Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cucarachas

It's been way too long since I've written so I feel that this post has to be really good.

I went to the allergist Tuesday and found out that among other things I am allergic to cockroaches.

That's right, cockroaches.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quite Simply

Vancouver is beautiful.


It pours rain and takes about a day to adjust to having an umbrella as an extra limb, but it’s beautiful.


We walked through a forest of tall trees, strolled along the sea wall, shielded our food from the hungry seagulls on Granville Island, and recharged our weary bodies with some relaxing spa massages. We ate Malaysian food, drank terrific local wine, played with hand puppets, dodged falling maple leaves and didn’t meet one rude person.

No strains, no pains, just rains.



Friday, October 12, 2007

Wait For It


Neither Chris nor I had any plans of leaving the country this last weekend. But Friday morning we found ourselves clearing Canadian immigration.

Last Thursday Chris and I went to DFW International airport to try to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon.
Instead, Chris had his toothpaste taken away and then loaned his cell phone to a random stranger who had just dropped his phone in his coffee.
10pm, flight full, we took our bags and headed back home.

Friday morning Chris and I visited 76 of the 165 gates at DFW International airport.
We cleared the security checkpoints 4 times, visited all 5 terminals, were issued 5 boarding passes each, had our “airport approved” liquids bag confiscated, and rode the Skylink 6 times.

After 9 hours and 7 failed attempts to catch a flight to Portland we were left with two options: continue to change terminals for another 3 hours or board the only available flight out of Dallas: DFW to Vancouver.

Knowing nothing about the city, having no guide book or hotel, we took our seats on the 5:00 to Vancouver, British Columbia.

At 9:00pm Friday evening we arrived in Canada.
The rest is a story of umbrellas, $9 butter, massages, exiquisite cuisine, forests, seas and mountains.
But those stories will have to wait.
Patience my friends.
Patience is a major component of this adventure.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Reunited and It Feels So Good

When it's only 7:30pm and your date is in the parking lot in nothing but his socks and his underwear, you know it's going to be a great night.

Chris and I went to our 10 year high school reunion last weekend.

We spent the first night having drinks with 80 of our closest classmates at Life's a Beach in Flower Mound.
Two guys looked to be having a bad acid trip, one mom of two was stoned, and everyone else was happily drunk.
It's a nerve-racking thing to walk into a room full of nearly 100 people that you haven't seen in nearly 100 years.
I myself had 3 margaritas.

Everyone looked great. Everyone was nice. Chris and I had fun surprising old friends with news of our engagement.

We spent the better part of Saturday morning trying to process everything. Who was where and doing what, and who probably went home with whom.

We did some last minute shopping for clothes Saturday and Chris picked up his dry cleaning. I got my fake tan sprayed on and had my favorite stylist James do my hair.

In honor of the 1997-ishness of the whole weekend we opted to play some Super Mario Bros. 3 in lieu of watching Tivo or doing anything even somewhat related to 2007.

Taking our time to get ready and chatting about who we were anxious to see and who we wanted to avoid, Chris realized the dry cleaner had given him the wrong pair of pants. Instead of the grey slacks he had bought the day before, the dry cleaner had given him some black khaki's he had bought 9 years before.
In the spirit of the evening he put them on and tried to make them work.
Unfortunately for Chris, the pants landed right above his ankles.

The dry cleaners was then, of course, closed and our only options were to go buy even more pants, wear 1998 pants, or dress in jeans.

Feeling the pressure of the evening, we jumped in the car and started searching for someone who would sell us men's pants at 8pm on a Saturday.

For anyone counting, Kohl's is open until 10.

We ran inside, located the grey slacks, paid and left.
At this point I had on my fancy dress and Reef flip-flops. No way was I running through a Kohl's in my high heels.

Chris proceeded to undress in the parking lot, and get ready using the rear view mirror of the Pontiac Sunfire parked next to us.

And we were off.

The night went off without a hitch.

The small talk didn't feel small. The mood was happy and excited. The graduates looked great, and no one threw any punches or passed out on the dance floor.
Everything felt very natural and sincere. Everyone was proud to tell the truth about what they're doing and who they're with.

But then again, who knows?

How many other people were in flip flops and a fancy dress or half-naked in a Kohl's parking lot 20 min. before arriving?

These are the things I want to know at the 20 year.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Art of Choosing Art

I take great care and pride in taking pictures.

Chris takes great care and pride in playing music.

It should come as no surprise then that I'm in charge of wedding day photography, and Chris is in charge of wedding day music.

When looking for a photographer Chris had to endure many a night of listening to me lament about the lack of quality photographers in the DFW metroplex.

"This one can't frame a picture properly, this guy doesn't have a clue how to adjust for a good depth of field, this boozo has the creative eye of a fruit fly."

It's just not good if it's not me.

There was a moment when I saw myself walking down the aisle, arm-in-arm with my dad, camera hanging around my neck.

After a month of ardent searching we celebrated the arrival of Janelle and Jeff into our lives.

J&J own a small studio in Grapevine, have a photo journalistic approach to wedding photography, know how to use f-stops properly, and more importantly, completely indulge Chris and I's crazy ideas.

I knew Chris would have similar quality control struggles in his search for a band.

We have now listened to and eliminated four hundred and twenty-one bands.

Okay, maybe not that many.

A few of the groom-to-be's critiques:

"The horn sounds like it is dying."

"They have an 80's picture with 80's haircuts."

"The guitarist is 80 and will have a heart attack after the first song."

"The vocalist sounds Iranian."

"There's not enough money in the budget to feed the Fats Domino drummer."

"The vocalist sounds like she's singing through a mouthful of tacos."

Part of me kind of enjoys listening to the critiques.

It helps remind me not to take life too seriously.

Then part of me wants to suggest everyone bring their own iPod just in case we can't find a skinny, non-taco eating vocalist.

Next week we're going to another bar to check out another potential band.

All I'll say is that I'm completely on board with any element of wedding planning that features a tall Cosmo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Day, Six Years

Most people remember what they were doing 6 years ago today.

The intensity of the day didn't leave much room to forget.

But who remembers what they were doing five years ago today? Four years ago today? Or even two years ago today?
It's a shame that sometimes it takes such a powerful event to help us remember where we were or what we were doing at a certain time in our lives.

Enter the journal.

I have a bookcase full of journals.

Journals that started as far back as the 2nd grade when my dad gave me my first locking diary. It's blue, has a bear on it, and the lock still works.
The first entry describes a Brownie Scout trip to the zoo.

The details, even the existence of that trip, would be all but lost if not for the seven year old me opening my diary and taking notes.

September 11, 2002 I spent in the common room of my "residencia" in Spain, explaining to Italians and Spaniards and Brazilians my understanding of what happened in my country a year earlier.

September 11, 2003 I argued with an Argentine that North American friendships are just as strong as South American friendships.

September 11, 2004 I spent 15 hours in my new second grade classroom. Mom and Dad "pitied the fool" and came up to help me. Mom hung fall leaves while Dad oiled my desk drawer with some Bath and Body Works products. It was that day that I started to "feel like I was emerging from the overwhelming heaps of crap" I'd been under.

September 11, 2005 I was struggling to decide whether to send a sweet message to a guy I was dating. The decision became a moot point when I accidentally hit "send" instead of "save as a draft."

September 11, 2006 Chris came over to my apartment and we played Scrabble. I had "that feeling in my heart. That feeling that tells you 'this is right.'"

September 11, 2007 Read over the last 6 years of my life. Watched it pass before me like one of those old reel-to-reel home movies. Felt good about where I've been and where I've yet to go.

Decided to keep on journaling.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Which Came First: The Dress or the Stress?

How is it possible that in my "Bridal Bargains" book there are 6 pages about tuxes and 93 pages about wedding gowns?

Are women crazy because of this imbalance, or is it because we’re crazy that there’s this imbalance?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nothing Beets the First Day of School

It's true.

I love the first day of school.

All the students with their wide eyes and nervous smiles.
Their backpacks full of brand-new school supplies.

My students came in this morning bearing Wal-Mart bag after Wal-Mart bag, filled to the brim with new crayons, number 2 pencils, wide-ruled paper and soon to be snotty Kleenex.

As I was going through the students bags and organizing supplies, I realized some of you have been out of school so long you might not remember what a 2nd grade back to school supply list includes.
Even I, who has been at this for 3 years now, was surprised to see what had made the list this year.

Javier's school supplies:


Hope mom isn't too upset when she has to substitute Elmer's for veggies tonight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dear Real World,


Hi. How are you?

Just wanted to let you know that last weekend my smallest sister earned her bachelor’s degree and will now be moving from college to live full time with you.

I’m not sure she knows much about you so I ask that you take good care of her.

I’m sure you remember when I arrived at your doorstep – I took offense to you waking me any earlier than 11am, and I was completely disheartened when I found out you don't allow naptime.

Moving in with you did have its advantages though.
My car insurance rates went down, $4 wine was replaced with $6 wine, and the nightly news suddenly got interesting.

You’ll like Emily.
She relates well to people of all ages and races.
She’s an empathetic idealist who finds water where most find melted ice.
Emily has a general acceptance of everyone.
Always a team player, she can motivate a football team as easily as a Sonic team.
She's a lot of fun to be around and will be the first to go to your fiance's rocking concert (even at 12am on a Thursday night).

I hope that you give her enough room to explore.
Give her a little romance each day.
Encourage her to trust her gut and to achieve the things others consider impossible.

None of us is exactly sure who we are or what we're doing when we come to live with you. Visiting the ATM isn't as scary, the food tastes better, but we miss our old schedules and financial aid.
It's a hard transition.

Please help my little sister to adjust. She comes to you full of hopes and expectations.
I know you won't let her down.

We are all so proud of her.

Sincerely,
Sarah

P.S. I was in Macy's on August 8th and they were setting up a permanent display of Christmas trees and holiday d├ęcor. I can only assume they have terminated residency with you and moved to either Bizzaro World or Impractical Island. Could I please have their forwarding address? I have some thoughts I'd like to share with them.
Thanks.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Comment About Comments

I just ended some intense contract negotiations with Blogger.com.

It was brought to my attention early in the life of this blog that readers could not post comments without first registering for a Gmail account.

I thought this ludicrous and petitioned Blogger.com to allow my non-Gmail friends and family to comment without restriction.

After a week of negotiations, the CEO finally agreed to allow comments to this blog without Gmail registration.

So go ahead, comment away.

The settlement came at no small price though.
I had to agree to book the CEO's son-in-law to perform at our wedding.

I hope you all like magic tricks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The New Old

The radio in my living room was a birthday present from my parents on my 15th birthday.

It was all the rage then because it had a CD player.

I use to play Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails and Tom Petty and dance around my bedroom.

About a year ago the little LCD screen that shows the radio stations and the CD track listing broke.
Now you have to tune up and down and guess what station you’re on. Not an easy task.

The other option is to tune the radio in the bedroom to the station you desire, then run to the living room and try to find the same song playing.
Every few seconds you have to run back to the bedroom to make sure the same song is playing, then run back to the living room to continue to search for it.
I asked my trainer and he said this could count as my 20 min. of cardio.

Since I’m not too fond of getting my cardio done running back and forth across my 786 sq. ft. apartment, my living room radio has been permanently residing on 107.5 movinfor the better part of a year. I can clean the house while I dance, cook while I dance, dance while I dance. It’s great.

Until last weekend.

Chris changed the station.

I walked into the room and some nice easy listening was playing. We were having company and I had to agree that the tunes were more conducive to a quiet dinner party.

So I listened and enjoyed the music, never bothering to ask what station the radio had been changed to.

I spent the next week listening and dancing to my new favorite station. All the songs reminded me of growing up and dancing around at middle school dances.

I finally asked Chris what station it was so that I could program it into my car.

“98.7 The Oldies.”

“98.7 The what?!”

“Oldies.”

“The station that plays ‘Let’s twist again’ and ‘Under the Boardwalk’?!”

“Well, that’s what they played like 15 years ago. Now they play late 70’s and early 80’s.”

When did I get so old that my music is on the oldies station?

It’s very troubling.

I have further learned that my Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails are being played on the classic rock station.

Next time I feel like getting some inter-apartment cardio I intend to check that out.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What No One Tells the Newly Engaged

You don't hear much about what people think right after getting engaged.

Sure, they say they're happy and they're in love, but they have to be thinking more thoughts than that.

To be fair, I've never really asked any of my friends what it's like to be engaged. After they would make the announcement that their boyfriend proposed the first thing I thought to do was some fast math to make sure the singles were still the majority in my group of girlfriends.

Maybe if I pioneer my way through some of the thoughts no one talks about, others will feel compelled to admit these things when they happen to them.

The first thing no one mentions about being newly engaged is that moment when you say to yourself "Holy crap. What the hell did I just agree to?!"

I mean, you know you love him, you know he's the right guy, and you know marriage is in your plan, but holy crap, what the hell did I just agree to?

That moment happened for me an hour into our engagement.

After proposing, Chris and I went to eat dinner. I was admiring the ring and listening to him talk about how he had worked so hard the week before to keep everything a surprise. He finished by saying "...that brings us to here and now we're engaged!"

I'm sorry? We're what?

No one told me how strange it would sound to hear myself referred to as "engaged."

My mind lost what little grip on sanity it was struggling to maintain and floated off into a sea of "Is this right? Can I do this? Did I think this out enough?"

I'm not a psychologist, and I've never heard any of my newly engaged friends mention this phenomenon, but I have to think it's normal.

I would like to think my anxiety demonstrated a mark of maturity. That I knew that marriage was serious business and not to be taken lightly. Who wouldn't feel a little uncertain about something as momentous as agreeing to share the rest of your life with one other person?

Once we started telling people of our engagement, I was surprised at the number of people who didn't ask to see the ring. I thought that's what people did.
"We're engaged!"
"Ah, let's see the ring!"

Are we not doing this anymore?
I feel so superficial.

It also surprised me the number of people who didn't ask to hear the proposal story. It's like they'd already watched it on the 6 o'clock news and therefore didn't need to hear anymore details.

Or maybe just one person didn't ask to see the ring and one person didn't ask to hear the story and that felt like 100 people.

No one told me that our first disagreement as an engaged couple would be over what gifts to register for. Chris was excited about the registry process until I began to discourage his non-domestic additions.
"We're supposed to register for things to help us set up our new house. Plates and towels and stuff."
"But we already have plates and towels and stuff. What we don't have is a go-cart or a sword."

No one mentions you're going to be happy. It's like telling water "you're going to be wet."

What should be mentioned is that you're going to be so happy your face hurts.
I did so much smiling and laughing in the weeks that followed getting engaged, I kind of wish I would have stretched first.

No one tells you how you hope everyday that there's still someone you haven't announced your engagement to. Someone you can call and share squeals of excitement with.

The more I think about it, the more I can't recall anyone telling me much of anything about getting engaged.

Getting married, sure.

But engagements seem to pass by all the time with little questioning or inquiries.

I'm open to talking about what really happens.

It will at least help explain why you'll find us registered for a go-cart and some medieval weaponry.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Tricky Proposal

I'm engaged.

On May 5th Chris proposed marriage and I said yes.

You already know the finer points of the proposal so I won't recount the story details or tell you how happy we are and how much we love each other or how perfectly romantic it all was.

That surprise marriage proposal was tricky to pull off but relatively easy compared to the proposal that followed.

After telling everyone we were engaged Chris and I decided to take a slice of time to not make any wedding plans - no dates, no best men, no cake toppers, just time to relish this new step of our lives.
We proposed about a month of no wedding talk.
How great! No pressure, no hurried planning...what an ideal arrangement.

There was however one element of the no-wedding planning proposal that we overlooked.

Getting engaged is like bringing a monkey to school; it invites a lot of questions.

"Where are you getting married? What are your colors? What kind of dress do you want?..."

So how do you talk about being engaged without talking about the wedding?

It's a question I posed to a few individuals I regard as professionals in matters such as these.

I had 3 responses.

One was a blank stare.

One was a shrug of the shoulders.

And one asked me to pass the butter.

I think there is great value in not jumping right into wedding plans. It's important to stop and acknowledge the importance of the step you're taking before running head strong into reception venues and personalized confetti.
There are small revolutions taking shape in your heart and in your brain that deserve a few weeks time to grow and develop.

But how do you hold off anxious Grandparents and in-laws, friends and well-meaning coworkers?

You pick a date and a place.

That's what Chris and I did.

We picked a date and a place and threw it to our loved ones like rare meat to hungry wolves.

This gave them something to chew on, a time and a place to start imagining the day, and something to discuss when the topic of our engagement came up.
And it gave Chris and I time to just enjoy our new step together.
Perfect.

Or so we thought.

A week later the masses started getting hungry again. We needed back-up.

So...I took one for the team and boarded a plane to Europe.

It might not have been the easiest answer, but it worked.

Chris and I got to explore what being newly engaged felt like and what it meant for us. Even better, we got some time to do it separately and explore our own feelings and outlooks.

Once I returned home we both felt a lot more grounded. The ring didn't feel so foreign on my finger, and I could call Chris my fiance without it coming out "boyfrien-no-oh-my-gawd-fiance!".

I encourage newly engaged's to relax in their new engagement for awhile before beginning any planning. Talk with your better half and decide on how long is right for you.

Others will try to persuade you to get started.
"Just take a glance at Martha, or at least sign up for The Knot. It's just looking," they'll tell you.
Be especially careful of the "well, just pretend you were planning, what kind of ____ do you envision?"
Do not let this sway you. You must remain insistent you are not planning anything yet.

If in the end you find you just don't have the strength, here are three options.

1.Elope.

2.Hop a plane to China.

3.Bring a monkey to work.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Starting Point

In 1993 when my friend told me she had a blog I thought it was some kind of rare heart disease.
I felt sad for her and I sent her a get well card.

I now know a blog is a great forum for sharing ideas, keeping in touch, and berating people for not knowing the difference between "their" and "they're".
They also give you a free bag of Jelly Bellies for signing up, so I decided to join.

I now have a cell phone, a washer and dryer, and a blog.
What next, a microwave?

My original intent was to go back in time and publish all that I've been writing since May. Back-date it, keep it chronological, that kind of thing.
But I found that tedious and boring, and the edit feature doesn't allow date changes, so instead I'm going to just post haphazardly and you'll have to keep up.
We'll figure it out as we go.

A lot happens in life.

Most of what I write about lately involves engagements and weddings.
I find the wedding industry ripe with material for writing. It's how comedians must feel having George Bush as president.
Sometimes I write about school and funny kids.
Other posts will explore journeys and travels throughout the world.
I'll have some book reviews and restaurant reviews, and I can always find something to say about Starbucks.
And some of the things I write about will just be amusing to me.

A thanks to my family and friends who had no idea I'd be doing this and to whom I hope will be honored to see themselves included throughout the life of this blog.
And a huge thanks to the guy that accompanies me in so many of these adventures and keeps my writing and my life fresh with fun and entertainment.

I've always enjoyed writing.

It is now my hope now that you will enjoy reading.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Costa Rica

Honeymoon in paradise.

Canada

Canada was our attempt to go to Portland

Belgium

Belgium was part of the litmus test trip.


The Netherlands

The Netherlands was our first out of country trip together.

We both denied that it was a litmus test to see if we could travel well together, but it was.

Turkey

Turkey lurky