Sunday, November 30, 2008
Since I was home alone and the rest of the fam was out and about shopping or churching or heading to their respective homes, I ended up on the couch drinking lots of water, pumping in tons of meds and staring in horror at the women on the show Bridezillas. We don't get cable in Columbia since it's kind of a luxury we can't afford on our twenty-cents a day stipend. In fact, we only get NBC which was all we wanted during the election (SNL-Tina Fey as Sarah Palin-who didn't watch that???). Therefore, whenever I am faced with a television that has more than one channel, I can't believe it. It's overwhelming and I realize how great it is that we don't have cable or we'd be glued to the damn t.v. 24-7. I certainly didn't need to watch that show all day (I think it was a marathon), but I learned an awful lot about the kind of bride people are afraid you (I use "you" in a general sense) are going to be when you first get engaged. Also, I have to admit, I watched some of the movie American Dreamz with the adorable Mandi Moore and I must say-it was the worst thing ever! What were they thinking with that film?
Anyhow, after watching the marathon, I realized there are dozens of other things I need to get moving on in the next six months if we're going to have a wedding. Too many things to even begin labeling, but I hope we're able to really get going on these wedding tasks so I'm not a complete psycho bitch by the time the week before the wedding comes. I should say, though, Fi is helpful and excited about the wedding, which seems to be half the problem those brides had-they were doing it on their own, for the most part. The other issue I noticed is that they all had some sort of "ideal" picture in their mind of what their wedding would be like...this vision they'd been tweaking since middle school while playing MASH! Luckily, I do not have that vision and I do have a fabulous Fi so I don't think I'll have any wonderful stories for you all about how I've suddenly turned into a crazed lunatic the week before the wedding...but I'm sure if I do, Fi will fill you in!
As for the wedding gown, a decision has been made...but I haven't made it! That sounds awfully suspect, doesn't it? One of the dresses I loved isn't being "made" yet, it's only been revealed on the runway so it probably isn't an option, which is cool. I loved it, but the veil was even more amazing than the dress. That left two options-both of which I tried on earlier in the week and both of which my mom had seen me in. Since I couldn't decide, I left the decision in my mother's hands and I won't even know which dress she's chosen until my first fitting. Some might wonder whether this is really all that wise, and let me reassure you-I loved these dresses equally. Really. I could not make a choice and part of me wanted someone else to just decide for me! When my mom casually suggested it, I pounced. I told her there'd be one alteration I wanted and that both of the dresses would need it so it didn't matter at all which she chose! She says she already knows and it was a no-brainer for her, but I'm clueless...so now the wait to see which one will be my gown is on! And I'm thrilled the decision has been made and by this time tomorrow, the dress will have been ordered!
What do you guys think of that idea? Would you leave that sort of decision in someone else's hands? Or would you feel like only you could be trusted to make that sort of call? (These, along with some moments on the bridal shows today, are times when I wonder if I'm too laid back about the wedding planning.)
Speaking of tomorrow, I can't wait to get back to D and our home in Columbia. I miss him tremendously. He got home safely tonight, thank God for that! I get so nervous when he travels. I couldn't stand the idea of him getting stuck or in an accident...or God forbid, anything else! So-Beth, thanks for making sure he ate tonight! D-thanks for covering my classes and I'll be home soon, my love! I miss and love you!
PS-Also...tomorrow night is the return of Gossip Girl!!! And rumor has it, a death is in store!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
On to the Great Gown Search Part Two!
My lovely sisters, darling niece and Mom accompanied me on an outing to Savannah. The first bridal store we went to was called BleuBelle Bridal and it had the most incredible sales women. We climbed up a few stories in a historic old Savannah building, all wood floors and taller-than-the-sky ceilings. The gallery was stunning and so were the gowns! I tried on a bunch of absolutely gorgeous ones and left the store thinking I had found what I wanted. While we perused dress racks, I got to wander the store in a luxe white robe, white heels with a glass of champagne. Does it get any better than that? Plus, the color of much of their store (blue) was the exact shade of blue Fi and I have picked as one of our wedding colors. We dig the blue and brown combo: elegant, a touch conservative, but fun and classy, too. We love the sophisticated combo of the two colors and blue has been my favorite color forever, so it seemed rather appropriate that the store I thought I found my dress in used the color as it's motif!
When we finished at BleuBelle Bridal, we headed down to another store and tried more dresses. This place, however, was crammed with dresses. We struggled just to separate them from one another on the racks! It was like being at a department sale that's liquidating and trying to get rid of everything at once: a nightmare. We tried some stuff, but no one helped, no questions went answered, and we left feeling hungry and disappointed. Major credit goes out to my adorable three and a half-year old niece who was such a trooper. She never complained and even tried on a few flower girl dresses for us. It was awesome and she is truly the best kid I know.
Then we ate and I grew exhausted and overwhelmed. Everything started meshing together in my mind. I didn't like the dresses in the photos my mom and sisters took of me with them on as much as I thought I did. Dresses I thought I didn't like as much, I liked more all of a sudden and I was just a mess of confusion. Then Mom dropped the overweight comment and I thought Fi and I should seriously consider eloping. Luckily, he calmed me down and all kinds of rationale flooded back to me as I curled up on the couch to sleep. (Don't ask why I had to sleep on the couch when there are five fully furnished bedrooms in the house...it's just too ridiculous to get into!) When I woke this morning, I felt better about the whole situation.
The sisters and I went to a place called "All About Me" for my hair-trial and make-up appointment (keep in mind, I have to do this stuff any chance I get when I'm in town since it's rare and I don't know when I'll be back to the island from one month to the next and time's not getting any slower!). We all had mani-pedis together, which was relaxing, and sipped on mimosas. Again, another much-needed day of destressing.
The woman who did my hair was wonderfully happy to make any alterations and work with me on any and everything I wanted done and the woman who did my make-up used to do the make-up for runway models in New York. She was amazing. My sisters, Mom, brothers and dad all thought the make-up looked incredibly soft, natural and enhancing. (My family has a knack for honesty!) She did a wonderful job of listening to what I did and didn't like and understanding that I'm an idiot when it comes to make-up but that I did not want to look like a clown or someone that didn't resemble me.
When the day ended, I pulled up photos of the dresses I liked most, widdled down the list and have finally decided on three definites. As in-I would be happy with any of these three because they are all stunning and beautiful...I think, anyhow.
I got in touch with the bridal store and they are getting me more info on the dresses and then we'll be all set! Plus, they're having a twenty-percent off all their dresses sale, which technically ended yesterday, but that they've extended to me for as long as it takes for me to decide (which has to be now).
Ok-rambling. Anyhow, my sister-in-law Seale and I went to the Tanger outlets to try and get some Christmas shopping done and were incredibly successful. I'm nearly finished with everyone on my side of the family-and done with Fi for his birthday (December 18th!) and Christmas! I'm so happy about how productive it went and the stores weren't even crowded. It was truly the best shopping experience I've ever had so soon after Thanksgiving.
It's been a great week with the family and I am going to miss them like crazy when I leave, but I have to admit, I currently miss Dustin like crazy. It's ridiculous! It'll be wonderful to be home to see him and finish up the semester.
Today, since I missed yesterday, I'm thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life daily and that every day of my life is filled with happiness and love. And, of course, I'm thankful to all of you for reading-even when these blogs are mundane or less-than-exciting. You're all quite wonderful, if you don't mind me saying!
I leave you all with a photo montage of my family as it is tonight and some from Thanksgiving since I didn't share it with you earlier. Happy Thanksgiving, still! :)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tonight my whole family and I went to see Bolt -- a good flick, we agreed -- but during the show I got a call from Neesh. She's having a bad day. Wedding dress shopping has her stressed out. She says the fun is fading.
I talked to her a little bit in the lobby, and later, too, after the movie was over and we were home. Even if I knew the first thing about fabric, texture, design, lighting ... any of those things, I wouldn't be much help because, as the groom, I'm not allowed to see the dress, much less her in the dress, before the big day (June 13, everybody!).
But I want Neesha to remember, always, that she would look beautiful in a burlap sack, and while the dress is important and a thing we'll always remember, when those chapel doors open to reveal her standing in the aisle, the whole place is going to light up whether the dress is shiny or not.
Neesh, you're gorgeous, radiant, dazzling and splendid. You melt my heart in my chest. Sometimes I look at you and I almost start to cry because you're so beautiful. So sleep on it, and tomorrow think about it some more and pick a dress you like. Just keep in mind that it's only the lampshade, not the light.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Yesterday, Connie (Mom) and I did the shopping and I felt fairly ill, really, so I went to bed early. While the rest of the fam had Chinese food for dinner, I had a tasty sandwich, some mixed Indian veggies and water before hitting the sack. I didn't know if my brother Amit was really interested in doing this morning's Turkey Trot 5k with me or whether he'd just said that to be nice two weeks ago on the phone when we talked about it. When he didn't mention it after he arrived yesterday, I was pretty sure he'd, perhaps, changed his mind. So before I went to bed last night, I casually mentioned I'd be getting up rather early for coffee and oatmeal before heading over to the race.
Immediately, Mom and Amit said they wanted to come and expressed surprise that I was still planning to run it for two reasons 1-I'm kind of sick and 2-I haven't really run much since I injured my knee in the Xtreme Run nearly two weeks ago. I knew I wanted to do it no matter what. I didn't expect to run well or even close to my best time so my expectations were realistic and I figured I'd take it easy on the knee and stop if I needed to walk...etc. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I was deadset on making this Thanksgiving something other than sad recollection of family members who have passed on this year. The week has already been riddled with tears on my mom's part. I imagine if my mother had passed away just a few months ago, I, too, would feel fairly heart stricken. Especially since Grandma always spent the holidays with us.
I wouldn't have been surprised if my mom wanted to stay in bed and if Amit decided he didn't feel up to it-after all, I don't know how he's not sick when his entire strand of the family is! But, this morning, he and I rose at 5:30am. I made coffee for us, had a bowl of high fiber cinnamon swirl oatmeal, changed and we headed out to the race.
Amit and I before the race
This was the first race Amit's ever run outside of high school track and warm-ups for other sports he played all those years ago. He's six-years older than me and hurt both of his knees sometime in his 16-year-old timeframe. So badly, in fact, he had reconstructive surgery...etc...many times. Since then, clearly, he's been careful and never overdone it and only does what he feels confident he can accomplish with no qualms about walking if he feels it's necessary. Today was no exception.
When we arrived, we got our registration packets, numbers and shoelace chips (he was excited about the long sleeved t-shirt-but aren't we all excited about the t-shirts we get??? I still get excited about them!). I strung his time chip onto his shoe for him since he really had no idea what the hell it was for while he pinned on his number. When we started out, we ran together, but he made it very clear he wanted me to go on ahead so he could take his time and not feel like he was holding me back (I did this, although ordinarily I stay back with Fi when he asks me to do it, only because I was afraid Amit would push himself beyond what he should do because I was right there with him-it's a family trait. We'll overexert even if we know better sometimes and I did not want this to be one of those times considering it was his first).
The problem with this race was-I had to keep my car keys on me since they didn't have a place to store our bags. This, ordinarily, wouldn't be a problem except that I stuck them in a pouch in the front of my running shirt (like a hoodie pocket) and every time it slapped against my bladder it weakened it just THAT much more. Before I was even an entire mile into the race I had to pee like I'd never gone before. Unfortunately, when I ran off course to a little building beside the golf course that ran parallel to our course, the door was locked and I was S.O.L. I ran the rest of the race having to pee so badly I nearly considered just going in my pants. When I finally hit the one mile marker I couldn't have been happier.
Mom was supposed to be at the finish line (she wanted to come later than we were getting there and I don't blame her), but I had my doubts as I sped up the last half mile. I took the last turn and got on my horse for the finish line when I heard mom yelling and saw her right next to the clock taking pictures. It was awesome! Mom has never seen me run anywhere since high school, either, so it was pretty great to get her out there and have her waiting for us at the end.
We waited a bit for Amit and when she got a little nervous as nearly ten minutes had gone by since I crossed, (remember, he has bad knees!), I jogged back and found him-a little limpy on the right knee, but still on track. He had paused just a moment before I got to him to walk a few feet. When he saw me coming back, he said, immediately, "I want to run the rest of the way" so I jumped in alongside him, assured him the finish line was near and we rounded the final turn together with him ahead of me and me shouting to my mom and pointing at him so she could get a pic. Needless to say, that elicited some laughter from the crowd, but Mom said she couldn't have been prouder of us both-especially Amit.
It was a big deal to have my brother run with me and, later, he told me he was really proud of himself. He'd never pushed himself to do a 5k race before and didn't even know if he could do it, but was so proud of himself for being able to run nearly the whole way in around 40 minutes. I have to say, I was incredibly proud of him, too. Mom was touched he wanted so badly to do the run with me and, honestly, I felt that, as well. I asked my whole family if they wanted to come and do it or the Fun Walk and none of them did. When Amit said he would, I was surprised, but didn't want to get too excited for fear he might change his mind.
But, he didn't change his mind and he completed the whole race. At the same time, he understood why I love running races like this so much now (thanks to Fi for showing me how great they are, especially with someone you love!) and felt a whole new sense of pride and accomplishment for himself. I was glad to be a part of that and am thankful, this morning/afternoon, for my brother who came to run with me and my Mom who came to cheer!
And, I'm thankful, all the people I love around the world are safe from harm and, relatively, happy and healthy!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This dress was from a place called New York Bridal Loft. I forget who designed it, but there were sort of a lot of things I didn't love about it: the straps were weird, the lace wasn't consistent or just what I was thinking of when I thought I'd like lace...and, overall, I just didn't love it. There were a few dresses we tried on at this place. While the location and setup were super cool, the dresses weren't as flattering as I'd hoped.
This dress, however, was made by Cymbeline. I saw it in a magazine soon after Fi and I got engaged and I immediately fell in love with it. This pic really doesn't do it justive. It has this incredible old-lace look to it with really carefully made patters. The train had some beading on it so it was a bit heavier at the bottom. The entire dress was lace over a silk slip with a thin satin sash at the empire waist, a sweetheart neckline...etc. This was my dream dress and while I adored the dress just as much in person as I did when I saw it in the magazine...and although I'm just as in love with it, if not more now, than I was then...it wasn't my dress. I can't pull it off and I didn't love it on me. I know I could go on a serious diet from now until our wedding and I'd be able to pull it off, but that's really not what I want to do. I don't want the next six-seven months of my life to be about fitting into a dress and hoping it's going to look great...etc. I have other things to worry about and dozens of gorgeous dresses that won't require me to starve myself for months so I look fab. So while I adored it, I finally had to put the Cymbeline dress of perfection dream to rest. I am, however, thrilled I got to try it on, again, at the same NYBL location. It turned out, when Mom and I left the NYBL that what I loved most on me was their adorable changing robe with faux fur at the neckline and wrists...white and very sophisticated looking!
From there, we moved on to two more stores. J. Majors and Hayden Olivia. Both pretty wonderful, though Hayden Olivia had a swankier, posher feel to it. A big reason for that is most likely because Heather (the owner) took wonderful care of her sample dresses (she is the sole owner and pays for everything herself so I suppose she values her samples more). Every dress looked perfect, as if it'd just come off the runway. And in one case, I was the very first person to try on one of her samples as it had just come in that day!
The dress to my left was one Mom adored. While it was beautiful, it was super conservative and felt really mature for my age. I suppose this dress taught me that I wanted something a little more fun.
I did, however, find one of the two dresses I've narrowed it down to at Hayden Olivia which is located in uptown Charlotte down the street from where my brother and cousin live. The funny thing about Heather's store is that she's on the second floor and the first floor, right below her, is home to a male grooming store. Needless to say, when we were looking for Heather's store it was rather confusing.
<---- This is Heather's awesome store, named after her daughter, btw, and these are a handful of the spectacular dresses I tried on. I can't believe how amazing they all are! I found out that a few of the samples I tried were actually dresses celebrities wore for their weddings and I suddenly felt rocketed into the realms of superstardom. Weird, right? Somehow, I doubt I'll be wearing one of those dresses, but when else do you get to try on dresses worn by the rich and famous!?!
And this, of course, is a classic photo of mom and I trying to figure out one of the dresses. I can't remember if I was getting in or out, but I am pretty sure it was in. Obviously, it takes a lot of work to get into one of these suckers. I think this is one of many reasons why a person should only get married once.
The first time I saw it was in Hilton Head, in Lew's International Menswear, which featured it in brown in a display. I liked it OK then.
Since then, though, I've decided to go with black. It's just more timeless, I feel. What I don't want is for Neesh and I to be going through our wedding album 20 years from now like, "Whoa. What were we doing with those brown tuxes?" I'm sure at some point the powder blue or bright orange tuxes sounded like good ideas, too, but now they're jokes. I think it's hard to joke about a black tuxedo. And THIS shows how nice a brown vest and tie go with it. That was my main concern, after all -- working one of our wedding colors into the ensemble.
So I'm not totally sold on this one, but I do like it. I think it's classy. I like the length and the cut. I like the two button. Looks timeless. Will keep looking though. Suggestions welcome. More from Neesh and Co. in Charlotte coming up.
Tonight I'm thankful for honesty from friends, after a terrific night out with some longtime chums with whom I can talk about anything -- even politics -- and know that I'll get an honest answer even if it's one I don't agree with, and we'll still be as good of friends ... maybe better.
Honesty ... something to be thankful for. Now, your opinions of my tux pick so far ....
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Luckily, earlier this year, Fi downloaded a ton of NPR: This American Life audiobooks onto my iPod so I had a lot to listen to on the fifteen hour drive to Hilton Head. Fi said last night was one of their best performances (ouch!) and I missed it :( BUT, I did get to talk to the cast after the show when they were at their cast party. Fi called and the phone got passed around so I spoke to just about everyone. It was sweet. They said they missed me and my "energy," awww. We did have a great time getting to know them and seeing them once a week. I hope we keep up relationships with them.
As we finished up dinner, Mom and I jumped back into the car to get to Kier's place. It was then my phone beeped letting me know I had a new message. I was THRILLED to see it was a picture message from my Fi! (His texting allowance is limited so I'm always overly excited when I get a message of any kind from him.) Anyhow...this is what the message was:
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Can you think of a cuter image to wake up to in the morning than my adorable seven-month old nephew/godson (I need to come up with a meshing of those two words so I can just call him one thing: god-phew...neph-son...hmmm. Needs work), Jacob? My mom has recently gotten a phone that includes text message and pix message capabilities (Go, Mom!) so the is becoming quite saavy. As I walked to class in the cold 35-degree-low temperature for the day, contemplating how I'd forgotten to change out of my bright red slippers when we went to Claire's last night and had forgotten to take all my school supplies to the very class I was headed to teach at that moment, I received the above photo from my mom via phone. I was thrilled to see his cherubic little face staring back at me from the phone. I will see this adorable little caterpillar on Tuesday when I arrive in Savannah after having spent Sun-Tues trying on gowns in Charlotte, NC. I'm driving to Savannah instead of straight to Hilton Head that day so I can accompany Genevieve (my three and a half-year old niece) on a field trip to a farm where we will see her favorite animal: a cow, and take a hayride. She has always had a thing about black and white animals: cows, penguins, pandas, zebras. It's weird, but she is just naturally drawn to those animals. I can't wait to see her with a real live cow in one week!
After the dilemma of having absolutely no papers, books or preps in my bag for either of my two classes this morning (I literally turned the bag upside and watched nothing but two hair elastics and a pen fall out of it), yet somehow managing to get through both of the classes rather successfully, I had a nap (I have to stop napping so freaken much!). Then D and I came back to school in time to wish one of our favorite faculty members a "Happy Birthday!" (Scott Cairns: poet and nonfiction extraordinaire, plus a big time Obama supporter and part of our volunteer group when Obama came to MO-see previous blog for info). Following by this, we headed to Starbucks for tall mochas where we ran into our wonderful colleague and dear friend Anthony Connolly. We don't get to see enough of A. lately since he is mostly in STL on weekends being a dutiful husband, but it's always pleasant when we do get some time with him. A-if you're reading-more time would be lovely! You and D should come by for dinner next time she's in town!
And as if that wasn't enough, we ran into our beloved A.P. again today! (Andrew Parker!) It has to be sort of unheard of that we'd run into that boy more than once in a month. He's an even rarer occurrence than A.C. Needless to say, it is always pleasant to have days like today where we run into people we adore left and right and get to be a part of birthday celebrations and well-wishes...
Fi and I are going to switch now. He is going to blog about our second birthday party of the day and I am going to have some coffee...
Dustin here. First of all, Neesha's right. Running into Andrew Parker is like seeing a bald eagle.
It's breathtaking. We used to hang out with him pretty regularly, but as she said, he's withdrawn from the English building lately.
I can't say I blame him. It's gossipy like middle school up in that piece.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
She wanted to come over and hang out and have some coffee on our "comfy couch" and there she is...hanging out on the comfy couch with a cup 'o joe and some sunlight to keep her warm!
Then D and I prepared to head out to Claire's house for a Happy Birthday, Shelley dinner! Unlike our usual forte, we were actually there on time! Just in time, that is, to catch Claire and Tom still working on some tasty Chinese cuisine. When I say tasty, I mean OH MY GOOD LORD!!! this is fabulous! Claire whipped up some stir fried veggies with shrimp, sweet and sour soup, dumplings, spicy eggplant, rice and tons of spiced veggie side dishes. It was amazing!Needless to say, Claire's dinner was exceptional! And I think she made Shelley's birthday one to remember! Here is a photo of my adorable Fi feeling quite cozy with the awesome group we
hung out with tonight-and reasonably so. They are laid back and kind and open-minded and intelligent. I always love it when my Fi likes the people we hang out with. He's a smart, cautious boy who knows what's up when it comes to the people that can be trusted and those who cannot. I value his opinion above nearly everyone else's and when I saw how comfortable he was with this group, I couldn't have been happier. For the most part, we know all the same people in the department and agree on the ones we are close to and like and those who are not. However, it doesn't always happen that we know all the same people as well as the other does. This occurs mainly because I started before him and took a semester off and he met people and came into the program with people that I didn't know...so we know certain people better than we know others and, therefore, have to introduce one another, sort of, to those we sincerely like. Luckily, I think we both have pretty impeccable taste ;) though, in all honesty...and don't tell Fi I said this, I think his judge of character may be slightly better than mine-being that he is more cautious and I am too trusting!
And thought some Irish Cream might be a nice, warm touch. Then we sat in the dark bundled in our winter warmest in our folding chairs in the driveway. Fi pulled out a warm blanket and we waited. A while passed, but eventually, we saw an amazingly bright flash. I thought I'd seen shooting stars in my past, but was never really sure like I was last night. For the most part, I usually ended up thinking that I had overthought myself into believing I'd seen a shooting star when, really, I was only imagining it because I wanted to see one so badly. Everyone else always looks up at the sky and seems to see them instantaneously. Sort of like those weird jumbled images that were super popular when I was in high school. Supposedly, they had images in them and if you stared long enough, you could see them. Do you remember these? The ones with all the strange squiggly, colorful lines and shapes. They were always being sold at kiosks in the mall, strangely enough, and people would stop and look at them for a minute before announcing that they saw the cat, dog, train...whatever. I never did, though. I have to admit. I looked and stared for what seemed like hours and never saw a thing. That's what shooting stars have always kind of been like...until last night. Seconds after I joined Fi in the driveway, I looked up and there it was. Bright and beautiful, shooting across the sky! It's a good thing I looked when I did because we didn't see another for the rest of the time we sat out there, but we did enjoy our coffee and Irish Cream.
Now I just need to recover from this last race before we can pursue the next one.
After that is the Jingle Bell Run on December 6th here in town. These are pretty popular around the country, from what I hear. D ran it last year while I was in India and drew this super cool pic of his sneakers with jingle bells tied into the laces-this is what they give the runners, along with some snazzy white gloves he wore to school today. Then the semester is OVER! Whew!
Monday, November 17, 2008
And there are four more performances this weekend which is great. I only get to see two since I need to get back to Hilton Head to try on wedding gowns all week. I hate not being able to go to his last two plays, but I'm so proud of how wonderful he is in it!