Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Things to Come

Wednesday night, Mr. Wonderful sent me a picture of our cluster of newborns. We love dreaming about the vineyard we'll live on one day, with goats and chickens roaming about and a small production of chardonnay or pinot noir growing in neat rows.

It's hard to stay focused on the present when there are so many things to look forward to.

As I drove down Franklin Avenue in Hollywood this week, I watched a chic hipster girl walking her dog in sunglasses and earbuds. "Am I going to be that girl when I move here?" I wondered. I can't wait to call myself a citizen of Tinseltown.

I cannot wait to cohabitate with Mr. W and I cannot wait to marry him.

But I know that this time right now should be cherished. I need to slow down and be in these moments of puzzle-piecing anticipation. How are we going to make everything fit together for our special day? I should be enjoying the process like love of the game.

I sort of forgot this for a little while. Then I was making an appointment to go look at bridesmaid dresses this weekend and the woman on the phone said, "Are you the bride?" I am the bride. I had almost forgotten.

Tonight Mr. W and I met with our officiant. I researched a variety of people online, and as soon as I got to her website, I just felt like she was it. There was an energy about her that came off the page, and her site was peppered with pro-gay marriage messages, which was exactly what I wanted. Sitting in the coffeeshop with her tonight, I got teary as she walked us through the vows she had prepared. Like the moment I tried on my dress and remembered: I'm getting married. This isn't a race to the perfectly planned party. It's a single season in my life that I'll only experience once. So I'm going to be much more careful about enjoying it.

204 days to go until The Big Day. I'll try to tackle each one slowly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where'd My Gouda Go?

When I was in my twenties, a coworker bought my mom the book Who Moved My Cheese. I remember thinking it was...well...a cheesy book, but I read it anyway—just to see what all the hype was about.

It's a funny little parable that follows miniature people and a couple of mice as they carry out life in a giant maze. One day, the cheese they subsist on is moved. The mice quickly begin exploring uncharted parts of the maze to find new cheese, and the people wander around whining. Every day, they go back to the spot where the cheese used to be and lament the fact that it's not there anymore.

How many times have we all done this in relationships?

You have a friendship that was once supportive and fun and then one day turns into a cat-and-mouse game of flaky unresponsiveness. You call and email and expect she'll turn back into her old self, but the brie you once shared is gone. Yet you find yourself trying and trying to get it back...

Or you have a boyfriend who courted the spanx off you in the beginning and then turns into a cold, inconsiderate stranger who on some level you know you shouldn't be with—but you keep trying to get him to be his old self again. The attentive, nice guy who made your manchego melt. No matter how much you try, though, he won't change his ways.

It's funny how we'll go through the same steps a million times and expect that maybe *just this one time* things will be different. But even if you get your one time of difference, isn't it almost a given that at some point you'll end up in the same cycle you were in before?

We hang on to that 10% of goodness—when 90% is lacking—fully hoping by some miracle that we'll suddenly get 100% of our precious Parmesan back.

But the truth is that the cheese is gone. And no matter how much we shake our fists or cry about how things should be different, they are not. And the best we can do is move down a different corridor of the maze and see if we can find something new to sustain us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Seamless in Seattle

Last week, Mr. Wonderful and I set out to explore two hotspots in the Pacific Northwest. When we discovered that Mr. W had never been to Seattle and I'd never been to Vancouver, BC (or Canada at all for that matter) we knew we needed to plan a trip.

My goodness, what beautiful cities they both were.

During my trip to Seattle 7 or 8 years ago, I stayed with friends and didn't really stop to appreciate the full lay of the land. The thing that struck me about the city this time (and Vancouver too, actually) was just how well-thought and cohesive everything was. You can walk everywhere. There's art everywhere. And beautiful architecture. There's public transportation and coffeeshops and interesting boutiques on every block. It's convenient. And it's amazingly clean.

On the Seattle Underground Tour, we learned that the city wasn't always like this. Apparently the founders of Seattle initially built everything on top of sawdust from the local mill, causing it all to sink after while. They made a few more attempts—at one point elevating the streets above the shops and sidewalks, so people had to climb up and down ladders to switch levels—but failed until they finally made a vow to "do it all the right way." And do right they did.

In addition to the general chicness of the city, Mr. W and I got to have dinner with the eternally hilarious, charming and chic Miss Sizzle and her Mr. Darcy. We went to a great wine bar/restaurant called The Purple Cafe, filling our tummies with cheese and pork medallions and beef tenderloin and chocolate. That Sizzle has great taste! What a fun night.

When we drove to Vancouver Saturday morning, I was again blown away by just how consistent and well planned the cityscape was. LA isn't like that. It's patch-worky and mixed up; there are trash and hoodlums on the streets, with pockets of greatness tucked between freeways and strip malls. Don't get me wrong: I love LA. I love its mini-metropolises and its suburbs. I love downtown and Hollywood and Pasadena. It would just be really cool if everything felt like it was designed with a plan in mind. Like it all went together. Like it was meant to have people traveling its streets (not in bumper-to-bumper traffic).

Even the food in Vancouver was impressively orchestrated. We went to a sushi-esque restaurant and they delivered a full forest-like set piece to our table with our sashimi attached. That takes some brain power and nimble fingers. By the way, the fish was fantastic. I had my first few mussels there. Wow. Seriously delicious.

At various points, Mr. W and I both said to each other, "I could probably live here." He's lived in Vancouver before, so it wasn't a huge stretch. And I think the gorgeous weather probably influenced our opinions quite a bit.

But as much as I loved both of our stops, I felt a sense of relief when we returned back to the stifling streets of Burbank this afternoon. They may be lined with bits of litter and big commercial retail chains, but they lead the way home.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coming to a Theater Near You

It occurred to me recently that all the carefully planned elements of a wedding come together to create more of a stage production than an intimate exchange of promises by two people. Sure, you can arrange it so there's just the two of you, vowing to love for a lifetime. But most traditional weddings today are so much more about costumes, stage cues and set decor. Some are unabashedly about the spectacle of it all (I've been watching too many episodes of My Fair Wedding with David Tutera).

Even just thinking about the fact that someone "backstage" will have to start a wedding march before I can walk out seems weird to me when I stop and think about it. There's so much choreography that I just never noticed.

I guess any moron would have realized that events requiring rehearsals are productions of some sort—but again, I'd never really thought about this.

It's kind of strange. Who are we doing it all for? Do the people we love really care what we're wearing and whether our first dance is timed correctly between cocktails and dinner? Or do they care only that we've found a match and are taking a committed step forward together?

I honestly don't know the answer. And I'm too far deep into it now to really even start this line of questioning. But it seems odd when I stop and consider it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hot Depot

I'm not sure if it's just a little known secret...or if it's just me...but going to Home Depot with the man in your life is a total aphrodisiac.

I first experienced the HDE (Home Depot Effect) back in 2004. I had a mad crush on this guy and when he asked me if I wanted to run to Home Depot with him after our lunch date, a strange sense of excitement flooded my system. There was something incredibly sexy about watching him pick brackets or anchors or whatever he was getting out of those little cardboard boxes.

He was going to build something.
And that was hot.

I suppose this is all akin to the classic Chip 'N' Dale's construction worker stripper. All burly and tough, with nothing but a tool belt between you and his hammer. He could totally come over to your house and lift heavy stuff or saw something in half or replace that broken stair on your back patio. He is capable. And that makes him hot. Surely he has spent many an hour at Home Depot.

Now that I've been dating a do-it-yourselfer for 2.75 years, you'd think that maybe the HDE would be wearing off a little. But it's not. There's just something about that place. When Mr. Wonderful tells me he needs to go buy stain, a paintbrush and caulk, I jump at the chance to go with him (and make about 10 million jokes about the last thing on his list, because how could I not?).

I watch his handsome shoulders twist as he reaches up to palm the face of a wood plank. I grab a little curl on his head as he bends down to look through tile edging. I have to resist the urge to make out with him in the paint swatch aisle. It's all very romantic.

I think Home Depot is missing out on a really important demographic in their advertising: Women who think it's hot to see guys buying stuff at a home improvement store. Maybe I could try to pitch them on a new ad campaign...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sorry Ladies, This Charmer's All Mine

Saturday night, Mr. Wonderful and I were getting ready for bed when I started to feel a little slap-happy. He was brushing his teeth when I made a funny face and smooshed my boobs together, mustering as much cleavage as I could by sliding my biceps along the sides of my chest.

"Looks like two hamburger patties," he said.



"You're telling me that my boobs look like flat little patties of ground meat?"


"Dude! No way to win over a woman!"

"I meant more like hamburger buns."


"And not just any old hamburger buns but like the big ones you buy at Costco."

"You're not really making it better."

I know, all the female readers are crushed that he's taken...

Monday, August 9, 2010

With This Ring, I Thee Stress

Tired of reading wedding posts yet?

I'm beginning to think that planning a wedding is a lot like having children. There are all sorts of magical moments that will forever be tucked in your memory—but most of the time, your life is coated in a fine glaze of stress. Like a low-grade fever. And every now and then, it spikes.

Like any good fever, this one has been causing me to have all sorts of crazy dreams. Last night, I was seeing fonts and invitation designs. And Mr. Wonderful and I were trying to design a poster or something for the wedding. I've also been to ill-fated dress fittings, gotten un-removable lotion gunked up in my ring and even had all the guests show up on the wrong day while I've been lingering in slumberland.

You should see the dark circles under my eyes...

The worst dreams, though, are the pure stress manifestation dreams. Like the one I had last Thursday night. First I hit a gravel patch while driving and my car tipped over and crashed. Then, when I was trying to call for help, my cell phone kept breaking. I couldn't reach anyone. Finally, I walked to a diner alongside the highway and while I was there trying to fix my phone, my purse got stolen. Hello, worst-case-scenario dreamer!

My coworker taught me this anxiety-relieving technique where you tap your index fingers against your clavicle and think the word "calm." I think I clavicle tapped like 15 times this weekend. Fortunately, it seems to work in the moment.

Although my waking life has had some rollercoaster climbs and drops, I've managed to squeeze in some fun around the planning. This weekend I bought a bunch of supplies to make wedding jewelry. And I bought some cute little ballet flats that I think I'll embellish with Swarovski pearls and crystals to match the jewelry. I also bought our guestbook and customized it to match our invitations. All the crafty, DIY stuff is what I live for.

And the rest? Well, I'm hoping it turns out sort of like childbirth and that after some years, the memory of the pain will mellow, and all the who's and what's and day-to-day stresses will linger in my mind as hazy, sweet, sentimental experiences. Maybe by then I'll have stopped dreaming about them, too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

For the Love of Aloneness

I love this blogger. Love this post. Love the video she found to go with it. Check it out:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Big Day for Equality

I am so lucky.

Not just because I met the man of my dreams, but because I know beyond a doubt that I will be allowed to marry him. I have that right.

And knowing now the excitement and gratitude that come with having a wedding on the horizon, I feel even more strongly that everyone should have that right. Sexual orientation should not disqualify you.

When I heard the news today that a federal judge in San Francisco overturned Prop 8 for being unconstitutional, I was ecstatic. I immediately started IMing my gay friends—one of whom was crying at his desk at work. I hope very much that this repeal sticks. But either way, it's progress we need.

Progress that's deserved for anyone who is in love like I am.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Fought the Dress and the Dress Won

Friday afternoon I went to another bridal salon. I'd made peace with the fact that I might need to stretch my budget a few hundred, and I was trying to be open-minded about styles because you just never know what might look good on you. That said, some of my cynicism still lingered. It's just a stupid piece of clothing that you wear one day of your life.

Our salesgirl was delightful, chatting me up as she clamped me into over-sized gowns while my mom, sister and niece waited outside on the couch. The first dress elicited gasps and doe eyes from my relatives. Even I was taken aback at how beautiful it was. And it fit me in a way I'm not sure any other dress has in my life (in terms of the lines, not the clamps).

Dress #2 was also gorgeous. Again, the family swooned when I walked out to show them.

I tried on 5 or 6 more, each stunning in their own way...but the first two were the clear winners. I had a choice to make. Suddenly I was invested in this whole dress business.

I put on the first dress again and this time our lovely salesgirl brought me a veil. She attached it to the crown of my head as I stood on one of the seamstress floor-risers. My mom and sister were behind me, fanning out the train. I looked at myself. I looked at my family. And then without any warning, I burst into tears.

NEVER would I have predicted this would happen to me. I am the jaded bride. Not the weepy one. But there I was, overflowing with this feeling of rightness and joy that THIS was the gown for me.

The tears were such a surprise—totally unexpected. I realize now that it could have been the reality of the entire situation setting in, in a single moment. I'm marrying Mr. Wonderful. I'm going to walk down an aisle toward him and make lifelong promises. And for whatever reason, I could see myself doing it in THAT dress.

I thought I would be happy just to check the darn dress shopping off my list. But now, like a big schmoopy chick, I'm happy that I bought a dress I absolutely love.