August 2008

It’s been a busy week so far. Mr. W’s parents and gamer bro drove down from Vegas on Tuesday and have stayed with us till today. We had wedding rehearsal on Wednesday and dinner afterwards (for 14) at The Yardhouse in Shoreline Village. And also…

Jordan is here! I picked her up from Long Beach airport yesterday and we hung out in her old childhood home town of Long Beach, found a killer Mai Tai Bar on the upper deck of The Pike overlooking the waters and the Queen Mary, and she was a total tourist with a camera pointed everywhere. I’m gonna make her post. She was surprised to see her last post was from May (and let’s face it, that wasn’t much of a post), and I had said sarcastically on her chatbox that her next post would be from California. I’m gonna make sure she posts SOMETHING very, very soon. Even if I have to tie her down to this very chair I’m in right now. I’ll make sure to keep her hands free so she can type. *pause* It appears she’s upstairs in the shower right now. Gimme a half hour…

I’m loving this wedding thing, by the way, if for nothing else than to have so many people I love around at one time.

*** Update at 11:05pm: She POSTED! With pretty embarrassing photos of us being us.

We’ve been tackling the do-it-yourself wedding projects this week. We decided to forego the Garden’s table numbers and create our own. This is a small sample of what Mr. W designed from photographs he’d taken himself at the Garden (rest mouse pointers over photos):

All the table numbers were sent electronically to Costco for printing like photos, and retrieved (for FREE cuz Mr. W had free prints in his account) an hour later. No sweat!

We ran into a hitch yesterday when designing (or rather, attempting to design) the labels to attach to the wedding favors. We couldn’t get the templates to do what we wanted, couldn’t figure out a program that would give us what we needed to do, and printing them and cutting them were a nightmare. AND, they totally looked cheesy attached to the favors. So I made a rash decision to HANDWRITE on the edges of the favors with a permanent marker.
“<3 Cindy & Mr. W <3
August 31, 2008”
I did one as a sample. It looked okay. And we were desperate and tired, anyway. We were gonna start writing yesterday, but got lazy. LUCKILY. Cuz today, Anny saved the day! In discussing my dilemma, she IMed, “can u just print out on a small card for the table , some cute saying that they can take the [favors] home as their favors?” It…was BRILLIANT. We did it the same way as the table numbers, so it’s all in the same (easy) theme. I’d LOVE to post what the card looks like and says, as it came out beautifully with Mr. W’s mad photoshopping skills, but it’d ruin the surprise for my guests. So maybe next week. 😉 Thanks, Ann!

(Written 8-19-08, 7:33p, but it took this long to get the photos. Photos were as of last week; there’s been improvements since.)

The first week of living with a boy was stressful; the house was a mess and the very tidy Mr. W was about to pull out his hair. He so badly wanted his house to look a certain way, and there just weren’t enough hours in a day, what with having to work and all. But we chipped away at the pile of boxes, and over the weekend he built another Gorilla Shelf in the garage for additional storage. The garage is neater now, altho we still have to find places for more stuff if we want both our cars in the garage at the same time. The house is fairly presentable now, tho.

Up until two days ago, Mr. W fixed breakfast, handed me a lunch as we went to work, made dinner. It was all his stuff and his food in the kitchen, so he knew his way around it earlier. Three days ago he uncovered a giant box of kitchen food we had yet to unpack, and so I went thru the box as he worked on the sprinkler system outside. The boy has like 12 cans of salmon, 9 cans of tuna of various brands, a case of canned peas, a bazillion packets of hot cocoa (which he doesn’t drink), three commercial-sized boxes of Lipton iced tea bags, three bear-shaped bottles of honey, two difference sizes of unopened Heinz ketchup, 28 cans of different brands, cuts and preparations of tomatoes, 5 canisters of different protein powder mixes, 3 bottles of different brands of apple cider vinegar, 2 or 3 more different bottles of different kinds of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, rice, etc.) plus a gallon jug of store-brand apple cider vinegar, 10 boxed packages of various flavors of instant Thai noodle dishes…I could go on (believe me, I can), but you get the idea. It was an inane amount of food, most of which he doesn’t eat. Like the bajillion little packets of dried up mac & cheese. Immediately I resolved to clean this out cuz we have a HUGE shelved pantry and things are piled on top of other things. When I ranted about this inventory, Mr. W said helplessly that 1) he shops at Costco and things come in multi-packs, and 2) when he lived alone he was too lazy to dig out what he had in his shelves and pantry so if he wanted to eat a particular thing, he’d just go buy more. At Costco. So last nite I made a modified Thai green curry with peas and ground turkey over brown jasmine rice, and tonite I made honey-barbecue glazed chicken breasts (in the oven so it’s healthy) with wasabi and Italian herbs as a base marinade, served over a bed of mashed potatoes to balance out the sweetness of the honey.

Not a dent in the pantry. I haven’t given up.

I feel slightly bad for the people who google for photos of steamy wet women in the shower and instead find their way here. Oh well. Enjoy anyway.

Courtesy Vanessa’s camera (rest mouse pointer on photos for captions):

At dinner, Restaurant 162′, Laguna Niguel Ritz Carlton

The waitress thought we were taking too long deciding on a dessert (actually, we were just chatting with the dessert menus open in front of us) so she took the liberty of just ordering the sampler for us. Everything was delicious. We each picked up a tiny spoon, and took a tiny scoop of whatever was in front of us, and then we turned the plate for the next one. Scoop, ROTATE! Scoop, ROTATE! I think Vicky called it out to keep the process orderly.

Lily said that the stripes on the nightie she got were strategically placed so that I don’t have to wear anything under.

The couples massage tutorials part of Vanessa’s present.

(No, not that kind of shower. No pictures of 10 wet girls.)

We had an amazing time at the bridal shower. Food was drop-dead delicious. Spa treatment was to die for. Friends around me made me feel like I DID die and go to heaven. As always, rest mouse pointer over photos for captions.

Lunch at 230 Forest Avenue Restaurant & Bar, patio seating:
From Anny’s camera

Anny’s so petite she makes my arm look huge. *sideglance*

From MOH Vicky’s camera

Dinner at the Ritz Carlton’s Restaurant 162′:

Vicky ordered a bottle of my favorite wine, Caymus Vineyard’s “Conundrum”. It was a hit.

Gee. Can you tell these girls were drinking?

I’d just like to point out that I’m not as red as Vicky is here from the wine. =)

Vanessa’s card said to be careful what you wish for on a blog cuz you just might get it…

Lily got me this swanky slinky strategically-placed alternating striped nightie. Mr. W loves it.

In addition to what’s pictured above, Vanessa’s gift collection included a couples massage how-to kit complete with photograph illustrative cards. Very Mr. W. Anny got me a gorgeous silky white chemise with a matching g-string, and a great black tanktop with bling on the front that says in fancy script “Mrs. [Mr. W’s last name], Est. [wedding date]”. Insanely cute. Vicky got me the entire event and dinner for everyone. I didn’t get my wish of finally getting all my bridal party together, tho…bridesmaid Sandy called me that morning in a panic saying she woke up and her right eye was swollen shut. Turned out when her physician father examined her later on in the morning that she had four spider bites on her eyelid. Eek! She stayed out of the public eye and sat at home icing it and taking antihistamines. Gym Trainee was a no-show to dinner and when I called her she didn’t pick up; turned out she somehow thought dinner was canceled. EH??? Oh well. We all had a blast, though. I think the chemistry at the tables were good, so it all worked out. Diana flew down for lunch and after our massage session at the Ritz, she and I hung out with Lily and Vanessa poolside at the Ritz as Vicky got her pedicure session, and then flew back home to NorCal before dinner. Even tho her visit was short, we all enjoyed her presence, especially the guy at the spa check-out counter, who asked me when I was checking out what Diana did for a living. He was surprised to find she’s not a bodybuilder or Olympic competitor by profession, because “that girl has the most well-toned body I’d ever seen in my LIFE!” he exclaimed. *high-five Diana*

I had a great time. It was classy, low-key, and PRIVATE. Thanks, Vicky! There are more photos on Vanessa‘s camera, if she emails them to me I’ll post them if she doesn’t.

Mr. W and I spent our evening at home assembling our patio furniture, until it got too dark to see. And then we took out his camping lanterns and finished assembling by flourescent lantern-light. We’re excited to see the finished products in the light of day. We expect to do quite a bit of entertaining in our pretty back yard, hence the outdoor dining table that seats 6, and the separate firepit conversation set that seats 4. Ideally, I’d also like a bar out there. But for now I can mix in the kitchen and pass it out through a window or the back sliding door.

Of course you can’t just get guests into the back yard without letting them walk through the house, so we put up as much wall stuff as we could. My giant oil paintings found homes in the living space walls and over the fireplace, his giant maps of Hawaii are the focus of the entire foyer along with his decorative antique-looking suitcases, globes and stone vases, and his framed medieval prints of knights and princesses and gilded gold framed mirror found their niches in the master bedroom. We were too tired to clean up the floors and vacuum, but the place is shaping up to look like a home now. The first guest to see this will be MOH Vicky, who’s gonna pick me up in the morning.

Speaking of morning, it’ll start with an 8:30a appointment at the city’s private Lake so we can take photos for our Lake privilege ID cards. After we get that in order, our visitors can accompany us to the Lake for summer concerts, annual events like July 4 fireworks, sand volleyball, picnics at the clubhouse, boating, swimming, fishing, bbqing.

After our membership appointment, Vicky will come to our new house for the first time, and we’re going to a bridal shower that she, with some assistance from bridesmaid Diana, put together for me at the fabulous Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. About 10 of my favorite girls are meeting up with us there for a spa day, lunch at trendy 230 Forest Avenue Restaurant and Bar, dinner at the very classy Restaurant 162′ (dinner is Vicky’s treat and gift to all attendees), or any combination thereof. Anny, having recently received her new digital camera, volunteered to be my paparazzi, so we can thank her for documenting photos later. I think there’ll be a walk down to the beach somewhere in there, so I’ll be sure to bring a bikini. =D Screw the fact that I’m getting bloated. This is my bridal shower, goshdarnit. This is also the first time that all three of my bridesmaids will be together at the same place at the same time. Diana has to do a one-day turnaround flight from San Jose, I’m very touched she’d do this for me, and expect nothing less for her and us than a truly classy, fabu-loso time.

And I have no idea what to wear.

But I DO know what I’m gonna wear for our upcoming Halloween party that Mr. W has agreed to let me throw when I uncovered all my Halloween season props and decor while moving.

Life is gonna be amazing.

The house is getting close. There are still some boxes left in the garage, but my car is now in there, too. I think the new plan is to not unpack those boxes, since the house is pretty full as is. We’ll make do with what we have on hand, and when we have time in the future, we’ll sort through the remaining boxes and see what we want to get rid of, what we want to bring in the house to replace other stuff already in the house. A lot of people are gonna be staying with us the week before the wedding in rotation, so that’s the more important deadline in getting our house “ready”.

Today, we bought patio furniture. A lot of places are doing outdoor furniture clearance sales as the summer draws to an end, and we picked up a nice outdoor 6-seat dining set and a 4-seat firepit conversation set for about half off the original prices. Over a thousand dollars later, gigantic boxes join our leftover boxes sitting in our garage. Tomorrow will be outdoor furniture assembly, putting the wall stuff on the wall (paintings, framed photos, etc.), and floor cleanup.

I’d been wanting to take advantage of the two bathtubs to take a fizzy bath bomb bath for over a week, but we always get home so late after running home supply and repair errands, and I’m too exhausted to draw a bath. Tonight’s lining up to be no different. Because I now have to get up at 6a to carpool into work with Mr. W (who has earlier hours than me), I’m tired a whole lot earlier at night. I feel geriatric. I miss sleeping in till 8a.

Photos will be forthcoming once the place becomes fit to be photographed.

(written earlier today at 3:36p and emailed to myself)

Pretenders Lyrics
I’ll Stand By You Lyrics
I was listening to the The Pretenders’ song “I’ll Stand By You” and the female speaker sings about how the man she’s singing to could show her his dark side, and when he’s upset he can act as upset as he feels without censorship for her because no matter what, she’d still stand by him and she won’t leave him.

“Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less.
…So if you’re mad, get mad
Dont hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?”

I thought about myself listening to this song, and realized that I’m still somewhat in self-preservation mode. I don’t know that I can say I’ll stand by someone who’s being really mean to me just cuz he’s having some personal issues. I’m a lot less inclined to be a doormat now than I used to be, and definitely won’t put up with what I used to. It infuriates me to read in my past diaries about the things a guy would say or do to me, and how passive my responses were, always forgiving or tolerating it while convincing myself it’s not him, it’s me, and that it’ll get better if I could just find the right set of soothing actions and affirmations to make it so. In retrospect I never resolved these problems because the problems were never mine to resolve, they were the guy’s. If he’s acting or being a jerk, nothing I do could cure him of that personality defect; he’s just a jerk, period.

And I feel a little bad about my current hardness, because if anyone deserves my old forgiving, overly-tolerant approach to relationships, it’s my imminent future husband. But even Mr. W himself had said before that he can’t believe the level to which I’d tolerated my past boyfriends’ injustices done toward me, so it’s more than likely that this feeling bad is only one-sided. I don’t think Mr. W feels very gypped.

Which is good, because I don’t think I’m ready to let go of the protective shield yet. The thought of being without that arm’s distance of protection makes me feel naked and scared. And of course I didn’t use to fear loving with abandon, even tho I was never as emotionally safe before as I am now in the arms of Mr. W. But who he is, is why even if he perceives the shield, he’d give me a kiss on the top of my head and tolerate it, just to make me comfortable.

I heard from all 3 of my bridesmaids today on the phone one after the other! That was pretty cool. Turned out that MOH Vicky and childhood friend Sandy both were at the bridesmaid dress fitting together and ran into each other there. College roommie Diana had her fitting yesterday. I had called all of them and warned them that the dresses may not fit correctly and to give themselves time to go in for adjustments and allow time for the dresses to be remade before having to schedule a second fitting.

When Mr. W’s daughter, my mom and I went for our fitting last weekend, I looked hideous in my dress (this is the Chinese qipao, not the white bridal gown). The thing hung on me, I had no figure in it, and my boobs disappeared. Even my mom kept saying that I look like I have no boobs and I’d have to figure out something with an appropriate backless bra. The dressmaker had to take in 2 inches on either side of my dress and redo darts under my boobs and down my back so that I could have a figure again. My mom’s dress was too big, too. She had to have about an inch taken in at either side, too. Daughter’s dress was misfitted at the top and it wrinkled and hung over when she bent, and it was way too tight at her hips, butt and thighs. So we’re all getting majorly adjusted and have a second fitting next weekend. The dressmaker said I lost a ton of weight, but really, I think all her measurements were way off. Daughter and my mom got measured less than a month prior so how could all THEIR measurements have changed that much? (Just for statistical purposes, I’m now at about 116.5 lbs, 21.5% body fat.)

Diana’s fitting yesterday went very well; everything fit pretty closely except for a minor adjustment with her upper torso area of the dress. She said if the dressmaker hadn’t insisted on perfecting the upper body fit, she would’ve been happy to have simply taken the dress home with her that day. I asked her what her boyfriend, who had gone with her as they were in town for her friend’s wedding, had thought about the dress. She held the phone to him as she asked him my question, and he said, “Smoking HOT!” I was delighted. No bridesmaids of mine are gonna look tacky if I could help it! I think if my girls look good, I look good. Who wants to stand up there on her big day with a bunch of losers? People judge you by your company. And I’m not about to look insecure or superficial.

Vicky’s fitting went okay; she said the body fit fine (good thing she dropped some pounds recently, or hers would’ve been too tight, too) and there were some logistical adjustments on the fit of her upper torso design. I’d meant to ask what her boyfriend thought of the dress but forgot.

Sandy’s fitting went something like ours. The lower body was fine, but she couldn’t zip up her upper body. I think the dressmaker screwed up Sandy’s dress measurements the way she seemed to have with mine, my mom’s and Daughter’s, which the dressmaker tried to cover for by criticizing Sandy. Apparently the old-fashioned Chinese dressmaker had mastered the typical 1st generation Chinese bluntness taking it to a level of rudeness, asking Sandy how she could’ve gained this much weight, that she started off with the smallest measurements in the group and ended up with the largest, that she (the dressmaker) has to take almost everybody’s dresses in but has to instead take Sandy’s dress out, that the largest downsizing was on me and the largest upsizing was on Sandy, and could she lose weight before the wedding? And then she said she’s gonna have to figure something out with the dress because she can’t let it out enough to cover the difference. Sandy told me when relaying this story that she knows she’s gained some weight recently, and now she’s bummed. She suggested trying my cabbage soup diet. Vicky said that Sandy had told her that she’d had pizza yesterday and so was probably not in the best physical shape. =/ Maybe the dressmaker can come up with something creative to give the dress some extra inches, such as make the back open or something, I don’t know. But Sandy’s next fitting is going to be in about 2 weeks. Eek!

Men are so lucky that they just have to button up a loose tuxedo or suit and can gain or lose 15 lbs with no visible difference in their attire.

Man, moving was rough. I packed for 8 consecutive days and moved stuff from house to house for the last 4 of those days. I have learned that
* packing is probably the worst home life chore ever;
* you can’t fill a big box with fragile stuff, books, tons of small stuff, or heavy stuff;
* heavy stuff have to be split up into small boxes;
* you have to pack boxes according to weight and durability and not according to category, even tho it’s instinctive to put all “bathroom stuff” into one giant box;
* oil lamps always tip over;
* I have chosen my sister-friends well and they came through big time.

Last Friday after work (day 2 of packing), Gym Trainee picked up her son and came over after work and packed much of my kitchen for me, which is great cuz I have no idea how to pack oddly shaped glassware and pots and pans. Then over the weekend, Busykitty Vanessa came over to help pack the remaining kitchen stuff and some of the other rooms, but first she brought over a light dinner of multi-grain tortilla chips, salsa, a couple of apples, some containers of cut melon medleys, a container of cut pineapple, a pack of mixed nuts, 2 bottles of water, and last but not least, a drum of mint chocolate cookie ice cream. We got to chat and catch up before we got to work. I dumped three giant trashbagfuls of stuffed animals and two bags of clothes on her; the stuffed animals were for her niece Lizzy and the clothes were to send back to Costa Rica with her aunts to give to the poor (which they do regularly on their visits back). I got rid of as much stuff as possible because Mr. W had already pre-scolded me repeatedly about not bringing “clutter” and “useless shit” to the new house. Monday, Vicky came over and traded me a small pepperoni pizza for the remainder of the ice cream (since I couldn’t eat that much ice cream before I had to move on Tuesday), and helped me pack my many many books and random leftover things upstairs. After moving all the larger items and heavier stuff like furniture on Tuesday, there were still little things at the house I could move on my own but couldn’t get done. Hence started the many little trips back to the house after work to pack some more. Each trip back, I’d thought would be my last; each time I kept finding more stuff, I contemplated suicide more graphically. I packed and transported carfuls of stuff EVERY DAY this past week until the final trip on Friday, when Vanessa again came over for the third time. She’d come over to pick up more things I’m giving away to her and her relatives on Thursday night, stayed to help me pack, and on Friday, she emptied out her SUV and we left a ton of stuff at my front door for a Salvation Army pick-up I’d scheduled for Monday, left some odd furniture in the living room the future renters may want, and made the long drive to the new house. Turns out the new house is totally in Vanessa’s neck of the woods as she works around the corner and regularly visits the shopping area visible from our back yard for lunch.

Today was spent unpacking. At least half the boxes in the garage are gone now and their contents distributed around the house. There were lots of disagreements between me and the W about stuff, cuz like Vicky said, when you’re consolidating two households of stuff, the general perception is “My stuff is stuff, and your stuff is shit.” He basically wanted me to throw all my stuff away and have only his stuff, whereas I feel that his shit, especially his silverware and drinkware, are ugly. He kept calling my stuff “cheap” and I told him my Oneida service for 12 flatware is NICE (looks similar to this) and HIS multi-colored, cracked plastic giant drinking cups are tacky. But he insisted on keeping his plastic “glassware”, throwing away my plastic sink rinse/cutting board combo and keeping my nice service for 10 squared drinking glasses and matching rocks glasses unopened so that we can “get rid of them.” He’d simultaneously used the opposite excuse of plastic being unacceptable and cheap to get rid of others of my belongings, like my Sharper Image DVD Power Tower.

But living together with a man for the first time (who isn’t my temporary roommate) had its surprising and unexpected advantages, too. For example, by the time I started moving in, Mr. W had already called the electrical, gas and water companies and set up our accounts; made arrangements for cable TV/cable internet/phone service to be installed; and arranged for our moving crew and U-Haul truck. I’m sure that once we get over this adjustment period of trying to fit into each others’ day-to-day lives and tastes, and he stops saying insulting things like pointedly saying that I’m to be in the kitchen and cooking for him and then the next moment say that it’s “his” kitchen and that his way goes while my way is rejected, and that I “never” cook, we’ll be fine. Or he’ll just tick me off and I really will make his “never cook” proclamations a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Oh, almost forgot. The Dodo. His first night was pretty bad; he was needy and up all night making noise, trying to dig a hole underneath the doorway into the closet. I finally couldn’t take the noise anymore as it was keeping me up so I kicked him out of our bedroom and closed the bedroom door. The exact same noise, the scratching and digging and yowling and pushing, simply transferred to this new door. He hid in the only closet I’d allow him in, an empty one in our master bathroom, for the entirety of the next day, leaving only to go to his litter box downstairs a couple of times. But now he’s fine; his tail’s up and he’s cheerily exploring the house and hanging out with us downstairs in the living room, sprawling on his side on the cool tile floors.

This house is coming together pretty nicely, altho I think Mr. W’s fear is coming true that it’s going to look cluttered due to the quantity of stuff we have and the small space we have to put it in. He’s now stopped opening boxes and is letting a bunch of them stand in the garage, saying that if the house is full now, he must not need anything in those remaining boxes, threatening to discard them without looking to see what they contain. I had to throw out some very difficult and personal things (I’m a total sentimentalist), and I don’t want to go through that again. It was fun having Vicky packing up old mementos with me because we go so far back that we have a lot of the same memories. I can’t imagine having all of those old tokens gone forever.

Next Page »