Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Showering With Others

I always knew that somewhere in this whole 16 total months of wedding pre-game coverage there was going to be a bridal shower. This made me nervous. I hadn't actually been the center of the extended family's attention since my college graduation/moving-to-California party. And that was rough! Trying to talk about my plans with each person individually, trying not to crack the same joke over and over again, trying to fight the urge to get another margarita even though I might be too buzzed to talk to the elderly.

I prefer to live without being that aware of myself. I don't like to have a clue what I'm doing or saying.

Still, as my mother and sister launched into planning the shower, I began to look forward to it. There would be finger foods! And colorful decorations! And a magician!

Wait, what?

Yes, Mom booked a magician that she'd seen at a local comedy club. His act really impressed her, and this blew me away because it is impossible to impress my mother. He also apparently had something of a potty mouth, and the thought of him swearing like a sailor in a room full of women was both creepy and intriguing.

And so the whole shower took on a theme my mother called "The Magic of Love." I know, it's precious.

There were rabbit-in-hat centerpieces.

Rabbit-in-hat party favors.

And a giant chocolate cake, which incorporated two kissing white rabbit cookies.

I narrowly missed the white rabbit cookie decorating fiasco, which took place the night before I flew into town. Apparently some non-hardening icing left my father and sister very frustrated when trying to decorate some 60 cookies.

My college friends Rachael and Yasi drove up from New York to hang out. I was ridiculously excited to see them. Of course, because we are all old people now, we went to bed about 20 minutes after they arrived. The next morning they worked with me to create this fruit kabob monster-thing. They stabbed themselves with sticks putting the fruit on, and then I stabbed the sticks into a watermelon's shell.

After that, Rachael, who is a brilliant photographer, went outside with me to take some pictures. I decided to help her by making a complete ass of myself and being un-photographable.

Eventually, I stood still. Look, I can pose nicely!

By 2pm, the party was in full swing. And because I am popular, the party had a great turnout.

I like this picture for 3 reasons:
1. I look crazy.
2. No one in the whole room is talking to me.
3. I'm one of only 2 people holding a drink.

Once I was feeling a little loopy, it was time to open presents in front of 30 people. This was terrifying. I wanted to show them how genuinely grateful I was without looking fake since I had to say the same thing over and over and over.

Oh, and you know how most people will tell you they look their worst when they've just woken up? Apparently I'm at my worst when opening presents. Good grief.

That's my lovely friend and bridesmaid Jackie helping me keep a list of who gave me what.

Once the gifts were opened and everyone was properly thanked, I had a lovely bow & ribbon bouquet, made by Devin's sisters.

Time to take pictures with it!

While I was outside frolicking, my mother was watching from the kitchen window and was heard saying, "Oh look. My daughter's been drinking."

Stay classy.

UPDATE: I was so busy trying to be clever that I actually forgot to tell you that the magician didn't show up! He didn't even call to cancel. It was probably for the best, since we were having such a good time without him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Dating Toilet

Hi friends. If you like reading stories about other peoples bad dates, please check out my sister's new blog, The Dating Toilet.

Makes me wish I was still dating so I could have crazy stories to blog about.

Just kidding, that's a terrible wish.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Last night I went to a very difficult toning class at the gym. One that was so ridiculously impossible that at one point I had no choice but to burst into laughter at how I was panting and flailing around.

Afterwards, I went home with visions of a nice shower, a big glass of water, and a light salad for dinner. I am fit! I am magnificent!

On the drive home, Devin texted me to say he was still out and asked if I would turn off the crock pot for him. Say what?! Is he cooking for himself? Sacrebleu!

When I walked in the door of my apartment, I was confronted with a smell that I would identify as meat fart. Like when you walk into an unfamiliar old person's house and the whole thing smells like there's a giant pot of deer meat cooking away on the stove, simmering in onions.

I wanted to barf.

I walked over to the crock pot sitting on the counter and stared through its glass lid. It looked like a rabbit had been skinned and hacked up. But that can't be right. I know we're broke, but we're not hunt-for-food-in-our-courtyard broke. When I removed the lid to look inside, I guessed that probably it was chicken? Maybe?

Could it be some special treat for the dog? Have we really achieved this degree of spoilery?

20 minutes passed, as I made my own dinner, frequently eyeing the crock pot suspiciously. When Devin finally got home, I inquired about the indiscernible meat wads in the pot.

Turns out, it was the makings of pulled pork. Hum. That's acceptable. It still struck me as odd, however, that he went through all this trouble since he hadn't recently expressed a desire for a 2 week supply of pulled pork.

His explanation of why he did it only led to more questions.

"Because Ryan dropped off this extra pig leg he had."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here's The Thing About Chad...

I must interrupt my plans to tell you about the bridal shower to show you this marvelous find. It doesn't need an introduction. I'll just say that I was at the beer garden at Venice Beach when I looked down and saw a little piece of paper. There's a front and a back side. Haven't decided which I prefer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Continental, I Can't Stay Mad At You

Hi. I'm back from my week at home. I have to tell you all about it, and I will. But I'm going to do this all backwards and start by telling you of my flight home.

I mentioned last week how United is a terrible airline and how if they were a person who was ever-so-slightly shorter than me, I'd punch them in the face. Well, they screwed over my sister on her flight back to L.A. from Syracuse, and she had to fly out Monday morning instead of Sunday night. They are jerks. Jerks!

And because nothing ever goes right when one is flying, I was worried when my father dropped me off at the Syracuse airport. I just wanted to get home and get there as soon as possible. I was scheduled to come in at about 10:45 am, which meant I could meet my friend for brunch and then have the whole day to unpack and unwind.

Guess how well that worked out.

I had a connecting flight in Cleveland, with a nice, short 50 minute layover. I got to the gate in plenty of time and waited, somewhat impatiently, as it neared closer and closer to our departure time and we hadn't been called in to board the plane. Finally, they made an announcement. One of those really awful ones that ends with a collective groan from 210 passengers.

"Flight 735 with service to Los Angeles will be delayed. There is a part on the plane that needs to be repaired, but we have to fly it in from Newark. It should get here by 11:30 am, and then of course we'll still need to do the maintenance...So expect delays of at least 3 hours."

The time of this announcement: 8:50am. Outstanding. Not to mention, I didn't care much for the idea of flying on a newly repaired plane. You know how sometimes at home you hang a framed picture or a shelf on the wall, and you fiddle around for 20 minutes and finally you think you have it set and you take a step back to admire your work...and then 3 minutes later it all comes crashing down? I pictured that.

So we were given $6 meal vouchers to go use in the airport to keep ourselves busy while we waited. That was nice enough, I guess.

Within an hour we had an update. The repairs would take too long and so they would need to fly in a new plane for us. But this one would have 30 fewer seats, and also wouldn't arrive until 12:30. After the announcement, I got away from the gate before anyone could bump me to another plane.

After many long hours of waiting at the bar, sipping a bloody mary and listening to two loud groups of Vegas-bound travelers make complete assholes of themselves, it was time to get on our new, smaller plane. I was miserable.

But then they gave us vouchers for 10% off a future ticket purchase AND made us fill out this other card that is mailed in and for a bigger cash voucher (amount TBD).

And there's more! Free headphones (I thought they were always free but I guess not) and free booze! Everyone was in a much better mood by the time we boarded.

From there, things were even better. They gave us sandwiches and salads and M&Ms. I can't remember the last time I was provided with actual food on a plane.

All of the seats had their own individual TVs, much like JetBlue, but instead of satellite programming we had 40 movies to pick from. I spent my flight sipping wine and watching A Streetcar Named Desire.


It may have been a terrible delay, but the flight itself was fantastic and relaxing. Continental, you found the key to my heart. Free stuff!

We finally got to LAX at about 4, which put us in at just the right time to hit rush hour traffic on the way home from the airport. I didn't actually get to my apartment until 6pm. Okay, so 7 hours later than I'd planned, but such is life.

What's that? You'd like to see another picture of Mr. Brando, but with more sweat? Sure. I aim to please.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making A List Makes Me the Opposite of Listless

There are 87 days to go until our wedding. I feel like it wasn't that long ago that it was 387 days.

[By the way, I want to point out that I'm not actually keeping count myself. There is a countdown feature on our wedding website.]

[By the way, when I actually mention that our wedding has its own website, I feel a little silly. Other events that have their own websites: The New York State Fair, Ozzfest, The Olympics. But they are a handy way to get information to your guests and practically everyone creates one for their weddings so I try not to feel like I'm getting completely carried away.]

[Great, now I forgot what I was going to say. And I'm abusing the use of brackets.]

[Oh! Right. The countdown.]

My mother and sister are hosting a bridal shower for me on Saturday. And then when I get back to L.A., I'm taking my dress for some alterations. And I need to send out the invitations in a few weeks. Basically all of the things that make it feel like this is REALLY happening are all happening from this moment forward.

I couldn't be more delighted to get this show on the road. Or, as Devin and I like to say, "Let's get this over with." {We kid, of course.}

{See how I've switched to these fancy brackets?}

Since the very beginning of this wedding planning process, I've been a pretty disorganized bride. I've meant to keep everything in a need order, take notes at vendor meetings, and make a calendar. Instead, I make calls from my cellphone while standing in the parking lot of my office, writing down unintelligible notes on scrap paper. The scrap paper then sits somewhere on my desk until I inevitably, accidentally throw it out.

I have succeeded in keeping all signed contracts in a binder. Everything else is stored entirely in my head. And it's getting crowded in there.

So a few days ago I decided I better type up a list of every loose end that needs tying up. No matter how big or small the task, from writing vows to buying stamps. I thought there'd be something like 15 "to-do" items.

Imagine my horror when I finished my list and discovered there were 48. And I'm sure even more tasks will present themselves as we get closer.

In fact, just as I was typing this, something else popped into my head. Outstanding. Must remember to order food from the macaroni and cheese vendor.

{Yes, I'm hiring someone just for mac & cheese.}

{Oh, and I just went over to type that on my list, and while I did that I remembered I have to make bathroom baskets.}

{Who the heck started this bathroom basket business? I know they are handy but they are also totally obligatory now because I don't want to be the one bride who doesn't put out bobby pins and tampons for the womenfolk.}

When typing up my list, I didn't rank anything in order of importance. I probably should go back and reorganize. But to get things out of my head I just typed up items as they came to mind. This is actually somewhat scary because I noticed that I thought of a lot of tiny things first:

#8- Check with site manager to make sure mason jars qualify as fire safe candle holders

And then there's this:

#47- How the heck do you get a marriage license and when?

I hope to god I'm not forgetting anything major. I don't think I trust myself not to.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Story In Which I Swear To Never Fly United Airlines Again But I Probably Actually Will If They Have the Cheapest Ticket at the Time I'm Buying

On Thursday night I'm taking the red-eye from here to Newark, and then getting on a flight to good ol' Hancock airport in Syracuse, NY. It's a pretty regular journey for me, as it's the way to get home and see my parents. But I always feel anxious about it because I hate having connecting flights. Oh, oh, how I hate them. And I never seem to be able to avoid taking them because, apparently, I don't travel anywhere large enough to have a major airport.

And that was exactly the case when Devin and I flew to South Dakota last month. I may have mentioned that we kind of sort of got ourselves in a bunch of trouble. I did not tell you why. But it goes down as the worst flying experience yet (which says a lot, considering I once spent the night sitting on the floor of Cincinnati airport, watching the luggage of 12 friends while they all went to sing karaoke at the bar of the airport Hilton...).

Our trip started off well enough (a sign I've taken to interpret as indicative of certain doom). We flew from LAX to Denver and made it in early, which was a relief because we only had a very short layover. We exited the gate from our first flight and made our way down the insanely long terminal, alternating between brisk walking and riding that human-conveyor belt thing. We passed 3 food courts and about 60 gates before finding ours, gate 86. Except our sign said GATES 65-86. I guess when you are taking a plane to a rather small city like Sioux Falls, they mush you into one stadium of a gate area with the people flying to places like Bismark and Boise.

The gate was chaos. Announcements were being made for 5 flights at once. There was some commotion about a delay to Louisville. Weird look people milled about everywhere. You know that scene in Men In Black when Will Smith's character is first introduced to the alien refugee area and there are life forms from other planets blobbing and bouncing around? It was like that.

Devin and I found some seats and commenced snacking while waiting for our boarding call. We waited and waited. Every time I looked up at the board there were about 8 different flights scrolling across and I couldn't really make any sense of it, especially after waking up at 4 that morning and getting no sleep on the first flight.

At one point, we very faintly heard Devin's name being called.
"Did you just hear my name?"
"Maybe? It sounded like it was coming from a speaker down the hall."

I got up and walked over to the desk to investigate. "Excuse me," I asked a flight attendant standing at the roped-off boarding area. "Are you boarding yet for Sioux Falls?"
"Oh that flight's closed," she said. It was her casualness that really irked me. "Closed" was like a sigh. Like she was a bank teller escorting me to the next window.
Immediately I felt a thud in my chest.
"N-n-n-n-no," I blurted out. "How is it closed already it didn't even board yet?"
"Yes it did. It's been boarding for a while and it just closed."
"But we've been right here the whole time. Right here." I pointed to our seats. Devin, who was standing a small distance away, sensed a problem and walked over with our bags. "Devin! The flight is closed! Do something!"
"N-n-n-no. We were right here. Just let us on."

At this point, another employee perked up at the sounds of an argument and was just thrilled to butt in. For the purposes of this story we'll call him Horace. He reminded me of Ken Jeong's character of the bitchy delivery room doctor in Knocked Up. The original flight attended just sort of glided out of the conversation. I didn't think it was fair she got to just dismiss herself. In a way, I blamed her for this entire event.

Devin and I were moments away from making a scene, so Horace moved us over toward the desk. We continued to plead our case. The speakers must be broken! We couldn't hear a thing! Horace assured us that they had paged us several times and that paging was just a courtesy (oh how courteous of them!) and that it was our responsibility to get on the flight.
"That may be," I tried buttering up to him, "But there is a lot going on at this gate and we were relying on the announcements. And when we thought we heard our names we walked right over and already the flight was closed."
"There were 40 people on this flight. Everyone else managed to get on." It was like a verbal bitch slap.
"The plane hasn't even taken off yet," Devin gestured to the plane sitting right outside of the window. "Just open up the door and let us on."
"We have procedures. The door is locked, we can't unlock it."
"Yes you can!"
"No we can't."
"Yes you can!"
At this point, a young guy came up to the counter and asked if Sioux Falls was boarding.
"Ah-ha!" I shouted, while pointing directly at the guy and smacking my other hand on the desk. I was like an over-excited prosecutor in a courtroom drama. Ah-ha! So you see this man didn't make it on his flight either. Ipso facto...quid pro quo... uhh...let me on the goddamn plane!

Before Horace could intervene I began talking to the new guy. "You didn't hear it either! They won't let us on! We're screwed." I'm helpful like that.

The argument continued for a few minutes and then I realized I was never going to win.
"Okay," I surrendered. "What can we do now? We still need to get to Sioux Falls."
"Well I can put you on the next flight. There are available seats. It leaves in 3 hours."
"What!" Devin was not pleased. "No that won't fucking work. I have to be in a wedding. I can't wait. I need to get on this fucking flight." My memory isn't perfect, so I don't remember where the fucks were, but they were liberally sprinkled throughout his sentences.

This is where things took a bad turn.

"Sir, don't insult me."
"I didn't insult you. I swore at you."
"I will call the police. I'm warning you."
"Call them."
At this point Horace picked up the phone and mashed away aimlessly at the keys.
"Please... don't," I said with no emotion. I know he just wanted me to stop him.

Then there was a bit more arguing between Horace, Devin and the other guy. We were now officially causing a scene and were, I'm convinced, mere moments away from hurling "Yo mama" insults at one another.

I had to intervene. "Horace, it's not personal, we just really needed that flight and we're frustrated. Devin, it's not personal, he is just doing his job and he can't bend the rules. Now please can we have the boarding passes for the next flight?"

Horace printed them out, mumbling something under his breath. As he was handing them over, Devin said "This is fucking unacceptable" as his final verdict on the situation.

"Alright, that's it!" Horace snapped, yanking the boarding passes back and tearing them up in front of us. "I tried to be nice. But if you won't do as I ask and stop it with the language..."

"Horace, please..." I begged. But I think we both knew he couldn't just rip up boarding passes. Still, he'd made his point. He collected himself and printed out new ones. We left quietly, searched around for a customer service desk, and then realized the whole thing was pointless and sat down at a bar to busy ourselves for 3 hours.

When it finally came time to board our flight, we waited right at the desk so as not to make the same mistake twice.

As we boarded, Devin was pulled aside for "random" searching. I can't help but wonder if Horace had something to do with it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Piss Or Get Off the Pot

I can't tell if I like that expression or not. But it's fitting. For months this blog has been circling the drain. I have trouble finding the time to write, and when I do I don't seem to have a lot to say.

I used to get many more comments than I do now (I blame myself). And I'm not the sort of blogger who claims to write just for herself. I do it for other people to read and chime in. If this were just for me, I'd keep my thoughts in my head where they belong. It would save us all a lot of trouble.

To make matters worse, a number of my favorite bloggers have closed up shop. Surviving Myself and Miss Minneapolis have peaced out. It's really very tempting to do the same.

But, I won't! I don't have a good enough reason to stop. And not only will I not quit, but I also will put more effort into it. For you, the 14 people who read this. All for you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

That Cookie

Today is payday. Every other Tuesday, at midnight, money is magically deposited into my checking account by some cashflow fairy who takes pity on me. And when I wake up on Wednesday, it's just like Christmas morning.

I have to admit, most pay days, moments after I wake up, I log onto my bank's website to see that the money has been deposited. There's never been a glitch in the system. I've never been accidentally not paid. I just do it because I know the money is going to be there and it makes me happy to see those little numbers appear.

It's a glorious moment, but a fleeting one. Usually by the end of the day 70% of my bounty has been doled out to bill collectors. This morning, I immediately started making some calculations of who needed to be paid and how much and by when.

Then I felt depressed. And also, had wasted too much time to do my Jillian Michaels workout DVD. Instead, I decided to take Seamus for a quick walk.

The sunshine on my face made me feel a bit better. And without realizing why, my mind wandered to thoughts of high school, when I had a free place to live and worked 10 hours a week. Ah, that was easier. Everyone I knew was an idiot, but still.

And then some music started to filter into my thought, getting louder and louder. "But in reality...something something...put my heart in a blender and still I surrender." It was a song that seemed to play all the time. It must have been the song that reminded me most of high school because it popped into my head. "Like a chump. Hey like a chump."

What the heck song is this? I was humming at this point.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. It was Limp Bizkit. Ah, my old friends. Who didn't love those guys back in the day? And who still likes them now? Nobody. It's sad, in a way. We've turned our backs on them.

I feel like an old fart when I picture how I'd react if I heard the song for the first time ever at my age. The lyrics, oh sweet heavens, the lyrics.

did it all for the nookie (come on) the nookie (come on)
so you can take that cookie and stick it up your (yeah)
stick it up your (yeah) stick it up your (yeah)
stick it up your

To this day, I'm still not sure what "that cookie" is. Am I supposed to know? Does everyone else know and they're laughing at me?

What's that cookie?