Step One: The Parents Meet

Now that the fiancé and I have announced to the world that we’re getting married in June, the first thing we realized we had to do was introduce our parents.

And by “we,” we meant “me.” As in gather our two sets of parents, each slightly crazy in their own right, in a confined space and hope everyone walked out alive…on my own.

We both absolutely adore our parents and are two of those lucky people who actually count their parents as friends. (No, really, my mom and I are creepily close. It’s a bit freaky the things she knows.) It’s not that I was worried about them getting along…I was worried about them getting along too well.

In my head, they would meet, become instant friends, and immediately bond over embarrassing childhood pictures and stories and only I would be there to blush.

I’m sorry but if my parents are going to humiliate me with the things I did as a 5 year old (and there is a picture my mother has been holding over my head for 20 years), my significant other is going to be in the room so his parents can return the favor. (Vindictive? Maybe. Fair? Yes.)

In preparing for this sojourn to the land of my betrothed’s childhood,  I called my mom to see what the plan was. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey mom. I was just wondering what the plan was this weekend. You see, there’s this party Saturday night…

Mom: Well, we’re going to get there around 1:30, take a walk around downtown Staunton, have dinner, and then take a hike in the morning.

Me: ………………….

Mom: You still there?

Me: Yes. Did I hear you correctly? Did you say a morning hike?

Mom: Yep! Did I not mention it’s an overnight trip?

At that point, my anxiety took a one way trip to the moon. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m not good with new people in unfamiliar situations. I tend to imagine the worst things that could happen, become convinced they will happen, and spend my time mentally preparing for them. The fiancé definitely earned his keep over the past week talking me down off a variety of ledges.

I did feel bad for the guy. He’s 2,500 miles away and, as stressful as these things are, they are also important steps in merging these two families and he can’t be there for it.

However, he did himself no favors in currying our sympathy when on the mega-family Skype call he announced that he had barely been able to sleep the night before because he was so excited for us.

I knew things would be ok when all six of us gathered around the kitchen table, in unison, laughed and said some variety of “Not me! I was scared to death!” Then his father cocked an eyebrow and quipped “One of these things is not like the other.” After that, the rest was cake.

 

Big News

The past two weeks have been the most insane two weeks of my life to date, and I wish I were engaging in hyperbole when I say that.

In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten engaged, decided to elope in June, flown to California to see my fiance, and spread the news far and wide before going all Facebook official a few days ago.

That’s right. I’m engaged and getting married in approximately 3 months.

I cannot describe to you the level of freaking out I’ve managed to hit.

But, here’s the thing, I am madly, desperately, head over heels, romantic comedy level in love with this man. He is everything I need in a life partner. He’s my best friend, my confidante, calm when I’m not, curious, political, funny, social, active, old-fashioned, sweet, kind….Are you a little nauseous from the sweetness yet? I am a bit but it’s all true.

I assume you probably have some questions. (Well, all 5 of you who read this.)

1) Will I be moving to CA after we’re married? Hell no. I’m sorry but I’m an East Coast girl through and through. You will have to drag me kicking and screaming from the Atlantic coast. We will continue to be a bi-coastal couple until he gets new orders that will, hopefully, bring him back east. If he doesn’t, well, then I’ll move.

2) Really? Eloping? Why not just have a long engagement? There are a couple reasons for this. One – I’ve never been a fan of long engagements. Two – By eloping now and having a vow affirmation/reception once he’s back east, I save myself wedding day stress related to things inevitably going wrong on The Big Day and can focus on the promise I’m making to spend the rest of my life with this person. And, knowing me and my propensity for stressing out, this will save everyone some heartburn. Three – Did you know there are all sorts of military benefits once you’re married to a member of the Coast Guard? Well, there are and they will help us defray the cost of travelling to see one another. (Not to sound cold and calculating, but we did talk about this.) Four – Have I mentioned how much I love this man? It’s an insane amount and I cannot imagine one more day not married to him.

(I may have watched one too many romantic movies over the years.)

3) How often will you see him after you’re married? The answer to this is – not often enough. But! We have a back and forth plan that, for now, has us seeing each other once a month.

4) Doesn’t the concept of eloping involve, you know, secrecy? I guess, technically, this isn’t an elopement. I’ve started referring to it as a pseudo-elopement because, honestly, I could not imagine getting married without my parents there. Also, I would be murdered in my sleep by my friends if I got married without telling them.

So that’s it! That’s my news! That’s why I’m going to be crazily running around for the next 3 months!

I am so excited.

Jumping on the Bandwagon…Sort Of

It seems to me that there has been a glut of articles and opinion pieces lately looking for reasons why women in their late 20’s and early 30’s are still single.

Some blame the guys. The argument goes that men in their late 20’s have created a sort of new adolescence period where they are not focused on “growing up,” as it were, and only on extending their college years. Women, being the super advanced and mature creatures that we are, don’t want this new man-boy type of guy and refuse to settle for them.

Some blame the women. This argument goes that women are now being too picky. That the abundance of choices we are now faced with thanks to more doors being opened to us than ever before has fooled us into thinking there is such a thing as a “perfect man” and that what we would view as “settling” isn’t really settling; it’s being realistic.

I have seen more articles and reactions to articles on this topic than I have ever before. And, as someone who until very recently fell into the category of believing I would never find someone for whatever reason, I am a little bothered by these articles.

Leaving aside the merits of each argument, and I believe there are very few merits to either, why do we care? Who are these authors to make these broad stroke generalizations about what could very well be just a natural demographic shift? There are more women in the workforce now than at any other time in history; Gen Y is currently rewriting the rules of the workplace; we are in the middle of the worst economic recession in decades; and, last but not least, 50% of marriages still end in divorce. Who’s to say that these are not all factors in the choice people are making to stay single longer?

I will not deny that being single in my late 20’s and watching many of those around me get married is a very hard thing to do. It’s easy to think that there’s something wrong with me or there’s something wrong with the guys I’ve dated. (And look! I wrote that paragraph without a single generalization to a group larger than myself.)

But then I realized something. I realized that the friends of mine whose careers looked like mine were 2-3 years older than me and that the friends of mine who are my age have careers that look completely different than mine or who are stay at home moms, which is, personally, not a choice I could see myself making (although they are excellent at it).

This is not a phenomenon where there is blame to be laid. It’s ridiculous to think you could! And, really, what does blaming one sex get you in this situation? Absolutely nothing other than something else to either a) feel bitter about (as in “Ha! I knew it all along! All {guys/girls} are really {immature/super picky}.” or b) beat yourself up over (as in “Oh man. Am I really too {immature/picky}? Do I need to reasses my {life outlook/standards for the person I want to spend the rest of my life with}?).

So please, let’s put away the blame and realize we are all where we are in life…because that’s where we’re supposed to be.

Saturday is Fun Day!!

Ok so I fail at this whole “posting regularly” thing so my weekly feature went one week before I forgot about it. Go me! There were, however, some awesomely amazing things I found on the wonderful Interwebs this week.

First of all is a story out of Illinois that has the best typo I’ve ever seen. Apparently, the Green Party candidate was identified as “Rich Whitey” (instead of his real name Rich Whitney) on voting machines in 23 districts – half of which are predominately African American. You cannot make this stuff up.

I discovered this week that the New Yorker magazine is not as stuffy as people think. This was made very clear to me when they posted a video of Paul Muldoon (Pulitzer Prize winning poet and current poetry professor at Princeton) critiquing Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.”

And then there was Christine O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell is the Tea Party candidate for the open Delaware Senate seat. She put out an ad to counter allegations that she was, well, a witch.

Yeeeeeah. Pretty much the worst campaign ad ever. Until SNL got a hold of it, and it became the best ad ever.

 

A Love Letter…to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been myself for a while now. I’ve been shakier…less solid if you will. I have made choices that you have disagreed with, whether silently or out loud. I have failed to learn from my past mistakes, believing in others a little too much at times. I have been hurt by all of this and turned to you too many times to count for a shoulder to cry on.

And you were always there. No matter what was going in your life, from having babies to getting married to going through your own troubles, you were there to pick me up each and every time I fell. Each and every time I found myself in the exact same hurtful situation.

You let me cry and helped me put myself back together when I was done only to watch me run straight into the same situation. You never said “I told you so” or “Next time you’ll learn.” You never made me feel silly or stupid for ending up back at Square 1. And for that I love you more than you can know.

And now here’s my promise to you. I will be better. I am, despite all appearances to the contrary, able to learn my lesson. After a wedding weekend gauntlet, I have learned that the word “no” exists and that its judicious use can lead to a happier time.

There are no regrets stemming from my agreeing to attend two weddings in two days in two states on almost opposite sides of the country. I’m extremely happy I was able to pull it off. I did, however, learn the limits of my strength and, in doing so without the assistance of many of you, I learned how much I rely on you for my daily sanity. And I realized how infrequently I tell you how much you mean to me.

So here it is, without you my life would not be the amazingly spectacular place it is. I’ve spent much of the past few years looking for the “love of my life” but this weekend showed me that search was amazingly misguided. I don’t have one “love of my life”; I have many. They’re you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Me

Friday is Fun-day!

So I was reading over some of my past entries and I realized that I had a regular post on Fridays that I had totally abandoned. Today I will try and resurrect Friday Fundays wherein I share the coolest, funniest, and/or most random links that I have encountered in the previous week.

First up is one of my new favorite reads, people that are killin’ it. This guy is seriously the encyclopedia of all that is killin’ it. Not sure what “killin’ it” is? Read. You’ll figure it out.

This is not from this week but is still amazing. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Stephen Colbert testified before Congress on the topic of migrant workers. In character. The video is here and is priceless. Trust me on this.

Finally, another video that you’ve probably seen but I feel the need to share because it’s so awesome. All I have to say is that OK Go has taken the art of music video making to an entirely new level with their repertoire of music videos. I leave you today with the most recent.

Food Truck Fiesta!

Those of you who know me, or who have read my list of “27 Things About Me,” know that I absolutely adore the fleet of food trucks that patrol the streets of DC at lunch time catering to the hordes of foodies who can’t stomach the thought of eating at Au Bon Pain yet again.

There’s a food truck for every food craving you could possibly have. Indian? Covered. Wraps? Done. Fries? Got your back. Cupcakes? If you wait long enough, they’ll come to you. Korean BBQ tacos? Yep. Poutine? Surprisingly, yes.

I was skeptical at first. I was worried about the quality of the food; the cleanliness of the trucks; and the logistics of eating food from a truck. But, I’m not going to lie, there are few bricks and mortar establishments that can hold a candle to the food I’ve had from the food trucks prowling the streets of DC.

Granted, I’ve never run across a restaurant that specializes in poutine. But that’s the beauty of the food trucks. These are people that are passionate about a specific food, have perfected their art, and found an ingenious way to bring it to the masses.

I couldn’t write an entry on food trucks without mentioning the battle they are currently engaged in with the District’s various Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). Permanent residents (ie bricks and mortar establishments) pay a fee to the BID every year and the BID, in return, acts as a guardian of the businesses interests. They try to attract customers to the area through various free events, such as movie screenings, and lobby the city on behalf of their members.

As detailed in a fabulous Washington City Paper article, the BIDs dislike the mobile food truck army as they believe that when a food truck lands nearby, the permanent businesses suffer as a result. As such, they have launched a war against the food trucks, some even going so far as to drench food truck customers.

Not standing for this, the food trucks have taken a grassroots approach soliciting their customers and Twitter followers to write the city and sign a petition urging the city to reject new regulations that would impose new, stricter regulations on the food trucks that would probably drive many of them out of the District. This would leave many lunchtime diners, like myself, out in the figurative and literal cold. I can’t go back to eating ABP everyday for lunch!

Anyways, for those of you wanting to check out the best of the best in food truck fare, the DC Restaurant Association has the event for you. Next Thursday and Friday at the Convention Center, the top 20 food trucks in DC, voted on by customers, will all be in one place peddling their delicious, delicious food. Since I will, tragically, be in CO for a wedding, I  thought I would give you my feelings on my favorite food trucks in attendance:

DC Slices: Is anyone other than me surprised that you could get a pizza oven in the back of a truck? Cause these guys did. And they use it to churn out delicious slices of NY style pizza, with deliciously thin, chewy crusts; tangy tomato sauce; and so many toppings you wouldn’t think you were buying pizza off a truck with limited space. They also have chopped basil to add some freshness to the slices. Yum.

Eat Wonky: Not gonna lie. I was a little worried when I heard there was a poutine truck. Poutine? Really? But oh man was I wrong. Squeaky cheese is amazing. I’ve only had the grilled cheese, on a deliciously crunchy hoagie roll with red pepper flakes, but the proportion of bread to cheese couldn’t be better and I doubt I could make a better one. Next time, though, I’m trying the fabled poutine.

Curbside Cupcakes: This was the first food truck I ever visited. I remember the day well. It was a gray morning and I looked out the office window and spied this little pink truck emblazoned with a cupcake on the side. I dashed out to snag a red velvet (the epitome of cupcake goodness). I was hooked after sinking my teeth into a perfectly moist cupcake with the right amount of frosting. (I’m not the biggest frosting fan and much prefer it to compliment the cake, rather than dominate it.) I’ve eaten cupcakes from what I now refer to as the “cupcake truck” (even though there are others) at various points throughout the day and I’m happy to report that the quality of the cupcakes stay consistent throughout the day.

Eat Sauca: When I first tried Sauca, I was very impressed. The SOB veggie wrap (for south of the border, not the other thing) and the Butter Chicken wrap are both delicious and filling lunches. However, I’ve noticed that the quality of the wraps depends heavily on whose manning the truck that day. Some days the wraps are too heavy on rice, some days the wraps are light on filling as a whole, and on one occasion the wrap was just made plain wrong. (To be fair, when I complained about the wrap made wrong, they did give me a free one. So kudos to them!)

Fojol Bros.: Indian food. Proprietors in costume. Shiny silver truck. Fun, random music. Mango lassi popsicles. Really, I don’t think you could go wrong with this truck. The butter chicken is absolutely to die for, in my humble opinion. The veggie dishes are generally not as good but still quite tasty. My personal fave is the potato and cauliflower side. This is my favorite food truck for the quality of food and the ambiance created when you visit. The brothers from Merlindia know how to make you feel welcome and give you a memorable food truck experience.

Fry Captain: Ok come on. How could you not try out a truck devoted to serving just french fries and milkshakes? Now I have not tried the milkshakes but the fries are enough to make a  meal out of. On occasion, they will even have fries fried in duck fat and, if these are available, they are a must try. Also winning over my heart, and stomach, is the fact that they offer Old Bay among the seasonings available for your fries, something that I have not been able to indulge in since my time in school in Lynchburg, VA. Finally, they also have curry mayo for dipping. Now, I don’t suggest the combo of Old Bay and curry mayo (trust me on this one); but if that means you have to go twice, who’s going to complain about that?