Sunday, May 31, 2009

I can stop any time

This one reminds me of the 1960's detachable trains, which I have always liked. I remember trying to replicate that look as a child, with sweatpants and a knit blanket. The effect wasn't quite as elegant as the object of my admiration.

his, mine, ours

(also at EAD)

DJ and I have lived together for just over two years, since before we were engaged. When we were ready to move in together he was ready to buy. I was not. I was sort of adamantly against us owning property together before we were married, although I had no problem with living together unmarried. We’d recently seen friends of ours go through a breakup where there was joint property ownership, and I wouldn’t wish that trial on anyone. There are no laws to protect you if you aren’t married. If your mortgage partner doesn’t pay their share, guess what? You’re liable, and there’s no separation agreement to divide bills (in my state...)

So our condo is in DJ’s name only. Not because I thought we might break up, but because if we did that would be one less horrible thing to handle. We also shopped within “his” price range. If for any reason I weren’t paying the mortgage, he could swing it. If we’d broken up, I could have moved out without him selling or finding a roommate in a hurry. If living together had been awful, we’d have been heartbroken but not homeless. It’s also comforting in this job market that we could get by on one salary if necessary.

We’ve never treated it like “his” place, though. We’ve made improvements together to our home. But - I don’t have a renter’s agreement, which in a really ugly situation could be useful. DJ doesn’t have any legal right to charge me rent, nor do I have any legal right to live in our home. I also have no legal claim to any appreciation or reimbursement for any improvements we’ve made. Those were risks I was willing to take, but writing up a basic agreement for those things probably isn’t a bad idea.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

speedy delivery

Speaking of long engagements, look what came in the mail today! This is the CD of our Indiana engagement session with Bow Tie Photography. Which I have totally been calling Bowtie Photography all this time. Whoops.

By the way, DJ is not DJ's real name. But they do call him DJ at work. (Clarification in case anyone was worried that I was running around taking engagement pictures with someone other than DJ. Or nicknaming him here for cuteness, which I would never ever ever do.)

once upon a (long) time

(also at EAD)

By the time DJ and I are married, we will have been engaged for 21 months. The reasons were:
- Financial
- I thrive on research and anticipation
- We preferred fall to spring or summer

So we are having a long-ish engagement. It’s been fun for us, partly because we already live together and so aren’t in a hurry to get married for that reason.

About two months ago one of my coworkers asked his girlfriend to marry him. They have set a date for the end of August, a full month before the end of my long-ish engagement. ::hilarity ensued:: Just this past weekend they signed their first contract, which makes me want to hire them a wedding planner, STAT.

But they seem totally happy about their timeframe. They’re a few years older and six years into their relationship, so I can understand why they didn’t swan around on wedding blogs for 21 months. I don’t know yet if I’ll rate an invitation, but I hope so. I expect all my feelings of romance to be at a high around then.

My absolute favorite thing about wedding planning has been seeing that there are so many ways to arrive at married. But I wonder. If you weren’t waiting to save money or pacify family members or buy peonies in season, what would be the ideal length of your engagement?

Friday, May 22, 2009

all the china in Anthropologie

Several years ago I inherited my Grandma Julia's turquoise Fiestaware. She's been gone since I was six, but my mom curated her collections. The Fiestaware came to live with me when I lived in an airy 1900-ish third (really fourth) floor walk-up four blocks from Lake Michigan. I had a terrible boyfriend and no money at all, but I had a fantastic apartment for which I paid very little.

The shortcoming of my grandma's collection was bowls. There weren't any. Two large enough for ice cream, but not oatmeal. On a shopping trip where I spent no money (there were many of those) I found Anthropologie's latte bowls. The light blue color was so nice with the Fiestaware, and the size was so perfect.

I didn't buy them, of course. I was shopping on air. Over time things changed, as they do. I did not and do not have money, but I could certainly have afforded $24 of latte bowls. Still, I did not buy them.

It's been three years. No one has bought me $24 of latte bowls. (Many generous people have bought me many dollars of other things, this is no poor-me.) DJ and I have griped over and over that the bowls we have are not the right size, not the right shape. Generally not right. But I still didn't buy the latte bowls. I don't know why.

Last week Anthropologie put my bowls on sale, discontinuing the color. I finally bought them. Six for using, two for breaking. I suppose the time was right. Now I live in a 1970's condo much closer to work - with a dog, two cats, and a guy who brings me sorbet. I ate the sorbet straight from the carton. A bowl would have been more civilized.

Please feel free to draw your own parallels between the perfect bowls and the perfect guy. It's so obvious I can hardly stand it - knowing they were out there and doing nothing, having your new stuff work well with the stuff you bring into the relationship. Et cetera.

(Yes, I know that platter is upside down. I noticed and didn't fix it, just closed the door. Why else have cabinet doors?)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

always wear sunscreen

This morning I had a chunk cut out of my right forearm, to remove a mole that had started sneaking around and hiding text messages. ::I mean, acting suspicious.:: Just by the looks of what they got, it's almost certainly nothing to worry about, although it did take two stitches. Still: wear sunscreen, and clothing is the best SPF.

But that's not the point of my story. Yesterday I found out that Photographer Kim can make people skinnier. It's kind of amazing. I'd show you, but the example was not me and outing someone else's digital weight loss is not cool.

Anyway, when the doctor asked if I cared about a scar (which would limit his removal options) I didn't hesitate. Heck no, I don't care about a 1/2" scar. Kim can flip my left arm over to the right side and give me cut biceps while she's at it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a veil(ed) question

(Also at EAD - some of this is rehashed from earlier posts that were only published here.)
I need help, please. And not in a tell-me-about-a-time-when-you-felt-like-the-protagonist way. No, this time I really need help. Please?

I'm having trouble deciding on a veil, and I'm stuck. Part of the decision is already made – my mom cried when she saw me in a long (chapel) veil, and it’s very pretty with the dress.

But I want something more. Something puffy. Something like this. The bride designed it, and her mother in law made it. It has four pieces. I'm utterly in love with it. You can see more here and here.
Okay, it's huge. I would want mine somewhat less tall.

This one is maybe more wearable (for me.) This bride couldn't find what she wanted, so she made her own.
Each of these girls is wearing her pouf with a longer veil, which is what I would do. I might set the pouf a bit lower on my head, but still. You get the idea – there would be pouf. I would also probably ditch the long veil for the reception, but keep the pouf.

So here's where I'm not sure. They are both wearing narrow mermaid dresses. My dress is a-line. Would there be just to much volume if I wore a big veil with a not-straight skirt?
Of course, I also promised not to show the dress to the whole world, which makes the question more general than I'd like. Any thoughts on wearing a puffy veil with an a-line dress?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

more pouf

Found here. Along the same lines as this one, but more wearable for me.
In real life I have naturally big hair. I like it that way. It seems like a big veil is just the wedding day equivalent, right? I'm so talking myself into it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the usual, please

I have a good relationship with my hairstylist. I should, she's been tending to my head for twelve years. My hair is really thick and everything from straight to curly. It's kind of a challenge, but she's used to it. These days I just flop into the chair and say "the usual" and we spend the next hour catching up. The funny thing is, she's managed to switch things up without me knowing, so I don't actually have the same hairstyle I did twelve years ago. But I always like it. It's nice when someone knows you that well.
So we've been talking about wedding hair. I do have some ideas, and I've saved some pictures of things I like, but really - I might as well flop into the chair and tell her "the usual," because what I want is classic wedding hair. Off my neck, but low. Some texture, but humidity-proof. Swept back, but loose. You know. The usual.

Our practice run isn't until the week before the wedding, so the length and color will be as close to the same as possible. Despite my best efforts at getting things out of the way early, September is getting busy. How far in advance are you scheduling your hair trial?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

cake, continued

(also at EAD)

There’s a French restaurant near where DJ and I live. We’ve been there several times to celebrate a birthday or a holiday, and I always order dessert. I haven’t taken a picture, always too busy scarfing down the delicious pomegranate mousse on a thin brownie crust. You'll just have to trust me - their desserts, like everything else on the menu, come beautifully presented. The pomegranate mousse arrived with a dainty crown of spun caramelized sugar, filled with fruit.
Like this, but larger and more delicate. Wouldn't it be great as a cake topper, filled with flowers?

I thought it was a neat trick, but surely any pastry shop could make one. Not so! The cakery demurred, having never done anything like it before. A series of searches online turned up… me, looking for a spun sugar crown. I did find lots of helpful tips for making spun sugar (curliques, fluff, nests). But everything I read tells me that the caramelized sugar is fragile and needs to be prepared no more than a day or so in advance. Between cookie baking and flower arranging I don’t think I’ll have time to play with hot sugar.

So I called the restaurant, hat in hand, playing the bride card. The receptionist chuckled when I said I’d happily buy a dessert to obtain the crown. I’ll have Chef Michael call you back, she said. He did - totally on board with this pushy bride - to ask about size and color.

It’s a tiny little detail to be so thrilling. But it’s just the sort of thing that makes wedding planning fun.

raspberry sorbet

Today I was feeling kind of congested and crappy, so I missed going out to dinner with DJ and his mom. He came home with raspberry sorbet and a bride magazine. You're the best boyfriend ever, I told him. No, he corrected, Best fiancé ever. Then he brought me a spoon.

Not that he's gunning for points or anything.

just one more bite

(also at EAD)

Yesterday DJ and I had our cake tasting. I meant to take pictures of the actual cake tasting, but. Um. I was apparently too busy shoving cake into my cake-hole. We were expecting tiny chunks of cake, so we asked to try five (our of probably 10) flavors. They brought five full pieces to each of us. We didn't even need to share! It was heaven, and I had a small stroke over the little tubs of fillings.

Our cake will be three layers (8", 10", 12"), frosted in tasty buttercream. Red velvet with vanilla filling for the bottom layer, and yellow with Bavarian cream for the top two. The yellow cake was shockingly tasty. I was expecting something like a boxed mix, and was very pleasantly surprised.
I had all kinds of ideas for decoration, but was feeling lazy at decision time. So I just asked for a copy of this cake. The picture above is actually a photo of an ad I ripped from Bon Appetit early last year. I liked that it was a) not fondant b) monochromatic c) just a tad precious.

Now I need to find a 14" footed cake stand. Something tells me this won't be easy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

save a horse, ride a Schwinn bike

I biked to work this morning. 19 hilly miles, one way. It's a thing I do now and then when the weather is nice and I feel energetic.
I meant to ride 19 miles the other way too, but after just a few miles I found this shiny piece of glass.
It's pretty, but I think I'd like it better somewhere other than lodged in my rear tire.

I called DJ, who drove to rescue me and my gimp bike. While waiting for him I took pictures of the sky, which was doing the wonderful midwestern thing that is best described as lowering.

It is good to go places under my own steam, and very good to have the option of rescue.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

how it is

Today was my dog's second birthday.
We had steak.

He gets the bones.

the bride's side

(also at EAD)

I’m not inviting my dad to the wedding. Let alone having him walk me down an aisle. He’s alive, well, and lives two miles away. But if he shows up uninvited, the ushers are also bouncers.

He was by all appearances a good dad. He went to work five days a week, church on Sundays, and seemed perfectly normal. Unless you lived with him, and then it was no good at all.

When I was in college, circumstances changed and it seemed worth another chance. Which did not go all that well. So I changed a few more things and for some time we maintained the kind of Christmas and Thanksgiving relationship that sort of gets you out of being a complete orphan.

Two years ago DJ and I moved in together, and three months after that my dad failed again, this time with my little brother. He was eighteen at the time, so when my dad called to tell me that the kid was homeless, I was absolutely concerned. Crying in frustration and anger, concerned.

But really, this isn’t a story about my dad at all, or even my brother. It’s about DJ. He handed me a Red Stripe and asked what we could do. We. What we did was bring my brother to live with us, and for a year and a half DJ was as generous as he would have been with his own brother. Maybe more. More than anyone would have expected. It was enough to get my brother on his feet, with savings and a plan and (still) a key to our house. DJ has never once made anyone feel bad about this; it was just the thing to do and we did it.

My dad, by the way, has never admitted the utter crappiness of his actions. Or thanked either of us for pinch-hitting as parents, to the possible detriment of our relationship. (We were actually pretty good, and our relationship hasn’t seemed to suffer.) So my dad is out of chances. DJ is very diplomatic. If there are sides, he is always on mine. I know he thinks the current plan in the best one, but if I changed my mind he’d support that too.

That “for better or for worse” thing is no joke. Things can get worse and worse and worse, until you can’t remember when things were better. It’s really good to have someone to hand you a Red Stripe and get to work on a solution. It’s really good to be on the same team.

Monday, May 4, 2009

couple of the year

Over the weekend DJ and I met Kim of Bowtie Photography for engagement photos. (Even though the engagement is well underway, might as well enjoy it while we can.) We met in a cute Indiana town (Plymouth), about halfway between us.

She posted this photo as a teaser. Wow. Welcome to my beautiful and slightly weird fairy tale! I love it.
That's what DJ and I look like now. All headless and plastic. But my, aren't we thin?