A journey through my mind. Which is sometimes fabulous. Often not.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel

Why do I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel with wedding planning??? A million other people have planned their weddings, done it this way or that, and lived to tell the tale. (And then often wished for their money back.)

I suppose it's because there are so many options. I know what I want and, for the most part, how I want it. But choosing between 25 different kinds of flourishes to add to the invitations, for example, is supremely difficult. I like them all. And doing it DIY style doesn't allow for me to go to The Decision Maker (Rick) to get the vetoes and yays. I have nothing in print to show him.

I'm constantly reminding myself that even though I like the look of the pretentious, vintage, ornate swirls and flourishes, that doesn't represent the (in)formality of our wedding, so I should shy away from these beautiful designs. Designs that give the impression that the wedding is going to be some very formal and extravagant event where guests must dress in their name-brand tuxes and haute-couture gowns with fancy footwear. Not so. Stainless-steel chafing dishes hardly qualify for luxurious. Yet going the more casual route can be a bit too modern for me. The wedding isn't going to be a backyard BBQ either.

I've added a few links to my blog for DIY and budget ideas. And even if they aren't cheap ($1,100 for 100 invitations? You must be joking!), I can get an idea of how I could do it myself.... which leads me to WHERE can I find these designs so I can LEARN to do it myself? And why don't I have some graphic arts friend who can do this for me for free?????? ;)

Hopefully as I browse through other women's blogs about budget weddings, DIY ideas and such, things won't be as intimidating. And it's also not necessarily the cost of things that's making me freak out (because I haven't let myself reaaaally think about my whole life savings going down the tube for ONE FREAKING DAY despite the fact that my whole life savings was started solely for this occasion, hA!) - more so that I'm waiting for our deposits to be put down so I can start crafting already. But even if I started crafting, HOW would I do it? I have pictures in my head, but no details. Cardstock, vellum, brown ribbons, pictures, even basic text... but HOW? And what font is BEST?

WHERE IS THE METADATA?!????!??!??!!!

Someone tell me what to do so I don't have to think.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Internal contemplation ... external explosion

In the days since my last post, I have probably gone through all the stressed-out emotions that probably should have occurred earlier. And I had thought I was maturing! Psh-ahh!! ;)

Valentine's Day was wonderful. The day before Vday, Rick gave me my present early (and again, I wasn't expecting anything since I've been busy since before Christmas I haven't had time to anticipate any gift giving and all that.)

After dinner, he said, "I kind of want to give you your Valentine's Day present early." I was surprised, and got up from my permanent position at the computer with my butt imprint on the task chair, and said, "Oh yeah? You got me a present???" And he replied, "Well, it's not really romantic..." and I asked, "What did you get me? Mouthwash? Socks??" AHAHAHAHAHAA..

He bought me an Optimus Prime mini remote-controlled car. How CUTE is that?! I immediately tore it open (as immediate as one can tear hardcore clear plastic packaging with seams that appear to have been heat-fused together), put in the AAA batteries, charged the car (that took some time figuring out) and zoomed it around our 3' x 3' linoleum floor kitchen. I was so happy. :) And Rick had fun watching me drive the truck around uncontrollably. It was the best present ever.

The next morning as I was rousing from sleep, Rick placed a card on my chest. I opened my eyes and saw the card, rubbed sleep from my face, put on my glasses, and opened the envelope to find a card with a cute Dalmatian sitting on a plush red heart pillow. And on the inside was the same Dalmatian, but its black spots had been photoshopped with red heart spots instead!! And in Rick's boyish handwriting was:

Can't Wait!

And I laughed out loud because I had sent him an e-card to be delivered that day, which of course he hadn't gotten yet, that had the same sentiment of "Can't wait" (to be your wife). So it was very sweet indeed.

This past weekend, my sister and I went to the Mongolian BBQ restaurant where we're having her baby shower just to check it out and taste the food. We liked it and for buffet at $5.68 per person, it was a great deal. The restaurant was small and the food was just okay, but the biggest problem was that we left there smelling like food. Like we had been in the kitchen all day slaving away over grease and soy sauce. Not the best place to have baby gifts opened up, but we figured my sister was going have to wash everything anyway before the baby gets to wear anything. We met up there with her friend, Vanessa, who is getting married this May and also in the process of moving into her new home, but her newborn nephew is not doing well, so she was in a sad mood. We had such a nice time talking and having our meal together that it wasn't until we got back in our cars that I noticed it was 1:40 and I had an appointment with a church coordinator at 2:00 that was 40 miles away!!!

I immediately grabbed my phone and called to let her know I was running late. The coordintor seemed a bit peeved that we were going to be late, but simultaneously convinced herself that it would be okay because the appointment before us was late as well, and she could meet with us at 2:30. After that phone call, everything became chaotic. My sister and I were in separate cars and we both needed to get gas, and somehow our communication broke down. After lots of driving behind slow people, freeway traffic, and pregnancy brain (and hormones) kicking in along with my own stress hormones, we finally made it back to her house so we could drive together in one car. And by then it was 2:15. We were never going to make it by 2:30.

We finally got in the car, argued some more, and then I burst into tears. My sister demanded, "WHY ARE YOU CRYING?!" and I shouted, "I'M SO EFFING TIRED!" (with the real expletive). And she was quiet for a bit. And in that one weak moment where I just needed to scream and cry, I let out all my frustrations, my stress, the irritation of my inability to finish my homework, worrying about riding the train to SD, my engagement announcement drama, getting to all of these places on time, having to get up super early the next day to take my grandparents out, and all the other minor details that on other days would just have been minor details.

That took about 60 seconds of full-on wailing. And then it was over. I didn't want to have smeared makeup all over my face at our appointments. And my sister said, quietly, "You have to tell Rick to stop waking you up so early." And I laughed through my tears. Because Rick likes to call me every half hour when he's at work and I'm home and sleeping in. He wakes me up when he gets up, when he leaves at 7:30, and then starting from 8am, the every-half-hour phone calls start. Just to see if I'm up and what I'm doing. I never get upset or anything, but there are times when a girl just needs to sleep for 10 hours without being disturbed.

When we finally arrived at the church, it was 3:00. I had called the lady again to tell her we weren't going to make it for the 2:30 appointment. She didn't give me any lip, but didn't sound very pleased. And I was upset. Not really with her, but that our situation made us late. I hate being late, and even though I'd called twice, I still found myself to be rude to be so egregiously late. My sister was on the polar opposite, saying that the lady should be the one to be flexible, she should be catering to ME, not the other way around. And while that rang partially true since I'm the one who would be potentially paying $1,450 for her services of TWO HOURS (and apparently for her leather-interior Saab sedan with sunroof), it also sounded a bit Bridezilla-y to me.

We made it to the church but the 3:00 appointment had already arrived, and the coordinator was just about to take them on a tour of the sites. She greeted us, shook our hands, and when I apologized again for being late, she just smiled and scrunched her nose at me. And I didn't really like that. She didn't say, "oh, that's alright" or anything. Just that smile/grin/chortle that conveyed that "Yes, you should be sorry."

We were there for an hour, first sitting in her office that was one of those office/trailers and after seeing the coordinator and the group get into a golf cart and drive off to the other sites, we walked around the site by ourselves and saw two of the outdoor chapels. The place was HUGE. Not the sites themselves really, but the campus was huge and there seemed to be a lot of paths. And it didn't seem very churchlike. They even had separate Bride and Groom trailers. REALLY! Are we at a church? Or are we at a place that solely does weddings?! The coordinator and the couple came back into the office, so we then got in our car and drove over to the other outdoor chapel that I was interested in, took some pictures, and talked about what we liked and didn't like about the site. For $1,450 I wasn't really impressed. The nearby freeway was VERY noisy, airplanes flew overhead, and a row of new houses sat at the top of the hill, looking down at us. Plus, it didn't feel church-like at all. The place looked nice in pictures (even my own) but in person... it left something to be desired. And I didn't even know where the Sanctuary was. So we drove back to the office and the 4:00 appointment was already there, so I just poked my head in and said we'd be taking off. She squinched her eyebrows at me and drooled, "Oh, I'm sorry," and I said, "No no, thank you for your time."

Then we got on the freeway when we finally realized that it was Presidents' Day weekend and that's why there was so much traffic. It took us 40 minutes to get to the next church, which was probably only 10 miles away. The church campus was HUGE too, brand new and very modern looking. It looked like shopping mall, really. But with a giant cross on top. We parked after driving around their enormous lots and walked the campus a bit. There were a few groups of kids doing some activities, but no one else was there. We walked around but couldn't find the chapel we were looking for. Asked around, but no one had any idea what we were asking. Their Sanctuary, which wasn't the place were looking for, was more like an auditorium, like one of those televised shows on Sundays. So we left.

After getting back on the freeway and heading INTO traffic so my sister could see our reception site, we were both a little disappointed and a little tired. With my emotional meltdown, bad traffic, snotty wedding coordinator, and being confused and lost, it was turning out to be a waste of a day. However, upon exiting the freeway and following the tranquil road to get to the golf course where the reception site was, my sister commented how nice and EASY it was to find the place. She called it "secluded" which was a great contrast to the adjectives we were calling the churches. And we couldn't hear the freeway. We were late (again, of course) so the wedding reception that we had intended to photograph prior to any of the guests arriving was already in full swing. We quickly ducked into the foyer just to get a glimpse of the appetizers and the bar and hid in the bathroom to try to figure out our next step. My super pregnant sister needed to go to the bathroom anyway and while working out a plan, we saw the bridesmaids primping.

The bridesmaids wore these hideously tight, pink, two-piece, floor-length mermaid gowns in that awfully thin, "satin" polyester fabric. The kind of cheap fabric that, in a light color such as pink, showed every bulge, every shadow, every crease of your body and undergarments, and the girls had not worn any slips underneath - probably because there was no room for it! Even the thinnest bridesmaid looked bad in her dress. All topped off with a brown satin sash that was supposed to lightly rest around their corsetted waists, but ended up being tied so tightly that the satin knots were creased. It was sad. They all looked like king-size pillows stuffed into standard-size pillowcases with belts cinched around the middle. And the poor groomsmen had on pink vests and pink ties with brown suits. Oh the madness of it all. It seemed obvious that the pink was definitely of the bride's choosing.

Anyways, please excuse my diatribe. To my own gals - don't worry, I would never make you (let alone ALLOW OR ENCOURAGE YOU) to wear such awful things. Especially on my wedding day. You're permanently in the pictures, you know. ;)

What we saw of the reception we liked. Mariachi music blaring from inside, the din of the guests having a good time, people helping themselves to the appetizers and drinks.. It all had a positive aura and feeling of warmth and celebration.

On our way out, we saw the bride and groom coming towards the banquet hall, riding in on the back of a golf cart. The bride had on her husband's jacket (it was cold!) over her dress, her crinoline pulled up on her lap so as not to drag on the ground, and oh boy, did she look happy. :) That was nice to see. Almost made up for the hideous pink dresses.

The next day I stayed home in my pajamas all day, finally finished my homework, and started on my final project. I ended up not having to take my grandparents out after all, which was a big relief. I watched Charlotte's Web in the afternoon and cried when Charlotte died. That just shows so tired I am. Then I watched The Devil Wears Prada on YouTube (the whole thing!) because I had just finished reading the book the previous night and wanted to compare. When Rick came home after a day of golf and racing, we watched 300, which was okay. A day of watching three movies made me really happy.

And then I'm back at work, on a holiday, no less. What's going on this weekend? Nothing yet.....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lists: the bane of my existence... or my savior???

It's been a couple of weeks since the last post. Can't believe it's already February. How time flies! Since I've been uber busy lately, I've been making lists to keep organized and sane. I usually don't like lists because I find them to be restrictive and stressful. Like going to the grocery store and bringing a list makes me feel like I can only buy those things on the list, get in and get out, and I had better hurry up! However, during times of stress like now, I turn to those lists with open arms and embrace their inherent stability and guidance.

My agenda for this week:
Wednesday - finish up Week 5 lectures. Hopefully start the assignment.

Friday - off-Friday! Finish my assignment for the week, start on the Final Project that is due March 15. Alyssa's 18th birthday party!

Saturday - assemble baby shower invitations with the other hostesses over breakfast. Chinese New Year dinner with my family - and FINALLY announce our engagement. I'm nervous because announcing something like this calls attention to us. And that is not always a good thing in my family.

Sunday - I have a free ticket to the movies that expires 2/13. Better use it today. The Rose Bowl flea market is also on this day. And I want to scope out the Amtrak station in Burbank to see where it is and where I need to go when I take it next month. Being a SoCal girl who has always had private transportation via automobile, taking the bus or train is a foreign concept. I'm better at flying than riding the bus!

My list of current open projects:
- Drexel.
- Wait on student loans for 2008-2009 school year.
- Taxes. Ugh. Unfortunately, I'm in a new tax bracket. I want my money back.
- Wedding, finagling the date... this fall or next spring. Do people usually pick the date they want before finding/checking their sites?
- Church, looking for one in the Corona area that does Sunday afternoon ceremonies.
- Reception site, not available in November except for Thanksgiving weekend. Bleh.
- Baby shower prep. I'm responsible for prizes and postage stamps for the invites.
- Crafting has been on the back, back burner. But my mom has given me some tote bags and appliques to put on them. And wants some by March.

Coming up:
February 13: Film crew to make a video of us at work for the Computerworld awards. :)
February 19: Mid-year review.
March 1: Hsin's baby shower.
March 10: Carli's birthday.
March 11-14: VRA conference. I'm taking the train down to San Diego. My first conference EVER! I'm nervous. I've never spent a night in a hotel by myself before let alone three nights.
April 25-27: 11th year anniversary trip to San Diego (we planned this before I found out about the conference).

And just a week ago (feels like forever ago for me) I got a new 17" LCD monitor flat screen here at work. And a new 19" LCD television to replace the old, fat, and no-sound bedroom tv at home. Not to mention the new printer I haven't set up yet, to replace the old one that will go to my grandparents' house's guest bedroom computer. And I haven't set up my mom's computer or digital camera yet - to-do's from my Christmas list!!!!!

With all of this going on, who has time for Super Tuesday?!