Friday, December 31, 2010

looking to november...

A really quick follow-up, wondering if it's too late to change my blog name to something completely different. I feel like since we're not getting married April 2012, 'Looking to April' is deceptive and doesn't make sense any more...

But I can't think of anything else right now. Suggestions?? (and I'm not keen on "Looking to November"!!)

omg he's wearing sneakers to a wedding....!

I snapped at a girl at work today.
A girl who is completely infatuated with a man she's known for 6 months, where she's decided the date they'll be getting engaged, that they'll be having a 100k wedding (yes, $100,000), she's picked out the ring she wants, etc... It's all very fast, and she's not yet 21. Eek. Anyway, this isn't the point, because that's fine- you have the right to do what you want, and what makes you happy, and good on you... which is the point.

She was looking at, I assume, wedding blogs today. Or pictures of weddings. Or something. And I hear from across the room:
"Oh, they're a really gorgeous couple. Don't you think? Look, he's so handsome... and she's pretty too. Don't they make a really pretty couple...?" Silence for a minute then a shrill shriek; "Oh, she's SO ugly!!! And she's not wearing makeup!! Why wouldn't you wear makeup to your wedding!? Don't you think she's ugly?!!?" (this to another coworker, who responds: "Um... I think she looks fine...") "Well, I don't understand why you wouldn't wear makeup to your wedding. Yuck." And I'm thinking: I don't see the problem with it...
Then there's silence for a while longer.... and I hear another shriek.
"OH MY GOD.... he's wearing SNEAKERS to his WEDDING. What an IDIOT!!! Why would you do that?? You can't do that!! You can't wear SNEAKERS.... to a WEDDING!!! That's just so stupid!!"
At which point, I had to chime in.
I said: "He can wear whatever he wants to his wedding. It's his wedding. That's the point. If he wants to wear sneakers he can wear sneakers if it makes him happy. You don't HAVE to do anything at a wedding. There's no rules, you have to do what YOU want or it's not your wedding. Nic wants to wear converse to our wedding, and that's awesome."
I laugh.
"I take it from the silence that you're unimpressed."
She says; "... SERIOUSLY... You're going to let him wear converse?!?!?!"
"Sure. If he wants to, why the hell not?"

And it just made me cringe. The blatant judgements, the shunning of these women on their beautiful wedding day for something she doesn't deem appropriate. No wonder the Wedding Industrial Complex is what it is, and there's such criticism of women by women. We're always judging. It's impossible to turn off, I think, but jeez it peeved me off. Just because your wedding will cost $100k doesn't mean ours has to. Just because you want heels doesn't mean I do. And you know what? My wedding, my MARRIAGE isn't going to be any less kick-assingly-awesome because of it!! In fact, I'll probably have a more awesome time because of it. Feet not killing me from wearing heels? Check. Budgets in-tack after wedding? Check. Happy FH who got to wear wicked shoes? Check. I think I'll take that, and you can keep your criticisms to yourself, if that's quite alright.

(And by the way, I have nothing against people wearing heels, or not wearing chucks, or whatever... but I hate the idea that things are going to be worse because of, or despite those things..It's so insignificant, surely.)
(Also whenever I write WIC I think "Walk in closet")

Putting some awesome pictures below the cut just to prove my point.

reality sets in..

Despite the title of this post, I'm actually really enjoying the sense of 'realness' that having a date has brought. It's funny, the ring didn't do it, the announcement didn't do it, even trying on dresses didn't do it (maybe because I knew we were only there to see what styles I liked, and would never have bought one, particularly for $4k+)... but now, a girl at work has been asking me about this and that to do with the wedding and I'm airing my ideas. My left-of-centre, not traditional, totally us ideas that until this point had been only that: ideas... and now it's sort of like; hey, we can actually do these things. And they're not crazy, really. They're seeing each other before the ceremony, going to a walk together, having pies instead of a cake, they're not wearing heels and maybe having a dress with green on it, having bridespeople instead of restricting it to gender. They're Nic asking if we have to walk down an aisle, and couldn't we instead meet each other in the middle, coming in from the sides, and me saying: sure, why not!? I'm speaking them aloud and seeing reactions and realizing that we can actually do this...

Isn't it funny where the turning point happens? I read a lot of blogs and some of them say it's when they first tried on dresses... for me, it was simply choosing a Saturday, and deciding on that.

I know probably only Nic reads this, but if anyone else drops by, did you have a 'penny drop' moment that was unusual?

Since I haven't announced any of this on Facebook, of course my mother is nowhere to be seen, nor has she been the least bit excited or interested in it. Much like the rest of our lives. Hurrah. Enough of that! 2011 is nearly upon us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

and it all works out so perfectly...

Exciting news!!

I think we have a date!
It's the most 'set in concrete' date we've had, and it feels good. Really good. A bit frightening because it seems as though 'holy hell, this is actually happening'... but also really exciting. And real. Before it had all been a long way off in the future and  something we didn't need to worry about right now (and it's still just under 2 years off) BUT... there's a discernible length of time now. I can say, hey, it's 97 weeks, or 22 months (holy crap)... but now I don't feel so bad looking at wedding dresses (must loose weight) or wedding bands... or town halls, or talking about writing vows or about fairy lights, or considering having a vegetarian menu.
So here it is:

And by the way that date blows my mind. First of all.. check it out. it's awesome. People will be going ga-ga over 12/12/12, but I think 10-11-12 is pretty awesome too... Nic took a little convincing on that BUT his argument was: why have it on a special day? And I say: Why not? Why have it on some random-ass day? Why NOT have it on a kickassly numerical date? Plus we won't forget it... PLUS it's 3 years to the day that he arrived in Aus to be with me, PLUS it's a Saturday, and it's in the timeframe we wanted anyway.
So.... that is awesome.
Tomorrow is NYE... I don't think we're doing anything. Lame? Maybe. But I feel worn out and like I'd rather stay home and hang with the family. Yup.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

friends, dates and life changing...

Last night I traipsed across this site,, which is basically full of a bunch of dodgy 'spiritual' groups, supposedly teaching people how to 'live their best life' (my mum would benefit from joining some of them, no doubt), groups for men wanting to 'attract the most amazing women', and then some little ones for people who like hiking and walking, kayaking, for 20-something women wanting more friends, french speakers, ex-pat Canadians, etc. So I joined a couple. The more I think about it, the less satisfied I am with my group of friends. I have them, and they're awesome, but I don't see any of them regularly (except from the Uni girls, and a few of them are finishing this year so I won't see them in March), and I just don't feel that close. I think about my 'wedding party' or whatever terminology I'll end up using, and feel like I'd be picking bridespeople just because they're people I get along with, and not because I'm hugely close and want to share all my secrets with them over a tub of icecream.

Monday, December 27, 2010

on being normal... or why I don't get smashed at work parties.

Just before Christmas there were two Christmas parties for work- one for the whole company, so where a couple of hundred people I don't know would have gone to get drunk and try and sleep with one another.
The other party was just for our section of the company, so Nic wouldn't have been allowed to come. There was two hours of free drinks provided.

The first, people didn't mind so much that I didn't go, because hardly anyone from our team went. The second, I'd given an indication that I might go, but only until finished work (so I'd be there from about 4.30 to 6ish, then we'd leave. We were driving home together). I don't really drink. They tend to have 'drinks runs' at work on Friday arvo, where people spend their pay on a 6 pack (or whatever), drink it at work, then go home. I don't think I've ever bought drinks in a drinks run. I don't go out, and I never really have. So I'm getting pressure from co-workers to go to this party, get smashed, go crazy. I go, I'll say, but not for long. To which they give me a look. Like I'm being deprived.
When I said I didn't think I'd go to one girl, she looks astonished and says: "Just come out and be SOCIAL!"
And I think about the coffee I'd had with a friend the evening before and wonder how or why that is any less social than going out, getting so intoxicated that you don't make any sense, make a fool of yourself, fall asleep in a pile of drool, and wake up not remembering a thing. Because let's face it, that's what they're taking about. It's not a sophisticated wine at a clean bar somewhere- it's a divey pub with sticky floors.
Maybe I should have gone and said hello, but then as soon as I said I was leaving, I would have gotten the same treatment.
In the end, I was watching people getting ready- a flurry of activity as girls madly straightened their hair in the bathroom, boys smoked outside and cracked open their third can of JD and coke (at 4.30pm, mind you)... and then girls started applying concealer to mosquito bites on their legs. These girls are married and engaged. And they're worried about a couple of red spots on their legs. For a party in a room with minimal lighting where nobody could care less. This was the point I decided 'enough is enough', and very quietly made my exit.

Because here's the thing. By leaving early, my life could continue like this:

Nic drives me home, we have a chat about our day, some nice time with just the two of us (not having to shout over music or getting drinks spilled on us), as we ponder over dinner and miss our furkids.
We get home, greeted happily by Mallei who has been inside all day and is just mega-stoked to see us, but really needs to pee. The kitten hasn't figured out how the front door yet, so gets stuck behind it again, and we have a laugh. We bustle inside and head out almost immediately to take Mal for a walk in the last of the sunshine for the day. This is another nice time for just the two of us to talk and relax and unwind. We head home. Nic starts on dinner while I feed the animals, then spend some time playing with Reya and Mal. We eat, relax, watch an episode of one of our tv shows, then head to bed at about 10 or 10.30 where we cuddle up and talk about nothing for another half an hour as the kitten races around and plays in the bath, skidding around corners and 'glomping' up and down the hall. Mal sighs from his bed, like he's too old for this crap, but is secretly fascinated by Reya's antics. And then we go to sleep. If it's a friday night, we have a sleep in till about 8, and then have the whole day to get out and about, to run or cycle or paddle, to cook or garden or go shopping, or whatever we want...

I think the alternative- of succumbing to pressure and 'getting smashed' at the party- would have been much less enjoyable. I'm just sick of that being the norm, and for me being weird or unsociable for not wanting to go down that route. Were it not for work, I wouldn't speak to or socialize with any of those people, so why is making a fool of myself in front of them apparently a prerequisite for a harmonious work environment? I know, I could go out and only have a drink or two, but then there's still the 'party-pooper' mentality if I try and leave before I'm completely off my face.

Grow up, people. There's more to life than that.
 (and I'm not just saying that because I'm a soon-to-be-grumpy-old-wife ;) )

Sunday, December 26, 2010

imaginary conversations.

Nic is in the kitchen with Reya on his shoulder, making coffee.
He says: "No, you can't go down, benchtops aren't for kittens..." (my rule)
In a higher, squeaky voice: "But they might be!"
He says: "No. They're not."

It was just gloriously adorable.

[Edit again: Nic, opening the fridge and talking to the dog: "There's food coming out of everywhere Mal! It's packed to the gills!!"
Nic, in low grumbly, grumpy 'Mallei' voice: "You're packed to the gills, Nic."]

[Edit again with the addition of below movie: I love our kids...]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

so this is christmas...

merry christmas!

Nic and I started the day with our new breakfast tradition and had tasty healthy pancakes made with wholemeal flour, oats, yoghurt, milk, eggs and a little butter, plus fresh blueberries and maple syrup we bought in Vermont. Yum.

We opened our presents from the stockings then went to Grandma's (Mum's side) for our traditional christmas lunch, only without the normal seafood assortment.

Friday, December 24, 2010

actually something related to a wedding!

Oo, a wedding-related update! Keeping in mind my tendency to trail into tangents at a moment's notice and end up writing about the kitten (who, by the way, is just fricken adorable)(and about whom I get mocked regularly because apparently I was a self-proclaimed cat-hater... I would argue I never went that far, more that I just prefer dogs... I'm more a dog person than a cat person, but hey, my kitten seems about as close to a dog as I could hope. Does she wrestle with Mallei, despite his 200% difference in weight? Why yes, yes she does. Does she kamakazee fearlessly into everything? Yup. Is she unflinching when we drop something noisy or sneeze? Sure is. And at the same time, is she cat enough? Lap sleeping- check (and neck, shoulder, chest, shins...), purring (LOUD)- check, leaping- check, riding around on our shoulders like a parrot? check. In all, she's awesome, moving on). Also, apologies for my extended use of parentheses (I know them as brackets, but parentheses sounds more fancy, despite the fact that I had to look up the term to make sure I wasn't going to look a fool).

Moving on to the actual point of this post (and hidden so Nic won't read it accidentially. Yes, that means stop now, love.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

i keep forgetting what i want to write about...

So I keep having ideas about things to write about here, but then I forget.
Which is a little bit useless.

Today is my last day at work until next wednesday. The opportunity to take friday off came up so I took it. Things are very casual at work at the moment before x-mas, which is nice..

I found a really lovely dress that I like, though it seems a little bit silly to be doing wedding-prep/wedding-planning 2 or 3 years before we're thinking of having it. I'm also bummed out because the designer is in Seattle, apparently lovely, and I was just THERE and didn't KNOW about her, or I would have gone. Argh! Anyway, it's the Wai Ching Eucalyptus dress. I like it because it has colour, it's pretty and silky, but also has some lace, sort of, it's fitted through the hips but then goes out in a flowy skirt, it can be made with a sweetheart neckline, it isn't exorbitant in price, and it looks pretty. Isn't that enough reason? So I need to find someone in Seattle who has the same measurements as me (ie: hip to waist to bust ratio) who can go try it on and see if it looks good.
That may be problematic but I figure there's a bunch of lovely wedding communities with members who should, in theory, be happy to help me out!

Nic and I are trying to put together out Christmas plans. We're locked into lunch with Mum's side of the family... Nic's family have a tradition of going for an hour long walk after Christmas lunch, and Christmas stockings- both of which we're going to adopt. While we were in North America, it felt super Christmassy because it was cold- suitable weather for the season! When we got back here it was warm(ish) and tropical- not very like the season. So we were complaining about that. Then I had a thought: We're not going to be in Australia forever (hopefully), therefore, we're not going to have warm Christmasses forever... so maybe we should make the most of it and do something that you can ONLY do in an Australian (or Southern Hemisphere) Christmas, like kayaking or swimming. So we're going to do that at some point- perhaps Boxing Day... And we want to have a special breakfast, as our own tradition that we're starting. Plus presents for the furkids, of course.
So that's how our Christmas is going to go- our little family, new traditions, old traditions, food, my family, a bit of exercise and getting outdoors (if it's not boiling hot, which it shouldn't be), and probably relaxing at night, maybe some salad for dinner. That sounds good to me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

another for today...

I feel a change in the air.
I can't explain what- whether it's something in me, spurring me on to join the gym and do some yoga classes (finally), or to keep in touch with girlfriends (now that I finally have a couple), or whether it's just being back in warm weather which, let's face it, is always a good excuse to be more proactive about life... Plus I get to eat fruit (stone fruit! Yum) with abandon, and suggest salads as a suitable dinner option because it's not 10 degrees outside and soup makes much more sense.

Yesterday we bought our chicken from the chicken shop, after I'd had a couple of moments while in North Am over where my meat was from. Nic and I are pretty close to vegetarianism- we just use chicken as a staple part of a lot of our meals, we have ham in our rolls and we love bacon on occasion. While we were in North Am we got some (exquisitely delicious) pork ribs and I looked down and there were the ribs of a whole pig shared between Nic and I. (Maybe not so much but it was a LOT). And I thought: My god. This pig gave up its life just so we could have this meal. And I felt horrible. Another time I had a lobster pie, and the meat from the claws was still in the shape of the claws and I thought: Jeez... this was a real animal. Sometimes it's easy to forget- you can't really picture where a chicken breast GOES once it has no skin and feathers and bones attached, and drumsticks don't look anything like legs, and bacon is just meat, hey? But the point was, we came back wanting to try and be a little more ethical about our meat, knowing there's only so many beans and lentils we can eat, and still liking protein and bacon too much... So we found our chicken at the chicken shop because it's free range, grain fed, no chemical processing, hopefully more happy chickens. We'd buy things at the farmers market but it's so, so expensive. So that will have to wait until we both have real jobs. On that note, I desperately want one of these. Because they're cool, and I want to grow year-round fruit and I don't want to have to wait 3 years and for the trees to get too big and to wait until I own my own house so I can actually plant them. These guys are meant to stay little! Nic would be able to reach the tall branches. And I could eat my own apricots and peaches. Yum!!

I also feel like I'm still stuck here at work, doing this crappy job for a crappy wage. The other day we did a 'focus group' where they asked what was keeping us with the company, and I said I stay because if I need to work only 5 hours a week, I can. Then, if I want to work full time, I can. I'd love to somehow work from home though, or start up a business, I just don't know what it is yet. I feel there's a distinct lack of 'indie-friendly' wedding stuff in Aus. I feel that the idea of the 'perfect wedding' is still really big and if you want a left-of-center dress, you'll struggle to find it... Or if you want to get married outside somewhere you have to know somebody with land.. Maybe I need to learn to sew... that being said, wedding dresses probably require a bit of work, and a short course in dress making mightn't be quite enough!!! I'll keep thinking on it- maybe I'm just disappointed in what I've found so far.

maybe not April after all...

Nic and I have been talking a lot lately about where we're going to live.

I finish Uni in October next year (2011), and obviously hope to secure a job for 2012. We've moved away from the idea of going to Canada straight away, as trying to transfer my qualifications to BC will be difficult/impossible without having some teaching experience. Which leaves us here. We're dissatisfied with Victoria and have spoken about the ACT, and more recently about NSW. Some of the coast of NSW could be really interesting- a mix of small beachside towns or small cities, with mountains and bush not too far away. It depends on the type though, and on the towns. We've been thinking we may need an epic road-trip up the coast and through Canberra at some point in order to help us decide (we also need to go back to Townsville to see my Dad, and want to visit NZ and Tasmania at some point. There's a lot of travelling we need to do!) if and where we might like to spend the next year or two, or three, or whatever.

Which, of course, brings up an interesting and difficult proposition: If we move, say in December 2011, to another state... A wedding in the middle of being planned for April 2012 in Victoria may be problematic. Same thing if we wanted to have it in October or November 2012; if we're living out of Victoria, ok, it's doable, but I bet it's more stressful... that being said, if my Grandparents are around, having a wedding in Vic would be accessable to them... but only if it's within 30 mins of their house... so, that rules out anywhere we'd like to go. Now we're toying with the idea of 2013, particularly since Nic's family and friends are all overseas, and therefore would need to send invites at least a year in advance, so they can buy a ticket here... which means we don't have much time to decide where and when we want to do it, and we're just not in a position to do that yet.

That being said, whenever people ask me when the wedding is going to be and I say: "Not for at least 2 years", nobody seems surprised, or like that's an extrordinarily long time... Now if I say three years, that might be different! But it's ok.

Tell you what though, sometimes I'm seriously tempted by elopement.

Friday, December 17, 2010

and they asked, why?

When I told the people at work that I was engaged, this is what they said:

"Really? But why?"

So, I get it. I'm working with kids (figuratively, not literally (yet)). With people who love going out every weekend and getting sh-faced, and when they can't remember what they did Saturday night, it must have been a good night. We get paid every second thursday, and quite often they're 'broke' by Monday, and (god forbid) barely able to buy cigarettes on the wednesday before pay day. They are drifters, who don't know what they want to do. Maybe they'll become a Team Leader (of a team in the call center), because, well, they've worked on the phones for long enough that that's probably the next logical step. They complain about the pay, the customers, and job, but they stay on because it's easy, and if you do ok, you'll get $23 an hour and hey, that buys a lot of booze. Sometimes they leave. Six months later they'll be back, as though nothing happened.
I work here too, right? But for me, it's always been a time-filler. It will have filled 3 years in Feb. That's a little ridiculous, but it's been what it needed to be: A way to save money for my trip to Europe, a way to get out of school for a year or 2 and just make money, work full time, meet people. A way to work very little while I do my Masters, by being flexible enough to let me work when I want. A group of us 'oldbies' did a 'point of view' survey yesterday. One of the aspects we brainstormed was on 'Belonging'- what makes you stay within the company and within the project? My brutally honest answer: the fact that I can work 5 or 10 hours a week while I'm at school. That I can take 2 weeks unpaid leave for teaching rounds. That I can work full time over winter and summer holidays. That I can still take 6 weeks leave and know I have a job to come back to.

But it only just stuck me, 2 months after my engagement to Nic, that some people here had asked why. Not everybody, that'd be a generalisation. But enough.
Why do we do anything? Why date somebody? Why work here? Why move house, or get married or have children either? Some of those have logical answers of course, but why get engaged? I still don't know what the answer to that is meant to be.
Because I want to?
Because I like him? (I love him, this is just a bit of an inside joke)
Because I'm happy?

Because we want to get married, eventually?

I don't know- are you MEANT to have an answer to that question? It's not really a question you get asked! I didn't think so, anyway.
Who knows, maybe they were trying to suss out if I was pregnant or something.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All it was, condensed.

Our first mountain views...

 Sunsets, mountains, ocean and pebble beaches...

 A story I told for the whole trip about high-5ing a raccoon. So out of my world; this was the first time I'd seen raccoons, and here I was with one grabbing at my hand.
Pulling faces, making inside jokes...

Falling in love with  mountain scenery...

An otter winking at us on our second last day.

I suppose I'm just feeling a little sad that it's all over. I think that's understandable.

the adventure that was, post-trip slump, being back in the real world...

So I'm back.

After 6 weeks of travelling through North America with Nic, we're back at home, back at work, soon to be back at Uni.

And I'm not going to write about the trip (This is a lie. I write about the trip, but not in a Day 1:... Day 2:... sort of way, but much more fragmented) because it would take too long, and be too vague, or too mechanical- I'll distance myself and make it about the facts: We went here, we saw this, we ate that... rather than everything else it was.
I tell people it was full on. And it was.
We drove a couple of thousand kms on the wrong side of the road, through ice, snow, sleet, pouring rain and glorious sun... we stood in countless airport queues, removed our shoes, got patted down, fought for seats, and had four to ourself on the flight home, so we stretched out and slept.
We took 2 ferries... no, 3 ferries! We played cards, watched Criminal Minds in a dozen hotel rooms. We made jokes about the sheer ridiculousness of King sized beds, and how we lost each other in them. I cried over dinner, we taught Bananagrams to our family. We met cats, horses, a llama, dogs, eagles, otters, children, teenagers, brothers and sisters-in-law, friends and random people in airport lines. We searched for moose and didn't see any. We ate breakfasts, stole bagels for lunch, shared dinners and had terrible service because of it. We ate about a hundred bagels between us.
We shopped.
We shopped for boots. So many boot shops.
I lost a magnet that I then cried over losing. Then I found it. Then I lost it again (and still haven't found it again). We walked cobbled streets, J-walked, ran, hunched against rain and wind, sunk in snow, slid on icy trails, went under and overground. I took about 57 photos of squirrels, fat, thin and white. And about the same amount of photos of seagulls.
We saw landmarks but didn't pay for the privledge of entering them. We did a lot of things by the cheap, for free, or just refused to pay (honestly Parks Quebec? We're not paying). We discovered the joy of included breakfasts and still had oatmeal. I became thoroughly addicted to coffee. We ate national or regional 'specialities' - Poutine in Quebec, Tim Horton's all over Canada (best doughnuts ever), a 'butter burger' in Madison, WI, deep fried cheese curds (also Madison, WI)(and OMG delicious), a Criff dog in NYC, bagels in NYC, falafel in NYC... in fact, we just ate a LOT, in NYC. A&W burgers in Canada, pretzels and canelonis from the Green Market in Union Square (again, NYC)...
We contemplated the future as we knew this was our 'scouting trip' of where we wanted to live one day. We watched as our plans for Montreal and QC went down the drain as we intensly disliked the province, and contemplated Vancouver and BC.
I metaphorically fell down, Nic metaphorically picked me up. I planned, Nic fixed. We were barely a moment apart, and if we were, it was in clothes stores where we'd meet up in change rooms with the catch-cry "Bananas?!", people be damned if they think we're weird.

Then we came home.
And we rearranged the lounge on our first day back, after 36 hours in Transit (SEA-PHO PHO-LAX LAX-AUK AUK-MEL Sky bus, train, drive home). After all, what keeps you awake and active like a bit of unpacking a bookshelf, sliding it to every available wall in the loungeroom on towels, finally agreeing on a place, and re-packing and arranging it? We visited kittens. We tried to sleep in, but woke up at 5.30am as our body-clocks figured it was 8.30am (very strange time difference). We tried to get used to being home, to walking Mallei, to shopping at the supermarket again... to not having somewhere to go and something to do and see every single day. To unpacking, sorting through photos and trying to select those which would best represent everything that we'd seen, and the more I uploaded and selected, the more I felt the trip condensing down into those little moments- the moments which probably meant least of all. They weren't the first glimpse of mountains as we drove up the Sea to Sky highway, or the moment Margo and I saw each other through the window of the Moroccan restaraunt, or the mad attempt to navigate Boston's freeways, or me layering up in literally 6 layers of the warmest stuff I could find just so we could go for a Post-Thanksgiving walk in -10C Madison... They were snippets of time, of scenery that I could fit in a frame... And it's not that I don't love the pictures I have, but I suppose I wish they were more. Maybe I'm just too used to them, having gone through, edited, gone through again and flagged, gone through to upload, to show Mum, to show Nic, until I forget about the rest of them...

And we've been trying to get used to being us again. To not relying on one another in the same way. To not looking forward to every single day the way that we were. To having no money, to paying off credit cards and bills, and going back to work and not being together all the time. We got a kitten last wednesday (08/12), so we're trying to fit this ball of fluff into our routine. It's proving more difficult than I thought because she's adorable... so we have to be careful not to ignore Mallei... which means we end up zoning out from each other. And that's been really hard. But we're ok- we admit these things to each other, and then we feel better. I feel in a way that we should have waited to get the kitten, Reya, but she's perfect- she's exactly what we wanted from a kitten, and hopefully she'll grow up to be what we wanted from a cat! It just means that our 'going back to routine' has been interupted and changed...

It's funny because I thought on the trip that being on the trip would be the hardest part for me and Nic. The stress, strain, and constantly being with one another would be bound to cause a fight. And it didn't. Not once. I got so tired once and was being picky about what to eat that we got annoyed at each other in the supermarket and that's when I cried... but it was ok. In the grand scheme of things it was absolutely nothing... It's been coming home, settling in, being 'normal', not adventuring that's been hard.

I've been reading APW a lot lately from work, and there's a lot of discussion about weddings and the marriages that follow... And I think it's probably similar, in a way. You have such a huge lead up to this amazing, fun, incredible event, then you probably have a Honeymoon, which is great, and fun, and amazing... and then you go back to 'the real world', and deal with work, and finances, and stress... and you have to get through that and make it work. That's what's happening now.

And I'm still in two minds about this wedding. I would love to have my idea of a wedding- the fun, relaxed, outdoor, breezy, tree-surrounded event with family and friends smiling and dancing and singing around a bonfire... but I don't feel that much love from my Mum's side of the family right now... and Dad's side are everywhere in Australia, and Nic's family are just -everywhere-, and my family won't meet Nic's family until wedding time, which isn't that big a deal I suppose... And then I don't feel like I have enough close friends. I have friends, sure. And I'm sure they'd be happy to come and have a good time... But I read so many posts on APW about this great community, about everyone so happy and so happy to experience our love, and it's like an overflow of love, love love love.... and I just worry I won't have that.
When I met my sister-in-law-in-law-to-be, I told her that she, and Nic's brother (her husband) are the only married people I know. I thought of one other couple. And that's it. They are literally the only married people I know. Is it that I haven't experienced enough weddings to know how this is meant to go? Do I just feel insecure in my friendship circle? It's a lot about that, I know it is, because I feel like I've fallen out of touch with a lot of people, and after a while they just become FB status updates. I feel like I want more friends before I have a wedding.
When I have more time, and I'm back at Uni, I'll work on making that happen, somehow.

Maybe I'll truck along to some of those APW book club meetings! (Much to Nic's dismay)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

just let me have a moment to write...!

So much has happened since my last post.

I've finished Uni for the year, and whether I pass or not is yet to be seen. If I need to resubmit anything, I'll be overseas when I have to do it, which will be slightly problematic. I don't think they usually let you do that anyway, so here's hoping I pass.

Nic and I decided on Friday night last week (08/10) to go to the Grampians that weekend, totally smashing any of his plans for a trip to the Peninsula, and leaving us with very last-minute plans to leave Mallei with my ex (ironic, knowing we were going to the Grampians to get engaged) and head up there Saturday morning.
But head up we did, in high spirits. We went exploring in the Southern part of the Grampians, where we climbed the Picanniny, went to Dunkeld and checked out the Arboretum and the Royal Post hotel which holds wedding (too fancy and expensive for us, but still interesting). We were going to try and climb Mt. Thackary but the gate was seasonally closed so we couldn't get there. We had to cross two little streams in my car and it did so well. It's a great adventure city car. More on the car later.
On the 'Picanniny'

Dunkeld Arboretum

Emu's in a paddock driving between Victoria and Serra Ranges

Beautiful Australian scenery

The first stream crossing

As we headed back toward camp, I was reading the maps and saw that Mt. William was recommended as a place for great sunsets. It was about 6pm at the time, and we thought we could smash out getting to the top and maybe catch the sunset, if the patchy clouds hanging around didn't spoil it. Mt. William is also the tallest mountain on the Grampians, and we hadn't been there before. It promised great views.

As we arrived, a chill wind blew, but the sunset looked somewhat promising so we grabbed our jackets and tea gear, and started the walk. The path was steep but easy- it's a maintenance vehicle track that goes right to the top. Nic said later that even when we're old and unfit, we can still pull ourselves up the hill without too much difficulty. I'll get to that.
As we climb, the clouds start to roll in overhead more and more...
Views from the hike...

Clouds start to roll over... no sunset for us...
We climb higher, and meet an Indian couple who have given up on the view at the top. They say:
"Are you hoping to get to the top?"
I think: "Well, that was the aim of the expedition, yes..." They tell us it's cloudy up there, and there's no chance of a view. We push on, hoping we'll get above the cloud line, or they'll blow over.
Nic trucking on, all around us is blotted out by clouds. White white white.
We get to the top. There's a cold wind and clouds all around, making it feel like we're in Apline Victoria, particularly in the early morning. It's eerie and quiet, though there are a couple of birds singing. Nic starts to set up some tea, while I get photos of the nonexistant view. I suspect he's planning on 'popping the question' when I get back to him. He's been strangely quiet on the walk up, and I wonder how long he's been planning on surprising me by asking today, instead of tomorrow as we'd planned. I figure he's rehearsing his lines in his head. 

 Great views all round..

Nic getting the tea ready from a shaded alcove.

I head back and we have some tea. Nic is sitting thoughtfully. He says to me:
"You know how you like numbers?"
I should explain, when it comes to house numbers and dates, some are just cooler than others. 10/10/10 is cool... 08/09/10, also cool. To live at 123 Smith street, would be cool, as would 365. Nic explains to me that 364 is a pretty cool number (number of days since we met up in Paris).... and although it's foggy around, like the future, the path down is clear, like it is for us, and would I marry him? As he gets on one knee. So it wasn't exactly what I had envisaged, we were drinking condensed-milk tea, there was no view and fog, but often these sorts of comedy-of-errors are what define our relationship, which makes it somewhat fitting. As he said, this place where we were, was the highest in the Grampians, usually has an amazing view, and we can drag our asses back here when we're unfit and old. We took some happy snaps and made some movies (I haven't watched them yet) and stayed up there for a little while longer until I got cold, then we sauntered our way back down the mountain. 
 Happy girl with a ring on..
 Still cloudy... Nic made me laugh at something or other..

Our beautiful sunset...

We set up camp and made dinner, and had a camp fire. I gave Nic a book I'd written for him- it was our story until this point in 'Choose your own adventure style", something I'd started at about 1pm Thursday, and finished by 5pm friday, with work and class inbetween there. I'd probably worked on it for about 3 hours, and had written 47 pages, mixed them all up, and only managed to stuff up one link, go me. We read through that, then trundled off to bed. 

Next morning we decided to go on three short hikes to various places in the southern section of the gramps. It took a bit longer to get to than we expected so we decided to do two instead of 3. 
We went to these falls, I forget what they're called, and then to Paddy's Castle, both really nice places.
A wallaby friend at camp.

Little orange tent. You can't see too well, but there's a mountain in the background.

At the falls.

A stumpy-tailed lizard I swerved to avoid, then slammed on the breaks to go check out. He was in the middle of the road and I didn't want him to get squished, so Nic got a stick and pushed him to the side of the road. As you can see, he wasn't very happy about this treatment, but it was for the best.

 Up on Paddy's Castle.

Both of us at Paddy's castle. Some elderly people had clambered up, and took this photo for us.

We decided to head home, it was getting late and we couldn't be bothered going on the last walk- we were getting pretty tired anyway. As we drove off, we came around a corner and there was a roo by the road. We swerved to miss him, and as the road was very soft, loose gravel, we spun, over-corrected (I think), spun the other way, and careened off the road. We missed crashing in to a huge gumtree by not much, but crushed some saplings. The front of my bumper is looking quite sad and sorry for itself at the moment, as it had saplings jutting out from under the car and through the wheel arch. The sad thing is, even as we were crashing off the road, about to die or injure ourselves or whatever, all I could think about was how Mum was going to be so angry with me because I've smashed up the car.
Isn't that stupid? It's still in her name, as is the insurance, but it's my car. And I wasn't thinking; I hope we're ok. I'm thinking: I hope I haven't ruined this car too much because Mum will be angry with me if I have. 
But it was ok, I guess. It needs a new bumper, and new quarter-side panel, and a wheel alignment before I'll drive it again, but we got it back to Melbourne at least. It's in the driveway now and not moving.
Poor adventure car..

That being said, the car did really well to get us out of there alive, to not get smashed up too badly, and to still manage to drive us home on the freeways and not loose its bumper. I'll have to get it fixed when we get home from the trip, but I just can't do it right now. I wouldn't be able to book it in and get it back before we leave.

So that was my engagement weekend. And I've had thoughts and mixed feelings (not about being engaged to Nic, just about the whole institution) since we got back... I told my Mum (first about the car, then about the engagement), and she seemed surprised, but faked happiness (I didn't feel it was genuine but there you go)... and then I told my Dad, and he was great. He was actually genuinely happy for us. At the end of the call he said: "I love you", which he never does. Sally was also really happy, and called me back to say congrats. Nic's family was also really happy, and we just put it on facebook where a bunch of people have commented. One notable absence is my old 'best friend', who may not have checked/seen it (doubtful), or who just doesn't give a shit anymore. If he doesn't, good on him. In fact, good on him and Alex, and good luck to both of them. 

More about my thoughts next time I have time. Lunch now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

family & friends...

One of the things most concerning me about this wedding rests at the back of my mind... and it stems from seeing so many wedding blog posts where people say: We just wanted to have all of our family and friends have a great time, or our family came together to help with everything, or it was great to have our family all there celebrating our love.
And the concern I have is this: Nic and I both come from divorced parents. My Dad said he never wanted to see my Mum again, and he hasn't. He also said, he never wants to go to another wedding. Ever. Now, his partner Sally is lovely, and will get him to go, but geez. Then, Mum's also a bit weird about him, and she doesn't like Nic. Nic once made the mistake of innocently suggesting my very sick Grandpa may be better off in some sort of expensive home, so Grandma could stop being so stressed, and Grandpa could get the care he needs. I had forgotten to mention to Nic at this point that my family is very anti-retirement home (despite being about to invest in, and develop, retirement homes. ironic!) , and as such, the news was reported back to Grandma that he's obviously a horrible person, so now she doesn't like him either. Joy. Then there's Dad's side of the family, most of whom don't speak to one another for various reasons. And I don't feel particularly close to my brother. Hurrah. Then on Nic's side of the family, because he grew up in Canada with his Mum & Dad, he's only met his Granparents, Aunts, and Uncles a few times. His cousins he's probably only met literally 4 times. And I know, you don't have to invite these people, but some cousins have invited us to their wedding, so that could turn out a little messy unless you have something REALLY small, which I don't want to do... 
Then I feel like I don't have enough friends. Not friends who I'd care about enough to invite. Maybe like.. 7. How do people manage to get 100 people at a wedding?? So I'd be happy with like, 70... and I suppose with family it adds up... But even so. 
And while the idea of eloping at this point in time sounds really attractive, I also want to have a day where I get to be pretty, and dress up, and throw an awesome party, and get pictures taken, and tell everybody how much I love Nic and maybe for my Mum to actually see it. 

I think her problem at the moment is that she tends to suck the life out of me. No kidding. She mumbles on an on about her parents, and her life... the other day she asks me: "So what's new in your life?" And I told her, "Nothing too much, work, uni, just finished rounds at school..." and she doesn't even acknowledge the fact I'd said anything, just goes on about her dog... So I get a bit blah when we're together, and I have a feeling maybe she thinks I'm miserable. Maybe Nic's this domineering personality who is squashing my  fragile spirit and overpowering me. You know, exactly like her and Dad. She constantly asks me if I'm happy, and I tell her I am, but I can't make it convincing because I'm too busy being depressed by her. So maybe she just wants me to be happy, but can't pay enough attention to me to actually hear about the cool stuff Nic & I do. She always asks about his job (which is a shit, fill-in job till he joins the police or something), and then nothing else. 

Sorry, this has become a bit of a bitch-fest. It's just... I never thought I'd give my future husband one of those mother in laws... and I never thought I'd be a) worried about telling Mum I'm engaged, or b) want to tell Dad before Mum.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

rings & dresses...

Yesterday was very exciting.

As I wrote last time, we went and picked up the ring. Now I just want to wear it, but it's ok, I can wait a week. I can wait. I can wait. I can wait. It's so pretty and I love it, and it's just so perfect. I'll post a picture after next Sunday.

Then, as we were in the City, we were quite near the "Brides of Melbourne" shop- the biggest one in Melb (Victoria?), and also obviously quite the commercial, typical one. Fairly sizeable range. It's so funny looking at dresses on the rack, because you so can't picture them ON... The problem I have with most of them is that there is SO. MUCH. BLING. So much beading and details and it's all too much, and looks heavy and overdone. To me. I'm not saying I don't want ANY detailing, but not as much as I saw.

But I did try on probably about 8 dresses. The poor saleswoman was doing her best to sell me dresses which I didn't want, because I KNOW what I want, and although most of the ones I tried on were really lovely, and some were REALLY lovely and made me look quite pretty, they didn't have everything I wanted, and were too expensive. It was very hard to turn her down, but I suppose that's her job as saleswoman. I kept trying to tell her we're really only looking today, not looking to buy, the wedding isn't for 19 months, I just want to know what styles fit me, etc... It wasn't until I started telling her about the fact that I've been drawing my own dresses at home, and that I have such a solid idea of the aspects I want, that she started backing off, and instead tried to sell me on the quality of the material. And look, that's fine, but at the end of the day, if I save some money by having less high-quality material, but it looks just as good, who cares? Nobody's going to look close at my bust (except maybe Nic) and comment on my lack of Swarovski beading.

Regardless, my ideas are coming together now. I've decided a sweetheart neckline is probably the way forward (surprising myself), possibly with spaghetti straps... I'm also very much an hourglass figure, but only half as va-voom if I loose the shape of my hips under a dress. Therefore, the cut needs to be figure-hugging to below my hips, sort of like a mermaid. I've also decided that I really LIKED my figure, which is good because I was mainly worried about looking fat. I also want a tie up back. Very much.

Here's a picture of the design I'm currently playing with. Sorry it's not much but it's good enough for now, and I understand what I'm talking about. Re: the skirt (most important part for now, the tricky bit of mixing 'whimsy' with 'shapley'), I picture satin underneath in kind of a loose mermaid shape, so close to the figure till about mid thigh or just below, then dropping straight (?), with a layer of chiffon or soft tulle over the top. I've put a picture of a dress from Badgley & Mischka below, ignore the top half- it's the look of the skirt that I'm loving..

Isn't it amazing though the terms and information you pick up while doing big projects? I've learnt about all different fabrics, necklines, dress shapes... and for the trip, about different places, cultures, websites for bargains, etc.... This is why it's SO important for students to have the same experience- planning a big, authentic, meaningful, REAL project... And putting those skills to actual use. But that's for the other blog, not this one. ;)

 Um, so, yeah. On my design... well, it all makes sense to me. It's annotated, but really scribbly so I figured it wasn't worth putting in the photo. The waist line is the higher one as I figured the lower one was too low. There's a lace panel down the side of the skirt, and lace detailing/flower/lace-type appliques kind of trailing up like vines almost. Um.
So there we go! Hurrah!

Nic and I are going to see a psychic show in about an hour. Looking forward to it!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I'm meeting Nic when he finishes work this arvo at 4.30, as a friend is having quitting-work drinks at 5.30...
That gives us an hour to kill...

We're going to pick up the ring!!

It's now about 24 days until we leave on our trip- well within the required 30 days so we can claim the GST back at the airport (10% of the cost of the ring, hey, extra cash is always helpful).

Now I just have to wait 10 days until it's 10/10/10 and he'll officially ask, and we'll be 'official'!!!

Whoo hoo!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

what do we have so far?

Two posts in a day, lucky.
I just want to inundate you with some of my favourite images that I've found so far, and then I should do some Uni assignments. This is where I'm at with my inspiration. Unfortunately I can't remember where I got all my photos from, so I'll just credit my favourite blogs: once wed, polkadot bride, a practical wedding, style me pretty.

Colours & Flowers

Pretty purples, and I'm torn between sort of the red/plum, and the aqua. I do love aqua though.


So let me see if I can figure out where all these came from...
Top two on left: Lea Ann Belter, Kaitlin dress. I like the bodice, and I like the look of the movement of the skirt, though it would probably be a bit 'much' for me, and the train is huge- I don't want a train. But I like the interesting back, too.
Bottom left: Loving the cardigan over the dress, brilliant splash of colour. From Ruffled
Next left: Claire Pettibone, Chantily (I think). I like the silhouette, I think it would be great on my hourglass figure, though it's a bit too much lace. I also have a real love affair with cap sleeves. I do love lace, though, I think it's so romantic and feminine, but maybe in moderation.
Middle: I decided to look on Etsy, as I thought there might be some unusual/interesting/pretty stuff on there. I like the simplicity of this gown, though I don't know what material it's made from... This is the Sarah dress, from yourfairytalewedding. She does custom gowns too, which I'm super excited about... Apparently this dress can be made with pretty much any material, and corset back. I really like it, though it is very simple, and I don't know how flattering it would be on my figure. Hmm.. But it has pockets, too! Cool stuff.
2nd from right, top: Ahhhh... Claire Pettibone again, the Lalique dress, but with the bodice flower removed (how I would pefer it). I love this dress, though I could never afford it. Or wouldn't want to spend that much, anyway. I love nature things, so this fits right in. The silhouette looks gorgeous, too, and would probably be quite flattering, and it looks like it moves beautifully, too...
Top right: The Tyler dress, from Brides of Desire. There's a lot going on here, but it's surprising how much I like it. A bit of lace on the bodice, nice body-fitting silhouette, a flower there, and flowing material.. yup, that'll do it. Should be able to try this one on in Melbourne, hopefully.
Bottom right: the Tradewinds dress from Dress of Your Dreams, an online store based out of Sydney. The back is low, and lace-up, and there's lace cap sleeves, and a little bit of lace on the bodice. Pretty! Simple! Wish I could try it on. Wish I hadn't found it on a Chinese wholesaler website as well. Hmm...

So I think there's a bit of a theme here anyway; flowy, romantic, whimsical, a little bit of lace, but not too much, flower/nature motif if possible, keeping in mind my cleavage when it comes to bodice, accentuate the waist, not too overstated. Yeah. 

I think that will do for now. I'm going to make a list of my favourite blogs & sites now, then do some Uni work. If you stumble across this blog and know of any other designers (especially Australian) that I should check out, please let me know. :)

Welcome & Introductions!

Since I had to keep my 'about me' section rather brief, here's the somewhat expanded version, for anybody who cares!

I already have a blog about education, so I thought I'd make my life twice as blogworthy and make one for the rampant wedding planning I seem to be doing.
Here's the story: Nic and I met when I was 16, in Highschool. He had a crush on me for forever, but I didn't. He told me this at a going away party before he moved to Europe for 5 years, and 5 years later I decided to travel to that side of the world. Cue romantic 24 hour meet up in Paris, etc, etc, a month later and he had moved back to Australia to be with me. All together now: Aaaw. That's the abridged version, anyway. The full version is much more interesting and sweet, but you get the idea.

After being together for not-very-long, we came to the very rational decision that we liked each other, a lot, we made an amazing team, we completed each other, and what-the-hey, we should get married! So one day we went 'ring looking', though we hadn't officially decided anything yet. While we were doing this, we liked the experience so much that we decided to keep doing it until we found 'the one' (I know, I know, but really we did- I stopped looking when I found my ring). So at the moment I'm pre-engaged. The ring, although it wasn't expensive, was still much more than Nic could handle comfortably on his Telstra call-center wage, and I felt bad anyway because he would have to spend so much on something that only I got to wear? I didn't think it was fair. So, we went halves. And I feel better about that. It's like starting off this journey on equal footing, rather than him having outlaid all this money on me and I 'owe' him, so we have to get married. Or something. It felt archaic. I mean, the whole thing does, but I still wanted a ring (and never had before, how strange)
. So I know when he's going to ask- I don't know how or where, but that's ok. We're not traditional, so knowing in advance (10/10/10, here we come) is fine by me.

The wedding won't be until at least April 2012, but I've been looking around for a few months now, mostly at wedding blogs. I seem to go through various obsessions- this week is dresses. With our trip to North America looming, I thought I'd look and see what bridal stores were in NYC. It all sort of spiraled downhill from there to the point where I began designing my own dresses- sketching them, I mean.

But here's what I'm picturing so far:
Outdoor reception with a close friend of ours, or Nic's mum as the officiator, very casual, loving, no formal vowels, all written ourselves, a ring-warming ceremony, not being walked down the aisle by my Dad, a first look before the ceremony. As we leave, guests will wave 'yay' flags. At the reception, long tables, simple decorations, possible a purple and turquoise theme, with splashes of golden yellow and chocolate brown- sort of like peacock colours but not quite. A first dance. A non-traditional 'cake' - pies, or tarts or something. Hay-bales or couches for lounging on, possibly a bonfire or campfire at the end. Light, love, joy, colour. A wedding on a budget, somewhere surrounded by trees, hopefully with hills in the background. Non-matching bridesmaids, and the more I think about it: a dress I designed myself. Or otherwise something pretty, but understated- not a big ballgown or layers and layers of ruffles and frills. 
And that's where I'm at so far.

Be prepared to be bombarded with wedding pr0n, loving adulation for Nic (nowhere else to put them), stresses, woes and revelations.

Please comment, question and capitulate (now I'm just trying to look wordy) and stick around for a while. It's a long way until April...