Friday, July 31, 2009

Are you serious?

I have seen the ad, below, in several magazines. It caught my attention, and I admit, I was surprised at first. It's kind of weird, don't you think? I mean, we know what a bikini trimmer does. Do you have to show us, too? It makes me think of Versailles or something old and European. And not in a good way. Admittedly, Europeans wouldn't think twice about such an ad. They would probably have a naked woman demonstrating the product. Truth be told, there is nothing weird about someone being naked, but a statue with a artfully groomed shrub strategically placed? That is weird.

Monday, July 27, 2009


We've done it again. Plunged into the diet hell known as South Beach, phase one. Michael and I went on the South Beach diet about three years ago. The plan was to do two weeks of phase one, as directed, and then as many weeks of phase two as we needed. Unfamiliar with SB? Phase 1 is horrible. You are allowed unlimited veggies, low-fat dairy, and low-fat proteins. No bread or fruit! So sad. I hate eggs, so breakfasts get interesting. Anyway, during our first trial, we were very stoic, and after thirteen days of following it to the letter, we stopped. And I was skinny! It was great. But then we started to eat normal foods and well, you know what happens.

Here we are again, 8 weeks before the wedding, and Michael has decided, once again, to embark on the SB diet. Being the supportive soul that I am, I jumped onboard. But I like to think we're smarter the second time around. Instead of making all the weird recipes we found in the book last time, we're making more normal recipes in the "Taste of Summer" cookbook, that involves much less chopping and mixing and broiling, and a lot more grilling. Today's dinner of jalepeno turkey burgers (minus bun, of course) actually sounds pretty good. But lunch? Not so much. It's white bean soup with arugula and basil. It's GREEN. It looks like I threw in grass clippings and went to town with the immersion blender.

On the bright side, I have already used many many items I received at last weekend's showers. All attachments to the immersion blender, several prep bowls, the big spoons, etc. How utilitarian!

Friday, July 24, 2009

So this is really happening

So my first major accomplishment of the week was writing and mailing 46 thank you notes for all of my shower gifts. I know you technically have four weeks or some arbitrary time frame to send them out. But since I find it difficult to find an absolute acceptable time frame, and have always believed sooner is better than later, I wrote all of them. My hand was sore, but my Cross Morph pen stood up to the task. I should probably buy an ink refill because I'm pretty sure I wrote all of my high school graduation thank yous with this pen, too, and between my graduation party and recent showers, that's a heck of a lot of writing.

My second major accomplishment was finally sending out all our wedding invitations. Leaving them at the post office on Thursday morning felt a little odd. I mean, they had been sitting in the dining room in the hutch/credenza/big piece of furniture from IKEA for awhile and needed to go. But I don't really trust the post office. I left a huge shopping bag full of envelopes with the very tall woman behind the counter. I folded all the liners and glued them in all the envelopes. I numbered the reply cards in case people forget to put their names on them. I printed all the addresses and Al wrote all the inner envelope names. Finally, I carefully aligned the stamps in the top right corner. (A huge deal for me, most of the time they're crooked and hanging off the edge) What if the post office shoves the bag in a corner and they're never seen again? Cross your fingers for me.

And finally, to make it even more real, we ordered my wedding band yesterday. Michael hasn't picked his out yet, but his time will come.

With two months to go until the wedding---actually, eight weeks to the day tomorrow, which is a bit scary--I fear I will forever be stuck in detail mode. Ever since we walked through the country club in April I have been dreading the seating chart. Now that the invitations were (ostensibly) mailed yesterday, the RSVPs are going to start coming in, which means I will have to actually make the damn thing. I'm also worrying about gifts for parents and other important players. What do you give your parents, really? Is there anything that comes close to saying thank you for raising you and seeing you through every milestone in your life, and answering all 842 e-mails you've sent this week about the wedding? AND hosting the big party?! Not really.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Auditory amusements

Nana, after I pulled a rolling pin out of a gift bag at my bridal shower:

You'll need to use that in order to keep Michael in line

Needless to say, she brought the house down with that one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I survived the trip to Ohio, thank goodness. Our venue is squared away, makeup has been practiced, hair has been finalized, and I met with the priest and photographer. The kicker is most of the vendors know each other! "Oh, Dan has photographed many events here" or "That is a great church to get married in" or "Dan? He's great. We've worked with him for years" or "The Club is so beautiful. I love to take a photo in that one window when the light shines in" Don't you love a small midwestern town?

Thankfully, there was a bit of a break from the wedding stuffs when Al decided to clean out the basement and donate a large chunk of our childhood to Goodwill (except Barbies and stuffed toys, of course). Why did I keep most of the Sports pages from the 1997 baseball playoffs? I don't know.

The wedding showers were quite enjoyable. Saturday's included 36 family members and close friends and featured delicious IGA cake and important players meeting each other. Namely, Michael's maternal grandma and my maternal grandma, both named Margaret. They are obviously very cute. And of course, Pannie meeting most of my family, but not having to take a quiz to remember their names. (Did I forget to mention Pannie drove in from DC?!) I was lucky to have 3 of the 4 bridesmaids to help me unwrap, record gifts, and create the ubiquitous ribbon bouquet. We missed Ash! (see incomplete photo, below) Sunday was a smaller gathering at Patti's house with a lovely brunch with ML's golf friends and other friends who don't spend time on the links. Everyone was very generous at both showers, and thus has resulted in me writing many thank you notes this afternoon. I took a break to type to 'rest' my right hand! Additional photos will be available in the next day or two at both the normal photo page and the wedding website.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alaska, Day 2

I landed in Ohio on Wednesday afternoon and quickly learned on Thursday morning that the sun comes up early out here. 5:47AM to be exact. How do I know this? The light-filtering (not black-out) curtains in my room told me so. And in Florida, when the sun is just starting to come up at 6:20, I am getting up anyway. It works well. (and so do my black-out curtains that I have in FL) But in Ohio, where the sun is up until, no joke, 9:40 PM, things are different. It's almost like being in Alaska, where sometimes there no light at all, and other times, there's no darkness. Guess which time we're in now?! Yeah. It's summertime, aka the sun never sleeps! What's ironic is that in winter, you don't really see the sun, and on Christmas morning, even if the sun is 'out' it's so far away that you have to put on the Christmas tree lights and a lamp to see anything in the room. But back to our opposite, Alaska summer, problem. I sort of jokingly contemplated going to Target to buy a blindfold yesterday, but did not deem it necessary. Haha, said the rising sun. Guess what time I got up today? If you said 5:47, you'd be right. I shall stop by Target today after completing my 3 wedding-related appointments. I don't think I have normal appointments anymore. Am I meeting a non-family member somewhere? Definitely wedding-related.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Auditory Amusements

The wedding showers are next weekend, which means I'll be in Ohio soon. Many numerous sound-bytes have come of this affair. I shall share the best two.

My sister, upon learning we were having a shower in the first place:
"Unless a shower involves hot water and Kohler fixtures, I want nothing to do with it"

Mom, after many family members failed to RSVP to the shower.
"This is why God lets you pick your friends, because you can't pick your relatives! RSVP is French. Perhaps we need to change it to CMOIKYA (Call Me Or I'll Kick Your Ass)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Things that made me smile (so far) this week

  • Remembering what flowers I chose for the wedding, and still loving them
  • My mother reminding me to mail the wedding invitations later this month (did she really think I'd forget?)
  • Getting $5 off the dry-cleaning for no apparent reason
  • Receiving 3 free mini desserts at Carraba's
  • Successfully saving a super tiny baby frog from the garage
  • Enjoying tea and blueberry bread as a mid-morning snack
  • Noticing, a week late, that I did not change my desk calendar to July

Friday, July 3, 2009

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing, let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning.... it's Independence Day

What July Fourth Means to Me, written by Ronald Reagan

For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.

I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.

No later than the third of July – sometimes earlier – Dad would bring home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.

I'm afraid we didn't give too much thought to the meaning of the day. And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals. Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a giant "cracker" – giant meaning it was about 4 inches long. But enough of nostalgia.

Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.

There is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words "treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and the issue remained in doubt.

The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, "They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever."

He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.

What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.

John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.

But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.

It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.

Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth of July.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

YAY for long weekends!

Fourth of July weekend is upon us. Last year we went to the Magic Kingdom and watched fireworks with more than 70,000 people. It was extremely fun and patriotic and I probably cried a little. It also took about 45 minutes to get out of the theme park! We are not doing that again.

We're going on a road trip! Off to Pompano Beach tomorrow to see fireworks and get out of Orlando. Fireworks on the beach might not have as all-american a backdrop as Magic Kingdom or the nation's capital in 2007 (see above) but it will more than suffice. Warmth, sand, fireworks, ice cream -there must be ice cream- and that special someone? Sounds good to me! I now leave you with a fun 4th of July quote, Alex Keaton style.

"Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.” -Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quality Quotables*

My mother sent me two fun quotes today in an e-mail. I have always been a big fan of quotes for various situations, and it inspired me to start a new posting topic (and category). Sometimes a good quote sums up a situation better than a blog entry, anyhow. And in honor of my mother, a quote from her that is also about her!

I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met." Marguerite Duras, French writer

*Inspired by Jeopardy! category 'potent potables'