Monday, May 31, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding...

And she did it! She wed. LB & Brian are now bonded in holy matrimony! Welcome to the world of "married" status tax filings, family planning, and "I'd like you to meet my husband..."

And what a wonderful wedding weekend it was!

I arrived early-evening Thursday (after nasty plane delays). We had dinner at an awesome roadside taco truck. And after a little bit of beautifying, LBride, Katie, and I went out to meet a bunch of people at a bar. This night was so fun! Tons of people were already in town, and tons of LB's Austin girlfriends met us out. Everyone was very cool/friendly, so it was a great night of conversing & meeting. And....the bar had free skeeball! What?!

Friday there was a cool bridesmaids luncheon on the lake! The party planners extraordinaire rented a boat that cruised while we enjoyed the delicious food of Cecile McAllister. Yum & fun!

The rehearsal dinner was totally Texas-y at a Mexican restaurant downtown. There was nice use of indoor and outdoor space (and weather that thankfully agreed with us). And a delish Mexican buffet (I heart Mexican food in Texas). The toast portion of the night was lovely - thoughtful, meaningful, well-planned toasts, for the most part. This couple had to have felt utterly loved by the end.

We concluded the night at a bar, and then officially closed down by stuffing Team U into the back seat of a Dodge Avenger. We also might or might not have taken a shot of rum offered to us by a pirate. Class-sy.

Wedding day itself ran smooth as butter. LB & Brian wanted pictures all over Austin, so the wedding party took a bus (with blacked-out windows, antlers mounted on the front, minimal air conditioning, and a cooler full of beer) and journeyed all around taking pics. They're gorgeous and can be checked out on the photographer's blog.

I'd like to take a second to describe how COOL the venue was for the wedding (ceremony & reception at the same place). It's called the Design Center of Austin; basically a huge open space with TONS of windows, exposed brick, exposed beams & vents, finished cement floors, and lots of metal elements. Because of the natural light, the harsh elements are totally softened. It was awesome. And LB played to the space wonderfully in her modern/minimalist decorations: instead of big floral displays, she had glass jars filled with greenery; white wooden chairs with slate-colored table clothes; and lantern lighting. Very Cool - a job well done!

The whole night itself seemed to go without a hitch. A really nice ceremony - and even though it wasn't in a church, it still felt sacred - kudos to the pastor for that. And a reception of dancing & fun with a photobooth. Instead of a champagne toast, the bride & groom honored LB's dad (and her family name) with Blanton-brand whiskey - a cute, quirky touch (that I, unfortunately did not partake in: whiskey is no friend of mine). Instead of cake, they had an assortment of friggin awesome pastries - my favorite being a berry tart-type cookie. Oh yes. And one fun aspect of the whole thing was how young the guests were - it definitely wasn't one of those half parent's friends/half kids wedding - it was mostly friends of the couple, all young people who were ready for a party! And a party it most certainly was! I'm beginning to think you can measure a wedding's success by how sweaty you get at the reception. I can speak for myself (and, um, my husband) that this was a success. (Gross.)

So generally speaking, it's awesome when your best friend gets married! I felt totally involved with the whole thing, and yet, had none of the stress that comes with one's own wedding. I felt like I knew a pretty large amount of the wedding guests, but again, felt no pressure to try to "make the rounds" and talk with everyone. While I still had to put on a fancy dress - it was great knowing that what I looked like didn't really matter since everyone pretty much looks at the bride all night. So yeah - I'm a huge fan - again, other best friends, go ahead & get married so I can come celebrate with you!

Congrats to the lovely couple - I couldn't be happier for y'all! Have fun on your loooooong honeymoon (but seriously, don't kill each other). Happy marriage - it really is such a sweet and awesome blessing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Grocery Shopping in the Pantry

I don't know if this is a phenomenon restricted to my mother alone - but I'm curious - what do your parents' pantries & refrigerators look like?

My mom - woman who lives alone - is stocked. She has a walk-in pantry, two refrigerators, and two freezers. And all are full. And surprisingly, nothing seems to be really old or in need of disposal. When I say "stocked," too, I mean it: multiple different shapes/varieties of dry pasta, 4 different kinds of rice, 5 different varieties of beans, peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter, large variety of canned soups/broths/stocks, jams/jellies/chutneys, various frozen meats (all with freezer date on them), lots of sauces, large variety of different cheeses, different types of bread (some in the freezer), etc. And some things make sense (for example, 5 cans of chopped tomatoes or tomato paste [obviously purchased on sale]). And some things are funny - like bulk sized bags of M&Ms, Hershey's Kisses, or candy from Trader Joes (since my mom is 5'7 and probably 115).

But basically, I would imagine that at any given time, even without a special trip to the store, my mom could put together an awesome meal that would taste as if it'd been planned for a week. But also, what makes it such a crazy phenomenon is that every time I'm there, it's always as stocked as it was last time - it's as if her supply never dies down.

Now I don't know how you guys operate in your food supply, but mine's pretty different than this. I basically plan our meals for the week, go to the store once or twice, and we consume what I've bought. (And gosh, when I was single, it was absurd how little I would have when I ran out of my supply from the store.)

As you all know, last weekend was LB's wedding (I swear - post coming soon on that!). So we got back to Memphis at circa 5pm on Sunday (after flying & then driving home from the Little Rock airport); going to the grocery store was low to non-existent on my to-do list. It was go-time with our food supply.

I actually didn't go to the store until yesterday - so we had quite an interesting array of meals. (And note, Jonathan was sick with a cold - so this actually aided the whole project a little because he couldn't taste anyway.)

Sunday Night: pasta for Jonathan (with butter & parmesan & an egg on top); an apple and almond butter with some cheese for me (I was all bloated & nast feeling from the weekend).

Monday Night: Chicken noodle soup for Jonathan (the worst day of his sickness); cheese toast and cereal for me. And a few spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Tuesday Night: Pasta for both of us (same as above), and an open-faced sandwich thin with marinara & cheese (a mini pizza, if you will).

Wednesday Night: Tomato/Pepper soup (that has been sitting in the pantry forever!). And it was supposed to be grilled cheese...but the bread had gone bad, ha.

Thursday Night: A Lean Cuisine for Jonathan; almond butter toast & cheese for me - and TCBY for both of us.

Totally uninspired. Not really healthy. Not really well balanced. Fail.

What do you guys think? If you didn't go to the store for a week - what would your meals look like?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Quickie

1) Happy Birthday Sarah!! Love love love you!!

2) Hungry Girl is coming to Memphis! Tonight! If you guys don't know about her, you should peruse her website. She updates M-F and has a different little category for each day (for example, Tuesday is "Chew The Right Thing"). She writes about lowfat eating/cooking. Not necessarily healthy eating/cooking - but lowfat (so, she would maybe suggest a yogurt that contains fake sugars over a full-fat, natural sugar product [the first one having less calories than the second - but perhaps a debate on which is actually "healthier"]). She comes up with some interesting "food swaps," though, for your favorite unhealthy things. And if anything, Friday's "Girls Bite Out" gives you some good low calorie options at different restaurants.

3) I'm having a tough time deciding about my bangs for summer. Keep them front-hanging, or have them trimmed slightly different so they are instead side-swept? I love the look of the front bang, but I worry with summer that anytime I get slightly heated, they are going to sweat & stick to my forehand & look bad. And I definitely don't want to have front-hanging ones that I just have to pin to the side everyday - not cute.

4) Patti & I went to Zumba again last night - so fun! You guys should see if there's a class offered near your house and try it out. It felt like a good workout, too - after an hour of jumping around & dancing, I was definitely winded and really sweaty.

5) It's almost the long weekend! Hooray!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Your Sick Pet Threatens Your Marriage...

This title is a bit of an overstatement. A bit...

Ben the cat is my first real pet. "Real" in that he walks around, plays, snuggles, knows me, has a personality, etc.

(But while we're talking about pets, RIP Mr. Marbles and Miss Coco the hamsters, Walter and Sharky the beta fish, and Gordo the goldfish - you guys brought me light & love everyday.)

Moving on. Ben is a pretty cool guy, as well. He loves to hang out with people & always be where the action is. He follows me around. He's big & fat & soft & snuggily. He likes to chase beams of light and a ball on a string (until he gets too tired, then he lays down and lazily paws at whatever he's chasing).

As I've posted before, he's having some stomach trouble. More or less, he's thrown up at least once a day for the past two months. At least once a day - because sometimes it's as many as four times. And generally, it's small - like the diameter of four quarters sitting next to each other - just a little droplet of puke. But sometimes it's large, like quite a lot of puke/bile. And whatever the size, it's still getting everywhere (carpet, really nice Persian rug, woven rug, couches, blankets, etc.) and staining. Which, of course I've become a master at cleaning up the best I can - but there are still a ton of puke stains in our house.

Now enter the threatening your marriage part. Which it isn't. But as you can imagine, if I'm annoyed by the puke (& Ben's my sweet little lovable guy), you can think about how Jonathan feels. Not that Jonathan doesn't love our little kitty - and he was such a good daddy when I was out of town - but Jonathan also loves the nice, expensive furniture & rug we have in the living room, you know? And it's every. day. Usually at least a couple times a day.

We've been to the vet a few times. He's been on different medicines, none of which have worked. He's on a ridiculously expensive special food that he doesn't even like. They've done bloodwork that came back normal. We've probably spend around $600-$700 dollars.

$600-$700 dollars!

The next step would be to do an xray ($200) which could come back inconclusive. If that's inconclusive, the next step is to stick a tube with a camera down his throat and look at his stomach & stuff from the inside. That would most likely find something that would need to be surgically attended to. ($$$)

One of the pre-marital talks Jonathan and I had was about the expense of pets. Around that time, my dad's dog was being treated at a doggy cancer hospital ($$$) where she then died. It seemed like such a waste of $3000+. We decided together that there's a point with animals where you just have to draw the line. Now of course, if we win the lottery or something, and have millions to spare, bring on the doggy day spas and what not. But since we haven't won yet, we're still kind of in that freakout period of being newly married - we need to be saving money for: new house, new car for me in a couple years, Jonathan's law school debt, baby, future children's private schooling, future children's college, etc. We're in saving mode.

And Ben is 14 years old. I hate to write that - but it's something we're weighing in with all these decisions. Additionally, we've said for awhile now that when I get pregnant, we need to find a new home for him (since my mom is terribly allergic & will obviously need to move in with us for a week or two after baby is born). But what on Earth do we do? I think the logical solution (if we don't want to spend more money) is to just let him be right now. He doesn't seem to have any personality changes, he's still moving around fine, we'll just let him be. But then, we'll need to give him to someone within the year probably, and no one's going to want a cat who throws up everyday.

And...the vomiting right now.

It's weighing on us. It's causing not fights, per se, but added tension to our house. (And it's ruining our furniture, rugs, and carpet.) And it doesn't ever stop. Every single day there's more vomit.

What do you guys think? I guess I always imagined that Ben would remain healthy until age 17 and would then just peacefully die in his sleep. I guess that isn't really how the lives of pets go all the time. How have you guys handled pet stuff in the past? Do you have any tried & true rules, I will not spend more than $____ on a pet's illness?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Austin - A Cool City

I've been such an MIA blogger with the whole wedding weekend in Texas. And then I returned to a super busy day at work (followed by another [today], since my main colleague is stuck at an airport in CO returning from vacation). So, instead of re-hashing the whole wedding (which was awesome!), I thought I'd do a little post about Austin, TX.

This was my fourth trip there - and again, as I've said every time, I think it's such a cool city! I enjoyed that our hotel was located downtown. All my other trips have been staying at friend's houses, and only going downtown at night. It was nice to see the weekend, daytime activities of the city.

Some thoughts:

1) The city felt walkable & safe. Downtown proper wasn't so so big that you couldn't get around on foot. It also wasn't so tiny that it was uncool. I don't think there was any moment when I felt unsafe (which is NOT the case in Memphis).

2) I sort of wonder about the situation with living there. It's definitely a college town. And so, I think a lot of the young professionals living there are UT grads who have stuck around. I know LB was one of the first (if not, the first?) of her close Austin friends to get married - which seems CRAZY to me, considering our age. They definitely have the "first couple years out of college party" thing going on (only we're more than a couple years out now). So I wonder about these ten or so girls: when they do finally settle down, will it be in Austin? Or elsewhere? Which leads me to wonder if Austin is mostly an under-30 town? We saw some young families walking around downtown on Saturday - and a lot of them seemed to be coming out of some newly-constructed condos - so I wonder if a lot of young families live downtown, maybe? Curious.

3) Even though Texas fans are crazy (you know you are!), seeing the big university in the city made me wonder what it would've been like to go there (in a good way). Like, just thinking about being at such a huge place, in a city with so many cool restaurants/coffee shops/bars/people - it would've been very different from my Rhodes experience. But perhaps different in a good, refreshing way.

4) This city is on fire with organic foods, co-ops, vegetarian-friendly places (like, all), etc. What a nice, progressive contrast to Memphis. Even taco stands in a trailer used organic ingredients and had vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings.

5) There are tacos everywhere and they are awesome! And they have this phenomenon of "breakfast tacos" that are available all day, at most places.

6) The "lakes" downtown (really, rivers that are dammed) add an interesting outdoorsy feel to the city. Along those lines, there are bikes everywhere.

7) I wonder about the phrase "Keep Austin Weird." Because in actuality, I didn't see a lot of weird people. I saw a lot of yuppy station wagons, and people dressed in their "outdoorsy" North Face gear, and girls dressed up pretty intensely when we went out, and young people walking around the farmer's market quite fashionably, actually. Maybe this phrase just refers to in Texas - because while I haven't spent much time in other big Texas cities, from what I can tell, they are much more stereotypically Texas than Austin. (Or maybe there are some communes on the outside of the city with pot-smoking hippies that I just didn't see??)

8) The city doesn't feel "southern" - but in a really good way. I guess it's "southern" in its laid-back attitude? Or its super friendly people? But not the snobby, Old South southern way, or the redneck way, either.

9) We noticed a pronounced lack of black people.

But anyway - it's a really cool city. I was glad to spend more time there.

And yes - more posts coming this week about LB wedding extravaganza!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Would Have Been...

Today is my step dad's birthday. He would have been 69. It's so weird to think about that number - almost 70 - because 70 seems so much older than I imagine he would have seemed today.

I hate to go to that place - the would have beens. But, I imagine if he were with us today, it would be a calm day. My mom would go to work, so he'd be home (since he retired a few months before he died), probably relaxing, maybe golfing? We probably would've had a family dinner this past weekend when I was home, with cake, drinks, Yahtzee, etc. And maybe tonight Suzanne would go over to their house again for an official birthday day dinner? It wouldn't be overdone - and he'd think it was all perfect.

I like the imagined scenario better than reality, though. My mom, lonely today, but unwilling to show her loneliness to anyone. My sister, sad and still somewhat angry - going through worse would have beens than me (What if he would've left the house five minutes earlier? What if he would've driven his bigger car instead? What if the woman who hit him had been going the speed limit? What if he could have swerved out of the way?).

But I try not to go to that place too often. Instead, I'll resort to a contemplative blog post. Because I don't think he would've wanted all the anger and sadness surrounding his death. He would have said that it was his time and we shouldn't ever question that. And I don't really question it. And at times, actually, I'm content in the quickness of it - it wasn't like getting older & older, and having your mind remain in tact while your body fails you; and it wasn't like cancer, spending months/years fighting it, only to have it win in the end. We didn't have to watch him slowly die. We also, though, didn't get to say goodbye in the way would would've liked.

I wish I could remember his last birthday alive - 66, I guess. I know my cousin got married around this time, so we would've gone on a trip to the wedding. And I know he retired around this time, so I was in St. Louis for his retirement party. But I don't remember the birthday, exactly. But that's probably because it was as understated as I imagine his birthday this year would have been. Just as he liked it.

Happy birthday, Big J - thinking about you today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

La Musica

I love music theory. Just love it! It's so mathematical at its core - and there aren't all that many exceptions. It's all just numbers & letters, and whole steps & half steps, all perfectly aligned EVERY TIME.

A work friend of mine is taking piano lessons, and I have to say, I'm not 100% happy with the route his teacher is taking. It's a group class, and I guess the premise is for the students to be able to play watered-down versions of popular songs by the end. He told me today that he's "mastered" Ode to Joy. Which is fair enough - that's definitely one of the first songs everyone learns. But then he asked me what a "sixteenth note" is.


So he can "play" a song - but he doesn't yet know all the basic measures of rhythm? Something's not quite right. Then he told me he doesn't yet know all the notes of the staff, his class is only working with C through G on the treble clef.


I'm assuming, then, that his teacher is just showing them what notes to hit so they can "play" the songs. Not. Cool. Because this guy isn't going to learn anything if they aren't covering the foundations.

In third grade, I first started my piano lessons. And I had a half hour lesson each week for a year. And while I could "play" a lot of songs, I didn't understand any of it. There was a lot of trial & error (ie, hitting a note in a song, and if it sounded bad, hitting around until I found the right one, & then memorizing which one it was).

I switched teachers after that year and my new teacher (and new hour per week lesson) started me at square one. Literally. But I needed that, because then I learned it all as we went. And we studied chord progressions. And key signatures. And weird rhythms. And the circle of fifths. And I was able to get better & better & better at piano because I was learning new info on top of understanding all the old info.

My favorite part of music theory is the acronyms. So Many! And yet, I still remember what all of them mean and stand for...

Every Good Boy Does Fine
All Cows Eat Grass
Great Big Dogs Fight Animals
Good Boys Do Fine Always
BEAD Greatest Common Factor
Fat Cops Get Donuts At Ed's Bakery

It's all so funny and random. But I promise I could never remember the order of sharps in key signatures if I didn't know the dumb little sentence.

I might need to play a little piano when I get home from work tonight...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Monday

I'm feeling good today!

1) Only a three-day work week! Woo hoo! I'm so excited to get down to Austin for the wedding! It's going to be awesome & fun & action-packed - yay!

2) Even though it's a three-day work week, it was going to be somewhat stressful with a big project we have going on. BUT - the project was postponed! So I won't even see it until next week!

3) I had a great weekend in St. Louis with my mom & sister! We did a sort of belated Mother's Day celebration. So good to see them both - lots of fun times - eating, drinking, shopping, etc. And the weather - ahhhh - it was a nice breath of chilly air. Even though it rained, it was so nice to have a high of 60 instead of Memphis' 80 today (or last week's 87). We had fun Saturday night going to The Chocolate Bar, which was actually a place we frequented in high school...back when they didn't serve alcohol, it was really well lit, and the menu consisted of milk shakes & hot chocolate. Now it's all swank and bar-like: dim lighting, large martini menu, trendy decor. And it was packed! Really fun, though.

4) When I got home last night, my little house husband had baked bread! Mmm! And then we went out for some delicious sushi.

5) Our sweet BenCat has been sick & throwing up for about a month. He's been in & out of the vet - taking different medicines, etc. Well, it seems that the latest crop of medicines & new food might be working (fingers crossed). He hasn't thrown up since Thursday! Again - my sweet house husband had his hands full with the cat this weekend - but I'm so glad that something has finally stopping the vomiting! The bloodwork showed there is nothing wrong with Benny - he might just have irritable bowels. Sweet little kitty.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I really like our wedding photographer. The pictures were gorgeous (both engagement & wedding day), she's really nice & personable, and she did a good job of making us feel comfortable - especially since we're aren't necessarily our most at-ease in front of a camera.

I had sort of hoped, as well, that we would be developing a relationship with her. One that could lead to: pregnancy photos, baby photos, kid photos, family photos, etc.: pictures that would just be better if they were always with someone who was good & who knew you.

A couple pet peeves of mine (minor):
1) she constantly updates Facebook - I'm talking like 6-10 status updates a day;
2) every Monday, WITHOUT FAIL, she posts on Facebook, "Monday is my day off - just reminding you - I'll answer work questions tomorrow;"
3) she is a really poor speller - like, "rilly paur speler" bad.

But I guess now, we can add "passive aggressive" to that list, as well.

We ordered from her a wedding book/album, and an archival DVD (from which we can print photos). We've been really bad about trying to find a time to pick out the pics for our album. (Although, in our defense, she's only contacted me ONCE asking when I'd like to do it.)

Well she sent me an email today saying, "So sorry - my bad - I didn't realize y'all only ordered an archival DVD - so I don't need to wait on you to pick out photos, I can just send it to you - what's your address?" Well, since she has already asked me when I wanted to pick out pics for the book - I sort of interpreted this email as a passive aggressive attempt to get me to pick out a time to meet with her (and also - our address is on the contract, so if she was referencing the contract when she "realized" what we ordered, she has the address). But come on, dude! You've only asked me ONCE! If it's that pressing, just email me a couple times, call me, do whatever you need to if it's essential this gets done. But DON'T be passive aggressive about it.

I returned her email in a professional way, saying I thought we signed up for a book too, and if we didn't, could she please let me see the invoice.

Then I checked Facebook. One of her (6-10) posts of the morning was, "I think I need a part-time job, who wants to hire me?" I think she wrote this to be cute - and was either implying money is low or that she needs more stuff to do during the day.

But then she followed it up with this: "Actually, I don't need a part-time job. What I need is for my fabulous, wonderful, awesome brides to pay me on time and come pick out their pics for their wedding albums - smooches!"

Wow. That's a very mature business decision.

Naturally I followed up with a Facebook message saying, "I already sent you an email about this, too. But I saw your status update - PLEASE tell me we paid you (and if we didn't, please tell me you would've requested a payment in a way other than a status update)." I'm 99.99% sure we did pay her the full amount - so I think only the second part applies to me. And actually, before I sent this message, she had already taken down that status update.

But wow! She's yet to respond to anything I wrote at this point. We'll have to see how this saga unfolds...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


As a newly married couple, babies are definitely on the brain. And it's certainly not in a compulsive, can't think about anything else, must! have! one! now! kind of way. Nor is it something though, that's put on the back burner - something we just sort of see in the waaaaay future. So it's a mix between the two. And really, it's not a conversation we have all that much.

Jonathan is ready; I am not. And that's that. It doesn't cause any conflict; it just is what it is.

I hear so much about the proverbial "baby fever" that many wives start to get a few months into their marriage, though. And I honestly wonder if this will ever hit me - I mean, in a full on, immediately-I-need-to-have-a-kid kind of way. I'm wondering if it's because I'm too practical? Or if it's because we're in a, generally speaking, reversed state of baby desire (generalizing that the woman is ready for a child before the man)? Or if it's that I'm still young enough to not be super concerned with impeding age & fertility? Or if it's maybe that the majority of my best friends aren't married or close to having a baby? (Maybe you guys could get on that??)

There are definitely instances, though, when I feel really excited about having kid. (And then times when I feel really, wholly, unquestionably unprepared for it.)

Excited: Holding a little, bitty, sweeeeeet baby! Smelling his sweet little smell. Having him grip my finger with his hand. (I'm melting just thinking about it!)
Freaked Out: Thinking about how little this tiny guy sleeps. I already sleep poorly. It sucks. Sleep is good.

Excited: Seeing baby clothes! Those tiny little outfits! Those little, bitty diapers! Little onesies with booties at the bottom!
Freaked Out: The price tags of everything...the clothes, furniture, toys, medicines, doctor's appointments, carseats, strollers, food, child-proofing gear...

Excited: Seeing hip moms walking with their kid in a stroller, enjoying the beautiful Spring weather, the kid with a huge smile on his face. (And, I mean, we drive a Subaru, we're ready for hip parenthood!)
Freaked Out: Reading about problems with pregnancies; problems with labor (I can't find the link - but did you guys see that thing on cnn about the mom of twins who became mentally unfunctioning after a complication with twin childbirth?); children with severe disabilities; oh my gosh, the unthinkable, children dying.

Excited: Seeing families at the Farmer's Market on Saturday. The cute little girls playing with hula hoops in the kid zone, and gushing over puppies in the dog-sitting area. Everyone holding hands; dads being really sweet with their kids, while moms watch lovingly.
Freaked Out: Temper tantrums in public; siblings fighting with each other; parents looking frazzled.

Excited: Seeing kids walking to/from the school in our neighborhood with their parents.
FREAKED OUT: Looking at the tuition for that quaint little school: $16,000/year. Awesome.

Excited: Seeing little kids in a bakery picking out their perfect treat & then eating it in the sweet/messy way little kids eat stuff
Freaked Out: Baby weight. I don't want to gain a ton. I don't want to have a ton of trouble taking it off. When would I have time to work out? How could I keep food cravings at bay when my hormones are in a whirlwind?

And I guess it's the general freedom (selfishness) of not having a kid: knowing we can make last-minute decisions to do stuff (no babysitter planning); knowing I can go into Anthropologie and buy a $60 shirt and not feel too, too bad about it; knowing we can take grown-up vacations (and if we found a last-minute deal, we could probably up & leave if it was a-ok with our work schedules); going to nice, expensive restaurants; having nice, breakable things on all planes of our house; sometimes drinking a lot & not even considering anyone else (ie, not worrying that: the kid will be up all night, something will happen to the kid that will require driving to the ER or Walgreens, the kid will be up at his usual 5:30am the next day, etc.).

But then, on the other hand, I'm also so, so excited to actually have a baby. To go through that with Jonathan. To see him hold the little baby, push a stroller, play with him. To feel the love a parent has for a child. To watch the child grow, forming a personality. To teach him things, watching his little brain churn with curiosity. To read him books. Go to soccer games and choir concerts. And then to see the 7 lb baby turn into a child, a teenager, a college student, and then an adult - and see him get to this same point in life I'm at right now. I want all that so, so badly.

So anyway, that's where I am right now. I pray that children are a part of God's plan for us - and I feel comforted knowing that if/when God blesses us with this gift, we'll be ready, because He knows we're ready.

Oh growing up...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anyone? Anyone?

Has anyone used "fashion tape" before? It's the double sided tape you use on clothing to keep it in place?

I went to have my bridesmaid dress for LB's wedding taken in - and the tailor determined that with the way it needs to be altered (that is, it's slightly too big at the bust, such that the center of the sweetheart gapes open and easily slides down), I'd be better off just using fashion tape. Um, ok? I'm worried that her suggestion doesn't apply to dancing machines like myself...

Do you guys have any experience using it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Just....Revolutionary!

I watched Revolutionary Road last night on Showtime. I'd seen it in the theatre when it first came out, as well. I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it; and if you have seen it, I highly recommend a second viewing. The second viewing took out the elements of plot surprise; and instead, let me focus on some of the cool cool cinematography, and placement of music, and wonderful period-specific costuming, and acting. Wow - the acting! It was criticized when the movie first came out - they said Kate & Leo did too much yelling, not enough actual acting. But I disagree - and maybe it's that I'm married now - but I thought their fighting was intense & incredibly personal (like that of an actual couple's). While watching, I kept thinking about what they must have done (as actors) to get into character and prep themselves for some of those fighting scenes. Like, I'm sure it wasn't morning coffee & scones and then, "ok guys, we need to get going, 3-2-1 aaaaaaaand action!"

But anyway, it seemed appropriate to watch that movie, following last week's media coverage of the 50-year anniversary of oral contraceptives. There's a great little article cnn did asking 15 or so women to briefly write their thoughts on "The Pill."

I'd always heard The Pill described as the great equalizer of men & women - but I always interpreted that more in terms of sexual freedom. I didn't even consider the affect of The Pill on women in the workplace - since, at the time, women who were pregnant would just get fired. There were no "maternity leaves," and daycare as we know it today didn't exist. That sort of puts in perspective (social stigma aside) why women who got pregnant often married the father of their child - because hello - if a woman gets fired from her job, and really has no way to keep a job with a child other than an expensive babysitter, she needs to have a husband support her.

Isn't it strange to think about how our culture would've evolved if a woman-controlled contraceptive had always existed? Like, even in colonial times? Things would be a lot different - I imagine there would have been gender equality (or at least a women's movement to achieve it) quite a bit sooner than there actually was/is.

Revolutionary Road took place in 1955 (so about 5 years earlier than The Pill). The whole plot would've played out entirely differently if April had access to birth control - perhaps they wouldn't have even gotten married? They definitely wouldn't have moved to the suburbs if she hadn't had a baby. Think about all the discontented women of the 50s - had birth control pills existed, would there even have been a "baby boom?"

Seriously - when you think about it, our entire social system would be different if oral contraceptives had existed earlier. Which also makes you wonder, what will American society look like in 100 years (so effectively, 150 years after a woman-controlled contraceptive has been in the market)? What do you guys think? Also - imagine how different things would look now if The Pill didn't exist.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beautiful Amazon

I'm curious if you guys use as much as you should. And if you don't, I'm going to try to convince you of its brilliance.

I'm not sure I really realized the beauty of it until Christmas 2008 when I was shopping for an iPod for Jonathan. He wanted one that could hold a lot of music - and those things get expensive as you add more GBs!

When shopping around, I realized that amazon had the desired iPod for much less than anyone else was selling it. But I think up until that point, I thought amazon was one of those things like eBay, where you could potentially get a knock-off of the product, and that's why it's so cheap. I talked to some technology analysts at work, though, and they explained how amazon is 100% legit - it offers lower prices because it takes a lower margin than, say, Apple.

And from that day forward, I pretty much check amazon before I buy anything. And we've signed up for the brilliant "Amazon Prime," where you pay like $80/year and get free 2nd day shipping on qualifying orders. And it applies to both Jonathan & my account - so it's $80 very well spent, in our opinion.

Some sort of non-traditional things I've bought on amazon for much less than their list price anywhere else: Dolce & Gabbana perfume, a purse (The Sak brand), a Cuisinart food processor, non-disposable diapers, a pashmina scarf, slippers, a magazine subscription, an iPod, an iPhone case, Wii games, re-usable grocery bags, and a Furminator cat brush.

And the books. They are glorious & abundant & cheap! I often choose to buy books that are lightly used (environmental reasons & general cost-saving strategies); and can I just say, if you're willing to do that, you'll often pay $.01 for a book on amazon (plus usually $3.99 shipping) - $4 for a book is awesome! Even if you want a brand new book, prices are astronomically lower than what you'll find in bookstores or other online retailers.

So do it! Before you make your next purchase, just try amazon, see if it's cheaper. Because my guess is that it will be - and you'll be so happy you decided to check!

(And no - I've not made a career change to online marketing for amazon - I just seriously think it's an awesome website & hope that others realize how cool it is.) Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shoe People

The past couple days I've been scouring the internet for shoes. One pair for the previously mentioned rehearsal dinner dress (which, I'm thinking bronze, maybe?), and one silver/pewter pair for the wedding itself. And through all this searching, I've come to a conclusion - or, rather, this previously formed conclusion has been re-emphasized:

I am not a shoe person.

My mom & sister (and husband - ha) are shoe people. "Shoe People" in that they own a lot of shoes, buy shoes to wear with specific outfits, spend a lot of money on shoes, dream of one day owning a coveted Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik, use words like "beautiful" or "gorgeous" to describe shoes, would even drive a shoe car if given the option. Me...not so much.

I'd say expense is #1 for me; I don't spend a lot of money on shoes. And actually, the thought of paying full price for a top designer's shoe makes me a little nauseous. I buy a lot of inexpensive shoes; and if there's a situation when I need a new shoe (say, a basic black one for work), I look at every online shoe seller and usually choose the least expensive of the ones I like.

I hardly ever buy a pair of shoes that I'll only wear with one or two outfits (I even bought shoes for my own wedding that I planned to wear again). In looking for shoes for LB's rehearsal dinner, I'm searching for something that will be really versatile and will extend way beyond the wedding weekend. And for her wedding - I want the cutest, cheapest ones I can find.

With shoes, I also have a hard time with fashion trends. I'm sorry, but those little heeled booties that are popular right now aren't cute. Or sandals with a cuff? Or gladiator sandals in general? So I guess that makes my shoe taste super modest - but I just can't look at something that isn't appealing to me and like it because it's trendy.

I will say, though, I think if Jonathan & I ever come across millions of dollars, shoes will probably be something I start to really care about; I'm talking different shoes for every outfit; ten different pairs of black pumps; lots of boots; a shoe closet organized by color and style...

Currently, though, I really want a pair of lower-heeled espadrilles. And I might or might not want a pair of those Reebok EasyTones (whatever! judge all you want until you see my toned boo-tay walking down the street!).

What about you guys - shoe people? Are you willing to shell out big money for have to haves?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calling All Fashionistas!

Friends - I need your help! As we all know, the lovely LB will be entering into nuptial love at the end of this month. So as she spends these next couple weeks finalizing wedding details and preparing herself to enter into the sacred covenant, reflecting on what it means to be married...I'm thinking about what I'll wear to all the festivities of the weekend! (It's so much less serious when you aren't the bride!)

And here's where I need your opinion! When asking LB about the attire for the rehearsal dinner, she said it would be similar to my RD (which my mother-in-law defined as "festive casual"). Obviously I was pretty dressed up for my own, so re-wearing that dress isn't really an option.

But I do have this dress - bought for and worn to my engagement party (crappy quality pics - I know - the lighting was weird & I was taking them myself in the mirror).

And here it is up close so you can see all the details:
I would definitely describe this as "festive casual" - and her RD is at a Mexican restaurant, which I think makes this even more fitting. So then, my big question is: what shoes should I wear??

When I wore the dress to the engagement party, there was a slight shoe problem. I had been planning the whole time to wear them with some silver sparkly t-strap flat sandals - but I had never actually tried them on with the dress. When I did, it didn't look awesome; they were too silver or something - leading to some scrounging in my closet in the five minutes before we left the house. So - what do you guys think?

Some things of note:
-the dress is magenta - it looks slightly red in the pic, but it's definitely pink (the up-close one is more accurate than the far-away one)
-it hits above the knee
-I don't love to wear heals - and if I wear any, I prefer them to be small
-the material is a meshy chiffon with a darker pink slip underneath

Please help me! You guys are more fashionable than I am! (And if you suggest shoes - you could go ahead & suggest jewelry, too, if you feel so inclined.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rainy Weekend

I'm not sure what's on the national news regarding the flooding in Tennessee. My mom texted me and said Memphis was mentioned (although I'm sliiiiightly curious if they really said "Nashville, TN" and she just didn't catch it). Regardless - we had really bad storms this weekend, and there was flooding, but it wasn't out of the ordinary. Houses & neighborhoods are not being submerged, as seems to be the case in Nashville. And we actually had a lot of sun yesterday, which hopefully dried some stuff up.

The rain definitely did, though, lead to a lot of indoor behavior. So for us, we watched three movies! (And actually, Jonathan saw four - because he saw one in the theatre Saturday without me.)

Movie One: Man On Wire

This was recommend by Claire after reading my book review of Let the Great World Spin. The movie was a documentary about a guy who stretched a tightrope between the Twin Towers in the 70s and walked/pranced/danced across it. The movie was interesting because the guy is friggin C-R-A-Z-Y! Like, he's tightroped between the Twin Towers, on some bridge in Australia, and the Notre Dame Cathedral (and probably more that were unmentioned in the movie). He's still alive - so the documentary focuses a lot on him and his reflections about the whole thing.

Movie Two: The Men Who Stare at Goats

This is a pretty recent movie - it stars George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey - about a secret US Army sect focused on mind power instead of weaponry. It was alright - funny at times. But the plot didn't have any super strong storylines - so when I fell asleep with about 15-20 minutes left, I didn't really mind not seeing the end.

Movie Three: The Botany of Desire

This is a book by Michael Pollan I read a few years ago that they've adapted into a documentary. It's composed of four parts, each one addressing a different plant: apples, tulips, cannabis, and potatoes. It was pretty interesting - and it was cool as a movie because some of the images were gorgeous (imagine the size of 4 football fields covered with nothing but different colored tulips). If you're into plants, you'd be into this. It's also not necessarily a movie you need to sit in front of and watch every single minute. I heart Michael Pollan.

(And in plant news - stay tuned this week to hear about our new garden!)