Tag Archives: Relationships

Home For Christmas?

27 Nov
Q and I, Christmas 2012. If you notice, she's choking me by pulling my new necklace, but I'm pretending not to notice. I did, btw.

Q and I, Christmas 2012. If you notice, she’s choking me by pulling my new necklace, but I’m pretending not to notice. I did, btw.

I hate missing out. The last couple weeks have been kind of mopey for me, as I wasn’t sure I was going to make it back to Iowa for the traditional holiday celebrations. As much as I have been acclimating to the area, I haven’t missed a Thanksgiving or Christmas back home before. But flights at this time of year are crazy expensive. Of course, I don’t have much to complain about as I have racked up quite a few frequent flier miles this year with weddings, a bridal shower, and my own nuptials. But the family traditions, that is something I have a hard time with missing. Turkey Day isn’t as big of a deal for me, even though the Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister is something I always looked forward to. It’s Christmas, well Christmas Eve to be exact. We attend Mass, have a big oyster stew dinner, open a few gifts and play games. This has been our tradition since I was a small child, and it hasn’t changed. Sure I could Skype, but that would probably make me more homesick.

I spent days scouring sites for plane ticket costs. My favored non-stop route started at $900, which made me pretty sick to my stomach. It did not fit at all in with my short-term budgeting. But I had used up all my time off at work for the wedding, and I didn’t have many other options. Come another time, my mom said, we can make it Christmas any time of the year. And as much as I wanted to believe her, I grumbled and groaned about how it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t.

New York is amazing at this time of year – with the lights, the shopping, the excitement, it’s hard to find another place that feels as … magical. But it’s not home. All it takes is for me to hear “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” or one of those similar tunes, and I just crumble.

Finally, in all my complaining, my husband offered that I just go home for the holidays. To buy my expensive ticket and get back to Iowa. He wanted me to know that if it meant that much to me, he could stay and spend Christmas alone. It’s odd how a statement like that will change how you feel about the situation. I mean, I love my family and want to be with them, but this guy is my family and I couldn’t imagine spending the holiday without him. And the fact that he made such a generous offer at his expense, well, yeah he’s a pretty good guy. So we decided to stay put unless flights got a little cheaper. I wasn’t blissful, but I knew I could manage to have a really great Christmas with new traditions with him.

And then I found out I had miscalculated how much time off I still had left, which left me with a few days of wiggle room. And then all of a sudden, an airline had a crazy sale, and we realized that we could go back – with some strict budgeting and tighter gift spending. We will be flying back to NYC on Christmas morning, but that is okay with me.

I’m so happy that I will be able to go back to Iowa, but now, I’m more psyched about this whole marriage deal I have. I got lucky and snagged a really great person to be my partner. He’s willing to sacrifice his own happiness for me, and I’m pretty grateful. So while everyone is having their turkey celebrations, we will be heading off on a tiny honeymoon celebration together, which I’m pretty stoked about. So, I must say, the holidays are turning out to be pretty great after all. 🙂


So Blessed

5 Nov
This photo was taken by my now sister-in-law Nicole.

This photo was taken by my now sister-in-law Nicole.

Wonderful. Absolutely, spectacularly wonderful. On my flight back to New York City, I can’t think of anything I would change about my weekend in Iowa (except for it to have been longer). I saw many of the people that I love all in one place. I spent time in a beautiful place at a gorgeous time of year. And I married the love of my life.

And while a majority of my time was devoted to the wedding, I was able to savor the pace of life back in Webster City. Trick-or-treating with my one-year-old niece, all dressed up in a donkey costume. Having family meals at my childhood home. Cuddling with my anxiety-ridden kitty Suki. Hiking through Briggs Woods and stopping by the local library.

The wedding was beautiful – at a winery near Ames, with decorations to go with the season. The backdrop to the ceremony was perfect with the ever-changing colors of the tree leaves peering through the glass wall of the reception hall as the sun set.

What I take back from this experience is how truly blessed I am. The amount of love and generosity shown to me by everyone we encountered was astounding. Dear family and friends worked tirelessly to make sure that each detail was accounted for. Tiny snags were quickly mended and everything went seamlessly. My wedding party was everything that I could possibly ask for. If I needed anything at any time during the process, each of my attendants were completely willing to perform each and every task. My matron of honor (also sister) made sure that there was nothing I could even think of that needed to happen that hadn’t already took place. And while each one of us live in different areas of the country, we all shared so much laughter and conversations – it was like nothing had changed between my childhood friends. Our families were just … awesome. My parents, dear lord I tear up thinking of what they had done for me. And seeing all of my family and friends – old and new – all in one place … wow. Even though I wish I could stop at each table and have endless conversations with all that attended, just seeing people, some that I haven’t seen in years, was so great.

And last, but definitely not least, my beautiful husband. From the love poem he read at the ceremony to the laughter we shared over cheap take out in our hotel room near the airport last night – I can’t imagine anyone else that I would want to spend my life with. In all the planning, we spent a lot of time apart. But when we put our wedding clothes on – taking pictures and saying our vows, I kept thinking, “Oh yeah, you. I’m here to marry you. And I am so happy at this very moment.”

The last two days have been exhausting, yet I smile at the thought of all that hoopla and excitement that we were able to share with people we deeply care about. Hopefully someday in the near future, we can be closer to quite a few of them and spend more day-to-day time in their presence. But for now, I am just completely happy and so unbelievably blessed.

Are you nervous? Are you excited?

25 Oct


There are just a couple more days before my early-morning flight to Iowa. Right now, I have thank-you cards to write and a beauty store trip planned, but other than that my weekend will hopefully be pretty … normal. Well, sort of. Our neighborhood throws an annual Halloween kids’ block party Saturday that we are volunteering at, and we have a reading and pub crawl planned later that night in NYC. Sunday – we will most likely have some friends over for a big vat of chili and some sweet, sweet cinnamon rolls. Oh yeah, I should probably start packing sometime, too.

The problem with being in a different time zone than the wedding event is that I’m pretty removed from it all. Not only from the assembly of constructing the event, but emotionally, as well. Which is hard – mostly on my mom. She has to plan a lot of it on her own, and while I can say what florals and colors I prefer – the bulk of the work has been on her. I’m incredibly grateful for someone in my life with that much motivation to making my day special. But it wasn’t until last month when I flew back for my shower when I saw most of the decorations and table setting fillers. Everything is incredibly hard to picture, even when you have the Skype tool to work with.

Emotionally, I have been going about my normal everyday business, besides having a bit of a to-do list each day for the past month. I go to my 40-hour a week job, watch television, walk around town, grocery shop – the norm. It’s been fun putting together a mixed-CD playlist, going to our Skype pre-marriage counseling, etc., but it seems all a bit surreal still.

I’ve been asked by everyone, “Are you getting excited and/or nervous about your big day?” Um … yes. I mean, I’m normally a heavy sleeper, and this week the slightest sound will bounce me wide awake. Nate needs to get up at 5 a.m. to grade papers, I guess I better get up too! And while I’m excited to see people and celebrate the occasion, but I still can’t wrap my head around the whole concept. I can’t wait to see family and friends, I can’t wait for some snuggling time with my niece, I can’t wait to be in old surroundings that feel so familiar.

When I think about the wedding, I think about this: I love the guy I’m with. I don’t want to be with someone else, and I can’t wait to be more permanently settled and start a family. But we have already started our lives together – living in an apartment, having our weekly date nights, cooking for one another, exploring a new city – for me, it’s confirming our commitment to one another, which is completely exciting for me.

So I have to keep reminding myself that in almost a week, this whole marriage thing goes down. So the answer to the “Are you nervous?” and “Are you excited?” questions? I’m pretty happy, that’s for sure.


A Playlist For Now

15 Oct


For the wedding festivities, we decided to make mixed CDs for our party favors. Not only because we are huge music lovers, but burning  discs on our parents’ heavy desktop computers was a big part of our courtship early on.

We both worked at the same Fareway grocery store, and I’d be so excited for my four-hour shift after school because it meant stocking shelves side by side. N and I saw enough of each other in school with jazz and concert band, but this just gave us another excuse to hang out. We weren’t official during this time period and we didn’t need labels in order to justify anything to our friends – just hanging out, sticking labels on cans. He had long hair, wore “skateboarder-inspired” ensembles, including black rubber bracelets and his beloved Converse sneaks. And I thought that was so hot. On the days I worked and he didn’t, I would venture out to my ’91 Corsica at 10:30 p.m. to see a taped piece of paper with a note and drawings. A lot of time that was accompanied by a burned CD with a very carefully picked out playlist. (This was not at all creepy, we both lived three blocks away from the store. IT WAS ROMANTIC, DAMMIT!)

When I ventured off to college while he played out his junior year in high school (I was such a cougar), I always seemed to bring back to school with me a new mixed CD. Each one had a different feel – perhaps it was just really, really good music that he was excited to share. Other times, it was as if there was hidden messages in each of the lyrics just for me (when you are 19, everything is about you.)

So we had a great time picking out 18 different songs from our present, all currently on our Spotify going-to-work playlists for our party favors. Some remind us of the peaks and valleys of our relationship, and others are just super awesome listen-to’s.

One will be our first dance: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. And you know what? It’s not really a conventional love song at all – it’s more of a breakup song of longing, if my interpretation is correct. But damn, it’s good. And at times during our relationship when we were broken up, all we did want was what was best for both of us. And that still holds true.

Andrew Bird, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and Josh Ritter sing of love – break-ups, make-ups, happiness and tragedy – things that I feel are important in creating a solid relationship. Hopefully, the songs in our future playlists are as diverse and as interesting as the ones we want included in our special day.

Love NOT Actually

24 Sep

To me, this movie was PERFECT. Absolutely perfect. If wanting to rip out your eyes is the definition of the word.

Have you ever watched a movie from your past and come back with a completely different conclusion than before?

Well, that just happened to me after a viewing of Love Actually on Netflix. I first watched this in the theater while I was in college and LOVED it! What a true depiction of “love”. It was different, it was funny, it was unique. So basically, it was a movie made for me. I remember raving about the film with a friend, and we gushed and gushed over the various plot lines.

A few days ago? Not so much. It was a ridiculous pile of sh*t. Not even a little bit of an exaggeration there. It tried too hard, it made no sense, and it wasn’t sentimentally tugging at my heartstrings whatsoever. It was just plain dumb. Was I on drugs in college? I don’t remember taking drugs … does that mean I did?

It starts off with a voiceover from one of the too many famous actors in the film, Hugh Grant. People are congregating at Heathrow Airport, while Grant talks of what real love stories are. So you get the impression that you are going to hear about real love stories. Prepare to get really disappointed.

• The first story is about an aging rock and roll star Billy Mack. He goes from zero to amazing in five weeks flat, restarting his career. In ways that would make Miley Cyrus jealous, he uses shock and awe to show the world that he’s still a viable celebrity by making fun of himself. Not by writing new songs or becoming relevant (so I guess that is true to celebrities now?). At the end, he tells his manager Joe that he is the love of his life. It never clarifies if the love is platonic or if Mack just came out of the closet, so the audience is just left befuddled.

• Next, we come to Keira Knightley’s character getting married to a man named Peter. The groom’s best friend Mark might be in love with Peter? It seems that way. But then we find out that the pissed-off veneer that Mark has is really to disguise his love for Knightley’s character. What? Yeah, I understand friends falling for other friends and having to hide it, but usually it happens in a shy, standoffish way. Not by being a total jerk. Well, unless you are a 12-year-old boy. In the end, he’s still in love with her, and the film depicts the three of them just joyfully hanging out together like they are in a threesome or just accepting the situation. So confusing.

• Colin Firth’s character’s wife sleeps with his brother. Oh, well. No mention of either character after that! Because five weeks later he proposes to his Portuguese maid, someone he has not been able to communicate with. Attraction = perfect couple. Not.

• Snape, er, I mean Alan Rickman, plays Harry (was this name intentional?), a director of a design agency. His secretary is IN LOVE with him. She does this by spreading her legs, wearing devil horns, blatantly propositioning him – we get it, you like Harry. Unfortunately, he is married to Karen, played by über famous person Emma Thompson. She is just too, too busy of a mom to notice her husband buying jewelry for his maybe girlfriend/secretary. (The movie forgets to show us if he actually physically cheated on his wife or just likes buying gifts.) The only bright side of the movie is when Mr. Bean makes an appearance as the jewelry store’s salesman. BT-Dubs, Alan Rickman, please speak up. You mumble too much. For all that I know, you just cast a spell on Harry Potter or were just covering up for forgetting your lines to this awful movie. If I were in the situation: samesies! The wife eventually figures it out, but besides looking a bit perturbed, she seems just “what can you do?” at the end. Because really, what can she do? I guess Emma Thompson will just have to make some more banana bread!

• Back to the beautiful Hugh Grant. He plays the handsome prime minister. He falls in love with Natalie, a household staff member with a filthy mouth. The little bugger! But dammit, the U.S. President, played by Billy Bob Thornton, is just in the way. He’s too domineering, too take-control, and too USA. He gets what he wants. So he flirts and flirts and flirts with Natalie, finally kissing her neck. Natalie doesn’t seem to like the attention. So what does Hugh do? Well he basically butchers U.S.-U.K. political ties because he’s upset. Super smart. At a press conference, he pokes fun at the U.S. President (an easy caricature of President Bush) and says that Britain won’t be bullied and that the U.S. needs to watch out. Chivalry, dammit! The British crowd goes wild – wild I say. Because who doesn’t love allies with a long history of friendship becoming enemies? It’s sooooo realistic. He even asks Margaret Thatcher’s portrait what he should do in the situation. I would imagine she would say, “Probably the opposite of what you just did, asshole.”

• Liam Neeson plays Daniel. His wife just died. His stepson Sam doesn’t seem too upset. His mom just died. He’s a tiny little kid “in love”. So he learns the drum set in five weeks to impress a girl. Somehow, he succeeds. Child prodigy. Liam Neeson falls for Claudia Schiffer. Did I mention that his wife just died like a month ago? Is anyone listening to me?

• Laura Linney’s character has been in love with Karl FOR YEARS. They almost get together, unfortunately Linney’s brother is crazy and keeps calling! Linney can’t stop taking his phone calls! Relationship averted!

• This British guy Colin decides to go to America to find hot girls. He finds them. American girls love guys with accents. No personality, dumb as a stump, but has a great accent! YAY! This storyline was SOOO needed.

The only love scene that seems um, “accurate” is between porn stars John and Judy. They star in a movie together, go on a date, and find they have things in common. The porn star thing is obviously weird, but the whole dating and finding things in common seems about right.

WTF, I don’t know what to say. Why did I like this movie? Did I just have horrible taste in college? I just, I just – I can’t. There was nothing real about it (besides the porn couple part with the younger Bilbo Baggins). So watch it if you want, but do it to make fun of it. Please. It’s just that bad.

One True Love?

5 Sep

rel-05-soul-mates-orFor years, I had “… And They Lived Happily Ever After” printed in lacy cursive on my childhood bedroom wall. The glittery words spoke to my teenage mantra of “Everything Is Meant To Be.” My career, my lifestyle, and most of all, my love life. My soul mate. I highly believed in the concept that there was this one person in the world out there for me. Fate would somehow miraculously intervene and throw me a bone. Wherever he was, I would fall into his arms like some klutzy heroine in a romantic comedy.

I never believed that dating was a way of sifting through partners who might have similar interests and values. No, it was a means to an end. A way to narrow down to that one special snowflake of a soul mate. After reading this column written by a girl in a long-term relationship with someone who isn’t “THE ONE,”  I thought long and hard about my original concept. It was absolutely flawed.

Many couples I know found love in their own hometown, they didn’t have to search high and low for that special someone. Most people I know that are in a LTR may have had luck on their side, but they also found someone that they just really enjoyed being around. Someone with a shared love of traveling or music, or a person that likes sitting around on a lazy Sunday in the other person’s presence. It doesn’t have to be … so hard.

I have been in quite a few relationships. A very long one and others with varying spurts of time. In a few, there were these tremendous sparks – initial points of attraction and chemistry. Those exciting rushes, fairy-tale spun feelings always brought on the thought “maybe he is my true love.”

Sure, the spark is usually necessary to start a good relationship, but it doesn’t provide the end all. It does not signal “SOUL MATE, SOUL MATE, SOUL MATE!”

One short-lived relationship relied only on “the spark.” It was thrilling, yet we had nothing (NOTHING) in common – politics, religion, humor – NOTHING. Opposites attract, right? Paula Abdul, you were correct on that front, but attraction just isn’t enough. If I wanted to be a stereotypical ’50s housewife that obeys her husband, it would have worked out fine. But yeah, that’s not in the cards for me.

I was also in a couple other relationships that could have easily progressed into something more. Why didn’t they? Oh, circumstances. Location, interest levels, being at different points in our lives. I have no ill regrets toward those people or those relationships – they just didn’t work out. It just makes me believe less in this whole “True Love” thing.

Perhaps my soul mate lived across the world … would I go find him, climb to the ends of the earth just to meet him? Maybe it was predestined at birth. What if my future husband died of an illness, a car accident – am I just destined to spend the rest of my life alone or somewhat unhappy in another relationship? That is why I call this notion utter nonsense.

I won’t deny that when I first started dating my future husband (at the tender age of 18), there was a spark. “True love?” I pondered. It could definitely be defined as “young love”, and I batted my lashes doe-eyed in his direction. And then later, after we started arguing constantly and throwing accusations around, it died. Sometimes that “spark” would come and go, electrifying anger and bitterness that didn’t come with the “soul mate” guidelines. And even when our relationship has been at its strongest (now), we can be too busy with our own lives and act like strangers passing through the night. Not often, but sometimes.

Things haven’t always been perfect. Yet, I can’t picture someone else to spend the rest of my life with. We HAVE a true love. He’s my partner and best friend. We both have quirky personalities and similar levels of humor. We have a hard time choosing between a Woody Allen movie and a horrible action adventure when looking at a theater’s marquee. Our travel list is long, and we respect each other’s individuality and opinions. Almost everything in our lives seems to intertwine pretty seamlessly.

However, I don’t believe he’s my “Soul Mate.” I don’t. It’s not that I don’t think I am with the right person for me, because I do. It’s just that I don’t believe in that idea anymore. Perhaps I die tomorrow. Do I think my fiance will never find someone else? No, that’s silly. And vice versa. That person may love the new partner equally, more, less – who knows? I believe that there is an amount of “right” people to be in a relationship with, and the rest are not. How big is that grouping of people? No clue.

I think the right circumstances thrown in with a good amount of chemistry, well-blending personalities, and shared intellect, values and interests makes for a very happy couple. That’s what I believe.

I still believe in the concept of “… And They Lived Happily Ever After.” Just because I’m not a Disney princess waiting for my “One True Love” to come rescue me from my tower, doesn’t mean that’s not possible. I believe in happy endings, and I definitely believe in fabulous, amazing journeys.


11 Jun


I don’t have any friends. Okay, huge lie there. What I meant to say is, I miss having close relationships with people in the same vicinity as me. Being able to go get coffee or call them up to go watch a horrible movie with – that’s what I miss.

Not to say that I have always had those kinds of relationships, but I have at certain times in my life – and it was AMAZING.

I’m not a huge “I need a lot of girlfriends” to make my world-go-round kind of person. I never wanted to join a sorority, never liked calling and talking to that one bff everyday, and never was the girl who organized huge group plans. A lot of the time with invites to large friend situations, I’d be all like “um, I may have other plans?” Those plans always included Gilmore Girls, books, loads of snacks, and sometimes a cute cat friend. When I did show up for that concert, party, or big dinner – I could always expect to hear, “Hey, look who decided to show up!”

But I have always liked having a few very close friends that I can confide in, laugh with, and just be myself around. Perhaps it’s because I’ve only had a handful of girlfriends in my life who have truly been able to “get” me and my brand of humor. But for now, those people live in different places across the country. Oh, I get brief visits with a couple of them from time to time, and we talk on the phone occasionally – but it’s not the same. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to reconnect with one or all of those gals, who I can share a tub of popcorn with at the theater.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely lonely in this city. My fiance and I go almost everywhere together. We travel on the weekends, explore new neighborhoods, and try whatever is on tap at the local pubs. And I love him dearly, but man, sometimes I need other friends.

And again, I do have some here, great ones, in fact. But our schedules never seem to mesh very well. When we see each other, it’s fantastic; but if one of my friends lives two miles away from me in Iowa, it takes just a few minutes to be in the same place. Here, not so much. So with work, events – it’s not always possible.

I know that my age also has something to do with it. Many of my friends have started families, have full-time careers, and getting together with others isn’t always a priority. And the fact that I’m not exactly a go-getter when it comes to making friends, yeah, that’s a big factor.

So what I’m saying is, hopefully, someday in the near future, I’ll be close enough to girlfriends again, and margarita night can be more often than a blue moon.

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