Saturday, December 28, 2013

70 Days To Go: The Big Reveal

All right, I've been hinting at some "big news." So. Ready? Here goes.

BAM: My husband-to-be has accepted a new job. In Chicago.

And he leaves in a week.

This all happened within the past few weeks - the interview, the offer, the decision, the informing of employers, family, and friends before any online reveal - all so fast. He starts the new job in a little over a week, and leaves in exactly a week, and then I won't see him for weeks and weeks and weeks.

See, I won't be moving until after the wedding. I'll be staying here in Mississippi, working, packing up the townhouse, taking care of the pets, wedding-planning, trying to figure out what my plan in the big city will be, and HOLY CRAP missing him.

I'm already anticipating the HOLY CRAP missing him. We went grocery shopping today and I was pointing out that he'll be out of the house before the milk expires, this is the last spinach we'll buy before he moves, that sort of thing.

"You can't get sentimental over everything about this," he said, eyeing the spinach.

"You'd be surprised," I replied, looking mournfully at the last spinach we'll ever buy together here.

It'd be tempting to romanticize a two month separation leading up to the wedding... except at this point in my life, I find nothing romantic about long distance. I know we can get through it, I'm not worried. I'm just spoiled. I like having him around.

Truthfully, though, there's so much more to be grateful for than stressed out about, so let's accentuate the crazy amounts of positive. Timing be damned, this opportunity is fabulous. There is so much excitement ahead it almost seems unfair. Also, though the separation from D won't be fun, I'm VERY grateful for the extra time I'll get with my friends-so-close-they're-family down here. I know it would be close to impossible for both of us plus the pets to drop everything and move our whole lives at once. Especially with a wedding on the horizon, taking place here. Staying here makes sense.

But HOLY CRAP. I'll miss him. (The spinach and I, we'll be really emotional.)

So, in summary: DOUBLE BAM. 2013 can now officially be summarized as THE YEAR OF MAKING DECISIONS (let's get married! we'll move to Chicago!) and 2014 will indeed be THE YEAR OF TAKING ACTION (taking vows! moving boxes!). I think the President recently said something similar. Sorry to steal your thunder, Obama.

Here's to health, sanity, and joy as we swiftly move from talking the talk to walking the walk, down the aisle, then driving up I-55, and moving ever more rapidly into the future.

PS There are a lot of little logistics sneaking up quickly, too, in light of all this... for example, we had to go ahead and get our marriage license. That's right, we're licensed to wed, and it was a bizarre experience just getting through that bit. I'll tell that story soon. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

72 Days To Go: The Theme of Our Wedding Is Carbs

Progress on #TheList, y'all!

This week, we headed out of town to visit first my grandparents and then the fiance's parents. That means we got to see three out of the four parents - the MOG, FOG, and as a lovely bonus, the MOB came down South to visit her father.

We were just one town over from Wedding-Town. So, with the MOB in tow, we went to the venue, signed all final contract paperwork, paid 25% of our rental costs, talked through the logistics... and absolutely beyond any shadow of a doubt, THE VENUE IS SET.

Invitations arrived, and we took them with us on our road trip. With the help of the MOG, we stuffed all envelopes, and by Monday they will be in the mail, and INVITATIONS WILL BE SET.

Welcome to our wedding dinner.
We also got to eat out at the gourmet-pizza place we were hoping would be able to cater the wedding, hoping that it's as good as we'd been hearing. Good news: IT WAS. Which means between that, and the craft beer we're bringing in, I'm pretty sure that THE THEME OF OUR WEDDING IS SET... AND IT'S "CARBS."

Getting real.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

76 Days To Go: When It Rains, It Pours

I promise an update here that divulges details on at least some of the deluge rainin' down around here. Soon as the weather clears. But don't worry, y'all - nothing bad. Just a few more scattered showers than anticipated.

Speaking of scattered showers, by the by, a shower of the bridal sort is not something I'm having. There's enough lovely storming underway.

Someone just hand me an umbrella, please.

PS This week we'll be in Wedding-Town, so we'll be meeting with the venue manager, and the potential caterer (FINGERS CROSSED), and catching up with parents on both sides, and are SUPPOSED to be stuffing invitations, but they've yet to arrive... we'll see.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

91 Days to Go: Am I A Boring Bride?

FIRST OFF: Deep sigh of relief, y'all. Finally heard back from the venue yesterday, end of day. We have a place to get married. Whew.

SECOND: Tomorrow is going to be a big day for #TheList. I may even share an original, hard-forged resource that may be of use to other off-season and/or no-muss- no-fuss-brides.

THIRD: I'm afraid I might not be a terribly interesting bride. I mean, I'm a pretty interesting person-- and as it happens, this past week has been a terribly interesting week. (Roller coaster of good, bad, and WTF?!)

But, like - most of it isn't bridal.

In fact, on a day to day basis, I don't talk, do, or even think very much about the upcoming wedding. Seeing as it's three months away, that seems a bit:

A) Bizarre - because most brides seem way, way more obsessive about all things bridal, and then there's me. After trying dresses on at a friend's house two weeks ago, I forgot about them and left them there. They're still there, including the one that we decided is, in fact, THE ONE. Oops.

B) Problematic - because, um, there's stuff that I/we really do need to be doing.

C) Boring - for generating blog content here, anyway.

I guess the upside is due to B, offset by A, C may well soon stop being an issue... more soon.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

93 Days To Go: The Venue Is Giving Me Palpitations

I've been trying to reach my contact (or her replacement?!) at the venue for three weeks and have received no call or email back.

All better be well or I'm'a'gonna sue 'em for the cost of a wedding.

A much, much more expensive wedding than the one I'm currently planning...

Friday, November 29, 2013

99 Days to Go: Father of the Bride (The Movie)

Watched "Father of the Bride"...

With my very own FOB.


Incidentally, I'd never seen the original before - just the Steve Martin remake - and this might be the first time ever when I actually enjoyed a film and its remake equally. I mean, I probably do prefer the remake, just because the humor resonates a bit more (and I do love Steve Martin), but there's a lot that the remake flat-out stole from the original. That makes the original get a lot of the credit for some truly timeless gems.

However, the tagline of "The Bride gets the THRILLS! Father gets the BILLS!", well... maybe not. And the whole going-from-her-father's-home-and-keep-straight-to-her-husband's, well... hey. Even the parents of the bride had separate beds in the original (thanks, Hayes Code!), so at least it's dated across the board.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving / 100 DAYS

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Chanukah!


What. The. WHAT.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I Haven't Forgotten

I haven't forgotten about this blog, or about the fact that this whole W-word thing is happening in less than four months.

Well, okay. Sometimes I do forget.

I forget I'm getting married, and then I look down and see the ring and am all like, OMG waitaminute WHAT?! (Only sort of kidding. Actually, mostly I remember because people ask me 75 times a day how the wedding planning is coming.)

I forget about this blog, and then someone says: "Hey, when are you going to post something again?" (Thank you to the 10 people who do read this blog for all being very insistent that NUMBERS DON'T MATTER, LOYALTY does, and dagnabbit, I better give you some good material here.)

But here's my November excuse:


I am almost 45,000 words into a written-from-scratch-starting-November-1 novel. I roller coaster back and forth between thinking it's awesome and thinking it's a stinking pile of elephant poo.

But I'm writing it, either way - and that's the point of NaNoWriMo.

In addition to the novel madness, I cranked out a full-length play in my spare time because there was a mid-November deadline I really, really wanted to hit. I'm also about to take two road trips in the next week (one will be 200 miles each way; one will be closer to 1,000 miles each way). Then there's also the impending holidays. Oh, and the regular workload, since for some reason bills still need to be paid and such.

Oh, but yeah - also got a few more things checked off #TheList.

I'm not trying to make excuses-- all right, yes, I am. I also promise I'm not trying to boast about all the writing, because you should see the list of things I HAVEN'T gotten done; it's a beast. Also, as aforementioned, all of the writing may well be stinky, stinky elephant poo.

If I have a few minutes of downtime over Thanksgiving (once the drive-time is mostly completed) I'll post some updates. For now, just an exhausted acknowledgment that yes, I've let this blog languish. But as NaNoWriMo concludes and as we get into the 100 Days 'Til Wedding Countdown - holy CRAP we're already down to 105 days, and yes I just had to look that up - I'll post more often.

In the meantime, I'm grateful for the flurry of writing this month, and for the supportive and wonderful friends, family, and yes, fiance (see, I remembered) who don't abandon ship with me when I get into one of these modes.

With love, as always -

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today is the fiancé's birthday. His magical birthday, no less: 11/12/13. I told him that must mean that the year ahead is going to be his best one yet.

In addition to his birthday, with all the buzz around 11/12/13 today, I have numbers on my mind (and trust me when I say, I'm not really a numbers-kinda-girl). Here are some of the numbers delighting or frightening me:

Yeah, I'm seriously marrying him.
Why do you ask?

116: Days until our wedding. I think I need to do a 100 Days Until... Countdown. Any thoughts?

4: Days since I've done anything even remotely wedding-related.

2: Number of wedding dresses I own, since I managed to successfully sell one! (I know. #offproblems)

5,000: Number of guests who show up at the wedding nightmare I've started having, where there are not enough seats and I have zero dresses (because now I sold three?!) and no food and the groom isn't speaking to me and there are seven tornadoes on the horizon... it's a bad dream.

180: Number of miles, round-trip, we're going to drive tonight to see a stand-up comedian. It's the fiancé's birthday and this is something he wanted to do. So we're rock-starring it on a Tuesday. That's love.

27,031: Number of words I've written for my NaNoWriMo project. That number will not be increasing tonight, due to the number/reason directly above this one.

1: Number of days late my rent was this month, due to me running out of checks...

55: Number of extra dollars the landlord made me pay in rent, despite NEVER HAVING BEEN LATE BEFORE IN 3 YEARS (other than general numbers/money stress, this number and the last one have zero to do with bridal anything, but I just needed to vent, thanks)

0: Number of additional minutes/hours I feel like I have in my life right now to get anything done in a timely manner... I should probably start by ordering some checks. Getting back to work. Driving 180 miles tonight. Then maybe, maybe doing something wedding-related tomorrow... did I mention next week we're going to someone else's wedding in New Orleans, and a few days after that we start the 16-hour-each-way-road-trip-to-Michigan for Thanksgiving?

But absolutely, the number one thing keeping me same?

That guy in the donut cat shirt. Happy birthday, babe.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Save The Day(te)

So yeah, we had a little fun with our save the date card (which has finally started landing in mailboxes, after several weeks' delay):

Sorry, crashers, we took out the super-specific details because our venue just isn't all that big. But it does have lots of convenient little nooks for going from secret identity to super-suited-up, BAM! in a flash.

P.S. You can tell who knows me well and who doesn't when someone asks the question: "How did he talk her into this?!" If you don't know that this concept not only required zero arm-twisting but was also a 100% collaborative effort, we obviously haven't spent any time together...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Wedding Magic" is a Thing, Right?

Dear Karma, take note: I expect the day itself
to go well and be 100% free of dogs peeing on me.
It's one of those weeks where it's feeling like this wedding just might not happen.

No, no, there's no drama going on with D and me (sorry, as I know that'd make for a more salacious post). It's not the marriage that is being threatened. It's the universe refusing to play nice on this whole already-a-hassle logistics phase of planning a major event.

To wit:

- Out of the six caterers and bakers I have reached out to thus far, only two have called me back. One to say that they're taking a company vacation the week of our wedding. I have already pretty much decided to work with a baker I like here, and risk transporting the goods a couple hundred miles away. That IS an option for the cake course, but would be harder to pull off for the dinner... CALL ME BACK, CATERERS.

- We ordered Save the Dates a month ago... which still haven't arrived in anyone's mailboxes. The fiance has been quite diligent about calling and hounding the mailing service. They keep pushing back the delivery date: "Oh, well, because of the package you picked, it takes up to 12 business days." After twelve days: "Oh, actually, that package can take up to 22 business days." What. The. AITCH. They're also really awesome save the dates, and I'm afraid some Buzzfeed addict found them and is gonna Photoshop out our faces and use them as their own...

- Also, looking at the big picture: according to all but one of the dozen or so planning timelines I've glanced at, I am approximately one year behind in my wedding planning. The one that says I'm only about a month behind has been printed out, highlighted, and tossed into my car for frequent, crumpled reference. The eleven others claiming I'm a year behind have been cursed and given the stink-eye.

But, um, weddings are like theater, right? I just keep thinking about that breaking point in the rehearsal process. You know, that night where everyone is supposed to be off book but no one knows their lines, and the set's not built, and no one is buying tickets and the costumes aren't done and you're beginning to fear that this show is doomed and you're going to wind up with a bunch of naked actors on a bare stage fumbling the text to a nearly empty house. You're having the actor's nightmare every time you close your eyes. It's all gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Then, suddenly, it all comes together. The stars align, the set goes up, the actors get their act together, and you have a show. We call it "theater magic."

So, like - "wedding magic" is a thing, right?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Meet the WSMs. (Or: Planning. Partying. Pantsless - Wait, What?!)

A lot of folks planning a wedding decide to leave the actual nuts-and-bolts "planning the wedding" part in the capable hands of someone called, aptly enough, a Wedding Planner. We don't have a Wedding Planner. But we have something even better.

As theater people, we are absolutely aware as to who really knows how to run a show, be the calm in the eye of the storm, and make sure silly actors are where they are supposed to be right when they're supposed to be there.

That's why we have secured not one but two Wedding Stage Managers.

WSM Sandwich.
(More on where this was taken momentarily. Get ready.)
Scott and Diana are co-WSM'ing this wedding, and thank goodness for that. They balance each other well, and spending this weekend doing some focused planning with them, including a visit to the venue, solidified the wisdom of this WSM selection. They are united but not unanimous in their visions, often offering two often totally-different perspectives and ideas, then agreeing on whichever one (or fusion of the seven) makes the most sense.

Also, they are hilarious, and smart, and not afraid to kick butt when necessary. Be warned, y'all.

This weekend, the fiancé was busy with a benefit performance - conveniently taking place about a mile from the wedding venue. So the WSMs decided a road trip was in order, and an otherwise potentially-unproductive weekend for me was transformed into an epic road trip, featuring Three Ps:



And a total stranger getting Pantsless.

Here is the nutshell version: We hit the road Saturday morning, stopping for lunch along the way, learning some fun new catchphrases (the weekend's big winner "heinous crotches," a line from the play Diana is currently directing) and arrived that afternoon at the venue. Thus began the Planning portion of the trip. We assured the front desk girl we weren't weirdos, wandering around taking pictures, measuring things out with our feet, and sketching out potential seating arrangements. Then we proceeded to be weirdos, wandering around taking pictures, measuring things out with our feet, and sketching out potential seating arrangements.

Sadly meh cupcakes.
From there, we segued from Planning to Partying with some sugar (like you do, when no alcohol is readily available and/or you have to drive), picking up some cupcake samples from a local bakery. Other than getting these cupcakes (overall assessment: good not great, icing was yummy but cake was dry), it was a major strikeout on the cake front. One bakery we liked is closed the week of the wedding. Another's prices were astronomical. Two others went out of business recently, and three more didn't return my call.

ANYWAY. We stopped in for a quick visit with the MOG and FOG, grabbed some dinner, went to the benefit show, and went to the cast party afterwards.

But before the cast party Partying portion of the evening, there was the unexpected and unforgettable Pantsless incident.

After the show, the fiancé had to take pictures and help with strike. So, naturally, we found the nearest bar so we could have a drink and hang out until he was free. The nearest bar had no clear signage, other than the all-important one which read OPEN. We dubbed it The Open Bar* and while it was a little dark and had kind of a stabby vibe, the drinks were cheap and the bartender was flirty and we all felt good about it pretty quickly.

Other patrons were feeling even better, apparently. This became shockingly clear about half an hour after our arrival. Scott, who was seated opposite Diana and myself, suddenly changed his expression, clearly seeing something of note. He stage-whispered with urgency:

"That man. At the bar. Just took off ALL OF HIS PANTS."

Trying not to all look at once, we all looked at once. Sure enough, dude at the bar had dropped his pants and his underpants to the nasty floor, and was looking expectantly at the bartender, who was looking anywhere but at Pantsless Man. The photo of the three of us grinning above was taken shortly thereafter, because we knew we needed to preserve and document the moment... but didn't want to take pictures of actual pantsless strangers.

This is what wedding plan looks like for everyone, right?

Special thanks to the MOG  & FOG for hosting the extra houseguests this weekend. And Pantsless dude for making it all the more memorable a planning weekend.

*PS We are totally going to open an establishment called The Open Bar. As soon as we get through this wedding thing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, Right: People Are Creepy!

So, as loyal readers will know, I've already purchased at least one wedding dress that I won't be wearing. It's not a returnable item, so I decided I would try to re-sell it. I listed it on Tradesy, and after a few weeks of a bite here and there but no buyer, I decided on a whim to also list it locally, on Creepslist. I mean, Craigslist.

No, actually, I mean Creepslist. The post, advertising a "beautiful, elegant wedding dress; never worn" got a response within five minutes of going live.

The  response was this (sic sic sic):


In other words, some random Creepster was all like:


And I was all like:

"WHAAAAAAAAT? No. No. Nononononono."

This message (thankfully sent through the anonymous, email-hidden Craigslist messaging system) has reminded of two important things:
  1. There are people in the world who see "never-worn wedding dress" and think I have a shot with this vulnerable chick! I bet she wants to hook up with me and do freaky things while wearing a dress because she is sad! These people freaking LOVE Craigslist. This is probably why Craigslist hides your real email address. And why Best of Craigslist is a thing.
  2. Despite still having some AAAIIIEEEEE GETTING MARRIED IS SCARY moments, I am really glad I have a cool partner I am going to marry. Because getting a message like this, just for listing a wedding dress for sale, reminded me of what dating can be like. At least for the immediate future, there is zero chance of me putting on glasses colored rose by time and distance and romanticizing what dating (at least, my dating life) was actually like.
Thanks, Craiglist. You have yet to bring me any actual money, but you sure do deliver some important life lessons.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Engaged Makes You Rich!

Good news, brides-and-grooms-to-be: Getting engaged makes you rich!

What? You didn't know? Just ask any wedding vendor out there. They're sure of it.

In fact, try this fun experiment. Call a venue, such as a hotel or banquet hall. Tell them you're coordinating an event and you want to book a room. They'll ask you a series of questions - whatever you do, don't tell them that your event is a wedding. Say it's a nice dinner, a family reunion, an anniversary celebration (all of those are not actually outright lies). This is important, otherwise you'll ruin the experiment.

They will give you a quote on a price. Thank them kindly. Then, later that day, have your partner call them back and say they want to book the venue, for a wedding.

They will be give your partner a quote, and the quote will likely be higher. It might even be double. Because, you see, wedding venues know the truth: GETTING ENGAGED MAKES YOU RICH!

Bridal shops know this, too, which is why they charge crazy amounts of money for fabric and sequins. Why shouldn't they? YOU'RE RICH, YOU SILLY GOOSE! GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!

Caterers know it. Travel agents know it. Interior stores know it. Your mailbox will be full of offers for luxury items you didn't know you needed. BUT OF COURSE YOU NEED IT! YOU NEED IT ALL, NOW THAT YOU ARE RICH AND ENGAGED!

Aren't you glad? It's a pretty sweet bonus. You find the love of your life, and you instantly become millionaires. Life is more than fair. It's a generous sugar-coated angel of amaze-balls. Of course, there's one entity that misses the memo about you suddenly being rolling in the dough.

That'd be your bank.

Your account will pretty much look the same as it always has. Silly slow bankers!

But don't worry. The credit card companies feel very, very confident about your wedding windfall. They'll encourage you to spend away, love birds! Don't complain about the price of cakes or the ridiculousness of wedding toilet paper!*

Shut up! YOU'RE RICH!

(Pseudo-legal disclaimer: Getting engaged does not make you rich, unless, like, you get engaged to a rich person. But you'd never know it from the way the whole freaking wedding industry expects you to start throwing money around. Now you know, so have a little fun with the information. String along some of the evil price gougers, and reward the honest vendors out there with your business. That's our plan, anyway.)

*Just in case you didn't click the link above, I'm putting it here too. This is an actual thing. This is the world we live in.

I'm Pretty Sure The Calendar is Laughing At Me

Somehow this whole W-word thing is less than five months away.

And between now and then, we have several interstate road trips, his birthday, my birthday, a big urban family event, Thanksgiving, Chanukah (which this year is creating a Frankenholiday dubbed Thanksgivukkah), Christmas, and the New Year. And some writing deadlines. And, like, jobby stuff.

Those five months are going to fly. There's a lot to do in a little time, life-wise and W-word-wise. In fact, my calendar just took a look at my to-do list and guffawed.

(My calendar is on my phone, of course, so maybe it's a Siri thing. I don't know. I just bought an on-sale iPhone 4 since the iPhone 5 made it obsolete. It was the off season thing to do, obvi.)

This week, I'll update #TheList. There should also be some excellent photo ops coming soon, since this weekend there will be many activities, including cake tasting.

That's right. There may be stress. But by God, there will also be cake.

(Just like in the last post. Hmmm. Beginning to detect a theme. Spoiler alert: This is going to be a VERY carb-y celebration.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

...And Everyone's Still Talking About That Cake

I've started writing this post several times, and tripping over my words. Usually, that happens to me when I'm talking, not when I'm writing. But in this case, even when writing, I find myself at a bit of a loss. Sometimes that happens, when you're just completely overwhelmed by just how incredible the people around you are.

A few weeks ago, the parents were all in town. The MOB, FOB, MOG, and FOG all came in to see the show. The show, which was a lot of fun but also sucked up all the free time the fiance and I might have had. We hit the pause button on wedding planning. We certainly didn't have the bandwidth to put together a nice little party while our parents were in town.

So our friends did it for us - the world's best engagement party.

The Diva (Photo by FOG)
Our cherished friend Denise - AKA "the Diva" - was the amazing powerhouse behind the world's best engagement party. It was her idea, her coordination, her lovely and humbling gift. Denise is a director, and in addition to having a wonderful vision for this party, she assembled a stellar cast to help her; our friends Malaika and Nate, in particular, who helped with everything from decorations to collecting addresses from attendees.

There were several things that made this the world's best engagement party, but two things stand out above all: the people who were there, an assembly of family and urban family whose love and support filled the room to overflowing... AND THE CRAZY AWESOME CAKE.


People are still talking about that cake. Because it was crazy awesome. And perfect.

It was an intimate and lovely evening. Denise supplied champagne and invited guests to make toasts. Many toasts were made, some funny, some poignant (my dad promised he wouldn't tear up during his, but then did anyway), and concluded with a toast from the hostess herself, along with a Khalil Gibran poem.

Leaving that night, I felt so incredibly blessed. So undeservedly fortunate. Denise's generosity, and the goodwill of our loved ones, is more than I can ever adequately respond to with enough thanks. Re-living it all again, I'm a blubbering mess, y'all. (And that's just over the engagement party. Imagine me at the freaking wedding. The off-season, ugly-girl-crying bride...)

Revelers! (Photo by Wayne Thomas)
I would go on and on, but I'd just get more emotional. So instead I'll just say thank you. Thank you, Diva. Thank you, urban family. From the bottom of my (ugly-girl-crying) heart.

Us (Photo by FOG)
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls...” - Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, October 5, 2013


This past week marked two important anniversaries in my life.

September 30 marked the six-year anniversary for the fiancé and me. Six years since two friends who had been on a few dozen were-they-or-weren't-they-dates had a conversation that decided our new status was "officially together." (The conversation was immediately followed by me sending him a text while still sitting in his parking lot that night, which said something like "Don't get weird about this, okay?" His response was something along the lines of: "Wouldn't dream of it, doll. Won't get any weirder than I already am." Fair enough.)

A good visual representation of us.
Six years together, so far. Six years wherein we've laughed often, cried rarely, worn a lot of costumes, cooked, toasted, roasted, supported, traveled, lost grandparents and loved ones, gained friends and loved ones, and realized we want all the years ahead of us to be spent together, too. Which brings us to the next anniversary...

October 4 marked three years since I survived the car wreck that by all logic should have killed me. If you want to read the whole story, it's here. If you want the nutshell version, I was driving a Tahoe full of production equipment from Jackson to Memphis. While driving in the left lane to pass an eighteen-wheeler, a deer stepped directly in front of my car. At 70 MPH, I hit the deer. Then I was rear-ended by the eighteen-wheeler behind me, which spun me back into the right lane and directly into the path of the other eighteen-wheeler, the one I had been passing. That truck hit me, too, still at 70 MPH. The rear of the car was crushed, the front was ripped off, and here I still am today. Three years after three separate impacts -- deer, semi-truck, semi-truck -- any one of which could have meant the end of my story.

To the left, imagine where the front of the car used to be;
to the right, imagine where I was leaning against the airbag.
I could write again about my feelings from that night, all of my gratitude and fear and renewed sense of purpose, all of which is still true. But instead, on this third anniversary, I'm literally counting my blessings. Here are just a few of the things that have happened in the three years since the night I miraculously did not die:
  • I've been more intentionally grateful, almost every day (I'm still only human)
  • I learned that when the chips were down, I did, in fact, have the right people around me, thank God
  • I made a career shift to allow for more writing time; I have since written six scripts, three novels, and two more children's books, so far. I have had two plays published - one I wrote pre-wreck, one I wrote post-wreck - which are now being performed, in real theaters, by real actors, in places I've never been. I no longer feel like a wannabe when I say "I'm a writer."
  • New friends came into my life, and new theater projects, and the urban family for which I am so thankful continued to grow... and old-gold friendships are even more precious to me than once they were
  • My first nephew was born, and I got to hold him while he was still tiny, and now he's walking; I shared wonderful mugs and glasses of coffee and wine (and mimosas) with my parents (and with the fiancé's parents), and appreciated them even more; I've been able to cheer on all of my siblings as their lives moved forward in amazing and sometimes surprising ways 
  • I fell in love with Doctor Who. I know-- what took me so long?! 
  • I took the fiancé out of the country for the first time-- just to Canada, but now that we know that we can, in fact, leave the country and be let back in despite his rouge-ish ways, we have bigger plans ahead
  • I snuggled with Dov, survived all the attempts on my life by the world's largest cat, and fostered and found homes for a dozen rescue dogs (one of them still with us-- oops)
  • I wore bridesmaid dresses in two of my best friends' weddings, and danced at several other weddings, one of them just a few days post-wreck and while still donning a neck brace, and not to be a broken record, but seriously: I have been reminded more times than I can count what an amazing collection of people fill my life, including that hilarious, protective, loyal, and loving best friend of mine...
  • whom I am now engaged. http:// hen we got engaged, and started planning our own wedding 
Those are just a few of the thousand good moments and milestones I've been blessed to experience in the past three years. There have been bad days, too; funerals, illnesses, setbacks. But to get through my own bad days, and to be there for my loved ones on their bad days, is another category of blessing. Some blessings feel brutal, but are blessings nonetheless.

I sometimes reference anniversaries pretty lightly. We all do. Forgetting an anniversary is one of the world's oldest jokes... and, in fact, this year the fiancé forgot ours for the first time ever, despite me tagging him in a Facebook status about it, which he liked (true story). I forgave him, largely because soon we'll have a new anniversary date, so the September 30 one will eventually fade away. Still, a year and a half from now, when the fiancé is "the husband" and we celebrate our first anniversary, we'll laugh together about how we'll actually have been together for nearly eight years at that point. Assuming he doesn't forget the new anniversary.

Sometimes anniversaries can seem a little arbitrary. But sometimes it's important to remember not only the date an anniversary marks, but also everything that has happened on all the days in between, and everything we survived to reach this day.

So here's to anniversaries, and not taking a single one of them for granted.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

This Little Light of Ours

As my loyal readers (all ten of you beautiful creatures) may recall, the fiancé and I don't have the most romantic of proposal stories. This is not a surprise, really. "Romantic" is not a word frequently used to characterize us - but never say never.

Unbeknownst to  the fiancé, I saved the bottle of wine we were drinking that night. I hid it in the kitchen, because I had plans for that bottle. Big plans. At one point, when I was gone, he found the empty hidden bottle and put it in the recycling bin. Luckily, I noticed it, retrieved it, and did a better job of hiding it... until I could get it to my friend Juniper.

Because my friend Juniper's husband Del takes bottles, and makes art; functional art, no less - objects like lamps. While that's cool any day of the week, I thought it would be particularly perfect to preserve the modest little bottle of red with which we toasted our engagement. What better way to preserve it than to have an artist transform it into something that would continue to illuminate?

Many thanks, Juniper and Del. This little bottle will be with us for quite some time, and we're gonna let it shine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Get. Ready.

In the past few weeks, ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED:


This is what we call "a teaser" in "the biz."
THE SHOW (performing 6 times weekly, on top of regular day-jobby-stuff... hence, not a lot of posting here)!




I promise a post on each event, that will be either hilarious or heartfelt (or, if nothing else, have some fun photos). As soon as I catch up with the other things I've been letting slide due to The Show, such as





... Yeah, catching up on writing here sounds like a better option than most of those other ones...

Friday, September 13, 2013

I'm Not Ready

I'm not ready.

I've felt that way about everything lately. The production I'm in opened Tuesday night, and as I drove to the theater I thought, I'm not ready.

But the show opened anyway.

Tonight begins the holiday of Yom Kippur, a twenty-four hour of fasting and atonement, which usually I prepare for with some reflection and apologies and exercise, but I haven't been able to do so, and thus I feel like I'm not ready.

But the holiday will come at sunset anyway.

I'm not wearing my ring for this two-week stretch of the show, since it felt more secure to put it in a safe for two weeks than risk losing it backstage, and my bare finger seems strange and already feels like an expired version of me... but a version I know, and understand. It makes me wonder, suddenly and more intensely than I did a month or two ago, am I ready to get married? Even as a firmly-established adult woman in her 30s, even as a partner of already-a-half-dozen-years, even so, I have this feeling that I'm not ready...

...but I'll probably get married anyway.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

10 Of The WORST Brides The World Has Ever Seen

Let’s be honest: the only thing people love more than a bride… is hating on brides. “Bridezilla” is a term coined relatively recently (and universally loathed by everyone except truly, truly crazy people whose primary goal in life is to be featured in a TLC show), but there is a long, not-proud history of the terrible bride. I couldn't find any neatly compiled list of them, though. But I knew there were enough out there for a good round-up: From Biblical Bridezillas to Current Event Crazies, the tradition of some individuals losing their proverbial poo as they head toward marriage is pretty startling.

And so, I decided to compile this list. May it serve as a reminder to us all that it’s just not ever okay for anyone to become a meanie or a maniac over this milestone. Also, that if you're starting to feel stressed... don't worry. You'll be okay. AS LONG AS YOU DON'T TAKE ANY OF THESE PEOPLE AS YOUR ROLE MODELS.

Now! Presenting ten of the worst brides that the world has ever seen:

10. Batsheva (or Bathsheba, or Bathing Baiting Bride), The Biblical Bridezilla.

"Is he looking? Hand me the loofah, let's make it interesting!"
Even in the Bible, we see stories of meanie brides, like Batsheva. She was married to Uriah, but he went off to serve in the king's army, and bored Batsheva decided to put on a naked show for the king, bathing on her rooftop in plain view of the castle. King David was all, "I must have her!" So she was brought to him, and he got her pregnant. Oopsie-baby! 

The king pulled some strings and had Uriah sent to the front line, where he was killed. So then Batsheva was a bride again, this time to the king himself, who probably laid down some strict rules about where she was allowed to take all future baths. 

9. Cleopatra: Pain-in-the-Asp Bride.
Let's not talk about Liz's husbands, either.
This power-hungry Egyptian married one of her younger brothers to keep it in the family ("it" being the power, of course). This little brother's name was Ptolemy XIII. He died, so she married another one of her little brothers, conveniently named Ptolemy XIV. (They really, really liked keeping things in the family.)

That little brother/husband died, too, so she broke the "different kind of sister-wife" mold and married Mark Anthony of Rome, while also having a thing with Caesar. You kind of have to give her props for wielding so much power in that era. But as a bride, given her short temper and demanding demeanor, my guess is she was a tad bit high-maintenance.

Also, totally a Black Widow Bride. Husband #3 Mark Anthony died, too, at which point Cleopatra said "eff this," and let an asp bite her to death.

8. Elizabeth Bathory, A FREAKING VAMPIRE.
As bad brides go, Elizabeth Bathory, a famous vampire later known as the Blood Countess, is pretty hard to beat. Despite being highly educated for her time and of royal birth, no one really wanted to marry her because she was prone to seizures that were accompanied by fits of rage and total loss of control, possibly caused by inbreeding-related epilepsy. Hot!

The stress of a wedding probably didn't help with the fits of crazy. She was betrothed by age 11 to a Duke, but then got knocked up by a peasant while awaiting her wedding day. She gave up the baby, married the Duke, and by all accounts settled down some, post-wedding, for awhile. She was an "excellent mother" and good wife to her husband, though she cheated on him when he wasn't around.

And then after he died she started hiring and killing servant girls and bathing in their blood, hence "Blood Countess." So, yeah - technically makes her an even more terrible widow than she was a terrible bride, but I was willing to make the stretch because including a vampire in this list makes it sexier, right?

7. The Stinky Brides of the 1500s.
Originally called a "B.O.-quet"
Okay, so this isn't a singular "bad bride." But in attempting to research bad brides in history, I came across this fun fact: Traditionally, people married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and thus brides believed they still smelled pretty good come June. Just in case, they carried flowers to mask any ripe odor. Because ya gotta keep it classy, see?

Ah, the glorious origin of wedding bouquets! Stinky brides of the 16th century, florists everywhere thank you for your contribution to the modern wedding! 

6. Also, While We're On Groups Instead of Individuals: Renaissance Brides.
Mostly because they still inspire elaborate Renaissance Festival Weddings today. May not be their fault. But let's blame them. Oh, and no offense to folks who want to have an elaborate Renaissance Festival Wedding, and I hope it goes well. But we're emphasizing more egalitarianism today, right? Right?

(P.S. My prejudice against Renaissance Festival Weddings may well stem from the fact that I spent a summer working in a petting zoo at a Renaissance Festival, and it was one of the worst gigs ever. If I heard "Huzzah! There's a wench in the petting zoo, let's pet HER!" one more time...)

Ahem. I digress. Back to cataloging terrible brides throughout history.

5. Marie Antoinette: All Cake & No Consummation.
"Let them eat wedding cake."
You kinda have to feel bad for Marie Antoinette: Bad rap post-wedding, and hefty family crap leading up to her wedding. (I.e. Siblings dying of smallpox, leaving her next in line to be married at age 12; bad teeth requiring 3 months of excruciating 18th century dental torture before she was deemed to have a straight enough smile to rule, and then at her wedding, her brother stood in as the groom since the cousin she was actually marrying couldn't be there - for real, y'all). But she was also famously shallow, high-maintenance and dismissive of the lower classes, and she didn't consummate on her wedding night, which led her and her cousin-husband to be a source of ridicule for years, because reality TV didn't exist yet. 

Actually, come to think of it, did historians maybe mix up Marie Antoinette's story with a more recent story of some backwoods meth cooking girl who may have appeared as an extra in Winter's Bone? Either way: not a nice bride.

4. One More Creepy Macabre Bride: Serial Killer Belle Gunness.
"So tired of posing for wedding pictures.
Can't I kill the groom already?" - Belle G.
Why does this serial killer make the Bad Bride list? Because in addition to being generally bad (um, Belle Gunness was a horrific serial killer, folks), she mostly selected her victims through dating and marriage. The six-foot-tall Norwegian immigrant was thought to be responsible for more than 40 murders, primarily of her husbands, boyfriends, and suitors. And also her own children. Making her a bad bride, bad girlfriend, bad wife, bad mother, and worst blind date ever. She cashed in on tons of insurance policies and was never apprehended.

Belle G. was born in 1859, so she's probably dead now, but if you get set up on a blind date with a towering, filthy-rich old Norwegian lady, RUN.

Moving into the Modern Era for the Final Three...
(Which can also focus more on wedding/bridal behavior, since we live in an overly-documented era now)

3. Anyone Who Has Ever Appeared On The Show Bridezillas.
Enough said.

(Note to anyone who appeared on the show: you signed away your right to be offended by a remark like this when you signed the dotted line agreeing to star in the show whose very title indicates they're not hiding their intended portrayal of you, like, at all.)

(At. All.)

2. Laura, The Gift-Basket Get-A-GRIP-Bride.
I believe that marriage should not be reserved for straight people alone. We also all know that tacky is not reserved for straight people alone, as this next Terrible Bride will illustrate. This story went viral last year: two brides tied the knot, and one guest and his girlfriend strayed from the registry list/just-give-cash option, and sent a large gift basket… which kicked off a large and ultimately public fight. This is because one of the brides, a lass called Laura, LOST HER DAMN MIND about it (and her new wife seemed to agree with her - or at least, didn't say "Hey, babe? You've crossed into crazy town, DO NOT SEND THAT EMAIL!").
In this case, twice the bride =
twice the tacky. C'mon, ladies!

Here’s one excerpt from the long exchange, wherein Laura chastises the guest for giving her and her wife a gift basket and schools him on why it was so, so wrong [all sic follows]:

“Weddings are to make money for your future.. Not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven't gave gifts since like 50 years ago! You ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue. To be exact the plates were $97 a person... But thanks again for the $30 gift basket my wife can't even eat. If anything you should be embarrassed for being so cheap and embarrassing yourself walking in with a gift basket probably re gifted cheap ass. Again.. Out of 210 people, you were the talk and laugh of the whole wedding!!!!”

Um, girl. Maybe if the other 209 of your friends are as nuts as you, the gift basket guest was “the talk and laugh of the whole wedding”… but probably, you were. (Also, ‘weddings are to make money for your future’? Really? And to me, the most bizarre thing here is the fact that this guest ATE A BEAUTIFUL VENUE – did no one else notice that?!)

1. “Mike’s Wife,” AKA The Bride Who Makes Laura Look Less Terrible
This story broke shortly after the one above, and in my personal opinion, it’s even worse: the anonymous bride who wrote Tanya regarding the insufficiency of Tanya’s gift. Here’s Tanya’s note, along with the charming message she received from this terrible bride (she reveals the groom’s name to be Mike, hence, calling her “Mike’s Wife” – YOU SIGNED ON FOR THIS, MIKEY):
(Text/image as shared in articles on Huffington Post - and, like, lots of others)

I was just speechless when I saw this story. I was appalled at the assumptions, the attitude, the flat-out-condescending crassness of it all. I was forced to wonder if shockingly poor grammar and shockingly-rude-bridal-syndrome must always go hand in hand. But mostly? I just feel really, really bad for Mike. Unless he’s a Terrible Groom, of course, and both of these charmers got what they deserve in one another. Seriously: ugh.

So there you have it. Ten terrible brides who serve as an example for any of us planning a wedding: if you're anything like any of them, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. And, if rather than going off the deep end and being mean to guests or your future husband/wife/partner, you're focusing on the joy and commitment and community of this whole fiasco, you're probably doing it right, so cut yourself some slack.

In closing, I suggest we all follow these three simple rules: Be reasonable, be kind, and don’t kill anyone.

(Side note - I think I need to write a monologue show about these ladies... yay, random self-assigned research ultimately double-counting for this post and then maybe an after-the-wedding recovery project!)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is "No Chicken Nuggets in the Bathroom" Too Much To Ask?

Now the ugly truth: that particular day, I had possibly the least special-bridey-romantic-pretty moment of this whole process so far.

After trying on the first  50  six dresses, I had to use the loo, so I excused myself and made my way to the ladies' room. I walked in, locked the door behind me, and immediately gasped aloud at the filth. In addition to pee-stains (EWWWW) and random clumps of toilet paper clinging wetly in the corners (GROOOSSSS), THERE WERE HALF-EATEN CHICKEN NUGGETS STREWN ABOUT THE FLOOR.

Don't believe me? Oh, I took a picture:

Can you see the pee? And the nugget? And some toilet paper bits?
In one shot, I tried to capture as much of the environment as possible.

I wanted to run screaming from this gross room, crying out a warning to everyone else: "They keep saying words like special and beautiful bride and magic and organza fantasy BUT IT'S A SHAM, THERE ARE CHICKEN NUGGETS IN THE CRAPPER!"

Trouble was, I really had to pee. I knew I couldn't squeeze into any more dresses without doing so, and knew I had several more selections already pulled from the racks from my dear friend and the darling MOB, awaiting my return. So I took a picture, steeled my nerves, then commenced with the task at hand, hovering over the toilet...

... which is when I learned that the lock to the door did not work, because without so much as a courtesy knock (WHEN DID PEOPLE STOP COURTESY KNOCKING?!) some stranger barged right into the room and stared at me on the toilet.

"Oh!" She gasped. "Sorry!"

Then her eyes drifted down to the chicken nuggets, and she continued staring WITH THE FREAKIN' DOOR OPEN, until I said "Please close the door!"

Which she did.

But it was too late.

I felt violated, disgusting, disgusted, and decidedly non beautiful-bride-y.

Come on, bridal shop. Step it up! Is "no chicken nuggets in the bathroom" (okay, and no strangers watching me pee) really too much to ask?

I think not.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Won't Be a Princess Bride, But...

Okay. After a deeper previous post, which yielded some truly thoughtful comments on what's in a name (thanks, y'all!), I was going to go to my next think-piece. But people keep asking for pictures of me trying on wedding dresses. So, while I may not ever be a Princess Bride, in the words of one famous farm boy...

Enjoy the pictures. (And next time, I'm going to tell you how I *really* feel about a certain major bridal apparel company. And then, back to the think pieces. Probably. And more updates to #TheList!)


There was the dress with the lovely back...

Kudos to the MOB for this artsy shot.

And the dress that taught me I truly hate chiffon...

I like nothing about this. No. Thing.
And the dresses that taught me I actually don't hate lace and/or some delicate detailing...

And the one princess-y dress that I did kinda like...

And the other princess-y dress - the one that wanted to TAKE OVER THE WORLD:

This dress was big.

Dramatically, emphatically big.

*None of these are THE dress. But each of them taught me something, bringing me one step closer to figuring out what to wear for the big day. Even GIANT DRESS. Thanks to the MOB and the Diana for taking pictures, and helping me keep this stressful outing light. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Will I Change My Name?

"It'll be so weird when you change your name," said a friend recently, quite casually.

"She's not changing her name," shot back another friend, before I could even reply. "She would never change her name."

I started working on this post, and Groupon sent this out.
"Well, I might, but I might not," I said, and they both stared at me, equally shocked.

That's the truth, or at least, that's a snapshot of the truth, right now. But now moves quickly, as does truth. And when it comes to the name game, the whole truth is a trickier and constantly-evolving little beastie.

Truth, Then: Despite being raised by a feminist mom (who hyphenated her name, by-the-by) and open-minded dad, I still grew up assuming that someday I'd grow up, find Prince Charming, marry him, and then we'd be the Charmings.

(Incidental Reality: I didn't ever meet Prince Charming. But I did eventually meet a guy who, as it happens, has a last name that essentially translate as Prince. Close enough for this chick!)

Truth, Now(-ish): I'm really attached to my name. I have several publications attributed to this name, a solid professional reputation linked to it, more than three decades' worth of largely-positive-associations with this moniker - to say nothing of, like, Twitter and stuff. I've done a lot as this person, called by my name. It's understandable that my close friend (several, actually) was shocked I would even consider changing my name. Plus, I'm certainly a feminist, progressive person who balks at the idea of having my identity somehow become adjunct, deferring and docilely submitting my own name and allowing it to fade into oblivion as I now don my husband's name.


My current name, let's be honest, is still tied in to the patriarchy. It's my father's surname, and his father's surname (well, his father's post-Ellis-Island surname; really, this name with this spelling has only been in the family for three generations). My mother hyphenated her own name, but my siblings and I all simply had my father's name. I love my father; I'm proud to have his last name...

Yet, objectively, am I any more or less a part of the patriarchal system if I keep my dad's last name, as opposed to taking my chosen partner's last name?

Still, even if it trotted its way down a patrilneal path to get to me, my name has now been mine for thirty-two years. After this much time, I have claimed it, shaped the perceptions associated with it, and giving it up seems ludicrous. So as of a few weeks ago, I made the decision - and even announced to a few close friends - that I would be keeping my name.

And then...

I had yet to fully discuss these thoughts with The Fiance. (BTW, I'm going to preempt the "why doesn't he change his name?!" question and say that honestly, he has a really cool name - an alliterative name that he loves, and makes him feel close to the alliteration-addicted-allies he adores, like Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, etc. Not to get a dig in about age, but he's had his name even longer, and for a variety of genuinely-not-Neanderthal-ish reasons, him changing his name is not on the table.)

And then, yet another chatty friend said, in front of The Fiance, "So, like, are you keeping your name or what?"

I just stared at her for a second. Poor thing had no idea how big a question she'd just asked, especially since she asked it of me, and my mind has thirty thousand thoughts swirling around in it on a slow day.

Luckily, The Fiance, who is rarely at a loss for words and always quick to look out for my feelings, took the opportunity to make this lovely statement: "Oh, I pretty much assumed that you would want to keep your name, and that's totally fine with me, of course. I don't see it as any sort of litmus test, does-she-love-me-enough-to-take-my-name or anything. Anyway, it's a good name. (Says my full name.) I love that girl."

And right then, I realized that dammit, no litmus test required, I do want to share a name with him. The feminist in me pouted, but then she got a little less petulant and a little more poignant about it. It's still my choice, after all, and isn't that what it's all about? Not the ultimate choice we make on issues like this, but the fact that we're empowered to have our own choice in the first place?

People change names to mark transitions. When someone takes on a new faith, or confirms their faith, they often receive a new name: a Hebrew name after conversion to Judaism, a Christian name after baptism, heck-- the Pope gets a new name when he gets the big gig, and far as I know there haven't been too many lady-Popes. So it's not just a gendered thing - although speaking of gender, trans* persons go through the process of finding themselves a new name that honors their identity. People change their names for plenty of other reasons: to advance their career, to better reflect their personality, to mark themselves in some way as something different from how they felt encased in their old name.

I do believe that marriage will be a transition; that something about my identity will shift, though I will remain autonomous and very much myself. I will be committing, publicly and wholly, to throw my lot in with another person's, and create a new family. (Let's not even open the issue of having the same last name is easiest if there's kids - this post is already looooong.) It is a transition, and thus many things will change - but will my name be one of them?

The Inconvenient, Clock's-Ticking Truth: I still don't know. At the moment, I'm considering hyphenation for daily life, but maintaining my current name as my professional name. I still don't have a final decision... but I did buy that Groupon, just in case.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from folks who took their partner's name, folks who kept theirs, who hyphenated, whose partner took their name, folks who changed their name due to another change or transition in their life... What was this decision-making process like for you, and when (if ever) did you "know" what the right name would be?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen, WE HAVE A VENUE!

Now that the deposit check has cleared, it's official: WE HAVE A VENUE!

And the winner is.... THE ECLECTIC ART MUSEUM! 


There are no pictures of the two of us there, yet. But there will be. Oh, there will be.


So, hooray! And holy (bleep). We have a lot of other stuff to do now...

...but at least we know we'll have a place to *do* that other stuff! :)