Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Buzz

Goodness, I am sick! I have been bedridden just about all day. I suppose it kind of worked out since the weather is snow from a few hours outside of here to Columbia so being sick on top of knowing how bad the weather would be on my drive gave me two valid reasons to not feel terrible about not getting home today. The biggest downfall, which is probably quite obvious, dear readers, is that Fi is home and I'm not and I miss him like crazy and, I suppose a second downfall to that is that I won't be able to teach my classes tomorrow. Luckily, I do have the most wonderful fiance ever and he has offered to take them for me. Thank you so much, Fi!!!

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 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

Still Giving Thanks

I am in love with my dresses! I know this sounds weird, but it's finally come to the point where I have chosen three dresses I adore (two are quite similar) and am waiting to find out what the bridal salon can and can't get in for me. As I mentioned, I'm stressed about this wedding gown issue! Six months to get it in and a week to find it (my own fault for living in the middle of nowhere!). However, I had a major breakdown yesterday. When we got home last night, my mom told me she thinks I'm "overweight" and I thought I'd either cry my face off or starve myself for the next six months, but earlier the women at the bridal salons and other customers made me feel amazing about my appearance (unsolicitedly and without knowing that in less than a few hours time, their compliments were going to come in handy since my mom's comment burst my momentary "feel good about my appearance" mood) me I looked fab in every single dress I put on that it must be impossible for me to pick one and another mother of a bride said I had a "perfect model's body!" I know that's not accurate, but at the point I was at yesterday, I needed to hear something that superficial about myself :) I must mention and say thank you to other near-strangers that have helped me earn back a little of my self-esteem after the thoughtless Mom-comment. In her defense, I don't think she can help it. She and my sister are tiny. I mean, zero or less than that, so to them, I'm huge: tall and heavy...etc. It was a bitch growing up with them and their tininess! So, needless to say, I was in a very bad mood when I went to bed last night. Thank you, Fi, for the wonderful words of encouragement in your blog and on the phone. I miss you tremendously and am VERY excited to see you tomorrow! Wooohooooooooooo!

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'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

dress shopping -- groom's take

Dustin here.

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

Turkey Day is Upon Us!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Here's a pic of my tiny Mom holding up a bottle of Riesling she purchased while we were in Sam's Club yesterday. Of course, she's serving this at dinner tonight, she doesn't ordinarily buy bottles of Riesling the size of her torso (though they're not far off-as you can see, she's tiny but you can't win em all!).

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!

More later

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adventures in Gowning

Mom and I headed to Charlotte on Sunday and dress shopped til we nearly dropped yesterday evening. I have to say, this has not gotten easier. The problem with shopping for a wedding gown is that they're all gorgeous. It's not as if you put on dress after dress and think, 'Wow. What a hideous dress!' until you finally come across one that you think is beautiful and say, "Finally! A beautiful dress instead of all those horrendous ones! I knew there'd be ONE!" If only it WERE that easy. Instead, for two days straight, my mother and I woke up as early as possible, hit the very first bridal appointment possible and continued from one store to the next until the day was done. My brilliant Mom did think to keep a small portion of time between places to 1-find the next place and 2-grab some Starbucks. Below are a few of the dresses we tried that did not make the final cut:

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 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.
Lastly, we went to J. Majors which also had a dress I loved. It is one of the dresses in contention. There is a third dark horse, as well, from the very first store we went into called Nitsas. I actually dragged my mother back to that store to retry the dress...and while I still love it and think it's gorgeous and even think it sort of looks good on me (that's a hard sentence for me to type or say aloud, folks!), I wonder if it's not Wedding Dress to Remember dress., that dress is beautiful! as opposed to the other two which were more like, "WOW! Now that's a dress and that bride looks amazing!"
I think another thing the trying on has taught me is this: I'm perfectly comfortable with what I look like, enough so as to not be interested in doing everything possible to fit into this one, specific dress that I saw in a magazine because I'm comfortable with me and I think my wedding dress should look amazing on me as I am and only look even more phenomenal when I get myself into better shape. I don't think it should be that the dress will only look fabulous if I work really really really hard to help it look that way on me. What a disappointment it'd be if, even then, I wasn't thrilled with it!
Also, it taught me that, all clothes look better when they're custom fitted :)
And that I've got more of an idea now as to what type of a bride I am (I had no idea how to answer that when people used to ask. I even took the quizzes and they were completely unhelpful!).
I have tons more pics and stories...etc...about our adventures and more to come since my sisters, mom and I are going to Savannah to check out a few dresses there on Friday, but I'm kind of sick since my niece and nephew and mom...and everyone, really, has a cold. I'm starting to get it and still have the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning with my brother! I've been taking Vitamin C and some weird thing that starts with a "Z" and hopes of staving off the cough, sore throat and congested head. So, now I can't think straight enough to tell you about anything else at the moment, dear friends, but I promise more updates and pics to follow in the days to come.
Tonight, I am thankful for the optimistic outlook I have managed to begin nourishing in myself thanks to Dustin. I was never very patient or optimistic, but Dustin has managed to teach me (through example) how useful and wonderful it is to be both of those things. Also, I'm thankful for my family coming together for this holiday. Lastly, I'm thankful for the family we have in India's safety.
If you're of the praying kind, please do so for the people of Mumbai/Bombay. A year ago at this exact time, my parents and I were about to depart on a plane for Bombay. I'm thankful that is not the case this year, but so sad to see what's happening only one year after our visit.

wedding tuxes, anyone?

Today I looked at tuxes online while fi was out trying various wedding dresses in Charlotte. I know. I get off easy, right? Right.

It wasn't the first time I'd looked for tuxes online. The one that always grabs my attention is this one, from Calvine Klein.

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

Wedding Dress, Anyone?

Monday  Night: Mom and I went wedding gown shopping today! Wow!!! Sooooooo much fun!  I was so afraid I wouldn't find a single dress that I loved. When we got to the first bridal store, I picked out a ton of dresses I thought I'd be in love with...some were ones we specifically asked them to get from different designers whose lines I liked, others were just attractive on the displays, some were ones I was perfectly certain I'd want. What I quickly learned was 1-I wasn't in love with most of the dresses I thought I'd be in love with 2-dresses look waaaaaay better once they've been fitted snugly to your figure 3-I will NEVER wear the same size wedding dress as what I wear clothing.

I found one dress I keep thinking about. I think it might be the one but I found a few others I like a lot and still need to figure out about. Ugh!!! I want to post pics and have everyone help me out, but I can't because Fi might be reading or even (hopefully) posting a blog at any give moment!!! and I headed to the mall to do some Christmas shopping when we were finally done trying on dresses. I needed a new pair of running shoes and I got these fab Saucony ones that I think will be absolutely durable, supportive and cushioned...and yet a reasonable price! Who knew!?!

The only issue with my night was getting into an argument with my MOH...who is also my sister. I don't want to get into details. I do want to say, I'm sorry we argued. I hate arguing. I hold no ill feelings since I don't hold a grudge for more than twenty minutes (less, really) and I love love LOVE my sister no matter how different from me she is.

Again: what I'm thankful for:

Tonight, I'm actually pretty thankful for being true to myself. I'm thankful I'm honest and able to accept people's honesty. I'm so thankful my priorities are 1-family 2-friends 3-school...etc...and that I have friends and family and students that make my life feel so fulfilling. I am SO soooooo thankful that my life is as full and wonderful as it is. I'm even more thankful that my parents brought me up the way they did...all of us, that is.

So, thanks, Mom and Pop for being so fantastic. And thanks family for being so supportive and loving and thanks D for being the love of my life :) As every night, I'm thankful for Fi...and tonight...I'm thankful for all my priorities, too! 


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back in the South

Yesterday was a sad day. I packed up the car, loaded in the fur-babies and had to say good-bye to my Fi and Columbia for the week. Of course I'm excited to try on dresses, but D and I are always together so it's incredibly strange and empty being without him. The drive was long, of course, and I hated not being able to see Fi's second to last performance, but the dogs got cozy and no one got carsick, so at least that part of the drive was good. Byz even got super comfy and slept like a baby most of the ride.
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.
(*** Edit *** Dustin here. What Neesh doesn't know is that when I showed up to the theater knowing she wouldn't be there, I was totally worthless. The whole cast took me into a huddle right before the show and said, "You know she'd want you to do well tonight. She's thinking about you. Now think about her. Get your energy up and get out there!" And that's why that particular show was good)

When I got to Hilton Head, it was nearly 4am. Papa was waiting up for me, but Mom was in bed. When I walked the dogs, I stepped in some other dog's poop cus I couldn't see it in the dark (gross!), so I had to take my sneakers off at the door, but once inside, it felt so good to be home. Byz and Bogey were thrilled to be out of the car. My parents' dogs met me at the door, as did my Pop. I checked in on my mom and let her know I was home, then I trekked up to my sister's bedroom where my niece was sound asleep. I peeked in on my nephew who was curled up in a tiny ball in his crib, uncovered. I'm only his aunt/godmother and I feel incredibly moved when I stand above him watching him sleep-soft breathing, peach skin head, round ball of a body, sweet and gentle. I covered him with his blanket, listened to him breathe, kissed his head and went to climb in bed with my niece. Genevieve stirred a little when the light from the hallway streamed through the doorway behind me and said, "Granny?" before turning over and falling back to sleep. She moves a lot in her sleep-moves around and kicks, shifts and even talks: "I want my candy!" (a direct quote from her soon after I climbed in bed).

When I woke in the morning, this was one of the first things I saw:
My adorable butterball of a nephew, sick, but still smiling and wide awake wrapped up in his blankie. Such a cutie.

Today, we went to church with Genevieve (my mom and I), then had I-Hop for lunch/breakfast (Harvest Nut Pancakes! Yummy!). Then we headed to Charlotte, NC to stay with my brother. We had dinner at his newly opened restaurant: The Wild Wing Cafe at University Park in Charlotte. I had seen Kiran's restaurant before it opened. When it was, literally, just a plot, then just a shell...etc. I've, essentially, seen it from start to finish-especially now that I got to have dinner there. It looks awesome! Kier was gone by the time Mom and I showed up, but Sara met us for dinner and the three Navare ladies had a tasty one. I had a scrumptious salad with grilled chicken and spicy grilled shrimp, then ate one of the amazing Wild West wings they make (my absolute favorite!) and my sister, who I don't have a pic of from tonight but will definitely get one of before we leave Charlotte, snapped this photog below, which I promptly sent to my Fi. :)

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:
I couldn't believe it! This is our house. When I left, there were no lights on it, but Fi and I discussed decorating the house with lights when we got back from break, before Christmas break. We decided we liked white lights and would have time to decorate since we'd already done a lot of inside decorating. I was completely surprised to see this photo in my inbox. D had mentioned he wanted to do some work around the house when we spoke a few hours earlier, but I couldn't have guessed that running out, buying lights, climbing a ladder in bundled up clothes and putting the lights up all by himself was what he had in mind! I know I say this a lot, but my Fi is the most amazing, incredible Fi in the world. He's so wonderful and thoughtful. Mom said to me tonight, on our drive home, "I think you two are going to be very happy."

This is one of the few times in my life my mom and I completely agree on something. He's amazing and I really am the LUCKIEST girl in the entire world and I know we are going to be completely happy.

P.S.-Fi-Sar loves the one-year-anniversary gift! :) I do, too, but I really just Love love love LOVE you!

Lastly-I'm grateful I arrived home safely and that I have a loving, healthy family. I am so thankful for the new additions to our family (namely, Jacob) and the addition of a new extended family: The Michael/Crater family...and I'm so thankful to my Fi and for my Fi. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Dustin here again.
I love you, too, Neesh, and all the fulfillment and promise you bring to my life. I miss you terribly, but I'm glad you're having fun with your fam -- my new fam!
Looks like I've got some catching up to do on the thankfulness list, so I'll make one that's big enough to count for both today and yesterday, which I missed. I'm thankful that our families and our close friends are healthy this Thanksgiving. Goodness knows we've seen our share of holidays where people we love weren't in good health, and we'll see more, of course. But this year everyone is well, and that's a blessing. Here's to our health -- all of ours.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Downfall to This Year's Thanksgiving

Dustin here. 

Just got back home from yet another community theater performance. Hair still crusted with white shoe polish. Pretty gross stuff, actually, but it does make my character look older.

Neesha's dashing hither and yon, filling her suitcase for her early morning departure to Hilton Head for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, I'll be here in Missouri holding down the fort (I actually like "The Fort" as a name for our house -- every house needs a name -- but I think we can do better. We've been working on it. Any ideas?). Dogs are going with her, birds are staying with me. We gave them all a choice and they decided it would be best this way. 

While she's away, Neesh plans on going wedding dress shopping and running a 5k race, the Island Rec Center Turkey Trot. I, on the other hand, plan on totally letting myself hit rock bottom -- sleeping until mid-afternoon, showering infrequently, and walking around the house naked except for the shrapnel spray of potato chip crumbs that sticks to me after I finally heft my load off of the sofa. 

Being totally serious for a moment, I dread seeing Neesh off tomorrow. I don't know what I'll do without her. It's going to suck hard core. I think I'd rather give away a limb. 

Like tonight she said she needed to pack and would have to skip my play for the first time since it opened, and I was like, Hey, cool. No problem at all. I meant it, too. She's sat through the thing so many times I don't know how she's still remotely sane. At the same time, I knew it wouldn't be the same, not having her there. Every time I go out there, I'm putting it out there for her, trying to make her smile or laugh, or whatever. And with that gone, it's just saying lines, really. But tonight, I looked out the door and saw her there before it started; she came to watch AGAIN even though she needed to pack. And I had the magic back again. 

Next week, though, I imagine it's going to be that same feeling of just saying lines, only in real life -- like, what's the point?

Keep in mind that we haven't been apart much. At all, really, since we got engaged. There was a weekend in July when she left for her mother's birthday and I had to stay to watch the dogs because we couldn't afford two flights and a kennel trip, and that was horrible. This ... well, we'll keep you posted as we try to keep our spirits up. 

So here's my entry for our "What We're Thankful For" list. I'm thankful for my fiancee, Neesha. I'm so glad I get to marry her (in 203 days!). She's so good to me, and I'm lost when she's gone. I'll miss you, baby. Come home soon.

Neesha here. 

I can't talk about our impending separation because it makes me too sad. I can't remember the last time we've been apart for more than a few hours and, although I adore my family and can't wait to spend time with them this week, I am looking forward to future holidays when Fi and I won't have to be away from each other. Hopefully we can find a way to get both sides of the family together with us for every holiday season (we're still working out the logistics).

So, I can't talk about it. Not now, anyhow. Maybe tomorrow when I have to deal with it...for now, I'm going to give you what I'm thankful for and get as close to my Fi as I can before I have to leave in the morning. 

I'm thankful for Dustin being the beginning and end of each of my days. I'm so thankful for his sanity when I think I'm beginning to lose my own and his kind heart. He has been the greatest blessing in my life and I can begin at least three thousand different ways to tell you how important he is to me and how much I love him, but none of them would ever be quite right. I'm thankful that in a week, when I get back, I'll be coming home to him because, really, being home doesn't feel as complete anymore without him. In so many ways, Dustin, you've become my home and so I thank you and love you and will miss you more than I can allow myself to talk about...for fear of overwhelming sadness.

I have to end this blog for Fi since he is now in the shower getting out the white-hair-making shoe polish.

So...have a great Saturday, everyone. I'll, hopefully, be back online Sunday just before the Great Wedding Gown Search begins bright and early Monday morning.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

5 Down, 3 to go

Tonight was Fi's fifth performance as the adorable, bumbling, British Harold Palmer. I loved watching him, though after seeing four of the performances and numerous rehearsals, the play is starting to grow slightly boring. I can't tell if the whole stage lights up for real when Fi steps into the limelight or whether it's just a case of him constantly being the highlight of the stage of my life each day that makes it seem to light up (WOW! That was super corny, wasn't it?). Anyhow, after a long day at the house with no naps I might add, I pulled on some clothes and we headed to the theatre. Not a bad crowd for a Thursday night, though, and no offense intended on this one, it was sort of like sitting among a tour for elderly people. You know the ones I'm talking about-picture this: a bus pulls into the rest stop you've pulled over at in order to gas up the car and your own churning stomach with fuel and slowly, but surely, white and silver-haired adults with canes or walkers, sometimes just sweaters with things like: #1 Grandma...etc...file off. Just when you think there can't be more on the Greyhound bus, more of them slowly descend the stairs and take over the rest stop.

This was the audience at tonight's performance. They were sweet and attentive. Sometimes they spoke so loudly to the person beside them, I could hear every word from three rows up. One of the crew, Joseph, sat beside me through the first act of the performance and saw the show for the first time in the audience. Joseph is sixteen years-old and a kind kid. I don't often do this, but the other day when his mom was over at our house for the cast party, I couldn't let her leave before praising her son and what a good, courteous kid he is. He's polite and intelligent: both of which I have concluded after a variety of conversations I've had with him. Tonight, though, before the show, he broke my heart a little. We got to talking about the basics: family, birth origin...etc...and Joseph told me his father had been abusive to his mother for ten years and that he, in turn. had blocked out the better part of those first ten years of his life. He told me his friends looked to him and came to him as "Therapist Joe" for help working out their problems. He explained the racism he encountered at his high school last year and previous instances at other schools in his life and he explained all of these things as I might explain how to structure a paper in my English 1000 class: as absolute fact, unaffectedly.

He went on to tell me he wants to go to Mizzou and major in History. He wants to prove to everyone that said he "couldn't do it" or would "never amount to anything" that they are all wrong. He speaks with conviction for a sixteen year old that makes me forget he's sixteen and he loves innocently. Joseph is dating a girl named Heather who he wants to marry, although they're both quite young. He wants to marry her and have children at a young age. He values conversation and is incredibly open-minded and kind-hearted, despite the tribulations he has endured throughout his young life. He harbors no ill-will, but explains that people are afraid of what is different from them. However, he says, even that, with a sense of understanding and conviction rather than learned, mature quoting.

Joseph brings me to our topic of the week...What I'm Thankful For as well as circulating through my mind. If I weren't so tired, I would elaborate and discuss this topic further, with more insight and more of the thoughts that circulated in my mind when we spoke to one another, but because I am so tired (remember, Fi and I have been up for 17 and a half hours!) I am going to end on another "thankful" addition to our list and, perhaps, elaborate on Joseph tomorrow.

N: I am thankful for safety, security and the freedom living in our country affords us. I am thankful for a voice that can speak, not just for myself, but for others when they cannot find their own voice or are too afraid to use it and I'm thankful for a place where I am allowed to do so.

Fi: I am thankful for that rare student who takes the time to let me know that I'm making a difference.

Huevos Rancheros Without the Rancheros, I Think...?

The alarm went off at 5:00am and even though I technically don't have anything I must do today, I thought it might be nice to get up and start my day alongside Fi, who had dozens of papers to read and grade. It was still dark when I fumbled my way into the kitchen, daylight savings does that, I suppose. However, we bought these fabulous Christmas tree (Evergreen, really) scented tea lights last night on our Birthday Trip to Wal-Mart which I lit up and enjoyed smelling all morning. Our house looks really cozy in candelit glow with the fire on. It's one of my favorite things about it-whether it's late or super early, the candles certainly add a warm feeling to the house with their golden glow spotlight dancing on various objects and colors in our house. I love it!

Once up, I headed to the kitchen for some coffee. Fi and I have a habit of making a pot either midafternoon or later evening, then hitting the automatic startup button so it heats it up again in the morning (at around 5am). Perfect, right? I have a feeling there's something kind of gross about it, but it's worked so far so we can't complain. And this way, I don't have to fumble around in my morning haze whilst trying to figure out the whole coffee-making process. There have been times when I tried to make coffee in the morning and found myself trying to put the coffee filter filled with coffee into the freezer instead of the coffee container. I'm just glad I caught myself all those times or it would have made for complete confusion. More than that, what a mess it would've been if I'd started the coffee maker with the plastic coffee tin in it instead of the filter. 

After pouring some coffee, I ran the dishwasher (something that required little enough thought for me to do without making a total mess while the caffeine from my coffee found its way into my veins) and remembered Fi's disappointment at not being able to find Huevos Rancheros on the menu last night at El Jimador. While I've never made this particular recipe before and don't dig on spicy foods in the morning myself, far be it from me to deprive my Fi. So I hit up the 'puter and found what read like a tasty recipe, which I tweaked, as usual. If it had turned out poorly, I wouldn't put the recipe in, but just incase you feel up to some Huevos Rancheros, here's what I did...

Huevos Rancheros
2 eggs
one whole wheat tortilla
half a cup of black beans
1/2 a link of chorizo 
diced red onion
diced green pepper

1. Use two frying pans to make life easier. Dice up some pepper and onions to your desired amount (Fi digs peppers as long as they're not super squooshy and overcooked so I usually add them close to the end of the cooking process). Spray cooking pan with olive oil (I like the spray stuff so everything isn't soaked!) Toss the chorizo with the peppers and onions into the pan to cook through. Medium heat should do it.

2. While sausage and peppers, onions are cooking, heat another pan large enough for a tortilla (I use whole wheat ones) and cook on medium-hight each side for about a minute or until slightly browned.

3. When sausage mixture is cooked, place it on a paper towel over a plate to drain out the excess oil...etc. Add two eggs into the pan the sausage was in and cook to, again, your liking (I like em over-medium-runny but no placenta. I do not want to be reminded of the previous life that used to be cooking within the eggshells I've just broken-pun intended with the use of "cooking").

4. When the tortilla is done, take it off and place it on a plate, toss half a cup of black beans in the pan to heat up.

5. Top the tortilla with the chorizo, onions and peppers. When the beans are warmed up, pour them on top of the chorizo. When the eggs are done to your preference, slide those suckers on top of the beans and sausage, then scoop on a few dollops of salsa (Fi loves salsa, though I'm not as big a fan). I sprinkled some nonfat cheddar cheese on there at his request and a few dashes of Tabasco's Chipotle Pepper Sauce and Fi LOVED it! 

It was an experiment, but seemed to go over pretty well and, all things considered, it's not a bad-for-you meal, really. Tons of protein and veggies and fiber. Sweet! What a great way to start the day! I wish I liked spicy that early in the morning. More power to your edibles, Fi. He is the greatest person to cook for...willing to try stuff, doesn't hate so many foods it's impossible to feed him...just wonderful! Thanks, Fi!                                                                                                      
Here's Fi enjoying his satisfyingly complete breakfast soon after declaring he definitely wouldn't need to take lunch to school with him since he is convinced this will keep him energetic and full all day. Let's hope so...cus I have no plans for a trip to school today and would hate to have him feeling hungry later in the day!

Also, note in the background his tasty oatmeal and students' papers all ready for grading. What a fulfilling breakfast! Lots of energy with a side of intelligence! When he finished his breakfast, he graded like a speed demon. He turned all "Meep-meep" Road Runner on that shit! I suppose there's something to starting the day with breakfast, after all! Now if only I could jump on that bandwagon.

Certainly more to come later. Before signing off, though, just wanted to share a loving moment between me and the fur-babies last night while Fi blogged and I rested.

Bogey, Me and Byz lounging at Fi's feet beside the couch in front of the fire. The best son and daughter in the world!


P.S.-An ongoing discussion: should we get a small LIVE tree for the house this year??? We have a fake one in the study window with lights and generic ornaments, but we want to put one in the living room for the real festivity of the Christmas season with our manger beneath it and our more sentimental ornaments on it. We love the scent and won't be here for the whole holiday, but think it might be nice to have a live one to come home to! What do you think? Real or fake Christmas trees?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 Birthdays and Thanksgiving Begins

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.

Another thing about A.P. is that getting a hold of him is like trying to contact was someone in 1994. No Myspace. No Facebook. Cell phone, but no voicemail. You have to either mail him a letter or hope you see him out someplace. Or use your bald eagle whistle. That'd probably work.

Tonight we celebrated our friend Niya's (under the word "Digital" above) birthday at El Jimador's Mexican Restaurant. Let me just say that, as loyal followers of Dustin and Neesha Save the World already know, we're three for three on birthday parties attended this week -- WHAT! That's big, people! That either means we're happy enough to leave the house for the company of others, or the others who provide the company are people we like ... maybe both! I for one used to grumble about going to things for friends; I'm one of those "likes being invited but hates actually going" types -- or I used to be. But as Neesh said in a previous blog, I really do like the people we hang out with now. They're great. Fun to be around, too. So fun, in fact, that I couldn't wait to see them tonight.

Niya got lovely birthday flowers from Stephanie, a Mizzou keychain from us, and an embarrassing restaurant birthday serenade complete with sombrero and dessert smashed in her face from the wait staff of El Jimador's.

She had to give the sombrero back, sadly, but visitors to the restaurant will be treated to a photograph of her whipped cream-covered countenance, we think.

Then we went to Wal-Mart, where Stephanie bought cat food, Neesha and I bought Christmas ornaments, candles, and a plastic tiger, Megan bought a copy of a key, and Niya bought nothing. All of this sounds very pedestrian, of course, but know this: It was a good night. We don't go to Wal-Mart with just anybody. A substantial portion of the people with whom we are acquainted here we would never go to Wal-Mart with, and a good number of those we would flee from if we saw in Wal-Mart. That is because they are mean to us, for reasons we don't quite understand.
These people, on the other hand, we missed each time they ventured down an aisle that took them out of sight. Where did they go? we wondered. Ah! There they are. Whew.

Neesha here-again!

It's sad when unkindness casts its shadow over a perfectly lovely life. I suppose no matter how much sugar is added to something sour and bitter, it still tastes rancid. Luckily, these moments of gossip actually reaching us are rare.

Dumb bitches.
Dustin again: Jealous bitches, you mean.
Neesha again: ... But, enough on that...on a happier note...One week and a day til Thanksgiving!!! So time to start thinking of things I'm thankful for, since my Connie asks us every year at the dinner table. This year, like many others, it's going to be a tough choice and, as usual, I'm going to want to rattle off lists and lists of things I'm grateful for...some Thanksgivings I think the turkey is ready to reincarnate as itself and take off running from the table if I take any longer to get it all out. On that note, each day I'm going to put something I'm thankful for and get one from D, too.

What we're Thankful for Today:
Neesha: I'm thankful that when I reached my arms around Fi in the library today (did we forget to mention we went to the Daniel Boone public library today and read more magazines than student papers...yeah, that's how we roll, apparently) and tried to pull him up by his snazzy corduroy jacket only to hear a slight, "Riiiiiip!" that it ended up being 1-a small, nearly insignificant hole, Fi-really, and 2-along the seam so I can stitch it up without anyone noticing. Whew!!! You should've seen his face freeze when he heard it tear. I could've peed my pants laughing if I hadn't felt so badly instead.

Fi: "What I'm thankful for ... okay. Maybe let's start with this. Like, I heard this dude on campus talking about how this economic downturn or whatever they're calling it is gonna be like the Great Depression, and I don't know if there's any truth to that at all, but I do know that neither that guy nor I nor any of us really know what that would be like. I mean, we've never, ever known real scarcity. There's always been food, running water, electricity ... even if there were tough times. Like now, how we don't make much money, but we have that stuff. We can go out to restaurants and get our friends cards and hit up Wal-Mart when we want things. Our grandparents, not so much, maybe. I don't know where I'm going with this. Just that, I'm thankful for there having been enough food up 'til now. We've got really comfortable lives here, you know. I guess I just want it on the record that I know I've got it good, and that I'm thankful for how good I've got it."

Sorry for the long-windedness, if you've made it this far :)

More thanks and stories to come tomorrow! Til then, what are you thankful for?

Happy Birthday, Niya!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Coffee and Birthday Dinners!

Lexie and I had a lovely time this afternoon BS-ing and slurping down warm coffee with flavored creamer. I have to say, it really was so nice to just sit and relax in the living room and talk about our lives and tell one another stories. I forget that hanging out with people doesn't have to include hearing a bunch of gossip sometimes. I hate to admit this, but people always start gossiping when all other sources of conversation fail. I think that's sort of common and I'm only starting to see that in people more recently. I hate it. It really does lack conversational depth and makes me uncomfortable. None of that with L today which was super great. I think it's also why I tend to keep my cards close to my vest, if you get what I mean. Even when I'm hanging out with people, I still usually feel compelled to keep my tongue fairly still, but with L, it was a very sweet, laid back hang-out. I needed it and I think she may have needed it, too. D and I discussed how glad we are that she's here and how fond we've grown of her. I was sad to see her go, even though we'd spent about two or so hours together. But I did snap a photog of her before I let her leave!

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 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!

Last, but certainly not least, here is our celebratory birthday girl, Shelley, in cool lighting with bright flowers, courtesy, again, of Claire and Tom. I hope we get to see a lot more of her and I hope, even more, that this birthday is the start of a wonderful! I don't think you blog, Shell, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY and thanks for letting us share it with you. We hope it's awesome and are so glad we got to be but a small part of it. Hopefully, we'll be friends when the next one rolls around...and every one after! 


Meteor Shower

Last night I saw my first ever meteor shower. After searching the internet for what seemed like hours for the latest Gossip Girl show, Fi and I got our GG on, although he nearly fell asleep during it. Once it was over, Fi briefly looked on the internet and discovered there was a meteor shower happening at that moment! So he set to task making a comfortable place to watch outside while I made a pot of hot coffee.

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.

In other news, my leg is still hurting, but now I have neck pain to add to it. This is nothing new. I've hurt my neck before, it's just been a while. I pulled something so I have limited moving ability in my neck...which means I can't turn my head to the left at all. Not for a few days, anyhow. In the past when this would happen, my sister made so much fun of me for cocking my head at this super weird angle just to look leftward. Nowadays, Fi laughs about it. Needless to say, sleeping and moving around on the bum leg and achy neck has been rather difficult. More than that, I can't run or anything yet...and my next 5k is in a little over a week. I'm hoping I'll be healed up before the Great Wedding Gown Search and before the Turkey Trot which I so desperately want to run.
This Thanksgiving is filled with firsts, which is why running the Trot is so important to me. My grandma passed away two months ago and every Thanksgiving of my life has been spent in NY with her and the rest of my family. Mom is keeping busy, but misses grandma a lot and I don't blame her at all. She would stay with her all day every day for years so it has to be incredibly difficult to re-invent her life now that grandma is gone. Since Mom thought it'd be too hard to spend Thanksgiving in NY this year without grandma, we are spending our very first holiday in Hilton Head (where my parents have been slowly retiring to for about eleven years :). With that in mind, I thought it was a good time to start up some new traditions and found a Turkey Trot 5k that morning on the island. Immediately, I checked with my Connie (that's my mom) to see if she was ok with me doing it on the morning of the holiday and to ask if they would all come out and watch-they've never seen me run a race or anything like that before since I only picked it up about a year ago. She was thrilled and said they'd happily come out-with my niece Genevieve and nephew/godson Jacob, my dad and brother Kiran, my sister-in-law and my oldest brother Amit. When Amit heard the news, he asked how long a 5k was and decided he might like to run it with me! How cool, right? To have my brother run alongside me on Thanksgiving? Hence: a new tradition is born.

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!

I like measuring out my semester in runs. I should do it more often.

Anyhow, more to come, I'm sure. Lexi is coming by for coffee this afternoon and to sit on our "comfy couch." And tonight we are celebrating our friend Shelly's birthday. We haven't seen her in a looooooooong time so hopefully all is well. Will certainly have more to report on later.



Monday, November 17, 2008

How do we Find the Time?

Every weekend goes by so quickly that by Monday, I tend to wonder what happened to Saturday? How did it go by so quickly!?! This weekend was, by far, no exception. Thursday was opening night of Communicating Doors and it was wonderful to see the cast and crew in action. Of course, there are always a few minor issues, but these guys can pull anything off-a forgotten line, messed up tech issues...anything. The audience was tiny and much older than Friday and Saturday's audiences and I sat smack in the middle of the fifteen-person audience so I could watch the whole thing, beginning to end, from the best possible seat. I was so proud of Fi. He did an amazing job in his role as Harold.

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!

Saturday morning, we ran the Extreme Off Track Four Mile Fun Race: Liz, Beth and I. D came and his cast mate Ben did, as well. Lance and Emily were there, too, and, overall, we had a blast. It was tough. I dressed up as an escaped prisoner. When we got there, there were dozens of people milling around and it was no warmer than 35-degrees. Everyone gathered around this bonfire until the race began. It started out with all of us jumping small hurdles, then running down a grassy hill then back up it, then down again and into the woods where we ran through creeks and leapt into crevices. Eventually, we hit this deep crevice where we bottlenecked and ended up having to wade through a two and a half foot puddle of water/mud then climb up out of it using a rope! I was wet all the way up to my belly button. Do you know how difficult it is to run when your shoes are covered in mud? It felt like we suddenly had five-pound weights on our feet. Then more mud and creeks and out of the woods, through more obstacles and up more hills. We even got past the gorilla who, it turns out, ended up being our friend Ben who disappeared early on in our escapades at the run. (Thanks for being such a great sport, Ben!) Up to that point, I was so proud of myself for not getting hurt...that is, until the very last few hurdles. I leapt over one and my foot got caught. Needless to say, I came crashing down on my knee and leg and my entire right leg has been throbbing ever since. Somehow, I managed to pull myself back up and finish the race, though the pain was so excruciating I couldn't run up the last hill, but was happy to roll back down it to the finish line.

Fi snapped this photo of us after the race. Note the mud all over our clothes. And during the race, Fi stood out in the cold with this sign he made:He is the most supportive man alive. It was so nice to see this when we rounded the last corner and headed for the finish line. He didn't run the race because we didn't want him getting hurt before the performance that night, which he easily might have. But he definitely cheered and encouraged, which was almost as good as him running the race beside me!
* Little note from Fi here. The whole scene was a total party after the race, complete with a live band, dance/mosh pit, the bonfire Neesh mentioned, and Red Bull girls. I can't remember a more rockin' midmorning nonalcoholic shindig!
The heat from the bonfire did some cool things to the mud covered athletes. Ben snapped this video, linked here from Youtube.

After the race, we all had pancakes from IHOP and then I crashed when we got home. I adore the multi-grain and nut pancakes there. They are so darn tasty! I ate my two and half of Beth's two.
After Saturday night's performance, we hosted a mini-cast party at our house. From left to right: Philip (Richard's partner), Ben, Alana, Richard (sitting-the director), Jim, Fi and Judy. Monica was busting out some karaoke on the floor by this point and Lynn and her fiance Karen and Karen's son Joseph and his gf Heather were all there, too. We had a great time playing Apples to Apples and having drinks and snacks and Madlibs. They really are a great group and I'll be sad when the play is over.

Sunday I stayed home so my leg could recover and D had a matinee performance with pics afterwards. Overall, it was a fantastic and busy weekend. I forgot to mention that last Sunday, we started decorating for Christmas. The house is a mixture of Christmas and Thanksgiving right now: Thanksmas, as Fi called it. We didn't put up garlands or lights or anything...yet...but we did decorate my small tree and hung some stockings and put out candles. Here is a pic of our first dually-decorated Christmas tree! Although, now it has ornaments on it. At first, I suggested we mesh our boxes of ornaments and Fi thought it might be better to keep them separate. As a joke, I said: "Yeah, you're right. This way if we get divorced or something we won't have to divide them back up. It'll save us the trouble." He didn't like that and said so, but the next day at school (I sat on his knee briefly and we topped the chair over), after we recovered from the fall he looked at me and said, "I want to go home and mix up our ornaments." It was cute.

For those of you who don't know how madly in love we are, the divorce joke is really that. A complete joke. There's no way that's in store for us and our future. People ask us all the time how we find the time to do everything...they comment that seeing us is good for their own hopefulness in finding the right one or that they even watch us with a sense of awe and wonderment. My mom says she's never seen two people so happy and that being around us just makes her happier, too. It's a wonderful thing and we are truly blessed. I can't say enough about how proud and lucky I feel to have found this perfect future husband. I hope everyone is as happy as we are.

Special thanks to Megan, Beth, Lance, Emily, Claire and Tom, Aaron and Darcy, Stephanie, Amanda and Matt for coming out to support D in his play. You guys are so awesome and make all our endeavors even more fun than they would have been without you. And also, to the amazing cast and crew of CEC's Communicating Doors for embracing me and Fi with open arms. You guys have been incredible and I hope we know you long after the closing curtain.