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.


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.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Comment About Comments

I just ended some intense contract negotiations with

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 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?!”


“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.

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.


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.