Friday, August 31, 2007

Yes, there are good people in the world.

Have you ever had the experience of just looking at someone and knowing he/she is a good person?

I had that experience today. Myra and I went to the craptastic Baker's for lunch since I forgot my lunch. There was a nice middle-aged Hispanic man working in the dining room. He accidentally picked up my tray too soon. I wasn't done eating my fries. I asked for my tray back so I could finish and then realized that my tray was on the bottom of Myra's tray. I didn't want to eat the fries after knowing they'd touched the bottom of another tray. So he brought me out another order of fries. I didn't ask for them and didn't even want them (but I ate them anyway, of course).

I just thought it was a nice gesture on his part. Myra tried to tip him but he wouldn't accept the tip. He said our smiles were enough. And truthfully, he was probably being honest about that.

10 years later...

Princess Diana died 10 years ago today. It was an important enough moment for me to remember exactly where I was and what I was doing.

I was 18 years old and had finished my shift at the greasy spoon that was my first job. My boyfriend Roger and I went over to my coworker Melissa's house. We sat outside with her and her husband David, playing a game of dominos called Mexican Train (a very fun game). The night was hot and humid and seemed like a typical Texas night. We were listening to the radio and were shocked to hear about the death of Princess Diana. I didn't cry or anything, but I remember thinking how sad and unexpected it was.

I didn't know much about Princess Diana, yet I was appalled at the circumstances surrounding the car accident that killed her and saddened by her death. She was enough of a media figure to warrant great amounts of sympathy and sadness from those who didn't even know her. To me, she was the epitome of grace and class. Even while surrounded by the constant media circus, she always handled herself well and in a respectful manner. She actually was more than just a media figure: she was a human being. Interestingly enough, the truth behind her character and her life is still pursued by others. Sometimes it's best to let people have their private places. An argument could be made that it was a lack of respect for her privacy that led to her death.

I just can't believe it's been 10 years already. Time goes by so fast. Before you know it, the people that have had an impact on your life have slipped out of it, and not just by reasons of death. Thinking back on the death of Princess Di makes me want to hold onto those I love a little tighter, enjoying them a little more. You never know when someone you love will be gone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Turn up the volume for this one!

Time for another shamelessly funny video!

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Judy Blume.

After joining PaperBackSwap, I realized that more than anything, I wanted to revisit my childhood and adolescence. So one of the first books I requested was Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume. I think it's pretty impossible to be a woman my age and not have read Judy Blume as a young girl. I don't think I had read any Judy Blume books since before the blessing known as getting my period for the first time. It was pretty amazing to read how Margaret was so anxious to get her period. She even practiced wearing pads!

Looking back on it, I was pretty anxious too. It was almost a mark of being cool. I had a couple of girl friends named Laci and Shelly, and we all started our periods right after each other. Even though we all started within weeks of each other, whoever started first was more mature and cool, at least in my eyes. It's funny, but now I can't even remember which one of us started first. (Admittedly, I do remember that I started just before or after I turned 12, on a strange, hot day in June. I remember my mom telling me she was thrilled, and I wasn't sure at that moment what there was to be thrilled about.)

Oh, how I could (and still can!) relate to Margaret, a budding young woman stuck in a child's body, afraid to speak out about the boy she really liked because of her friends, subjected to being lied to by her friends, confused about religion. Margaret definitely is in all of us, but it's nice to know that she can be left behind as well.

Unfortunately, like all of us, Margaret wanted to grow up too quickly. Last night I felt like yelling at her, telling her to slow down and enjoy being young. I'm still considered young, but I miss the days of being bored, with nothing better to do than practice kissing. You know what they say about hindsight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Poor Manatee!

Is it wrong that this cracks me up?

I feel sorry for him, yet I can't help but laugh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Update on Me

Well, it's approximately 3 AM, and for some unknown reason, I'm awake. Normally I wake up in the middle of the night when something is bothering me/stressing me out, but I can't think of anything.

Lately I've just been enjoying having more free time than normal. I don't know what it is, but ever since the wedding (and probably before then too) I haven't been too excited about the prospect of starting school again next month. Thinking about my thesis used to excite me, but now the thought of doing anything academic fills me with dread. I considered dropping out of my program for about a minute, but it makes absolutely no sense to do that as I am already more than halfway through.

I have been reading a lot, but I have been really unfocused in my reading. I am not usually a person that's reading a ton of books at once, but right now I'm reading about 7 different books. I joined a website called PaperBackSwap, which will help me read some new books while getting rid of those that I don't want anymore (theoretically, anyway).

I have also been taking a lot of pictures. I have always been a picture person, but I have been moreso lately. I would love to invest in a good camera and several good lenses, as well as a photography class, but part of me doesn't know if I am serious enough about it to throw down a ton of money for it.

We got a bike for me a couple of weekends ago, but with it being so hot, I haven't ridden it much. Instead, we've been catching up on our DVD watching. One of the things Roy and I have always loved doing is watching TV shows on DVD. (I hate commercials, so I don't watch even my favorite shows when they're aired.)

We are still financially behind. Paying for a wedding and honeymoon will do that to you. We definitely have enough money to eat and pay our bills and have dinner out every once in awhile, but there is some music on iTunes that I have been dying to download but haven't. I also need to invest in quite a few items of clothing, as a lot of my clothes are wearing out, don't fit my everyday (work) needs, or don't fit. It's nice not spending money though. I like seeing how much we can save just by cutting back on frivolous purchases.

My newest obsession is reading blogs. I have become acquainted with all kinds of blogs. The ones, not that there are a ton, that I am most invested in are the melanoma blogs. I do not revel in the suffering of these people, not one bit. However, I gain so much strength from reading about their journeys through extreme and life-threatening illnesses. In these blogs I see the stripped-down versions of people, and it makes me realize how powerful love, family, friends, courage, and faith are. It is so hard to explain, but I feel that these people offer me something I don't have, and it's more than a new perspective. These people, with their desire to fight, have renewed my faith in the human race. That said, it is so hard to continue reading these. Most of them I came upon by accident, but once I started reading them, I instantly began to care about what happened to the person behind the screen. It's my duty to check in on them. I feel as if I know them and need to know how they're doing. With that comes heartbreak, but it's a small price to pay for being a part of their legacy.

We were considering moving about 3 streets over when our lease is up but have decided to stay put, unless our landlord raises our rent quite a bit. I think we are going to work on creating more room for ourselves here, with the intent of paying down debt and saving money to move out of state once we're done with school.

More and more I contemplate living what I call an authentic life. I have no clue how to define that, other than the fact that I want to live my life according to my rules and with depth. I think, for the most part, that I have a good life that I'm happy with, but I also have the tendency to think that the grass is always greener somewhere else. I have to constantly remind myself that here is where I'm supposed to be. I think much of my dissatisfaction comes from my job. I am highly underutilized, but lately I have been keeping myself busy and challenged by trying to learn new things. Part of me wants to be promoted so I can learn more and be more challenged, and another part of me wants to stay low, where I am, so I can fly under the radar and focus on school.

I've been feeling content lately. Maybe I'm getting more used to being a wife, although when I truly think about it, not much has changed from before. Having some distance from the wedding helps, if that makes any sense. It's been almost 6 weeks since we were married! Time just flies. We should be getting our marriage license/certificate soon. That was made way too complicated, but at least it's over now.

This is my life right now. It's a good life.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life's too short.

It would take awhile to explain how I ended up reading this blog, and how I came to be "acquainted" with this brave man (Bryce) and his family is irrelevant compared to the grim reality that he is fighting for his life against metastatic melanoma. I check Bryce's blog every day to keep myself updated on his illness, and I am continually amazed by the fighting spirit of both him and his wife Tammy. There are some truly amazing people to be found in this world.

I don't understand why people have chosen the comment feature of Bryce's blog to argue against Tammy and Bryce's decision to continue to fight the melanoma that is taking over Bryce's body. Furthermore, I don't understand why people use Bryce's illness to debate religious beliefs. Who cares if they are Mormon, Christian, Agnostic, or Buddhist? Why does it matter? There is a man who is fighting for his life. And there are many paths up the same mountain. Why do we continue to divide ourselves in a time when we should unite to show our support? I have never understood people's desire to point fingers or to claim their own religion as "the one true religion."

We all die, and if that is how Bryce's blog ends, then we should allow him to die with dignity. In the meantime, we should offer hope and support instead of judgment. I, for one, am wishing Bryce the best health possible and all the happiness this world has to offer.

A Trip to LACMA

Roy and I took a day trip to LACMA with Mandy and Paul yesterday. I have a huge love of art. I don't usually know what certain pieces of art mean, but I usually judge them based largely on how they make me feel and how well I (amateur art critic) think they're executed.

LACMA is an amazing museum. I don't think we even got to see the whole museum. There was a lot of art to absorb, and I distinctly remember sitting down in one of the rooms and thinking about what a huge world we live in. It is truly amazing how much history is contained in art. And it is also just mind-blowing how much there is to learn. Before yesterday, I had never even contemplated anything about ancient Iran, much less its art. But that was the part of the museum that captivated me most, and I can't even really explain why.

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

"Owl Chimera" by Jean Desire Ringel d'Illzach.

"Souis Bois" by Paul Cezanne.

I have no idea who did this one, and who cares? What really matters is that I had the awesome opportunity to say, "One ring to rule them all."

This is called an "aquamanile," which was used in ancient times to hold water for washing hands.

A trip to a museum is pointless without at least a little Surrealism! "Untitled" by Reuben Kadish.

Our companions for the day.

Mandy is so buff that she can hold a Japanese princess with just the palm of her hand.

And she can hold up a gigantic smiley face too. I really want to be her.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Congratulations, Melinda and Chris!

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my friend Melinda's wedding. Melinda and I met online last July on our local wedding planning board on the Knot. She emailed me once to let me know about some job opportunities, and our friendship was born. Throughout the process of planning my own wedding, she was one of the people who was there for me most. She gave me input and support and always played along with my jokes. And we each got to help plan each other's weddings, so I was really excited to see how hers turned out.

It was a lovely wedding and tons of fun. Everything turned out really well. I think there were a few snags as far as keeping everything on track logistically, but I only knew this because their DJ is a friend of mine (and he DJed our wedding as well). It was awesome to see all of Melinda's planning come together in a way that reflected her (I would say that it reflected Chris too, but I don't know him well enough to say that). And she was truly a beautiful bride.

This was the first wedding that Roy and I went to since our own wedding last month, and it affected me deeply. For some reason I was really nervous for Melinda (in a good way) on the drive to the site. And when she walked down the aisle (to "Canon in D," like I did), I cried. I never really cried as a guest at someone's wedding, but I did this time. It was a combination of being so happy for Melinda and also remembering my own wedding.

I can honestly say that after my wedding, I finally "get" it. I know now what weddings are about and why they're so special. It's not just about love between the two people getting married. It's about the love of family and friends as well. It's about joining two families together. It's so bittersweet, and I could see that Melinda was feeling this as she danced with her father to Butterfly Kisses. I didn't get any good pictures of the dance, but it's going to be a strong memory for me. Melinda was crying pretty hard by the end of the dance, and she and her dad, mom, and brother held each other in a big family hug afterwards. It was so touching.

I am so happy for Melinda and Chris, because I know they just truly love each other. Lots of love to you both! I know you are going to have such a wonderful life together.

Here are some pics:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Double Anniversary!

So today I have a double anniversary. It's been exactly one month since I've been "married"! Time flies when you're pretending to be married. I think everyone should forget that pesky marriage license; who wants to be legally bound to anyone anyway?

Call me crazy, but I do. Maybe it's just because we look so cute together.

Secondly, a year ago today, my lovely car that I had for 8 years was stolen. I am still feeling bitter about this, even though I got a new car out of the deal. No, of course I don't have a hard time letting go of things. It's totally natural to continue to be attached to a huge piece of machinery a year after it's gone.

Here are some pics of my stolen car after it was found:

The front area of the car. Wow, it sure was filthy underneath the seats.

The back area of the car.

View of the car from the open hatchback. I sure am glad they left that empty Dr. Pepper can.

They even stole the Acura emblem! Hopefully they used it to make a nice pair of earrings or maybe even a necklace.

The Great White Car in its final resting place.

To read my feelings on the subject soon after it was found last year, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Nerd

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

The Case of the Insomniac Fake Wife

Today (technically yesterday) Roy and I started calling each other "fake husband" and "fake wife." Right now humor is our only defense in an issue that is actually really stressing both of us out.

We have been "married" for almost a month. That's right, those aren't imaginary quotes you see. We are not legally married yet. We are poseurs.

Due to scratch-outs made by our officiant (and my brother) while filling out our marriage license, our license was deemed unacceptable. We received a courtesy letter notifying us of this 2 weeks after the wedding. I immediately called my brother to see if he had received anything in the mail, and he told me that he had been too busy lately to look through his mail. Fast forward about a week and a half, and he finally had enough time in his busy schedule to take care of this serious legal matter. When he actually looked at the affadavit he was sent, he noticed that the name of the city he lives in was spelled wrong. So he made a phone call to see if this is an issue, left a voice mail, and then missed the return phone call. And then he let two or three days go by without reattempting contact.

Meanwhile this weekend we received another letter letting us know that our license must be submitted within 10 days of the event. While my brother couldn't have saved the situation in time anyway, I am still angry and upset that he was okay with putting it off for this long. All in the name of being busy. I'd like to know who isn't busy.

For this reason, right now I would strongly advise that brides-to-be not choose family members or friends as vendors. I suppose that I did not stress enough to my brother that his responsibility as officiant was more than just performing the ceremony. However, the mere fact that he had to be ordained should have offered a clue. I know that everything is going to work out, but I also know that if we were paying my brother, this probably would've been taken care of by now.

And so there it is, the curious case of the fake wife in the night time (let me know if you catch that last reference). Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What's in a name?

Could I have picked a more cliche title for this blog entry?

So, Roy got his last name officially changed today. After jumping through many hoops, he has his mother's maiden name and what is now our new last name.

I've got to say that I feel that I have the best husband in the world for many reasons. The fact that he was willing to change his last name is one of those. I am a staunch believer in equality, and I have my issues that I get righteously indignant about. While I think it's fine if other women want to change their names to their husband's last name, it just wasn't the right choice for me. For awhile, I thought I would change my last name to his and then I realized I couldn't do it (for personal reasons).

So I told Roy that we either both had to change (or hyphenate) or that we were both going to keep our names. He actually agreed to change his last name, but it took us awhile to pick our new name. We were going to combine one name from each side, but I realized that Roy wasn't really into that. So I caved a bit and decided that we could go with his mother's maiden name, a decision that I have never regretted.

Anyway, for a man to change his name, even for purposes of marriage, he has to pay $330+ to file for the name change, fill out an assload of paperwork, and publish a public notice of his intent to change his name in a local publication for 4 consecutive weeks. The latter costs $80. Finally, he can go to court and have his request granted by the presiding judge, assuming there are no objections, restraining orders, etc.

This whole process just screams "LAWSUIT!" Maybe I'll let the ACLU know about this one of these days.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I have the greatest husband in the world.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

When the wedding's over....

I have yet to finish my long wedding story. For some reason, every time I work on it, I get really sad. I keep telling myself that I am just busy, but to be honest, I am not nearly as busy as I was before the wedding. No, truly the reason is that I don't want to own up to my sadness. This is supposed to be the happiest time of my life, right? I'm a young newlywed! I had a beautiful wedding to the man I love! I have a husband now! And other various statements that warrant exclamation marks.

Unfortunately, it just isn't that black and white. Yes, the wedding was beautiful, and yes, I love Roy and love being his wife. At the same time, I feel so deflated. During the planning, I would look forward to the time after the wedding with much anticipation. I couldn't wait to go back to my life again.

And now I have my life back, only I don't know what to do with it. It's hard to go back to being a normal person after being the center of attention for a whole day. It's hard to do when you planned this emotionally monumental event for over a year. Part of me wants to hang onto that bridal glow forever, and part of me is more than happy to say good-bye to wedding planning forever.

The older I get, the more I realize how strange life is. To think that an event such as a wedding would induce so many different and conflicting emotions in me is not something I would have ever believed before it actually happened.

So this is why I haven't been sleeping well. I'm trying to figure out what it means to be a wife while trying to let go of being a bride. I'm sure that I fit in somewhere but I just don't know where yet.

As with all things, this too shall pass.