Friday, December 31, 2010

some thoughts for the new year

This time last year, I was in about the same spot I am right now: on Jon's folks' couch in Moscow, Idaho, following a delicious meal cooked by Susan and Steve, waiting to ring in the new year (sans television) with a champagne toast in the kitchen. Last year, with the wedding looming five and a half months away, Jon and I spent our time here addressing save-the-date postcards and trawling through thousands of old family photos as we planned for the big day. I had at least the first five months of the year mapped out by New Year's Eve. This year, we've been playing in the snow and getting acquainted with Moscow Mountain, where Jon's family just bought a cabin. Looking ahead to 2011, I have no idea what's coming next. I'm hoping for big changes in some parts of my life, but I know I'm going to have to work really hard to make things happen for myself.

Snow on Moscow Mountain

This moment in time is, in many ways, an odd one to use as punctuation. (Then again, whose life sorts out neatly into January-to-January chunks? Certainly not mine -- I can't even bring myself to move on from an academic-year calendar.) As 2010 expires, Jon and I are seven months into our marriage and six months into dog ownership; Jon's three months into a new job; and I'm in the midst of one of those typical twenty-something periods of searching, largely ushered in by job dissatisfaction and new interests I discovered over the course of planning and blogging about our wedding. There are about a hundred different directions I think I could go with myself, if only I could find the time or figure out exactly how.

Jon and I fly back to Atlanta tomorrow to begin a new calendar year in our life together. Who knows what it will bring? Though I tend to be a planner, I'm kind of looking forward to having a year of great wide open. My hope for myself is that I'll be able to see past the discomfort of not always knowing and instead look for the possibility in everything and everyone.

flying over the Palouse

P.S. Happy New Year to all of my blog buddies -- thank you for (still) reading! I've got something new up my sleeve... but you'll have to wait until 2011 to find out what it is!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old-Timey Tuesday: Epic Eighties

So, I know it's not Tuesday, but I'm calling this an Old-Timey Tuesday post anyway. This addition to my archive of family wedding fashion is one that I didn't nab last year when I was out here in Idaho -- I think I was wary of stirring up bad juju by posting family photos I found amusing -- but have wished I had on many occasions since. However, now that our wedding is long past, I figure I can share it with minimal fear of wedding karma coming back to haunt me. (Right?)

So, without further ado and to cap off the Old-Timey series, I give you this young bride in all her resplendent 1981 Eliza Doolittle/Mary Poppins/hat-and-parasol glory:


I mean... WHOA. Can anyone top that?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

I mentioned in my post about our wedding video the other day how well our siblings did in crafting and delivering their toasts. In keeping with tradition, the best man went first and the maid of honor went second. Jon's witty younger brother is out in L.A. trying to make it as a television/comedy writer, so my sister, a very clever but less occupationally humorous lawyer, was a little nervous to follow him.

As it turned out (and as I had assured her), she had no need to worry. She worked up a hilarious, smart toast that was as sweet as it was unexpected. It was structured as a riff on The Night Before Christmas, which we would all read together on Christmas Eve as children. As it is presently the night before Christmas, and since I was just bragging on my sister, I wanted to share it with y'all. (She gave me her copy to keep after she was done.)

First, a few disclaimers: 1) there are a few inside jokes that might not translate; 2) my cat is not a devil cat, he's the sweetest kitty ever; and 3) that mix tape/CD was actually pretty good. The only real dud was a Britney Spears tune I included as a joke. Alright! With all that said, I give you my sister's brilliant wedding toast:


'Twas the eve of her wedding, and in the Poe house
Kathleen sat and reflected on her future spouse.
She thought of his writing, his saxomaphone,
But OH, he watches LOST, she thought with a groan.

It was just a few years prior at the school known as 'Cuse
That our hero, JR, had been first introduced.
But before we raise a glass to this magical pairing,
A brief history of my Seester with you I'll be sharing.

Kathleen was called munchkin, and right from the start
With a sweet, impish grin she stole everyone's heart.
She played sports, she took dance, but where she truly excelled
Was in music; when she sang all were under her spell.

Where on earth did this amazing talent come from?!?
She even sounds good if you just hear her hum!
Some said it was genetics -- have you heard our dad sing?
Some said it was hard work -- but if you ask her siblings

It was in the car that this young songbird was trained:
Road trips with her sister, their brother's ears pained.
"No more Indigo Girls!" he cried, "No more Andrew Lloyd Webber!
No more 'Cats'! No more 'Rent'! No more singing whatsoever!"

Two angels in the front seat, one grump in the back gawking.
He tried everything -- even NyQuil -- to escape from their squawking.
But the music played on, the singing persisted.
"You must join our program!" Northwestern insisted.

From performing to teaching to writing reviews,
First Chicago, then Atlanta, and at long last, Syracuse.
There she met a young man with dark curly hair.
He said, "I'm from Moscow, Idaho." She said, "You're from WHERE?"

The two were fast friends, and soon after started dating.
She came home for the holidays and found her sister anticipating
A report on the young man who had captured her heart.
"Oh Emily," she said, "I have gotten off to a rough start.

"I made him a mix tape to accompany his adventures
But some of the selections I perhaps should have censored.
You know how there are things that just we think are funny?
Like beauty pageants, Three Amigos, and that bear fountain in Germany?

"This is one of those times, I feel kind of absurd.
In the middle of this mix I put 'The Lonely Goatherd.'"
"The song from Sound of Music with the yodeling puppets?" I said,
"Yeah, tough call. But don't get down in the dumps, at least not just yet.

"Could be this guy Jon has a great sense of humor.
And if he can handle your devil cat, as I hear is the rumor
And likes music and books and loves the Braves in baseball,
A few classic movies and showtunes is all

That you really might need to know you've found a winner."
And now here were all are, having just eaten dinner,
To toast, and dance, and party 'til dawn
To celebrate the wedding we all knew was on

From the moment that Jon loved that awful mix tape.
Foretold so wisely by her most elegant and charming sister Emily (the Great).
This happy young couple whose path has now led
Them up to the altar, has the brightest of futures ahead.

So cheers to our hosts -- Daddy, Llama -- for throwing this party,
Cheers to Susan and Steve for raising a hearty
Young man we have all come to love and adore.
His kindness and humor have won everyone o'er.

Cheers to our young couple -- we know your love is true;
And finally, from me: Seester, Jon, AH NUB NOO!

***

I mean, really. How ridiculous is that? Emily and Matthew set an absurdly high standard for wedding toasts that I'm not sure either Jon or I will ever live up to.

Speaking of me and Jon, we're off to Idaho around lunchtime tomorrow after we do Christmas things with my family -- I'll drop a post or two from the snowy Palouse, so stay tuned. In the meantime, Happy Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Christmas blogs, O Christmas blogs!

It's been a big week for me on the blogs, folks, a big week!

Yesterday, the oh-so-wise Tiny Wedding Planner at San Francisco Budget Wedding dispensed her advice on how to share holidays and stave off any homesickness. Click on over to read what she had to say!

Today, I've got a guest post on the brilliant Love Your Way blog as part of their ChristmaHanaKwanzica series on holiday traditions. I had a really tough time deciding what to write about -- there are so many things I love about this season! Click on the excellent graphic below to find out what I chose to share. There may or may not be some awesome old photos involved...


Many thanks to Sarah, Bean, Lizzie and Isaiah for having me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Seven months, one DVD, a plethora of thoughts

Today, being the 22nd, marks another month of weddedness for me and Jon. Seven months! It doesn't seem like it's been such a long time, but the wedding seems so far removed these days.

As luck would have it, I now have a handy means of calling up the wedding should I ever feel like bringing it closer. My good friend Brock who filmed the wedding recently returned to Atlanta for the holidays, and yesterday he dropped off the wedding DVDs in our mailbox. What timing! It's the perfect Christmas/7-month-anniversary gift.

Jon and I were both a little worried we'd look stupid on camera, but we sucked it up (nothing we can do about looking silly then now!) and watched the DVD beginning to end. It's nothing fancy: literally just the straight-up, raw footage, with a few Camera 1-Camera 2 cuts during the ceremony portion. But it's exactly what I wanted, and more. I only asked Brock to tape the ceremony so we'd have a record of it, but he brought his camera to the rehearsal dinner and the reception and filmed all the toasts and our first dances and our exit through a shower of flower petals tossed by our guests, and I'm so glad to have those moments where you can see a little bit more of us, our friends and our interactions on tape. (Er, disc. Whatever.)

So, now that we've watched the whole shebang (OK, maybe we skipped ahead during the homily), a few observations:

Rehearsal dinner
  • The best man, Jon's younger brother Matthew, looked totally bored during the rehearsal dinner toasts given by our friends.
  • Our professor/thesis advisor used the word "milieu" in his toast while likening me and Jon to a famous composer/arranger-saxophonist couple in the world of jazz.
  • The grad school professors espoused quite a bit of revisionist history. But hey, what writer hasn't embellished a bit to enhance the telling of a story?
Ceremony
  • All of our friends in the wedding party are fast to very fast walkers.
  • Jon and Matthew were whispering in one another's ears during the bridesmaids' processional. SUBTLE.
  • As my processional began with a facemelting organ fanfare, the camera panned across the front of the church and caught Matthew picking something off of Jon's shoulder (gotta look sharp!)
  • I don't do slow and stately very well.
  • I blinked and closed-mouth smiled a lot during the ceremony.
  • Thankfully, the hymn sounded on the video like a congregation singing it, and not just me wailing into the mic Brock put on Jon. Relief!
Reception
  • Our DJ was totally awesome. (that's not news, it just bears repeating.)
  • The toasts. were. AWESOME. Matthew killed it. Emily KILLED it. Dad and my brother were pretty awesome as well.
  • Our first dance was... awkward. Jon and I looked pretty dinky and lame. We scrapped the fancy moves we had learned in last-minute lessons and defaulted to a basic box step. Thank god the song wasn't that long.
  • My dad and I, on the other hand, did really well! Also sort of awkward, but we had lots of pretty spins and a couple different steps in the mix. Wayne, our dance lesson teacher, would have been proud.
  • My dress moved beautifully! Sigh.
  • Jon sorta let his mom lead during their dance.
  • At the end of the video, as I'm about to get into the towncar that will whisk us away, I look over the roof of the car and wave to the camera/Brock. I really like that moment. It's me!
Everything was pretty much as I remember it, which is refreshing. It's nice to be able to see it as it actually was, but it's also reassuring to confirm that my mind was there and processing it all at the time. I looked very pretty and happy, Jon looked very dapper and happy. Happiness all around!

I still stand by our decision not to hire a videographer, even though there are some awesome ones out there. Photography was absolutely my top priority in terms of recording the occasion, and the incredible pictures Jesse and Whitney took are so far beyond what I imagined they would be. I like the honest, archival quality of what Brock gave us; no montages, no recreated shots, no soundtracking. This is something we'll be able to show our kids, and they'll see everything exactly how it happened, way the hell back in the day in 2010. How sweet is that?

Monday, December 13, 2010

dueling weddings

It's bound to happen sooner or later: two (or more) of your engaged friends choose the same date for their weddings. In a best-case scenario, the events will be in the same city at different times of day; worst-case, they'll be in different parts of the country, making the timing irrelevant. How do you pick? As a couple, you can try to divide-and-conquer tactic, but I find that approach unsatisfying: unless I can split myself in two and be more than one place at once, I'm gonna be missing something.

For months and months now, I've known that two awesome weddings on my calendar would fall on the same day. I've agonized, I've puzzled, I've kept mum about the conflict to any of the to-be-wedded parties and I've dreaded eventually having to pick between these two pairs:

Couple no. 1
Jon and I are both friends with both halves of this couple, whom we met in our grad school program at Syracuse. (They actually came to the program as a couple, while Jon and I met and got together there.) The groom-to-be was a groomsman in our wedding (which is where the photo at left, by Our Labor of Love, comes from), the bride-to-be is the most stylish person I know, and they're both brilliant writers and hilarious people. They're getting hitched in their hometown of Pittsburgh, and you know it's gonna be badass, because these kids know how to party.

Couple no. 2
I've been friends with this groom-to-be since junior high. We sang together then and we sing together now in the ASO chorus and in church choir, where he met his lovely fiancee. He and Jon became friends (via me) not long after we arrived in Atlanta and even had a few workday lunches together. The bride-to-be and I became fast friends sitting next to each other in church choir and rooming together on our symphony chorus trip to Berlin last December (during which the photo at left was taken). Jon and I ran into this couple on their first date and have been hanging out with them ever since.

How on earth am I supposed to choose??

May 14 is the big day for both of these couples... or so I thought! I swear I must be psychic because just this weekend, I was wishfully thinking that one of them would move their wedding date -- totally unrealistic, but I wished it nonetheless**. In retrospect, I'll call it a premonition. I was sad after some wedding-related conversations with couple no. 2 that I might not be able to be a part of their celebration, but I resolved to wait for more details on couple no. 1 before I committed one way or the other and confessed my decision.

And then! Last night, just before I snapped my laptop shut for the night, I got an email from couple no. 1 with the subject line "SAVE THE DATE! ______ & _____'s Wedding — May 7, 2011!" Jon had retired about 10 minutes earlier, but as soon as I saw the email, I shouted down the hall to him, "Ooh! OOOH! Exciting news!!!" Problem solved! I guess our grad school friends have done some shuffling since last we talked in specifics about their wedding, which was some time ago. (I don't like to bother people for wedding details even though I totally want to know them, let's be honest. Call it etiquette, whatever.)

Anyway, I'm totally thrilled that this has worked out, but I know things don't and won't always shake out like this. It's such a relief!

*I didn't want to splash my friends' photos, names and wedding business all over the internet without asking and I really dislike referring to people by their initials (plus, how would you know which is the girl-initial and which is the boy-initial?), so this is my solution.

** I was actually going to blog about my mental anguish over this situation today even before I got that email... I'm TOTALLY psychic!