Friday, June 22, 2007

Things happen

Just visiting
Just wanting to have some fun
in the City
They go out
Older sister
Younger sister

Green light
Red light
Hit and run
Emergency room
Broken bones
Shaken nerves
Destroyed car

Family stays up
Everyone's okay
But not until you hug them


Sometimes God humbles you after you complain, I think. A couple of posts ago I expressed discontent at my relatives staying at my house the week of the wedding. Tonight, while assembling programs, eating home-baked cookies, and drinking wine, my phone rings (for the fifth time that night: sister, friend, mom, sister again, then this). My nieces have been in a car accident. They are fine, I am assured, but I get no story, as my fiance is on the scene and needing to be helpful. Later, when I call to ask, "When are you coming home?" I am told they are still at the ER. ER? I thought they were fine. Turns out Neisha, the niece who has lived with us for nine months, was driving, and has broken toes and a really sore knee. Cortney, her younger sister who arrived yesterday from Texas, was in the back seat and not wearing a seatbelt, so was thrown around and is just "sore all over". Friend Maggie took the direct hit from the car that apparently ran a red light and smashed into them. He drove off. Maggie is broken in many places I am told. Sigh. A keen bystander got a license plate. The guy has already been arrested. Score one for the police.

Things happen that make you realize you are family. My immediate heart jump told me how much I loved these girls I can legally call my nieces in just seven days. This thing we call family is crazy indeed. In seven days, I will have more nieces and nephews than my mother. One of them is older than I am. Two of them I haven't yet met. But they, like their parents who will be my brothers and sisters in law, are now my family. And they're wonderful. God bless them.

Other things happened today. It was a great day. Summer solstice. Productive errand-running. Bad news from afar, later bolstered with a hopeful outlook. Lunch and shopping with a dear friend in a quaint place. Dinner cooked alfresco. Evening spent with boisterous girlfriends. I could ramble on about each of these subjects. But I won't. Because things happen that overshadow other things.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tonight we went to Valleyfair. We planned to go after 5, for the half-price admission. $17.95 for five hours of fun. Well, I should've know we were off to a bad start when we didn't even leave Minneapolis until 4:35. Shakopee is a 25 minute drive when there's not traffic. And boy was there traffic. Crosstown was a complete parking lot; 169 was no better. It took us a full hour to get there. By the time we parked, paid and were through the gate, it was 6. Okay, I thought, four hours of fun. Not too shabby. We went straight to the Steel Venom, as it is closest to the front. We rode it twice, it shook us up, got us pumped for more rides. Then, as we were walking to the Wild Thing, lightning streaked across the sky. Uh-oh. Rides closed. It didn't yet look very threatening, so we headed to the bumper cars until it passed and rides re-opened. We bumped. It was fun. We waited. We had corn dogs (or Pronto Pups, as VF likes to call them). Waited. An hour later, rides re-opened. It was now 8:15. Okay, one hour and forty-five minutes of fun. So, to the Wild Thing. Rode it twice due to lack of lines. On to Xtreme Swing (very cool new ride last year). Also rode it twice not because there was no line, but because it's super exhilarating. Then, Power Tower once (ended up in this line for 15 minutes, because they only had one tower running). We were saving the new coaster, The Renegade, for our last ride. We were going to ride it as many times as we could before the park closed. 9:20. Plenty o' time. We head back there (it's way in the back), and the line is pretty substantial. We figured we'd only get to ride it once. At about 9:40, it started to thunder and lighning again. And they closed it. We didn't even get to ride it once after waiting for twenty minutes! We got bit by mosquitos, rained on, and all for eight stinking rides we've been on before. That is $2.25 per ride. Worst Valleyfair trip ever.

I realize this is less than insightful/beautiful/inspiring writing in any way, but I felt quite strongly about it, so needed to blog. Luckily, we are going to Six Flags on our honeymoon, so my roller coaster ridership will climb in a couple of weeks.

In Her Shoes

This movie is funny, honest, and altogether touching. The first time I saw it was in a theater with my sister (I can write about her with complete candor, as she now is a reader of this blog :-)). She lived an hour away, so we picked a theater half-way and met. It is the only movie she and I have gone to together in years. The previews made us want to see it together. Indeed, it touched both of us. We cried together and shared some things that had been begging to be spoken aloud for a long while.

Today, I watched it on my couch with my niece (in spirit currently, legally in nine days). I had the intention of mopping my kitchen floor today, but then I suffered a touch of diminished motivation (read: cramps). Anyway, the movie: watching it a second time made me realize something I didn't the first. This movie doesn't appeal to all sisters. After I originally saw it, I assumed all sisters should see the movie and realize the drama/love/connection between them. My niece, however, who has two sisters (and two brothers) didn't really seem to "get it". She at one point said, "I'm glad my sisters and I aren't like that." But the things about the relationship in the movie that reflect upon my sister and I are good things...kinda. In that weird good way. But I think you have to only have each other to appreciate this movie. No other sibling, and maybe something bad has to happen that binds you true to each other forever.

In the movie (in case you haven't seen it, I'll try not to ruin it), Cameron Diaz is the younger sister who has no job, no education, and significant problems relationally (she displays behaviors of an alcoholic whore...). Older sister Toni Colette is a successful lawyer wrought with self-loathing at her boring life. They are complete polar opposites. The range of experiences they have lead them to separate cities and lives where we follow them both individually without the other. Do they come together in the end? You'll have to rent it to find out (or read it, as it is based on the book by Jennifer Weiner, who I have read and like, but never did read this one). My sister and I are not polar opposites, we do have more in common than our shoe size (hence the title of the movie); actually she wears slightly smaller shoes, but I can wear them if I don't mind a bit of a pinch. But there are ways in which we are quite different. As the younger, I should mirror the alcoholic whore; I don't. As the older, my sister should be a lawyer with no boyfriend; she's not. So, it's not a perfect match of our relationship. But here are some points that are the same, both good and bad:
1. We can drive each other crazy. This must be true of all siblings, but we can be particularly good at it.
2. She is the "pretty one" and I am the "smart one". This is silly, however, because she is also very smart, and I am not exactly a hag. These labels, however, are sometimes inescapable.
3. She is skinny and I am...not skinny. Herein lies one of my greater "sister complexes".
4. Everyone loves her. Just like in the movie, I, the younger sister, feel like everyone likes her more than they like me. This is also silly, as we are both rather sarcastic and bitchy. And we're both kind of selfish. Hmmm...maybe we're damn lucky to be smart and pretty?
5. As the older sister, she took care of me when we were younger. She was mean to me, left me behind, and hated when I tattled (which I did a lot, since she was mean to me :-)), but she protected me from the bad things. Like in the movie, I didn't know this until we were adults. This was probably the most relatable thing in the movie for me.
6. I feel incomplete without her. Despite our differences and the fact that we most likely would never be friends if we weren't first sisters, I can't imagine my life without her. In the movie, well, wait, I can't write this without ruining it. So I won't. I am a courteous blogger. Suffice to say, they realize they need each other.

So, for many years, Les and I only saw each other every so often. She was busy touring the country on road trips, following her favorite bands, and I was in college, being confined by the worst relationship imaginable (the guy I was with, not was great, mostly). But in the last couple of years, we have become very close. This started, I think, with the planning of her wedding. Now, the planning of my wedding keeps us close, even though she is far away. Yes, she's gone. She, being a good wife, moved to Arkansas (it's not as bad as it sounds) with her husband after he was transferred for work. Sigh. Tear. Okay, anyway, her distance has actually brought us closer, as we talk now more than ever. Maybe she's just lonely, and I'm the only one who has time to talk to her for 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the afternoon, but still.

I miss her. She knows this. The movie reminded me of her and always will. The end of a very long post. Love you, Les.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Conscious Bride? Me?

I am one of five women with whom I work who are getting married in less than six months' time. Something in the water, I believe. I am very close to one of them, hang out (read: enjoy happy hour after work) from time to time with two others (but would like to be closer to both), and frankly dislike the fourth. But being practically surrounded by other brides while planning my wedding allowed (as my wedding is about 99% planned, I am using the past tense...ha!) me to get other "in the moment" opinions and ideas. Even though I have several married friends and a married sister on whom I could rely for opinions and ideas, it's not the same retrospectively. Brides often fall into the idea of "me, me, me", and believe me I have, have, have, but comparing (in a good way) my journey with others, helps me maintain a realism I don't think I could have otherwise. I have resisted (mostly) the comparison of "whose is better"(the exception lies in Molly's invitations, which are hand letter-pressed by an artist and hand calligraphed by her MIL...mine were printed at OfficeMax and were handwritten by yours truly, but I digress), and kept, for the majority, the gleaned bits of wisdom and advice of other real women experiencing the same thing in many different ways.

One such very wonderful bit of advice was to read the book The Conscious Bride by Sheryl Paul. The advice became a gift, actually, as Roshelle (happy hour) told me that I was more likely to read it if I had it in my hands instead of just absentmindedly adding it to my reading list. And, it had to be read before I actually got married which was a fast approaching event. (She gave me the book on June 6th; I read it [yes, in its entirety] today, the 18th, so I'm lucky to have gotten it in at all.) The book deals not with planning a wedding, but with the emotional stress and turmoil that lies hidden in every bride; hidden because society teaches us that every aspect of "the big day" must be perfect and blissful. Its seven chapters deal with such things as separation (from families, friends, and single self), the microcosm that is the wedding day, and creating new ideals for "wife" and "marriage". It includes many stories and testimonies of other brides who've been married for years or who are still fiancees. It left me with tears as I realized my own emotions, joy in knowing I was not alone in my feelings, and a sigh of relief that I had read it. Perhaps knowing what I am feeling is "normal" and knowing that I won't experience perfection ("Expectations are the root of all disappointment.") will lead me to a happier, healthier, funner (parallelism over grammar :-)) wedding altogether.

I will continue to reflect on what the book has taught me and will discuss it with Patrick, as a lot of it would be helpful to him (even though it talks about how different it is for a man than a woman). I will also gladly pass it on to any other reader of this blog who might also be a bride (cough, Molly, cough). I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clean to live, live to clean

I am approximately half way through this book. I am both amazed and disgusted at the things I am learning. The author has excellent tips and time-saving ideas that make perfect sense, but that I never would've thought of on my own. They're not all directly related to cleaning, per se, but also to time-saving. For example, he advises one throw out all of his socks, and go buy new ones that all match. This, in theory, saves time doing laundry because all socks match. Who needs 43 pairs of socks? he reasons. I chuckle here, because I probably do own about 43 pairs. And it does take an unreasonable amount of time to match them, especially because I have at least 4 different types of athletic socks alone. Time.

Okay, but here's the gross part: in the same chapter (the laundry chapter), it tells me that every pair of underwear worn only one day has approximately one tenth of a gram of fecal matter, or if you prefer, poop. He teaches that most washing machines only heat water to about 120 degrees. Most people wash their clothes in water even colder because of energy conservation. However, it takes water at a temperature of at least 190 to kill the bacteria. SO, essentially, if you wash your other clothes with your undies, you are spreading poop bacteria onto all of your other clothes. EWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Germaphobes should definitely not read this book. In case you're wondering, yes, I will be washing our bloomers separately from now on.

Despite the disgusting things, it is a great book that I highly recommend. It's really more of a reference book than anything else. It hasn't exactly inspired me to clean more, but I have houseguests coming next Monday, so if I clean a little bit each day, then it won't be so shocking all at once.

My houseguests are some of my future in-laws. They also stayed with us last summer for three weeks. This summer's three weeks won't seem as long because we'll be leaving for our honeymoon after they've been here for 12 days. They stay so long because they are from TX. Pat's brother is a fireman and he compounds his vacation time to one month in the summer, so he and his youngest daughter (he has five children, and at 18, she is the youngest; the second youngest is the 20-year-old who lives with us) can come "home" to Minnesota. What bothers me is not that they stay, I'm a generous person, and he is my favorite brother-in-law-to-be, but we are one of four siblings in the metro area, AND we have the smallest house. I don't understand why we alone have the kindness to open our house to family. Did I mention we have the smallest house? Our two-bedroom house has both bedrooms occupied, thus my living room becomes someone's bedroom for three weeks. Not to mention I have to worry about feeding five people every day instead of three. And I'm planning a wedding. But I'm not at all bitter. I am a kind, caring family member who will do whatever is necessary to keep peace and harmony in my new family. Sigh.

Monday, June 11, 2007

For Molly

Asked nicely or commanded I'm not quite sure, but alas, here is my new blog. Posting daily is a pipedream, but I will try to be consistent.


The first day of summer vacation lacks the splendor of youth. Or even of last summer. I fear this means I'm growing up; or getting older at the very least. Sitting, wondering what's to be done with this day is not the same as sleeping until noon and eating breakfast while watching the Bold and the Beautiful. (My goal is to not get caught up in soap operas this summer. I'm a hopeless addict, but only when available.)

So, to fill the void of time, today I will drive to my hometown and order a cake to serve 150 guests. One of the last things on a long list of planning the "biggest day of my life". Last night I uttered words I think I actually meant: I wish we would have eloped. I have always dreamed of a big, traditional, sappy wedding. This is basically what I have planned. Now, amidst the fervor of only 18 days to go, it is too late to change my mind. The day will be perfect; my marriage will be bliss; but the drama others cause make us roll our eyes and wish for a flight out of here with a JOP. In the last five days, we have had four instances of our loved ones making our day about them. My beloved and I are strong in our commitment and relaxed in our sense of humor, so we are able to say "no", and then laugh about said loved ones behind their backs. "No" to the changes, "no" to the other plans, "no" to selfish people who fail to see the bigger picture. It's about US, people!!!!! I might start uninviting people if this keeps up...

(If I knew how to post a picture, I might put one here of me tearing my hair out.)

Hmmm. What else is on my mind? This blogging is tricky business. No one (especially my one reader...) wants to know what I had for breakfast (Fruit and Yogurt Special K), but get too detailed and you become revealing, or worse, boring. In homage to the URL I chose for this blog, I will try to record memories, goals, thoughts that might be worth reading sometime in my future.

Here's a lofty goal I stole from a friend: lose 50 pounds by next spring, for a very specific reason. My friend is aiming for 100, because she wants to be a mommy. This is a very practical reason to lose weight: healthier baby. So, as it will take about 50 for me to be "healthy", I will shoot for this before "pulling the goalie", as my fiance's friends prefer to call it.

A little less talk, a little more action, baby. To the hometown I go.

(Happy, Sylvia?)