So I’ve had another period where I haven’t been posting anything, and I haven’t even been updating on the Facebook page (which you should totally like). Well, this is a major part of what’s been occupying my attention:

Hang on, I got some dust in my eye or something . . .

Hang on, I got some dust in my eye or something . . .

Now, just to be clear, that is not me in that photo. I’m the one taking it. And the radiant beauty in white is my dear friend, mutually-adopted sister, and future co-author Elizabeth Amy Hausladen.

Er, wait. Elizabeth Amy Hajek. Yeah. Got to remember that. Fortunately, she likes hearing people repeat themselves on this subject. 

I’ve mentioned Elizabeth before (and you should look at her personal blog Elenatintil, her business blog Confessions of a Seamstress, and her Deviant Art page), but I’ve never told the whole story. Elizabeth is my second “mutually-adopted sister,” and she apparently set a goal of getting that particular relatively soon after she met me in 2008. When I give out a title like that, it’s 100% real; Elizabeth is as much my sister as if she and I had grown up in the same house. Right down to the knock-down, drag-out, I’m-not-talking-to-you-right-now arguments, and the tearful forgiveness afterward. Yup. Siblings through and through.

(Of course, I’m still trying to figure out what to call Nathan Hajek, her husband. “Brother-in-law” is inaccurate, after all. I’ll have to go ask them if they have any ideas . . . but not right now. They’re too busy being deliriously happy this week, as you might imagine.)

Anyway, Elizabeth met me because we shared a writing mentor (a mentor who’s now the co-owner of a small press that has me on retainer). For a time, she was also the nanny (I liked to refer to her as the governess) for Regina’s children while I boarded with them during another job, so we spent three months in the same house. Apparently Regina was hoping we might start a relationship, and we did — just as siblings rather than lovers.

Even my own mother wanted me to marry Elizabeth, despite the fact that she knew what my actual affection for Elizabeth was. “I know,” she said wistfully. “But I just really want Elizabeth to be my daughter-in-law.” Well, another woman has that honor now, and I’m certain that the elder Mrs. Hajek knows how lucky she is.

Nathan and Elizabeth are not two peas in a pod; if we want a food analogy here, then they are two complimentary dishes that create an awesome feast. But perhaps the better analogy is that they’re more like Lego bricks. They just fit.

Their first date started at an Olive Garden and wound up at a comic book store where they lost track of time. I’m going to take some small measure of credit here, if I may; years ago, I got her into X-Men, and so started her training in the mystical Way of the Geek. While we lived at Regina’s house, I also got her interested in gaming. Well, it turns out that Nathan’s quite the geek himself, and even works for a gaming company, Fantasy Flight.

Now, as you might imagine, I’m quite protective of my little sister, so I started with an initial attitude of “Highly Suspicious.” The first chink in the armor turned out to be Elizabeth’s birthday, last February. He gave her some custom Lego minifigures of her favorite two X-Men. That’s when I thought maybe he might just be a good guy. See, they’d only been dating for a short time, and he wasn’t already a Lego fan (unlike Elizabeth and I). It’s not that hard to find these figures, but you do have to look — and he had to be paying attention to what she likes in multiple areas.

Eventually, I became certain that I could find no reason they shouldn’t get married — particularly since Elizabeth was so happy. But I still couldn’t give my full support, and it wasn’t until I arrived for the wedding that I realized why.

See, I get a lot of information about people from watching their faces. I’m a natural cold reader, able to tell when someone’s hiding something and often what they’re actually feeling even if they don’t know it themselves. (If you’ve seen the TV show Lie to Me, it’s like that — only the show elevates it to some kind of superpower. Still, if you watch the first four minutes of the very first episode, it’s a really good description of what this is all about. I’m not, however, planning on doing a blog post on the subject anytime soon; I’m a natural with very little training, and I’ll leave the subject to the experts.)

Now, when I arrived in Minnesota, it was the first time I’d ever met Nathan except for a single short Skype conversation. This meant I was finally getting a feel for him without a filter from other people or Facebook. It was what I had been missing. I don’t think anyone noticed me testing him, even Elizabeth, and Nathan passed with flying colors. I told Elizabeth a few hours before the wedding that I had absolutely no objections.

Of course, I continued watching during the actual ceremony, when I knew his raw emotions would be there for everyone to see. I went right to enthusiastic support.

See that? Elizabeth just walked in and he looks like he forgot there was anyone else in the room.

See that? Elizabeth just walked in and he looks like he forgot there was anyone else in the room.

Oh, and we should have a picture of the bride too — because Elizabeth is still my favorite. (Sorry about the lighting; the chapel wasn’t designed for photography.)



So I say to Mr. and Mrs. Hajek the same thing the knight said to Indiana Jones:

The last thing to mention is the gift I made for them. When Elizabeth released their wedding registry, she immediately told me to ignore it. “From you,” she told me, “I expect something geeky and Lego — and I have informed Nathan as such.”

I proceeded to oblige, and based on her reaction I, too, chose wisely.

A garden wedding scene with some of their favorite fictional characters. It actually made Nathan take his eyes off his bride for a whole second and a half!

A garden wedding scene with some of their favorite fictional characters. It actually made Nathan take his eyes off his bride for a whole second and a half!

In this version, their wedding was officiated by Elrond; Elizabeth’s maid of honor is Arwen; Nathan’s best man is Luke Skywalker; and the ringbearer was — of course! — Frodo.

In the audience, we have Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and two stormtroopers, Boba Fett, a musketeer stopping Boba Fett (this way Han doesn’t have to shoot first at a wedding), Gandalf, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Tony Stark as Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and Loki hidden behind a bush looking for an opportunity to commit mischief. (The palace guards are there because Elizabeth is very much an Anglophile.)



I cannot tell you how happy I am for Elizabeth and Nathan. I had been joking that I’d finally have to admit that Elizabeth was “all growed up,” and I knew I and many other people would be at an increasing disadvantage in the competition for her time.

But you know what? I’m fine with that. I doubt I’ll ever let go of the reflex to be the protective older brother, but I can rest easy knowing that she’s got someone by her side who meets my standards for husband material — and might even exceed them.