Friday, October 31, 2008

Best. Halloween. Ever.

I'm not so much a "dress up" girl. I didn't do costume parties in college (save B's "Babe and a Bottle" night, which was so not a mistake, cough cough). Not because I didn't want to or was above them or whatever, just because I never had any good ideas. Thank you Disney channel--now I know I look like Miley Cyrus. And Miley, I can do.
Tonight started fabulously. Mom came into town for a little dress shopping and we had a blast. It's much more fun being on the "try that one on again" side of the couch instead of the actual tryer-oner. After our visit to The White Room, we headed to the mall for a delicious dinner at Brio and, well, it was just so awesome to have some down-time with mom. Wish I could get it every day. :)
I left at the mall to explore the Special Occasion racks and ran home to morph into Miley. Not so much an Alex Mack conversion (all over liquification, if you remember), but more a subtle "let the hair down and drape a sheet" transition. I didn't go for everyday Miley, you see. I went for the Lebowitzed Miley, sheet and all. If B had been in town, I would've made him go as Billy Ray, following me around and making over-the-top awkward comments all night. And maybe sharing an ice cream cone. Ah, how I miss B.
As it were, I headed over to the party in a sheet held up by a single bobby pin and my expert tucking ability. I figured, when the sheet went, it was time to go home.
The party, a haunted house warming at K's new home, was phenomenal, complete with green punch, bite-sized treats, and spiderwebs on the chandelier. Fabulous. In attendance I spotted Sarah Palin (in her days as Miss Alaska), a hockey mom, Micheal Phelps, Marie Antoinette, Avril, a sk8er boi, a french maid, a 50s cheerleader, a saloon mistress, a cowboy, and Spider Man. Amazing.
So here's to a fun night with friends, and to forgetting a forgettable week at work, what with the down-sizing and "reorganization" of the company leadership. Hard times for all. Candy for everyone!
And, of course, to the cutest of the bunch, my nieces who went as pumpkins, lady bugs, and Renaissance princesses, and my nephew, who I believe went as Thomas the Engine. I can't wait for pics! Happy Halloween to all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To (Not) Do List

Things I Am Currently Not Doing:
1) Cleaning my apartment
2) Putting away my laundry, from two weeks ago
3) Writing my Daily Guideposts entries
4) Not watching MTV (wait, what?)

Back to the 90s

I'm feeling back to the 90s today and for lots of good reasons, one of which I'm sure is the fact that I'm wearing my retainer again after...13 years (sorry Dr. H!), but also because I've got the classic Clueless song stuck in my head, "It's a perfect day, nothing standing in my way," which seems to be a good soundtrack for the day, indeed.
November 1 is my deadline for my annual Daily Guideposts submissions, a devotional book that I freelance for, so I've been thinking a lot about the inspirational tidbits that I'm going to submit this year. Honestly, it kept me awake last night (in a good way), and then I found myself thinking about it again at what I thought was morning. Turns out it was 3:45. Back to sleep for me!

It's been great though, and has put me in good spirits. Daily Guideposts stories are about 300 words long, start with a Bible verse and end with a prayer. Sandwiched in between is a story about anything you want, so long as you find something of merit in the experience. It can be of love or loss, happy or sad, ground-breaking or just a bright spot in the mundane. I tend to keep mine upbeat (shocker), so thinking about what I want to write is really a joy. Writing them however can be taxing, as I struggle to just sit down and do it!

Each year, I send in seven pieces, so that forces me to reflect on my year and find seven glimpses of God or feelings of peace in my life during the past 365 days... 366 this year (leap year!). It's a fabulous exercise, and one that keeps me noticing blessings as they happen year-round, so I can make a note to add it to the next Daily Guideposts list.

When I first started submitting, I found myself wondering how they would ever get different experiences from everyone--didn't everyone go through life as I did? Turns out, I'm self-centered. No one goes through life like I do. As one of the youngest writers on the team, I'm writing about school, friends, moving, starting jobs, becoming an aunt, dating, and other fairly-standard mid-twenties experiences. My cowriters are writing about children, job loss, travel, retirement, aging, grandchildren, and reconnecting with old friends. It's such a great reminder that everyone is going through such different things on any given day.

So think about it. If you had to share seven experiences of the past year of your life that would encourage someone along their way, what would you share? You may become thankful, or maybe saddened, but I always find it a unique reflection, and an interesting way to see how I sum-up my life. Are all seven bad? All good? Only I know, but it helps me to think about it.

The next time you're in a bookstore, head to the Religious section and take a peek at Daily Guideposts. Even if you don't open it, you'll find some inspiration (that's a tiny picture of me on the back cover!), but if you do open it, I guarantee you'll find hope, peace, and probably a few friends along the way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drop Your Big-Girl Panties and Deal With It

Normally when you have to man-up and do something you don't really want to do, people tell you to "put on your big girl panties and deal with it."  So what happens when what you really don't want to do also necessitates taking off said big-girl panties?
Ok, stop worrying.  I'm not going into any too-big business, just noticing another blip on the wedding timeline... the doctors appointments.
Now, heaven forbid that priest number six, wherever he may be, reads this, but it shouldn't be a shock to most people that know me that B and I are planning to use birth control.  The sneaky part about getting that crazy pack of pills is that you have to have someone prescribe them for you and as much as I love my dad and rely on him for basically every medical need in the books from flu to pink eye, I cannot bring myself to call him and ask for him to pen that script.
So I asked around the office to find someone local that might be a good MD to add to my rolodex and the responses I got were hilarious and, thankfully, all about the same person.  "YOU HAVE TO GO TO DR. B" one screamed in all caps.  "Everyone at SPC goes to her," said another.  Raves all around, even when I called to book my appointment.  "You'll love her," the receptionist said.  "Bring her a Hershey's kiss and you're in!" 
I was already nervous about going to the doctor (par for the course when you've never had so much as a physical in your life, thank you fully-stocked family of MDs) and I certainly wasn't about to bring this one chocolates.  I don't care if it's an inside joke or a favorite treat, that, in my books, is a little too much.
So I fretted a little for a couple of weeks, especially as I heard from different friends about bad experiences, side-effects, and the like, then today I got up early and headed in.
After taking no fewer than three elevators (all necessary), I arrived at the office and checked in.  Everyone was nice.  One girl even asked where my shoes were from (the Mary Jane Merrels, mom, for which I gave you credit!).
Then I went back and amazingly, it was nothing.  When I was little, I'd work myself into such a tizzy about doctors appointments that my mom would stop telling me about them, only letting me in on the afternoon visit an hour or so before we went.  I'd stomp around and ask why she hadn't told me and she'd always respond that she knew it would upset me and she didn't want to see me worry myself sick over what was always nothing.  My mom is a kind soul.  She could've just said, "Because I didn't want to deal with your pint-sized pissy self stomping around for weeks."  God grant me censorship with eventual motherhood, and my apologies for thwarting it just now.
Dr. B was fabulous, answering all my questions and finishing the visit with a wink and a "That's it.  Overrated, isn't it?"  I told her how highly rated she was over at my company and she rolled her eyes and laughed.  "I keep thinking I should just do a morning clinic over there!" she replied, then grew serious and said "But know I never share your business with anyone." 
So now I'm left with a few packs of pills that will hopefully be a good "fit" for me (feel free to tell me if I'm more frustrating than usual in the near future) and a fiance that is horribly confounded with the whole thing.  Wants to understand, doesn't want to know.  He called me at work this morning and said, "Where were you?"  And I responded, "At the doctor."  "For what?" he asked.  Silence.  "OOOhh..." he replied.  Love him
So for any girls out there who are worried or wondering, know that, well, it's no big deal.  Seriously.  I'm a baby and I'd tell you.  For all guys, do me a favor and keep believing that it's horrible?  And please don't judge when the hormones take over and I post clipped comments on the blog.  Don't hate the snarky one, hate the science.
Dr. B and I had an interesting exchange as she was going over birth control info.  She told me when to start the pills and I laughed, saying it was ironic that that was right before my Catholic premarital counseling weekend.  She grew serious (which is when I noticed the pendant of Mary and Jesus hanging from her neck, I kid you not) and said that she was Catholic and definitely didn't think she was doing any wrong by prescribing birth control.  Then she started talking about Pope John Paul, the first one, the man that lived only about 30 days after becoming Pope.  He had intended to reverse the church's teachings on birth control (!) and Dr. B said she wished people had read up on where the church was going before he died.  
Of course, I head straight back to the office and start browsing the internet, discovering allegations of conspiracy by the church to, well, off him because of his generally revolutionary views.  Lots of weird stuff like the cause of his death, the timeline of his death being convoluted, etc.  I'm reading more about it, but for now I'm intrigued, and figure you can look at his views on reversing the church's stance on contraception two ways.
1) Interesting! Who knows what might have come of it...
2) He died after 33 days.  Yipes.
Or as one friend said, "Smote?"  I'm inclined to stick with number one, but I am definitely more interested in this Pope.  For better or for worse, I might have some comments for Pre-Cana after all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Military Science, Modern Warfare, and Me

I can honestly say that, would it not be for my relationship with B, I would never have received this email from

Dear Customer,
As someone who has purchased military science and history titles from, you may be interested in top books on military strategy and history from Praeger. Explore and examine issues of modern warfare, counterinsurgency, national security, and more.

Um, Hi.


Perhaps we haven't met. I'm the girl who orders Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, and children's books. As for gifts, I'm pretty sure the closest I've ever gotten to books on "military strategy" and "counterinsurgency" are the manners books for men I bought for my brothers and brother in law a few years back. While both manners books and chick flick novels could both be seen as grounds for "modern warfare," I'm pretty sure this email was, well, misguided, to say the least. But thanks for the heads up! Now I know exactly what to get my fiance for Christmas.


What a Weekend!

I can't even begin to put this weekend into words. (ok, that's a lie, because clearly I am. Here goes.)
Friday, C picked me up at the airport and we headed into the city under a steady drizzle toward her apartment. "Apartment" doesn't do it justice, by the way. She lives in an old hotel that was refurbished into condo-style apartments. Not only is it huge (she has four closets!), especially for a city dwelling, it's also adorable. The hardware on the doors, the crown molding detail, and the wonderfully cute hotel-style elevators (ornate, chandelier) won my heart. That and the fact that it was warm and dry. Displaced Southern girl, much? I think so.

We got an early start on Saturday morning and headed off to walk Chicago. Having never been, I couldn't even tell C what I wanted to see, so she decided to be safe and show me everything. We walked the Magnificent Mile then looped into old town. I felt like I was back in my first trip to NYC again, when I exited Penn Station totally agape and in awe of the buildings and bustle around me. But Chicago, oh Chicago, it's even better. It's on lake, so there's a beach (big points), and so many of its buildings retain their crazy ornate details from a lost era, making them unique and gorgeous. And don't even get me started on the row homes lined with wrought-iron gates and the amount of green space--gorgeous.

We grabbed lunch in the city while we explored, then headed home to rest for a few minutes before seeing C's neck of the woods-- the University of Chicago, Obama's home, and, finally, a deep-dish pizza place, where we picked up the most decadent Chicago-style spinach pizza I've ever had. Sauce on top. News to me!

We had wine and pizza at her apartment before heading out again to catch an improv show at the theater where C takes improv classes. C's been doing improv since college, so tons of my memories of her are tangled up in short-form comedy and I love it. We had a blast and called it a night.

Sunday we grabbed a delicious, bacony brunch then fought the urge to nap the day away, instead driving in to hang out at a little coffee shop in downtown so C could work on midterms and I could just relax for a little while before my flight.

I definitely want to go back, to see everything else there is to see. Museums. Architecture tour. Aquarium. Beach. But for this weekend, two fabulous days, everything was perfect and, best of all, I got to spend a lot of time just catching up with C on her life. It's (relatively) easy to keep up with friends, thanks to texts, email, and cell phones, but there's an aspect of their lives that you just miss if you don't exchange those giggly stories in person. It was just what I needed.

This week is off to a running start already... mostly around me, but I'm trying to catch up. I've got to get six freelance pieces done before Saturday. Halloween on Friday. Oh, and work.

Still feeling a little bit in a funk-ish, but I think it's just the travel and the putting off my freelance work for so long. Tonight I'm going to buckle down and get to it. Promise. I always feel better when it's done, so I never understand why I fight it so much. Deep down, totally still a toddler at heart.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blessing in a Blog

I knew my last two blog posts were tending towards the Debbie Downer side of life, so imagine my surprise and thankfulness for seeing this post by my dear friend Z.
It made me want to try it out, so I'm doing it. Here. Before I fly to Chicago in a selfish effort to lighten my heart and embrace "the now," as someone in the 90s said. I know Thanksgiving is still almost a month away, but here goes...

I am grateful for...

My fiance, B, and his level-headed perspective. And his amazing blue eyes.

My job, that I enjoy it and that it enables me to do things outside of work that make me happy, like fly to Chicago.

My parents, that they are so supportive and choose to celebrate everything in my life. True love. Hard to find, hard to beat.

My apartment, that I have a space to go that is all my own. Easy to see your true self when there's no one else to blame the piles on.

My friends. I can't even imagine.

My car, it takes me where I want to go whenever I need it.

My blog, that it has enabled me to reconnect with so many old friends.

The fact that I didn't have to listen to the album featured in the artwork for this blog!

Basic, yes, but true. Think about what you're thankful for. I bet it isn't fancy or super-specific things (like power steering, though I am very grateful for that as well), but more themes of your life, and the people that wind through them.

Next, repeat this phrase:

May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful. May I be safe.

I dare you to say it three times without feeling a warm, calm sensation rushing through your temples. It's so true that it really almost brings tears to my eyes. That is all I could ever want, ask for, or hope for in life. To be happy, to be healthy, to be at peace, and to be safe.

Think that for yourself, then expand the circle to "someone who has shown you the best of yourself," then to a friend, then to a difficult person in your life, then to everyone as a single group.

I think I like this so much because it reminds me of prayer, but it feels somehow more of an active version of prayer, reminding me not to just list things that I'm thankful for, fearful of, sorry about, or asking for, but to engage other aspects of my being and reach further into the why and how of it all.

May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful. May I be safe.

May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful. May I be safe.

May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful. May I be safe.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful. May you be safe.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Working on the wedding website these days... did you know how hard it is to find a hosting site that does not play music when opened? Seriously, like a Rascal Flatts ballad is the way introduce your wedding perusing at the office. Negative, friends. No music for us. No website wedding invitation RSVPs either. Another topic for another day, but I'm beginning to be known as the etiquette stickler around the office. I'm sorry--if I send you a stamped RSVP card and all you have to do is check yes or no and write your name, I think that should be easy enough? Maybe I need to get on board with the online RSVP thing. I mean, I'm all for it for any other invitation that does not include a stamped RSVP card because offering an online option (email or website) makes it easier, and that's what you want for your guests: easy. This may require some self reflection, and possibly therapy.

That said, if you do see an online RSVP option for the wedding invitation, please feel free to use it and forget I ever wrote this post, ok? I'll sneak you extra cake if you don't even bring it up.

So yes, the wedding website is forthcoming and I promise to post it up here when I actually get it done. And, when you get the link, you know you can open it wherever you are without Canon in D blaring.

You're welcome!

Off to the Windy City

Time is flying by--where did the rest of the week go?
Wednesday was a wonderful night... Grandma's church dinner and a little shopping, but last night was the true bright spot. As per usual, Ugly Betty and Grey's rule our Thursday nights around here, but last night we had a purpose. My friend, J, is running in a marathon on Sunday, so in order to help her carbo load, I made Easy Meatless Manicotti... apparently she has some thing about mixing carbs and meat before a big race. Regardless, it was fabulous, and a great way to celebrate how cool it is that she's off to the races again. (Give the recipe a shot--It's Cooking Light and makes plenty to share, save, or take to lunch. Pair it with bagged salad and Texas toast. Ok, and red wine. That's a must.)

After they girls left, I got to packing for Chicago. Ok, well at least I thought about it. Instead I read a magazine and uploaded pictures to iphoto, then went to bed.

This morning I got packing and started getting even more excited. I'm going to Chicago! I've never been and am super excited to see the city, but really I'm more excited to see my dear sweet college roommate C. She's promised to show me around and I think we're seeing a musical improv show, but I know we'd both be totally thrilled to just crack open a bottle of wine and talk over some deep-dish pizza.

I leave tonight and come back on Sunday, so it's a pretty short trip, but it's so what I need right now.

Work has been a little crazy. More layoffs, not in my department, but still, in the company. Layoffs, especially recurrent cycles of them, are bad news for business. The people let go are crushed and those who remain are uneasy. My boss assured us (as best she could) that this one didn't hit our department, but I've still felt uneasy ever since hearing the news. As my niece would say, "Do not like that."

The wedding is an easy escape and it's so simple and freeing to slip into the welcome melee of planning, but when I step back and look at what's happening around me (layoffs, stock market, job openings), it can be depressing. Do you push all of that aside and just focus on the happy wedding planning, or do you somehow balance the pure happiness I find in thinking about it with the very real care and concern for what's going on right now in the world.

B and I are blessed. He accepted his summer associate position in Atlanta for next summer last night, so we officially know where we're going to be and that we'll have at least one paycheck coming in starting May 18. I'm still hopeful that I'll be able to take my job with me, but only time and the market will tell.

So for this weekend I'm excited to leave everything behind and just focus on the new and (of course) stimulating the economy. A girl's got to give back somehow!

I think anytime I don't see B for a weekend, I feel a little off, so I'm thankful that he has lots of work (sorry, B), that I'm traveling, and that the holidays are literally right around the corner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Another great quasi-anxiety dream last night...

I dreamed that I was staying at a friend's house while her family was gone and I decided to bake some bread as a thank you. As I was kneading the bread, I realized that it was pulling the diamonds out of my ring! Not the center stone, but the stones along the band. So I freaked out and started digging through the uncooked loaf, pulling out the diamonds and stacking them up. The stack of them was huge, probably about 200, and the backs of them were green and black.

[For the record, I know diamonds don't have backs, and if they do, they shouldn't be otherwise colored. It's a dream, folks, let it go.]

So I dug them all out and had my pile. I began digging through phone books to figure out where I could take the stones to get them reset into the band, which looked so pitiful with its little empty spots. Someplace reputable, I thought, not a place that might steal them. Bromberg's!

Bromberg's is a great local Birmingham fine-jewelry store, so I began flipping through the stack of phone books, all those useless "yellow pages" books where nothing is in alphabetical order, but rather in categories, only there was no category for Jewelry or Gem.

The cleaning people showed up and I put them to work looking through the phone books. Then my dad came in and was trying to make me feel better when the cleaning people yelled that they found the number!

I grabbed the number, which was mixed in with a bunch of other numbers, and began dialing.

"Hey baby," B said.

Eeek! I'd autodialed B by mistake. "Haha, hi honey! Um, can I call you right back?" I asked.

"Um, sure," he said.

Safe! Called Bromberg's and realized I only had 30 minutes left (because they close at 6 on Sunday) to get there, so I dashed outside, naked, running to my car to get there on time.

I look up on the porch and see Z sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, laughing.

"Now this," she said to my friend whose house it was, "is why I called you over here. Hilarious!"

...I've heard that when people dream their teeth are falling out, it means they've got anxiety. What does that mean for me? No more bread baking, that's for sure.

Roadkill on the Information Superhighway

That's what my sister used to call herself, anyway, and I'm afraid that some of that computer intolerance trickled down my genetic branch as well. In college, my brother would come by to fix my printer only to discover that I hadn't installed it, hadn't updated my software at any point during the year, or had a paper jam that went back four months (I kid you not. Hard to fake like it's not happening when your desk jet starts printing out Christmas cards just before Easter.).
That said, I've come to terms with my computer illiteracy, facing it head-on by taking a paying, full-time, non-imaginary job at a food and recipe website. As a programmer. Ha! Granted, that only means that instead of staying on the phone with the Geek Squad, I can now reach out to my trained team of technicians anytime day or night that we keep in-house. Keep your enemies close, right?

So I called my sister last night and learned that she'd just purchased a new computer and was now having to load Microsoft Office onto the machine. How Mac gets away with selling you a machine worth a mortgage payment that does nothing from the get-go amazes me. She had already conferred with our brother (the one who fixed my college snafus) and her husband (definitely computer literate) when she asked me a question.

I used to laugh at these questions (Seriously? You're asking me?), but now that I'm gainfully employed at a website, I don't have much excuse not to help. Here's how it went...

K: The boys agree, but I need to ask the masses. It [the computer start-up window] wants me to delete all older versions of Microsoft Office. I've already clicked delete to put it in the trash, but now it wants me to empty the trash.

Me: That's ok. What you don't know about these things is that they don't really want you to read them, they just want you to keep clicking "yes" or "ok." Mac forgets that there are people like you and me that stress over those little blue flashing boxes.

K: So if I delete it, I won't be locked out from opening all my old files?

Me: Look at it this way, even if you are, when you try to open the file, your Mac will link you to a webpage prompting you to download a patch that will let you open your old files.

K (to her husband): She said it might make me wear a patch.

Me: No, not you, your Office.

K: See? They send you home with this stuff saying, "Any dummy can do this," but what they haven't seen is a picture of me sitting in front of my locked word documents wearing a patch and clicking ok.

Me: You're right, they definitely have not seen that.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

On the phone with my incredible brother-in-law, T, playing a little catch up after a few crazy weeks...

T: Did you decide on colors for the wedding?

Me: Can I just say how impressed I am that you're asking about colors?

T: Hey, I got married. I've done this. Give me the colors.

Me: Ok, ok. We're starting with peridot.

T: (Silence)

Me: Which is basically sage.

T: Which is basically...

Me: Green, T. It's green. I thought you knew weddings?

T: I got married, doesn't mean I know crazy stuff. I more of an 8-crayon box guy.

Monday, October 20, 2008


the number of digits on a hand.
the cost of a Subway foot-long sandwich (yea advertising!).
the number of workdays in a week.
the time (in days) until I'm in Chicago.
the number of years B and I have been dating.
the number of priests that have turned us down.

B and I decided this weekend to stop pursuing Atlanta priests from his home parish and instead go with the Abbot in charge of the church in Florence. It seemed easier to us that, if the people we were close to weren't available and the people we weren't close to seemed hesitant to travel, picking the Florence priest was a win-win and a no-brainer.

Silly us.

B called him this afternoon to check his availability, which we'd so flippantly assumed would be wide-open ("We have his church! What's he going to do?"). Retire, that's what. Like my fifth grade piano teacher after only one year, Abbot V is checking out on us (ok, ok, and his local parish) after who knows how many years just before our wedding. Apparently a kind fellow from Lucerne, which, far as I can tell, is either an early 90s Buick or a city in Switzerland, will be taking over and Abbot V is calling him to see if he'd be willing to marry us. Seriously?

Good thing I have this thick protestant skin or my feelings would be pretty hurt right now.

Retiring. That begs one question... why does he care when the wedding is? Sign us up for 4pm, stat!

A Fiance By Any Other Name...

When B and I first started dating, I often transposed the letters in his name. No, I'm not dyslexic, but, when misspelled, his name actually spells another word. Plus, I was in Intro to Psychology at the time, so I think that played into it...

Clearly, I've gotten over mistyping my sweetheart's name, but now it's happening again, only this time, it's his new status.

My fingers don't like typing fiance. Maybe they want the accent in there (which is nearly impossible on blogger or most mail programs). Maybe they're ready to move on to "husband." I don't know, but I do know that every time I type "fiance," it comes out "finance." (It doesn't take an Intro to Psychology course to read into that I assure you.)

Worse, because it's not technically a misspelled word, spell check doesn't alert me to my typo, leaving me open to calling my sweet B "my finance," making him somewhat of a pimp or meal ticket or God knows what else.

I'm working on it, me and my fingers. But for now, for goodness sakes, if you see the word "finance" on here, give me the benefit of the doubt... or at least just assume that I'm worried about the upcoming questions from the priest about our budget.

More Us...

By popular demand (ok, just you, Z), a few more pics. This time my favorite and another of B's favorites. Happy happy.


Engagement photos are back, thank you digital cameras. B and I are super pleased with them, especially since the whole thing took fifteen minutes. Seriously, the clock tower rang when we got out of the car and rang again as we were getting back in. 3:45-4:00 and we were out of there. Here's the last one we took, watermark and all... happy!
PS... Does this look like a man that was blond as a child? White blond, even. Seriously. Just saying, if you ever encounter any blond children that call us their parents, don't be surprised. At least not any more than I will be, ok?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Dreamed about the bridesmaids earrings last night. Yep, they were beautiful-- white gold dangles with a sweet little curve to them and a cluster of tiny pearls following the curve. They were sweet, delicate, and looked nothing like this. Anyone know how to make jewelry? Will sketch for studs, err... drops.

Movie Madness

B and I wanted to see a movie this weekend, but were pretty clueless as to what was playing. What? We've been busy! So I suggested we go to F.Y.E. and see if there was something we wanted to buy. Honestly, $9 to buy vs $20 to attend... seemed like a good deal to me.
We picked up Forgetting Sarah Marshall and My Cousin Vinny then headed home. Clearly I hadn't read the DVD jackets well or, let's be honest, at all, because this was our conversation on the way home...
B: Which do you want to watch tonight?
Me: Um... let's do funny.
B: I think you'll love Sarah Marshall, but My Cousin Vinny is funny too.
Me: Yeah, I don't know about My Cousin Vinny.
B: Why? I thought you'd like it. I mean, it's set in Alabama.
Me: But hon, I don't really want to watch two guys haul a dead guy around for two hours. Freaks me out.
B: What?
Me: What?
B: You're thinking of Weekend at Bernie's. That one has the dead guy.
Me: Wait, really? So what's My Cousin Vinny about?
B: A trial in Alabama.
Me: Oh! That sounds awesome. Just so long as there are no dancing dead guys.
B: Oh, he doesn't dance until Weekend at Bernie's II, when he gets a voodoo hex put on him. And even then, only when music is playing.
Me: (silence)

We Can Get Married!

No, we didn't find a priest, but there was one other thing really throwing a hitch in our wedding planning's get-along. It really was up in the air if my dad would bless the wedding. But your dad's so sweet! you say. Yes, he is. Your dad loves you, you say. Yes, he does. He does not, however, like it when Alabama loses. And every time B comes to an Alabama game, we lose.
It's been going on for years and, to be honest, none of us ever noticed. But after another long car ride home in the traffic after a loss, B leaned over and said, "You know we never win when I come." And it's true!
So yesterday was big. Huge! Alabama was up by, what, 21 points at halftime? Something crazy. But then, as per usual with us this year, we slowly let Ole Miss creep back in alllll the way through the second half. At one point, B looked at me, fresh worry in his eyes, and said, "I'm never going to get to come back, am I?"
Alabama eeked it out in the end and, boy, am I glad. It's not that we couldn't have gotten married otherwise, but it sure would've been hard to leave B at home all those Saturdays while I was at the game...
Marriage. It's about compromise, right?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Picture Perfect

Yesterday's photo shoot was anything but, but B and I had a blast all the same. The day stayed misty and gray, so we moved the shoot up in order to take advantage of any extra sun. The good news is that our photographers were amazing--quick, knowledgeable, and still fun. Gives me great hope for the wedding day photos being snappy and enjoyable, rather than dragging on and on. Love them!
...Plus they kept telling us how good we looked. Gotta love that. The day went totally smoothly, even when, at the last minute, I had to have B fix my belt with a hammer, nail, and packing tape. He's my real-life McGuiver.
The whole thing took, I kid you not, 15 minutes and B and I were back in the car and on the way home. We celebrated with dinner at Nabeel's, a great Greek neighborhood restaurant, then headed home to watch that Sarah Marshall movie. Am I a bad person that I found it hilarious? I think not. Perfect end to a super-relaxing day.
Today B and I are off to the Alabama/Ole Miss game. Roll Tide!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Cake Tasting We Go

Yesterday, I took the afternoon off and welcomed B to Birmingham with a big barbecue lunch, then off we headed to meet our would-be cake vendor at a local catering joint. I've known Al for a couple years and, when he sent me pictures of his cakes, I knew he had to do our wedding. Plus, I love knowing the people we're working with at the wedding. If you're going to pay someone to do something, wouldn't you rather pay someone you know? Maybe it's just me.
So B and I packed up and headed over for an afternoon sugar rush. We actually tried not to eat too much lunch so that we'd be able to eat the samples. Little did we know!
B and I arrived to find a sleek black table topped with plates, forks, water, iced tea, two plain cakes, three frostings, one filling, and one complete wedding cake, albeit miniature size, that was frosted, filled, and delicious.
One thing I love about Al is that he wanted to get to know us a little better, see who we were. He asked B if he was conservative, and we settled on traditional. Things like that.
Then, oh then, we got to the tasting. For me, it was heaven. I could actually eat uniced, bare and beautiful pieces of cake! I behaved myself, though, and tried all three icings, two kinds of buttercream and one super-rich chocolate ganache. And don't even get me started on the filling.
We settled on my cake, then started talking about B's. I'd told Al that we had a special request. B has a special cake, known to those in the loop as "birthday cake," that his dear grandma used to make for him every year on his birthday. I picked up the tradition a few years ago and we've been making the famous and much-loved pistachio cake with bittersweet chocolate icing ever since.
I'd warned Al that we were hoping to find a baker that could make the birthday cake en masse for the wedding and he asked me to bring him the recipe. I one-upped him and brought a sample cake to try, possibly making me the first bride ever to bring cake to a cake tasting. Long story short, Al loved it! He even took a few slices for the cafe lady to taste because he thought it would sell. Long story short, I think we have a fabulous shot at having a delicious "birthday cake" wedding cake.
It was a sweet sweet day, made sweeter that Al sent allllll the leftovers home with us. We dropped off a bunch at friends' houses, but then we came home and ate ourselves silly on cake until about 10pm. Then I think we both passed out from sugar coma. What a day.
Today it's raining and we're suppose to do engagement photos at 4pm. Pray for clear skies this afternoon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


In the interest of also losing part of my Thursday, I'm taking H up on her tag. Let's see if I can't do a little personal analysis with my orange juice this morning.

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die...
1. See Greece.
2. Raise children.
3. Marry B. (Need to have one I can check off soon!)
4. Host Christmas dinner.
5. Meet my grandchildren.
6. Advocate for a cause that's meaningful to me.
7. Own a house with a nice back porch and a view of the water.

7 Things I Can Do...
1. Write reasonably engaging copy about almost any topic.
2. Program a website. Woohoo!
3. Keep perspective, most of the time anyway.
4. Take care of multiple monkeys, if need be.
5. Pull together a Thanksgiving dinner in two hours or less (stay tuned!).
6. Remember any lyric from any song I've ever heard. Seriously, try me. Drives B nuts.
7. Make a mean cookie.

7 Things I Can Not Do...
1. Raise my ring finger without my pinkie finger coming along for the ride.
2. Public speaking. Nuh-uh. No way. Wish me luck with those vows.
3. Play the piano... my teacher quit after my first year.
4. Make it to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Heights kill me. Seriously, made it to the shoulder.
5. Stick my hand down into the sink. Yuck yuck yuck.
6. Get anywhere near milk. If B drank milk, no kisses for him.
7. Make my Grandma's poundcake recipe without the top over-browning.

7 Things That Attracted Me To My (Future) Hubby...
1. He danced with me, and still does.
2. Eyes... amazing blue eyes.
3. His lighthearted sense of humor and perspective in life.
4. His love for his family, and respect of his parents.
5. His strength... seriously, he's a really strong guy. Check out the guns, ladies.
6. Crazy attention to detail. Noticed right away that I didn't like ice and that I scraped all frosting off.
7. Selfless willingness to share food with me at restaurants. He's definitely a better orderer.

7 Things I Say Most Often
1. "Bless her heart..."
2. "Seriously."
3. "Thanks!" (whether appropriate or not)
4. "Hi Honey!"
5. "I miss you."
6. "I love you."
7. "Goodness."
7 Celebrity Crushes
1. Pink. I'm sorry, her song "So What" is hilarious and motivating at the same time. I dare you to try not to run to it.
2. Tom Cruise, circa 1986. So what if I was only three years old, did you see the volleyball scene?
3. Patrick Swayze, circa 1987. Hungry eyes, anyone?
4. Matt. You go dance in 80 countries and I'll have a crush on you, too.
5. Fergie. What? It's Fergie!
6. Nicolas Kristoff. Will someone pay me to go around the world and write about my passions three times a week?
7. Rick Reilly, circa anytime before he sold out to ESPN. RIP, Rick.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lost: One Wednesday

I'm looking for my Wednesday, because it seems to have disappeared or taken off or have hit the road on a joy ride across the state line.  Wherever it is, it sure wasn't here.
I think I saw a wisp of it this morning, and again tonight.  A little work, lots of laundry, a cake baking stint around 8:30... I know it ate, because I have the dirty dishes to prove it.  Other than that, I can't seem to account for it.
Not only that, it seems multiple Wednesdays have gone missing, as it is somehow October 15th.  If you, or someone you know, has seen my missing Wednesday, please let me know and, when you catch it again, let it know that I need it back.

B's First Anxiety Dream

Granted, it could be about a number of things including the eight interviews he's done in the past three weeks, the 30 page paper he has due in two weeks, or the fact that he has to pick a job for next summer by the end of the month, but B had his first anxiety dream. I prefer to think that his poor, sleepy mind was so pining away for me that it gave him a nightmare. Jury's still out on that one. You decide.

B: (Answers phone) ICan'tTalkRightNowLetMeCallYouRightBack

Me: Aeh..Oh ok yeah.

(Five minutes lapse)

B: (Calls back) Hi baby, I overslept for my 10:30 interview and just woke up at 10, so I was panicking when you called.

Me: I'm sorry hon, did you get everything done for today?

B: Yeah, but I had the weirdest dream last night. Someone kept trying to deport you and I had to go all Eli Stone on them.

Me: Someone was trying to deport me? Where?

B: I don't know.

Me: Who was it? Was it the priests?

B: I don't think so.

Me: They could be sending me to Rome for Catholic training.

B: Oh that would be bad.

Me: Not if you wanted to move to Rome.

B: True.

Me: Wait, did you just reference Eli Stone?

B: Baby I AM Eli Stone.

...For the record, Eli Stone is an attorney. And a prophet. Despite clearly almost being one of these things and (who am I to judge) possibly someday being the other, B still can't tell me what band will be playing when he has visions of the reception. What good is being able to tell of times to come if you can't know if it's going to be played to Mo-Town or Blues?
...Also for the record, people who meet Eli Stone think he's crazy. However, B does want to name his first son "Stone" (I kid you not), so maybe he's a prophet after all?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Tell Me About Him..."

My fabulous potential cake guy just emailed me this:

Tell me more about him ??? ....his hobbies ???....Likes ?? Dislikes ???

And I had to think about it. I've described B to tons of people, even to a few of the priests we've met with who have asked me why I love him and who we are as a couple, but to try to convey the real truth about who B is over email to someone who has never met him without sounding like a personals ad... well, that's tough. Once I got it out, I thought I might should (ha! Love southern English) share it for those of you who haven't met him yet, or who haven't had the chance to really get to know him...

By the way, for his mother's sake and mine, I restrained myself from calling him "hot." While he definitely is, I feel like our cake guy can judge that on his own.

About B...

B and I met in college (Princeton) and have been dating for 5 years. He loves Vietnam movies, all music, and sports, namely Georgia Tech football and Braves baseball. He's become an Alabama football fan for me, but only because we're in different conferences.

In college, he was a history major and a KA. He also played baseball for the Princeton Tigers.

After college, he played three seasons in the Seattle Mariners farm leagues, playing baseball for teams in Wisconsin, Washington, California, and Arizona. As a result, we've traveled all over together, hitting Vegas for a long weekend, Seattle for wine tasting, and Wisconsin for, well, cheese tasting. :)

He loves good comfort-style food and is developing quite a wine knowledge, thanks to his dad's help and his fiance's willingness to consume any suggested samples.

He's now in his second year of law school at Duke, where he plays on the school's softball, dodgeball, volleyball, and bowling teams, coming up with crazy team names like, for bowling, "We Object and Move to Strike." And yes, he actually really likes his law school readings and classes. It may be a sign of sickness, but I find it super endearing, and it makes my heart happy that he's found something he loves.

Likes: watching football, Sweetwater beer, funny movies, Entourage, really good sandwiches, nice cigars, ice cream cookie sandwiches, red wine, Pat Conroy's "The Great Santini," back porches, lazy afternoons on the couch, reading, trying new recipes, and me. :)

Dislikes: inefficiency, traffic, wearing a tie/suit too often, too-stiff jeans, missing his morning run, long lines, unnecessarily long phone calls, and bad haircuts.

In general: He's a sweet mostly-southern boy (come on, Atlanta?) who is super patient and loving with my nieces and nephews, who loves trying out new recipes or foods and really values spending time with his family, which includes two younger brothers. He's very thoughtful, going so far as to give up his apartment to my sister this week over his fall break so that she could take her PhD comprehensive exams in peace away from her darling children (2 years and 7 months). Before he left, he called me to ask what her favorite candy was so he'd have it on hand. It's that kind of stuff that really makes me love him.

And yes, I included pictures of the two of us, like this one of us with my niece when she was four days old. Makes my heart melt every time.

Fifth Time's a Charm?

Here's hoping, because priest number four just turned us down. You remember priest number four, right? The one who stood us up this weekend. That's right. You think we would've gotten his first clue, but no, we came back asking for more and, again, got more of what we asked for!

Apparently, he's unable to perform the ceremony, but is more than happy to sit with us and answer any questions or concerns that I have about the church. Fabulous. I have one question. Why won't any of you guys marry us?

This one is actually kind of a bummer because B really liked him. We both enjoyed his Mass, then B had some one-on-one time with him today and said he's a really great guy. Who knows, maybe he'll become "our priest" if we ever move to Atlanta.

So for now, we're still priest-less, though I do have a couple leads in Birmingham. B and I are thinking it might be best to go with the Florence abbot. We'll see. This week--cake tasting and engagement photos, plus just getting more precious quality time with B while he's still in town. As for the priest issue, as Scarlett once said, "I'll think about it tomorrow."

...Granted, she also ate raw potatoes straight from the ground and wore a dress made from curtains, so perhaps she's not the best role model to emulate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Me: Honey, when we fight after we're married, is it ok if I still want to sleep in the same room?

B: Of course, sweetheart.  You can just sleep on the floor.

Me: Bah!  Ok.  But I'm taking the blankets with me.

B: And probably the pillows, too.

Happy Columbus Day!

From my office's favorite comedian...

Today is the 37th holiest day of the year.  Columbus Day! The day we celebrate the much-hallowed voyage of Christopher Columbus who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to Discover America.

F*** Columbus! You can't wander into someone's backyard and start discovering s***.  I remember as a child, I tried to discover some apples from the tree in Mrs. Johnson's [Editor's Note: No relation to my mother] garden. After Mrs. Johnson told my mom, I discovered an ass beating the American historians still talk about to this day. They should put that s*** on a calendar! 

He was looking for India and instead found what is known today as America, and just started calling the people there Indians.  You don't go out on a blind date with Stephanie, show up at the wrong house, take out Shirley instead, and keep calling her Stephanie all night.  "Please stop calling me Stephanie, and how did you get into my house?" "Shut up, Stephanie! I discovered this blind date and I'll call you whatever I please! Now, do you want to drive to the movies in the Nina, the Pinta, or the Ford Taurus?"

So on October 13th, I will commemorate Columbus Day the same way I do every year: by making a bunch of wrong turns and giving some Native Americans smallpox.

Happy Holidays, Everybody!

love C

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Pray for B. This is the kind of stuff he gets in his inbox daily.

Subject: Help!

I can't open the cake flavors doc because it's the wrong version for my computer, but I can't download the converter because I don't have admin status. Can you copy/pasts the flavor list from Al onto an email and send it to me?
I need my CEOT*.
Love you,

Even better? His response (with converted word document attached, of course):

Love me. No really, love me. Cuz I love you.

*CEO of Technology, the role I've given B in our relationship.

Small Victory

Bought gas this morning for $2.89 at Love's (1-20 Exit 9 in Georgia). Made me think back to the days when gas was under $3... was that 2000? Seems like it was more recent than that... maybe 2004. Regardless, it made me smile and even though I had half a tank, it also made me exit.
I'm all for small victories these days. There is so much hard and pain (yes, I intended that usage) going on in the world that I think we need to just celebrate the little things. The little, seemingly meaningless little things. I slept well last night. Spent three whole days with B. Worked on my book freelance for a few hours last night while having a really good chicken taco. All really nice and good things.

I think the upcoming wedding is making me more reflective. People caution me not to get too invested in the wedding, not to look forward to it too much, because once it's gone, you'll (read: I'll) be sad.

A "coming down," yes that I can understand. If you invest in anything (save Enron) for upwards of nine months and then it concludes, comes to an end, or culminates and yes, you're going to have a coming down period of readjustment, but I think the key is enjoying each day. Today I'm not looking forward to my wedding, rather I'm relishing getting to spend a long weekend with B not meeting with priests (see below) and picking up a pretty dress. Yes, for the rehearsal dinner, but also for after, too. :)

Someone may have to remind me of this as the months come, but I fully intend (before God and all other online witnesses) to embrace and enjoy the months to come, both wedding related and not. Some of the best moments of this weekend were when B and I got a moment alone to watch instant replays of college football. How can I not be thankful for that?

We also had great moments with some of his high school friends... which I have to stop saying because I love them so much that they're clearly my friends now too. (I covet things--it's a last-child thing.) Great moments in the mall buying sunglasses (10 months after I lost mine and "borrowed" B's), great moments dress shopping with B in a bridal salon (for aforementioned rehearsal dinner dress), and great moments driving home this morning listening to Pink's "Rock Star."
So this post was suppose to be about gas prices and here I am tearing up over my Dell at work. Color me uber-girly today.
I stop and think about all the things happening in the world and in my friends' and family's lives and sometimes my heart breaks a little, so the small victories...I think it's the small victories that do it for us. For today, I just can't believe how lucky and blessed I am.

Any small victories you'd like to share?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stood Up at the Church

This weekend has been seriously gorgeous-- perfect for long walks (check), football (check), and, of course, meeting with the priest that you hope will "celebrate" (Catholic speak for "perform") your ceremony.

B and I booked a date with our priest-to-be for a lunch outing this afternoon. We got reservations at a great Southern cafe, got slightly more dolled up for church than usual (showers don't always happen, even for the 11:30 service), and reallllly tried to listen to everything in Mass, should it be referenced at some point over our interview, er, lunch.

The priest told us to meet him after Mass in the narthex (foyer) and that it might take him a few minutes, as he'd need to remove his vestments (ceremonial robes). So B and I hustled downstairs after Mass and waited for a few minutes. If you've ever been to a Catholic service, you know they empty pretty quickly, especially the later services, so by 12:40, we were all alone.

We watched parents and grandparents begin to arrive for the 1pm baptismal celebration. No priest. B checked the..., well, whatever it was called, it was basically the priests' lounge. No priest. We hiked to the church offices. No priest. B called both numbers we had. No priest.

At this point, we just looked at each other and laughed. Seriously? This would be priest number four we've had trouble nailing down. Anyone watch Sex and the City? The one where Charlotte tries to become a Jew and the church keeps shooting her down until a wise old woman fills her in that she must keep pursuing the church and prove she wants is? Hi. I'm Charlotte.

B and I took ourselves out to a fabulous lunch at the cafe, "Hi. It'll be two, not three." Then moved on about our day, which basically included shopping, football, and B's dinner interview.

I have to say, I don't think I've ever been stood up before. By interviewees, yes, but not dates or otherwise. I think it would've stung, but because we were together, it was just comical, and one more speed bump en route to our wedding ceremony. If we were superstitious, perhaps we'd take this as a sign, but for now we're just taking it as a reminder to call and confirm our appointments with all vendors, be them men of flowers or men of the cloth.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Roses & Thorns

The good news is that my kitchen floor is very clean.
The bad news is that my dishwasher flooded twice last night.

Oh yes, happy Friday to me. Last night I had 3 very lovely ladies over for a little TV time (Grey's, Ugly Betty) and some comfort-style food (J's famous beer can chicken and homemade mashed potatoes). ...Ok, and maybe some wine and super chocolate ice cream, too.

All was well-- great dinner, fun TV, and everyone packed it in by around 9:30, so then I could get started packing for Atlanta this weekend(!). The girls always offer to help clean and I always shoo them out--come on, it's four plates--so when they left, I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up a little, finally turning it on to run around 11:30.

I started the water for my shower and thought I heard the dishwasher making weird noises. To be honest, it's been so long since I cooked at home (thank you, weekend travel schedule) that I wasn't sure what my dishwasher was suppose to sound like. I shut off the water and walked out to find a perfectly calm kitchen with suds pouring out the bottom of the dishwasher.

Saying all kinds of nice and polite things, I turned off the dishwasher and looked inside to find the world's most (semi)confined foam party.

I had no idea what to do. I started running it again and, logically, more suds. I switched it to rinse and, again, more suds. Weirder still, it didn't seem to be draining at all. Correction: It wasn't draining at all. How do I know? I had to bail out my flatware!

So there I was, after midnight, using a yellow coffee cup and a small sauce pan to remove water from the depths of my dishwasher. You know those gel-pack commercials, where the cute little scrubby bubbles zoom around the inside of the pristine dishwasher during the hot wash cycle? Not so, my friends. The soapy water used to clean dishes quickly becomes, well, dirty. So those cute little suds spilling out onto my floor? Not so clean after all.

After 30 minutes of bailing ginger-ale colored stinky water (did I mention it was also steamy? ick.), I somehow got the thing to finish draining and then started it on a fresh cycle, no soap, just to get the dishes food-free. I'll deal with the "cleaning" part when I get home.

Anyone have any idea what went wrong here? I'm clueless, that's for sure. I am proud that I didn't call my mother. She's gotten two calls before regarding my poor, poor kitchen. One when I literally set my electric range on fire (and put it out with water. Eep.), and the other when I cooked bread on wax paper in my oven and filled the apartment with smoke. Did you know that wax paper and parchment paper are, in fact, not the same? It's true. Cooking stories for another day, my friends.

Hope your Friday is happy and suds free!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wanted: 1 Miniature Roaring Flame

Sweet girl L has one of these candles in her bedroom and I think it's the coolest thing since single-flavor sherbet (Who eats all that lime in there anyway? There's pink and orange to be had!).

Woodwick Candles, as they're called have a (spoiler!) wooden wick. I know, I know. Take some time to collect yourself.

They come in lots of colors and scents yada yada yada, but the best part of these candles is the sound they make. Their slogan, "fragrance never sounded so good," is absolutely true. As the candles burn, they make the same flickering, crackling sound that you'd get from actual burning wood in a real fire. Close your eyes any time of year and imagine you're roasting marshmallows, singing carols, or just emitting large amounts of earth-warming pollution into the atmosphere, all with the strike of a match.

Plus, this picture doesn't really do them justice, but the candles are pretty, almost like they're in vases rather than glass cylinders.

B? Are you reading? Think you could give Santa a hint?

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

After L&R's wedding this weekend, I spent some time going through my room in Florence. I "cleaned it out a few years ago," which basically meant that I only have half a closet of clothes at home, but I decided I needed to make some sort of a dent. I still have a ways to go--I mean, what do you do with old trophies, stuffed animals, and empty photo albums?--but I'm getting there.

This Sunday I went through my college tubs, earmarking everything that was ready for charity including my original Forman (weighs about 50 pounds... glad we lugged that home), a digital camera the size of a lunch box, and my floral bedding set from school. I saved a few little things, like a ruler from my grandfather's insurance business and the last gift card I ever got from my sweet grandma.

Bolstered by my success, I moved on to my room and starting culling books from my roughly 36 shelves. Out went multiple copies of Sarah Phillips, puritan conversion narratives, and any other book that I didn't want to move four times in the next 10 months.

I love looking back at books and trying to remember what I was doing, and who I was, when I read them. Tucked away in one book, I found a piece of paper that told me exactly:

Do you like F5? I think he's cute. I really want to go with him. Do you think he likes me?

The scary part of this is not that it's in big bubbly hand-writing (the clear marker of a middle school exchange) or that M and I had a code that named everyone by number and letter so we could gossip freely without the risk of the note being found, but rather which book this particular note was found in. While I was writing pining (and altogether not heartfelt) love notes, I was apparently reading Schindler's List, the big old unabridged version. It was a dogeared, borrowed (and never returned, sorry Nancy) version, which I think makes it worse.

Ah to be young and capable of total thought isolation. One minute, cute hats and movie dates, the next death camps and war tactics.

B heard the whole thing on the phone and still wants to marry me. I count myself very lucky.

Sleep In For The Cure

I hate running. With a passion. A vengeance, even. I tolerated it in high school while running track (anything .25 miles or less) and playing basketball and soccer (helllllooo conditioning), but then after a freak toboggan injury in college (sled, not hat), well, my knees have never been the same. My excuses, however, have never been better!
I can get out of running anytime day or night, though I do walk lots during the week. Running makes me bored or frustrated, but mostly just bored. B tried to get me to run with him over the holidays last year and quickly learned that (thanks to my .25 miles limit), I have absolutely zero ability to pace myself. We're working on it (right, honey?).

That said, I was wary when my boss emailed me about running in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure this Saturday. I knew my dear friend J was already planning on running, but now I'd be feeling the burn from two separate personal spheres.

"I wish I could," I told my boss, "but I'll be out of town that weekend." It's true, this weekend I'll be spending lots o' time with B in Atlanta meeting with a priest, watching some football, and hopefully doing some cooking.

"That's ok," she said. "You can still do it--just check that third box there."

I looked at the sign-up sheet and, sure enough, there were three boxes:

1) Race for the Cure-- Run/Walk 1 Mile

2) Race for the Cure--Run/Walk 5 Miles

3) Sleep in for the Cure

Whaa? I can sleep in and my company will still donate the sign-up fee to the cause? Literally, sign me up!

I filled out the paper work then pretty much forgot all about it until today when I got an email asking me to pick up my packet between 1-2pm. I finally got my tail in gear around 1:48 and walked down to get my packet, which held info about the cause, a few discount cards, a long-sleeve shirt, and my racing number: snOOze.

I'm in love. Best gift bag ever. For all of you who are walking/running/sleeping this weekend for the cure, best of luck and thank you for helping the cause. I promise to wear my pink sleepshirt just for you.
PS... There's still time to donate to the good cause, so be generous if you can. This site is for the North Central Alabama fund, but you can donate anywhere, and on behalf of anyone, you'd like. Otherwise, break out your pink this Saturday!

Countdowns Continue!

When I'm counting down to something, I often feel like my clock looks something more like this... unintelligible, useless, and confusing, but that's normally just because I'm excited. Got my weekly update email today about the countdown (which is still wrong. Not that I need those 5 extra days, TheKnot, but why do you keep telling me that I have them?).

Countdowns On My Radar:

7 Months... until the wedding

5 Months... until my dress arrives

8 days... until engagement photos

7 days... until cake tasting

34 hours... until I see B in Atlanta!

10 hours... until Grey's

9 hours... until Ugly Betty

2 hours... until I get to see my dear friend L for lunch

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Dad: I think I'll get a new shirt for the rehearsal dinner.

Mom: You want a new shirt? What about those nice solid ones you have?

Dad: Those are for ties. I don't have one that works for open collar.

Mom: What about the striped ones? You have nice ones of those.

Dad: But I like this one I saw in a catalogue.

Mom: I don't even think you've worn those other ones. Why don't you wear one you already have?

Dad: Seems like if we're throwing a whole wedding that I could get one new shirt.

Touche, dad. Mom and I got a big kick out of dad's final line. When you step back and look we were both like, "Um, yes. Please. Get whatever you'd like."

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Me: I've been talking to your mom this morning about what you need for the engagement photos, but we'll talk about it when you're packing. I don't want to overload you right now.

B: Just give me the rundown now.

Me: Navy and gray slacks. Khakis. Do you have khakis?

B: Yes.

Me: Jeans.

B: I need new jeans. I mean, if we're doing fancy jeans, I need jeans. Mine are ratty.

Me: Want me to put them on your mom's "to get" list?

B: Ehh.. no. I'll get them.

Me: Navy and black blazer.

B: Blazer? How am I suppose to carry this stuff? Do I have to check a bag?

Me: Yes, honey, I assumed you would.

B: This seems like a lot for one picture.

Me: Um, you realize this is a session, right? Think 2 or 3 locations, clothing changes..

B: What? It's a picture!

Me: I told you I didn't want to talk about this right now.

B: It's ok, I'm just going to start steeling myself for it. I can just imagine myself getting frustrated and thinking, "I could so do this in one picture and it would be good." You know I don't like pictures, right?

Me: I'm getting that vibe.

(dead air)

Me: In theory, this is suppose to be fun.

B: I'll be good. It will be fun. I just need to prepare myself. You know what, let's just talk about this later, when I'm packing.

Me: Excellent idea.

Two plus months into wedding planning and the first time I see B rattled is over the length of the engagement photo session. Lesson learned. Next time, buy B new clothes and just tell him when to show up. And bring a flask. And possibly a Xanax. For me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Halloween Ideas, Anyone?

I know I just said that I had a dress (ok, the count is more like 4), but I want this one.  Badly.  If Hamburgler had eyes for anything other than pickles, it would be me in this dress.  

If I can't have that one, then I want the sundae one.  Do I get points that it's my work site's logo?

What are you being for Halloween?


...and I mean that in the best way possible.
I got a wonderful surprise today at work when an email went out announcing that a higher up had an invitation to the grand opening of the new BELK in honor of the 105th anniversary of the YWCA.  Basically a business attire event featuring appetizers and cocktails where you can shop to the tune of a piano, a saxophone, or a guitar, depending on your department.  
Since I was still hunting engagement photo clothes (after a very successful but unproductive shopping trip netting two useless, but cute, dresses), I figured this was meant to be.  Plus I had mom and dad's credit card on hand, you know, in case I felt the YWCA really needed my efforts.
I showed up slightly under-dressed--It's hard to be "Business" when your office is, by definition "Business Casual" and your department, by mutiny, is more "Casual, Kinda Business"--compared to the suits and sky-high heels teetering around me, but I figured that would give me a head start on the deals.  
Waving my invitation, I walked through the doors past security (I kid you not), grabbed a goody bag and a glass of white wine and wandered through the aisles.  I had somewhat assumed that this would be a "look but don't touch" event where I could see clothes but not actually try anything on.  An over-exuberant cosmetics lady showed me the error of my ways, then sent me on my way to the dress section.
Half a glass of wine in, I started gathering dresses, two red, one kelly green, and made my way to the (immaculate) dressing room.  Seriously, nary a pin or lint ball to be seen.  Both dresses were cute, but then the saleslady showed up with a aqua blue-green number that was, well, perfect.  I could've high-fived her I was so pleased.
I took it and one of the red dresses to the counter to pay and realized that not only were they both on clearance, but there was an extra 20% discount for the evening.  Woohoo!  Grabbed a second glass of wine and headed for the appetizer table to sample a few shrimp and some crab dip before grabbing another glass of wine and heading downstairs to the shoe department (Come on! It was a good cause...)
I found a pair of shoes in the close-out room that would replace my beloved nude-colored sandals that have gone the way of the legendary Keds of 5th grade and moved to the register in time to hear the YWCA lady announce her thanks for our shopping that night, and a reminder to check the balance of the gift card in your bag because one was worth $300.
Now, wouldn't you love if I told you that I checked the balance on mine and it was the lucky winner, so I could go back and re-ring my dresses (for free) and buy those shoes, plus a few more full-price friends for them to play with?  Come on now, life isn't that peachy.  Instead, it was a $10 card, knocking my fabulous shoes down from $34 to $24, and making me very happy.
Tipsy from two glasses of BELK's finest chardonnay, I made my way to Ann Taylor (dangerous) and BeBe (less dangerous) before calling it a night and heading home.
I have a dress!  Plus dinner and drinks for a good cause.  Can shopping get any better?  I think not, but I'm pretty sure I'll go check our other store next week, just to make sure...

Obi Wan(t) One

B sent me this today and I told him we could have a pug if it dressed like this at all times. Fair trade, I'd say. Happy early Halloween!

Mail Goggles

This is brilliant. Gmail has announced a new feature: Mail Goggles. Remember the old "beer goggles" terminology that people dropped when they realized the guy or girl they'd found so attractive last night at the bar turned out to be less than a stunner in the (sober) light of day? Remember late night "drunk dialing," which could happen just as easily sober as intoxicated, when you'd call and say things you didn't mean or promise things you didn't even want?
Well technology is catching up in good ways and in bad.

Bad: Instead of drunk dialing, you can now drunk text, IM, email, gchat, or even facebook chat. You can instantly offend, court, woo, or embarrass any of the friends lucky enough to be in your call log or friend list. T9 to the rescue!

Good: Gmail has launched "Mail Goggles," a feature that you can enable on your account between specific hours (say, 1am-6am, because you're never up emailing then for any good reason) and the feature will prompt you to answer a serious of (relatively) simple math problems before allowing your email to send. Quick--what's 11x2? 69-38? 37+19? Answer all five of gmail's math problems (which only cover up to third grade math, by the way) in the time allotted (60 seconds) without forgetting to carry a one or submitting a finger slip as a response, and your message will roll on through.

Bottom line? If you're as smart as a third grader, you're in, which means that most intoxicated mail mergers are not. What's not to love?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Life: 1, A: 0

Chalk it up to a long (and fabulous) weekend, but today was a killer. I woke up early in my own bed (yes, Florence is still "my bed") and headed to the eye doctor to see about a weird eye feeling I've had for longer that I'd like to admit... we'll just round it off to an even 14 months.
To be fair, this is my third appointment about it. The first one, about 12 months ago, concluded with the eye lady (not a doctor, I learned, much to my chagrin) telling me one eye had allergies, which explained the eyelash-like feeling it constantly had. I kept rewetting drops on hand and stuck with it for the last year, then caved a month ago and saw the same lady again. This time she ordered me new contacts which, while great (I can read road signs!), didn't solve the problem. It didn't help that she mentally assigned me as a Bridezilla worrier when she noticed I was newly engaged. I tried to remind her that I'd been there a year ago for the same symptoms when I was ring-free, but I could tell I'd already been filed away for her. Oy. My former roommate K tells me I should use this as an excuse for everything just to see what I can get out of it. "Sorry my copy's late, I'm engaged." "Didn't get to that! I'm engaged." "I didn't have a chance to pick up that cleaning, I'm engaged." I like where her head is.
So I headed home to the land of doctors my family knows and got checked out by the new eye guy in town and he's fabulous. He ran tests I'd never even heard of (ever had strips of paper in between your eyelid and eyeball? I thought not.) and came back with the verdict that it wasn't any form of eye disease. Read: No easy fix. Ok, and no eye disease, which is very good, too.
Basically, according to new doctor, my eye's oil glands aren't behaving well, so I need to keep a warm washcloth on them and wash my eyelashes with baby shampoo for awhile (spa days, anyone?). Here's hoping! B thinks my eye doctors are nutty... engagement-related symptoms, baby-shampoo lash baths. Who can blame him?
All that tinkering with my eyes, plus the early wake up call, left me with a mid-afternoon headache that did nothing for my caffeine-deprived soul (gave up dark liquids, remember?). So I caved, which would mean something except that I caved about four other times this weekend. Sue me. :)
B and I are taking engagement photos next week, so I'm on the hunt for a dress that isn't a print and is not black or white. All my colorful dresses are prints, and all my solid dresses are black, so luckily the end-of-summer sales are raging and I found a few dresses at the mall that I picked up. One is black and white print, the other is houndstooth. I may have totally missed the mark, but I'll be well dressed doing it!
So tonight I'm just anxious for sleep and to see B on Friday when he flies in for his fall break. I need a weekend of sleeping in and indulgent food and hopefully some good long walks.

UPDATE: Life 2: A:-1
I've been wondering why I haven't been getting my Friday afternoon fix of the glorious and wonderful tabloid that is People Magazine, so I checked online today. Turns out my subscription expired a month ago. Where have I been? I know this sounds terrible, but it is my Friday thing to come home after a nice long walk and indulge in a little couch sitting and People reading. Granted, my Friday ritual has morphed into a following Thursday ritual, if I can fit it in between girl dinners and Grey's nights, so it's become less important, but nights like tonight, when the headache hits and the bed is calling, I miss my People. Good thing I work for the parent company. I'm renewing tomorrow. Take that, Life! A:+3

"A Little More On My Shoulder, Honey"

Since B first asked me what I wanted the honeymoon to look like, I've been pretty specific and yet altogether vague. My basic answer? "Sand. Warm. Cocktail. Massage." Lather, rinse, repeat as needed for 7-10 days.
So it should come as no surprise that whenever I need a pick me up, I troll through the links he's sent me and peek at the pools, the views, the big old beach chairs, and, of course, the spa menu. It's the perfect time to stipulate what will not be happening on the honeymoon, right B? Right? B?

Escape Together: A Couple’s Retreat Experience a retreat where time has no meaning; where body, mind and spirit return to perfect harmony and your journey together takes flight. Choose from two duet combinations: a sensual mud mask with alone time to apply healing mud to one another, a wrap and calming scalp massage, a 60-minute Seaside Sedation Massage, and 30 more minutes of alone time to enjoy your private terrace, hot tub, tropical fruit and local love potion OR a private yoga session especially tailored to couples on our yoga deck overlooking the ocean, a 60-minute Seaside Sedation Massage, and 30 minutes of alone time to enjoy your private terrace, hot tub, tropical fruit and local love potion. 2.5 hrs.

I do not see this going well for us. For one, I don't like mud. Especially on me or under my fingernails, so I don't think I could give or receive such treatment without wincing. And what do you wear? Do you ruin a swimsuit? Or am I naive to think swimsuits would be involved at a public spa?

The spa also says to leave your jewelry behind, which just leads me to believe that this whole thing is a dynamic rouse by the management team. "Ok, the Kappels are booked for that mud rub-down thing we made up at 1pm, so make sure to sneak in and look for that rock I saw her sporting at check in."

Realistic? Yes. Cynical? Slightly. Missing B? Definitely.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Only in Florence would you be driving down the road shortly after your fiance stipulated that he wanted to leave the wedding in a monster truck and see this, um, stud, driving behind you.

I think B got his tags...

"Excuse me! Do you do weddings??"

Fabulous Friends

My lovely girls at L's rehearsal... L not included.

You'd think caddies would've been all over this, but nope. Talk about a missed opportunity. Granted, they're both married and one has a baby, but seriously, we could've used help!

Love this... the girls and I hid behind flowers, then went to find L, who did the next pose on her own. Talk about deep friendships. And scared husbands-to-be.

Bridesmaids at the bar catching up with the scores of the game.

At L's bridesmaids' lunch. Love it!