Wedding Shower – Mad Hatter Style

One of the main reasons for the weekend jaunt to Seattle was our wedding shower. The first big wedding event (besides all of those meetings with the church and the Deacon) we’ve had the chance to participate in. I realize now what showers are really all about. They are the warm up. They happen so the family you haven’t seen in 10 years, but are still important to your wedding day, can all get together and catch up so that the day of is the opposite of awkward, so that the day of is joyful.

My lovely aunt threw a beautiful afternoon tea for as many ladies as I could cram into her home with the help of Maris and Claire (who supplied the champagne, good girls). There were amazing scones, little sandwiches, amazing jam, cream, three types of tea, beautiful place settings, the whole 9 yards.

Claire put together a “let me ask you questions so I can guess the name on this card that I’m not allowed to look at” game involving famous couples. My mother was Angelina Jolie and the room was divided on whether or not Angelina was good or evil (ok fine, it was totally swayed to the evil side). I was Kate Middleton and guess who Kamel was? I’ll give you a hint, it involves a lot of cheese.

Continue reading “Wedding Shower – Mad Hatter Style”

Till Death

This weekend was a flurry of wedding stuff. We had the meeting with the Deacon to finalize our wedding service (on to the programs!), the tasting with the hotel to finalize the menu and our cake (cake!), our wedding shower (tea party!), sending out the invitations, and doing the preliminary table assignments (wow). It was all about checking things off the list and moving forward – which I love. Let’s get this party started, right?

While we were having a break from the hubbub, on mother’s day, and sitting around the kitchen watching my dad make hamburgers and sauces and coleslaw, I mentioned how we seemed to be the only one in pre-cana who had really talked about death. We’ve talked about what we want to happen when we die, what we want to happen if we are a vegetable, what we want to happen if we are diagnosed with something terminal, and we’ve talked about needing to write this down because when these difficult decisions pop up, we’ll need each other’s support.

And then it came out that that was the one thing that really freaked my mom out when we became engaged. Suddenly, they weren’t going to be the ones making the decisions about my health and my well being. For 25 years they had been the go-to, they had been the ones who could decide how to care for me if I wasn’t able to care for myself. But once I’m married it will be Kamel. My parents will have no say in any of those things, and neither will Kamel’s. It’s a huge responsibility and I’ve known it was there from the beginning. So we talk.

Kamel has pretty opposite views on death and illness than I do. He’s all for the fight and the holding on and I’m all for the quality of life and the letting go. We do What-Ifs. Like, “What if I have an accident and I’m in a coma and the doctors tell you that I can have a surgery that will make me walk again, but I could die, or I could live and not have the surgery but for sure never walk again? What do you do?” And then we talk about it. We talk and we talk and we talk because this is the most important trust we’re handing each other and I want him to know how I think and I want to know if (when) I need to make any really hard decision, I at least have a general idea of how he wants his health and being handled.

It may come off as morbid, as a whole lot of what we don’t want to talk about, but for me it brings comfort. I think one of the worst things in life is a young widow. It’s a special kind of tragedy. But what’s even worse would be to have no idea how to proceed with anything, having not had any of the conversations, and to be entirely alone in the process. So we talk.

Family In Town

Last Wednesday my best friend, Claire, came into town. It was 5 days of walks, watching Hoarders, Obsession, Say Yes To The Dress, and Intervention, and making dinner. It was totally relaxed and easy. Sometimes we did what we planned, sometimes we didn’t, and sometimes we did something completely different. It was awesome.

The search for Dim Sum was long and hard. Multiple locations were closed. FOR WHY DIM SUM FOR WHY.

Spur of the moment wine tasting instead of a hike in the Marin Headlands because the road is surprisingly closed? I. Think. So.

Easter lunch, complete with olive trees and sunshine.

Having Claire in town was the start of having all my chickens in one place. I miss my people on the regular. Love.

Combo

Last weekend the APW community read The Bitch In The House and discussed it at their bookclub. Reading through the discussion I had a realization: I am totally the bitch in the house right now. Totally.

I’ve been wanting to talk about how happy I have been. Seriously, I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t been THIS content since high school. And yes, I understand that most everyone does not think back to high school and have happy thoughts, but I do. I also had moments, even months, of contentedness in college, but those were fewer and far between. High school was just… nice. It was a challenge, but my best friends were there and I had amazing teachers, and it was just … nice.

And now, in my little apartment, with my husband-elect, and my life going somewhere (although at the moment it’s a little up in the air where it could possibly be going, but trust me, it’s on the move!) I am so happy. And consistently so. Even when I want to strangle Kamel, I’m happier in that moment and more at ease than I would be if I didn’t know him. Now, I’m not manic happy, I’m not jumping off the walls excited all of the time, but that’s not really the goal in life, right? For me, it’s peace and calm and an emotional evenness.

And yes, let’s go back to that Bitch idea. Because, although I am content and pleased with how everything is going, I am also frazzled and over worked and exhausted. Right now, I have too much going on and I’m trying to find a solution to it, but it all takes time. So, right now I’m riding it out. And that means I’m always in do-mode, I’m always multi-tasking, trying to fit in x to make time for y so I can get z done at some point in the finite number of hours that I’m awake for the day. And that puts a lot of pressure on Kamel and our home environment. So how can I be content and frazzled and at peace all at once? I’m not really sure, but there it is. It’s a jumble of the good, the bad, the ugly and it’s all truth. Kamel is frustrated that I can’t just sit down and relax. If we’re watching a movie, I’m working on something. If we have plans to go jump around in a giant room filled with trampolines, I first have to run a bunch of errands and work for a few hours because if I don’t, then I’ll be way behind for the rest of the week, and it’s hard for him. (But it’s probably harder for me.)

On monday I was doing laundry at the landromat after work and I had a basket of dry clothes to my left, and a stacks of folded clothes on the counter. Kamel was there keeping me company – but not helping, because that’s how we separated our chores, and …. I don’t like how he folds socks. ha. So, he’s standing there visiting with me and he had put my purse and a pile of wet clothes, that we later hang up at home, over on another side of the counter, next to some girls who were doing, probably, their entire mound of dirty clothes for the last month, and who were also, probably, about 20 years old.

So, Kamel and I are chatting and I’m folding (and I’m starving and exhausted and just trying to get through it) when one of the girls asked me if I could move my stuff. And instead of saying “Yeah, sure, let me get that for you.” I turned to Kamel and said “Well? Can you move that for her?! Kamel…!” Like a total bitch. Seriously. And I heard it come out of my mouth and I saw the faces of the other girls kind of roll their eyes and turn to each other like “Wow, SOMEone has an attitude!” And I was a little embarrassed, but mostly I felt this intense urge to try and explain to them that I was just hungry, and busy, and that he wasn’t doing anything but standing around, and that he had actually put my stuff their in the first place, and that I was surrounded by clothing and a basket, and that I’m actually a nice person, and they’ll understand when their priorities involve more things going to class, and etc. etc. etc. I didn’t, but I wanted to. And when I walked out I turned to them and in the nicest way possible said “Hey! And now you have more room!” but it ended up just coming out forced and sad and they didn’t even meet my eye when I said it.

When we got outside I told Kamel, “Those girls totally think I’m a bitch,” in a very dejected tone. And he said, “Yeah…. but who cares.”

And I honestly don’t have an ending for this story. My patience is thinner than usual lately, I have less time for relaxing, and sometimes I’m not fun to be around. But I’m happy. And I’m doing my best. And as Kamel reminds me almost every day lately, we’re in this together.

Kamel Perez Photography And You

You guys. I have been waiting to announce this for about 3 weeks (with two more announcements on the way! so much announcing!). Which basically means that all my nagging has come to a pointy head and Kamel can go back to playing video games and using his powers for selective hearing only.

I digress.

So first, you gotta check out Kamel’s website, Kamel Perez Photography. Kamel, in a former life, used to be a real life film printing photographer, with dark rooms and chemicals, and starving himself for camera equipment (and now he is a nerd prince who makes video games, just in case you need to be caught up). He had a scholarshop to sfai (where they eventually screwed him out of thousands of dollars, long story) and had gallery shows, and everything. Dude, he was even a wedding photography (more on that later though).

For now, I’m here to announce that we’ve opened a little store on his website. The contents are not huge, but! he’ll be adding more as he re-gathers his work from years past, and we go on more photo adventures. Also – I’m sure (because I know him and I say so) that if you loved a photo that isn’t in the store, he could print it for you. Right now there are 12 prints we’re excited to see on other people’s walls, a sample of which is below.

The prices are also very reasonable for scoring some amazingly unique art for your house. An 8×12 goes for an even $20 smacks, print sizes go all the way up to 20×30  (with smaller versions in-between) for $50, and he’s also offering a 16×24 canvas print (ooo canvas!) for $200.

We’re becoming quite the creatively financed house over here, and I hope you love Kamel’s work as much as I do. We have a photo collage (both big and small) half way finished in our dining room right now – we’re just waiting for the perfect frames to come along. Sigh.

Christmas In The Northwest

We just got back last night from Seattle and one of the best Christmases ever. Seriously. Family was amazing, having Kamel there was perfect, gifts were exactly what I wanted, girls Christmas was absolutely epic. It was a fabulous, exhausting holiday. I thought I would have more to report, funny stories, or over the top moments, but really it was just a great few days.

I hope your holidays have been just as great, and that your New Year continues to be epic!

*Those are my dad’s feet in the picture. At this point it was Christmas Day evening and we were all sprawled out on couches and chairs watching Star Wars on spiketv. 🙂 A lovely end to the day.

Father’s Day!


Thanks for being my dad. I get a full 50% of my awesomeness from you. (Shh, don’t tell mom)

Mama

Mama’s little baby loves shortenin’ shortenin’
Mama’s little baby loves shortenin’ bread
doo doo dodo doo doo dodo
Mama’s little baby loves shortenin’ bread

Happy Mother’s Day Mama!

Easter

Last year on this day I was walking the golden gate bridge(for the first time) with my parents. It was a beautifully clear, stunningly bright day.


My mom kept leaning over the edge, feeling the bridge give and wiggle with the weight and movement of the cars, the wind, the earth, and saying, “Feel that? You feel that in your loins! This is living!”

This year I spent the afternoon at candy land.


Ghirardelli square, actually. But pretty much the same thing. The land of chocolate, caramel, and ice cream wonder. After 40+ days of no sugar – no baked goods, candy, fruit drinks, nada – I came to binge on one thing only:


A giant chocolate chip cookie!! The last time I had one I had just driven down to SF for the first time ever and Maris and I were running around the wharf like silly tourists.


I couldn’t finish it then either. This thing is DENSE. And that’s as far as I got before feeling completely overwhelmed. And then I put it back into it’s bag and threw it away. It turns out I really like not being addicted to sugar. I still crave it, I’m not going to lie. Especially when I’m having a bad day, or am particularly stressed. But it doesn’t occupy my thoughts every single day like it used to. And it doesn’t torture me not to finish something sweet anymore. Although I will fully enjoy candy at movies, birthday cake, and special occasion desserts, I won’t be sitting in bed eating boxes of candy from walgreens, or buying those individual cakes at safeway + a diet coke and going at it with a fork. Yes, I know – FATTY. 🙂

Right now I’m hiding from the rain with Kamel, roasting potatoes, garlic, and squash. The grated parm is ready for sprinkling and the baguette is perfectly sliced. I’m watching one of my favorite heist movies of all time (The Italian Job) and dreading work tomorrow. It’s been a great weekend and a great Easter.

Hope you found lots of goodies hunting eggs!

Ladies Who Lunch

I had a luncheon with my grandmother, great aunt, god mother, mother, aunt, and cousin today. It was kind of awesome. I wish we had taken a group photo. I slacked on that end. I’ll share my favorite parts though.

The first thing my grandmother says to me when we get out of the car to walk to the restaurant is: “Are you wearing your hair straight nowadays? I always thought it had a bit of curl in it.” And my response, “It’s just the cold weather, give me a little humidity and it’ll perk right back up.”

My amazing ten year old cousin pointedly bee lining right for me and completely bypassing my mother. I totally win the who loves me more war. Ca-ching.

Everyone got the soup and salad combo. It was order by peer pressure. Everyone was up in arms. “Why just a salad? A SALAD?!” I explained it was to keep my figure. Everyone agreed they couldn’t find theirs anywhere. I want to hug them all.

My mother and my grandmother arguing over who paid the bill at the olive garden. They each threw a little fit. The women in my family are all so crazy. Present company included.

My grandmother’s parting remarks of “Don’t get too skinny!!” Bless her.