May 2008

Great news! The Great German Teacher Hunt of 2008 is now officially over! We’ve found Mr. Englyng! After the search for our high school German teacher was announced in March, a few readers emailed me some research with some potential addresses and phone numbers and in April, Dwaine and I had the contact information narrowed down to 1 possibility. The address seemed to match the area we vaguely remember going to when Mr. Englyng invited a bunch of students to his house for a summer backyard party in the early 90s. It was Dwaine’s job to call, but he kept chickening out. I’m not sure what he was nervous about, but it was probably a multitude of factors: being out of touch for so long, not knowing the circumstances under which Mr. Englyng left our high school, trepidation over what state of health, mind, and/or attitude we’d find our favorite former teacher in. Yesterday, another former student of Mr. Englyng’s who was googling him in his own search for this unforgettable teacher led this student, Andrew, to my post (see link above). Andrew commented with the address and phone number he’d found (which comment was sent to my work account via email), so while I was waiting for my child molestation jury trial to begin, I thought, “What the heck” and called.
Clear male voice: Hello?
Me: (dismayed to realize I sounded like a telemarketer) Hello, may I speak to Finn Englyng, please?
Clear male voice: (suspiciously) Who is this?
Me: (overly chirpily to make up for sounding like a telemarketer) I’m actually a former student of his, I’ve been looking for him. (Now realizing with more dismay that I sound like a stalker.)
Clear male voice: This is he.
Me: Mr. Englyng, this is Cindy [last name]! I don’t know if you remember me, I took your class in high school over 10 years ago…
Mr. Englyng: I remember you!

Not only is Mr. Englyng well and happy, having retired a year ago with what he called a district “golden handshake” that was too good to pass up, but he’d gone and purchased a sailboat after retirement and has been sailing. His memory is sharp as a tack, although he is indeed diabetic like Dwaine remembered, he’s got it under control and is presently healthy, and is preparing for a month-long road trip with his wife to visit his grandkids and attend their high school graduations through the month of June. So for any of my readers or random strangers who may stumble on my site in their own search for Mr. Englyng, know that he is well and happy. *whew!* I must admit, I was scared as I prepared to call, that I would find him in failing health or in a state of senility. We reminisced for awhile, I caught him up on a few students that he remembered, and I think I surprised him as to just how big an influence he has had on the daily lives of so many of his students. Great men almost never have an idea of their own gravity, right? He’s also apparently never googled himself or he would’ve found this site.

I told him I recalled the summer party we had in his vast backyard. He chuckled and informed me that actually, his backyard is quite small. I was shocked. I remembered it as humongous. “Or maybe I was just smaller back then,” I said thoughtfully. Everything appears smaller than you remember when you revisit it, or maybe it is that memory makes things larger than life. But he is every bit as smart as I’d remembered (even though I was likely dumber back then, too). “I had no idea you’re diabetic until Dwaine told me; I remember you always having a Pepsi on your desk.”
“I had to stop doing that,” he said. “I stopped having sodas and sugar 12 years ago. People lose hands and feet and legs from diabetes.” He’s right; diabetes is serious stuff but so many people don’t bother making lifestyle changes to prevent such preventable effects of this disease. My courtroom assistant is overweight to the point she’s borderline diabetic but she claims her blood pressure’s normal and doesn’t have cholesterol problems so she’s not bothering to lose the weight or eat better. I’m glad Mr. Englyng is smart enough to know he doesn’t have to go out like that. I told him that was great because if he went into a state of denial over his health like so many people do instead of taking the bull by the horns like he did, he may not have been around to get this phone call today. I told him of all the people looking him up, both people I know and strangers who’ve found my blog, and he was surprised and touched.

On my Quotes page, I’d written long ago this little gem from Mr. Englyng:
“Go to the wedding. Because you have to go to the funeral, you should go to the wedding.”
Guess who I invited to MY wedding. He said he’d do everything in his power to be there.

When Mr. Englyng returns from his summer road trip, Dwaine and I are gonna meet up with him for lunch. I can’t wait!

It took me an hour to drive from work to my wedding makeup consultation apppointment at their Temple City studio, in spite of which I was an hour early. The place was way bigger than I’d expected. They had a very visible storefront in the same plaza as major department stores, and they were also a storefront selling not just makeup/hairstyling services, but also photography, bridal gowns and accessories, special occasion dresses and shoes. After I made contact with the award-winning makeup artist Sylvia and her photographer husband, I was taken apart by their expert artistic eyes. The verdict: I am “not bad.” No major facial problems, good bone structure, nice size eyes and features. But the gray contacts had to go, they warned. They explained the contacts may look unique in person but in photography, it’d look freakish and artificial. That was a point I’d been debating and I was leaning toward my natural dark (dark dark dark) brown eyes anyway so that future generations don’t look at my wedding photos and go, “WOT da fok?”

I was shown before/after photos of past customers and Asian celebrity customers, as well as makeup done by other professionals vs. makeup redone on the same people by Sylvia. Sylvia pointed out why certain people were given certain hairstyles to hide flaws, and apparently she knows some Hollywood makeup magic, because she evened out crooked uneven eyes, slimmed down square jowls, narrowed wide noses, opened sleepy-shaped lids, hid protrusive cheekbone angles. Based on how fugly (yeah, I said it) some of these girls looked before makeup, I can’t wait to see how I and my three naturally beautiful bridesmaids turn out.

I was happy to learn that their photo studio had a small package that fit what I’d been wanting for engagement photos. I had decided to forego engagement pics because I didn’t want to pay all these studios’ costs of $2000+ for giant bound albums (who’re we gonna show those to? We’re gonna have a separate wedding album.) and ridiculous 48-inch framed portraits (how do you put that up without looking terribly conceited?). But for under $400, this place will do full bridal wedding makeup and hair, touchup makeup on Mr. W, studio photography, and print out a modest number of photos of our choice. I can handle 10 4x5s, 4 8x10s (+1 more free cuz of the referral from bridesmaid Sandy’s mom), and 1 11×14 that we can frame and use for our welcome photo at the wedding site front entrance. Plus it’s a perfect trial of the hair/makeup for the actual wedding day.

I ended up walking out 2 hours later with not just a makeup/hair package for me and my bridesmaids, not just an engagement photography session, but also my bridal shoes (half the price of what I was gonna pay for similar shoes at David’s Bridal!), a secret surprise gown (Mr. W’s gonna see me in my white bridal gown before the wedding in order to pull off the logistics of timing for photography immediately before the ceremony, so SOMETHING I wear should still be a surprise) that I should’ve paid at least three times its actual price for, an appointment for a facial, a recipe for a homemade facial mask using basic and edible ingredients, and a special medically-approved, proven-effective quick weight loss diet plan. The last 3 items were free.

Oh, and I got a referral to a florist they recommended. The florist is blocks away from the makeup/photography studio, and although I was unable to talk to the head designer/storeowner who was engaged in a planning session with unbudging customers, a sales rep at the shop chatted with me about my options and gave me some prices. It looks like everything is going to be cheaper than I’d expected.

What a productive day! Shoes – check! Hair/makeup artist – check! Bridal shoes – check! Engagement photos – check! Florist – check! Pretty much all that’s left is to finalize the guest list, mail out invitations, and figure out what veil and headpiece I want based on my hairstyle.

Vanessa emailed this picture to me from Vanessa night this past weekend. It’s Vanessa, me, and Mr. W at Tapas Restaurant.

Speaking of the weekend, I can’t believe I forgot to mention in the post that on Monday, Mr. W got even more acquainted with his Asian side by going in for his first acupuncture treatment. We must’ve gone to 4, 5 Asian sundries stores trying to find those wooden beaded car seat covers as he’d hoped that the acupressure massaging action would relieve his sciatica pain. No one carried the item anymore. I called my mom asking if we had any covers at home, and mom said she’d just days before thown theirs away. Apparently those seat covers are too fobby even for my parents. My mom then recommended her acupuncturist, who she says not only miraculously cured her sciatica pain in just 1 session, but also cured that of many of her coworkers.

I have to say it was pretty gross to see 30 needles sticking way out of Mr. W’s nekkid back, butt and legs. *heebie jeebies* He’s got a second treatment appointment tomorrow at the same time I have a makeup appointment to do a meet-and-greet with my wedding makeup/hair people.

I think women think about this moment more often than men. Men talk about it using crass four-lettered terms — more a complaint than the shock and detail that women use when describing losing our innocence.

For me, it started at a movie theatre. He’d called and asked if I wanted to watch a movie with him that evening, and I made a joke about his lack of flowers and chocolate when asking me out. He cleverly joked back that men don’t ask women out with flowers and candy because if we say no, he’s now wasted money. The flowers and chocolate come when he picks me up, he clarified. I argued that offering flowers/candy sweetens the deal so that if he asks us out with such enticements, we’re more likely to say yes. Ah, but what if we women are just using the guy for free stuff? Then we’d take the flowers/candy and still say no. It was all a moot point, really, because when he showed up, he did so empty-handed. But he did pay for dinner — a peanut butter smoothie for him, a chicken wrap for me. And he paid for the movie like a gentleman. And like a gentleman, he also let me pick the movie, so I selected a romantic comedy I’d been wanting to see. At some point during the early part of the movie I leaned on the arm rest that separated us and my left shoulder nudged his right bicep. I looked up at him. He looked down, grinned and lifted his right arm out of the way. I was happy moments later to feel that arm rest around my shoulders and I watched the rest of his movie in his half-embrace.

On the way back home, I knew what was coming. I’d seen it coming for months, and was keenly attuned to how quickly it grew the closer to home the car got. I literally watched it get higher and bigger. And you know what sucked? I didn’t even want it. As much as I knew that (*rolling eyes*) I “needed” it, I didn’t really welcome it. Isn’t it strange how a car door slam echoes, how loudly the footfalls on hard asphalt punctuate the time…

I remember looking and thinking, “That’s gonna hurt.” Those were my exact soundless words. “That’s gonna hurt.” You’d think it would hurt going in during insertion, you’d think it would hurt during all the pumping, but you know when it REALLY hurt? When it was over. It was huge. $56 big ones for 13 gallons at $4.29 a gallon. Holy crap.

Welcome to adulthood. This is the real world today. We’re being raped by our gas companies.

Monday night I dreamt that I went to the bridal store to buy my wedding shoes but they were totally sold out. I was annoyed because I was told by the salesperson (in real life) that the shoes were a regular item and would not sell out. So I went to another location that was bigger and nicer and saw the shoes I wanted, but turned out that although the straps and tops were the same the bottoms weren’t so these were practically flats. This anxiety dream probably came from my mom’s “reminder” on Sunday that I must make sure I wear very high heels so that I could make up for some of the height difference between me and Mr. W at the wedding.

Before I started blogging my last post, I had been doing what my dad calls my “TV sleep.” I dreamt that I’d accidentally dropped or poured some stuff out of a bowl on my lap, and saw squiggly inch-long yarn-sized black things on my lap. Upon closer look, the black squigglies were moving and alive. So I stood and patted all the squigglies off. However, turned out some had already burrowed themselves into the workout pants (that I was in fact wearing in real life) and had even penetrated the internal lining layer. I shook my pant legs and got more out. Then I felt pricks of pain all around my legs, butt, lower abdomen, and turned out these black worm things were biting me. I pulled the pants down to my knees and saw a bunch more of the squigglies clinging onto my skin, so I patted them off and scratched more off, afraid to look any closer for fear of being grossed out. They were like leeches or something. I remember thinking I should take my pants completely off and shake them out, but for some reason I didn’t and pulled them back up, and soon realized that there were still worms in there. I stuck my hand into the pant legs and loosened more of them, noting how I could feel scratch-long welts in my hamstrings. Gross. I have no idea what that dream’s about.

Truly, not having internet at work sucks. I had to run and borrow someone else’s computer many floors up (I took the stairs and arrived panting) to send an email canceling one makeup artist after hiring another one this morning. I’m also way behind in blogging. I also realized, it’s not even like I’m getting a significant increase in productivity without internet. It just keeps me from doing little things like online banking and looking up attorney addresses and phone numbers, as well as looking up weird terminology for my court reporter’s transcripts. I don’t play games online.

Friday was Vanessa (“Busykitty”) night. She graduated with her AA degree on Thursday and celebrated with dinner at Tapas Restaurant in Newport Beach. Mr. W and I arrived ridiculously early, as being with Mr. W we’re wont to do, and sat at the bar while waiting for everyone else to get there. The good thing about arriving that early is that we got happy hour pricing and ordered half-price sangrias and a sliced Spanish chorizo appetizer plate. After the party arrived and was seated and I met a ton of Vanessa’s family as well as Jay’s little girl Jayla, Mr. W ordered more tapas that we shared. Mr. W had been to the restaurant before and got to relive his days in Spain through the food. Vanessa’s sister was also part of the flamenco performance troupe that performed there that night. Mr. W kept whispering to me all night “In Spain the food blah blah,” “Flamenco dancing is supposed to be blah blah.” I guess before Mr. W is as Asian fobby as he is now, he was Spanish. Vanessa’s family had multiple graduations this summer in the group, her youngest sister and brother-in-law with their Bachelor’s degrees, their mother with her Master’s, and a niece graduated from elementary school. They joked about how they represented the entire spectrum of degrees. By the way, Vanessa looked adorable with little girl Jayla on her hip. She toted the toddler to meet us when we were still at the bar, and when Jayla started a whine, Vanessa nipped it right away by asking her gently, “What do want? Use your words.” Jayla responded instantly by using a word and pointing, making it understood she wanted to hang out with Vanessa’s teenage niece Janece (okay, I have no idea how to spell her name) who, by the way, is a freaking hilarious girl. Even tho it rained that night, it didn’t dampen any spirits!

Saturday, Mr. W and I got into a fight bright and early because I was so pissed that he made plans for 8am. Who makes plans for 8 am on a SATURDAY?! I saw no reason why the exact same plans couldn’t be made an hour or two later. The only thing redeeming was that the plans were with Gym Trainee and her son. We went to the same guy Mr. W bought his wedding tuxedos from and bought the son, Evan, a kid’s tux. I always describe Evan as “a 40 year-old trapped in the body of a 10 year-old and seriously angry about that fact”. Evan’s been bugging his mom for a tux for a long time and now, he has one with 3 different vests he could swap out for different looks at upcoming graduation in June and at our wedding in August. After getting the best deal I’ve ever heard of for this name-brand tux ensemble, we set off for UCLA. The 10 year-old was scoping out potential colleges. If you think graduating from elementary school is too early for him to start looking, to Evan this is already delayed because he’d expected to attend college immediately upon graduating from kindergarten and cried his eyes out when his mom had to explain his misunderstanding to him. He’s been researching boarding junior high and high school for himself because he discovered that some scholastic-based programs will pay scholarships toward universities. The reason we were going to UCLA is to let him decide between setting his goals there as a local university, or Yale. Don’t laugh; he has the grades to back that up and I expect to see great things from him in the future. (Did I tell you he taught himself to read by the time he was 3?) Our two UCLA virgins were good sports about walking everywhere on foot, from South Campus to North Campus, to Westwood for Diddy Riese‘s ice cream sandwiches (up to $1.50 now, $.50 increase from last time; I tried an authentic Hawaiian-style shave ice with the scoop of vanilla ice cream inside), back to UCLA to the dorm area, then to the car on campus. (Mr. W bitched and moaned a lot, refusing to walk where I wanted to take the tour and instead took them through back halls and behind buildings where I don’t think we were allowed to go plus didn’t present the best views of campus, and I was pissed at him for the entire night for taking over my tour and other things.) Mr. W wanted to go to the obnoxiously-reputed Ed Debevic’s restaurant in Beverly Hills for dinner afterwards, but when we got there we saw that it was gone (HA-ha!), so we kept going down Restaurant Row/La Cienega toward the Beverly Center. I thought we could hit up Hard Rock Cafe or Browne Derby, but they were both closed, too. I suddenly felt old. “I remember when this wasn’t here and instead it was…”. We did stumble upon a freaking amazing restaurant called The Grand Lux Cafe where a bank used to be. The overhead drop chandelier fixtures were amazing, not to mention the decorative tin ceilings and marble pillars. And the food!! Such a large menu of everything from gourmet pizzas to steak to seafood. And when the food arrived, the portion sizes made our mouths and eyes open wide. Evan was eating his giant burger the whole weekend, and I was doing the same with my 4-person-serving sized flatbread chicken sandwich. The experience was so delicious and impressive all-around that Gym Trainee told me Evan wants to go back there for his birthday this year instead of their usual Lucille’s BBQ, his old favorite. She also told me he was getting his stuff together to brag to his friends about his tour of UCLA when he got back to school. You know the kid’s in a good private school when visiting a college is “brag” material among his elementary school pals. What was I bragging about at 10? Hmm, new Barbie accessories, cool erasers that picked up after themselves, oragami and rubber band tricks.

Sunday, Mr. W was a sweetheart and made a point of letting me sleep in. We eventually got up and ran a bunch of errands like getting ocean water for his fish tank, more liquors I could use for my cocktails, a book about the Japanese surrender in WWII that my judge wanted for his birthday (I can’t read that stuff; hence why he’s the judge), and then visited my parents. During a delicious homemade dinner, my mom gave me some motherly essential advice for the wedding (this week it was to avoid sunlight so I don’t accidentally get tan; last week it was to stop working out immediately so I don’t get big; it seems like my lifestyle is just a huge mess to my mom), then we all went for a brisk but long walk around the hilly neighborhood. My mom’s been attending dancing and tai chi classes regularly with her friends at a local park, and my dad was using the alone-time to reacquaint himself with his beloved pastime of fishing, so they were both in great spirits this weekend. They also both look significantly healthier from their increased activity levels.

Monday, Mr. W and I went to his ex-bro-in-law best buddy’s house for the wife’s birthday. She turned 39 and bought herself a brand new cherry-red Corvette. Mr. W’s son had told us that they had a huge party the day before (Sunday) with like 70 people in attendance, so the fact that we were not a part of that but had been invited instead to a BBQ the following day was confusing to us. We were like, “If you didn’t want to invite us to your party, there’s no need to throw a SEPARATE one.” I was wondering how they’d behave about their party, whether they’d keep it from us or make some excuse. But they talked about the event the night before and the guests they knew in common with Mr. W as if expecting us to know about it, giving people updates and talking about all the leftover food they had, pulling a few items out for us to munch on. The wife said something about one of their guests wanting to bring a cake, but that wife had told the guest that she was going to have cake with the kids and us the next day (which turned out to be a delicious raspberry jam white cake). So I guess they’d deliberately planned a more intimate BBQ for us and the kids (their kids and Mr. W’s kids are cousins, and they had their girlfriends and friends over, too) so they could hang out with and talk to us the whole time. The wife had also deliberately arranged this hoping that Mr. W could get together with and talk to his MIA daughter. I’m not sure if meeting up is going to make communication between them any better, but at least it broke the ice.

Today (well, I consider it Tuesday even tho it’s way early Wed morning), I was a good girl and despite not having Mr. W or Gym Trainee on the same lunch hour as me, I nevertheless hit the gym alone at lunch and worked my upper body, and went back after work for a cardio session. Yay, me!

Oh, photos to follow.

My bridemaids got to design their own dresses. The finished product will be seen and tried on for the first time about 2 months before the wedding. The other day while surfing the ‘net, I came across a photo of dress that looks a lot like MOH Vicky’s dress design. I emailed the dress to her and thus began this email chain:

[photo of a dress on a headless, limb-less fabric seamstress’s dummy]
Cindy: this is probably waht your dress looks like!
MOH Vicky: Yeah, you’re probably right. Now if only I had the mannequin’s body to go with it…
Cindy: But then how will you hold the bouquet?
MOH Vicky: I will tie a ribbon on it and wear it around my neck like a big necklace. Maybe instead of bouquets we can have leis.
Cindy: ooh, sort of a Hawaiian Japanese Chinese amputee themed wedding.
MOH Vicky: And for sure there won’t be the “I have big arms!” complaint at this wedding!
Cindy: That’s true. Now I just gotta weigh not having big arms vs. having my wedding ring fall off.
MOH Vicky: You can wear your wedding ring on your toe. That would make the diamond look even bigger when it’s on a “smaller finger.”
Cindy: [Mr. W] just suggested I wear the wedding ring in my nose. That’s just ridiculous. What’s WRONG with his head?

Chinese tradition would have it that the bride change to a red qipao (“cheongsam” in Cantonese) for the dinner banquet of her wedding. Red is the Chinese celebration and luck color, and most wedding qipaos have gold accents or designs (sometimes sequins and embroidery) for prosperity. When the traditional fabric is used, the dress has no give whatsoever, so it has to be custom-made to fit. Just about every Chinese girl I know who got married has a red qipao sitting in her closet. It’s not exactly something you can pass on or share because of its precision-fit feature (hence the creation of many many many red qipaos), and it’s not exactly a versatile piece of clothing to wear over and over again because if you wear it to someone else’s wedding you’d look like you’re trying to steal the bride’s show, if you wear it out people think you just got married an hour earlier, and you sure can’t go to the gym or do much in it but look pretty. So what is a girl to do with her expensive custom-tailored bright red qipao after her wedding?

I’m tossing around the idea of throwing a semi-formal qipao-wearing party, perhaps coinciding wth Chinese New Year so red is the “it” color by tradition, and we can all wear our wedding dresses again. Of course people can wear any color qipao they’d like, and girls who don’t own a qipao can go out and buy one off the rack or get one made. And the theme/food will be Asian chic, not Asian fob. Orchids and lit lanterns, candles and lotus flowers floating in a pool, red envelopes at each place setting for fun, decorative chopsticks for the girls’ updo.

Am I crazy?

Vanessa wrote a recent post addressing some thoughts on marriage, namely, what’s the benefit to getting married these days? Isn’t it better to stay unmarried but live together in a relationship so if things don’t work out, there’s no messy divorce later? Why is marriage still so important to so many people, especially women? Isn’t it scary and messy to commingle assets and debts, because why would anyone want to acquire someone else’s debt or lose a personal asset? Although musing about these issues, she seems more skeptical toward the institution of marriage than optimistic.

She sounded so much like me back then. (Just type “marriage” in my search field on the right toolbar and you’ll see.) We do have some similar relationship histories. She’d been engaged twice (to two different guys) but suffered two very painful and difficult breakups. I’ve never been engaged before now, but breaking up was so painful and looking back at the old relationships, we’re both so grateful that we didn’t marry the guys from our past, that it feels like we’d narrowly avoided disaster by not marrying these awful relationships. Kinda didn’t make the best argument for marriage when we constantly thank our lucky stars that we didn’t get married earlier.

And yet the issue of marriage always hangs out there in a relationship, behind a burgeoning tree, within the clouds in a blue sky, in the back of your happy mind, in the eyes of other people’s babies, in a conversation with your mother. So you have to address it at some point, even if it’s only in your own head. In my situation, because Mr. W was unbudging in his conviction that marriage and more children would never be in his future (which decision he developed before me and maintained in the first year of our relationship), I thought hard about the pros and cons of marriage and in a sour grapes sort of way, convinced myself that all the logic behind staying single prevails as the better lifestyle. I’m not dependent on a guy, I don’t need anyone to wipe my butt, I’ve done well for myself, and as a single woman, I have nothing holding me back from full enjoyment of my hedonistic pursuits. Plus, being with Mr. W, I had the security of a committed, faithful, fun, trusting relationship, and I can’t imagine that he’s giving me anything less than what he’d give me if he were legally bonded to my hip. So I wasn’t missing out on anything.

Except I knew I was. I constantly pushed the thought back and threw giant mental throw rugs over it, but there was that tiny little voice wondering why I wasn’t good enough to consider marrying, why he was willing back then to pledge his life to someone less deserving than me — or at least, I’m better than her in his opinion, and if that were true, then why wouldn’t he give me something he so willingly gave her? Unless I’m not everything to him that he claimed I was. He said I was too good for him and that his baggage isn’t worth marrying for me, but what woman in love actually believes that with her heart even if her head buys it? So for the sake of my relationship and ego I had to ignore the heart and follow my head, and head’s loud logic explained why marriage is an outdated joke of an institution and I’m much better off being the progressive modern enlightened woman whose life outsiders watched me lead, believing what they saw because they were not inside my mind.

I soon got so acquainted with the “marriage=bad” mental rhetoric that I became nervous and queasy with the thought of marriage and never brought it up. Time went by and at our one-year anniversay, Mr. W took me out to a nice dinner and brought up the possibility of marriage. “I want to give you a real commitment.” I reassured him there’s nothing unreal in our commitment now and ditched the conversation cleverly for another 9 months until he proposed on the ship during our joint birthday cruise. Even as an engaged woman it took awhile for me to want to deal with it, and up until recently I’ve been criticized as not having a “good enough reason” to be married because I didn’t subscribe to the romanticism school of thought about marriage. I didn’t have a childhood preconceived idea of the perfect wedding, I still don’t know the perfect hairstyle and veil, I don’t particularly care for wedding details and wedding planning. I wasn’t flipping my left hand down under the nose of every passerby to show off my beautiful ring, I didn’t scream my engagement from every rooftop, I don’t talk wedding with anyone I may be hanging out with (unless I’m asking an experienced person for their recommended vendor information). When people ask me “How’s the wedding planning going?” (which is more often than you’d think) I give generic answers and don’t care to gush about it. I’m busier addressing wedding issues as task lists instead of emotion-charged bragging rights, even on this blog. I’ve discussed future practical issues and finance plans with my husband-to-be to lay the foundation for a smooth marriage. We have a plan for our life — not just dreams but how to work the day-to-day practical angles in life to get to our dreams. So does this mean I’m not excited enough to be married? I certainly think not.

As I told Vanessa, where I am now, I believe:
* we’re caught between 2 generations of thought regarding marriage. The old generation idealizes marriage as the highest commitment and symbol of true and lasting love that one person can give another. You are so sure of your love for another that you want to pledge the rest of your life to that person. And the current generation thinks of marriage as a scam, because marriage no longer guarantees a commitment. It no longer guarantees true love or happiness (not that it ever did, I reckon, except people didn’t use to talk about their problems so openly). It doesn’t even guarantee permanence. And the business end of marriage with post-divorce financial division problems and the way people have learned to work the legal system to REALLY screw their exes really make marriage unappealing from a practical standpoint.
* But I think if you can keep the original ideals for the institution of marriage, and work together to manage the practical business issues (like have living trusts or not incur debt to leave to the other person, or have a massive life insurance policy if you have massive debt), marriage can be a great partnership both in the emotional and financial realms.

I don’t think the two schools of thought have to be mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that if you’re in love and can’t wait to be married, that you have to be irresponsible and ignore “unromantic” things like prenuptial agreements and estate planning to split assets fairly between children, stepchildren, half-children, etc. And if you’re taking out insurance policies together and agreeing to what is financially “fair” and suitable to your coexistence, that doesn’t mean you’re not in love. Being in love and wanting it to work for a lifetime means you prepare for the bumps in the road ahead, and you keep your eye out together, hands linked, minds joined.


Aside from a floss mishap, I had a really good day. After meeting with the Garden’s wedding coordinator last weekend, my two major concerns were the DJ and hair/makeup person. Dwaine and I have an old German class schoolmate who’s gotten into DJ equipment as a hobby. He DJed Dwaine’s birthday a couple of years ago and did a great job. I figured if he were willing, he could DJ the wedding and I’d save like $800/hour. I spoke to him and he was willing, although he had some concerns because he didn’t have a microphone, had never DJed professionally, and didn’t have his own speakers. Turned out he’d simply wired his turntable and equipment to Dwaine’s home speakers. The Garden charges $400 to borrow their speakers, we don’t know if our friend’s equipment is compatible with the Garden’s speakers or the quality of their speakers, doesn’t allow our friend to go in with his stuff to test out the compatibility before the wedding, and our friend isn’t comfortable MCing so we’ll still need someone to introduce the wedding party and guide the reception events. This week I have a new courtroom assistant filling in for my regular one who’s on vacation, and she mentioned the huge party she was throwing for her daughter next month and talked about how great the DJ was she’d found, how affordable, what a total package he was. Instantly I perked up and asked for his contact number. Today, I booked him. Because DJing is his professional hobby (not his day job) and because we knew people in common, he charged me a flat rate of $500 for the night, and he comes with all the equipment and music we could possibly conceive of, not to mention professional experience DJing and MCing! He came highly recommended, does research on the location, its rules and setup beforehand, seems very confident and flexible, and has a great work ethic. What luck! Now I can let our German class friend off the hook.

As for the hair/makeup person, the girl that childhood friend Lily recommended quoted me $699 for my hair/makeup. Yow. Yet she quoted Lily’s soon-to-be sister-in-law in the $300s, and was also in the $300s for Lily’s wedding makeup. I mentioned that to bridesmaid Sandy, who is now looking into another hair/makeup artist that she and her family had used before. Sandy’s girl is an award-winning makeup artist and should be more affordable than $699. Hopefully Sandy gets back to me soon with good news that the girl is available my wedding day and will do affordable bridal party hair and makeup, so I can cancel my $120 trial/consultation with Lily’s girl at the end of this month.

The wedding isn’t the only front where I felt lucky to have friends today. I got an email from Mike (“wilco”) telling me that he’d written an email program such that if I sent an email to a particular address with the URL of a website, his program would email me back a text version of that website. He developed the program because I’ve lost internet access at work and can’t keep up with anyone’s blogs anymore. I was so touched, and so impressed at Mike’s techie skills! I had no idea an email-linked program like that could even be written.

I even got Mr. W a connection. He’s been complaining about sciatica pain for awhile, and massages only help temporarily. He attributes the problem to sitting on his wallet for too many years. In our phone conversation after work today, he told me that he’d gone to 99 Ranch Market last night looking for those fobby car seat covers made of wooden beads in hopes that the accupressure would relieve his pain. Luckily for him, though, he didn’t find the covers. I suddenly thought to ask bridesmaid Sandy if her chiropractor boyfriend treated sciatica, and his response was “Of course!” Yay!

Are you guys wondering about the “floss mishap”? Let’s just say that I’ve got a psychotically tight space between two back teeth. So tight that regular floss, sewing thread, titanium wire shred and break instantly in there, leaving uncomfortable high-pressure residue in between the teeth. Expensive thick no-shred floss (from my judge) either shreds and breaks too, or is just too thick to even go in between those two teeth. All the attempts only ripped up the corner of my mouth, some knuckles that had to rub against my teeth, fingertips that had to push the floss to no avail. I was thinking I had to wait hours with that pain to get off work, drive home, and use my normal floss that’s always worked. Finally, my court reporter dug out of her cabinet some sample new-age floss that’s apparently been blessed by fairies and the love-induced tears of a unicorn, because that finally went in between my teeth and despite breaking two or three times, there was still enough left of that sample to get in there and dig out the broken first floss and thread, all bloody and balled up.

I’m grateful for good friends and all the things they do for me.

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