Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moving Time

I moved to a new state, so now I'm moving to a new blog host. Blogger has been a good friend to me but one must always move onwards and upwards, so to Wordpress we go.


You can find me here from now on! Hope you like the new digs!

Public Service Announcement

I loved my wedding shoes. I mean, look at them! They are to die, in my humble opinion.







BUT.


Had I known these shoes existed (and they had matched with my dress in any way, which they clearly do not), I would have had eyes for no other shoes. So, here you go, now you all know they exist and you can all wear them at your wedding or just around town:




You're welcome.


Photos of my shoes by Kyle Hale. Shoes via Polyvore, found thanks to ESB.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wedding Words

In the last week or so, I have been allll about our wedding pictures. I looked through the full album a million times, I posted them on Facebook, and then looked through those albums a million times, awash in how sparkly and pretty it all looked. 


But before the pictures, lovely as they are, I thought a lot about the beautiful words that our wedding brought us.


The homily about forgiveness and love.


People saying that my dress was so "me."


My mom saying that the ceremony was beautiful and just right for us.


Someone thanking me for being "perfect for my friend Eric."


My brother-in-law's perfect reading of "Union" by Robert Fulgham.


My brother's aforementioned reading.


Eric leaning over to me during the ceremony to tell me I looked pretty. (And I know he didn't watch the Royal Wedding so he wasn't even stealing this move from Prince William). Also, of course, "I, Eric, take you, Natalie..."


My dad saying in his toast that instead of losing a daughter he knew we would grow closer because now we shared the experience of being married and the comfort and happiness that it brings.


My maid of honor saying in her toast that when I talked about Eric I was "full of life."


Words like that fill your soul up with joy.


After the wedding, on Sunday, we had dinner with my dad's side of the family. We sat down after we ate to watch a video that the relatives who couldn't be there had made for us, with congratulations and snippets of advice. This kicked off an impromptu advice session from everyone that was there; from decades-long marriages (and my grandparents' almost 60 year one). We heard that there will be days, months, years, that you have be the one giving, but that it will turn around so that you are the one taking, and not to give up when you are in the giving role. To put your partnership above your children, and that it will be hard to do this. That you will think you married a jerk sometimes, and that's okay. To always respect each other. To never lose your selves as a couple so you don't have to fight to get each other back. To stand by decisions made as a couple, even when you originally opposed them, even when the decision goes south. To keep your sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. Also my cousin went and made me tear up by adding in that she hopes to find a love that is like the kind we exude for each other. 


Wendell Berry, author of The Country of Marriage and general bad-ass of the written word, came to my class two semesters ago. He talked a bit about marriage, and how its this great big gamble. I had him sign my book and I told him I agreed with him and I was using his poem in my wedding. I think that marriage is kind of like jumping off a cliff holding hands with somebody. I think what I love most about it is looking into the chasm of everything that life will bring to your future, and not knowing anything about it, and saying, yep, I'll go there with you. I don't know what it's going to be like and I don't know if you will always be the same as the person standing next to me today, but I'm going to be there next to you anyway. The advice of my family could not have summed this up any better. It was clear that many had gone through tough times in marriage, but they were stronger for it, and were so glad to see us beginning our journey down that same road. 


Since he can say it better than I can, I'll now turn it over to Wendell again, with another excerpt from The Country of Marriage:



Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Marriage

Readers, I married him.*

And if the first two weeks of marriage are any indication, our life will be divided equally between unpacking boxes and purchasing furniture, and laying on the beach and soaking up the sun. 

Or maybe not. 

I have trouble finding the words to talk about our wedding. I smiled from ear to ear through all of it, we danced, we hugged friends and family that, though far-flung across the world, were magically able to appear all in one place for a few fleeting, beautiful hours. 

Mostly, I just feel intensely grateful for it. It seems to me that everything went impossibly well, and that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such amazing friends and a delightful family that just doubled in size.


Photos and more recaps soon, but for now just: thank you.

*credit to Charlotte Bronte.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jackson


Next week, this kid is deploying to Afghanistan:



That’s my little brother Jackson, my one and only sibling and my very first best friend.  I don’t know if this is true for other sisters, but Jackson has always had a special ability to tug my heartstrings like no one else. For instance, I was Clara in the Nutcracker, which is a big deal for ballerinas. And lots of people came up to me and complimented me afterwards, I’m sure, but what I remember is this little boy in a Christmas sweater looking at me and telling me I was really good.  And even at 13, my heart bust wide open.

So I suppose it makes sense, that the only time I cried on my wedding day was watching my brother do this reading in our ceremony:

Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange 
of my love and work for yours, so much for so much
of an expendable fund. We don’t know what its limits are—
that puts it in the dark. We are more together
than we know, how else could we keep on discovering   
we are more together than we thought?
You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always   
leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,   
I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing   
not belittled by my saying that I possess it.   
Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing   
a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only   
accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light   
enough to live, and then accepts the dark,   
passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I   
have fallen time and again from the great strength   
of my desire, helpless, into your arms.

(From The Country of Marriage by Wendell Barry)


Be safe over there little brother.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Hi

Just popping in to say that I am still alive.

Graduated last week. Then moved. Getting married on Saturday. General crazy but good times.

Annnnd I'm off again. I'll start posting regularly again once the insanity has subsided. Thanks in advance for sticking with me through the hiatus!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Details, part II

One of the other little things planned for our wedding that I love is what is going to be on our flower girls' feet:


Tiny, sparkly Toms!


Adorable, right? Totally the flower girls' mom's idea. Future sisters-in-law think alike, apparently. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Tragic Chocolate Journey

Last week, I went to the grocery store intent on getting some discounted Easter candy. I was a little late, it was like the Thursday afterward or something, but I thought there would still be plenty of leftovers for me to choose from. 

Wrong.

What I had to choose from? Sketchy jelly beans and off-brand chocolate eggs. Not what I wanted, even at 50% off. What I wanted, what my heart was apparently set on (I would come to find out), were Robins Eggs. I FLOVE Robins Eggs, and they only have them at Easter. If you don't know, they are like jumbo-sized Whoppers. A lot of people hate Whoppers, but I love them, and I assumed the same would be true of the Eggs of Deliciousness and that I could happily pick them up at the store many days after the holiday. Stupid.

After this sad discovery, I wandered around the grocery story in search of a suitable replacement. I stood listlessly in the candy aisle for awhile. Nothing spoke to me. I went to the ice cream section, and discovered that ice cream is MEGA expensive these days! Wha? I haven't bought ice cream in a while but I remember it being like 2-3 bucks? I went about my business buying practical things like milk when I came upon Snack Packs, on sale for a dollar. This'll do, I thought. Torn between butterscotch and tapioca, I went with tapioca as butterscotch was a new flavor to me in pudding applications and seemed like a risky undertaking. 

I got home and I was putting away my tapioca pudding and it struck me: I went for Robins Eggs and I wound up with TAPIOCA PUDDING? I had fallen down on the job. I was gravely disappointed in myself, and also confused as to how I let this happen. 

For several days after this incident, my craving for le eggs did not dissipate, and each time I had to console myself with a sad plastic cup of pudding. For days I endured this, until tonight when I resolved to return the the grocery store and try again. 

Knowing not to even bother with the ice-cream-made-of-gold freezer, I went straight to the candy aisle. I grabbed Whoppers (duh), and I also saw that they had a new size of Sour Patch Kids for only 99 cents so I grabbed that too. I am clearly very susceptible to candy that costs a dollar. And then, there on a humble shelf near the floor, I discovered a bag of chocolate to exceed even my Robins Eggs expectations: Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Almonds Nuggets!! These things usually come in packs with other useless Nuggets like Dark Chocolate with Almond, ugh, but here they were, available for purchase all by themselves. Clearly I could not pass up this opportunity, look what happened last time I delayed candy-buying. So I got those too.

Having denied myself chocolate for days and suddenly in possession of it, I proceeded to eat obscene amounts and am about to enter a sugar coma.

Moral of the story: Listen to your heart. If your heart wants chocolate, DO NOT BUY TAPIOCA PUDDING. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Story, cont. (part IV)

So, I totally did not intend to do this novel-like story of how we went from friends to dating. I planned to do snippets from the early days from my memory, out of chronological order, but then I found myself writing this story and ending on cliff-hangers and here we are. I'm planning to wrap this up here and then jump back in time.  


part IV, Sunday


As I've mentioned, we talked a lot on AIM. This was before gchat.* When I got home on Sunday, there he was on AIM, saying "I think we should talk." Normally those are bad words to hear, but they were music to my ears. Beethoven. I craved an answer. Any answer, to be spared living any longer in the land of uncertainty. Getting out of there was a major motivator for my confession in the first place. 


I agreed, and he was headed over to my dorm again, in much better circumstances than he had been two days earlier. 


I was fully prepared to be nicely let down. To be told that he wanted to preserve our friendship. As he was on his way over, I tried to figure out what to wear. I didn't want to look purposefully pretty, or like I had even thought about it at all, especially since I was about to be turned down. A purple American Apparel t-shirt and my hair pulled back into a messy bun won out. 


I let him in, and went and sat on my bed. My bed was the furthest from the door. I sat on it and he stood near the door, my roommate's bed between us. (Side thought--Where was she during this? Did I kick her out? Katie, do you remember?) He made small talk at first. How was the trip, etc. Then he said, "so the short answer is yes."


*I had no idea how old writing these posts would make me feel!

The Royal Wedding

The best part was when the commentators hushed up and let this man speak: 


The Bishop of London

Abridged version of the sermon with my favorite passages:


""Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves... 
A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. 
In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life. It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love... 
Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom."

Sing it, Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dr. Richard Chartres. 

Our Story, cont. (part III)

part III, baggage


I had a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. I liked that magazine, but I mostly had the subscription so I could check my campus P.O. box with some regularity and find that I had some mail. When you go from a family of four stream of mail to a college student stream of mail, the transition can be rough. 


For some reason, Eric had one of my EW magazines, and decided that it was super necessary that I get them back before I go on my trip. I told him this was not necessary, but he insisted, totally ruining my plan to limit all contact between us between Wednesday and Monday. So I was packed and ready to go, and he said he was coming over to return the magazine. 


So come over to my dorm room he did. He acted totally normal, you guys. Infuriatingly, maddeningly normal. I don't know how I acted, but I just know I felt awkward to the max and wanted him to leave so my plan could resume its course. We talked about nothing. He offered to carry one of my suitcases for me. I probably protested initially and then said sure. He left the room before me, headed down the hallway of my 4th floor dorm and toward the stairs. I was gathering up my other stuff and started down the hallway, and then I heard a loud crashing noise; the noise of someone falling down stairs.


I rushed to the stairs and was frantically like "Are you okay?!?" as I saw him at the stair landing, on the floor with my suitcase next to him. These were metal stairs, by the way. Not carpeted or cushy stairs. 


Then he laughed. He hadn't really fallen. This was a "joke." 


Ohhhhhhhh I was angry.* Here I was, super vulnerable, having confessed my love for him and having heard nothing in return, and then he goes and plays a prank on me the inevitable result of which is me acting caring and concerned toward him and looking a fool because it wasn't really real? 


Not. Cool.


I think he was trying to lighten the mood? Maybe make me laugh? Or, more likely, saw stairs and thought " I could pretend to fall down these!" and then promptly did so. After this nonsense and fool-making, we had to sit in the lobby of my dorm and wait for my roommate who was coming on the trip with me.



We talked about Phil Collins. Eric made disparaging remarks about him and I defended him. Well, this is over, I thought. I tried not to cry. 

Eventually my roommate came and we all went to the place where we got picked up by the van and went skiing. I taught my roommate from Colorado how to ski, I skied on fake snow in the Southeast, had fun with my friends. But my mind was elsewhere. There was no contact from him the whole time. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to get an answer. I was still furious--that he had made a joke at me, that he couldn't be bothered to give me a straight answer, that I was in turmoil and he seemed to be going about his business unchanged. 



We returned from skiing on Sunday, and I found out I was wrong. 


~~more later. this story is longer than i thought. ~~

*Still makes me a little angry to tell the story!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Savoring It

I am sitting in the student union's study lounge. It is the best room on campus--old desks with lamps, stone walls, comfy couches, a fire place. I am so ready to be done with school, but this, this I will miss. Libraries, people napping in them, books strewn about. Coffee on every desk. Ahh, academia. You do have your charms. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Presents

My parents let me open my graduation present tonight.


One of those presents that you didn't see coming but is exactly what you wanted.


A DSLR!!!!!!!!!!!!


So. stoked. to use this camera to take beautiful pictures of everyday life.


Sigh...I wish it were Christmas morning and I could sit on the carpet with my shiny new box and spend all day putting it together and reading the manual and snapping pictures.


Soon. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Story, cont. (part II)

part II, the confession*


I planned it all within an inch of it's life. One of my great unfounded fears at the time was having someone tell me they liked me, or ask me out, if I didn't return the feeling. As if the whole world was dying to ask me out. Right. Reasonable or not, this was a fear I had. Watching Steve Urkel ask out Laura a million times and her look of misery might be to blame. Anyway, for this reason if I suspected someone unsavory liked me in middle school I would become very cold and mean to them, so they would get the message before any awkward conversation had to take place. I thought this was an act of mercy.


Also for this reason, I planned my own confession within an inch of it's life. I had to, for his sake. I had to reduce the awkward quotient on the receiving end, so that I could convince myself that it wasn't cruel to tell him that I liked him.


(Writing down this logic makes it seem even crazier, in retrospect. But here on Post-Graduate Pie we (I) go for honesty, so embarrassing truths about my crazy brain it is.)


At the time, I sort of marveled at myself as I put the plans into motion. You see, Natalie of yore was not very brave. And when it came to boys, her plan of attack was generally to be as cute and likable as possible and see what happened. This, so far, had not worked out well for her. She had to decide to be brave. Because  the status quo was no longer acceptable, given the person in question. 


We were friends, that was the trouble. So the crush was not sustainable after a while. I just had to know the score, because being friends and liking your friend and not knowing how they feel about you is just not something you can keep up long term. I had to know. I also was pretty sure we would be great together, so I wanted to make it happen. I am smart sometimes.


So this was the plan: I had to tell him, and then get out of dodge. To allow him time to formulate a response. 


We went to dinner at the DUC (our cafeteria place). We went to see a screening of The Constant Gardener that was playing on campus. He walked me back to my dorm. My heart was pounding, and I wanted to not do it. I wanted a reason to not do it, but I didn't have one. And I had planned it all out, so I just had to. So I said, wait, um, I, have to tell you something. And then I said a lot of words, really quickly. He hugged me. I went inside in a daze. A proud, somewhat relieved, terrified daze.


That was Wednesday. On Thursday, I wasn't on the internet at all. I had earlier in the week announced that I wasn't going to be on the internet at all on Thursday in an effort to detach myself from my growing addiction to my computer.  This was 5% of the reason, but 95% was that we used to chat online all the time (on AIM, so quaint!). And I couldn't have that  be an option. So no internet it was.


And then comes Friday, the day I was set to leave on a 3 day ski trip. Friday is when he makes me hate him with the fire of the sun.


to be continued. 

*part II here comes chronologically after part I, but that might not always be the case in this series, especially since a lot of time elapsed between part I and part II, so I'll probably go back to that time at some point. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Month

Ah, here it is. I have been waiting for it to be one month away. Counting down before that seemed unnecessary. But one month, that is for real soon. How do I feel about it? Good. As I've mentioned, I feel ready. My mind is super wrapped up in final projects right now, and on the fact that I need to move away from here and fit everything I need in my tiny car in two weeks. May is going to be so crazy, but full of such good things, that I sometimes just don't know whether to hope it would hurry up and get here or just slow down, because I am too busy right now to even begin to emotionally prepare for the change that May is going to bring. 


Well, I suppose that's not really a problem worth worrying about, because I suspect that May is going to come along whenever it damn well pleases and not consider my wishes about the matter too carefully. 


Anyway, I've got a capstone draft due here in a couple of hours, but I wanted to mark the occassion. April 21st. Hooboy. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ceremonies and Me


Sometimes I get the graduation march and the bridal march confused. I mean, hey, they are both marches with considerable pomp and circumstance that people process to.  I’m starting to think that this confusion is pretty appropriate.

I have been thinking more and more about the wedding ceremony, and how I will feel during it.  Graduations have been the most significant ceremonies that I have been a part of thus far, and so I’m using them as my point of reference, and I’m a little concerned. I hear a lot about people feeling transcendent during their weddings, full of joy, totally present. What I remember about graduations is waiting for my name to be called in line. I remember being nervous. I remember worrying how it was going to go—would I smile at the right time, would I trip when I walked across the stage, would I manage the take diploma/shake hand maneuver correctly?

The actual ceremonial bit, the receiving of my diploma? Is a blur. Same for smaller ceremonies—inductions, awards, sorority functions. The part where eyes were on me has been blocked out.

This is obviously disconcerting because in a wedding where you yourself are getting married, eyes are on you pretty much the whole time. But I don’t want it to be a blur. I want to remember it, I want that transcendent, joyful, present experience. I am not sure I’m going to get it. I am who I am, after all, and I won’t stop being a self-conscious person in all-eyes-on-me situations. I am going to try though, maybe I can try to turn the audience into a blur so that I can stay clear.  

But even if that doesn’t happen, it’ll be okay. After all, I still graduated from high school and from college. I marked the occasion with celebration and with ritual. And moved on to bigger and better things because of both. And that’s what matters. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our Story

I wrote on here about the proposal, and I'm so glad I did that. I go back and re-read it sometimes, and it keeps the emotions I felt about it alive rather than just the details and the pictures in my mind. 


We didn't write a "How We Met" section on our wedding blog, and it seems a little late to do that now, at one month out.*


But I still want to write down our story. How we met, how we fell in love, how I had to strong-arm him into being my boyfriend since all of my super-obvious signals that I was crushin' on him were failing. 


It's been awhile now since those early days, but they are in more recent memory now than they ever will be again. So I think I am going to write about them here, now, over many posts. Some snippets of memory, some longer stories. I will be writing for me, for posterity, to help my already failing memory. But you will help me do that, by being an audience. So thank you in advance for putting up with my mushiness, and for not rolling your eyes too much at the palpable youth and naivete that will undoubtedly be on display in these posts. 


Part I, the newspaper


I don't remember when we met. I know we met in March of 2005,** at the weekend where we both interviewed for scholarships at our future university. I know we went to dinner at the same faculty member's house, and that there were only about 5 students, and that we must have talked. I don't remember it. I don't, honestly, remember him from that trip at all. Since I know now what he looks like, and when we should have met, sometimes I try to place him in my memories of the trip, but it doesn't really work. So we met, but it is lost to the sands of time.*** So romantic.


Here is what I do remember. We had met by this point, I don't remember how (sensing a theme? I seriously have the memory of an elderly person--actually, worse than that, my grandma remembers things about 60 years ago that I can't remember about yesterday), and then we ran into each other on campus. He was walking by me with a friend on either side of him, and he looked tall standing there between them. He had a campus newspaper rolled up in his hand. I debated how to say hi to him. We had only barely met, so I didn't know if it was a non-committal smile situation or one where I should give some kind of verbal greeting. I think I went non-committal smile. He smiled back. 


And then he bopped me on the head with that rolled up newspaper. 


Now, normal people, maybe you would be like, "wtf dude," and move on. But I loved that it was such a weird thing to do. It was such a familiar thing to do, to me who he didn't know well. He hit me on the head with a newspaper and yet I remember it as this warm gesture, this gesture that said, "hey, you." 


And just like that, I liked him.  


*Um, yeah. The best way I can describe how I feel about that right now is just, whoa.
**Holy crapoli that is a long time ago.
***And Eric's memory. He says he remembers me from the trip. Maybe he'll write a guest post for me. A girl can dream. 

Question of No Consequence Raised by Reading Too Many Wedding Blogs

In my movie-viewing experience of weddings, the bride stands on the left (if you are in the audience) and the groom stands on the right. But lately I have been seeing it switched, both in real life and on le blogs. Are there particular reasons or religious traditions for one or the other? Is there any symbolism involved either way? Anyone know more about this than me? I feel like I have read something about every last little piece of the wedding ceremony and what it means or what it used to mean or what have you. But this one I do not know diddlysquat about. 


Be my Google. Enlighten me on this subject.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I Learned While Traveling This Weekend

1. Never fly through Houston-IAH.


2. Give yourself more than a 1 hour layover when flying to a major hub.


3. I am out of shape.

The Bridezilla Paradox

I need to provide the disclaimer that I am writing this on a very cranky, cold morning in mid-April when I have had very little sleep.


But people, I am pissed off.


I like the magazine Slate. I generally think it has good things to say and that commenters tend to be reasonable. Which is why discovering this article on wedding websites from last year and the oodles of comments that went with it was particularly dismaying to me.


The article is about how wedding websites are terrible because they are just another example of indulgent, narcissistic brides. A lot of the comments repeat the tired "don't spend a down payment on ONE DAY and get over yourselves, no one cares about this but you." And I was reminded of another article in Slate I read (can't remember the exact one, unfortunately) where people talked about how rude and tacky you were for not paying enough attention to your guests' needs.


Hey guess what, world? Planning and executing a wedding that is an enjoyable day for your guests takes work, focus, and some amount of money. It doesn't have to take $50K or anything, but I am really fed up with the simultaneous messages that a) spending a lot on one day makes brides self-centered crazypeople and that b) if you don't give provide your guests with things that will cost money (i.e. an open bar, a full dinner, etc.) that you are ALSO being self-centered because you were not thinking of your guests. 


What is our DEAL with weddings? No one is this weird about regular parties.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today Is A Great Day

Today I woke up late and was late for class, it is raining, and I am behind on my work. And yet, today is a great day, because today is the day that I realized that I registered for both an iHome and a Roomba, meaning...Parks and Rec fans know where I am going with this... 


A DJ Roomba could be in my future!!






Awesomesauce. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pet Love: Maggie the Shiba Inu Mix

This is my future dog:
Image from Petfinder.com

Not a dog like this one, no. That very one. I found this adoption notice for a Shiba/Lab mix in San Antonio about three months ago now and was sure that she would be adopted before I moved to the area. But she's still there, so it's got to be destiny right? Something about this dog speaks to me, you guys, in the absolute hippy-dippiest way. 

P.S. don't tell me that she hasn't been adopted because there is something weird or wrong with her. you might be right but SHHHHHHHH. let me hold onto hope.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Time for a New Word

I was thinking about how I am starting my adult life in one fell swoop here soon what with the job and the marrying happening rather simultaneously, but I was stuck on that word "adult." Having a professional job, being married, these are universally acknowledged to be "adult" things. But that word sucks. It has connotations of boring-ness, being saddled with burdensome responsibility, of routine. That or, you know, it is in all caps on a yellow background on nondescript building next to the word "video." 


"Grown-up" is our only alternative and that doesn't exactly say "fun and exciting and fulfilling" either. Maybe the problem isn't so much with the words as all the sad associations we have in our society with this stage of life. I caught a bit of a radio show last night as I was driving and the caller said that she was having trouble connecting with her husband because "after jobs and kids, we don't have much left for each other." And I don't know her story, maybe her job and her kids are really taxing, but I realized how sad it is that this comment fit so well into our cultural narrative.  That this is our fate as adults, to be sucked dry from our obligations. To have nothing left over.


Any ideas for words that might connote "no longer an young'n and responsible but life is still good times generally"?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dear Food* Cooking on the Stove,

You smell super-delicious. Which leaves me feeling confused inside. On the one hand, this is good, because it means I am going to have a tasty meal. On the other hand, I cannot eat you for another THIRTY MINUTES and I worked out for 75 minutes today (unprecendented) and am starving, so I might die before I can eat you. That would be a real shame. Please hurry up with the cooking.


Love,
Natalie


*Goulash from Budget Bytes, if you were wondering.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ready

It is April, the month before The Month. The month where I will graduate, marry, move, and (maybe?) take up real-deal employment. That is a lot of life change squeezed into poor little May. But today I bought our wedding bands, and in the jewelry store someone called me Natalie HisLastName, and it felt comfortable. The name change is a big, big deal to me, and it has sometimes felt like too big to take on. But then today, it was just nice. I was ready for it. And if I can buy wedding bands and get called a new name and take it in stride--that makes me feel ready to take on the rest of the massive change that awaits me. Ready to be a wife. Ready to live in a place indefinitely.* Ready to get out of my student/intern comfort zone. Ready to be a Southwestern girl again.**


Just...ready. To start a new life. 


I love the engagement process for this. It hasn't been entirely easy, but has led me here to this peaceful place. It let me wrestle with the change, acknowledge that the transition we're making is a huge one, ask questions of myself and Eric, go from the wedding being an almost surreal vision in the future to the day we are super excited to get to so we can get on with the being together. 


I feel at home in the idea of our marriage now. I have noticed lately that when people squee over the wedding, I have trouble matching their emotion. It's not that I'm not excited, it's just that when I was in an "omg eeeee!!" stage it was when I could hardly believe it. Now it is so solidly a part of my/our reality. I remember when they put Eric and Natalie HisLast on that form we filled out almost two (wow) years ago in the same jewelry store, while on our first ring-shopping venture. When they did that, I felt giggly inside. Today, when the security guard said, "Oh, you're Natalie HisLast, Amy told me you'd be coming in," I just felt like "Yes, that's me."


*I find the word "indefinitely" very romantic thanks to Notting Hill.
**I have decided that Texas belongs to the Southwest. Texans may not agree with this.


(Please know that it's not that being ready for the name-changing itself that means I am ready for getting married--if I weren't changing my name I would feel the same way, it's just that the name change and how my feelings about it changed is representative (for me) of my emotional transition from being a newly engaged to an about-to-be-married lady. Rock on, non-name-changers. )

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Social Media

Yesterday, I made a LinkedIn profile. I was instantly overwhelmed by emails about new connections and tried to improve my profile but couldn't figure out the import resume feature and eventually gave up.


I am also considering making a Twitter account. I feel like the oldest lady ever when I look at Twitter and see all the @s and the #s and just stare at them in confusion.


When did I become such an old fogey? 


Update: Look to your right--I did it! Tweeting* and even adding it as a widget, fools! Welcome to the 21st century, me. 


Update x 2: Have now used @s and #s in tweets. Remains to be seen if I am using them properly, but it's progress.


*At first I wrote "twittering." Still ironing out the kinks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Details

Some people care a whole lot about details, and the parties they throw usually have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the small little touches they put on the event. I am not one of those people, but there are a few details that I have worked into the wedding that I am excited about.

Here's one of them: 



Vintage Silverware Silver Plated Wedding Dessert Forks Eat Cake Bride Groom Mr Mrs


I bought these on Etsy (from vendor Woodenhive), and on the handle they have our wedding date. I like mementos that you can incorporate into your everyday life. I really like to get art when I travel for this reason--you hang it on the wall and you see it every day and are reminded of another place and time. I like the idea of us eating with these forks for birthdays or for Christmas or just for any-ol' dinner and thinking about smashing cake in each other's faces, long ago.


I really want our guestbook to be something like this too, something we can hang up or use or something. I don't want to have this special thing end up packed away in a box somewhere. I also want people to be able to do more than sign their name, and I can't seem to find a guestbook or "guestbook alternative" that accomplishes this goal.


Anyone have ideas?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I always knew Stephen Colbert and I could be friends

But this proves it. Check out Colbert singing "Friday" on Jimmy Fallon's show:


And yes, that does make for 3 Rebecca Black references in one week.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Working for the Weekend

Having classes only two days a week makes for a very strange schedule. I essentially have 5 weekend days a week, but of course they don't function as such in practice. Instead my Tuesdays are almost identical to Fridays and Thursday is indistinguishable from Saturday. Everyday I work, and everyday I have free time. I had a "wow" moment on Monday when someone asked me what I did over the weekend and I had a moment of "huh? what weekend?" 


So people, tell me stories of weekends. Of Saturdays that act like Saturdays and Sundays that feel like Sundays and snozzberries that taste like snozzberries.




Hmmm....am I becoming that Rebecca Black song in this post? 


Don't answer that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The State of Me

I feel like you guys are all worried about me since I wrote some sad posts back in January/February and haven't given an update.*


Well, here's the deal. I have recalibrated my system to expect a lower level of happiness on a daily basis. It's less acute now than right after the first shock of Eric leaving and living alone, but it is more wearing, exhausting after all this time. 


I think I would be better off, though, if it hadn't snowed this morning. The weather affects my mood, for serious. Looking out the window this morning nearly brought tears to my eyes. I need the sun, Indiana! Please! Gone are the days of happy, cozy snow. Snow in March is a harsh, mean creature.


So there is weather, long-distance, and also the mounting responsibility that I have at school and in life (wedding/jobs) which I feel ill-equipped to handle. 


Sigh...


I will now put my small violin back in its tiny case and resume posting about dresses and kale and pie.


Smooches,


Natalie


*Totally made-up guess. I wouldn't know what you readers think since YOU ARE ALL LURKERS. Dudes, your comments don't have to be insightful or witty or interesting or even full sentences! Seeing "0 comments" is starting to wear on me. Just...write something? Kthxbai.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Change of Plans


New plan: get married at City Hall so I can wear THIS dress.

Okay not really, but will someone please do a City Hall wedding in this dress? And send me pictures? BCBG...oh the day when I can afford you.* That will be a good day.


*for everyday life. for a wedding dress, this one is a steal.

Delayed Gratification

I never got extra allowance or dollars for getting As. Because I am that kid, I carried a minor chip on my should about this for a long time. It seemed that kids who didn't get A's very often got paid for them, while my piggy bank sat empty.* Harumph.

Yesterday, the world made up for this injustice,** cause I got some moolah from my school just for having a high GPA. Vindication!

Good elementary/middle school students out there who are broke due to their success: hold on! The world will reward you! ....after, like, 10 more years of school.

* i actually never had a piggy bank, but if i did, it would have sat empty of good-grades-money
**an extremely liberal definition of the word is being employed here

Monday, March 28, 2011

I walked onto an elevator in my school's building today. It occured to me that the doors seemed stuck open when I walked in, and that one of our elevators had been out of order just the other day. I stepped onto it anyway, and pressed "4" and thought "What if this elevator gets stuck?... Well, that might be nice."

Yes, today I wanted to get stuck in an elevator. Stuck in an elevator I could just lie down and nap maybe, and wait to get rescued. Someone would rescue me for sure, so it isn't so dire. And I could just rest in the meantime, and no one would expect me to do work. If I didn't turn in something, I could just say, "Oh, well yesterday I got stuck in the elevator." That all sounded really nice.

Is it a bad sign about the state of your life if you desire to get stuck in an elevator? Probably, huh?




Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Defense of Rebecca Black

I kind of like her song.

Is it good? No, it isn't. But it is catchy. Also, it brings me back. There is this innocence and simplicity about the video and the lyrics that reminds me of being in middle school, where Friday really was THE BEST THING EVER. And in middle school, someone popular could be like "sitting in the front seat is for losers" and then you would be like "OMG I have to sit in the back seat. What if I end up in the front seat? That would be so embarrassing!" It's true, you guys. These were serious matters. I like that she sings about them. I like that she sings about her bowl of cereal.

And then, to get meta about it, the fact that she made the song at all is endearing to me. I definitely made up dances to pop songs with my friends in middle school. If I were offered the opportunity to make my own music video? Would have accepted in a heartbeat. The elements of suckitude in the video and music (mainly the interlude about in what order the days of the week occur) itself are all Ark Music Factory. But Rebecca Black? Rock on, kid.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My college roommate got engaged today! (yayyyy!!!!) I am so excited--maybe this means that all the otherwise-useless knowledge I have acquired during wedding planning can be put to use post-May :) Also, they are great together.

Congratulations Katie and Jason!!!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Talking about the Blog on the Blog

I enjoy the forums on televisionwithoutpity.com, and one of their rules is "No talking about the boards on the boards," a principle I am violating here today. 

But I wanted to let you know, you faithful readers who are just DYING to comment but you didn't have a Google account, that I have switched my settings so that Anonymous folks can comment. Down with exclusivity! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exercise Tips for Those Whose Nature Does Not Leave Them Inclined to Hit the Gym

So I am a major procrastinator. Not just at school or work assignments. At...life. If there is no deadline, I am hopeless (see: my constantly overflowing hamper, which is only ever relieved of its burden in modest amounts as I wash only what clothes I plan to wear soon). Which makes going to the gym a problem for me. You see, I could always just go tomorrow.

Given this nature which I cannot seem to shake, I have to devise ways to trick myself into exercising. Currently, no technique has proven 100% effective, but I have recently stumbled upon an almost procrastinator-proof way to incorporate fitness into daily life:

*****Shampoo bottles!! :)****

That's right. Right there in your shower lurks the secret to a newer, fitter you! Or at least a you with moderately more toned triceps. Yeah, so the trick is to use a heavy shampoo bottle and do those over the head tricep exercises in the shower. The trouble with this technique is that as you use your shampoo, your "weight" gets lighter, which is not really what you want. But I think filling an empty bottle with shampoo would work (me, I just use a bottle of Eric's shampoo which is not currently being depleted [because he doesn't live here, not because he is unkempt]).

Anyway, it's working for me, so maybe it will work for you. Let me know if it does because then I will feel like a wise fitness guru.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life List: #24

24. Play Texas Hold'em in Vegas.

I had 23 items on my life list when I first made it, one for each year of my life. I have since turned 24, so it was time to add one more goal. I wasn't sure what to add until I talked to my brother this weekend, who just won big at the poker table on his Vegas vacation, and I remembered my last trip to Vegas. On that trip I was all excited to play poker, but when the time came I got very intimidated by the whole thing, Vegas being the big-time and all, and only played craps instead. And got pretty lucky at the craps table, actually, so the decision wasn't all bad. But I love Texas Hold'em and the only time I ever played for money, I took 5 boys for $2 each, bringing in a whole $10! What what. So clearly, I need to be brave, go to Vegas, and win some more money.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pi Day

So yesterday, 03.14, was Pi Day. Before I even remembered that it was Pi Day I had plans to make a pie, since people from my summer program two years ago were having a little reunion in Atlanta. I was going to make peach pie--practice for the wedding day pies. And then I realized it was Pi Day and was loving the coincidence.

But then we didn't have enough butter.

I had just put the veggie lasagna in the oven (in the cooking process this dish was a disaster yet somehow it turned out yummy) and was about to start making the pie crust when I realized there were less than two sticks of butter in the fridge.

So I made a peach crisp instead. It was good too, even if it wasn't pie. FYI--if you are ever tasked with bringing dessert to a potluck, make a crisp!! It is seriously impossible to screw up. I mean, the ingredients are fruit with a mixture of oats, flour, brown sugar, and butter on top. Guaranteed success.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Yay.

I am in Atlanta for wedding-related tasks this weekend. For some reason, getting the logistics settled and figuring out all the details of what happens when on the day has made me full-on EXCITED for this wedding.

I was always excited, but that was always mixed with a strong dose of "holy sh*t how am i going to make this happen omg ahhh." There was that blissful just-got-engaged period of time where I was nothing but "yay!!!!!!!"and now I feel it coming full circle as decisions have been decided, fights have been fought, plans have been made. All I have left to do is craft my ass off.

And all I have left is excitement.

And this post, which I wrote for when the "omg ahhh"s come back to me and I need to simmer down and enjoy.*

*You guys didn't think I wrote this blog so YOU could read it, did you? Sorry, y'all, this is a self-involved endeavor. Or it will be until the day that you lurkers start commenting.