have come on suddenly.

When we got the message, I was in the middle of wrapping the gift I’d bought Grandpa: a tin train full of candies, since he has a sweet tooth. The last present I had to wrap was the atlas.

Wrapping it up, and writing “To Grandpa, With love from Grandma” on the tag made my eyes swell up and my throat scratchy. My grandpa is one of Earth’s finest men, and I don’t need an atlas to tell me that.

So we wait to hear. In the meantime, Grandpa’s atlas is wrapped, sitting under the tree, with love from Grandma.

Video: British sailors’ Christmas wish comes true

The HMS Ocean was supposed to be at sea for seven weeks.

Seven months later, they’ve finally returned to their port in Plymouth. When they found out they’d be home in time for Christmas, they shot a music video set to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas.

Mariah tweeted them to say they’d made her day.

I hope it makes yours, too!

Many came home today to meet their babies for the first time. One man I saw on the news coverage tonight managed to fly home for the birth of his twin girls, but had to get back to the ship afterward. What an incredible day this must be for them and their families. And an incredible night. 😉

You can see the BBC’s coverage of their homecoming on the BBC News website.

I love a great reunion story, and Christmas makes it all the better. Have you heard or read any great reunion stories lately?