Wednesday, March 12, 2014

After: All of the Love

(Brunch Aftershock Picture.)
I wish that I had the time, immediately after the wedding, to capture everything that the day was: all of the joy, all of the laughter, all of the perfect bloopers, all of the friends and family truly becoming one community, all of the dancing, all of the love.

I didn't have that time right after the wedding. We stayed up dancing and karaoke-ing at the Best Unplanned Wedding After-Party Ever until 3 AM, which thanks to Daylight Savings Time was really 4 AM. Then we got up at 9 AM to have brunch with a bleary-eyed but beaming crew of friends and family. Then we had to drive three hours back home, continue packing...

... and the next day, we picked up a moving truck. Some of the very same amazing friends who helped us get married Saturday night showed up Monday morning to help us load a truck and move away from them.

As I said on Facebook, teary-eyed as I typed, that is the definition of Joy. Community. Love. The theme of our wedding, and God willing, the theme of our life.

Someday, I want to have time to share some of the amazing stories of love from the weekend and immediately following it. I mean, I did already share one brief hilarious blue-comedy bit. Now, I will share one sweeter moment:

Toward late afternoon, as the fiance HUSBAND was preparing to hit the road (yes, another week-long separation ahead), our friend Richard came over. When we let him in, he said, eyes alight: "I'm going back outside to get something set up! Don't come out until I knock again!"

Curious, tired, and obedient, we waited. A few minutes later, he knocked again. We stepped outside, and my eyes welled with tears for the thousandth time this week. When we stepped outside, this is what we saw:

Somehow, in the time between Sunday and Monday, while we packed and loaded and prepared for The Next Big Thing without any time to reflect and relax... Richard created an incredibly beautiful, moving memento - not only for us, but for our parents and our little wedding team. In his shop, he chopped up the beautiful twisted trees that had formed the base of our chuppah, and created candle sets for all of us. Wherever any of us go, we will now always have a small piece of our first official "home" as a married couple to take with us, and literally light our lives. Is there anything more lovely?

I don't have time, today, to reflect on all of the moments like this, from The Day and everything after. I still have too much packing to do, too much cleaning to do, to many hugs and quality time to squeeze in while I can. But for the record? I did have the time of my life that day. Getting married was awesome. It's pretty cool to say that the best wedding you ever went to was your own. It truly was the Best Day Ever.

And it's all because of the people. Our parents and siblings, our friends who are family. We didn't spend a lot of money on this wedding, relatively speaking, but we did spend a lot of time and energy and collaboration. It's overwhelming. I might not stop tearing up every few minutes for a good long time. Especially since the fiance HUSBAND is gone again, and I'm staying with precious friends (WSM-D and hubby-J) I can't imagine not seeing all the time, and the emotional roller coaster is far from over. But what a ride, y'all. 

What a beautiful ride.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

After: An Unexpected Something Blue

The wedding was awesome. AWESOME. Gorgeous and joyful and amazing...

... and hilarious. In several unintended ways.

What do I mean? Well. Prepare for some over-sharing, if you really want to know.

Since "a pop of T.A.R.D.I.S. blue" was our color scheme for the wedding, we ordered Red Velvet Cupcakes from our favorite bakery - but requested they be dyed blue, rather than red. Cool, right? And with all that cream cheese frosting, they were delicious, and devoured by many. That night, we giggled and stuck out blue tongues at one another.

Then things got interesting.

The first text we received regarding the Cupcake Aftermath was from one of D's groomsmen, Don. It read:

Those Dr. Who cupcakes animated the effluence. My poo is blue, sir.

That was the first message we received regarding The Blue Poo Epidemic, but not the last.

Hey, one more communal experience, right?

Something old, something new, something borrowed... and an unexpected something blue.

Yep. Something like that would definitely happen to us, and bring much merriment to our friends. I've never heard so much about other people's shades of poo as I have these past two days. I promise to share more mushy sweet stories from yesterday at some point.* It really was an absolutely beyond-words-wonderful day. I swear.

Followed by blue poo.

*What a terrible first choice of words...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

We Did.

We got married, and it truly was the best day ever. I'll catch up on the backlog of blogs and all the stories of the beautiful day that was our gorgeous, hilarious, joy-community-love-filled wedding. For now, here's to all of that incredible love... and this:

Friday, March 7, 2014

2: Tomorrow

Today, we will run around like mad and then drive for three hours.

Tonight, we will rehearse and then dine with our nearest and dearest, then D will go off with his boys, I'll spend a quiet night with some of my friends and then with my parents.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

3: VIBs, Lists, Countdown...

Today, I'll be heading to the airport twice to pick up two Very Important Boys:

First, my brother Adam, AKA Three (we're the OddKidds - due to me being #1 in the birth order, him being #3, and us both being "off"), AKA my Man of Honor.

Then, a few hours later, The Fiance, AKA The Man Who Will Be My Husband In Less Than 3 Days.

It's getting real.

Aside from two airport runs, other tasks for today include:
- Get nails done
- Visit The Brow Lady
- Pack up All Of The Things (for the wedding, not the move... SO MUCH PACKING AHEAD OF ME...)
- Obsessively check All Of The Lists
- Call to confirm tomorrow's pick ups and appointments (cake, flowers, drop dogs at kennel, get hair trimmed, something else I'm forgetting... this is why I need to obsessively check All Of The Lists...) and make sure everything can get done before we start the road trip down to The Coast at 10 AM!

It begins.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4: Ensemble, Assemble!

In the past 24 hours, I have officially heard from EVERYONE in our glorious wedding ensemble via email, text, Facebook message, call, OR local get-together wherein we've put together candles and table decorations, gone over details, and shared in important wine.


This is going to be awesome.


Half-Thoughts, Whole Heart...

I have started writing something for this blog, every day the past week. A different post, each day. I've been jotting down things I don't want to forget; the milestones marking some of the moments that stand out in the otherwise blurred-nonstop-movement that this week has been.

I start writing them, get just enough out to capture what it is I want to preserve, and then I look up. I see presents that still need assembling, boxes that need packing, a phone lighting up with work emails, pets that need food, vendors that need reminding or payment...

...and that's just in the evening hours, when I'm not actually at an office.

My thoughts all feel half-formed.

But my heart? Filled to overflowing.

I'll finish the posts. They're good. (No promises that the writing is stellar or anything, but they're good because the kindness of strangers and loved ones is mind-blowing... and also because the bumps in the road are amusing, and laughing at my misadventures will brighten your day.) But right now it's 1:18 in the morning and I still have four more presents to wrap.

Good night.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5: No Flowers? No Groomscake? No Problem!

Just breathe, and it'll all be fine.

Within the past couple of days, I had a few cancellations.

The friend who was going to make a fantastic groomscake (I saw the prototype, and it truly was out of this world) had some other stuff come up, and told me she wasn't going to have the time to make it. Hey, life happens. So I just took a breath, looked up cake toppers on Amazon, and came up with a simple, non-fantastic but totally-fine Plan B.

Then today I got a call from the woman who was doing our flowers. She lives a few hours away, and is a friend of the POG (that'd be Parents of the Groom), and as her gift, was going to design flowers. But she came down with a bug, and wasn't sure she'd recover within the week, and regretfully informed me that she would not be attending the wedding, and not providing flowers. Again, life happens.

So I took a breath, and mentioned this call to a friend - WHO TOTALLY LOST IT ON MY BEHALF, sort of like the Anger Interpreter sketches on Key & Peele (warning, link is NSFW). That was very validating. But I did not lose it. I just went to a florist on another friend's recommendation, walked in, and calmly informed them that my florist had canceled and I would need some simple flowers for Saturday.

"You seem pretty chill about this," said the florist, giving me a look that says Some Brides Would Fall Apart At This News.

"It's fine," I shrugged. "I'm getting married either way."

There have been a few other hiccups this week, but I am resolved to not lose my cool. It's not worth it. No one is being malicious; sometimes plans change. And no matter what, this is supposed to be about joy, community, love - and nothing is going to derail that.

(But, like, also the caterer not canceling would be cool, if You're listening...)

Monday, March 3, 2014

6: Everyone Is Amazing

I would just like to go on the record and say everyone is amazing.

I was on the verge of feeling stressed at work today, and before I'd even expressed one iota of nerves, three of my co-workers (including my supervisor) pulled me into an office. They shut the door.

"Tell us how we can help you," they said.

"I'm really okay--" I started to protest.

"Yeah. We know. Tell us how we can help you. We were thinking maybe we could make some appetizers for people to nosh on after the service, before dinner? Also we called the printer, he's going to take care of your programs. And M is already picking up the cupcakes, so she'll transport those, and the appetizers, and the programs, and  if there's anything else she can drive down, let us know."

I am reminded every day - every say - that it takes a village. And I have the best village ever.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

7: Chuppah

How do you get the right chuppah?

The right ingredients, of course. Starting, first and foremost for us, with the right people.

As noted early on, our team has been and continues to be incredible. Our friend Richard the Master Builder was enlisted quite early to be our Chuppah Builder. More recently, WSM Diana and I went shopping for some fabric for the canopy-top of the chuppah. Turns out around that same time, Richard was out in the woods... chopping down some trees to really make a hand-hewn traditional wedding canopy.

He began the basic construction, and invited WSM-D and me to come help finalize the design and move toward final build yesterday. With a week to go, it was time.

I have no words for how beautiful this chuppah is going to be. Only an amazing feeling of gratitude. I think gratitude is going to be the Word of the Week, y'all. So instead of words, here are some pictures to document the day's work and preview the beauty to come...

A sturdy tree view...

Cutting the fabric with RL

Cutting up with the fabric (and can you spot the WSM?)

Experimenting with draping the fabric

Sewing the fabric once we found the right draping
(Thanks for the help, Lesley!)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8: I Glued My Fingers Together

I am not a "DIY" person.

Well, I mean, I am absolutely a do-it-yourself person, in most arenas. I've lived my own life, paid my own bills, set my own schedule, done-it-myself since I was 17 years old. (I certainly had plenty of love and support, thank goodness. But I took pride in doing things myself.)

However, in the craft-sense of "DIY," I am a total bust.

Thus, I knew there would not be many DIY elements to this wedding. I mean, D is good at DIY stuff; he can draw, sew, construct stuff. I'm not artsy. I can write and act and fake my way through dancing, I can organize the heck outta anything... but fold some origami or design a some jewelry or come up with cute custom table decorations? I quote the Noptetopus:

However, in addition to D (who, let's keep in mind, isn't here), I am surrounded by DIY people. People who are helping me with things like decorations (more on the amazing MQ soon). Though I'm minimizing the DIY overall, I did decide there is one thing I should do. By myself, with my own two hands: make customized flair for my ensemble.

I wanted it to be something unique, longer lasting than corsages or boutonnieres. Something that could be worn by anyone, with multiple options for display. Something eye-catching but classy. I've been working on this off and on for the past several late nights, pre-assembling; tonight, I began assembling.

This project involves super glue.

As the Spoiler Alert post title has already revealed, I glued my fingers together.

I mean, really glued them together.

Tore the skin off my fingertips glued them together.

Still have residue on my fingers even after exfoliating, salt-scrubbing, and tearing at my own skin glued them together.

But the good news is I'm borderline optimistic that when I finish this flair, it will be pretty cool.

That's really all I can manage to type right now. My fingertips are killing me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

9: Single Digits

A single-digit number of days stands between me and the end of my single days.

That can't be right.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

10: Ketubah

(A small preview of the ketubah, which in
real life is more beautiful - and BIG!)
Yesterday, I went to get our beautiful ketubah framed. The ketubah is very special; it was a gift from some of my sweet coworkers, and was custom designed by our artist friend Christina of C. Mattison Illustration. Obviously, this document matters a lot to us, symbolically and physically.

So when I had to hand it over to a guy at the framing place, and he was my age but basically toothless and kept wiggling his finger in his ear, mining for wax as we spoke… well. I was nervous.

“It’s our wedding contract,” I said protectively, placing myself between the ketubah and Toothless Ear Wax Man. “It’s very important to us. It’s called a ketubah—”

“I’ll getcher done,” he said, finger thrusting again into his ear.

I wanted to walk out right then with the ketubah, rather than abandon the poor innocent wedding document. I felt odd, leaving her in the grubby hands of this disinterested man. But no place else in town could handle that big custom framing job on a quick enough time frame, “guaranteed.” Thus, I handed over our ketubah and left, feeling nervous. 

My misgivings continued to mount: He didn’t even know what a ketubah was! He didn’t care! HE MIGHT GET EAR WAX ON HER!

Today, I got a call that the framed ketubah was ready—earlier than expected. I went in to get it, feeling the lingering trepidation.

Toothless Ear Wax Man was not there. Instead, a brusque middle-aged woman, efficient but not warm, was behind the framing counter. I handed her my receipt, and she went to get my order. She brought out the large, now-heavy framed ketubah, and brusquely peeled off the tape from the crisp brown butcher paper to reveal the handiwork below.

“It’s beautiful!” I said, relieved, when I saw it.

“Yeah, that’s good,” she said, re-wrapping the butcher paper. She matter-of-factly checked me out, handed it over, and then as I turned to heft the ketubah and heave it out of the store, she cleared her throat.

“Hey,” she said, still abrupt but with a kind twinkle in her eye. “Uh, ‘mazel tov.’”

I looked at her, the efficient stranger at the framing counter who knew what this paper-wrapped item was and why it was so important. Suddenly, I could tell my memory of getting this lovely ketubah hastily framed in Mississippi was going to be far sweeter (and way less waxy) than I had previously thought.

“Thanks,” I said, meaning it, and carried our ketubah out to the car.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

To The Butthole Who Tore Up My Lawn

To The Butthole Who Tore Up My Lawn:

When I heard your engine revving and tires spinning in the middle of the night last night, I already found you annoying - and back then, I thought you were my strange new neighbor, getting caught in your own lawn.

View from the front yard
When I woke up this morning, and was dragging my trash and recycling to the curb, I saw what lawn you actually tore the crap out of last night. It was mine.

What. The. WHAT?!

This would have been annoying any given day of the year. But let me spell out for you why this was particularly bad timing, Butthole:

1) I'm already not having a great month

2) The fiancé is not here, so at seven in the morning, there's no one I can just feel comfortable going ahead and waking up to say "Some Butthole tore up the lawn! Please help me with this!"

3) I'm moving soon - which means that if this had happened a few weeks later, it would have been someone else's problem, AND it means this might get factored in to my deposit return assessment, and if you cost me one dime off my deposit you are going to get smacked SO HARD BY KARMA

View from the backyard
(Seriously, doesn't do justice to the damage)
4) Because of the reasons detailed in #2 and #3, I had to roll up my sleeves, get a rake and trowel, and do the best I could pulling the yard back into some sort of recognizable yard-topography. You must have a REALLY BIG truck, Butthole, since these tire marks were massive and made actual MOATS AND RIVERS in my yard. I bet you have a really small Something Else.

5) We all know I'm not afraid to stab some vanilla. I would never stab a person, but if I ever found out who you are, well, I make no promises about Really Big Tires Belonging to Buttholes With Really Small Something Elses. Those things? Those things sound very, very stab-able.


I will probably spend the next month glaring at every big truck that drives down my street... wondering if it's you, Butthole. Good thing I finally get to visit the fiancé tomorrow, or I'd really think this whole month had it in for me and all the ones I love!

May your tires rot and your Small Something Else be laughed at, frequently.

With disgust,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Stabbed The Vanilla

In order to ease a little tension and bring some sweets to a group of friends (all of us rallying together to demand a better week from the universe) I decided to make a batch of wedding honeymoon cookies.

I pulled out the vanilla extract, and found that the top was stuck. I mean, stuck. I tried everything - the grip-twist-opener, hot water, cold water, smacking the top - nothing was working. There was no one else to ask for help. I was SO FRUSTRATED.

So I got a steak knife, stabbed the vanilla bottle, and calmly poured the extract from the newly-forged hole into the batter. I did in front of all the other ingredient containers, so they would know not to mess.

Stress relief achieved. The cookies were pretty good, too.

Monday, February 17, 2014

You'll Want To Read These! (But You Can't. Yet.)

Wedding Themed Movie Nights.

Reaching A Decision Regarding My Name.

My Last Year of Filing Taxes As A Single.


These are all blog posts that I have started, but have yet to finish, because HOLY CANNOLI. Not to sound like a broken record, but working full time + volunteering + packing up a townhouse + planning a cross-country move + selling stuff on Craigslist + managing pets + WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING PLANNING  x (being halfway across the country from the fiance for almost two months now) = if I don't put remember to breathe on my list, I will probably start turning blue.

But I WILL finish those posts.

Hopefully soon.

In the meantime - I'm going to go to bed. Because it's almost midnight, and I have to be up in six and a half hours, and get some sleep is also on my list.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Itsy Bity Cider

Dear Everyone,

Sorry about yesterday's mostly-happy-but-mildly-panicked freak-out. I'm calmer today. Could well be the whiskey I added to my mulled apple cider last night, and the subsequent excellent night of sleeping.

More soon. In a sweet calm voice.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Here Are Some Of The Things Freaking Me Out, RIGHT NOW

You never think you'll have nightmares about things like tables
and table linens and plastic chairs. But you will. Oh, you will.
There are a few things - like, good things, mostly, but OMG things - freaking me out right now.

In no particular order, a sampling of the Currently Freaking Me Out List:

- In less than a month, if someone calls me "Mrs.," they will not be wrong.

- I'm having nightmares about things like missing dresses, unpaid caterers, too-few tables, hangry guests, more and more and more surprise bills.

- Per instructions from my amazing friend who is helping with decor, I just spent $200... on candles. I never thought I would make that much of a candle investment, in my entire life.

- Let alone keep up with the items on my list, I can't keep up with ALL THE LISTS I SHOULD BE MAKING.

- I haven't seen that dude I'm supposed to be marrying in a month and a half (which will be remedied soon, fortunately) and I'm kind of used to being on my own again and that's freaking me out, too.

- There are STILL people who have yet to RSVP, one way or the other. I now have guilt over any wedding to which I did not properly and promptly send my response. Karma, y'all. I'm sure I deserve this.

- I am also 100% sure I am forgetting something really, really important.

- W-Word aside, I have a lot of furniture I should be selling, boxes I should be packing, planning I should be doing, writing I want to be doing... but most days, if I can manage to get my work done, check off one or two W-Word to-do items, take care of the pets, maybe squeeze in a social visit or call, and not walk into things more than three times or use made-up words more than twice in the course of a day... well, right now a day like that is chalked up as a WIN.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Journeys & Destinations

Here's where the rehearsal dinner will be!
With just over a month to go, it was time for one last trip to W-Town. So the WSMs, the Chuppah Master, and I hit the road early Saturday morning.

First stop: Lunch at the Rehearsal Dinner Venue. The MOG & FOG met us at the Italian restaurant where they will be hosting the rehearsal dinner. It was a lovely visit, a lovely lunch, and we were able to compare notes on other items on #TheList.

Bonus: Delicious Italian foods means that the rehearsal dinner will fit right in with the "our wedding theme is carbs" plan.

Second Stop: Scouting Out the Venue. With a new floor plan in mind and our Chuppah Master on hand for the first time, we cast new eyes on the ol' venue and made a few important decisions.

This is how I make the fiance jealous.
Third Stop: Donuts. Again with the carbs. Also, this particular donut shop is D's favorite. How could I pass up the opportunity to have my friends snap a picture of me, enjoying-but-also-regretting enjoying one of those babies without him? (His reply when I texted him this photo: "My favorite person eating my favorite donuts? No fair!" Aww.)

Fourth Stop: The Open Bar. That's not the name, of course. But loyal readers will recall the tales of the not-actually stabby gay bar that is now our second home in W-Town. This time, no one's pants hit the floor. This time. (It was earlier in the day. And anyway, we'll be back.)

Fifth Stop: Night Lighting. We ran back to the venue right as it was closing, just to see what the lighting-at-dusk situation would really be. Good news: it'll work.

So much for small ice cream.
Sixth Stop: Sushi and Gas Stations. No, don't worry, not sushi in a gas station - sushi and several gas stations. Yeah, we actually stopped a couple of times on the three hour drive back home. (Luckily, when all the passengers have to pee frequently, none can judge.) Chuppah Master-R wasn't that hungry when we stopped for sushi, so he decided to just get a little ice cream. Lesson learned... there's no such thing as a little ice cream at that sushi place.

The trip was good, and the time with friends was even better. As WSM-D sweetly and astutely observed, these moments are what we'll remember. Maybe even more than the blur of the wedding day. Sharing jokes in a car. Stopping embarrassingly often to pee. Revealing a few secrets. Laughing.

The journey, even more than any destination.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dear Wedding Industry

Dear Wedding Industry,

Stop it. Just - just stop.
Today's mail delivery. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
You're just killing trees at this point.

I know you're going to tell me that "you can't help it." That you, being the favorite begotten child of the Fashion Industry, Consumerism Culture, Body Image Issues, and All Things Fleeting But Expensive, cannot be anything other than what you are.

But stop blaming your origins and just go ahead and admit that You. Are. OVERKILL. Because damn.

For starters, YOU REALLY NEED TO STOP WITH THE STALKING. I mean, for real. Did you have spies outside our window the night D and I got engaged? Despite the fact that we kept the news far from Facebook for a full week, the magazine deliveries, emails from wedding websites, and advertorials for honeymoon destination packages and discount tux offers started pouring in immediately.


I just want you to know that I'm over you. I tried ignoring you, unsubscribing from you, blocking you, but you are so persistent that now I'm going to willfully get in your face and refuse/refute all of your suggestions. For example, here is a partial (representative but non-comprehensive) list of words that YOU keep insisting are absolutely OMG-vital, and which NO ONE will use to describe my wedding:

  • Decadent
  • Fairy Tale
  • Princess
  • Expensive
  • Dream-like
  • Rustic-vintage
  • Shabby-chic
  • Fancy-simplicity
  • Any-already-cliched-hyphenate

We're not a good fit, you and me. We have different hopes. Different expectations. And clearly, we work with different budgets. Yours appears to be just this side of Donald Trump's, while mine is hovering somewhere closer to Lean Heady's.

So let me go, okay? Quit me. Please. I'm over you. I just want to move on---

Oh, wait. Oh, hold up. Now that my wedding is about a month away, soon you will drop me like a hot potato and - OH. Oh, crap.

You're going to turn me right on over to The Maternity Industry, aren't you?


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Those Sparkling Lone Stars!

I'll be sharing with y'all some updates of my own very soon - but in the meantime, this may well be the best wedding-related news story I've seen all week. Possibly the best post you'll see about Texas all month!

Grab the Kleenex.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

45 Days To Go: My Hot Single Life

I know you've been wondering: just how unbelievably, mind-boggling-ly exciting is Beth's off-season bachelorette life? Have I been loving it, and as Jenna Maroney would encourage, loving myself?

After all, the fiancé moved several states away recently due to getting a new job. You might think that is a case of poor timing (who wants a two month separation and a cross-country move thrown in the path of an already-overwhelming wedding?) but heyyyyyyyyyyy!

It also means being spun back out onto the dance floor SOLO for the last several weeks before I'm always in a partnered dance! Yes, darlings! I've been Living Single for the past three weeks, and tonight, I decided to share some insights into my hot, hot single life.

Read on, if you dare.

Craigslist Hookups. Oh, yeah, baby. I took some pictures. Made some posts, choosing words designed to entice. And started setting up rendezvous with random strangers from Craigslist... who are interested in purchasing used furniture and kitchen gear.

Flashin' Cold Hard Cash. Ooooh, it always feels exciting when you're walking around with wads of cash, doesn't it? Like you're about to go do something you really shouldn't. Orrrrrr like maybe you're trying to pay for most things in cash to be all budget-savvy during an expensive-event time of life. But imagine what you will!

Gettin' Sweaty. (I've been good about going to the gym.)

I think this hep cat is drunk. Better take his keys!
(I sit on the couch  run with a risque crowd.)
Gettin' Dirty. Shhhhh. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I've been feeling a lot dirtier lately. That is because I'm now the single solitary human in charge of taking out the garbage, cleaning up all messes, and cleaning the stinking kitty litter...

Animal House Partying. Okay, the jig is up: by this I literally mean I spend a lot time at the house, with animals.

Sensational Social Scene. Sincerely, I've been pretty good about alternating my nights between two separate yet equally important activities (man, that sounded awfully Law & Order): 1) Staying home and either getting things done as far as writing, wedding planning, and packing OR freaking out about what I'm not getting done as far as writing, wedding planning, and packing - AND 2) Spending quality time with the wonderful friends who are keeping me sane and smiling. Who needs dates when you have framily?*

I appreciate independence. I'll always value some solo time, especially quiet writing time. And I do plan to enjoy some more friend bonding, pet-snuggling, and so on... but overall? I think I'm officially over the single thing. It comes with a far colder home and way, way more dirty kitty litter than I remember.

*"Framily" = friends who are family - credit for the word-mash-up on that one goes to my mother. Hi, Mom! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Remnants of Old Expectations

I used to have a quote printed out and taped to my giant old computer monitor, in some scrawling, popular-in-the-90's font:

Be sure your dreams are still your dreams, and not just remnants of old expectations.

The tape lost its stickiness and the quote fell off my ancient computer monitor more than a decade ago, but the sticking power of the quote is evident this morning. The words keep winding through my mind, scrawling in that same pretentious font:

Be sure your dreams are still your dreams, and not just remnants of old expectations.

Funny how our minds work, surfacing old sayings and platitudes that actually (much as you hate to admit it) really do resonate. The truth is that life rarely looks anything like we pictured it might. That's part of why I started this particular blog, after all. Because I never pictured myself being a thirtysomething before getting engaged. Or getting engaged without a proposal, for that matter. TRUST ME when I say that over the years, my vivid imagination dreamed up many a beautiful, elaborate, this-will-go-down-in-the-record-books proposal scenario... none of which looked like my real-life engagement, a question-less agreement made while sitting at home eating pizza on a Monday night.

I also never pictured that the whole wedding thing would take sort of a backseat due to the rest of life taking over - i.e. planning a cross-country move while planning a wedding while working full time WHILE having no idea what my professional life will look like post-move, because I'm moving due to my future-spouse's new job.

All of which is on my mind, of course. But as this quote plays through my mind this morning, I'm also thinking about the fact that I've been so focused on logistics that I haven't even been thinking about dreams much at all.

Be sure your dreams are still your dreams, and not just remnants of old expectations.

For some, dreams are constant. There are those who know from an early age that they want to be a doctor, or a musician, and never lose focus. For others, dreams are evolving. A little girl may go from wanting to be a ballerina to a firefighter to a veterinarian.

But for all of us, dreams must be not only remembered, but also renewed. Chasing old dreams because they are our familiar old goals for ourselves, or worse yet because they are the long-standing goals others have had for us, but which no longer resonate... well, that's no way to catch a dream.

So unwrap yourself. Shake out the old expectations, dust them off, look at them in the sunlight. If they still look like what you want, suit up again in your newly polished dreams. If they no longer look like they fit, cast them off and go seek a new dream to put on and keep with you. Renew, or re-align, but either way, check in on your dreams. They are not static things.

That's what I'm reminding myself to do, anyway, as I get ready for at least three major life changes (moving, marriage, making money - sorry, that was the best 'career shift' alliteration I could come up with on short notice). I'm also learning to appreciate the unexpected realities that don't align with my dreams, but sometimes lead to something even better. After all, on the love-and-marriage front, I'll never have a proposal that will inspire envy - even if it should, because that pizza was DELICIOUS - but I feel more certain than I ever could have dreamed that our marriage will be enviable, and that's way better.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

55 Days To Go: Muffins at Midnight

Why am I making muffins at midnight? Well. A few reasons.

UPDATE: These are the muffins.
(Yes, I registered for new muffin tins.)
1. I have a pregnant friend craving blueberries, so I already brought her blueberry tea and fresh blueberries, and told her I'd make her some sort of blueberry treat. (The muffins are blueberry.)

2. I'm trying to use up all the dry goods in my pantry, and the muffins require things I have a lot of, such as flour and oatmeal. (The muffins are oatmeal blueberry.)

3. Though I'm usually an in-bed-before midnight girl, especially on a work night, lately I'm putting off bedtime as long as possible. For starters, the house at night and especially at bedtime is still when it feels weirdest to be alone. Then there's the fact that I have so much to do right now that unless I go to bed when I'm already halfway asleep, I lie there near-panicking about the as-yet-undone items on the many floating to-do lists currently dominating my life. Weirdly, though making muffins means not taking care of other items on some Super Important List, it's calming to do something that has a clear completion. (The muffins are manageable.)

Tonight, there's the additional x-factor that a rather intimidating guy came and bought my washer. So thanks to Craigslist, this guy knows where I live. I of course mentioned "my fiance who'll be home any minute," and had the dogs locked in an adjacent room so he could hear them bark without seeing their twenty-pound-reality. He also left his old, crappy pliers behind, so I have his fingerprints if I wind up abducted later.

Not that I'm paranoid.

But I am making muffins.

On a happier related note, some transplants and friends in transition have expressed needing-to-crash interest, so could well be that as soon as tomorrow I'll have a live-in bodyguard. YOU HEAR THAT, POTENTIAL ABDUCTORS? I ALSO HAVE DOGS WHO ARE SOMEWHAT SMALL BUT NONETHELESS MIGHTY AND INSANELY PROTECTIVE.

And muffins. I also have muffins.

(And mace on my person.)

Good night.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

59 Days To Go: My Team = Champions

Why, yes. Yes. That is a mug
covered in pictures of my fiance
dressed as a mad scientist.
Tonight I had a wedding logistics planning meeting with our WSMs and two other ensemble members: our decorations genius/designer, MQ, and our chuppah builder/production manager, RL.

I didn't take pictures tonight; I took notes. I took deep breaths. I did not for one moment take for granted how unbelievably fortunate I am to have friends like this in my life. Friends who don't think twice about going the extra mile for you; friends like family who see this event as a day of joy and commitment for them, too. It's nights like this that I feel shaky about leaving here. Leaving the friends that are family here.

But not living here full-time won't mean they aren't family anymore. That's not how family works. Family sticks, distance be damned.

Okay. I'm tired and quite literally about to fall asleep, and I'm babbling with my fingers now. I'm going to finish drinking my mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate out of my one-of-a-kind mug, and put myself to bed... and perhaps fall asleep to fewer stress dreams, thanks to the help of my friends. I'm confident my next update of #TheList will look healthy, and that, y'know, THE W WORD will actually happen and look pretty and it'll be because my team, in wedding planning and in life, is the best team.

His Last Day Here/Separation Anxiety

Rather than back-date this post so it appears on the day it happened... I'm just going to re-live the recent memories as I share these photos and thoughts tonight. They are not from tonight, or today, or yesterday. They are from Friday. Six days ago. Danny's last day as a Jacksonian.

Hard to believe this was already almost a week ago...

This was the starting plan. Almost all of it
happened! (Minus the cinema and the reservoir;
add Best Buy, Post Office, Goodwill, office...

Every Friday D gets a scone and coffee from
"his regular place." So there we went.

Saying farewell to beloved bosses.

... and seeing a coworker's pranked office.

Exploring the art garden...

...and the art museum...

...and classy artwork like this sculpture of a
chamber pot... with sculpted poo poo in it.

Contemplating "the parade of life."
(His phrase. This is why we'll wed.)

(These were amazing.)
The fish man was out of the fish we wanted,
but we DID make it there as part of our ultimate day...

His last day here would have been incomplete
without a pint at The Pub.

We welcomed Shabbat.

And the pet crew got in all the cuddles they could.
I'll share my own love song to Mississippi, in words, in a couple of months. I won't try to write out right now the complex concoction of emotions I feel over his departure. But in looking through these photos again to create this post, I can say - man.

That was a good day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Just Over 2 Months To Go: My Life Is A List

#TheList. It haunts me.

I've always been a list-maker, but now it's gone to the extreme. I said that this blog wouldn't be a "resource site," but I might share a clean version of my master list tomorrow in case it helps out any list-loving-but-logistics-hating folks of my ilk. Maybe it can help others, others like me who love a completed list like Cookie Monster loves a crazy big cookie.*


Here's where I am with #TheList, AKA The List of What Needs To Be Done For This W-Word Thing To Happen (you can understand why I shortened it to #TheList).

Everything with a " ü "  - I've completed. Anything highlighted, I'm behind schedule on. Anything with that other weird symbol that keeps replacing my check-box icon is not yet done, but not yet overdue. I have my work cut out for me. (Also, I should note - I'm saying "I" and not "we" because while D does have a few assignments, since he's now several states away and starting an intense new job, this last couple of months of W-word planning is mostly coming down to me. On behalf of we. Luckily, I/we have an excellent on the ground AND distance cadre of people willing to help us/me get this done.)

Here's where we are:

The (Fun! Fabulous!) Off-Season
5 Month Wedding Planning Checklist

(Okay, yeah, so we've been engaged for more than 5 months - we decided to "just enjoy being engaged" for the first month or two - can't say I regret that... YET) 

5 Months Ahead
ü  Set a date – run it by important must-attend list (parents, besties) before locking it in!
ü  Book a venue for the service
ü  Book a venue for the reception (light two candles with one match and have both in the same place – BOOM – that’s our plan)
ü  Select officiant
ü  Determine a budget and how expenses will be shared
ü  Decide on a color scheme, if you’re having one
ü  Take engagement photos (and make them YOU)
ü  Guest List for Save-The-Date / the big invite

4 Months Ahead
ü  Send Save-The-Date
ü  Buy a dress (or whatever you’re planning to wear for the big day)
ü  Buy appropriate underwear (to go under said dress / whatever)
ü  Put together your ensemble (some people call them bridesmaids, groomsmen, that sort of thing, but we preferred the more-inclusive and theatrical “ensemble”)
ü  Hire a photographer
ü  Create wedding website
ü  Have some fun registering for stuff (and start looking around your place and deciding what you’re ready to donate or lovingly gift elsewhere)
ü  Start premarital counseling

3 Months Ahead
ü  Book reception entertainment
Hire a videographer – OR ASK A FRIEND!
ü  Do some tastings
ü  Hire a caterer
Book tables, chairs, linens, serving-ware, anything you may need (or make sure your venue has all of that covered
Order cake/groomscake
ü  Book rehearsal dinner location
ü  Choose ensemble attire (again, other people might call ‘em bridesmaid dresses and tuxes, but we’re going with “upscale techie”)
ü  Figure out flowers
ü  Order invitations
ü  Get hotel rooms blocked / hopefully with event discount!
ü  Contact venue to confirm timeline for day of rental
ü  Buy wedding bands
Start planning for honeymoon – making sure passports are up to date, that sort of thing…

2 Months Ahead
ü  Select and send invitations
      Draft service and program (including ensemble roles)
       Meet with a financial planner to sort out financial plans/any merging
       Meet with an insurance dude to figure out life insurance, discounts for auto, any policies and/or paperwork you need to plan on updating
       Order wedding favors
       Order Ketubah (if you’re getting married under a chuppah)
       Send shot list / requests to photographers
       Decorations meeting 
       Have a tech meeting to go over set-up, sound system, etc.

1 Month Ahead
       Arrange for time off work (wedding, at least; mini-moon/honeymoon?!)
       Book hotel room for nights surrounding wedding, as needed (consult with family)
       Purchase or procure accessories like guest book, aisle runner, etc.
       Make appointment with stylist; do a test run of hair/makeup
       Buy gifts for ensemble
ü  Get marriage license (30 days out) + any other tests or documents required by the state
       Buy / create Jewish wedding kit (wine, glasses, glass for breaking, easel for Ketubah)
       Harass anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d
     Send evite for rehearsal dinner
       Finalize number of attendees and share info with rental folks, catering, etc.

2 Weeks Ahead
       Check in with all vendors (caterer, photographer, videographer, entertainment, venue)
       Plan seating arrangements, if you’re doing that (FYI, we’re not)
       Test run with chuppah set-up
       Finalize and print programs
       Create cue list (order of how everything will go in the venue – service, cocktails, food…)

1 Week Ahead
       Grocery shopping: put together an awesome snack basket for the ensemble
       Mani and pedi (me)
       Haircut (he)
       Pack car with everything needed (that deserves its own list: dress, snacks, party favors, ketubah, wedding kit, toiletries, rings, license… yeah, seriously, make a separate list)

Day of the Show, Y’All
       Evening before: Rehearsal
       Evening before: Rehearsal dinner
       Morning of: EAT FREAKIN’ BREAKFAST
       Set up at venue with ensemble
       Hair, makeup, costumes
       Make sure stage managers have cue list
       Eat, drink, and be married.

The good news is, two months out, while I am still behind... I'm not nearly as far behind as I was when I was three months out... it was frankly far too embarrassing at that point to share this list. Making progress, y'all.