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What happens when you travel the US under trying circumstances with a group of people that becomes something like your second family, only closer than family, and then you have to go away, leaving them behind.  For three years.  And then you come back.  And you’re different, and they’re different, and your life isn’t their life anymore, but you still love each other just the same.  And it’s good.  Really, really good.  This is why I love going to the NET Center so much: because when I’m there I know how deeply I am loved.

Highlights from the weekend?  Well, Paco’s baby looks just like him – round beach ball face and blue, blue eyes, and fine blond hair that curls when it’s wet.  I got to see Tigger for the first time in four years, which was severely awesome.  And on September 8, the same day that Fantine is getting married, Pooh is joining a community of Franciscan nuns in Texas.  It was so good to talk and pray with her before she leaves.  It is so beautiful and fitting that she will be there, but it means that I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again.  I just don’t make it to Texas much (um, at all), and as part of a religious community she won’t get to travel much either.  But I know that she will be praying for me, and I’ll be praying for her, and hopefully we’ll at least see each other in heaven.

I got to go swing dancing twice while I was there.  I went to a lesson at Cinema Ballroom on Saturday afternoon (finally learned tandem charleston – yes! ), and a dance at the Tapestry Saturday night.  I was a little surprised.  I’ve never met so many guys who have been dancing so long, but have never learned anything but East Coast.  Maybe I was hanging out on the beginner’s side of the room?  I don’t know.  I also got a lot of comments on my “smooth” dancing style.  I guess maybe they’re used to girls who really bump out the triple-steps?  It was a little odd, but very fun.  I’m going back to St. Paul in September for Fantine’s wedding, and I’m really, really tempted to come up a night early so that I can dance at the Tapestry on a Thursday.  We’ll see…

Now I’m visiting the Young Queen (and I really have to come up with a better nickname than that, no matter how much it fits her) and her family.  I enjoy them so much.  Her little brothers are so cute, and little-boyish, teasing each other about who can play tackle football better.  Tonight we’re going to watch the movie.  (I’ve been spreading word of our movie wherever I go.  I left a copy back in St. Paul with Bogart to copy and give out to all my friends there.)  Tomorrow we’re going to hang out in Milwaukee some, and then I catch a flight back home.  But I don’t want to think about that part yet.