Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “wedding planning

So… This Ban… Y’all Know We’re Being Gaslighted, Right?

[EDITED TO REFLECT A RECENT ARTICLE I READ LIKE 5 MINUTES AFTER POSTING THIS, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE]

IF YOU’RE READING TO SEE WHAT I’VE GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS BAN, SKIP TO THE NEXT ALL CAPS SENTENCE. I’M GETTING ALL PERSONAL BLOGGY FIRST.

Okay, personal stuff first. Did I tell y’all I am going to a bridesmaid for the first time ever this year? My girl Toya (we grew up next door to each other, and she’s thankfully not marrying the boy next door, lol) is getting married in May. She’s one of the only people on the planet who could get me to go to Florida right now.

Chris and I haven’t been to Florida since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. That Stand Your Ground law is such utter bullshit that we decided we would do our best to not go back until it was changed. I’m making an exception for this wedding, then the travel ban is back in place.

Being a bridesmaid is such a mind fuck. It’s like being trolled by my own thoughts. Budget worries, body worries, logistics, etc. To put it more simply, trying on bridesmaid dresses has made me get my whole life together. If I’m going to wear a strapless gown at a beach wedding and get photographed in some forever pictures, I need to do better than what I’m currently doing.

Luckily, this feeling coincided with Chris wanting to be healthier too. So for the past couple of week’s we’ve both been way more committed to exercise, and I’ve been cooking 5-6 times a week. it’s better for the budget and the waistline. Simpler meals (if blood orange & herb glazed baked ribs with mushroom rice and roasted butternut squash counts as simple) have been the goal. So far, it’s going well.

We’ve just hit that point where that initial burst of energy because we’re working out 6 days a week is starting to fade. We still have all our regular life responsibilities and we are tired, man. We are committed to pushing through and getting our bodies used to this new pattern. We just gotta get over the hill. I’m grateful that we have each other for support.

We support our goals, and also our mental well-being. We discuss all the crap going on the world, then watch SNL and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for catharsis.

HEY Y’ALL, HERE’S WHERE I SWITCH TO POLITICS, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH SYNONYMOUS WITH SOCIETAL GASLIGHTING THESE DAYS.

So, unless you’re living under a rock or know literally no one affected by this travel ban, you’ve heard that there are new levels of dickishness that can be reached with each passing day.

That fucker in the White House spent his first week signing executive orders left and right like he was Dolores Umbridge taking over Hogwarts.

The most recent one that has caught everyone’s attention is this immigrant/refugee ban. If you need a breakdown about it, I got you. CNN explains it relatively well here, here, here, and here.

The people responded strongly and swiftly. If  you need a breakdown about that, I got you. The New York Times covers it pretty efficiently as of two days ago, and you can read that here.

I was all on board for grabbing my pitchfork to join the townsfolk to protest this newest outrage. If I didn’t have crazy work hours (also see above for newfound commitment to not having a terrible beach body), I would’ve trekked out to JFK to join the protests the first night they happened.

For the most part, I’m still on board, but I’ve seen this and I really have to share it with y’all.

If you’re like me and you simply open all links in new tabs to be read after you’ve read the main article (or not at all), I’ll sum it up for you. Shaun King, journalist and activist extraordinaire tweeted a Facebook post by political historian Heather Richardson. If you open no other links in this blog post, READ THIS ONE.

If you’re still refusing to open the link I’ve put in ALL CAPS, well fine, you’ve twisted my arm. To make a long story short, Professor Richardson describes this fuckery aka ban as a “shock event.” If you don’t know what a shock event is, well, just click on the word shock event in the previous sentence. Seriously folks, I’m spoon feeding you here. It can’t get much easier than this… unless you’re reading on a browser that won’t let you open in a new tab and won’t save where you left off on the previous screen, in that case, well, I understand.

Okay, back to this term called shock event. The idea is to do something shocking, that will both distract and divide the people. They are focused on this shocking thing, and they have knee-jerk reactions for or against it along expected lines. You know, for example, like instituting an unreviewed ban on immigrants from seven seemingly random countries who haven’t sent us jihadists.

While the people are still in disarray, mounting their response of protest or support, you sneak in the back door (that’s what he said) and enact your real agenda.

Right now you may be thinking, if he is such a badass, usurping the will of the people, why bother with the bait and switch? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he doesn’t actually want complete anarchy. He wants the people in disarray so they can’t mount an effective defense. It’s in his best interest to keep them from unifying. He knows his true objective is NOT in the interest of the people, and if they knew what he was truly up to, they’d try and stop it. But if they’re too busy fighting over who loves Muslims more than the next person hates Muslims, they won’t notice that he’s about to fuck them all over for something that benefits only a select few.

Let me put it this way. Those fuckers who have confederate flags covering every surface they own, their wives still wearing t-shirts that say Jail the Bitch, their children bullying yours in school to go back to “where you came from,” their preachers condemning all your gay best friends to hell, their healthcare they swear they don’t want being paid for by your taxes, you know them? Can you imagine protesting along side them when whatever Bannon and Trump have planned is revealed?

I for one have a hard time imagining the same people who’ve had vitriolic responses to the protests since Inauguration Day standing beside me to fight against the complete decimation of our tax/healthcare/education/transportation/energy/housing/banking/regulation/immigration/you-name-it system, or whatever the hell their true target is.

But if Professor Richardson is right, we gotta be vigilant y’all. We CANNOT let this man and his puppeteers take away any of the few things that happen to matter to most of us.

Thanks to historians (yay education!) we have an early warning. We’ve got several jobs to do. One of them is to continue to protest the individual acts of fuckery, like this ban, as they pop up. But today, right now, move one waaaaaay up the priority list.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

You still with me? Good. Hear me out.

I’m not saying get ready to invite the Klan to your family reunion. I’m not saying continue to work with these fuckers people after the fight is won (see what I did there? I’m already growing. grow with me). I’m saying that when the shit goes down, which those smarter than us are pretty sure it will, do not let ideological divides keep you from fighting together.

I don’t know how much time you need. But do some self-assessment and figure that shit out. I don’t know how much time we have. But take some time, do some meditation, and make peace that you may one day march alongside a white nationalist against a common cause.

Take a moment right now. Breathe. It will be okay. If/When that moment comes that we all need to join together, you gotta be ready to do this with us, you can’t let it take you by surprise. If this ban really was a shock event… Don’t. Let. It. Work. On. You.

Stay strong. Resist. Take care of yourself and those you love.

EDIT: So…. I think the big move may have been started already. I think it might’ve been Trump nominating Bannon to the National Security Council. Keep an eye on this one. For a quick rundown, read this opinion piece by the New York Times Editorial Board entitled, “President Bannon.”.

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This Chicago-Style Girl is Home

I had a great time in Chicago. Dinner with my girls was so much fun. The Memorial Day barbecue with my family was also a blast. Hanging out with my best friend in my parents’ kitchen like we used to when we were 14 was so great. And hanging with all the jazz musician etc. folk in Chicago the night before we left was the cherry on top.

But the moment of the weekend was the wedding we went to. Most of you all are probably unaware of this, but Easy and I met at a wedding. Quick synopsis: we met at a wedding 4th of July weekend 2010. We got engaged Memorial Day weekend 2011. We got married Valentine’s Day weekend 2012. Since that time, we’ve been to a buttload of weddings.

There are a lot of things that happen at weddings, but the drinking and dancing part is what we excel at. It’s what led to us being married in the first place. So each wedding we’ve been to (except the cheap, dry, or uber-religious ones) have all been great experiences for us.

The other memorable thing that happens at weddings are the toasts. The most memorable toasts from weddings I’ve attended are:

1) The wedding Easy and I met at. The maid of honor cried through her entire toast, and the only thing I heard was, “you guys… have shoooooown me… the reeeeeeeal meaning of loooooove.” The best man said something like, “man, I never thought [groom] would be the first one to get married. NEVER…. [more random accidentally anti-marriage stuff]… and remember that time with Shelly in the basement?” The bride’s name was not Shelly.

2) The wedding from this past weekend. The maid of honor gave a nice speech. I don’t remember any of it because wine & beer. But the best man was more memorable. He spoke of how much the groom has matured and how he felt lucky to have witnessed watching him “really grow up in the time he’s been with Stephanie.” The bride’s name was not Stephanie.

3) My wedding where we had 4 people giving toasts. The wedding guests heard none of the amazing toasts because their cell phones were vibrating with breaking news updates confirming the untimely death of Whitney Houston.

4) The wedding of one of my best friend’s other best friend. He was their best man as well. Unlike my wedding, at this one, everyone heard his speech. It’s the one he and I had many a phone conference to work on in the months preceding the wedding. Anyway, this speech was so funny, heartfelt, and crowd-winning, that to this day the bride and groom don’t believe he was sober while giving the speech. He was totally sober, but they refuse to believe him.

Moving on from memorable toasts. Let’s talk about family portraits. For some reason, it didn’t occur to us to use the portrait as an opportunity to get head shots done for Easy. He is a musician after all and people are always requesting a shot of him for TV-type stuff. After we were all done with our pictures, it occurred to us.

Luckily, his horn is never far away. He ran across the street to my parents’ house and grabbed the horn. Because we want to reproduce the photos whenever we need, we purchased the photo CD that comes with it. As soon as it arrives, I’m adding the photos to my phone, Easy’s phone, my dropbox, and sending it to our e-mails. The Walgreens app is great for ordering pictures on the fly. I can order prints directly from my phone and they’ll be ready in a half hour at the Duane Reade store up the street from my office. New York is the best.

Speaking of New York being the best, I was so happy to arrive home yesterday. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn that I need a day off when I first get back from travelling. I can work right up until it’s time to leave for the airport before a trip, but after, I need some time to unwind. Our flight landed in the early afternoon, and I was so happy to just lay on the couch and watch the midseason finale of Mad Men and do nothing else.

There are some things better in New York, and others better in Chicago. Here is a short list based on my weekend travels.

Barbecue: Chicago wins this hands down! I shouldn’t have to travel to Williamsburg and wait in line for 2 hours to get good BBQ.

Navigating my way home: New York wins this. A taxi ride home from the airport was right around $30 and took less than 30 minutes. Chicago cabs can suck it.

Buying liquor: Chicago wins this. For Memorial Day, we spent about $200 on drinks for the BBQ. The same stuff would’ve cost $100 more in New York.

Getting great food close to home: New York kicks Chicago’s butt on this one. Chicago really has some amazing food, but it’s not accessible everywhere. But there is great food everywhere in New York. You may not get the cuisine you’d prefer right in that moment, but if you’re not too picky, you’ll never have to leave your neighborhood to get affordable, healthy, tasty food. AND most places deliver.

Crime: New York wins again. In New York, you can fall asleep on the subway at 2 am with earbuds in both ears and a laptop on your lap, and you’ll likely make it home safe. In Chicago, you don’t even want to leave the house after midnight, even if you’re carrying a knife in open view. This is because in Chicago, you’re just bringing a knife to the gunfight. Do better Chicago.

Lastly, is skylines, but I refuse to compare the skylines of the two cities. I love a good skyline, no matter where it is.

Previously, on flights to Chicago, I would feel this surge of love for my city as the skyline came into view out my window. I would suddenly feel this longing for the city, embracing everything it has to offer, and I would cringe at the thought of having to leave again, even if only for that moment.

This past Friday, I didn’t feel any of that. I felt happy to arrive for a visit, but no emotional swell happened. On the return trip to New York, I was too sleepy to notice anything on the landing. But on the ride home, I felt that same, “I live here, I LIVE HERE” moment when I saw the Manhattan skyline across the East River.

It’s not quite the same old-timey, returning-home feel I used to get with Chicago.

It’s newer. Less familiar. But more hopeful of treasures still uncovered and neighborhoods still undiscovered.

But still, when I saw the Empire State Building, I knew I was home.

Where is home for you?


Always The Best Man, Never The Groom

First I must say, this title is misleading. One of my best friends is often a best man, but I seriously doubt he’s itching to be a groom. I just picked this title because I thought it might catch your attention.

I wrote a post about six months ago about one of my best friend’s and his best man speech at our friend’s wedding. This coming fall, there is another wedding.

He was also my best man at my wedding.

The good news is that after this wedding, he’s out of best friends. I got married in 2012, the second one in 2013, now this last one in 2014. He will probably be the best man for his big brother whenever he marries, but then he’s done.

I have admit, I’m kind of jealous. The last wedding I was in besides my own was when I was a flower girl back in 1992.

I had 10 people standing up with me at my wedding. One of the guy’s has since married, and one of the guys has since divorced. All of the women are still unmarried.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any rush for my friends to get married, nor am I in any rush to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else’s big day. But still, it would be fun to get all dolled up and bake a penis-shaped cake for one of my girls, not at the same time of course.

Instead, I live vicariously through my friend. I do get a kick out of planning out his best man speeches with him.

Because his two other best friends chose fall dates for their weddings, we get to make the speech planning and all-year thing.

It reminds me of when we worked together on projects in college and I love it.

We have hours-long debates about the correct balance of emotional vs. funny. We pick out which are the best stories to tell. Then we hem and haw about the order of the speech (is chronological always best?).

His speech at my wedding was lovely. People didn’t really pay attention because everyone got notifications on their smart phones that Whitney Houston had just died. But he covered all the main points I’d want: 1) good luck Easy in dealing with her “strong” personality, 2) A crazy story or two from back in the day that is embarrassing for her, but also kind of sweet, and 3) a good joke that feels like an inside joke but makes everyone laugh.

As I already said in my previous post, he did a great job with his other best friend’s wedding last fall.

This time, his job is a bit more difficult. The basis of his friendship with this friend is because they were on the same line of a fraternity.

Sidenote: this fraternity throws the best part ever, but Easy and I aren’t going to the party this year because Florida. We’re black and we’d prefer to stay alive. Florida is feeling a little murder-y right now for folks of color you know?

Anyway, because their friendship started in the secrecy of pledging a fraternity, there’s a whole bunch of stuff he can’t say during the speech. They pledged almost ten years ago though, so there is plenty to say about their friendship since that time.

This one is going to be a bit more difficult than the last two though. Easy and I spent a a good amount of time with my friend when Easy lived down in St. Louis. And he never talked to his other friend on the phone without also talking to wife too.

But my friend doesn’t really know this couple too well as a couple. He was down in Texas visiting them last weekend, so hopefully he stored up some great stories for this speech.

My friend is a best man veteran though, so he’ll make it work. And because none of my girls are headed towards marriage any time soon, I’ll continue to live vicariously through him.

At the wedding last fall, I was hanging with the bride’s friends the day before the wedding. It was fun, but I didn’t know anyone that well, so there was a limit on how much fun I could have.

This fall, things will be better. The groom has decided he wants a co-ed bachelor party. It won’t be like mine, which was combined with all of my friends and Easy’s friends (his idea, not mine, but still so much fun). It will be more like, all his friends, male and female, are going to his party.

It’s a really cool concept, I think. It felt a bit like being sent to the kid’s table when I have to go hang out with the women even though I’m only friends with the men.

This fall, I’ll be at the big kids table (or strip club), then watching the finale of a great trio of best man speeches. Should be fun, don’t you think?


Why Is It Not Warmer Outside Yet?

I’m feeling ranty and bitchy and several other things right now. I need Spring. I neeed it. I must have it.

And because it is something that is natural and all that, I have no control over it. So I continue to wear my should’ve-been-Haz-Mat-ed by now scarf to combat the cold air. And I continue to sweat it out in my radiator-heated apartment because I don’t want the landlord to do what he’s been doing all winter and come over and turn down the heat just in time for it to get really cold outside again.

When I was in Chicago the first weekend of March for a wedding, I got sick with what may have been the flu. But it was totally worth it because I wouldn’t have missed this wedding for anything. This woman has been like a little sister to me for 7 years, and I was so pleased to attend her wedding. She made such a beautiful bride.

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The bride and groom with her parent’s. I wish I had a picture of the whole sanctuary because of the hours of hard work we put into decorating for the wedding the night before!

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Totally random selfie wearing my mom’s hat in my old bedroom in Chicago. This is what I’d look like as a hipster, y’all.

And because I’m a crazy person obsessed with organ and tissue donation, I didn’t go to the doctor even though I might’ve had the flu.

Because what if I tested positive for the flu, then accidentally got hit by a bus two days later? I wouldn’t be able to be a donor because of the confirmed flu. But if I was just sick, and the sickness was resolved, but never confirmed flu, because of my age and overall health, they probably would let me be a donor. I would make a great donor, should I not live to the age of 75. And now you all have a glimpse of just how deep my crazy goes.

Do you know why I got so sick? Because Chicago is even colder than New York right now. Today it finally felt a bit like spring, but it’s going away again. It’s supposed to snow on Thursday, then again on Monday. I just can’t.

My cousin is in town visiting, but she was sick too. I felt so badly that we didn’t do more while she was here, especially after the year she’s had. In fact, the day we flew here was the one year anniversary of the day she got her diagnosis of lymphoma.

It’s not lucky to get cancer, but she was lucky. Lymphoma usually has no outwards symptoms until it’s too late. But the lymph nodes in her jaw swelled up something horrible and they caught her cancer super early. She got chemo and knocked cancer on it’s ass.

Since that time, we have both agreed that breast cancer gets so much play and the leukemia and lymphoma cancer society needs better PR. And we agreed to she needed to step outside of her comfort zone and live more. So she got on a plane for the first time and flew with me and Easy from Chicago to NYC.

Considering that exactly 365 days ago, I was holding her hand while her doctor drilled a hole in her hip to extract bone marrow, we could’ve been doing literally anything and it would have improved the memories associated with that date. She leaves back to Chicago today, and I’m crossing my fingers that she keeps trying new experiences and embracing life.

In completely unrelated news, I finally read another romantic comedy-type novel recently. I’d been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, but a boring-as-hell book about Rastafarianism (which is a religion with a nothing-boring-about-it history) curbed that urge for a bit. I read a book recommended by a blog I love, Single Infertile Female. The book is Party Girl: A Modern Fairy Tale.

As a new New Yorker, this book had it all for me. I found myself wishing for two things: 1) the book had a happily-ever-after ending and not a realistic-for-the-millenials-who-are-craving-this-type-of-relatability ending and 2) that I had the main character’s ability to make friends. I’m not saying any more than that because I want you to go read this book for a fun 20-something-in-NYC read. I promise you’ll enjoy yourself.

While we’re on the topic, I feel the need to say, yet again, how unsuccessful I am at making new friends. Out of all the people I’ve met since I’ve moved to New York, I’ve managed to schedule four outings total, only three of which actually went somewhat according to plan. These people are funny, sweet, clever, good-looking, and genuinely nice folks. That’s everything I want in a friend. Maybe they’re just ALL not that into me.

Two of the outings were for Restaurant Week. I went to Delmonico’s Kitchen and Nobu. My mouth still waters in memory. I forgot to record anything at Delmonico’s, but I did get some amazing pictures of my good at Nobu.

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The tiny bit of Spring weather I was given today has given me renewed interest. I think I’m gonna try one more time each with all the people I’ve met, then after that I’m moving on and trying to meet even more new people.

At least I still have my volunteer work. Oh, that reminds me! I do have one friend. We met at the soup kitchen I volunteer at. But his home life is super crazy and it’s been hard for us to be real friends outside of just grabbing a drink after the soup kitchen. But still, we actually talk on the phone and I even know the names of people is his life.

Because of my awful memory when it comes to names, I really consider someone a friend when I can start naming names of people who are important to them. Not the best measuring tool, but it’s accurate.

Today is the day I start volunteering with The Reciprocity Foundation. I’m very glad I’ll be able to get this started after having such a great experience the other week. They do such amazing things, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. I’m diving right in helping with resumes and college applications. It’ll be nice to keep those skills sharp for some point in the future when I apply for grad school and when I apply for a promotion at work.

Speaking of volunteering, the woman I work with at the home for new mothers is finally getting all the pieces into place. She has steady hours for her new job, she found a 24 hour day care that will work with her as her work schedule changes, and the baby is doing well. She’s finally ready to start looking for apartments. It’s heart-warming to see people whose lives have actually improved from help given by others.

Some of her help is from private citizens, like the program that allows her to stay at the home. But she also gets government assistance that helps her buy food for her daughter that she chose to give birth to rather than abort. I’m about as pro-choice as they come (meaning I have no issues with late-term abortions), but I know that choice means respecting someone’s choice even when they have no way to take care of the baby they have decided to bring into the world.

This woman sought out all the help she could and put in a lot of hard work to make a life for herself to support her child. In a few years, she’ll have a degree, years of work experience that she can springboard into a real career, and a stable home for her daughter. That’s something to be proud of, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, since the weather won’t cooperate to keep me that was on the outside.

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Accidental selfie taken while trying to use my phone to check my lipstick on the way to work. Beautiful sky, but will it stay that way? Will it?!


Anatomy Of A Best Man Speech

After I left Chicago, I headed to Atlanta. I left my parents’ house at 4 in the morning, but I didn’t get to Atlanta until after 3pm. There’s a good story behind that one, but that’s a post for another time.

When I got to Atlanta, I called my best friend who was the best man at the wedding I’d gone to Atlanta to attend. He, of all the people I know, is the best at coming off completely unconcerned. So when I inquired about the best way to get to the hotel, all he said was, “I don’t know. I got a ride with his parents, so I’m not sure what to tell you.”

Clearly I was on my own.

So I figured it would be fine to get to the hotel from the airport because the Atlanta airport had all sorts of shuttles back and forth to the area hospitals.

And I was super wrong.

The hotel we were at is in Peachtree City, which is at least a half hour drive from the airport. At least.

So no shuttle.

I was on my own. And I ended up having to take a $55 taxi to get to the hotel.

Then the taxi only took cash, so I had to find an ATM and pay ATM fees to get the money.

But finally I was checked in and in my room, enjoying how plush the bed was. I knew the wedding party had the rehearsal at some point that day, as it was the day before the wedding, so I figured I’d just hang out by myself and do a whole bunch of nothing.

Then my phone rang and it was my best friend asking where I was. He really can turn the concern on and off quite easily. I let him I know I was at the hotel and he came down to my room to hang out for a bit. We went back over the last few days and how crazy they were for him as best man.

The bride of this wedding we were there for is very detail oriented. She didn’t need or want a lot of input about the wedding. As such, my friend ended up only stepping in with best man duties when it was time for the bachelor party. For the party, they took a weekend trip to Vegas. That’s all I’ll say about that.

But things picked up in terms of best man duties right before the wedding. They let him know they wanted him to hold the ring, the marriage license, pick up the tuxes from the groomsmen to return the next day, and come up with fun events for the wedding party and guests who wanted to party extra during the weekend.

They let him know all of this on Wednesday for a Saturday wedding, which wasn’t a lot of notice. But he called me to help iron out some details of his best man speech for the wedding reception. And he called one of the other groomsman who helped with the bachelor party planning.

He and I brainstormed several times over the months on what his speech should say. When it came down to just a few days before the wedding, we finally hammered out the specifics. It made me think back to when we were in college together and we took all our classes together.

We collaborate really well together and it was fun trying to come up with a speech that was true to his current relationship with the groom, funny, heartfelt, and befitting of a wedding for young professionals (half the wedding was doctors).

After the speech was finalized, other issues popped up. I’m not going to put people’s business out there who didn’t give permission first. But I will say that my friend had to deal with an errant groomsman and a guest who’s “invitation got lost in the mail.”

All of that was handled before we got to Atlanta though, thank God.

Back to the day before the wedding. My friend and I were hanging out in my room when the groom called him. When he heard I had arrived, he came down to my room as well. I hadn’t seen him since my wedding last year. And it hadn’t been just the three of us in over five years. So we all laughed and had a nice quick chat like old times for a moment.

Then it was time for hanging. The guys went to a sports bar to watch the game. The ladies went to a spa for mani/pedis. I had a good time getting to know the bride’s friends. I hadn’t met any of them before, but they were very welcoming of my friend-of-the-groom self.

On the day of the wedding, it was raining pretty hard all day. Luckily, it stopped raining about a half hour before the outdoor ceremony was supposed to start and didn’t rain again for the rest of the night. Every detail was gorgeous, showing off the bride’s eye for detail.

I think I’ll put up a couple of pictures, just to give you a taste. It really was that gorgeous.

After the wedding, it was time for the reception. The food was good, the company was good, the music was good. What more could you want?

Then it was time for the speeches. The maid of honor’s speech was first. She talked about when she and the bride first met and it was sweet and kind of funny and very heartfelt. I was so happy about the length and mix of heart and humor in her speech because my friend was worried his speech was too long and too all-over-the-place.

Then it was his turn to talk. The whole room seemed to ripple with anticipation. We laughed about it later because we were like, “um, do these people even know him well enough to be this anticipatory about this speech?”

Is anticipatory a word? I’m much better at math than other things like English and grammar.

Anyway, so he gets up to make his speech to the sounds of laughter as people are already so sure they’re going to laugh, they’re starting it off ahead of time.

And the speech is perfect. The whole room was laughing, including the people who didn’t know him or the groom well. The groom had tears in his eyes. The bride was smiling a very large smile. It was a hit. I was feeling so proud of my friend and also patting myself on the back.

It was hard work getting that speech that perfect. We spent a lot of man hours over the months getting it just right, and it paid off.

So how do you put together the perfect best man speech?

1)      Take account of your personality and don’t pretend to be different.

2)      Think about what both the bride and groom are expecting and keep that in mind.

3)      Think of the main points you want to make (they belong together, I am his best friend deservedly so, and I’m happy to be here), and make sure you stick to the script

4)      Come up with a funny and a heartwarming story to illustrate each point

5)      Choose alternating story types

6)      Out of all your stories, take out the weaker ones and just make the point while only alluding to the stories, the groom will react to the inside joke and everyone else will feel even stronger how close you are

7)      Include wedding guests by name if you can, it just makes everyone feel closer

8)      Don’t forget to say, “to the bride and groom!” at the end of your speech

And probably, get some help from your other best friend to make sure it’s all coming together just right.

After the wedding, my friend needed help assisting the groom, so I went with him. We went to their bridal suite and grabbed up some important items. We took his tux, her dress, and other assorted wedding items that the groom’s parents were going to be responsible for getting safely home. I felt really special to be let in on that moment for them.

It really let me know i’d make a great bridesmaid of matron of honor for one of my friends, should they ever get married. The only two of my friends to get married are two guys, and neither is really the type to have a non-family girl stand up for them at their wedding. Plus, I’d rather have one of my girls get married so all the wedding-related stuff is girly. I guess I’m officially far enough removed from my own wedding to want to be involved in another wedding. So now I wait.

Also after the wedding, we put together a little hang in one of the hotel rooms for the people who wanted the party to continue. We ended up laughing, talking, and hanging out until pretty late. I only got a couple of hours of sleep before I needed to get up to go to the airport to head back to New York City.

And now for the pictures!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can't get much better than that!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can’t get much better than that!

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

They named their tables based on places they've traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

They named their tables based on places they’ve traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

The toast went off without a hitch!

The toast went off without a hitch!

Hanging out at the wedding after party.

Hanging out at the wedding after party.

 


And We’re Still Together

Does anybody watch the TV show Pysch? I love that show. It’s so hilarious and absolutely ridiculous, but I’ve seen every single episode for all 7 seasons. A very recent episode of Psych made me think more than that show ever intended.

I’ve been following these characters for seasons, so I was feeling very emotionally invested when one of them finally got married to a woman who was perfect for him. No dramedy is complete without a possible breakup at a wedding, so when that happened, I got really introspective.

I began thinking of how much it must hurt for the guy breaking up to watch the people not breaking up. I remembered what it felt like to want to be past dating and just be with the person God intended for me.

I was happy being single because I found things about it I liked, but I have never been the type of person who preferred being single over being in a relationship.

Remembering that feeling made me feel a longing for the safety of a happy relationship. When you are committed, bad things can happen, and it’s okay.

Are there things bad enough to blow up even a very solid relationship? Well, yes, there has to be. Otherwise, the divorce rate wouldn’t be as high as it is.

But in that moment watching a couple ending juxtaposed against one taking a next important relationship step, I was so happy I was couple #2. They were happy and solid. They had quite literally dodged bullets on their way down the aisle to get married.

Luckily, there aren’t any bullets involved with the husband. Just lots of live music. And nothing about his talent is fake, so we’re a step ahead of all the couples on Psych at least.

I’m sure there is something wrong with me to become so thoughtful because of an episode of Psych. James Roday would either be highly offended or complimented.

I’m just thankful I’ve got my solid thing going. I much prefer the comfort of a happy relationship over anything else. For as long as it lasts, this is where I’m staying.

God-willing, it will last forever.


Back to the Grind

The day that shall forever be known as “The Day I Didn’t Become Infamous For Starting A Strep Epidemic” preceded a day I barely remember.

I was so damn sick, y’all. It’s not even funny. I acted like a whiny little bitch all morning, and the wonderful man I married put up with it.

He asked if I wanted soup, and of course I did. He offered to go buy me Progresso soup. I was hurt that he’d suggest canned soup to me when I had an amazing recipe for chicken noodle soup.

So I whined that I wanted my soup recipe, and he offered to go the grocery store and then cook it for me. I laughed incredulously at the thought that he could make home-made soup.

I’m so damn rude sometimes. But the husband acknowledges that even with me talking him through each step from the couch, something would likely go wrong.

At this point, I had no intention of getting off the couch. Feeling as horrible as I did, my raging hunger finally got me up off the couch and to the stove. I drugged myself up really good so I did no coughing, sneezing, or sniffling over the soup.

The soup was delicious and totally worth the worsening malaise. The husband rubbed my lower back for me after we finished eating because he’s the best.

The next 30 hours after that are a complete blur. I took medicine and mindlessly watched episodes of Misfits. It’s this British show we get through Hulu Plus. Crazy sci-fi weirdness and lots of slang I don’t understand, but I love that show!

When it was time to go back to work, I felt better. I’m still working on getting rid of this cough, but at least no one in my family got sick. I let my co-workers know who was the lucky winner in the Who-Got-Me-Sick Sweepstakes. I’m just glad I didn’t get the flu or strep throat.

So now I’m back on a three day string at work. Working hard and keeping pace with the constant change has become and every day part of life. At this point, we don’t even get whiplash when something major changes. But I will focus on the positive and be grateful that I don’t have one of those jobs that is the same day in and day out. Monotony blows.


Going Down The Aisle And Back Again

Divorce and marriage are swirling all around me now. The husband and I are just fine. We’re better than fine actually. No the divorce and the marriage have nothing to do with us. It’s just all the people around us.

If I’m counting right, I currently know of three separations/divorces in process. And I know of, as of last Saturday, five engaged couples. The reason this stands out to me is that all eight couples were at my wedding, and only one of the couples had their current status at that time.

Engaged Couple #1: Dr. & Dr. They came to our wedding as an engaged couple. They met while in medical school. The guy went to college with me and my best friend/my best man. They have an interesting relation that causes mixed opinions amongst those who knew him before they got together. Their wedding is later this year, and it will be a lot of fun since it’s down in Hotlanta. I’m mostly just waiting to see if I’ll get an invite. I got a save the date-ish, so we’ll see.

Engaged Couple #2: Heading for an Island. On a double date we went on once, they discussed wanting to move to Hawaii, which is where the woman’s family is from. She’s an artist, and an amazing one at that. She designed our wedding invitations and the husband’s CD cover. He’s a teacher and jazz musician. I’m quite sure their kids will be gorgeous, and part of me is already plotting on marrying off one of my kids to one of theirs.

Engaged Couple #3: Might As Well Get Married. I met this couple during my ill-fated years in med school. He was in law school and she was getting some sort of Master’s degree. They ended up breaking up and they ended up back together. Again, mixed opinions. But they seem really happy at the thought marrying each other. And their wedding is also will be a blast.

Engaged Couple #4: Actually Getting Married For Real. The guy was one of my best friends for years. He was one of my bridesmen at my wedding. He and his girl have been off an on since college, and they have been going strong for years now. She has mellowed him in a way it took me a while to get used to. They seem so happy together. And if anyone was going to get him down the aisle, it’s her. They’ll probably get married on an island, which will definitely be fun.

Engaged Couple #5: The Just Right Marriage. The guy was the husband’s best man. They’ve been friends since they were young. They were in a band together in high school and that band has since had reunion concerts. I can’t think of anything clever or snarky to say about it because honestly I just enjoy their music, so someone please crack a joke about it on my behalf. His girl is amazing. Their kids will be gorgeous and she loves him to death. Plus, I think he just really wants to have a wife. How lucky that when he decided he wanted to marry, he had the perfect girl in front of him?

Now on to the divorcing couples. I’ve actually decided to only write about two of them. The third is something that isn’t common knowledge I have no idea if certain people I know read this blog, so I’m not even going there.

Divorce #1: The Joyous End. The man is one of my close friends who I’ve known since we were kids. He was also my other bridesman. That’s right, I had three men standing up with me. His soon-to-be-ex-wife is this chick he met at a party a handful of years back. She was everything he’d always wanted, she just also happened to possess some extra qualities he didn’t want. Things really went downhill after their wedding in April 2012. Yup, their wedding was in early 2012. The only thing all his friends agree on is that since they’ve separated, it’s like getting our friend back. The change was so gradual, we kind of forgot all that happened that took him so far from the person he was. Perhaps he bounced back so quickly because they weren’t married long.

Divorce #2: Why’d You Even Get Married? This couple wed in August 2012. I make a habit of not going to weddings of marriages I can’t in good faith support. I let myself get convinced to go to this one because of the travel time between the ceremony and reception. That meant one thing: party bus. Since it was a cash bar reception, the drinks we bought did supply most everyone in our range at the reception. Good times. But back to this divorce. This man is a walking party, and his bride is so not. There was some cheating, some lack of bill paying, and a thought towards a My Best Friend’s Wedding type intervention in the days before the wedding. Either way, they ended up getting married. She ended up regretting it. I ended up going back to my assertion that I really shouldn’t go to the weddings of the people I don’t think should get married.

It’s weird when we think about all these weddings we may potentially have to go to in the next year. Only one of them is for someone who is one of my close friends. And their wedding will likely take place somewhere the husband and I can’t even afford to travel to. The rest of the people are friends of the husband or the best friend.

But it’s really the divorces that are getting to me. These people all had their weddings the same year I did. There were a bunch of weddings at my church during 2012, so the track record really isn’t all that bad. It still gets to me though.

As a newlywed, I can’t imagine ending my marriage. The husband and I have had some serious ups and downs since we’ve been together. As angry and hurt as I was when it happened, I still can’t imagine separating. If anything, all the strife has only confirmed we’re supposed to stay together. I likely would’ve divorced, maimed, and/or ruined any other man had we gone through the same things.

What makes a marriage fall apart that quickly? I just can’t wrap my head around it. If you suspect your guy is cheating, why still get married? I think one’s parents would prefer losing a deposit and dealing with that over paying out the full $25,000 to pay for a wedding and then having nothing to show for it but a divorced daughter a few months later.

The other thing I’m also thinking of is the fact that none of my girls are getting married. Sure, one of my close guy friends is getting married, but that’s different. I want to plan a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. I want to pass on the bridezilla sash they made me. Statistics swear that black men aren’t getting married. I know five who are getting married. We just haven’t found any to marry my friends yet. They’re working on it though. Kudos to them for not settling because then they’d end up like Divorce #2.


Having Crazy Dreams

In the weeks leading up to my wedding, I started having nightmares. Back then I was blogging about my wedding on Weddingbee, so I’d heard of pre-wedding nightmares. They usually consisted of missing dresses, missing grooms, missing guests, etc. My nightmares were nothing like that. Mine included hundreds of unfamiliar eyes, staring at me unrelentingly, and ruining the intimacy of my whole day.

The nightmares got worse the closer the wedding was. I think I freaked out the husband (then fiancé) by asking if we could not get married as planned. But once I assured him that I definitely wanted to get married, just not as planned, he fixed it. We got married early with 20 people in attendance, including us, the ministers, and the musician. It was amazing and intimate and everything I wanted, and my nightmares immediately ended. I slept great the next three nights leading up to the big ass wedding we had with 300+ people in attendance.

Since then, I haven’t had many nightmares. I’ve always been an either happy dreamer or prescient dreamer. Crazy unhappy dreams aren’t really my thing. So when the bad dreams started again, I was frustrated to find the husband couldn’t quickly fix it for me. Well, I didn’t have to even “find” it out. I already knew because the dreams are work related, and obviously the husband can’t fix work-related anxiety manifesting itself through crappy ass dreams.

This most recent dream involved me showing up to work after a week off only to find that three younger siblings of an ex had been hired. They were hired to replace three people who got promoted to fill supervisor positions. Two of the three people promoted to supervisor were a couple, making their dual promotion all the more unlikely.

I’ve been hinting toward this for weeks without directly talking about it, but this dream likely makes it clear  to you, my dear readers, that I’m currently waiting to hear about a possible promotion at work. Armed with that additional knowledge, perhaps you can imagine how harrowing this dream was. To have my co-workers replaced by siblings of an ex is bad enough. The detail of why the rest is so bad isn’t even important because it’s the siblings of an ex!!

Oh how I wish the husband could fix this for me. The higher ups at my office will decide soon enough though. If I get the promotion, great. And if I don’t, I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll be fine. It’s really the not knowing that is the problem. I hate feeling this anxiety. Considering it’s only happened to me twice in the last year, I should be grateful. There are a lot of people who experience far worse anxiety, some in my own family.

I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that they decide soon. I really don’t want to see who will pop up in my dreams the next couple of days if this remains unsettled.


Fifty by Age 50: Heading To The East Coast

At the end of this month, the husband and I are going to Virginia for one of his cousin’s wedding. With all the money we’ve been watching closely and planning we’ve been doing for his CD release party, there really haven’t been funds or time for travel. We went to Wisconsin in May or June, but that was months ago. At this rate, we’ll be living in London before we start checking more countries off our list. But at least we’ll hit up Virginia.

I wish we had time for a longer trip so we could do DC and Maryland too, but we just don’t have the time. We will be in Williamsburg, I think. It’s a city with a rich culture, most of which seem to include the word plantation, but I think it should be fun nonetheless.

It’s only a 42 minute drive from the campus of Hampton University. One of the girls I mentor just started school there. Perhaps I should go visit her. I’ve never seen Hampton’s campus, and I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Plus, I can see more of Virginia if I do so. We’ll see though. I don’t want to impose on her, and I’m sure there will be plenty of wedding weekend activities to do.

The husband and I like to take in the local food that an area is known for, and I hope Virginia will be no exception. Based on a quick internet search, in Virginia I should be trying to have seafood (especially crabs), peanuts (thank God no allergies), award-winning wine, and locally grown produce.

Another quick internet search tells me the best Farmer’s Market in Williamsburg is on Saturdays. We won’t be there early enough on Saturday to partake. Hopefully the family we’re staying with went to the grocery store…

The plan is to do another post after we get back with amazing pictures of the wedding and Virginia.

Anything I should know about Williamsburg before I get there?


Wish There Were More Hours In The Day

I wish there were more hours in the day. I wish I had time to workout, hang out with the husband, work, keep up the house, and still get 9+ hours of sleep every day. Why can’t days be 30 hrs long?

Okay, okay, I know why. It’s because the Earth would have to be further away from the sun, and then it’d be cold as hell on this planet. So, I suppose 24 hrs will do.

On a happier note, I got through even more of the workout. I spent only about 10 minutes doing my gospel two step and the rest of the time actually doing the cardio routine Tracy Anderson has put together. I’ve officially tried all her nutrient boost week recipes, and they’re good. I officially take back what I said about the diet being crazy. If you take the red meat out of my current diet, change the potatoes to sweet potatoes and make everything un-fried, it’s not that different from what I”m already eating. I think I’ll be keeping the blueberry applesauce, home-made chocolate pudding, and chicken vegetable soup recipes for myself even after I’ve completed the diet plan.

I can get down with a plan that won’t send me into a tailspin the day I finish it. The idea is to stop eating processed foods and to focus on nutrient rich natural foods. Fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts, turkey meat, beans, etc. Nothing from a can. I really can’t wait to try cooking black bean from scratch instead of a can when I start next week’s menu.

On a non-health note, I finally got to spend some time with my friends this past weekend. Although I wasn’t looking forward to going to the wedding with so many details photocopied from my wedding, it was nice to hang out with my friends. I haven’t spent any real time with them since the husband’s birthday party. We hung out at the wedding, the reception, and they came to the husband’s gig at Andy’s later that night.

When you’ve been friends with someone since you were a child, it’s nice to feel the difference in your friendship as an adult. Now when we hang out, we’re going to weddings and then jazz clubs. And we were all tired as hell and in bed by 3:00 am. For people between ages 25-28, I’d say that’s not bad for a Friday night when we all have jobs/husbands/kids.

If I could squeeze one more thing into my day, it would be to make time to watch the Olympics. I haven’t seen a single event. I keep intending to watch it, but I never have time. I wish they would put highlights on Hulu or something. For now, I’ll just keep getting updates on medals won via text from CNN.


Post-Wedding Apathy

Since I love blogging, and I love the husband, I figured blogging about my wedding would be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me. I was woefully and regrettably wrong wrong wrong.

I have my reasons, you may not agree with them. I’m prepared for lack of agreement, but just know I feel quite strongly about this. Here goes.

Reason #1: My wedding is being f-ing photocopied! Whoever said the highest form of flattery is imitation is an asshole. There is a wedding happening this summer that is my wedding on rinse and repeat. My flowers: orchids, gardenias, roses. This wedding: ditto. My baker, my florist, my freaking dress consultant are all making appearances at this wedding. Even her bridal shower at the end of the month has the same theme. I’ve been told not to blame the bride because her wedding has been hijacked by people with stronger opinions. I’ve been told I should be flattered. I’ve been told that it could all be a coincidence.

All I know is that I’m not flattered. There have been so many weddings held my members of my church in the last three years, and many have been unique and tasteful. So why is mine being carbon copied? We put a lot of thought into our choices and I don’t appreciate someone just jocking my style. Half our wedding vendors aren’t even easy to find. They aren’t located in the city or aren’t big on the internet, which means that the planners of this wedding bypassed the easier finds to go to my vendors. I’ve been having a WTF moment concerning this wedding for like the last 4 months. Oh, did I mention that the bridesmaid dresses look like mine, just slightly darker plus rhinestones?

Reason #2: I’ve lost my love for blogging about my wedding. I can’t bring myself to blog about my wedding. I have several posts written, but I stopped right at the bachelor/bachelorette party. All I have to do is add in pictures from our photographer. I specifically requested the more expensive package so I could have the rights to all these photos and now I’m not even using them. I just don’t feel like it. I don’t know how normal that is, but I just don’t wanna.

Reason #3: There are still items on my to-do list. I still haven’t submitted the photos for our professional album. I still haven’t mailed thank you cards. I just hate that there are still to-do items. We don’t even have on file the addresses for the last minute invitees. The drive to Staples to buy labels to print out and put on already completed thank you notes just feels like too big of a task. I wish someone else would do it.

Reason #4: Thinking about my wedding makes me feel less married. I was so excited once the wedding was over. The husband and I haven’t been together for long, so I felt like the majority of our relationship was consumed by wedding planning. Now that we’re not wedding planning anymore, we’re just us. We’ve had four blissful non-wedding planning months and even thinking about anything wedding related makes me feel like I’m regressing. I suppose that’s why we didn’t even watch our wedding video until our mothers made us on Mother’s Day.

I’m not at all apathetic about my marriage, just my wedding. It was a beautiful day that was this great big party. Everyone had an amazing time and I’m so grateful for what my parents (both sets) made possible for the husband and me. I just don’t want to think about it right now. Or at all for the next 6 months.

Do I suck completely for feeling this way? I imagine couples who’ve been together for years don’t go through this. I don’t want to be ungrateful, I just want to be married and leave my wedding in the past. I remember the tasty food, the endless dancing, the amazing music, and my gorgeous bouquet. All the rest can go poof. For now.


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Wedding Photographs

I’ve blogged as an engaged woman, and I’ve blogged as a married woman. But I never blogged about the transition. Not really.

I’m skipping all the recap crap. If you want to read that, you can read my blog on Weddingbee. I’m Mrs. Kettle.

But for now, I’m just going to put up some pictures from the wedding. Part of our photo package with our fabulous photographer included getting the photo release rights on every picture they took. Woot!

I look great in sepia. I’m quite sure everyone does.

The husband and his attendants. Don’t they look amazing?

This is one of my favorite pictures. It sums up the whole day for me.

This was when my dad told me he was running behind because he got pulled over by the cops for speeding. It was like the Godfather, him asking a favor on this the day of his daughter’s wedding.  No ticket!

This is my dress. My beautiful, non-white dress.

These are my flowers. My beautiful flowers.

There a ton of pictures. I don’t want to bore people. Should I go on with more pictures? I’ll let the comments decide!


Wedding Registries and Home Deliveries

In the weeks and months leading up to my wedding, I’ve gotten a delivery from my UPS man quite frequently. In the last 2-3 weeks, it’s been everyday.

I’m not exaggerating. I’ve literally seen that man every Mon-Fri. We’re so damn familiar now, I feel like I should be going to his first BBQ next summer.

It’s been interesting getting all this stuff delivered that are wedding gifts. We’re not using our wedding gifts before the big day, so there are just boxes piling up everywhere.

And of course, there are the things we’ve purchased for the wedding. The biggest purchases are our gifts to our parents and wedding party. There’s so many of them!

Then I got a FedEx delivery. I had to re-order 2 bridesmaid dresses, and they’re being delivered through FedEx. Those assholes attempted 3 times in less than 36 hrs to deliver the package.
The first was early as hell on Fri morning before I got home from work. Who delivers a package at 7 in the morning! WTF? And then they brought the packages on Saturday at 8 and 4. We weren’t home either times because we have a life. What ever happened to delivering packages when folks are actually home? Ugh!

It just made me miss my UPS guy. When I called FedEx to pick up my package myself, turns out they’re not open on Sunday or Monday. They officially suck in my book.

I’m just glad that I won’t have to worry about deliveries shortly. I’m getting everything sent to my parents’ house while we’re on our honeymoon. I wonder if my UPS guy will miss seeing my smiling face every morning, ha ha.


I Got Married Today

Sorry for the later post today, but I didn’t want to publish this until after it happened.

After being on a roller coaster of emotions about my wedding, I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Every thought I had about the wedding that’s in 3 days only made me feel upset.

I mentioned a few days ago how the fiancé came up with a plan to save my wedding from itself. He suggested we get married before the wedding. That made him my hero.

It fixed the problem I had with getting married in front of hundreds of people. It will be my pastor, his pastor, my parents, his parents and just a couple of close family and friends. I wore whatever dress I picked out of my closet, grabbed some flowers at Jewel-Osco, and got married on a Wednesday afternoon.

I’ve been cracking jokes for months now that we should have done that all along and if we’d had to pay for the wedding ourselves, it’s what we would’ve chosen.

I never thought it would be possible to get married that way I want. The thought of going into Saturday already married lifts a huge weight off my shoulders. This apprehension I had about feeling like I’m in a spotlight putting my relationship with the husband on display is gone. We’re already married! We’ve already exchanged vows and rings and it was be private and special and just ours.

We decided last year on Mardi Gras that we’d be married by Mardi Gras of this year. I like the idea of our anniversary falling on or before Mardi Gras every year for the rest of our lives. Mardi Gras never comes earlier than Feb 8th, and by getting married today, we are going to have that.

It’s weird that such a small thing means so much to me, but it does.

And so today, I am married, and I’ve stopped being so ridiculously upset about Saturday. I’ll have my wedding Saturday and spend the next 50 years trying to remember which day is actually my anniversary.


The Final Wedding Straw

Logical normal me is excited about my upcoming wedding. I’m marrying a man who I love more than I ever thought possible. I will be wearing a beautiful dress and will be surrounded by hundreds of people that love me and the fiancé.

But I am not logical normal me right now. I’m apathetic bitter me. And apathetic bitter me is not looking forward to this wedding. Every fucking time I turn around, someone else gets added to the guest list. I wanted 75 people at this wedding. There will be 288. Three days ago it was 286, but now it’s 288.

The fiancé and I had a long talk the other day where I finally got out all my frustration about this guest list and his complicity in it. The last week or so has been an exercise in people asking my opinion about things I don’t care about and then telling me                                                                              my opinion on things I do care about doesn’t matter.

I can’t take this shit no mo!

At the height of my frustration, my mother tells me the last two people to get added to the guest list are the pastor and first lady of the church at which my brother is the youth pastor.

A couple things about that: 1) This man invited himself to my wedding. 2) I’ve never met him or seen a picture of him and wouldn’t know him if I saw him in the street. 3) My brother and I are not close or even distant. We have no relationship to speak of so this guy coming to support my brother for me is a stretch by any means. 4) My mother is a pushover (only when it comes to this wedding) and this is how the last 20 out of 30 people got added to this list.

So now when my father says that I’m so lucky that so many people love me and the fiancé and want to be there to share our big day, I say bullshit. There are people coming I don’t even fucking know.

My nightmare about my wedding is going to be my actual wedding. Hundreds of people eye-balling me expectantly, me searching the crowd, trying to find even one face I know well and can look to for comfort.

But, it’s going to be okay. The fiancé came up with a plan. He got me to calm down and stop freaking out. Think Runaway Bride, and maybe you’ll figure out his suggestion to me. I need to mull over it for a couple more days, but I think it will work.

Aside from that rant, I’ve been feeling considerably better about this wedding since his suggestion. I no longer feel like he’s the enemy (along with my parents), now I kind of feel like he’s my hero.

There wasn’t much I knew I wanted my wedding to be as a little girl. I knew I didn’t want to wear white. I knew I wanted it relatively small (no more than 100). And I knew I wanted lots of flowers everywhere. I thought those were simple requests that would be easy to fulfill. Silly me.


Msuic On My Honeymoon

In the spirit of thinking about things that help keep me happy, I want to talk about my honeymoon. At first, our honeymoon was supposed to be in Panama and New Orleans. As a lover of holidays (y’all know how I was about Christmas), I was over the moon with our original plans.

We were going to go to Panama for Carnival (and Valentine’s Day). Then we were going to fly to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Every time we make plans, something gets changed because of the fiancé’s music.

Since these were major and expensive plans, I made him promise not to take any gigs in the days before all the way up to 12 days after the wedding. We were planning on a long honeymoon so he agreed. I didn’t completely ban music, in fact I asked him to bring his horn with him in case an opportunity to play came up.

But of course, the plans changed. He got an amazing opportunity to be in this contest. This contest is geared towards young jazz musicians in Chicago. One of the people who is pretty important in this group who runs the contest attended one of the fiancé’s gigs. He told him it would be a good idea for him to sign up for this competition.

This competition is a great way to gain recognition as a young jazz musician. It has an amazing first place prize: $10,000.  Also, it was the Wednesday after our honeymoon, when we were supposed to be in Panama.

I had tried to book our honeymoon the day before this came up, but hit a snag. Thank God I did because I was all for switching course. We decided to do the first part of our honeymoon in Chicago and then fly to New Orleans for Mardi Gras as planned.

Technically this contest isn’t a gig, so he didn’t break his promise. It just so happened that after we decided to stay in Chicago, other gig opportunities popped up. We reasoned that we’d already be in downtown Chicago at a great spa hotel, so why not?

The honeymoon isn’t starting the way I expected, but I have to admit that I’m feeling pretty good about starting our marriage off in a way that shows him how much I support his career ambitions. I traded warmth, sun, and sand on our first real vacation for a competition. I think it’s a fair trade because he’s really talented and has a good shot at it.

And hey, if he wins, we’ll still go on a vacation somewhere warm, sunny, and sandy.


I’m Not Mad or Frustrated. I’m Apathetic.

With everything that’s been going on lately with the fiancé, it’s been hard to stay upbeat. Every little thing that goes wrong feels like a huge setback.

It doesn’t help that I feel like my wedding has spiraled out of control. We have to add three more tables at our venue. We should be adding 5 more, but my mom thinks it’s a good idea to just squeeze people in 11 and 12 to a table. The table numbers aren’t done. The seating chart isn’t done.

We still have to do programs, menus, a gift card box, choose the music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. There was still so much, and nothing could be settled because of all the last minute changes with the guest list, the floor plan, etc.

To top it all off, we still haven’t gotten our marriage license. By the time this post is published, we are supposed to have it. we shall see. Can you tell my optimism is non-existent?

The only defense I have to maintain my sanity and reserve all of my “it-will-work-out”-ness for my relationship with the fiancé is to become apathetic about everything else.

Suddenly, I stopped caring about the wedding. The stuff that isn’t done doesn’t really need to get done. We don’t need programs. It’ll be pretty obvious what’s going on and there’s only like 5 parts to our ceremony anyway.

We don’t need a seating chart. People can sit whereever. I don’t care who sits where.

The fiancé can just get gifts for his groomsmen whenever. And the musicians are all friends with the fiancé, so they can play whatever music they desire. I really truly don’t care anymore.

They say a wedding day is supposed to be a celebration of a couple and starting their new lives together. Well, we’ve already started our lives together, the wedding is just this big pressure cooker that’s messing up the way I view my relationship and adding all this extra stress.

Too many people, too many decisions to make, and too many opinions have to be considered before anything can get accomplished. So I’m over it.

I haven’t picked up my wedding dress yet. I was supposed to pick it up Thursday, but whatever. I’m sure it will make it’s way home from the store somehow.

I will wear that beautiful dress and smile and take a billion pictures and dance and eat and be merry on my wedding day. That’s what everyone is expecting. I hate feeling like I’m on display. I will just drink enough mimosas to feel comfortable and get through the day.

Perhaps once every one else accepts that all these final details are going to fall through the cracks because I’ve stopped caring, they’ll stop calling and texting me 5 times a day. When that happens, maybe I can get back to my focus on the real purpose of this wedding and stop being apathetic.

We’ll see. Whatever.


My Wedding Dress And I Have Kissed And Made Up

That beautiful wedding dress of mine is still not my BFF, but I no longer hate her and call her a bitch in my sleep. A previous post about my wedding dress can be summed up by saying I find the dress beautiful, but I ordered a size that I was not by the time the dress came in.

I left the shop after my first fitting feeling like a stuffed sausage, and feeling pressure from my mother to lose weight rather than have the dress altered.

I somehow managed to only go to yoga once in that month. That means I was messing up my New Year’s Resolution and possibly sabotaging my wedding.

I got to the dress shop with one of my bridesmaids on Thursday. The seamstress was there, ready to take measurements for alterations in case they couldn’t get my overweight ass into the dress.

She began zipping me into the dress. It didn’t go up easily, but she didn’t call someone from the front to help. She just had me hold the waist of the dress closer to my body. Then she zipped up the whole dress. It didn’t zip with ease, let me repeat, but it zipped!

And I could breathe! I was so relieved. Don’t get me wrong, I still had side boob, and Oprah arms. Yet I could breathe! I felt like I might be able to eat, and dance, and breathe in this dress on my wedding day.

One thing was clear at this point: the dress was too small. Extolling the value of breathing didn’t change the fact that it was still too tight and I’d be uncomfortable all day unless I lost more weight or got the dress altered. The seamstress gave a big speech about the alterations she could do to make the dress fit.

Then she leaned in close, out of the ear range of the store owner, and told me I really just needed to lose another 1-3 pounds and I’d be fine. I appreciated her not trying to coerce me into signing up for a couple hundred dollars in alterations when I could just take my ass back to yoga once or twice before the wedding and be fine.

Wedding alterations are really expensive and not an expense I’m trying to incur with only 3 weeks to go until the wedding.

So I will go back to yoga. And I will hope I shrink just enough to fit comfortably in my dress. And I will be hopeful that they steam my dress and get all those beautiful 3D flowers on the bodice to lay down right since I will need that to distract from my side boob.


Pre-Wedding Jitters

I thought I was immune to the cold-feet stereotype that you see in movies and television for almost-weds. Turns out I am not.

For me, the pre-wedding jitters has manifested itself in the most horrible way possible. I said the words to the fiancé that I never thought I would say: “I don’t think I can do this.”

Looking back, I still can’t believe those words came out my mouth. I’ll tell you what happened so I’m not sounding increasingly vague and oddly mysterious.

It started with a lie. the fiancé lied to me about something concerning his ex. There was an omission, a misleading statement, and an outright lie. I completely lost it. There was yelling and arguing. Ultimately I told him I couldn’t marry him if he was a liar.

We’d been working on our trust and communication since we’ve been dating (an issue I’m sure I’ll explain eventually in one the “My Story” posts). It’s hard for me to trust him because he doesn’t always tell the truth up front. He always tells the truth eventually, but that “eventually” part was starting to wear on me.

Also, I’ve got anger issues. Things don’t make me angry right away. But if I get a little angry about something, the next time it happens, I get twice as angry. So imagine how angry (and probably scary) I can get the 17th time I’m angry about something. For you math folks, that’s [angry *2^n].

So between his eventual truth, my exponentially increasing anger (linearly?), and our occasional breakdown of communication, it’s obvious where this was heading. The argument about the ex ended with him promising never to willingly lie to me again. That’s a big promise, but he made it.

Less than 36 hours later, we had a miscommunication about the guest list and the role the fiancé has been playing in wedding planning. The argument escalated because I thought he lied about something. He didn’t explain himself well at all, likely because I barely let him get a word in because I was so angry.

Then…

I said, “I don’t think I can do this. I can’t marry you. I don’t trust you and we don’t communicate well. I can’t rely on you. I can’t do this.”

I’ve never seen him look so hurt. I meant it when I said it, and there was no reasoning with me at first. He kept pushing me to talk about it. I had to get ready to leave for work (stupid night shifts), and I wasn’t ready to talk yet. We usually have a rule that he gives me space to think things through we have a disagreement, but this was an extenuating circumstance.

He kept calling and texting me for the whole hour drive to work and for the first 5 hours I was at work. We sorted through our confusions and got on the same page about the issues. But I still felt so weary. When I thought about leaving him, it seemed so hard.

Pragmatically, the hassle of one of us moving out of the apartment, calling of a wedding that cost tens of thousands of dollars only 26 days out, etc., just seemed like too much. But emotionally, the thought of having that same fight over and over again for the rest of my life just made me feel dejected and sad and weary and listless. I felt like I didn’t have any fight left in me for this particular topic.

 But the fiancé stayed strong. He expressed that he hated feeling like he was the only one fighting for our relationship. I told him I’d lost my energy to fight. I told him I could love him and miss him and never love anyone else as much ever again and still be without him because there are some non-negotiables I just can’t get down with (constant lying, any kind of abuse towards me, any kind of substance abuse, suddenly turning Atheist). He doesn’t have all of those, but he’s struggled with the first one.

But the fiancé stayed strong. He told me he couldn’t be without me and that I wouldn’t have to live the rest of my life living with one of my non-negotiables. I told him if the situation were reversed, I’d be doing what he was doing. I’d be fighting for our relationship, even if I felt like I was fighting by myself.

It’s nice to think every couple fights just as hard together all the time for their relationship, but that’s not realistic. Sometimes one person has to be strong for the other. That’s what the fiancé did for me. He was strong when I couldn’t be strong.

He talked me back from the ledge. I still feel weary and dread the thought of what’s going to happen then next time we have a miscommunication or heaven forbid he lies about something. But I’m done talking about not marrying him.

I’m almost 100% sure I would have had a different response had we not been less than 30 days from the wedding. I think the urgency of the situation, feeling somehow like all of our major issues had to be worked out prior to the wedding was pulling me towards behaving in a very crazy way.

If I’m being realistic, I would realize that since the time that we decided to get married, we’ve been all in. I just didn’t realize how my emotions would change in the days leading up to the wedding.

We argued about one of our big issues and I know it’s not the last conversation we’ll have about it, but I know now reactions were more about the timeframe of the wedding than the topic of the argument.

I’m glad the fiancé was strong when I couldn’t be. I hope I’m never in his position, but if I am, I’ll be strong like he was. For right now, we’re working on my anger, his consistency, and forgiveness. I’m going to forgive him for misleading me yet again, and he’s going to forgive me for not being strong and letting my pre-wedding jitters get the best of me.


Wedding Worries/Espousement Excitement

Just like with Christmas, I’ll be posting a whole crapload about my wedding in the weeks leading up to it. I have worries and excitement. Mostly, I can’t wait to be a Mrs. and I just wish the day would hurry up and get here!

Worries

1) Most of the wedding party will be staying in Joliet the night before the wedding. But some rebels will be staying in Chicago. I can see overnight snowfall, oversleeping, or any other manner of evil making them late or even miss the wedding.

2) I wont get all my DIY projects and paper products (i.e. menu, program, etc.) done by the wedding.

3) I won’t be able to fit into my dress. I’ll look like stuffed sausage and be too uncomfortable to dance, eat, or breathe.

Excitement

1) I’m marrying the fiancé, who is the goodest person I know. (I truly mean goodest, and not best).

2) There are a lot of little details to this wedding that are near and dear to my heart and I can’t wait to see them all come together.

3) A huge party with almost everyone I love and cherish there will likely be one of the best days of my life.

Weddings are awesome and nerve-wracking and amazing all at once. I am just trying to hold onto the excitement building up to it. For me, the buildup is what adds even more good to an already great event (first day of school anyone? Nerds? Prom queens? Anyone?) and makes it that much better when it finally arrives.

Do you have anything you’re looking forward to in the near future?


Getting Married, Really Freaking Soon

Ever since we first discussed getting married during the Super Bowl in 2011, the fiancé and I have pretty much been moving towards our wedding, which is the second weekend of next month.

I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten married in a wedding ceremony that was way more extravagant and large than you’d prefer, but I’m kind of freaking out. If I had my way, we would have gotten married in a tiny tiny ceremony at my church on a Wednesday afternoon.

The only wedding accoutrement would be a really pretty dress for me, and flowers, lots of flowers. Then we’d throw a big party a week or so later and invite all the friends and family to join us in merriment. I knew this would never happen, but I can dream.

When we renew our vows in 10-15 years, we’ll do it that way.

But that’s not my reality. In my reality, my wedding is less than a month away. It’s less than 4 weeks away. I still have a ton to do.

I just want to bury my head in the sand and emerge married to a man who’s perfect for me. Why can’t that be the case.

I will be a big girl. I will wear a beautiful dress I love with all my heart that I may not fit into. I will march down the aisle at my non-church wedding venue, with hundreds of eyes staring at me.

Ugh, I try not to think about the eyes. I still have war flashbacks from entering both my engagement party and bridal shower late to the expectant stares of all the guests. I guess it was good practice for the wedding.

They’ll all be staring, but at least at the wedding, they only expect me to walk. At the other events, I felt as if I should’ve prepared a song and dance…

The only thing I’m not freaking out about is becoming a Mrs. I can’t wait to change my name. I can’t wait to wear my non-traditional wedding band. I can’t wait to use the word husband.

And I really can’t wait to wake up the day after the wedding to find that nothing at all has changed in our relationship. Fiancé, you’re the one thing about all of this I’m not freaking out about. And you can comment on this post if you like, I swear it’s not lame. It would be sweet.


My Wedding Dress Isn’t My Friend

I mentioned in my last post about how I had a harrowing experience with my wedding dress. I’m here to tell you the story. Just let me turn off the lights and shine a flashlight up under my face as if I were telling a Goosebumps tale.

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was picking health over beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be hot even if I lose 15 pounds (possible overconfidence alert!), I just won’t be as thick. I think both the fiancé and I can live with that. So yes, I picked health over beauty, but I also picked vanity over beauty.

How can vanity and beauty collide and not be on the same side? Well, go order a wedding dress, gain 10 pounds, try on that dress, and you’ll know the answer.

My wedding dress is beautiful. My grandmother will kill me for doing this, but I don’t care. Here it is.

Isn’t it lovely? The best part about it is that it isn’t white. I didn’t feel like me and a bride in the all-white dresses. But in this beauty? Oh yeah, I was feeling it.

My mother and I went to pick up me dress right before Christmas. We had ordered the size that fit my boob, not my ass, because it is an A-line ball gown and I figured we’d be fine. Wrong!

After I gained some weight, things… fit differently.

I get into the backroom with my wedding dress consultant. She has me step into the dress, then she pulls it up and starts putting it together.

There are these things kind of like the back of a bra that go across my back and hold the dress into place. There were two of them. She got those hooked, but nearly knocked me off my feet multiple times trying to get it.

When she went for the zipper, things only got worse. It was literally my worst nightmare concerning this wedding. The dress wouldn’t zip up. She said it almost zipped and called another consultant back to help. One woman held the dress together while the other pulled. After several painful tugs, they got it zipped.

But wait, there’s more! The dress has buttons. I hate those stupid little buttons that you need a special hook to even get all buttoned up. They couldn’t get those either. They had to do the one-hold-one-fasten thing again. Then, they had to adjust my back fat so I didn’t have “back-ass” coming out of the top of my dress. She actually said that. Back Ass.

After what felt like hours, I emerged from the room and got a look in the mirror. I couldn’t breathe, but I looked amazing! Even with all the bits of fat poking out everywhere, it looked great. I had my mother take a picture of me and I didn’t have too much side boob or Oprah arm going on, thank God!

Then my mother wanted me to walk, sit, stand, and dance in the dress to see how it worked for the wedding day. Did I mention I couldn’t really breathe very well in this tight dress? I did learn the importance of those stretchy bra strap things though. That dress doesn’t move up or down, it stays right in place.

The consultant then suggested we take the dress out a bit throughout the bodice. My mother refused. She said all I had to do was a bit of yoga and the dress would fit fine. After a brief look of horror passed over the consultant’s face, she agreed. Well, half-agreed. She suggested we make an appointment for Jan 14th. She said if I fit the dress, then they’d just steam it. And if not, then we still had time to get alterations done.

After that whole ordeal, I left with lots of pressure to lose weight (for the first time in my whole entire life!), bruise ribs (that dress was tight, and I was dancing), and a slightly deflated mood.

I’ve been having trouble finding the motivation to get on the health bandwagon. I didn’t eat healthier during the holidays, and didn’t get back to yoga til the new year. But I’m crossing my fingers that what’s left of my 20s provides the metabolism to kick start the weight loss in just 10 days. Wishful thinking?

Sigh.