Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First and Last.

Why is it that the first bite of cake is the best?

And then, the last bite of a sandwich... when you've eaten all 'round the crusts and just the middle is left... is the best.

I have to go with the first sip of a milkshake as the most superior and the last bite of risotto as king there.

Sweet versus savory, perhaps? But Chinese food is best on the first bite so that can't be right.

I may or may not be eating cake for breakfast.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Makes It Work?

Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I hope and hope and hope Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth will get together, and am delighted when they do.

When Casablanca is on, I always think Rick and Ilsa will find a way.

Throughout the Alanna YA series, I will never stop rooting for the royal Jonathon over the slick, sexy thief George. (Seriously; check it out.)

Logan kissing Veronica? On the balcony of that cheap hotel? GOOD TIMES, every time. (I'm not posting this kiss; put in the time with the DVDs and live the thrill.)

Lame as it might be... no matter the production -- on stage, on film, on paper -- I scream inside my head for Juliet to wake up earlier than she does. (Damn that Balthazar!!! This is why timeliness is important!)

When Gilbert survives his fever, I am deeply relieved and it is the only time I agree that, yes, joy cometh in the morning.

Josh actually survives a shooting; Leo takes a drink!!!!; Ainsley makes me rethink the ERA; CJ laughs in the face of Marion Coatsworth Haye; the President gets high on pain pills. And every time - or time after time, John might say - it is funny, heartwarming, surprising and thought-provoking. Yup.

So, it works. The first time, the next time, and the 50th time. And I am comforted in the enduring legacy of high art, low art, entertainment and flash with or without substance. But those things work for me; what makes it work for you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No One Could Possibly Know.


Great clip here.

The reporter astutely tell us no one can know why teen pregnancy is on the rise, but leave it to Good Morning America to take ONE stab at it... that the fear of AIDS/HIV has lessened and thus, kids ain't using condoms.

Yes I am sure that is what it is. I mean, who could know? Who could possibly have any idea why this rate is up? Surely no studies have been done, surely it is a mystery of the big, bad, scary world.


Oh yes, that's right. Perhaps banning "any other education regarding sexual conduct" might have consequences.

And, really, telling us 8 of 10 teen fathers eventually leave the mother? WHO COULD BELIEVE THAT. MEN AND WOMEN ARE EQUAL, people! That's what I was taught. No differences, nope, nope.

And props to a Jezebel commenter for pointing out GMA's on-screen graphic: What if your teen is pregnant? How about... what if your teen got someone pregnant?

But. La, la, la, la, la, no differences.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Honeymoons are better with Friends.

Cuz look at that guy? You KNOW that guy has a sense of humor.

That's Hanna and her husband, with me. She and I have been friends since Halloween of 1993, 7th grade, in Montana. Thick and thin, from tiny concerns to deaths in the family, we've been there for each other, for all the things in life. And she and her funny husband - who knew us in 1995 and thus the facial expression there - had the guts to toss away the negative concerns of others, and join us on honeymoon in Jamaica.

Best. Time. Ever.

So much fun... after the madness of a wedding, we took the party on the plane, all together! We swapped "OMG did you hear about THIS?!" stories. We swam, drank, sunned, ate and ate some more. We teased each other, we hiked the falls, rode horses, and felt no guilt about slipping away for couple-only trips to the nude island, afternoon naps or visits to the spa. It was decompression after the wedding without too much time to say, Holy Crap I Just Got Married! And after mega-socializing, it was like a nice calm tapering down instead of quitting cold turkey and staring at each other for over a week.

So we were gone 9 days; 5 with our friends, and then 4 alone. It was absolutely ideal. With no reservations, I heartily recommend that if you only get a vacation a year or less, and if you've been with your partner for many years, combine the friend-vacation with the honeymoon, and you will not be sorry.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Destination: Check. How to get there?

This ground has been basically covered in the previous two posts, but I did promise one about it. Starting with the destination of a wedding item, and then figuring out how to get there, was very helpful for me. I knew I wanted our first dance to NOT be "all eyes on us" - to me, it gets a little boring after a minute, and I wanted there to be something else to look at. How to achieve it? Get the amazing Joe to sing the first dance song! He introduced us! He sings well! He is handsome and easy on the eyes!

And it worked even better than planned. Many people have since said to me, "It wasn't until a minute or so into the song that I even realized someone was singing. It was so good it sounded like an album!" A compliment for Joe, certainly. But also proof that after a minute or so, people get antsy and tah-dah! They had something else to watch! A live musical performance.

I am now applying this theory to my life. Do I want to have a nice day? Then I better be patient with the driver who cuts me off and the adorable kid who screams all throughout lunch on the other side of the restaurant. Do I want to not obsess about a stupid thing I said to a friend? Then stop thinking about it - either apologize or refuse to let my mind riff and spin on it, and move on in my own head.

Choosing what kind of experience I want and then determining what behavior or choice will GET me that experience is turning out to be very powerful. Scarily powerful. Because, of course, it is individual. If I want a relaxed morning, that means I do the dishes at night and wake up to a clean kitchen. For someone else, a relaxed morning might mean doing the dishes while watching The Today Show. Still another might leave the house entirely, dishes be damned. Perhaps in the end, this works so well because it forces one (me) to ponder and define needs and wants, forces one (me) to make a choice and an action, instead of passively reacting - a sure recipe for unhappiness. Is this... like... growing up?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Rules.

Nope, not that wonderful book from a decade ago about how to "snag" and "win" a "man". Just a couple thoughts on bucking the WIC rules...

1. You can't see each other before the wedding.

ACK?! What? Who? If you don't live together, I can see it. If you live your life according to horoscopes and fortune cookies and with good luck socks, then go for it. But for us, one of the best choices we made was hanging out the day of the wedding. He made breakfast in regular Sunday-style... a reminder that we are people, regular people, ourselves and not BRIDE and GROOM, enjoying a Sunday morning. Oh and later we're throwing this big party. Breakfast, followed by massages, followed by a rehearsal in our regular clothes at the venue... all lovely. Seeing each other made it feel real, made me feel present and connected to the day's activities. Plus, doing pictures before still captured the "Oh look at the dress!" moment in the park but we got to hang out upstairs before the ceremony together, laughing and practicing and not pacing or, as one bride I knew (and was helping) yelled at me angrily, "If they don't start this wedding NOW I am going to effing puke!" Nice. And it resulted in a pic like the one above, seconds before we walked down the aisle together.

2. You have to be walked down the aisle.

Pick your battles. My feminist battle was about the symbolism and for me, the symbolism of two adults, committing to marriage together, walking down the aisle of life together, was too precious to skip. Plus I got to say hi and smile and love on my guests instead of nervously looking at John! The walk down the aisle was Teh Bestt, as the kids say.

3. The bouquet toss is fun and women like it. There are good pictures from it.

Uh, no. It is not. There might be good pics, I'll grant that. People groaning and being adorabley miserable. Isn't it cute to tease single women about when they're going to achieve the best thing in life ever, marriage to a man?!?!?! And while we're at it, neither is the garter toss. And not a single person asked about when it was going to happen. Win!

4. Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Well, but some women like pearls better. All the work (and cost) of a custom design with pearls was worth it. Ain't it hard to be creative? Ha.

5. You have to have a wedding party.

This was tough, because I have about fifteen or more women and men I love dearly enough to honor with a spot in the wedding party. But in the end, ending this post on a selfish note, these men and women were more helpful and amazing when not part of the wedding party. They ran errands, fixed a broken zipper (!!!!), held up the dress out of the dirt, worked the room, the dance floor, the mic, opened wine, got us food, hailed us cabs, drove us home at 4:15 AM and generally were supportive beyond expectation. Having no one to coordinate or corral during the day, or during formal photos, was, as Billy says on the MasterCard ads, priceless. K I S right? Keep It Simple. That's my rule.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Of all the many overwhelming aspects of the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex), perhaps the most mentally crushing is the control factor.

Monogrammed napkins, matchbooks, champagne flutes, gift boxes of Jordan almonds for your guests (boxes AND almonds). Perfect toasts, ceremony, dances with nary a misstep. Breakfast with your family and a massage under the sun, perfect hair and unchipped nails, enough time to enjoy it all but each tiny, minute, insane detail organized and expected. A movie montage, frankly. Or, from my planning process, the suggestion from a magazine of beautiful nosegays at each dinner plate... of lily of the valley... which is $12 a stem.

Hmm. OK. Yes. We know what this is about. These wedding things.

So, I decided to put my trust in other people. I didn't want to be the director of the wedding... mouthing memorized lines behind the camera, jumping before the flare goes off, conducting the orchestra and hearing the symphony in my head. I wanted to feel In The Moment above all things... and to do this, for me, some things just HAD to be surprises, so I could get snapped back to the moment, like with a meditation gong. Or a rubber band on the wrist.

The success came from sagely choosing people who have continually been to me and John reliable, loving, appropriate to any situation. What came of these choices was...

1. Our perfect officiant, an old friend of mine, wrote a ceremony with the vows we'd written, but with an introduction commentary and closing benediction that we heard for the first time along with our guests. It was laugh out loud funny. It was poignant, moving, tender. It was serious by turns. He brought his gravitas and his dry wit. He set the tone and was an utter delight.

2. Our readers, John's friend and my mom, spoke with confidence and love. They spoke slowly and clearly... they both valued the texts I lovingly picked out. My mother blessed us with the only mention of "God" in the ceremony, as the person in our life with the deepest and most compassionate relationship with him/her. D brought a childlike exuberance to his reading, in a way no other person there could have.

3. The cake was imagined over emails and phone calls with Bill, and it was perfect. I didn't see it till around 5 PM, never tasted it till my first bite, and I clapped my hands and squee'd. Perfect! It handily beat cakes I tasted elsewhere, and whether that's because he's such a damn fine baker, or because we were all so in love with love, or because he baked it with affection for us, we'll never know. But it is wrapped in two layers of saran, two of foil, and patiently sitting in the freezer for May 24 2010. Related to this was the joy of seeing the cake topper for the first time the night before... made by my cousin, it was awesome. It was us! It was like cartoon Emmy and John, in our wedding finery, and it got him a gig making one for someone else... THAT damn good.

4. I didn't even know who was giving toasts till ten minutes before. Yay for In The Moment!

5. Serendipity ensued. Jennifer's handpainted champagne flutes could not have better matched the cake and roses if she'd mixed the paint herself. I marveled and marveled at the matchy-matchy-ness, which warmed my little domestic heart.

6. Things that easily could have caused a freak out... flower errors, table assignment misplacement, forgotten boutonnieres, kidney crushing Spanx... I dismissed. Choosing to dismiss something is HARD, but worth it. And lo and behold, no one else noticed them. No one else noticed anything I thought might be A Problem.

Clearly, many things must be decided to plan a wedding. But no one complimented the sage green chair sashes or, yes, the monogrammed matchboxes I ordered. Because no one cared about them; it was not the focus of the night since instead and luckily, an exuberant celebration of love, compassion and commitment was. And I, amazingly, felt totally with them... delighted and surprised by the dances, songs, comments, cheers, and general happenings. Fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Things That Worked.

I'm back!

I'm gonna write the next few posts on some things that worked at my and John's wedding, a sort of completely unrequested advice section on the blog, as it were, or just a few nice self-congratulatory segments.

So, I'll be talking about:
- surprising myself and picking A+ peeps to do so
- not following the rules
- starting with the destination and working backwards for success
- why honeymoons should not be taken alone
- accepting the beast; or, mouse versus lion
- the fight for the present

There it is. Six nice little reflective blogs, all ready for me to ruminate on. Meanwhile, work this week is a DOOZY so this big list begins, like all diets, tomorrow! Yeah mon. (Jamaican residue there.)