Wednesday, February 28, 2007

To Sur or not to Sur

The latest plan in the wedding adventure is to skip the whole bloody deal and have a very exclusive family-only event in Big Sur. My vision is to gather on one of the spectacular beaches, have a very casual exchange of vows in front of my loved ones (meaning we’d do the legal part at the courthouse in San Luis Obispo) then heading over to Nepenthe for a wonderful view and meal. Hopefully, some band would be playing at some venue that night so we could cut the rug a little after the meal.

We’d stay in one of the fancy hotels like Ventana or Post Ranch Inn, which are completely outrageous price-wise and only worth it if you make TONS of money or are getting married. Afterward, we’d head back to Los Angeles and jet off to Southeast Asia for my once in a life time trip to Vietnam and Thailand (with weddings, everything is once in a lifetime). Simple, easy, inexpensive. Sounds wonderful. The pain in my throat goes away. That is, until I realize my 90 year old grandparents couldn’t be there.

It seems like a crime to get married without them there. My stress barometer flies back up and I want to barf. Then, when I start thinking about changing things in North Carolina to suit our budget and my fiancĂ©’s desire for a smaller wedding, I feel like my head might pop off. Deciding to get married was the easy part. Planning this beast is like learning to control a dragon. Could I really get married without my grandparents present? Would my family ever forgive me (extended clan)? Do other women go through this? Elopement is sounding better and better. Courthouse anyone?

Leveling the Playing Field

Apparently, men should start feeling the tick tock of their biological clocks, too. The New York Times is reporting that hello! sperm ages just like eggs! The older the dude, the higher the chance of birth defects. And get this: they might not show up until your GRANDKIDS are born! Like we don’t have enough to worry about. Oh, and for the record, my guy was a late in life surprise for his parents. Just one more pressure to add to the cooker of having kids and getting married.

Check out the article here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pain in the List

I went to the doctor two weeks ago because I had a pain in my throat. Not a regular pain, but this feeling like I swallowed a huge vitamin wrong and it was stuck there. It hurt. It woke me up one night so I took an Advil to dull the pain. My doctor said it might be acid reflux and gave me a prescription for the purple pill, but she said it sounded more like stress.

Lucky me. It’s my stress barometer. When I start thinking about wedding stuff, the pain comes back. When I stop, it goes away. The biggest trigger is the guest list.

There are two reasons I don’t throw many parties:

1. I worry that if I forget to invite someone they will be angry/upset with me.
2. I worry that when I invite everyone, only the nearest and dearest will show.

Basically, I don’t throw parties because of fear. I know, it’s quite egotistical to think people care that much and infantile to worry about people not liking me. But really, it’s true. So, what is the biggest party most of us throw in our lifetimes? A wedding.

I keep in touch with lots and lots of people. I like to hear what’s going on in people’s lives. I genuinely care about people. This is causing my list to swell and burst at the seams. I have people on my list whose weddings I was invited to but didn’t attend, people whose weddings I was in but haven’t spoken to in years, high school friends I speak to twice a year but not more because at the end of the day, we are really different now. Do I invite them because hey! You only get married once! Or do I keep the list small? I keep thinking, if I’m doing it anyway, I might as well invite them. I don’t want anyone’s feelings to be hurt.

Feelings hurt??? Am I in junior high??? We all know we can’t have the fantastical weddings we see on TV if we don’t want to pay off debt for years to come. Okay, I’ve had moments when my feelings were hurt when I wasn’t invited. But really, I got over it. Won’t these other people? I love, or at least really like, all of them, but my budget and truthfully, my nerves can’t take worrying about 200 people’s feelings.

The only people who really matter are the ones who will show up no matter what. They are the ones who don’t care if I serve Ruffles in a Tupperware bowl and onion dip in a sour cream container and wear an eggplant colored wedding dress like one of them dreamed. They don’t care about themes or matching bridesmaid dresses. They want to see us happy. They want to have fun and kick up their heels. They are the ones I speak to all the time.

In my ideal world, I would want everyone there. A sort of “This is Your Life” wedding, but in the real world, I can’t afford it financially or mentally. As it is, I will be popping Xanax like peanuts if I don’t change something.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Smuggly Engaged?

When I was single, I read articles about missing being single, and I scoffed. Alone with my fashion magazine on a Friday night, I laughed out loud. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding! Miss this?! Miss sleeping alone? Miss not having sex? Give me a break! I will laugh in the face of this silly woman writer! I will LAUGH!

But here I am: mourning my single self. I don't miss the lonely Friday nights or lack of sex. I miss being called to go out on a moments notice (even though most times I already have plans). I miss what I know. I’m lost in this transition space of not being married and not being single. Don't get me wrong. I am ecstatic to be marring my German. I can't wait to see him when I walk down the aisle. I like seeing him everyday. But the single woman I was, the one I identified with for years, is changing. When Rebecca was in town last weekend, we met some of her friends out for drinks. All of them single. I felt like a foreigner. I felt like they looked at me like I was different. I felt like they looked at me the same way I looked at married women when I was single - like I had no idea what it was like to look for a man in in your thirties. I wanted to shout, “ I know how you feel! I was just there!” And under my breath, “Thank god I found my fiance.”

I'm worried my single friends will forget me when I am married, thinking I have my husband to do things with. I'm worried I'll become a smug married and self-centered who wonders why my single friends aren't putting themselves out there more when looking for a mate. I'm scared I'll get fat and lose my fashion sense because I am no longer on the prowl.

I'm sure I will make smug comments. I already did to Rebecca when she was here, but I quickly apologized and begged her to tell me when I do it again. I also told her I said it because I love her and I only want the best for all of my friends. I want everyone to be treated like a queen by the man in their lives. I miss my single self, but my sweet German who starts all of his emails with "Beautiful Sarah" and brings me flowers for no reason is making the transition much easier.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Who knew...

I was thinking of going organic with the cake, but this is the perfect cake!
If we were having a redneck, shotgun, country style wedding. Krispy Kreme rocks!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Traditions are Good

There is a reason your guy should surprise you with a ring. Okay, a few reasons. First, there are way too many to choose from. It's overwhelming. I was blinded by the bling in De Beers, and after two stores, all the rings started looking the same. You want a square cut? Tell him. The rest of the design he can figure out with the jeweler. And my god, I cannot,with a decent conscious, tell my man to spend $8,000 on a small piece of stone and metal. I can’t. I’m way too practical. We don’t own a house, and honestly, I want a house way more than I want a big ring.

Of course, if he showed up with an $10,000 three-stone ring set in platinum with a matching diamond band, who would I be to say no? Of course I love it! Put that puppy on my hand! Woo-hoo! I’m engaged! I’m blinded by my bling! Seriously. Let him pick out your ring. It's so much easier. You never have to know how much he spent or how long he angonized over whether or not you'd like it. You'll just look down at your hand and think, I'm so lucky!

Alas, the controlling, design freak that I am, I made it clear to my fiancĂ© that he was NOT to buy a ring without me there. We went to Tiffany and I tried on a $14,000 ring that looked like it should cost about $5,000. It sparkled and was pretty, but really, that’s a small car. We went to Bulgari to try on the ring I had to have when I saw it online. Hated it in person. Too traditional. The $19,000 price tag didn't add to its appeal either. Hello, down payment!

Eventually, we headed to the diamond district where I tried on no less that thirty ring. I swear I went with an open mind. My man was ready to buy. Who ended up spending money? Me. The swiftness of his decision shocked me. He found a ring after trying on just two. In Germany, men wear engagement rings, and he wants to wear his band now so I bought it for him. Right then. Before mine.

I am now patiently waiting for April when the jeweler in Toronto, who I found on the internet, will send me her sample rings to try on. And IF I like them, we will finally order a ring for me. If I don't like them, well, I'm sending my man out without me to buy me something traditional.

Something to Ponder

I'm really starting to wonder what gene is missing in me that I don't HAVE to have diamonds and bridesmaid colors and all of that girly stuff.

Friday, February 16, 2007

We have a theme!

We're having a casually, elegant, German, Japanese, southern, country wedding on a farm!

Ta-da! Take that, you theme demanders!


Holy Smokes. Let it be said: 2007 is the Year of Transition. I thought 1)moving in together 2) getting married 3) possibly trying to get pregnant were enough, but life isn’t that easy.

This past week I got to move offices. In the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. A minor blip on the screen of life, unlike the other major milestones I’m hitting this year. Never the less, it was stressful and continues to be.

We moved from a small, older office into completely remodeled, gorgeous state of the art office. I am not complaining. I’m just exhausted. Moving an executive suite is no easy task even with the huge crew of people who made it happen (my job was to tell them where to put stuff, pack and unpack the little stuff). People came wandering through to see it all. Plus, my boss was traveling so I became the point person, which made it incredibly difficult to unpack. Again, not complaining. I’m just pooped. Plain and simple. And looking for a little tequila. And wishing I was a major lottery winner so I didn’t have to worry about work or how much we spend on the wedding and I could pay someone to take care of all the details of the wedding including but not limited to the invitations, my hair and make-up, the flowers, the centerpieces, the transportation, the website, the……

Why are we doing the big wedding again? I keep telling myself it will be an amazing day with all the people we love in one place. But after a week like I’ve had and a fruitless wedding dress shopping excursion last weekend, I think just the two of us in Big Sur sounds pretty darn good. Although, Big Sur is kind of a drive. Court house in Beverly Hills? Maybe Santa Monica? I need an assistant. And a nap.

Next week, the wedding will sound good again. Otherwise, I'm looking into flights to Hawaii.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sweet Revenge

The Dixie Chicks cleaned up last night at the Grammy's taking home 5 - did you hear that Nashville? FIVE Grammy's!!! Way to kick some ass, ladies!!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Now we're cooking with gas!

I can check something off the long, long list from Martha! After a month of fretting over wedding details like wondering what I'm going to wear, what we are going to serve, how the flowers will look and what favors to give to people (does anyone remember them?) and oh, where to have the wedding, we FINALLY confirmed our location! A farm! In true small town, know-your-family sense, Annie is sending me the contract, which she says is little more than a notebook paper with her signature on it. We pay her the day of the wedding.

My desire to make everyone I love fly to western North Carolina stems from wanting them to see where I go all the time and what I rave about. I want to be able to tell them stories from my childhood. For them to meet some of the people who I love so much and also to see a section of the country that will always be part of me. My fiance was a little hesitant to pay to rent a farm for our wedding since his family has a farm in Germany, but he has come around. He hasn't met theClarks yet, but I know when he does, he'll know why I wanted the wedding there.

Annie and her family have run their farm for as long or longer than my family has been in the area (1920s). Our families have known each other for years. One time, when I was home from college, my mom dragged me to the Clark's for a square dance. I thought it was going to be incredibly lame and boring. A bunch of hicks circling about. I had the BEST time. I danced with the 80 year old Clark patriarch who was also a Congressional representative. I danced with five year old girls. I got spun around by Clark boys my age so many times I almost fell down. My face hurt I was smiling so big. Lame it was not.

Ever since that fateful night, I have dreamed of having a wedding as much fun as that square dance. I am not sure if I can replicate that, but I am hoping that saying my vows on a rock in the middle of one of their apple orchards will be a good start. I think a few rounds of square dancing wouldn't be too bad either.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Life in a box. Literally.

Who knew that I'd actually go through so many emotions during our engagement? I feel like I am taking my future life, putting it under a microscope and examining parts I didn't even know existed.

For instance, we live in Los Angeles. Venice Beach, to be precise. A small, two bedroom house, or shitbox, as I like to call them, sells for, oh, about $800,000 on a good day. On a bad day, over $900,000. Yes, you read that correctly. You want a house in a neighborhood you feel safe in, or better yet, a modest house you always imagined could be yours? Think more like a million or higher. And yes, I mean dollars, not doll hairs like my brother used to pay me. (The house in the picture is on the market for $888,000. In the midwest, $120,000.)

All of this is putting living together into sharp focus. Right now, we are trying to decide if we should squish into my 600 square foot apartment and put most things (okay, everything but clothes) into storage in order for us to be able to afford a down payment in the near future. Of course, if we don't have enough living space, we might not even have a future.

With that in mind, we are looking at other apartments. I am praying we can find a two bedroom under $2000. Yes, again, you read that correctly. I used a mortgage calculator on a three-bedroom house for sale in North Carolina. The MORTGAGE was $1200. And it wasn't a trailer.

All of this is making us both a little crazy. I've been in Los Angeles for almost five years. I love lots of things about it. Mainly the weather and the ethnic food, but not enough to cram a whole family into a crappy rental apartment while some family lives in the house we buy in another city. Yes, that's the discussion now. In order to get into the real estate market and build some equity, we are looking to buy in another state where people aren't insane.

I'm ready to move into this imaginary house. My fiance, who has only experienced the bliss of L.A. for a little over a year, is not. I'm fine with living in L.A. for a little longer, but what happens when we have kids who need an education? Do we move to the areas with decent public schools? Do we pay inflated tuition fees for private schools? Who gets to drive them all over L.A. to get to this private school? Will they get into the "right" school? How do we pay for all of this when we can't even afford a house? Who will cook dinner? What will we feed these kids? All organic or a mix of healthy and In-n-Out? Will we even be able to have kids? What will sex be like in ten years? Like I said, being engaged brings up lots of issues that haven't really come up prior to being engaged. I am assuming all of this is normal. It is normal, right? RIGHT????!!!

Monday, February 5, 2007


Nutrition and diet. Everyone wants to lose weight and/or look and feel good. Look at the Biggest Loser. Losing weight is now a game. Atkins ran laughing to the bank. The South Beach guy is happily counting his money. The diet industry generates billions of dollars of revenue every year.

I'm tall. I'm thin. I have good genes. I drag myself out of bed to go to spin class twice a week. These facts I won't deny. I also eat pretty much everything that I want to. Generally (and luckily), I like salads, lean meat, vegetables, fruit and chocolate. I also occasionally partake in In-n-Out burgers, southern pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream cones and pizza.

Every now an then, people ask me how I stay thin. Luckily, I find a creative outlet in cooking so I make pretty healthy food at home. I cook lots of vegetables, and eat a lot of rice. Lately, I've taken to *gasp!* using simmer sauces from Trader Joe's with some chicken and vegetables. But, after reading an article in the New York Times today, I'm going to have to check the list of ingredients on the sauces.

Michael Pollan wrote a great essay in the New York Times*. It's about eating FOOD. Real food. Not food out of boxes or processed a million times and injected with nutrients, but FOOD. Not food that claims to be lower in fat/sugar to make you thin, but FOOD. Like your great-great-great grandmother ate (the author says your mom might not know enough about real FOOD). FOOD like I eat most of the time like brown rice, leafy greens, chicken, carrots and nuts. FOOD that helps keep me thin! And healthy!

I'm ecstatic. This is what I've been telling people for years! I eat what I want because what I want is usually real FOOD. When I was younger, I was allergic to ALL of the fun foods except peanut butter. Milk, wheat and eggs. There are very few junk foods without those ingredients. (See: rice krispie treats and Doritos) Maybe this is where I got my great love for watermelon and peaches, which, in season, I'd take any day over a bowl of ice cream. Maybe I love rice so much because I'm part Japanese and it was on the table at every meal instead of bread. Maybe I like chicken more than beef because that's what my mom made. Maybe I like FOOD because it tastes like FOOD and not chemicals. I can't wait for this to catch on with the rest of America.

But, if the diet industry has anything to do with it, people will still eat out of boxes and bottles and cans instead of from the local farmer's market. People will continue to balloon and health epidemics skyrocket. In the meantime, I'll tell anyone who asks that I eat everything I want. I guess I'm just lucky it's almost always real FOOD.

*Unfortunately, since I read it, the article is now in the archives, which requires a Times Select membership. It is titled "Unhappy Meals."

Thursday, February 1, 2007

She's not fitting the mold

I am not the kind of bride Martha and the editor's of InStyle have in mind. Theme? Like what? Under the Sea? Hawaiian Tropical? Old Hollywood? Right now, the closest theme I have is L.A. Carnival meets North Carolina Country. Colors? I have to pick just one? Two? Are you kidding? I might wear black from head to toe five times a week, but I love me some color. I am not limiting myself. I refuse. My colors? Look at a fucking rainbow. Those are my colors!

Great. I can see it now. Gift after gift of unicorn trinkets with rainbows.

The Bridesmaid Posse

I have way too many people on my "bridesmaid" list. I put that in parentheses because I don't intend to have a row of 30-40 year old women standing next to me in matching dresses, some with breast milk leaking down the front.

After being in three or four weddings in my 20s, I quickly realized that being a bridesmaid wasn't all that. The dresses I'd worn were moved from apartment to apartment before I finally gave them away. They were $200 dresses! That I wore once! I can't just give them away without at least letting them collect dust for a year or three. Two of my friends let me wear my own dress when I stood up for them. My love for them grew a little deeper at those moments. I don't want to wear a dress my friend picked out - no matter how good her taste. One friend had beautiful Vera Wang dresses. They looked gorgeous. Did anyone wear it again? Not unless they went to a bridesmaid revisited party. I've heard it all: you can wear it again if you cut it off. Everybody looks good in pink. This style flatters everyone. Seriously? Does anyone truly believe any of that anymore? I don't care if the dress is Vera Wang or David's Bridal. Outside of the wedding, the shit is ugly. There is no way in hell I am ever putting it on again.

After years of bitching, my friends now just say, "I'd really love you to be a bridesmaid but I know you hate it so will you do a reading?" This has backfired on me. Even though I was originally taped as a bridesmaid, I signed up as a reader. Readers aren't included in as many things as bridesmaids, and ignorant guests assume that readers aren't as important as the crew in the matching dresses. This hurts the ego a little bit - especially since readers aren't included in all the pictures. I like to think of myself as a professional reader, and professionals understand this. Professionals also get to the bar faster than the matching dress crew.

I decided long ago that when I got married I wouldn't have bridesmaids. I wouldn't be hypocritical enough to subject my friends to a tradition that I despise. But, as I move along in my planning, all I can think is that I want my girls with me when I am getting ready. I want to laugh with the women who have supported me through bad relationships and the beginning of this one. These women are important to me. We stuck together when we didn't have dates for New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day, when we were unemployed and confused about life. These women are people I have fun with no matter what we do. These women keep me sane.

I'm working on a plan to include my "bridesmaid posse" in the ceremony. I don't think it is realistic to have twelve readers, but no matter what, they are be with me and are going to look hot in their very own dress of their very own choice.

The Whole Package

We've all heard it: you don't just marry the person, you marry their family. Actually, it's not just the family - you get the friends, too. This past weekend, my fiance's friends from Portland came to visit.

Saturday, I met up with everyone at breakfast. Breakfast went well. They were great. Funny, personable. After eating, we went back to my fiance's apartment to hang out and talk. They asked how we met. We asked them how they met. We talked about first dates. We told them about meeting sushi. Liam, the husband, said, "We had sex on our first date. It was great!" His wife corrected him and said, "No, no. We didn't have sex. I gave you a blow job." Alrighty! This comment led to how great nudie bars are in Portland, and how they love going to them. Apparently, dancers can bare all and the bars can serve alcohol (this is illegal in LA and Las Vegas). Plus, the strip clubs have really cheap food. Great! Just what I want! A $5 steak with a side of pussy!

After stripping, the topic of guns came up and how easy it is to get a license to carry a concealed weapon in Oregon. She has one. She even has a holster to carry it in the back of her pants, but all of her pants are too tight so she carries her small gun in her purse. In case of a mugging, it probably isn't the best idea. Hold on! You can't have my purse! I need my gun!

Before Saturday, I thought I was open minded, but as the day progressed, I started feeling incredibly white bread. Maybe we should try something other than missionary position. I've never even shot a gun that wasn't armed with water. As for stripping, the closest I've gotten was when I took the much-talked about stripper class. I kept my clothes on and danced in front of other women. It was PG-13 at best.

Thankfully, in between stripping, guns, and porn, which Liam openly says he loves, he also told stories about the bitches (his words, not mine) my fiance dated before me and tales of the cultural differences my fiance encountered when he first arrived in the states. Suffice it to say, Germans are clueless about costumes for Halloween. I loved hearing stories that my fiance wouldn't think of telling me.

Towards the end of the day, they asked what I thought of them. "My fiance's gun-toting, porn-loving friends? Ya'll are great!" Luckily, we all laughed, and I was telling the truth.