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I always knew that Em & Chris's residency in Vancouver was temporary. They had just applied for permanent residency as a just-in-case measure, but I knew they had plans B and C and D and were going to keep looking for other opportunities. I'd hoped the best ones they'd find would still be in the PNW (or SW, from Canada's perspective), but alas, I knew that was also unlikely.

It's not official yet, but Em said today they've decided to accept a job offer for Chris in North Carolina. (They haven't told their families yet, so if anyone here happens to be connected, shh.) I am super bummed they're leaving the driving distance zone, but I understand. Truthfully, we didn't visit each other in each other's homes very often anyway. We see each other back in Virginia almost as often as we do out here. Still, though, the possibility of planning these visits is just so much simpler with them here. Oh well. Planes are a thing. I like flying. It's doable. I'll still see them lots. And the opportunity sounds really good for them. I mourn for my nephew to grow up in the south, but he's got good hippie parents, and Canadian citizenship, so he should be alright.

I made Emily promise me that she will use some of the extra flexibility this opportunity affords her to take a trip with me in 2018 to Yellowstone National Park. She's a geologist and she's never been! I think it'll be a great trip for us to do together. I'll show her a part of the country she's never seen, and she'll teach me all the cool science-y stuff that I won't learn from just walking around the park on my own. Details tbd, but this is happening.

Speaking of not official yet...

Toby knows I'd really like a proposal. I mentioned to him when we first moved in together that I had never really had a proposal, and it's something I want, when he's ready, and I didn't want to talk too much about marriage until then. I want it to be a surprise, and I don't want to just be de facto engaged. But here's the thing -- being a responsible adult means planning for the future, and we've done a lot of talking about 'when we're married' and how we'll budget things and it turns out we've gotten ourselves de facto engaged. We've agreed we should get married before the end of 2017 so I can get on his sweet, sweet health insurance before the ACA goes away (although maybe it won't?! but still, his work insurance is way better and way cheaper than the silver plan I pay $375/mo for!). We've even done a little wedding planning.

But there hasn't been a proposal yet. He knows I still want one, even if it's already a foregone conclusion. He has all the information he needs regarding what I want in a ring (nothing outrageous or very expensive), and he recently verified my ring size. So.

Some have theorized I should expect a proposal on this trip. Maybe while we're in Scotland? It does make sense, but here's why I'm not sure that would happen:
1. Toby's kinda slow to get shit done that's not for work, so even if he fully intended this, I'd honestly be surprised if he'd gotten the ring already.
2. We'll be in Scotland for his brother's wedding. Not sure if he'd feel uncomfortable about thunder-stealing or whatever.
3. However he does it, I really don't expect a big thing. He's too introverted to make a production of it, so I almost expect him to just ask me at home once he's got the ring or something. That way he also doesn't have to worry about hiding it in the luggage without me accidentally noticing before I'm supposed to or something.
4. I need to temper my own expectations, because if I go into this trip convinced it's gonna happen and it doesn't, I might be bummed or impatient or something. I'll be thrilled if he does propose soon, but honestly I really don't expect it. I think he will surprise me with the timing if not with the question itself ;)

So, y'know, maybe. But I won't hold my breath. And I do recognize how silly it is for me to want this ritual when we are already basically planning the wedding/marriage.

About those plans...we do want a small, informal ceremony, but that's not gonna happen this year. Maybe we'll do a thing on our birthday next year? (We have the same birthday.) But we do need to do the official business of it before the end of 2017, so we'll see what happens. Also I need to decide what to do about my last name. I'm more than ready to ditch Myers -- but it's on all my professional stuff. My website and my business cards and logo and all that are under Myers. I could keep using it just for work I guess. Or I'll get a new site and redirect it? Whatever, this is not a big deal. Just something else we've both been talking about a lot already for people who aren't actually "engaged." Pffft.
jianantonic: (Default)
George's memorial was today. The venue was packed so fully that it was nearly impossible to move. He had a lot of real friends. Nancy called me out right at the beginning for crying too much. Can't help it, it's what I do. I spoke and told a couple of fun stories from my childhood -- didn't entirely go with what I'd written before, because Em and Nancy were serious about it having an upbeat tone. I told about him teaching Emily and me to use softball gloves, and then going to his games and playing "throw" with each other, because we weren't good enough to play catch. I talked about having spaghetti dinners at their house, where he encouraged us to play with our food. And I mentioned that I felt like Em and I each have two sets of parents, and my biological parents can't really claim responsibility for me being such a hippie now...

George's youngest brother, Carl, lives in Maine, and I never really saw him when I was young. He came up to me after I spoke and said he had no idea what a community dad George had been, and it was so nice to hear about his brother from that perspective.

I held Trevor and introduced him around to many friends as well. He's such a sweet baby. He's a great cuddler, and it helped me push the tears back to focus on him, too. I'm so grateful that Emily got to bring him here to spend two months with her parents. Her final memories of her dad are of him enchanted by his new grandson.

Of course his death is sad, and he was too young. But I'm so glad his Alzheimer's didn't get a chance to take his personality away from him. His short term memory was gone, but he was still friendly, funny, brilliant George.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
No baby yet, but it does sound like today's the day. Poor Em's been in labour (with a "u" because Canada) for over 24 hours now, and finally got an epidural this morning at 5, but the latest update was that she's still "almost" to the pushing stage.

I was supposed to go up to BC this weekend, but I bailed on that trip because there was still no baby and I was starting to feel sick. Turns out I have an ear infection (?!) and I'm also breaking out in weird acne all over my chest. I've been feeling really shitty for a while, so I'm just going to take it as easy as possible for a while.

Toby leaves for Scotland tonight and will be gone for three weeks. Sad. But my next two weeks are plenty busy -- I host trivia Monday through Wednesday, then have work stuff Thursday, a happy hour thing with a friend on Friday, then fly to New York on Saturday, drive to VA on Sunday, and spend the week with family for xmas. I'm back on NYE, and plan to do quite a bit of absolutely nothing to ring in the new year. I have a bus ticket to BC for Jan 6, but I may move that around depending on how Em and Chris and Baby Trev are doing. I really wanted to be there for Day One, but really Day Twenty or Forty is still fucking early and I'm in this kid's life forever so it's not hugely urgent. I'll love him the same no matter what :)

I should probably do an entry about how I got stuck in the snow for seven hours on Wednesday, but for now I don't feel like dwelling on things that frustrate me. Just waiting for baby news.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It was great to have Emily here, but the visit, as always, was too short! I picked her up on Friday afternoon at the train station (after spending the morning at the DMV with Toby so he could finally get his learner's permit!) and presented her with the baby shower book I'd put together over the previous few weeks. Rather than throw her an actual shower (soooo not her thing, and also all her friends are spread out all over the world), I sent questionairres to her friends to fill out and then I put their answers in a book. There were two parts: one was a survey of wishes for the baby, where friends finish sentences like "I hope you have your mother's ____," and "I hope your first word is ___." Sentimental stuff, mostly :) Then the other one was mostly silly -- it was a survey of baby name suggestions. Pick names from books, songs, movies, etc. Anyway I had a ton of fun putting it together, and Emily loved reading through it. Time will tell if she takes any of those name suggestions. I do have to say that everyone who suggested she name her kid "Meg" went up in my esteem.

Friday afternoon was pretty laid back. We went for a walk, then took the train into the city for food cart dinner and froyo. We spent a few hours at the Barrel Room for dueling pianos that night, then came home and did the sleep thing. We woke up early Saturday to go kayaking. Ben and Toby joined us, and we rented one tandem, one single, and one SUP. I took the SUP for most of the morning, and the weather was perfect. Toby and Emily each took turns trying it out, and both were so proficient at it that I no longer felt awesome about how quickly I took to it. Emily was even doing yoga on it. As we were getting our things out of the river, a piece of the kayak that wasn't very well secured fell into the water. Feeling bold, I volunteered to dive in and fetch it -- the water is about neck-deep at the dock where it fell, so it was not just wading in up to my knees or something. I'm surprised that in this group of adventurers, I was the one that chose to do this. The weather was nice, but not hot -- only about 75ish, and the water was fucking cold. But I went for it, retrieved the kayak piece, and we returned our rentals and headed out. Ben and Toby each went on to other engagements afterward, but Em and I hit up Abhiruchi for lunch. That's still my favorite meal in all of Portland, but they've been making their buffet dishes way spicier lately, and it didn't take long for lunch to make its presence known in my system. We came home and napped for a while, then got to work on some household projects. I'd asked for Em's help with some t-shirt modifications I wanted to do, and we did a few of those. Then Emily suggested that we should do some tidying and organizing around the house. She went to work and told me what I needed to work on, and we got moving. I swear I didn't invite her down to clean my house, but I'm grateful that she wanted to! I mentioned to her some of the projects that Toby and I have been cooking up, and we decided a trip to Ikea was in order. We did some rearranging downstairs, she put together a new shelving unit for me, and together we did a lot more organizing that evening. I was so excited to surprise Toby with it the next day. (He was impressed!) Emily commented that every time she comes to visit, she can see that whatever we've worked on the last time (because she always helps me around the house, whether I ask or not) has regressed a bit, but it's regressed less. So basically my adulting process is two steps forward, one step back. But that's still forward progress! I have big goals for this house over the next few months. I hope I can maintain the drive...

On Sunday, we got her things together and headed downtown to check out the Saturday Market and get some more cart food before her train came. Toby met us there and the three of us hung out together in the train station doing a crossword while we waited for the train. By then, my shingles had gotten really painful, and I'd made a doc appointment for right after that, so we went from saying our goodbyes straight to the doctor's office.

I was horrified when the doc said it was shingles, partly because I know shingles sucks, but also because I know it's contagious and didn't want Emily (or Toby, but especially Emily) to get it. The doc said the risk was low, though, so hopefully this outbreak ends with me. I've been taking prescriptions since Sunday afternoon now, and the pain isn't really any better, but the rash has changed a bit. It's not spreading at all, but it's gotten more blistery. The doctor said it should take about a week to clear up now that I'm on the medicine. TOO LONG. But I'll live. I've canceled all but my most essential plans for the week and I plan to make the most of the doctor's orders to take it easy. I'm hopeful that a couple more days of rest will be all I need, and then I'll feel ready to hit the ground running again.

In the meantime, I've been trying to do little things, but not pushing myself too much. Yesterday, Toby and I did some more organizing around the house. I made a good dent in my craft area before my arm started screaming at me, and Toby worked really hard on the overgrowth in the back yard. It looks great! He let me nap for a bit while he did some work stuff, and then we went over to Chris & Bethany's house to play games and eat. Josh, Mary, and Gwen were there, and the four adults had already started a game, so Toby and I played a different one for a bit, then we all ate together. Their game was still going, so Toby and I hung out with Gwen after dinner. She was very cuddly and sweet on me yesterday, and I loved every minute of it. When it was time for them to go, she apparently missed me very much. I was touched :)

Toby and I stayed to play a game of Thurn and Taxis with Chris and Bethany, which I lost horribly. I still love that game, and I've always felt that a lot comes down to luck of the draw, but that said, I almost never do very well, so maybe I'm just bad at it. Whatever, though. Love it anyway.

Toby and I got some driving practice in over the weekend, too. He's never really driven at all before, so he's nowhere near ready for primetime (or actual roads), but he managed to navigate a few parking lots and neighborhoods without too much trouble. I've never taught someone to drive before, so we'll see how it goes. Wish us luck!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Toby and I went to Ikea last night to get some basic housewares, and to discuss shelving options for making downstairs more kitten-friendly. Cleopatrick is getting a little more curious about the rest of the house, and we'd like to go ahead and open it all up to him, but my craft and puzzle areas are not ready for cats yet. Luckily he's still really timid about going downstairs, but I don't think that will last much longer.

It was really nice to do housey things with Toby. He spends almost all of his time here, but he doesn't officially live with me, and so far all the house decisions have been mine. But he mentioned last week that he'd like to get to work on some around-the-house projects, and I'm really thrilled to get into that with him. Bit by bit, we're going to adultify this house. We started last night by getting some new flatware for the kitchen, and purging all the old stuff that is mismatched and getting kinda grody. He calls it "rationalizing," which I guess is the British terminology for decluttering/organizing/updating. A few other smaller projects are on our list, and the main big thing is new carpet...I'm really getting anxious to replace what I've got here. It's getting to the point where it just grosses me out and it's got to go. Hopefully we can get that done soon.

Emily is coming to visit in a week, so I'm super excited about that, too :) I have some craft projects in mind that I bet she'd kick ass at, so maybe that's something we can do. I'm also kind of obsessed with kayaking (now that I've gone all of one time!) and hope we'll have a chance to do that while she's here, too. (Emily, pack a swimsuit!) Time to get up and get on with the rationalizing :P
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Emily: it's too fucking crowded. I used to have personal space.
Me: you should fart.
Emily: dude, if I could fart like you, I'd go a lot farther in life.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I emailed Emily today asking about her wedding photos, and also just how things are going. Her reply made me cry, and I want to save/share it here. I am so lucky to have this girl.

Her response:

I don't know when I'll get photos from Katherine- I haven't bothered her about it yet. She is just giving us all the digital images, so we can print whatever we want- no ordering from her, etc. I'll be sure to let you know when I get them- been meaning to email her but I'm not in a rush.

Also, thanks again for your card, and your toast, and the a cappella surprise. That day was a long time coming, and though I felt stretched in all directions (happily though), I was happy you were a constant presence- it just felt like the way it should be, and the way I'd envisioned it forever. Also I'm pretty happy that you and Z were the only ones there for our 'official' wedding- that felt like the way it should be, too, and probably the way I would have done the whole thing if Chris hadn't wanted to have a party. So glad we did have a party, though :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Perhaps I overestimated how busy I would be today. Or perhaps I correctly estimated how busy I should be, and I am choosing to blog instead. I'll let you guess.

I'll just do a day-by-day rundown of my trip.
with pictures! )
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I meant to post this here two nights ago, but LJ wasn't letting me post during maintenance. Anyway, here's something I wrote for Emily.

In just about two weeks, I'm going to toast my best friend of 29 years and the man who has been by her side (and mine, via the transitive property of loved ones) for 10 years (!!) at their wedding. But unless the whole crowd wants to hear me ramble on for many hours, I'm going to have to pick just a few highlights from the last 29 years of laughs, tears, love, and sibling rivalry. Since I can't share all the stories in my toast, I'll share a few here leading up to the big day. And I promise I won't make any "it's about time!" jokes.

I have always thought of Emily as my little sister. These days, I don't even go through the spiel of "well, we're not REALLY sisters, but we grew up together and blah, blah, blah." I just refer to her as my little sister and let people who actually listen to me when I talk be confused about it when I also talk about being the baby of my family.

As the baby of the Massie clan, and the only daughter, I always wanted a little sister. I begged my mom and thought she was SO MEAN not to give me another sibling -- a younger one, one I could actually boss around! I really ached for a little sister, but the truth is, I've had one as long as I can remember. Emily and I grew up in the same neighborhood, and we spent every waking minute together as children, and lots of sleeping minutes, too. And I DID boss her around! A lot! The fact that she's grown up as independent and strong as she has, and the fact that she still chooses to associate with me after all that bossing around are a testament to her amazing character.

We went through a lot of the same phases that most close siblings do, especially the rivalries. In hindsight, I'm really glad I'm a year older and had that head start on Emily, because if it weren't for the 13 months of childhood development I had on her, I think my ego would have suffered mightily with the results of a more balanced contest.

In adulthood, I have chosen to refer to Emily exclusively as my sister, because after all we've shared, "best friend" just isn't strong enough to describe my attachment to her. And I even think sometimes that "sister" isn't the right word, either, because after all, you're almost biologically and environmentally forced to love your siblings. Or at least put up with them. Emily and I don't have to like each other or spend time around each other. While we still share some very important fundamental characteristics forged in our joint childhood, we have grown up to be very different people. We've lived far apart. We've taken on different interests. I HATE soccer! and I CAN'T sing! One would think these would get me blacklisted from Em's social circle. But in spite of these horrific flaws of mine -- and some others I haven't mentioned, I guess -- Emily still calls me "best friend" and "sister." We've chosen to stay close, even though we don't have a familial obligation to do so. And that choice, at least from my end, hasn't even been conscious. It's been easy. Probably because we're just soul mates. Sorry, Chris.

I'm going to stick with "sister," though, because if I start dropping "soul mate" in casual conversation, I think that would be even more confusing and awkward. And uncomfortable.

If "best friend" isn't a strong enough label for my relationship with her, imagine the trouble I have when I talk about Chris. "Boyfriend" has sure been an underbid for at least the last five or six years. And Emily would puke if I described him as her "soul mate," (but I wouldn't, because we've already established that's me). Ten years. I've been married twice in that time! The only steady relationship I've had that lasted ten years or more was -- is -- Emily. And if she's capable of maintaining a strong bond with someone as socially dysfunctional as I've been, then I think that bodes very well for the next several decades with Chris (whom I do not consider socially dysfunctional at all, for the record).

The thing about sibling rivalry is that sometimes it's difficult to stomach your sib's successes. I've always been proud of Emily's many accomplishments, but I admit that I didn't always want her to be the best at everything -- because if she was, then she was beating me. But she is the CLEAR winner in relationshipping. There's just no contest. So I gracefully concede victory at partnering to my amazing kid sister. I know that she and Chris are going to have an amazing life together. They already have, for their entire adult lives. And she may be better at wifing than I ever have been or will be, but at 1 to 2, she'll never catch up to me in number of husbands! So there.

And now I get to begin a new movement in the semantics dance, as I try to decide what I'll call Chris. Brother-in-law doesn't feel quite right (the "law" part makes it feel to official to fudge), and "sister's husband" is kind of clunky. I'll probably end up calling him the same thing I call my father-in-law: Chris.
jianantonic: (Default)
I had a bunch of dreams in a row the other night that it was Emily's wedding day and I still didn't have my dress picked out or my speech written.  I'm the only attendant on her side, so I get to pick my own dress, which is a sweet deal.  I woke up from the dreams both relieved that the wedding is still 9 months away and also really anxious for it to get here!  I love weddings and this is my kid sister's!  So I started shopping around for dresses, but basically the only place I've shopped so far is david's bridal online, because stores that don't sell wedding attire aren't going to have a selection of summery dresses right now.  The wedding is June 1, and it'll be outdoors in Virginia.  I've picked out a few styles that I like, but it sounds like we're going to go dress shopping together over Thanksgiving (mostly for her but partially for me too), and I'm so excited!  I've never done this girly stuff.  Not even for my own wedding.

Since I was also sweating the speech in my dream, I decided to do some brainstorming while we were slow at work.  Brainstorming actually yielded a finished product -- it may change a lot between now and June, but I'm pretty pleased with what I've got already.  Having it ready just makes me that much more anxious for the day to come :)   

I'll get to quench some of my wedding thirst a month from tomorrow at Jess and Noah's wedding!  I'm flying to Massachusetts for like 48 hours, sure to be a whirlwind of AWESOME.  I'm going to wear my fancy Africa dress and I know I'm just going to have a blast.  Yay for love and yay for the people I love being happy.  

Over Thanksgiving vacation, I'll be throwing Em's bridal shower, and that's going to be awesome, too.  I'm really excited about the idea I came up with -- I can't remember if I wrote about it here or not but I'll save the details for a later (locked) post when I have some pictures to share.  I decided to keep the theme a surprise, even though Emily knows that it's going to be a crafty thing.  

Work tomorrow, Color Run on Saturday, hopefully closing on our house next week?  Maybe?  Hopefully.


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