Archive | October, 2009

Feeling Like Ugggggggh…

23 Oct

I have had zero motivation for life lately. Bed is my absolute favourite place to be. Preferably with my laptop open to my feed reader and a sleeping Steve beside me. Other than that, I just want no part of anything.

The past two days in particular, I’ve been really grouchy. Looks like 61 Days of Pure Awesome never really came to be, as the past few days it’s really been more like 3 or 4 Days of Moodiness, Depression, and Sulking. This is in spite of some really great stuff! We got our wedding photos, for one… they’re gorgeous and they capture exactly what I wanted to see. The only problem with them is me. Holy double chin and mammoth arms! I really hate looking at photos of myself, especially as I get older.

Speaking of which, I’ve decided to be proactive about that. You know me, I’m all pro-positive-body-image and what not, but there also comes a point where you have to admit to yourself that if you’re 27 years old and keep waking up with pain in your back and neck, you’re probably a bit too out of shape. I know I’ll never be a skinny size zero, nor do I have any desire to be, but I’d like to be comfortable in my body again. I really like this website called 43 Things, where you can put down your goals and write entries about what you’re doing to achieve them. I already had a general account, but today I started an account devoted strictly to fitness goals, so hopefully that will keep me on track once and for all.

How do you become the kind of person who bounds out of bed first thing in the morning, eager to greet the world? I’ve never been that… but I really want to be.

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Apologies…

19 Oct

Hello, reading public. There may not be too many of you, but I feel like I need to apologize to the few of you who actually do stop by to read my ramblings once in awhile. I feel like I’ve been somewhat derailed ever since the wedding, which was almost a month ago now.

In spite of my lack of updates, life’s been pretty good. Can I just say that being married is amazing and I recommend it to anyone? Failing that, just save up and buy a breadmaker. We got one as a gift, and I have not eaten sliced bread since. The apartment smells of fresh baked bread on a pretty much daily basis. It’s brought my quality of living up. By a lot.

Speaking of quality of living and the fluctuations that always take place within it, let’s talk about FarmVille. I am so addicted to FarmVille, it’s actually becoming gross. I was one of those people who played NeoPets far too long into adulthood so even though I resisted at first, I’m not entirely surprised that FarmVille has actively taken over my life.

Things I could be doing instead of playing FarmVille:
+ Writing in my journal. Or blog. Hi.
+ Reading a nice novel.
+ Taking a nice bath.
+ Researching jobs in new parts of the country.
+ Pajama dance party.

…but then my pumpkins might wither!!

Anyway… I didn’t come here tonight intending to drone on about FarmVille and how much I love it. I came here to apologize for not being around more often, and also for not replying to comments in a timely manner. I found some today that had been hidden by the spam filter, and they were lovely comments! So I feel bad not getting to them sooner. I promise, friendly commenters, I was not ignoring you… I’m just too vapid to see what’s right there staring me in the face sometimes.

The few boys foolish enough to ask me out during high school would heartily agree with that last statement, I’m sure.

But those are stories for another time.

Faceoff.

15 Oct

I have a story for you.

So I started dating this guy… um… Stan… in college. And when I say dating, I mean “having casual sex with while pining for.” Stan was one of those guys who just won’t commit. In his case, it was mad loads of baggage. “I don’t want to put a label on this because every time I say it’s exclusive with a girl, she starts acting differently.” Well, um, yeah… she starts expecting you to treat her like a girlfriend instead of some random you picked up at a bar that night, but I digress.

Basically, everything that ever happened with this guy was motivated by his jealousy. After a year of “hanging out,” he saw some other dude hitting on me at a party and declared that okay, we can tell people we’re exclusive… but I’m not using the word girlfriend! And poor, desperate girl that I was… it seemed good enough to me! So then a year of that happened, and some dude kissed me at a New Year’s Eve party, and honest girl that I am, I told him about it… and then, and only then, it became okay I do want you to be my girlfriend.

Incidentally, the reason I wasn’t with Stan on New Year’s Eve is because he didn’t actually invite me to his New Year’s party. So I didn’t feel too bad, all things considered, when the other guy made his move at midnight. Did I mention The Other Guy was a friend of Stan’s? Ouch.

Anyway… our sordid dating history doesn’t much matter. Our sordid breakup history, on the other hand… well, that’s where it gets tricky.

See, after four years of “hanging out” with Stan, and being his girlfriend and all, I started to get a little sick of him always going out with his friends and never so much as inviting me. So, after the flobbedyjillionth argument we had about it, I just decided that two could play that game, and let’s see how he felt about it when I started going out with my friends and not telling him about it or asking him to take part. Take that!

Okay so he didn’t exactly notice that I was playing that game. Because he was too busy smoking pot with his friends and not calling me.

So, y’know, too bad for him, I guess, when on one of my outings with a friend… I met Steve. After we met, Steve and I struck up a friendship mostly over msn… he lived far away so we couldn’t exactly hang out in person a lot. And before you knew it, we were up all hours of the night, getting to know each other. One of the first things I said to him was “wanna be best friends?” because he was just that awesome. He proposed hanging out in person sometime soon, to which I said sure.

Soooo, we got together one day and were hanging out at the marina when my phone rang and I knew it was going to be trouble. Jealous, remember? So I tried to keep things short and sweet. I don’t like talking on the phone when I’m out with other people anyway, I think it’s a decidedly un-classy move. But of course, by being brief, Stan thought I was “hiding something,” so he proceeded to call me something like eleven times over the course of the day and evening. I found out later that he even went so far as to try to track us down, but when I had told him where we were, he misheard and headed somewhere else instead.

Stan and I continued to date for the next year or so. I was very torn between him and my new friend Steve. My loyalty, and that stupid girl-voice that tells you “no relationship is perfect, we should try to work through this!” kept me tangled up in that awful relationship for far longer than I should have been. It was an awful year. I was expressly forbidden to speak to Steve, which I had a huge problem with, but what can I say… I wanted to do what was “right.” Part of me couldn’t let go, though… so I filled my MySpace blog with hidden messages to Steve. I wasn’t technically talking to him, I was just blogging, right? What can I say, I love a good loophole!

At the end of that year, I tried over and over to break up with Stan. First in person, then over the phone even though I think it’s cruel to do that, because he just wouldn’t let go. If we were speaking on the phone, he wouldn’t let me hang up. He would always say “let’s just go for a drive and talk about this” and then wouldn’t let me out until I agreed to give him just one more chance. I remember one time I even texted a friend to say this is where I’m going and this is who I’m with, on the offchance that something happened. I’m sure he’d deny it up and down that anything creepy and stalkery ever went down, but it was definitely… wrong. Anyway, it got to the point that I was going on squeaky clean dates with Stan, but then going home and talking to Steve on the phone all night. I felt like I had two boyfriends. My mom even started referring to Steve as my boyfriend.

Eventually, Stan picked me up to drive and “talk” and I really didn’t want to go… but I did. He drove me around and we talked about mundane things, and I actually caught myself thinking “wow… maybe we actually can be friends after all this!” when he piped up “You know, I just don’t think I can do this anymore.” And I laughed as I asked “Do what?” and of course it led to an explosive fight where he told me I’m too demanding and I told him he was never good enough for me and everybody knew it. The conversation ended with the words f%*@ you from both parties, and me on the phone to Steve to say “it’s finally over” before both feet were even out of Stan’s car.

During one of the endless breakup arguments, Stan told me “You can date anyone you want… just not Steve.” And then I ended up marrying Steve.

So guess who Steve and I bumped into today!

I wish I was kidding. We were walking in the freezing cold down to Starbucks because I needed some fresh air and Steve is a really nice guy. So we’re walking along, and I see this tallish fellow walking toward us, and… ohmigod! I can’t even describe the emotion that washed over me. It was like a mix of fear and surprise and for some reason guilt, and a tiny, tiny bit of giddiness, victoriousness almost. I just grabbed for Steve’s hand, which unfortunately was ensconced deep in his sleeve because it was mothereffing cold out there today. So I clung to his sleeve and stared hard at the ground as we booted it right on by. Stan sort of ducked into a ┬ábus shelter for a moment as we passed, and then seemed to think the better of it and came speeding back out, continuing to walk in the direction opposite to us.

There’s part of me that feels like, “Was that really him?” But of course it was. You spend four years of your life with someone, you know them when you pass them in the street. Still, he seemed taller. His hair looked thinner. It was surreal.

The worst part is that there’s really nothing in my neighbourhood that would draw a person to it if they didn’t already live there. It’s basically purely residential, with a couple of schools, a bookstore, and an Ikea nearby. And Stan was never really an Ikea kind of guy, nor was he carrying anything as he headed away from the shops. He has every right to live wherever he wants to live, but it definitely got my defensive guard up a little bit. I’m a little worried that he lives in our building. Not that I think it would be a problem in any way; just that he’s the absolute last person I care to run into even once in awhile, never mind on a semi-regular basis. What if I got stuck in an elevator with him?? Purest vision of hell.

So, anyway, that’s your little personal-journally update for the day. Seriously, what do you do when you run into an ex with whom you did not part on good terms? Are you supposed to say something? Acknowledge them at all? Or just grab your husband’s hand, look down, and run like the wind?

A List!

14 Oct

Current loves…

Yoko Ono
She’s just so small and cute and absurd! And regardless of whether you think she broke up The Beatles or not (I think “not”… I blame Paul), you have to admit she was stunningly beautiful in her youth.

John Lennon
Everything about him was incredible. Still is. I worshipped him in high school and I still do today.

Lady GaGa
So who here has figured out that I just watched Lady GaGa’s cover of Imagine? I tried to hate on GaGa, I really did. I thought she was a trite little pop tart and… kind of gross. I still maintain that she is all these things but damned if I don’t love her for it!

Zooey Deschanel
Ahhhhhhh, Zooey. My ultimate girlcrush. I don’t remember what first brought her to my attention, but I remember back in the day, it was all about Parker Posey and Zooey Deschanel (we pronounced it “du-SHAY-nel” because none of us had actually heard her name said out loud). Parker Posey kind of irks me these days but my love for Zooey will never die, no matter how many cheesy commercials she does for cotton! (On an aside, why does cotton need to advertise?)

Joseph Gordon Levitt
Yes, I watched 500 Days of Summer again just recently. But can you really blame me for noting the fact that the kid from 3rd Rock grew up really nicely? No you cannot. Next!

Drew Barrymore
Did you see Whip It? See Whip It! I’ve barely paid attention to Drew for a long, long time, but this movie absolutely reinvigorated my love for her. When I was in high school people told me I looked like her. I look nothing like Drew Barrymore. They only said it because I idolized her and as such, I made a big show of incorporating butterflies and daisies into whatever facet of my life that I could. Ahhh, remember 90’s Drew?

PMAcast
Not a person; My favourite podcast! Where have you been lately, lover?

Skirts!
I don’t wear skirts. Real women have curves and curves chafe. But then I discovered, everybody’s been wearing shapewear this whole time, and that’s how they avoid the discomfort in their cute, cute skirts! Now you tell me! So after a youth misspent wearing exclusively pants, I declare this The Era of Skirts! I only own two and one is a summer skirt… but dammit, I can get more! I’ll make them if I have to!

Bodycology
It’s Philosophy meets Bath and Body Works… and it’s sold at Wal Mart for seven bucks. There is very little not to love here.

Wedding Snark

8 Oct

Okay… this is the dishy post where I talk about the vendors I had bad experiences with. Disclaimer: All of this is just my personal opinion stemming from my personal experiences, yada yada yada. Alright, with that out of the way, are you ready for some snark? Good, me too…

First up, and probably worst up: Martino’s Bridal on Bank Street. Awful, awful, awful experience. In spite of some mild protesting coming from the wedding party, I insisted that the dresses be ordered in April, shortly after Easter. Why? Because I am paranoid and neurotic, and I tend to assume that the worst will happen, so I expected something to go wrong with the bridesmaid dresses, just as I expected something to go wrong with everything else. At least with regard to everything else, I was pleasantly surprised when it all went according to plan. As for these bridesmaid dresses… we ordered them around April 20th and were assured they would arrive within 6 to 8 weeks, as is standard. 8 weeks passed before I even noticed, so it was probably more like 10 weeks after the fact when I called to follow up. No, they’re not in yet; they will be here by the end of August. Given the fact that the wedding was September 20th, that seemed to be cutting it a little close, but it’s not like there was anything I could do to speed the process up, so I accepted that. September 1st rolls around and still no dresses, so I’m back on the phone. Where are my dresses?? Oh, they should be in within the next three days. Three days goes by and again I’m back on the phone. WHERE ARE MY DRESSES?? It’s only at this point that I get actively pissed off. I hounded them all day that day. I got my mom and my bridesmaids to hound them too. It was arguably my one bridezilla moment. But we got the dresses the next day. Fancy that.

Might I add, during one of these phone calls, the sales associate to whom I was speaking snapped at me when I asked when she would be checking the day’s order to see if my dresses were there. “I was just about to before the phone rang.” Oh right, because this is my fault. Sorry to stress you out so much, lady, but this is my wedding we’re talking about here!

It’s also worth noting the fact that at no point did any of the sales associates at Martino’s apologize to me for the situation. The day the dresses arrived, my mother went straight to the store to pick them up, and the lady there at the time told her to tell me that she was sorry, but a direct apology would have been nice.

First runner up for worst service ever: Zeina, the seamstress from The Perfect Alteration. Was her work good? Sure. Was it bloody expensive? Heck yes! Was the bridesmaid dress ready for pickup on September 18th, two days prior to the wedding, the date upon which we all agreed that the dress would be collected by myself and my bridesmaid? Hell no!! Pins, everywhere! Raw edges, everywhere! My bridesmaid, being yelled at for not bringing the shoes we didn’t realize she’d need as we were under the impression the dress was being picked up for the wedding taking place not 48 hours later! And also being told repeatedly that she’d need to wear Spanx. Thanks, Zeina, but we came for the alterations, not for the running commentary on our body types. She does good work but her concept of customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

Lastly… Eternity Bridal! Understand, when I went there about a year ago when I began searching for my dress, the experience was fantastic. The dress was perfect and reasonably priced, the store was cute and classy with a good selection of styles and sample sizes, and the service was impeccable… they even threw in a free veil and throwaway garter! So why am I hating on them now? Simple: They’re the ones who directed me to Zeina. Not such a big deal in and of itself, but when I wrote an email recently to inform them of my overwhelmingly negative experience with her, thinking that they would appreciate the feedback, they wrote back with a long defense of her behaviour (essentially saying that they are aware of how rude she is but they believe her work justifies it), and said that she must not have been aware of the wedding date if the dress was not ready by the 18th as expected. Read: “It has to have been your fault.” Yeah, except it actually wasn’t my fault at all. I understand that the ownership of Eternity Bridal has changed since I bought my dress there, so even though my experience buying a dress from them was positive, I’m not so sure I’d recommend them anymore. Their response to my complaint smacked of ego; obviously they value their own opinions more than feedback from unhappy customers.

All of this being said, I consider myself very lucky, because aside from an issue with a girl who agreed to stand in my wedding party and then backed out right before the bridesmaid dresses had to be ordered, that was really the extent of my wedding drama. From what I understand, it’s usually a lot, lot more challenging. I tried to take a pretty relaxed approach to the wedding and had no expectations of “perfection” or a “dream day” or anything like that, so I think it made it easier. Yes, there were small details that I probably would have changed in retrospect, but nothing aside from these three experiences actively upset me. Based on my experiences with them, I would definitely caution any other Ottawa brides-to-be against using services from the aforementioned places and people.

Wedding Tips

8 Oct

The thing about planning a wedding is that, ideally, it’s something you only do once in your life… so it’s not something you get a practice run at. Things either go according to plan, or they don’t. Lucky for Steve & me, everything went perfectly on our wedding day, due in no small part to the built-in event planner from the venue… but her talents and time notwithstanding, I still think I learned a trick or two. So now it’s time to share.

Start early and stay on top of things.
It’s true what they say, wedding planning happens in spurts: A flurry of activity right after the proposal, and another burst right before the ceremony. Things sort of die down in between. Take advantage of that time to finish little tasks. Figure out what you want to take a diy approach toward, and then make a plan for getting those things done. And don’t forget, there are certain tasks that you simply can’t do unless you’ve completed the pre-requisites first. For example, you can’t finalize anything to do with the ceremony, really, until you’ve met your officiant. You can’t meet your officiant until you have your marriage license. You can’t get your marriage license more than 3 months ahead, or else it will expire. Plan for such details accordingly.

Use a checklist from an established bridal website or magazine to help keep you on track.
Bridal checklists are all over the internet… I used the one from theknot.com and found it useful. I also liked the Real Simple wedding book. They release a new edition every year; it costs about 10 bucks and you can find in the magazine section of any bookstore. A tip, though: Check off any items that don’t apply to you the instant you are 100% sure they won’t apply to you. For example, I like to live on the edge (and I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for about 11 years, so I know what to expect from her), so I didn’t do a trial run on my hair. Cross that off the checklist! Why? Because if you’re staring at a list with a million unchecked to-do’s on it, you’ll get real stressed real fast. Eliminate whatever you can, as soon as you can.

Don’t bother writing your own vows.
The pros already have this covered for you. Steve and I wrote our own, and then ultimately decided to go with the most traditional vows that our officiant had in his book. We put what we had written toward speeches instead. Speaking of which…

Don’t forget, you have to give a speech!
Traditionally, the groom speaks and the bride may or may not choose to. Personally I think that’s a bit outdated and I appreciate it when both the bride and groom say a few words, so Steve and I planned for both of us to speak. Unfortunately, neither one of us wrote things down ahead of time, nor did we confer on how we expected the speech to go. I’m fairly adept at public speaking, so my portion of the speech went fine (I think), but Steve’s was a tad… um… shaky (sorry babe, you know it’s true though!). If you’re not used to public speaking, definitely write things down beforehand, and practice until you feel comfortable.

Know that nobody’s going to care if you cut a few corners.
It’s not necessary to have crazy expensive favours (nobody remembers them anyway) or a decked out wedding website unless that’s what you want to have. Basically, don’t get caught up in little details that are meaningless to you. Save your energy for more important things (like picking the music!).

Finalize prices with vendors well in advance.
Not gonna lie, I got sticker shock from a few things… but by the time I found out how much it cost, it was too late to renege. Get all your estimates well in advance.

Exploit friendships wherever possible, but do so carefully.
We had friends take care of the cake, photography, makeup, and flowers, because we have friends who are bakers, photographers, makeup artists, and florists. If you have connections to pros or semi-pros, don’t be afraid to ask them if they will take part in your wedding! Just be cautious: A wedding is a Big Deal, so if you don’t think your friend can tackle the challenge with professionalism, it’s better not to ask in the first place so nobody winds up angry or with hurt feelings.

Give up-and-comers a chance.
If you can get recommendations for amateur vendors who are trying to get their start (ex: student photographers), then why not give them the opportunity? If their sample work is up to snuff, there’s no reason not to give them the experience… and usually they don’t charge as much so you can save a couple bucks here too!

Use Google to search for the best vendors and sites.
The internet makes it easy to get referrals to excellent venues, dj’s, photographers, and so on. Use Google, or search wedding communities such as theknot.com or weddingbells.ca. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure all your vendors are on the up and up.

Set limits on how many vendors you are going to go see.
From the beginning, Steve and I made a rule that we would only see five or six vendors for any given aspect of our wedding. So, six venues, six photographers, six bakers, etc. etc. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting caught up in the mentality that there might be something better out there that you’re missing out on. Set limits, stick to them, and save your sanity.

Bring flip flops!
My shoes seemed comfy enough, so like an idiot I skipped bringing a second pair of shoes to the ceremony. By the end of the night I was dancing barefoot and I was very, very dirty. They’re not kidding when they say bring a pair of shoes!

Don’t stress too much about losing weight beforehand.
They all know what you look like. And spanx really do work wonders!

That’s all I have for now, but of course I will add to this if I think of any new words of advice to share.

My Body Aches.

6 Oct

Like seemingly every other bride-to-be, I decided in the months leading up to the wedding that I wanted to try to drop a few pounds.

Unlike seemingly every other bride-to-be, I decided shortly thereafter just to say screw it. It’s not like they don’t know what I look like. So on my wedding day, I was fat and happy. Partly because they wouldn’t stop feeding us! There are some excellent photographs of us literally choking down our wedding cake because we’re so damn full. You know that rumour about how the bride and groom always go hungry on their wedding day? It’s not true! Anyway… as I was saying… fat and happy…

But now that the wedding is behind us and I no longer have things like seating charts and diy guestbooks to fret about, I figured maybe it’s finally time to start being a little more active again. I have low back problems which flare up when I’m becoming too sedentary, and I was noticing that old familiar twinge, so I busted out some exercise dvds that have been collecting dust on the shelves since… well, since I bought them.

Can I just say, one of my favourite things in the world is watching the instructors on those dvds getting progressively more exhausted. One of the best I’ve ever seen is from Carmen Electra’s stripper series… it’s the one where she and a trainer are just doing basic cardio, none of that peeler bar stuff. Her trainer just bounces right on through it as Carmen Electra begins to die. I love it.

One of my least favourite things in the world, however, is not being able to get through even the beginner’s workout on whatever dvd I have selected for the day… and still feeling like hell afterwards! Yesterday I followed a program that was sort of a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training (the kind that uses your body’s own resistance, as opposed to using weights), and it knocked me out. I literally passed out for three hours after completing this simple half hour workout, which of course allowed copious amounts of lactic acid to build up and thus I now feel like hell. Even my lower abs hurt. I used to work out with a trainer. I used to take belly dancing classes. My lower abs never hurt. So that’s a good thing, I suppose.

Not such a good thing is the fact that I can barely move.

Wedding Deets… Withheld.

2 Oct

So I guess you’re probably interested in hearing about the wedding. You might even be wondering, given the fact that Steve and I didn’t take a proper honeymoon right away, why I haven’t yet sat down to relive every moment and share it with you all.

Partly, it’s because I’m just being selfish. With every day that passes, I feel myself getting further and further away from it all… and all I want to do is hold it close and not let it go. There’s a part of me that feels like writing about it pushes it away… I guess because it forces me to acknowledge that it’s all just a memory now? Also there’s something very sad about writing about my wedding in the past tense. There was so much excitement leading up to the day, and then the day itself was just so, so perfect. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost and all that, but it’s still tremendously sad that it’s all over with now. Lastly… so much of it is just a blur. I only have a few salient memories from the entire day. I feel like it’s pointless to convey those few snippets to you, because it wouldn’t paint nearly a perfect enough picture of everything that happened.

What I will tell you is this: It was absolutely heavenly. I loved every moment, from the nerves in my belly upon waking up to the car ride to Bean Town, to the carriage rides, to the faces Steve pulled involuntarily when I walked in the room, to the way my voice cracked in the middle of my vows, to how the opening strains of Do You Realize sounded so thunderous as the officiant introduced us as Mr. and Mrs., to the bonfire, to dancing to “our song” (The Luckiest by Ben Folds) on a tiny island as spectacular fireworks exploded overhead, to the cedar cabin with the giant bathtub built for two and a tree filled with fairy lights overhanging the bed.

That cabin. I will never forget the smell of that cabin as long as I live. It prompted me to tell Steve that we need to get something made of cedar to put in the apartment, so we can always have that smell with us. Unfortunately I woke up to an asthma attack around six in the morning… because of this, Steve told me that he thought perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to bring cedar into the apartment after all. I told him there’s a difference between having cedar in your house versus living in a house of cedar, and I still want to find something to get that smell near me again. I don’t care what. Perfume, some sort of home furnishing, shavings for the rabbit cage. I’ll take anything.

At some point in time, I’ll do a little review of the various services and vendors that we used. I have some absolute raves to share, as well as some cautionary tales. But in terms of the wedding itself, I’m afraid that’s all you get. It was perfect, it was spectacular, it was everything I could have hoped for it to be… but it was mine, and I’m just not ready to share it yet.