Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hello. My Name Is Ann-Marie And I'm A Diet Coke Addict.

I have been thinking about healthy eating again lately and examining what I put in my body.  While I am never going to be someone who makes drastic switches or eliminates any food entirely I do realize that there are some basic changes I can make to my daily diet to make it healthier and more natural.  I love Lean Cuisines because of the convenience factor but maybe I could cut those back to once or twice a week instead of the five day a week schedule I am currently doing.  Maybe I can eat a real breakfast instead of grabbing a Zone Perfect bar on my way out the door.  And maybe, just maybe, I can reduce my consumption of Diet Coke. 
I don't fall into the camp that believes Aspartame is evil but I do think perhaps that fewer chemicals going into your body might not be an entirely bad idea.  Also, the happy bubbles that I consume throughout the day make me look pregnant by the time evening rolls around.  Seriously, my morning belly is vastly different from my night belly.  Cutting back on carbonation has got to help that, right?

So my plan is to wean myself down to a two can a day habit.  I am starting this week by limiting myself to four cans a day.  After a week or two of this I am going to go to three cans a day and then landing at two cans a day.   Then maybe I can start in on my Lean Cuisine problem.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Shoes

I broke down and bought new running shoes this weekend.  I had far too many miles on my old ones and far, far too many miles on my Superfeet inserts.  I am hoping some new shoes will help with the weird assortment of foot and leg issues I have been struggling with:  Morton's neuroma, freakish bilateral calf-tightness, sciatica and the occasional hip twinge. 

The verdict?  Meh, not so great.  I am going to play around with different lacing to see if I can alleviate the foot numbness. They sure are pretty though.  Men's Sauconys in case you were wondering.  They didn't have any women's shoes for my stride in my size. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Money Talks

Married life has been suiting us just fine.  Since we have been together for so long and have lived together for awhile there has been no major adjustment period.  In fact, the only difference is I feel more in love with Kevin than before (sorry for the sap) and I feel even closer to him. Oh, and we have developed a freaky ability to read each other's thoughts all the time.  It's actually a little frightening how often it happens.  But there is one major marriage adjustment hurdle still before us and we are going to tackle that tonight:  finances.

Now, we have talked finances quite a bit already and know how much each other makes and what our debts are and what our living expenses are.  We have not, however, combined any of that.  We did open a joint account for wedding expenses after we got engaged but that is as far as the merging has gone.  We have been together long enough to know each other's financial styles and even though they aren't an exact match they are close enough that it won't be a big stumbling block.  I also know that money is the number one thing couples fight about so that little nugget of information is probably in the back of both of our minds as we start down this path. 

It shouldn't be too horrible but it will definitely be new ground for both of us.  I have never had to confer with anyone about my retirement account deductions or which health plan to choose or direct debit vs. bill pay or what I choose to spend my money on.  Those decisions have always been mine and mine alone. Learning to make them together will be a whole new experience for us.  We aren't merging everything but enough to be a little intimidating. Time to open some wine and break out the 10 key (I'm old school like that) and crunch some numbers.  Woo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am trying to convince myself that my dreams are so dull because I actually live a fairly interesting, involved and active life.  However, that could just be what people who spend a long time in dreamland quietly shopping for books and visiting a doctor to discuss their bunion say to make themselves feel better.  I think I bored myself into even deeper sleep.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Does Not Ride Well With Others

With my car in the shop overnight I was looking at a bleak future. A future that included (shudder) ......public transportation. I just wanted to take a moment to thank my sweetie for driving me the 30 miles to work to save me from having to sit next to the mentally unstable, the unwashed and from possibly sitting in pee.

Wedding Recap - Photos, Transport and Stress Oh My!

I have promised myself that I will have the wedding recaps done before we get our professional photos back.  We should get those between 1-3 weeks from now so I better get typing.  I aplogize for the length of these posts but this was just so huge for me that I need to give it a decent recap for myself. 

When last we left Beluga Girl and Orca Boy (seriously, the coloration is remarkably similar) we had set up the reception space and were getting ready for the "first look."  I had been all prettified by two wonderful women at the Edgefield spa and got into my dress with only a tiny bit of help to zip it all the way up. I was determined to do it myself without anybody around in the room but needed to call Diane for the final zip and to make sure I didn't have back cleavage.  Who knew your back could look so much like an ass? 

The photographer showed up before I got fully zipped and started shooting.  I was surprised how little I noticed him and how natural I felt with him shooting all the time.  I thought I would have a bigger problem with being photographed but I had so many other things going through my mind that I didn't even notice.  So I was dressed and accessorized for the wedding but didn't really feel like a bride until I got to hold my bouquet.  That was the first moment I actually felt bridal.  I loved my bouquet too.  It had wonderful yellow flowers, tiny touches of white (can we all just agree that a white dress with an all-white bouquet is BORING and should be stopped? Agree? Good!), beautiful seed pods and the pieces that really made the bouquet pop; chocolate fern curls.  I could have stared at it for hours.  The florist did a beautiful job.  Sadly there aren't any good pictures of it yet.  The billy button boutonnieres for the guys were also perfect.  A fun, unusual flower for a fun, unusual occasion.
"How the hell do we put these on?"

I met Kevin outside and the photog had him turn around for the "first look."  Now, this seems a little silly because he had seen me in my dress a bunch of times, seen the shoes, seen the necklace, seen the hair and make-up but had never seen it all together.  But it was the actual wedding day so it was a little different this time.  He looked so handsome in his tux even though his hair was still wet from hurrying through his shower.  He was SO stressed from the insane reception set-up that he was almost in tears and the first thing he said to me was "we should have eloped."  The pom poms gave him PTSD.  We quickly got out of the stressful morning mood and into having fun being together on our wedding day and taking photographs around the grounds of The Edgefield. 

Taking pictures was a lot of fun.  I felt really pretty at the time although the few photos I have seen don't make me feel that way now.  But at the time I felt beautiful which is all that matters.  I have never seen a photo of me I have liked anyway so why should the wedding be any different.  I also thought Kevin looked great but after seeing his hair in some of the shots I don't hold out much hope for either of us in our photos and he usually photographs beautifully.  Orca Boy's hair looked like it had been cut by a Flowbee.  It is what it is though.

After photos the stress came back big time when we started to worry about the school buses we had rented for guest transportation.  We hadn't heard them come up the drive-way and were kind of freaking out that they weren't going to be there.  Turns out only one of the two made it and after Kevin did some take charging with the situation our guests were finally able to head out to the reception space after waiting and waiting for the other bus to show up.  I found out later the bus driver took some wacky, long route instead of the quick easy route they should have gone if they used Google maps.  This all resulted in people getting to the reception later than we anticipated and caused us to get there later than we wanted as well.  The stress level was rising.  We were worried people wouldn't have enough time to relax and have a drink before the ceremony began and that we wouldn't have any unwinding time.  Turns out that was probably good because it wouldn't have been unwinding time at all.

On the way over we spent time stressing about the reception space and whether the cake topper was on the table so the cake lady could find it or did someone pack it away so we would have to dig for it when we got back.  I also couldn't get anyone to return a phone call or text at this time either.  Aaaarrrgghhh!  The most important thing to me was the cake and I didn't want to walk in and not see the cake in its complete state.

We arrive at Mississippi Studios and shoot up the side stairwell to the little waiting room at the top.  We could hear the pre-ceremony music we had carefully chosen (all non-sappy songs about love), could hear people talking and laughing and I could feel my pulse quicken.  I can feel it now just remembering and typing about it.  We were both so much more nervous and excited than we thought we would be.  Heart pounding, sweating kind of nervous and excited. We talked with our officiant and went over a few last minute items. We were getting more and more nervous as the moments ticked by.  We were moments away from getting married. 

(Seriously, I am feeling that heart-pounding nervousness reliving this.Yikes!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Running on Empty

We interrupt our scheduled wedding recap to bring you this: running has become hard. A three miler that would have been nothing a few months ago now involves walk breaks. I know my "speed" and stamina will come back but, damn, I didn't think I had reconditioned that badly. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Recap Part I: Pre-Wedding

We made the smart decision to head down on Thursday instead of Friday which allowed us a little more time with a few out of town friends.  It also allowed us to relax a little before the big weekend shindig activities started.  It was funny because neither of us felt nervous at all at any point during the engagement.  That is until we took the exit for The Edgefield.  Both of us simultaneously started to get the nervous, butterfly thing going.  This big thing that we had been working on for so long was actually happening. 

The main thing we did Thursday was put together all the out of town gift bags.  In the spirit of being welcoming and inclusive we wanted to get everyone's weekend off on the right foot with a welcome bag to thank them for making the trip (since everyone had to travel to it).  They were filled with some fun tasty treats and give them a sense of what the vibe of the wedding would be like.  The black rabbit cookies with the story of the Edgefield black rabbit seemed to be a hit, the water bottles (with heavily borrowed from the interwebs "nutrition label") and everyone's own personal flying lemon magnet were our favorite things.  We didn't decide to do the out of town bags until about five weeks before the wedding so they created a bit of last minute work but it was worth it.  People seemed to enjoy going into their rooms and seeing their bright yellow welcome bag.
Prepping the bag for delivery
Friday Kevin and I had a couple's massage in the morning and then had some soaking pool time (to recreate our soaking pool engagement).  Later, I had my first manicure (meh, don't see the point to them) and pedicure (woo-hoo!  Those are great!).  My dear friend Michelle joined me for the pedicure and it was great to spend some more time catching up with her before all the craziness began.

Shortly after the relaxing spa treatments, the craziness did indeed begin.  Everyone started showing up and the fact that this was actually happening now became even more real.  Instead of a rehearsal dinner we had a 30 minute run-down with the wedding party about what was happening the next day and then we went to hang out by the Little Red Shed pub with a whole bunch of guests.  One of the advantages of a whole weekend deal instead of just the wedding on Saturday night is that we got more time to talk to our friends than you usually do at a wedding.  The day after brunch helped with that too.  However, I was nervous about how the next day would go and didn't enjoy myself a ton and just would have really rather been alone in the soaking pool.  Even with not feeling particularly social it was still a nice time though.  A group of our friends even showed up in their Edgefield bathrobes; they were truly getting into the spirit of the place.

Saturday morning was a quick breakfast where we barely ate (nerves again), a few times practicing dancing to our first dance song that lightened the mood immensely and took the worry out of us being able to remember any moves at all, and then off to the reception space for set-up.  I was only there for an hour before I had to leave for hair and make-up but I know this was hugely stressful for Kevin.  It was the fluffing and hanging of 80 tissue paper pom poms and a dozen flying lemons that really seemed to cause the kerfluffle.  They were a pain in the ass but boy did they help make that place festive.  He was so stressed about it that he actually had a nightmare the following night about the pom poms not being right.  Thanks to the previously mentioned wonderful friends it turned out beautifully and turned this

into something beautiful and happy and light that I don't have any good pictures of.  Maybe when the professional prints come in. 

The only glitch here other than the clusterf*#k that was the pom poms was I wanted bright yellow sashes for the chairs and got these soft butter yellow instead.  It turned out fine because one of the pom pom colors was the same yellow so all was good.  And at least the chair cover woman knew to not tie them into bows.  Even though I hate chair covers it was necessary for this space to make it lighter and more festive.  The chairs on their own are seriously ugly for a wedding.

Kevin's awesome flying lemons!

Michelle creating the flying lemon place cards.

I hated being away from the decorating.  This was our baby and we had worked so long and hard on it and I wanted to help make the vision a reality and it sucked to not be there.  Being a bit of a control freak it also stressed me out to leave it in other people's hands.  Luckily, Kevin knew exactly how it was supposed to look so I felt confident that it would come out pretty darn close to what we imagined.  I also wanted to do a quality control check/final run through when it was all done but there was no time for that. 

In the next installment:  with the set-up done it was time to meet for our "first look" and get the show on the road! 

Introducing Your New Superhero Duo......

.....Beluga Girl and Orca Boy!

Christ, we had a year engagement.  Shouldn't we have managed to be less porky by the time the wedding rolled around?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wedding Recap In Which Very Little Wedding is Recapped

Where to begin, where to begin.  There is so much to say about the wedding that I didn't know where to start which is why I haven't posted anything yet.  I decided to break it down into four parts:  this post, pre-wedding, ceremony and reception.  I realize that this rehashing isn't going to be particularly interesting to anyone but me but since this is my, in the words of Mike Birbiglia, "secret public journal" I am going to do it anyway. 

Also, I am going to apologize in advance because I am going to do a lot of self-congratulating and patting us on the back in these posts.  We worked SO freaking hard on this wedding and worked on so many little details to have it turn out a certain way and to have it basically hit a home run on nearly every point feels amazing.  Sorry to be boastful but we both really feel that way which is good; it is how every couple should feel after their wedding.  We wanted the wedding to be joyous, celebratory, unique, inclusive, welcoming and most imporantly everything needed to be authentically "us".  We didn't want to be a wedding where you could throw in any couple into our roles and have it feel right.  I think we nailed those criteria.

Before I get too far into dissecting the weekend I do need to acknowledge that a lot of the weekend wouldn't have gone quite as well without the help of many, many friends.  Mike and Amber came over twice before the wedding to cut out lemon wings, bag earplugs and help with the Theo Chocolate favors.  My brother and his girlfriend Diane (that I had met only once before by the way) came over to make a zillion tissue paper pom poms and then Diane came over again two nights later to help me make and frost 90 black rabbit cookies for the gift bags.  All four of them also worked tirelessly on the day of the reception to help make the reception space look beautiful.  They were joined by so many others:  Michelle, best man Matt, Cherie, Todd, Patti, Paul, the whole Coocoochin clan, Kevin's co-worker Denise and her husband Curt.  I am certain I have missed someone and will feel like a jerk when it is pointed out so I apologize now for forgetting; the day was a blur.  It is just amazing how people jumped in to help.   Kevin and I kept commenting all weekend long and for many days afterwards how lucky we are to have such great friends. 

Next post:  actual wedding things discussed.  Maybe even a picture or two!