Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost 2009...

I haven't made a True New Year's Resolution List in years.

I used to do them every single New Year's Eve, and I had to do them before midnight in order for their 'magic' to work. I'd inevitably be at somebody's house, flying into an empty bedroom at 11:45, frantically trying to remember what I'd fuzzily thought about putting on the list, scribbling on a ripped-out sheet of notebook paper: "Lose lbs...kiss a boy...keep room clean..." as everyone else had a grand old time puckering up in the next room. And invariably, I wouldn't keep a single one. "Kiss a boy" isn't exactly a resolution anyway...more like a wish.

I've definitely been more on top of regular To-Do lists lately, and especially with the wedding this year, I had about twelve going at once. But the nutso-ness of life lately has pushed all minor to-dos to the side, and my recent rash of days off (FIVE! Five in a ROW!! I was sick for them, but they sure were nice otherwise...) put my important to-dos in fuller focus.

I think I'll do one this year. And I'd love to go back to this, gray out those I've done (or have made progress on...maybe I'll darker-gray those), and get back on track for some things I've let slide.

1. Begin Weight Watchers; stick with the plan for a full month. (I'm hoping this will lead into another month...and another...and another!) I'm not going to outline a specific weight-loss goal, because I believe that invites failure.

2. Join the ARC, or work out at home at least 3 times a week.

3. Write out all thank-you notes; send out with photos.

4. Work out Pensacola trip with Neil & family.

5. Read/return at least one DBRL book every other week.

6. Work on clearing apartment clutter (books, kitchen, fridge).

7. Purchase desktop PC/set up wireless internet.

8. Use restaurant.com coupons.

9. Clear Hotmail inbox regularly.

10. Complete work training; become comfortable with ref duty.

11. Begin 30,000-mile tune-ups for Corolla.

12. Minor things: keep up with DVR recordings; keep up with EWs.

13. Purge/clip old magazines.

14. Floss regularly, or use WaterPik. Visit the dentist!

15. Use my spare time for good, and not evil.

16. E-mail friends more regularly, and with substance--and more promptly. I love writing; why don't I make more time for it?

17. Keep my relationship with Neil open, strong, loving, and healthy.

18. Be a good or better friend.

19. Pay off some of our debt.

20. Quit Sprint!

I will probably add to this as I think of more, and come back to it regularly to remind myself of what I'm bound and determined to get a good start on. Or perhaps to provide a running commentary on how it's going.

{eh...who am i kidding?}

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Simply Ha-a-vin'...

Oooh, am I a fan of that song! I don't know why it escaped me in recent Holiday seasons!

I know it's not unusual to like Christmas songs, and I know this isn't the *only* reason, but I've recently had an epiphany about them: I like almost every single one, because they're ALL covers. And you know how much I love covers. I know all the words, and different versions are played all day...the only difference is, I really only like old or classic-sounding versions. So I'm not so keen on, for example, Madonna's "Santa Baby" (EW. Just, EW. 50-year-old women should NOT be singing in a baby voice. Plus I just saw her on Britney: For The Record on MTV and her plastic surgery is ABOMINABLE. Who could look in the mirror and think that's an improvement?)

This year has been a little different for me, because I've discovered that KPLA changes to The Christmas Station before Thanksgiving, and I'm in the car a LOT more than I ever was previous years, so I listen to the radio for about an hour every day (with the occasional Stephen-Fry-read Goblet of Fire commute), and I'm getting to know a lot more versions of songs than I ever knew. I also sometimes play it quietly in my cube in Jeff City, and always when I'm at Stephens, to cheer me up from the feeling that I'm all alone and a killer is waiting for me in the Penthouse and is going to corner me in my office and I shall have no choice but to break through the windows into the Bitter Bitter (Way Too Bitter For December, People) cold to escape, but I will have forgotten my keys AND my coat so I'll have to walk to Dad's house and he can drive me home.

I'm loving The Chrismas Station, and have been discovering a few new songs--the aforementioned John Lennon vehicle, Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve in Sarajevo (which I'd heard of, but avoided in recent years because what kind of scary name for a carol is that, PLUS the name of the band doesn't sound traditional), and also their Christmas Canon, which almost makes me cry every single time. Damn you, little kids who can sing good! Why must you tug at my heartstrings so?? Also, I'm not ashamed to admit it: I am loving Last Christmas. You know how I feel about George Michael.

Songs I'm not liking so much:

Grown-up Christmas List. By Anyone. Yuck. I mute the volume and wait three minutes every time it comes on. SHOULD BE OUTLAWED.

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg. Depressing, sounds like the ending of a bad 80s movie, and I have never, ever liked Auld Lang Syne.
Christmas Shoes, by some country guy. I. Don't. Like. Feeling. Guilty.

Apologies, Lambsons, but...anything by the Carpenters. It's not the *sound* that bothers me; she has a clear, beautifully simplistic voice. I just can't ever forget that she died from anorexia and I think about it every time I hear her voice. It's the same with all dead singers really. "I like this song, but now I'm sad because they're dead." This doesn't generally apply for really old-school singers like Bing or Rosemary or Satchmo, or those who have lived a good long life. It's Death Before Their Time that gets me.

In other news:

1. This week, my mileage hit the very delightful 22222!

2. Last night, my hubs and I got a takeout G&D's large pep and settled in to finally, finally watch "Charlie Bartlett," which we have had in its Netflix envelope since August, at least. I'm not kidding. I'm going to watch the commentary with a pumelo to distract me, or a hidden object game or something, because....wow, I didn't really get it. I mean, I *got* it, but it was jaw-droppingly unbelievable. I won't get into it, but if anyone's seen it--let's talk.

However, the pizza was incredible. I always forget...G&D's has such average OTHER fare, that the yumminess of their pizza always surprises me.

3. I'm going to sign up for Weight Watchers soon. I just have no time to prepare all the things that makes low-carb bearable, for me, and while I know I won't like WW, I do know it works. So we'll just see. I was going to sign up for it this past week, but Lily was all "I bet after the New Year they'll have sign-up specials" and I was all "Oh lord, you're right, and this gives me an excuse to eat bad for two weeks. Awesome!" I mean, she made cornflake wreaths and they were sitting right there beside Dad's homemade pumpkin walnut bread. I'm not gonna effing diet right now.

4. This month, though unfairly cold, has been really great, personal-life-wise. Neil seems like his old grinning and sweet self, I love love love my new job, I rarely sleep past nine on the weekends, I'm caught up with Christmas gifts (only one to go, and it's for baby Micah, so it won't be that hard--I already have an idea), and we're doing all right financially. My one complaint is fitting in my Stephens job. It's been really tough during this time of year to run every OTHER errand that needs doing, work twenty extra hours, and do anything but fall into bed exhausted with no leisure time. I went down to 10-12 hours starting this week, so it'll be much easier, but because it's getting down to the wire this week, it's almost harder now than it was at 20 hours. I know it'll be over soon, but I fear I may have to work a dark, cold, lonely evening this coming week to make it work.

5. We're leaving for Ohio on Christmas night, after things settle down at the Dawson home post-festivity. We'll arrive sometime late Friday night, then the next day is Paul's 40th birthday open house, followed by this huge UFC fight, which will be a good opportunity to hang with my girls Stacy and Becca. I have to be back at work, so Neil will take me to the Cleveland airport Monday morning to catch a flight to St. Louis, where I hope some kind soul will take pity on me and allow me to hang on to their bumper as they drive back to Columbia. Or, Lily or Dad will come get me. Neil has the whole week off, the stinker, so he's gonna spend some high-quality time with the Family Dazet, and I'm off to StL after work on Wednesday to spend New Year's with Emily and family. We haven't had a leisurely visit in *so* long, and I'm mondo excited to see her!

6. I got two pumelos the other day. They are gone. I love them so, so, so much. Yesterday I managed to spend a FULL HOUR peeling one in front of 91210 Season Four. It was absolutely perfect. I have to get more.

7. Today, Dad, Joe, Neil & I took our annual Downtown Chistmas Shopping Trip. Dad and I had hit Cool Stuff last week, so we stuck to Absolute Vintage, Swank, Britches, Columbia Art League, Alpine Shop, Mustard Seed (Emily I was SOOOO tempted to get Noah a sweater there that he would completely hate when he was old enough to fit into it), Arsenic Leopard, Butterfly Tattoo, Candy Factory for stocking stuffers, and of course, a PERFECT lunch at Booche's. Seeeeeeriously perfect. We didn't do other stocking shopping, because we're shaking things up a bit this year: everyone draws someone else's name, and they are responsible for that person's stocking, and the person will guess who it is. We'll do them when Steve visits in January, and Gib is part of it too since he'll be back then. I'll let you know if it's an unmitigated disaster.

I'm out of words, but I have miles to go before I sleep. Happy hols, everyone!

I know, I know, it's a stock image. I ain't a photog, peeps.

P.S. I keep forgetting to do the iTunes meme and blog about our NKOTB concert...I never have time to blog at home, and I need resources there to do both things. Dangit.

In the gloom of January, I'll be glad to have something to do, though.

Friday, December 5, 2008

High on LIFE!

Okay...not really. But I want to amp up the mood on this thing, after a pretty damned crappy few months here.

First observation of the day:

Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer for the Pussycat Dolls (and a Guest Artist on "Grown Man," brought to you by NKOTB), doesn't strike me as someone who has many body issues.

For example.

I am unclear as to why she is asking four men (five, if you count Jon, which I no longer do despite him once having the rank of Third-Favorite New Kid), at an average age of 40, if they "like" her "body," and if they "think" she is "a hottie." First: that doesn't rhyme. Second: I'm sorry, but even in their hottest days, they couldn't get a Nicole Scherzinger.

Second news item:

I got my nameplate today! "Genevieve Dazet," all black and official looking, resting on the top entrance to my cube (which actually isn't so much a cube as a shotgun, railroady-type long office space thing). My lone Office Decor is the argyle sock, framed from Sarah (oh, and a peppermint-striped ribbon from a box of lotions, strung around a file holder), and I'm excited to start making this area my own. I'm thinking the Gashlycrumb Tinies poster behind my computer, and maybe the American Folklore Theatre print on the other side.

A Summary of Now:

So...life is puttering along. It's better than it has been, and I'm relieved at that. I don't know if anything changed specifically, or if it's just the forced re-adjustment we had to deal with and are currently used to. But our home is no longer a Festival of Tension, and I don't feel that eggshells are underfoot all the time...I hope we're settled into this pattern of rest for awhile. I know everything can't be perfect all the time, but I was so worried that something had changed for good, and I had no way to make it better. Thank you, friends, for your support and love during that time of mondo-insecurity. I'm not promising I won't call you weeping/come over crying/send you a venting e-mail that's all about me anymore, but for the time being, things are all right.

We're mostly set with our Christmas gifts, for which I am grateful. If there's one awesome thing about working so very, very much over this month, it's that I don't have to worry so about affording all the nice things I want to get for everyone. I know in the past I haven't been particularly smart when it comes to being financially responsible over the holiday season, and I get into a vicious cycle: I set vague amount-limits on everyone's gifts. Then I see something perfect for Joe that's a little more than what I spent for everyone else. So I feel guilty and get everyone else a little something extra, because it's super-obvious I spent more on one person. Then, the most perfect "little something extra" for Lily costs more than everyone else's something extra, so I get another extra something for everyone else, inevitably finding something for Steve that costs more... See? It never stops. And I'm normally not in a position AT ALL to be spending what I want on these things. But I do anyway! If I were buying things for myself and it was out of control, that's one thing, but it's hard to look at buying things for other people as *wrong*.

Also, after over a year of wanting it, we finally bought this!!

It is so smooth...and light...and just freakin' fantastic. Neil took great pleasure in hauling my cheapo blue Wal-Mart vacuum out to the trash last weekend. We suddenly got a few wedding checks in the mail, and since they would all be deposited in a chunk, rather than $20 here, $50 there, it was easier to step back and say "Whoa, we can actually do something with this money!"

Our Thanksgiving weekend was a joy, as ever, but a couple things changed.

First, Jordan asked me around about the wedding-time why we never had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. "Jordan," I said, "I'm going to change that." We used to, but it was never eaten because the apple-pie-with-Mom's-wigwam-sauce was always chosen in favor of it, and then we'd have a totally uneaten pumpkin pie left over. But I missed it. I love a pumpkin pie.

My first day of JC-work, Sarah and I went to Cafe Via Roma for lunch, a coffee/pastry/sandwich/etc shop across from the capitol building. They advertised holiday pies you could reserve, including a yummy-sounding praline pumpkin pie with a vanilla crust. I called and said I'd pick one up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I was so excited for it. It was expensive, but I figured--I never contribute anything but dish-doing to the occasion; I might as well bring a freakin' pie.
So I drop by on my way home Wednesday night, go up to the counter, and say I'm here to pick up my pie. The barista sends another employee upstairs to get it. She comes down with a Sara Lee box, throws it on the counter, and yells "Does anyone know if we have a box?"

I mean, I don't want to be a snob. But seriously. Don't advertise on your chalkboard that we need to 'reserve a holiday pie' if you're just going to order it from a big company, box it up in your own bakery boxes, and charge an arm and a leg for it.

And it could have been that the pie was delicious. When I tried it the next day, though...it just tasted like Sara Lee. A good pie, with a nice crunchy pecan topping and a vanilla-y crust.



Wildwoods Farms, where we've cut down our tree for nigh-on 30 years, is closing after this year, so they haven't been planting in recent years. Thus, we knew we couldn't find a suitable 11-12 footer for the living room's vaulted ceilings. We made the decision to go elsewhere. I did some research and made some calls, and we decided on a small, VERY organized tree farm off Brown Station Road. I'm not sure how I feel about the rows; our Wildwoods experience always involved a search, walking around a large acreage of land, going over hills and around a huge quarry, and it was lucky if we ever found the perfect tree within view of our car. This one, though...it was, frankly, easy. We immediately found several that would do the job, and the one we settled on was even chosen by Lily herself! (If you didn't know, one of our rules is that if Lily says a tree looks good, IT NEVER IS.) Every tree was a short distance from the car, and it was less of an expotition (TM A.A. Milne) than we were used to. But that's okay; it was cold and sleety and snowy and wet, and pretty miserable.

And I love this picture of me and Lily taken there:

The tree is at Dad's, waiting for me to hairspray it before they take it in (watch the Christmas episode of Mythbusters if you don't know what I mean). I'll bring over my South Park Christmas DVD this weekend and maybe it'll all be done next week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bleh. Blah. Blechh.

Today is Saturday, November 22...

During a typical year, this is an awesome, awesome time. We're heavy into Thanksgiving preparation, I'm wrapping up Christmas shopping, and I'm putting out a few decorations, refraining from going crazy because if I were allowed to put out everything I had, we would have a house that looks like that one German restaurant, Rolf's, in New York around Christmastime.

This is just a piece of it; the entire restaurant is OVER THE TOP!!

I really, really want to go there. We tried, the one year I went to NYC in December (THE BEST EVER TIME TO GO), but they were booked for hours.

Okay, that cheered me up a little. I heart Christmas so.

Anyway...normally this is a wonderful time for me. It's not 19 degrees when I wake up, the leaves are still hanging on, and everything has a crisp excitement to it, from the Winter Wonderland at Wal-Mart to the early Christmas decorations to the prospect of Dad's Au Gratin potatoes to ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas specials.

I wish I could say this year was the same...I wish I could make this knot in my midsection dissolve, I wish I didn't feel like crying every time reality reminded me of its presence, and I wish I could make my new husband happy.

I started my new job this week, and while it's not exactly my dream come true (just the words "government documents" make me fall asleep), the people I work with make it wonderful. Sarah is infinitely patient with me (and how great it is to work with one of my best friends!), Annie is sweet and SO helpful, Tom's a riot, Abbey is awesome, I'm truly lucky to have Susan as a boss, and thank HEAVEN, Brando and I are friends again! I missed her so much. Between Lindsay (hello dear!), Shannon, Polly, and Andrea these past few months, it seems to be the time for renewing lost or forgotten friendships. It makes me really happy...especially amongst all the not-so-happy events of this year!

I still, as you have no doubt heard me bitching about, am putting in my hours at Stephens. It's not that I dislike the job at all; cataloging theatre, dance, art and fashion books? Are you kidding? LOVE IT. But squeezing in 20 more hours when I haven't worked for 40 in nearly four years...is tough. Not to mention the 35-45 minute commute to JC each way. I think I can get into a groove and become used to the schedule. I've certainly done it before, working at Jesse and DBRL and the University, along with Harlequin here and there. Thankfully, my sleeping pattern adjusted to the new schedule immediately--I started going to bed before ten every night, and am pretty much adhering to that daily. It hasn't been hard at all. I still haven't managed to overcome the 2:30-onwards slump that is happening every day, but I'm sure with enough caffeine, we can work together to make it bearable.

What makes me so unhappy isn't the schedule...or the fact that it's FREAKING cold for November. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I know I'm not making Neil happy. I see him smiling in photos Emily took long ago, or when we first met, or even when we got engaged, and I wonder what I can do to make him smile at me like that again. I feel like I'm trying really hard to take care of things around the house, but I'm not good enough--and this is true without question. I would love to be a perfect Bree Van De Camp Donna Reed, and make his eyes roll back in his head with my perfect pie crust and dust-free surfaces, but it's going to be awhile before I have a handle on all that--if ever! I know this is nothing new for wives and moms to think about; we're all over the place. And it isn't like I have a baby or anything important than I can pinpoint as a *reason* I'm letting my duties fall by the wayside.

I don't know that this is the reason he seems sad--I know he's having trouble dealing with everything else life has decided to chuck at his head these past months. We both are. It absolutely kills me to see him so beaten down, and know that I can't do a thing except bring him a Hawaiian pizza from Papa John's; when I try to talk to him about what's been going on, I only make it worse. I think I get so caught up in the "ME" aspect of it (i.e., focusing on how I'm feeling in response to his sadness, instead of focusing on him) that I sound selfish.

Sigh. I feel helpless and unable to enjoy much of anything this glorious season usually brings. I'm listening to Emily's brother Steven's Christmas playlist on his blog to make the atmosphere a little cheerier.

Back to cataloging. Here's to momentary distractions!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm feeling icky.

I am restless and worried and bordering on panicky...I can't seem to get into anything these days. Tuesday was, of course, totally fun and filled with a lot of laughter and smiles, but I feel like it was a bright spot in a whirl of darkness. We keep getting bad news about Paul (nothing too serious in terms of his illness, but he's suffering), Neil is tired all the time, and I'm trying to cram in everything I can before life becomes severely work-centered next week. And I haven't been sticking to my eating plan as I should--probably because eating fun things is one of the only perks I get these days!

I feel like this has been the roughest fall. Ups and downs every day (and lately, downs almost always), and I HATE rollercoasters. I'm happy to have the wedding done with--which is what I said the whole time: "I want to be married, but I am on the fence with this whole wedding thing." I've determined for sure that I'm not a wedding person. I'm glad we did it...I know I'd always regret it if we just went to City Hall or something. But wow, did it affect us. Wow. And now we're going to be in the hole even deeper than we ever were...and even a month later, the costs keep rolling in. Yuck!! I have no clue how we're going to get through Christmas. Usually (as you may know), mid-November is when I start getting really excited about the upcoming holidays, but this year they seem to be speeding toward us too fast...and I know after that will come the most depressing three months of the year. Whee.

I start work on Monday, moving from a 20-hour week to a 60-hour one, which will obviously be miserable, but I know this needs to happen. I'm going to love working with Sarah and Susan, and everyone else sounds really cool (and I know Annie and Abby somewhat), so I'm not nervous about starting as I usually am when a new job begins. But, wow, I feel overwhelmed with home-duties even now...what's it going to be like when I'm home less 40-plus hours a week (with an hour of driving each day)?

I thought last night would be another bright spot. I'd been dying to show Neil "Sweeney Todd," and I scored really good seats--front row balcony, my favorite place in Jesse. But, dammit, they did it all artistically or whatever, with no real set pieces except a big black coffin, no costume changes, no props except for the very basics, and all the cast members played instruments throughout. I was so disappointed! This was Neil's first time, and I was so looking forward to showing him one of my favorite shows. And it is a HARD show to understand ANYWAY!! I felt so guilty for subjecting him to it. Neither of us had a good time, and I let a few tears flow during "Nothing's Gonna Harm You" because I've done such a piss-poor job of taking care of anyone lately.

And, there was no chair. NO CHAIR!! They brought out this little white coffin and acted like THAT was the chair. It was NOT the chair. Joanna had brown hair, even though they still sung about her flaxen hair. NO blood ran down anyone's throat. Instead, the whole stage was bathed in red light while the whistle sounded. And? PIRELLI WAS A CHICK. For some reason, I never approve when shows substitute girls in for guy roles--like at Hickman's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (NOT the version I was in). The final nail in the coffin was when I saw that Bob Bohon was The Beadle. Ugh. His nasty vibrato punched through every song, and I winced whenever he had a solo. It was strange--this was a touring show, so you'd never expect a local actor to be a part of it unless it's Nutcracker with local dancers (like Lily did when she was tiny). But apparently Bohon's on tour. Hallelujah.

I'm bitching. I know.

I don't know what exactly is going on, or how it can be remedied. But I know something's different.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's the day.

Remember this post, way back in February?

(You may not, since I didn't really have what one would call a "readership" back then. And by "readership," I do mean each and every three of you.)

Anyway, I'll save you a click--it said something to the effect of "If there's a reunion, we are so there."

There IS a reunion.

And we are almost there.

Today is Tuesday, October 11, and I'm about to hit the hay. But when I wake up (it'll still be Tuesday because I'm up late), it's go time. It's Step Five. It's the Sprint Center in Kansas City with darling Emily and darling Sarah.

I CANNOT TELL YOU how excited I am!

It's been a long road, getting here. In May or so, they announced it: they were coming back, and had a fairly limited number of tour dates that would go on sale soon. The closest to us was Chicago, and I half-heartedly attempted to gather the old crew back (I'm so happy you're having a baby, Alena, but next time--time it to come WAY AFTER the New Kids' reunion, huh? We miss you!)..by the time I checked for tickets, a few days after they went on sale, they were gone. (Oh, wait, there were a few deluxe $500 tickets left. Those tickets that let you have a whole room with food service and stuff. But they're way up high! Who wants to be FAR from Joey? Who would WANT that?)

I was sad, but Chicago would have been tough for everyone.

THEN....they added dates.


I was totally determined to get to the St Louis or Kansas City show, but knew my friends may have needed a little convincing.

Now, Sarah and a couple local friends had asked if I wanted a bachelorette party. "Eh," I said. Sitting around in a circle opening lacy underthings and penis pasta from Olde Un and pretending not to be COMPLETELY uncomfortable? Eh.

What I'd really love would just be a girls' night/weekend, where we'd hang out, eat dinner somewhere wonderful, play board games, watch DVDs of Who's The Boss and Hangin' Tough Live in the hotel room....

Wait, what?

Why, I asked myself, should we limit ourselves to a mere video??

So I CHOSE my bachelorette party. "Sarah," I said. (I called her the moment I got the idea.) "I know what my bachelorette party should be!"

"Oh, good!" she replied. (I don't think she knew what she was getting herself into.)

Of course, Sarah being the sweet, sweet, always accommodating friend that she is, was all for it...we roped dear Emily into joining us, decided on Kansas City since it was roughly in between all of us...and I waited one Saturday by the computer for the tickets to go on sale. They were supposed to go on sale at midnight. I was ready at 11:45.

At midnight exactly, I clicked on "3 tickets" at the "Best available" rate, and waited in anticipation.

"System down for maintenance every Saturday at midnight. Please check back later."


"Listen up, Ticketmaster or whatever it was. DO NOT release tickets to the public at MIDNIGHT when your SYSTEM is MAINTAINING at that exact time."

I tried several more times, wondering if they'd do it quickly...but no.

So, after coming to the realization that this may be a long night, I settled onto the couch, with my cell phone set to ring every half hour to wake me up so I could keep checking. And that's what I did.

Shortly after five a.m., I got in. I have no idea how good our tickets are...they seemed okay, according to the seating plan, but I was sleep-deprived and excited and delirious. It may not have surprised me if I later discovered I'd booked us great seats to see Michael Flatley instead.

Since then, several things have happened.

1. I got married

2. "The Block" was released, providing some extra study material for the show, since surely they're not going to release a CD in the middle of their tour and not promote it.

Because of #1, I hadn't had much of a chance to listen to the new CD until mid-October.

It's not bad, but...it's about sex. A lot. And I'm no prude...but...Joey's talking about sex?!! My Joey? This Joey here?

(Oh, this is SOOO my favorite Joey-look. Muffin-top, almost out of control hair [yet carefully controlled at the sides and back], slim-fitting jackets and pants, unnaturally consistent skin tone, and guyliner. His voice also got real cute and froggy at this stage.)

Okay, to be fair, a lot of the sex-talk comes from Donnie. He was always the dirty, sexy one.

I really have to go to bed. But I'll close with tonight's tragedy:

I knew I wanted to take my NKOTB CDs for the car ride with Emily. Hangin' Tough and Step by Step, as well as the new one. I hadn't gotten them out of their alphabetized folders yet, because I knew exactly where they were: in our media cabinet, where they had been since we moved in last September.

Which we had emptied and rearranged to be more user-friendly before the wedding.

I *believe* I packed the CD folders into tubs at some point, but didn't label it, thinking "I'm pretty dumb, so I won't label this. After all, it contains my entire CD collection. Why would I ever need it again?"

I went methodically through every tub I could get to tonight, needing to hear "I Remember When" or "Games" or "Call it What You Want"--the more obscure numbers I had almost forgotten.

No soap.

So I'll stick to "The Block," putting my fingers in my ears whenever Donnie talks about the girl making a grown man ready to blow or anything having to do with cream.

I'll be back Wednesday, with a full report to follow, and maybe even photos that I took!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We're back from a long weekend in Ohio, and while there are piles of clothes waiting to be unpacked and washed and put away...wedding presents waiting to be made room for...bills waiting to be paid...Google Reader with numbers of unread items creeping toward 600...show after show on the DVR waiting to be caught up with...e-mails not even glanced at...well, I feel like doing absolutely nothing.

Nothing nothing nothing.

Speaking of nothing, I started a new blog, called It's Only For Tags. Can you guess what its content may be? You don't have to read it if surveys/memes/tags aren't really your thing. You don't have to read it even if they are. But I thought I'd let you know.

As a last, mini-honeymoon treat (and a Last Meal for me before I'm Back On Plan), I ordered Macaroni Grill Curbside tonight. I asked for *two* bread rounds, one for each of us! How naughty are we?! So I should go get that. It means getting up out of my chair, which is highly outside my current comfort zone, but I can't recreate the Vodka Sauce or the Lemon Passion cake at home, so I don't have much of a choice. But I'm not going to change out of my lounge pants. No sir!


Monday, November 3, 2008

The post-wedding reception!

On October 18, Ellie and Paul, Genevieve and Neil, and possibly Aaron Wilbers and his beloved, were wed (not all to each other...separately to each other. Like, Ellie with Paul, Neil with Genevieve, and so on).

Rather than fight for reception guests, we decided to hold a Week-After wedding bash, on October 25...and while one profoundly rude guest told us we 'really shouldn't be spending this much' on a wedding celebration and dragging it out, given the economy (I wanted to say "Erm, do you KNOW how much I spent on this wedding? I DARE YOU to throw your kid a wedding on this shoestring of a budget, you grumpy, stingy old man"), I enjoyed spreading out the functions. I mean, a wedding in and of itself is an extremely highly-planned event (EVEN WHEN YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO BE SIMPLE)...why throw a crazy party *right* after it, then leave on an exotic crazy trip *right* after that? By the end of all that, I would have been crazy. I cried like ten times for absolutely no reason on the big day. Lord knows what a mess I would have been in if I had a surprisingly inappropriate DJ or Gilbert got drunk at the open bar and started hitting baseballs at my head or our flight was delayed and we had to hang out in an airport for hours on my wedding night.

Anyway. I had no worries, none at all, because the Millers did e-ver-y-thing. Everything. When I asked Sarah what time we should show up before the party, to help with last-minute stuff, she thought for a second and said "Well, can you come at 6:45? Just to make sure you're here to welcome your guests." Yes. Yes, we can come fifteen minutes early.

For fun, Lily, Jordan, Gilbert and I made mini-caramel apples on Friday for the party, puttering around the kitchen, developing a system (how I love developing systems!) on how best to proceed.
The steps:
1. Wash apples (Gilbert washed them all, Empire, Jonagold, and Granny Smith)
2. Regular lollipop sticks (from Michael's) had to have their ends snipped off at an angle to make sticking them into the apples easier (Lily did most of these, but I believe Jordan and Gilbert did a little as well)
3. Melon-ball one apple at a time (usually me. The Jonagold were easiest, as they were the softest kind of apple, but the Empire were shiny-red and looked the best. The Granny Smith were hardest, but that also meant they kept the longest later, and the bright green looked really good at the end. Each apple gave from 5-9 balls.)
4. Immediately, lemon juice was squirted on the balls to prevent browning (this, and the following 3 steps, were primarily Gilbert's job)
5. Stick lollipop stick into the skin-side of the apple
6. Dry apple off as much as possible with paper towel so caramel will stick better
7. Dredge apple ball in regular sugar to add to dryness (tried powdered sugar...didn't work as well)
8. Carry bowl of speared apple balls to Dipping Stations, where Lily and Jordan would dip the balls in either caramel or semi-sweet chocolate, with optional white nonpareils or pecans, then plop them into gold-colored paper candy cups (also from Michael's). Put in fridge.
9. Someone yells "There's no more room in the fridge! There is absolutely no more room in the fridge." Lily: "There is always room in the fridge." And she makes room. Don't know how. But she does.

They came out really well, and super cute. We set them up with the Betsy-Amy cookies at Sarah's (well...we brought them over, and they set them up), and they were a big hit. I thought about taking photos during the creating process, but then I was all "How do people take photos during cooking without getting the camera all sticky or flour-y, or having to take a break and wash their hands every time they wanted to take a photo? And sometimes if the camera is small enough, might there be a danger of it dropping into the batter such as when making something like a bundt cake which has a fairly deep pan and the camera might be slipped in by a precocious toddler without you even knowing it until someone bites into their piece and thinks it's a cake charm, like in those Mardi Gras cakes where if you get a baby in your piece it means you'll have a baby, or a horseshoe means you'll have good luck, or a Four of Cups card means you'll die within the week? And what would a camera even mean? Or something?"

Back to the subject at hand. I can't promise I won't digress again, though.

Saturday was a mildly busy day, but not crazy. I ran some gourds & pumpkins over to Sarah's, and we had a *wonderful* time unwrapping all those glorious cookies, courtesy of Miss Betsy Arthur and her cookie-decorating friend Amy (SO beautiful, I can't even tell you). I drove back to Dad's so Lily could do my hair and nails next (navy blue nails, since my dress was a little edgy and dammit, so am I). Neil met me at Dad's an hour before we were to leave, so Emily could take photos of our rings-slash-Doc Martens, my idea for the traditional wedding-rings photo, since I totally hate my stubby fingers and we joked about having Sarah M. stand in for mine even though the ring would look like a hula hoop on a tetherball pole. It was so fun to find aesthetically pleasing configurations for trying to fit both rings and shoes in the photo, and at one point we ended up on our backs on the lawn, legs thrown in the air, arms held up, *simply* to get the pretty yellow-fall-colored tree in the background of the shot. On the plus side, Ems said my cleavage looked fabulous.

I went inside to get dressed, and since we were running a bit late, I rushed out in my dress and fantastic shoes, not really pausing to let everyone enjoy my fabulousness. But Neil wouldn't let me just run off...he looked dazzled, and it made me feel absolutely gorgeous. He does that a lot. He gave me a big, face-holding kiss in front of everyone (have I told you how much I adore the face-holding kiss?), stood back to look at me, and I swear I felt like he was seeing me for the very first time again. Man, I got lucky with him.

In a few minutes, we took off...Neil and I in my car, everyone else piled into the remaining vehicles.

What a gorgeous evening Saturday was!! When Neil and I pulled up to the Millers', we shared a moment, looking at the almost-set sun over the beautiful Rocheport hills, marveling at the day. Dad and company were right behind us, and we trooped in, me feeling fabulous in my wild Igigi Sunset Over Maui maxidress with orange shrug (which apparently is no longer sold, so I can't show you a photo...on the other hand, I'm glad I bought it before it became unavailable) and shiny purple ballet flats with steel-gray bubbles on the toes. (Okay, they're hard to explain without making them sound idiotic. But they are so, so cute, and shopping for them with Lily and Jordan was an awfully fun time.)

Kaye's house was perfectly beautiful, with fires in the fireplaces and outdoors (in a safe way, not in a "Oh crap, FIRE!" way), with stunning silvery pumpkin centerpieces, gourds and pumpkins everywhere, low, party-friendly lighting (without veering into Seven-Minutes-In-Heaven territory), delicious finger foods laid out on the dining table (skewers of pork and apricots with an orange glaze, colorful vegetables and dill dip, pickled shrimp, a variety of cheeses [can we say "artesan cheeses," like in restaurants? Would that be okay? I don't know what it means, but it sure sounds cultured], hot apple cider on the stove, a variety of bottled beer [including a six-pack of Blue Moon in the fridge labeled "FOR THE GROOM"], spinach balls [Stephen, don't be dirty], hot olives [YES!!] and an unspeakably delicious sweet pumpkin dip with fruit and gingersnaps), Tom Andes playing (on the stereo, not in person--that would have been dangerous) and the most beautiful view of the night sky.

Folks began arriving right on time (no early birds, em!), for the most part without any problems (except poor Suzy, who called my cell phone to say "Am I supposed to be seeing pigs? Did I go too far?")...they trickled in regularly all evening, and while I never got a final head count (*why* didn't I think of putting a counter on the door?!! Stupid, stupid me--those stats would have been good to tell the Board we need more money at the next meeting. Oh, wait, I'm thinking of libraries. never mind...), there was always a healthy crowd...I'm thinking maybe 50 folks, milling around the food, paging through and signing our Lily-Gilbert-and-Emily created guest book, getting to know new people, enjoying the view outside, sitting by the fire...the evening truly flew by, and while I am not that comfortable entertaining a bunch of people at once (unless it's as a Peasant in "Pippin" and I have full face makeup on), I loved having the opportunity to grab short but meaningful chats with people I don't really see regularly anymore.

After a couple hours or so, Sarah and Kaye began passing out glasses of champers for the toast. We all gathered in the living room, and Neil and I sat front and center (Lynnie sat on the floor leaning on our knees, the cutie!) while Sarah grabbed her self-proclaimed "30 seconds of fame" and gave a toast that was so perfect and heartfelt. She talked about our friendship, as old as the hills, and referenced the fact that, given our two strong and stubborn personalities, we'd always gotten along famously (snort)...but, of course, it has withstood the test of time. She also said there was something else that she couldn't talk about, that she'd tell me later. (I had a feeling I knew who it was about.) Neil and I lifted our Moscato d'Asti (my faaaaaavorite!) and the whole crowd joined us in the toast.

Next...Steve and Joe took their places up front, with a very dapper Mike Straw at the piano, and sung "When I'm 64" again. No banter this time, but I'm so glad everyone got to hear the song.

Before I knew it, it was 10:00 and I'd never gotten to try my pumpkin dip!! People were taking their leave, so I was finally able to fight my way to the dining table and loaded up with dip, apple slices, and flower-shaped gingersnaps. That stuff was better than I could have ever imagined, and because the crowd was dying down, I was able to fully enjoy it, without feeling guilty that I wasn't making the rounds.

Who was there? Well, I'll tell you! (from memory, here, folks, so...it's gonna be wrong)

Emily (THANK YOU for the bonus photos that day!), and her parents Steve and Jeanne joined later
The Millers, of course: Sarah, Kaye, and Bill
My family: Dad, Steve, Lily (plus Gilbert), and Joe (plus Tina)
The Parshalls: Lynn, Tim, and Jordan
The Cookes, from Kansas City: Debbie and Tom
The Quirk/Parkes: Catherine, Tom, and James
The Zoellerses: Amy, Jason, and lil Clyde
The Atkinses: Amanda, Braden, and cute Carmen
The Zimmermans: Leesa and Don
Mike Straw
Lillian Hedgepeth, all the way from Doniphan, MO!
Elaine Martin--who told me Andrea is going to be on Made really soon!
Corrie H.
The Irwins: darling Sarah and Dylan
The Horners: Kevin, Catherine, and Andrew
The Rodemans: Juliet and Ralph
The Harrisons: Phil and Jan

(That list was really for me...I don't blame you for skimming it.)

Finally, only the Millers, Dawsons and partners, and Dazets were left. Dad and company loaded up their cars with presents and took off, and Neil and I said we'd be joining them soon after to unwrap gifts (I couldn't wait!! And besides, Lily and Gilb had to leave at like nine the next morning, and ain't no way I'm getting out of bed before then if I don't have to). We had a nice little time then with the Millers, beginning to clean up (Sarah boxing me up some extra pumpkin dip, veggies, and hot olives), when Sarah said "Stop! Everyone, let's just sit down and relax for a minute."

We sat around in the living room, tired but happy after such a wonderful evening. Sarah handed Neil and I the mysteriously long package wrapped in silvery music-note paper ("A cello bow?" I guessed), and we unwrapped....The Sign!! The wooden painted Sign, a twin to the one that I have forever admired, that every year sits on the Millers' mantel, reading "I Believe in Santa Claus," reminding me of Joey McIntyre's froggy little voice during his solo number on the "Merry Merry Christmas" tape (NOT available on CD, folks). I finally have The Sign!! What a perfect wedding gift. :) Along with the reception. That was pretty freaking great, too.

Sarah confided what she couldn't say during the toast, that when Mom was really sick, Sarah told her she'd take care of me. So pretty much, I can't type that without tears welling up (even a week later, Betsy!).

Eventually, we gathered up the guest book, spare cookies, dip, olives, Sign, bridal bag, and weary feet, and started the hilly drive to Dad's house. He, Gilbert, and Lily were waiting for us, surrounded by gaily wrapped presents ALL FOR US!! I felt so spoiled and pampered knowing so many people had made such an effort to acknowledge our marriage...I have ever said it's not about the gifts, and I still think that (it's one of the reasons we didn't register), and everything from a Facebook comment of congratulations to a gorgeous card (Lindsay? SO pretty, SO PRETTY!!) just makes my day, and presents just feel like icing on an already-rich cake. I have to admit, I *could* get used to opening twenty presents all the time...but that's just it...I don't want to get USED to it!

Paul (my brand-new brother in law) was talking this weekend during his sermon about presents, and how when kids are overloaded with presents, the gifts begin to lose meaning, and the child just starts to not really care. I agreed wholeheartedly, and feel like presents in any occasion should not be expected, really. I love giving presents, and I love getting them, but I don't like they they have become the norm for everything.
{{end parenthetical}}

Anyway...it was a wonderful and surprising experience, and I was blown away, especially when we unwrapped my siblings' gift to reveal a freaking BEAUTIFUL Empire Red Kitchenaid standing mixer. In a million years, I would not have guessed I'd get one of those!!! Wow.

In a post-unwrapping glow, Neil and I bade our farewells and drove back home...so happy with the life we'd begun together. And looking forward to the next day: Indian food with Sarah! Oh Lamb Korma with Cheese Nan, I may only indulge in you once a year, but I think of you for the rest of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gullibility vs. Cynicism

Today, I found out that my very favorite non-"People I Know" blog is FAKE! My Super Hopeless Romance...rest in peace. Or, in guilt!

At first I was mad at the blogger (whom I also read regularly: Sue, of "navel gazing at its finest") who admitted it was her. One commenter noted that she felt like Sue had lied, was laughing behind everyone's backs--and because Sue was the one who'd directed us all to the other blog, was hurt that a friend, however virtual, would keep lying to her own blog readers even when the blog's stats got out of control in such a short period of time. Yes, this Crazy Thing We Call The Internet isn't to be trusted, blah blah blah, I should know this by now.. I'll get into that later.

Then I was sad, because the whole story was over, and more importantly, not real. When Cordy and her Seth got together, it was every chubby, ugly girl in high school (read: ME!)'s dream come true. I mean, of course I *have* my dream come true--he just left to go to the ARC in an adorably fuzzy hoodie, and I am so extremely lucky to have found someone who loves me so much--as much, even, as I love him! But I was the fat funny friend when I was younger, the one all the Justins and Clintons and Jamies and Jeffs and Matts went to when they had a crush on one of my ever-more-attractive friends. And I thought, reading this blog, "See?!! It doesn't always have to be this way. That girl can be sought after, by the very boy she's had a crush on for so long." And it makes me sad to know that: here's another example where it's just fantasy.

Then, I just felt like an idiot, because there were a bunch of doubters who suspected it was fake, but I ignored it. And when the fake blog's heroine had her happy ending within a month (and went from a size 12 to a 6 in that period of time, too), I thought it was a *leeeeetle* too perfect. But I like believing perfect. There's a reason I watch "Meet Me in St. Louis" every year. The most dramatic plot point is that they might have to move, and then they don't! LOVE IT! And what sitcom problem can't be solved over cheesecake and ice cream, sitting in cheated-out fashion at the kitchen table so the television audience can see all four Golden Girls at a time? (Although, I never understood the ice cream *with* the cheesecake. That's two awfully creamy things right at once. It would be too rich for me.)

Which brings me to gullibility. I am tooooo-taaaaaa-lllllly gullible. Have fun with that information all you like--I'll just get really pissed at you in the end. Because sometimes I hate that I believe anything I read. Why do I not hate that trait all the time, and start disbelieving everything I don't have solid proof for? Because that would be a f&*!ing wonderful way to go through life? Hell, no! If we don't have hope and/or believe the best out of everything, any happiness we have can only be for things that immediately make us happy (LIKE GETTING A STANDING MIXER FROM MY SIBLINGS OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU GUYS!), and I'm sorry, but that just doesn't happen often enough to sustain me.

So, yeah, this was disappointing to learn. But it was a fun, emotional ride that I was totally sucked into (and suckered into)--and even though I feel stupid and mad and sad, it's for something really minor. A girl who never existed!

And I'd much rather be a sucker than a cynic.

Frost on my Windows and a Tear in my Beer

...I don't even drink beer. It just sounded like a melancholy title.

My head is simply a-buzz with thoughts, and if I know me (and I think I do), it's best just to get it all out.

When Neil stepped outside this morning to cool off since I'd jacked up the heat to 74, he noted there was frost on his car windows. He was leaving then, a half hour before me, and I thought to myself "Don't worry, my frost will be all melted by the time I have to go." Which is, obviously, retarded. As if the half hour between 7:20 and 7:50 in the still-darkened morning would be enough to completely eliminate it, with 34-degree (28-degree, with the wind chill) temps.

So, I didn't bring gloves out. Christ, I wore flip-flops not a week ago--I'm not wearing gloves today. At Grinnell, it invariably snowed at least once in October and once in April. But this is not Grinnell, folks. I will not accept that it's wintry on October 29 when the trees are at their very best, when I haven't even been thinking of a decorating scheme for Thanksgiving, and when memories of my extremely fall-ish wedding are still so fresh. (Speaking of--I'll save the reception for a separate entry. It deserves its own space. Suffice it to say, it was fabulous.)

But back to gloves.

I have a very tumultuous relationship with outerwear. Socks, shoes, scarves, jackets, bulky layers, hats, ear-warmers of any kind and, of course, gloves/mittens. Don't get me wrong--I appreciate all these items individually. And when you find an adorably flattering coat that fits you perfectly (especially over a sweater), who doesn't want to wear the crap out of that thing so people might see you on the street and say "My, isn't that pretty young thing wearing a marvelous coat?"

But, I don't like the transition of "No socks ever! For months!" when I fly out the door to do errands because all it means is slipping my bare feet into a coordinating pair of flops, to the time when I have to pull out a pair of socks, find a clunky pair of shoes, and have to sit down for literally minutes to pull and tie them on. (Okay...I may be exaggerating. It doesn't take that long. But it isn't flying. You know?) This is one of the reasons why I want a pair of Dansko closed-back clogs in three basic colors (black, brown, and a sensible red brocade).

However, socks and shoes don't exactly bug me when I'm wearing them. I'm not going crazy, my feet itching to burst Free of Footwear. This is not the case with scarves, headgear, or gloves. Unless they are absolutely necessary, I won't wear them. The material bugs me, that it's covering parts not covered inside bug me (I believe you all know of my aversion to indoor scarves. I don't mean the filmy Hermesy things--I mean when people wear a scarf, intended for the outdoors, however thin and flimsy, around their neck, inside closed doors, often to achieve a hipster look)...I've tried the softest scarves imaginable...furry-lined gloves...velvety ear-bands...I just hate it all.

My rule about those types of items is: if I start to feel the material (in other words, if it is no longer cold enough for me to fully appreciate the protection the device is offering me) against my skin, it's off. This is especially true for gloves.

I understand that this may sound like I don't have all my eggs in one basket (look at me, mixing metaphors! That didn't even make sense!), but I assure you, the logic is perfect, to me.

So, no gloves this morning. And you know what? It was cold for a few minutes, but then I got in my warm car after scraping not half what the girl beside me did (I've told you about my car's turbo-defrosting skillz), and my hands were fine.

In other news:
I was loving this year's TV line-up. I couldn't believe so many brand new romantic-comedy-light shows made it, and I should have known it was too good to be true. Valentine, Ex List, Privileged? All so pleasant. Maybe Valentine was a little weird, but I'm trying to keep up with it, and swear I'll watch the rest of the eps before I delete them from the DVR. I heard that one was cancelled, and thought "Well, yeah. When your biggest star is the youngest tomboy girl from Step by Step (with a frighteningly bleached blond Staci Keanan [where are you, My Two Dads on DVD? WHERE ARE YOU???]), you may not go far." But now EW says The Ex List is getting the axe too?!! What do shows like that do when they know they have a limited run? What I mean is, that show has a single-goal plot line: a psychic tells Bella she has a year to marry or she never will, and she's going to marry an ex. So do the writers scurry to end it on a satisfying note, or finish the remaining episodes as planned without a real ending, embittered that they'll have to find new jobs now? Or, seriously, cancel Kath & Kim instead, man. That one suuuucks.
(I know. I know it's on a different channel and cancellation doesn't work that way.)
Oh, well. I still have Privileged (crossing my fingers pleeeeease don't go), Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, The Hills, The Office, 90210 (I can't help it, y'all, they keep bringing in original cast members), and [*gulp*] Rock of Love Charm School.

This weekend, Neil and I leave for Ohio (Thursday night) to see the Dazets. This time, we're breaking up the drives to & back so those days won't be as miserable, and since this is the closest thing we'll have to a honeymoon until spring, we're staying in a kind-of luxury room when we're there. And I am SO not on plan during this trip. McRib is back, people. You think I'm missing that just to fit into my new trouser jeans?? Speaking of--since Neil had been so sick this week, and I was also occupied with recovering from the weekend, I haven't even started planning or packing. I need to buy mini-mouthwash and mini-contact lens solution and check out where we're thinking of boarding Sean over the weekend. And I feel so good when I make a packing list, so maybe I'll curl up in the red chair when I get home and do that with a good sturdy notebook so I won't have to use a book underneath for a hard surface. I love that. (It's the little things, you know?)

I was at the pet store buying eight cans of crickets (it's a pain to keep going back, so I just bit the bullet) and was mindlessly looking at the woman in front of me--specifically, her coat. And I began thinking and thinking about her coat, and for the first time in my life, my head was filled with ideas for a book. I have only really ever been decent at this journal stuff--casual, stream of consciousness, my own point of view--but I wonder if I might have a little fiction in me. (I want to rephrase that, because it reminds me of those commercials about having a little Captain in you, and I HATE THEM.) I'm almost afraid not to start writing this down, because I fear I'll lose the instinct, and forever will have to say "I had this idea in my head once. But I don't have it anymore." You hear about the Rowlings and the Meyers who have these colossal stories in their minds and turn it into a phenomenon--these non-authors, and one of whom is...well...not a very good writer. I don't think I'm a writer, and I would never presume to think anyone else would want to read what I write, but I'm pretty sure I should take these ideas down in black and white rather than all floaty-abstracty in my head, for me.

A word about photos.
Something a friend wrote in their blog recently struck a chord with me. He apologized for the lack of photos/images in his entry, since most people are looking for that in a blog. I kind of despaired at his words, since for the most part the images in my blog consist of the most clever result from a Google Images search I can find (and I think that's against some law anyway), or on a rare occasion, a personal photo taken by me (very average) or Emily (always gorgeous, but since I didn't take it, I feel guilty about using it). And the process of finding/downloading/placing photos on here is, for me, tedious. At first, I tried to include images in every entry (generally from Google), but I began to notice when, in others' blogs, they did the same--and it began to look like clip art, a little. Not every single time. But a lot of the time.
And, bottom line, I'm not a photographer. I don't have an interest, I think if I do begin carrying a camera with me everywhere I go I'll become obsessive about capturing every little thing of interest or beauty I see, and I'll never have the eye or the talent many around me have. Since I'm more a reader, I really, really appreciate blogs with long textual entries--but am I alone in this? Is a blog not really entertaining unless it's illustrated? And should that be my first priority anyway--making sure my readers are satisfied? Or should I only worry about what I want to get out of this? I am sooooo philosophical today, guys! Eeeee! (Also, did you see? I underlined! I figured it out!)
So: I'm sorry my blog doesn't have many corresponding images, if that's your bag. If I have a photo that's relevant, or feel the entry would benefit from an image I find, I'll use one. But I guess I'm more of a journal-writer than an artist--no, no, there's no 'guessing' about that one--and though I've tried, I don't think any artistic skills are in my blood. Though I did some impressive sketches of Charlie Brown when I was younger. (Great Pumpkin was on last night, YAY!)
(This is why I love scrapbooking embellishments. It totally makes it seem like I might know what I'm doing, artistic-wise.)
I'm not done with the randomness shooting around my head, but I got things to do, folks. Not a lot of people to see...the life of a cataloger is woefully unsocial (what am I saying, 'woefully'?? I love this isolation!)...but I have a cart-load of books, and Library of Congress subject headings aren't gonna attach themselves to records.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We Did It! (Part two.)

First of all, I just completed the Wednesday NYTX in under ten minutes! I rawk.

Second, for a minute I made this thing underline, without using html! What did I do??


Saturday dawned gorgeously sunny, perfect...it was like the weather had to get the gray and wetly cold week out of its system just to make sure Saturday would be good. I woke at 9 AM, determined to get a jump on the day with a shower before driving Joe and Steve over to the Lambsons' for singing practice. I went to the upstairs shower, set out my spanking-new Dove Go Fresh lemongrass body wash (yum!), and looked around for the shampoo.

No shampoo. It was downstairs in that shower, and I knew exactly what kind it was: moisture-rich Tresemme, for dry and damaged hair. And I knew exactly what it would do to my hair, too, since mine is neither dry nor damaged: it would make it feel like I hadn't washed it in days. Awesome. No one else was up, either, and I knew Dad was probably doing yoga or something in his room.

So I did the sensible thing and broke down until Steve heard me crying and got up to offer to drive to Walgreen's for something that would work. I felt so stupid and helpless...I was letting the wrong shampoo ruin my morning! I was seeing myself turn into the bridezilla they make shows on WE (Women's Entertainment) about. An hour later, though, sitting around the kitchen with my glorious fambly (with my hair, incidentally, squeaky clean), Dad voiced what I needed to hear: it wasn't about the shampoo. It was about me finally letting go of the stresses and the frustrations of the last few days, and the shampoo was the catalyst.

I packed up what I'd need for the next few hours, and Steve, Lily, Joe, and I set off. It was a treat to see my Emily, various other Lambsons, and wittle Noah, mellowly sucking on a bottle instead of napping. We trekked downstairs, where Jeanne and Kirsten were set up with their instruments, and the boys began singing with them. Noah was DANG cute down there...he was doing his own version of singing along at first by making absent-minded noises, then climbing up Joe's legs and scooting right up to Jeanne's cello. He was transfixed! I'm so glad Em got a shot of it.

After the session, Joe and Steve took off for home, and Em took me and Lily to Rocheport to have a quiet girly lunch at the Millers', where Lily would also do my hair in Kaye's luxurious bathroom. It was so, so nice to be out there...surrounded by peaceful hills and trees and to NOT worry about getting Dad's house ready, with the confident sun streaming everywhere, promising a beautiful evening. I wasn't hungry even one bit, but it was all so pretty (and I didn't want to collapse later)...I knew I had to eat. Sarah made hot olives (sounds weird, right? OH SO GOOD!!)...roasted red pepper and tomato soup...crustless quiche with sausage...salad with Lily's Balsamic Vinaigrette, and warm blackberry crisp with vanilla ice cream (WOW WOW WOW). Kaye even presented me with a Dutch Letter she'd saved from the last time she was at Jaarsma's! Such a pleasant afternoon. Lily did my hair in the aforementioned bathroom, with my girls surrounding me.
I LOVED my hair. Loved it. The curls stayed in all day and were soft and full (I don't even think she sprayed them), and the braid kept flyaways out of my face.

It was getting to be past 2:00, so Emily left to check in at home, and Sarah took me and Lily downtown to My Secret Garden, sash in place, to pick up my flowers. I was so excited to see what Ruth would dream up...I pretty much told her to do what she wanted, giving her a few ideas about what I like in the world of flowers (such as: nothing normal, please).

I was blown away when I saw her creations: one bouquet for me to hold, and a large (huge! so tall! so wide!) arrangement to put by mama's display up front. I can't do it justice the way Emily can (my hand-held bouquet is on her blog at emilys-little-world.blogspot.com), but here's my attempt at capturing the large arrangement in the sunlight:

The fall leaves, the marigolds from Stephanie's garden, the huge mushroom at the bottom, the Birds of paradise, the...oh crap, it was called something really long...it looks like brains. Here's a close-up:

It was all so perfectly crazy colorful and fall-ish and gorgeous. We wrangled it into Sarah's car (had to use the floor, it was so tall), me and Lily squished in the back, and we drove on to Dad's house.

I gathered my dress, underthings, shoes, and jewelry, and went into Dad's room to change (nice and airy, and I suspect the only room in the house with a bed that was actually made). We were making decent time, but I was cutting it close, and to be honest...I was completely freaking out. I was positive Neil wouldn't show up, or that he was in an accident, or that he and Mark had taken off. It was completely unfounded (based primarily on the fact that he didn't answer his phone when I called, because he had been in the shower), but I think it happened because, while drifting to sleep the other night, I worked myself into a frenzy imagining the worst thing possible--that Neil wouldn't be there to marry me. Once I put the idea in my head, I couldn't shake the niggly feeling that it might happen. That he might run off. That this sort of thing happens in movies and books All The Time. Again, I had no logical reason to think this. I was just going through a crazy moment. I knew one thing: I didn't want to change into my dress until I'd heard from him. So when he called a few minutes later, I could have sobbed with relief. He said "I'll meet you in 45 minutes by the waterfall!" and I raced to get ready.

I wrangled myself into my layers of foundation garments and satin and lace, zipped it up (without help!), and stepped out to get my makeup applied. Lily did some things with powder and blusher, and tried to eyeline, but I jumped too much, so I did that part. We packed up (man, there was a LOT of packing up for all this), and were off--I was ready to go meet my love.

Neil and I had a few minutes by the waterfall (drained, but that was okay, since that meant less people were around), where he made me feel gorgeous again, and I felt entirely comforted. All day, I knew how I'd feel better--if he were there. And here he was. Handsome and tall and newly-shaven and hair-cutted, holding me and keeping me warm as he always has done, and always will do. We didn't have to jump right into the photo session, so we could go in the schoolhouse and see how the set-up was coming along. Everyone helped cart the wooden chairs in and set them up, and it looked so much better than I envisioned it. Dad joked that they thought about not setting the chairs up symmetrically, knowing it would drive me batty if I had to walk between them, but I don't even know if I would have noticed.

It was really neat to see everyone working together to get the schoolhouse ready, and gave us a chance to see it all and enjoy the surroundings before the ceremony. Emily arrived soon after, and the photos began, with different groupings of family, Neil and I, and sometimes *just me*!! We practiced our altar-kiss a LOT.

When it became clear that everyone had arrived with five minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to start, we decided to go ahead. Kristin stood facing us at the front, and Neil walked up to wait. I was surrounded by my wonderful Daddy, my beautiful sister, and the spirit of my mother, while Kristin said "Please stand to welcome the bride." This surprised me--I didn't know she would do this--but I guess it was okay to be looked at for a minute or so.

Lily set the urn up front, and Dad stayed with me while Kristin asked who blessed this union. Father said, in confident tones, "I bless this union!", and I turned to my Neil. We faced each other for the entire ceremony, which I loved, for I found strength in his gaze when I needed it. I wish I would have been facing the direction my family sat in (but maybe it was for the best, since Dad said he cried like fifteen times, and I managed to only let the tears fall twice. if I'd seen him, though, I would have been a goner). I can't say I remember Kristin's words...but since we chose them, I know what she said.

She introduced the sand ceremony, and I loved seeing our families walk up one by one to fill the vase. My feet, however, were killing me. The shoes were fine, but standing in one place for half an hour in heels, when I'm soooooo not used to them, was a chore.

Kristin read "The Blessing of the Hands," and I knew our vows were next. I tried to interject feeling into my words so it didn't sound like I was repeating them robotically, but I also didn't want to emote too much. ("I give you my HEART!!! It is the GREATEST gift I have to give!!")

Soon, we were close together, Neil taking my face in his hands to kiss me. We were done.

Kristin introduced my brothers, who stepped up to the front to take over the entertainment, giving a harmonious duet of "When I'm 64," with humorous banter during one instrumental verse. It was the perfect tone to leave the ceremony with--laughter and applause and hugs. We resumed our positions one last time, and Kristin pronounced us husband and wife...we took hands and left down the aisle, and I whispered to Emily to meet us by the waterfall after a couple of minutes. I wanted a moment, dangit!!

We sat on the same bench we'd occupied earlier, right before the ceremony, and marveled at our new relationship. Before long, the guests converged upon us so Emily could get a photo of the whole crowd: the Dazets, the Millers, the Southerlands, the Irwins, the Atkinses (Carmen wore mini patent leather shoes with her fall dress!), Roger, Kristin, the Lambsons, Gilbert, Tina, and the Dawsons. My one regret is that Emily wasn't in that photo!

After another half hour or so of friend photos and romantic sunset photos, we departed. Neil and I drove (first drive as a married couple!) back to our place, so we could change. We got into our casual-but-nice wedding-party outfits (dark green short sleeved button up sweater and trouser jeans for me, a new Vintage Wear Eddie Bauer button up with Buckle jeans for Neil), and wore our twin steel gray Doc Martens, our wedding gift to one another.

Dad's house was sparkling with the plethora of candles on the mantel and in the fireplace, and with the Christmas lights he'd strung tastefully on the crossbeams in the living room. It was gorgeous! Everyone I love was surrounding me in the warm house, happy for the leap we'd just taken. Dad's lemonade (with sparkling water, YUM!) was gorgeous in the glass dispenser I'd rented, the Blue Moon was grabbed up so fast that Lily and Gibs had to run out for more. We passed out the champagne and spumante for the toast, and Neil and I shared a bottle of Moscato d'Asti, my very very favorite.

The pizzas came a little while later, and it soon became clear I'd misjudged the popularity of the Hawaiian monstrosity Neil loves. I got one of them, thinking he'd be the only one to eat it and that he'd have plenty of leftovers, but WOW did that one go fast. Seriously, guys? Pineapple on pizza? Is this anything like that pumpkin/chocolate thing, Ems?

After we were all filled up, waiting for the pizza to settle so there'd be room for cupcakes (OH SO beautiful. I can't wait to show you! Vanilla buttercream in fall colors on spice, dark chocolate, and orange supreme cake, some with the cutest acorns you've ever seen made out of caramels dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, all dusted with gold or bronze edible dusting powder), Noah discovered the candles flickering beyond the glass fireplace doors. Oh my lord, that kid is freaking unbelievably cute when he's excited. He wanted to get to these strange moving lights so bad, was so thrilled to see something new...I could have watched him all night.
But, *he* didn't have all night. His huge eyes began to droop, and mum & pops gathered him up for the night. The very last thing he did was give me a smile before burying his head in Emily's shoulder.

Cupcakes were next...or two, or three or four...so delicious and lovely. Bobby Short played on the vintage player (Could his CD "How's Your Romance" be any more perfect for a reception?), and we all mellowed out as the evening wound down. Poor Neil looked so tired and overheated, that I told him he should run home and I'd make my way back later--I wanted to clean up, and I wasn't at all ready to leave yet.

Is it weird that I enjoy cleaning up after large gatherings? It is so satisfying, and I like knowing I'm doing something to help, since I more than likely did very little to prepare for it. All the rental glassware needed to be cleaned, and I didn't want Dad to have to deal with it the next morning.

Before digging in, Sarah, Dad, Steve, and I sat outside on the porch while the boys smoked cigars. It was a perfect little ending to the most eventful day of my life...nice and mellow and pleasant.

When I went home an hour or so later, I closed the door behind me (after fate left the parking spot beside Neil's open, so our cars could sleep with each other too). Neil was asleep, but he called groggily "Is that my wife?" He got up and we cuddled on the couch, just enjoying one another's presence.


So...that was my October 18, 2008. I have to say, I'm still not a wedding person...and I'm so glad it was small and casual, with moments of laughter in the ceremony, not everything going perfect, and that we wore jeans to the party afterward.

More thoughts of life right now:

I've mentioned how righteous it is to have a birthday on FB...try getting MARRIED on there! Holy wall-posts and status-comments, Batman! Should we have babies just to get more of these?

The coming few weeks are just a mess of UTTER AWESOMENESS.

-This week: The children are all here!! I expect several games of Aps to Snaps and Scattergories are upcoming...
-10/25: Reception at the Millers' lovely home
-10/30: Leave for Ohio. Dine at The Hill, then drive for awhile before hotelling it up for the night.
-10/31-11/2: Ohio. I get to see my darling Dazets, officially as a new branch of my family! PP will preach and I'm sure we'll do a lot of porch-sitting and game-playing. And Neil and I are staying in an amenity-rich hotel room..hubba hubba!
-Early November: Lily and Gilbert officially move back home!!
-11/11: Leave with Em to meet Sarah in KC for NKOTB! I've been studying "The Block," which in all honesty is idiotic, for a week or so now. But it's still awesome. And Sarah tells me she likes it too! We're staying the night and will return the next day, and I have that day off.
-11/13: Get dressed up to go to Jesse for "Sweeney Todd"!! I called the other day for tickets, figuring only slim pickings would be left, but two tickets in the front row center balcony opened up...my FAVORITE place to sit in that auditorium. I hope Neil loves the show as much as I do!
-11/17: My first day at the Missouri State Library! I can finally go to a doctor without a sliding scale! SarahJC every day! Paid days off!

....and then Thanksgiving the next week....and then it's basically Christmas...and we don't have to think about January right now. But WOWIE, what a fall this has been!

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes and kind thoughts...your generosity...your love and friendship...your time...and your patience.

WE DID IT! (It's DONE!!) (part one.)

WOW, what a week it's been!! It's a testament to the dedication of the last-minute planning process that I, the Obsessive Checker of E-mail, didn't go online for over 24 hours at one point.

I'm just going to run down my days, starting with when it got really, really, no-spare-moments busy, around about last Thursday. I'd been doing stuff all week, but I knew there would hit a point where I couldn't waste any time.

So, I scheduled an appointment Thursday after work at Massage Envy, for my first-ever professional massage (not counting the one therapy students in training gave me, Mom, Ellen, and Alena one day when we skipped school in 5th grade). I knew I had to make it right after work, or I would find a way out of it to do other stuff, and boy HOWDY, did I need it. My lower back was killing me! Jaime was my masseuse, and she was fan-TASTIC!! She was very soft-spoken, and didn't ask me about the wedding at all (which I really needed--a break from talking about it!).

After the massage, I drove over to Dad's to work on the Porch Display. I swept the porch and the front walk, dragged the hay bales and pumpkins up by the front door, and, with Dad's help, lugged the huge, huge pumpkin up the steps in a wheelbarrow (how the hell did Neil carry that to the garage all by his own damned self??)...when who should float up the walkway but darling Trevor, home for a few days. He was smelling delicious as always, like a little ray of sunshine soaked in the sweat of an angel, and promised he'd be by the next day to see the rest of the children. (When will I stop calling them this? Joe, at 20, is the youngest.) I finished up the display, and awaited Neil's call saying he was ready. I probably did something productive at home in this slot, but the memory has disappeared completely.

Lily, Gilb, and Steve had arrived in StL, and were erranding around the city before Neil and I drove up to get them that evening--I drove to Fulton first to pick Neil up. We stayed late and...I'll be honest here, kiddos...alcohol might have been involved. They grilled brats and the best, fattest burgers ever, and June even got me some sauerkraut to accompany the brats. She is absolutely one of the sweetest women I've ever met, and her Carolinian accent only helps that impression.

We drove back, Neil snoring in the car and Lily contorting her body in ways only she can to sleep sitting up, slouched against the car door handle, while Steve and I yukked it up and discussed all things pop culture. I dropped Neil back in Fulton with his car (he DID wake up enough to drive it home), and took the children home, where they marveled at my outside display (well, Steve said the pumpkins looked like they spelled a racial slur, which...I don't think they do, right? Of course, now I can't look at them and NOT think that)

I took them to Dad's new porch, and they were properly amazed, while I ran to wake up Daddy so Lily could cuddle with him as only she can do. I was falling asleep standing up, so I bid my adieus and drove home late.

Friday dawned slightly gray, and I got up at 10:30, intending to leave plenty of time for showering before our mani-pedis at noon. I dawdled for a few minutes, checking mail that hadn't been checked since the afternoon before, and Lily called to say she was meeting Gilb & family at Missouri Furniture to pick up her curling irons for my hair. I had an e-mail from Kristin asking me to call to finalize the ceremony, and thinking I could get that done quickly, I called her. It would have been fine, but it took over half an hour, and during this time, Lily was frantically trying to call because the little crap Honda had broken down at the furniture place. She was upset, and I was worried for her, but I had to finish things up with Kristin...finally, I got off the phone and just as Neil was lacing up his shoes to go get Lily, her car started again.

Even after all the delays and drama, though, we were only ten minutes late for our appointment. The salon was absolutely beautiful, and I thought how I'd been pampered in the last two days more than I ever had in my life. I could totally get used to this. We found an absolutely perfect shade of polish to go with my sash/shawl/trim color, and went to our little massage chairs and put our feet into the hot bubbling footbaths. I'm extremely sensitive to other people filing my nails, and filing my toenails was even WORSE. I had to hold on to the chair tight to keep from jerking my foot away...but the payoff was good. My toes actually look pretty! And dang, did it feel good to get my feet all scrubbed and soaked and rubbed. (But P.S.? I thought you couldn't file nails that have been wet recently. Both my hands and feet were in a soak before she filed them. I guess it's an urban myth?) Next were manis...we were steered to another area, and the filing was much better this time. She did a slight squared-off look to my nails, which I LOVE, and they're still pretty even now! Both my manicurist and the one doing Lily said my plain nails were pretty, too! No one has ever said that before. I'm just so used to having stubby fingers and toes that it didn't occur to me that growing my nails out and taking care of them might change the appearance a little. When our nails were done, we let them dry for ten minutes (I got the special nail dryer thing, because I was totally the bride), and gingerly got our stuff together to go pick up Steve to tackle the next part of the day. They told us nails don't ever officially dry until TWENTY-FOUR HOURS after they are painted...I knew I'd never go that long without screwing them up somehow. Even when I was putting my hands into the dryer thing, my thumbnails touched, and I was all "Yeah, I knew that would happen."

Okay...so next, we got Steve from Dad's house, and malled it up for a couple hours. We found him a great shirt, sweater, and pants at Gap (and I bought Neil an impromptu collection of boxer briefs), ate at Panera (Broccoli Cheese Bread Bowl Soup, will you marry me if Neil leaves me?), bought makeup at Target (and ran into the always delightful Jason Stanley and his sister Katie, who my bro has a date with tonight--he moves fast, that one), and ran a couple more errands before racing home. I wanted to show Lily some cool Audigier shirts I'd seen in the Buckle, so I dragged her in there, realizing too late that the CA hoodie and tank she was wearing would cause the employees to freak out.

I guess I had everything I needed with me, because we went back to Dad's house and got ready for dinner that night with the Dazets. Mark had arrived, and Neil and his family went over to Sophia's to wait for a 10-top. The Dawson clan followed, and we were finally able to sit down and have some fun. I could hardly eat, but the Tomato Bisque was a dream...my Caesar salad yet remains uneaten in its little white box in Dad's fridge (and you KNOW how much I love Sophia's Caesar...), and when the waitress told us Neil and I could split a dessert on the house, my sweetheart of a man let me choose the Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake (to Father's chagrin). I'll be honest...it wasn't as good as my Zucatto Tre Suppore (er...Sippore? Sappore? Something), but I try not to let a holiday season pass without a slice of pumpkin cheesecake.

I dropped my charges off at Dad's after dinner, then went to the apartment to pack up my things and say goodbye to Neil for the night. I figured he and Mark would be up watching UFC and drinking beer for hours having their little mini-guys' night, but Neil later called me at eleven to say he was off to bed! This was one groom that wasn't going to have dark circles under his eyes the next day....

Unlike the bride.

Back to the story, though.

I flitted around packing for at least 90 minutes, knowing I couldn't get anything the next day. I also put together a gift for Neil--a binder of about a month and a half of IM conversations during the time we were about to meet and then right after, that I'd saved for the last couple years. It was over 300 pages!

I finally felt ready, confident that Dad's house could supply me with the basics like shampoo (NOTE: this will be important later), and took my approximately thirty-four bags and headed out. Sarah M. was already at Dad's to help decorate, Lily was ready and armed with highlighting gear, and Steve and Dad were both on hand to add colorful commentary. Trevor also stopped by again, and as always, he brightens up any place he goes. But first, Sarah presented me with my Bride gifts--a white sash with "BRIDE" down the front to wear the next day, and a white tote with wooden handles she'd labeled "Mrs. Dazet." SOOOO cute. I love it! Us girls cut a billion pieces of foil into small squares (apparently this is important for highlighting), and Lily began. Sarah was an UTTER godsend, and I released the reins and told her what I'd had in mind for the decorations when she asked if she could take that over. She did a fantastic job, better than I ever could have done, and the house looked AMAZING, with candles lining the mantle, in the freaking fireplace behind the glass doors, and on the hors d'oeuvres table. (Blogger says that's spelled wrong, but it totally isn't, BLOGGER.)

After two hours (or more...I have a LOT of hair), we took the foil out and rinsed out the now-purpley dye. My hair was so nice...lighter, reddish, subtle highlights, that didn't scream "I LOVE SUN-IN!" Lily played with my hair for awhile (ohmygod I love having my hair played with!) with some ideas she had for the next day, including a 1940s-style finger-curl wave of the bangs that Steve said looked like "Vagina Head" but that I LOVED. It was totally Lorelai during the Stars Hollow dance where Dean and Rory broke up. I've always wanted hair styled like that. But, it's kinda costumey, and didn't really fit with my dress. We decided on a loose French braid for my bangs, going down the side, with the flower pins my darling SarahJC made for me stuck in the end of it in a little spray, with soft curls in the rest of my hair, which would be down.

Lily, Steve and I sat around next (Sarah, bless her heart, was exhausted from her drive that day, but stayed so long to help out!), chatting and cleaning up the kitchen even more. Steve was a freaking machine, I kid you not! He suggested a little "Dream Phone" round about 2 A.M., and even though I was starting to feel the effects of a nonstop lifestyle, and even though I knew the more sleep I got before my wedding day the better, I was all "Dude, I'll never forget playing Dream Phone with my sibs on my Wedding Eve." It was our brand of a Bachelorette Party, kinda. Steve said there wasn't a strategy, but I totally figured one out.

We retired at 3 in the morning, and the day felt a lot like Christmas Eve to me...errands during the day, dinner out with a bunch of family, busy family time at night, all gearing up for the next day. It was really a wonderful, wonderful day.

Also, I don't know if Blogger will let me make this post even longer than it already is...and the Day Itself deserves a post all its own, don't you think? So I'll stop here, and this is to be continued...