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!!!