Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wedding woes

Almost everyone I know is married. What I don't know, however, is how they survived the wedding planning process.

Two weeks ago I sat gazing at my shiny bauble, blissfully unaware of what planning my wedding would mean. First we took the, "Oh, we'll get around to it next year" approach which was quickly changed when the boy reminded me that in order to get the new baby I've been bugging him about we'd have to get hitched first. Well, that was enough to push me into a whirlwind of planning only to realize that this stuff isn't easy. Or inexpensive.

The good part is that it will be small. And when I say small I mean SMALL. With family and friends scattered all over the world (a side effect of life in the military) we decided that planning a short notice wedding and inviting everyone would make for a lot of bad feelings and hurt pocketbooks for those to whom attendance would be a real challenge. So, it will be 20 of our closest friends and family members and that's it.

The bad part is that I was somehow switched at birth with Christina her majesty the Royal Princess of Norway and I have rather expensive tastes. Sure, we could get a whole pig and a keg ala CMT's redneck weddings and call it a day, but that's not exactly how I roll.

The reception was the easy part. Our favorite restaurant has been the scene of many of our most romantic dates, as well as the place where I first taught Corey to be a foodie. Their French inspired American-nouveau cooking is a must have.

Now for the hard parts: a ceremony in the, ahem, desert, that doesn't look like we're in the desert. Somewhere that doesn't care that you won't be buying their pricey catering package and just want to use them for their beautiful garden views before you jet off to greener culinary pastures. Does such a place exist? Maybe with a dusting of fairy dust and a happy thought or two.

And then there's my poor mother who is trying her best to scour the internet for inspiration but who (despite living in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Las Vegas) cannot seem to grasp that it will, in fact, take quite a while to drive from Cave Creek to downtown Phoenix and our guests will be likely to arrive at the reception with In N Out burger remnants on their tux lapels because they were starving at around the 20 mile mark.

Looking on the bright side, I do already have my dress which is something that generally causes a bride more disdain than anything else in planning her day. And I am the google queen so if something exists I will find it by way of the internet. My perfect ceremony locale must be out there somewhere!

I'm sure in a year I will look back and laugh at the drama one single day caused me, but I'm sure I won't regret the memories. So I trudge on with my trusty wedding planner portfolio and arms full of bridal magazines and hope and pray that it all works itself out in the end.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The ring

Corey and I got engaged over a year ago, at 3 in the morning. It wasn't flowery, or a big show - it was just a heartfelt moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.

However, Corey knows that now and then a girl needs a little tradition and a good story to tell. So, we spent a lot of time looking at rings and talking about what I liked, and researching jewelers in the area. Eventually, he found a place he liked and they helped him design a ring that would be perfect for me! I had fallen in love with the tulip setting months ago, but knew it wouldn't work with the wedding bands we were set on, so I resigned myself to having something I loved a little less when it came to my engagement ring. But, since Corey can never bring himself to let me be disappointed, he worked with the jeweler to figure out how to make it work.

And it felt like it would take MONTHS.

Well, yesterday it was done.

I came home to a rose petal trail leading to the bedroom, which was packed full of balloons and that sign on the wall. And to my left was Corey, down on one knee holding the most beautiful ring I've ever seen. Apparently it is virtually impossible to take a good picture of an engagement ring without special jewelry photography skills, but here's the best we could do:

So, although I've had a fiance for a while now the whole theatrics of it all were very appreciated - from asking my parents' permission to a personal engraving on the inside of my ring.

I would have married this man with a cigar band ring and an Elvis impersonating JOP, but I'm happy to have things this way too. And before you ask, the wedding is a ways away. We're thinking next fall - in Vegas! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


It's an inarguable fact that I am a huge chicken. I'm a scary moving hating, night-light needing, bug-eschewing scaredy-cat.

Corey thinks I'm just a worry wart, but I'm afraid that it goes much beyond that and borders on OCD. Right now I am worried about the scorpion that's caught in the air duct above the master bathroom. Sounds like a logical thing to be afraid of right? But, I'm also worried about the AIDS epidemic, and the economy, and raising intelligent chidren, and the health care industry. I worry about the funny noise my car made on the drive home last week, and I worry about my dad's torn shoulder, and my job.

I'm constantly striving to be a better person and to make a bigger impact on the world around me, but I struggle because I don't know where to start or what I can do. I would love to feed starving children, and adopt AIDS orphans, and balance the national budget. So, where does one start?

I've always seen myself as a future mother, but now I'm afraid of the world that I'm planning to bring children into. The economy, the energy crisis, the world food it even fair to bring children into the world with all of these catastrophies around us? Will I have the control to raise balanced, intelligent and kind children or will the world take that control out of my hands and pervert my children to its whims? When I was a child I don't remember dealing with poisoned Halloween candy, or Amber Alerts, or sex offender signs in the neighborhood. Can I protect my children the way I think they deserve to be protected? And will I pass my worries onto them?

I know I can't save the world alone, but I also know that the decisions I make have an effect on the people and world around me and I'm afraid of making the wrong ones. Am I alone in this? Sometimes I feel that everyone around me is careless and worry-free while I'm secretly petrified in silence.

Friday, October 10, 2008

8.1 Gs

Wednesday the boy got to go on the ride of a lifetime. As a reward for his NCO of the Quarter award he got to take an incentive ride on an F-16 with a top pilot from Luke. Half of me was absolutely petrified that he would crash and die, and 100% of me was insanely jealous because I'm supposed to be the one in the family doing the daredevil stuff.

But, he lived (and I am still jealous) and had a great time. He didn't even puke, or pass out, which are very common afflictions when cruising at 7+ Gs. They did a max climb take-off which you would have to see to believe, as it involves the jet taking off and climbing at 90 degrees - completely vertical! He even got to fly the jet himself and went sonic (broke the sound barrier).

Apparently they used to give spouses incentive flights but the expense and danger made them discontinue it. So, I told the pilot that I was going to run for public office and come back.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bailout Bill

I've been interested in politics for as long as I can remember. From student council in school to a poli sci major (for part of college at least) I found it intriguing and compelling. It goes without saying that lately, it has been even more interesting than usual.

Today the House of Representatives passed the Bailout Bill which will allocate $700B of federal money to take bad loans out of the hands of individual banks. This will free up those banks to make credit available again, since it has been virtually frozen for the last few months.

Last week, when the House defeated the bill by a small margin, stocks tanked. People were concerned about their money, and concerned that if they left it where it was it would be worth even less when they came back for it later.

Now, today, the bill gets passed and what happens? Stocks fall. I was thoroughly confused. So, I logged on to my favorite websites to see what the analysts were saying. And what I read made me sick.

There are a whole lot of Americans that are too self-righteous and bitter and arrogant to see past their own situations. There are people everywhere complaining about the bill passing because they didn't cause this problem so why should they (in the form of tax money investments) have to pay it to bail out those that weren't as smart?

Well, let me tell you why. Because we are living in a democracy. Politicians were put in place to do what is right for the people. People being plural. Not for you, or me, or your neighbor Joe. Now granted, there are some very crooked politicians who are also only out for personal gain, however the fundamental ideas that this country was built upon are equality and strength in numbers and defending the rights of the people.

People who have homes that are being foreclosed on are not going to be sent a check from the government. They are not going to pay off my Visa bill because I charged some Louboutin boots last month. This bill is not going to buy groceries for people who took out loans they can't afford. What the bill is going to do is buy bad loans from your bank so that when you want a new car or a new house or a student loan - you can get it.

We may not have all contributed to the recession - Corey and I do not have a defaulting mortgage, but I have noticed about a dozen 'bank owned' for sale signs in my neighborhood. So, because I didn't contribute it's better to sit back and let the country fall into a depression?

We ALL lose in a depression. From fast food workers to CEOs. The unemployment line all leads to the same place no matter who you are. So, in protecting your bank's assets, you're also protecting your own. The problem is everyone who is secretly sitting at the dinner table and saying, "Well, they got what they deserved taking out more loan than they could afford."

Let me ask you this: What do you get out of your neighbor going bankrupt? Does it help you in some way? When we get to a place where we are wanting other people to fail then we need to evaluate what's going on inside our own minds and hearts and not what's going on in our neighbor's wallet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Catching up

I've been MIA lately and although I'd like to give some great reason like, "My fiance swept me off to a surprise vacation in Bora Bora" it's more like we've been busy with life.

I made some of the 'best cupcakes in the world' as a late birthday celebration for the boy since he can't get enough of them. Every time I bake a batch I think he's going to take them all to work and get them out of the house, but he rationalizes that he needs to keep at least a dozen for himself. Thank goodness the gall bladder problem is over.

A few days after that the boy left this amazingly beautiful bouquet of Oriental lilies for me, and I knew when I looked at them that I want to do my wedding bouquet in lilies instead of tulips. I'm not a big fan of roses and knew that I didn't want a traditional bridal bouquet so this will be absolutely perfect.

Speaking of wedding stuff, the boy ordered my ring! We've been talking about it for ages and trying to decide what I want. I will admit that I'm a little particular so I might not have made it incredibly easy for him, but he had some meetings with the jewelers about designing what he wants and it's in the works. I don't know exactly what it looks like (and the suspense is killing me) but I know it will be beautiful!

The only other thing we've been spending time on lately is paying more attention to our budget. We finally sat down and looked at what we've spent money on this year and it made us sick. So, we decided the easiest way to save a little would be to cut waaaay back on our food budget. There are families of 20 spending less on food than we do in a month!

We started actually watching sales and doing things like using coupons and now it's pretty much a game to us. Did you know you never ever have to spend money on things like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, or body wash? Sounds crazy but it's true.

Here's what CVS paid me $3 to take yesterday.

Seriously, they paid me for razors! We usually buy razor cartridges at Costco for $50 and they last a couple months. We already have 8 razors that we got for free in the last week!

There were also coupons in this week's paper for a $25 gift card to CVS when you transfer a prescription there from another pharmacy. Well, Walgreens is closest to our house so I've always had my drugs filled there. But, for $25 I can drive the extra 1/10th of a mile to pay the same co-pay there. And because I'm so lucky and have a million prescriptions, it will be a very long time before I ever have to pay CVS cash for anything again!!