Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Well. I'm married. It doesn't really feel different, which is a little disappointing. But then, we were already acting as if we were married. The only difference now is that (a) it's legal and (b) we don't have to worry about wedding planning anymore.

The ceremony went very well. The rain held off, and while the mosquitos didn't there was bug spray, which helped. The music, which we had selected twelve hours earlier and figured out the timings for twenty minutes earlier, turned out beautifully, and neither of us cried (we did that later during toasts). During the recessional the best man forgot to escort the matron of honor out, which provided her with some material for her toast. There was way too much food and ice cream, probably partly because the bride got doused with coffee halfway through the reception (picture me in a wedding dress with three women drawing on me with Tide pens) and that didn't help get anyone out of their chairs to dance and then eat more. Oh well. It was lovely, people said nice things, there isn't too much that I feel was an utter waste of money or time, and I’m glad it's over.

Now my garden needs weeding and my house needs cleaning (and the windows washing; my family decorated my car's windows with paint pens and then when we showed up at the house later that night having cleaned it off--the car wash guy gave us a free wash because we were still in our wedding clothes--they declared we had cleaned it too soon and did the same thing to every window and mirror in our house). And ice cream needs eating. And flowers need pressing and thank-you notes need writing and a joint checking account needs opening. And Phoebe's baby quilt needs making! Having no more wedding to plan definitely doesn't mean a dearth of things to do.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not enough covered

Now that we're up against it, I don't want this wedding anymore. What I want is to ditch the dress with the neckline that my mom cut too low (apparently at my dad's suggestion--I guess they really want grandchildren quickly?), buy a light sundress that doesn't require a bustier, and forget the music and the processional. I want a small group of my closest friends and family gathering around in a pretty spot with trees around, I want them to be comfortable and have drinks and snacks, and I want to say my vows without a lot of fanfare. And right after the vows, I want to get the party started without posing in dozens of pictures.

I can't do that, because Mom's already made the dress, and…well, actually, I think that's the main objection. We paid a deposit for the chairs, but we could abandon it, and my current dream wedding would be more flexible in the event of rain--which the weather channel is still predicting--anyway. There are people coming we don't care as much for as some people who aren't coming, but that's inevitable for any event, I think. The bridesmaids could still wear their nice dresses, and the groomsmen could leave off their vests and just help out with serving food. Except we've got someone from the catering company serving.

Ah, well. It won't happen anyway. Right now Eric is making ice cream and finishing up the programs (I hope), and Mom and Dad are driving around town, buying things. We might not have music for the processional--if I can't think of something I want and that Eric will find acceptable--but there will be a processional and a recessional, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen lining up, and the people staring at my too-exposed chest, and toasts and cake-cutting and traditional silliness, and I think--I think--it's mainly because of the dress my mother made me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

White satin anxiety

I had the inevitable emotional breakdown last night. We weren't getting enough done and the peach ice cream needed work and my house was a mess and my parents were coming the next day and nothing would be ready for the wedding and it would thunderstorm all day. We did end up getting a fair amount done, but I was anxious and weepy all night. I think I'm over it now--crying is stress release, you know. I do have the feeling that once my parents get here, everything has to stop, but that's not true; they're coming early so that they can help us do things. And it's a good thing.

I'm feeling a little funny about the wedding. It's a little more than half the size we thought it would be, and so does it really make sense to get dressed in a funny impractical gown and put crepe in my hair? And what if people think our ceremony sounds stupid? What if it is stupid and I realize that there's something I wanted to say that I'll never get to? Which doesn't make sense; I can say it whenever I want, ceremony or no; but by having this wedding without an official solemnizer we elevated it from legal requirement to cultural ritual, and I'm afraid we won't measure up.

Once we polish up the ceremony--yes, we're still not finished, and the officiant hasn't yet seen it, which I'm sure is causing her some anxiety--not to mention we threw in a "Princess Bride" reference that she may or may not go for--everything else is, to some extent, unnecessary. The programs are basically done; we delegated the cookie-making to someone else; we have decorations and food. We don't need bookmarks. We don't need a bachelorette party. We don't even really need music, though that's also causing me anxiety and burning the reception CDs is probably something I'll ask Eric and Mom and Dad to do tomorrow while I’m at work (as well as grocery shopping and maybe straightening the house). I've been bringing CDs with me to listen to while I drive to and from work, and I've found a couple of songs that could work, though nothing that strikes me as perfect. I guess that's okay. The wedding won't be perfect, and neither will the marriage--but it'll be as good as we can do with what we've got, and the people I love will be there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Was it something I said?

We went shopping this past weekend, Eric and I, and at Target I needed to use the bathroom. A mother and her two children were there in the sink area, the mother trying to get the two kids washed up and out the door. The older kid, a girl of maybe four or five, looked at me curiously. I smiled at her and went into a stall. The mother succeeded in washing up her younger girl and began walking out, and the older girl stopped in front of my stall and looked in at me through the crack between the door and the wall. I raised an eyebrow at her. Her mom called to her and she went out. I looked at myself in the mirror when I was washing my hands, but nothing about me seemed particularly wrong or unusual.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Q & A

Q: Is it possible to get tired of strawberry ice cream if you're having it night in and night out, trying out very slightly different variations each time but still basically consuming the same recipe each time?

A: No. No, it is not.

At least not with our recipe. To the approximately 40% of people who aren't coming to our wedding: Come to the wedding. We have ice cream.

Marching on

We went to the Toledo Symphony on Saturday, their season finale, Beethoven's Ninth. The first and second movements were great fun, the third was pleasant but boring, and the fourth was good except for the soloists. I feel like a Philistine, but the truth is I don't appreciate operatic voice. It doesn't sound like music. The chorus was great; it sounded like another instrument. But the soloists sounded dissonant; something about what they do to produce the full-bodied voice threw me off, and I wished they weren't there. Also the soprano wore color, which I didn't think was allowed.

We've also been talking this weekend about economic recession or collapse, and about climate change, and then about the two together, though only briefly because it's depressing to think about. It's confusing, talking about how I might live to observe how global warming triggers an ice age or how civilization collapses under the weight of its own advances, but I'm also planning a wedding, thinking about children, saving for my retirement.

But the wedding planning continues apace; we've figured out our vows and the ring ceremony (and explanation--Eric had way too much fun with this) and are just filling in the introduction and segues. We bought strawberries and peaches for ice cream (the first peaches of the season! We didn't think we'd see any!) and papyrus for the centerpieces (and to be potted for the gazebo) and a bed for us eventually but Mom and Dad in the next week.

We also bought lots and lots of fruit leathers from Target, because our only other source is Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor, an hour away, and a small bay tree (for me; Eric was only humoring me until he saw how big the leaves are and how much the small ones cost in the store), and five cucumber seedlings in two pots. We're doing our part to support the economy, though it's not as much as some. (We were talking about how the subprime (?) real estate businesses might bring about the recession, when all those people on interest-only mortgages default, and I wondered how much Americans spend as opposed to how much they have to spend. If everyone lived within their means--counting mortgage payments as rent--would we have a slower economy? A more stable one?) And we bought some fluorescent lightbulbs and installed them, so we're doing our part to support the environment, though that's a very very tiny part.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Shoo fly, don't bother me

We had a monster fly in our house last night. Honestly, this was a huge sucker. You could do experiments on it but you'd need extra anesthesia before you operated. It followed me into the library where I was mourning the summer quilt, it followed me in the bedroom where I glared at the un-put-away laundry, it followed me back into the library and flew smack into my nose. I stomped into the computer room and demanded of Eric, "Where's that box?" referring to the TaxCut box he'd pulled out when he saw me looking alertly around with a CD case in my hand.

"There it is!" I said when he'd grabbed the box, and pointed to the lamp where the fly had just landed.

"That's a huge sucker!" Eric said. "I'm not sure I can get him with that angle on the lampshade. But it's so big, I bet I can. And I have the advantage that my shadow isn't falling on him."

He inched closer. He raised the TaxCut box. The fly twitched. Eric slammed the box into the lamp with all his might.

You know what happened next, right? Sudden darkness, crunchy sounds of things breaking. The buzz of a fly.

"I think I broke the bulb," came Eric's horrified voice. "The bulb with mercury vapors in it."

"What will that do?" I said nervously, feeling on the ground for broken bits, finding none in that spot and putting my foot down on the way to turn on the hallway light. "I can get the lamp from the library."

"That's a good idea," he said, and I did. "It wasn't the mercury bulb after all," Eric reported as I was bringing it.

However, this was the lamp we put in the library because the switch doesn't work. So we used the dim built-in sconce instead and we're buying real lamps tonight. "This is what you get when you buy $8 lamps," I observed as we set the lamp in the hall for later disposal. (I said I could use the pole for a bean pole, and potentially the lamp shade for frost protection. He said I was a dork.) "What would the mercury have done?"

"Slowly destroyed our brains," he said. "You know, 'mad as a hatter.'"

"In how long?" I persisted.

"With that much mercury? Oh, probably not before we died. And it's too bad. That was a new bulb."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to get married in Ohio.

From the Lucas County Probate Court. They're open from 8-4:30, no appointments, possible lengthy wait on Fridays.

For the license, you need picture ID, any divorce decrees or death certificates of past spouses, proof of residency, and $50 in cash. (No checks or credit cards, no appointments. Good grief. I bet even drug dealers take appointments.) No blood test or witnesses needed. Oh, and you can't be drunk or have infectious syphilis. Darn.

For the actual marriage, you can be married the same day. There are ministers who wait on the first floor, like taxis, or you can go to the Toledo Municipal Court between 1:30 and 3 PM for $15, also cash.

Why didn't anyone tell me I could just fork over $65 (plus downtown parking) and be done with it?

(Okay, I already knew that, or approximately. It'll be fun to see everyone next week. But I have this big long list with not nearly enough crossed off of it yet.)

Monday, May 14, 2007


Less than two weeks to the wedding. We made a test batch of strawberry ice cream tonight, using the new 1.5 quart test-batch ice cream maker. We're totally opening an ice cream shop someday. Anyway, the strawberry is, how do I say this...fantastic. We may not be serving it at the wedding after all because we won't be able to bear parting with it.

I have a bunch of people I need to call, including Dad to see if he's offended that I asked him to change the father/daughter dance song (so that it could become a parent/child dance instead). I have beans and amaranth (deep red seedlings) coming up in my garden. I finally, finally got rid of the trash pile by the driveway, at the cost of a pair of sunburn epaulets. Yesterday we went to the Toledo Zoo to see the baby polar bears (just like half of the Midwest) and I wore a three-quarter-length shirt and gained some sunburn bracers. It's like I'm playing World of Warcraft. If I get sunburned legs, do I get a set bonus?

(Also Mom's going to kill me. She told me I could only wear a tank top or a long-sleeve shirt outside until the wedding, and I was for the epaulets, but not for the bracers. Plus what she meant was that I couldn't get a partial tan, only a total one or none at all. I guess it's time to slather on some sunscreen and go work in the yard in my bathing suit? I have weeding and mulching to do...)

Ooh, and check out what I did today!

We made tabbouleh for dinner, and I made pita bread (out of The Bread Bible) to go with it, and it puffed up! Just like it was supposed to! I was so excited. It's probably a good thing the little things can make me so happy, because there will be a lot of little things going on in the next 13 days.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gimme some sugar

A 25-pound bag of sugar sits in our kitchen, between the microwave cart that holds the cookbooks and the doorway to the pantry. Why do we need 25 pounds of sugar you ask? Excellent question. I'll tell you: because we fancy ourselves food geeks.

More specifically, because we're making homemade ice cream for the wedding. With our current response rates to the invitations, we're figuring on seeing about 60 people there (which is much less than I'd thought and I'm curiously let down, even though that's just about what I originally wanted--it's Eric's large family that's making the difference), and planning to make about 10 gallons of ice cream, just to make sure there's enough. (And who could object to leftover homemade ice cream? We have a chest freezer now, we can store it.)

And 10 gallons of ice cream requires most of a 25-pound bag of sugar. Also gallons of milk and cream, pounds of fruit and chocolate, a big bottle of vanilla, a few cans of concentrated orange juice, and about three dozen eggs. And that's it. All-natural ingredients, that's us. We calculated it at about $100 for the whole thing, which puts us at about the same price as Breyer's (when it's not on sale, anyway) and a little better than Ben & Jerry's.

We can probably get away with making less than the full 10 gallons, considering we're also having cake and a catered lunch and snacks and candies and also cookies as favors and possibly a chocolate fountain. But we think we're food geeks, and we want to serve homemade ice cream to everyobe we know and love (who can attend). Besides, if the ceremony (still unwritten, I might add) is lousy or it turns out to thunderstorm, our ice cream is--in our admittedly biased opinions--good enough to make up for it. How can it not? Look how much sugar is going into it.

This weekend, we will go to The Andersons for fruit (and I will probably pick up a plant or two because I can't help it--especially if their cucumbers are ready for sale; I can keep them inside a couple of weeks if necessary). And then the great ice-cream-making saga of 2007 will begin.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Important Bulletin

If you put seaweed in your food, especially the sweet, crispy flakes that your aunt bought you in Korea, and then you leave your food in the fridge overnight and then take it to work the next day and add a little water and heat it up, you may find that your food has turned pink. This is--I am pretty sure--from the seaweed. Do not be alarmed.

(On the other hand, if I am found dead later today, don't eat seaweed. Ever.)

Flowers for Jennifer, part II

I had an astonishingly productive weekend. We got Eric's car fixed (mostly--to save $100 we also have to go in next weekend), got some AAA brochures about our honeymoon, visited a nursery to inquire about papyrus (and found some lovely stones we'll be going back for when we pave the garden path), bought a coffeemaker and a small ice cream maker for test batches, got the best man to try on his vest, mowed, mulched, discussed the gutters the city's asking us to fix with Eric's mom, and worked on wedding music.

And we ordered flowers. The florist at Hafner's never called me back, but Hafner's was between the AAA place and the nursery, so Saturday morning we stopped by. We got asked to come back in twenty minutes, so we went to the nursery first after all, but on the way back we stopped back in. The wedding florist (what do they call the people who do wedding flowers?) was with "a regular customer whose mother just died," so Tink, the wedding florist's assistant, asked what we wanted. She got everything down, took names, agreed to make a tiny safety-pin corsage for Eric's niece, made recommendations, asked if certain flowers would be okay as fillers. Her total? $258. And she didn't ask for a deposit. We agreed to pick up the flowers the night before the wedding and walked out, happy. "If you want the best flowers in town, go to Glendale," Eric said as we were getting back into the car.

"But we don't need the best flowers in town; we'd rather have the extra $220," I concluded, and he agreed.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Customer service

And I just remembered this other thing: I called another florist today, one that a couple of people have recommended as good and cheaper. The girl who answered said, "Well, the person who does wedding flowers has a note on her desk, and she's dealing with another bride right now. So I could take your name and number and have her call you back."

"That sounds fine," I said.

"Your name?"

"Jenny," I said, and spelled my last name.

"Okay, she'll give you a call. Thanks for calling, good--"


"What?" she said, surprised.

"My number?"

"Oh, right," she said vaguely. I gave her my phone number. I'm not so sure I should expect a call.

When claustrophobics come out of the closet

"Hi, this is Matt," said the message on Eric's phone, once we had used my phone to locate it. (It was under his desk.) "I was calling to talk to Jenny about the rice and beans meat substitute she made for tacos Sunday. There's a potluck I'm going to tomorrow. If you can, give me a call in the next hour or so, so I can go pick up ingredients."

I was extremely flattered. We had tacos for the not-a-shower, and I had made a Spanish rice with black beans in it that a couple people had praised (and that I like a lot; I had the last for lunch today), and Matt had said something about having a taco with that instead of meat, which I thought was quite the compliment.

It was two hours after he'd called and my mouth was full of homemade chocolate ice cream (excellent, except next time we'll definitely skip the chocolate chips--or maybe substitute with fudge), so it was a few minutes later that I called back. Matt is Eric's sister's husband, so he's my future brother-in-law squared, I think. Anyway, I got his voicemail, and said, "This is Jenny, sorry for calling back so late, we couldn't find Eric's phone. You've probably found something else for the potluck, but if not, give me a call, we'll be up for a couple of hours, my number is XXX-XXXX."

When I hung up Eric was giving me this I-love-you-for-this-thing-you're-doing look he gives me sometimes. I demanded an accounting. He said, "I like that you were flattered, and I like that you were willing to call him back."

I had come in a couple of hours ago from putting up rabbit fence around my garden because the kids in the backyard abutting ours were making me self-conscious, so my shyness was probably higher-placed in his mind than usual. I said, "Yeah, my last few jobs have been teaching me to keep the shy on the inside. Which is where it wants to be, really."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Flowers for Jennifer

I just got back from the florist. Wow--serious sticker shock. She quoted me $480--$125 for my bouquet (admittedly a somewhat tricky one), $65 for two bridesmaids' bouquets, $20 each for several corsages and boutonnieres and a couple for $15. When I expressed dismay she said we could maybe reduce the corsages slightly and save me around $70, and started talking about how people would love the flowers, not how I could, you know, make another choice to save money. So I wasn't inclined to stay and get her to do so--plus I had been away from work longer than I liked anyway.

I was prepared to pay somewhat more than my mental budget ($200) for the sake of convenience, because I'm not that interested in flowers really, but that's way more than I'm willing to pay, even for convenience. So I asked around at work and got a couple of other names, and I guess I'll be calling them today. With less than four weeks to go, I need to move quickly on this.

Or I'll go to the farmer's market Saturday (they're open! Hooray!) and see if any of the flower growers there can provide me with enough that I can make my own. I saw a The Knot book on flowers at the florist, and read a little tutorial on making boutonnieres. It looks like something I could do. Especially to save hundreds of dollars.