I just want to update anyone who has been reading my blog about what has been going on recently. I haven't updated the blog lately, but that is all going to change once I move it over to Blogger....
This blog was meant to be a class project, but it took on a life of its own. Rather than let the project die with my graduation, I thought I would move all of my entries to a different blog and continue from there.
So please drop by the new home of my blog....you might notice that there are some older entries there already, so feel free to catch up on what I was thinking about before my class project started. I'm going to slowly add these entries to the new blog and write a few new ones here and there.
One other reason for moving my blog is the difference in the Terms of Service that exists between a University blog and a private blog. Quite frankly, I want to have the option of putting Google ads on my page, along with some referrals to resources and businesses that I feel are worth a mention. The University just doesn't allow that, and in light of the fact that we are trying to save for our wedding, if I have the opportunity to earn a buck or two and also help out my readers, well.....you know how that goes.
So, I plan to continue my blog from its new home at:
Please update your bookmarks, tell a friend, and stop by!
I haven't started dress-shopping yet because I want to lose some weight first. That's the plan anyway....to lose some weight, find a dress, and hopefully keep it off until the wedding.
I lost weight once before. Two and a half years ago I went crazy with working out and dropped about 15 pounds in two months. Way too fast! It all came back about a year later. But it was nice while it lasted, even if it did mean that eating was a total letdown. I ate peanut butter on toast for breakfast everyday with grapes or strawberries, and then a yogurt in the mid-morning, a Lean Cuisine thing for lunch with some fruit, a snack in the afternoon (peanuts or yogurt) and another Lean Cuisine for dinner. BORING! It worked, but it was really not fun.
I don't know when I decided that eating had to be fun. Maybe it was after Derek and I met, because once we started going out, I started eating foods I normally wouldn't eat. Suddenly, everything had extra cheese, and most foods came out of a deep-fryer instead of a microwave. I also started eating ice cream all the time because Derek is a HUGE ice cream fanatic. Somewhere in all of that, eating became fun. I just wish is wasn't SO fun, then I'd be able to lose some weight.
I came across a page that describes perfectionism in a much more accurate way rather than my version that says, "if you don't meet your own demands, you suck".
The page lists several irrational beliefs that perfectionists have. Here are a few that stood out to me:
1. You are a loser if you cannot be perfect.
2. There is no sense in trying to do something unless I can do it perfectly.
3. Don't ever let anyone know what goal you're working on. That way they won't consider you a failure if you don't reach it.
4. Everything in life must be done to your level of perfection, which is often higher than anyone else's.
5. The ideal is what is real; unless I reach the ideal I am a failure.
I really identify with these statements. Even if I know that they are not realistic or helpful, I catch myself saying versions of these things to myself, particularly when I am really stressed out. As a result, I create even more problems for myself than when I started.
What is strange about this whole thing is that there are areas of my life where I do fine. It seems to come out particularly when I am putting myself out there to be judged, either in school or in my work. When I have a job that requires me to work and get tasks done, and I have a boss who monitors them, I do fine. In fact, I excel in that type of environment. But when I am left to my own devices, doing something on my own, that is when I am the most self-destructive for some reason.
I know this is a little off-topic, but I'm concerned that it might affect the planning of the wedding. Does anyone else ever feel this way, or am I the lone weirdo here.
One of the things I've struggled with over the years has been a crippling state of perfectionism. Most people who meet me think that I'm really laid-back and easy going, but inside, I rip myself apart. If you came to our house you wouldn't think that I'm a perfectionist. The house is messy sometimes, I don't go crazy about dust or laundry....but inside, when its something that pertains to me specifically, I am incredibly hard on myself.
I'm a little concerned about how this might play out as we get closer to the wedding. My coping mechanism has been to "shut off" or "avoid failure" and that comes out as procrastination. It's something that I've been dealing with ever since I was a little kid. When I was in Kindergarten, I was one of the only kids in the class who was reading at a pretty high level, practically fourth grade level. Now in elementary school, all subjects hinge on your reading. If you are a poor reader, things are difficult, but if you are a really good reader, everything is deathly boring. To compensate for the fact that everything was easy, I decided it had to be perfect in exchange.
Both of my sisters also had the same problem, but their's didn't manifest itself as perfectionism and procrastination like it did with me. Maybe being older, I am just too hard on myself because I always had to be responsible. Whatever the reason, this is still a huge problem in my life.
For right now, with over a year to go before our wedding, I don't really have any anxiety. However, if we don't start getting some things planned soon, I'm going to feel like a total failure. That's how perfectionism works in people....there are arbitrary benchmarks that only you understand that must be met....if you don't meet them, you suck.
Derek is not a procrastinator, at least not to the measure that I am sometimes. I'm sort of counting on him to help keep things on track, but because its wedding planning and not something fun like "road-trip with the guys planning", I'm afraid that I'll have to do most of the work and self-motivation on my own.
I haven't decided yet if I want to post a picture of Derek, me and Dylan. I'm sort of torn. Derek knows that I'm writing this blog, and he sort of knows what I'm writing about, but I haven't actually sent him the link so he could read it himself.
I'm not sure why I feel this way about this...there are two things going on here: One, I want to respect Derek's privacy and not go splashing his picture everywhere, and two, I feel weird about him reading my blog for some reason. Everything I've written is pretty much public knowledge kind of stuff...no deep dark secrets or anything. But for some reason, revealing my writing to him is strange. It shouldn't be, really....I mean he knows everything about me. But for some reason, taking this blog from "psuedo-anonymity" to "hi Sweetie, this is what I've been writing about for three weeks" is difficult.
I thought about emailing him some individual posts and gauging his response that way. But then its not really my blog, just the stuff I think I want him to read and like.
So for now, the headless picture of Derek with Dylan on his graduation is all you're getting....I need to think about the group photo thing for a little while. As for revealing my blog to him, I'll keep you posted.
It occurred to me that I've said a lot about myself and not so much about Derek in this blog. Because I respect his privacy, I won't reveal too much about him, but I decided to write a "Top Ten Things to Know About Derek" list so that you can get an idea of what kind of person he is.
1. He's a nerd. Well, not exactly. He's a pretty cool guy and if you saw him you wouldn't think, "God, what a nerd", but he has nerdy tendencies. For example, he knows everything there is to know about both animals and the Civil War. If Animal Planet is on, he knows the obscure animal before they even mention its name, and if there is something on TV about the Civil War and he hears an inaccuracy, he pauses the Tivo and goes on a rant.
2. He's a pilot. He actually has a pilot's license and graduated with two degrees: Aviation Management and Business Administration.
3. The guy can cook! He worked at a Mexican restaurant as a cook in high school and college so he has some pretty mean cooking skills.
4. He tans way too easily. Everytime he goes ANYWHERE, like a vacation, or a camping trip, he comes back super tan and his tan lasts forever. My dad is like that too, and as a little pale Italian girl it ticks me off.
5. He loves dogs. He is CRAZY about dogs in general and out of his mind over our dog, Dylan. He loves brushing him, taking him to the dog park, teaching him tricks...obsessed!
6. He surprises me in funny ways. For example, for my last birthday, he made me Mexican lasagna and wrote "Happy B-Day Jen" in cheddar cheese before he baked it. Awww.....(see pic above).
7. He is a really loyal friend. He's had some of the same close friends since elementary school and would do anything for any of them. He also makes new friends easily and everyone says how nice and down to earth he is. He is the most un-phony person ever.
8. He has strong opinions. He goes on "rants" sometimes while we are watching TV and we end up pausing the TiVo a million times. It takes an hour to watch a half-hour show sometimes!
9. He's really smart, but not a show-off. That's important to me because people who show off their intelligence just to show off really bug me. He's also a hard worker and never complains.
10. He's just a great all-around guy. He's a funny guy with a sick sense of humor and he's always doing something funny. I can totally make an ass out of myself in front of him too.
If I ever thought about a guy that I would be with forever, I couldn't have designed a better guy. He's just so cool.
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.
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.
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.