Sunday, September 28, 2008

"He's a PC, I'm a Mac" and other summer events

Today we enjoyed our last day of summer. Ben and I have had an eventful summer with the whole getting married thing and all. Although, Ben had to work most of the time we did manage a few memorable moments.

We have spent our summer watching lots of movies from Netflix, driving to the North side, staying up late, sleeping in, walking around downtown, and watching free shows. We also went to the Renaissance fair. I love the Renaissance Fair and I try to go every year. We drove to Wisconsin, and I got to experience a midwest Renaissance fair. It's different than Arizona. People out in the midwest seem to consider the RF as a way of living more so than an entertaining few hours. Ben and I had a lot of fun during the first part. We walked around, took some pictures, and picked out the different food we wanted to eat. We had both decided to start out with giant turkey legs. Ben was in charge of eating and watching the food while I went to get us mushrooms. This was obviously my first mistake, I should have never left my poor lovable but easily distracted husband alone. I'm standing in line when all of a sudden a screaming flailing Ben comes running up to me with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He had taken a bite of his turkey while people watching and a suicidal bee flew into his mouth and stung the roof of his mouth. I tried to pull the stinger out but was unsuccessful. At that moment, I found out that he left all of our possessions, including my camera, on the bench where we were sitting, I ran towards the bench and he ran towards first aid. I waited outside of the first aid area for him. Soon enough, a sad Ben came out with a cup of ice to soothe is wound. We tried to make the most out of the rest of the day. Ben was a good sport and tried to hide any pain he was feeling. It wasn't until we were watching some ridiculous performance that I noticed something wrong. Ben had gigantic hives all over his body. We decided that it was time to leave and walked out in the middle of the show which led to negative comments and gestures directed at us by the performers.

Another new and exciting event which makes all of these posts possible. . . my new computer! I am proud to say that I am a Mac. I used to have a PC but it didn't work out. Being with my PC was like being in one of those relationships where you decide that you will stick with it because it's familiar and safe, all the while you are wishing that you could just break up with it. You know that you should really just dump it because it's just not working out; you're not being treated the way you want to be. Then one day after all that you have given it, it breaks up with you in a devastating manner. In case I took the relationship/computer metaphor too far: I always had problems with my computer, but I learned to accept those problems as part of who my computer was. Unfortunately, my computer decided never to turn on again even after its surgical procedure. As I said, to my husband's dismay, I am a Mac, and I am happy.

Tomorrow is my last first day of undergraduate, and Ben's first day ever at the wonderful University of Chicago. Are we prepared? I doubt it. I assure you, it is not for lack of trying. We have spent this last week doing a dry run of our carefully crafted schedule to ensure that madness does not ensue within the first few weeks of the quarter. This is with the full realization that no amount of preemptive scheduling procedures can fully defend us from the chaos that is 9, 10, and 11 week. Fortunately, we bought a good amount of our books during Midnight Madness allowing us to beat the long lines and crowds. We also enlisted Google Calendar as an ally in hopes of decreasing overall confusion. We are both excited about classes and our future together.

I almost forgot to mention that on August 12, 2008 we celebrated our 1 month anniversary! We were very excited and celebrated with breakfast downtown at the Bongo Room. Breakfast was the only time we could actually go out together because of Ben's crazy work schedule. He left each day around 1pm and got home between 11pm and 12am every night. It really messed with our sleeping pattern and social life, but we really were thankful that he had a job. We also celebrated our two month anniversary this summer. We didn't really do anything special for the two month anniversary. We acknowledged the day by giving each other cards, but that was pretty much it. I do have to say that I enjoy being married two months more than one. Two months seems more legitimate than one. When you tell people that you have been married one month they give a look that says "oh, no wonder you're happy; wait another month and then we'll see." When you say that you have been married two months, people give you almost the same look, but I still feel a little more satisfied. I suppose people won't stop giving us those looks until we are two years or more into our marriage. Anyway, we will celebrate our three month anniversary soon, which I will assume will grant even more satisfaction and self accomplishment than two months. Maybe it is weird that I get so much excitement from each passing month. I am always amazed at how we grow closer and closer together in ways I could have never imagined. There is something liberating about being uninhibited in your ability to love another person so completely and without fear of possible future scorn. Being so close to Ben brings out strength in myself that I never knew existed. Of course, this means that I am also finding weaknesses that I never knew existed. Being married is like learning a new school of thought; you just never thought of things in the same light or perspective as you do now. I saw a movie where the husband cheated on his wife and I was almost in tears. I have seen this sort of behavior portrayed in movies before, I even know people who have committed adultery. But for some reason it never really had an effect on me until now. It was just something people did for some unknown reason that was wrong. I suppose my preconceived notions of marriage and adultery were formed in an emotionless vacuum where I was unable to comprehend the complete and utter emotional vulnerability that one succumbs to within the institution of marriage. I don't claim to be wise to all the ins and outs of marriage, I am just realizing the monumental change that an institution like marriage can have on your way of thinking and who you are. Ben and I have grown so much as a couple and as individuals. I really enjoy seeing how much our relationship grows month from month, I can't wait until I can compare year to year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Looking Back

We are married! We have been for about 2 months now. Our wedding was absolutely perfect, although the weeks leading up to it were fairly tumultuous. Here's a quickand choppy look at our summer mixed with a dab of reflection. I promise to provide further details soon.

Friday before the wedding was filled with trips to the airport to pick up family members flying in from all over the country. We also tackled the rehearsal for the ring ceremony; a gigantic barbeque, which served as our rehearsal dinner; and an unplanned combined bachelor/bachelorette party.

The following day I woke up at 5:00 Saturday morning to get ready for early morning pictures. This consisted of me sitting and staring into space/writing my vows for the ring ceremony while my hair stylist and make up artist simultaneously worked their magic. Afterwards, I rushed to my pictures and was finally sealed to Ben at 10:30 am. Being sealed was such a relief: total and complete happiness washed over me as I left the temple. It was a beautiful day. Ben and I went to Bahama Bucks afterwards in our full wedding attire(I really wanted a Caribbean cola one last time before I returned to Chicago). The luncheon, ring ceremony, and reception were all wonderful. I can't imagine a better day. Previous to actually getting married I couldn't wait for the day after my wedding when there would be no stress or obligations. Thankfully, when our wedding day did arrive I enjoyed it so much that I didn't want the day to end.

We also had a ton of fun on our cruise. When we first arrived, we were a bit shocked by the size of the
tiny room, especially after staying a few days in the king suite at the Hilton. Fortunately, we recovered from our initial claustrophobic musings and grew to enjoy the swaddling of our close quarters. We went Kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking, which was pretty fun, although Ben did get a 2nd degree sunburn on his foot.

When we returned to our apartment, we were greeted with a number of unfortunate events. The first being that Ben's temporary job position had been permanently filled. The second was an eviction notice taped to our door. The eviction notice was a mistake but still caused a surge of panic as the unforgiving hand of reality caught us in its grasp.

We awoke early the next day (Saturday) to prepare for our Chicago open house. We had to run all over Chicago to pull off the event, but it was lovely in the end. My mom and grandparents came to show their support but ended up staying longer than they planned. They were unable to fly back to AZ until 3 days after their original flight date. This, of course, caused plenty of stress for my mother, but we were able to semi smooth this inconvenience over with multiple deliveries of Chicago's famous Giordano's Pizza and several movies. It was nice to have her stay for a little while extra, even if it was under unplanned and inconvenient circumstances. My mom helped Ben and me start to organize our hazard area aka our apartment.It was nice to have someone to help us breakdown the heaping mess and put it all in perspective.

The next few weeks were filled with the excruciating pain that accompanies the job hunt. Success in this area proved to be a little less than impossible given the current job market and our late summer search. After about a month, we both received a job offer but our individual offers conflicted with the each other's. We decided that Ben would accept his offer, and I would continue to look on the part time front. Unfortunately, that proved equally hard given that I could only commit for a little over a month. In the end, I gave into the unemployment that was fated for me and followed my neurologist's orders by not working for the summer.

Don't worry, I have been keeping busy. There have been a number of pressing matters to take care of since our marriage, not the least of which is the constant organizing of our apartment. Like our marriage, organizing the apartment seems to be an eternal commitment. There were also a lot of technical things to take care. No one ever mentions the billions of things that need to be taken care of immediately after getting married. Of course, this may be to lure unsuspecting happily engaged couples into actually taking the step to marriage. I know if I had to think about all of the things that needed be done previous to actually getting back and doing them, I would not have enjoyed the honeymoon at all. On the other hand, that sort of knowledge could have helped us not to run full pace into the wall of reality. Instead, we could have lightly skipped hand in hand into that very wall.

I have finally started feeling a bit more productive as I have started to check off many of the tasks I had to complete before the end summer. I do have a class I need to finish from last year that I hope to work towards completing this coming week.

Here in Chicago, we are starting to see the first hints of Autumn (this happens to be Ben and my favorite season). Leaves are starting to show signs of their age, and the weather is cooling down. The forecast promises rain and nice weather for the next few days. School will be starting in about two weeks, which is both terrifying and exciting. I don't want to start my last year of college; I have too much to do, but I am looking forward to having Ben home more and us enjoying a normal schedule. As the summer comes to an end, I can't help but wonder where this school year will take us. I'm not sure that Ben or I started last school year with the expectation that we would or could be married by the end of summer. Where will I be next year?
Correction: where will we be, not just in the physical but in the marital emotional sense? Every wonderful moment of the Chicago summer as well as its subtle yet startling transformation into autumn has me wondering if I will be here to experience these moments next year or am I blindly experiencing my last Chicago summer moments without my even realizing?

I look forward to becoming a more dedicated blogger, although I am sure said level of dedication will wax and wane depending on the mass of homework that governs every U of C student's life.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


So life has been pretty crazy lately. I finally finished school (ish) about two weeks ago. It was a crazy ending. My lease ended the day after finals, so Ben and I were busy packing up my apartment and moving my stuff to his place soon to be our place. This triumphant end of the craziest school year of my life greeted me with viral pink eye in both eyes. I unfortunately do not have glasses and thus was rendered legally blind without my contacts. I didn't accomplish very much my last week in the area of unpacking. I did however, manage to figure out the horrible bridesmaid dress ordeal. After several trial and error attempts at getting bridesmaid dresses, we finally selected one from Ann Taylor that might match the original dress that I selected. The only problem has been finding shrugs to cover up the shoulders of this spaghetti strap dress. Ben and I got to work searching the internet and all our many options. Turns out, despite all the advertisements, there were not many options. Davids Bridal made this frustratingly clear after we called numerous stores all over the country. They had all of 4 of the items we needed in the entire country and not in the right sizes. When we finally ordered a short sleeve bolero they gave us a long sleeve bolero for the blistering 115 degree heat of Arizona. It was kind of a mess. I eventually gave up on uniformity and selected something simple, practical, and cheap for the girls who needed it.

As I said, things have been pretty crazy and I don't think it will calm down. There is still a lot of planning to be done for the Chicago reception. This week was filled with meetings with caterers, directors, cake decorators, and my wedding dress shop. Next week promises to echo the same sort of itinerary. Fortunately, my wonderful fiance will be here starting Wednesday.

Amidst the many hours of stress and frustration there have been the necessary moments of bliss that make everything worth it. Ben and I have not had a ton of time to relax and take in the beautiful transformation of Chicago in the summer, but we manage to take a few moments where wedding talk and preparation is formally banished from our lives. The last week I was in Chicago we took a walk up to the point and had a picnic. Afterwards we talked about all the simple things that we have been unable to talk or think about since our engagement. It was a beautiful reminder of the simplicity and purity of our love for each other. We also had a night in watching lost and eating a sushi dinner I prepared. That was a ton of fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Home Stretch

Well, its been a very busy engagement. March feels like yesterday, and here we are, three weeks away from the big day. We are currently apart because Natasha is making preparations in Arizona and I am still in Chicago working, but we will be together again in Arizona next week and hopefully after that we will no longer have to be across the country from each other as we were for far too much of our relationship. Thankfully, this separation was preceded by a lengthy period where we could be together every waking moment that I was not at work or she at school.

In a way, this current separation is a good thing. While painful, it reminds me each day of how much I care for Natasha, and our marriage will be that much sweeter in the context of this separation.

While many things are falling into place, the mounting list of details still not attended to threaten to overwhelm us. Its during these times that I for one have to remind myself that it will be worth it when we can enjoy this special moment with our families and friends, and that we can look forward to a joyful, rich, and challenging but rewarding married life. We just have to finish putting together the party that is attendant to the far more important part of the day, the sealing in the temple.

We appreciate everything that various people have done to help and support us during this period of planning and preparation. It will be good when July 12th finally arrives.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Proposal

Ben and I have been talking about marriage for a few weeks now, and he decided to propose the Saturday before Easter. We had only slept about 3 hours the night before, but we were up bright and early to have a pancake breakfast with the family. While I was perfecting my guitar hero skills, Ben disappeared. I was called outside and told to follow the path of rose petals. I followed to the park where Ben was waiting. He proposed to me Saturday morning with my mother's engagement ring. I quickly accepted when a bunch of people started cheering and clapping (there was an Easter egg hunt going on).T

We spent the rest of the day running around enjoying each other’s company. We checked out a possible venue, did a bit of shopping, and went to a late lunch with my parents. We decided to go to the Temple to see the Easter Pageant that night. We wanted to have a small picnic, so we stopped by Trader Joe's to pick up the essentials. When we got back into the car, Ben told me that we had one more stop to make before going to the Temple. I was blindfolded as Ben drove to our mystery destination. When we arrived I was told to not take off the blindfold until I received the call. It is pretty crazy to sit in a car when you don't know where you are and can hear the commotion of what sounded like skateboards and men's voices all around. Not to mention I had no idea what area we were in or how Ben knew his way around Arizona. Luckily, it was Freestone Park. I finally received the call and saw a note card on the dash. Each note had a reason why he loved me and clue leading me to the next card. I found most the cards pretty easily but there was one that was kind of hard. Ben, sensing I was lost, called and gave me a hint. By the time I finished it was pretty dark. I had to walk around the other side of the lake to find Ben standing on a hill with candles lit. He got down on one knee and proposed (again) with the ring he bought for me. It was such a beautiful engagement with a beautiful ring.

We ended the night hand in hand watching the Pageant at the place where we will be married for time and all eternity. It was an amazing day. Oh yeah, we topped it off with Bahama Bucks (the best shaved ice in the world).