Monthly Archives: February 2008

I’m always the last person to see these things, plus PSA

I’m not usually big on linking to youtube videos, but this and this totally made my morning.

Also, my annual public service announcement:

My friend Jonathan went to Africa last year, spent several months in Europe, and is now in India.

Every year or two, he travels around the world for several months. He is also a writer. And, for the past four years, he has sponsored a writing contest, the prize being a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the world (!) Jonathan has asked people to get the word out, so if you like to write and you’d like to travel, here’s a link to the contest details.

You can write poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or prose, ten thousand words max, and (along with your writing sample) you have to submit a little thing about yourself and why you want to travel (you have to specify which country, it’s not an open-ended thing). Your entry cannot have been previously published. If you win, you have to go to a country you’ve never been before. And he gets to publish your winning entry online.

That’s it! So what are you waiting for?

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Wednesday Wedding Day: Stuff I’m not writing about

I’m not going to write about my dad, why the email he sent me today (RSVPing yes) made me cry (and not in a good way).

I’m not going to write about how annoying it is that the hotel still doesn’t seem to have their act together, and different people seem to have different counts of how many rooms in our block are booked. It shouldn’t be my job to figure out who booked in our block, that’s what the hotel is supposed to do!

I’m not going to write about how scared I am that two weeks of not working out very much is going to leave me too big for my dress, even though I know it’s irrational.

Or about how much there is still to do (small stuff, mostly), or how I wish I could think about something else besides The Wedding.

Or the post that I’ve wanted to write for a long time about Dan’s original groomspeople, what we did for them for their wedding, and how/why they are not coming to ours.

Instead, I’ll write about how glad I am that so many people we invited are able to attend, some people coming from Florida and Kentucky and even China. How happy people were with the invitations (all Dan’s doing!), how excited I am to be able to see so many of our friends and family in one place at one time, how lucky we are that so many people support us and love us and are coming out to provide the community atmosphere for our event, a very important thing to both of us. How someone was awesome enough to buy the sporks we requested on the REI registry (can’t wait to see who that is!), how glad I am that we are able to have our party in such a beautiful place, and how triumphant I felt when I managed to get the tent rental company to knock a hundred bucks off the price because I went to preschool with the owners’ kids. How many of our friends and family members who live in the area have offered assistance, listened to kvetching over the phone and email, and still speak to us after a whole year of Wedding Crap. How almost everyone involved in the process has been supportive and excited for us, even though it’s not anyone’s job but ours to be excited about our wedding.

I promise that after this is all over, one month and one day from now, I will stop writing about weddings. Though I may switch to writing about my sister’s wedding, since hers is next, or maybe about my other sister’s graduation, or my mom’s upcoming major birthday, or Dan’s graduation (we hope) in December. 2008 is a big year for us and the wedding is only the beginning.

A letter to my body

Dear body,

We’ve been a team for, oh, nearly 29 years now. We went through a lot together when we were young (ear infections, surgery, all kinds of unpleasant stuff), and you performed beautifully when I started learning ballet at age 3. You were flexible and did whatever I told you to do, even when it was painful. You stayed smaller than average until we hit about 9, and then you started to grow wider before you grew taller. I was a little concerned, but it all worked out in the end and eventually you grew boobs (though they weren’t very big, and damn, did growing boobs have to hurt so much?) and hips and though I didn’t realize it at the time, you were pretty impressive. You could do all manner of swimming, and difficult ballet positions, and you never let me down no matter what I made you do. Even when I jumped off the roof to impress a boy and sprained our ankle, you healed and forgave me my transgression.

We went through a summer together when I decided you were too big in the wrong places, so I stopped feeding you more than a few hundred calories a day, and made you swim for hours. You responded by giving me my first taste of low blood sugar, getting smaller, and you still forgave me for not feeding you and even gamely participated in all the activity I forced you into. Again, I didn’t realize until years later how good you looked and only focused on the flaws I saw. Your genetic proclivity toward spinal injury first showed up at a swim meet when we were sixteen, and I’d never understood what kind of pain my mom was in when she said her “neck was out”, nor why my uncle had become a chiropractor after seeing what his mother went through, until I spent three days unable to move after geting fished out of the pool after a flipturn that somehow went wrong. I took you to a doctor who eventually helped you get better and I even sacrificed what little coolness factor I had in order to wear my backpack on both shoulders, because it just wasn’t worth the pain to wear it on one like everybody else. I think I learned that lesson earlier than many people do, because comfort became more important than style. This is also why I’ve never made you wear skinny-heeled shoes; while they may be high, they’re always stable.

You spent years telling me to stop doing ballet but I didn’t listen to you. In fact, I pushed you through years of pain because I loved dancing, and you loved dancing, and we just took some tylenol when the pain got bad. It wasn’t until college, when my boyfriend told me I *HAD* to go to the doctor because he couldn’t stand me waking up in the night in tears anymore. I quit ballet because the doctor told me I needed to choose between giving up dance and installing new hips in you before we turned thirty. That really opened my eyes, body, and I only danced once more after that, a swan song. I should have listened to you all those years, because then we could still maybe dance jazz or contemporary/modern, but we’ll never be able to do even that because the cartiledge in our hips is gone. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you told me for years that I was pushing you too far.

It took me a while to figure out what else I could do to keep you occupied. I figured out that running didn’t make you hurt anymore, so we did that, and I also regressed a few times back to malnourishing you, because I didn’t want to gain weight. More than one guy told me that I was the largest size of woman he would ever be interested in, and I really took that to heart and told you to shut up when you were hungry because you needed to stay at least that size, or preferably get smaller. Those were dark times, body, because honestly? You were totally gorgeous. I took you to Europe and you walked all over the place and the person I traveled with made me feed you because sometimes I forgot, or didn’t want to spend the money to do so. But eventually I learned another important lesson, that I have to feed you regularly for you to stay happy, and when I do that we get along like peas and carrots.

We got to the point where we could run and feel good, and then I started going to a gym and taking Pilates classes that helped you get strong and lean and reminded me of some of the things I loved about ballet. I made you lift weights for the first time and you responded by toning up really quickly. I learned that our enormous calves weren’t just a product of ballet but that all of you would bulk up (unlike most women) if I lifted a lot of weight, so I learned to be judicious about which parts of you lifted how much weight, because neither of us want to look like a linebacker. We found a guy who loved us no matter what we looked like; when we met him our boobs were tiny and we had almost no body fat, and now we weigh a lot more but we’re also curvier and more feminine, and all of our bras are filled out nicely. He likes that, too. He likes it that you are strong and capable of lifting him even if it’s only with your legs and only just a little bit. We’re going to marry him in a month.

You’ve rarely let me down, body. We were hit by a car a while back, and got whiplash, and I’ve spent the last 18 months rehabilitating you back to where you were before, lifting weights and doing physical therapy exercises, strengthening you and toning you and calming you with yoga. I’ve fed you well and made sure we got enough sleep whenever I could. So why now, body? Why did you have to regress back to car-accident-level of pain and limited mobility? Don’t you like being pain-free, body? There’s no reason for this silliness, and no reason for you to be all recalcitrant and contrary. I didn’t do anything to you that I can think of other than plan a wedding in another state, and it’s about time you start responding to the things I’m doing to make you better. Because I’ve been taking good care of you, body, and I would like to be able to count on you to do what I need you to do to get through the next month. So let’s just stop with the pain-for-no-reason and get better, OK? Because we need our beauty sleep and we need to let off steam at the gym and it’s really difficult to do these things when we can’t move.

Love,
Me

Our weekend, in numbers

Awesome tri-level Mexi-mullets encountered: 1, and the bottom part went halfway down his back

Times I woke up in horrible neck pain on Friday and Saturday nights: Approximately 8 times each night. It’s getting worse, not better, so I’m going to back to the chiropractor this afternoon. Last night wasn’t as bad, but today I feel less good than I did yesterday.

Number of bridesmaid dresses finished: 0. I really wanted to work on them, but pain plus limited range of motion equals difficult to sew.

Cases of wine purchased for wedding: 4, for far less money than the same California wine costs in California. Go figure. (There will also be beer.)

Sexy unmentionables purchased for wearing under wedding dress: Yes.

Pairs of shoes I fell in love with: 2, one of which was $70 and the other of which was $30. I bought the $30 ones for the rehearsal dinner and sighed fondly at the $70 ones.

Pieces of homemade sushi I ate last night: 8, plus one tofu bag filled with sushi rice. And seaweed salad. We have discovered a fantastic Asian market; too bad it’s way out in Aurora.

Time spent in suburbia: Far too much

Number of enclosed shopping malls circled: Two, the ritzy one and the “racetrack” one.

Times I wanted to cry because it hurt so much to try to move: Lots
Times I actually cried: Once, at 3 AM between Saturday and Sunday

Times Dan had to help me pick my head up because I literally could not do it: 3 (I think)

Number of 200 mg advil I consumed this weekend: approximately 16
Amount it helped decrease neck/back pain: minimal

Number of RSVPs we are missing: fewer than ten, so I’m going to start sending emails and making phone calls

Number of my relatives who won Academy Awards: Zero this year, he wasn’t even nominated

It was nicer when my work was paying for it

Nearly two years ago, I got into a car accident while driving a state car. I ended up with a relatively mild case of whiplash (it was painful, but the guy who hit me wasn’t driving that fast) and spent a few weeks going to the doctor and the chiropractor, all paid for by Workman’s Comp. Since then I’ve kept up with my weight lifting, pilates, and started doing yoga, all of which have helped rehabilitate my back and neck and shoulder nearly to their pre-accident state (I had previous injuries that probably don’t help with the issue).

I mentioned in my previous post that my neck and shoulder started to hurt seemingly for no reason on Tuesday, and yoga didn’t help. It wasn’t any better yesterday, and today I woke up and it was worse, bad enough that I couldn’t ignore it. Aleve and advil haven’t helped enough, plus my range of motion is really limited. So this morning when I got to work I called the chiropractor that I’d seen after the accident and told them I needed a tune-up. My choices were an appointment that started 20 minutes after I called, or Wednesday. I called Dan and luckily he was able to drive me over there, since taking the bus would take at least an hour (I hope he wasn’t late to work! He is so good to me).

The chiropractor checked me out, did some poking and prodding, left me on some heat to help relax the muscles, and then manipulated my bones back into the right spots. He told me that I could have done any number of small things – slept on it wrong, sat up abruptly, maybe it was because the neck muscles were cold while I was sleeping, who knows? But he said the stress I’m under because of this whole wedding thing was enough to make those muscles say no way am I going to move, in fact, I’d rather stiffen up and cause pain. He gave me some stretches and other small things to do, said if I didn’t feel 80% better by Monday to give him a call, and charged me $55. My insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic, so it was out of pocket. If I get better in the next day or two and I can get back to the gym I will consider it worthwhile, but it sure was nice to have all those visits paid for by work lo these many moons ago. I can’t afford ongoing treatment at $55/pop. I took a leftover Ibuprofen 800mg my dentist gave me when I had my teeth cleaned a few weeks ago when I was still getting over my sinus infection, and that plus the aleve I took this morning I was sure would make the pain at least diminish significantly. No such luck. I missed my pilates class and I’d like to go to the spin class but I’d also like my neck to feel better more, so instead I’m going to go home after work and lay on a rolled up towel. Bleah.

Wednesday Wedding Day: STRESS

We spent Saturday cleaning the house because my mom was coming and the house was absolutely disasterous from various wedding projects. The most offensive room was Petra’s Room, as we call our tiny second bedroom that is our project room/office, and it needed to be really clean in order to fit the full-sized blowup matresses. On the one hand, it feels really nice to have a clean house again. On the other hand, I know it’s going to get messy with projects because we have a lot of stuff and not a lot of space to put said stuff.

I didn’t realize how much having stuff still to do at the six-week (and counting down) mark would stress me out. I started breaking out in hives on my face on Friday, and they got worse over the weekend. While I wished my mom and Oldest Friend could have stayed longer, I was really looking forward to having Monday to myself – Dan had class, and the only thing on my plate, other than enjoying the clean house and waiting around for the UPS guy, was to make bridesmaid dresses. I started with the one for Middle Sister, since her measurements were the most straightforward. I spent an hour or so figuring out how best to cut the fabric. I spread it out on our living room floor and only had to shoo cats off it once or twice, measured carefully and did some calculations to figure out the best way to cut the pieces for the skirt and waistband. The straps took some more doing, as I had enough fabric to make them double-layered (necessary for such a thin fabric) but realized what a pain in the ass it is to work with stretch fabric. Eventually I figured it out and spent a few minutes playing with my sewing machine to determine the best way to sew stretchy fabric so the seams stay stretchy. I sewed the straps, then put the dress together. It didn’t turn out quite like I’d expected and I had to do some hand sewing to get it to work, and it still needs a few finishing touches.

Start to finish, the dress took me about four hours (I took a break to eat leftover Syrian food for lunch, YUM), which was a lot longer than I’d expected. I was tired. But I soldiered on and made the dress for my other sister. Hers was far less complicated since I didn’t have to double the straps (thicker fabric) and I’d already learned from making the first dress, so it took about an hour and a half. I considered making the dress for Oldest Friend at that point but I knew it would take more effort than I had in me (her straps need doubling, plus her fabric is only two-way stretch so I have to get creative about how I use it). I’m planning to work on hers when I get home from work today. I still need a zipper for QIR’s dress (yes, it does need a zipper the way I’m constructing it, QIR).

My face was still pretty itchy and hive-y yesterday so rather than doing cardio at the gym I opted for a vinyasa yoga class, which I thought would help relax me or at least take my mind off everything we still have to do, but just before class my neck started to hurt like I’d tweaked it somehow or triggered my old injury from the car accident. I figured it was some sort of fluke, but my neck didn’t feel any better when the yoga class was over (I usually feel great and very zen at the end of a yoga class). I couldn’t imagine what I had done to hurt it, and then I started thinking maybe it’s a stress reaction. So great. Hives and a stiff neck. I thought it might be better today, but it’s not, really.

One of the really fun parts about wedding-planning recently has been working with a local jewelry artist to design our rings. She’s completely independant, working out of her husband’s office, and has a love for colored stones just like I do. She managed to come up with a wedding ring for me that fits perfectly with my engagement ring (not that easy to do, considering it’s a claddagh) and incorporated the stones I bought at the gem show a few months ago in a way I’d never seen in a ring before. I got the ring a week ago and I lurve it. Dan’s ring took a little longer, since it was designed in CAD and she had to have someone else do the wax cast, but his is ready today and she’ll be dropping it by our house this evening. I will say that it’s a little frustrating working with someone who does jewelry on the side rather than as a full-time thing (she has other stuff going on, like kids and work and such that makes scheduling more difficult) but we get along really well and I think she had fun doing something a bit more offbeat than traditional wedding bands.

Two more things have cropped up this week that have added to the wedding stress. First, the hotel where we set up the block of rooms seems to have a hard time getting their act together. We know that many people have made their reservations under our room block (and we hope that the entire block gets used, since we’re responsible for 80% of it being filled, and the deadline to book within the block is the 27th), but the sales manager who I worked with is on materinity leave so the person who picked up the slack while she’s gone emailed us yesterday to say that nobody had booked in our block. I know for a fact that isn’t true, so I think something wonky is going on betweeen Reservations and Sales. It’s really frustrating to have to deal with this at a distance, especially since you’d think because it’s a nice hotel that they’d have this stuff figured out. All I gotta say is that they’d better give us credit for everyone who has booked in our block! Second, our RSVP deadline date is tomorrow, and we’re still missing quite a few RSVPs. We gave people the option of RSVPing online or with cards that we stamped, and we’ve gotten a lot of both kinds, but there are quite a few people who have yet to let us know one way or the other whether they’re coming or not. I think I’m going to start emailing people next week, because we need some time after we get the final headcount to do things like escort cards and seating charts and have to give final numbers to the caterer. Plus, three people have plus-oned us. Argh. If you’re reading this, and you got an invitation to our wedding, and you haven’t RSVP’d, PLEASE DO SO SOON. Thank you.

So we still have to do some administrative things that kind of suck, like finalizing the tent rental (have to talk to one company to try to get them to bring their price quote down a bit) and getting event insurance (required by the venue). We have to get wine and beer. We have to figure out the gifts for the attendants and our parents, print the thank-you cards (using a lino block and the letterpress at Dan’s school), and I have to write all the thank-yous for the shower gifts. Everyone was very generous and I was touched that people cared that much. Someone at work is organizing a work shower for me (it’s part of my work’s culture, and I’ve participated in showers for a lot of other people so I don’t feel as odd about this one) and we still have to send out lots of large checks to the various people we’re paying to pull this thing off. Plus, there’s all the stuff that’s last minute by necessity, like the flowers and the cake and getting our marriage license. Oh yeah, and we still have to figure out a good chunk of the ceremony.

So much stuff still to do, only a few weeks to get it all done, and Dan’s got five classes and works 20 hours a week. I think most of this is going to be up to me. And I realized today that my most-reliable physical sign of stress has shown up – I’ve lost my appetite. Maybe for some people this would be a good thing, since many brides are trying to lose weight for the wedding. Me, I’m trying to stay the same size – and I have to eat to keep my blood sugar stable. If anyone has advice, or dirty jokes to share, please feel free to share in the comments.

My Valentine’s Day Present

On Thursday when he came home from school, Dan told me he’d gotten me a Valentine’s Day gift but that it would be showing up in a few days. I said “You didn’t have to do that!” since all I did was cook him a dinner that it took him hours to eat because he was still feeling sick from the food poisoning. (Turkey-instead-of-beef stroganoff from scratch, with veggies and bread).

On Saturday night, my mom flew in for a whirlwind visit. She came out to attend the shower Dan’s aunt threw for me on Sunday. I was a little apprehensive about the situation, since a) I’m not especially comfortable being the center of attention, and b) my friends who were invited couldn’t make it. Dan told me “I guarantee you will have a good time at the shower, and if I don’t you can brand an Oakland Raiders logo on my butt.” (I told him, “Why would I want to do that? Then I’d have to look at an Oakland Raiders logo on your butt for the rest of our lives.”) My mom brought some beads along with her that I’ll be using for yet another wedding project, and we had a nice evening chatting.

So on Sunday it was me, my mom and Dan’s female relatives. His aunt went all out and had a lovely tea party complete with little tea sandwiches and cream puffs, beautiful decor and some interesting games (guess the spice!). About twenty minutes into the shower, the doorbell rang. In walked Oldest Friend.

!!!!!!!

Dan had arranged for her to fly out to attend the shower (she’d told me weeks before she wouldn’t be able to come). Luckily she has other friends who live in the area so she stayed with them on Saturday night, then they drove her to the shower on Sunday and she stayed with us and my mom Sunday night (then Dan drove them to the airport at the buttcrack of dawn on Monday morning). I was sooooo happy to see her! I hadn’t seen her since I attended a wedding in San Diego in September of 06. And she seemed to have a good time, and was especially happy to be part of such a great surprise for me. Dan likes to surprise me, and it had been a year since he pulled the last one off. I wonder what I’ll get for Valentine’s Day next year.