the water got high and she never got dry

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

i dig ya, baby, but i got to keep movin' on

Willow lying in wait for birds. Wish there was some way to tell her to enjoy her last day hanging out in the yard.

There's been no time to blog, Dr. Jones. Had a great weekend, Memorial Day BBQ was a blast, but I've got to get back to packing. Tomorrow's the official moving day but we can start taking stuff over to the new place tonight. Yay!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

but every now and then you come to mind

Been sorting through more boxes and dusting off more junk, unidentifiable objects, and memories. Listening to Sheryl Crow while I do it has put me in a reflective mood and I’ve gone and done it - started thinking of all the things that brought me to this point in my life. I’m sure I’ll go through this again right before I get married, but c’mon, this process - disposing of past relics to get ready to move into a new home with the man I’ll be sharing a home with for the rest of my life - is fraught with symbolism. Fraught, I tell you.

*Cue Dave Chappelle* "Your vacuum cleaner ate my pants. There was nothing I could do." (Don't ask, it makes sense in my head.)

I’ve continued to be ruthless in disposing of things that no longer mean anything to me. Stuffed animals from the ex? Don’t need those. Gifts from people who I’m no longer friends with? Don’t need those either. Pictures that sting? Gone. They don’t have any place in my future home.

I deal with objects by carting them off in boxes. I deal with memories by writing about them. So coming up is Chapter 1 of Disposing of Emotional Junk. There’s been a little too much sweetness and light ‘round these parts lately anyway.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

my yesterdays are all boxed up and neatly put away

I was just thinking the other day about how rarely I think about the past these days and the same theme of how for me, the right love has been the most uncomplicated love, with nothing to pick apart for hours on end.

Yes, I can introspect about my own lack of introspecting. What can I say, it’s a gift.

But today I finally got around to sorting through junk to take to Goodwill and consignment stores, in a long overdue mission to simplify and de-clutter and only take the essentials with me into the new place. I’ve forced myself to be more ruthless in determining which talismans of the past are worth keeping. I love Foodlife, but do I really need a commemorative napkin? I will be back there again. Seriously, I keep everything.

As I opened up plastic bins of old clothes, the ghosts of the past me came swirling out. Sorting through vestiges of the younger, thinner me, with flashback whooshes, I remembered the most significant times associated with each piece of clothing - dates, concerts, parties, holidays and Renaissance fairs, and all sorts of events I haven’t thought about in a long time.

When I first got to grad school I used to reminisce about college all the time, not just how much fun I had, but also how much I felt like I grew up and changed for the better. But it’s just a case of anchoring and adjusting. College had a much fonder place in my heart than high school. And now, the further away I get from college, the more I appreciate my life now and realize that as much as I thought I grew up in college, I have even more so during grad school.

I moved away from home, became independent, and built a much more stable life than the one I had in college. College was an emotional rollercoaster, I was either really happy or really down. I don't miss that.

Just as the concerns and issues I dealt with in college seemed so much more important and real than high school angst, even though I’m still in school, I feel much more in touch with the real world than I did in college. I can clearly see all the ways I was such a stupid young thing, in all the normal ways that youth are stupid. I know better now and everything feels more genuine and substantial – relationships, friendships, the chaff has been sorted from the wheat.

So I’ll smile at how much fun I had in that sexy little black dress and that skirt with slits up to here and have mixed feelings about how tiny some of these clothes are (I used to be pretty bony, right up until grad school, which quickly took care of that. I don’t necessarily miss being that skinny, but I don’t think anyone enjoys seeing clothes they can hardly remember being able to fit into), but then they’ll get thrown in a box and taken to the store as I clear away the past to make more room for the future.

Monday, May 22, 2006

let’s call her halcyon and hope that she holds

The weekend was just idyllic, and the Husband to Be and I have had a lot of good weekends. Friday’s grill out was great, with tons of people, tons of food, some bocce and an endearingly dorky, testosterone-fueled game of hacky sack, all amidst perfectly gorgeous weather. On Saturday Husband to Be and I dropped off my ring at the jeweler’s so he can get started on a wax mold of the new ring. So excited!

We staked out a nice spot by a lake and had a picnic and lounged in the sun and read and were just gloriously lazy, finally getting up to stroll around downtown and get ice cream and watch kids play in the fountain and then coming home to dinner and TV.

On Sunday morning Husband to Be made us French toast and then we went to the park around the corner and sat in the grass and ate strawberries and whipped cream and talked about kids and how ready we feel to be married. Saw Da Vinci Code with J, made dinner and watched Family Guy. The weekend was perfect from beginning to end, even including our incredible impatience to be together in our new place.

My body feels so much lighter and freer in the summer, having shed its shackles of sweaters and gloves and scarves and hats that still don’t quite keep out the bitter stinging cold. I walk with a spring in my step and really enjoy the walk to and from the psych building from my car. The wind in my hair and skirt, the sun on my back, the smell of lilac bushes, and happy music on my iPod make for a very pleasant commute.

Summer is so sweet.

just the smell on the summer can make me fall in love
-modest mouse

Friday, May 19, 2006

the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve

My almost 43 things

Finally sat down and started adding more things to the list. Need to add more things that are out of my comfort zone, like surfing. When we were in Hawaii, I told Husband to Be that surfing looks like so much fun but I seriously doubt I’m athletic enough to master it. But it’s on my list, because Husband to Be is the master of “Why not?” whenever I express doubt at being able to do something, whether it be surfing or some fancy schmancy technique we saw on Food Network. He sees how all too often there’s a little chasm between what I so often hope for/dream of and what I do in reality to make it happen and I’m glad he’ll always be around to give me a little push when I need it.

What do you guys want to do but think you can’t?

It is so beautiful outside today, after an unseasonably wet and chilly first half of the month. Sunny and 74 degrees. Perfect. I’ve rounded up the crew to have our first grillout in the park of the season. Woohoo! Brats, beer, and bocce, who needs anything more? Now it feels like summer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

we don’t need no piece of paper from the city hall

There are some wedding and marital traditions I don't feel the need to keep. I’m keeping my last name. Even though the spelling and pronounciation are mangled on a regular basis and it serves as the basis for countless puns and nicknames (which I actually enjoy), it's a part of me and a part of honoring my parents and keeping my ethnic heritage salient.

Husband to Be and I have already discussed that I want to share that name with some of our future small fry. I want both my parents to walk me down the aisle. The idea of one's dad "giving them away" is ridiculous and my mom has had just a big a hand in raising me as my dad.

I have zero interest in doing a bouquet or garter toss. I seriously doubt I’ll wear a veil. I will of course eat my words if by some freak chance I end up as a strapless gown/tiara/veil wearing bride, but I really don’t think that’ll happen. It’s just not me. I’m not gonna make my Chicas of Honor wear ugly, expensive, matching dresses and dictate their appearance down to the last detail.

But some traditions I just can't shake, whether it be because traditions are the glue that bind cultures together or because the wedding industry is just that damn good at its job. As much as I love cupcakes, I still want the traditional wedding cake. I still want the overpriced white dress I can only wear once. I will still inevitably obsess over unimportant details of colors and favors and centerpieces. I both accept and am bothered by this.

This book is next on my reading list. I’ve been looking around for books on feminism and marriage that are more nuanced than just “According to feminism, marriage is outdated and evil, a product of capitalism and patriarchy” etc. I have nothing profound or enlightening to say about feminism and marriage but I find the debate really interesting. Intellectually I agree with many of the arguments against marriage, but I’m just too much of a romantic to buck all tradition.

Is marriage in a sorry state these days? Yea. Is monogamy an artificial construct? Probably. Maybe it’s foolish, cockeyed optimism, but we don’t value the things that come easy. Even with all the valid complaints we make about the boredom and cost and silliness of going to wedding after wedding, we continue to do it, not just out of obligation, but because beneath all the frippery and materialistic trappings, there’s still something beautiful and special going on – two people taking a leap of faith together and asking their friends to be with them and root for them as they jump.

Marriage isn’t a fairy tale and there are no guaranteed happy endings, but for that one moment all these people are together for the sole purpose of hoping for and believing in the best for two people taking a calculated risk.

I can't wait to take that leap with you, babe.

Monday, May 15, 2006

wedding planning is a disease

I have now been officially sucked into the black hole that is The Knot, aka Bridal Porn Headquarters, although so help me God, I refuse to refer to myself as a "Knottie". They have a whole section of web pages devoted to destination weddings. It’s evil.

Been reading up on the Bahamas and contemplating the possibility of getting married on one of the big touristy islands (Grand Bahama or Paradise Island), for the convenience of our guests and then getting to be more adventurous and honeymooning on one or more of the Out Islands, perhaps Harbour Island and Eleuthera. Pretty pretty.

Still working on getting a new mounting for the e-ring (I'm already using frackin' Knottie shorthand.) At one of the little jewelry stores downtown, I fell in love with an oh so delicate and beautiful wedding band and all my previous ideas of what I wanted for the new e-ring went out the window and we decided to go to a local jewelry designer and have the ring made to match the band.

Every time I see the band, it just makes me want it to be the day Husband to Be puts it on my finger. I was really hoping to incorporate emeralds or tsavorites or some other green gem, but put the kibosh on that idea after the jewelry designer pointed out that because those stones are so soft, they’d have to be periodically replaced.

And on a related tangent, I marvel at the evil genius of the diamond industry in calling bands with diamonds all around them “eternity bands”. I guess you just can’t be with someone forever if you only have diamonds halfway around.

We were hoping a friend of Husband to Be’s, who is on his way to becoming an Anglican priest, could marry us, but since neither one of us is Anglican or Catholic, it can’t happen. Which brings up the possibility of asking Miss A, who half-jokingly offered herself up as a backup, to do the honors. She got ordained online and is marrying some friends of hers this summer. I’m kind of taken with the idea. It would mean a lot more to have her marry us than some random minister.

Ug. I think I just out-girlied myself. Who needs a beer and some televised sports?

Friday, May 12, 2006

styx, students, sushi, and summer

Mr. Roboto, Mario Bros. style (via Sarcasmo)

I'm so close to being free of the semester I can almost taste it. Just have to enter in my students' final grades. There's definitely a slightly scary sense of power when we get together to determine how to assign the letter grades. I've joked to my students about not pissing off the person who wields the red pen but I'm only half joking. Students who make a good impression and try hard are remembered and I become an advocate for them and it goes both ways - slacker students are shown little mercy.

When I was a student, I always wondered about the arbitrariness of letter grades and now that I've been on the other side, I know for sure that sometimes you have to make some tough decisions and the difference between a B+ and an A really is only a point or two.

Got together with friends last night to make sushi. Husband to Be made me raise my hand and take an oath that I would not stress out about the craziness of making sushi rice for a dozen people, and I didn't. And it was a good and tasty time. Hung out with a slightly different crowd than usual, which was nice.

And not for the first or last time, I admire how perfectly Husband to Be fits into any context he's put in. He's so good with people, so warm and funny that everyone's at ease with him from the start and I've yet to meet the person he can't make laugh.

Was just about to bite into leftover sushi when the officemates asked me to go to lunch (A. calls me and asks what I'm doing for lunch, I ask if Miss A wants to go to lunch and he says "Only if you do". Who knew I had such power?). As if I've ever said no to food. There's an Indian buffet with our names on it. Mmm, naan....

I've been thinking a lot lately again about how lucky I am to have the circle of friends here that I do. Really great folks that I am lucky enough to see a lot of. On any given week, there are plenty of social doings. Tuesdays are cheap wings or dollar slices, the occasional dollar martinis on Thursdays, our beloved happy hour on Fridays, and in between we grill and play poker and board games and watch movies and make sushi and drink some more. Most working stiffs I know don't get to socialize nearly as often as we do.

You don't get a lot of pay or respect, but being a grad student slave isn't all bad. You get a close knit support group who work hard and party hard and the flexibility to come in when you want and take off in the middle of the day to stake out a patio and drink. This summer is our last summer all together and I plan to squeeze every last drop of fun out of it.

summer turns me upside down
summer summer summer
it's like a merry go round
-the cars

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

i say tomato, you say tomahto

As part of an ongoing campaign of needing distraction from grading, the other TA, the prof, and I have been emailing all kinds of silliness back and forth all day, including this:

Pop vs. Soda

Man, people will research anything. I grew up with the customary Southern "I'll have a Coke" "What kind?" so hearing "pop" up here took getting used to.

I have two distinct memories of the first time I went to the grocery store here - feeling like I'd landed in a 50s grocery store when I saw the aisle sign said "Pop" and panicking when I couldn't find where they kept tortillas. What kind of godforsaken state didn't have tortillas?? Luckily I found 'em.

The more important question is, do you say "kitty-corner" or "catty-corner"?

I thought this might also be a regional thing but Texan friend M insists on "kitty-corner" and Texan friend A and I are the only ones firmly behind "catty-corner". It's closer to the original catercorner, so there.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

frackin' brilliant

Monday, May 08, 2006

life in slow motion

Haven’t had much of substance to say lately. Part of that is being busy with end of semester nonsense but there’s definitely been a lack of inspiration. With every new level of happiness, I find less to navel gaze about and navel-gazing has been this blogger’s bread and butter. My old blog was all about angst, I don’t need that outlet anymore so I’m still trying to find my new footing here.

School is school. You learn to live with a certain constant level of stress and self doubt. The rest of my life is permeated by a deep sense of contentment. I appreciate the complete lack of drama but it’s always served as the fuel for my creative fires, less so than quiet contemplation. These days I’m too busy living to bother with introspecting everything to death. Shocking, for me.

I’m caught in the slow steady pull towards the future and some big milestones. Only time will tell how liminality suits me.

I assume that at some point I’ll want to look back at everything that has brought me here, but for now, I’m either in the moment or having fun dreaming about the future. Wedding planning brings out all that is girly and obsessive in me but in a more substantial vein I dream about the life I’m going to have with the Husband to Be.

We talked about kids a lot this past weekend, getting in deeper than our previous “want kids someday but not too soon, thank you very much” position, represented both by that look we give each other every time we’re in a store swarming with loud, rambunctious small fry but also every time Husband to Be makes googly eyes at a cute baby or seeing baby clothes turns me into a little puddle of biological clock tickage.

We talked about when and how many and how we’re divvying up last names and the complexities of mixed heritage and cultural exposure and how we want to cram in as much fun and travel into our pre-kid years as possible. All theoretical of course, because the reality of kids is so far out of our range of experience.

I get all gooshy thinking about having a little boy who looks like Husband to Be, but I’m also savoring the moments when our future child isn’t even so much a twinkle in our eyes as it is a Sunday morning conversation, one of the many moments that make the beginnings of a marriage. The talking and dreaming and planning done snuggling in bed, on evening walks, over dinner, in the car, lying in the sun, getting groceries, this is what is building the bond that will make us husband and wife. The wedding is just the party that caps it all off.

Ok, I guess I still have some introspecting left in me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

feliz cinco de mayo

Dios mio, man, I am tired of reading about the Caribbean. Luckily, a tasty and cheap margarita is in my very near future. An extended crew of partiers is getting together for margaritas, Midwest Mex (which is needless to say, far inferior to Tex Mex), and then many more margaritas. Ole!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

i am the gatekeeper...

The high priestess of ugly wedding dresses.

ugly dress numero uno

The first in what I'm sure will be a long series. Please chime in with your own captions. I am not, after all, a professional fugger.

Hi, I'm frighteningly skinny and I like to stick my boobs out and accentuate them with a big ugly flower.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

no more pencils, no more books

Have had neither time nor energy to spare lately. End of semester crunch time has kept me busy and when I’m not working, I’ve been pretty tired.

Today was my last day of class ever. I haven’t had to take a real class, with grades and coursework, in a while now, but today was the end of five years of an area seminar. Should’ve brought beer.

Tonight’s episode of Lost was a doozy. I’m as addicted to the show as anyone, but Husband to Be and I are on opposite ends of the fan spectrum. He has boundless faith in the infallibility of the writers and I definitely don’t. I feel like the twist ending of tonight’s episode only partially compensates for how much the season has dragged. Mad props for the Say Anything reference, though.

Less than a month until the Husband to Be and I move into our new home and as far as we’re concerned that day cannot come fast enough.

Perhaps more and less scattered content tomorrow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

pink champagne on ice

If you haven't seen this already, you really need to. Stupendous.

Low point of the day: Having to deal with student soap operas first thing on a Monday morning.

Highlight of the day: Asking J to be my maid of honor. Already asked S to be my matron of honor (the term just doesn't fit, I can't imagine anyone less matronly), but there's no reason I can't have both. After shopping around for cute jewelry like a big pink cocktail ring I got her this instead.

Even if I hadn't already known for a while that I'd want J as a MOH, honestly she'd probably be doing a lot of the work (party throwing, helping with decision making, emotional support, keeping me in check) anyway. It was pretty funny how apprehensive she looked while unwrapping her gift, because it was so unexpected. I reassured her I wasn't asking her for a big favor or money, but then had to recant, 'cause really I'm asking for both.

I couldn't have survived the breakup blues and ups and downs of singlehood without J as my rock and my shoulder to cry on. She's been with me every step of the way since meeting the Husband to Be and nobody knows us better as a couple.

"Things are gonna be so good for you guys forever. I'm so excited for you."

This is why she is so perfectly suited to be the kind of MOH any girl would want.