Friday, August 19, 2011

New Name. New Address. Last Post.


When I was a kid, I found a slip of paper in my baby book that had a list of names on it my mother had considered during her pregnancy with me. I think the top, starred girl name on the list was "Melissa/Misty." Thank God they didn't go with that as a nickname. We had a friend with a poodle named Misty. "Holly" was also on the list, which I always thought would have gone nicely with "Hetherington." If I were a boy, they were thinking they'd go with "Brent."

Though they chose "Melissa/No-Misty," I answered to "Heather" for much of my life, thanks to my last name. Teachers often called me Heather. People who met me and forgot my name used that one in its place. Coworkers mistakenly summoned me by it.

The name confusion is probably the one thing I won't miss about losing Hetherington.

Actually, that and having to write or say 12 letters every time I spell out my name.

But even with the few upsides to changing, the thought of a different moniker has taken me awhile to fully accept. You might remember my freakout about changing my initials. And then there was the heel-dragging on filling out forms on MissNowMrs.com. I've stretched the process out for 5 whole months (yes, today is our 5-month anniversary) and now it's pretty much totally complete.

My new last name is actually a beautiful one. It means "of the sea" in Greek. Funny because Melissa means "honeybee" in Greek, so now I'm Honeybee of the Sea. Brings sort of a cute visual to mind.

I was messing around on Etsy the other day and decided to create a treasury around the idea of Greek seas. It sort of made my new last name feel even prettier...


So now that I've made my peace with being a "Maris" instead of a "Hetherington," I've decided it's time to retire this blog and move over permanently to 'S Wonderful.

I still plan to write goofy stories and personal insights over there, even though I initially started it to be a blog about married life. I will still be Mel Heth on the inside. Just with a bit of a twist on the outside.

I really hope you'll all follow me over there. Update your blogrolls and reader feeds.

It's been so great getting to know you all over here. Wonderful, really...

See you soon at http://ourlifeofwonderful.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Cheeky

I had a very visual reminder this past weekend of how much I need to get back into shape. And maybe spend some more time in the sun. And perhaps invest in a cellulite-reducing cream.

Find out all the dirty details at 'S Wonderful.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Havisham, Here I Come

I'm over here at 'S Wonderful, writing about being a lonelywed. I guess I should let you all know that very, very soon I'll probably be posting over there all the time. Two blogs is one too many for me, and this URL is becoming outdated. I'll let ya know when I make the switch and I hope you'll all continue to follow me over there! Even if I do become Miss Havisham in the next couple weeks...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Diary of a D Cup

Do you ladies out there know your real bra size? Not the one you think you're supposed to wear, but the real, true one you should be special ordering from Vicky Secrets?

Check out my latest 'S Wonderful post and you may be surprised by what you learn. I know I was!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sometimes Even Sneaky Peekers Receive Surprises AKA Nick Jonas Has Nice Hair

Before Christmas when I was in second or third grade, my older sister caught me and my cousin Kim peeking at our unwrapped presents. I knew where my mom had hidden them, and was certain my sister wouldn't hear what we were up to, so we went on our merry way and rifled through the Christmas shopping bags.

When my sister found us, she gave us a stern lecture but promised not to rat us out. Lie. She totally told on us. And of course my mom threatened to return all my gifts to their stores.

It's fitting that some twenty-odd years later, my niece peeked at a birthday present I'd bought for her.

I think it was 6 or 7 years ago when I'd taken the birthday outfit I'd purchased over to show my sister. I left it in a bag in the living room and when I went to leave, I noticed that the bag wasn't how I'd left it. I asked my niece, we'll call her Al (like that Paul Simon song) and I believe she tried to deny it at first. Then I think she burst into tears and said she really liked the skirt. I didn't know whether to laugh or give her a time out.

Then the next time I saw her, she gave me this. Which I've saved all these years...

In case you need a translation, it says: Dear Auntie, I'm sorry
I peeked in the bag, but I am glad to be just
...


like you and Kim. Most of all is to get a boyfriend when I'm 30 and get married.


I think it's hysterical that her apology included a littler buttering up about how she liked being like me and cousin Kim (my partner in crime for childhood gift peeking) but even funnier that at age 6 or 7, she was concerned with getting a boyfriend when she was 30. I'm pretty sure I was still in my 20s when she wrote this—it was nice of her to up the age on her note.

This year, Al is turning 13.

And in grand auntie tradition, I planned a very special night out to celebrate her induction into teenagehood. Her favorite food is Chinese, so I took her to Chin Chin on the Sunset Strip for dinner. After that, we did a little shopping at Hollywood & Highland and grabbed a pastry at Beard Papa's. Then we hiked up Highland Avenue to the Hollywood Bowl where we had tickets to see Hairspray. The big bonus for my niece: Nick Jonas was playing one of the lead roles. (Though Harvey Fierstein blew everyone else out of the water).

My sneaky little niece figured out her birthday surprise before I took her Friday night.

She knew what night we were doing our big celebration and when she saw a commercial for Hairspray on TV, she was certain that's what we were doing. I can't believe she found me out again...

The only person who turned out surprised that night was me: Nick Jonas was shockingly entertaining. Who knew?

I guess after peeking and foiling my own surprises as a kid, I can't get upset that my niece operates the same way. I wonder if she reads ahead in novels like I do. Thank goodness for both of us that there are still unexpected treats out in the world. Like Nick Jonas's biceps.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Great Kid Debate

Saturday afternoon, I got stuck in an elevator at IKEA. This was my first time ever being stuck in an elevator.

I was riding from floor 2 to floor 1 with three friends from high school, two toddlers, three babies, two strollers and a shopping cart. It was hot in there. The alarm was ringing loudly. When I finally figured out which switch had been tampered with by tiny hands and the doors opened, I was hankering for an adult beverage.

The funny thing was that right before we got into the elevator, we were discussing whether or not I wanted kids. Whether I was really cut out for it. When we emerged from the stalled IKEA car, my girlfriend said, "That was a sign!"

I said, "I know - a loud one with alarm bells screaming DON'T DO IT!"

"No," she said. "A sign you should do it. You were totally calm in there."

And therein lies the debate that my brain and uterus seem to be having on a daily basis. My womb insists that I should for sure have kids, that I can absolutely handle it and that I might actually like it. Then my brain jumps in and explains that I love my free time, love dinners out with Mr. W, love drinking wine and traveling, am not a fan of poop or throw-up or bratty friends or sleepless nights. My brain reminds my baby parts about the news story I just saw about the kid in Florida who killed his parents with a hammer and the little girl on Oprah with multiple personalities.

For every positive I can think of, there are about a thousand negatives or concerns to match it.

The main being, I just don't really know that I ever want to take on that kind of responsibility.

My Creative Director at work has told me multiple times that I would make a great CD myself one day. Every time, I smile and say, "no way." I don't want the responsibility. I'm flattered by his confidence in me, but I'm a Peter Pan girl. I'm not looking to leave Neverland anytime soon.

You could totally handle the kids thing, my uterus, friends and family say.

I could probably handle running a half marathon multiple times in a month but I don't want to do that. I could handle giving up chocolate and wine, but I don't want to do that either. I'm a pleasure junky.

So the debate continues.

I'm kind of wishing they made muzzles for biological clocks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Community Cravings

Last Friday night, I was running an errand up near my beloved hometown and I ran smack dab into my cousin and her two sons. We were both at Home Goods and ended up goofing around for a good thirty minutes in the store together. Even though it was 9:00 at night.

It made me miss Montrose.

That's the town I lived in for 8 years before I moved in with Mr. Wonderful. My grandmother's father was one of the first real estate developers there, so my family has lived in the vicinity for 3 (or rather 4 if you count my nieces) generations.

It is virtually impossible for me not to run in to familiar faces on the streets up there. So it wasn't a huge surprise to see my cousin out shopping.

These things don't happen to me in Hollywood.

The past several times I've gone to Montrose to see friends or family, I feel a little ache in my gut. It's a very charming small town (the main street is the one Will Ferrell went streaking down in Old School) with tree-lined streets and neat little houses. It feels safe and inviting. Cozy. Like home. Mr. Wonderful often calls it Mayberry.

But I realized on Friday night that the quaintness of the town isn't why I miss it. I don't want to move back. Don't want to retire there.

What I miss is the community it holds. The connections I have there—from high school, from my college coffeehouse job, from family and friends of family. It's really neat to know so many people in such a small space.

It seems to me that one can create a similar sense of community almost anywhere. People do it in their neighborhoods in New York City. And even when they live miles apart from neighbors out in the country. There has to be a way for me to cultivate that in Hollywood. I'm just not entirely sure how.

I know people routinely develop little friend circles by frequenting bars or particular shops or gyms or yoga studios. Sadly, I'm not über motivated to do any of those things. I think I'm more drawn to trying to meet friends of friends in the area. I do know some great people in town. The Boss and his awesome wife live just a few blocks from us and have had me over for some fun little get togethers. But of course, I crave more because of what I used to have in Montrose.

Mr. W has teased me recently after we met a couple of his friends' girlfriends. I was so enthusiastic and immediately wanted to be BFFs with them. Mr. W totally pinned me as a stalker and told me to simmer down or I'd scare them away. (I friended both on Facebook anyway...) I guess I was just hoping to find a new hiking buddy or movie pal.

It's sort of like being single again. I have to figure out how to hit on people in a non-creepy way. So, of course, I'm looking for advice. How do you guys build out your communities without seeming like desperate social rejects?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Thinking of Adding a Pear Tree. And a Partridge.


Yesterday's backyard harvest was one of the best ones yet! I ate all 5 of the strawberries, made a tomato-basil salad with a couple of the big guys above and whipped up zucchini pasta for dinner tonight. Maybe there'll be a stuffed pepper dinner later in the week.

For some more pics of our little backyard farm, check out 'S Wonderful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Quiet House Makes a Thankful Heart

I'm over at 'S Wonderful today thanking my lucky stars and thinking about the effects we all have on each other's lives. I can't help it—I get a little schmoopy when Mr. W is away for work.

Read my post here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nothing Satisfies Quite Like the Real Deal


I eat dark chocolate almost every day.

I keep a stash in my desk drawer and peel into it in the late afternoon, pretending I'm just out to get my fill of antioxidants. But really, I just want the chocolate fix.

I've tried substituting other things. Fruit. Almonds. Cottage cheese. Milk chocolate. Which usually just leaves me eating more and more to try to fill the original craving. Nothing is as good as a little square of the dark.

But what if all my dark chocolate was out of the country for 7 weeks? How would I hit the 75% cacao spot in my stomach?

I suppose I would schedule as many activities as I could and start a million craft projects for my Etsy store and try to finally get my chocolate-eating butt in gear when it came to writing. At night I would lie in bed, missing the chocolate. I would get up and hike the next morning with an apple or a graham cracker and feel reasonably satisfied, but not fully.

I would drink wine alone on the couch, remembering times chocolate had been there with me, laughing over a mishap on Iron Chef. I would tend all the vegetables in the backyard, wishing chocolate was around to give me a little energy boost.

I would see movies with friends but think about having chocolate's hand intertwined in mine during the film.

All the distractions in the world couldn't quiet the chocolate yearning. Which is why it's going to be so hard to go without him for the next 7 weeks while he's in London working on that damn movie again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is It Better to Contract or Expand?

A couple of weeks ago, I broke down and joined Twitter. Feel free to follow me...

My main motivation for this was the thought that maybe I could promote my Etsy store on there after I beef it up a little. And maybe someday, promote a book I write. I also felt a sort of duty to my job to round out my grasp of social media. Everyone is tweeting now, everyone is liking everything on Facebook.

The problem with adding another site to my collection of online endeavors is that I now have yet another time sucker to keep me from writing (or blogging or giving scalp massages to my new groom). And it has me wondering whether it's smart to expand all this Internet stuff—indulging hobbies on Etsy, documenting life on the blog, socializing with old friends on Facebook—or if I would be wise to simplify. Contract. Decrease.

I appreciate social media as a marketing tool. But in my effort to embrace social outlets, I'm worried I'm going to keep myself so occupied, I'll never actually have anything to market there.

So I'm wondering where you all net out with this stuff. A lot of you blog. Do you lose hours on Facebook? Do you tweet? And if you do it all, do you find it hard to balance? Is less more here or do I need to widen my perspective?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Men Are from Mars. And Sometimes So Are Their Daughters.

My dad worked for the same company for 44 years.

He started out there as a slick-haired 18-year-old and retired at 62, the grandfather of three girls. I have no idea how he stuck with it for that long.

He used to leave for work every day at 6:30 a.m. and return home at 4:30 p.m., change his clothes and retreat to his rocking chair where he would engross himself in crossword puzzles or the latest issue of Popular Mechanics. By the time my mom got home at 5:30, he was refreshed and ready to hear the tales of her hen house-like office job.

He had a system and it worked.

When I read the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in college, there was a section in it about men "going to their caves" that immediately made me think of my dad. That's what he was doing in his rocking chair: removing himself from society so he could recharge his batteries.

The book said women dealt with stress differently, but I don't think that's the case with all of us.

You see, lately I've been noticing that I too do better if I can "go to my cave" after a hard day. Although I've been living with Mr. Wonderful for almost 8 months now, this just occurred to me last week. I was having a particularly frustrating time at work and one night Mr. W wasn't home yet when I arrived.

I poured myself a glass of wine. Decompressed. Shed my grumpiness from the prior 9 hours. By the time Mr. W got home, I was perky and pleasant to be around. (My mother and sister are rolling their eyes and muttering "liar" right now.) Every other day last week, I wasn't in the best mood when I greeted my hubby.

I really think the alone time did the trick.

Not quite sure yet what to do with this information. Maybe I need to tell Mr. W not to talk to me for 15 minutes when I get home. Or maybe I need to make it a habit to lock myself in the bedroom for a little while until I can have a peppy attitude.

Just when I think I've learned everything I could from my parents, dear old dad gives me another life lesson...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Beauty of a Staycation


The big, fat Internet company I work for threw us a nice juicy bone this past weekend when they gave us not only Monday but Tuesday off for the 4th of July.

Mr. Wonderful and I debated on whether we should take advantage of my free holiday and go on a trip somewhere, but the idea of not packing, not getting travel weary, and cleaning out the garage (note: garage cleaning is NOT vacationary AT ALL) appealed to me more. So a staycation it was!

Rather than just hang around the house and catch up on chorebies (sometimes even hobbies feel like chores...) we brainstormed some ways to spice things up. When Mr. W proposed the idea of visiting the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, I was sold. We've always been big fans of those sorts of places.

We loved strolling the gardens of Paris in 2009.


And we dug Kew Gardens outside of Richmond in the UK.


The Arboretum definitely satisfied our European garden appetite. Visit 'S Wonderful to check out some of the cool pictures we took while we were there:

http://ourlifeofwonderful.blogspot.com/2011/07/all-this-and-they-filmed-fantasy-island.html

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Little Smidge of Horrifying Humor

This isn't necessarily a story I'd normally broadcast all over the Internet, but I found it quite funny and my pants are too tight today (likely cutting off bloodflow to my brain) so I'm going to share it.

Let me first start by putting us all on an equal plane: we all have body hair. In weird places. I think everyone has experienced the boobie creeper hair that pops up overnight. (A friend of mine once called it haireola.) And we've all caught the glint of a random chin whisker in the mirror. Some of you even have patches on your toes that require shaving.

So it should have been no surprise that I would end up with a tickler in my nasal cavity.

It all started Sunday when Mr. Wonderful and I went to a screening of Cars 2 and, in the darkness of the theater, I thought I had a cat hair up my nose. Every now and then, I'd breathe out and feel something up there. But I didn't seem to be able to whisk it away with the back of my hand.

Maybe it was the wine I had later in the night, but I stopped noticing the feeling and figured the stray fuzz/cat hair/phantom poker had disappeared.

Then I went to work Monday and felt it again. And I knew.

After work, I greeted Mr. W in the kitchen and told him I thought I had a monster nose hair growing in my right nostril. I don't think he signed up for that kind of talk when he married me, but he's stuck now.

I assembled my tools: a hand mirror, a pair of scissors and a set of tweezers. I sat down in the bright evening light by our sliding glass door and peeked up my nose.

Sure enough, there it was. A rogue hair growing from somewhere far up in the cavern down toward the entry hole. Tickling. Horrifying.

I'm happy to say that he is much shorter now. And that Mr. W has not served me divorce papers. Likely because of that one random sprout he gets on his earlobe sometimes.

Ah, the joys of getting older. I seriously do not even want to know what else lies ahead...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mano Y Mano

I'm over at 'S Wonderful today talking about hand-holding. You can read the post here.

Um, and while you're over there, wanna add your name to my followers list? It feels awfully lonely on blog #2 with only one devotee. (Thanks for your loyalty, Scribe!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

When One Moment Passes, There's Another Right Behind It


Upon returning from my two-week honeymoon last month, I found myself thinking a lot about time limits. Not deadlines, exactly, but rather periods of time you know won't last. (I guess life is a period of time we know won't last, but bear with me...)

On vacation, you don't really know if the time you have in a particular city or a particular park or at a particular restaurant will be your one and only, so you generally tend to soak it up in a most magnificent in-the-moment way. You live each second. You enjoy experiences to an extent you might not at home. Because home is available. Like the nice guy you put off dating because you know he'll always be there waiting for you.

My return from Italy left me thinking, "how can I create that same sense of urgency and commitment to the moment in my day-to-day life?"

I did it when I got laid off in 2003. I got up every morning and made the most of every day—sometimes writing for hours on end—because I knew it wouldn't last forever.

But in the safety of my gainfully employed nest, I can't seem to push myself to live with the kind of vigor that comes naturally on trips and during bouts of joblessness. And unfortunately, once you've experienced that feeling, when you're not sensing it you sort of feel like you're not living.

If only I could fully convince my brain that life is short and every day counts, even if they're spent at your stand-up desk.

I want to be burning with desire to write. I want to hustle to churn out query letters or Etsy business cards or even that scrapbook of my half marathons. But I keep thinking I have all the time in the world for that. All the time in the world to fritter away on Tivo and Facebook.

Any suggestions on how I can get myself to start making more—making the most—of every moment? Even if it's not in a piazza in Italy?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pucker Up!

I'm blogging over at 'S Wonderful tonight. Talking lemons and future lemon orchards and limoncello. Ah, to be a real farmer someday...

Um and also, here's a little shameless promotion of some of my recent Etsy additions. Gotta plug the goods anywhere I can, right?

Upcycled jewelry catch-all

Italian leather journals with eco-fi felt cover buddies

Upcycled travel jewelry box with eco-fi felt flower

Upcycled travel jewelry container with eco-fi felt owl top

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sc Sc Sc Score!

You guys, the Ttt Ttt dude got moved to a different floor. This means my eye twitch and neck spasm might stop!

What's more exciting though, is that I got a stand-up desk today.

Several weeks back when I was in the throes of insanity with Ttt Ttt and my new seating situation, I decided to put in a request to the ergonomics department to get my desk elevated.

See, I work for an Internet company that believes everyone should be equally miserable in grey, 4.5-foot-tall cubicles. But having my desk raised meant I could look over the walls and actually see my team members again and potentially attain an altitude above the jet stream of Ttting.

Then the Universe threw me a huge bone by not only enabling me to get my desk raised, but to have it moved over to a seat that was being vacated by one of Ttt Ttt's coworkers. I now have a view out the floor-to-ceiling balcony windows. Score.

In addition to my boosted morale, I'm pretty sure that I've extended my life expectancy. According to the American Cancer Society, "women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day."

Yikes, right?

I've also heard that standing releases certain enzymes that help your metabolism. All in all, it just seems like a healthier option for getting through my 9-6.

The other benefits I discovered this morning after I moved in? I feel super productive like a cat who is continually springing into action because I'm on my feet. And even better than that: when a good song comes on iTunes, I can totally dance in place. Awe. Some.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Thing I Wasn't Wearing Wooden Shoes When I Stuck My Foot in My Mouth


This past weekend, I attended a very lovely wine-tasting bachelorette party in one of my most favorite getaway cities, Solvang, California. It's practically a second home for me—I've tried new dishes there, completed a couple of half marathons, and even rung in the New Year with my parents. Its windmill-lined streets and Danish charm have a very special place in my heart. However, it's a pretty funny little town.

Founded by Danes in 1911, it has retained so much of the original architecture and culture that it almost has a Disneyland-like feel to it now. You sort of expect to round a corner and see someone in a giant furry pastry costume waiting to pose for pictures with you. It's odd and sort of wonderful that this kind of storybook land can exist just north of Santa Barbara and right in the midst of Central Coast wine country.

Given its kitschy nature, I wouldn't expect it to be a huge destination for international travelers. Which is why I was sort of surprised (perhaps I shouldn't have been) when we pulled up to our hotel and the bellhop promptly informed us that the Prince of Denmark was staying there.

We walked into the lobby and a few of the girls from our group were commenting on the heavy police presence outside.

"The Prince of Denmark is staying here," I told them. "Because of course if you're the Prince of Denmark, you're going to visit Sooolllvaaang on your trip to the states."

There was heavy mocking in my tone.

A couple of the girls got very wide-eyed.

"He's right behind me, isn't he?" I asked.

They smiled and nodded.

I snapped my big fat mouth shut and froze.

The Prince breezed past me, likely thinking to himself, "Stupid American."

I guess if I were Princess of the U.S., I'd want to go visit "Little America" in a foreign land, too. And I probably wouldn't be too happy if some snarky local made fun of me for it.

Denmark, I would like to formally apologize for my insensitivity. I welcome you back for an American-made aebelskiver anytime you'd like to come.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And Now, a Very Special Story about Night-Before-Wedding Sex Talks

My mom reminded me recently that a rather hysterical night transpired before my walk down the aisle and I forgot to document it here.

It was the eve of the wedding and, with much fanfare, my matron of honor sister had welcomed me into her home for a slumber party. There was a little white bouquet on the guest bedroom pillow for me, streamers on the wall and a banner that said, "Tomorrow's the big day!" with a picture of me and Mr. W on it.

It was all fantastic.

But the highlight of the night came after my sister, nieces and I had changed into our jammies and were lounging in the family room.

I don't quite remember how it all started, but Younger Niece, who is 12, whispered something to Older Niece, who is 16, that caused Older Niece to sort of scamper across the couch and let out a wail. (We call her Moana because of the frequent moaning she does when she doesn't like things.) After a little prodding, we got Younger Niece to just ask the question out loud. She was in a safe, family environment—we would be honest with her and not punish her for being inappropriate.

"I just wanted to know if it's verbal sex or oral sex," she said.

And then my sister and I proceeded to pee our pants.

The conversation that ensued was something I could have only dreamed of the night before my wedding. Endlessly entertaining. Highly informative. I went to sleep that night feeling like the most knowledgeable virgin bride on the block...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monogram Mourning

When Mr. Wonderful and I got engaged, there was never a question that I would change my last name. If I had told him I wanted to keep my maiden, he would have been fine with it. But I'm a traditionalist, and I also happen to really like his last name.

See, even though I adore Hetherington (sounds like royalty, doesn't it?), adopting Mr. W's will make it a whole 7 letters shorter. And that's great because "Hetherington" gets cut off all the time on documents and fill-in-the-box forms. It also causes me to get called "Heather" a lot (which I often jokingly attribute to my striking likeness to Heather Locklear. Ha.).

So all was well and fine with my adoption of the new moniker until I realized it was going to affect my initials.

(Cue some sort of dramatic musical ensemble.)

For one, I sign my initials on work stuff several times a day. I'm so used to sort of connecting the "M" and the "H," I don't really know whether I'll ever be able to break myself of the habit and write any other letters. I'm also a habitual user of "MH" when signing off emails.

When I came back from the honeymoon, my Creative Director had edited some of my project documents and in each one, where I had put "MH," he changed it to "MM." The new initials. It pained me. In my spleen.

To me, initials are almost like my first name and changing them is like changing my identity in some way. Who am I going to be if I'm not MH????

I'm having a hard time with this, people. And I think I'm going to have to practice writing "MM" a hundred times before it comes naturally from my hand.

The worst part? My new full initials are "MAM." And you know how I feel about ma'am...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Putting the Details in Writing

I'm over at 'S Wonderful today, talking about the plan manifesto Mr. Wonderful and I have started to help us figure out how in the world we're ever going to get that vineyard one day...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Can a Tic Beget a Tic?

A couple weeks before I left for my honeymoon, my team at work had to move to a different floor. They're consolidating everyone onto 4 floors instead of 5, so we're pretty much sardined into the available spaces now. It's not the worst thing that's ever happened in life, but I am definitely having a hard time adjusting to the change.

Particularly because of my new cubicle neighbors.

Especially the one with the tic.

I'm not sure what day I first noticed it. I think he may not have been in the office the first few days after the move. But then, one afternoon, I heard it.

Ttt Ttt.

It's sort of like a tisk sound, but also sort of like a tapping noise. It comes in twos and threes, quickly sputtered. Sometimes it's rapid fire. Other times, there are big gaps between outbursts.

People, it is like Chinese water torture of the ears.

I turn up my headphones and I can still hear it. It's the perfect pitch to cut through other sound. And it's driving me batshit crazy.

I think I'm developing an eye twitch as a result of hearing it so often.

Do you think I could get fired for muzzling a coworker?

Monday, May 23, 2011

If Only Intuition Spoke a Little Louder

I felt off the minute we stepped onto the train.

We were hurrying along with the crowd and when Mr. Wonderful tossed our suitcases into the designated storage area, my stomach twinged.

Then as we walked almost the entire length of the train car to get to our seats, I thought, "We should move the luggage closer."

A beggar woman came through our car after we'd been in motion for thirty or forty minutes, and again I had an uneasy feeling. But I said nothing.

When we reached our destination, my suitcase had vanished.

The sickening feeling of discovering that was worse than when I've been robbed before. This was my honeymoon. And I'd purchased a bunch of (not so cheap) new clothes for it. And I'd been so selective about the souvenirs I chose for my nieces. And the little reminders Mr. W and I would take home to keep around and smile at and think of our special trip together.

I ran down the platform, whipping my head in every direction trying to spot the person who had taken my bag. Mr. W searched every car on our train.

I'm sure my suitcase got off 3 stops before we did.

And so I began to wonder if it was intuition or manifestation that was at play before we left. Should I have trusted my instincts? Or had my worry put an energy into the Universe that caused my feared outcome to come true? I asked my friend Janice what she thought when we met her for a drink by the Pantheon. Janice knows stuff. She has a Master's Degree in Spiritual Psychology.

She said it was intuition for sure.

Unfortunately, that almost made me feel worse. If only I'd listened to that little uncomfortable voice. Maybe I'd have my favorite turquoise sweater and the underwear I'd worn on my wedding day now.

I like to think that I'm not a huge "stuff" person. I regularly purge things from my life and donate them to Goodwill. I'm not a person who needs to own a $500 purse or fancy jewelry. I am a sucker for things with sentimental value, though. And maybe that's why this is hitting me so hard (still...even though I've been home for 2 days...). I feel like the world stole my nostalgia. I won't be able to put on my sundresses and remember how I wore them in Capri. I won't be able to look at the bottle of olive oil in my kitchen with the little lemon stopper on top and think about our stay in Ravello.

I know I'm being a big baby. They're only things. No one was hurt. It's all replaceable. But it sure was a stinky way to end an amazing trip.

I'm hoping I'll get over it soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nudity Research is a Must for Future Endeavors


So wouldn't ya know it: Mr. W and I took the ferry to Positano yesterday and right there in the middle of the public beach for all eyes to see were four (FOUR) topless girls. Eight boobies shining in the sun.

Mr. W quickly tried to convince me to go down on the beach and join them, but I didn't have bathing suit bottoms (or even nice underwear since we're drawing close to the end of the trip...) and I certainly wasn't going to just sit in my skirt and no top.

The lesson here, kids, is to always research things like this so you can plan ahead. Otherwise you'll just end up with a bad case of nudie-jug jealousy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Thing about Going Topless in Amalfi

If you read here regularly, you may remember that one of the goals of Mr. Wonderful's and my honeymoon was for me to go to a topless beach. Initially, it was one of my Things to Do Before Turning 40, but I think after I notified the husband of it, it quickly became an important goal for him.

Sorrento was our first coastal stop, and because it's mostly up on top of cliffs, I didn't see much hope for finding a beach. Next was Capri, where again it was quite a hike to get down to the coast.

"We'll find one in Amalfi," Mr. W assured me.

But Amalfi is quite small and the only easily accessible public beaches are right in the harbor. Our hotel was across the street from one, so after we checked in, I stood on our balcony and carefully examined its inhabitants.

They all appeared to be wearing bikini tops.

I told Mr. W that there was no way I was taking my top off when no one else on the whole beach was.

"I think maybe I'm just going to have to forgo crossing 'go topless' off my list," I said.

"Noooo," he whimpered like a kid who just had his gelato stolen.

Then he quickly offered a solution: we would rent a boat and take it around until we found a beach. There had to be a secluded spot somewhere where I could, as Nilsa says, Free The Girls.

This seemed like cheating to me. The original goal was to go to an actual topless beach and participate in the festivities. But I didn't want to let Mr. W down.

So we rented a boat.

Giancarlo and some other sunburned young Italian buck explained to us all the rules of boat rentals. They showed Mr. W how to operate everything and drop the anchor. Then they explained to us that we could only "park" 100 meters from shore and that under no circumstances could we go to the beach. Giancarlo had been arrested for doing so (which they both found hysterical...I'll bet he had a topless girl with him too...).

After dropping Giancarlo and his sidekick into another boat, we took off wondering whether "don't go on the beach" meant not to beach the boat or not to trespass onto any actual sand. I didn't want to risk it. Particularly if my tiny American tatas could be out in the open for the Italian polizia to behold.

But then I thought again of my sad puppy dog husband.

So when we found a beautiful little cove and he slipped the anchor into the Mediterranean, I untied my bikini.

The water was much too cold for me to swim to shore. But we did document the incident. And although you can't see them (thanks to my highly strategic cropping), my hands are making sure no one gets too good a view of what was going on.

I'm not sure this counts as fulfilling the actual goal, but considering how many barriers we came up against, it sure seemed like a good effort.


Friday, May 13, 2011

You Wanna See Capri? It's Gonna Cost You!


Off the coast of Italy lies a little island that is not only the birthplace of my beloved Caprese salad and the shortie pants I like to wear in summer, but home to the Mediterranean's Rodeo Drive.

The tiny streets of Capri might as well be lined only with candy shops and bakeries. Each window you look in boasts a rainbow of shapes and colors, trying to lure you in. "Indulge here," they whisper. Fendi. Roberto Cavalli. Hermes. Bvlgari. Prada.

Gabbana never seemed so dolce.


A girl could blow ten handbags full of cash here. And it's not just the stores that getcha.

When we bought tickets to take a boat to the famed Blue Grotto, we paid in the marina. Then we paid again for an additional ticket to actually enter the grotto. And of course there was a fee for renting the canoe driver who would paddle 10 feet to get us into the cave. Altogether, it cost us each 25 euros. A beautifully orchestrated racket.


They even charged us a euro to walk into Giardini Augusto for a view of the flowers and the cliffside. We later discovered we could've walked right in, had we taken a different route.

The bottom line is: Capri ain't cheap.


However, the price you pay for the attractions, the irresistible gelato, and the fashion (which I didn't have room for in my suitcase) are returned to you in vistas everywhere you look.

Capri, you and your delicious salad have won me over. Keep the change.




Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First She Whacked Me with a Rolling Pin, Then She Stole My Heart


If Rome is like a passionate kiss, Naples is like a kick in the shin.

Mr. Wonderful and I arrived Monday morning after a nice train ride and a grungy metro hop. I knew immediately once we got to the underground platform we were not in Rome anymore. Designer heels had given way to beat-up kicks. Fine tailored suits were replaced by tattered leather jackets and greasy hair. I'm pretty sure one man on the subway had a Tuberculosis cough.


When we emerged at street level, we were immediately assaulted by honking horns, pieces of trash blowing down the sidewalk, the smell of gasoline fumes and cigarette smoke. I thought we might have accidentally gotten off at Hell instead of Stazione Cavour.


For every dimple of charm Rome flashes with a flirt, Naples reveals a scab and a scar. But then she beckons you closer, lifts her skirt, and offers you the most delicious slice of pizza you've ever imagined. And suddenly, you're in love.


After quickly recharging at our oasis of a hotel, we headed back out to the chaotic streets to find a pizzeria Mr. W had read about online. This was when I felt myself start to fall. Like when you find yourself suddenly attracted to the scraggy biker in your chemistry class, despite the fact that he hasn't showered in 3 days.


There's something endlessly endearing about the way Neapolitans desecrate their city with graffiti but then drape it in pride with Italian flags. And then there are the beautiful Italians eating pizza...


I have never in the States seen a beautiful woman polish off an entire pizza in one sitting. In Naples, it's just another lunchtime. Try as I did, I couldn't finish the whole thing. Next time, next time.

Thank goodness I have an excuse now to return to this new city I adore.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Familiar Faces in Faraway Places


Mr. Wonderful and I arrived to Rome Saturday night at 11:00 p.m. Exhausted and famished, we were anxious to get to our little apartment near the Spanish Steps. But when our driver rounded a curve and the Coliseum was to our left, strategically lit against the night sky, food and a bed no longer mattered. We were in Roma!



We ate dinner close to midnight and every bite of proscuitto, every morsel of tomato, tasted like the best I'd ever had. The wine was like water, quenching my thirst. It is so easy to sink right into this city.


So here we are thousands of miles from home, and yet so much is familiar. Mr. W remembers the street grid from his other visits. He navigates like a local. Our favorite gelato shop is right where it was before. And the best treat of all: I have a friend in town!



My ex coworker from long ago—and currently amazing travel blogger—Janice (of After the Artist's Way) is here. So amidst the throngs of strangers, Mr. W and I met up with her to visit the catacombs. There she and he are, walking to the bus station after our tour. She is decked out in her Vatican best, looking like she's lived in town for years.



It's funny to be so far from home and having such fun with a once local friend. It's funny that she and I had seen each other only once in about 6 or 8 years, and yet our paths crossed enough that we could enjoy a whole day together. This world is very small. There's no way to fully experience that than to get out and see it. It astounds me every time I travel.

Funnier yet is that we have other family friends who will be in town when we return to Rome after our Amalfi Coast stops. What are the odds? We'll try to meet up with them too.



Here are Janice and I enjoying a dinner near the Trevi Fountain. It was lovely to be able to share the experience and talk about boys and giggle. It was wonderful to be reminded again of just how tiny this earth really is.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Italy, I Think I Love You


By the time you read this post, I'll be in London or maybe even Rome. I'm meeting Mr. Wonderful in the Heathrow Airport where we'll embark on our honeymoon.

When we first started thinking about where to go for this essential post-wedding vacation, we talked a lot about Japan. We felt we'd seen quite a bit of Europe and that it might lead to a bigger adventure if we visited a new continent.

Then one day last fall we were running errands and I got an idea. "What about the Amalfi Coast?" I asked him, already knowing the answer.

Mr. W is a sucker for Italy.

Before I went with him in 2009, I had such a romantic notion of what it would be like there. I remember reading Eat, Pray, Love and just hanging on every page, visualizing the piazzas and monuments and pasta. And when I went, I discovered it was all true.

Funny side note about that book: Mr. W and I had only been dating a couple months when I read it, but even then in the infancy of our relationship I knew I was falling for him. I thought about saying, "I Think I Love You" to him on more than one occasion. And then my crazy copywriter brain realized that if you turned that phrase into an acronym, it was ITILY. Italy.

One chilly winter afternoon, as Mr. and I laid on his bed reading, I started to stare off into space and he asked what I was thinking about. "Italy," I responded, holding up my copy of Eat, Pray, Love. But what I really meant was ITILY.

I told him this story a year or so later, and the acronym became a code word for us.

Now it seems only fitting that we're visiting that country for our honeymoon.

Here's a clip of one of the things I'm looking forward to most. The Blue Grotto on the Island of Capri. How can you not just swoon over the singing?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homegrown Produce

I'm posting over at 'S Wonderful today, sharing some pictures of the tasty treats growing in our garden.

Take a look!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take Responsibility. Take Back the Power.

We've all been there. Feeling kicked and down. Like the world (or maybe just one or two people in the world) are against us. Like we are innocent victims.

We get cheated on by lovers. Betrayed by friends. Ousted by employers. Wronged by family. Chased by debt collectors. And we tell people our sad stories. We explain that things "are the way they are" right now or forever because of what happened to us.

But imagine the power we would seize if we took some responsibility for where we were in our lives.

When I got laid off in 2003, I felt like someone had slapped me in the head and thrown me in the gutter. My wails of woe were loud and constant. But at some point I realized that I had a hand in my fate. A big one. I chose to go into an industry that is rocked by change and lost clients and reorgs more often than not. I also chose to have a less than stellar attitude from 9 to 5. So although it stung like a mutha when I got let go, the good news was that because I had played a part in the whole situation, I could wield my power to cast myself into a new one.

Same thing when I got cheated on. It wasn't fun, but it also wasn't entirely his fault. I'd made a decision to be with someone I knew was probably trouble. I chose to stay with him even though the relationship was riddled with my criticisms and his retaliations.

Stepping back and asking, "What was MY role in this?" helped me see (over and over) that I had the ability to influence every place I'd landed in my life. And I think that's amazing. Victim, schmictim, right?

We're all going to have bad things happen to us. But the place we choose to go after those things happen is totally in our control. Every single day is a chance to turn things around or take a different route to get you closer to where you really want to be. You just have to start by looking at yourself and admitting that maybe you could have done a few things differently. Once you know what they are, do them.

A little responsibility goes a long way. Take it and go power yourself up!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Listlessness

I am a hoarder of folded papers and chicken scratch. I love lists like Lindsay loves booze and Paris loves animals that fit in her purse (Has anyone heard that she has a teacup pig? I did not know this, but now I want one).

Just about every week, I fashion a little folded piece of paper that houses my To Do list, grocery lists, birthday gift lists, lists of crafty things I want to make. You name it, I've listed it. Without my lists, I feel lost. And sometimes I write stuff down just so I can cross it off and feel like I've been extra productive.

But this week, in my freaky WhatNow newlywed phase, I started to question The Lists. Because even though Mr. W and I are desperate to lay down details about our future, we also seem to be totally mired in continual To Dos. I've been feeling like I have no time to just be. And The Lists might be the biggest culprit.

So I've been living listless for the past several days. I don't know yet if it's really having a huge impact on my "being" time. But it sort of makes me feel a little more spontaneous. And I think it may help stave off my early-onset Alzheimer's because it's forcing me to actually remember things rather than just looking at my paper scraps for a reminder.

We'll see how it goes. Although there's no way I'll be able to pack for Italy next week without my clothing matrix...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome to Some Kind of Wonderful

Everything changes when you get married, doesn't it?

Well, maybe not everything. But I did decide to create a second blog now that I'm a Mrs.

Introducing the new space for tales of my life with Mr. W: 'S Wonderful

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Slight Case of the WhatNows

Mr. Wonderful and I have only been married for a month and already we're in a funk. Okay, not really a funk but a sort of hazy jumping-off point. The dress has been packed. Gifts have been stowed. Thank you cards have been sent. We finally have our freedom back (if you don't count the backyard and its continual beckoning for us to come out and dig it up).

With all this time and mental space on our hands, we've both been feeling a growing sense of What Now?

I guess this is why so many married couples scoot right on to having babies. (Don't get any ideas, I'm not on that track AT ALL.) I thought we'd get to this point, I just didn't realize it would be so soon.

Maybe it's all my Turning 35 baggage weaseling its way into our relationship. But Mr. W seems just as antsy as I am.

We want to put color to our goals. We want to define the dream details so we can start working toward them. But there are so many possibilities. And the ultimate goal we keep coming back to is at least 5, if not 10, years off. So what do we do in the meantime?

This is sort of the plaguing question.

Do we just keep plugging away in our current life situations? Do we go live somewhere foreign in a year while Mr. W works on a film? (Doesn't seem possible with our collective mortgages, but maybe...) Do we try to somehow downsize in an effort to get closer to the early retirement we both crave? Should we build that chicken coop and get a couple hens?

We sat down the other night and tried to start brainstorming a list of words to describe the kind of life we'd like to build from here. It pretty much led us to believe we need to win the lottery and move to wine country where we'll run a dozen different odd job businesses.

Mr. W tells me I need to write a bestseller. I guess my What Now should really be a Write Now. I'll get right on that, Mr. W...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And a Happy Birthday Back Atcha

In honor of Mr. Wonderful's 37th birthday today and National Poetry Month (thanks for the reminder, Sizzle!)...


The rustling leaves of a eucalyptus;

The lingering tingle of morning kisses;

Hummingbirds bathing in a sage fountain;

Hollywood at the top of our mountain;

Bedroom darkness behind canvas drapes;

Little vines striving to deliver our grapes;

Cool wood floor warmed by the sun;

A glittering skyline when day is done;

The musk of espresso rich in the air;

Just enough couch for two cats to share;

Artichoke triplets nearly ready to eat;

The scratched tabletop where we rest our feet;

An open glass door with breeze blowing through.

Home is the space where I can be true.

More than a place.

My home is you.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nothing Says Happy Birthday Like Telepathy and a Toilet

You know how some people start to look like their pets after they've had them awhile? Well over the last couple years, Mr. W's brain has started looking like mine. Or maybe mine looks like his. Anyway...

I think it all started when I bought him port wine glasses pre-Christmas of '09...and then a week later he bought himself port glasses—even though we never really talked about him needing a set. Then there was this incident with our trip to Napa last year. Then there was the day a few weeks ago when I watched Mr. W pick up the exact same things in the exact same order that I had just picked up at Williams-Sonoma.

But the kicker happened sometime last week.

Since the wedding, we've been working hard on sprucing up our yard—Mr. W even replaced a faulty backyard waterfall with the cool pot fountain below.


As part of our spruce spree, we've been doing a lot of browsing at different pottery/plant/pond stores, and we've come across quite a few adorable Buddha statues. I told Mr. W I thought we should get one for the backyard. Then I was at one of the local malls and wandered into a sort of ramshackle Asian store that had Buddha statues in the window. I bought a small one for Mr. W to keep on his desk and another for me to keep on mine.

When I got back to work, I IMed him to announce that I'd bought him a present. "I ordered one of your birthday presents just now," he replied.

At home, I handed over my jolly Buddha treasure and he just stared at me. "Did you buy me a Buddha statue for my birthday today?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

This little guy arrived yesterday. How cute is he, seriously?


Buddha wasn't the only special treat I got from Mr. Mental Telepathy. He also made me fantastic French toast with strawberry-mascarpone spread on Tuesday morning for my b-day.


And when I came home that evening, there were several surprises waiting for me.


But the best surprise by far came on my birthday eve, when I walked through the front door to discover this right in our entryway. Bow and all.

Because nothing says, "Happy Birthday" like a shiny new crapper.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Turning (T)Hurty-Five

Today is my last day of thirty-fourhood.

Many years back, I wrote a long list of goals for my life: places I wanted to travel, little life to-dos, and a couple of biggies with age deadlines attached. One of these was "Have a book published by 35."

As you all know, I've published a lot of blog posts. But I've yet to grasp the crispy body of an actual printed book with my name on its cover. And that makes the impending twist of tomorrow sting a little.

On the one hand, the whole "Do this by this date" kind of goal making is silly to me. Even if I'd been busting my hump writing novels and self help manuscripts every day I still may not be published by tomorrow. Fate does have a say in these things. On the other hand, maybe if I'd put a little more importance on my "By 35" due date, I would actually have a book published. Before tomorrow. Perhaps goal lists are great motivators. Particularly when you're the kind of person who has trouble motivating.

So I'm turning 35 and there's a big fat hole right there on my mental mantle. Sure there's a beautiful wedding picture up there and some truly amazing travels and lots of friends. But no book. Perhaps I'll have to scribble down "40" on the list.

Which reminds me, I'm hoping to cross at least one of my to-dos-before-40 off the list next month on my honeymoon. Yep, as mentioned in this post, I'm going to attempt to go topless on a beach. For five seconds. If I can handle it that long.

I also have some plans in the coming months that involve this blog. And a new one I plan to launch. And hopefully I'll be more disciplined about my writing projects, so maybe that published book will rear its head in this lifetime.

In the meantime, to make myself feel better, I launched an Etsy store today. There's barely anything on it—I have lots of work to do at home and lots of ideas populating this little brain. But I thought you guys would enjoy seeing the first draft:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/hauterubbish?ref=pr_shop

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Wife.

Last week, I forgot I had a husband.

I was at the dentist, chatting with the hygienist about recent events and I said, "Yeah well you know my fiancé was away for two and a half months."

"Your husband," she corrected me.

Oh, yeah.

I hadn't been in for a cleaning since I moved in the fall, so I also had to update my contact information. They gave me form to fill out. And I had to check the "Married" box in addition to writing out my new address.

It was bizarre.

After adding Mr. Wonderful to my health insurance at work, I also had to go in and change my status in our system from "Single" to "Married."

I don't feel married. I don't feel any different than I did before Mr. W and I started cohabiting in November.

I remember how weird it felt to call him my fiancé. This whole husband business is even weirder. It makes me feel like I'm 65. I was a swingin' single gal for so long. Now I'm an old married lady. You notice that people always refer to singles as "girls" but marrieds as "ladies"? I assure you, I'm no lady...

I had one of our cute wine bottle vases on my desk Friday and a coworker said, "Now how does one go about cutting the glass for that?"



I answered, "The husband built a fancy rig in the garage."

"Your husband," my cohort corrected. "Say it."

"My husband built a glass-cutting rig." It felt like a giant wad of Bazooka gum in my mouth.

I know I'll get used to this. But, right now, the strangeness of it all is sort of entertaining.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enough to Feed a Flock of Five

If you've read this blog for awhile, you probably know that I own two cats. Some would say that makes me a cat lady (I just searched "cats" in my blog post library and came up with 33 posts...). Some would subscribe to my theory that you're only a crazy cat lady if you own 3 cats (you get one because you like pets and then another to keep the first one company, but there's no reason to ever get a third). Some of you won't make it past this first paragraph to even read what sort of feline fiascoes I'm going to describe here.

Anyway, my cats are very Laurel and Hardy in their physiques. Monty, below, weighs about 20 pounds and only reaches speeds of 0.5mph when he is waddling to his food bowl or sprinting away from the sound of the trash truck. Mr. Wonderful and I often joke that Monty could feed a family of five for at least a week if the Apocalypse hit.


Oh but he's such a handsome boy.


My other cat, Zoë, weighs about 8 pounds and is constantly spazzing out, running around the house and burning calories. I think part of the reason she weighs less is because her brain is about a quarter the size of Monty's.


But she's cute so we love her.

Due to some longstanding trauma from losing pet cats to hit-and-runs as a kid, I do not let my current kitties outside. And for the most part, they don't mind. They live in the lap of luxury—particularly now that we're in Mr. W's house with big bright windows that cast lots of warm sun spots on the floor for them.

But this weekend when Mr. W and I were outside working on our garden, I decided to let the felines loose in the yard.

They were both pretty nervous about the new surroundings. Monty seemed to be trying to walk extra gently on the grass, unfamiliar with its texture. And Zoë's tail was puffed much of the time, despite the fact that she was purring.

They'd been outside for about 5 minutes when I heard a hawk screech from the eucalyptus tree at the end of our street. I looked up and saw another hawk fly in and land next to where the first one was perched. A bit more screeching and THREE more showed up on the scene. They began to circle overhead.

"Oh my God," I said to Mr. W, "I think the hawks are after the cats!"

We quickly collected the chubby and skinny furballs (which in itself was hilarious because Mr. W holds cats pretty much like he's holding out a rotten gallon of milk) and returned them to the safety of the house.

Within seconds, the hawks were gone.

Apparently, they too, can spot a fat feline that's capable of feeding a family of five pre- or post-Apocalypse.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Life on a Loop


At 3:30 a.m. the morning of our wedding, I woke up to the sound of falling rain. I laid in bed caught somewhere between slight panic that it might continue until 2:30 p.m. when we were supposed to do pictures at the park, and relief that it was happening now and might be over within the next few hours.

If it had rained, everyone would have survived. We would have called it good luck and tried to stay dry as we dashed from cars to buildings.

But it didn't rain. Fortune and the forecast smiled on us and we got to enjoy a nice mud-free couple hours of picture taking. And then jubilation ensued...


The day after the wedding, we drove to Santa Ynez, one of our favorite wine-tasting spots, for a mini-honeymoon. It was pouring so hard on the drive up, the windshield went completely white a couple times.

"We are SO lucky this weather is happening today," I said more than once.

We were so lucky that everything we'd worked so hard to plan went off without a hitch.

We were so lucky that our guests crowded the dance floor and filled the air with laughter—even when I had the DJ play Xanadu. We were lucky they loved our food and our cake and our speedy ceremony.

Before we hit Santa Barbara, Mr. Wonderful grabbed my hand and sheepishly told me he already had something planned for our one-year anniversary.

"I booked us the Caveman Room at the Madonna Inn," he told me.

The Madonna Inn is where we got engaged. The Caveman Room is one of their most popular suites and has to be booked months in advance. I am so lucky to have a man in my life who possesses the forethought—and thoughtfulness—to plan an anniversary trip for us an entire year in advance. Ooga Booga Mr. Caveman Wonderful. I'll find myself something leopard print to wear that weekend.

When we returned from our mini-escape and I (finally!) had some time to read my favorite blogs, I came across a beautiful post from Mandy at You've Got to Be Kidding Me. It's about how much she loves THIS life. This one right now. And how she doesn't want to say goodbye. How she wants to live it on a continuous loop.

Me, too, Mandy.

All this luck. All this love. I want to pass through it a million times and a million times again after that.