Sunday, May 27, 2007

Engagements for all!

The world is very small.

My friend Jenny from college got engaged recently too! Gio and she got engaged on the 19th. I have no flattering pictures of them together, so the one on the right will have to do (at least for now).

Jenny went to school with me and was acquainted to me through Emily, my favorite roomie. Giovanni and she have been together for almost a year and are actually moving into their home together in July. With that said, Jenny is already miles ahead of me in wedding planning. She's actually already looked at a few wedding facilities already with her mom and has an idea of a place that she'd like. To be fair though, she's on the coastline so she's got quite a few choices available to her. All I know is that Trevor and I mutually agree that September is our preferred month for a wedding.

And my friend Cathy has been engaged for quite some time now but since she lives in Montana I haven't heard a peep from her in years. She's asked Kim to be her maid of honor so Kim's clearly very excited about it, though she hasn't seen Cathy in about as long as I have. They were very close though when Cathy was still in CT since they were both the smoky girls. Being a non-smoker I loved hanging out with them, but often found it difficult to be in their smoke-filled company for long stretches before feeling woozy.

I started browsing dresses online, and I think I saw one that is perfect for me, but you never know how something will look until you try it on. Plus, apparently wedding dress sizes are wonky and totally different than standard dress sizes so I have no idea of what size I would be. I'm a little torn about bridesmaids dresses though because it will ultimately affect the theme of the wedding. Whatever color I pick will be an ongoing theme throughout my entire wedding and I don't want to have, for example a cotton candy pink wedding just because I like pink dresses.

Trevor has discussed having 4 groomsmen. I don't really have that many close friends now that I'm not in school. I've lost touch with many people that have moved away. I can only think of 3 girls I'd like to be my bridesmaids so far. I got to work on that whole...friend...thing.

I've been eating like a bum since we got back from Japan. I kind of want to make cream puffs though so maybe if I have more energy tomorrow I'll start on that. I have some pistachio pudding mix that's calling out to be used creatively.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Engagement Jitters

I'm flip flopping between being really excited that I'm engaged and being completely and totally overwhelmed by the very idea of planning a wedding.

Trevor seems totally un-phased, but then again he's had months to get used to the idea. In the back of my head, while I always knew we'd end up together I did not anticipate it being anytime soon. Sure, he was acting really weird the past few months trying to get all the ring details done on the sly. He admits it took 3 months to find the ideal ring mount since I had shown him what I felt was my "dream ring" and apparently it does not exist where we live.

I don't need for any other ring; it's very much the perfect ring for me, although it's impossible to take a photo of. It took 10 tries just to get that one and it doesn't quite do it justice; Trevor insists we try again later since his coworkers want a picture.

My parents are on vacation so I can't bug my mom about wedding stuff right now. I really feel like I need a wedding mentor because I really don't know where to begin for an Asian wedding. I don't think that it'll be particularly fun to plan this. It'll be fun to pick out a dress, wedding bands, and put together the little wedding favors...but menu picking, and finding addresses to send invitations to do not excite me.

We'd prefer a September wedding, but since we're still in the early phases of planning I think that we're flexible and would consider October too so we could have the beautiful Autumn leaves.

I told Kim yesterday in person about the engagement and she was over the moon. She already started listing off a bunch of recommendations for places since she's been a bridesmaid a half dozen times by now and has been through the motions more often than I have. I've yet to be anyone's bridesmaid in fact so I'm a little surprised that among my close friends I'm going to walk down the aisle first.

My family will expect Chinese food at the wedding; I really don't have too many options in that particular area. And Trevor's okay with that as long as we can also have sushi. I don't know how much a sushi chef is, but I suppose we'll figure that out in the coming months.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Japan



We finally got into Japan, but due to our fantastically bad luck with Northwest Airlines my bag never left CT and had to be placed on the following flight to Osaka. Due to further plane delays it took three days before my bags were even in Japan and one more day for delivery to our apartment in Nado. To say the least if it I was a very frustrated camper because I had to buy new stuff and also because I realized that Japanese fashion is ridiculous and I didn't want to wear anything they sold.

The trip itself was great. We ate a ton of really great food. We had rice bowls with salmon, shrimp, fish roe and egg that cost only about $4, ramen bowls, rotary sushi, restaurant sushi, yakatori, tempura, katsu, gyoza, and my top favorite Green Tea soft serve ice cream. The salmon was unbelievable in Japan. I could be very happy eating like that everyday, plus it was unbelievably affordable in comparison to American dining out prices.

The touristy stuff we did included walking all over Nado, Osaka, Namba, Kyoto, Kobe and Mino Mountain. Due to our very packed full itinerary we literally walked miles every day and as a result Trevor had at least 4 blisters on his feet.

The old temples were beautifully well kept up and the gardens surrounding them were green and healthy looking. If nothing else the Japanese take a great deal of pride in the appearance of their things.

My feet were pretty tired after walking so much but you can't get anywhere fun without walking and taking the train. The train system was really huge. Almost no one has a car and everyone takes the train for regular commuting so the public transit system is complex but seemingly very efficient if you can read Japanese. We had some issues with the JR line, but overall got around the area without too much drama and without having to take a taxi.

I was particularly fond of the Rotary Sushi. There's no real comparison in the western world, but it's very much like sitting at a round bar with a rotating selection of food in front of you that moves on a conveyor belt lined with marble. In the middle of the bar is a guy (or a number of guys) that just make sushi and plate them in small dishes. The dishes go on the belt and you pick which ones you want. At the end of your meal they count the number of plates you went through and you pay a fixed price per plate. It's like the fast food version of sushi, except since they're always making it and it's always spinning around it's very freshly made and you get to try weird things you wouldn't have otherwise gotten the opportunity to do so. For example, on this trip I tried raw horsemeat sushi. And while that sounds sick, it's delicious...very much like rare roast beef.

On our last day we hiked up Mino Mountain and saw the waterfall. We had some snacks and ice cream and spent the rest of the day at the apartment letting our feet relax. After a small nap on my part, we got dressed and went to Sushi at a place Trevor's friend Masa recommended. The Toro (Belly Tuna) was unbelievable. It melts in your mouth like creamy butter. (In the states it usually runs about $12 per piece, if not more.) And we had miso soup with clams in it.

After dinner we took a spin on the Hep 5 Ferris Wheel on top of the Hep 5 building complex. From the top you can see the entire cityscape and since we took our ride around 9pm it shone with the lights below. It was also where Trevor proposed to me.

He had been acting weird for a while before our trip, but during the trip I was so wrapped up in being uncomfortable and bug bites and sore feet that it came to me as a surprise. At the very top of the Ferris wheel he got down in one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course. And I cried. And we celebrated with green tea ice cream. lol

The next day we left Japan for home but of course due to our fantastically bad luck we had a very difficult time leaving. We took a plane from Kansai Airport to Tokyo. That went fine, but we didn't know there were two (or more) airports in Tokyo and we had to go from one to another to make our connection to Detroit. We find out that we have to take an hour long busride to get to the right airport and by the time we get there we're literally running to get through customs and security to make our flight. To top it off due to our missing luggage we had to claim what we paid for in new clothes so that we could be reimbursed for our trouble but since all the receipts are in Japanese we had to sneak that in Tokyo before we boarded for Detroit.

So after a lot of hassle with Northwest we're finally home and after we use the travel vouchers they gave us for all of the frustration we plan never to fly Northwest again. Although on the bright side, it'll always be known as the trip where everything went wrong, and when we got engaged.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Layover Woe

I had a false start today.

Our flight to Detroit was delayed for 4 hours and because of that we wouldn't make it on time to our connecting flight to Osaka. Because of that we tried to find an alternative flight, but...there weren't any. So after spending hours at the airport we finally gave up and went home with the promise from NorthWest that everything will be right tomorrow.

Well, we also got a $250 voucher each for the hassle but I would have still rather just gotten to Osaka on time. Now we're at home after hailing a taxi and trying to get rested after all of the exhausting bother of today.

It just felt like nothing was going our way today :( So now I'm going to take a shower and try to get some rest for another day of travel.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Last Post

Watching the last episode of Gilmore Girls.

Packing is all done thankfully so I'm just hanging out. I hope to try and stay up late tonight in order to better sleep on the plane. I'm prone to being so anxious I can't sleep so hopefully overall exhaustion will force my body into submission.

After the show I'll have to dig into my fridge and dump anything that will go bad before I come back home. (sigh) Here's to hoping everything goes off seamlessly tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pre-Trip Cleaning

I didn't do much cooking today. Mostly I cleaned up after Chowder, Trevor's old dog. I say old because Trevor's mom gave him back to the people who bred him since she's been a nomad in recent years and hasn't been able to take care of Chowder quite the way she wanted to. Trevor missed him so he had him stay over with us for a few days.

In any case, Chowder is a red lab and he's the sweetest dog. It's absolutely not a bother to have him, even in our small apartment because he's quite content to just lay on the floor and be pet all day long. And like any dog he sheds like it's his job so I spent my morning vacuuming since Trevor gave him back this morning.

And after my morning of cleaning I went to the mall to try and make use of a coupon I had. (Yes, I'm that person with the coupons and I'm okay with it.) And I bought some of my favorite face cream, Vichy. I swear by the stuff.

When I got back my favorite old roomie Emily emailed me about a character reference for her new apartment in NYC. So of course I agreed to write one because she's my friend and I love her very dearly. She's being kicked out of her existing place after a lot of drama since the building got sold and the new owner's selling Emily's unit.

Being a nervous Nelly, I spent at least an hour pouring over my written reference about Emily. I didn't want to be too casual lest the leasing people think I was mildly retarded and I didn't want to be too formal because it wouldn't seem sincere. Fast forward three hours and Emily says she signed her new lease! I like to think my stunningly well thought out reference had something to do with it. Once she gets settled in I'll have to visit and see the new place.

In food related news I made a fantastic smoothie out of my homemade raspberry strawberry sorbet and some pineapple/mango juice I had. The result was a slightly tart but refreshing slushy drink that was only improved with the addition of some Cruzan Mango Rum. Then again, how can anything not be improved by a splash of rum?

I'm up late for once because I'm trying to slowly adapt to Japanese time. I don't really like it because there's nothing on worth watching but it's nice to have some solitary time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Guacamole

Trevor (my boyfriend) and I are going to Japan on Wednesday.

So far I haven't packed a thing and am trying my best to tidy up the apartment before we go.

I'm usually over-prepared and over packed by now but I'm trying to be laid back. After all, it's my vacation and I shouldn't have to be stressed out about it.

Yesterday Kim came to visit. I made her some guacamole since she loves the way I make mine. I actually make it Trevor-style since he brought this particular combination of flavors to my attention. I put together a short cooking lesson for her so she could make it herself. Kim likes to cook too, but less on a day to day basis now that she's juggling her regular job and being a Mary Kay lady. Her cooking joy comes for hostessing and having a bunch of people over. I am definitely not a hostess; I just like cooking fun stuff.

Asian Style Guacamole
2 Avocados peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 small onion diced
1 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp wasabi
garnish with strips of nori (seaweed)

Mix soy sauce and wasabi together in a small bowl. Mix avocado and onion together with lime juice. Stir in soy wasabi mixture and garnish with nori. Serve with chips or crackers. It's not much to look at but it sure is tasty. If you have tomatoes you can add some diced ones to the mixture too. It's a very flexible recipe.

I just bought an ice cream maker Saturday so today I made Trevor some Green Tea Ice Cream. It's his favorite dessert and it's difficult to find even in specialty stores. I'm okay with GTIC, but I made some Raspberry Strawberry Sorbet for myself just in case. I never really got into sorbet because it was the low-fat version of ice cream, but after having some I really liked it. It's fresh and clean feeling.