Friday, June 29, 2007

This Week

This week is already over. Two days until I am back in Nebraska for an entire week. A week of hugs, pictures, food, sun, and being by the water. The 4th of July is like Christmas with my family . . so being in the nation's capital just isn't my top choice. Maybe next year.

Aunt and Uncle were in town recently. Cousin J's mom and dad. They came to see their grandchildren, Walker and Mary Michael. I was invited over Monday evening for a delicious Tuscan dinner on the patio. K is such a good cook. I will see Aunt and Uncle back in Nebraska next week, but seeing someone in your city is special. They didn't see my apartment. They didn't see the awesome view from my roof. But they saw me. Me in my city.

Last week I tidied my desk, making sure it was neat as could be, stacking papers, putting things in their place and hanging a new crimson bulletin board and my United States map on the walls. I knew Uncle might stop by while I was away (in Nebraska), and I couldn't let him (as tidy as he is) see my mess! My hunch was right, and I found a note on my marker board when I returned. He signed it "Love Uncle S____" and left his business card. Cute. And I thanked myself for cleaning up before he came.

I'm going for dessert tonight. It won't be the first time this week. If I worked out tonight it would be for the first time in two weeks. Usually I try to keep some kind of healthy proportion between the two. If I did then I could be surprised if I gained weight. I wouldn't be shocked at this point.

The girl at Gifford's (you know, my favorite ice cream place) is one of my favorite people now. She gave BSG and me 2-for-1 coupons the other day. On Wednesday I forgot mine but she remembered me and gave me the discount anyway. That is how to become one of my favorite people. Remember me or give me free ice cream. Do both and I will love you forever.

My weekend is looking fun before it's even started. I won't say what I'm up to, because if something fell through I'd have to take it back and that is no fun at all. I will give you hints though: food, sun, fun people, a dog, and a body of water. I'm hoping the body of water doesn't end up being the apartment pool. We'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Big Day

I meant what I said in my toast. That she has always encouraged me to go after God more and more. That she has always trusted Him. That she has patiently waited for her tall, dark, and handsome (and most importantly godly) man. And that her wedding day was one of the most exciting days of my life.

The only thing better than having a dream come true for yourself is watching it come true for someone you love. And actually, watching it might be better. Because watching it inspires and gives you hope, while at the same time allowing you to feel a piece of what someone else it feeling. It’s such a beautiful thing.

In fact, it was such a beautiful thing that I’m not sure I can ever get married now. There is no way I could have that fabulous of a wedding! It was perfect in every way.

When I left you all, I had just recovered from a bout of really bad anxiety. Fortunately it never came back.

On Thursday, Grandma and I had lunch at Runza (a Nebraska fave), picked up croissants at the bakery and went home to fill them with chicken salad and bake cupcakes. I put pink SweetTarts on top of the white cupcakes. S is for her new last name. I also made some delicious chocolate cupcakes (for the bachelorette party) with my new ‘unique’ cupcake tin. I wondered what Grandma would say, but fortunately she thought they were adorable. She also thought they were supposed to look like ice cream cones. I just went along with it.

At the personal shower, Best Friend got some beautiful, beautiful pieces of lingerie and I successfully embarrassed her with a game . . but too successfully I’m afraid – whoops. We ate the croissants, mozzarella and tomato skewers with olive oil and basil, fruit skewers with fruit dip, and bread with spinach and artichoke dip. Delish!

drink and dessert table

the food!

BF was ready to put on her sombrero and boa at the fiesta-themed bachelorette party and have some fun. She loved posing with the wall decorations, hitting the appropriately-shaped piƱata, and watching us all create cute, colorful panties for her new hobby – ha.

Her brother flew in from a semester in New Zealand that night, so we were even able to re-use the fiesta decorations as a ‘welcome back’ in his hotel room.

re-using fiesta decorations

Friday was pedicures, and boy do I need to get those done more often. It felt so good! That girl really knew how to massage a foot! We spent the next several hours at her aunt and uncle’s lakehouse eating, tubing, and catching some sun. The weather didn’t look good for the outdoor rehearsal, but after many prayers the rain came and passed just in time for practice.

wedding party in color

The rehearsal dinner was at one of our favorite restaurants, Biaggi’s. We had chicken farfalle alfredo with peas, chicken parmesan, and some delicious salmon dish. I don’t know what we had for appetizers, but those were amazing, too. The desserts were a cheesecake, chocolate chip banana bread, and chocolate something. But wow!

BF and the groom didn’t see each other on Saturday until she walked down the aisle. Well, she saw him. She did his hair actually, but he kept his eyes closed. Her ten bridesmaids and two personal attendants gathered around her to pray before it was time to line up. She looked so beautiful.

Standing on that stage right next to the lake, it was so hot! I thought I had spiders crawling down my legs, but realized they were beads of sweat! The bride and groom wrote their own vows which were so beautiful. (Beautiful is basically the key word for this entire thing.) The fireworks went off a little too soon, but other than that, everything went smoothly.

husband and wife!

The jazz band at the reception played great music, and everyone had fun dancing. And the food stations. Don’t even let me get started! The biggest disappointment, or rather the only disappointment of the entire night was me not eating more. I was so exhausted and my head hurt to the point of causing my stomach to not want much food. You better believe I was all, “What the heck, Stomach? I have been waiting months for this food and you don’t want anymore??” I did make it to the Lebanese station and filled my plate to overflowing. I thought it might look a tad gluttonous to proceed to the Italian, French, and Irish-American tables on the same trip, so I added only a French pastry and slice of prime beef to my plate right next to the grape leaves, falafel, hummus, pita bread, and tablouleh salad. I had every intention of returning to the food, but like I said the stomach was being ridiculous! I saw so much on others’ plates that I wish I could’ve tried. Fortunately, by the time the cake was cut, I was ready to dive into not only a slice of the white almond, but the chocolate groom’s cake as well. Best Friend drew a picture of the cake she wanted for the cake baker (or whatever they’re called) and again “beautiful” would be a good word for it.

cutting the cake

The toast, thank goodness, went well I would say . . or at least that’s what everyone else seemed to say. I said everything I planned to say, and I was not nervous. Uh, sort of not nervous. Actually I was quite nervous every second leading up to the toast, but once I took the microphone I felt confident that things would be smooth sailing from that point out. My leg apparently didn’t feel the same way, because it shook the entire time. And I was thinking “LEG, you can stop shaking, because I’m doing FINE up here!” Let’s hope no one noticed.

At the end of the night, we saw the couple off with sparklers and returned to the dance floor for a few more songs.

And now my Best Friend is married.


(Obviously you can see my Flickr for more pictures.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Big Day approaches

Tuesday night was the WORST night for Uncle Ken to be in town. My last night to pack and run errands happened to be the only night we could get together. I met him at Au B0n Pain after my life-changing experience with Debbie (see below), and we headed to Julia's Emp@nadas to pick up dinner. Three hours later, I was on the roof of my apartment building trying to drop hints that I NEEDED TO PACK, BIG DAY TOMORROW, so take one last look at the view and PLEASE be on your way!

Wednesday was calmer than expected. I had an event to attend (that I'd helped organize), ends to tie up at work, and there were things at home that I still needed to throw in my suitcase.

A soon as I left the office, I caught a cab to Seph0ra in Ge0rgetown. (Can I just tell you how ironic it is that my last-minute errand was to Seph0ra when I had walked by that store at the mall about FIVE times in the past week!) A quick in-and-out, and I was catching another cab home. I had 20 minutes before cab #3 would pick me up en route to the airport.

The closer it got to flight departure, the sicker I felt.

I popped an Excedrin Migraine (what I do when I'm desperate for caffeine), stuffed a pb&j in my mouth, and threw a little bit of everything into my suitcase.

By the time the cab driver got there, I felt awful. I was a bundle of nerves, and that is SO NOT ME! I phoned BFF and left a message about how excited I was, how sick I felt, and how WAIT A SECOND, why am I telling the BRIDE this?

The cab driver offered some words of wisdom. "Don't tell your friend! You will make it hard for her! You will be fine. It's not like your going to Russia or China."

He was right, but I couldn't shake the nauseousness. I couldn't breathe right. Thank goodness a friend would be sitting right next to me on the flight. And thank goodness we were flying M!dwest!

Within a half hour period of time, I'd tried and failed to use the restroom three times! One of those times was on the plane just minutes before take-off. I located the barf bag in my seat just in case and tried to reassure myself that I'd be fine.

I bowed my head, began to pray and not ten minutes later the sick feeling began to subside. I didn't recover 100%, but I did take the stewardess up on those warm chocolate chip cookies which was a big sign of normalcy.

I was up late working on a couple of things and, although tired this morning, I'm ready to go!

Grandma and I will be putting together some food and dessert before I head to the lingerie shower today. And tonight we'll continue celebrating with a bachelorette party. I just hope that BFF can relax and enjoy every moment. If I'm anxious as the MOH, I can't imagine being the BRIDE!

Work in Progress

"She's funny," Em said of the aesthetician she recommended.

I needed a wax badly, but you can't go to just anyone for these things. We're talking about hair removal, and I needed a pro, someone who came with a reference.

Debbie walked in, exclaimed "Hello" as if she'd known me forever, took one look at my face and said, "I'm going to tell you why your brows are all wrong."

I grabbed the mirror and held it out in front of my face anticipating the critique she was about to give. "Go right ahead!" I said. "I've always thought they needed re-shaping."

"You've got old Jennifer Aniston brows."

"Ew." Jennifer Aniston I can deal with, but I didn't like the word 'old'.

"I'm going to tell you about your face. But before I start, you've got to promise to not get offended. If you had a big nose, I would tell you. You don't, but if you did, I would say so."

"By all means!"

Debbie proceeded to explain why my brows made my face appear the way it did (wide and like my eyes were close together) and how we could go about changing that. It would be a work in progress, but with her help she promised we'd get there.

"I have a wedding this weekend,so how much of a 'work in progress' are we talking about?"

"Oh! You have a wedding! Than we've GOT to do this. Gosh, I love when people come to me with bad brows!"

And I love someone who is enthusiastic about their job! Especially when it makes me look better.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jersey Shore

What a weekend!

Four hours to the Jersey Shore and a fantastic weekend with the girls.

Highlights of the weekend:
- the private BEACH of course!
- whole wheat bagels at the cheese shop
- old school rock band at the Shore bar which meant lots of crazy dancing
- two visits by the (hot) cops *story to come*
- ice cream TWICE, made fresh at the ice cream shop . . malt ball, cake batter, cookie dough, and chocolate peanut butter
- grilling out cheeseburgers
- American trivia game
- sunbreaks and movies
- pancakes at the firehouse
- so much laughing!

The story of the cop visits wouldn't be funny unless I told you in person, but long story short, someone thought they saw a man in their room and called the cops. They came, we had a lot of laughs and realized after they left that it was really just our friend sleep-walking. But you better believe we locked the doors. The hot cops came back the following night to "check on us" because they'd had a "similar situation" a few miles away (in the 'safest town in America'). We're convinced they just wanted a few laughs from some crazyobnoxious girls. They certainly got some more laughs . . and some fresh-baked cookies delievered to the station the next morning.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

late night call

There I sat on the toilet lid . . in the dark . . at midnight . . with my Blackberry pressed to my ear. Didn't want to wake the bedroommate up, so I took the call in the bathroom. The vibrate setting always wakes me up. It was BFF and we talked for 45 minutes. And I wondered if we'd still do this sometimes after she got married. If she'd still wake me up, and I'd answer because I wanted to talk and I didn't care if I lost sleep. I hope so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ice cream run, etc.

Forget the burger. I went straight for the ice cream last night. I chose strawberry (very uncharacteristic of me), because it FELT healthier. I mean, there were REAL strawberries in there. How can that not be healthier?

After ice cream, I ran errands with bedroommate EB. I went to pick up a gift at the mall that was supposed to be ready a WEEK ago and was still not done - grr. We wandered into Lindt Chocolates and bought some mint truffles for my chocolate fix (only to find out later that they were a bit cheaper at Target). As it always goes at Target, I went there for napkins and found myself dropping a huge armload of stuff onto the belt at the register. But it was an armload of many things I forgot I needed, all for the wedding weekend. I always, always play this game at the checkout where I try to guess what the total will be before they ring me up. You know, to soften the blow. Maybe if I guess a little higher, it won't be as painful when they tell me how much I owe. It works . . sort of.

What I'd love to be doing in these posts is getting into the specifics of what I am buying and how shower planning stuff is going, but "Hi BFF, I'm trying to keep this stuff a surprise for you". My biggest worry is that it won't turn out as great as I hope it will or that I'm forgetting something BIG and won't realize it until it's too late.

I did figure out what I want to say to BFF when I stand up in front of EVERYONE. Hope it comes out ok.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the cure for what's ailing me

All of a sudden, I feel like I could burst into tears . . and for no reason. I need chocolate, maybe chocolate will help. Friday can not come soon enough! Then I will be en route to the Jersey Shore with seven other fun girls!

Last night, another bridesmaid who lives in D.C. came by my apartment to allow me to dump a bunch of wedding/shower stuff in her car as she will be making the long drive to Nebraska for BFF’s wedding. I can’t believe she’s going alone! It took me nearly 24 hours to drive that distance last year! Putting my things in her car made the nearness of the wedding even more real. As I told BFF last night, she can almost count on her fingers the days until the wedding. And my life isn’t slowing down for this. I am busy every night this week, yet there is so much to do.

I don't know if it's the stress of that. Or the stress of work, which HAS been stressful. But I do know that a F!ve Guys burger and some ice cream from G!fford's sounds like the cure. Even if I do have to trek through a thunderstorm to get there. Big Sky Girl, here I come . .

Saturday, June 09, 2007

So little time

To a co-worker on Friday: "I wish today was Thursday. I have so much work to do and calls to make but now Friday is over, and I can't do it."

Co-worker: "This isn't the right thing to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. . . You are now fully integrated into the team."

Fridays are supposed to be laid back, a wind-down from a long week, a preparation for the weekend. But many times mine are just as crazy as the four days leading up to them. Yesterday was one of those days.

Because I rarely let myself get stressed, irritated or anything other than laid back and happy, people can easily notice when I'm having a tough day. They can even sense it over IM.

Co-worker over IM: Are you ok? Is there anything I can do? You're upset.

So I'm glad Friday is over, but only sort of. Because come Monday when I have no progress to report in my 9am meeting, it's not going to look good. Even though there's nothing I could've done to change that, apart from supernaturally adding hours to the day, excuses can't be made. Another instance of "So much to do and so little time."

So as soon as the clock said 5:45, I threw my hands in the air and headed to Happy Hour for a glass of wine and a game of Golden Tee. After fourteen holes, Em and I decided to go get tapas at La T@sca. Spanish tortilla, potatoes with green peppers and onions, paella with seafood and chicken, and meatballs in a spicy sauce. And you know I didn't skip dessert: vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate nougat sauce.

Too exhausted to meet friends for a movie, roomie EB and I watched Jerry Seinfeld stand-up and were in bed by 11pm.

Today I was up by 8am. I'm off to the pool for some sun and a church BBQ this afternoon!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 23rd keeps getting closer

Veggie burgers.

This is what I'm eating to cut calories in an effort to look my best for BFF's wedding in sixteen days! No more excuses. I must do some type of exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY until then. I want as little armpit fat as possible hanging over that strapless dress. Not to mention the fact that she had to go and schedule a day at the lake as part of the weekend festivities. Of course I'm thrilled! It's my favorite thing to do! But it means me in a bathing suit amongst quite a few people. A bikini wax is sounding like a really smart idea right now.

As the wedding weekend draws nearer, I'm learning more and more that party planning is! If I had loads of money, it would be even more fun! BFF's lingerie shower and bachelorette party are only two weeks away, and I can't wait to celebrate with everyone. I'm getting closer to having every detail sorted out. I can picture everything in my head. Except for the toast. That picture in my head is not a good picture. It's me fidgeting. It's me trying to make a joke and . . silence. Like that scene in "Wedding Crashers". Not good. It's me lifting my glass in the air "To BFF and the Groom" and spilling my drink down the front of my dress as I take a drink. I've always said "I like giving speeches" (although I know this isn't a 'speech'). "Being up in front of people doesn't make me nervous." But I'm beginning to think that I LIE. I'll find out soon enough.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Baltimore, etc.

Baltimore is much cooler than I thought. Which I suppose isn't saying TOO much since I didn't expect it to be cool at all. But I drove up to visit a friend this weekend and actually stayed in the city for longer than ten minutes. They have a very cute waterfront area, some neat restaurants and cobblestone streets. We ate at a Mediterranean tapas place called exactly what it is, Mezze. And it was delicious! I loved every single dish!

She brought a friend along and because of this we discussed differing opinions on the war and global warming the entire time! No light conversation for us. And I'm not complaining - I really enjoyed it, and I like hearing others' opinions but I LIVE IN WASHINGTON D.C. I breathe politics fifty hours a week, so can we please discuss ANYTHING BESIDES THAT?? He did tell stories about his experience teaching high school in Baltimore's inner-city (which is one of the worst) which was extremely interesting. And I got to tell everyone what I'm passionate about which was nothing that wasn't superficial . . and come to think of it, how shallow must I have seemed? I really am passionate about things other than the things I mentioned . . like JESUS and seeing people's hearts healed and watching people have deeper relationship with Him. Somehow I forgot to mention that.

Maybe I forgot to mention it because I haven't gotten very plugged in at my church yet. And I haven't been seeing people's hearts healed lately. It's not been for lack of trying, but I attend a rather small church (compared to the mega church I attended back home) and there aren't a plethora of activities to be involved in. I'm hoping though that that is about to change.

Saturday morning I went to a women's brunch and met several wonderful women from my church. We ate some delicious food. (I was expecting scones and got muffins, quiche, fruit, fresh tomato and cheese English muffins and other yummy treats.) Then we sat around and told a bit about ourselves and had a devotional learning about women in the Bible who asked God for something, how they asked and how He answered. I'll also be joining a Bible study on the book of Daniel next week.

I made a big decision a few weeks ago to leave a Bible study (with my girlfriends, not through a church) that wasn't challenging me AT ALL, but instead frustrating me. I'm excited about taking this step to join a group that I am confident will press me closer to God and move me out of my comfort zone where I need to be.

After this weekend, I can give another movie review.
"Knocked Up":
Funny - yeeees.
Crude - TOTALLY!
Language - every other word the 'F' word and that is no exaggeration!
Nudity - TWICE and disgusting context at that!
Katherine Heigl -please let me look that cute when I'm pregnant and man, I want to dye my hair a lighter blonde and go shopping now!
Conclusion: R-rated comedies are too much for me! Ew.