Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Actually, it's a Mrs. and Mrs."

Yesterday two of my fearless bffs set out on the most important mission of all, finding my dress. I was about to say "the" dress, but alas, there will be two at this fine wedding. Which, it turned out, still is a pretty novel idea to the fabulous folks in the wedding business.

I think I have been putting off doing this because the whole process seems a little overwhelming. Don't get me wrong - a shopping trip devoted to me finding something that I get to look fabulous in that includes me getting a personal shopping attendant  - is not something I am in any way opposed to - at all. I have been known to walk out of Express with bags full of clothes thanks to the simple assistance of male express employees with just fabulous taste. However, my wedding dress is a big deal... a very big deal. 

Nevertheless, time was getting tight and it needed to happen. I made an appointment for yesterday at 11:30 and we were off. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a card that needed filling out - all of my information... name, address, wedding date, and "groom's name." Uh oh. Recently discovered wedding planning pet peeve #1. Would it be that hard to put "spouse's name" or "partner's name"? Unlikely. So of course, as I did on my photography contract, I simply put about 5(ish) lines through "groom's" and replaced it with a nice big "BRIDE'S." Feeling like I had gotten that matter out of the way, with some encouraging smiles from my bite-sized entourage (in comparison to those accompanying my fellow brides-to-be in the store), I marched on. 

The bubbliness of the wedding shop girl gave me a pretty big scare at the get-go, but after a few heart-to-hearts (which happens pretty quickly as you stand there naked relying on her for everything, given what getting in and out of these things takes - no matter how simple they are!), I was on her side. Then, during the transition from dress number one to dress number two she used the magical "him" pronoun in asking how we met. Oh dear, now tell me, what is the point of having me fill out a card that you appear to read before getting me to undress and try on your luxurious dresses if you do not read it?... and here we have reaction to finding out person is marrying someone of the same sex option #1:
Lovely Shop Girl (while with me in dressing area): "SO! How did you meet him?" 
Me: "Actually, she is a woman."
Lovely Shop Girl (at an inappropriately uncomfortable high volume): "OH! That's EVEN better!"

Really? It's even better that I am marrying a woman. Who knew? I couldn't wait to tell my lady how good it is that she isn't a man. I mean, according to my lovely dress shopping assistant, it would just be second-rate if I was marrying a man. Those poor other straight girls in the shop... they were just marrying men! But me, marrying a woman, thats "even better"! 

Anyhow, 15 dresses and almost two hours later I had narrowed it down to two dresses but was in turmoil over which one was "it." I was shaking from hunger and needed to get out of my head so we called it a draw for the day and wrote down all the information and left. After looking at the pictures my two partners-in-crime snapped of the favorites (and one close runner up) - I was more torn than ever. I started to think that I was actually leaning towards the close runner up that I had previously ruled out. Ahhh! I stopped knowing whether I was shaking from hunger or just a complete anxiety attack. How do you pick ONE dress when they are all SO beautiful? Can't I wear them all? What if I make the wrong choice? We decided to see what else is out there. Given that I wanted to spend as little as possible (which meant I had limited options at the lovely dress shop we started with - incredibly beautiful ones, yes - but limited), we couldn't imagine that there were many other little bridal shops I could go to and have more luck with range and variety. So we took the plunge and walked right into... David's Bridal. After having the experience of the morning, it was like night and day walking into David's Bridal. To be fair, I love a good deal as much as the next girl. However, when you get to try on beautiful dresses in a gorgeous small boutique and feel like a princess... it was a bit of a shocker walking in to such a warehouse of wedding dresses. None of us were enthused but we humored our assistant and we found few dresses for me to try on... 

The first dress? No dice. I don't think it helped that for clamps (when a dress is to big or small on you, they use clamps to make it fit right so you can get an idea of what it would look like) they were using those little clips on the cheap white skirt hangers I have from Target (think clothespins). Needless to say, they don't really do much in terms of trying to get a realistic idea of how great the dress may or may not look on you. 

this was us taking our second
stab at dress shopping
really seriously.
The second dress? Better. It was really different and looked like a mixture of some of my previous faves - you could see all three of our attitudes shift. Hmm, maybe we could find a dress we like here?! I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. I am not sure whether I really ever gave it a number because I spent the next 5 minutes trying to get her to better define what a 1 would be and what a 10 would be. I may have been missing the point...

The third dress? Boom. It was the one. It just felt like me. It wasn't exactly as I had imagined - it had a bit more shine and maybe a few more inches in certain places - but it was ridiculously close. It even matched my ring. We had the alterations lady come over and see if she could make a few alterations to the style to make those extra few inches go away. Between her green light and my dear wedding officiant's teary looking eyes, I knew I didn't need to try on another dress. We started talking about what this meant for my lady's dress (who they would also be helping with) and joked about us wearing the same dress. The assistant laughed with us and seemed to understand that there were two brides coming to this wedding. We thought.

So, I say yes to the dress and I end up buying my wedding dress - boom, just like that. We walked up to the counter and before you knew it I was being handed the dress (sadly they wouldn't store it until alteration time - the downfall of not using a fancy bridal shop, I suppose). I was in disbelief that I was supposed to trust myself with the dress (especially since someone reminded me of the classic Friends episode where they all wear the wedding dresses around the apartment for kicks).

There we stood. The three of us and the store assistant. She gave us the garment bag and handed me a few more brochures. She started to explain all of the deals that buying a dress there opened up for me... she walked through several services and store names. That, my friends, is when she got to the Mr. & Mrs. service ...and here we have reaction to finding out person is marrying someone of the same sex option #2:
DB* Assistant"...oh and do you know about the Mr. & Mrs. service? We have -"
Me"Actually, it's a Mrs. & Mrs."
DB Assistant: "Oh!" 
[silence, face turning red, deep breath]
DB Assistant"..."
DB Assistant (post-recovery): "Well, still, so when you go to change your names, it' service where..[yadda yadda yadda]"

We voted that we actually appreciated the second option more. At least she didn't try and compensate for her slight discomfort and embarrassment from assuming. We were also pretty shocked that she hadn't picked up on it prior to that point - but that is neither here nor there. Another plus to that institution as a whole, they had "groom/partner's name" on the intake form. Who would of thought?

While I had desperately hoped to not fall in love with anything so that I could make a similar trip with my mom when I get to Michigan next weekend, sometimes things just don't work out that way. As it seems with every milestone in this wedding planning, however, getting the dress only opens up so more  things on the to-do list. Shoes, earrings, hair, a headpiece, this, that, and the other thing! My mom and I will have plenty to team up on over Christmas still, never fear. And hopefully - if we're lucky - we'll get to do some extended research and uncover what reaction options #3, #4, and maybe even #5 are.

If we are lucky.


*DB - David's Bridal. I could of gone for what I usually mean when I refer to a DB when I found out she incorrectly quoted us our price, but no need for wearing the bitchy-pants on wedding dress buying day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my new obsession...

...with love. The idea, the feeling, the concept. Everything.

Love. I have become absolutely enthralled with it lately. Love is an absolutely mind boggling emotion to me. After a few choice experiences I have had in the last several weeks, I have become utterly enveloped by how incredibly powerful a single feeling or thought grounded in love is.

I am quite obsessed. Love. Loving. All that it is. Thinking about it, feeling it, pondering it, observing it. The simple love of all that is human. Everyone. Love makes us all so incredibly complex and wordlessly interesting. Love makes people give up their own lives for others - and even in spite of others. Love gives life and it takes life. Love makes people want to spend every single day of their life together, forever - doesn't that just seem like a crazy notion? Love allows people living in the most derelict of situations to be overwhelmingly happy and content with life. Love captures and compels those who are living in the most privileged of situations to care more for their fellow human beings than themselves, without prompting or incentive. Just for love. Love is incomprehensible.

Love is the most patient and the most kind thing that we hold and are empowered with as humankind. I think about the bonds that love forms - within family and within friends. I think about how important it is to surround myself with love and never forget to spread it out further than the circle I am so lucky to reside within the protective walls of. Love literally is a force that changes peoples lives. 

I did a lot of thinking on this yesterday thinking about what happened just seven miles from where I call home. How could one person have so little love for fellow people? It made me gut-wrenchingly sad to think about. How could someone have gotten so far out of touch or reach of those who love him? Why was no one loving this person? What happened - where did the rest of us go wrong? Why didn't someone expand their circle to include him? Why wasn't he so lucky to be surrounded by people whom he loved and loved him? What kind of assumptions am I making based on my own understanding of love? 

After a lot of crying and disbelief it left me again with the simple conclusion. Love is powerful. In fact, in times like this tragedy? Love is a powerful beast

I remember one of the first times I realized feeling surrounded by so much love was a privilege. I had spent my life labeling myself based on various socioeconomic factors of my childhood. Yet I knew that the label didn't tell the whole story. I didn't match statistics. Granted, I am white, which is in itself a formative reason behind why my story didn't match the statistics when looking at class. But sitting in a meeting one day almost a year ago I found out that there was indeed something else that was working in tandem with my skin color. Another thing that was making it so I could make my life a life full of opportunity, a life not completely filled with insurmountable obstacles that take great amounts of perseverance to overcome. I had my parent's love. The absolutely unconditional and unfaltering (even through hey-I'm-gay-and-dating-a-woman-16-years-older-than-me or hey-I'm-not-going-to-college-this-quarter-and-am-going-to-live-on-an-island-with-guy-I-just-met-instead) love of my mom and dad. I was able to say (yell, in fact) "yes!" and without hesitation confirm the statement of, "Growing up my parents often told me that I was beautiful, intelligent, capable and loved." Loved. My parents modeled for me what it meant to love others - to be kind, to be patient, to be forgiving. As a result I was able to love others so deeply and surround myself with amazing people who love me and I love. 

Love is the same if you are white, black, brown or any other color. It may not look the same or sound the same to you as it does to me, but it is a force that binds and divides humankind due to its unbelievable and hard to grasp power. Mike Johnston, TFA alum and Colorado state senator wrote this piece that I read this morning after having pondered love a lot lately, and especially yesterday. I love the idea and I think it gets at the very heart of my thoughts here. Just love back. It's the very least that we, as people, can do. However it looks for you, love back. 

In the face of tragedy it becomes all too clear how far out of touch we as people get with what really matters. For some reason my mind so instantly jumps to thinking about people who die with unsettled "love business." I imagine one of the people who died in the theatre having been the gay child of a parent who refuses accept or support (and love) their child because of whom they love... don't you think that parent is wishing - craving, begging - for lost (and gone forever) time? Time they could have spent loving their child - not judging, not hating? Or even just thinking about a girlfriend, husband, or distant friend dying before you get a chance to apologize or take back something said grounded in fear or anxiety, instead of love. Why do we sit around fighting over things like gay marriage? It seems so dumb in the grander scheme of the world and humankind. If we all just could grasp that love is love - it's all the same when you get down to the bare bones of it all - we could all just live (and love) a lot more happily side by side with people, even across lines of difference.

My reflections and wonderings definitely make me love this song a hundred times more than before (and I already was pretty smitten with it): Same Love. Be sure to read the blog entry that goes with it, if you haven't yet. 


Cheers to love. Pass it on.



Friday, June 8, 2012

Parade Floats and Porta-Potties

I have alluded to (and even called out at one point) the fact that I plan to have some sort of run/race as part of the wedding festivities. You can blame Lindsey.

I hadn't even thought of how important
safety gear might be... (courtesy of
http://lasvegasbride.files.wordpress.com)
I'm not sure how long ago it was, but sometime after my lady and I started dating - a pretty significant amount of time, actually, as no one wanted to rush me into the whole "marriage" idea again - dearest Lindsey shared with me either a dream or brainstorm she had about my future. It was also right around the time I had decided I was going to (and did) run eight half marathons (you might see how that is important in a moment). She pictured me running a half marathon in a wedding dress (and veil) and getting hitched at the finish line...

Since then, I haven't been able to get it out of my head that running will most certainly be a part  of my wedding. Especially since it is blindingly clear (especially to my lady) that I absolutely must run the morning of my wedding unless the guests (and again, my lady) wish to have an irritable and anxious little white dress wearing firecracker. As anyone else who has ever co-habited with me can tell you (I'm looking at you, mom and dad), I become a little grumpy - sort of like an explosive device that can blow up at any moment - when I do not burn off a significant amount of energy via working out, running, etc. (doing something that requires me to sweat profusely for at least an hour). It's ugly.

Running has been on my brain lately more than ever. In the midst of this house buying, job changing, and wedding planning craziness, I am also training for my first full marathon on June 23rd in Seattle (as well as my second, which will follow on October 7th of this year in Chicago). After eight half marathons in 2011, I decided that I was too crazy to not want to try a marathon. So naturally, if I do one, why not do two?

As all of you sane and healthy minded people who aren't in this position have inferred (which is why you aren't doing it - bravo!), training for a marathon takes a lot of time and energy. Significantly more than any training I did for my halves, even before my final one in Savannah where I set my personal record. Sundays are my long slow run days and as of last Sunday, June 2, I officially finished my final long run before taper - 20 @#$%ing miles. That is a really long way (and time) to run, in case you needed a qualifier on that. As I have said for the last few weeks of this training, this is silly. I'm not sure what possessed me to do this but moving forward I will likely stick to the 13.1 miles after the Chicago marathon in October. I know I am a little off my rocker in life, so running over twenty miles shouldn't seem a stretch, but 26.2 pretty much takes over your life... and when you already have job hunting (and now transitioning), house buying (and now moving), and wedding planning (and more planning) going on in your life, there isn't much capacity for something else that needs a lot of space, time, calories and muscle tissue. Oh the muscle tissue.

So, initially, I thought it would be a great idea to have everyone (healthy and able - not trying to kill anyone) run a half marathon with us and actually have the wedding ceremony at the end. Turns out, that was lofty. On the bright side, I think we truly would have gotten that "super small wedding" dream - but I don't want something that small and exclusive, I want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves. So then we discussed having it be 13.1 miles that you could get through anyway you wished - running, walking, biking, scootering, etc. This was when a former colleague and friend of ours came up with the idea to basically have it be a parade with floats - floats where the occupants could ride on it and drink beer the whole way, etc. This is also where the porta-potties come in at...

There is a story (which my lady finds so incredibly entertaining that you have likely been privy to hearing it if you have ever conversed with her and gotten on the topic of my crazy + running) that accompanies why I did eight half marathons last year, all over the country. In November of 2010, after having run my first half marathon the month before in Denver - it was a Rock 'n Roll Series event - I got an email about a "cyber monday" deal from the Rock 'n Roll Race Series. It said if you signed up for all (at that time) sixteen races in 2011 you would be guaranteed a fabulous prize.

Naturally, I was in. I immediately called up my lady (I was in the burbs of Chicago at my brother and SILs house as it was Thanksgiving weekend) and said,
"so I think I am going to run 16 half marathons next year." 
 "OK, well, that's interesting, why exactly did you decide to do this?" was her (ever so careful) reply.
"There is a PRIZE!" I said. 
"Oh, OK. Well what is the prize?" she asked.
"Oh. I don't know - but there is a PRIZE and I would be guaranteed it!"

I mean, come on people - a PRIZE. Prizes don't just grow on trees - nor do they go to just anyone. We sat in silence for a bit after the few lines above. I slowly processed where all of these races where and not to mention the fact that 16 races in a single calendar year equated to more than one race a month (one and a third, if we want to get mathematical aout it). Inner though process: Wow. That's a lot of running. Well, that's a lot of travel. Let's say each set of plane tickets was three hundred a piece, times two, that's six hundred dollars just for the plane tickets. Plus hotel, likely at least another two to three hundred. Then meals, the actual race entry which is anywhere from sixty to a hundred dollars each, and you know, travel costs. Boarding the dogs, parking the car, possibly needing to rent a car... geez. This is going to be pricey. 
"Hmmm. Maybe I will just do eight."
"JUST eight?!" she questioned.
"Yep, I guess that is a lot more reasonable, makes a lot more sense. But that means I won't get the prize..."
"What is the prize?! Have you figured that out yet?"

Naturally I did not hear the tone of her question, "Just eight?"... The fact that she really meant "as if you think eight is normal? That is still eight half marathons - that is over a hundred miles just in race miles alone!" I think the conversation ended soon after this point, cyber monday was still 4 days away at this point and I think she hoped I would take off the crazy pants by then. 

She got an email Monday morning sharing every date/location I had registered and paid for.

Just needs more room for seating and a keg!
(of champagne?)
(courtesy of http://vintage.johnnyjet.com/)
So, back to the porta-potties. As we discussed keg-holding parade floats and my lady told the story of the "prize," everyone of course want to know, what was the prize? I actually did end up finding out what it was before I signed up for only the eight. I could not remember the details, but I do recall part of the VIP treatment being a personal porta-potty (if you have ever ran or cheered someone on at a race you know how the lines at the porta-potties pre-race get super long). Well, the group of people that had come up with the keg-holding parade float obviously thought this was a riot. As such, they invented an "upgrade" to the float that would include a traveling porta-potty for your truly to use. I mean, obviously - it is my wedding day after all.  Doesn't that top the wish list of every bride-to-be?

After all has been said and done, there will be no half-marathon running on our wedding day. There will, however, be a morning run around Lake Estes. The paved path around the lake is 3.75 miles long and I intend to have those who wish do two laps. However, one lap will be more than amazing for many and walking, crawling, biking, skipping, or any other form of transportation that the park allows will be welcomed and appreciated. Expect finisher medals and t-shirts at the finish.  Or maybe I should give out pants. Crazy pants.

Sounds like a great start to any wedding day, right?

Oooh, and maybe some sweet potato hash browns for breakfast. Mmmmm. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Better than fiction.

Prologue & Disclaimer: This entry only contains brief references to wedding planning. I have decided that in order to be able to post more I am going to write what I feel like writing about, which will likely often end up looping back to my wedding and/or my amazing lady and our relationship as we adventure down this path. Planning anything gets interrupted with life, a lot. I think that is the fairest and most honest thing I can say about this whole planning process (and adventure), and why "life" shall now become a bigger part of this blog. It's real.

Throughout my life I have always found "being me" rather entertaining. Not usually in the present (up until recently, anyway), but certainly in hindsight. As I have grown older and met new friends whom, usually after a drink or two, start probing further into the many adventures I have had up until I meet them, it has not been uncommon for, at the end of the long and oh-so-tangential, the new friend or friends to say something in the realm of,
"you could publish a book on this."

I always laugh this off. As, while in theory that sounds flattering, it isn't. Especially if you know the ups and downs of those many adventures (as most of those who read this blog do... if you have come across this endless ramble you have likely either heard at least a handful or, lucky you, been a partner in crime in them*).  That said, regardless of whether or not it is flattering, I do know that it is very, very true, so I have not ever and will never take offense. If the crazy pants fit, I wear them proudly. 

I have, admittedly, made sure my life never was and never will be dull. Sometimes I think that, as the years grow more numerous between some of the more ridiculous situations I have found myself in, I have embellished parts of the stories or increased the drama with each retelling. This weekend, after a seriously emotional start to packing up my life for the big move, I was able to reassure myself that this is not the case. I can't bring myself to say I was necessarily "comforted" by this reassurance and confirmation that each of these tales are, in fact, as odd, bizarre, crazy, or even appalling as they sound - but hey, at least I am not a storyteller. Well, fictional storyteller.

How did I get the soul-filling "joy" of confirming this? I have written in a journal since my friend Elisabeth gave me one for my birthday in 5th grade. Well, to be fair, in large blue totes in my parent's basement, you could find a smattering of little "diaries" with cute little  - yet always dysfunctional - locks on the front to "keep all the secrets inside" (my dog could have gotten in, let alone my intelligent brother, if that was the purpose). These, however, have only a sprinkling of entries and except for one priceless one I know by heart where I confide in my journal the absolute horror of the fact that I no longer am excited for the first day of school, like I always used to be (oh the disappointment I thought I was going to spark!) for so many years before (all three of them!).

First on my order of things to pack on Saturday, while my lady was out golfing, was all of the books - I have too many. There, I said it. So, first and foremost, let's thank all-that-is-good-and-kind for my family getting me a Kindle Fire for my birthday this year, regardless of how much I claimed to not want one all of these years. There is a reason that humankind invented technology and it is so that we do not have to lug hundreds, if not thousands, of books around from house to house, city to city, throughout our lives. Save paper and save your back. Buy a Kindle.

the original.
As I packed box after box (after box), I saved the best for last - all of my photo albums, Italy scrapbooks, and journals. What better way to spend a blustery Saturday afternoon than in your basement with your "previous selves" sobbing in the fetal position? I cannot think of a single one. Win. I also laughed hysterically as well as felt my blood boil out of anger - perhaps even a little steam out my ears (cartoon style) - it was certainly not all tears. Some were happy tears, some were sad (and some were just ridiculous, like when I read my graduation speech aloud to Jake-the-dog and myself in an empty house). I started at a random page near the end of my first journal - it had a green vinyl cover with a jungle scene all over it. This one spanned the longest time (except for the last one which still sits half empty thanks to the advent of technology and the infamous blog, "Will She Ever Learn to Type? The original and the sequel... and now this), from 5th grade until almost the end of 8th grade, or even early 9th grade, I believe. The span of time is very apparent just be looking at the handwriting, let alone the writing, from the first pages to the last pages.

I used to just love to write and by middle school I started writing at least two or three times a week - or of course when anything life altering (to a 13 year old) occurred (in case you are too far from that age to recall - and you haven't taught them recently either - that standard is not high). Reading through my writing I can almost completely transport myself back to the day (and all of the emotions that went with it)... thanks, in part, to things like my "top 5 hate list," "top 5 friend list" and "and top 5 <3 [love] list" that was included in almost every entry for many, many years. I also would end every entry with a poem - possibly the most awful poetry I have ever read, in hindsight, but certainly the kind that creates a visceral reaction in your stomach (particularly if you are the person who was in that state of mine to write it in the first place). Between these "features" and my ramblings I spent a good portion of Saturday afternoon as teenage Ashley Boven. I traveled through gossip worthy best friend fights, six year long crushes, many firsts, and many relationships - the short, the long, the made-up, and the very real.

I think what was most striking to me was how much my writing then still mimics my writing now, especially my writing style and thought process. On the one hand, it is frightening to know your level of maturity hasn't changed dramatically since you were in 10th grade. But, even more so (at least to me), because it reminds me of how quickly I outgrew what the world refers to as your "childhood" and took on the burdens, worries and fears of those years older.

After a few hours like those I spent on Saturday, I was never more thankful and happy to have found the person I love so very much and get to spend the rest of my life with. It was not always an easy or straight path to follow to get here (ha! no pun intended, but I'm still chuckling), but I am so incredibly lucky that I made it. And yet, even when it seems like the ridiculous adventures of me are nearing their final chapters, I find myself still stumbling into new ones of a whole new (and generally even happier and more joyful - which is impressive given how amazing my family was when I was young) category.

When I first started going to my therapist earlier this year he had me fill out his "intake form." It walked me through sharing about the significant people who have shaped my life up until this point - both those currently in my life and those from my past. This was not a short list, nor was the text that accompanied each (to be fair, given the length of each of my blog posts, we all know I am not one to be brief). It ended up truly being a short novel. As I walked in to see him for our first real session, he was still in the middle of reading through it (I got there early, of course). As I sat down he looked up at me and said,
"my Ashley, this is quite the story you have, I think you could publish a book."

Just recently I brought up someone that was included in that novel as we chatted a few weeks ago. Naturally, he got the mini-novel out and read their chapter back to me. Again, as he finished, he repeated his initial statement he made to me upon meeting me. As unsettling as it is, I couldn't agree more. It's one thing when your friends tell you you could write a book. Generally, that is an entertaining comment to hear. When it comes from your psychologist...? Thanks.

However, the best part? The shortest chapter is the current one. So many adventures left to have!

*Or, if your alias is Lashley Bomith, likely either heard or taken part in 100% of them...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Multiple Bouquets


Sorry ladies, I don't see bouquet throwing events - not even one - at our wedding. 

Image courtesy of someecards 
YES. One decision made.


Now, ideas on what we will do...? There's something to ponder.





Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Almost.

So, my lady and I were ALMOST going to be able to "civil union" each other... 

Almost.

You know, it is the classic storyline of every great love story and romantic comedy... 

The girl gets taken out to nice picnic in the mountains, her significant other pulls something out of her pocket, gets down on one knee, and then she asks, "honey, will you civil union me?"

Been there, heard that one before.

Oh wait. Maybe I haven't. Maybe it is kind of ridiculous. Yet, nevertheless - even the most basic civil rights of a "civil union" are denied to us here in Colorado. 

I do find it confusing (and I don't say that very often, let's be honest here). I mean, it's one thing when you hear ignorant and fear-filled people shouting and twisting the words of their own religion to spread hate and fear to avoid their "sanctity of marriage" from being destroyed. 

However, as much as I still think civil unions are a mockery of what same-sex couples deserve, how ridiculous is it that religion is shaping government policy as such? "Civil Union" in no way mentions or includes the word "marriage," yet, somehow, we (and by "we" I mean "they") can still use the same religiously charged arguments about what marriage means and how same-sex couple should not have any rights? 

It just boggles my mind.

Luckily, it clearly boggles the minds of others in this nation.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker Blasts Gov. Christie's Proposed Gay Marriage Referendum:
In an unprecedented public divergence with Gov. Chris Christie, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said today he is firmly against leaving the question of gay marriage up to a referendum. "I shudder to think what would have happened if the civil rights gains, heroically established by courageous lawmakers in the 1960s, were instead conveniently left up to popular votes in our 50 states," Booker said in a statement. With the gay marriage debate advancing in Trenton today, Gov. Christie, who has long said he would veto a gay marriage bill, said "I need to be governed by the will of the people." But Booker countered that leaders are elected to make difficult decisions, not submit to a public referendum. "Equal protection under the law – for race, religion, gender or sexual orientation – should not be subject to the most popular sentiments of the day," Booker said. "Marriage equality is not a choice. It is a legal right. I hope our leaders in Trenton will affirm and defend it."

It Could Happen To You: It has been said that sharing personal stories is one of the most effective ways to change people's hearts and minds. This is my story and I hope you are inspired to share it with others.

Civil unions debate rages in Colorado
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/15/us/colorado-civil-unions/index.html

the other woman!

Sometimes I feel like this blog is my other girlfriend. Yes, seriously. I think about "her" (?) constantly. When I run, I write posts in my head. When I go to sleep, I think about posts to write. Throughout my day at work and out in the world I am sparked by things at every turn that make me think about my other woman, my blog.

There, curiosity immediately smashed.

Now, with all of that pomp and circumstance you might ponder to yourself, "then why on earth are you posting less than once a week?"

 Please, let me share a Boven proof (you can view the original and infamous Boven proof below).


Let B represent "blogging."
Let L represent "life."  
Let O represent "overwhelming." 

Then:
   B = O
   L = O

Consequently, if B = O and L = O, then B + L = 2*O

Therefore, living life and blogging at the same time on a regular basis must be twice as overwhelming. 


While the proof is true (clearly), I actually really miss not being able to blog as much lately. In other words, I really miss the other woman in my life. 

As much as it can be overwhelming when I feel like I need get something posted, I actually just really love doing the writing. It is likely the single most cathartic and therapeutic thing I can do for myself - I would go as far to say that it actually ties with going to my head doctor each week... and I pay him the big bucks. 

Perhaps I should reconsider that?
The original Boven-Betz proof that truly started it all (namely, me always being right?)
(You'll notice my edit on the address. I didn't think the world needed to know exactly where we live.)

At our amazing and wonderful engagement party this weekend (more on that soon), I was given the great advice to not worry about always having a fully flushed out post - but even post a short and sweet brief thought or even a picture... whatever I can, just so I get some satisfaction for the day. I like the advice. A lot.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Gracias!" (Part 2) - The Laundry List

"Thank you!"

Oh, and by the way, what am I thanking you for again?

That sounds way more Mean Girls than intended. Let me explain.

So about seventeen weeks ago I left a real cliff-hanger. Well, maybe. (It also may have only been about two weeks ago... far too long, either way.)

However, this evening (on the way back into the house after a usual summer-time-even-though-it-rained-all-day-and-was-unseasonably-chilly King Soopers ice cream run), when my lady made and shared the exact same observation that I had originally intended my last post to be about, I decided I have to find the time.

As is clearly apparent by my last few posts as well as my lack of posting - we have a lot going on. Did you know we are getting married? Crazy, right? In fact, not only do we have a lot of things going on, but we have a lot of things that generally - per social etiquette (bazinga!) - warrant a "congratulations!"

And hence the two-part post.

Initially, this post was sparked by a co-worker I do not often see coming up to my desk and saying, "congratulations!" and me going, "thank you! I'm really excited!" I thought she was referring to the fact that I had just been offered the new job. Admittedly, I was impressed by her promptness - I had only just found out the afternoon prior and had only announced it to one person in the whole office. As she walked away she made a comment like, "sorry I was so late in finding out, I tend to find things out by word of mouth way after the fact." I laughed, said something like "oh no worries! thank you! it's still very new to me too!" and we both carried on. At first I thought she was silly for apologizing - I mean, she was really on top of things in my eyes (especially for someone I rarely get a chance to see, let alone talk to). As I went back to my email I realized that she was clearly congratulating me on my engagement, not my new job. She had no clue about the job. No one did yet. Bah.

This has happened on numerous other occasions. Sometimes I am being congratulated on the engagement, sometimes the job, sometimes something totally and utterly unrelated.

Since that day, I feel like I have been catapulted into this world where I have no idea what I am saying "thank you" for. Not that this is a bad thing - I am so lucky to have so many amazing things happening in my life. So lucky. That being said, in my head I feel incredibly guilty about the blanket (or perhaps "heavy-down-comforter" is the more accurate adjective)  "thank you." I am genuinely extremely thankful for anyone who takes time out of their day to congratulate me - no matter the reason - I just feel bad saying: "Oh, for what? I'm so overwhelmingly lucky right now I have a laundry list of things to be grateful for at this time.  Please choose the appropriate menu option using your touch tone phone. As our menu has recently changed, please be sure to listen to each option before making a selection. Press 1 for wedding. Press 2 for the new fabulous job. Press 3 for the new house. Press 4 for anything else. Thank you."

because THAT is a touch-tone
phone


So yes, I am so oh-so-very-thankful for every single well-wish I receive, but I do feel like a bit of a damn idiot at times. Daft, in fact.

So, mint chocolate chip ice cream in hand, my lady shared a similar story to one of my own as we walked back into the house. Apparently she and a co-worker had a similar interchange, although I can't recall what the exact configuration of the mix up was (I was too distracted by the fact that she was having the same issue as the blog post I had never gotten around to writing). As she did not recently get a new job, this is a newer phenomenon for her with us in house hunting land. 

Which, of course, brings me to what I have said but not yet celebrated... we are under contract on a house! This may (help to) explain why I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions,  and wedding planning and blogging have simply not been a priority. I mean, I turned the big 2-7 last week. I have things to do. Ha. 

We wanted to buy a house now so that it wasn't another thing we had to think about and be concerned with next Spring as wedding festivity planning got more intense. Moving + Wedding = Scary. However, I think that financially, either way, whew! Exciting but nerve-wracking. Having a (little) bit of a freak out today, it appears. A few too many trips to the dentist and a dog with a hematoma just seems to be adding on to (or into?) the crazy wheelbarrow. Oh sweet meatballs.

All that said, with our first wedding related soiree this weekend I am eager and excited to get back into wedding mode and start making some decisions. Loving it. What a wonderful world, right?

"thank you" "tesekkür ederim" "grazie" "спасибо" "merci" "obrigado" "gracias"

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Thank you!" (part 1)

Oh, and by the way, what am I thanking you for again?

The title and first line sound way more Mean Girls than intended. Let me explain.

Actually, before I explain, let me pre-explain that I have some social anxieties. Oh, and by "some" I mean a lot. This exacerbates any already awkward social circumstance into a VERY awkward situation (at least inside my own head and body - my friends and colleagues claim that I come off "as cool as a cucumber," but inside I am absolutely gut-wrenching, armpit-sweat-drenching terrified).

When posed with meeting new people, especially new people that are not total strangers - so for example, friends of friends, extended family members (my own or others'), distant colleagues, etc. - I turn petrified. It is not even logical how inexplicably scared I am of meeting people and being around large (or sometimes smaller is way worse) groups of people.  For example, let's use this past weekend.

My lady's great Aunt was having her 100th birthday celebration - pretty incredible, right? As a result, there was a weekend full of celebrations for all the family that came into town. Now, this was her great Aunt, so it was not the family that I have spent the last four years getting to know and slowly but surely getting comfortable around. This was a whole different carton of milk that was untouched and unopened - there was only one of her dad's brothers coming who I had ever met before. On Friday night there was gathering at one of her grandson's houses which I did not attend... Not because I didn't want to be supportive and celebrate this momentous occasion, but because I was terrified to:
1) go to a stranger's house;
2) be put in the social situation of being introduced to likely 20-30+ people I had never met;
3) be the "lady friend" of my partner in this particular extended family setting;
4) have to "mingle" with everyone with no real agenda for an undecided amount of time ("mingling" and no end time really frighten me);
5) it is difficult to list out everything that contributes to this feeling of petrification, but I'll try to describe the feeling:
This is my MS Paint interpretation
of how I feel/felt. If only I knew
where the priceless picture
of me on the gondola is.
Imagine riding up a gondola in the stunning Canadian Rockies with your best friend's family as a 16 year old while it is heavily snowing. You have never skied down a mountain, or really even a large hill before. The one time you tried skiing down a (very) small hill you took a traumatic fall and have never skied again since. 10 years later, you as you ride the gondola to a destination you cannot even see from your seat, you turn a corner and can no longer see the parking lot or bottom of the mountain... you only see massive, jagged, and only partially snow-covered mountain peaks around you and the ground is thousands of feet below. You realize you are going to have to get down the mountain somehow, and likely down one of those massive and death-inviting slopes you are facing. 

That, my friend, is how I feel leading up to situation where I will be meeting new people, mingling with new people, or in charge of successfully leading a group of people.

Terror.

I sound like a real box of cracker jacks at this point, don't I? Well, I want to be fair and be sure to communicate that I am fully aware of the fact that this makes me a little crazy and my thinking is totally illogical. None of the four reasons above were anything that would have actually been all that bad and I would have survived and probably really enjoyed myself. I always end up having a great time and nothing is ever as bad or as scary and uncomfortable as I think it will be. That never seems to make up for the sick-to-my-stomach feeling I get before going into a situation like that, however. Time and time (and time) again I still get the same anxiety. You see, I care way to much about how I am perceived externally and making the right decisions about what I say and do (it doesn't take a head doctor to figure that out, but he sure does help).

You know, talking through this makes me very confident in my initial decision to turn down the job where I would have been facilitating groups of people every single night, full-time (I'm sure it also helps that I know also have secured another job, but still). Dodged a bullet there, eh?

I think this might be a great place for some sort of explanation of the title of this post. However, I have already gone on for quite sometime about this whole social anxiety issue.I think this post might be better used to explain why I am hell bent on having a "small" wedding. I mean, I think the moral of this becomes quite clear when you think about everything I have just described... if I have anyone at my wedding that I am not totally comfortable around and have met at least once, if not several times before, I will be a mess.

Now, you might say, "but you just said that once the anticipation stage is over and you are in-the-moment your are fine and enjoy yourself!" True. However, maybe I need to explain what me being the "petrification stage" is like for those around me, most namely, my lady and love of my life...

In general, I am really difficult to live with. I am very OCD and have to have a lot of things perfect. I have been known to break down if someone fails to use a coaster (only to her, never to company - I know I am crazy and would never project that onto a guest, I get that it is illogical and unnecessary). So, in this "petrification stage" the volume on this behavior gets amplified by about a hundred bazillion (or more). Since usually I am in this stage in the car, as we drive to wherever this experience is going to take place, I start picking at her there... "Blinker, much?"     "Why did you turn this way?"         "I can't believe you didn't check your blind spot, obviously you want us to get hit."      "Why did you turn the radio down, don't you like that song? It's my favorite."       "Do we really need to drive this slow?"     "Looking for a ticket? ...Well, I just don't get why else you would go 15 mph over the speed limit." (Some of these did, indeed, come out of my mouth on the way to the birthday dinner on Saturday evening)

"I'm the Bride that's why *******!"
... I think you get the point. Those are just the quick examples. It's unbearable, and that's just the surface. To my credit, there is usually a point where I realize I am being absolutely ridiculous and may even be able to force a laugh, but not always. Sometimes that doesn't happen until post-event when the anxiety has finally exited my body (or a nice glass of wine or beer never hurts) and I can reflect and see how immensely ludicrous I get.

Three cheers for therapy, right friends?

So, again, moral here is that no one wants me to be like that the days and hours leading up to my wedding. That means no distant third cousins or long lost grade-school friends. Combine this post with the "our wedding shall be small" post and you likely have all the rationale necessary for the size and contents of my guest list (and if not, my lady's picture here can provide the remaining rationale).

Moral or no moral,  I still have shed absolutely no light on the "thank you" title and initial rude-sounding commentary above, given this huge tangent on why I want I small guest list due to anxiety. What a cliff-hanger!

I'll explain another day. It too, is related to both getting married and social anxiety, as you may have been able to piece together (ooh, foreshadowing).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Take 2.


I know I once said I wish I had a backyard. I haven’t quite gotten over that, I guess.

In fact, my mom’s gchat message (yes, we gchat, a lot) the evening after she read that blog entry is still sticking to my brain and likely the seed that has grown into this post formerly known as “I wish I had a backyard.”

“You can always use our backyard at the farmhouse, you know.” Yeah, I know. If only the farmhouse wasn’t a full state of Nebraska, Iowa (can we please spend a moment thinking how absurd it is that Iowa is a place in which two women can get married? Iowa? really? Come on LGBT civil rights activists, couldn't we have prioritized anywhere else?*), Illinois and Indiana away. I really do want to get married here in Colorado. That being said, especially after continuing to look at vacation houses to rent, recreating a family friendly feeling backyard is not as organic as you might think (or not think).

the place we really like
I am a fan of vrbo.com, if you have never been, you should go. Vacation Rentals By Owner(s). I’ve mainly been looking at places in Estes Park and outside of Colorado Springs. I would LOVE to do it in Estes Park but it seems like places are significantly more expensive for no good reason. They also tend to be much more keen on doing the 6 night minimum stay during peak season and most places in the Springs are only 3 to 4 day minimums during peak season. 

There is this one place I absolutely love and we actually already looked at - it is within walking distance to town (Estes Park) and right on the river with this beautiful little spot in the back to do the ceremony - but to do the full stay of a week is way out of the budget. They have special things for weddings so you don't have to do a full week, but I am sure that since it is for a "wedding" the cost certainly won't go down, most likely. Nevertheless, there's hope! There are so many gorgeous little places and even if they don't sleep quite as many as I had once hoped, oh well! That's why god made air mattresses (and hotels), right? I mean, who wouldn't want to stay in the infamous Stanley Hotel (the Shining is based on it) and attend our big ol' party? Sign me up.
this is the area in the backyard of the place we
went and saw... I have a picture that I took, but
I can safely say that Estes Park in the summer
is a huge step up from Estes Park in February...
(it's on Fall River)

Then again, of course, we could just buy a house before next June that has a nice big backyard... but that's really not the same. A backyard in southeast Denver and a backyard overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park... hmm... tough choice when thinking about a wedding... RMNP, please. 

another option
This just got really fun! Not that is hasn't been, but actually emailing with hotels around reserving rooms and looking at cabins/lodges to do the ceremony at (and stay in) makes it so exciting - how do people not have the time of their life doing this?! I was worried about everyone finding places to stay in Estes Park because it is so small, but it turns out that there are like a billion little inns and hotels in Estes Park - none more than 2-3 miles away from each other. 

another place... elk are good, right?
I think I especially enjoy looking at actual "wedding" packages and reception sites (which I don't really want to use, but I think it's a good idea to know my options) when they have a "bride's name" and a "groom's name" place in the information/contact form. It always strikes me as odd that they would have this as such a staple part of their form, but I suppose it's fair. Honestly I'm not sure why it shocks me that it is there. I do enjoy pointing out that we are two brides. That's part of the reason I want to use the place on Fall River because it is owned by the couple that own the antique store where we bought our engagement rings. I feel like they really took away some of the anxiety I had around buying rings as two women at a ma-and-pop store and ended up being really awesome and supportive.

So, here it is. You know, I feel like places that up the charges when they hear the title of "wedding" really need to re-think that when it is two women. I mean, if we can't actually be legally married on your premises, you probably shouldn't charge us for it (or at least throw in a free tchotchke?). Consider that my PSA for the day. Deep.

I think I will especially enjoy finding out and sharing how this all works out - if only trying to have a "backyard wedding" when you don't have a backyard was easier. Maybe I should start a wedding planning service for mountain backyard weddings to help brides figure out the complications of all this? That would qualify as outside of education, most certainly. Hmmm...

Ideally I would love to find a cabin with a beautiful backyard that sleeps about 12-16 people comfortably. Then, have family and friends not in the wedding be able to stay in nearby cabins, inns, and hotels - none more than a mile or two away. The best part is how close we would be to Estes Park lake... which means a run of at least 3.75 miles the morning of the wedding for everyone involved. I am still hoping for at least a 10k or a half marathon for everyone to do (run, walk, bike, parade float, however you wish), but 3.75 miles is a starting point. We shall see what we end up with!


*Nothing against Iowa, really. Corn and cows are the heart of this fine nation. That being said, if one midwest state was going to legalize gay marriage, I could think of others that would be more alluring destination for the gay population of the midwest (+ Colorado).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's a really good day.

So life has been a bit of a roller coaster lately, and to be quite frank, the last thing I have wanted to think about was planning and paying for my wedding. The only wedding book I have been able to bear looking at is the Bridal Bargains book I was given on Saturday afternoon (thank you chica!). Bargains = REALLY appealing. Especially when thinking about planning a wedding when I...
a) didn't have a job
b) had a terrible job
c) was so upset about not having a job or at least a good job that I just decided to stop planning a wedding, period.

However, as so many of my close friends and family have attempted to drill into my head over the last two months... everything was going to work out.

And it did!

Not the way I was planning or would have liked it too, but the end result is likely exactly how it would be even if I would have still had several options to choose from (as I did last week). Certainly a few too many emotional ups and downs - but my decision is much easier given that the job I thought I might likely take was off the table and the job everyone told me I should be taking anyway, is the one I get to accept (and already have!).

I get to do what I love most, research, design, and innovate... every single day. Better yet, I still get to work for the same amazing organization and have the same incredible benefits and flexibility (and I actually get to amp that flexibility way up!).

So now that I can wrap my head around things other than my future career prospects, I can return to self-indulging myself in the endless stream of conscious writing I was really growing to love and find oh-so-cathartic.Get excited.

Also, speaking of my lady (I totally was, right?)... As she just got home from work (I called her mid-class to give her the news) to congratulate me, I said, "Thank God, right? Because you probably couldn't have handled me in this state much longer, huh?"

Her answer? (get the kleenex and wine out to go with the cheeese...) "I can handle you forever."

:cough:  :cough:


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Distractabilty

I promise I will have direction again with the next post.

Today, however, I have no theme or direction. Today, like this past weekend, has been a bit of an anxiety whirlwind in the non-wedding realm and, as a result, it sort of incapacitates the wedding half of my brain from working (not that I am devoting a whole half to my brain to wedding planning, I'm just referencing the half that does that sort of thing... however, I think both the left and the right are pretty involved given the nature of things, so just disregard it entirely).

Today, after being thrown a few bombs today in the world of what-brings-home-the-bacon (and, quite frankly, the world of what makes our country a better place for kids, hmph), I feel pretty spent. The horizon is looking borderline terrifying for a girl who is about get married, likely buy a house and you know, maybe have a kid of my own.

Security = desired.  Security is not what I have.

I got to the moral so quickly today! Weird. So, what is it? Well, as I have learned so very much the hard way in the last several weeks and months, just because things are going really well in one part of your life, this does not guarantee you anything similar in any other facet of your life. I don't say this in a "woe is me" way, but simply matter of fact.

It is blindingly clear (at the moment, this will fade) to me why some brides-to-be turn into total and utter monsters leading up to their wedding. Now, let's be real, I am not naive in understanding that planning (and paying for) a wedding is likely stressful, and stress turns some people into ugly little critters. However, it is also one of the very best times of your life (well it should be, anyway) and you should be happy and joyful and full of love for everyone in the process, not the bride of Bigfoot (who could very well be a pleasant lady, so please do excuse my assumption). I've never quite understood the ladies who go down that dark and festering path of fist clenching, hyperventilating, crazy-eyes bride-to-be.

see, this is NOT what is happening (sadly... they seem so happy!)
used from: glamourdaze.blogspot.com
News Flash! (to me, I am going to give anyone reading this the benefit of the doubt that I am the one out of the loop on this)
Brides aren't just sitting in their parlor lounging in their bridal skivvies with their best girl friends eating tootsie rolls and planning every detail of their wedding for ten months straight. 
They have things to do and get done in the non-wedding realm as well. And, as a result of you know, real life happening, things get a little hectic. People drive you a little crazy. You turn into the scariest thing dressed in white since a beekeeper mixed with Marilyn Monroe.

Just letting that sink in.

Moving on.

Now, I am no where near the stages of constant decision making, phone calling, following up, and feeling the budget pull. However, I get it. On top of that, I am ridiculously thankful we decided to have our wedding next June so that hopefully (oh dear goodness do I hope) all of my job issues will be figured out (as in, I will have one and I will be happy in it) and I won't be a basket case covered in a white napkin (getting married to another woman in a state that doesn't recognize it all while hearing 'Friday' by Jessica Black played on the ukulele on repeat).

So what's next?

Well, I am going to lay in the puddle of crazy I have going on this evening and soak it up. I am going to hope that the bombs dropped on me today all are happening for a reason, and that everything will turn out as perfect as possible and as intended. I know life isn't always a fairytale with a happily every after ending, but I would like to think that what ever the plan is for me, I am making the decision that is the right one and will end up getting me closer to whatever my version of happily ever after is.

Additionally, I am also going to read through the new beautiful engagement card that greeted me when I got home today way more times than necessary and be really thankful that I have such an amazing soon-to-be-wife, family, and friends. I'll distract myself from the bacon-world and "what am I going to be when I grow up?" tizzy by searching for wedding cabins/venues and filling my head with 180 more ideas for our wedding that will only continue to make the decisions making and planning process more difficult.

Thank goodness for the distraction of wedding planning. 

Wait. Maybe I'm giving those bridezillas way more credit and understanding than they deserve... they should be thanking their lucky stars they've had something to be preoccupied with for a year!

Hmph.

(see? it faded)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

it's official now (right?)

I must say that at times I have felt like this whole being engaged and going-to-be-hitched soon thing isn't real, as in R-E-A-L. The reasons for why I feel like this vary on any given day (and sometimes I don't feel this way at all!), but I think the three staple reasons are as follows:
  1. The lack of recognition of the joyous occasion by some of our loved ones (see, "telling the family and friends").
  2. Getting married in June of 2013 is really great because it gives me months to create my rockin' celebration... but it is also still 14 months away. That's over a year. I mean, it is closer than "never," yes, but it seems far off. Things like booking places (and people... and dresses... woo hoo!) won't happen for at least another month or two - those types of "officially" things will likely really help take the imagination station out of it (anyone? anyone?).
  3. The fact that we actually CAN'T be married in the eyes of the state and knowing it will be "pretend" for (quite possibly) many years to come... (Agh? Yes. I know it is silly I view this as such, but I do. Maybe we'll travel to Iowa a lot... irony)

So all that being said, get serious. I am getting married, bitches!

That is more like it.

Now, the three reasons listed above are (for the most part) logically acceptable and understandable reasons for why I have felt this way. Having been engaged almost a month now I feel confident in those three reasons explaining this phenomenon of how I feel on frequent occasions. Yes, phenomenon.

As of yesterday when the mail chic came, however, this whole ballgame took a serious turn. It's official now. Yes now, not Yesterday at 3:45pm when the mail chica had not yet come, but now. Now as in now. Between the bold, italics, and underlining, I am sure you get it now (now).

She brought us two gifts (well, not her personally, we aren't that tight with her). One in package form and one in envelope form. It is these two items that changed the weather so dramatically around my head. And, to be perfectly fair, I suppose they do actually somewhat (kind-of) work towards meeting the basic needs missing in my life given reason #1 and reason #2 above. So maybe it is not so surprising.

But, essentially, it is kind of absurd that they made me/"it" feel so much more official. 

The first thing I open was a personalized stamp. Apparently, once you become "engaged" per Facebook, they take it upon themselves to make sure that every ad you see alongside your profile and feed is very directly related to your status. Weddings, weddings, weddings, (and more weddings) is all I ever see on there. Wedding photos, engagement photos, wedding favors, wedding cakes, wedding registries, wedding venues, oh and so much more (things I didn't even know existed in wedding-land...).

In one of the first few days that these ads started to reside on my screen, I noticed an ad for something I had also gotten an email about, wedding Groupons. Now, if there is one thing I love almost as much as a good bottle of Andre champagne it's an extremely well-timed and useful Groupon. Clicking on this ad brought me to a special section of Groupon... all weddings, all the time. Seriously! There were Groupons on for almost everything wedding-related that I can think of. One of which was, indeed, this personalized stamp. "A personalized stamp?!" I thought... oh yes, this is indeed exactly what we need.

I bought the Groupon without hesitation and was chomping at the bit to be able to use it. The next day I was able to log into the website, design my stamp, and it was on its way (it was actually too easy, I would have liked to savor the experience a bit longer, fyi). Why was I so excited for this damn stamp? Because I knew I could design a stamp that did not commit me to any wedding colors, theme, people, favors, shoes, dress, or anything else. We both have names. First, middles, and last. That wasn't going to change before the wedding. I was going to get to buy something very personalized, usable for all things wedding related, and still not commit to anything wedding idea related. How great is that?
the beautiful, wonderful, and
oh-so-official stamp
or
"the sign," as my lady just
coined it*

I went around the house stamping everything in sight when it arrived yesterday. I was a five-year-old with a new set of Crayola markers  ready for Kindergarten (certainly not me as a 5 year old with a new set of markers, I would have never wasted my markers on just anything - but some 5 year old that is not me). When my lady came home I am confient she thought I had gone a little cray-cray (aka "crazy"), but she was clearly happy about it too. I mean, hello. It's a stamp (awesome), self-inking (awesome), it has a big ol' 'B' on it (double awesome), and both of our names (double awesome). It's permanent. I'm in love with it. Call it ridiculous, but after using the stamp and seeing its mark, everything just seemed less pretend.

This pales in comparison to the surprise in the envelope (hard to believe, right?).

When my lady got home and opened up the mail we found we had a card, addressed to both of us, from her Aunt and Uncle. With Easter the day before I assumed it was just a late Easter card (don't worry, it's not that we get a lot of Easter cards and you don't, it was just the only occasion I could think of).  There was a note tucked inside that went on to say how happy they were to hear we were getting married and how excited they were to be at our wedding. Now this my people, was big. I leapt up to get a look at the card... was it still actually an Easter card, with just a nice note?

real-life, 100% gen-u-ine cardstock.
Oh no... what to my wondering eyes should appear?

It was an engagement card. A 100% genuine "Congratulations" bearing engagement card. Our first of its kind.

On top of that, for it to come from her Aunt and Uncle just meant the world (and then some) to both of us.

It was like killing two birds with one stone, if you will. We are talking a real-life engagement card here. And then, most importantly, a real life engagement card from my lady's Aunt and Uncle. So happy. True tears of happiness found their way on to both of our cheeseball cheeks. Yep, it was one of those moments.

So really, I think this goes back to what I said very early on and apparently just don't live by. In time, everything will be golden. People, including myself need time (and boxes and envelopes filled with surprises).  Our engagement will feel "real" (our wedding will be real, ahem), family will be genuinely excited as though we were any two opposite sex peter, paul or marys, and life will be just rainbows and puppies.

I'm not a patient person.


*Her last name is blocked only for some ridiculous sense of privacy. I realize it is in vain.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

missing at my wedding.

Every Easter I spend the day thinking about and remembering one person. One of the single most intelligent, talented, hard-working and beautiful women I will ever know. I missed the last Easter that my grandma was with us - I was in Canada skiing with my best friend and family and we were having the time of our lives.
my grandma with my brother and me

That June she passed away.

For the last ten years (which is unbelievable) since she passed I have spent every Easter (and so many days in between) just feeling overcome with guilt and regret that I wasn't there to spend our last Easter with her. In the last year or two, and especially today, I realized that instead of feeling sad and full of regret, I should spend the day thinking the happiest, most wonderful things about my grandma... about all of the things that made her such an incredibly special woman (who also raised a pretty incredible daughter or four, if I might say so myself).

As I was just sitting on the couch, thinking about how much I miss her and how much I wish I could just see her, talk to her, get a hug from her one more time (wouldn't that be great with anyone we love so much that has passed?), I had another realization.

One of things I always think about when I think my grandma is the last note she ever sent me, that to this day makes me fall to pieces when I read it. She gave it to me for my 17th birthday, May 1, 2002 (well, shortly thereafter). In the most fragile writing I had ever seen from her she wished me a belated happy birthday and told me to "have a great senior year."

In telling me to have a great senior year she was speaking a million words she would never get to say to me, acknowledging a thousand conversations we would never get to have, and surrendering to all of the life events we had left to experience together. 

my grandma and my brother
Today I realized what one of those events is. I know it has crossed my mind before, but today it really sunk in. I no longer am just "going to get married one day" and she would miss it "one day." I am getting married next June, and she will miss it next June. Only physically, yes... to each their own on anything beyond that. I know she's with me everyday with everything she taught and shared with me before she passed away, and also through my mother with the beliefs she instilled in her that she has also passed onto me. But she won't be there and it isn't some far off fairytale event, it's real and it's approaching.

I miss her now as I do every day, and I will deeply miss her not being at my wedding. I will miss her showing up in what I know would be the most fashionably fantastic over-seventy-I'm-heading-to-church outfit. This woman knew how to dress-up and accessorize. On my wedding day I won't get to have that moment that I always thought was so awkward when I was kid but miss now, naturally... when she would walk in the door and see me she would hug me and then she would always also kiss me. I would always think she was going to kiss me on my cheek, but then she'd kiss me on my lips, and of course she always would have just put lipstick on (which then came off on my face/lips) and I was generally totally and completely mortified.  It's funny the things you remember so vividly, isn't it?

"To a beautiful granddaughter,
We wish you a very belated congratulations on your engagement. We love you very much and have a wonderful wedding. 
Love, 
Grandpa and Grandma Lang"

(I wish :)

I love you. I miss you so (so) much and think of you everyday. I know you'll be there in my heart. I don't think these tears will ever go away when I think of you, but know they are not just sad tears, but also happy ones as I think of all the amazing things you left behind in this world to carry on.

And P.S., you would just love "my lady."