The wedding bells, they are a’ringing

“When are you getting married?”

If I were to create a FAQ for the mister’s and my relationship, this would be the first question we addressed. We’ve heard this question almost the entire length of our relationship and the answer was always the same, “We’ll let you know when it happens.” I’ve alluded to this a couple of months ago, I’m happy to finally reveal that yes, a wedding is happening. Next year in fact. In May.

So, uh…we’re engaged!

Now, our engagement story is befitting the nature of our relationship. It’s…different. Different in that there hasn’t been an official proposal with a ring yet. We’ve known for many, many, many the years that we would be getting married (that’s the reason why he gave me the promise for our first anniversary) and we’ve talked about it constantly. It was going to happen; we just didn’t know when. So when the mister moved out here in March, we knew things would start moving towards that goal. After several more discussions, we decided to just go ahead and get the ball rolling. So we picked a date and have been planning all summer.

Yes, we’ve been engaged since May and I’m just now announcing it. I know it’s a little strange but at first I wanted to wait until we had an actual proposal story to share but now that we’re closing in on 8 months until the big day, we realized that we would have to start telling people anyway since we need to get addresses and send out invitations. It would be a little weird for our friends to receive an invite to a wedding they had no idea was happening. And I’ll admit that I was worried about what people who say when they heard the news and I didn’t have the typical proposal story. It’s silly because a ring doesn’t make us engaged; the fact that we’ve decided to get married makes us engaged. Plus, this way just makes a lot more sense for us.

It took me a little bit to come to that conclusion, many thanks to the mister’s constant reassurances. He’s great like that. I should marry him. Oh wait, I AM!!

So there will be a proposal story in the future and I’ll share that when it happens. But until then, we’re prepping and getting things in place for our May wedding. I can’t believe I’m writing that about myself.

Of course I’m blogging about it so you can check out the wedding planning posts here at lovetalda.wordpress.com.

We’re getting married!

The end is only the beginning

Hello (hello…hello…hello)!

See what I did there? It’s an echo. Because…you know…I hardly ever post…Oooooh-kay.

So there has been some exciting changes going on here and I’ll just cut to the chase: the mister has made the move to California!

He’s been here for 3 months now and we’re all settled into our new, normal routine. The transition was a lot smoother than I was expecting (and preparing for) but I’m definitely glad it went as well as it did, especially considering the alternative. The biggest adjustment for me has been not automatically accepting invitations but checking with him first. I’m so used to just deciding what to do but in the beginning I had to remind myself to check first before responding to an invite. And the biggest adjustment for him is, well, being in California.

The first couple of weeks felt like a regular visit so it wasn’t until we hit the third week and realized that we wouldn’t be going to the airport anytime soon that it really started to feel real. It’s been really nice having him here and finally being a regular couple. I love coming home from work to him and spending time together casually. There’s no rush to fit in everything before the other leaves. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, there’s always tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow.

sfo sign

Waiting for him to appear was the longest how-ever-many-minutes-it-was of my life. The anticipation, nerves, and excitement combined to make the most potent mix of almost nauseous excitement. You know that special level of excitement where you feel like you could almost throw up or faint and then you get annoyed and frustrated because you just want it to happen already? That was me waiting for him to appear at the security gate. Oh how I wished we were still able to meet people at the gate!

But I managed to remain calm and carry on, he appeared, we hugged, I grinned like a silly little girl, and here we are, planning lots of adventures, discussing mundane things like budgets and career paths, putting together Ikea furniture, and sitting on the couch on our respective devices while kind of watching Family Feud. This is one of life’s pleasures.

After being together for the past few months, I can’t believe we spent 8 years apart. How did we manage that? Being a normal couple is fantastic and I’m so glad the long distance portion of our relationship is finally over. It’s been a long (long) time in the making.

Duchess Kate is my royal homegirl

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Also, I wish I had her hair

When you’ve been in a relationship as long as the mister and I have been (7 years and counting. Our relationship is a second grader now) people naturally become curious as to what your future plans are. When are you going to see each other next? When will you two move together? When will you get married? You know you’re not getting any younger, right? And neither are your eggs.

Someone once asked me what the hardest part of our relationship has been and I told them it’s been managing other people’s expectations. I’d spent the week before each trip priming people to not expect an engagement ring when I returned.

I was still met with disappointment every time.

It’s kind of like what Kate Middleton went through before her and Prince William became engaged. They were together for 8 years before he finally proposed and during that time, the media speculated on if and when they were going to get married, criticized her not getting a “real job” (outside of working part time as an accessories buyer and for her parents’ party planning business) and then unceremoniously (and rudely) dubbed her “Waity Katie.”

Yet no one wondered if they had discussed marriage before they reconciled (remember, they broke up for a few months) and set a timeline that they both agreed to. I don’t believe you break up with someone and then get back together without some serious “where is this relationship going?” discussions. Perhaps Wills wanted to get through his military training first and maybe she wanted to make sure she could handle the rigors of royal life before accepting. But no, all the discussion was about how pathetic she was for just waited around for him.

OMG, Kate. I totally know how that feels.

For the mister and I, we had to deal with the perception of us not being fully committed, regardless of the fact that we’ve stuck it out for 7 years and have been completely faithful to one another. We get criticized for not moving sooner even though there were several (several) layers to navigate and it wasn’t just as simple as packing up and leaving. People wondered if we were serious about getting married and would ever make it down the aisle.

But what they didn’t see was how the mister and I discussed every single aspect of our relationship. How we never shied away from discussing marriage and our future since very early on in our relationship. How we had several uncomfortable, and sometimes heated, conversations about moving and who would be moving where.How we cried, became angry at one another, and didn’t talk to each other for a couple of days. But we always made up and move forward together. We remembered that we were in this for the long haul and that we were what we wanted.

Not to say that I’m completely immune to the outside commentators. I feel bad for the mister because he doesn’t deserve that characterization. I know why it’s taken so long but whenever I try to explain the reason, people just nod as if I were naive. It bothers me but I have to remember that their concern comes from a sincere place that it simply based upon incomplete information.

And even though it may sometimes feel like it, at least I don’t have an entire nation (and world) awaiting our engagement news.

So…have anything you’d like to share with the world?

Six years strong

This week the bf and I celebrated our sixth anniversary. That’s 72 months, 312 weeks, 2,191 days, 52, 584 hours…okay, you get it:

We’ve been together a long dang time.

While we were driving down to Monterey in January [I know, still owe you a write up], I found myself looking over at him and marveling in the fact that we had been together for almost six years at that point, and for a few seconds, I kind of silently freaked out. Six years? SIX YEARS?! If our relationship was a kid, it’d be in the first grade! While I was freaking out, a sudden calm hit when I realized just how awesome this whole thing is.

Six years ago I was a skeptic, cynic and yet hopeful that I would have a love like this. I was doubtful it would happen, even joking that I would just settle for becoming a nun. That worked until I realized I wasn’t Catholic and so becoming a nun was no longer an option. Not that it ever actually was, but it was nice to have something there. I also was randomly concerned about my ability to being a girlfriend, as my relationships up until that point never lasted a month, and thus never required any real level of emotional support that a significant other typically provides.

But then I met the mister and things began to change. The transition wasn’t smooth, not in the least bit. We had a lot of learning to do about ourselves as individuals and us as a couple. I was no longer in a situation where I could think only about myself, which was incredibly difficult. Not that I’m completely self-centered but after 23 years of doing things my way, it was hard to step back and remember that my decisions were now affecting someone other than myself and that I would need to account for them. He had to adjust to someone with a very strong independent drive. There were new communication styles to maneuver around and expectations to meet. This was all so very new to me and incredibly overwhelming to me, that at times I felt that I was failing as a girlfriend.

Of course, I was not failing at being a girlfriend, but simply learning how to be one. Today, we still have our minor skirmishes but it feels so good to be at the point where I no longer am stricken with The Fear that any fight could potentially signal the end of our relationship, that we would work through it, talk it out and bounce back instead of simply giving up. It feels good knowing that I can think about our future and know that he’ll be there with me.

We’ve taught each other a lot of things and there are still many lessons left to be learned. Like, don’t touch or think of touching my stomach when it I’m nauseous or I might hurl. Or if he’s really serious about making sure we clean EVERY weekend. Um. Yeah. About that…

But through it all, he has been there for me and continues to stand by my side, to comfort, support, encourage and yes, even get on my nerves. I love him and he loves me.

Here’s to the first six years of our lifetime. I love you lovely.

Its like the Real World or something

I’m finally back into my supposed groove after a pretty busy spring quarter at school and a much needed and anticipated two week vacation visiting the bf. Nearly 14 days of unadulterated me and him time. All the time. No breaks.

A quirk of being a long distance couple is that since the majority of our visits tend to average about 4-7 days, we’re usually pressed for time and don’t really get the chance to fall into our normal mode. We’re on our best behavior because we’ll only be together for x amount of days and who wants to be all annoyed and mad when who knows when we’ll next see each other? Naturally one can only be nice for so long and eventually the real you is bound to squeeze out.

My real me typically involves lots of watching gratuitous amounts of television. And taking my sweet time shopping in stores. And bouncing around from roller coaster to roller coaster [story forthcoming]. And whining in inclement weather: within minutes of walking out of the airport, I start whining about the humidity. Seriously. Heat I can deal with, its the humidity that I don’t like. Who wants to walk around feeling sticky all the time? No this girl. Heat is that guy you hesitate to invite to the party because you’re not sure if he’ll bring Humidity with him. And you didn’t invite Humidity.You never invite Humidity.

But I digress. I also don’t really accept change that I don’t initiate very well. We had plans to visit my adoptive Michigan family but the day we had planned to go there were torrential downpours in the Detroit area. In all honesty, there really wasn’t an issue in changing plans but for some reason when the bf mentioned it, I was heartbroken. His reasoning made perfect sense but for some reason I kept thinking how rude it would be to cancel last minute and what if they had made plans for us?!

Of course the bf didn’t quite understand why I was being so pouty [truth be told, neither did I] and while we were discussing it, he expressed his displeasure and ROLLED HIS EYES AT ME.

People, I stopped in my tracks and stared at him. All I could think was, “Did he just roll his eyes at me?” And then I turned around and nearly cracked a smile because 1] he’s probably rolled his eyes at me before but I can’t see it over the phone or IM, 2] I realized just how stupid the whole thing was. I mean, I knew it would work out [and it did] but sometimes you feel things that just aren’t rational and you just have to roll with it until the end. That’s stubborn commitment right there.

Sure we walked out of the room slightly tense and went our ways but we came back and worked things out, which was really the point. But y’all, you know how I am amused that he rolled his eyes at me this one time? I don’t know if I’ll find it so novel in the future but hey, it worked this time.

I do have some more stories to share from my epic two week vacation that don’t involve sitting on the couch watching television, I swear.

One of which may or may not involve frogs’ legs and whether or not they taste like chicken. Chew on that.

Reflections of love

As part of the bf’s last visit way back in February, I arranged a photo shoot with Eddie as a surprise for the bf. Well, it started out as a surprise but I eventually had to tell him so he could dress accordingly. During my last Christmas visit in 2008 [I know, so long ago], I had noticed he was hovering around this photographer studio at Somerset Collection [yes, the fancy mall with two sides but only 3 jewelry stores. WTH?]. We didn’t take any pictures there but I thought it would be a great way to surprise him. In the five years we’ve been together, we don’t have that many pictures together and most of them are of the self-portrait variety. It would be nice to have professional pictures of us, so I floated the idea to Eddie and he was totally on board.

Fast forward to this year, we were able to score some time with the ever popular Eddie [check out his schedule. EVERYONE wants him!]. We met him on First Street in Benicia to begin our picture taking marathon. It was a little weird in the beginning, posing and being all lovey dovey in front of strangers who would stop to watch [one of the passersby actually congratulated us on our "engagement"] but after a while we forgot about them. We all had a lot of fun during the photo shoot, there were plenty of laughs and jokes all around. The photo cd actually arrived the day of my dad’s memorial service so it was a real extra joy on top of the day, and even though my family made fun of all the kissing and stuff, I am so in love with our pictures. I made sure to lay my claim on Eddie for our wedding. Again. And yes, it was at his daughter’s baptism on Sunday. I have no shame.

Looking through the pictures always makes me smile. I love just how natural we look despite being semi-posed in some of the photos. Though I think the best part are the pictures where we’re laughing because Eddie managed to catch us in a moment where we were actually talking or joking around.

So here are a few pictures from the day. Thank you so so so so so much Eddie!


This one is actually one of my favorites. You can see the wrinkles on my nose. I do that when I’m really happy.

Dear boys that came before,

Hi. I know it’s been years since we last seen or talk to each other. I guess this is kind of an anti-Valentine, or un-Valentine to you, but I don’t wish ill on any of you for anything that’s happen. I actually want to thank you for all that happened. It’s taken me a while to get to a point and think back to my past relationships and understand the lessons that were embedded in each encounter. You know what they say about hindsight and getting wiser with age and stuff.

But I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for everything you did. I know most of it was pretty crappy and I was pretty much left in tears after almost every experience [save for one] but it was all for the best. No really, it was. I’m a better person, I know it’s completely cliche, but it’s true.

So to the boys in high school: you were only the start of my boy crazed days, where I had a new crush roughly every school quarter. You taught me to have the courage to actually stand up and say, I like you, and own my feelings and not just sit around and be some giggly mess.

Oh, and to the other boy in high school with the crazy jealous girlfriend: thank you for that extra drama. Because you didn’t tell her the truth about your dating past, I had to learn how to deal with someone hating me for no other reason than the fact that I existed. From you, I learned how deal diplomatically with this person and the artful skill of putting someone in their place without so much as raising my voice. Just like in the movies! It was awesome. Plus it was a hilarious story that played out for weeks in my favor so again, thank you!

To the mixed boy: thank you for showing me that I am a desirable person and could be more than just the “friend” or the “sister.” But I also learned that there are just some things that you can’t overlook; there are some core values that, no matter how you try to downplay it, they will always be a big deal. We would have worked well together on the surface but there were so many important things that we did not see eye to eye on that it would have ultimately been disastrous, so thank you for breaking my heart when you did and not waiting. I didn’t understand it at the time [and told you as much] but I see the value in the early exit.

To the boy…oh goodness, this boy. Let’s just leave it at that. To that guy: I’m not really sure why we even happened. I know I was kind of in a weird place but I don’t even know what was really going on there. Anywho, what happened, happened and there were some nice lessons to be had from that experience. Thank you for making me feel so stupid about what I was doing that I vowed never to do that again. I know even now when I think about it, I cringe and shake my head because it was such a dumb thing to do. We’re all granted at least one “what was I thinking?!” moment and you were it. Thanks for showing me that I suck at playing “the game” and that I should never ever try to do that again. Also, I should never lower myself and my standards; they are high for a reason. I need those standards and I will never abandon them again.

From my dealings with you all, I learned that I there was someone out there best suited for me. That part of my life was supposed to be spent trying on all the wrong things just so I knew what the right thing would feel like. You gave me the motivation to keep searching for the right man, holding onto the hope that I deserved love and that I would one day find it. And when I did find it, I would do everything in my power to make sure I kept it.

So thank you for being so wrong for me that I was able to find the guy that was so right for me.

Signed,

Me

A November in Michigan

It’s been years since I was last in Michigan in November. It is usually just starting to get cold but the snow is still holding off for the time being and there is a crispness in the air. It’s the typical midwestern fall feel: the chill in the air, the leaves changing colors, hoodie sweaters and scarves and white hot chocolate from Caribou Coffee. Ahhh. I always enjoyed the Michigan fall.

IMG_3281Somewhere over Illinois…

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip with the bf, yes as always. It felt like it took forever for the 13th to come so I could finally go to the airport. Thankfully the flights were uneventful except for the fake Gucci bag lady [I mean, who do you think you're fooling with that purse?] who thought she could stuff her carry on suitcase under the seat. Um, no you can’t. Thank goodness the flight attendants saw that epic fail and took her bag to stow underneath. Because if I had to use the bathroom but couldn’t because her bag was all in the way, I was NOT going to be a happy camper. And last I checked, airlines aren’t so understanding about mid-air altercations.

Anywho, I was just glad to be back in my bf’s arms. As typical of our trips, we spent some time in Ann Arbor wandering around campus just because. I actually had to get used to there being students actually on campus. It was kind of weird, to tell you the truth. Especially since we were both older than everyone else. We spent Saturday afternoon on campus as well, taking in a somewhat warm day. The sun was out people! The sun! After coffee and scones on the Diag, we played a few games at Pinball Pete’s [where I was totally cheated out of tickets from the Skee-ball machine. WEAK], we made our way to North Campus in hopes of finding the Wave Field.

IMG_3286Brunch on the Diag

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After a few wrong turns [and a delightful trip through a random engineering building], we finally made it. While I have only been to the Wave Field I think once while I was a student, I hadn’t been there during the day so I wasn’t exactly sure where the field was located, except that I remember walking with a group of people from my floor down a street and turned a corner. Not exactly helpful [but I did eventually lead us to the general location!].

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Some of my favorite moments of my trip were the little moments: moments like sitting on the mound and talking about what we were going to do later that day and more talk of our future together [oh, so no there wasn't a proposal or talk of a proposal so don't get too excited], stealing kisses in the afternoon sun, cuddling and holding hands, playing with the little toy we won with our tickets at the arcade. There’s something extraordinarily special about being an ordinary couple.

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Oh the toy?

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Meet my newest addition to my growing collection of stuff: Pete, the eleduck.

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I’ve decided that Pete will be our official traveling buddy. He’ll be joining us on every trip we take from here on out and I’ll be taking his picture. I know it’s silly [and completely something I'd do] but I like it. So here’s his first picture.

We spent the rest of the weekend at the house with his family. He always apologizes for there not being much to do in Flint but I don’t mind it at all. To be honest, sometimes I really don’t want to do anything but just hang out, even if we’re just hanging out at home. I don’t always have to be doing something. That and I really love his family. They all make me feel so loved and welcomed every time I visit and I sincerely enjoying spending time with them as well. I feel very blessed that I can settle down and have a honest to goodness conversation with his mom. Yay for not having to deal with the in-law crunchiness that some people have to negotiate. And can I say just how much I adore his maternal grandparents? They are a hoot! Especially his Grandfather. I adore him, he’s so fun to talk to. I’m still amused how hard he is campaigning for me to move to Michigan.

We did catch “Where the Wild Things Are” and I was a little let down. I know there isn’t much to the book [which I still love] but the movie felt a little thin to me. The bf did not enjoy it at all. I looked over at him halfway through and I just KNEW he didn’t like it. Oh well. Not like I’ve never picked a movie he didn’t like before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time either!

On my last night in Michigan, we went out on a nice little date to a sushi restaurant on campus. We got dressed up and everything and had a nice time out. After sushi we ended up downtown at a Starbucks enjoying the last few hours of the night before turning in for an evening of Family Guy, The Office, and a new episode of The Seeker. What can I say? I’m a bit of a lazy homebody.

We’ll just say that Tuesday was the hardest day. I’ll have to wait a bit to elaborate on that because I still get a little teary thinking about it. Sigh. I love my boyfriend and I miss him every day.

But soon, soon we won’t have to say goodbye anymore.

This is a special kind of feeling

5 days and a wake up!

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Sure it took me a little bit to get out of bed but that’s always the case so that’s nothing new. But last night on my drive home I started thinking about the bf and our future and I was just flooded with the warm and fuzzies.

And then I heard a song that makes me so giddy and it brought tears to my eyes. Happy tears. Can you say someone was really feeling things yesterday? I have no idea where that wave of sentimentality came from. But I suspect it had to do with the fact that I was thinking about our future engagement and marriage.

Don’t get excited. It didn’t happen. Simmer down now.

But I started thinking about how I think I’d feel when it does happen and well, it just steamrolled from there. I can’t stop thinking just how blessed I’ve been to have the bf in my life and how happy he makes me. Even in our disagreements, because I know I’ve made him plenty mad on occasions and vise versa. And while things were rough for a little bit we’ve both emerged with a renewed spirit and fire to get things moving in the right direction. I think it was the necessary shake up to get things going, though I would have loved for it to come about in a much more favorable way but it is what it is and the most important thing is how we capitalize on this opportunity.

So I’ve been kind of floating on this euphoria this morning and I’m hoping it lasts through tonight. It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s one of those highs where even the usual suspects can’t knock me off of it. Life is good, folks. Life is good. Amen.

It’s just such an amazing feeling waking up and knowing that I’m one day closer to spending forever with him. I’m in such a lovey dovey mood today that I just want to cuddle in his lap and be all sweet and just tell him how much I love him over and over again. Like, I’d take off work just to stay tangled in his arms all day. The feeling is THAT serious. You know when all you want to do is be near and touch the one you love. That’s what I’m feeling.

And even though he’s 2,000+ miles away at the moment, it still doesn’t damper what I’m feeling. Le sigh.

People, I am in love and it’s showing.

Changing my stripes

I don’t follow my own advice or observations.

While I know I can be a bit of a handful at times, I am, for the most part, kind of easy going but I am proud and a bit rebellious, especially when I feel that my independence is being threatened. I become bitter and resentful even though I acquiesce. Sure I might actually eventually agree it was a good idea but either way, it’s not a good trait to have.

It has gotten me into plenty of trouble but it has also been my defense mechanism. A little outdated yes, but it was how I coped. With what exactly? A little bit of everything. I needed to have my rights, strengths and abilities acknowledged, yet whenever I was tossed aside, I could pick my head up, wrapped myself in my pride and think to myself, that’s okay. I didn’t need them anyway. And move on from there. It was often the only thing I had left.

But that attitude is self-serving and destructive if anything.

Is it wrong to want to my feelings to be understood and acknowledged? Absolutely not but there are proper ways of gaining that validation and it’s not going to be from reluctantly going along with the program while silently sulking. It won’t happen from brushing off others’ concerns while forcing my perception down their throat as diligently as possible. I can’t yell my way into validation.

I am a fighter. I always have been, carefully nurtured through various experiences but I can’t fight this way anymore. It’s a losing proposition and I’m risking way more than I could ever bear to lose. Instead of adapting to new environs, I’m trying to cram the world to fit me.

Nor is this about winning or losing. When I stop to think about it, there has been a subtle power struggle going on. But what’s the point in “winning” if I ultimately lose? My pride won’t be so comforting then.

So this is my way to letting go. Of letting go of that insane need to be right, of feeling as if I always need to be the leader, of insincere humility and rebellion. It’s been a long time coming and I know the road won’t be easy or quick or any of the lovely things we all long our personal changes can be made. There won’t be any snap of my fingers or magical poofs. It’ll be a learning process but a necessary, albeit late, lesson.

Last night I took that first step. I prayed that God shows me my path, that He breaks this age old spirit of pride and rebellion and teaches me what true humility is so that He is able to add to me what I thought I’d be losing.

I can’t change other people. All I can do is relate how I feel and hope they make the necessary changes. It’s up to me to focus on what I need to do to better my end. I need to let the ones that matter know just how much they matter. I need to just be and remember that it’s not a sign of weakness to allow someone who so desires to step in and take care of me.

It’s a sign of strength and trust.

We can do this together. And so it begins.