jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Lately I've been having a lot of fantasies about myself in a wedding gown with nice makeup and a beautiful hairdo, getting photos on some windy hilltop somewhere...

Which seems like a Big Thing to think about. But it's not, I don't think? Obviously Toby would be the groom in this scenario, but the fantasy is just about me. Getting one of those bridal portraits made that people will look back on decades from now and say "wasn't Margaret beautiful?" because decades from now that's what people will know me as, maybe? Or they'll be distant relatives who never knew I went by Meg. Anyway the point is the fantasy is really just about me. I think it comes from being happy with my appearance, and wanting to celebrate that. I think maybe that has a lot to do with why I never did want a traditional wedding gown before. I was never happy about how I looked and the photo-op was more frightening than fun to me. McKenzie and I eloped, but I did have a big wedding with Jeremy. I liked my dress, but it was far from traditional, and it didn't *look* like a wedding dress. And it turns out there's a part of me that wants that memory of myself. Some women have a biological clock that kicks in at my age, where they think about kids. I guess mine is working backwards or very slowly and I'm just now starting to fantasize about the things most girls think about as very young women.

I do like the idea of marrying Toby one day, but I'm in no hurry, and it's not something we've talked about AT ALL. He's also divorced (well, not quite -- separated for several years, finalizing the divorce this summer once she finishes school, because reasons), and I think both of us are more than a little gunshy about marriage. But we're committed and happy and I don't see that changing. And if I DO marry him one day, do I even want a wedding? Meh. Probably not. But I want the dress!

I really honestly think these fantasies are mostly just about me wanting to feel beautiful. I feel like I've worked hard and am proud of my body. For some reason I feel like a white satin gown is the way I want to show it off? I feel weird even feeling this way. But it is what it is.

Then I got a fortune yesterday from this little game someone gave me -- "Don't waste your time waiting for something that's never going to happen." Ha.
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)
Montana was great! The bridge tournament was fun, if not highly successful. Harvey and I made the overalls each session, but never very highly. And we got curbstomped in our KO match, which really shouldn't have happened. It was a little frustrating because I felt like I was playing really excellent bridge, and my partner was kind of phoning it in. I like Harvey a lot, but he's used to playing against very low-level players, and his bridge game is full of habits that are advantages against weak players, but really detrimental in tournament play. So it wasn't the most fun for me. Not that I didn't make my own mistakes. Anyway.

I managed to work out every day that I was there. The first run I did was a rude awakening -- I'd forgotten that Whitefish is at about 3,200', and I felt like SHIT during that run. It's really discouraging to go for what you expect will be an easy workout and then just drag ass the whole time. But then I remembered the elevation and I felt less awful about how awful I felt. We'll see how I feel when I work out here at sea level later. I'm going back to BodyPump tonight, and will run tomorrow, I think. I haven't tried on the bridesmaid dress again since the last time (when it was too tight), but I'm pretty sure it's fine now. I ate a lot of homemade cookies a the tournament, but I've been pretty disciplined and I'm pretty sure I dropped a few pounds.

I watched the first two episodes of the new Arrested Development season. I've been looking forward to this for YEARS. My initial reaction is that it's disappointing. It is funny, but it's not the same. Obviously I didn't expect it to be the same, and I can't really explain what I don't like about it, but I'm going to hang in there and see where it goes. The show has to do a lot of catching up with seven years gone by, so maybe these first two episodes were just too burdened with bringing the story up to date, and it'll start to flow better when I get a few more episodes into it. It's a shame we'll never really know what could have been if it was never canceled, though. I maintain that this show is the best thing ever put on television, including the 2008 election returns. It's just so fucking brilliant. So the bar for season 4 might be impossibly high. But I'm glad there is a season 4. Even if I decide it totally sucks, I won't let that ruin the first three seasons for me. Like season 9 of Scrubs.

I work today and tomorrow, and then tomorrow night I have a red-eye flight to Virginia for Emily's wedding weekend. I am so unbelievably excited for this! As far as I know, it's the only wedding I'm going to this year, and it's going to be a fantastic reunion of friends and family. I'm also really excited about having my hair done all pretty and taking lots of professional photos with my little sister and me looking all fantastic.
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: (Seahorse)
Lots to update. First, the relay.

Holy shit. I was not very well prepared for how difficult this would be. During the race itself, I was quite miserable and sent lots of texts to various loved ones requesting that they not ever let me do another one. But then as soon as it was over, I wanted to sign up for the next one. The things that were hard about this are things I can prepare for next time such that I won't be so miserable in the midst of it. And even with that misery, the memories I have from the weekend are pretty spectacular. So I definitely want to do more of these events. It was really fun, even while simultaneously excruciating.

The last few days, I've mostly just been home recovering. I'm still quite stiff and sore (those hills!!!), but I'm almost completely better, I think. This morning, I got up to come to work, and McKenzie notified me that he had a request to work this year's Bermuda sectional. Apparently the director who usually does it is ill and won't be able to make it. Sounds like it's the kind of ill that isn't expected to improve, though we lack details, so that's not really clear. Anyway, this is obviously a great offer for Z, except...it's the same weekend as Emily's wedding.

My first and very strong reaction was of course you can't skip the wedding. But then I thought about it some more and waffled. A lot. I definitely want McKenzie at the wedding. McKenzie wants to go to the wedding, too, which is an important point in all of this. But picking up Bermuda would mean a likely foot in the door to do this sectional every year. And in future years, I'd be able to go, too. So there's that. Also, the per diem for Bermuda is huge, so it would be a non-insignificant financial windfall. While we can argue that it would be a sound career move for him to pick up this tournament, really what it boils down to is that we'd both love to go to Bermuda more. And while that's certainly appealing, it's not a valid reason to miss the wedding. So after a lot of wrestling in my own mind, I told him no, he needs to come to the wedding. And he agrees. But he's really bummed right now. In the grand scheme of things, though, we both get to do a pretty awesome amount of pretty awesome travel, and we're both going to have a fucking excellent time at the wedding, so it's all good. Just such a bummer that this conflict exists, and came up with so little time to process it.

My parents get here on Friday, and we have a lot planned for their brief visit. Friday night we're going to see Tracy Grammer, Saturday I'm doing a run for Boston 5K charity thing that I'm going to try to make them all do as well, and then we'll fill Sunday through Tuesday with more family visits and Oregon sightseeing. Haven't landed on the specifics yet, though. I'm excited they're coming -- it's their first trip to Oregon since 2009.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been a short and sweet trip to Raleigh.  We arrived on Friday afternoon, in time to meet up with some cousins, aunts, and uncles for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.  William and the girls kept getting delayed, but they finally made it here when we were at dinner, so I got to get some hugs before retiring to bed.  Whenever the bride was around, everyone else was invisible and Frankie only wanted to talk to her, but the rest of the time, Frankie wanted me to hold her constantly, and repeatedly told me she loved me.  She is the SWEETEST.  

The wedding was super fun.  They had it at a cafe in downtown Raleigh, with their "altar" set up in front of the big window at the front that looks onto the street.  A few interesting passersby spiced things up.  First was a scruffy-looking guy with an "I <3 JESUS" cap on who stopped to spectate for a bit.  Then there was a family coming to get in their car, which was parked right in front of the window.  The dad was carrying a 5'-tall stuffed giraffe, and he struggled for several minutes to get it into the car as my cousin and his wife said their vows.  All of us were laughing pretty hard at that.  There was food, drink, dancing, the best cake I've ever had in my life, and the reception wound down with a bluegrass jam session with the groom's band, the Swift Kickers.  They were fantastic, and a good time was had by all :)

We had one last big family meal last night, and I spent most of the time catching up with Lauren, Erika, and Matt.  Erika and Matt live in Vermont and are in a touring band, so I don't see much of them -- it had been two or three years, I believe -- but they're about to take a year off from touring, as Erika is pregnant with their first child.  I asked her if they were going to find out the gender or be surprised, and she gave the best answer I've ever heard:  "We're going to be surprised.  Well, probably not too surprised."  McKenzie always makes fun of people who ask "what are they having?" by responding "probably a baby."  It is a silly question, after all.

McKenzie had an early flight and I have a late one, so I've been killing time at the Raleigh airport for a few hours, but it's almost time for me to jet off.  I'm going home by way of Atlanta, and then will beat Z home by about 90 minutes, since he is having a long layover in Memphis to chat with his boss.  We'll go home, then we'll come right back to PDX for me to send him off to Monterey tomorrow.  I have Blazers tickets for tomorrow night, a session with Ertan on Tuesday, and then back to work and my regular schedule on Wednesday.  I have two more sectionals this month, but those are just weekend trips (and one is at home), so I'll actually be working my normal schedule without travel interruptions until I take time off for St. Louis in March.  It'll be nice to get into a groove...hopefully I an take advantage of the normalcy to train harder and get ready for my half in April, which is no longer very far in the future.
jianantonic: (Default)
Finally made it home just before 7. It was a long day, but a good one. We detoured to the Painted Hills in central Oregon and had a lovely hike there. We also drove through a cattle drive on Route 26 between Ontario and John Day. That was a first for me -- I thought it was awesome and kept taking pictures. The cowboys driving the herd looked at me like I was nuts. Whatever, dudes, you're the ones riding a horse in the snow on the highway. Think about it.

I can't believe how close we are to Thanksgiving already -- it's my favorite holiday, basically the only one I celebrate at all anyway. I love hanging out with my family and just having a few days of down time. This year I'll get to do some wedding stuff with Emily, including hosting her bridal shower on Friday. I'm psyched!

This weekend is going to be great, too. Katy is coming up, and Kelly and I have plans for the Saturday Market, Voodoo Doughnut, and the Chinese Gardens. I'm going to a board game party on Friday night, and Katy and I will do something fun and low key together on Sunday, then I fly to Virginia on Monday for a week. Just three days of work first. I was telling Kelly earlier, I love my job and certainly don't mind "having" to work, it's just the having to be awake and in a certain place at a certain time that can be a drag. I have a Thursday evening appointment with my trainer, which means Thursday is going to be a long day for me, but it's all good. I'll survive it, and then an awesome weekend and extended vacation will be my reward.
jianantonic: (Default)
Well, it's been an adventure, but it looks like I will make it out of here after all :)

Jess and Noah's wedding was WONDERFUL.  I cried basically start to finish.  I LOVED it.  So even though getting here sucked and getting out was a major challenge, I would do it all again, because it was so worth it.  It was my first Jewish wedding, so that was a new experience for me.  It wasn't a huge departure from what I'm used to, though.  My favorite part was Jess' dad's song "Little Baby Mine," which he wrote for her 3 months before he died in 1986.  87?  A long time ago :(  They had a recording of him singing it, and it was so perfect for the occasion, and such a beautiful, beautiful love song for a daughter.  I'm welling up just recalling it.  I also love how when the rabbi announced at the end of the ceremony that it was a legal marriage, everyone whooped and hollered.  Yay Massachusetts!  Yay love!

The reception had the best wedding food I've ever eaten -- vegetarian Indian food and nutella/vanilla cupcakes.  YES PLEASE.  And there was dancing :)  Jess has a swarm of little girls to whom she is an auntie, and they were the life of the party.  When I got to the dance floor, they welcomed me into their dancing circles, and let me pick them up and swing them around and rock out.  Phoebe (who was in utero when Jess and I first became friends and is now a GORGEOUS young lady) paused in the middle of one of our dances, gave me a funny look, and said "You're tall."  It's true!  I am!  :)  When we were all saying goodbye at the end, Shohannah (sp?) gave me a big hug and said "Bye, Meg!"  I was so touched, because I never told her my name, and hadn't been introduced to her mom.  Somewhere in there, she figured it out, though, and she knew me, and MELT.  It's true, y'all.  I kinda love kids these days.  Still don't want my own.  I feel like every time I make that proclamation, I have to include the disclaimer.  But yeah, kids that aren't mine are kind of awesome.

After the ceremony, the phone calls from airlines began.  Almost all those of us who were flying had our flights canceled.  I was annoyed, because the storm wasn't predicted to get to New England until the evening, and my flight was 5am, headed west.  The plane was originating in Hartford, and it wasn't going toward the storm at all, so there's no good reason to have canceled it.  And they didn't cancel the 5pm flight, which seemed backwards.  But I rescheduled for that afternoon flight, only to have it canceled as well.  I spent a good chunk of yesterday researching a way out of town.  Hartford had nothing coming or going until Thursday at the earliest, and the very nice guy at United Airlines was super helpful and got me on a flight out of Manchester, NH, 2.5 hours away, for this afternoon.  The problem then was finding a way to get up there.  I tried Amtrak -- no routes go that way.  Greyhound -- all service suspended.  Shuttles -- don't go that far.  Soliciting rides from locals -- no dice.  Rental cars -- none available.  So I gave up and called UA back and was like, "well, I can't get to MHT, so I guess I need a BDL flight after all."  But there was NOTHING, so I was like, ugh, I guess I'll keep trying.  The lady was apologetic and asked if she could help with anything else.  "It's a long shot, but can you hook me up with a rental car?"  And she did!  And it was cheaper than everything else!  I got up at ass o'clock this morning, picked up a godawful car that I hope I never have to drive again (Dodge Avenger...meh), and drove my ass to NH.  I've been at the airport since 10am for my 5pm flight, but I'm a few minutes away from boarding now, and it looks like I'll actually make it home tonight.  Rah!

Now here's the bullshit.  The storm never came here.  I understand it was pretty devastating where it DID hit, but it pretty much followed projections, and it was never projected to touch western Mass and most of NE.  And it fucking didn't.  It rained a little, and was a little windy for a little while, but nothing that happened would have been outside the realm of ordinary had there not been a nearby superstorm.  And it's been sunny and clear most of today, yet only 5 out of 50 flights from this airport are not canceled.  I'd really like to see the number crunching process that led the airlines to believe canceling so many flights was the way to go.  Obviously it's better to be safe than sorry, and I can understand a few precautionary cancellations within the potential danger zone, but my 5am flight out of Hartford should have never been in question.  Of course nothing can get to New York right now and I'd bet the DC hub is also kind of a mess, and some inbound planes probably got stuck in those places, so those flights have to be nixed even if they're not in the path of the storm, but I still maintain that the overall reaction was a giant overreaction.  That is not to say that I don't believe the storm was severe and catastrophic in some places.  Also, while I'm bitching about it all, it's really not that big a deal.  I had a great time, NoHo was not a bad place to be stuck, and I didn't miss anything important.  It cost me a little extra with the rental car and a few more meals out while I was here, but I am in no way sorry I made this trip, and it was a good one, even with all the bullshit.  

It was fun being back in Northampton.  Last time I was there was the summer of 2002, when I was dating Nate and spent most of the summer in his attic apartment.  Only a few parts of the city were familiar to me, because I spent so much of that time just holed up in his place, or on the hiking trails behind his house, so it wasn't really like coming back to my old stomping grounds at all, but it wasn't completely foreign to me, either.  Western Mass is definitely another one of those areas that would've been great for me to live, had I not found Portland first.  Oh, Portland.  I'm excited to get home.

jianantonic: (Default)
I'm having a blast here in NoHo so far.  Getting here was kind of a bitch -- I did not sleep at all on the first flight, then on my second flight, I fell asleep in my seat as soon as I got on board.  But that only lasted a few minutes, because the FA had to get my verbal acknowledgement for understanding of the exit row responsibilities, for which she shook me awake.  I was able to nap for about two hours when I got to Jess' house, but then the rest of the day was on the go.  I did a shopping tour of NoHo with some of Jess' NM friends, where we happened to run into two girls who were decorating a Just Married car for their friend.  We asked them where they got the paint, and they said that if we'd help them with their car, that we could have their leftover supplies when we were finished.  Done!  What serendipity!

The bachelorette party last night was super funsies.  We all got into PJ's and listened to pop music and shared funny stories.  We were gonna watch a movie, but that didn't happen, because we were just enjoying hanging out.  And there were cookies.  Then right after Jess announced that she was ready to turn in for the night, "Don't Stop Believin'" came on Pandora, and we had an impromptu singalong.  That was really fantastic.  

Just as I was getting into bed, I got the dreaded phone call from United.  Due to hurricane Sandy preemptive overreactions precautions, my 5am flight out of BDL on Monday has been canceled.  I was able to reschedule at no charge for a flight 12 hours later, but here's the thing -- the storm isn't supposed to get here until Monday afternoon/evening.  It seems MUCH less likely that a 5pm flight will make it out than a 5am flight.  So I'm mentally prepared (though in no way physically...I only brought one change of clothes with me) to be stuck here for a few extra days.  If so, I'll survive, but I'm a little stressed about the ramifications.  I've already had to cancel an appointment with my trainer, I have no workout gear here (and I HATE missing workouts, 'cause that stresses me out hardcore), we're supposed to be out of our apartment by Wednesday and I'm supposed to help Z with that, and I have plans on Tuesday for pumpkin carving with my little sister-in-law, and I'll be really bummed if we have to cancel that.  And then if I'm stuck here very long, I miss work, etc...

But now that I've aired my concerns, I am going to forget about them for the rest of the day, because one of my best friends is getting married and I'm here to celebrate that.

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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