Friday, April 30, 2021

10 Years

Today marks Adam's and my 10 year wedding anniversary.

To celebrate this occasion,
I am doing a little recap of our wedding day
(inspired by Natasha's last year anniversary post here
and Allena followed it up here

We got engaged in October 2009.
The actual proposal wasn't particularly significant
but the lead-up was kind of funny.

Two weekends prior, 
Adam went "apartment hunting" as his current lease was almost up.
I had something to do that day 
so he went on his own and sent me pictures of potential apartments. 
In actuality, he was shopping for rings 
and sending me pictures from online listings. 
I totally fell for it 
and the proposal was a total surprise 
(which I wanted). 
He also nailed my perfect ring
 (one solo diamond) 
so all around he got 5 stars. 

Currently laughing at my very dated french manicure acrylic nails.

Wedding Date
April 30, 2011

I had catered weddings for 5 years 
(the perfect part-time job in highschool/college) 
and after seeing literally dozens and dozens of weddings, 
I knew exactly what I wanted. 

A converted barn located 
at a golf course in Gilbertsville, PA
 (about an hour+ outside of Philadelphia)

The first floor was an enormous bar 
(see a night picture below under "booze") 
and the second floor was an enormous sunlit room
I love bright open spaces and fell in love the second I saw this. 

which was actually a problem for our photographer (shadows!)
but he managed just fine!

Number of guests
I had wanted 150 or less guests. 
We sent out 200 invitations hoping for regrets 
and we received the perfect amount. 

Black and Red. 
These are not traditional spring colors 
but they were exactly what I wanted. 

My shoes were my favorite part of my outfit, 
even more loved than my dress itself. 

Red rose bouquets for bride & bridesmaids 
and elaborate tall centerpieces for the tables. 

Given that my family is Christian and Adam's family is [mostly] Jewish, 
the pastor opted for the Old Testament, 
where both Christian and Jewish could relate. 
I don't remember anything he said, 
but I'm pretty sure it was from Genesis.  

I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel Canon in D 
and we walked up the aisle to "I'm a Believer" by Smashmouth. 

Given the short and relatively non-religious nature of our ceremony, 
there was no formal church music.

Walking down the aisle with my dad

Tons of hors d'oeuvres (the best part!) 

"Stations-style" wedding buffet 
(because I hate choosing just one plate 
and I like seconds).

And cheesecake for dessert, 
because 5 years of catering weddings 
taught me that I hate wedding cake 

Me stuffing my face in the middle of family photos

roasted vegetables and meat-carving station

salad & bread station

pasta station

We had an open bar, 
so yes, lots of booze. 

First Dance:
Every wedding has their "oops" and here's ours.  
Our first dance was supposed to be "You're My Best Friend" by Queen... 
but instead the DJ played another Queen song we'd NEVER heard of. 
Rather than correcting him, we just went with it, 
laughing as we tried to dance to this random song. 
Unbeknownst to us, one of my bridesmaids berated the DJ 
and he came to us nearly sobbing in apologies. 
We assured him we didn't care and it was fine. 
We did not write any bad reviews 
or complain to anyone. 
I mean it when I say we did not care. 
A few weeks after the wedding, 
we received a letter from the DJ company 
apologizing profusely for the mix-up 
and refunding us half of our payment! 

Cracking up as we tried to dance to this song we'd never heard before

Bridal Party:

5 groomsmen, 6 bridesmaids, 
and my littlest sister was junior bridesmaid. 

Adam and I had different methodologies for choosing 
which friends would be part of our party. 
He, for example, choose groomsmen that he had the most history with, 
feeling that they had been with him his whole life, 
they should be a part of his wedding. 
I, on the other hand, choose bridesmaids 
who I felt had a long future of friendship ahead. 
This meant that some of Adam's newer friends were left out 
while some of my older friends (like college roommates) were left out. 

I don't think either method is right or wrong, 
it's just different. 


We went to a cliché all-inclusive Sandals resort in St Lucia 
and it was the best decision ever. 
We ate, drank, and laid around doing nothing. 
We didn't leave the resort once. 
I cherished every second of it. 

Best Memories:

I think the hora was among the top. 
Ours was not a Jewish wedding, 
so I don't know who initiated this, 
but I was up on that chair and it was TERRIFYING. 

Adam's face says it all


Two regrets, 
one big, one little. 

The little regret
I wish we splurged for a band. 
Bands are expensive 
and we decided to cut cost by using a DJ. 
After 12 years of being a wedding guest dancing on the floor, 
I can say with certainty that weddings with bands are better 
and I wish we had one. 

The big regret: 
 I wish I had not obsessed over a lot of shit. 
There were so many things I cared about then 
that I can't even remember now. 
We had an all-out fight over the seating chart 
and in retrospect, it DID NOT MATTER. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Books I Read (April)

 Total Books Read: 2 in April. 
One book review below from March. 

This is a deceptive number 
because I read these 2 books within the first few days of April 
and have since been slogging through two tremendously long books, 
Obama's "The Promised Land" 
and a much older book called "The Source."  
Both are 800 pages and I doubt I'll finish either in May! 

Wilder Girls 
by Rory Power 

It was a strange book because it sucked me in, 
and I finished it in about 24 hours, 
but it annoyed me the whole time 
and the ending did not redeem the book at all. 
All the characters were unlikable 
(I'm uncertain who we were supposed to like!) 
and overall it was a waste of my reading time. 

If you follow me on goodreads, 
you know I gave this 2 stars. 
The only reason it didn't get 1 is because, yes, it was a gripping novel. 
But not one that I would ever recommend. 

The Duke & I 
By Julia Quinn

I loved this book 
only because watched the TV series ahead of time. 

Let me back up, 
this era of entertainment (books or tv) is not my favorite. 
(E.g. I am not a Downtown Abbey connoisseur) 
I only watched Bridgerton because 
a) a friend said it was like Gossip Girl (true!) 
and b) I had insomnia one night. 
That said, having watched, it was delicious scandalous trash

Thus, reading the book
 (which is, of course, is always better than the tv/movie) 
I pictured all the characters as they were in the show. 
Picturing Rege-Jean Page... SWOON. 
Picturing another white dude with blue eyes 
as described in the book? PASS

If you like the show, you'll love the book. 

** Book Review From March ** 

I read American Dirt in March 
but didn't want to review until after Book Club 
and I'm glad I waited!

American Dirt 
By Jeanine Cummins 

This book sucks you in and does. not. let. go. 
It was a heart-pounding, adrenaline rush 
read from the first page. 

There was not a single dull moment. 
On top of that, the main character is a mother 
with her 8-year-old son 
and I kept imagining me with 8-year-old Aaron. 

Ok, now to address some of the many controversies 
surrounding this book. 

This is a story not written by a Mexican author, 
or even of Mexican decent. 
If I was outraged that Jim Ferus, a white male, 
was writing from the perspective of a female (that here), 
shouldn't I have same outrage over this story-telling? 

My argument is no and for this reason. 
Jim Fergus in his writing reinforced a negative stereotype 
that continues to be a problem in America. 

A more similar comparison would be, 
in my opinion, 
the book White Fragility (review here). 
Lots of controversy over a white woman 
making money off the black experience. 
However, to me, White Fragility was a deeply educational book 
that opened my eyes to racism in our country.  
Honestly, it was easier for me to read 
because the author was white 
and thus was relatable to me, 
while still teaching me about hard things like racism. 

In a very similar way, 
American Dirt is deeply eye-opening to the plight of immigrants. 
Enough that one of my friends said it changed her whole view 
on immigration policy in America. 
That says a lot. 

On the other hand, American Dirt does reinforce a very big issue. 
The issue whereby we Americans believe 
"Mexico = bad.  America = good." 

For example, I wouldn't think of "American Dirt" as a book Trump would like. 
Because Trump portrays immigrants very poorly 
while this book portrays immigrants very positively. 
However, I realized Trump would hold this book in high esteem 
because the picture painted of Mexico is one of chaotic crime, 
of a barren wasteland controlled by the evil cartel, 
while America is the Promised Land to which Mexicans flee. 
Rather like the White Savior complex of the book "The Help," 
America is the White Savior of American Dirt. 

So... what do I do with these conflicting views? 

Fortunately, no one really cares what I think! 

I don't really know what I think 
and I would not want to be a professional book reviewer for this book. 
Would I recommend this book? 
Perhaps yes, but with a disclaimer?

Friday, April 9, 2021

10 Questions to mark One Year of the Pandemic

I know this blog is struggling.  
But I saw this from Natasha
and had to do it. 

1. What was life like in early 2020?

I had just had a baby in January 
and had taken the whole month of February "off" to rest. 
I didn't commit to anything or do anything. 
March was when I started to emerge from my shell 
and, honestly, it was hard
It was hard to switch my life from 2 mostly-independent kids 
to 3 kids where one is totally unpredictable. 
I remember feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the efforts. 

Then COVID hit.

2. What was the biggest change?  

The abrupt stoppage of all life. 
Aside from being annoyed at a few canceled events 
(Aaron's birthday, our trip to Florida)
I embraced it with OPEN ARMS. 
Adam was home all the time, 
critical as Carson just entered his colicky phase. 
I didn't have to worry about getting kids out the door. 
We just got to be

3. What were your coping mechanisms? 

To counteract the stress of the pandemic scare, 
Adam and I threw ourselves into a healthy lifestyle. 
We committed to a serious exercise routine 
and completely revamped our diet. 
We both gained energy and endorphins. 
It felt very empowering.

Additionally, I made COVID out to be an ADVENTURE. 
This was an exciting adventure in our life 
and we were going to embrace it to the full extent. 

4. What did connection in your relationships look like? 

My friends and I texted all day long. 
Multiple group text chains that just never ended. 
From the second we woke up, 
we texted every minute of our day. 

I know COVID was isolating for lots of people. 
But for me, I felt a renewed sense of fondness for my friends. 
It brought me closer to so many people, 
hearing their every thought of every second of the day. 
Every tiny annoyance, I would text it to a friend group 
and they would respond with their own barrage of little annoyances. 
I have very funny friends, 
and sometimes I'd be crying laughing. 

5. What will you remember most? 

Our family evening routine. 
(Our whole COVID routine here.)

Adam would come downstairs around 5, 
make dinner, 
then we'd have a game night 
(rotating who picks the game) 
and then go for a walk around our neighborhood. 

It will always be my favorite memory. 

6. What was the biggest challenge?  

Navigating misinformation. 

Social media influencers
 to news articles
 to whatever
the internet was just overflowing with misinformation. 
It drove me nuts. 

I understand there was a lot of uncertainty 
because scientists were still learning 
and so much was unknown. 

I did my best to keep my own personal sources to the CDC and WHO. 
But I still had to deal with friends and family 
(Adam included) 
who would exclaim: 
"I heard/saw/read that [x]." 

When "x" was little more than speculation. 

7. What was a beautiful memory? 

My long hikes with my 3 boys. 
I loved going back to our exploration roots. 
Finding new hiking spots, 
wading in rivers, 
getting dirty in the mud, 
driving home naked because they were so messy!
It was such a good memory. 

8. What do you believe now that you didn't one year ago? 

The impact of a global pandemic. 
I'd read about pandemics in history books 
but I just didn't understand. 
I don't think I believed it would ever happen? 
When COVID started, I thought it would be 2 weeks max. 

I also didn't understand how much can change in a few months, 
now I know to never be surprised. 
In January, Adam and I thought we wouldn't be vaccinated until the fall. 
And we just got our first vaccine a week ago. 
Things change quickly. 

9. What would you do differently? 

I don't have any regrets. 
I enjoyed the adventure as much as I could, 
and I'm glad I did. 

That said, I do want to emphasize again, 
that our enjoyment of COVID is 100% predicated on our privilege. 

I said this during COVID and I'll say it again:
We have the privilege of Adam working a salaried job 100% from home, 
with no reduction in pay. 
We have the privilege of me not working so I can handle kids all day. 
We have the privilege of a single-family stand-alone home, 
with a spacious yard, 
in an area filled with outdoor nature opportunities. 
We have the privilege of being a very healthy family, 
without significant risk factors for COVID. 

If even one of those things changed, 
I would not have enjoyed the COVID adventure like I did. 
We are privileged and am deeply grateful for that privilege. 

10. What will you carry forward?

We were unprepared for a disaster. 
I always kept a lean pantry 
and Adam was legit worried about our food sources. 
We have since dedicated a section of our basement 
to disaster preparation. 
Extra drinking water, shelf-stable food, emergency equipment. 
We may not survive a full zombie apocalypse, 
but we'll definitely survive the first week.