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?

That one time in the woods

So remember way back when when I talked about being a tourist in my own state? I finally was able to cross off one of those places!

This past August, my company held its annual retreat in Oakhurst, which is in the middle of nowhere California but also a mere hour and a half from…dun dun dun…Yosemite National Park!

The house was lovely and we had a great time (even after I abandoned the mister with my coworkers for half a day so I could play golf with a few other coworkers). But I was so excited to take a side trip to Yosemite and I was only slightly disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong; the park is absolutely gorgeous. I just couldn’t get around how beautiful everything was and I kept remarking about how I just wanted to take pictures of everything. The entire park is postcard-worthy. But you can’t live behind the view finder so I eventually packed the camera away so I could actually enjoy the park.

We walked around for a bit and then rented bikes and rode from one end of the park to the other. I made jokes about the bears, we saw a mountain lion run across our path a safe distance away from us, I marveled at how the wild squirrels were so much smaller than their Ann Arbor cousins, and I tried to lobby the mister into trusting the general public to not steal our rental bikes so we could hike towards Mirror Lake and get a peek at Half Dome. It didn’t work.

So what could possibly be so disappointing? There were no waterfalls. When we got to the park, we found a ranger who informed us that due to the dry winter, the waterfalls were not falling. And if there were any water, it would only be a trickle.

Cue sad panda.

So instead of seeing this:

Source: National Park Services

We had this:

Beautiful but still, no waterfall. Granted, Yosemite Falls is usually dry during the summer anyway, but the others were supposed to be somewhat active but were not due to the dry winter. While I did not get to see the waterfalls I always wanted to see, I’m very glad we still made the trip out to the park just for the sake of being at the park. Definitely an experience I am grateful to have had.

Besides, now I have the perfect excuse for a return trip!

Homeward bound

I’m on the verge of making some life-changing moves and I’m trying my best not to freak out.

Marriage and engagement has never been a taboo topic for us; it’s been something we’ve discussed practically since we started dating (okay, so it was since the second month). We knew we would be marrying each other; that has never been in doubt. He’s been upfront about his desire to be working and able to provide for me before proposing, which has made waiting slightly more bearable since I wasn’t constantly wondering if this moment was THE MOMENT.

I’ve always known that once we figured out where we were going to live and moved together, the engagement would be following soon after and then wedding. If it were completely up to the bf, we would be married within months of getting engaged, but thankfully I was able to negotiate for a little more lead time.

Now that I’m working, our location has been decided for us. So with the bf looking for work and interviewing, it’s really only a matter of time before we’re finally able to make that move. And once that happens, I’ll be faced with not only moving out of the house but also moving into an apartment with the bf, acclimating to being together all the time, getting engaged and preparing for a marriage. Practically all at once.

These life events are pretty daunting by themselves, but even more so when they’re bundled together into a neat little package. And of all the things that could probably make me nervous, it’s the moving into an apartment that is worrying me the most. You guys, this freaks me out because I’m a planner; I like to be prepared for things as best as possible, even if the plan is ultimately to just go with the flow and play it by ear. But this? I haven’t been able to prepare the way I’d like. While the bf and I had been slowly picking smaller items out for our apartment (and my mom’s helped to in the form of gifts), it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough and what I really want to be able to do is go out and get furniture (aside from the pieces I bought for my room with the express purpose of taking with me to our home), but I can’t because it doesn’t make sense if you don’t know where you’ll be living. I don’t even have the money to cover a security deposit (that fund was one of the victims of my unemployment).

So while the bf was talking about moving and stuff, I slowly began to unravel. I became consumed with the thought that we are not prepared enough. We don’t have dishes. We don’t have beds. We don’t chairs. What in the world are we going to sit on?

The bf spent rest of the conversation convincing me that we will be fine. We can easily purchase all the things we needed in a day or two (but ugh, it hurts just thinking about the cost of procuring all those items at once. I wanted to space it out a bit!) and assured me that he would not move me into a house only to have us sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags (which is good because I don’t own a sleeping bag anymore). I know he’s right: everything will work out and we’ll have all the dishes we could possibly need. But sometimes I can’t help but feel like I should be doing something, anything, to prepare.

In the end, I know I need to just relax and let go. Things will work out. We’ll have dishes, beds, chairs and everything else we’ll need. And most importantly, we’ll be together, in our home.

Our home.

Flying through tunnel vision

So way back in May [yeah, yeah, yeah. I know] while the bf was visiting, one of the things I was really looking forward to doing with him was going Indoor Skydiving.

Have you seen Hertz’ most recent ad campaign, “Gas or Brake” where there’s an odd couple of sort with the crazy, “up for anything” girl and the cautious guy? That’s us. I’m down for doing almost anything and most of the time he’s looking at me and really only able to shake his head in response.

One of the things I have always wanted to experience is skydiving. I had a chance to go many moons ago but couldn’t due to some scheduling conflicts; read: I couldn’t get the time off work.

Needless to say, he is not enamored with this idea like I am. He doesn’t want to risk the chance of losing me, since it’s not like it’s the most safest of activities that I could presently be obsessed with. I fought it but eventually agreed to put my skydiving dreams on hold for the moment.

In the meantime, I came across a Groupon for Indoor Skydiving at IFly and figured this would be a great thing to do together. Plus, it’s like skydiving! without the diving! IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE!!

Yes, that was a work-around to my previous compromise. We all knew exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t fooling anyone. Thankfully the bf loves me and tolerates a good amount of my nonsense. I must remember to watch my level of nonsense from here on out. I also feel like I was working towards a debt ceiling joke [haha, how topical!] but it’s just not getting there. So let’s just imagine that I did and all laugh and slap our knees while remarking at just how clever I really am.

I didn’t know what to expect but we both had a great time. They have you arrive early to register and also give you a chance to watch other people as they take their turn in the wind tunnel. It was fun watching everyone take their flight and helped to prepare you for what to expect when it was your turn.

After a quick video orientation, we suited up and loaded into the jump area to await our turns. The package we purchased included two one-minute flights and a DVD of the session [which includes EVERYONE in your group]. I was a little nervous about the bf enjoying himself but he ended up having a great time!

It took me a few seconds but I got my bearings and did pretty well during my time in the wind tunnel. Towards the end of your second flight, the instructor hangs on and takes you up high into the tunnel. It is at once thrilling and exhilarating and a little scary. That was my favorite part [duh, right?]. On my way down I had a huge grin on my face.

I would totally do this again, and if you need more of a reason [because I would do a lot of things again] so would the bf. If that’s not enough of an endorsement, I don’t know what is. Just do it.

I wanted to include the edited video the bf made but I’m having trouble getting it to play on Vimeo. If I get it working, I’ll add the link to the post.

*All photos courtesy of IFly SFBay

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.

Dear Kermit: I’m sorry

One of the bigger highlights from my “summer in the Midwest” adventure was eating frog legs.

More accurately, I nibbled on a small portion of a frog’s leg.

I know what you’re thinking, how exactly did frog legs end up on the menu for a Fourth of July family BBQ? We’re not really sure but the bf’s aunt brought them along with a ginourmous cooler filled with fish. I didn’t know about the legs until I walked into the kitchen to see her cleaning the cooler contents and saw the sister playing with them.

People, the legs were connected to each other. Seriously. They looked like they could really small people legs! It doesn’t help any that the Aunt then started singing some song and making the legs dance around as if they were part of a chorus line.

Almost like this actually…

I was curious because I’m kind of reckless like that but apprehensive because I’m kind of scary like that. I was really curious as to whether or not it tastes like chicken like you always hear. The sister and I went back and forth on whether or not we would eat one, finally settling on if one tried it, the other would too. The family laughed at me since I was staring at the frogs legs for a  while, but that was just me sizing up the situation and making it a little less scary.

The aunt fried them on the grill and I finally worked up enough courage to try some [the sister had tried early but failed and the grandmother sampled some - if she could do it, how could I chicken out?].

My frogs leg eating twin

The verdict? They were okay. I maybe might try them again in a restaurant setting if someone else ordered them but I wouldn’t order them myself. They did have a slight chickenesque flavor to them but I tried fingering the exact taste but couldn’t. I was actually surprised that the bf sampled them as well, especially after he spent the better part of the afternoon refusing to do so whenever I asked.

At least I can cross this snack off my list of foods to try. I’m going to definitely earn that “Been there, Ate that” tshirt.


Yum?

How to eat an abomination

I lived in Michigan for four years and never had a good Mexican meal. There was one restaurant near campus that I attempted to like my freshman year but ruled out because it wasn’t cutting it and one quick franchisey burrito joint that filled the role of Taco Bell without the post-meal regret: it wasn’t special but worked in a pinch.

Now, I’m not saying there isn’t any good Mexican in the entire state of Michigan, so if there is a place y’all swear by, please let me know so I can try it out, but as far as I know, there is no good Mexican food in Michigan. Michigan being Ann Arbor and Flint.

Yes, I attempted to eat Mexican food in Flint. What was I thinking? I have no clue but I had developed the most intense craving for chicken enchiladas that I was desperate to satisfy and couldn’t wait until I returned to California. Which was the next day. Patience is definitely not my virtue. We’ve covered this many times before.

Anywho, so the bf’s mom took us out to dinner and gave me the honor of choosing where to eat. For a normal person, this decision isn’t hard, especially since there aren’t too many restaurants in the Flint area to begin with. But pose this question to me and since I rarely ever desire a specific type of food, I’ll furrow my brow, stare, hem and haw until someone else makes the decision because my answer of “Food?” [yes, with the question mark] is not helpful in the slightest.

I asked if there were any good Mexican restaurants and we ended up at Tia Helita‘s in Burton. I’m not sure when I became so particular about my Mexican food considering that I’ll happily eat at Chevy’s. To be honest, I probably don’t really know what “good Mexican food” really is but I sure do know when it’s bad.

My grievances with this restaurant is long: the decor is stereotypical of a tacky Mexican restaurant: random sombreros, plastic “Cinco de Mayo” beer flag banners and images of the Virgin of Guadelupe. Plus it was really dark for some reason. Probably to make sure you don’t know what you’re supposed to be eating. So the food. In one word: bland. Mexican food is about the flavor and the spice and the heat and I got none of that. First problem: they served their unevenly fried and salted chips with salsa and canned nacho cheese.

Let me repeat that because I’m sure your indignation was as riled as mine: CANNED NACHO CHEESE. Who does that?!

Second problem: the bland food. My chicken enchiladas were lacking in every department. The sauce didn’t taste like anything except red, the chicken wasn’t seasoned at all and dry. The enchiladas were overstuffed in parts that when I cut into them, I’d end up with a wad of chicken on my fork. The rice was dry on top and pretty bland everywhere else and the refried beans started out tasting okay but then weren’t tasting like anything. To be serious, I kept looking around after just about every bite expecting to see Gordon Ramsey to bust into the dining room and tell me that they were serving me old refried beans.

I felt like a real jerk for requesting something only to be so critical later. Thankfully the bf admitted he didn’t like the food either and we had a good laugh about it. I definitely learned one thing: next time I’m in a mood for Mexican food, I’m just going to go to Red Robin for a burger.

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.