Sunday, December 28, 2008

Xmas '08

Christmas was good. I hope everyone else had a nice holiday as well.

Mine was spent at The Farm with Trevor's family. My own family was invited as well but my mom was actually spending the holiday working and my dad certainly wasn't going to leave her alone. Add in the fact that my parents are a bit wary of driving places which they are unfamiliar. I had to drive my own mother to my bridal shower in order for her to attend.

In any case, it was a nice time. It was however punctuated by a lot of car trouble.

Yes. Car trouble. Times two.

First we're making our merry way out to Boston to visit with some of the extended family and Devin's car doesn't go into gear. It'll go into Reverse, but none of the forward moving ones will work. We were right behind him thankfully, so the boys (and a nice stranger) rolled it out of the intersection and we eventually got a tow to come move it back to The Farm to be dealt with after the holiday weekend.

Since Devin was without his car he jumped into ours. More specifically, mine because Trevor's car doesn't like any kind of precipitation related weather. We're sitting in a bit of traffic on the way through Boston (naturally) and my car starts to smoke. It's very obviously my car because it is coming from the hood region. After sitting in an overheated car for what felt like a lifetime, although it was likely just about 10 minutes, we got off the next exit and found that the hose to the coolant had exploded green coolant. The boys think that it wasn't attached correctly when I had my major car overhaul from my accident a few weeks back. It was reattached and appeared to be okay.

So after all of that, as though I weren't already traumatized enough from the original accident I now am totally petrified of driving at all because apparently at any moment things can explode, stop working, or slip and land head first into the guardrail. I'm over it. Bring on the teleportation chamber.

But the part of the holiday where we got to see Trevor's aunts and uncles and cousins was really nice. I ate a lot of cookies. Well, I made the cookie dough and then cooked them up Xmas Eve so we could all enjoy hot cookies. Nothing is more enjoyable to me than cookies fresh out of the oven. I like fancy dessert too of course, but there's something about a fresh, warm cookie with all it's warm cookie smells wafting through the house that makes it a total sensory experience. Lacking more time and prep space in my own kitchen I decided against bringing a dessert. Usually I'd try to make...something. But this year we bought some David Glass cakes and called it a day. They were delicious. Trevor's mom made the black forest cake. It's a heck of a lot of work. It was very creamy and tasty but I guess I'm not as much of a cake person because there was a ton of steps to get that fella assembled.

I had made a cranberry bread in our oven, our new-old house oven because Trevor's Aunt Peggy gifted me with a wreath shaped bundt pan and I figure if I don't use it now I'd never use it this year. So anyway, I throw one together and of course my oven isn't level and my bread is now lopsided. Naturally I immediately scream to Trevor that the oven is messed up. I think it's more level now but I am doubtful it is at exact zero. This old house thing means a lot of lopsidedness.

Presents are nice and all but I'm really quite fond of the family and the eating. If you asked me what I got last year as gifts I couldn't even tell you. The presents are a...non-issue. I like presents and all but I'm admittedly annoying and hard to shop for. My husband and I really didn't do a big exchange this year because we've already bought SO. MUCH. STUFF. It actually felt incredibly selfish to think about getting something just for me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's not too late to Apologize

I've been reading blogs (what a surprise, she writes in one and she reads them) and what typically happens is that I absorb the snark and I begin writing in a much more abrasive fashion than I would ever actually express myself in real life. So if I by some irrational reason have rubbed you the wrong way I totally don't intend to rub anyone the wrong way. In fact I don't want to rub anyone on the internet. It seems both inappropriate and weird. I really just want to get thoughts out of my head.

It's that simple.

I think many thoughts...although they are rarely deep and meaningful. Thankfully I don't have to think wedding prep thoughts anymore and that's a huge weight off my shoulders, but I still have weird things floating in my head that worry me in some way. Mostly it's about things I still need to buy for the house that cost way too much money. Occasionally it's about how I really don't like working side-by-side with my husband on a physical task because we cannot communicate effectively when under physical and time related strain. (We are not bound to participate in The Amazing Race any day soon.) Sometimes it's as simple as "what the heck am I going to make for dinner?" but they're still there chirping away.

A friend had expressed that what I wrote upset her. It somewhat surprised me because I don't intend to upset people. I just write what I feel at a particular moment and I don't think about it. I say things that are typically factual, mostly opinion based, and somewhat self-indulgent...but I always try and make it a point to not single people out and say "dude, he was so stupid" or "that girl was the ugliest person I've ever seen." That kind of meanness is unnecessary. Mostly I will state the fact that I really liked, or really disliked a meal. That's pretty much the extent of my annoyingness. I talk about food a lot. I also do that in real life though so it's not really isolated just to this webpage.

Of course I apologized and of course I thought about it...a lot. I very rarely aim to hurt anyone's feelings. I can't even really remember the last time I was intentionally an awful mean witch of a person. Probably high school. And at first I felt guilty because, that's what I do. Actually to be more accurate, I have a very high empathy threshold. So I always put myself in someone else's shoes and in this case I felt that if the situation were turned around I'd likely be upset too. Not like, "let's bust out the Louisville Slugger" upset but a little emotionally bruised.

Now here's my own personal Kelly defect; I might listen to what you have to say, but if I don't agree with it...that's all there is. I won't even argue with you because I don't think less of your opinion. You are entitled to hold whatever opinion you want even if it is diametrically opposed with mine. BUT if I don't agree with it I'm not going to be swayed to being on your side either. Trevor realized this after shopping with me and realizing that even if he said he didn't like the shirt I was looking at, if I liked it I still bought it. It's not that his opinion doesn't matter, it's just that I know that I'm the one who's going to be stuck wearing it so my opinion trumps his. This is true of many other things than shirts. Politics for example. For some reason I feel other people have this same defect in them. So if I say "I can't believe you wouldn't consider eating lamb after I toiled for weeks picking out this menu" I don't really think I'm going to sway you in any way to trying it. Maybe as a child you had a pet lamb you named Betty Jo, and you loved Betty Jo so much and every time you see a lamb you think of her and it makes you cry rivers of tears in her memory. She was the best lamb ever. RIP, Betty Jo.

Hey...that's your story and it's okay, I won't torture you into bending to my will. I'm just a writing in my little blog. I'm not looking to change the world. So if you think my opinion is wrong, or weird or mean...it's not really meant to be a personal affront to your love of lambs or gigantic SUVs or purple leopard print pants...whatever. Just because I don't wear purple doesn't mean I will judge those who love it. In fact, my best friend's favorite color is purple. MY BEST FRIEND. I don't judge her lifestyle, I love the person inside of there.

(By the way, that was a joke.)

In all seriousness, take a breather. If I've offended you then you can simply make the choice not to read and we can still walk away and be friends. I still feel bad but what's been said has been said.

This makes me think of a really weird awful movie called "The Cell" where Jennifer Lopez somehow goes into the mind of a serial killer in order to rescue his victim from some kind of overly complicated death causing situation. I don't really remember the details but in any case, this is like a little flash into my head. It doesn't always make sense. It doesn't read very well. I'm sure it's riddled with gramatical errors but hey...you chose to click here. Be happy it doesn't have really gross images of inside-out cows being ridden by naked prostitutes (the movie had some very gory imagry) The things you find here might not be what you're looking for, but that's how people are. You take the good and the bad when you make the decision to read someone's thoughts. I think it's nice to believe that I'm 100% great and nice all of the time but the honest truth is that I'm just a person and I'm going to say dumb stuff. My opinion about purple pants will not always mesh with yours; I didn't ever say it had to. The beauty of friendship (or family for that matter) is that we're don't have to agree in order to appreciate one another. Also, 100% politically correct, nice behavior is boring. No one wants to read about that...trust me. It's like watching paint dry.

With that thought, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season celebrating whatever holiday your people believe in.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shopping around Christmas time is for crazies

Went to the mall today. It was as awful as I thought it'd be.

P.S.-Car is fixed but I'm totally in the market for some snow tires. I thought I was going to die on my way home from work Friday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who's been Naughty or Nice

So...I really need to get some shopping done. Talk about procrastination. The only worse thing would be to wait until the last minute on Christmas Eve.

Hopefully the person who picked me out of the Secret Santa pull is better than I am and would complete their shopping much earlier than this but just in case...I'll spit out a few things that are always big hits in Kelly-land.

1.) Vichy. I am addicted to the stuff. You can never have enough of the greatest day-cream ever. Plus I am lazy and enjoy built in SPF in everything. Also I am fond of their calming solution liquid cleanser.
2.) Food. In particular restaurant gift cards because if there is anything better than eating indulgently, it's eating indulgently for slightly less money. Plus once it's used it does not take up any space in my home.
3.) Good sheets. I spend like 8 hours in bed every single day. I think having good sheets is worthwhile. Plus over time you'll have to replace them as they get dirty, holey or just magically destroyed in the washing machine.
4.) Gift cards that I can redeem at a store within a 20 mile radius of where I live. I know that seems pretty self explanatory but there's nothing worse than getting a gift card to an establishment that you cannot readily get to without a full tank of gas.
5.) A set of dresser drawers. Mostly because I don't have one and I'd fall over with joy to not have to pull my teeshirts out of a suitcase anymore. Being ghetto is fine when you're a teenager but I'm an old married lady now. I'd like to pretend I am mildly civilized.
6.) A single wedding picture album with pictures in it. Let's just admit it right away that I'm a lazy bum and I totally haven't made an album of all the wedding pictures. Dude, it takes HOURS to compile that kind of thing and find the perfect album is a huge undertaking for me.
7.) Authentic Matcha Green Tea Powder. It's really hard to come by in our neck of the woods without traveling way out of my way to the Asian grocery store and I'd like to mix it into everything. I enjoy the pleasant green hue to gives to ice cream and cake. I also wouldn't be too sad to get some Thai Iced Tea Mix stuff. I think it's a combination of tea and miscellaneous herbs. Man, I love that stuff. I can even forgive that weird unnatural orange color because it tastes so good. If you can't tell, we're fond of tea. Particularly iced.
8.) Comforters. I have two, but now that I have a futon and a guest room I don't have enough to go around, unless of course we have guests that enjoy shivering while they sleep.
9.) Alcohol. I blame Emily for my recent fondness for Amaretto. I don't drink even 1/10 as much as I did in my younger years but when I do I'm definitely not sipping on whiskey. Girlie beverage me up, man! Life is too short to drink anything that feels like liquid fire.

I have resorted to ordering one of my gifts online. I usually don't because it makes returning things really difficult for the recipient but I can't shop...just can't bring myself to go to the mall. So I'm sorry, my-Secret-Santa person but you'll hopefully like your gift. Otherwise, feel free to regift it to someone else. I totally allow it. :) I like having Christmas cheer, but man this year I'm running on low. Perhaps that's why I need the Amaretto.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Furnished...sort of

Kitchen Island....Check

Futon...Check

Washer/Dryer...Check

Fridge...Check

We almost appear to have a home. I'm relieved to finally have the capacity to wash our mounting piles of clothing. Not like I don't have plenty enough clothes to last me, but I don't like doing a lot of laundry at once. Plus now I get the joy of doing laundry inside my own home and I don't have to drag it up and down stairs only to wait for available machines. And I'm glad to have a refrigerator which has door storage. The last one was mustard yellow and somewhere along the line lost all of the bars on the door that you would typically store your orange juice and milk in.

The kitchen is still quite small and even with some new toys in it I'm insane when I see things on the counter that shouldn't be there. The clutter is somehow amplified ten fold because there's only about a square foot of counter space and I loose it. I can't stand it. It's less noticable in a bigger kitchen but since it's so confined you can't get away from the mess...it's right in front of your face.

However now that I have enough appliances to feel less like a roaming college student I can now refocus on Christmas. Not like I'm Christian or anything but in my experience people tend to like presents around this time of year and tend to think it's weird when you're cheap, thoughtless and come empty handed. In any case, Devin called tonight distributing Secret Santa Assignments. Since I haven't really bought any Christmas presents it's good timing. Well I got my other Secret Santa gift for among my girlfriends, and bought Trevor a gift he promptly already ripped into well in advance of Christmas, but it doesn't particularly feel like the Christmas season.

Since I've been so occupied buying home-type things I haven't been casually shopping at the mall and accumulating Christmas gifts like I normally would. But since there's been an economic decline I don't really think it's a localized feeling. I'm sure a lot of other families are feeling less materialistic than normal, but it's actually quite nice. I don't want to come off as an ingrate because I very much like the holiday season and spending time with everyone but this whole present thing is really overrated. I never know what to buy anyone and they never know what to buy me in return. It's really just a lot of stressfulness. I know the root of it all is that we give gifts as a thoughtful token of the love we feel towards our family and friends but then it all gets so out of control because someone inevitably feels that they received a "bad gift" or inequitable gift was exchanged and it gets really uncomfortable. Or you feel some kind of gift competitiveness. It just tends to snowball into something weird.

So even though I only have one person I have to buy a gift for in this family secret santa dealie I still haven't figured out what I'm buying. I really need to get into gear, but per Liza the dollar limit should be around $30. You can't really buy anything really awesome and great for $30 so I'm a little confused about what I'm supposed to do.

I read a lot of posts recently about horrible Christmas gifts. I think it's funny mostly because it wasn't me. Like, the situation of having bought you a pair of earrings and then the next year you had forgotten I got you those earrings and you actually wrapped them back up in new paper and gave it to me as though it were a unique original gift. How awful...but terribly funny.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Moving on up

We are moved in.

I don't really want to talk about the horrible stress of moving and being yelled at...so I won't.

We're living among many boxes. The problem with older homes is A.) lack of storage space anywhere B.) tiny little closets C.) creaky floors. The great thing about older homes is that they're ridiculously sturdy. This poor house has been quite thoroughly abused in the past few weeks. My poor couch is somewhat broken trying to move him in (and in particular up 3 flights of stairs) but you have to anticipate that things will be broken when you move.

It's not as though I invested in fancy Ethan Allen furniture. If any piece of furniture I owned cost over $1,000 I'd be a bit more upset but perhaps one day when we have our "stay for life" home then I'd feel better about investing in long-term furniture. We actually made a small investment I guess because we're getting a futon at the end of the week delivered to our home. Delivery is key. Delivery means we don't have to try and maneuver it up the stairs. I don't consider myself an old creaky person but it's rough moving boxes up 3 flights of stairs and then running back down and repeating it over and over again. But having a futon will be very nice. I've never had one. I know that's hard to believe given the fact I graduated from college but I'm not gonna lie, Em and I never invested in one because we were poor and we didn't want to bother with moving the darned thing back and forth every year.

This one's pretty cool. It's not that frumpy dumpy looking thing when you think of a futon and I think that's probably why I was okay with it. It's moderately comfortable for what it is and what we paid for it and it's immensely better than having house guests sleep on the floor or fight over the one (now broken) couch. It totally doesn't coordinate with anything but...eh. It's fine. It performs it's function of being both a seat and a bed.

We also bought a kitchen island thing today. It has not been assembled but I'm excited because right now I have zero counter space and when I was trying to make pasta the night before I couldn't find a space big enough to put my 6x8 cutting board down. I ended up putting it on a cool burner I wasn't occupying with a pot. It was sort of ghetto and sad so I complained and Trevor agreed we needed another piece of furniture to assist me.

We have less space now than we did in the apartment, but even with this lack of space we need more storage so we have to buy these things to manage the belongings we have in an efficient way.

Don't expect any fabulous Christmas presents this year; I've spent most of my holiday money on the house and random furniture. lol Kim, Alexis, Amanda and I pulled names because we all want to buy gifts for one another (particularly since for the first time in many years we've all reconnected) but are all struggling because we have our own economic struggles to account for.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kelly

Is ever so slightly older than before.

Yes, my birthday passed. No I didn't really party it up. I did have dinner the night before with Kim and Vinnie. And yes, I did have brunch the morning after with Lexie, Amanda and Kim at Mill on the River topped off with mimosas and lots and lots of chocolate mousse and birthday cake. It was a really nice time with just the girls. I think we need to do that more often just to catch up and laugh and have fun. It reminds me that I have friends and a life...sometimes.

Mostly it's been a really stressful two weeks of working all day long, and then working on the house all night long only to come home, rinse off the paint, dust and general dirtiness, go to bed and repeat. It's pretty blah. All we do is spend our time at the house fixing something and then when we're just at our apartment finally relaxing Trevor talks about the house some more because of course tomorrow's another day and that means another day's worth of tasks to do and then when I'm with my parents they want updates about the house...and really...I'm over it. There's been way too much time, energy and money spent on this house in the past few weeks and I've been oversaturated. If we don't talk again for 3 weeks about anything house related, paint related, carpet related, furniture related, packing related...I'll be a happy lady. There's more to life than the house; I know there must be.

You can only take so much of one topic before you really want to move on.

Thanksgiving was okay. We spent it as a combined family with my immediate family and Trevor's together having a later turkey day dinner in Willimantic. It was nice to spend it together although I'm so tired I think I would have been grateful for any respite at all from painting and carrying heavy stuff. I think I was most excited about simply wearing normal clothes all day and not being a big bum covered in dust and paint splatter. Also I threw together an appetizer so it was (although stressful) nice to fiddle around in my apartment kitchen one last time. I love that kitchen. I was not asked to bring a dessert this year so I threw together a spinach artichoke dip thing and made phyllo cups out of phyllo dough and my mini cupcake pan. That pan is so handy and I would have never thought it at first because, really how many mini cupcakes can a person consume? But once you realize you can use it to form individually sized anything a world of possibilities opened itself up to me. lol That sounds ridiculously lame, but that's the kind of person I am.

I think it's starting to become a sort of unofficial holiday rule that when it's Thanksgiving we sort of celebrate with some Kelly birthday candles. I think it's really sweet that Liza and Devin remembered and made me an actual cake this year along with the traditional Thanksgiving pie. This year's birthday somehow felt like it totally fell between the cracks. Even though my husband sent roses to the office, and even though I got a spectacular brunch out with the girls (it felt very "Sex and the City" to be sitting around talking at a restaurant mid-day with mimosas in hand while gossiping) this year's birthday kind of felt...not special. Not to say every year needs to be some kind of huge blowout but I guess I just feel a little sad the house came out being more important and ate up all of the time that would have otherwise been spent with my loved ones and husband. I'm not trying to throw some kind of big pity party because I've very blessed with many loved ones who remembered it and I'm lucky to have a home when there are many people who are not quite as fortunate. It's hard to find the words that are neither too whiny nor too lax but I just also wish that things were different, that's all.

Now, back to painting and being covered in dust and splatter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crash Crash Bang Bang

So since I've had some time to mull it over and internalize my little fender bender I'll start off by complaining about my rental car.

I'm driving an 2008 Nissan Sentra. It's...alright. It's not as underpowered as my mom's '03 Corolla, but it's sort of plastic and cheap looking/feeling. Not like my Mazda3 is lavish by any means, but even though it's plastic and cloth it still appears modern. This doesn't appear all that visually stimulating and it's really loud (engine noise-wise) in comparison to my 3. I'm only just starting to get used to it but it handles a lot differently and I miss my own car even if does eat more gas. I'll say the seats are pretty comfy, but the material seems like it's a magnet for stains. I'm driving the bottom rung of Sentra that doesn't have a clicky thing to unlock your doors and no electronic means to adjust your mirrors. No big deal as a commuter car but I do very much miss my remote starter. Once you have one you can't look back...you become spoiled by running into a warm vehicle. I'm also confused by the cupholder, which apparently can't hold just one cup because it slides all over the place. It works better if you have 3 bottles of something in there, then there's no room for liquids to rattle around and spill. I've already spilled my coffee a bunch of times because he was sitting in there all by himself without any bottle buddies.

I'm really exhausted, but work's been a lot better. I've been able to work through all my plans even though the market has still been volitile I think people are now getting used to it and realize that while it might be down 200 points one day it'll be up again within a few days. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but rich guys like Warren Buffet made their money buying into things on the cheap when stocks were low and undesireable and waited it out until the market got better and realized a significant gain on the initial investment. If you're a skiddish investor then don't buy into something risky...period. I think what happens is that people get greedy and they see that their pal bought into Fund X and was bragging about how he made a ton of money and then they decide they want to get in on the action. The difference here however is the market timing. If you're buying when everyone else has realized something is hot, it's going price is going to be a lot higher and you're not guaranteed to see the same return your friend did.

If it were that easy to get rich, everyone would be rich. I'm not saying that investing is bad, quite the opposite in fact but I think your average Joe doesn't know what he's doing and jumps into something for all the wrong reasons and then ends up lamenting his decision. Be smart and educate yourself about what your money is going into; don't assume it's good just because other people said it was.

I'm reminded of a Simpsons episode where Bart Simpson for whatever reason found himself in a position where he received a lot of stock options into a company. I believe he had an idea for a comic strip and a company bought him out and paid him purely in stock. While it was going strong they literally handed people stock like napkins. I think they had them printed on their toilet paper. Later on the company goes under, totally bankrupt and he goes back to them asking about his money because he's got like 3,000 shares of this thing. Unfortunately 3,000 shares of something that's worth nothing is nothing.

It just goes to show that you can learn anything from the Simpsons.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crash and Survey

I recently got into a car accident. As such my mind is wandering all over the place and I kind of want to space out but at the same time I think it's important to write otherwise my mind might very well explode from too many things being inside of it.

What's your name? Kelly, although I'm having an identity crisis now since I can't seem to remember my new married name.

Where do you live? Right here...for now until the house is done and then we'll be back in my old hometown.

How old are you? 25 going on 26 in a few weeks. Unfortunately due to all the house stuff I'll likely be busy painting and packing and cleaning.

What are you doing right now? Watching "When Harry met Sally." I love the old married couples in between scenes talking about how they met. I particularly like the really old Asian couple and the old man keeps saying "wery" instead of "very." They are SO cute.

Favorite food? I am a lover of all food, but whenever I see duck on a menu I have to have it.

Dessert? I'm typically fond of tiramisu but I have to say those little mousse cup things at the wedding were RIDICULOUS. I could live off of those alone....although I'd be really fat and likely covered in zits.

Drink? I'm a big fan of the Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale. Fizzy from the soda, refreshing from the tea and a nice palate cleanser from the ginger.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A better, less materialistic, less jealous, more kind, slightly less snarky version of who I am. I don't feel like I've hit the point where I really feel "grown up"

If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? I think it'd be pretty awesome to have dinner with Anthony Bordain. Even if he's really opinionated and mean I figure at very least we'll have an amazingly delicious meal, or something really weird like bone marrow.

If money weren't an object what kind of car would you drive? Probably some kind of small Japanese thing. I have a soft spot for the Lexus SC430 although that's not terribly family friendly.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could pick just one thing to bring with you, what would it be? Trevor. Because I love him and I kind of already promised to spend the rest of my life with him plus...I have no real survival skills and would greatly need assistance to get into the groove of having no electricity, running water or internet.

In one word describe your...
Best friend: Blonde
Crush/Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Spouse: Trev-arrh
Pet: None
Means of Transportation: Rental
Home: Box-full (is that a word?)
Day: Rainy
Favorite CD: Round? lol
Job: 401(k)
Favorite color: Green
School: UConn
Computer: Toshiba
Hair: Chaos
Eyes: Almond

Sweater or sweatshirt? Sweater for sure. Sweats look sloppy.

Coach or Dooney? Coach...Dooney looks like what 14 year olds would carry.

Jeans or Khakis? Jeans if given a choice but khakis tend to be more work appropriate.

Heels or flats? Heels for work, flats for shopping and general walkability.

Drink or smoke? Drink...smoking is disgusting.

Red or Blue? Well since I live in Connecticut I guess I'm a Blue state.

White after Labor Day? Sure, just be careful of spills.

Candy or flowers? Flowers I guess. Candy makes me feel fat and zit-y

Rain or Shine? Shine!

Cats or Dogs? Dogs...they're significantly less likely to scratch your eyes out.

McDonalds or Burger King? Hmmm...I'd pick Whoppers over Big Macs. But Burger King hasn't banned trans fats yet so it's a hard call.

Coffee or tea? Coffee, but I do like both very much.

Single or taken? Married

Comedy or Tragedy? Comedy. I don't really like to be upset by movies.

Cars or trucks? Cars. I can't figure out how to back-up safely in big vehicles and I like backing up into my parking spots.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes, We Can

I guess it'd be really weird if I didn't mention the election. It'd be kind of like ignoring the elephant in the room. It's a historic time and I'm sure many of us will be talking about this for a very long time.

What I don't really perhaps...grasp is the whole racial undertone to it. I know it's historically valid and important to be the first African American President but at the same time it's not as though I voted for a race, you (hopefully) vote for a person, an individual you hope is competent and lives up to their promises. Perhaps if I were also African American it would speak more to my own personal strife and experience and the general historicness would resonate in me with a more profound significance. It's hard to say. Perhaps sometime in my lifetime we might have an Asian American President and I'll be able to have something to compare it to. You simply never know.

If nothing else, I think this proves that anyone really can be President. All the little girls and little boys really can see an extension of themselves up there in a position of great importance and know it's possible to attain. I think that in it self is a great pattern to start.

I won't rant at great length about my political beliefs because you'll almost always realize that there will be people you greatly care about, respect and have befriended do not share your opinion and will find it somehow in your best interest to berate you about how wrong you are. I don't know why, but politics has a way of lighting a fire in people and dividing them when everyone's entitled to their own opinion. Be it a snarky, annoying, or just plain offensive one your opinion is your own and you're entitled to hold it.

In any case, it's a riveting time to be alive during. People are losing their homes with defaulted loans. The economy is like a rollercoaster. We have the first Black President. I can't help but wonder what's up next.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gifts and cards

I haven't been posting. I've been really busy with work...and I hate saying that because that sounds so uninteresting and generic but it's true. When your work is tied to the stock market and everything is tanking to record lows you'll find that it drags you right down along with it. But I don't dare complain about work because I'm quite happy that I still have a job given the current economic environment.

In non-work news, now that I'm a married lady the next natural question that people tend to ask is "when are you going to have kids?" And my answer is, "eventually...but certainly not tomorrow."

Sorry to disappoint but as of this moment I don't care to be bogged down by a tiny, screaming, pooping monster. Not to sound like a heartless baby hater because I'm actually quite fond of children but I'm not naive enough to think that our lives will be as carefree after one enters the picture as it is right now. Children are a life-long commitment.

In short, I just want to be selfish, married and happy for a while. I think there's plenty of time to be endlessly worried, scared about not being about to afford putting them through college, and wondering if they'll grow up to resent me.

I'm actually much more excited about the prospect of one of my friends getting married rather than the entire baby thing. Particularly if I get to play bridesmaid since I think it's generally quite fun to plan a wedding...the hard part is paying for it. Planning, gluing, tying bows, trying on dresses, laughing with your friends over the ridiculous dresses and how that one made you look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow guy...now that's fun. Plus I like buying gifts.

Speaking of gifts...I gave each of the girls silver necklaces as part of their cumulative attendant gifts. They each received circle pendants with tiny diamond...chips which I admit are nothing worthy of great fanfare. However it's something that I would enjoy receiving if I were to be some one's bridesmaid. It's the kind of gift that isn't wedding specific, (ehem, bridesmaid logo tees) plus it's not costume jewelry so it's got a better chance of surviving the years. I have nothing against fake jewelry but it doesn't make a very good statement when you're giving cubic zirconia as a gift, ya know? If a gift is a physical representation of your appreciation for someone then it's kind of bad form to give them something artificial. (On a side note, reasons like that are why I'm a horrible person to have to buy a gift for. I think far too hard about it's symbolism.)

I also got each girl a coordinating sash to go with their dresses (I'd never want for them to dole out more money for a tiny sliver of material. I feel that as a bridesmaid you are only ever obligated to buy a dress and shoes), a small bottle of honeysuckle perfume and ring pops....because I just like the idea of ring pops. It's cheesy and funny and then they can all have big rocks on their fingers too...albeit made of sugar.

Sashes are pretty hot stuff in wedding fashion these days. I'm surprised at the boom. I'm glad I didn't jump into that pick-up skirt phenomenon though. It seems like it'll be very dated when we look back at pictures of it in about 10-20 years. If you love it, you love it. Things become popular for a reason.

Trevor gave the boys bottles of alcohol which, was likely a bad idea but they seemed to appreciate it at the time.

I did finish sending out most of my thank yous. I would have completed them almost immediately after the wedding since there was about a week between the wedding and our honeymoon but I wanted to insert little wallet sized pictures into the thank yous as a final...I don't know...flourish. I think it's a nice gesture. I know some people do the customized cards, with their faces actually printed onto the cards, but eh, this was faster. It can take weeks to get the custom dealies and regardless of what the etiquette books tell you no one likes to wait for a thank you note. The sooner you send it the better. If I had the foresight I should have pre-addressed all of the thank you notes before the wedding so I only had to worry about filling them out and sealing them. It would have made it tons faster.

I say I finished *most of my thank yous because I didn't bother with the friends who don't strike me as thank you card people. There are are people who I don't see everyday whom I know appreciate it, or at least appreciate knowing I got their gift, and then there are people I see everyday who know I got their gift and don't really care about more mail. And if you didn't give me a gift I didn't send you a card. I'm sure that's probably bad form, but once I get your gift I will send you a card in thanks. I think it'd be weird to send a thank you, and then perhaps in a few months time receive a gift and then not know if I should send a 2nd one.

Plus I'm lazy, and I'm done wax sealing all of my wedding related mail. It takes so much time to make sure I don't dribble goo all over the envelopes and then I'm sure they're likely demolished in the mail anyhow. It's beautiful and wonderful to me but it probably looks like a big red snot by the time it enters your mailbox.

The house is coming along. It's not move in ready and we have to move out in November from our apartment. I'm a little concerned about the progress but Trevor seems quite convinced that it's do-able.

I know most people likely want to run far far away from their sleepy little hometown but I'll be psyched to be moved back because it puts me a lot closer to my parents, my friends and work. Although we're no more than 15 minutes away, it seems as though we almost never have visitors. Even my parents stopped coming over for dinner here after a while. Now I always have to drive to have dinner at their house, which is fine because my mom is a far better cook than I am, but it's a bit of a hassel driving all around the place. Trevor works from home so we could live in Iowa out in the cornfields and it wouldn't be any more inconvenient for him than it is already as long as he has an internet connection.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cathy & Casey's Wedding

Yesterday I hung out with Lexie & Kim baking. I decided on boston cream cupcakes and Kim made a mix of different candy bar innards for her cupcakes in lieu of pudding. All in all it was a lot of fun and very indulgent. Even Lexie's mom was saying how she was having flashbacks because the last time all three of us were piled together laughing and being silly was like 8 years ago.

A lot changes, but a lot stays the same. Kim and Lexie still lovingly bug one another, I'm still the kindhearted mediator and there's a lot of laughing. Kim and Lexie talk about boys and I calmly listen on and chirp in my two cents where appropriate. I think that's always a good sign of a significant friendship; you can just pick up right where you left off like no time has passed. We caught up on what I missed while I was away; I talked about my honeymoon; Lex about her new job...etc. I think it's a bit of a longshot considering everyone's current economic status but the next time I do a cruise I think it'd be fun to do as a group. It's nice going with my husband of course but we don't share all of our interests so it'd nice for boys to share in physical things like climbing rock walls and playing basketball and then for the girls to sit around the pool and chit chat and shop. I don't know if this will ever be realized but it's a nice idea.

Lex is thinking about throwing a Halloween party. I'm unsure of what I'd like to dress up as but I better get hopping since it's already September. Trevor vetoed my idea already. (I won't share it yet in case he changes his mind.) The problem is that any of the good male counterparts to girl costumes tend to be kind of effeminate princes that wear stockings.

Today, was Cathy & Casey's wedding day. For all of you who are not in the know, Cathy is my childhood friend. She was my first friend in kindergarden in fact. But since she moved to Montana a few years back we've been out of touch. She got engaged in February (I only remember this because it was during her birthday) and it's been a bit hard getting married in Connecticut and living in Montana. I know this mostly because Cathy chose Kim to be her maid of honor and since Kim was also my maid of honor I've been getting a ton of secondhand information.

To be totally diplomatic I'll say that I was not around for any of it because I was on my honeymoon and I was not actually around to see what happened firsthand, but to make a long story short Kim and Cathy had a falling out and Kim (a week before the wedding) got fired from her duties of maid of honor. Of course, that made things a bit...awkward.

Not like I would have ever skipped Cathy's wedding just because she and Kim have beef with one another; that'd be unbelievably petty and stupid. The fact is that regardless of what's been going on behind the scenes and regardless of what people have said in the heat of the moment that Cathy will only have this one day which she marries Casey and I know that if things were reversed that I would be heartbroken if people I loved didn't come to my wedding day.

Having said that, I wish that Kim was there because it simply wasn't the same without her boundless energy, positive attitude and silly humor. I did get to spend time with high school friends I haven't seen in a while though Jeff wasn't there and I had hoped to see him since I had so little time at my own wedding to play catch up.

Cathy got married at the Salvation Army, which apparently has affiliations to the church (the things you learn everyday). Somehow my mind never put together that there would be a full on church with pews and stained glass in a building labeled Salvation Army. It was a short ceremony though; probably about as long as my own brief civil ceremony. I did take pictures but my camera totally freaked out and over half of them were way way too dark or really fuzzy and unfocused. Eh, I'm sure my own guests had the same complaint since my reception hall is pretty dark and cave-like; you can't control all the lighting in the world. Cathy had a very girlie, very fluffy, very...scrunchy dress. I have difficulty finding the words to describe it with any justice but if you happen to be the kind of person who's in the market for a bridal gown you'll know what I mean by "scrunchy." It's quite a popular trend these past years and every bridal salon has them. In particular I recognized the dress from the David's Bridal catalog. It looked beautiful on her; the white dress was a stunning contrast to her creamy dark skin and jet black hair.

She and Casey wrote their vows. I know mostly because I saw them both bust out index cards and if you know Cathy at all you'll know she had some dramatic hand movements to pantomime that she was calming herself down before saying her little piece. The girl talks with her hands.

Other than that the wedding wasn't packed with many surprises. Even though there were some dramatic things going on before with the bridal party it appeared everything still went off without a hitch once it mattered. The reception was local at LaRenaissance, which I appreciated because I only had to drive 10 minutes to get home. I didn't stay the whole time because Trevor and I are still recovering from being sick after the cruise. I felt bad having Trevor stay and blow his nose on cocktail napkins. Plus, the DJ was very bossy. He made people form a conga line, and he made them twist and he forced everyone on the floor for things...it was a little more aggressive than I like. I saw the mother and son dance but even after staying well past 10pm there wasn't a father daughter dance that I saw. Cathy's dad doesn't strike me as a big dancer.

Appetizers were good. Fried stuff, and stuffed mushrooms are pretty hard to mess up. This was my 2nd buffet style wedding. So far I haven't had much luck enjoying it. Seeing the line and knowing I'm at the end of it is a different kind of frustration; plus there are always little blips in the line that cause little traffic jams. I think instead of 2 round tables and a carving station there should have been a less confusing method like a single straight line.

Cake cutting was cute. No champagne for the toasts. Favors were a donation to (you guessed it) The Salvation Army. They had a wishing well type thing for cards. I didn't see any pieces of paper and pens so I don't think they actually wanted wishes to be put in there. The couple didn't want people to clink their glasses to make them kiss they instead wanted people to sing a song with love in it; but no one knew this because you have to tell people for them to be prepared with song. The only reason I know about this is because Tracey told me. And I inadvertently ripped part of my card to Cathy on my dress shoe. I had to change right at work so I had the card and my change of outfit along with shoes in a tote bag and naturally my heel dug a hole into the envelope. lol Just my luck, huh? Trying to be Superwoman and not miss work fresh from taking so much time off for my own wedding, trying to appear put together in a little dress and a splash of makeup and weaving through traffic to make it on time for the ceremony. I suppose if anything had to go wrong, an ugly envelope isn't the end of the world. The gift inside was still good (shrug). By then it was too late to spaz out and try to buy another envelope.

It's hard shopping for someone who lives out of state who didn't register anywhere. I still wish she registered just so I could have something shipped to her in MT. After all the money is spent I think it'll be sad to not have any good gifts to show for your wedding day or shower. (Cathy didn't have a bridal shower either). Other than a few obligatory ugly picture frames and figurines because people just took stabs in the dark about what your personal style is. It's like a rule, someone always gets you something hideous...perhaps to better make you appreciate the good gifts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, Honey Honey...

And we're back....

The honeymoon was beautiful. I'm glad we chose to do a cruise because this time of year is very tricky with hurricanes and we got the benefit of being able to sail around the inclement weather. So unfortunately we didn't get to dock at Puerto Rico, but St. Thomas and St. Maartin were perfectly sunny and a lot of fun.

I highly recommend it if you're tentative about what the weather will bring your way. I would love to go to Europe (and Singapore and Korea...) but the high costs of travel added in with the US Dollar not getting you very far in Euros added up to it being a bad idea. Plus I didn't want to think on my honeymoon. I just wanted to be fed, walk around, get a little sun, relax with my husband and not worry about converting my money or getting lost or not speaking the native language.

I think having never been on a cruise helped too. I'm pretty sure if I had done it before that I may not have found it so novel that they feed you every 10 minutes, or that they announced every single little thing in 5 different languages. I was prepared for eating a lot but was actually quite surprised at how nice the food was.

Not to be a food snob but generally food made on such a large scale (we shared the boat with 4,000 other guests) tends to be bland, generic and generally undesirable but each sit down meal was very nice. Roasted duck, Prime Rib, NY Strip steak, Osso Bucco, Escargot, Salmon...I was surprisingly impressed. Desserts were top notch too, although some felt a bit over gelatinous. Tiramisu shouldn't feel gelatinous...ever. But otherwise it was a great lazy, fattening, time. Even the buffet was quite good. Generally speaking the international foods were a bit...off, but all the foods I'd consider typical American restaurant fare were tasty. And anything that you could classify as crock-pot or pressure cooker type tender foods were good too.

Clearly I ate a lot. I deserve it. I've been eating a lot of cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese and salad for the past few months.

Poor Trevor got sunburned snorkeling. It was so fun though so I almost don't blame him for wanting to stay out in the ocean for hours. (I got out to get dry and reapply sunblock so I didn't get burned at all.) The coral was so beautiful. And although everyone says so the water is crystal clear and warm like a heated pool I guess it's just something you have to experience for yourself to appreciate because I've heard a million times how blue the water is and could hardly grasp it until I saw it for myself. And the fish swimming all around us was so charming. I know that's their habitat and all but I'm so used to the NorthEast and everything being kind of...dead and full of seaweed. I'm not much of a drinker but it's also nice that you can get bar service right on the beach. In particular the beach we went to in St. Maartin had 75cent beers.

But I'm glad to be home. Even though it's nice to have someone clean your stateroom, feed you, and entertain you with random shows and movies it's always good to be home in your own space with your soft non-scratchy towels and to be able to freely check your email. It's 55 cents a minute on the ship to be connected. And although you can use your cell phone mine was roaming the whole time. But it was nice to be totally un-connected. No phone. No internet. No mail. Somehow it's very liberating to not have to listen to how so-and-so didn't like this about the wedding, or how so-and-so was talking about me behind my back and what was being said. Sadly, there is a lot of negativity out there that people feel the need to spread around. Sometimes it's just frustrating to be told about something that I have no control about changing. I'm not an idiot; I don't pretend to live in a world of lollipops and gumdrops but it's really the last thing I want to think about fresh on the heels from getting married and honeymooning.

I suppose that eventually real life will find a way to catch up with you.

My boss was already fast at work getting me a new nameplate. When I came in I was welcomed with clapping and being referred to by my married name. It was really nice to be so warmly received by my team. I had like, 300 emails to look at but other than the usual work related stresses it was nice to be back.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Little Details

I've been ridiculously tentative about sharing any of my wedding planning all year long because

A.) I didn't want to hear anyone say "well, I wouldn't do it like that. If you did ___ it'd be better."
Even if you're right I didn't/I don't want to hear it. You can say I'm hardheaded but the fact is that for my wedding day I wanted to do what I wanted to do how I wanted to do it and hearing otherwise from people just filled my head with anxiety. Because I do have a bit of wishy washy-ness inside me and the last thing I want is to be tormented with more options. I have a hard enough time trying to pick out an entree at dinner time and that's a pretty inconsequential decision.
B.) I don't like the idea of someone snagging my ideas before I use them. Once I've used them you can feel free to give me credit for inspiring you, but I'd be ridiculous kinds of upset if someone outright stole an idea from me under my feet.

And it's not even that I think of myself as all that possessive, but I guess once it's yours you become very protective and almost like another person all together when it comes to your wedding. It's like your little pet, or your baby and the tiniest things will find a way to set you off that normally wouldn't. I didn't want to knowingly set myself up to become a bridezilla when the simple act of keeping my mouth shut would prevent it.

Flowers:
I did my own bouquets for all the girls. Daisies for the boys. Small hand bouquets for the mothers. Very easy if you pick a sturdy flower. Daisies were super sturdy and could take a bit of abuse... Roses were a bit more finicky but I think if you ordered yours a day before that they'd be fine; less pruning necessary. Just stock up with floral supplies and get your bridesmaids to give you a hand that morning and you'll be good. I have no clue about any other flowers since I am not a professional florist but I'm sure you could look it up. I'm allergic to pollen so I tend to stay away from flora.

I chose a monochromatic floral arrangement because I actually like it like that. Plus I have an usual disgust for baby's breath. I associate them with old ladies and cobwebs...I don't really know why. It's entirely random and weird. I think too much bouquet just ends up taking away from you as the bride anyway and you want your bouquet to enhance your appearance, not steal your thunder. It's nice to have an over the top floral arrangement on a table but not in your hands. Not when you want people to look at you being stunning in your amazing wedding gown. I half considered no bouquet at all but since I had a very simple dress I thought it'd be too plain. There's a thin line between classically elegant and plain and boring.

Favors:
I chose, somewhat in the final hour, to hand dip pretzels. I know...I'm crazy. But I thought it'd be cute and I've been on a baking sabbatical since the wedding has edged closer so I really did enjoy spending some time in the kitchen dipping each of those little guys. Perhaps I would have selected slightly larger pretzels just so I wouldn't have to do like...400 of them. It was a good idea before I realized that I had to individual dip each one, shake off the excess, let it dry and then keep it contained in a cool place to avoid melting. I printed out the little labels. I cut the ribbons to equal sizes to tie up the little bundles to place inside the tiny cordial glasses. The Chinese take out boxes were a more practical decision because I figure they could actually be used as doggie bags for overfull guests but also a nice nod to some Asian roots. I tried to throw in a few Asian inspired things where I could without seeming too cliche. No giant dragons or incomprehendible Chinese symbols.

Centerpieces:
Giant martini glasses full of...fluff. They're like the filler people use in Easter baskets. I'll say it was a really hard project trying to find that stuff during any time of the year other than Easter because it so rarely has any purpose. We had glo sticks in there to make it all glo but with the lighting the the room shape it was hard to see. In any case people seemed to take a shine to them because they were all scooped up by the end of the night...though I'm sure I still have some bumping around my parents' garage because we had SO many.

Drink Menus:
I just thought it'd be nice. It wasn't a ton of hard work, but we just picked 4 drinks to correspond with Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue, I printed them and got some frames to display them in. I am a notoriously bad drink chooser so having a menu is always helpful to me in order to make up my mind.

String Quartet:
We actually stumbled on this idea after watching "The Wedding Singer." During the movie, just before Adam Sandler got stood up at the altar they had a shot of the strings playing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. After I mentioned it Trevor seemed to want to run with it. After a few false starts with flakey sting groups we did eventually end up with one willing to do popular music in lieu of the standard classical stuff. Not like it was perfect, but I think that it was yet another personal touch that made our wedding feel more...organic. I had gone back and forth about it though because the cost was higher than say, a CD and I felt bad spending the money. But being able to walk in to a strings version of "Isn't she Lovely" and having the recessional to "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve were great and they're things that we'll remember many, many years from now.

Reception hall:
I've known of Mill on The River for a long time, but after going to a few other halls further away realized that they were all ridiculously expensive for what they were offering us in services. As a small example, the MoTR included chair covers in the wedding package we picked so we wouldn't have to dish out an additional fee and they included the cake, wine service and a load of appetizers. Sadly, a lot of halls don't include anything other than the meal and you have to dish out more for all the other pieces...which I personally feel are nice. I know you don't need to have all the frills to be married and happy but it's nice to have an extra foody-full event. Blame it on my mother; she always stuffs everyone so full at all our family events that you want to keel over and die. I tend to believe that's normal behavior for any celebratory event in your life. If you aren't stuffed so full your sides hurt then you aren't really celebrating.

I know a lot of modern hip Bridal magazines will say you can cut your budget by doing just h'ors d'oevres and cake but my family would have a riot outside in the street if I attempted doing anything like that. They don't care so much about open bar, but just as a personal preference Trevor & I decided that we wanted one. I think everyone enjoys it a lot more when they don't have to dole out MORE money at a wedding after digging in and buying gifts, buying a new dress, getting their hair done and hotels. It is expensive being a wedding guest (if you're doing it right, that is, ha!).

Invitations:
They were all do-it-yourselves. All the paper and envelopes were purchased at our local craft store and my dear father and I bickered over the style and color inks to use for a few weeks. All in all they came out well even though half of them were pink and half of them were green but I figure I had the girls in green dresses with pink flowers so it all worked out to be consistent. I really like the combination of a light, celery like green with a fresh bright pink.

If you have more than 100 guests then it will probably be best to have a pro do it, but you should still remember that someone's got to put your guests' address on them. So either you do it or you hire a calligrapher. Or if you have a few bridesmaids with good penmanship you get them working on it.

Save the Dates:
We did magnets with our picture on them. You can go through a wedding specific site, but I am very anti-wedding specific vendors. I think they tend to spike up their prices for no other reason than that they know they can and someone will buy them because it's convenient. We used vistaprint.com. (They tend to promote their "free stuff" quite often but of course you pay for shipping and magnets aren't part of their freebie catalog.) It wasn't the greatest save-the-date I've ever seen in my life but it did it's job. I didn't even really want to do save-the-dates because I figure they were just added hassle, postage, address rummaging work to deal with.

I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of stuff, but I think all the personal touches and well thought out ideas really helped to make our wedding very personal and very...us. And although doing things myself was a bit stressful I don't know if I would have changed anything about it because those are the things people notice and those are the things that make it our wedding as opposed to any other couple's wedding. I haven't personally hit that point yet, but I know that a lot of guests at our wedding were guests at half a dozen or more other weddings this summer. And although it's great when it's your wedding I'm sure it's quite grating as a wedding guest to see the same stuff over and over again. The same entrees. The same favors. The same cakes. The same readings during mass...etc.

For the most part I think our guests had fun and it manifested itself in their outpouring of gifts. I'm amazed at the incredible generosity of some people. I'm also surprised at a few stingy folks, but the generosity way outweighed the freeloaders. And it's not even about getting stuff...it's about showing your love. It's about showing how much either I, Trevor or both of us mean to you. It's not as though this was a huge surprise that we got married and you had to rush out at the last minute to grab up whatever was left on the registry. In particular I have a few guests I'd like to hunt down and start trying to secretly shove $100s back into their pockets but suffice it to say that I will return the favor and then some with time. Everything is cyclical. Selfishness creates more selfishness. Generosity creates more generosity. And the weird thing about generosity is that it's exponential.

One single kind act can create a dozen acts of kindness.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our Wedding

Now that some of the chaos of the past few days has simmered down I guess the best thing to do is give you my brides-eye view of the events.

Wednesday was flowers. Oh, the flowers. lol In case you didn't know or have forgotten I decided to do the flowers for my own wedding. Bouquets and boutineers..nothing crazy fancy like giant topiary displays shaped like cherubs. Just the basics. I was up to my ears in pink roses and pink daisies but they were so beautiful. I'm really happy how they all came out and they looked really stunning against the green bridesmaids dresses.

On Thursday we closed on our home. We also picked up our marriage license and were generally a little crazy. I think Devin was at least 5 times more excited about the whole house thing than we were. It was also my last full day at work and I was insane running around updating people on what's been going on with my plans. I later finished up working on all my place cards.

Friday was all errands. This happens regardless of how well you plan things. You always end up still running errands anyway. I picked up my wedding gown. I steamed out some wrinkles out of my things. I packed up some of our favors and supplies for Mill on The River. I also received a handful of gift cards. (By the way, a big thank you to Samy, my dad, and co-workers for all my gift cards.) So I wanted to run by the mall and buy a few things for the wedding. I also chatted up my hair person since she was in and she's so nice. I think she took my nervous, overly planned out bride thing very well.

Saturday people started rolling in. My uncles and aunts started coming from all parts so I had to come visit and eat. We also had the rehearsal dinner so we again had to welcome people, eat, drink and chat. It was a really long day of that and when we got home I eventually tried to start working on bouquets but only got 2 deep before Trevor said I should go to bed because it was 1 am. Even the busiest bride has to make time for beauty sleep.

Sunday of course was the big day. I was up first and started working on the rest of the flowers. By now many of them had over-bloomed so I was trying to pick the best of the bunch for the bouquets. People were apparently very worried about the flowers; Trevor's mom made Dino drive out just to give me these little water things for them. My whole original thought was they were going to die anyway but they did look very lovely in all the pictures so I suppose in the end things all worked out.

Kim picked up the rental and dropped by my mom's to get some borrowed jewelry. Mom made her bring food, so naturally my plans to get bagels ended up falling by the wayside in favor of mom-made food. (Always pick home made mom-foods over store made bagels.)

Emily came, and then Trevor picked up Suong. I had them help me with the finishing ribbon touchs on the bouquets. We did a little makeup, I painted my nails and then off we ran to the salon. Since we were there and my stylist brought it up she said we should run over to Macy's to get our makeup done. In fact, each of the different makeup counters did our faces...for free but we had to wait it out for Kim to get her final touches since her makeup lady went to town. It was a very good morning apart from the fact that we were running late and in our haste forgot a few things. lol I did however get out of the mall, into my dress and out the door so I suppose everything worked out okay.

Trevor had originally told me earlier that day to aim for coming around 2pm since the ceremony was scheduled to starte at 2:30. I promptly explained that in spite of my best efforts that I would probably be late anyway...and I was. I was rolling in at like 2:45. But everyone was there other than me, on time and we got rolling shortly thereafter. The weather was perfect. You couldn't have asked for a sunnier, prettier day.

It's kind of blur from there on out. I know everyone says that, but it's true. It felt like time went on fast forward. I walked down the aisle to "Isn't she lovely" by Stevie Wonder on the strings. (We had a string quartet if I had forgotten to mention that earlier.) I choked through my vows, Trevor was cool...no tears of any kind; although later he explained he was thinking about other things in an attempt to dissuade his eyes from watering. Emily's dad Jack did a pretty good job with the vows and I left happy things went so well. We receeded to "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve, also on strings.

Receiving line. Pictures. Reception. The reception went over well too. It seemed the raw bar and passed foods went over very well among all of our guests. All that fuss over entrees was quickly forgotten by the time the entrees actually came because I'm sure everyone was pretty stuffed on shrimp, oysters, sushi, beef wellington, and tempura shrimp...among a long list of things. I said if I were to do it, I'd want to do it with style. The lamb was spectacular, and the duck was also really good. The salmon wasn't bad either, but in comparison the lamb blew all the rest of the entrees out of the water. The cake was unbelievable too. I loved each of the flavors. Unfortunately we accidentally left our cake in the car so when we found it later it had become a melted blob we had to throw away. :( But anyway, apart from my family not seemingly wanting to dance at all I think everyone else had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, a few tears...so all in all a complete wedding.

And I'm really surprised that all the centerpieces were GONE at the end of the night. I was so nervous I'd have to take home a dozen gigantic novelty martini glasses with me but apparently giant martini glasses fit within the decorating style of a number of my guests because the place was cleared of them all.

The favor seemed to go over well too. I'm happy all my chocolate dipping came to a good end and Trevor could stop being so nervous about the darned things melting. The only thing that didn't seem to work right was that no one signed the guest book. But let's be honest, that's a pretty small detail in the grand scheme of things. The Emery's even brought Chowder for a little bit so he could be there for our wedding day so it really felt like a family affair.

There was a lot of love that day. My pink Vietnamese Ao Dai seemed to go over well, particularly among Trevor's family. They seemed to really dig the Asian inspired touches to our day. I didn't hear too much out of my own family...I think they were probably reeling from all the cocktail shrimp. Overall I think they had fun considering that they felt a bit out of their element.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette party was another really fantastic success. It was this Friday and the boys went out for their one Bachelor party though we went to different towns (not intentionally) and didn't cross paths. However, it worked out beautifully and I think any other prospective brides and grooms to be would be best served having their bachelor and bachelorette parties on the same night.

1.) I did not have to sit at home worrying at Trevor because I was occupied with my own party.

2.) Trevor did not have to sit at home and worry about me.

3.) We got to see everyone, at least for a little bit before each of our prospective parties divided up.

4.) Any couples that were going to our wedding then could also just easily travel together and it made for much smoother sleeping arrangements.

I was a bit concerned because there was a distinct concern about who would be driving home the girls. The boys had rented a party bus so they were all well taken care of. But somewhere out of left field Kim's new boyfriend volunteered to chauffeur us girls in his gigantic SUV thing. He was a good sport and although I have only just met him I suppose that it doesn't hurt to start off with a nice gesture.

I would be idiotic to post any pictures of my bachelorette party on such a public forum.

Suffice it to say that it was a lot of fun but not so out of control that any projectile vomiting or uncontrollable weeping occurred. Some of my less fun nights have included either one or the other. As far as I know everyone got home in one piece. We got to spend an extended afternoon with Trevor's groomsman Tyler since he drove in from out of state so that was a nice bonus since I don't think we've seen him all year and he's never ever been out to where we live so it was nice to show him around.

I think the one thing I really appreciate most out of this whole wedding thing is that people who love you, regardless of how far away and how busy they are, find a way out of the woodwork to show you their love.

I dig it. I dig it more than towels and oven mits and bowls and shower curtains. We should all just hang out anyway but something about the structure of a wedding seems to bend people's arms and bring them out more than just some arbitrary BBQ or Holiday weekend. Even holidays don't bring people together like they used to, particularly for the married folks who have to compromise and split up the holidays.

We're getting married next week...it's really coming up soon. I'd rattle on and on about wedding planning but it's getting so close I don't even care to talk about it. I had a freak out moment last week and the week before but now that it's so close I have hit my calm. I have done as much as I can humanly do and now it's all in fate's hands.

I've always been this way. I know people talk about being nervous but I must just be wired differently because in the final hour I am almost always as calm as a cucumber. I never had any stage freight in all my years as a choir geek, and then my numerous years as a drama club geek. I am there to perform and I'm there to do a job and my job is to look beautiful, be gracious and have fun.

There are much more scary and intimidating things than getting the opportunity to marry your soul mate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coffee-Fix

On a decidedly different note I'm really happy about my new coffee related toys.

My old fashion-y italiano espresso maker is pretty cool. I'm most intrigued by how the heat and pressure forces the water upwards through the grinds whereas every other coffee maker works with the water dripping downward.

My french press is pretty awesome too. I might forgo my "normal" coffee maker once I get the swing of things. The hot water to grind ratio is a bit off still and I'm not entirely sure about the ideal temperature of water to use.

However...thanks to a method I stumbled upon when reading about my favorite (Vietnamese Iced Coffee) I found something of great interest to me. Cold brewed Iced Coffee.

Now I've tried the double brew method of simply using twice as much coffee grind to the typical amount of liquid you'd use for normal hot coffee. The results are almost always disastrously bitter and need a ton of sugar and cream to balance it out. However, I'm glad to personally confirm that cold brewed iced coffee is dreamfully smooth, rich and ridiculously easy. The hardest part is waiting and straining, but thankfully now that I have my own press it's a lot of fun to press out the grinds. I don't really measure anything. I think it was like 2 heaping tablespoons and about 8-10 oz of water. I like my coffee stiff, particularly if it's going to be served with ice.

And when you think about it, it's a lot like the process of making sun tea. Instead of forcing out the flavor with hot water you let it slowly bloom on it's own. It's just like the kind you'd get at your chain coffee purveyor and it won't cost you $2+ a cup.

I'm not a coffee addict. I have one cup or less each day and I think that's plenty. I just happen to like having good coffee and I'm fascinated by the fact that so many people drink coffee all over the world and that they all have different methods of brewing theirs. I'm admittedly biased and I think there's nothing quite like a good glass of frosty Vietnamese Iced Coffee with condensed milk though I do not have any patience whatsoever and dislike waiting 20 minutes for it to slowly drip. But on the bright side, it does help maintain a certain "specialness" when you only have something you like once and so often.

So if you're keeping count, I have 4 distinctly different methods for brewing coffee but all of them are individually sized because Trevor doesn't even drink coffee.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bridal Shower

Shower was so fun. Much thanks to our wonderful hostess and her bevy of assistants. :)I'm so tired. I really dislike driving and yet we still got there and home all in one piece so it took a bit of focus. lol My dear friends & loved ones are so great for traveling so very far out of their way to spend time with me. I really appreciate all the love and I'm glad it was a drama-free day with wonderful weather and a bare minimum of traffic. Considering how much it was raining all the days leading up to my shower I was pretty convinced things would be at least sprinkled on, but it ended up being beautiful, comfortable and sunny all day long.
Everyone seemed to have fun and if they didn't...well, they did a good job faking it and if that's the case I appreciate that too. Positivity does wonders for an overtaxed, underfed, sleepy bride.

It was also a great opportunity to talk to Kim for a few hours straight since we carpooled all together from Connecticut and I had the opportunity to catch up with her. I know I see her more than I see of many people but it's always good to recharge your proverbial batteries and feel totally connected and caught up with your friend. Even when you message, email, and call each other every few days I think it's easy to just focus on topical subjects and skim over how you feel because it can be difficult to articulate how you feel, particularly over electronic media.

I'm glad my mom could meet some of my future family in law too. It's felt like my own family and Trevor's family have been totally segregated over the 3 years or so we've been together. Obviously my mom's met his mom but the aunts and uncles really haven't been given the opportunity to converge. I think everyone has a complicated multi-dimensional relationship with their parents but above all I think my mother is an amazing, gorgeous, and ridiculously generous individual. I dream of being as selfless as she is. I always admire people who think of others well before they think about themselves, their own comfort, convenience and interests.

I won't drone on and on about the gifts I got because it's kind of a boring read. It also makes me feel materialistic and petty to discuss what I have...so I won't. But many thanks to all the gift givers for being so generous and thinking about Trevor & I.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Less than a month to go!

So our meeting with wedding coordinator Laura was okay. Not great though which is disappointing because up until now our experience with her and the site has been really top notch.

We had to wait 45 minutes before she got to us because she was running late and still working with another couple.

Not like I'm not empathetic since I'm sure she couldn't control the length of their meeting but Trevor in particular took offense to her not apologizing for making us sit and wait for sooooo long.

In other slightly disappointing news they didn't have the color napkins I wanted and I wasn't about to dole out more money when I was already feeling displeased to get special ordered ones. You can't shake money out of an upset Kelly; that's not how it works. The food we wanted was no big deal, but the cake flavors apparently were because I wanted something more Asian for one of our layers. I think it would have been much better had things started off on the right foot but starting off unhappy doesn't typically bode well for anything.

I am very sensitive to customer service because that's what I do. I don't talk about work because I like to build a giant brick wall between work and play but basically I'm in a service industry. The general rule is that if you don't feel good about spending your money here, chances are that you'll just turn around and spend your money somewhere else. That's how businesses are and that's how weddings are too. I don't really buy into the whole "it's the most important day of your life" marketing nonsense but if I'm going to spend money I'd hope to get what I want.

On the bright side I do not have to buy/make table numbers and I do not have to supply my own cake stand because they have some.

Mom got a dress...finally. It's hard to get a decent mom-dress I guess because you don't want to be too revealing, but you don't want to look like a grandma with something way too conservative, and since my mom's short it can be a bit difficult to get something that looks right. I'm happy for her; she looked very pretty in her floor length Calvin Klein evening gown with draping detail on the back. It's a tad formal for an afternoon garden wedding, but she's only got one daughter so I figure if she's happy I'm happy for her. Who the heck cares what anyone wears as long as they aren't more formal than I am. And really, the only way to do that is to prance into the wedding with a hoop skirt.

I also worked on unpacking my favors and centerpiece-ware. Ugh...what a drag. Thankfully my mom and dad helped unpack it and dissemble all the packing material it came in. Four full garbage bags later I now have things sort of where they should be. Now I just have to clean them, fill them, tie them up with their little bows and pack them up in boxes for the venue. Not like that'll be easy either but it's one step in the right direction.

On a side note, I would highly recommend non-breakable favors. lol It's a ton easier on you to not have to deal with so much packing material. I just didn't want to be one of those Jordan Almond tied in tulle brides. I have a little streak in me that tends to want the unconventional but occasionally it creates more work for me than originally anticipated. I just have to keep telling myself that anything worth doing requires a bit of elbow grease and patience.

I'm less overwhelmed but I'm still quite a busy bee. There's still a lot to do and not a ton of time to dilly dally. I have to work on my seating arrangements now. For the most part I know who I want to be nearby us and who I'd prefer to be slightly farther away from me but everything has to add up and then I have a few ghetto tables that I can't fit 10 people at because of the shape of the room doesn't allow for people to be comfortably seated all the way around. lol It'll be fine. Knowing my family they'll just pick up their place cards and start swapping places at tables anyway in spite of my efforts to arrange them.

My shower is next week (eep!) so that'll be...interesting. I'm looking forward to some hilarious game playing and seeing my dear friends and family in one place. I also look forward to the food. I've been falling back on bad habits when I'm stressed and I haven't been eating as well as I should be. I got my first physical boxed up wedding gift via mail. :) I'm surprised it came so early but I'm glad that it came via mail in lieu of my dragging it home after the reception. I hope all my big gifts come via mail; it'll be a huge relief to not have to try and figure out how to stuff giant boxes in my compact car.

Kim's working on the bachelorette. I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us but have told her I don't want anything too too inappropriate. I like having fun but I do feel a bit uncomfortable about the prospect of greased up half naked strangers. I think it's funny and cheesy more than anything else. But I think we might end up in Springfield hitting up the regular haunts since everything is within a good walking distance whereas in Hartford it's kind of a hike for a few bars. Plus Kim's pals are friends with a bartender so it's a very affordable night. I honestly don't care too much as long as I get a good excuse to dress up and hang out with my girls. I don't really want to make anyone feel like they have to throw the party of the century on my behalf. We'll dress up, I'll be force fed some drinks, I'll get silly and overly talkative, perhaps ride a mechanical bull, we'll dance and we'll go home only ever so slightly worse for the wear. And then a few days later ridiculous pictures will be splashed all over myspace.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hair, beautiful hair

I don't consider myself to be much of a hair person. I have some. That's pretty much the extent of my overall excitement regarding hair. I'm not the kind of person who has a standing appointment at her local salon. I don't color my hair. I certainly don't blow dry or flat iron it unless it's a special occasion. I'm generally very low maintenance and that's fine by me because I'm not the kind of person who wakes up an hour early just to pretty up for work.

Now, this lack of hair related appreciation is coming back to get me because I do not have a regular stylist to take me in and coddle my needs on my wedding day. I'm getting married on what is typically considered a salon worker's day of rest and I've been having some issues finding a place that's open. I'm not asking for really meticulously molded, curled, braided hair; it's not my style to be that overly made up anyhow. That's not the kind of tone I want to set for my life let alone my wedding day.

Tracy works at a salon in Windsor called Hairdresser on Fire so she asked if they'd open on a Sunday and the owner said they would do it but they were asking for $100 a head. Which I understand from a financial perspective because why would you give up a perfectly good holiday weekend's Sunday without a few Mr. Jacksons finding their way into your pocket? I certainly wouldn't. You couldn't drag me out to work on a holiday weekend without a lot of kicking and screaming. But to ask each of my girls to pony up that much money (plus tip) is pretty ridiculous. Like, I know it's for a special occasion but if I were a bridesmaid I'd look at the bride like she was crazy if she expected me to pay that much for a slicked back bun. I don't mind spending that for my wedding day but the fact they didn't even consider giving a price break for bridesmaids is weird. And the fact I know the typical price of an updo any other day is $65 makes me feel a bit taken advantage of just because it's for a wedding.

So I set up a trial appointment but decided there had to be another option. I drove over to the local mall and set up an appointment with one of the salons in there since they're open all weekend long. And after chatting up a really nice receptionist at Trade Secret and getting a much (much!) less ridiculous price I decided that if I liked the trial that we could set up the "for real" appointment for my wedding and then cancel the other thing. I do admit to having a bit of a bias against chain hair salons but the fact is that if they hire a good stylist it doesn't matter what name is splashed across the doors. And a trial hair do is very low risk because they're just styling your hair; they aren't coloring, cutting or otherwise manipulating your hair in a permanent way.

So turns out that I loved the stylist just as much as I enjoyed the receptionist. They were so warm and kind; something that I just didn't get from the owner of the other salon who seemed very rigid and almost annoyed at me for asking about pricing when she obviously was doing me a favor by just opening the shop. So I'll do them all a favor and let them sleep in that Sunday. I almost felt like throwing in the towel and doing my own hair after talking to the owner who I didn't think was very kind. If you're a business owner and you're trying to sell a product you'd think that you'd at least try kind of hard to at least feign some kindness. Kaitlyn the stylist seemed nice but the owner was...I don't even know what her deal was.

I think it all worked out well though. It's hard to really explain but once you meet people you like you feel so much better about letting them be a part of your big day. It spreads a much more positive energy across the event.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In the words of Weird Al, "Just Eat It"

I feel better now that some time has passed. I have an unusually low tolerance for picky eating. I'm not irrational; I know people simply don't like certain foods and that's their preference but I think it's rude to question someone's choices when you know they must have thought long (almost a year) and hard over which entrees to select. I wouldn't ever come to your house after you invited me to dinner only to whine and moan how I don't eat goat. (Though I totally would; how exciting would that be to try?!)

The fact is that Trevor and I knew that there would be some backlash but hoped that people would have some tact and keep it to themselves instead of acting like bratty children. I think it's different if you actually tried it first and then formed an opinion about it but it's prejudiced to just preemptively complain about something just because you think it's weird. Usually I'm very sensitive to people's likes and dislikes but when you're catering to a crowd of 100+ you can't cater to the lowest common denominator because you'll end up eating boiled chicken and pasta with butter. So I can't care about how you think eating lamb is yicky. You can drive over to McDonald's after the reception if you want; I certainly won't stop you.

We've gotten more wedding things done. I've completed some gift assembly. Trevor and I have reserved a block of hotels for out of towners looking for a place to lay their weary heads. (Trevor will load the info to our wedding site once we get our reservation code.) We booked our honeymoon. I've purchased and received a few more wedding related...pieces and I'm really happy and excited about them. I also went for my 2nd dress fitting and it's looking more and more like a wedding gown and less like an oversized sack. lol I have a 3rd fitting in about 2 weeks and my cousin also had a fitting because her dress was too roomy.

And most importantly we have started the process of buying our first home.

So if my anxiety level seems particularly high, my moodiness seems a bit unwarranted and that I'm significantly more sensitive than ever before you will understand that I'm being hit on all sides mentally, emotionally, financially, physically....I'm just beat down and I just can't wait for everything to be done, formalized and just get to enjoy it.

To say that right now is a stressful, bad-dream-causing, restless-thought-making time in my life would be a really gigantic understatement. It's not terribly pleasant. I'm elated to be married and I'm really excited about eventually not living in an apartment but the path to get there is not fun. I don't really care to romanticize the situation because it very unromantic. I expect to be slightly on edge and very sensitive and very uncompromising for the next month. Now I know where all those bridezillas on tv were coming from.

If you can buy a home before you get married I would totally suggest doing so. It's a huge financial endeavor but if you can afford it it's well worth pacing yourself.

In other wedding related news I got some preemptive wedding checks that I am super excited about and really boosted up my bad mood and grumpy disposition. I know money doesn't bring happiness but it certainly does help. And it couldn't come at a better time because doing all this is quickly draining all of our assets. Buying a home includes a ton of other costs like home inspections and closing costs and attorney fees. Be prepared with some serious dough. I have no idea how people manage to ever buy things with 0% down; I can only imagine how much that screws with their bottom line. Plus I have to pay for a wedding. And once we move in, obviously we'll want to fix the place up and we'll probably want furniture, appliances and drapes.

I haven't felt this financially drained since I was 17. So you'll have to excuse the fact I don't care if you don't like eating lamb. In the grand scheme of all the stress I've got that's the least of my problems and I couldn't change the menu now anyway. All the invitations are out and all but 12 replies are back. There's no looking back now.

I have completed a lot but I'm still lacking a few gifts, I don't have a hairdresser (Tracy offered hers but Kim is hesitant about spending money and I think that I'll just bite the bullet because it's simply too close to worry about a few bucks and the maids who don't want their hair can do it themselves), none of the boys have suits yet, my shower is in two weeks and my wedding in slightly more than a month. I have a meeting with our wedding coordinator Monday so I think that'll make me feel tons better. I have a few questions still and I think she'll really calm the anxiety I'm holding onto. I really like them; I feel like they're really professional and they know what they're doing. To a nervous Nelly like myself it really makes a huge difference to know that I'm in good hands.