Friday, October 23, 2009

This is really true

What is it about Halloween? My friend and I were discussing how all of the women's costumes in the Halloween Superstore have "Sexy" in the title. Sexy nurse, sexy police's just funny.

I'm guilty of it myself, of course. I totally plan on looking hot on Halloween. ;-)

Marriage License: Check!

Mr. T and I went and got our marriage license before work today. It was really easy, and can I say how refreshing it was to be in a government office where things were run efficiently? They really had their act together.

We had to wait about 10 minutes while another couple got their license. We saw yet another couple waiting to be married that morning; the bride was in a cute short white dress with silver shoes, and her bridesmaid (I assume) was in a short purple dress.

Our clerk was pretty funny. I finally had to 'fess up that I was indeed changing my last name to Mr. T's. He was surprised, and I think pleased. The clerk said it was good I'd decided beforehand because she's witnessed a fair number of fights about that subject. I can believe it, but really? People want to get married and don't even think about the name issue until they're at the county clerk's office to get the marriage license? That's so not how I operate.

She got a little squirrelly when I was asking how our officiant should list his title, and I was surprised the Universal Life Church thing isn't old hat by now, but Mr. T pointed out that I never named the church. But I did say that our officiant was ordained over the internet, so how much clearer could I be?

It made me a little concerned, but I have countless friends who've been married this way, so I'm proceeding. We'll figure out the title thing...if nothing else, we can call the county clerk's office and hope we get someone else on the phone.

Having the license really drove it home that yes, we're going to be married in a week. I think it put both of us in a really good mood.

Now off to face my last day at work before the wedding! Oof, so much to do!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dress: Check!

I picked up my dress on Saturday! I adore it. As one of my friends commented, it feels weird to love an inanimate object so much. I can't wait to wear it! The dress maker did such a great job.

After I picked it up I dropped it at the MOH's house; it's hanging in her guest bedroom closet. We'll have to figure out logistics of getting it where it needs to be when it needs to be there later, for now, Mr. T is just not allowed to see it, so her place was the best storage option.

I also came in under budget on the dress (Hooray!). I'm contemplating using the extra to buy myself an "after-party" dress. I can't help but think I'll be over wearing a corset by about 10 pm. Still, that means locating another fabulous dress in under two weeks. Hm.

Pumpkins: Check!

Mr. T and I got some crazy looks at Safeway last night as we bought 14 pumpkins from them. The price was just so good: $3.99 per pumpkin! The lowest price I got from the pumpkin farms I emailed was $5 per pumpkin, and that would've also meant a long drive out to pick them up. Still, I bet the pumpkin farms would've had prettier pumpkins than Safeway. In the photo you can see that some of our purchases have...character.

Because of that, I also went to another store and bought 8 more pumpkins--they were more expensive, but also prettier. Those will probably end up on the tables. The other ones will be glued and glittered and become pretty much unrecognizable as their former selves in order to take on their role as our aisle pumpkins.

I also got some small pumpkins to scatter on the escort card table and other places, but we need to get a few more of these. So, we're not entirely done, but 22 pumpkins feels like an accomplishment. It also makes our house look like a deranged indoor pumpkin patch. The cats don't know what to think.

And, happily, we only spent about half our pumpkin budget. Hooray to saving money!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Round-up of Book Reviews

I've been reading as much as ever but too busy to feel motivated to review anything. Here are a bunch of short and overdue reviews, in no particular order:

Can't remember how I heard about this one, possibly the library newsletter. This book was a thick one, and it was told from three perspectives, getting progressively earlier in the timeline, but centering on the same people. I disliked the first narrator the most, but he sets the scene for the book. The last narrator is the gentleman whose death the first narrator is investigating (got that?). It's well-written and, perhaps it's just me, but I didn't see the end coming at all (and I typically figure these things out in advance. So it's either bride brain, or a good mystery). I enjoyed this book but didn't adore it. However, I'd recommend it.

Another library newsletter pick (actually, all of the books in this post are, now that I think about it! I love the library.) This was a fun one to read right now because it focuses on Salem during the witch trials, interwoven with a modern-day story. I enjoyed it a lot right up until the end, where the author lost me. I just couldn't buy it. Still, I'd probably recommend it to a friend, with caveats. If you were interested in historical fiction and/or witchcraft, you might like it. I was reading a novel about plague times for my book club around the same time and the two books had some similarities in their descriptions of witchcraft, which was a funny coincidence.

I just finished this one. The cover references Harry Potter, which of course got my attention, and it makes sense the novel centers around a college for magicians in upstate NY. The characters themselves talk openly about Hogwarts and Harry from time to time, which I thought was a nice touch. The author also borrows heavily from the Phantom Tollbooth (I think, I'm not as familiar with that one) and The Chronicles of Narnia. Actually, the central theme of the story is a series of books centered around a world called "Fillory" but which bears a strong resemblance to Narnia. All of the characters read these books as kids and wish they could visit Fillory, even though it's fictional...and as you've figured out by now, they do actually visit it.

This book was interesting in that I was prepared to adore it, sink into it, and immerse myself into it, and what I found was a cast of awkward, disgruntled, very real characters, who wouldn't let me use their novel as an escape. I appreciated how real the characters were, but on the other hand, they were also miserably unhappy for large chunks of the novel. So, no happy escapist fiction there. I really liked it, though, and would recommend it...just be prepared to dislike the characters, particularly the main character, who's whiny and spineless a lot of the time. Still, there were some fascinating moments.

This was another thick one. I really liked it. I was prepared for this to be very "guy" China Mieville or someone like that, not that there's anything wrong with that, I just have a hard time reading it. However, the characters were well-sketched, empathetic, and warm. It's told as a narration from a warrior who has achieved a certain level of infamy and is, for an as-yet undisclosed reason, hiding out as an innkeep in a remote village. A biographer hunts him down and gets him to recall his life story, growing up as a gypsy kid in a caravan to being orphaned to attending a college for magicians at a very young age...he is brilliant and cocky and arrogant and yet still lovable. This is obviously the first in a series, and left me wanting more even after reading 700 pages, so that's a good sign. I'd recommend it to those who like a good old-fashioned fantasy epic.

This was my fave of the bunch. LOVED it. I admit I was pre-disposed to like it after reading the William Gibson quote on the cover about it being a dirty-ass masterpiece. And then in the acknowledgements the author thanks Tom Waits and David Lynch. I knew I was on to something!

The book reminded me of the Dresden Files a bit, in that the main character is very snarky, but he lacks Harry's geekiness. He is a magician, like Harry, and he's cocky, but he backs up that cockiness. Also like Harry, there's a lot of heart in the story, so you don't end up hating him, even though the driving plot is that he's seeking to kill a bunch of people for revenge. I liked him enormously, actually. At one point he meets up with an angel who hates him but is trying to enlist him to fight with her legion, which she calls "The Golden Vigil". He tells her the name sounds like a community-college goth band. That made me laugh aloud!

I would recommend this one without reservations to fans of "dirty-ass masterpieces" and hard-ass yet lovable bad boys.

Our other costume

Mr. T and I have been talking about how we can "Halloween" our wedding attire (yes, I did just make that into a verb, thank you), and he was fixated on getting a decent pair of vampire fangs, so finally I just bought him some at I also bought myself a fake tattoo of a vampire bite, and some gel blood.

We're going to take a moment alone after the ceremony, so after we are done freaking out about finally being married, we'll get into our "costumes"--he as the wicked vamp, me as the helpless swooning victim. Today I also bought a 4-pack of the Tru Blood soda. Mr. T wants to carry one around during the cocktail hour as part of his costume. Lord knows he won't drink it--he hates soda. But the bottle is awesome, and we're huge fans of the show.

The only thing left on my shopping list is a cape. I forgot to look when we were at Target, which is a bummer, but perhaps the Halloween Superstore would have a better price anyway.

OMW Week 40, WW Week 30

Forty weeks of getting up at 6 a.m. to work out! Can you believe it?

This week, if the non-digital scale is to be trusted, I gained a half-pound to a pound. I don't mind, because I'm picking up my dress this Saturday (Squeee!) and I'm seriously worried about the skirt not fitting because I've lost more weight, as I believe I mentioned. I'm stowing the dress at the MOH's house since of course Mr. T's not allowed to see it (we're keeping that tradition! He's seen my wedding shoes and hair stuff, though). After the wedding I'm totally buying a digital scale for the house. I just don't trust this analog business.

This week the women's section of the gym is closed again so they can put in new floors (about time, too). We're all in with the "smelly boys" again in the coed section, as I've been telling Mr. T (seriously, they need some fans up in that joint, is all I'm saying).

I finally got tired of my one pair of jeans that "fit" me falling off, so I went and bought two new pairs in a smaller size!! That was a super-exciting moment. Mr. T came with me and when I came out he remarked he hadn't realized how poorly my jeans were fitting until he saw me in some that actually fit right. What I said was, "I'm tiny!!!" It does take awhile for the self-image to catch up with what I see in the mirror, I'm discovering. In my head I look the same. I was so sick of my old jeans that I didn't even try to shop cheaply for new ones, I paid FULL PRICE for the two new pairs. And I don't regret it. Ha!

Booze: Check!

If anyone's wondering what $1300 worth of alcohol looks like...

There you go! Our original budget for alcohol was $1500, so we came in $200 under budget AND we also bought 8 bottles of wine for the rehearsal dinner, which was not in our initial alcohol budget at all.

We will probably end up returning some, but we just didn't know what folks would want to drink. Beer? Wine? If wine, red or white? If red, pinot or cabernet? If none of the above, vodka or tequila? And so, we probably overbought, but I really, really don't want to do a beer run in the middle of our wedding. We also bought toasting champagne (excuse me, sparkling wine!). We'll have 3-4 bottles of champagne for guests to drink before the toasts if they prefer to drink champagne...those are Moet, left over from Mr. T's cousin's wedding. The toasting ahem, sparkling wine is Gloria Ferrer, which was a recommendation from my codancer who loves champagne, so we totally took her advice with no hesitation. We are also serving the same chardonnay (Benziger) and pinot (Castle Rock) that she served at her own wedding, so thanks, Rachel!

For the cabernet we went with Smoking Loon, which Mr. T likes, and for beer we went for two more of his faves (and also locally brewed!) Anchor Steam and Trumer Pilsner. He also picked the vodka, of course, which is Ketel One, and I obviously picked the tequila, which is Corralejo (Herradura is my fave but was a tad expensive, unfortunately).

Buying the alcohol took all day. First I placed an online order at BevMo. I saved 5% because it was my first online order (Score!). We also got our chardonnay for essentially half off because of BevMo's five-cent wine sale (buy one bottle, get the next bottle of the same wine for five cents, on selected wines! Double score!). After we placed that order, we had to wait an hour for them to get everything together so we could come pick it up. So we went to Safeway, because they had an amazing deal on wines. A discount for 6 or more bottles of the same wine, PLUS an additional 10% off for 6 bottles of any wine, period. We saved $110 on 24 bottles of wine. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for suggesting going there as our first stop! Triple Score!

Our next stop was Trader Joe's. Unfortunately they were sold out of the margarita mix, but we did buy the rest of the wine for the rehearsal dinner there, plus the remaining bottles of pinot (Safeway didn't have enough in stock).

After Trader Joe's we swung by BevMo to look at beer and pick up our order. We bought two cases of Anchor Steam there, and at this point my credit card was declined. "Oops," I thought, "I should've called them." I bet hundreds of dollars of alcohol purchases in an hour raises some red flags. So I put the purchase on another card, and we picked up the online order. The woman who helped us out to the car complimented us on our wine and tequila selections (patting myself on the back again...and Rach, you should too, since you picked the chardonnay). "It's for our wedding," I confessed with a smile, and she congratulated us. All day I told people about the wedding, whether they wanted to hear about it or not, since we were getting a lot of attention around our massive alcohol purchases.

We dropped off all the booze thus far at home and I called my card and reassured them that yes, it was me, buying crap for my wedding, nothing to worry about. The operator congratulated me and restored my card to good standing and we were off again! [Lest anyone worry about my credit card worries, it's just on the card until I can transfer money from our savings account, which takes a couple of days. We're a no-debt wedding! As a matter of fact, we have extra in our wedding savings. Hooray!]

Next we took a break from alcohol and went to Target. We bought CANDY for the candy buffet. $100 worth of candy is a lot of candy, but unfortunately I didn't get a pic of that one to show you. We also bought coloring books for the niece/nephew. I had a crisis in the middle of the lane at Target. I literally could not pick up the coloring books with the Disney princesses on them. "There must be something else," I kept muttering. I had no idea I felt so strongly about this issue until I was confronted with corrupting my niece with them. Finally Mr. T suggested Dora the Explorer and I grudgingly went along with it. He of course had it easy and picked out a superhero coloring book for his nephew. Anyway, we also picked up frames for the parent gifts (we're going to give them wedding photos, so they'll get the frames with "picture coming soon" signs in them), plus tooth whitening kits (yes, we're vain), and I got some cute Halloween tees for myself for $6 each, which I thought was a score. As we checked out the checker (who reminded me of Kristin Wiig's character on SNL) asked if the candy was for trick-or-treaters or if it WAS ALL FOR US. And then she said people sometimes told her they were going to keep the candy for themselves. We're talking about 20+ bags of candy, here. That's frightening!

Our next stop was another Trader Joe's. They did have the maggie mix, and by making nice with one of the employees, we got it in an unopened box. Hooray! After that we went to another BevMo, and since we were under budget, Mr. T approved the purchase of the Crystal Head vodka that I'd been dreaming about. It's going to look so awesome on the bar!

Plus if we run out of vodka we can crack it open.

After BevMo #2, we proceeded to Michael's, where we bought flower petals for our flower girl, spray paint for some of the used frames we bought for venue signage, more glitter for pumpkins, two types of glue, and other random stuff.

We were also supposed to make a stop at Pet Club for the littles but it was closed at this point. It was probably for the best, since we were soooo tired by then.

And finally, we stopped at Andronico's for two things:
  1. Individually wrapped candy corn packets--we love candy corn and had to have it at the buffet, but we don't want any open candy, just wrapped. Andronico's was the only store we found the packets in!
  2. The Trumer Pilsner beer, which was on sale, and because of the sale, they had cases in stock, which they normally don't. Quadruple score!

And then we went home and collapsed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This is so true

I found this on another blogger's site. It's true, while we were at Michael's this weekend I noted that the Halloween stuff is already on sale, and crammed into fewer aisles, and there are now a few aisles devoted exclusively to Christmas. WTF?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Processional Option

I've been pondering my processional options. I was thinking about some of our belly dance faves like Beats Antique, but a lot of those songs have doumbek interludes and that just seemed odd to me.

Then I remembered this one:

You're My Best Friend by Queen
Ooo. you make me live

whatever this world can give to me
It's you, you're all I see
Ooo, you make me live now honey
Ooo, you make me live
You're the best friend
that I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine
And I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
You're my best friend
Ooo, you make me live
I've been wandering round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You've stood by me girl
I'm happy, happy at home
You're my best friend.
You're the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I'll never be lonely
You're my only one
And I love
The things that you do
You're my best friend
Ooo, you make me live.
I'm happy, happy at home
You're my best friend
You're my best friend
Ooo, you make me live
You, you're my best friend.

Pretty perfect, right? I love it, but I have concerns:
  • It's 2:50. Is that long enough for two bridesmaids, a ring bearer, and a flower girl to get up the aisle? Because if it isn't, now I need another song for everyone else.
  • Is it weird that it's sung by a gay man to a fictional woman?
  • My dad is going to make fun of me, but I can live with that (nothing new there). I just hope he doesn't refuse to walk down the aisle because of it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To-do list for this week/weekend

  1. Meet with officiant re: vows again.
  2. Finalize seating chart.
  3. Work on signage for bar, cupcake table, buffet table, candy buffet, gift table.
  4. Work on escort cards and room map.
  5. Buy alcohol.
  6. Decide where we're buying pumpkins.
  7. Buy parent gifts.
  8. Buy candy for candy buffet.
  9. Practice corset lacing with MOH.
  10. Send out rehearsal dinner invitations.
  11. Decorate cupcake tree (this might have to wait until next weekend!).
  12. Wash and decorate candy jars.
I'm sure there are about 80 other things I'm forgetting at the moment. Here we go!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Skirt Resolution

By the way, my dressmaker did come up with a solution for how I can dance in my skirt. We're going to bustle the skirt, but not in the traditional "wadded up fabric on your butt" kind of look. She says that it hopefully won't even be noticeable in the tiers of lace that are on the back of the skirt.


OMW Week 39, WW Week 29

Last week again, it's hard to tell with the analog scale, but I think I neither lost nor gained. I think. So I didn't bother to blog about it. I figured I was in a holding pattern and that was probably fine, since it's about time to start finalizing my dress, which we can't do until I'm at a stable weight.

This week I think I lost 3 pounds! I have no idea how I did that. I certainly didn't hold back this weekend, which was my bachelorette party (and the less mentioned about that, the better...suffice it to say there were some calorie-laden cocktails and much yummy food involved!). So, to celebrate the inexplicable loss, I got a scone and latte this morning. Seriously, I think if I lose much more weight my dressmaker might kill me.

It is absolutely frustrating to try so hard to lose weight and not have anything happen week after week, and then to all of a sudden lose 3 pounds for no good reason...3 pounds that might make my skirt not fit me anymore! I just don't get it. Perhaps I am being a lot more active lately...and I did dance for hours on Saturday night....?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October is here!

Happy Fall, everyone! I'm still waiting to find out what happened to summer...feels like we never had one, weather-wise. But here we are in October and the wedding is a month away and I'm still chasing down RSVPs (it can't be THAT hard to say yes or no, can it?) and I realized we have so many things we need to do now: buy alcohol, get the marriage license, write our vows, finish our music playlists, coordinate with out-of-towners and possibly plan other activities...

I feel pretty calm, even though intellectually I know that's a hell of a lot of work. I'm really looking forward to October 31. I know that day will be perfect, regardless of whether I've got manicured nails or if we didn't manage to frame any old Halloween pix of us for decor.