Today was the day of the Indianapolis 500. In my family, growing up, the Indy 500 was like a national holiday. My dad wanted three sons, but he got three daughters, so we acquired an eclectic array of interests including racing.
Derek, on the other hand, couldn't care less about auto racing. He's at the dog park with Dylan, and I'm glued to the TV watching Danica Patrick lead the race in the final laps.
Since starting this post, the race has ended and she came in 4th overall. This is a history-making day for racing and in my life, but Derek is completely uninterested. This is an example to me of how couples can have such varied interests between them but still get along in such a unique way.
Derek has his things that he does, I have mine, and we have ours and the arrangement works great for us. I support him in his crazy rants at the TV when he watches "The O'Reilly Factor" and he supports me when I watch horror movies all day when I don't feel well (he supports from the other room, because he hates horror flicks). I let him jump up and down when the Vikings are minutes away from winning (or losing) a game, and he lets me gab with my dad about who "should" have won the Daytona 500.
We have plenty of things in common, but plenty of things that are different and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Jennifer Wilbanks, the "runaway bride" who left her 600 guest wedding days before it was to happen has been indicted.
You may remember that she left her home on "a jog" and was later found in New Mexico after she claimed she was kidnapped from her Georgia neighborhood. She later recanted her story, and admitted that she had planned her escape from her wedding nearly a week earlier.
The Grand Jury has indicted Jennifer Wilbanks on two counts, with one being a felony count that carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.
I searched all over for a tutorial on how to preserve fall leaves. We are planning to decorate our tables with fall foliage, but we don't want to buy preserved leaves because they are too expensive, and the silk ones just look fake.
So I decided that I would preserve leaves myself. I found a tutorial that explains the process, but as I was reading it I came up with my own version of the tutorial based on what is most likely to happen.
How to Preserve Fall Leaves
1. Buy glycerine, containers to hold the glycerine, containers to store the containers that hold the glycerine, and lots of rubber gloves. Chances are you will spend more than it would cost just to buy leaves already preserved.
2. Enlist help from friends and family who have nothing else to do all day but look for perfect fall leaves without tears or holes in them. Estimated number of friends you will find for this task: 0.
3. Heat up glycerine on the stove, taking great care not to:
a.) Burn yourself.
b.) Spill piping hot gylcerine on the dog who won't leave you alone while you are playing with magma-like substances.
c.) Forget about piping hot glycerine on the stove while you are on the phone calling emergency veterinarian letting them know your dog is en route.
4. Dip leaves in glycerine where they will stay submerged for up to three weeks, or until the leaves become too much of a problem for either you or your fiance and they are thrown out, or when your dog accidentally eats a preserved leaf and needs to be rushed to the emergency room (see item #3).
5. Retrieve leaves from the glycerine after appointed time and marvel at the lack of preservation that actually took place.
6. Add up the number of hours spent preserving leaves, factoring in the amount of money used to purchase supplies, and the final vet bill.
7. Get out your VISA card and buy preserved leaves.
For an actual tutorial on how to preserve leaves, sarcasm removed, click here.
The College of Liberal Arts offered some free computer classes last Fall to anyone who was a CLA student, so I decided to take their Intro to Excel just for the heck of it. While I don't know everything there is to know about Excel, I do know how to do three things for our wedding:
*How to Maintain the Guest List
*How to Organize the Budget
*How to Tick Off the Boyfriend
Items one and two should be self-explanatory, but item three is something that I gained from the class that was completely unexpected. Who would have thought that in a short three-hour class I could learn how to drive my intended absolutely up the wall?
I'll explain: I am highly-organized and even considered a career as a professional organizer...really. I love having access to information at my fingertips. Derek, on the other hand, is not terribly organized. In fact, the first time I came to his house he said, "Don't come over until 4 o'clock because I want to straighten up the house a bit first". I came over at the instructed time and, I kid you not, the house looked like a bomb went off in the middle of the living room. There were magazines, unopened mail, old Christmas presents (we met in March!), baseball hats, water bottles...you name it, it was on this floor!
By September of that year, I had pretty much done the best I could to help him out, but it was clear that drastic action would have to take place. I told him that we should have a Vikings party to celebrate the beginning of the new football season, but that in order to do that (and provide places for people to even sit) we would have to clean up the house. I volunteered my services.
I cleaned, I scrubbed, I opened six-month-old mail...the place looked great, and has more or less stayed organized since then. The other day, our friend Steve came over for a barbecue and said, "Jen, you moved in just in time...this place was a disaster before you came into the picture".
But I digress....Excel....it's caused a few problems.
I get teased alot about being nerdy, too organized, too rigid. But since I've started using Excel for the wedding planning, I've been teased even more. Call me crazy, but I like having our guests' full names in the database, not their fraternity nicknames. Maybe I'm wierd, but I like to know exactly how many groomsmen there will be, not "a couple, I don't know". I ask for too much detail apparently, and Excel, with its rigid parameters is to blame.
I think Derek just doesn't understand how liberating it is to know that at any moment you can visit your system tray, click on your Excel Workbook and see your wedding at a glance. The only system trays he pays attention to are the ones that have "CounterStrike" and "Half-Life" in them (video game reference, ignore please).
So while I plan the most expensive 24 hours of our life, I'll let him continue to ridicule me. After all, she who has the knowledge has the edge right? Maybe we will have enough money left over for our chocolate fountain at the reception after all!
Derek's fraternity brothers are all married...yep, every single one of them. Every time one of them gets married, all the brothers fly in from wherever they are living as a show of solidarity (or for the free beer, who knows). Therefore, our wedding will be the last of the great bashes until one of them gets divorced and does it all over again...kidding.
As a result of this fact, our wedding reception has to be unbelievable, as all of the brothers are sent off into wedded bliss.
One small problem...where to have this blowout.
I personally like the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights. It's not far from where we live, it's in a somewhat central location for everyone who lives here in town, and it's accessible by many freeways. Besides the practical aspects, it's just plain pretty. The pictures on their website show it decked out in fall decor, and we are getting married in October.
We haven't actually looked at any places yet, but both my parents have attended functions and meetings at the Mendakota, and they've given it a big two thumbs up.
When I called the Mendakota a few months ago, they said that if we agreed to get married during the deer hunting opening weekend, they would give us the place for $750 less than any other weekend. Hmmm....give up peak colors in mid-October for deer hunting weekend? As tempting as the offer was, I decided to stick with October, and let someone else get the "deer hunting discount".
Whichever place we decide to have the reception, we're trying really hard to plan a party that is fun and meaningful for us, but also memorable for all of our friends and family. We could probably do that anywhere, but the search continues....
Despite my happiness at getting married, this time is actually quite bittersweet. On February 5, 2005, my grandma passed away after being ill for a couple of months. She was in and out of the hospital twice, but we really didn't think that her illness would result in her death at the age of 86.
Her death was a shock to me, because I never imagined that I would get married without her being there. Derek and I were not engaged formally at the time she died, but she knew our engagement was coming. I have some comfort in the fact that she knew Derek before she passed away, but my wedding day won't be the same without her there.
I have always been extremely close to my grandma. I was her first grandchild, and she always referred to me as "her pride and joy". There may have been a little bit of favoritism thrown my way, but she truly loved and enjoyed all three of her grandchildren. We were her life, and as the mother of two sons, she thought of us as her three daughters.
One would think that perhaps my mom and grandma would have endured a little competition for our affection, with both of them being so devoted to us, but there was never one ill word said between them. My grandma loved my mom as though she was her own daughter, and my mom loved my grandma as though she were her mom. This close relationship between all of the important women in my life means that now there is an empty space in our family. My grandma was the heart of the family, the instigator of get-togethers, and the one person any of us could turn to for advice or a shoulder to cry on.
Next fall, when Derek and I get married, there will be an empty chair in the front row where my grandma would have sat. I won't let anyone else sit there, because no one could ever take her place.
I remember hearing about this story a couple of years ago, but I never really heard all of the details. You may remember that a young woman went crazy at her wedding reception and was dragged away to jail in her wedding dress.
Here is a link to the story as it appeared in the New York Daily News, but I'll run down some of the more interesting details:
*At her wedding, the guests kept jumping over the bar and stealing alcohol, so clearly the old adage "you are who you hang out with" applies.
*She got into a shouting match in the parking lot of the reception venue with her husband of just four hours and screamed, "I hate you"!
*Apparently during her tantrum in the parking lot she "spit on her ring and smashed her wedding cake on the ground".
*When her beloved groom had heard enough from his new bride, he attempted to drive away but, "she took a run at the car and, like an eagle, spread herself on the hood in her wedding gown and fell onto the ground".
Needless to say, Adrienne Samen was arrested and released on bond. Not exactly how one would think they would celebrate their wedding and honeymoon, but I guess everyone has their own idea of a good time.
It occurred to me after reading some of my earlier entries that I could be giving people the impression that I am totally self-absorbed in this whole getting married thing. I want to assure all (two or three) of you that I am not one of those Bridezilla-types who go mental over their cocktail napkin colors or the fact that their bridesmaids aren't the same shade of tan (trust me, I've heard stories...). No, I'm just trying to be relevant, on-topic, and focused but I fear that its coming off as single-minded and absorbed.
With that in mind, I decided to post some interesting details about myself that will hopefully convince you that I truly do have a life outside of this whole wedding thing.
Top Ten Things to Know About Jen (Other than that she's getting married)
1. I have a dog, Dylan, who just turned a year old. He's a Collie/German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix and is the cutest little genius dog ever.
2. I'm a Political Science major, so I know about governments, elections, political philosophy and other nerdy stuff.
3. Speaking of being a nerd, I've worked as a freelance programmer for a few years and I spend way too much time in front of a computer.
4. Nerdiness continued....I just saw Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and it was ok...I obsess too much about nerdy Star Wars Geek details to enjoy these new ones.
5. I have two sisters, who also attend the U....we're takin' over!
6. I volunteer at a food shelf as a Resource Coordinator and help people with their myriad problems. I'm looking for a job in non-profit work as we speak.
8. My family is the most important thing in the world to me, and my new extended family via Derek makes it even better.
9. I have a "life list", a mental list of things I want to do in my life. As I do things, I add new to-dos. Some of the things I've done: See the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert, live in California, and finish college (well, that will happen in a few weeks).
10. I want to start a nonprofit organization that helps people build job skills and improve their professional image through donated professional clothing.
See? I AM normal...relatively.
Ok, I found one of the funniest wedding-related sites ever...it's called Going Bridal, and on this site they have a hilarious tool called the BrideAudit, which is a calculator that helps determine how much a certain guest to your wedding should spend on your wedding gift. It asks questions such as, "Are you marrying up or marrying down" with answers like, "His family is kind of trashy" and, "I'm marrying him for his money".
Other funny (and thought-provoking) questions are:
1. Are your friends cheap?
- What kind of question is that?
- Yes, but I love them anyway.
- Yes, so I'm not expecting much from them.
- Yes, but I think they'll come through for my wedding.
- No, but you should see his friends! Talk about cheap!
2. Are your relatives cheap?
- What kind of question is that?
- Yes, but I love them anyway.
- Yes, so I'm not expecting much from them.
- Yes, but I think they'll come through for my wedding.
- No, but you should see his family! Talk about cheap!
After you fill out the survey, it tells you your Entitlement Factor, and goes on to create an invoice that you can send to the guest for what they "owe" you! This site is hilarious...I wonder if anyone has ever taken this site seriously....
BrideAudit: Get Everything Your Guests Owe You....
When I saw the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", I thought of my family...except replace "Italian" in there....
My family is relatively big, if you count extended cousins of my parents and my grandparents and all of their family members. Derek's family is also large, since his Dad has several siblings. I was asked in a comment if either or both of us are Italian. I am Italian, but Derek is not. But he looks the part, with his dark hair and dark eyes and olive-y skin. I, on the other hand, don't look Italian in the traditional sense, but based on the way my family members from Italy look, I am truly Italian. My grandma and her mother were both short, pale skinned, had dark hair, and dark eyes. My grandma used to tell me that I looked like her Aunt Antoinette, who had eyes "like a gypsy".
Our wedding will have definite "big, fat, Italian" components. I plan for there to be lots of food, Frank Sinatra music at every opportunity, and Tiramisu for the wedding cake. Derek is 100% behind all of this, and he's embracing his "Italian-by-marriage" identity very well.
I'm desperately trying to find information on how to save money on our wedding, and I think I found a resource that should help. I came across it in my daily web travels, but I haven't bought it yet because her daily emails have been so full of good free advice. The e-book is called, Fire Your Wedding Planner, and Stephi Stewart, the author, writes the most amazing tips and stories in her free ezine. I'll buy the book eventually, but for right now, in our early planning stages, her free advice has been really helpful.
I've also been reading tips and tricks on The Knot and WeddingPages but the forums there are hard to read because they aren't presented in a standard extended threaded style like I prefer. If they were smart, they'd use a solution like PHPBB which I absolutely love...it sure would make looking for money-related tips easier.
For now though, I've created an Excel spreadsheet for our budget and have modified it as I learn what things really cost. I've found that I overestimated some things and drastically underestimated others. I'd love to reduce the budget a little so that we might actually have some money left over after our honeymoon, but then I also think that we are only doing this once, so we might as well spend a moderate amount and have it be really nice.
As I find more information about money-saving ideas I'll post them for anyone else who is trying to plan the "party of all parties"!
One of the newest obstacles we have had to face is the choice between having our wedding in a church or at our reception place. This is a big deal in our families because Derek's grandfather was a Lutheran minister, and my family is Catholic.
Of the two of us, I am the only one who has been to church willingly in the past two years. Derek is not much of a church-goer, but ironically, he is the one pushing for a church wedding.
My view is based on practicality....I know how complicated planning this wedding will be, and since neither of us could be considered devout in our religious beliefs, it seems easier to get married in a short, Lutheran ceremony at our reception place, and then dive right into the party!
Derek (and my Dad, surprisingly) both think that a church wedding is the way to go...something about doing the "right" thing in having it at a church, and then "cutting loose" at the reception. Hmmm...I get nervous anytime my Dad and Derek seem too in sync in their opinions! :)
Whichever way we go with this, we have to make our decision soon. I've tried to get Derek to go to church with me so that we can select a church and minister once and for all, but when Sunday morning rolls around, all of a sudden he is all for the "all-in-one" solution at the reception!
Welcome to our wedding...or at least the planning stages of it anyway. Derek and I were engaged on March 13, 2005, after dating for over two years. I knew the ring was on its way, but he completely surprised me by asking me to marry him out of the blue one afternoon while we were getting ready to go to his Mom's house for dinner. As much as I love his family, I had to call my Mom first because I wanted her to be the first person to know...
Derek and I are among the last of our friends to get married. Most of them married people they met in high school or the early days of college, so we are a little behind. The fact that we are getting married later than most of our friends has actually worked out well for us because we have so many people available to give us advice.
Hopefully, anyone who visits this blog will get a pretty good idea of how we have decided to plan our wedding. With about 16 months until our wedding, we have some time, but we are starting to realize that this isn't something that we can throw together in a few weeks. We are getting ideas, advice, and opinions from many different people, and finding the ability to accomodate everyone's concerns will probably be an ongoing struggle as we plan the first day of the rest of our lives.