A year in my life: Fortune favors the bold

MovingToMinnesota-NonChronA year ago today, I was at the airport in Sacramento picking up Paul.  We were about to embark on the adventure of our lives because both of our lives were about to change drastically, but for the better. I was moving to Minnesota for love.

Yes, I was taking a huge risk, which some people probably thought was stupid or foolish. I had quit my stable job with bosses who appreciated me and my work and likely would have kept me around for as long as I wanted or needed.  I enjoyed working with them too.  They were very supportive, funny, and all around good people. But, something even better was in store for my life.  I knew I had to take a chance. It felt right deep in my soul.

The move to Minnesota

We had set aside three nights to move my stuff and ourselves to Minnesota from Sacramento. It took us almost five. You can read the moving to Minnesota saga here:

Slowly, we settled into life with each other.  There were small things we had to get used to, like sharing a bed with someone else. When you’ve spent your entire life sleeping alone, it can take some time to get used to sharing a bed. Now, it’s weird to go to bed without someone lying next to me. I noticed that the other day.

Life in Minnesota

Our comfort with each other isn’t a neglectful one that popular culture likes to portray about couples. It’s a settling into a happy life. Maybe it helps that both of us are in our 30s. OK, I’m almost 40, but my point is that we’re both fairly well adjusted adults who try to keep our egos in check. Something that makes for a boring romantic comedy.

Since moving to Minnesota, I’ve learned much about my newly adopted home.  It’s full of interesting things to do and see, lots of fairs, festivals, and markets, as well as the second most popular state fair in the U.S. I’ve also survived one of the most brutal winters in the past 50 years. Overall, I’ve realized that you have to enjoy each moment you can. Life is short, so don’t waste it.

The past and the future

Two years ago, or even five years ago, I had no idea that my life would change so dramatically. I was utterly single and weary of dating. Dating is not for the faint of heart. You have to be able to take rejection much like a salesperson.  Except, it’s not some product or service people are rejecting, it’s you.  But, as painful as it was, it was for the best. It took a long time but I found the best guy for me.

Over the past year, we’ve shared many laughs and a few tears. We’ve grown closer with each passing day and I have never been so happy.  Yes, that’s cliche, but it’s the truth.

I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll have.

Car shopping and other nightmares

Minnesota, you are forcing my hand. What the heck is up with your roads?  I thought the roads in Sacramento were bad.  Uh, no. They are fancy and fine.

I’ve heard a saying that Midwesterners have…”There’s two seasons here. Winter and road construction.”

Really?  Have you seen your roads Minnesota? Holy crap.

Look at this road….LOOK AT IT!

StPaulMNPotholesI would say 85% of Saint Paul’s roads are similar to this one.  There is about a half mile of Snelling Avenue that isn’t too bad. Yes, you should gasp in horror. It’s awful.  Minneapolis isn’t that much better.

So, after the winter from hell we get potholes on parade.  My car really can’t take much more. The poor thing is 10 years old. It has 98,000 miles on it. It’s time to retire the old gal.

Now I am faced with what vehicle to purchase.  I’d much rather go to the dentist and the gynecologist on the same day.

After some research, it seems that all wheel drive would be best for shitty road conditions. Also known as ice and snow. Apparently, the sub-sub-sub zero temps are an anomaly, so I’m not going to take that factor into consideration when deciding on a vehicle.

Then there’s the whole financing research to fry my brain…oh and let’s not forget the fun negotiation that will inevitably happen. Good thing Paul & I watch lots of Pawn Stars to sharpen my haggling skills.

By the way, the first person who says something to me about cup holders and their importance to my car purchase decision, gets kicked in the groin area.

I’m more interested in shit that matters like reliability, gas mileage, and overall cost to own. Oh yeah and taking on potholes like a boss. I mean you see those photos. It’s not like you can dodge those suckers. It’s pretty much off road driving on a road.

April Fool’s Day: Just stop.

YoureNotFunny-AprilFoolsDay

You’re not funny.  Someone had to tell you because you might be about to do something really stupid. You might be thinking of a great prank or joke to pull off this Tuesday, April Fool’s Day…just don’t.  People who actually are funny, have a special talent.  Not just anyone can be hilarious, then again TV and movies have set the bar pretty low, so I can understand why you might be confused.

And no, I don’t think I’m funny. I just say ridiculous things that roll around in my head.

Sure, most acting awards are for drama, but that’s because they are afraid of comedic actors.  It is more difficult to be funny than it is to be dramatic. Have you seen people attempt to be funny? I rest my case.

Real humor is ever lasting.  Do you know how old the “Who’s on first?” bit is?  Old as shit. It’s still funny because of the delivery.  Listen to the original recording. If it doesn’t crack you up, you might be dead.

I hate April Fool’s Day. I can’t take it when someone lies to me. It’s one thing if they are being sarcastic…”I feel like shit” is a lie, but most of us can accept it.  No one knows what shit feels like or if shit has feelings at all, so that statement is really a lie.

Saying that you broke up with someone, are pregnant, or a family member died as a joke is just stupid.  Don’t dump a bucket of glitter on your boss’ head and don’t lie to your friends about some major life event or tragedy.

Weddings with a Twist #TwitterLoveWed

non-traditional, bridalHoly crap. I am a married woman and the world didn’t end. After my experience, I’m a big proponent of weddings with a twist…or two. That’s what we did…we put our personalities into the traditions and had fun while getting married.

Honestly, I had the time of my life. Yes, it was a bit of a blur, but I tried to enjoy every moment. The ceremony was really fast, but there were moments when I kept thinking to myself as the pastor (or whatever he was) performed the ceremony, “This guy is still talking. Why is he talking?”

I didn’t wear white. I wore a lovely turquoise and of course, my tiara. What better reason to wear a tiara?

Aside from the fact that the ceremony started almost half an hour late because the pastor dude was stuck in traffic (likely story), it went off without a hitch. Pun intended?

We wanted the experience to be a reflection of our personalities…not so much tradition. For processional music, Paul walked in to the Minnesota Rouser (insert Ski-U-Mah here), my bridesmaids walked in to Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group, and I came down the aisle to Best of My Love by the Emotions.

The moment I saw Paul at the altar, tears sprang to my eyes.  The love I have for him is overwhelming. He’s the sweetest man I’ve ever met. I am the luckiest woman on earth to have found him. We have so much fun together and our wedding was no different.

After what seemed like a never ending photo session (our photographer was wonderful though) rife with Zoolander references, we finally arrived at the reception, the event I’d looked forward to the most.

We had it at this Italian restaurant in the Forum Shops, Carmine’s.  Did I mention that we got married at Caesars? And it’s plural not possessive.  I read somewhere that the guy who started the hotel wanted everyone to feel like a Caesar or something like that.

Regardless, this is the part where our personalities really shined through.  I wanted everyone to be relaxed and have a good time. There was plenty of booze and food. As you can see from the photos, I made photo props to encourage others to take selfies with their phones and share them on instagram, facebook, or whatever their favorite social media platform might be.  Plus, I created a hashtag to be able to find the posts and photos.

I had intended to post more thoughts and funny photos on the Twitter using the hashtag, but I was having so much fun in reality that I didn’t have time to share it virtually.

Even though it might not have been as many tweets and posts as I’d liked, I’m glad I shared the video of the ceremony and photos to social media.  I know some of our friends and family who weren’t at the ceremony enjoyed the things they did see.

I’m glad we had a small wedding. I was able to visit with everyone and made sure I took photos with everyone too. If you look up the hashtag on the Twitter, you should be able to find most of my photos and probably a few shares of this post as well.

Wedding, Engagement Ring Etiquette: What am I supposed to do here?

bridal, wedding, jewelryI love my engagement ring. Granted, I never really wanted one because they are just a marketing ploy by diamond companies to sell diamonds. But the ring Paul gave me is so sparkly and it has a lot of meaning for him, so I love it.

The problem is that I don’t know how much I’m supposed to wear it. Does anyone know proper engagement ring etiquette? When am I supposed to wear it? All the time? Can’t I take it off to clean the dishes and the toilets? What about when I take a shower or go to sleep?

So, of course I googled it.

The problem is that my questions weren’t answered.  I just had new questions. Wait. What am I supposed to do the day of the ceremony? Do I wear my ring on my right hand and then move it after the ceremony? There’s an order to which ring goes first on my hand?

That’s when I realized…fuck it. I’m going to do what I want. I’m going to do what feels practical. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I just don’t want to ruin the ring or, god forbid, lose it.

I don’t know what I’m going to do at the ceremony. I might wear my engagement ring on my right hand until after the ceremony.  I might wear it on my left and just switch the rings after.  I know I won’t be giving the ring to someone else to hold until the moment in the ceremony when Paul puts the wedding band on my finger. I’m a control freak. If anyone is going to lose the ring, I’d rather it be me. I don’t want to be pissed off at someone when I could have prevented said anger.

If/when you get/got married, what would/will you do with the engagement ring?

Wedding Advice: 5 things no one tells you and neither will I

Did my  crafty title suck you in?  Of course, it did.  It sounds like one of the plethora of Buzzfeed posts.

Here’s the thing about planning weddings: They are stressful as fuck.

weddings, nuptials, freak out, calm downIt doesn’t matter if you are running off to Vegas to get hitched in front of a few close family and friends like me or if you are planning a huge shindig with 200 people.  It’s going to stress you out.

I’m a control freak. I fully admit it.  My biggest problem is managing the money.  This wedding is turning into a money monster and only 20 people are coming.  At every corner I find myself draining more and more of my bank account.  While I managed to pay less than $50 for my dress, the amount I spent for the photographer gives me minor panic attacks when I think about it.  I know in the end it will be worth the price, but right now I’m having a little freak out.

We’re not going into debt for the wedding.  I refuse to start out our marriage in debt.  If we honestly cannot afford something, it’s not happening.  There’s nothing wrong with living within your means.

Then of course, I worry about silly things I cannot control. You know, like, people dying before the ceremony. Will everything go off without a hitch? Did I remember to take care of everything? People talk to me about what I’ve been doing to get ready and then they ask me…did you take care of blah, blah, blah?  I wasn’t even thinking about that! Dammit! Now I have to spend more money because if I don’t have blah, blah, blah, I’m going to be annoyed.

I try to make lists.  It does help me get some perspective.

That’s my real problem. I keep losing perspective.  When I stop and think about this wedding and reception, I get a happy feeling.  I can see in my mind, Paul and me smiling. I can see the guests having a good time.

Here’s my advice to you, unless you are just going to elope, don’t take on any other hobbies or commitments while you are planning your wedding. I had to contend with the coldest goddamn winter Minnesota has seen in 30 years or something.  Believe me, that was a stressor I didn’t need.

Personally, I only have so much brain power to go around.  I swear my stress is making me have holes in my memory. When you have alot going on, it’s tough to remember everything.

Also, don’t go on a diet.  For the love of all that’s holy, just accept yourself as you are.  You are beautiful. Say it with me, “I am beautiful.” If you just want to feel healthy, then by all means, start eating better and getting some exercise, but don’t do it because you want to look good in photos.  You are going to create stress for yourself when you don’t need it.

Let your personality come through at your wedding and reception.  There is no law that says you have to wear a $3,000 white gown.  You don’t even have to wear white if you don’t want.  Heck, you don’t even have to wear a dress if that’s not who you are.  Do what you want.  Don’t do things to please others because then no one is going to be happy.

Minnesota: The land of never ending winter?

MinnesotaWinterHumorYesterday, I had a mental breakdown. The drive home was so frightening that the moment I saw Paul, I burst into tears.  I was so happy to be alive and needed to relieve the pent up stress from white knuckle driving through downtown Minneapolis.

Honestly, why do you people live here? Do you not know California exists? I kept thinking to myself, “Why am I putting myself through this? Why is anyone driving? This is so dangerous.”

My first winter driving in slick conditions and it’s one of the worst the locals can remember. Also, I just hate driving in general.  Icy roads exacerbate my fears. It’s not the roads that scare me; it’s other people.  People are stupid and they drive.

Did I mention a bus slid past my car? Yes. A. Bus. A few inches to the right and I might not be writing this blog post.

So, my Beetle has to navigate along icy streets while I pray idiots in vehicles of varying size don’t kill me.

You know how people drive when it’s sunny and warm?  They do that when it’s -1 and icy snow is compacted beneath their tires.

Do you see that top photo?  That’s what the streets looked like last Saturday.  They still look like that on Tuesday.

I’ve reached my breaking point with this weather.  I worked from home today because I just couldn’t bring myself to get into the car.  I could feel a panic attack welling up inside me as I laid in bed trying to will myself to get out of it.

This craptastic weather is supposed to last for another week or two. Can someone please help me maintain my sanity?  I’ve thought about seeing a therapist, but I have a feeling it would go much like Sheldon talking to Leonard trying to overcome his stage fright. I would not be impressed.

The one and only time I’ve ever gone to a therapist, I remember thinking, “So, I’m not screwed up. This lady is pretty much giving me the same advice I’ve heard from my parents and my friends. I’m done here.”

I think my problem really stems from an overload of stress.  This winter is HIGHLY stressful to everyone.  Add to that planning a wedding, which I’m excited about, but is a stressor nonetheless.

Tomorrow the forecast is supposed to be god-awful again and driving conditions around the Twin Cities are not going to be improving. Paul’s class was canceled tonight “due to the impending weather” as he put it.

So, will winter ever end or have we entered another ice age?