Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Since I will be home for a few days without my laptop (it's shiny and new and I am afraid to subject it to airport security...) I leave you with this: One of my favorite Christmas duets ever! Should something particularly noteworthy occur, I will let you know. Until then....Feliz CHRISTMAS ohkeh


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where do you live, again?

Tis the season to receive Christmas cards! Unfortunately few people actually know our address. In just the last week we have received mail addressed (by hand, so no typos!) in the follow (incorrect) ways:

1641 Fairview Circle
1541 Reunion Circle
1541 Fairview Drive

Now would probably be a good time to remind everyone that I put a return address on every wedding invitation, thank you note and Christmas card we sent out. What is going on?!?

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I know I am too old to be writing you a letter, and I am old enough to know that this is was past the deadline to ask for anything. I mean, the elves have to be loading the sleigh at this point...

But since you're an expert traveler and obviously know how to travel faster than anyone, thus avoiding all sorts of terrible delays maybe you could help. (Then again, you also have your own flying aircraft. If there's one way to make sure you take off on time it's to pilot your own sleigh that can land ANYWHERE! But I digress) See, we are flying on Wednesday night. Could you work some Christmas magic and try to make sure our flight is not delayed and it's not snowing when we land? Reindeer can handle the snow (and so can the Cleveland airport, really) but I prefer to land on normal runway. So, since you travel on Thursday night, maybe you can send good vibes my way the day before, and I'll be sure to leave an extra cookie or two for you.

And thanks again for the Barbie DreamHouse all those years ago.

Love,
Julia

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Never Ending Flight and other travel thoughts

So I said I was going to talk about my terrible, horrible flight experience . But that was Monday and this is Friday and the excitement and irritation has since subsided. And I tried to write about it and it was actually kind of boring. Maybe I'm not in the mood, but maybe it just wasn't that horrible 4 days later.

Also, I just heard about a GINORMOUS storm hitting the mid-atlantic this weekend and thought Well, yeah. My small fiasco is NOTHING compared to the delays and cancellations and other travel hell that folks traveling this weekend will experience. Flying, driving, snow shoeing, whatever your mode of transportation, it will likely be delayed. And I normally wouldn't care about such a storm, since I don't live in the mid-atlantic, and am not traveling this weekend. However.... Pannie is going to be driving to Tennessee tomorrow and the biggest snowfall is literally falling all along her path home. NOT GOOD. I must admit, I am looking forward to her blogging about the adventure. But, seriously, I'd rather she simply get there without incident.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BEST BALLET EVER!

Well, actually it wasn't. I mean, it was, like all Nutcracker performances, quite enjoyable. The dancing probably wasn't the best dancing we've ever seen, and the music for sure wasn't because the Washington Ballet lost a 'significant grant' and for the first time used recorded music instead of the live orchestra (gasp!) Also, approximately eleventy billion* people were late arriving to the show, and thus disrupted the beginning of a couple dances in the first scene, entering more like a herd of elephants than a slightly embarrassed group of human beings.

It was the best, though, because it was THE CHEAPEST! Pannie got two comp tickets through work. See, when you work in the arts you know others who work in the arts and have connections to such venues as the Kennedy Center and Warner Theater, if you ask, they give you free stuff. FREE! BALLET TICKETS! IN THE ORCHESTRA SECTION! (Which, obviously wasn't technically orchestra because there wasn't one. But we were on the floor, and since we started sitting in, literally, the back row of the balcony in 2001, this was pretty cool) And it was the best because I hadn't seen Pannie in awhile, thus killing two birds with one stone: Reunion and Nutcracker watching

Since the tickets were free we decided we could have a decent dinner beforehand but the dinner Gods were against us. Restaurants were either booked solid (at 5 PM!) or didn't open till 5:30. As the show started at 7 and we still had to get tickets at will-call we decided not to risk it. So we had the cheapest dinner ever consumed before the ballet: Potbelly sandwiches. I didn't even get a milkshake because it was so cold out, but it was good to be back at an old hangout. And what a deal: We spent less than $25 and got a darn tasty dinner and a lovely cultural event.

Granted, I suppose you could also argue it's my most expensive ballet ever since I flew in from Orlando, but the airfare was surprisingly reasonable, so who cares. It was also the longest flight back EVER, but this is a happy post so I'll talk about that another time.

But anyway, aside from the glorious Friday evening we shared, Pannie and I had much roommate bonding while driving, eating lunch at Cheesecake Factory, shopping in Friendship Heights, watching Invictus (two thumbs up) and spending the entire rainy Sunday indoors reading books, drinking tea, eating takeout (but not at the pizza place next door because they close at 5. Who does that?! How much business do they lose during football season?) and watching.... White Christmas! The highlight of the evening was obviously Pannie's "Blue Skies" dance.

And now I am back doing laundry so I can pack again and we can go to Ohio next week. I'll be back soon to regale you with tales of the Longest DC--> Orlando flight EVER.

*TM Pannie

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hundreds Day!

This is my 100th blog entry- time flies, doesn't it?! I don't know why 100 is such an important number, but it is. I'm pretty sure I first became aware of this when I was 5 years old. When I was in kindergarten we celebrated 100s day, when each student had to bring in 100 of a particular item; I brought pipe cleaners. Who knows why, but I can tell you we had a plethora around the house for years afterwards, and some weird art projects, too. AFI has created several lists about 100 movies, which are fun but I often disagree with their ranking system. And if memory serves, you have to be 100 in order to appear on the Smucker's birthday segment, hosted by Willard Scott of the Today Show. In addition to these fun facts, 100 is also important in more serious matters. For example, the US has 100 Senators (I did not know this- I looked it up, which is kind of pathetic. I mean, I remembered what I took to 100s day 21 years ago but don't know how many senators we have?!) And in the 'fun and games' department, a standard game of Scrabble has 100 tiles, and once a TV show airs 100 episodes it can be syndicated (who knew?).

Around here, 100 blog entries on a Monday in December don't really mean much, except that my archives list is getting longer. Because I sure as hell don't have 100 readers!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Anticipation

You know when you're a kid the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas drag on and on and on? Not only do you have to wait for Christmas, you have to GO TO SCHOOL while doing it. In short, December is tough. Especially when your sister's birthday is 11 days before Christmas and she gets presents twice! Actually that never bothered me; I was usually too psyched for Christmas to care what she got after she blew out the candles.

Anyway. As an adult the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas go by at lightening speed. Have you ever noticed that? I think the days lose hours. The first week of December has 20 hours per day, and the second week has 18. The third week has 15 and then, well, just before Christmas good luck- the days just blur together. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I very much enjoy the holiday season and is usually that nut wrapping presents and baking four kinds of cookies in the same afternoon, singing along to Amy Grant's three Christmas albums.

But this year? Whoa. I am going somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Practically no one does this except business travelers so I feel pretty special, let me tell you. And also, tickets are so darn cheap between these two big holidays. Too bad the same can't be said for travel the week of Christmas. But I digress. So guess where I am going? I'm thinking this won't be a big game or anything because the person who reads my blog the most thought of the trip in the first place. Ok I'll tell you. I am going to DC to visit PANNIE for 5 WHOLE DAYS! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Since 2001, our freshman year in college, Hannah and I have seen The Nutcracker in some form on a stage in DC. Kennedy Center, Warner Theater, doesn't matter. We are totally there, singing (humming?) along to the entire score. We're quite animated during the various ethnic dances. Last year was the first year we did not go, since I live in Florida and she is in DC and it's hard to coordinate such a cultural event in one evening, while the participants span 5 states. And let me tell you, it was sad. I tried to make up for it by buying Pannie Nutcracker themed ornaments (which were very cute) but it didn't work. So this fall I received the following e-mail:
In other news: I think you need to come visit this fall/winter. We need some roommate bonding time--I am in withdrawal. I'm starting to receive info about this year's Nutcracker performances, and I must say, it rather sucked not to enjoy holiday festivities with you last year. I'm just throwing that out there for your consideration.

And by golly, she twisted my arm. So not only am I anticipating Christmas and seeing my family in Ohio and all that jazz, I am also anticipating my DC trip! It's less than a week away, and I am now realizing I don't really have the right clothes or shoes. What the heck happened to my cold weather clothing?! Especially my ballet-appropriate clothing?!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

O Christmas Tree, how lovely are your flip flops

So despite my previously mentioned seasonal issues, I do realize that in approximately 5 weeks Christmas day will be upon us. Which means decorating is right around the corner. Don't tell this to the Targets and Wal-Marts and malls of the world. They have been decorated since before Halloween. I, for one, refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

When we were small, my family took the Friday after Thanksgiving to decorate the house. We were recovering from our turkey comas (who are we kidding, for me it was pie) and did not want to set foot outside, lest we freeze to death and/or get trampled at a nearby Black Friday Sale. So Al went up into the attic (she's the smallest and can fit into the opening the best) and Dad stood on the ladder and I took the boxes and lined them up in the garage. Mom supervised from inside. And then, as a family, we assembled the tree, unwrapped all the ornaments, and spent far too much time figuring out where they should go on the tree. In fact, this superb attention to detail usually resulted in eating leftovers in whatever spot you could find to sit, as the entire kitchen and family room were covered with decorations. And the project often carried on into Saturday. My poor parents. It was great fun (for us kiddos), and a tradition we continued until I graduated from college and moved out.

This year marks a changing of the guard, so to speak. It's the first Christmas Michael and I are married (but we've had 4 Christmases living together, so not a huge deal in that regard) but, most importantly, it is the first year we have a house! WITH A FRONT PORCH! THAT I CAN DECORATE WITH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS OHMYGOSH! This week I suddenly had an irrational fear that the stores, with their pre-Thanksgiving super marked-down decoration sales, would sell out of all the stuff I wanted for my porch. So what did I do? I went and bought all the accouterments today. I am now the proud owner of many feet of pre-lit garland, a light-up wreath complete with pinecones, a non-light up wreath with gold accents, window candles, and luminaries for the front walk. And of course, nothing says holiday spirit like driving to the store in flip flops and with the windows down... Definitely not an Ohio experience.

Sadly, my stash must remain in hiding for ten more days, until we are back from our Thanksgiving travels. But if you need to find me on November 30, you'll know where to look. I'll be on my front porch decorating it to the 9s. Wearing flip flops.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gonna make a Sentimental Journey, to renew old memories

I've had these feelings for quite some time, but something this weekend triggered it. We went to Target to do 'registry completion' which is really a way for the stores to still make a buck off of you after your wedding. (or baby is born, or whatever you're registering for) The way it works is quite simple: any items left on the registry post-event are yours, at a 10% discount. Wonderful. Since we registered for (and did not receive) a $300 vacuum, this was music to our ears. And we had gift cards! But grrrrr Target didn't have much of anything we actually registered for IN STOCK! (Including the vacuum) How ridiculous.

Anyway, my point has nothing to do with household electrics. After we paid for our other items, using our gift cards, the cashier asked 'Do you want these back?' Call me crazy, but what in the world would I do with used up, empty pieces of plastic? Do people actually keep them because they have a wedding dress or appropriately themed picture on the front. (Note that one of our cards was a neon green frog- doesn't scream wedding does it? That's my sister for you) I am sure I gave the poor woman a look when I said 'Oh, no, thanks' What am I going to do with an empty gift card? Glue it in my wedding scrap book and say "Oh remember my wedding shower, when I got a Target gift card?" Doubtful. Where would it end? Should I keep the wrapping paper, too?!

Why do people get so hung up over objects? It's a THING! Sometimes they will reason with you by saying "Oh I can't get rid of that. Grandma gave it to me when I was 10" Well, ok. But since you are now 35, the item is not so relevant, is it? And, by the way, it's a ceramic bowl that you dropped and is broken into 3 pieces, so Grandma would probably think you were being silly. Even if an item is still 'good' there is no reason to keep it because of the recipient. It was made in China. Moving on.

I treasure photos. For some reason I cannot get rid of them. The digital era has been good to me since I can store them on my computer instead of albums. But most other things do not tug at my heartstrings.

My mom is in the process of getting rid of my childhood bed and getting a new bed that fits two people, so that when her newly married daughter and son-in-law are around, there will be space. She asked if I was attached to the furniture before she attempted to get rid of it. My answer was, of course, 'not so much'. My grandparents bought the complete set-2 beds, 2 dressers, bookshelf, desk, vanity- in 1963 (a year before Grandpa died) so it does have some family history. Mom and Auntie slept on those beds for years, did their homework on the desk, and brushed their hair at the vanity mirror. Then Al and I inherited them, used the pieces daily, and they've been in Mom and Dad's house for 25 years. It's time for them to go. My sister and I are grown adults (though we may not always act like it!) and are past the white furniture stage of our lives. We're not getting rid of a family member or the memories we've had playing on the furniture. Especially the one when we used to hang off one of the posts and pretend we were garbage men. Those will always be in our minds, but the furniture, and anything else you decide to part with, is just a thing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Auditory Amusements

Me: I still think we should watch the Macy's parade in person some time- how fun would that be?!?!

Al: Probably about as much fun as that time when I had to get 4 fillings done without novocaine.


Yes I realize this makes two quotes in a row....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Auditory Amusements

"That's gross. It's a PHONE! It's only supposed to touch your ear."

Michael, after reading an article about the variety of 'adult' apps available for the iPhone

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving

Amusing Thanksgiving quotes that won't interfere with your enormous dinner

"OK here's the Thanksgiving menu so far: apple pie, pumpkin pie, blueberry tart, and ice cream roll. What am I missing? Cake! We need cake." -Grace Adler, Will & Grace

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" -Erma Bombeck


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can you tell me how to get, How to get to Sesame Street

search.jpg
Thanks to creativity on the part of Google, many folks are aware of Sesame Street's 40th birthday today. In fact, Google has been helping us remember for the past week.

I had a very pleasant childhood for many reasons. One very important reason is the fact that I spent many many hours watching Sesame Street with my mom and my sister. And during reruns on Saturday, Dad too.

I learned a lot from the program and its cast, though this list is in no way comprehensive:
  • The difference between near and far, over, under, around and through (Grover)
  • Monsters are not scary
  • C is for Cookie which is good enough for me!
  • Lots of elementary Spanish, such as counting (Maria), Cerrado means 'closed' (Miami Mice and Ernie), and Peligro means 'danger' (Placido Flamingo)
  • It's OK to rewrite song lyrics (Don Music & Kermit the Frog)
  • If you can't sleep, don't count loud items (Bert & Ernie)
  • When in the jungle, you must talk quietly (Guy Smiley)
And, most importantly, the fact that deep down, We Are All Earthlings

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There's a lizard in my dining room

Hannah* has written about encountering various creatures in her apartment. There was the 5-inch bug and more recently, the mouse. Living in Florida I have encountered many creatures outside, and occasionally see cockroaches in the house. It's gross, we have a guy come spray but they're smart suckers and they survive! We stomp on them and move on. Well, this morning presented a new challenge. (see title of blog post)

Yesterday was the first day it's been cool enough to open the windows. Yes you read that right, and yes it is November. So I did. Every window in our house was open to the max. For about an hour, I also opened our back patio door, which does not have a screen. When Michael got home he questioned my logic citing lizards and bugs roaming about out of doors. There were no bugs and I did not see any lizards milling about so I was good to go. Plus, lizards are afraid of people (typically) and tend to avoid us and our living quarters whenever possible.

This morning, Michael's worry was justified. I did not notice it until 9:45 this morning, after having been up and about the house for more than 3 hours. Then again, I did not venture into the dining room either. I was walking down the stairs with a basket of laundry and saw what appeared to be a lizard sitting on the floor. I asked outloud "What are you doing in here?" and, thankfully, got no response. I walked a few paces into the room and verified that it was, indeed, a lizard. And then realized I was going to have to remove it. [most] Bugs are easy. You step on them, or if they're a huge cockroach, smash it with the large issue of InStyle magazine. Then you grab a few paper towels and windex to clean up the guts and you're done. But reptiles pose a new set of challenges. They have bones and skin and BLOOD for God's sake. I decided a broom and dustpan would be good tools to try.

However, I also wondered, in the back of my mind, Is that lizard dead? I weighed my options. Lizards are usually very jumpy creatures, and he was still. Likely dead. BUT! I didn't see him there last night when I closed the windows, so he hasn't been in that spot very long. He wouldn't dry out in less than 12 hours and I saw no signs of trauma. Could be alive. Hmmm. Better poke him with the broom first to investigate. HOLY JUMPING LIZARD, BATMAN! It was alive. I yelled a PG-13 rated expletive. So he IS alive, but slowed down greatly. I suspect the roach poison that is regularly sprayed in our home has an adverse affect on reptiles. (Good to know)

The problem has become: How do I remove a STILL LIVING REPTILE from my house?
I tried to gently usher him onto the dustpan with the broom. He was afraid, and I can't blame him. When a huge giant person is interacting with your micro reptilian self, you tend to freak out. He was reluctant to get onto the dustpan, but I eventually convinced him it was alright. Then I had to get said lizard transport device from the dining room out the front door. Not far away at all. We were doing OK at this point. Then he decided to jump off the dustpan and run further into the room. So onto plan B, which is essentially desperation on both of our parts. I decided that sweeping him along the floor like a crumb would be a good idea. Not so much. It only elicited more jumping and spasmodic behavior. Not knowing what to do, I used the broom as a mallet and tapped him. This certainly put an end to the jumping about. It stunned him. I then quickly swept him into the foyer and out the door (but not before he got stuck on the doorjam, ick) Sadly, I think that in his weakened state, my tap might have actually killed him. I swept him onto the porch and into the bushes, and really don't feel like seeing if he's still there. Hopefully he hopped away, but if not, I guess another creature will have a tasty treat. Circle of life and all that.

Needless to say, the patio door is CLOSED at the moment. However, in my defense, it's quite possible he got in through a window screen. They are not a snug fit and it's highly possible for a small reptile or amphibian to wedge through the small crack between the screen and the frame. But the open door for sure did not help.

*Do you know Hannah? (aka Pannie) Because if you have been reading my blog this long and haven't heard about her, well, you aren't paying attention.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Seasonal Confusions

Living in Florida is confusing enough. Throughout the year Michael and I have to stop and remind ourselves of the current season, and occasionally, the current month. For example: "This commercial says no payments until January. What month is it now?" "Is summer over? I keep seeing back to school supplies on sale" When you can literally wear the same outfit from May 1 until October 31 (a tank top and cotton skirt with flipflops, in case you wondered) your brain is often confused. The change in seasons is virtually non-existent. But I knew that when I moved here and am OK with it. This 'what month are we in' confusion also tends to kick in when you are no longer in school but don't yet have children living an academically centric life. There is no school year with Halloween parties, final exams, winter concerts, spring breaks, etc. etc. We experienced it to a lesser degree while living in DC. I am wearing a coat to walk to work, therefore it is winter. I am sweating profusely during my walk to the metro. Must be summer. But God help me if I needed the exact month.

Well, as if all that wasn't bad enough, the retail establishments have TOTALLY LOST THEIR MINDS. I was in Lowe's today (wearing the aforementioned tank top and cotton skirt with flipflops, which gets you a lot of attention, let me tell you) and in the front of the store I saw all the Christmas decorations set up next to the patio furniture and outdoor grills. What the hell. Only in Florida would you see such a ridiculous store display before Halloween. True, you can buy and use patio furniture here year round. But do they have to set up the Christmas trees and singing snowmen next to it? And do they have to do it in October? Seriously, folks. Target is no better. The front of the store has Halloween candy on display, which is good news for those of us with a minor candy corn addiction. But then you walk back to 'seasonal' and the Halloween season is thinning out greatly, being pushed aside by green and red boxes. If your kids didn't buy costumes three weeks ago, they'll have to be a Christmas tree this year.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. You know the movie, Elf? It's semi-autobiographical; my sister calls me "Buddy" around the holidays. But I also happen to enjoy candy corn for Halloween and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. When was the last time you saw a Thanksgiving decoration or anything that alluded to the holiday in a retail establishment? If you did, it was not front and center, that's for sure.

I understand why stores do this- they want to sell as much Christmas stuff as possible, thinking with the less than stellar economy we'll spread our spending over a few months. And Christmas is, in general, a good revenue source. Yet this confusion puts me, the consumer, in an awkward position. Do I buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper now? If I wait a few weeks will the selection be poor? If I buy now do I perpetuate the cycle of pushing Christmas earlier and earlier? We are spending our first Christmas as 1) a married couple 2) in a house 3) with a full sized tree! Do I buy the tree trimmings now? Thus far, I have purchased no decorations or supplies. But I fear I might start after Halloween. At which point I really won't know what month we're in!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yays and Boos

A lazy person's answer to an entry

YAY for a trip to New York to visit the Crookers and taste lots of good wine
BOO for freezing weather most of the time
YAY for Florida's beautiful weather upon our return
YAY for ML bringing us the wine we bought so we didn't have to pack it all

YAY for planning a trip to DC to visit Pannie in December
BOO for no Nutcracker at Kennedy Center this year
YAY for Washington Ballet performing it, too

YAY for pretty much being done with changing my last name
BOO for some companies changing it WRONG! (Seriously!)

BOO for Vanessa Carlton's free concert at EPCOT getting cancelled tonight
YAY for Boyz II Men next week, so I don't really care about V.C. after all

YAY for making Thanksgiving plans
BOO for having to drive the day before (TRAFFIC = ICK)

and lastly....
YAY for GLEE

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I Remember (an extremely lengthy post about the wedding, before I forget it all)

One of my favorite bloggers got married two weeks before we did. Consequently, she got to experience all the wedding stuff right before we did, too. She recently wrote a blog post all about what she remembered from her wedding day. I decided it was a good idea; this is as good a place as any to dump out that portion of my brain and come back to remember it later. So, while I blog for others, this post is for me, too. This way, 50 years from now (or next week, depending) I can read this and go "oh yeah!" Thanks for bearing with me.


Most married people I know offered me the following advice in the weeks leading up to the wedding: the day will fly by. They also told me that I should try to be present in the moment. Great. I have no control over time, and who are we kidding, on such a big day, I don't have control over my brain either. I am pleased to announce, that while the minutes did pass by quickly, I definitely remember a lot of moments from my wedding day. I was 'present in the moment' much of the day. After my wonderful friends and family posted pictures online I actually remembered what was going on in almost all of them. What are the odds? That's not to say I remember each and every detail, and since we didn't have a videographer, there's no way to go back and relive them. But here are the things I do remember. There are a lot!


I remember walking in during the wrong song during rehearsal, even though I insisted to my Dad that it was the right one. In typical Jules fashion, I majorly goofed during the rehearsal of an important event. (See also: musical senior year of high school) We all had a good laugh and the mood was light afterwards. See, I meant to do that!

I also remember not being able to eat a thing at rehearsal dinner. Between us Michael and I ate half a salad, one-third of an entree, and two bites of cake. We talked about both being excited and anxious. Not nervous, just ready. And that damn food got in the way. I didn't sleep well Thursday night, and Friday was no different. I slept, but it was interrupted.

I remember waking up the morning of the wedding, feeding the cat, and trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast. (Yet I have no idea what I actually ate) I'm pretty sure I emptied the dishwasher, too, which is appropriate, considering it's been a job of mine since I could reach the cupboards. I was not stressed at all. I remember Al coming into my room as I was getting dressed for the hair salon saying "Feliz Wedding, okay!" There's also a vivid memory of Ash and Pannie walking through the back door squealing "You're getting MARRIED!" We had a small hiccup when Al didn't know the address of the hair place, but luckily Dad has atlases stashed in every drawer, so we were OK. Gloria and Bonnie had a tray of donuts and muffins out for us, along with juice. What a nice surprise. Do you know any other bride who had a donut on her wedding day? It was for sure typical Jules.

I remember Hannah being sniffly and Ash saying "Hannie, blow" which resulted in Hannah blowing us a kiss. We nearly died laughing when Ash said "I mean your nose!"

I remember Gloria making my hair too high on the top and me telling her what was the matter. "I love that about you. You know exactly what you want" was perhaps her way of saying "Julia, you are being a bridezilla" But no, she was serious in her sentiment. We quickly corrected the little problem once Al found a picture of my hair trial on Gloria's digital camera. I remember Al, Ash, and Hannah assisting Gloria as she inserted the hair piece and began trimming the beads, making sure nothing looked weird from the front or stuck out in the back.

I remember Mom being anxious only one time the whole day. WAY TO GO MOM! It was when we arrived back home for makeup because we were slightly behind schedule. But Jacque is a pro and we were back on track in no time, and everyone looked beautiful.

I remember the florist calling that morning to ask me about reusing centerpieces from rehearsal dinner, and thinking "You're the pro, I will love whatever you do" but also being very tickled that he thought to ask at all. I also remember getting worried about the amount of food that would be in my stomach by the time we got to church, and requesting yogurt. (Donuts only go so far, you know) My Dad obviously knows what to do in such dire situations, because he went out and got me two different flavors. Thanks, Dad! The flowers arrived during all of this, resulting in my oohing and ahhing from the peanut gallery.

I remember Ash and Pannie helping me put on my dress. They were getting weepy and saying things like "You're getting married" and "You look beautiful" and a lot of other nice things, but I yelled at them. I was afraid they would make me start crying. I'm confident if I hadn't yelled, we would have all been a pile of mush on the floor of my bedroom at 11 AM. Sorry guys :)

I remember the cat resting on the couch after I emerged with my gown on. She was excited about a dress with a nice long train, so Dad had the honor of removing her from the room before she had a chance to investigate further. I remember my sister arranging stuffed buffalo along the edge of my train, and the photographer being completely into it. I even have professional photos to prove this insanity.

I remember having trouble getting into the car. I had to go in backwards, and I'm pretty sure Hannah was crawling in through the hatch holding up my train. I remember Al driving the bridesmaids in the other car, behind us. I remember blowing kisses to them out the back window as we waited at a stoplight.

I remember that when we got to the church there were groomsmen standing on the front steps, and Mom saying they had to get back inside and couldn't see me! Dad calmly reminded her that only the groom needed to hide, and there was no sign of Michael on the steps. Dad also agreed to shoo them all inside before I exited the vehicle. I remember discovering there was no bathroom in our basement waiting are in church. (WHAT?!) I remember Mary Lynn making sure the groomsmen and Michael were away from the glass doors so I could walk by and use the bathroom. I remember Ash and Pannie helping me and being in fits of giggles as we tried, for the first time, to master a group bathroom trip. Once we returned, I artfully perched on a folding chair until it was time to go.

I remember Auntie and Benita coming by to say hi before church started, which was another fun surprise. I was afraid they would make me cry but thankfully, they did not. I remember Gloria coming downstairs with a bag full of products, in case anyone needed a last minute touch up.

I remember Al, who has lived alone in foreign countries and Manhattan, who sometimes works on the trading floor for God's sake, get nervous about fixing my train. I remember Christine telling us it was time to go upstairs, but me needing to wait until I applied lipstick before anyone left the room. I remember standing with Dad in the back of church and he reminding me to "walk slow." Anyone who knows my Dad will find this amusing, as he has extremely long legs and therefore walks quicker than most. I remember taking my first step into the church and soaking in everyone's faces.

I remember first seeing Lenie and Mark and Nikhil, friends I have known my whole life. I consciously walked slowly and tried to take in all the faces who were turned to watch me walk down the aisle: I saw the faces of everyone who loved us. And I remember not being able to see the face I most wanted to see; the groom's was blocked by all of our guests standing to watch me!

I remember getting to the altar, Dad giving me a kiss, shaking Michael's hand, and walking back to his seat. He walked to his seat the same time Michael walked up to me, and they both stepped on my train simultaneously. Oh, and I also tried to walk forward. No one else knew I almost fell on my face, but they might have seen the two matching black marks on either side of my train. I remember sitting in the two chairs up at the altar, listening to the readings and the gorgeous music from up in the choir loft, and being very aware of the moment, where I was, and what was going on. During this time, a fly flew into my face, and landed in my bouquet. We both cracked up, but quietly, so as to not disturb anyone else.

I remember Father Ols gave a wonderful homily, reminding everyone that I was the third generation to get married in this church. He started out by saying that in 1953, Margaret Kerecz married John Lasky. And Michael and I almost lost it. It is the only time all day that I had tears welled up in my eyes so much that I was sure they'd fall. I knew once the tears fell, it would be hard to stop them. But somehow, we both held it together and did not cry. Thanks, Grandpa, for helping us out there. Even though you weren't sitting in the pew, you were in church with us that day.

I remember saying our vows, and not fumbling any of the words, and not crying then, either.

I remember walking over to give our bridal party the sign of peace and hugging Ash extra hard, hoping it would help her tears slow down a bit. I remember going over the the Blessed Mother during Ave Maria, and hearing loud sniffles from the bridesmaids pew. Evidently my hug to help Ash was not long-lasting. I remember Father Ols pronouncing us married, and having our first kiss, and then lingering on the top step to soak it all in. I remember (and photos prove this) both of us grinning like fools as we walked out of church as husband and wife.

I remember descending the side stairs so our guests would exit the church but not stop to chat. It was a great moment alone right after the ceremony, and our photographer took some adorable photos. I remember Mr. Crooker eventually coming down with some of Marilyn's music, and saying the sweetest things to us. He also served as an excellent spy to see whether or not our moms were done chatting with all the guests so we could come back upstairs.

I remember taking group photos in church, and my bouquet weighing a ton. I remember standing with the wedding party on the altar for awhile, as the photographer took what seemed like a hundred shots. "I feel like Britney Spears" uttered my sister, sending everyone into hysterics, and resulting in some fun photos. I remember the wedding party being hungry and asking me if we could get lunch, and not wanting to deal with such questions. I remember Uncle Jimmy waiting for us to take all the pictures, so he could help us with the convertible top, so we wouldn't freeze as we drove away. Al and Donald in the front seat drove us to Arby's to get sandwiches before heading to the reception, and Donald used his flip camera to film the whole thing. I remember jokingly scolding Michael for giving the best man his lunch before the bride, which completely set Al off. We arrived, and Ash dipped her finger in my water cup in order to smudge away the pollen that had inexplicably gotten on my cheek on the drive over.

I remember walking into the Country Club and seeing an extra layer of cake on the cake table and declaring "That is NOT supposed to be there" and sending Michael off to find our coordinator. While posing for photos behind the country club, I remember the groomsmen giving their jackets to the bridesmaids. I also remember the bridesmaids posing with their bouquets stuck down the front of their dresses. I remember having a hell of a time trying to bustle my dress after pictures. I remember Ash googling 'bustle' and the designer of my dress to figure out what to do.

I remember guests arriving at the reception and introducing many family members to my groom. I remember seeing Kari for the first time in more than 8 years, and giving her a huge hug. I also remember it being chilly outside, resulting in a full dining room during cocktails. I remember the DJ announcing the bridal party, and hearing us as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time. I remember our first dance, asking 'what's next' after each move, and Michael reassuring me the whole time to just follow him and we'd be fine.

I remember our moms standing at the edge of the dance floor singing along to the song, while our bridal party smiled along the other edge.

I remember cheering and whistles and clapping as we showed off our moves. I remember needing help when we went to cut the cake. But really, how hard is it to slice into a dessert?!

I remember being consciously happy we went with a head table, so that we could eat with our entire bridal party surrounding us.

I also remember Dad giving a toast, and reading off a card, explaining that while Mario gave an off-the-cuff toast at rehearsal dinner, 'engineers sometimes need notes'. I remember Al teasing Michael when he forgot to put his napkin on his lap, and Donald and Marissa trying to warn me about getting dressing on the bread basket. I remember Donald giving a toast that involved notepaper and a pen from his hotel, memories from the late 1980s, and reminders of how things have changed since we began dating in 1999.

I remember Michael standing up to thank everyone for coming, and giving such a lovely speech, that almost everyone in the room teared up. But I didn't!

I remember visiting all the tables while dessert was being served, and therefore not eating a piece of cake that night. Not complaining! It was great to talk to all of our family and friends who had traveled near and far to be with us. It was a big dinner party full of people who care about us, and who we love right back. I remember dancing with my dad, trying to convince him that Yes, he does know "My Girl" by the Temptations.

I remember the dance floor being packed all night, and the music being exactly right, laughing as I tried to do the electric slide in my dress, as Michael 'danced' to Cotton Eyed Joe, per Hannah's request, and as our sisters danced to Thank God I'm a Country Boy.

I remember the night ending sooner than I thought possible, and Hannah and Ashley loading our stuff into the car so we could leave. I remember Erica and Nikole gathering up all the photos and gifts and loading them into the other car to go to Mom and Dad's house. I remember getting into the car and Michael looking at me and saying "Well, we had a perfect wedding"

And then that was it, the wedding was over, a whole 49 weeks of work dissolved in a single day, which is the strangest feeling ever. Especially the day after, when the adrenaline has worn off, your shoulders still hurt from holding up a big dress the entire day before, and your contacts want to fall out of your eyeballs, so you actually have no choice but to wear your glasses.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's a Julebilation

When Ashley got married 3 years ago, we called the pre-wedding girly festivities "Ashleypalooza" It wasn't a bachelorette party per se, as we had an outing for manicures and pedicures, dinner on the Schuster pool deck, and also an evening at the dueling piano bar. There we no strippers or feather boas or weird shaped straws (ick).

Since all my bridesmaids live in different states and have yet to all be together at once, we will be doing girly festivities this weekend. I wasn't sure what to call the outing, since it's not a bachelorette party at all... high tea and pedicures starting before noon doesn't exactly scream debauchery. So I consulted with Ash about this conundrum. What do we call the festivities (aka much needed relaxation and down time)? She had the perfect solution! "How about a julebilation celebration?!?!"

Isn't that perfect? I think so, too.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

You may be my lucky star, but I'm the luckiest by far

I am a lucky girl. With our wedding now two weeks from Saturday, I have had many fleeting thoughts related to 'the big day' (which always makes me think of Frank in Father of the Bride). Instead of keeping these fleeting thoughts to myself, writing them on a notepad to create a quasi-cohesive list, or, better yet, pushing said thoughts out of my brain, I share them with others.

Throughout this whole 'process' I have sent e-mails to the bridesmaids about the dress and then this summer more about the 2nd dress- long story- and notes to Al about the Friday non-bachelorette party (more of a gathering, as it begins before lunch) and Ash about schedules and what she did as a bride and what was her timeline and why did she do it that way and how are you supposed to get gifts for your parents? (I am pretty sure I asked her that all in one breath) And long long ago, so it seems, notes to Marissa about cakes and flavors and fondant and icing. My future mother-in-law has known me for many years and therefore knows I am crazy and slightly OCD. Which means she's been in on the e-mail fun too, most recently about seating charts and friends and family and who wants to sit with whom. I am not shy with anyone!

The last month or so a fair portion of the wedding thoughts have been a bit more focused. Program-related, to be specific, which means Pannie gets to hear them. (Hi, Pannie!) I am fairly certain all of my readers know Pannie, and if you haven't well, you're missing out. She is wonderful and not only is she a fantastic friend, she's a kick-ass program designer, and takes e-mails from me at all hours.

Michael falls into the hit or miss category of my thoughts. Sometimes he is bombarded with questions that he can answer and cares about, but other times he looks at me like I am a retarded martian* and probably thinks "Really, I am going to marry her? Ohhh boy" He has been quite participatory recently, probably because the percentage of wedding-related questions he has heard in the last two weeks is 95% of the questions I ask him (poor guy) and if he didn't participate at least a little bit, he would never talk to me!

Mom gets the brunt of my random thoughts, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised if she opens up a wedding coordinating business and starts charging me by the hour or by the e-mail (Lord help me) But she's very accommodating and quite calm. (Rare is the day when Mom is calmer than me) It's a little frightening, but also very reassuring. People have been asking for awhile if I was nervous planning a wedding 1,000 miles away, and I always explained that we know our vendors and they're all very good, our parents are local, we used to live in Ohio, etc. etc. etc. But really, what I should have said is "My mom rules and she'll take care of everything" That's pretty much how it's been. Meeting with the florist and the photographer, talking to everyone on the phone, conveying their thoughts to me and mine to them, and this month, PAYING them. (YIKES) At this point, my vendors all know and enjoy speaking with my mom, so much so that on September 19 they might be like Julia? Who? Oh, right. The bride. How's Rachelle doing?

To reiterate, I am lucky. My friends and family have not screamed at me or slapped me (though most live too far away to do that) or told me to shut the hell up, we don't care about this shin-dig as much as you. Quite the opposite. They have been eager, and helpful and kind, and selfless. I am sure I haven't said it enough lately, so, thanks, you guys.


*A phrase used by AMB that accurately describes 90% of looks I receive

Friday, August 28, 2009

Goodbye, Reading Rainbow

I have just learned (via Pannie's status on facebook) that Reading Rainbow is ending today. My sister and I loved that show. As young children with no cable TV our television programs consisted of Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and Reading Rainbow. Zoobilee Zoo was added to our repertoire soon after, and as we got older, Ghostwriter and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? I actually think that not watching much TV was good for us. We read books, played out all sorts of make believe scenarios, and drew under the coffee table. (Literally. The underside of the wood is covered with markers. Dad didn't even know till a couple years ago!) But the shows we did watch had an impact; I'm fairly certain that on more than one occasion, I went to the library with a list of book titles I learned about while watching Reading Rainbow. I haven't watched the show in years, but I am still saddened that no new episodes will be created.

At least I still know the theme song

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high
Take a look, it's in a book... Reading Rainbow!




Monday, August 24, 2009

I did not write this, but it's fun

One of my facebook friends posted the following text this weekend. It's pretty funny. I couldn't figure out what to write about today so, voila! Plagiarism. In my defense, I have no idea who originally wrote it, or I'd cite it so as to avoid upsetting my librarian mother.

• I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

• More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

• Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

• I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

• Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

• I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

• The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

• Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

• There is a great need for sarcasm font.

• Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the fuck was going on when I first saw it.

• I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

• How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? (I actually know this one)

• I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in. (My mom taught me this. She also taught me to make a lot of noise to get other family members to help)

• I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

• Was learning cursive really necessary?

• Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

• I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

• Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

• Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

• How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

• I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

• While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

• MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

• Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. (I have thought this for YEARS)

• I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

• Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

• I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

• Bad decisions make good stories

• Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

• Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

• If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

• Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....

• You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

• Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

• There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

• I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

• "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

• I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV.. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

• While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China and USA . No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don’t win, they are executed.

• I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

• I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

• I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

• Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

• As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

• Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

• It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

• I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

• I think that if, years down the road when I’m trying to have a kid, I find out that I’m sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.

• Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

• I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

• I think the freezer deserves a light as well. (Mine has one!)

• I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

• The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.



BONUS! (or, the interactive element)
Ten points to whoever guesses my favorite bullet point

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthdays!

While it's true that August has no official holidays printed on the calendar, today happens to be a special day in birthday-ville. August 20 is the birthday of (youngest to oldest) Pannie, Auntie, and Al Roker. It's probably other people's birthdays, too, but I like these three the best.

Happy Birthday to all, eat lots of cake!

















Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Group Participation

To quote Kara DioGuardi, "So, here's the thing" I have two ear piercings in each ear. Well, I actually have 3 but the top left one closed up awhile ago. These piercings occurred in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Al and I went together when I was in 6th grade and then hers had a problem so they closed up and she re-tried the next year, so I said "Oh I'll get a second one" The same thing happened to Al again and when she went a 3rd time (which was not the charm) I got a 3rd hole. (My dad was not pleased. "What do you need another hole in your head for?") I wonder what would have happened if Al had tried again.... would I have a pierced nose?! Haha kidding


Anyway.... I always wear a silver ball in the top hole and a small hoop of some kind in the bottom. Always. I sleep with the stud earrings, swim with them, etc. etc. They are almost a permanent fixture in my head.


I am wearing my momsie's very nice diamond earrings for the wedding. They are the fun little "s" shape that starts off with tiny diamonds by the lobe and gradually get bigger as the earring dangles. They look ridiculous with the silver ball earrings. So initially I thought Well I'll just wear tiny diamond studs in my top hole. And Michael even said he'd buy me some because they're not that expensive. (A MAN AGREED ON THE SPOT, IN A JEWELRY STORE, TO BUY ME DIAMONDS OHMYGOSH)


Here's the group participation time

Is it weird to wear two earrings in each ear at your wedding? Is that a 1990s trend that I should probably give up on and definitely not be embracing in my 26th year on my wedding day? In other words.... are mom's earrings enough? Part of me says to wear two in each ear because it's what I always do. The other part is wondering if I will regret it in the photos in three months or 10 years or whatever.


Thoughts?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Monolingual

Last weekend we went into EPCOT to see a Tom Petty cover band. They were good. We also rode Spaceship Earth, which is the ride inside the big silver ball at the entrance to the park. The ride has an interactive element to it, and upon entering your ride vehicle, you must choose a language (So you understand what's going on at the end). They are listed on a touch screen as:
English
Francias
Espanol
Portugues
Deutch
and what I assume to be Japanese and Chinese

I looked at Michael and said "I want to be Dutch!" at which point he looked at me and said "That's German"

Don't you love how he knew what I meant, even when I was making no sense?!