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My baby sister is engaged. What?!?! Wait, who? Yes, my baby sister. It seems like yesterday, she was sporting her Wonder Woman underoos. Not too long ago, I cheered for her at high school volleyball matches, and then watched her graduate from college.

I am several years older than my baby sister, so I will always refer to her as my baby sister. Compared to my father and me, she is very level-headed.  Her achievements include graduating top of her class, earning a degree in history, and she is now pursuing a master’s degree in political science. She is athletic, intelligent, beautiful, kind, and generous.

I was a bit apprehensive when I learned she was dating a sailor; after all, her father and brother were sailors. I am so glad they continued to date because I think he is a great guy. It is nice to know she is safe and secure, but more importantly, she is happy. Her fiancé makes her laugh and supports her in her endeavors. The more I get to know him, the more I like him. I will be proud to call him a brother one day.

Saturday morning the Tidal Basin was misty and cold, but we were determined to get some photographs before the cherry blossoms were gone. We parked the car near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial before 7AM and began the morning with a few pictures on the steps of the memorial.

They began to relax, and the pictures reflected it. They have a wonderful sense of humor, and laughter ensued. She and I had some ideas, while he was just happy to be there that early after a late night at work (insert sarcasm). He never complained, and midway through, he mentioned he liked high-contrast black and white photographs. Fantastic, because so do I.

I know they are not poetry fans, but I am. Yes, I am a geeky software engineer who reads and writes poetry, and loves photography. Here is one of my favorite sonnets by Pablo Neruda:

Sonnet XVII 

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

— Pablo Neruda

Here are some of the pictures from Saturday morning:

The happy couple.

I believe she has almost tamed this wild Texas stallion.

Laughter is the best medicine.

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Ladies, sometimes you need to just grab your man
by the ear to make him listen.
If you must, get your future mother-in-law and sister-in-laws involved.
They know what's best for him, too.

Impersonating Joey Tribbiani will not get you the
answer you want but it will get a laugh.

You didn't ask me the right way. A girl has standards.

Now, ask her from your heart.

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She said, "Yes!"

At first glance, one might mistake the fallen cherry blossoms for snow.

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