Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008--year in review

This is my last (and 127th) post of the year. Less than last year. I've read 17 books and am in the middle of two more. Slightly more than last year. Created the Life List and marked 6 things off it with progress on 3 more. Obviously more than last year. Traveled 123 days for work (including sites that are blessedly in town). Slightly less than last year. Here's how the rest of the year went down (per my Christmas card insert):

January—Started my training to volunteer at a local non-profit that helps children who have lost parents or siblings (and their parents). I’ve been doing this twice a month all year.

February—Turned 31 with fancy birthday dinner. First Valentine’s Day with the then Boyfriend (who was sick).

March—Went to Vegas with The Boyfriend (for my job and a little leisure). We saw our first Cirque show. Also, The Brother got married (without me having a nervous breakdown).

April—Was in my second wedding of the year. Went to Opening Day of the Astros.

May—My friend won a trip to Paris to see Madonna and asked me to go with her. My first trip to Europe! Later, I joined The Boyfriend on his work trip in New York City—Yankee game, Broadway show.

June—Some home improvement. Only two rooms left to do after two years of ownership. (What are the odds of these getting done in 2009 what with a wedding to plan and all...)

July—Pennsylvania for Independence Day. Great long weekend! Saw the Astros play the Pirates.

August—Weekend in Brenham picking and stomping grapes. A year of knowing The Boyfriend. Labor Day weekend trip to West Texas. Did not see the Marfa Lights but sled down the sand dunes and saw a drive-in movie.

September—Survived Hurricane Ike.

October—Sneakily set foot on the grass at Minute Maid Park. First Halloween party at my house.

November—Got engaged! Best. Day. Ever.

December—Headed to DC and Pennsylvania for a white Christmas, bringing the number of new states this year up to six (total up to 32).

I know that many people will look back on 2008 and remember negative things. There have been lots of negative things in lives around me. In my family. In our community. In our country. But for me, it was definitely the best year yet. By far. I mean, FAR.

Monday, December 29, 2008

um, hi. remember me?

It appears that I just fled to the great white north without saying goodbye. Without letting you know when I'd be back. Without wishing you a merry Christmas. Sorry about that.

So, I'm back. The Fiance and I left for DC on the 19th. We had a really good time visiting some of the memorials and museums and government buildings. It was very cold and we spent a lot of time outdoors. But that gave me a chance to wear cute winter clothes. We also visited one of my favorite people from high school which was really great (and long overdue). I wish they lived closer. Obligatory pics...

Doesn't it just look cold in most of those? One nifty thing was seeing some of the preparation for the inauguration--temporary fencing, bleachers being built. Also? Love, love, love the National Cathedral. Looks so European. And while we were there we got to hear the choir practicing. When they sang "O Holy Night" I had a few tears. It's such a beautiful song and they had great voices that were filling such a spectacular building.

We stayed till Monday and then drove to Pennsylvania where it was even colder. But there was SNOW! This was our yard (sadly, after the snow starting melting on Wednesday):
We went skiing on Tuesday. When I say "skiing" I mean that I only fell down once and threw myself down once (to avoid disaster) and only went down the ski school so-opposite-of-steep incline. But I didn't hurt myself.

Wednesday was fairly relaxing and Thursday was finally Christmas. We had a good day filled with good food and family and presents. We flew back on Friday and had a brief visit with The Fiance's family in Austin. Made it back home Saturday night and just hung out yesterday. It was a really good vacation filled with multiple "firsts" and quality family time and some rest.

I hope you all had a great holiday as well. Next up, 2009. Yikes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

last minute

I flew to Dallas this morning because I was supposed to be at one of my sites today and one tomorrow. When I got here at 8:00, I found out that my site wasn't opening until 11:00 but the winter weather warning had just been extended to 4:00. The weather (and traffic) was so bad here today that we just went ahead and postponed today's visit and I ended up working at the hotel. They're talking about frozen fog on the news. I've never even heard of such a thing. Yea for room service. Yea for not having to get out on icy roads in freezing temperatures.

I've also had a chance to try to figure out our Washington DC itinerary. I'm always so last-minute with planning... If you've been, what would you suggest seeing and what wasn't worth your time?

Monday, December 15, 2008

i'm an old man on a front porch

I'm still trying to not be sick. I know people say it is just an old wives tale that the weather can make you ill, but I give you this:

December 9th: high 78, low 46
10th: 46/32 with snow
11th: 56/33
12th: 62/32
13th: 71/38 (I don't believe this low but that's what the internet said.)
14th: 74/63

Balmy when we went to bed last night. When I woke up this morning at The Fiance's it was suddenly about 15 degrees cooler. When I drove home it was still balmy. Now? 50 degrees.

I know I'm going to be whining about the cold when we're up north starting Friday but at least it will be predictable. Freezing. Tomorrow? Freezing. The next day? Freezing. Freezing, freezing, freezing. And snow. Where God intended it to be--above the Mason-Dixon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the weather outside is frightful

But allegedly tonight The Fiance is starting a delightful fire. Literally, people; get your mind out of the gutter. It's rainy today and just above freezing. Yesterday? In the 70s. If I hadn't gotten sick before...

So, quick question for the day. For those of you who have planned a wedding in the past (or I guess this could apply to any big topic like childrearing, etc.), how did you handle people who had lots of advice? People with opinions different from your own? People who say "should?"

If you haven't guessed, this has come up multiple times already, and we haven't even gotten started with real planning yet.

Have I mentioned it's freakin' cold outside? I'm a wussy Texan (but perhaps that's why I live in Texas).

Monday, December 08, 2008

the same but different

Remember on Seinfeld? How George's fiance, Susan, died because of licking all those wedding invitation envelopes? Let's hope my incessant Christmas card envelope licking doesn't end the same way. They'll go in the mail tomorrow, people. Woohoo!

Also, lots of shopping last Friday so hopefully I'll be ready for the holidays. And of course I have a head cold. I think I'm feeling better. Hard to tell with the medication hangover...

In obligatory engagement news, I had to bail on lunch with the future MIL today because I literally had no voice. And? It took my ring finger a week to get used to the engagement ring. It now notices when it's gone. My pointer finger, however, is still feeling a little sad. It used to sport the left hand ring (for years) but now that seems to bling-y. One ring per hand. Poor, sad pointer finger.

(I said I was sick. That's as good of a post as I can muster today...)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

some getting used to

I've been officially off the market for about 3 days now. It's overwhelmingly weird. Don't get me wrong, I really couldn't be happier. Very exciting. Best year ever. But it's weird to think of what this means. And to have and be a fiance. To think about changing my name and combining households. To be able to live with the person I love. All of it.

I've been wearing my mother's ring for about 2 days now. Also weird. It's beautiful and I think it looks good on my skinny little finger. I've put it on briefly in the past just to imagine what it would be like (even well before I met The Fiance) but now it fits me. It's always been Mom's ring, though, and I wonder how long it will take for me to call it mine. When people ask to see it and compliment me on it, I just respond that it was my mother's. I'm not sure why I'm compelled to say that.

And I have no idea why--maybe because my mom wore this ring all day everyday--but when I look at my hand I can see hers despite not sharing any genes. I've thought about how it probably only looked this good right when she received it 46 years ago. I wonder how she felt with it on her finger. I wonder if she had the same hopes. I know she didn't have the same long wedding-planning road ahead of her.

I haven't really cried yet. I've been on the verge of tears several times but they haven't broken through. I know this whole process is going to be overwhelming and I'm going to wish she were here. And I know I'm going to drive everyone insane with my incessant wedding talk. Just tell me when you've had enough. I promise we can talk about something else.

Monday, December 01, 2008

the engagement

We woke up yesterday with the titles of Boyfriend/Girlfriend for the last time. It was a slow, easy start to the final day of a good long weekend. We piddled around, he setting up a wifi connection in my office and me working on Christmas cards that remain unfinished. Did some laundry. We were planning on doing a little Christmas shopping since our preparation has been condensed by a week because of our pre-holiday travel. Set out to start our errands...

He had mentioned that he wanted to go to the rum distillery (first one in Texas) that's about 10 miles from here. That was our second stop. Neither one of us had been there. It was supposed to be the site of our first date but the distillery was still too new for tours back then so we had settled on lunch (and endless chatting) instead.

On the way there, I reached into the glove compartment to get my GPS and there was a towel in there. Since I hadn't put it there, I asked him what it was and if I needed to be concerned about him smuggling drugs into my car. He told me not to open it and I didn't. When we got there, it turned out to be a plain, metal building at the end of a not-too-scenic street. Not very romantical. So he got back in the car (I never got out) and we drove off.

I mentioned that I wanted to drive by the water to see if the restaurants were still there (post-Ike). They were. He ended up parking by the water and we got out into the much more blustery day. We walked down by the water and onto the newly rebuilt pier. It was just too cold and windy to stand out there so we walked back to the car. He opened my door and then reached in to the glove compartment to grab the towel, took out what was inside, and was on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I said yes.

And I thought, "That's it." Not that's it as in "that's all" but more like that's all it took to change both of our lives forever. That's it like you're waiting for a milestone birthday and all it takes is for you to go to bed when you're 29 years and 364 days old. You wake up the next morning and you're 30. That's it like he asked a question and I answered. How many times had we done that before? It seemed so simple.

I'm still surprised that I didn't make a joke or hesitate or feel like I needed to throw up or anything. "Will you marry me?" Yes.

So the cool part (because, you know, that wasn't cool enough). About a year ago we had talked about the fact that I just wanted Mom's rings. At some point, I showed him where I kept them and he could just steal them as needed. I was pretty good about not checking to see if they were gone until we were evacuating from the hurricane. I grabbed Mom's jewelry box (which is one of my few absolute items to save). Turns out the rings were gone. Amidst my already frantic state, I had a little panic attack. In a good way. But I didn't tell him I knew they were gone.

He had taken them to his mom's jeweler to have them cleaned up and re-pronged. They look fantastic. He also had them make a duplicate of the engagement ring. He put that inside of a snowglobe (which I've been collecting for a few years) that he had ordered online and filled with sand from our trip to west Texas. That's what was in the towel. That's what he presented me with while down on one knee. That's what he told me I had to break in order to get the ring. I didn't really think I'd have to break it. I figured that he had to have put it together; he could take it apart. But it was cold so I asked if we could get in the car. Then he showed me the real rings. Mom's fingers were bigger than mine so we dropped them off yesterday for resizing. I'll get them today. And he can put it on my finger for good this time.

I love you, Fiance.