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


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.


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!!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pet Love: Maggie the Shiba Inu Mix

This is my future dog:
Image from

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.


*Goulash from Budget Bytes, if you were wondering.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


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


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.