Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Last night I sweat it out hardcore sorting through other people's rummage for the Junior League rummage sale. When I got home, I remembered my bridal portraits in a week and a half and realized I better put some stuff on my newly develping zits. On top of that, I gave my face a good slathering with moisturizer from one of the new sample bottles of CeraVe the dermatologist gave me last month. This morning, my feet were dry so I put a little on them too.

Then I realized the doctor had actually given me two different samples, one of moisturizer and one of moisturizing facewash. Guess which one I slept in overnight...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the dash

You know what drives me crazy?!

I live in Winston-Salem. The dash signifies the historical merging of two cities, one ruled by Moravians in reenactment costumes and the other by wealthy chain smoking members of the Reynolds family. These two cities peacefully coexist as one and have been working hard to do so for quite some time. Until the mapquest guys came along.

Of their own accord, the mapquest guys decided that Winston-Salem is not a real city. To them, the dash is insignificant. Why not make it easier and just leave the dash out they say? Why because that dash is so important that young adults in town affectionately leave out the actual city names and just call the town "the dash". We're so in awe of this blending of two worlds, that we have used this moniker to represent a movement among young professionals to get involved and revitalize the city. The dash means something to us.

It was bad enough when mapquest dropped the dash, but now online ordering services are doing it to. I've recently received several error messages, yes the several does indicate my increasing fondness for online shopping, telling me that I need to use a valid street address or phone number. After several proof reads, I finally omit the dash and alas, my order goes through. It's making me crazy.

Curse you mapquest for taking away our history and all of you online companies for following suit. Long live the dash!

author's note: in case you can't sense my ironic tone, I'm really just pissed because when I fill out these forms, I know that I'm not the one who is crazy, they are! The dash really does exist.

Y'all come

We mailed out our wedding invitations on Sunday. It was quite ceremonious. Fred and I placed the invitations in the mailbox while my mom took pictures. Mom realized on Monday that we'd put them in the metered mailbox. oops. Now we're waiting to see what happens.

Our wedding is June 23rd, so we made the RSVP date June 14th. This is perhaps a bit early, but we have to let our reception site know our final count a week in advance, and we need a week to call the slackers who didn't rsvp. So.

We've recently been cursing the USPS. Of course, when we really think about it it is quite wonderful that they'll take my silly little greeting card all of the way across the country for $0.39, and they're really still being generous when they bump that price to $0.41 on May 14th, but in this particular circumstance, we're feeling quite screwed.

The USPS is actually giving a discount for overweight envelopes and reducing the price once you go over the $0.41 allowed weight. But, because we're mailing our invites out before the price increase, we still have the pay the higher rate.

However, since our rsvps are due after the 14th, we're also paying the higher rate for those. So, we're taking it in both ends. Clearly, Uncle Sam is excited about our nuptuals.

They don't have the new $0.41 love stamps out yet, so we had to use these.
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Not my favorite, but better than the ones with lady liberty. Plus, they look kind of old and classic.

When we went to weigh the stuffed invitations we found that we had two choices,
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or Martin Luther King. Don't get me wrong, MLK is wonderful, but we decided not to spotlight him on our wedding day. Unfortunately, the overpriced love stamps, only come in a bundle with the regular priced love stamps. Handy, right? Except when the USPS is robbing you blind! So, we splurged and bought the packet and now we're selling the $0.39 purple love stamps to anyone and everyone who needs to mail something by May 14th as we have a suprlus of 150 or so. Any takers?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Long Time Gone

I went and got you addicted. I made you think I was committed to posting regularly--even more regularly than I promised, and then I left you hanging. I like to keep you on your toes. I really have no explanation, well no interesting explanation, so I'll leave it at that. I like to keep the mystery in our relationship. But, I will return shortly.

Friday, April 13, 2007

sly like a fox

Last night I went to get my picture taken so I could finally renew my passport. I really should have renewed it a little while ago, but I had very good reasons for waiting:

1) I hoped to convince the US pasport office to just extend my passport for an additional month. Mine expires June 8 I'm getting married June 23 and going on my honeymoon on June 25. My name will change shortly after that and I'll have to get ANOTHER passport. Wouldn't this be easier for all of us if we just extended mine until after the wedding. btw, if this is happening to anyone else, if you renew your passport and your name changes within a year, it's free to get it fixed.

2)I didn't have any checks. I misplaced my one remaining check book and I refuse to order more for the few months I will still have this name and this checking account. That's silly. Instead, I prefer to save the $13 it would cost me to order more and waste it in gas driving to the far away credit union service center to make them issue me certified checks. Or, I make my fiance write them for me instead of paying me back for his half of our car payment. So, I waited for him to owe me money, so I could use his checks. Another fun side note, he has a sampe check pack from the bank so we really enjoy seeing which pops up. My Junior League dues were paid with an appropriately girly green check with a pink border that had purple polka dots. The passport people will be getting a horse check.

3) I was trying to find out how long renewals are currently taking. I don't want to pay to expedite if it isn't necessary. However, because I waited, now it is necessary.

4) I needed to have a good hair day. I don't like to shower in the morning because my hair is crazy and while it doesn't require a lot of styling, to wear it down does require a lot of rewetting and starting over. So, I usually wash it at night and pull it back for work. I also find that it helps reign in my beauty, which really makes working with people A LOT easier.

I worked an on-call shift the other day which allowed me to get off at noon on Thursday. (Surprisingly, sometimes it is actually worth working 27 hours straight to have the afternoon free-although I don't actually have any choice in the matter.) So, I washed my hair after work and went on about my activities. When I got home, I rewet my hair, reapplied my curly products and waited for the end result. I found it satisfactory, so at 10:30 I went to Kinko's.

As I sat on the stool smiling, (anxiously awaiting the surprise flash, I always start smiling early), the girl told me I could do that smile. I had to do something more natural. Um, this is pretty much my only smile choice, other than the ginormous smile related to puppies, babies, and 4th grade year book photos. She consulted her colleague after taking a subdued smile photo that included teeth. Nope, Joe says no teeth. Only natural poses. Okay, so I can't stand on my head, I get that, but why can't I smile?! So, we tried several times. You know this is going to make me look like a criminal, don't you? I asked her. She just laughed, and waited for me to literally get the grin off my face. I practiced a few times...she was very patient and I finally settled on a very slightly upturned close lipped smile.

It's horrible. My hair actually looks okay. My eyes are open. My earring is weird, but you can't tell. I applied some vaseline, as my lips are kind of dry these days, right before I went in, so the end result is a glistening sneaky little smirk.

Now, I'm praying that they make me take a new photo when I get the name changed. It's actually not horrible, but really unpleasant. On a funny note, my fiance, who always has to be reminded to smile, why do men do this?, was actually encouraged by the postal employee to smile and the guy cracked jokes to help him. I guess that's what you get when you pay two more bucks, that and you get stopped by security when you cross the border. You wanna show teeth you gotta pay the price, right?!


computer geek

I'm pretty a pretty quick study when it comes to technological things. I can program ANY vcr like a champ (sidenote, clearly I'm not that technical since I still use a vcr and not a dvr or tivo, but yes, I do know how to work those too.) I'm good at figuring out how to install things and put things togther and I like that sort of stuff. But, I'm here to make a confession, I do not know how to use a scanner. Correction, I did not know how to use a scanner.

For the past several days I've been trying to figure out how to use the scanner at work so that I can begin to compile photos for our rehearsal dinner slide show. Fortunately I convinced Mrs. L to do this task herself for all of my fiance's photos so I don't have to do those too. I have tried two different scanners and could not figure out how to work them. Normally, at this point, I would turn to the manual, but alas these are not my scanners, so there is no manual to turn to. Each time I tried I encountered a different problem. How do I get just the picture to save, not the whole blank screen? How do I save it as a jpg file and not a bitmap or an adobe file? How do I crop it? How do I turn it on? But, finally today I mastered the scanner. Well, perhaps master is a little too strong of a word. Today I scanned a picture, got rid of the rest of the screen, and saved it as a jpg file. So, 1 down, 85 more to go, then I just have to choose which pictures I want to use, put them in order and send them off by the end of the month.

Dear readers, for your viewing pleasure, the first real photo of me on this blog...enjoy.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Study of Schoolbooks & Shoes: A Very Special Love Letter

A Study of Schoolbooks & Shoes: A Very Special Love Letter

I just read this little story on Libby's blog. Libby was inspired by the contest Crane is running about treasured letters. Her story made me think of my own family's special letter.

My grandparents, though they loved one another dearly, were very different in several ways. While my grandfather was a sentimental pack rat, a trait I very proudly inherited and claim, my grandmother is a practical neat freak. When my grandfather died, my mother and her sisters tossed thousands of Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes forms and tax returns dating back to the days when my 60 year old aunt was an infant.

My grandfather served in the Navy as a meteorologist during the Korean War. My grandparents met while he was stationed near her home town and continued to date while he was "on the boat." My grandfather adored my grandmother and wrote her many letters telling her so. I asked my grandmother recently if she kept them and she quickly replied, "no, they were too mushy." "You didn't keep any!?" I asked her. "Just the one" she told me and then told me the story of my grandfather's proposal in a letter.

It's a sweet story, but it actually caused a bit of a squabble in his family because he entrusted my great grandmother with the task of giving her the letter and the ring. My great grandmother didn't consider asking her sister to be present for the moment and she was not happy about being excluded.

"Do you still have the letter?" I asked my grandmother.

"Yes." She told me.

"Where do you keep it?" I asked her.

"I'll never tell a soul," she said.

The practical person that I am, I thought that was so sweet, but worried that one day we'd lose track of this piece of family history.

On a recent trip to visit her in Indiana, my grandma and I began talking about the letter again. She brought it up and told me she'd found the letter and she got it out for me to read.

He described his love for her and how much he missed her. In it he said, "Alice Faye is singing our song." I could picture him laying on his neatly made military cot, with an old fashioned radio behind him listening to their song, "I'll Be Loving You Always," pouring his heart out to my grandmother, asking her to be with him forever, and then having to wait so long to hear her reply.

My grandmother has only shared that letter with me and I treasure that moment with her.

My beloved and I don't really have a song, so for our first dance we'll be borrowing that one from my grandparents. When I first listened to the song myself, I was overwhelmed with the most vivid picture. It was like a dream sequence, in old sepia tones, I could see this young man pouring his heart out to a young woman and asking her to be his bride, and I began to cry. The story still makes me weep.

So often, with our parents or grandparents or older folks we just see them for who they are to us. But, in that moment my grandmother opened herself up to me in a way that really allowed us to connect like we never had before. Suddenly, their relationship was about so much more than fifty plus years and a family and a lifetime of adventures. I could see in that moment that the four children, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren that came out of that relationship really came from the love of a young couple who spent their first date roller skating, and I suddenly realized the full potential of human emotions.

as if life weren't already difficult enough...

We're in the process of buying a new home. I'm also in the process of wrapping up my job, securing a new job, working 3 other jobs, planning a wedding, planning a honeymoon, trying not to get taken into custody by the IRS, and trying to sort and pack and toss my stuff, so life is a little bit stressful right now.

Late last week and early this week, we completed the process of loan preapproval. This is a good thing, and while the banks initially thought we were good for several hundred thousand dollars more than we did, we decided to use our own good sense and go for something semi reasonable. So, now we just have to find the perfect house. We're really wide open on this one, which our realtor loves, I'm sure. Between the two of us, we'll be working in three cities, and there's a fourth city in between, so our options are pretty open. We want something with space, character, and charm, and a low price tag. Easy enough, right? Wrong. We've learned in this process that my fiance does not want a fixer upper, though I have great aspirations of starting my own home flipping show. So, last night we ruled out the house where I knew I would rock my babies to sleep. (I guess I still could, but the owners might find that a little creepy.) Today we're back on listingbook, our local real estate hunting guide.

While all of this is stressful, it's also exciting. I am currently carrying around two large, but lovely flowerpots to sit on the steps we're waiting to purchase. I'm really excited about finding our first place together and making it our own. You know what I am not excited about though?! Someone involved in this whole home buying process has sold my e-mail address!!!!!!! My e-mail address that never gets any spam!!! (Well, I guess it does, but it goes in a little spam filter so I never have to see it, but this spam is elusive spam and it shows up right in my inbox. I know that I have not entered any contests, because I do not give this address out to businesses, it's not the one connected to our Listingbook account, it's not connected to anything, but they keep sending me messages!!! In the course of time it's taken me to write this blog, I've gotten 10 messages. MAKE IT STOP! I thought it was sold by someone involved in the mortgage stuff-because it was all about veterans loans and stuff, but now they're sending me tons of messages about children's clothes and diapers, soon I'll get info about is moving too fast, I'm only 27---LEAVE ME ALONE! hmmph.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

everyday is Christmas

The wedding gifts have started rolling in. Well, perhaps I wouldn't say rolling, but we have received TWO presents. I was given warning about one. It seems my friend's wife was bored at work and did a little online registry shopping. She meant to have the gift sent to their home, so they could bring it to the wedding, but when her sale was complete, she realized it was headed to Charlotte-without a tag or wrapping, so they called ahead to tell me to keep my eyes out. But, the other one was a complete surprise!

The first gift was this Iced Tea Set.
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I got a little trigger happy with the pitchers in the registry process. I don't know what it is about them, but I love them...and goblets. So, we're registered for about three or four, or maybe five, different pitchers or sets of glasses, some are sets, some are not. I may have to do some exchanging, when all is said and done, or I may have to throw a big fat party!

This was the surprise!
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My friends at work at Crock Pot Crazy! Seriously! They love 'em. I hear about the things they make in their crock pot all of the time. I recently got a "Fix It and Forget It" crock pot cook book and have tried making a few things, but what was most difficult about the whole process is that while you can leave the meal for several hours, when it needs to be off, it needs to be off, you can't just let it hang for another hour until you get home from work. So, we needed one with a timer-and now we have one! Hooray! I'll let you know how the country style ribs turn out when they're not an hour overcooked.

I have my first big shower on Saturday. I had an ornament shower in December, which was really fun, but this is just a general shower and I can wear a cute dress-perhaps the one I was planning to wear for Easter except it was FREEZING. The invite said regrets only, so we don't know exactly who is coming, but I've really been surprised by some of the folks who will have quite a drive to make it. It's going to be under the arbor at a restaurant just off my college's campus-where George Washington himself dined back in the day. I'm pumped!

PS-I've got to admit, it took a great act of strength not to peek at the registries while I was hunting for these pictures!

Monday, April 09, 2007


What a better way to honor the gift of the savior than by getting some serious stuff checked off the wedding list? That's how I spent my Good Friday.

After meeting with the florist, we sat down with the woman at our church to discuss our wedding bulletin. I know a lot of girls go DIY on this part of the wedding, but our church will not allow it. After seeing a few of the possibilities out there, I can see why. My mom was the star of the meeting because she'd actually been up all night assisting in labor--yes, like the kind of labor that results in a little tiny baby, or in this case, a nine and a half pound baby. About a month ago one of our ministers, and our friend, had a serious heart condition and has been in the ICU since. His pregnant wife has been busily visiting him and taking care of their other two little boys. My mom and another woman were stand in labor and delivery coaches for the big day. Luckily, Dad had just been moved to a regular room and was allowed to be there for the 20 minutes of actual delivery, but mom had a pretty active role in the whole process, and didn't leave the hospital until 5 am that morning...that made for a pretty eventful day of wedding errands--especially since she compensated for her exhaustion with coffee and little food, and it was quite hot in the alteration shop, but that is a story for a different day!

After standing for an hour in my too tight bridal shoes, uh oh!, my dress is currently being outfitted with a bustle and a skirt that I won't trip over!

And, I've lost 10 pounds!

Also, we may buy a house this week...pretty crazy.

But, the best part of the weekend, besides holding that sweet little baby, we stopped by the Banana Republic outlet and they were had 40% off of EVERYTHING in the store, and we had a coupon for another 20% off! I actually didn't see much I was interested in, but found several pairs of pants for my husband to be. Now there is a slight possibility that he'll be able to go to these wedding events without a massive ink stain on his clothes. :) hooray.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

china, and crystal, and stainless, oh my!

Since I posted the silver, I figured I'd share the rest of our fanciness...

Our formal china-(Take note, ours is actually VERY reasonably priced for a place setting.)
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Our accent plates-Holiday and Everyday
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And, finally, our crystal-not sure if you can tell, but there are actually little polka dots around the rim...they look nice with the china.
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These are all supposedly "fancy" items, but who can say what you'll want when you're an old lady? This is the only time I get to make a huge gift list just for ME--oh yeah, him too ;) And, all of my stuff seems to always be on sale!

I put it in the title, but forgot it in the post...and I know you all can't stand it any longer. The stainless flatware, because it will be forty years before we have any silver, and while I'm trying to lose weight, a girl's gotta eat!
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Silver Belle

My fiance, I should give him a cute name huh?, and I registered back in December at our local department store. In Charlotte, this store has really gotten huge and it's the only department store in the small town where he grew up, so when it came to our fancy stuff, we knew we were headed to Belk.

A lot of my friends have recently been saying that they're not going to register for formal china. Fine. So you don't throw a lot of parties. So it's just not you fine. It's not me either, but I want it to be, so I did. Actually, I think it actually is already me a little bit, it's just that I don't have the space or cash to assume my full identity just yet. I'm sort of like a superhero. I am Martha in disguise.

We started with the silver, because there weren't as many options in silver as there were in china, crystal, etc and we don't like a lot of options. We think we do, but we don't. Options overwhelm us. We chose a pattern that reminded us of my engagement ring. It's engraved. I love it. The name of the pattern is Kirk-Stieff Old Maryland Engraved.

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Silver is expensive. But, the fiance and I discussed the fact that we probably won't get much of it for a while. We'll add to it as we go along and maybe we'll have it all right before we die. Then we can pass it on to our children, or they can use it to pay for our funerals.

Mrs. L (the future mother in law) loves the few pieces of silver she got so much that she's used them at every meal I've eaten with them. She always tells me she wishes she bought more pieces when they were $9 a piece instead of $70. So, we chose silver and I love it.

A few nights ago while we were eating with my midwestern aunt, we were discussing the registry. She has offered to give us her china. I told her I'd still take it even if we do complete our pattern. Then, she mentioned she had inherited my great Aunt's silver. She said, I could give it to you, but you already registered for some. I originally debated purchasing silver at an estate sale, but I hear that it's hard to come by these days and I loved our pattern so we scanned away. However, as I mentioned before, since we'll only be able to eat the last supper on it, I told my aunt I'd still love to have her's.

"I'm sure someone will get you some. How much does a place setting cost?", she said.

"I don't know how much it is for a place setting." I replied, "but it's..."

She interjected "well, what about..."

And I continued, "about 69 dollars"

And she cut me off again, "oh yeah, people will definitely get you that!"

And I finally finished, "for a fork."

The she and fiance both chimed in, "FOR A FORK?!?!"

After a long discussion about my highschool friend whose silver pattern was started when she was young and completed on her 18th birthday, I concluded by reminding her that I was certain she'd paid at least thirty dollars for the necklace she was wearing.

"Yes" She agreed.

"Well if you melted that you could make the bowl of a spoon. You'd still need a handle, that would be another thirty. That means it's only $10 for the engraving. That's a steal!"

They laughed, but remained unconvinced.

Fiance could not believe we had these items on our registry and wondered what people would think when they saw them. (I guess he forgot the moment when we picked them out together.)

"I didn't know you'd turned into such a little Southern Belle" my aunt said.

Finally I silenced them with a phrase I have not used once during my wedding planning, but may have to start. "We're keeping them on the registry because I like them and I'm the BRIDE and I said so!"