Friday, October 31, 2008

Which is why it's probably a very good thing I don't have one

I learned a new term yesterday morning: plantation shutters.

Maybe the rest of you knew this already. They're inside shutters, and they're what Nick has on the windows. They do a great job of keeping out noise and light, and you can turn the slats to let in or keep out just the right amount of light. They're nice.

Anyway, yesterday Nick was opening the slats to let light in, and I suggested that he stick his penis between them. You know, just so it could peer out into the day.

Hello, sunshine!

He looked at me like I had a head injury.

"C'mon! If I had a penis, I totally would."

"You'd stick your penis through the shutter slats?"

"Absolutely!"

"Why?"

"Just out of curiosity. In fact, if I had a penis, I'm sure I'd be tempted to see if it fit in a lot of random places. I'd probably constantly be sticking it in things."

You know I would. In fact, I'd probably clamp something on it. Because I am kind of compulsive like that.

"In fact, I think I'm going to blog about this."

He looked a little pained, and walked into the kitchen.

A few minutes later he returned and said, "You know, I am going to stop suggesting blog topics for you. Because I suggest perfectly funny topics. And what you want to write about is where you'd stick your penis if you had one."

"Yes."

"I'd ask you to reconsider. People are going to think there's something very wrong with you."

So now you know: It's Friday, and there's something very wrong with me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The trouble with having done a lot of dating in one place

Until not that long ago, whenever I saw a man who looked familiar, I would automatically flinch and think, "Coffee? Drinks? Dinner? Did I kiss him?"

I ran though this mental list with one guy who clearly knew me, and said hello in a very friendly manner. I said hello while wildly flipping through my mental images all, "Crap crap crap! I can't remember going out with him!"

And then he mentioned a good friend of mine, and I realized with relief! that I knew him because he dated her years ago.

Because while I was in mega-dating mode, I had so many first dates crammed in that at first glance a few months later, I wouldn't necessarily remember who the person was.

It was a lot lot lot of guys.

On the one hand, this approach is practical, in that it is, to some extent, a numbers game. (It being the meeting of the Love of Your Life, The One, the One of 26, your Soul Mate, or however you think about it.) Eventually you will meet the person. You just will.

On the other, it's exhausting. And it means that you could run into someone you've gone on at least one date with anywhere.

Including your own office building.

I've run into this fellow twice now. The first time we passed each other, I could read the "How do I know her?" look on his face. And I know I had the same one on mine. It wasn't until I'd opened the door to the building that it dawned on me.

We went out a few times a couple years ago. He is cute, and always, as far as my data points show, impeccably dressed. Which is not about anything, but is something I find impressive. And something we do not have in common.

We had two nice enough dates and then an awkward third, in which the fact that we had no real chemistry became apparent. It ended with a super awkward kiss. Somehow, he clenched all the muscles around his mouth, so his lips were in a very tight O.

O.

????

And that was that.

The next time he suggested we do something, I sent a nice note saying thanks, but I just don't see this going anywhere. And that was that.

And so the other day I figured out who he was, and went on with my day. I ran into him again early this week.

Me, I had my unwashed hair all pulled back. And no makeup. And commuter sneaks on. I was carrying an enormous sheet cake into the building. Tej had picked it up for our monthly office birthdays, but she is hugely preg, and needed help carrying it in.

So we passed the guy. Neither he nor I said hello, or, beyond the eye dart, even acted like we recognized each other.

Tej and I got into the elevator, and I was leaning across the cake, mouth open, just about to tell her about the fellow we had just passed. When a third person got on the elevator. And pushed the 12 button.

I cannot say for sure, because to be honest I was very drunk at the time and it was last year, but I got all hair stand on end chilly with this near-certainty that it was Mr. Butternose.

And so I stood there with a frozen flinchy grin on my face, maintaining eye contact with Tejal across the elevator. While subtly darting my eyes toward our fellow passenger. Furtively, of course, so he wouldn't notice. But I really wanted her to get a good look at him.

Finally, finally we got to our floor, and as soon as the doors slid shut, I asked her. She doesn't remember what the guy looked like. So, it might be him, but it might not.

I really think it was. The fellow, he fit my vague recollection of the guy from that night. And he was going to the right floor.

But he didn't fidget, or give any outward appearance of having any bad memories associated with either of us. And with the pulled-back hair and ridiculous outfit, maybe he didn't even recognize me.

However, the truth is, if it was him, and he remembered me, and saw me with an enormous sheet cake worth of frosting...he took an approach that I'd have taken in his position.

This is the one that apparently works if you're trapped near hippos (which, as I like to remind people, are fast and mean and can turn on a dime).

Remain calm, remain still. No sudden movements. Best case scenario, they won't notice you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Venn Diagrams, hope, stress, and more hope

If my life were a yellow circle on a Venn Diagram, and what I'm about to write about were a blue circle, there would currently be entire overlap. Which is then maybe no longer a Venn Diagram? Maybe it's just a big green circle?

Anyway, it's like the TV constantly playing in the background while everything else is going on.

A couple years ago a friend said that it really annoys him when people say they're trying to get pregnant.

"Trying? What's with the trying? Why do people say this? Why don't they just say 'we're having sex all the time!'?!"

I agreed.

"And anyway," he added, "why tell me you're trying to get pregnant?"

Again, I agreed. Why tell me? Especially because I was single. Who wants to hear about other people having sex all the time?

And now I know. While I'm not running around all "We're trying!" wink wink!, I realize now it's not about sharing the trying. It's about sharing the hoping.

The trying is not what consumes your time and energy. It's the hoping. This hoping now takes up every minute of every day.

To be frank with you, though I'm posting this in cyberspace, I'm not saying anything in my office when people ask. And as soon as we came back from our honeymoon, people - even office people I'm not close to - started asking. Point blank.

There has been a lot of asking.

And I'm not saying anything. Because it's one thing to blog about this, and quite another to have people you see day-to-day wondering about your particulars. You know?

Because sure, I'm hoping. We're hoping. We're all hoping - Nick and I, my parents, my close friends, Maude's parents, probably other friends of my parents. We're a big hope factory. Hope! Hope that one of these days soon Lisa gets knocked up!

Which seems a weird thing to have a group hope about. But who would ever turn away offered hope?

Actually, Betty hates when I put it that way. Like "sucks ass" she hates "knocked up." But she's hoping for the same outcome, with different wording.

And at the same time, I'm wondering. I'm fretting. It stresses me out.

I spent my fertile 20s being very responsible and making every attempt not to get pregnant. Same with most of my 30s. And here I am, 39, with no idea if I actually can.

I find it very very stressful.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So now you know we are not only lame tourists, but terrible people

Nick and I are bad tourists.

What I mean is this. We had a number of things we really wanted to see - we took the above photo at the Topkapi palace, which was amazing - but we didn't pack our days seeing stuff. We did a lot of drinking of Efes beer and wandering and whatnot.

And then when we were sightseeing, we'd get distracted.

For example, we spent a whole 20 minutes following this Japanese couple around. Because they had a camera on a stick.

It was really compelling.

They had this pole that was maybe four feet long. And they could perch the camera on the end, pose, and then push a button to take their picture. Ingenious! Self-picture taking without the stretched out arm and awkward contortion because of it!

We saw them do it, but didn't move fast enough to get our camera out.

And so we wasted the next 20 minutes hoping they'd whip it out again. We'd follow them and then when they stopped, we'd take out our camera and say things like, "Oh! This is so beautiful! I definitely have to get a picture of this!"

In case they didn't speak English, we made sure to sound really excited. "Oh! Let's take one of both of us!"

To no avail.

I am still sorry we don't have a picture of them.

And then! Mere hours later! We spotted the woman above. We weren't following her and her family at first, but we kept running into them. And started referring to her as the New Jersey Turkish Woman.

(Apologies to my friends from New Jersey. None of the NJ women I currently know would dress in sequins and sparkly pointy boots and such.)

We took her picture because, well, partly because we missed the Camera on a Stick people. But also because while we saw a number of women with head scarves, she was the sparkliest. Not the least modestly dressed - because we saw a lot of women with tight clothing, wearing nothing to suggest they were in a Muslim country.

But she, she was fully covered, modestly dressed, but still expressing her individuality. Out of deference and caution, we only took a picture from the back. But there was a lot lot lot of bling and decoration. Sequins down the front! Sequins on the scarf! And pointy boots! With more sequins!

We loved it. I wanted to get a better shot of the boots, but we had to be really furtive about this.

See what terrible people we are?

Monday, October 27, 2008

So far, so good

Today we successfully arrive at one month of married bliss.

Also, pretty soon we'll have known each other a year. Ha.

We got to Dulles super early when we left for our honeymoon. It was a United/Lufthansa codeshare, and we asked if we could get an upgrade. Which, at least historically, was not a problem on United. We figured we'd use miles. Or money. Or whatever.

And the Lufthansa woman said there was no way to do it. We should've applied two weeks prior. But she'd see if they could give us a courtesy upgrade.

We asked if the fact that we were on our honeymoon helped.

Nick was all, "We really did just get married on Saturday! Want to see pictures?"

We had Nick's BlackBerry with us, and that morning people had emailed us a few photos, most notably the one above. Which was taken by a guest and is one of my absolute favorites.

He was dying to show them to someone.

And really, what is a woman behind a counter going to say when such an enthusiastic guy beams at her and offers her pictures?

She looked at the pictures appreciatively.

And then we waited.

Of course we were still reliving all the tiny moments in the wedding. So then we sat in the waiting area, huddled over his little screen, all ooey gooey.

Then we waited some more. Was this a good sign? A bad one?

I looked up from scrolling through pictures and said, "I sure hope this works out."

(Thinking, crap, it's a long flight to Germany with a man who is going to take up part of my seat.)

He took my face in his hands.

"I'm absolutely sure it will."

(I love this confidence! In the face of complete uncertainty!)

"How can you be so sure?"

"I just know."

"But how do you know?"

(Me, I have no faith in airlines. Even good ones.)

"I just have complete certainty. I know how much I love you. And I know how well we communicate. And..."

"Oh, sweetie. I meant the upgrade."

"Oh. That. I give that 50/50."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wake up, Maggie. Or, to think I used to win the Shock Value Game.

I never used to know song titles or who sang what song.

And then I started spending all this time with Nick, who has satellite radio, which tells you the name of the song and the artist. Which meant that eventually, I would see patterns in taste.

For example, I now know that Nick hates Heart. I'd never have known that if the radio didn't tell us who sang what. And every time it says Heart, he changes the station.

So the other day, "Magic Man" - by Heart! - came on, and he immediately changed stations. Rod Stewart was on the next station. He left it. I knew he would, from prior experience.

"You hate Heart."

"I do."

"And you loooove Rod Stewart."

"I do."

"You really, really love him."

"I know."

"You love Rod Stewart so much."

"I do, Lisa. I love Rod Stewart so much that if I could, I'd go back and give him a blow job during the height of his career."

"Really?"

"Yep."

"When would that have been?"

"Sometime in the mid-70s."

"At which point you were..."

"Maybe seven or eight. Which, you know..."

"Stop! You win! I can't even pretend this conversation is normal anymore."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I do, however, feel like this must be a metaphor for something


This is not germane to anything. Just so you know.

Nick asked me to hand him the scissors the other day.

And I know the proper way to pass a pair of scissors. You close them. You turn the blades toward you. And you hand them to the person handle first.

I know this. I do.

And yet, somehow, I thought it would be helpful to open then, and hand them to him, blades splayed apart, me gripping the handles. Like he'd be able to cut the box open faster this way or something.

Honestly. I gave this conscious thought. And went out of my way to open them first.

He was, not surprisingly, all, "Why are you doing that?"

"To be help...ful?"

Also, I had to try approximately 72 times to draw a pair of scissors that didn't look like testicles with two penises splayed in opposing directions. The drawing skills, they are lacking. In me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One can hope: a world with its fingers crossed

While traveling, unless we were speaking to native English speakers (mostly Brits and Australians), nobody assumed we were American.

They'd guess German or Dutch. Which was fine with us, but odd, considering that we'd both polished our white sneakers for the trip, and had on matching shorts, sweatshirts, and sun visors.

Anyway.

Everyone we met in Turkey, when they learned we were American, asked who we were voting for.

Everyone. Europeans, Turks, travelers, taxi drivers. Everyone.

"You're American!"

And then there would be a pause. "Obama?" Pause. "McCain?"

And we would say, "Obama. Pray God it's Obama."

They would look hugely relieved. And then they would ask if we thought there was any way he could not win. Is it really possible that McCain, who is old, and will just continue on like Bush, and who chose this stupid, laughing-stock woman as a running mate, could win?

And we would say, yes, McCain could win. Sure, at the end of the day, a lot of our country could step into the voting booth and be all, "You know, I just have to vote for the white man."

"Really? In the United States?"

"Really. In the United States."

Not to denigrate our country (and then of course we'd proceed to do so) but most Americans, even if they knew it was a country, probably couldn't find Turkey on a map. Nor Europe, for that matter.

Do I believe that most Americans make intelligent, informed choices? Please. I believe most Americans don't even read the labels on the food they buy. They watch the negative ads the McCain campaign has been running and just eat the lies.

The sheep, however, are not what pain me most; it's the intelligent people. The bulk of the (small number of) people I know who are going to vote for McCain are bright, and well educated. And they're going to do it anyway.

So do I really have faith that the hoi polloi will vote for the more intelligent, well educated, reasonable candidate?

Um.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In which we have pints at Biddy's, hug random youths in Dupont Circle, and take a lot of pictures of people we do not know

We headed to Biddy's after the reception ended. Because what's better at the end of the night than Guinness? Full of B vitamins and trace amounts of protein! Keeps you strong!Jen and I used to go there often when she lived here, and I'd had spent so many happy hours there, it just felt like the perfect place to go. And it was.My dress had been stepped on 37 million times, so it wasn't like I was going to get it dirtier. So I put on flip flops, pulled up my dress so it wouldn't drag, and walked over. Here I am with my two Janes.

Nick was still wearing the gold jacket.
This gold jacket, coupled with the big white wedding dress, sent a lot of random attention our way. Some of that attention came in the form of pints from the bar and tequila shots from a group of guys.
One of tequila shot-senders had gotten married the month prior. He loved Nick's jacket. So we took a picture of him wearing it. I assured him Nick had not gotten married in it. The guy's wife showed up a little later, and she and I had a good talk about the not getting married in a gold paisley jacket.

We left Biddy's around 2:00 am, and Dupont Circle was empty, so we headed over there to take pictures.
A group of (what we learned from chatting with them were) GW students happened along. They were so young and cute and all, "Hey, a bride! Hi, bride!"

They offered to take our picture. And then, one by one, joined us in photos.
We hugged some of them. In fact, we probably hugged them all. I don't remember, but I'm likely to have done so.
Eventually, we posed with all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grandeur! Champagne! Underwear! Rules!

Let me start by saying that I can't imagine a lovelier place to get ready for a wedding. It was so spacious and comfortable and beautiful. I really appreciated it.

Also, photos are not in any kind of order of arrival.

That said. As I've mentioned before, there are many, many house rules where we got married.

One of the things you are not supposed to do, although it has large, grand gates and a driveway, is drive up to the front. Which I knew.

However, when you and your maid of honor have freshly-coiffed hair, and are laden with stuff - very much stuff!, and it's intermittently raining...and you are The Bride, you overcome your first-born-rule-followeryness - and pull up at the front door! Ha!

You are almost turned away, until one of the people says, "The Bride!" - and you smile bridily, and draw yourself up to your full 5'3" brideliness - at which point you are invited to take all your stuff upstairs, and of course you can leave your car while you drop off your things.

I can see why people would take the liberty of running with it for an entire Bridezilla year. It's shockingly empowering.

We were ushered up to a room so large and fabulous that my jaw dropped. Nick organized it when they informed us we couldn't have the room we were supposed to until 4 pm. This room? Larger than my place in DC.
I probably said, "Holy crap!" Which I know is not very bridely. But holy crap!

Ginormous! Fancy! Fabulous!

We immediately spread out, and I'm sorry we didn't take before pictures, because all the shots include things everywhere. Champagne bottles. Glasses. Crinoline. Gift bags. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff.
There were two beds - one bed devoted to crinoline, and the other, to flowers.
There were - and I am not kidding you, and I'm also sorry I didn't take a picture - a list of RULES in the room. If I recall correctly, they were laminated.

Jen picked them up, and said, "The Rules! There are Rules to follow!"

As soon as we came across Rules, we immediately took a picture of me holding up my underwear in front of George Washington.
I feel I ought to clarify. Not the underwear I was wearing at the time. The underwear I'd brought along to wear.

So The Rules. We didn't read them. We took turns guessing instead.

"No music!"

"No laughter!"

"No alcohol!"

"No prancing around in underwear!"

"No nose picking!"

And then we maybe laughed raucously and changed the playlist and did a little underwear dance number and opened a bottle of champagne.
Cheers!

Jennifer, the magic makeup woman, was one of the first to arrive. She herself is so incredibly lovely. And she really is magic. I would recommend her to anyone, absolutely anyone and am happy to pass on her contact info.
My bridesmaids arrived at different times, so the party kept getting better. More friends! More champagne!
One fantastic thing about this room was that we could just keep adding people. So my dad got to hang out with my friends and me.

Because when my dad turned up, tux in hand, to say he was trying to find Nick and the guys to change in their room, we invited him in to change in the closet. The closet. Is bigger than the bedroom in my condo.

This of course engendered many "You can come out of the closet" kinds of jokes. Because as The Bride, I can still act, um, 12.
Jane's boyfriend Matty came up and stayed for a bit. He'd been hanging out with our high school friend Tony, drinking and watching football all day. He'd also had to buy a tie, and had gotten an Obama tie from a street vendor for the event.

This delighted me no end. And, incidentally, got him in trouble with one of my sisters-in-law at the reception.

Which I won't say delighted me as well. But only because that would be an unkind thing to say. I am, however, sorry her politics are so foolish.

But I digress.

Betty then arrived all ready, and she hung out as well. She's prettier than this picture, but it's one of the few I have.
And then Tori's very cool boyfriend, who I need to mention was just so amazingly sweet, came in. I'd not met him before Friday night, and he is just such a delight. He picked up sandwiches for lunch for us, and brought coffee in a low-caffeine point.

We (OK, I) had thought about making the historic house people lose their shit by ordering pizza, but Nick very sternly told me to behave and not try and cause a pre-wedding scene and make them mad by having Domino's ring their bell.

This meant we needed someone to discreetly sneak food in. Which he happily did for us.

So nice, no?

And here's Maude, who arrived late (has a baby - much to organize!) and veryverystressed, and was handed champagne and a present, and very quickly transformed from hot, sweaty, stressed to dressed and lovely.
Lovely.

It was the absolute best pre-party.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Turkey poo. Or, sorry for the interruption. And if you dislike the scatalogical, LG is not the place for you today.

I'm not sure why I have this need to express upon you how truly terrible things were last week.

It's not something I can fully explain, this desire to share. It's probably because I'm one of those people - you know, the ones who, when they're miserable, want you to roll around in the dread misery with them.

I mean, I wouldn't deliberately sneeze on you if I had a cold. OK, I can think of a couple people - Palin comes to mind - who I might do that to. But not people in general.

So, anyway, I'm going to make an appointment to make sure I don't have some kind of parasite. Because my stomach is still swirly. And it could just be post-travel icks. Or it could be some kind of creepy inside-eater. Who knows.

All I know is, the diarrhea I had in Turkey wasn't the worst I've ever had, but it was the vilest. By far.

This is how it began.

I woke up one morning and my body and head were all hurty, and I winced upstairs to the breakfast on the terrace. The hot tea and bread felt good going down.

And then suddenly as we finished, I was struck with that "this is going to get veryvery ugly veryvery fast" feeling. We headed down and I begged Nick to take a stroll or hang out in the lobby.

And then all Hell broke loose. I must tell you that I was shocked by my own ability to produce such vileness.

Honestly. I have had a lot of diarrhea in a lot of countries. And this was the stinkiest by far. By. Far.

There are many things to which I could liken it, but it's not like there's anyone out there who doesn't have some idea what super-stinky poo is like. Now multiply that by 75 thousand.

We were in a clean, perfectly situated, but basic B and B. The kind where you stick the key in the wall to activate the lights. And. There's no fan. There were, however, holes near the bottom of the door. For ventilation.

Excellent.

Of course, I immediately realized how terrible A Situation this was. But had no choice but to go get Nick - who had no key and no cash - from downstairs.

Now, if I'd known it would go on and on, I probably would've left him in the lobby for the duration. But he was too big to sleep on their couch anyway. I suppose I could've thrown some cash out the window at him.

But anyway.

I warned him about The Situation immediately, and reiterated as we walked up the stairs. As soon as we hit the landing, he knew exactly what I was talking about. And that I'd not exaggerated.

He staggered a little.

"Holy mother of all that is good and pure!"

Was not really what he said.

Actually it was a lot rougher than that and maybe included a question about what might have died in my intestines.

He then promptly propped open the room door and the balcony door. Thus sweeping the smell out. It probably landed with a thud on the terrace of the ice cream parlor below.

Over the course of the next couple days, he got me Powerade (official sponsor of Turkey's national football league! or something like that). And Fanta orange, which I love. And chickpeas, which the hotel guy said would stanch the flow.

And then, worrying that I'd get dehydrated, he headed to a pharmacy. Where they gave him some stop-you-up pills. Which he tried to foist on me.

I refused.

He pushed.

I refused.

He accused me of being a bad patient. When all he was trying to do was help. And did I want to wind up in the hospital?

I was on the verge of saying, "Do you know how much diarrhea I've had in my life? I'm practically the Queen of Diarrhea!"

But then, much like the terrible fart on the plane, I realized how long that title would probably haunt me. And so instead I said that I wasn't trying to be difficult, but from all my growing up overseas and Peace Corps training, I knew that if something was trying to get out of your body at that velocity, you really want it out.

And then he Googled diarrhea and said that actually, I was right.

I didn't smugly say, "I know." Because really, who wants to be smug about their diarrhea knowledge, while reclining limply, sweating profusely, trying to sip Fanta and eat dried chickpeas?

And I promise, that's all I'm writing about poo for the month. The rest is going to be puppies and unicorns and princess dresses and flowers and friends and cake!

Hugs (antibacterially handwashed hugs) to all!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In which we started out worlds apart and ended up in the same place

We'd decided to stay together at Nick's Friday night, then part in the morning and not see each other again until the wedding.

That morning, I awoke with a start at 9:30. Alone.

9:30! Aaagh! I had 54 things to do before my hair appointment at 11:00!

9:30! Crisis!

I whirlwinded out into the living room. "It's 9:30!"

I was frenzied, pulling out the shawls to iron, throwing things into a bag to take downtown, trying to remember what I'd made sure I wouldn't forget before falling asleep the night before. What the fuck was it I'd told myself to remember?

Me, on my wedding morning, running in circles, flapping my arms. Getting nothing done and causing a whole lot of commotion. So much to do! How to start? And so little time!

I was a little hung over, and a lot tired. I'd been up from 3-6:00 am all thinky. Just excited. I'd assumed I'd nap, and then get up at seven with enough time to go for a run, pack the bags, etc.

Ha.

So at 9:30, I was completely discombobulated.

Nick was calmly sipping tea and watching The Office. He grabbed my hand, patted his knee. "Come watch this, sweetie. It's funny!"

Few things are more infuriating than someone inviting you to watch television when you have many important, critical, immediate things on your agenda. Like, like underwear! And teeth-brushing! And coffee!

And that's just for starters!

And the wedding lipstick! Where the fuck did I put my wedding lipstick? Don't you know I can't get married without this lipstick I purchased specifically for this one particular event?

And you want me to sit down and watch The Office?

"Gaaaah! What is wrong with you? How can you just sit there watching TV when there's so much to do?"

Flap flap.

Except that there wasn't so much for him to do. Really, he had a day of lunch with the guys, getting himself clean, and getting dressed by 4:00 pm.

Plenty of time for the new Office.

But he is a kind man, and he loves me, and plus, there's probably only so much frenzy and flapping you can watch before feeling bad for the person and stepping in.

So he made me some coffee and helped with the shawls, and the finding of the camera charger (I remembered!), and the packing of the bag. And I found the fucking wedding lipstick. And the underwear. And any number of other things. And crammed them all in a bag and flitted out the door.

The breakfast? The good breakfast everyone told me to have, very important, don't miss it?

Not a chance.

Breakfast of champions post-hair appointment? A Balance bar. And ooh la la Champagne.

We'd left his car downtown the night before, so he drove me into the city, parked, foisted Gatorade on me, and kissed me goodbye as I sprinted down the block to the salon.

And the next time we saw each other, he had on his tuxedo, and I had on my big princess dress, and it felt like we had all the time in the entire world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fast forward to a brief overview of the wedding ceremony. In brief: getting married is fun!

In response to a demand for pictures! Wedding pictures! I am skipping forward.

Please realize this is totally incomplete, and we don't yet have the photographer's pics (but Tej's husband Raj took a lot of very nice ones, featured here). I only have one of my bridesmaids - Jen - coming down the aisle, and I don't have any group shots.

Really, it's mostly Nick and me. And me and me and me. You will probably be pretty sick of pictures of me by the end of this.

I have been trying to figure out how to organize this whole wedding story, because for me, the wedding was really in the middle of things - both an end and a beginning. But squarely positioned between a bunch of amazingness with my friends and a huge adventure with Nick.

But frankly, I often wish I could TiVo real life situations. So I get it, this show the wedding already! sentiment, and so the following is a brief overview.

First, my friend Tori sang "O Mio Babbino Caro" - the aria from A Room With a View, if that rings a bell. She is a breathtakingly beautiful soprano, and honest-to-God, she made people cry while singing. Alas, no picture of this yet.

However, here she is before the wedding, so you have some idea. Incidentally, this photo was taken in the room we had all day to get ready in. It was sooo fabulous. Enormous, gorgeous, glam!
And then my bridesmaids entered. Here's gorgeous Jen with the orange and fuchsia Gerber daisy bouquet they all carried.
Here's my dad walking me in.
And wishing me well before getting married.
These are the flowers next to (not on top of, heaven forbid!) the fireplace.
It was a non-traditional ceremony, and for part of it we borrowed from Quaker tradition and invited attendees to stand and speak as they felt moved to. Which is why we are seated, just the two of us, listening.

This part was incredible, and I'd suggest incorporating something like it to anyone.
Here we are saying our vows.
Putting the ring on Nick's finger was just incredible. I had no idea it would feel like such a big deal.
The kiss.
Post-kiss. And the same wide-open mouth laughing face I had on for the rest of the evening.
Who knew getting married would be so much fun?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And fortunately I got all the fuchsia dye scrubbed off in the nick of time

I made a silk charmeuse shawl for each of my bridesmaids.

I've left the image size large, so if you're interested, you can click on them and see details.

It was a labor of love. And a big part of why I was so stressed leading up to the wedding.

I'm glad I did it, and I'd do it over again in a second. But it was a tremendous amount of work, and I was working on them right up to the wedding. Literally.

Here I am, early morning Saturday, September 27. Stretching them out to photograph. Actually, I was ironing them one last time before putting them in gift bags. And Nick was taking photos.

I have photos of some of my bridesmaids wearing them, and I'll get those organized and posted as well.

The reason I was working until the end is as follows. I knew I'd wanted to make their gifts, but my textile class didn't start until the beginning of September. I needed the screen printing equipment in the studio.

Plus, quite frankly, I needed the studio space. Because they were 22"x90" - almost two feet wide and seven and a half feet long.

Big. Times six.

So class began, and I had an imagine that I wanted to screen print onto each of them. You'll see on each the same flower - very similar to the floral design on my invitations.
But I also wanted each one to be unique, since my friends have such varied personalities and styles. And I needed to make sure that the style of each of these was different than something I'd previously given them.
I did what I could at home - some of the pole wrapping, steaming, washing out. I got as much of the prep and clean up work as I could done outside of class time, so I could be as efficient as possible with the studio hours. But still I was there in the studio Wednesday before the wedding, screening, dyeing, messing up my hands. And getting chastised for it.

But you don't really know how they're going to turn out. So you plan one way, and then once you've washed it and ironed it, you look at it again to figure out what kind of layer to do next, so that the personality turns out in the way you want it to.

If that makes sense.
So it was an evolving, shifting process - the designiong, the thinking, the doing, the rethinking, the adding. If I weren't me, it might've gone faster and smoother. But I am.
I think everyone really liked them, and I think I got colors and personalities right. Me, I loved them all, and I was so very excited to give them to my dear, dear friends.

Seriously. I'd gotten orange and pink bags, and printed cards with each of their names on them, with the same design as my invitations. I was honestly jumping up and down giddy giving them their presents.
I included a detail shot of this black one, in the hopes that you can see the flower detail. It didn't come out well in this photo, but it's really shiny and glowy. And it has secret fuchsia flowers sprinkled on it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rehearsal dinner! Edifices (Edifi?)! Cocktails! Fruit by the Foot!

I know this picture is from a distance, but hopefully you can make out the white chocolate replica of the Capitol building that Nick is handing to his friend.

On a side bar, I'm just going to begin at the beginning. I was thinking about beginning with the trip and working back, but didn't want to be hampered by the effect of living backwards.

Plus, the wedding weekend was honest-to-God the funnest weekend of my entire life. I've been aching to relive it.

I'm sure everyone feels this way, but I just had the best time. Our friends are so hilarious, and interesting, and entertaining. With this group, your face hurts after a couple hours, you laugh so much.

So, the chocolate Capitol was our prize for the people who traveled the furthest. We giggled every time we thought about it. We couldn't wait to give this prize.

They said they got it all the way back to Warsaw intact, which really is quite impressive.

We got all our prizes at Costco,and they were all some kind of candy. The one in the following picture is a chocolate Pentagon. Costco turns out to have all these fantastic molded chocolates. We're going to make sure to go around President's Day so we can get busts of George Washington and Abe Lincoln.

I'm not kidding.

So, we gave this dark chocolate Pentagon out for "most unusual profession" - which went to Nick's friend who is an opera singer. He has an extraordinary voice - really deep - and sang a couple songs with the band at our wedding. Amazing.
We gave out two prizes for the people with the same wedding anniversary. Maude and Dan, and Jordan and his wife (who couldn't come, and so he brought his incredibly beautiful, poised, amazing oldest daughter, who is just such an utter delight).
We gave a prize for the couple who had been married the longest - which turned out to be our old family friend (and Internet minister) and his wife - 52 years!

He also won the prize for "most recently ordained Internet minister" - but only by a couple months. It turns out Maude's dad had become one to officiate at a wedding a couple months prior.

We also gave our fabulous friend Jen the "most likely to have a cocktail named after her" prize. The prize was a huge box of five million packs of gum. I don't have a picture of her graciously accepting.

And last, but hardly least, we gave a "most toes" prize. This was Nick's idea. Most toes. No explanation. During our Costco foray we happened across a ginormous box of fruit roll-ups called "Fruit by the Foot" and we had our prize.He didn't know it was coming, and we don't know how many times he had to explain that he really only has ten toes. And no, he never had surgery. Born with ten. Really.

Heh.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Year two

Today marks the second anniversary of LG. And I'm glad to be home.

These facts are completely unrelated.

Originally my two-year post was going to be all introspective and here's where I was and here's where I am, etc etc. But one can do that at any point. I'll always have been where I was and I'll always be where I am.

If you know what I mean and that's not too Alice.

So.

I missed the blogging while I was gone, I have to say. I missed the writing, the thinking of how to craft a story, the quiet mental time. And I missed all of you.

It was a long and varied haul home.

Driving to the airport in a taxi yesterday morning, we nearly collided with another car on the highway, because he was driving the wrong way down it, to take a shortcut from his side to an exit on the other. Imagine deciding to cut across 66 and drive a quarter-mile down the wrong side to get to an earlier exit. That's what it would be like. Not as big as the 5 in California, but still, a two or three lane highway each way.

We arrived the requisite two hours early. Way too long.

Security at the Istanbul airport is rather casual, and so the process didn't take long, and we had plenty of time before the flight. However, we only had an hour to transfer in Frankfurt. (And Nina, if you're reading this - we went through Munich on the way, which I forgot to tell you before, so we never looked any further into the restaurant.)

We arrived on time, but sat on the runway waiting for a parking space, which took about 15 minutes. Which meant we were unloading as they were boarding our next flight, but we (really just Nick) thought we could make it.

They then announced we'd all be going through passport control. And then unloaded the entire plane into a long, sectioned bus. This took another 15 minutes.

Up to this point I'd been all, "Fuck! We're never going to make it!"

And Nick had been all, "Don't worry sweetie, we'll make it."

And then the bus and the passport control were the end of his optimism.

We all poured out at the other end, and we rushed to a monitor, hoping for a delay. No delay. Fuck.

And suddenly, this stark contrast between the chaos of Turkey and the phenomenal organization of Germany appeared like a rainbow.

We looked up, and Nick spotted a man with a sign: United 933 to Washington, DC. We followed him at an impressive clip, avoided passport control and some countless number of corridors, and arrived just in time to make our flight.

Seriously, I could have kissed him. With tongue. Except that you're not supposed to do that once you're married. In fact, you're probably not supposed to do that to airport officials at all. Nick got in big trouble for trying to remove his belt before it had crossed the red line exiting from the X-ray machine at the gate.

Verboten. It has to cross the line.

Being Nick, he taunted the guy a little by re-reaching for it as it was still partway on the line. And was re-chastised.

"Sir! It has not yet crossed the red line!"

Wile it's hard to understand why it really fucking matters whether the items is on the line or past it, if we'd been in the US, I know we'd have missed our flight. I've never, ever had an airport official in the US be remotely helpful about getting through security faster to make a connection.

I told the guy who was waiting for us that we were sure we'd miss our flight, and he said "We were worried about the same thing. That's why I'm here."

Wouldn't that make you want to grab his young little freshly-scrubbed face and plant a big smooch on it?

And then we got on the plane, had a number of $6 drinks (free on Lufthansa flights on the way - another yay! for the Deutsch), sat for what felt like the next 25 hours, but was really only 8 or so, met some cool seat-mates, and finally, finally arrived at Dulles.

My dad very kindly collected us, and took us to their house, where my car was parked. And Betty fed us tea and they both oohed and aahed over the carpets Nick got.

And last night we slept in our own bed, and drank water from the tap! when we woke up thirsty, and went for a nice run this morning, and are having a Sunday of living happily ever after.

Or something like that.

I hope this finds you all well. I'm happy to be home.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Romance Reduction Plan - three easy steps

You may, at some point in your life, find yourself with too much time and romance on your hands.

Maybe you're on your honeymoon. Maybe you're on a holiday. Something of the sort.

Bear in mind that the ternary Romance Reduction Plan (RRP) I'm offering would be practically impossible to orchestrate in advance. I can't imagine how. So in case of too much romance, you will probably have to be creative. But I offer these as suggestions or guidelines.

Because maybe at first your vacation is perfect. It's all hand holding and sightseeing and fun. The weather is perfect, travel is great, you're getting along amazingly. This goes along for an idyllic week.

Say, however, you're one of these people who gets tired of too much sweetness and romance. Enough, at some point, is enough. What do you do?

I am here to tell you that bringing it to a screeching halt? Easy. Very easy.

Step one: Contract violent diarrhea. Accompany it with a fever and chills, if you like.

I am pretty sure that when Nick proposed he never, ever imagined that one day the petite blonde he fell in love with would be capable of the kind of putrescence he now realizes I can produce. And it wasn't just the paint-peelingly malodorous kind of diarrhea, but the kind that sings with a sound that reaches under doors and through walls to make sure it is heard by your companion and at least three passing birds.

In other words: the humiliatingly hellacious kind.

And not once. But all. Day. Long. For two days. Well, three, but the third day was a lot better.

The improvement on the third day was lucky for two reasons. One, that was the only day we could go to Ephesus, and I wasn't about it miss it, even if I had to dehydrate the shit out of myself (no pun intended) and crawl on my hands and knees to see it. And two, it improved just in time for step two of the RRP.

Step two: Begin menstruating.

This needs no explanation. Could you feel less sexy ever than with the diarrhea and your period?

I think not.

Step three, which is superfluous, but never hurts, when the goal is Reduced Romance: Contract a cold.

You should try to do this just as the diarrhea is pretty much under control and period is in full swing. This little trick will ensure that at no time are fewer than two of your orifices incredibly busy. It's enough, I assure you. Plus, all three together would be too much of a test for the strongest among us.

Other than that, it's all been a Turkish delight - really and truly spectacular.

Although on a side bar, Turkish Delight, while a gorgeous name, is a sweet I truly dislike. If I were naming it, I'd call it Turkish Dread. But that's probably an example of poor marketing.

So anyway.

We fly tomorrow, laden with carpets, evil eye amulets, bags full of filthy clothing, about 87 gajillion digital photos, and incredible memories. Getting sick sucked ass, but as for the rest of it, I couldn't have asked for a better holiday.

Friday, October 03, 2008

And here we are, a little bit exhausted in Istanbul

The Internet room at the hotel is in hot demand. Also, it's hot. And moist. And the connection is slow. So I will be brief.

First, thank you all for the nice comments. It was very fun reading through them. I can't wait to see all the wedding pictures and write about the weekend. It was such a great time.

So.

Istanbul? Is amazing. It's beautiful and historic and stunning and exhausting all at the same time.

I will say this. It's a fantastic trip, but if what you want to do is relax after you get married, you shouldn't come to Istanbul. Particularly not with me. I think Nick has walked more in the past three days than in the last year.

Walking itself is a bit of a challenge, as everything requires a shove through a crowd. And there are 80 gazillion people everywhere. Plus, it seems like at least half of them want you to look at their rugs. Or try their delicious fish.

"Excuse me. Where are you from?"

This is how it begins. And it ends with you being walked to a rug shop. Or offered a menu. Nick doesn't mind it but it makes me very tired.

I must mention that people have been incredibly kind and friendly, and the shopkeepers are quick to offer you tea while you sit and look at their rugs. Even if you don't buy anything, they are unfailingly hospitable.

The second night we were here, we wound up spending a couple hours in a rug shop that Nick wanted to go to. I was so tired, and while it was interesting, was just genuinely too exhausted from the wedding weekend, the travel, and the jet lag to think about making a purchase.

The salesman pushed, but not too hard. He was a great reader of people, at at a certain point, he just stopped. Very friendly, but wasn't going to push me past my limit.

I said I was tired and he said, "You look a little bit exhausted."

That's what I was. A little bit exhausted.

I offered, as explanation, "We just got married on Saturday."

And in my mind I was thinking about all the planning and work and preparation and nervousness leading up to it. And the fun of Friday night, and the running around of Saturday, the fantastic night, and the dancing, and all the wine and champagne and then beer on top of it all, and the staying out till 3 am Sunday morning. And the slogging through the hangover and the packing and the long plane trip and the jet lag.

But you could so clearly see on his face the reason he thought I was tired.

He beamed at us. And said, "Usually, after people get married, it is the man who is tired!"