Birthdays

He lives on

Let’s start out with some updates shall we?

This week’s Essie color of choice: Guchi Muchi Puchi with a coat of As Gold As it Gets

Biscotti: None – was replaced with Birthday Cake

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Look at this beautiful cake! The raspberries. The rosemary. The dusting of powdered sugar! My wonderful mother made it for me for my birthday. I have two women in my life who are marvelous bakers and love to make me cakes for my birthday. I love to eat cake for my birthday. It really is a win-win. This was this year’s selection. I am spoiled, I know.

I’ve never been one for surprises, and I am very adamant about knowing what to expect (not my finest character quality, I admit). However, my friends and husband pulled of a surprise birthday dinner the night before my actual day and delighted my heart with their presence. We shared overpriced Italian food, and free champagne, and laughter. I need laughter right now. I need it a lot. It warms the heart to see people you love come together to celebrate you. Basic concept, I know, but it’s not something I ask for very often, and I was filled with joy at the coming togetherness of it all.

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On Thursday morning I woke up early, threw off my covers, and ran around my house yelling “It’s today! It’s today!” I love my birthday. It comes but once a year, you know, it has reason to celebrate, to bask in the wonder of a whole new year ahead, Birthdays are much better because you get to eat cake rather than have social pressure of improving yourself that comes from the fresh start of New Year’s. I have a co-worker who came into my office with cupcakes and danced, my family made me dinner, I receieved cards and gifts and roses. I bought myself a latte and I settled into a weekend of celebration.

Celebrate we did. Dylan and I headed off to Las Vegas for a celebration splurge. Usually, this is very unlike me. I like to scrimp and save and go to bed by eleven, so heading off to the smokiest city with sparkles and ding ding dings was perhaps a little bit out of character for me. Maybe characters can change. I loved our weekend at a nice hotel, with a show, and an afternoon by a pool. I think you learn quite a bit about someone when you travel with someone. Dylan and I quickly learned we are travel compatible years ago, but it tickled my heart this weekend when we finished dinner not too late, went to a show, and got excited about the idea of watching “Friends” in the hotel rather than go out clubbing. We are not cut out for gambling – we lost ten dollars in a matter of about three minutes. We slept in and walked through the crazy polarity between obscene extravagance and the staggering reality that there are so many who are not as fortunate as us.

As I was walking through the casinos all I could think about were the rooms that were unoccupied at the moment, and the countless number of individuals on the street with signs. What if we created a lottery program to offer up those empty rooms to those who need it? Never going to happen when a roll of sushi costs $35, but hey a girl can dream. Beautifully composed and delicious sushi, I might add.

I am touched by those who joined in to celebrate me this past week. I am encouraged by the reminder to take time to bask in the beauty of celebrating myself. And, check this out! An Essie Nail Polish vending machine. Does anyone else want to stroke their hands across the beautiful colors of that wonderfully marketed nail polish? Only in Vegas.

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I leave you this week with a photo of some Elvi (that’s the plural of Elvis right?) He lives on, and so do we. That my friends, is worth celebrating.

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We found the old VHS

You know who is a genius? Kristen Wiig. Seriously, that girl makes me laugh in so many situations. This morning, when looking at my Twitter feed at 6 am as I waited for my boss to pick me up for an all day training, I came across this funny meme (is that how you spell it? I’m too tired, I can’t think straight). The tweet was referencing improvement at work, but I felt it resonate deep into my bones. At least in a humorous way.

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With two weeks to go until the wedding, Kristen’s character from the movie “Bridesmaids” is channeling my inner insecurities. The little perfectionist inside me is yelling the same sentence. Replace Carol with Katie and whelp, you’ve got it. I’ve been staying up late and paying bills at night and making to do lists like a mad woman. My mom is going out of town next week (no judgement people – she’s a wonderful mother) but this means a lot of final lists and conversations about what to delegate to my dad. I’m sending lots of texts to my future mother in law and talking to vendors and I need to breathe at work.  It’s Wednesday night, not Monday, when I usually post and according to WordPress it’s Thursday morning from wherever they keep track, so yup, I’m behind here too. I wanted to take a moment to reflect and to post. Please forgive me that this is my space to process and vent and purge all thoughts wedding. It’s where I’m at.

We knew August was going to go fast and it is flying. This week I was able to pause just a little to reflect on the beauty of home grown produce. Isn’t it fun to see gardens yield something you can actually eat. I’m not going to attempt to post recipes here but we did make a mean green bean salad with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and a delicious dressing. The crunch of green beans are delightful.

Too, the easiest dinner is home made bruschetta. Thank you to Giada for a great Bruschetta Recipe! I used the little cherry tomatoes that we have been growing on our porch in tiny pots. I am SO proud of these stinkin’ tomatoes that seem to want to grow every which way. Maybe next year we will have a lawn. It’s nice to slow down at night and have a glass of wine and a quality meal. I guess I do have that priority together still.

Dylan had a birthday yesterday! Poor guy is doing a fabulous job of letting his birthday be, well, not a huge deal this year. We did make time though to go out for a nice dinner and to enjoy each other outside of the house. We splurged a little, and it felt extravagant to be together and talk about ‘us’ before the madness of all of this settles in. Good madness, but a little overwhelming.

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Over wine and a few courses of dinner I realized I have been with this man through so much. We started dating when I was 19. 19! That’s crazy. And here we are, more than a few years later, dreaming up ways to spend our money and formalize a life together. It made me remember when my biggest stress was registering for college classes; now the stressors are different, more adult, more like insurance plans and 401ks and institutionalized paperwork like marriage licenses. It makes me feel immensely blessed to have such a great person to help me figure things out.

Tonight, Dylan was away bottling beer for the wedding and so I went to eat with my parents. I wanted to watch “Father of the Bride”, Steve Martin style circa 1990 something. Long story short I couldn’t figure out the old VHS tape (yes, my dad still has the VHS) and this movie is not on Netflix streaming, and not in iMovie and so we settled for the 1950’s version with Elizabeth Taylor. Not as funny, but the story line is shockingly the same. Many of the lines are word for word.

Here’s a little back story on how much I love that 1990’s movie. When I was in elementary school my dad taped the movie on VHS from tv ( same tape as mentioned above) and I watched it over and over. It was my frame of reference for how weddings could be, complete, I suppose with the family freak outs over hot dog buns. Apparently, I watched the tape so many times, I wore it out, as evidenced by tonight. When I got engaged, my mom bought me a blender as our first wedding gift. I come from ‘ a long line of over reactors’ you see.  If you don’t get that, you better watch the movie – best of luck finding it.

So tonight, as my heart aches a little bit, about the anticipated excitement and changes and loss of being a daughter in the same way, I wanted to watch that movie with my parents. And we flexed and we adapted and we did the best we could with the media that was available. I know, I know, first world problem.  What struck me, however, was that my connection to comforting movies and stories and situations aren’t what are so important. All of that will change, or has changed, or is changing, and that’s ok. What matters are the social supports and love and extension and growth that comes with creating a new family. I had my mom on one side of the couch and my dad on the other, and that’s pretty neat.  I’m so excited to move forward and be a wife. And a little bit scared, and a little bit sad too, in the most complex of ways. It’s time. There is beauty in this process.

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