the water got high and she never got dry

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

redefine you now for only me

you should know by now
that someone's always been there
long before you

you're never going to be the only one

From the first Mason Jennings song I ever heard, it’s a good one. I’m a bit of a schmoop and an inveterate believer in and user of romantic clichés. But there’s one particular schmaltzy line I have no use for. The whole idea of “I loved you before I met you.” I didn’t love Husband to Be before I met him. I loved other guys, I loved being single, I loved the idea of the "him" I’d end up with.

Once comfortably ensconced in a new love, it does become pretty easy to forget life pre-them. HTB has become an integral part of my life and my identity but it doesn’t mean that the lives we led before meeting each other aren’t relevant. The past is always relevant.

I’m still friends with my first boyfriend. Unlike my other ex, my regard for him hasn’t declined over time. He’s a good guy, happily married, we keep in touch sporadically and I’ve met his wife and liked her. They were invited to our wedding. I wasn’t expecting them to make the expensive trek down to St. Thomas but it was a matter of courtesy and my fondness for him. Did HTB care? No. But the reason I’ve heard for them not coming isn’t time or money, it’s the fact that I’m an ex-girlfriend. On what level someone he dated a decade ago getting married to someone else is threatening, I am completely unclear.

The other week I read a woman’s post about how while in the process of moving, she and her FI came across his old pictures and memorabilia from past relationships and how she totally lost it and got hysterical and without being asked, her FI just threw everything away. The best part is that the woman confessed to keeping all of her past relationship detritus for no particular reason.

honey I’m sure
that you’ve been in love before
plenty of men have held high places in your eyes
jealousy has got no use for me
the past is beautiful like the darkness between fireflies

I guess I just don’t get it. I’m not immune to jealousy, I understand it, and it’s not that I would want to spend hours thinking about or picturing HTB head over heels in love with other women, but what’s the point of being threatened by the fact that he has been? The cliché is true, neither of us would be the people we are and fell in love with without the people we’ve loved and lost.

HTB moved to Europe because he fell in love with someone he met while traveling, which is a perfect example of the passionate and adventurous spirit that makes him so attractive and so him. And I’ve learned so much about myself from every mistake I’ve ever made, from every failure that existed in my last relationship and I know HTB is the same way. How glad am I that if things had to be royally fucked up, it was with some other guy instead of this guy and that I got to bring my best self to the table this time around?

I know some people happily end up with their first and only loves, but I’m glad that HTB and I got kicked around a little before we met, it’s all our little dents and dings that help us to fit as well as we do.

Monday, November 27, 2006

i took you shopping all the time!

Why does it have to be Monday already? I got a super awesome parking spot and it's mild enough to wear flip flops, but still.

We had a nice, relaxing holiday week filled with eating and just hanging out. The only damper on things is Husband to Be's persnickety cold.

Yesterday we bought his wedding band! Huzzah! It's shiny.

And we started our registries. Board games, tools, and cookbooks at Amazon, towels and kitchen appliances at Bed, Bath &Beyond, and pretty things at Crate and Barrel. It's definitely a lot of fun to pick things out, but also a lot of work. My eyes started glazing over trying to discern the differences between one type of flatware and the next, picking among 20 varieties of wineglasses and trying to figure out how to mix and match cute plates. Too many choices!! Decision fatigue!

Stockings are up, loot is being bought, we should be picking up a tree soon, woohoo!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

days of pie and turkey

Our bags are packed and we’re about to get the hell outta Dodge for a few days, so just a quick early Happy Thanksgiving. As I am every year, I am thankful for my family and friends for their love and generosity and their humor and wackiness. I am thankful for the pleasures of good food, good music, and all the things that make me laugh. And every day I give thanks for the happy home I have with Husband to Be and our loud, needy cat.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

gobble, gobble

Our sitcom Thanksgiving was lovely. Husband to Be and I made a tasty turkey, I must say. We stuffed it with onion, garlic, bay leaves, sage, rosemary, and thyme and it was yummy. Everything tasted wonderful, we bought cute new martini glasses for the occasion, lots of wine was consumed, and I laughed until my cheeks hurt. It doesn’t get much better than good food and good company.

And now we have more turkey than we know what to do with.

I’ve been doing lots of shopping (I’m such a sucker for the Christmas section) and having to hear Christmas music in the stores drives me batty. For God’s sake, have a sense of decency and wait until after Thanksgiving!

I have my wedding ring! Happy happy joy joy! Soon I will have to give both it and my e-ring up to the jeweler’s but for a few more days it’ll be so nice to have it at home where I can take it out and try it on and pet it and love it and call it George.

We’re trying to figure out where to register and hope to book our honeymoon very soon. Just looking at pictures of the resorts we’re interested in makes me jump up and down. I’ve ordered two pairs of silver sandals and hope one of them will work out.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

the one with all the thanksgivings

On Sunday Husband to Be and I are having some of our favorite people over for an early Thanksgiving dinner. I compared it to that classic sitcom scenario where all the main characters can’t quite make it out of town to join their families so they all have a humorous and heartwarming dinner together (see Felicity, Friends, etc.)

Only this is deliberate, no deus ex machina involved. It’ll be four friends who all came into school the same year with me and their respective significant others. It’s half of our entering class, with two friends who couldn’t make it and two folks we’re not really friends with, including HTB’s high school girlfriend. (Discovering this was truly odd. Small-ass world. Also, small state.)

It’s our last year together and sentimental fool I am, I'm really looking forward to sharing this holiday with everyone who's been in the trenches together. But now I’m nervous. We have to clean like crazy. We don’t have a dining room table, although that’s true of most of our gang. More embarrassingly, we don’t have martini or wine glasses. Clearly, we are not serious enough boozehounds. But gosh darn it, over Thanksgiving break, we’re registering! Loot!

HTB and I are in charge of the turkey (and cranberry martinis, yum!) and that is quite the responsibility. I don’t want ruin Thanksgiving with a subpar turkey.

I trust Alton completely so I could go the brine route, which Miss A has done in past years with great success. She makes a damn fine turkey. But we are not as skilled as Miss A and also, the brine recipe is a lot of work. So we’ll do something simpler.

And then on turkey day itself, we'll have dinner with HTB's family. What’s not to love about getting to do Thanksgiving dinner twice?

Monday, November 13, 2006

waitin' on the day

The other night when Husband to Be and I were flipping through the channels, there was a pie bake-off on Food Network. I told him to change the channel because if we started watching, inevitably I’d want pie. But it was too late, the damage had been done. So off we went into the cold night in search of pie.

How can I not love a man who takes me to get pie when I want pie, no cajoling necessary?

As were leaving the restaurant, bellies full of pie (pecan pie and apple, respectively, á la mode of course), the song “Love Fool” came on.

It’s a silly song, but one strongly associated with senior year of high school. I was a classic late bloomer. Shy and awkward, I didn’t date until college. I was simply invisible to boys. The romance in my life consisted of a long series of intense crushes on boys who didn’t know my name. I didn’t have the first idea of how to interact with guys or what love was really like, in all its messy glory. All I had was fantasy, with only wishing, waiting, and hoping to sustain me. The hope that someday someone would see me.

So to hear that song now, and think of how far I’ve come since then, driving home next to the man I’m going to marry, someone sexy and loving and amazing, who sees me, who gets me, who delights in me…well it feels pretty damn good.

just an ordinary girl
with an ordinary life that you have chosen
but you’re the fire in the snow
though i believe that i’m the only one who knows it

Thursday, November 09, 2006

how you can have any pudding if you don't eat your meat

Damn it feels good to be a Democrat. Boo and yah.

It is so gorgeous outside, unseasonably warm and sunny. I'm not sure how long I can stomach being stuck in my office.

Had a nice lunch with Husband to Be and his parents. Ethiopian food is yumm-o (Somwhere, Rachael Ray is cackling). What is it about bread in all its many forms that is so satisfying? Injera, naan, tortillas, a nice focaccia - I could eat them all forever.

And we're going out for sushi tonight. Cheers for sushi happy hours!

With only a few relapses, I've been pretty good about eating more healthfully. Part of that is certainly motivated by the wedding but more to the point, I can't eat like a teenager anymore. Eating more fruit and veggies, drinking more water, and exerting more portion control haven't been all that challenging. I had thought that drinking less soda and eating less fast food would feel like deprivation but most of the time is hasn't, and this is from someone who loves her some Cherry Coke, Dr. P, and big fat bacon cheeseburgers.

Whenever I really want something fatty/sugary/otherwise unhealthy, I have it. I just can't get behind strict diets, whether it be South Beach or the "eat two bowls of cereal a day" route. Life's too short too eat that restrictively forever and sure, I'd probably lose weight if I ate mostly cereal (no thanks) but then I'd gain it right back when I resumed eating normally.

But, it is definitely easier to eat light during the summer. Leafy green salads, sushi, raw veggies and pasta salad are all very appealing when it's hot. But as soon as it gets darker and chillier, most of the time I want warm, cheesy, heavy comfort food. And sometimes you just gotta break down and get some damn potato oles. Damn you Taco John and your wee beady eyes and that smug look on your face. "Ohh, you're going to buy my potato oles!" Bastard.

At least we go to the gym regularly. I think I'm just gonna have to kick my workout into higher gear during the winter. Next semester I'm dead set on taking a kickboxing class. Sport of the future, you know.

It's taken me a while to be less self-conscious at the gym. I realize that with the occasional exception, since it is a student gym, that most people are pretty focused on their own workouts and not judging me for my number of reps or the puny amount I lift. And if someone were to notice I was doing my tricep extensions wrong, wouldn't that be good to know? Still, I could do without the scantily clad dance class chicks who come in periodically to use the water fountain.

Damn, I am now jonesin' for an Almond Joy. Maybe I'll do 5 more minutes on the elliptical today.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

it’s your fire, it’s your soul

My father is not an easy man to live with. I’ve had 27 years to get used to that and it’s still challenging. You can’t choose your family but I still haven’t outgrown my deep, childhood desire for a normal, happy-go-lucky family, preferably one that just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Being Asian, being an introvert, and having a dysfunctional family – these are the three strikes that have me perpetually feeling in the minority.

Our family has always been a casualty in my dad’s struggles with his personal demons, including cancer, depression, anger management issues, and alcoholism. Our relationship had improved quite a bit since I came to grad school; he appeared to have mellowed as a result of reflecting on his life and wanting to find a measure of peace.

But now with my wedding coming up, he’s fallen back into his angry, controlling ways. The psychologist in me assumes that he’s threatened by all the autonomy implied by my getting married. So he continues to treat me like a child rather than respecting me as an adult. I’ve let him play the domineering father role all my life but I’m not letting him do it anymore. I refuse to let him call the shots on how and when I’m getting married.

Is there a chance my parents won’t be at my wedding? Yes and I’m trying to prepare for that possibility now. Will I be angry and hurt that they missed out on it and that they’re impinging upon my happiness? Yes, but I can guarantee that my dad will feel worse, because he will have chosen to miss out on one of the most important days in my life.

And sometimes I think cutting him out of my life, as hard that would be, would be preferable to having to deal with parental tantrums every time I make some major life decision without consulting him. Moving, getting a job, buying a house, having kids – I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave me grief anytime those decisions weren’t in line for what he wants me to do.

Whether or not I actually break from my parents, I will break from them in spirit. I’ll be starting my own family and as much as possible, I refuse to bring ghosts of past sadness into it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

i close my eyes and the seasons pass

Husband to Be and I partied pretty hard on Saturday and after the party on Tuesday we were planning on attending was canceled, we decided to have a nice quiet evening at home. We ordered a pizza, watched Veronica Mars, and took a bubble bath, which we agree will be much nicer when we someday have a Jacuzzi tub.

And we talked about how we’ve gotten too comfortable in our routines. We go to school/work, go to the gym, spend what seems like forever making dinner, watch a little TV, talk about wedding stuff, work on our computers, and all too soon, it’s time for bed. Socially, we do the same regular things with the same peeps.

The same drive to school, walking the same hallways I’ve haunted for 5 and half years. It’s like living life in stop-motion and fast forward at the same time.

Not that routine is always bad. Familiar friends and familiar rituals are comforting and necessary touchstones to have. But we could definitely use a little adventure from time to time, a break from the everyday.

My ongoing challenge, besides not going crazy trying to finish my degree, is to find meaning and happiness in the present, which is hard to do when my entire body is reverberating with the mantras of “I can’t wait to be married” and “I can’t wait to be done with school!”

The summer I spent in Germany, we’d ride our bikes a long way down to the Rhine to get ice cream and eat it while looking at the faint blue hills of France off in the distance. And to me, it was always the long trip that made the ice cream so satisfying. Long walk, part of gift, that sort of thing. For the first time, I’m so fixated on ice cream, I’m only tolerating the ride.

(Although in this case, it’d be pistachio gelato. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that it’s the greatest thing ever? On another tangent, ice cream is inextricably linked with my memories of Germany. I swear an ice cream cart was around every corner we turned. A maple walnut cone I ate in a light rain on the road up to Neuschwanstein ranks as some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.)

Big changes are ahead of me and it’s easy to look forward to them (Moving someplace new and terrific! Maybe buying a house! Getting a dog! A real job! Income! A modicum of respect!) so much that today just becomes a chore, a means to an end. And I don’t want to spent even a small chunk of my life that way.

Time to shake things up.