Friday, September 29, 2006

Amusement of the Day

Overheard in while waiting in line at Target:

Little girl pointing to celebrity magazine: "Daddy, whose that?"

Father: "One of those girls who owns the Holiday Inns, I think."

Ha.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A sweater and a memory

I get up early on Friday mornings to skate. Fridays are my day off. Being a creature of habit, I generally start my day off at the rink before heading to Mom and Dad's house. Mom doesn't often to go work on Fridays. We spend a bit of quality time together.

On Thursday night, I always get my things together for Friday. Otherwise, I end up leaving my apartment late, then getting on the ice late, then being annoyed with myself.

I think that I might be seeing Colin tomorrow, so this evening I dug into my closet with the intention of finding an outfit that didn't look like an ensemble my grandma would pull together.

I pulled out the sweater that I wore the first time Colin and I ever spent time together outside of soccer.

That's how we know each other. Soccer. Since we were freshmen in high school, actually. That's a long time.

One day, eightish years later, we finally went to the bar together.

And I wore a cream sweater.

And I was already infatuated with him.

It's funny what you remember.

I have a really good memory.

I was just finishing up baking cookies with my younger cousins Max and Paige. Valentine's Day sugar cookies, actually. We'd made an enormous mess.

My mom asked me if I wanted to go to Marshall Field's with her. I told her yes and, a few minutes later, Colin called.

And I froze.

I asked him how long he was going to be at the bar. I...I...my mom and I were going to go shopping. But. I could meet him there when I was done?

My mom waved me off. "Go!" she hissed at me.

And so I went.

You know what my mom said to me before I left? "That Colin's a nice boy. You can marry him."

And, at the risk of a jinx or a curse of just plain o' counting your eggs before they hatch, I think I'll just leave it at that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Zoom

Everything suddenly seems like it’s moving really, really fast.

I have a job interview next Friday. I’m feeling superstitious; I’m not going to get into details. Just know this: I would absolutely die of happiness of I land this job. Seriously. I’d be so happy that it’d stop my heart. Immediately.

And this thing with Colin. Holy shit! Who is this kind, considerate, bordering-on-perfect boy who is, like, incredibly into me? Colin has changed. For the better. He’s grown up. A lot. He’s actually 24 now! I love it.

Did you know that it’s my birthday?

Already!

Where the hell did September go? Where the hell did my childhood go? I will be 24 on Monday. That’s old. Significantly older than 23. Way more than a year. If someone tells me they’re 23, I think “oh, just out of college. First job. Blah blah.” When someone tells me they’re 24, I think, “ah. Just getting ready to get married, settle down and pop out some babies.”

Not that what I think really counts for much. My worldview is incredibly warped and demented.

Oh, let’s just face it: I am incredibly warped and demented.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The last o' the wedding pictures

After these, I am so done with Lucy's wedding. Promise.


Hey! Look! It's the gene pool!


The best man and maid of honor were not smeared with frosting.


Lucy and Dude Who Asked Me to Sleep With Him. I might've dropped the ball on that one, eh?


"It's the dollar dance! Do you people not understand this? Take money out of your wallet, dump into bucket, dance with bride or groom. DO IT!"


As you can see, I make an awesome drunk dancing face. And I don't even have to be drunk!


"Hello, photographer. Let me take your photo."

Word to the wise: don't piss me off

I am entirely too sensitive.

On Saturday, I brought a bunch of formal dresses for Kevin to bring to his wife. They're going to some uber-formal wedding this weekend and she hasn't found a dress yet. I volunteered my vast dress collection. She took me up on the offer.

She's a bit bigger than me, so I selected mostly from Meg's vast formal dress collection. She thought she might be able to fit into my size if the dress didn't hug the hips too much. Because of that, I threw in a few of mine, too.

Today is Kevin's day off, but he called in to talk to our boss. I picked up the phone and the first thing he did was ask me "what is up with that flapper dress?"

His tone of voice made me want to kick him in the teeth.

"She tried on the dress and we were both laughing our asses off. It's hideous!"

Hideous on her, perhaps, but not hideous on me. And it wasn't hideous on Meg, who wore it before she filled out. Is quite cute, actually. Short and black and ruffly (yet surprisingly understated) and fun.

I pointed out that the dress was not remotely related to a flapper's dress. And that every time I wear it I get a lot of compliments.

I considered pointing out how much I paid for it. And that it was a Ralph Lauren. And that I look hot in it. I held my tongue.

He told me not to get my panties in a bunch.

My panties? So in a bunch. I am totally insulted! That dress, which I happen to rather like, is not hideous. Say that it looks shitty on your wife, who is quite blessed in the hips. Say that it wasn't for her body type. OR JUST SAY NOTHING.

I want all 15 of my dresses back. Now. Sorry, Kevin's Wife, but you're not allowed to wear anything of mine or anything of Meg's.

We only loan dresses to women with style.

So there!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend recap

I did nothing this weekend.

It was incredibly satisfying.

I worked on Saturday. It could’ve been worse.

I made granola.

I skated. Twice!

I made plans to go to Chicago with my parents. Meg has hockey games there; we never go to see her away games and I wanted an excuse to go to Chicago.

I spent time with Colin. It was glorious. I’ve been holding back, because I’m afraid that this time around will end as disastrous as other times we’ve tried dating, and I’m starting to realize that the distance I’m trying to keep may be foolish and unnecessary.

I made chili.

I drove through Detroit.

I had dinner with two friends from high school.

I went with my mom to visit Aunt Marie.

We took Aunt Marie to Target. She still can’t walk on the ankle that was broken/infected/rebroken/reinfected/operated on ten times over and, thus, she can’t go out on her own. Apparently, it’d been a long time since she had gone shopping. We were at Target for three hours.

I visited my sister at school.

I went to Tim Horton’s.

I watched Michigan wallop on Wisconsin.

I ate Thai food.

I painted my nails.

Like I said, I did nothing.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Shout out!

I don't normally do this sort of a thing.

But there's this reader whose been reading longer than this has been a blog. Her name is Denice and she is awesome.

She's getting married in 15 days!

In the fifteen days leading up to the wedding, she is doing something - something that I won't get into - that is very difficult and very brave.

And I'm proud of her!

That's all. Now, back to my regularly scheduled bitching and whining.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stalemate

Yesterday, I was emailed a job posting that fit.

It was a position in the field I’m working in, yet geared more towards my degree than the job I currently hold. The job posting piqued my interest. I’ve read through it a few times.

I’ve yet to apply.

The job is in St. Louis.

And, quite frankly, I’m not sure that I want to do this to myself again. The falling in love with the job. The waiting. The interview. The moving anxiety. The sheer fear. The letdown.

These out-of-state jobs. Maybe I should just give up on them. Why apply when I’m clearly too afraid to take them? Why waste my time?

I don’t know why I even entertain the idea that this job will be different. I’ll get it. I’ll take it. I’ll move.

It’s silly. I haven’t changed. If anything, I’m more of a homebody than I was when I was trying for the jobs in Chicago and New York. Colin and I are...well...we’re more than Colin and I were during Chicago (which was civil, despite my hurt feelings) or during New York (which was just starting to get good).

I haven’t.

I haven’t changed.

I’m the same girl who doesn’t know what she wants. Or where she wants it. She dreams big. She doubts herself. And everything around her.

Same girl. Different job to mull over. New city to be afraid of relocating to.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

InSUCKure

I joined a new hockey team.

I wasn’t looking for a new hockey team. I was considering taking this year off, actually. But I was approached by a travel (read: high level) team that was looking for a goalie; I couldn’t say no.

I’ve played for too many soccer teams that were in desperate need of a goalie.

It’s almost like an act of charity.

And I thought that it would be good for me. The kinship between teammates, mostly. Not the late nights and the hectic schedule (we play every Tuesday night at 10 pm at a rink 40 minutes from my apartment, as well as another day or two per week).

Goalies skate free. I really don’t have anything to lose.

My second practice was last night. I was just as nervous as I was at the first practice. Unfortunately, I didn’t play as well.

Goalie is a fickle position. Little errors are called out in a big way. Mental toughness is key.

And I was worrying about what the other women were thinking about me.

I was told that their goalie from last season sucked. In the locker room, they promised me that I couldn’t possibly be as bad as she was. Which only made me more nervous. I would have preferred a nonchalant attitude about last year’s goalie situation. A shrug and a "she was okay, but she’s not playing this year." Less pressure, right?

I couldn't be so lucky. My team is a bunch of girls who clearly prefer a skilled goalie over a sieve.

Have I mentioned that I've been playing goalie for less than a year? That I gave it a try mostly as a joke and just happened to be good at it and have had zero formal training?

There was a point during practice where two girls were in the corner battling for the puck. The coach (yes, we have a coach. He’s a crotchety old man) blows the whistle to end the drill. The two girls burst into a fit of laughter.

I convince myself that they’re laughing at me. At how I play goalie. At how much I suck.

It was like my first day of fifth grade all over again.

I am so ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wheeee!

I've upgraded to Blogger beta.

I am in love.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tidbittles

I am a fabulous daughter. I just got home from donating two hours of my evening to picketing with the professors union that my mom is a member of. They're on the verge of going on strike and were picketing, in the rain, outside of the administration building. I brought Lucy with, because she's always up for a little bit of militant activity.

I am also a fabulous neighbor. At 10:00 on Saturday night, I get a knock on my door. It is a new neighbor of mine - a woman just a bit older than me - and her dog. She went to take Raisin, a pug, out for a walk and locked herself out of her apartment. No keys. No phone. Nowhere to go. She's new to the complex, too. I invite her and Raisin inside, call the emergency line and entertain her while we wait the hour (!) it takes to get her back into her apartment.

I am a fabulous skater. I took a lesson from my coach on Sunday morning. I haven't been skating as much as I should be as of late, so I was pleasantly surprised when my coach told me that my jump combinations were the best she's ever seen them.

I am not such a fabulous employee. There might've been a cool hour today that I spent revising a follow-up worksheet for a job that I had a phone interview for last Monday.

I am a fabulous fanatic. All I can listen to is John Mayer's Continuum, especially track 5, "The Heart of Life."

I am a fabulous blogger. I updated today, didn't I?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Wedding pictures

Lucy and Chet's photographer, a friend, took some great shots at the wedding. Thought I'd share some. ...mostly of me, to respect the privacy of the others. And because I'm painfully narcissistic.


Whose that girl with the excellent posture? That'd be me, putting the last minute touches on my toast on the deck outside of Lucy and Chet's hotel room.


Lucy has boobies.


Bridesmaids, yes. Professional models, no.


I always cock my head too much when I'm getting my picture taken.


I hugged Lucy so hard that I broke four ribs.


Hey! I know that guy! He's my dad!


I make a toast. And a weird facial expression.


Bridal party.


Bridal party attempts silly.


I psych myself up before walking down the aisle.


I was the only bridesmaid captured on film crying. Damnit.


Walking back up the aisle, realizing that a beach wedding is quite the workout.

More later! Will let your eyes rest from the painful sight of me for a few days.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clearly, No. 2 = poo

Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21

How incredibly glorious.

Am considering stripping naked and running through the streets.

Go Blue, bitches.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Not ironic, exactly, but strange nonetheless

Lucy and I went to see The Last Kiss and out for Chinese food after. Our first outing since she has become a married woman! ...she's exactly the same. And I expected her to be.

We get Chinese food a lot. Because of this, we have developed a fortune cookie ritual. At the end of our meal, when the server brings the bill and the fortune cookies, I always pick up the fortune cookies in my hand, mix them all around, and make Lucy choose one. I take whatever is left. Then we read each other our fortune.

My fortune sucked and, with my mouth full of cookie, I told Lucy so. "'Ignorance never settles I question,'" I read to her. "Lame."

Lucy squealed when she read hers. I immediately assumed it said something along the lines of "September 3, 2006 is the lucky day you will marry your perfect mate" or some crap like that.

"IGNORANCE NEVER SETTLES A QUESTION!"

She held out her fortune so that I could confirm that, yes, we had the same fortune.

Upon further inspection, we realized that our fortunes weren't written in the same font or format (hers had her lucky numbers on the back, while mine did not). We checked out the wrapping they had come in and confirmed that these fortune cookies, reading identical fortunes, were from different companies.

What's the likelihood?

And what the hell does it mean?

I still wish it had been a better fortune. The last cookie I had read: "to let another into your heart, first let yourself in." Appropriate, no?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I've been thinking about this for four days

On Saturday night, I was blindsided.

I worked a full day. Drove an hour to Mom and Dad’s house. Went out for dinner with Mom and Dad. Was halfway into my pajamas – just the bottoms, because I started looking at the pictures the photographer took at Lucy’s wedding and got distracted.

He called. I put my jeans back on.

I always do that.

I’m good at telling myself that it means nothing.

We go out because we’re friends. Because it’s fun. Because maybe we like to be around each other, okay? No, we don’t take it seriously. No, feelings aren’t involved.

We’re what we are. What we are is what it is.

Questions aren’t asked.

I always put my jeans back on.

One drink, I told him. Just one.

For me, anyway.

As a result, we didn’t stay out very long.

Under the guise of something completely unrelated, I ended up inside of his house instead of inside of my car. I could feel something change the minute I closed the front door behind me. There was tension where there hadn’t been. I hung back. My heart raced.

“Come in here. Sit down with me. You don’t have to go right now.”

“I should go now. I won’t stay very long.” Broadcasting my discomfort, I sat down on the opposite side of the room.

As I expected, it happened. He started the Why Aren’t We Really, Officially Dating? conversation that we’ve had too many times.

And I gave him, in no uncertain terms, the What You’ve Done to Me to Make Me Never Consider Seriously Dating You list.

He heard me.

And then I recited the list again.

Not to be mean. To make him understand. I knew that I would agree to try us out all over again. I wanted to know, with certainty, that he had the knowledge necessary to not fuck this up again.

The list was long.

He was apologetic.

He said that he didn’t know why or how I talked to him anymore.

He acknowledged that he didn’t even deserve my attention.

And he admitted that he told his mom and a handful of his very closest friends that I was the girl he was going to marry.

The girl he was going to marry.

The words stopped my heart.

And then I fought him even harder. I pointed out his faults more directly. I didn’t fawn over his admission. I paced his living room nervously. I demanded improved behavior. I insisted on what I deserved.

I will try it again with him.

And, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll probably try it again after that.

There has to be a reason he keeps coming back.

There must be something that keeps inspiring me to take him back.

Hope springs eternal, apparently.

Just like my stupidity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ahhhh.

How not to be disgruntled at the office: buy the Grey's Anatomy second season DVD and John Mayer's new CD, Continuum, before going to work.

All sorts of excitement is awaiting me at 5:00 pm!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering

I attempted to watch The Path to 9/11 on ABC last night. I made it through six minutes before I had to turn it off.

Too hard.

I'm not even going to try to write my own account of September 11, 2001. Equally difficult.

Instead, I'll share the reflection of September 11 that I remember the most vividly. John Mayer posted this to his website a few days after the event that changed us all.

As an 18-year-old college sophomore, it was what I needed to read.

As I watch what must be my 25th hour of television coverage of the terror attacks on our country, I can only feel that our own English language has failed us in our ability to convey how we're feeling. I wish there was an upper tier of vocabulary that, as young children, we were taught but taught never to speak, so that we could express ourselves at a time like this.

"Tragedy", "Lost", "Devastating", "Condolences", "Hearts go out" - They feel like throwing punches under water. They simply cannot make impact the way we want them to. Forgive the songwriter in me for wanting to try in my own way. This is not a holistic view of this tragedy, but only a few perspectives on this event that has exceeded even our collective ability to fathom.

We live in two worlds at once. The big world and the little world. I'm sorry to say that we've (myself included) been infinitely more interested and concerned about our own little worlds. OUR vehicles, OUR money, OUR personal portable bottled water supply, OUR communication devices. We are entirely self-governed people working within a larger framework that we've only really been exposed to while flipping through OUR satellite TV channels, looking for the perfect entertainment to satisfy us in our little world. That is absolutely not to be condemned. It's our simple human nature.

It is the pursuit of comfort, not happiness. I think we're all slowly waking up to the fact that comfort as we know it will never be the same. It's like being grounded times a thousand.

There is a relative bright side to this. We have actually unzipped the seam on our little worlds wide enough to climb out and make sure others are okay. Many of us are meeting each other for the first time, and in the process of looking behind us at the deflating bubbles we've stepped out of, we have become astounded at how small and suffocating they really were. The air outside, though filled with dust and debris, is in some ways, infinitely more fresh than any we've breathed in our little worlds. Today we are giving knowing glances to strangers we gave only the middle finger to while driving in our little worlds on wheels last week. Last week. A lifetime ago. Last week, when we thought it was okay to say "Fuck you, buddy!" to a stranger, as long as we said "buddy". That is the most beautiful irony I can think of. May our collective short attention spans never wind-sweep this sensitivity away!

I think I speak for the Excitebike generation when I say that I don't understand the mechanics of conflict. My brothers and I used to pour the entire plastic box of action figures on the floor in the middle of the living room. We took turns choosing a figure for each of our teams. We may have tried once to re-enact the good vs. evil fight as portrayed in the films or T.V. shows they were based on, but it only took us three good minutes to figure out that it's more fun to throw an action figure party in Castle Grayskull than it is to clash by the leg of the coffee table. Jabba shared bong hits to Han Solo more times than he ordered his capture. I know that my generation derived more pleasure out of making G.I. Joe look like he was taking a fierce dump than snuffing out the enemy. And I'm proud of that. I hope everyone in my generation, and beyond in both directions, is as well.

I may have felt confusion or guilt about this in the last few days, but I am equally proud and blessed to be an artist at this moment. I am able to inspire celebration in people. Sometimes the celebration of loneliness, sometimes the celebration of love, but invariably a celebration.

I will play as many shows in the coming weeks as possible. If I can fly, I will. If I need to drive, I will as well. (I have many cool things in my little world on wheels to make a cross country drive more like a cross country movie and music festival.) I will be there if it's humanly possible. Please know that if, in the coming days, shows are cancelled, that they were only done so because it was completely out of the realm of possibility. I will stand on every stage in every city that I possibly can, and we'll all celebrate together again. I love you all and will see you again very soon.

And always remember (as if we've ever forgotten)
We are Americans, and we are cooler.

Love aint corny,
John

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Monday

Alarm clock
My parents stayed in my hotel room on Sunday night. Super-cool, I know.

Even super-cooler was the fact that my dad was up and bumbling around the hotel room at 7:30 on Monday morning.

I went to bed at 2:00 am.

Thanks, buddy.

Dad was paranoid about Labor Day traffic. Cars heading south, back to metro Detroit, on the last day of holiday weekends are legendary. In the best conditions, I-75 is virtually a parking lot. One major accident may add six hours to what should be a three-hour journey.

Mom and Dad left by 9:00 am.

I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was packed and on the road by 10:00 am.

Always the bridesmaid
I spent the entire drive home on the verge of tears.

I couldn’t quite figure it out. I wasn’t sad. Just reflective.

My mind kept jumping back to the day before, when I watched Lucy glow as she walked with Chet walk down the aisle. Her happiness was so tangible and beautiful that the mere memory brought tears to my eyes.

So did the thought that things between us would never be the same.

It was a selfish thought to entertain, but it kept creeping into my consciousness. Our friendship wouldn’t be the same. She would be the married one. I would be the eternally single one. She would want to do couples things. I would be the third wheel.

Silly.

Exhaustion.

Fear.

Emotion.

I laugh at myself now.

We survived her tour in AmeriCorps. We made it through her study abroad in Thailand.

Marriage? Just another one of Lucy’s adventures.

Our friendship will make it through this, too.

Pit stop
I couldn’t help it.

I stopped at the Coach Outlet again.

Maybe I needed a little pick-me-up. In the form of the cutest green leather iPod case EVER.

Never the bride
I was tears and sniffles in the car, but when I went to bed on Monday night, I sobbed.

My best friend gets married and I sob myself to sleep.

What Lucy and Chet have is beautiful. Beautiful enough to cry over.

I am tremendously happy for her.

And I’m terrified that I’ll never experience that for myself.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunday, Part IV: drinking, dancing, dessert and delight

And she’s off
Literally two seconds after I finished signing Lucy and Chet’s marriage license, I reached for a gigantic box of baklava and my entire mode of thinking.

“You are no longer just a bridesmaid,” a pesky little bird on my shoulder whispered, “you are a hostess. Make your mom and your grandma proud.”

I totally did.

Every woman in my mom’s family is a natural entertainer and, despite what I may claim to get myself out of doing dishes on Thanksgiving, I am not an exception. I spent my evening straddling two roles: that of the doting and charming maid of honor and that of the hostess with the mostest.

I arranged baklava in my bridesmaid dress. I eyed discarded cups and found a garbage can to dispose of them in. I made sure candles were lit. I kept the dessert table well stocked.

And I still had fun.

Being a hostess, to me, truly is fun. But I also had fun in the traditional way. Hosting the dollar dance. Smiling for pictures. Dancing with the girls. Charming every old man in attendance. Acting as I would have had Lucy and Chet’s wedding been in a more traditional setting, with servers bustling around to take care of the little imperfections that would catch my eye.

Luckily, Mom and Dad came to the wedding. Thankfully, Mom’s hostess gene is also dominant. She helped tremendously. Between the two of us, the reception ran smoothly while looking nothing like a frat party.

What more can you ask for?

Indecent proposal
On one of the 8,000 trips I made inside Lucy’s aunt and uncle’s house, I ran into Lucy and one of the groomsmen.

At brunch earlier in the day, Lucy glanced in this groomsman’s direction and murmured, “someone has a crush.”

It was right before my toast; I didn’t have time to ask for clarification.

In Lucy’s aunt and uncle’s kitchen, the groomsman clarified it pretty well.

He asked me to have sex with me.

This groomsman, who I had not met previously, who Lucy had described as a “lady killer” was not joking. He was not trying to be funny. He was being absolutely serious.

He was trying to get me into bed.

I blew off his proposal in such a way that left Lucy in hysterics.

I was slightly offended.

But mostly flattered.

He’s super cute.

I still wouldn’t sleep with him. Not like that.

Frosting in nostrils
Here’s how much Lucy and Chet needed me during the reception: Lucy had completely forgotten about the cake until I whispered a reminder in her ear.

Unfortunately, a bit of frosting had peeled off of the side of the cake. (Remember, the woman told Lucy that she absolutely did not make wedding cakes!) Fortunately, my mom repaired it to the point of near perfection.

Only to have Lucy and Chet maul each other with it.

They were slightly more aggressive than your normal newlyweds.

But, honestly, what the hell DID they do like your normal newlyweds?

Molestation
I should not forget to mention that I got felt up by one of Chet’s random Israeli friends, too.

Pervert. Pervert in a red shirt.

I was just dancing with the bridesmaids and, all of a sudden, there he is, hanging all over my white ass. He grabbed me by the waist and pulled me right up to his hips and all I wanted to do was knee him in the balls. I pity-danced with him for a few seconds before pulling away to return to the girls.

Repeat seven times.

Red shirt Israeli guy finally gets the hint.

Awesome, incredible, awesome
Lucy couldn’t get over my helpfulness. Nobody could, really. I heard it from everyone – aunts, uncles, friends, Lucy’s mom, Lucy’s brother’s girlfriend, the neighbor – but Lucy was the most consistent.

Every time she looked at me, she said it. “You’re incredible! I can’t thank you enough!”

“You are so awesome. I don’t know how you’re doing all of this. You’re awesome. This is incredible.”

“You are incredible.”

“You’re awesome.”

“You’re doing an incredible job.”

“You’re awesome at this.”

And on.

And on.

And on.

This is mostly the alcohol’s fault. But I’m glad to know that my work was appreciated.

It’s incredible, actually.

The Dateless Wonder
One of the more difficult parts of the reception was a fleeting moment. One of the other bridesmaids, whose boyfriend was actually the photographer, casually said to me, “well, at least I can hang out with you, since you don’t have a date.”

Thank you so much for pointing that out to me.

I forgot one important thing
But for one shot that Lucy forced me into, I didn’t have one drink the entire night. I was too busy.

“You’re so good, even when you’re drunk you’re being the hostess,” one of the other bridesmaids slurred to me.

I responded with a smile and without a correction.

Drunk, perhaps. But merely on happiness and a lack of sleep.

She also chauffeurs
Considering my role, considering Lucy’s constant repetition of “you’re incredible,” “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” and “seriously. You’re so awesome,” I found it somewhat amusing that I was the one who drove Lucy and Chet back to the hotel.

It’s a short drive. Maybe seven minutes. Lucy mostly babbled on and on about how she thought people were genuinely having a good time. They weren’t pretending! They wanted to be there!

And, every 10 seconds or so, she would break in with a “you’re just incredible. People kept asking ‘who is that bridesmaid who is just everywhere? She’s awesome!’” and I would brush her compliments aside.

I told her that it was nothing. That it was the least I could do.

And I meant that.

When I dropped them off at their side of the hotel, I got a kiss on the cheek and more of the ongoing monologue of my awesomeness.

And then they were gone.

And I went to my room. Feeling mostly happy.

And the tiniest bit sad.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sunday, Part III: making it official

Say cheese...and do it fast!
The minute the entire bridal party was at the beach, we were engulfed by the photo process. The wedding was already late and the goal was not to make it too much later by egregious and unnecessary photo ops.

We’d taken pictures of Lucy and the bridal shower on the beach outside of her hotel room while Chet resolved his pants dilemma, so pictures of the groom and his groomsmen (one of which, ironically, was a girl) and the entire wedding party were priority.

We made good, and fast, of it. Nothing too incredibly posed, mostly just us mugging together for the camera in front of a gorgeously azure Lake Huron and an equally stunning blue sky. The most difficult part was coordinating the holding-hands-and-walking shots which, just looking at the few my dad snapped as he stood behind the photographer, turned out really cute.

Family shots were taken as fast and as furiously as the bridal party pictures. Immediately at the conclusion of the photo session, guests took their seats; we lined up inside the tent.

A special touch I shouldn’t forget
One of Chet’s groomsmen was a female friend of his. I loved that.

But I also didn’t have to walk down the aisle with a chick.

At last!
Earlier in the day, Chet had been on the phone with the DJ and asked Lucy what song she’d like the processional to be to.

She yelled to me in the next room. “What song should we use for the walk?”

I borrowed the last word of her sentence, finishing mine with “Like an Egyptian!”

She loved the idea.

Lucy loves quirky.

And so did the guests. The smiles and the laughs that “Walk Like an Egyptian” encouraged were priceless. It set the tone for the wedding ceremony, one which was wrapped thickly in fun and sparingly in tradition.

After the bridesmaids and the groomsmen were standing alongside the huppah, Chet and Lucy walked down the aisle, together, to Etta James’ “At Last.”

I didn’t expect to, but I cried.

I’ve never seen her so happy.

Babysitter
I was in charge of the ring bearer.

I was always in charge of the ring bearer, despite the fact that his flower girl was 24 years old (with no little girls in her life, Lucy added on an extra friend, with the stipulation that this friend would actually be the overgrown flower girl, after it was decided that she’d like her nephew in the wedding). The flower girl is afraid of little kids.

I am not.

He stood in front of me during the ceremony. I kept my hand protectively on his shoulder.

He’s an observant little guy. Not one minute after he finished his walk up the aisle, he spotted the vases sitting at the front two posts of the huppah. The vases were filled with water that had candles floating at the top. The bottom of the vases were filled with decorative stones.

The ring bearer saw those stones and a little light went off in his cute little blonde head. “Look! Rocks! I can put rocks in there, too!”

And so he bent down and started picking rocks out of the sand and dropping them into the vase.

His mom whispered to him from the front row with no avail. He grinned and dropped another rock inside.

Bridesmaid of the Year, who is also Babysitter of the Year, who is also me, swooped down and picked up the vase, setting it behind her. It was a seamless motion the almost nobody even noticed. And as soon as that vase was out of his sight, it was out of his mind.

Simple.

He was good for the rest of the ceremony, less a 10 second spastic attack that caused him to kick sand at the bride. I, of course, calmed him immediately.

If there is ever a show that’s a cross of Whose Wedding is it Anyway? and Nanny 911, I’ll be the star.

They do
The ceremony itself was fairly quick and fairly simple. Neighbors to Lucy’s aunt and uncle’s beach house stood on their porches to watch, which was a simple and sweet addition to the invited guest list.

One neighbor took it upon himself to scream encouragements for both Lucy and Chet after they said their vows. It was a surprisingly welcome addition.

My heart swelled with more pride for Lucy than I had expected to feel. My eyes were tearier than I had anticipated. Lucy and Chet both emanated a calm that reassured any doubts before I could even have them.

The ceremony was perfect.

Not for everyone, of course. I cannot imagine having a wedding featuring “Walk Like an Egyptian” or a hollering neighbor. For Lucy and Chet, though, it was perfect.

We walked back up the aisle to Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching.”

And that was perfect, too.

An unspoken title
Perhaps this is proving my naivety, but I did not realize that I was the maid of honor until Lucy pulled me into the house to sign her marriage license.

I mean, yeah, I was standing closest to her during the wedding. And I did give that toast at the brunch. But there was never a conversation where Lucy said, “will you be my maid of honor?” and I accepted.

I just assumed that I was equal to the rest when, in reality, I wasn’t.

I never assume that I would ever be considered special.

I doubt that I will ever be able to communicate to Lucy how incredibly special it was to be her simple witness on that legal document.

My heart was so full of love and honor that it felt broken.

Sunday picture post!


The wedding party. Did I ever mention that one of Chet's groomsmen was actually a woman?


I'm fourth from the left, next to the bridesmaid and behind the ring bearer, if you didn't know.


Our silly pose. And the photographer's head. My dad took these from just behind him.


How many people does it take to coordinate a synchronized walk up the beach?


Look! We can do it! (I hope the Jet Ski isn't in the photographer's shots.)


Five hot babes (I'm the second from the left), a groom and a ring bearer who isn't quite paying attention.


Walking like an Egyptian, motherfuckers.


The bride and the groom.


The ring bearer is being naughty here.


I have fixed the ring bearer's behavior and have the cocky look on my face to prove it.


Mid-ceremony.


As you can see in this picture of me walking back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony, it got really dark, really fast. It's a good thing it didn't start even 10 minutes later.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sunday, Part II: things start to get exciting

Tradition? Bah humbug!
If I were picking a word to describe Lucy and Chet’s wedding, it would be non-traditional. Besides her not wearing a white dress, I could make a very long list of traditions that they broke. I think that’s okay, though. Breaking traditions is very Lucy. The entire production was very Lucy.

And that’s how the bride, her bridesmaids and the groom all got ready in the same room.

That’s also how we found out about Wedding Disaster #1.

Disaster Strikes, Take 1
The pre-wedding brunch is at 3:00 pm. It is 2:00 pm. Chet is in no rush to get ready. “Shower,” we tell him. “Get ready,” we tell him. “You’re going to be late,” we tell him. Finally, around 2:15 pm, he tires of listening to five squabbling hens and he gathers up his clothes.

All but his pants.

Chet forgot his pants at home. Three hours away.

And, in this particular region of northern Michigan, there is only one place you can go to buy pants on short notice: K-Mart.

My best friend married a guy wearing pants he bought at K-Mart. And, to her credit, she couldn’t seem to care less about the pants situation. There was no stress. Even when he dashed out of the hotel to buy new ones. Even when he came back and they didn’t quite match his suit coat. She faced the incident with a shrug and a smile.

And I started to realize how ready she was for this wedding.

Brunchy-poo
The pre-wedding brunch started off with the typical mingling and chitchat. It wasn’t long until we all retreated to our seats – I sat with my parents and some of Lucy’s out-of-state friends as there was no head table – and I was being called up to give my toast.

At my insistence, the best man went first. Expectations were not high for him, seeing as English is not his first language and he had significantly less time (maybe a half-hour?) than I did to prepare what he would say.

What he did say was simple, sweet and heartfelt.

Then the microphone was in my hands.

I don’t know where I muster it from, being as shy as I am, but in crucial situations when I’m speaking about something or someone I really love, public speaking comes easily. It happened at my senior year soccer banquet, it happened at my grandma’s funeral and it happened again at the brunch.

I went with the Harper’s Index idea. List style, of funny and quirky things about my friendship with Lucy, about her relationship with Chet, about my relationship with Chet. I ended the index with the number of people at the brunch, encouraging them to lift their glasses in honor of the bride and the groom.

It worked well. The style I used was just different enough to make people really listen; guests complimented me throughout the day, but I suspect that they appreciated the fact that I didn’t bludgeon them with the typical “I really love you guys! We’ve been through some tough times together…” toast more than anything.

Regardless, though, I was pleased.

Disaster Strikes, Take 2
My table was served brunch first. I thought nothing of it.

Until, over an hour later, the last tables still hadn’t been served.

I’m still not sure what the problem was, but whatever its source, it pushed the wedding back a full hour.

Again, Lucy and Chet both handled the setback graciously. I guarantee you that I would have been crying. They each basked in the other’s presence.

An onlooker might’ve even mistaken their focus to be solely on their love, not the production that was the proclamation of it.

Sunday, Part I: pre-wedding

I hate alarm clocks
Here’s the one problem with having your wedding on your aunt’s beach: there’s a lot of things you have to do yourself. Like, for instance, getting up at 6:30 on your wedding day to set up tables.

I’m the best bridesmaid ever, so of course I went with Lucy to the beach while Chet picked up his mom and sister and met us there.

We frantically start pulling things out of boxes and organizing things and we’re doing really good – we’re crunched for time because I’m scheduled to get my hair done at 9 am – and then we hit a minor bump in the road.

Tablecloths. As in, where the fuck are they?
We go through just about every bag and box stacked in Lucy’s aunt and uncle’s garage.

“I think they’re in the house,” Chet finally says. He quickly follows this with “I’m not going in there.”

Lucy’s aunt and uncle have a pit bull. Lucky. Lucy’s scary. Especially to Chet.

We concede to his point and continue with other things. Eventually, though, we reach a point where the tablecloths are absolutely essential. We are there to set up the tables, after all.

So Bridesmaid of the Year sucks it up, risks her life, tiptoes inside the house and locates the tablecloths.

You should know I did a victory dance upon the retrieval of the tablecloths.

The tables are nearly finished when I leave to get my hair done.

Backcombing (translation: teasing, ratting)
At their vacation house, Lucy’s parents live across the street from a hairdresser. He was commissioned to do our hair.

And do it he did.

This bastard teased my already enormous head of hair for a half hour before he even started on my French twist.

A French twist, I should add, which probably would’ve lasted me until December, had I so desired.

It was shellacked onto my head. But didn’t look as horrifying as I thought, mid-backcombing (as he called it) it might.

Lucy asked for “messy” hair. She always wears her hair somewhat funky, so it was only appropriate.

Personally, I was nervous at her suggestion. But, our darling neighbor/hairdresser came up with something rather darling.

Minus the bang.

Lucy had one bang, hair sprayed teased to the maximum. It hung over one eye.

He called it mysterious.

She called it her robin’s beak.

It was wet, blow-dried, straightened and pinned behind her ear within 10 minutes of returning to her parents’ house.

Disaster averted.

“I don’t make wedding cakes.”
Apparently, if you live in a quaint little vacation town and you marry in a quaint little vacation town, you don’t have a wedding cake. You have a sheet cake and that’s just fine and dandy.

After hair, we picked up Lucy and Chet’s wedding cake, which the lady kept reminding Lucy was not actually a wedding cake.

She got two layers, though. At the bakery, I’m sure they found that very cosmopolitan.

We dropped off the cake at the beach, made small talk with Lucy’s aunt and rushed back to the hotel to get ready.

The day was just starting to get exciting.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Saturday

I’m lovin’ ...not being hungry
I woke up with a Start at 8:30 on Saturday morning. I’d slept so long (for me, anyway) and so hard that I was painfully confused when I woke up. After a few seconds, I remembered where I was, why I was there and the plan for the day. Lucy and I promised not to call each other until after 9:30 am, so I took my time getting ready.

After I was dressed and beautified, I hopped in Stella and drove into town for breakfast. 9:30 was rapidly approaching, so I opted for a quick breakfast at McDonald’s.

Fast food does nothing for me.

But I needed the protein and I knew I’d be lucky to get lunch that day. So I sucked it up and ate what I ordered.

Quicksand
Looking to add some variety to your workout routine? Try moving around tables and chairs in the sand!

Mostly, that’s what our morning consisted of. We set up rows of chairs in front of the huppah first. Seven rows of seven on each side of the aisle. Then, in an effort to prevent guests from toppling over, we sat in each chair to settle it into the sand.

Arranging tables inside of the tent was a bit of a chore, especially since we had to work around the dance floor and the DJ. The tables were rectangles, which seemed to make it even more challenging. Finally, we arranged them in a fashion that seemed to almost make some sort of sense.

H is for hotel
Next up was the hotel that was hosting the pre-wedding brunch. Lucy needed to drop off her seating charts, place cards and a handful of other important items. We brought Chet’s mom and sister, who had been with us at the beach, along. Lucy went over last-minute details with the staff while Chet’s mom and sister arranged the place cards and numbered the tables; I ironed the decorative placemats that would sit in the center of each table. Our efficiency was awe-inspiring.

S is for surprise
I had my suspicions, but it was never made clear to me that I was giving a toast at Lucy and Chet’s wedding. Until Lucy said, terribly casually, “so, I hope you don’t mind giving a toast tomorrow.”

Of course I don’t mind! I love public speaking without proper preparation!

The Bride and her Maid Put on a Gong Show
We had to drive Chet’s mom and sister back to their hotel. Before we did so, however, we needed to pick up balloons.

And before we did that, we had to get Momma and Sissy Chet some food. They keep kosher and were doing the majority of their eating in their hotel room.

We took them to this ghetto "market" that carried bread, potato chips and nasty tomatoes. Uh. Sorry. Welcome to northern Michigan. Hope you like plain bread.

Bread securely on the lap of Momma Chet, we flew over to pick up $4 of balloons. At a store where there’s a $10 minimum for credit card transactions. Plastic Princess Lucy has to run out to my car to borrow some green.

She returns with the balloons.

First attempt: stuff all in my trunk. We abort this task after nearly slamming both of our arms as we tried to corral the balloons and simultaneously secure the trunk. No luck.

Second attempt: stuff all into the car. With four grown women. Not going to happen.

Third attempt: make out what Momma Chet is saying, in broken English. Oh. She wants us to drive with the balloons hanging out of the sunroof. At 50 M.P.H.? We decide to abort that idea before we even try it.

Fourth attempt: half of the balloons in the car, half of the balloons in my trunk.

Success. Sweet success.

A little R&R
All day, Lucy and I kept saying “if we get through everything and there’s still time, we’ll stop for a manicure and a pedicure.”

And there was frigging time for a manicure and a pedicure.

A slight miracle, indeed.

The entire mani/pedi experience was somewhat uneventful. I watched (with jealousy). I talked on the phone with Colin. Lucy was told that she has lovely long nail beds. We pay and leave. The end.

P-A-R-T-Y. PARTY!
Lucy’s parents held a welcome shindig at their vacation house on Saturday night. There were a pleasant number of people there. Some old people sang karaoke. The bridesmaids were a tight knit posse.

It was nice. People liked my blueberry muffins.

Zzzzz.
After the party, I went home, worked on my toast and went to bed.

And then had an idea for my toast. Got up. Wrote some more. Went to bed.

Repeat three times.

Then I really went to sleep.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Friday

What a way to start the day!
I kicked off the Labor Day/wedding weekend with an 8:00 am dentist appointment to have a filling replaced. Super awesome! This visit results in two realizations:
1. I’m not crazy about my dentist’s cocky, young new associate who might as well have jumped on my reclined body and danced around while singing about how she was the shit.
2. The topical numbing agent they used didn’t bother me in the slightest and – better yet – repressed my appetite until 1 pm. I may look into purchasing some on the black market for use on fat days when my appetite cannot be controlled.

De-uglifying the tootsies
After the dentist, I checked for unsightly cheek saggage or drooling and, convinced I looked suitable for a public appearance, I treated myself for a manicure and a pedicure. Which, per usual, I fucking loved.

Note to self: invest in rich husband to bankroll weekly mani/pedi.

Hitting the road
Lucy’s wedding was held in a quaint vacation town on the edge of Lake Huron, about three hours from where I live. The drive is a thrilling adventure for the eye, featuring farmland, gas stations, farmland, gas station/Subway/Beef Jerky Outlet supercenters and farmland.

Mecca
My savior came an hour into the trip, in the form of my favorite outlet mall ever: Birch Run. I was responsible enough to limit myself to one store to "stretch my legs" (read: fuss over cute purses) and that one store was the Coach outlet.

I didn’t even buy anything. Very responsible, if you ask me.

More driving
More boring.

Lodging
I check into my hotel as soon as I get into town. Mostly, it’s as glorious and as classy as I suspected. Except it was cleaner. (Hurrah.) The man working the front desk was creepy and was clearly suffering from some sort of a seasonal allergy problem.

Luuuuuuuuuuuuuucy!
I called Lucy once I was in settled in my hotel room. She and her fiancé were just finishing up lunch and were headed over to the beach where the wedding would be held. We decided that they would pick me up on the way.

Mr. Lucy
I should probably tell you all about Lucy’s fiancé. His name is Chet. Well, his name isn’t really Chet, it’s something Hebrew but, when he moved to America from Israel three years ago, he decided to give himself an American name. And that name was Chet.

Sandy
The wedding was held at the vacation home that Lucy’s aunt and uncle own. It’s right on the shore of Lake Huron. The backyard is an enormous expanse of white, clean sand. It’s absolutely picturesque, in a simple and beautiful way. Very Lucy.

When we got there, the tent (1,600 square feet) and the dance floor were being installed. Wanting to get something accomplished while staying out of the way of the party supply company, Lucy, Chet, Lucy’s mom and I carried the huppah out to the beach.

Lucy’s family and Chet made the huppah out of birch. It was absolutely perfect for the setting of the wedding.

We couldn’t get it sitting quite right.

And there was the whole issue of the sand and the wind and securing the structure.

Hilarity ensued.

I’m glad no one captured that moment on tape.

Second time’s the charm!
After the securing of the huppah and various other wedding-related tasks, we did what any normal person would do after wasting $20 on a failed Mystic Tan: we went to get another one.

Get this. It worked. Really well. Despite my hands and my feet looking ever-so-slightly funky (a small problem that cleared itself up by the wedding), I was very pleased.

Go figure!

Etc., etc., etc.
We went over to Lucy’s mom and dad’s house that night, but I’m not exactly sure why. To drop off the blueberry muffins and the cookies, maybe? That sounds right. We hung around there for a bit, playing with Lucy’s nephews, and then we dropped Chet off to visit his family at their hotel (his mom and sister flew in from Israel for the occasion) and then went off in search of "dinner."

We ended up at a bar. And neither of us were particularly hungry, so we split orders of deep-fried cauliflower and mushrooms and each had a drink. Not too exciting, but it was good to have time to catch up.

Absolutely exhausted, I finally got to bed around midnight. It was one of those hard, deep sleeps where you don’t move once during the night. I totally needed it.

Looking at all of that farmland takes a lot out of a girl!

Friday: the picture post


Stretching my legs while exercising my will.


Random photo on the shore of Lake Huron.


Random photo on the shore of Lake Huron #2.


Stella is stuffed full of blueberry muffins!


The famous cookies! (Shaped like Michigan, if you can't tell.)


A pretty standard room, I must say. One of the other bridesmaids had a room decorated with American flag beach towels. Hot.


I did consider stealing the artwork.


Your favorite blogger asks "What's more embarassing? Needing a Mystic Tan or paying $25 for a Mystic Tan two days after you got one that failed miserably?"

I did it!

Mission: accomplished. Lucy is married and, by far, the happiest I have ever seen her.

A busy four days; lots and lots to write about.

Which is good, because I have a ton of laundry to catch up on.

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Writing about my favorite subject: ME!

Which raised-on-Marriott-girl is sucking it up and staying at the bride's campy, yet preferred lodging? ME!

Who stayed up far too late last night baking blueberry muffins? ME!

Who fucked up the first TWO batches of blueberry muffins? ME!

Who got up early this morning for a dentist appointment, a manicure and a pedicure? ME!

Who isn't quite sure she's packed everything she needs? ME!

Who hasn't written a speech? ME!

Who has a cute Harper's Index idea for a speech? ME!

Who should've left an hour ago? ME!

Who is genuinely excited for Lucy, despite her early reservations? ME!

Who will be back on Monday with lots of pictures and stories and memories? ME!

Have a great weekend, ya'll.
 
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