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Archive for April, 2009

Home!!!

Posted by Lissa on April 29, 2009

I will have lots to say later, but for now — Cheers!  L’Chaim!  Salud! 

champagne-toast

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Caribbean Diary 09: Curacao

Posted by Lissa on April 26, 2009

[Please note that the Internet access is very spotty here -- some of these posts are scheduled in advance.  Pix when I get back to Lissaville!]

The morning of our day at Curacao dawned bright and pretty.  Mike once again performed admirably, bringing me enough coffee and food to tempt me out of my warm blanket-encased cave.  (Given the choice of food or sleep, I will take sleep EVERY time.  Unless I’m in actual danger of starving to death, but in that case I’d probably eat one of the pillows, roll over and hit snooze.) 

We hopped on a bus and took off to visit one of the local artists, Yuri something-or-other.  (I’ll look up his info when I’m home and posting photos of his work.)  His shtick was that he creates art out of junk material – hubcaps, car hoods, bumpers and other various scrap metal.  Y’all know me, I’m an art moron, but even I could tell that his stuff was wicked cool.  Of course – again, y’all know me – I was equally fascinated with the artist’s BUTT-ugly Mexican hairless dogs.  Those things were FREAKISHLY hideous, but quite friendly; a good thing, as I insisted on petting them.  Duh.  I also found a Manx cat that reminded me of our dear beloved Gypsy, so I had to scritch his cheeks for a while.  (I miss my Rajah-kitty . . .)

An interesting note from the tour guide regarding the houses – apparently the governor of the island once-upon-a-time hated white buildings, so he made a regulation that anyone who wanted a white house had to apply for a special government permit, to be renewed every ten years.  After he retired it was discovered that he was the owner of the sole paint factory near the island.  (snerk)  I’m sorry that he exploited his constituents and all, but I can’t help but be pleased with the results – the blue and pink and yellow and orange houses are quite picturesque!

After the artist we went off to the Cave of Hato (Cueva de Hato), which many years ago was home to escaped slaves on Curacao.  There is very little fresh water on the island – they have an enormous desalination plant nowadays – but the caves had two freshwater springs.  The former slaves therefore traded the fresh water to the local Indians for food and other supplies.  The cave was pretty enough, but I think I’ve been smugly-snottishly-spoiled in that regard; my idea of pretty caves is the Luray Caverns.  (Ooooooo.  *SHINY* caverns.)  But I did enjoy the tour, and I *almost* managed to pet a bat!  (Okay, not really.)

We definitely enjoyed the first two stops on the tour.  The third stop, unfortunately, was a little less fun.  (Slight political digression here – family, feel free to skip down to the next paragraph!)  It was billed as “Museum Kura Hulanda, an exhibition of the island’s African history” and in fact it started very auspiciously – a large, beautiful sculpture of Mother Africa.  But from there it went directly to a weighty lecture on how black people had been and are still victimized, horribly mistreated and exploited by evil white people.  Now, I don’t think anyone with even a little historical education is unaware of the evils of slavery.  But neither do I think it’s fair to treat the white-enslavement-of-blacks as the ONLY historical evil ever perpetrated.  I think it’s unfairly disingenuous to regale your audience with tales of the horrible punishments for slaves as a comparison to today’s human right standards.  Yes, slaves were evilly and horribly punished and mistreated, more akin to animals than to actual human beings, but it’s still fairer and makes more sense to compare that to punishment standards for other people and the rest of the world AT THAT TIME.  And I think it’s completely unfair to shake your head and sadly inform your audience that the Ku Klux Klan, which lynched and murdered and terrified blacks, is still in existence today.  That’s like saying there are still Nazis today, without explaining that they’re crackpots ignored and despised by the VAST majority of the population.  And what, exactly, do the stupid Kluxers have to do with the African history of Curacao?  (Mike was particularly irked that a lot of what the tour guide said was directly contradicted by the information on the written displays, as well as her speech about “the kingdom of Kah-ee-roh in Western Africa,” while the display clearly indicated Cairo, Egypt.)  Meh.  End political digression.

Anyway, after the tour we wandered over the fabulous floating pedestrian bridge to the market.  (That bridge was AWESOME; it floats on big pontoon-y things and turns sideways to allow ships through the passage.  I wanted to sit on the edge and just rock for a while but, hey, I was hungry.)

We wandered around for quite a while before we located a restaurant that had a) decent-seeming lunch food for b) decent-seeming prices, along with c) restrooms and d) at least nominal air conditioning.  We settled on Cantina Poca Loca and, since I was STEAMING, I selected a table in the very corner that had a LOT of wind whistling around it.  Turned out to be a little TOO much – at various points the wind took hold of my sunglasses, our menus, spare napkins, bread crusts, and a packet of mayonnaise (thankfully closed).  But at least we were cool as we nommed our club sandwiches (me) and schnitzel (Mike).  An interesting variation of schnitzel – they topped it with pineapple and smothered it in cheese before serving it.  We may have to try that the next time we make pork chops!

After all that we walked back to the boat to cool off and clean up.  I was so hot at that point that I practically ripped off my clothes, feverishly threw on my bikini and sprayed sunblock, then SPRINTED over to throw myself into the pool.  We always go to the Solarium pool because it’s adults-only; I like kids and all, but only in small doses unless they’re family.  The Solarium pool is pretty and conveniently located next to a bar, but they throw a crapload of salt into it L  On the upside, I can float!  Yippee!

After a shower and a looooong nap, we got dressed and went down to the Crown & Anchor reception.  Basically they feed you free alcohol, in exchange for making you listen to the new beautiful ships they’re launching next year, so you really should book your next cruise now-now-NOW!  I’ll take a lecture like that in exchange for free alcohol any day; I’ve been tuning out lecturers for over twenty years now.  Just ask my mom.  (Not really, Mom!  I listen to every single thing you ever said!  I swear!!)

The large lunch and champagne tided us over till dinner, at which point I enjoyed sweet crab and shrimp salad, filet of beef shoulder and a triple-chocolate platter consisting of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and white chocolate cheesecake.  Mike selected beef and veal tortellini (they called it some other fancy Italian word but I can’t remember what), a seafood penne fradiavolo and the BBB – crème Brule with Bailey’s, bananas and . . . um . . . brown sugar?  B&B?  Baby bok choy?  Maybe the Brule counted as one of the B’s?  Dammit!  Well, it was really delicious crème Brule, let’s leave it at that.  So was the savory-creamy-delicious tortellini appetizer; we were grateful there were only two pieces of pasta.  (Mike says he thinks it was “tortellacci.”)

After our cigars and drinks (Johnnie Walker Black for me, vintage port for Mike) we were still awake enough to go down to the adults-only game show at 11:15, and WE ARE SO GLAD WE DID.  It is AMAZING the things that slightly-inebriated adults will do for maybe, MAYBE a key-chain prize.  Among the things we saw: men holding three bras in their hands, women showing tattoos, women lifting up their skirts to show their thongs (not realizing that they only had to show FLIP FLOPS), two men demonstrating their favorite lovemaking position (not knowing they were allowed to bring down two female partners, rather than all doing it to each other!!), women wearing two men’s belts, a three-legged sack race where a woman had to stick one leg inside a pair of a man’s pants, women holding a piece of fruit (at which point cherries and pineapples started flying out of the stands), men holding up some form of birth control (examples included a packet of The Pill, condoms, plastic bags, wedding rings, and pictures of children), women holding something fake (sure enough, one woman ran up and pointed at her chest), and men holding up a pair of false teeth.  On that last one, one guy JUST missed the deadline, but received double points anyway after HE POPPED THAT SET OF TEETH INTO HIS MOUTH.  THEY PLAYED IT BACK SLOW-MO.  I WAS ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED WHILE AT THE SAME TIME LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY.

(And do keep an eye out for the photo posts when I come back; we have a lovely Miss America contest of men strutting their stuff while wearing a bra over their bare chests, carrying a purse, and often pantless.  You can’t wait!)

On a final note – I freakin’ LOVED Aruba and Curacao, because the official currency of those islands are florins and guilders.  Yes, really.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

(BTW, dinner on the Aruba night was antipasto and minestrone for starters, chicken marsala and rosemary lamb shank for dinner, and warm chocolate cake and Tiramisu for dessert.  Mike really did like the Tiramisu but says it was like a solid block of mascarpone cheese; he was very glad later that he had not finished it.  Wuss.  Just kidding sweetie!  When I do the photo posts, keep an eye out for the video of waiters singing O Sole Mio in jumbled Italian, brava!)

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Caribbean Diary ’09: Aruba

Posted by Lissa on April 22, 2009

We were scheduled to arrive at Aruba at eight this morning and needed to be onshore by eight-fifteen.  Consequently, Mike sucked it up and performed his husbandly duties without grumbling – he went off and brought back coffee, then went BACK out and snagged us both food from the breakfast buffet.  I didn’t have to roll out of bed until I had bedside delivery of coffee AND ham-and-cheese omelet AND bacon AND sausage AND pineapple and cantaloupe and honeydew AND hash browns.  (Like one piece of each, not huge helpings.  I’m not wedding-dress-fitting crazy anymore, but neither am I a 300-lb football linebacker.)  He is a good husband-kitty J 

Off the dock and into a tiny little bus for Rancho Notorious!  (I’m hoping they’re notorious for happy horses, ’cause they claim that’s what they’re known for.  Not once-famous now-dead rappers.)  They divided us by experience level and then assigned us our pretty horsies.  Just like last year, I got to be the first person assigned to the horse – I wonder if they customarily assign the most-excited person first?  I’m not saying that if I had to wait around I’d wander about petting random horses . . . but then again I’m not saying I WOULDN’T.  I ended up on a pretty white mare named Pocahontas, while Mike ended up riding  . . . Hillary.  As in Clinton.  Yes, really.

We mostly did a brisk walk, through residential neighborhoods and trails among bushes and cacti, before reaching the beach path.  We rode alongside the beautiful rolling blue-green Caribbean and I very narrowly restrained myself from trying to gallop headlong into the surf.  After all, there might be sharks.  PONY-EATING SHARKS, Y’ALL.

The only really sad thing about the horsies as that their stirrups were MEAN stirrups that chafed me and occasionally bit Mike.  I have leather-burn on the inside of my calves and poor Mike looks like I playfully pinched his calves over and over again.  With a pair of pliers.

(Interjection at Mike’s request – he would like me to mention that one of the guides at Rancho Notorious was wearing a Yankees shirt that read, “Four In a Row – 2001.”  He found this very amusing and wanted to take a picture to send his Yankee-fan uncle.  For the non-baseball fans, he explains that they LOST that fourth-one-in-a-row, so the T-shirts got donated to folks from developing nations.  It’d be funnier if there weren’t “Perfect Season” Patriots shirts that got the same treatment . . .)

After the horsies were done we stopped at an Italian/Brazilian tapas bar and split caprese salad, abondigas, cold sliced chorizo and sautéed shrimp.  Upon wandering back to the boat, we encountered a sad kitty with a hurt paw – he was limping and licking at it, wah!  Didn’t look like anything was broken, and not much I could do about it anyway, but we checked on it twice later that day – I hope it was just a thorn in its paw or something similarly superficial.  It was a pretty kitty, too, looked like a little mini lion L

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful; we picked up a few souvenirs, sampled the local Aruban beer, ditched our stuff in the room and went to play a little mini-golf.  I was pleasantly surprised; I haven’t played mini-golf in about ten years and I’m not NEARLY as terrible as I remember it.  Of course, the last few times I played were at a course right next to a lake; it seriously throws my swing off when I have to swat six mosquitoes in between shots.  Two, or  three, or four I can handle, but even a superwoman has limits, you know.

We had a light snack because I didn’t think I’d make it till 8:30 – roasted vegetables on a cheese roll for me, a slice of pepperoni pizza for Mike, and a cookie apiece should take care of us until dinner.  It’s Italian Festival night; Mike has just informed me that he intends to wear his pale (almost white) khakis and his green polo shirt.  When added to his red nose (bad Mike!  More sunscreen!) he’s got the whole tri-colore thing going on.  And I thought *I* was good at color coordination . . .

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Caribbean Diary 09: Boat Day

Posted by Lissa on April 22, 2009

Made it onto the boat!!!  I was so busy writing up the wedding-y stuff that it took me two full days to mention Caribbean gossip.  Makes me sound terribly jaded, but the second time around I don’t feel the need to post about getting on the boat, the watermelon carvings in the dining room, etc.  Yes, you may accuse me of being spoiled as hell – I’d understand J

We left San Juan Sunday night around eight PM; I upheld my now-traditional custom of jumping out of my skin when they set off the foghorn.  (Managed not to spill my drink though, which is the important part!!)  We settled in and went down to the dining room, crossing our fingers that there were nice people assigned to our dining table.  So far, so good; we’re sitting with a couple named Claudia and Walter from Germany, and a couple named Martin and Jeneen from Canada.  Like, WAY up in Canada.  They claim that you CAN get used to negative-fifty degree weather; I think they’re full of [bleep].

Martin (pronounced mar-TEEN) has a penchant for telling stories, all of which seem to revolve around drinking.  As he says, you know you live in a small town when you can see a movie four times and not remember any of it.  That doesn’t make sense to you?  (It didn’t to me.)  Ah, well, see, the movie theater’s across the street from the liquor store and the same guy runs them both.  (Ohhhhhhhh, okay, that does make sense.)

Apparently, also, when you have nothing to do but drink, you have to get creative with your drinking stunts.  Like the time that Martin and his brother were bored, so they put an armchair in the back of Martin’s pickup truck.  Martin then drove around while his brother held a pole and pretended to fish out the back.  Upon getting pulled over by a rather cute, very petite policewoman, the brother responded to her query, “What th’ hell d’ye think ye’re doin, now?” with a regretful announcement that he’d probably have to throw her back, as she was under the size limit.

Dinner was, as always, delicious!  I started off with a Caesar salad, progressed to prime rib (medium rare, naturally) and finished with a strawberry-topped meringue.  Mike went with the onion-gruyere tart, selected medallions of pork and chose the special chocolate-cherry cake for dessert.  So far we’re sticking with our tried-and-true eating method from last year, which means I order something hearty like steak while Mike goes for chicken or fish.  And then I give him half my entrée.  Works well J

Monday being a boat day, we sort of lazed around for a while.  Oo oo, want to know how gluttonous we are?  We ordered room service for breakfast AND went to the cafeteria around nine-ish.  But it’s not as bad as it sounds, because the room service was really just coffee to get me out of bed, so that we could hit the yummy breakfast buffet.  Hooray for hash browns and sausage!  Hooray for no longer worrying about fitting into my very-tight wedding gown!

We spent some time at the pool – we’re not sufficiently crispy yet – then came back to the room so I could write up my wedding recollections.  We went downstairs to the Schooner Bar to hit the Wifi hot spot and Mike ended up winning a sports trivia contest.  (SHOCKING, that.)  BTW, do y’all know the derivation of the word “golf”?  It comes from the Scottish word “goulf,” which means, “to strike.”  But the silly guy running the trivia contest did his research wrong and really did think it means “gentlemen-only-ladies-forbidden.”  Guess he should have checked Wikipedia instead of just asking his buddies!

Taking our uber-fancy prizes (Royal Caribbean belt pouches) we came back up to the room so that Mike could nap and I could write post cards before getting dressed.  Last night was the super-formal boat night, so Mike yanked out his tuxedo for a second wearing while I slipped into a satin bridesmaid dress bought for Wisconsin Jen’s wedding a few years back.  We were one of the more formally-dressed couples, but I definitely saw couture dresses amongst the glittering throngs.  (And I definitely saw ill-fitting, hideous, unattractive gowns as well.  I rather think they outnumbered the pretty dresses, actually.)  Eventually Mike abandoned me to go look at watches while I walked up and down the promenade admiring (or being horrified at) the different gowns.  *SHIIIIIIIIINY*

Since we were dressed to the nines (and what does that actually mean, anyway?  Can you be dressed to the sevens?  The eights?  The elevens?) we treated ourselves to a fancier wine than the night before; it perfectly complicated our delicious clumps of butter-garlic.  (Otherwise known as escargots.  Otherwise-otherwise known as snails, but escargots sounds so much TASTIER.)  I went with the filet of beef with piquant green peppercorn sauce, while Mike chose roasted duck; we finished with a sugar-free coconut-vanilla layer cake for me and the Gran Marnier soufflé for Mike.

We went to a silly newlyweds party, which was really an excuse to drink more free champagne, before staggering to bed in preparation for an early morning.  Read about horsies in the next post!!

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Lissa got married, Part II

Posted by Lissa on April 21, 2009

[BTW, Internet access is extremely difficult and spotty right now -- I'll respond to comments when I get back.  Thanks everyone!]

I’ve never felt as beautiful in my entire life as when they threw open the doors and I walked slowly down the aisle, escorted by my mom and dad. 

Mike teared up. His mom was crying. My sister was crying.  I was most definitely crying. But the most amazingly lucky thing happened on my wedding day – I somehow managed PRETTY crying!  Magically, I managed to have tears dripping down my cheeks without turning crumply-red-faced-a nd-snotty.  I don’t pretend to understand it, but DAMN was I grateful.

The ceremony was pretty short and pretty standard; we amused the audience by practically shouting “WE DO!” when the minister asked if it was our intention to wed.  Everyone was SO PROUD of Jenny – she pulled off a long reading with a steady voice, while what she really felt like doing was wailing, “MY WIDDLE BABY’S GETTING MARRIED!!!  AWWWWWWW!!!”  She tried to look at us while doing the reading but then I immediately started crying and that started HER crying.  It went like that all night – she’d cry, so I’d cry, so she’d look at Mary* instead, but Mary was crying already and that made Jenny cry MORE.  I think she eventually found a safe haven in her good friends L and J, who, instead of joining in chain-reaction crying, were more amused by the incessant waterworks of the female participants.  Whew!

(A side note – I didn’t know it, but apparently Mike’s mom related to Jenny the saying that whoever says their vows louder during the ceremony will have the louder voice in the marriage.  I don’t think that’s quite fair; only one of us has had stage training, and it sure ain’t Mike.  It’s almost like cheating.  One of my YOLAC friends afterward noted that even in my weepy emotional state I was very careful to enunciate and project my voice – “It was so YOU!” he said, shaking his head.)

After the ceremony finished we raced around doing formal photographs; I’m fairly sure that under any other circumstances I’d have alienated my friends forever, because I was BARKING orders.  “Bridesmaids!  You, go over there!  Groomsmen, you go that way!  No, not you!  We don’t want you!  Go away!”  (Okay, I don’t think I ACTUALLY told anyone to “go away.”  But I can’t be 100% sure.)

Naturally, we had a few hiccups.  I checked the name cards at the reception and they’d put my mom’s table in the corner instead of next to the sweetheart table.  That got put on the “I can’t fix it so I’m not going to worry about it” list REAL fast.  (I made sure to mention that to Mom later – I wanted her to know she was not SUPPOSED to be off stuck in the corner – and she assured me that she didn’t care.  It was a little sad though.)  Likewise, when the DJ initially messed up on Mike’s sister during the intro, I shrugged it off.  (He corrected himself, no worries.)

On the other hand, we had some things go much better than I’d dared to hope.  The food was actually GOOD, which is something I’ve learned not to expect at wedding receptions.  (It helped that we had a pretty small party, of course.)  Mike only stepped on me once, and my dress didn’t get ripped off when folks stomped on the train.  (The photographer stepped on it once and practically committed hari-kari.  Amused, I assured her she was not the first, or second, or even third person to step on it, and that I really didn’t mind.)

The cake-cutting was a little confusing because Mike and I never actually talked about how it would go.  (Oops!)  No, we did NOT smush cake on each other; I warned him that if he wanted to make it to his first anniversary there would be NO cake on the dress.  We finished it up fairly quickly and then went off to visit tables while the song was still playing, which led to one of my favorite moments of the whole reception -

Our cake-cutting song was “Love Story” by Taylor Smith.  We finished cutting it and tasting it fast enough that I was hanging out at Jenny’s table when they started the bridge, so I started singing it to her -

“I got tired of waiting, wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you was fading, when I met you on the outskirts of town
And I said

‘Romeo, save me, I’ve been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head, I don’t know what to think’
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said -

‘Marry me, Juliet, you’ll never have to be alone
I love you and that’s all I really know
I talked to your dad, you’ll pick out a white dress
It’s a love story, baby, just say yes’  “

– and my sister and I just freaking LOST IT.  Enough so that I STILL tear up thinking about it.  Probably always will.

There was dancing, there was laughter, there was the Macarena, there was flower-ceiling contact during the bouquet toss (oh, and our friends?  NO ONE wanted the bouquet or garter.  It was hysterical), there was celebration and magic and romance and friendship and happiness and joy.

Best damn day of my life.

Three PS’s -

P.S. 1: I owe my sister a crown.  Or a cruise.  Or eternal love and gratitude for the rest of my life.  (Or all three.)  I *COULD NOT*have done this without her; I leaned on her so hard emotionally and physically that  I’m fairly sure she shrank by two inches.  Maybe I’ll have to buy her some new heels as well.

P.S. 2: I had to ditch the dress during the reception; I did one dance and sweated so much that I felt SLIMY.  It was rather sad – it’s a BEAUTIFUL dress and it’s not like I get to wear it again! – but I decided I’d rather be dancing!

P.S. 3: For my wedding day present to Mike, I changed my name from Lee to Michaels.  (Obviously, neither of those is a real surname; you think his parents hated him enough to name him Mike Michaels?  SRSLY?)  Unfortunately in MA you have to decide on your surname after marriage when you fill out the marriage license application.  But, being a resourceful kitty, I talked to the City Hall folks ahead of time and got them to flat-out lie to Mike when we came in.  (“Oh, absolutely, you can leave that part blank!”)  And I got the minister to pretend at the rehearsal that he would present “Mike and Alyssa,” while planning to present “Mr. and Mrs. Michaels” at the actual ceremony.  And I explained the situation to the DJ ahead of time.  Devious kitty is . . . DEVIOUS ;-)

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I did it! I did it! I got married!!!!

Posted by Lissa on April 20, 2009

Lissa Gets Married – Part I

I’m writing some of this so that I remember it — we all know the Intrawebz NEVER forget. If you get bored, check back in a few days for Caribbean news!)

As soon as Mike and I made it down the aisle together I threw my hands in the air for high-fives. “We made it! We made it! We actually pulled this off!!!”

I’ve never been as tired, exhausted, wrung-out, stressed-out, euphoric, exhilarated, and ecstatic as I was on Saturday night. My face hurts from smiling and I’ve completely lost my voice from shrieking; I sound like a teenage boy undergoing a particularly difficult puberty. I’m also fairly sure that my tear ducts are now permanently stuck in the “ON” position.

The rehearsal on Friday went very well; everyone was on time and gracious and happy and all. We made it through the rehearsal dinner without the parents hearing TOO many atrocious stories, and I managed to hand around bridesmaid gifts without completely bawling. (Until I gave Jenny’s out, but presenting hers without voice-cracking-tears was always a lost cause. Apparently that was a tough act to follow, but in my defense I *did* offer Mike the choice of going first or second!) Our parents really liked their engraved picture frames, but that was partly because of Mike’s stellar artwork – he does a mean stick figure, y’all. (To represent the two of us until the real wedding pictures are available.)

So, we finish up the rehearsal dinner and go back to the hotel, which is also the reception site. I’ve got friends from Ye Olde Liberal Arts College (YOLAC) who flew up, others who had to stop and get their car fixed in New Jersey and just kept going, and one or two who were already here. Add those in with the cousins from Canada and Mike’s friends from business school and we had us a serious class reunion going on in the hotel bar.

The bar closed down at one so Mike went home to the Kitty Den while the rest of us trooped upstairs to our rooms. The YOLAC folks gathered about and told stories, and more stories, and more stories, and drank wine, and ate fruit rollups, until people started falling asleep mid-sentence. So I sent them all to bed and ensconced myself in the bridal suite.

Where I promptly turned into a quivering wreck.

Jenny had gone home after the rehearsal dinner to finish packing her stuff and finish all the things she made for me (bathroom baskets, seating diagram, envelope box, etc. etc. etc.) and wasn’t back yet. I called her up and had approximately the following dialogue: “Jenny I need you back here I need you here I’m seriously freaking out I’m walking circles around the chair and the table and now I’m just walking in circles around nothing and I’m getting married today and I need you here nooooooooooooooooow!!!!”

Poor Jenny. Seriously, poor poor poor Jenny.

She sent LilBro1 up to keep me company – he was the only other family member still up – and he kept me more-or-less in one piece till Jenny arrived. In gratitude, I started telling him stories of horrible mistakes and ridiculously stupid screwups that I’ve scored in the past, so that the next time Mom mentioned how perfectly behaved I always was he could respond, “Yeah, well, at least I’ve never been in a situation where my friends were taking bets on whether I’d punch a cop!” Nothing says “love” like giving your younger brother ammo with which to blackmail you. No, I did not punch the cop, thank you very much.

I managed about five hours of sleep that night (which was four and a half hours more than Jenny got). She was smart enough to order room service the night before, so I feverishly stuffed my piehole with scrambled eggs and hash browns before herding people off to the mall for manis/pedis and my big fancy updo. At that point I was in full-on “I don’t care!” mode – anything I could not directly, personally control got put on that list. What color should the bridesmaids’ nails be? Don’t care! Should they put their hair up or leave it down? Don’t care!

We headed back to the hotel and I sent everyone to their rooms for naps, myself included. Not that I slept, but at least I was horizontal for an hour – that counts for something, right? The bridesmaids started gathering around 2:30 and the photographer showed up at 3. We primped and curled and powdered and puckered up and made ourselves bee-yoo-ti-ful before slipping on our dresses. Well, the bridesmaids slipped into their dresses; I had to wrestle myself into a petticoat and a corset and three people had to help me into my gown, no lie. That skirt was poofy enough to smuggle packs of toddlers underneath with no one the wiser.

(Oh, and in the meantime? Calls from the bus drivers who are downstairs and DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY’RE GOING. DESPITE THE FACT THAT I MADE THE FREAKIN’ RESERVATION TO GO DIRECTLY BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN TWO ADDRESSES and GAVE them the addresses WHEN I MADE THE RESERVATION. Apparently that was too hard.)

Finally, FINALLY, we were ready to go. I was trying to be all calm and practical; I sent Wisconsin Jen down to check on the limo, which was SUPPOSED to be there, but please check, because if it’s not they need to call us two cabs PRONTO. The calm and practical thing was, of course, an utter FAIL; Jenny ran down to her room to get her shoes and purse and didn’t come back for five minutes, at which point I was hyperventilating and chanting to myself, “shut up Lissa, calm down Lissa, whether the ceremony starts at 4:30 or 4:40 or 4:45 matters NOT AT ALL, shut up Lissa, calm down Lissa” etc. etc.

 By the time we piled into the limo I was shaking. My hands wouldn’t stay still and were freezing cold and the corset lacing made it hard to breathe and oh-my-god omigod OMIGOD OMG. Dude, my bridesmaids? The BEST. My older sister? The BESTEST-BEST. They sat in the limo talking in soothing voices – you know, the way you talk to the elderly, invalids, and complete psychotic nutcases – and telling me I looked pretty, I looked beautiful, I looked gorgeous, and Mike’s jaw would hit the ground when he saw me; Jenny held my hands and didn’t allow herself to cry even a little. And then I walked into the church to get married . . .

to be continued . . .

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Countdown to the wedding: THREE. DAYS.

Posted by Lissa on April 15, 2009

I left the Kitty Den six times before noon today. 

First I left to go to the church and meet with the minister.

Then I realized I’d forgotten to bring the marriage license and had to go back.

Then I realized I’d forgotten my phone and had to go back.

Then I realized I’d forgotten the roll of ribbon I needed when I picked up my dress (I’ll explain later) and had to go back.

Then I realized I’d forgotten the bundle of place cards to drop at the reception site and had to go back.

THEN I realized the place cards could fall out of the envelope and had to go back to get a rubber band.

Then my head fell off.  :)

The ribbon is so that I could measure how long the train of my gown is.  I plan to be super-chic and über-classy at the rehearsal: I’ll be wearing a red satin corset top, a black skirt, black high heels, and a length of bright yellow ribbon with green polka dots hanging off my butt.  Dead sexy, y’all.  (But that way we can see how far back it goes and arrange accordingly; it’d be sad if my stepdad has to jump over the skirt to escort my mom to her pew.  I hope to avoid that, as it would probably be undignified.)

I have made more phone calls today than I usually do in three months.  So far I’ve talked to my mother once, Mike twice, and Mary (not her name) once, along with the florist, the videographer, the cake people, the bus company, the limo company, the DJ, and the tux rental folks; I couldn’t reach the photographer nor the organist so I left them messages.

I cannot fathom how some people get married TWICE. 

P.S.  On the bright side, I look pretty snazzy in my gown (if I do say so myself!), and this is all going very quickly.  Which means it’s almost time to PAR-TAAAAAAAAAY!!!!

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Too tired to blog

Posted by Lissa on April 13, 2009

I really, really am.

Putting together wedding plans and seating charts is like wrestling alligators.  Trying to juggle every group’s needs, wants and preferences — and knowing that there IS no perfect solution, only a best-possible or least-bad arrangement — is the most draining, agonizing, exhausting task I’ve ever undertaken.  I’d seriously rather set out to run six miles (“in the snow!  barefoot!  uphills both ways!”) than know I can’t perfectly accommodate close friends or family.

That being said, all my friends and family are being MOST helpful and understanding — repeated assurances of “You can sit me anywhere you want and I promise it’ll be fine” have kept me sane.  Mostly.

But in the meantime I’m too tired to blog.

Wedding countdown: FIVE.  DAYS.

Caribbean Cruise countdown:  Six days.  Whew!

OMGPON1ES countdown: Eight days.  HORSIES IN ARUBA!!

I intend to keep a trip diary as I did last summer.  If you’re not COMPLETELY disgusted by my lack of posting and wish to surf about, you might check my Caribbean tags in the sidebar.  Caribbean ’09 tags coming soon!

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I think I have sunburn on my tongue.

Posted by Lissa on April 9, 2009

A post to put your teeth on edge. Literally.

If you have any fear of the dentist whatsoever, THIS POST IS NOT FOR YOU. (Likewise, if you don’t want to hear me whine like Rajah when he wants to bite me, then you probably need to go elsewhere.)

I spent almost four hours at the dentist yesterday. FOUR. On the upside, I am no longer afraid of the pain that will accompany childbirth.

Did you know what the tool of the devil is? You’d think it was a scraper, but you’d be wrong.  It’s a hideous, ungodly melding of evil, an unholy alliance in the name of dentist tools.

The progenitors of this evil contraption:

tool-of-satan
other-tool-of-satan

Tool of Satan + Other Tool of Satan = PLEASE GOD KILL ME NOW.  (A.k.a., a scraper that also shoots water.)

Now, I am the first to admit that I deserve some pain at the dentist, for I have the unmitigated temerity to be a NON-FLOSSER. I floss when I get something stuck in my teeth and that’s it. I *know* that’s bad. I am prepared for agonizing pain at the dentist because I know I deserve it.

HOWEVER.

Do you KNOW what that fiendish tool does? DO YOU????

It doesn’t just scrape your teeth, oh no. It emits a high-pitched keening noise RIGHT INTO YOUR EAR and it VIBRATES and when it hits your teeth you feel GRINDING and THEN IT SHOOTS WATER DIRECTLY INTO YOUR NERVE SOCKETS, INDUCING UNQUENCHABLE ANGUISH AND MISERY.

I’m not particularly brave, but I’ve got what I consider a decent threshold for pain. I’ve been through numerous sprained ankles, some lovely dry socket from my wisdom teeth, a rather large tattoo, etc. etc., without much difficulty. It’s nothing like SEAL school, or SERE school, or a serious car wreck or anything — I’m not THAT stupid — but I’m not exactly a whiny little girl.

They shot that Manifestation Of All That Is Evil into my gums and I jerked like a fish on a line. I was physically spasming in my chair with tears running out of the corners of my eyes. I’ve been the recipient of accidental electric shocks (stupid frayed lamp-cord) that were easier to deal with.

Apparently I *am* a whiny little girl when it comes to the dentist. *sniffle*

Oh, and I’m also an idiot to boot. In the interests of saving time and not using any more vacation than absolutely necessary, I decided that while I was at the dentist I should get my teeth professionally whitened.

IDIOT.

I’ve already informed Mike that he’s not allowed to divorce me because I’m never doing that ever again. After they shoved plastic into my mouth to hold my lips off my teeth, and covered my gums with gel, and treated the gel to harden it, and applied bleaching agent to my teeth, and swabbed sunscreen on my lips, they shoved a UV-light directly at my mouth and left me to cook. The first two fifteen-minute sessions were bearable, despite my sensitive gums. Towards the end of the third session I became utterly, irrevocably convinced that the UV-light was home to an unusual species of tiny alien, who selected among themselves the strongest and bravest to essay forth and jab their heat-tipped spears into my tooth sockets.

I’m pleased that my teeth will be whiter for the wedding photos.

I’ve also got sunburn/bleach burn on my lower lip. And a scrip for Tylenol 3 at night.

*whimper* *sniffle*

P.S. Thank you to Dr. Borepatch for his scrip for wine. Unfortunately, I’m prohibited from masticating any strongly-colored foods or liquids for the first 24 hours. Like red wine. Or Diet Coke. Or ketchup. I dined on plain chicken breast and bread last night. I’ve been eating white-colored yogurt and string cheese today. I’d absolutely kill for some Cheetos. Only chewing them would hurt too much.

P.P.S. I will admit that the new system of  X-raying teeth — taking photographs that instantly pop up on the computer, rather than developing actual X-ray film — is WAY COOL.

P.P.P.S. The doctor asked me to show me his teeth. I bared all my teeth in a self-conscious grin and he just STARED at them for perhaps thirty seconds. I haven’t felt that awkward since I snapped at a guy for calling me “Shorty” and my roomie explained it was a term of flirtatious affection. *oy*

P.P.P.P.S. After all the x-ray-photos they grabbed my cheeks with plastic spreader-things and took a zoomed-in full-color picture of my teeth clenched in a bite. Then they left it on the screen for about five minutes while they discussed my dental situation. I had nightmares about sharks last night.

P.P.P.P.P.S. At what point do post-post-post-post-post-scripts get utterly ridiculous?

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I don’t know, but I’m quite, quite sure I’ve passed it.

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The world is most definitely doomed

Posted by Lissa on April 8, 2009

/Giles

Today’s installment of things-that-never-should-have-gone-to-court:

A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father’s appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed. [snip]

Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

The father — who had custody — withheld his written permission for the trip, prompting the school to refuse to let the girl go with her classmates.

That’s when the girl asked for help from the lawyer who represented her in her parents’ separation, and petitioned the court to intervene in her case.

“Going to court was a last resort,” said Lucie Fortin, a legal aid attorney who represented the girl. “The question was that there was a problem between the father and the mother, and the child asked the court to intervene because it was important to her.

Oh, yes, absolutely a last resort.  Except for talking with the school, a family therapist, a guidance counselor, trusted friends and family, or just expecting family members to resolve family disputes without involving lawsuits.

I’m thinking of two things now . . .

1) “Who denounced you?” said Winston.

“It was my little daughter,” said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. “She listened at the keyhole.  Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day.  Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh?  I don’t bear her any grudge for it.  In fact I’m proud of her.  It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.

2) What in the HELL is wrong with people nowadays??

(h/t The Corner)

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