Something blue

Source: amazon.com via Rose on Pinterest

 

Planning a wedding is hard. It’s the details that are killing me, and we are deliberately keeping it simple to avoid such debilitating details. But it’s okay, these are mostly fun details: shoes and jewelry and tartan silks. The big stuff was fairly easy, maybe because the decisions were clear  and we knew what we wanted. It sort of went like this: Let’s get out of town and keep it simple. Okay…Destination wedding, we love Scotland, let’s go there!…there are castles in Scotland, let’s rent a castle!…bagpipes are Scottish, I’ll book a piper!…god-stuff creeps us out, let’s find a Humanist celebrant, done! …We like food, oh look a lovely nearby restaurant, reception booked! …Ooh, shopping…found a dress, love it, bought it, done. That all happened within about a month of getting engaged. And all of it (except buying the dress) took place on my couch from my laptop. Since then, I’ve planned and booked more of the honeymoon, invited the guests, and uhm…that’s about it. Am I missing something?

But it turns out that buying The Dress is not the end of the The Dress saga. There are all these fussy little details that I have to shop for and make decisions on: shoes, smallclothes (that’s Winterfell for underwear, it just sounds more delicate, and the irony is that in my case they are everything but), jewelry, hair accessories. Obviously I’ve found the shoes (see above!) but the perfect smallclothes continue to elude me despite months of order-a-size-try-it-on-send-it-back-order-another-size *lather rinse repeat* and I’m still trying to find earrings and a necklace that I like. Not to mention the wedding shawl I’m knitting and the lace shrug I plan to knit. I’m a bit envious of Matt being able to rent his entire outfit in one fell swoop when we get to Scotland.

However, the biggest most important aspect of the wedding plan has finally fallen into place: we found a dog-sitter! It was really hard getting excited about the whole adventure while we were still worried about who would stay with the dogs. Thanks to Barb’s suggestion, I asked the vet tech at our vet clinic if the clinic had any pet sitter recommendations and it turns out that she herself did a lot of dog-sitting for other clients of our vet. I’m so relieved the weenies will be safely cared for in their own home so we can relax and enjoy our wedding and honeymoon! I’m even more relieved that Matt’s relieved because when he’s anxious…hoo boy.

2011: The year in review

2011 was a pretty good year.

We rang in the new year with a housewarming/NYE party at our house, I made Indian appetizers and burned myself with the hot oil, as usual. In January, I was still working in home hospice and not yet miserable there. Lil’ Ardie was about four months old, scampering around the house, and frolicking with his buddies as often as possible. I reminisced about my 2008 trip to Egypt while watching the riots in Tahrir Sqaure.

In February I had a fun trip to Vancouver with another hospice nurse/friend for a conference. We shopped, ate Japadog, ate at Vij’s, ate Japadog again, knit, and watched many hours of crime dramas on TV. We even made it to some of the conference lectures. Matt and I spent a weekend in Bellingham visiting my folks at the end of the month.

Matt would probably rather forget March, as he had to travel to St. Louis twice in two weeks for work. We got a major bit of landscaping done in the backyard when Matt’s parents helped us build our fence. The photos of homeless dogs in Japan, following the tsunami, left me a bit verklempt.

April started out with some nice weather allowing extra trips to the dog park for the weenies. I spent nearly a week in Bellingham after my mom’s knee replacement, to help out around the house and remind her to take her pain meds on time. Little Ardie gave us a scare when he ended up in the doggy ICU for a couple of days, but with some IV fluids and antiemetics he recovered well. I didn’t stay up till 2am to watch it, but of course I DVR’d the royal wedding to watch in entirety. I loved Pippa’s dress and was aghast at the hatless audacity of Mrs. Cameron.

In May we celebrated Matt’s birthday at Sun Mountain Lodge in the beautiful Methow Valley, I got to go on a private trail ride and we pretended that not having a television in our room was really relaxing. I was really starting to have a hard time with the long hours and poor management at work, so I applied for and was given a position as a float nurse (still with home hospice), a welcome change from the responsibilities and overtime I was putting in as a case manager.

June was a weenie-ful month. Steph and I did the Furry 5K in Seward Park with the weenies, then headed to Ellensburg for Weenies on Parade and found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of dachshunds. Matt flew off to St. Louis again, but maybe the successful re-pipe of the house made up for that? I passed the CHPN exam for working, adding a $1/hr and more credentials to my  job title, but I was miserably counting down the days until I could start my new role as a float nurse.

Although July brought Matt to St. Louis twice, we did get to go to Ashland, OR for the Shakespeare Festival on my birthday. I ostensibly transitioned to ‘float nurse’ with home hospice but was immediately told that my first duty as a float nurse was to be case manager for a team in Renton. Time to look for a new job!

August brought many fun weekend jaunts…to Bellingham, Sun Mountain Lodge, then Whidbey Island with Steph and the weenies. Then I quit my job.

In September I started my new job at the cancer clinic and instantly felt happier and less stressed. I’m pretty sure Matt did too, despite his continued scheduled of twice-monthly trips to St. Louis. We spent a wonderful weekend on the Rivett’s sailboat in the San Juans and little Ardie looked especially jaunty in his float coat.

The highlight of October (and the year!) was our trip to Maui, where Matt finally popped the question and we got engaged. We spent a wonderful week in our condo on the beach and the first-class flights were icing on the cake.

November was uneventful, with weekends full of wedding dress shopping. And I wrapped up the wedding plans with lightning speed!

In December we visited my parents in Bellingham then spent Christmas in Palm Springs with the Rivetts.

…which brings us up to date. My highlight is definitely the trip to Maui and getting engaged, the lowpoint(s) are the probably all related the home hospice job. I can’t wait for 2012, now that I have a job I love, and because I’m getting married this year! And best of all, we’re going to Scotland.

 

 

Say aye to the dress

I’m very very happy and excited and thrilled to be getting married to my favorite person and best friend. I can’t wait. But, first there’s this whole wedding thing, which entails a bit of planning. And as much as I scoff at huge elaborate weddings planned years in advance, it turns out that at least a few months lead-time is kind of necessary for sufficient planning, even for a semi-eloping-destination wedding such as ours. That said, we’re trying to keep it simple as possible, so the planning isn’t too stressful. Which is a good thing, but I’m not a party-planner. I do love planning vacations and travel however. I don’t even usually like parties or gatherings, too many people for my comfort zone. Not to mention I’m distinctly uncomfortable being the center of attention, and being the bride that is sort of unavoidable at one’s own wedding. But using the interwebs and email alone, I must say I’ve done a pretty good job so far: We’ve been engaged for one month, and we’ve set the date, sent out save-the-dates (online of course, cheap and easy! I mean eco-friendly. Yep, that’s it.) I’ve booked the wedding ceremony venue (nothing fancy, just a wee castle), our accommodation (same castle), a photographer, and a piper. I found and booked an officiant to marry us (yes, the whole thing will be legal and recognized in the US), she’s a humanist celebrant. She has been absolutely lovely to work with! She lives just a few miles from the castle we’re getting married in, and it turns out she was married there herself so it will be quite special to her. She recommended the photographer and piper and negotiated good deals for us, so I was able to confirm their availability through her. All that’s left, for the time being, are booking airline flights and the reception (“wedding breakfast,” as the Scots would say) venue. Little things like flowers and kilt hire can be done later on.

Oh yeah, and The Dress.

If you haven’t already picked up on it, the overall theme for the wedding is SIMPLE. Well, and Scotland and castles and whisky. So of course I’m thinking I want a very simple dress. I do NOT want to look like a cupcake, or a cake topper. No strapless ballgowns, no trains, no blingity-bling. Maybe lace, maybe a simple sheath style, maybe something vintage…all while being something appropriate for  a castle. Not a tall order, right? I’m pretty sure those are famous last words uttered by every bride-to-be as she embarks on the Dress Shopping Adventure. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for but I’ll know it when I see it….right?

Lace, simple, ivory, cap sleeves (have to be added)…all things I thought I wanted. But it just didn’t seem to work. Can’t put my finger on it.

After the first couple of dress stores, I do have a much better idea of what I don’t want. No v-necks (too much cleavage!), no strapless (I hate exposing my shoulders. I must have weird Amish blood in me or something). Although one of my favorite gowns was strapless…simply confusing me even more.

Mum says, "A train? Really?"

If I went strapless I could always wear a little shrug or bolero jacket…hey, I could even knit one!

But…then I found the tartan gown. I snickered at first, but kept coming back to it…it is certainly fairly unique, and an ivory lace knit shrug would be nice with it…

Just some tartan thoughts to ponder. So, no decision on the dress yet. Still shopping.

Maui, top ten

I used to blog pretty thoroughly and frequently when I traveled, aiming to put up a post a day as a travelogue. Obviously I didn’t do that from my last trip to Hawaii, but my excuse is that not enough happens on a daily basis in Hawaii in order to justify daily postings. But in terms of a trip to Hawaii, that’s a good thing…because the whole point of going to Hawaii is to relax and do as little possible. Which I proudly accomplished while we were in Maui. So in lieu of a daily posting I’m going to bring you a Top Ten Best Things about Maui.

1. Snorkeling with sea turtles.

On our previous trip to Kauai, I didn’t see any sea turtles, and I was gutted. I have always loved the big turtles. On this trip, the very first time we went out snorkeling I saw THREE. I nearly followed one out to deep ocean if Matt hadn’t reeled me back in. The way they just float and drift, unhurried but deliberate, I wanted to follow them back to their caves and curl up for nap with them. I could tell they totally wanted to be friends with me too.

2. Haleakala “crater”

Our drive to the top of this mountain, at 10000 feet above sea level, was breathtaking. The landscape up there was other-worldly, my favorite kind of landscape. I have to note that it’s not actually a crater, it’s a valley created by erosion. But someone without any knowledge of geography thought it looked a lot like a crater, and the name stuck.

3. Sunshine. Every day. All day.

4. Ocean waves. Constantly crashing on the beach, the soundtrack in our condo.

5. Naps. Daily requirement.

6. Mai tais. Also daily requirement.

7. Wearing loose flowing floral dresses is pretty much a requirement.

8. Big Bang Theory. Okay, this technically has nothing to do with Maui but we started watching it while we were there and became instantly addicted.

9. Luau! See previous post.

10. Oh yeah, and this is pretty awesome too:

I said yes, of course.

Aloha!

DSC_4996 by rosebuttons
DSC_4996, a photo by rosebuttons on Flickr.

This is the view from the balcony of our condo in Maui. We arrived on Saturday, after a relaxing six hours in first class: I had a crab omelette with hollandaise sauce and Matt had a couple of mai tais.

We are in south Kihei, on Maui, for the week. On Sunday went to our first luau, which was awesome. I admit that I waffled a bit when booking it and even had some last minute doubts…I mean, I have wanted to do a luau ever since our last trip to Hawaii (ok, ever since seeing the Brady Bunch in Hawaii episodes) but as I started reading the descriptions I realized it involved a lot of things that us misanthropes with social anxiety don’t like: shared tables, group seating, buffets, group participation… BUT I decided to go for it anyway. We chose Old Lahaina Luau after some careful investigation: it was highly rated in the guide book, it was not particularly family friendly, and it was supposed to be the most authentically traditional.

And it was so much fun! Everyone was so happy and relaxed that it was impossible to be annoyed with people or even to notice crowds. They gave us flower leis and mai tais as we entered, and that was challenge enough for me: “I dare you NOT to have a good time.” And so I did. I thoroughly enjoyed my mai tai and my lava flow, we took cheesy pictures posing with tiki statues, and we filled up on kalua pig, ahi poke, grilled chicken, and so much more. The other folks at our table were polite and friendly without being nosy or overbearing. I highly recommend going to a luau, especially this one.

Wiener at sea

DSC_4927 by rosebuttons
DSC_4927, a photo by rosebuttons on Flickr.

This weekend little Beggers had his first boating adventure, and he was a natural! Maybe sea legs come easily when your legs are only 4 inches long and your center of gravity is so low.

We spent the weekend on M’s parents’ 28-foot sailboat. It’s moored in Anacortes, and from there we sailed (well, motored, considering the calm conditions) a couple of hours to Blakely Island. Blakely is in the San Juan archipelago (just wanted to use that word because it’s one of my favorites) and is only accessible by boat. Little Ardie settled right in to boating life; he stuck his head over the side and enjoyed the sea breeze whipping through his eyebrows. I think he got a little frustrated that the boat wasn’t as wiener accessible as his house, he couldn’t navigate the ladder to the cabin on his own, and there weren’t any weenie-steps for him to hop on and off the couch. There was nothing to do on Blakely at the little marina where we spent the night, but that’s exactly why it was perfect. We sipped drinks on the boat, watched the sunset, grilled dinner, and played dice. Yeah, I didn’t know you could “play” dice either, but you can, and it was amusing.

Cowboy dinner in the Methow

  by rosebuttons
, a photo by rosebuttons on Flickr.

We spent the weekend relaxing and shedding the trappings of hospice/Renton/Boeing/St. Louis in the Methow Valley at Sun Mountain Lodge. I don’t have a lot to report because we didn’t do very much…that was the whole point. The first night there we went on a “Cowboy Dinner Ride;” a mellow 40-minute trail ride to a homestead site, were fed dinner, and listened to cowboy songs. Dinner was basic stuff: grilled BBQ chicken, steaks, cornbread, potato salad. At one point a little Ballard tot (I have no idea where he was from, I just call all annoyingly-precocious and entitled children Ballard kids) went up to the cook and asked, “Where are these steaks from? What kind are they?” and the cook just said, “Costco.” The tot wordlessly ran back to his Ballard parent,  crestfallen at the possibility of having ingested something not-entirely-grass fed. I think Matt enjoyed the experience (I think he was hoping for more cowboy riding and less dinner and songs), but I know I did…anything with horses and cowboys is all I need to relax.

I'm pretty sure he was a cowboy in a previous incarnation. He looks pretty at home up there.