Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Movies I highly recommend...

Two movies I've seen recently that I would highly recommend:







Anyone have a lunch pail?

In just 2 ½ short weeks I will be hitting the books and returning to school…AGAIN. You know when you applied for college and it asked you to list all of the schools you had ever attended and then said to attach more pages if necessary? Yeah, that note was meant for me. When I had to send out requests for colleges to send in my transcripts I nearly choked at the number of schools I had credits from – 7. YES, SEVEN. Granted I had credits from three of those before I graduated high school, but the thought of me having credits from seven institutes of higher learning and no piece of paper to show for it was depressing. But that’s why I was requesting the transcripts, right? Right.

As of January 4 I will be starting at The College of Saint Catherine (or St. Kate’s as the locals like to call it). It’s an all women’s (for the most part) Catholic (but very liberal) college a short 10-minute drive from our new apartment. I will be switching my major to social work this time and should graduate in like 25 years. Just kidding. I’m hoping to finish up in about 2 years, although it could stretch a little longer. I’ve been really impressed with all of the people I’ve met so far. Everyone has been extremely helpful and kind which are rare qualities to find at colleges these days (and trust me, after going to 7 other schools, I know what I’m talking about!).

I went to orientation on Saturday. After sitting through a BORING couple of hours of email, safety, and other “important” training I was able to take a tour of the school, buy my books, obtain my parking permit, and get my student id all in under 30 minutes. Not bad at all (even if the books for my first two classes cost almost $300!).

I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about school as it gets started and I start getting inundated with work…something for all of you to look forward to, I guess :)

Happy Holidays!

We got our Christmas tree up! Okay, so it’s been up for a couple of weeks. I’ve just been lazy and haven’t had a chance to write about it yet! After a little nudging from Lisa last year we picked up a tree. As I was opening the box this year I worried that parts may be missing and chided myself for not setting it up last year to make sure all was well. The worry was for nothing, though, as all the pieces were there and we were able to get it set up.

Tempers only flared for a moment when I was trying to put it in its stand and Kristin was laughing at the sight of me with my head buried under the tree and butt in the air instead of telling me if it was straight or not. She finally stopped laughing long enough to tell me that it was all wrong – too far to the right, too far to the back, too far to the left …after some more laughing on her part and a death glare from me we finally got it done.

The tree sat for a few days without any decorations on it. At my begging Lisa came over to help me decorate. I decided I didn’t buy enough decorations last year and hope to buy some more for next year to make the tree a little more festive.

Surprisingly, the cats have pretty much left it alone (maybe it had something to do with our attempt at trying to force them to be in a 'family' photo - see below - none of them were very happy with the whole process, and that might have scared them off a bit ;)). Occasionally they’ll try to bite at the lower branches, but it’s been up for a few weeks now and so far hasn’t been torn down or otherwise destroyed by the cats.

We put up a few of my nativity sets. I used to collect them. I remember seeing a news thing when I was 12 or so about some weirdo who collected them. She had like 300 sets or something. I decided I wanted to have more than her. I never made it past 75 or 80 sets before I gave up on that. Most of the sets are stored in boxes at my parents’ house. My mom keeps telling me that she’s going to mail them all to me, but I always come up with a reason for her not to (the current excuse is living in a 1-bedroom apartment with 3 cats!). The cats have pretty much stayed away from the sets as well with the exception of Milly’s obsession with my s’more set (which Kristin thinks is totally sacrilege!). For some reason Milly thinks it’s hilarious to knock the marshmallow Mary and Joseph off of the shelf they currently reside on, so every day I search the floor and behind the couch to find them and put them back on either side of Jesus so she can knock them off again.

That’s about it for decorations this year. We’re leaving for Utah/Idaho on the 22nd and won’t really be around until New Year’s, so I figure a tree and a few nativities are good enough for this year.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season!

Birthday Time!

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the coming and going of yet another year. For a full 29 years I’ve been taking up space on this planet. I’m getting old, folks (even though I'm not yet to the ‘holy shit’ age of 31).

I’m not a huge fan of celebrating my birthday, so Kristin agreed that this year it would just be the two of us for a quiet dinner (last year it was a surprise party at Dave and Buster’s – which was fun, but not what I was really going for this year). She mostly kept to her promise and we went to dinner at La Casita with a few surprise guests (Lisa, Kamie, and Michele) followed by cake at home (made especially for me by Kami!!).

It was nice to see everyone, and we had a great time catching up. The worst moment? When Kristin decided everyone should share a memory of me. Interesting the things that people remember… ;)

Anyway, it was a good day, and I appreciated all of the wonderful cards, emails, and phone calls I received. Thanks, everyone!

PS - A few photo highlights:

Aw, how cute ;)


With Michele


Blowing out the candles!


Throwing coins in the fountain of youth...

haven't been able to determine if it worked yet or not...



Kami and Lisa

Knitting!

So I have taken up a new hobby – knitting! I have always wanted to do it, but it’s something I haven’t ever taken the time to learn (and, to be honest, I was pretty much just chicken to go to a class). Several weeks ago, though, at the urging of a certain someone, I enrolled in a 2-hour class. Up until the moment I walked through the door of the store I was certain I wouldn’t do it. I’m just not the “crafty” type and learning with 5 other people wasn’t my idea of a good time. But I went and managed to survive the class just fine.

I’ve now made several scarves and have watched my one grocery bag of supplies multiply to 4 bags, a box, and part of a shelf. Obviously I need to invest in some organizational items. It’s been a great learning experience for me, and I’m so grateful to those who urged me to ‘just attend the class already!’ :)

Here's a picture of Kristin 'modeling' my very first creation:

My next adventure is going to be a baby blanket. I’ve spent the last week or two looking at various patterns to find an easy one that won’t overwhelm my fledgling skills and hope to buy the yarn for it this week.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Monopoly Night

I've been going through some...stuff...lately and so Wednesday night Kristin decided to help cheer me up by playing a game! A GAME! She normally doesn't like to play games, but she gave in that night and actually SUGGESTED playing one. I was so happy that she wanted to play a game that I even let her choose the game - Monopoly!

We were just about to get started when our friend Kami stopped over (Lisa stopped over too but had to get back to some homework - who in the world would choose Law School over Monopoly?!? ;)) and decided to join. I don't think I've ever played an entire game of Monopoly before...we were playing the .com edition which my sister purchased for me several years ago. It was cool to see some of the internet companies that made the board who are no longer around - those that had merged, and those that are now bigger than ever. We even talked about some that were missing - like Google...amazing to think that just a few years ago there wasn't such a thing - or at least that it wasn't as big as it is now. CBS MarketWatch is even on the board. Little did I know back then (when I got the game) that I would some day be working for them (although now they are Dow Jones soon to be News Corp). - I was even wearing a MarketWatch shirt - I was in the mood to make money.

The game started well and went on for some time, and then, in the heat of the moment, I convinced Kristin to give me 5 of her properties for 1 of mine (Yahoo which was one of the two big ones - she already had the other big one). Those 5 properties, though, gave me lots of monopolies and it was pretty much all downhill from there. I ended up winning with 3.9 trillion dollars (I wish!).

Here are a few photos of the evening (taken by Kristin since she had already gone bankrupt).

Kami and I battle it out for first place


Kami realizes there is no hope.


I relish my victory...now, if only the money were REAL!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weekend Visit

Kristin’s parents came to visit last weekend. We had a great time…which I’m told I can’t tell you about. Kristin’s mom threatened me with my life if I dared write anything about what happened…so I’m just going to put the very bare minimum of info here…don’t want to be on the wrong side of my mother-in-law!

Roger and Helen arrived Friday evening, and we visited awhile before heading to Cleveland Wok for dinner (our new favorite Chinese place).

Saturday Kristin, Lisa, Roger, and Helen went to meet Lisa’s family for lunch. I had to miss it, unfortunately, but I hear they had a smashingly good time.


While they were gone I made some cookies that turned out okay even though I didn’t like the Hershey’s Kiss chocolate I used (don’t worry, next time it’s back to plain old chocolate chips). Even with the gross chocolate, Kristin’s parents graciously ate one with a smile!

Saturday afternoon we went to Kristin’s school. She showed us around (I’d already seen it, but she showed us the new section that is being dedicated tomorrow) and introduced her parents to the guinea pigs.

Saturday evening was the much anticipated trip to the CASINO. I think this is the part I’m supposed to edit, so I’ll just say the following:

1. ALL cars do that sometimes, and I truly think it could be bad gas.
2. Video slot machines are apparently far inferior to the good ol’ reel ones.
3. Moe and Mohen sound the same over a loud speaker.
4. There is always room for a little bit of ice cream.
5. Downstairs can mean 30 steps or 3.
6. Whether you’re talking to a yo-yo or a string, bad news is still bad news.
7. Hot chocolate from a microwave is much better than from a machine.

We safely made it back to their hotel in Eagan and visited for awhile before heading back to our apartment.

Sunday morning they stopped by our house for a few minutes before heading on their way back to South Dakota.

The visit was fantastic (she knows I love her family!)! We were so happy to have them come visit and hope they can come again soon (and I promise to research all of the casinos within driving distance between now and then ;)).

Happy Anniversary!

First, let me wish a very happy 4th anniversary to Kristin.

Some of you may be confused. How can it be our 4th anniversary when we just got married in July? Before the big day we always celebrated our anniversary on October 17. That’s the day we first met in person again after several years of very sparse email contact. It kicked off a period of newness, crazy-in-loveness, and me flying to Minnesota at least once a month (sometime 2 or 3 times a month) to visit (thank goodness I moved here the following April or I would now owe the airlines a fortune!).

To celebrate, Kristin informed me today that we are going to see a film I have wanted to see for awhile – she typically doesn’t like going to see movies that I do, so I had given up hope that we would go and resigned myself to the fact that if I wanted to see it I would have to see it on my own or with friends in the next couple of days before it leaves the theater here. But here she is, being the awesome person she is and reminding me, on this, our 4th anniversary, of all the reasons I fell in love with her.

Thank you, darling. Happy Anniversary.








FILM SYNOPSIS


Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).


Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

Monday, September 24, 2007

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders

For the raw emotion, the unconditional love, and the ability to stand up for what you believe in - even when it may not be the most popular position - Mayor Sanders - I applaud you.

Thank you for reminding all of us that hope, optimism, and persistence are important and necessary in the fight for equal rights for all people.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wedding Photos


It's done! Well, the easy part is, anyway. I finished uploading all of our wedding photos to Shutterfly. Now comes the hard part of picking the ones we want in various books, on the wall, etc. and touching them up. I'm thinking it should all be done by our10th anniversary...maybe ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Before and After

Okay, so my goal was to get my hair chopped the day after the wedding. A lot of people told me not to. So I didn't. But when I woke up a week ago in the middle of the night and found myself being choked by my own hair, I knew I had to do something.

And do something I did...a little more drastic than I thought I might go, but what's done is done!

Before (this morning)


After (a few minutes ago)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

PostSecret...

An addiction of mine..."release your secrets and become who you are."

Updated every Sunday (http://www.postsecret.com)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Busy Times!

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, and the next couple will be just as crazy! The wedding went better than we could have every imagined. Take a look at some of the pictures. Someday soon I hope to write a bit more about the whole wedding experience. It was so great to have our families together and around us as well as so many dear friends. I was overwhelmed by the love and support we received.

Kristin and I left for California the Monday after the wedding. We spent 2 ½ days in Carmel and 2 ½ days in San Francisco. It was a wonderful trip – hopefully I’ll have the time to write up a whole thing on that soon as well - with some great pictures.


Now, we’re in the middle of getting things ready to move! We’ll move to our new abode a week from today. Kristin has been an angel with all the moving stuff – she’s completely taken charge and has done way more than I have in preparation for it – she’s the best!

I will try to post more often after next week. Hope this entry finds you all well…

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's the Little Things....

It’s the little things that annoy me. Like the little stickers we forgot to put on the kisses in the favor boxes causing us to reopen every box and redo them. Like the directions that no matter how many times I redo always seem to have a mistake in them. Like having to go to Target on a daily basis to pick up essentials we didn’t know we needed. Like the piles of to-do lists and sticky note reminders everywhere. Like the stacks of things to take, to pack, to move, to organize.

It’s the little things that are so special. Like the card Kristin gave me “just because.” Like the two sparkly-clean rings sitting in the jewelry drawer just waiting for Friday to get here. Like the dresses hanging on the back of the bedroom doors, pressed and ready to go. Like looking through photos of us to choose eight and getting lost in memories for an hour. Like the fact there are only FIVE days until I marry the woman of my dreams.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

12 Days and Counting!

Wedding planning is in full swing. Posts over the next several weeks could be spotty, but I promise to do a great big final wrap-up post after this craziness is all over. Kristin and I have both commented that we don’t remember what we thought about, dreamt about, talked about, or focused on before all of this wedding stuff. I will forever pity any person planning a wedding. Honestly. Even when all the “big” stuff is taken care of there are still millions of decisions to make and things to do (and I used to think wedding planners were useless!).

Don’t get me wrong – we are enjoying every second of all of this, it’s just that sometimes things get a little overwhelming and, unfortunately, the people around us have to pay the price of our short tempers! :)

This has been great, though. It’s been so much fun to plan all of this with Kristin, and I think it’s brought us even closer and has definitely made me love her so much more.

A shout out and a thank you to all of those out there (and there are MANY) who have put in countless hours helping us with different aspects of the planning and to those who listen sympathetically to our rants and cheer along with us at our successes on this journey!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Moe Family Vacation


We just got back from 5 fun-filled days in San Diego with Kristin's family. It was nice to spend some time with them and meet some extended family I hadn't met before. There was talk of making heading out west a yearly trip - I hope that's the case because it was so much fun!! Thanks to Roger and Helen for the trip and to Ginny and John for sharing their beach house with 12 fools :)

Pics are here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

People We Knew at Apartment 201


We’ve found a new place to live! While we are thrilled to be leaving Como Park Apartments (pictured above), we will miss all of the cultural diversity we found during the three years we’ve inhabited apartment 201. Somehow I just don’t think we’re going to find such diversity when we move across town to a different complex and inhabit apartment 116.

A small bit about some of the interesting characters we’ve met during our stay here:

Earl (Greg) – Earl was one of the first people we met here. We named him Earl because Kristin always told him he was going to end up dead in a trunk someday (Dixie Chicks song). He was probably in his 40s and lived down in 103 with his girlfriend and her daughter. He was always good for a laugh and was one of the few people I knew that could keep up with Kristin’s wit. He always had interesting family over – like his cousin Larry who ended up getting sent to prison for violating a restraining order. We loved Larry and missed him while he was away. Earl also had a friend or a nephew that stopped over often. He always had his hair pick ready to go – stuck in the top of his afro. His niece stayed with him a lot too. She would often get home from work to find no one home. She would just have to hang out outside and wait. More than once we helped her break into his apartment and climb through the front window which was always a feat because she was of a sizable stature. Earl worked a variety of odd jobs, one of which was a tow truck driver. He always told us to just give him a call if we ever needed a tow truck. Even though there was some heavy drug usage going on in their apartment, we always felt safe with him and knew that if we were ever in trouble he would have done anything to protect us. Needless to say, we were both really, really sad when Earl and his clan moved to Richfield.

Old Man – Old Man’s real name was John Jones. He was a white man with a great big white afro. His hair didn’t look so bad when he cut it, but that wasn’t often. He worked for Comcast and was always complaining about people at work. He also used to clean our apartment building and complained incessantly about the management. He had three kids that visited on the weekends. His ex-wife was crazy, but I guess you’d have to be to have been married to Old Man. Old Man was a little freaky…if we were outside he would talk to our boobs. If we were inside he would stand below the window and stare up at us. Shortly before he moved he commented that he would miss being able to watch all the hotties in the pool. Gross. I always said if I mysteriously disappeared the police should question Creepy Man at the convenience store near where I work first and Old Man second. We were somewhat relieved when he finally moved out.

Gay Girls – There were two lesbians that lived on the third floor. We didn’t actually talk to them for about a year…just before they moved out, unfortunately. :(

Weird guy in the next building – So this guy was interesting. He has lived here for like 15 years and caught us in the parking lot one night. He had lots of questions about if we liked living here and such. He drives a pretty beat up car that looks like it could lose its last bolt at any minute.

Laundry Lady – So there’s a lady that lives in the next building over. She has kind of taken over a little patch of lawn just outside of her window. She has hung bird feeders and hanging potted plants from the tree and set up a patio set on the lawn. One day when I was driving home I passed, and she had hung up a string between two trees and was happily watching as her undies and other unmentionables blew in the breeze. WEIRD.

Restaurant Guy – This guy worked at Macaroni Grill and would talk to us about how much he hated the guy that sang on the weekends there.

Gay Guys – These guys live in the next building over. Their living room and kitchen are painted in vibrant lime greens and not-quite-fire-engine reds. Over Pride they had lots of friends staying there and just last night we noticed a motherly-looking woman packing things up – we can only hope they are escaping as we are.

Lady Lady – I had the privilege of watching Lady Lady head off to the hospital when she was in labor. Her husband couldn’t get the new baby seat in the back seat and he was getting frustrated until Lady Lady pointed out the baby wasn’t actually BORN yet and the seat probably didn’t need to be secured in the back seat at that exact moment. She came back a few days later with a cute little baby girl in hand. A month or two after that she appeared with a small dog named Lady. They only stayed here for a month or two after that – dogs weren’t allowed, but I’m not sure that had anything to do with the move. Her husband drove a white car that had lights that blinked all day and night. Must have been some sort of theft prevention thing, but I just found it annoying.

Hate Man – Hate man lives in the building next door. He got his name because he had this big hand-written sign hanging on his wall that said “HATE.” He’s a small, pale guy. I blame that on the fact that he’s always on his computer into the wee hours of the night. One night I got home really late and he had a lady-friend over. I wanted to shout up some “CLOSE YOUR WINDOWS!” advice, but decided I would just ignore it. Hate Man also has a freaky looking white cat. He loves to play with this big saber-like sword at night and has even been known to throw knives at a target on the wall. He’s someone I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Weird Guy Downstairs – WGD has lived below us ever since we moved in. His windows are always closed, his A/C is always on (even in the middle of winter), and he has heavy curtains that are always drawn. He is a sizable man and works overnights at a gas station not too far away. There are two names on the buzzer list, but we have never seen the other mystery person…apartment always cold, mystery person. I think we may have a dead body on our hands!

The Missing Indian Family – This family lived in 202 and had a cute little baby. At one point they just disappeared. We thought they must have moved out in the night or something but noticed the crib was still visible in a window. After about six weeks they were back. My vote is that they were on an extended trip to India. Kristin’s not so sure. Anyway, so they were right next door but we never heard a peep out of them...so we were sad when they moved on.

Hispanic Family – This family lives down the hall from us. Some of the friendliest and nicest people here – they always have a smile on their faces!

Man Nurses – These two African guys with awesome accents moved in down the hall for awhile. They were nurses on a mental health floor at one of the hospitals. They told us about how they used to live in the building next door but that the trains would pass and shake their apartment so they moved to our building. They weren’t here for very long before they disappeared. Not sure what that was all about, but we were sad we didn’t get to say goodbye.

Deaf Guys – These guys live on the third floor in the building next door. Never seen them, only know about them because of the grunting noises that come from their apartment windows and because the Man Nurses told us about them.

Beth – Beth was known as the “Gay Girl” for awhile…then we talked to her one day and she turned out to be great! She taught Special Education at a local school and would crawl out of her 1st floor window rather than go around to the front door to smoke. She moved this spring after getting a strange letter from the management here, and we miss her.

Guitar Guy and Daughter – This guy is probably the most “normal” of all the people we’ve met here. He has a day job (not sure what that is) and plays in a band on the weekends. He has a fabulous daughter who just finished 4th grade. When we had a computer we needed to get rid of we gave it to them. Not sure what happened to the mom, but he is an awesome dad!

210 – Ah, 210. They were the local….how shall I say it…street pharmacists. I’m not sure we ever met them in person, but everyone here knew about them. People were coming and going all the time to their apartment. There was a man who came several times a week – would buzz in and then be back out with his sack of goodies in less than a minute. There was also a woman who always had shorts on with thick nylons/tights on underneath. She was always nice and talkative but also usually in a hurry to make it to 210s door. One time three men who told Kristin they were FBI agents were here to talk to 210. Somehow 210 escaped before the FBI dudes could get to them. I’m not so sure the FBI guys were really FBI guys…maybe hit men from a drug deal gone bad? Anyway, one day when we were headed down to the laundry room we noticed their door was open a crack. A week later it was still open a crack. I’m convinced they were either killed in there and it was covered up by management or they went on the run from the…”FBI guys.”

College Co-eds – Our current next-door neighbors. They are bleach blonde and extremely noisy. Why did the Indian family have to move?

Twins and Dad – Not so sure the two guys are actually twins, but they are brothers and look like each other. They go work out every evening wearing their workout shorts and weightlifting gloves. One of them just shaved his head…not sure what he was thinking. Their dad used to live here with them, but we haven’t seen him in ages…maybe HE’S in the trunk…Earl?!?

Pete – While Pete doesn’t actually live here, he deserves his own mention. He was the manager here for quite awhile. He told us all about his silver and purple bedroom and how much he loves to pick paint colors…which is good, I suppose, because we recently learned he moved on to a new apartment complex undergoing renovations in the Lake Calhoun area.

Singing Loud Lady – There used to be a couple that lived above us that were really annoying. They would stomp around at all hours. One time we took a broom and pounded back. They just pounded harder. She was a singer in a band or something and more than once she broke out into song outside. I always wanted to tell her to shut up but Kristin would always remind me to be nice.

Mormon Couple – These people currently live above us. I’m generalizing by calling them the Mormon Couple, but it’s what I know so it’s what I go with. They just have that pious, religious feel to them. And they’re quiet…not that being quiet has anything to do with being Mormon, but you know what I mean.

Speed Racer – The first time I ever saw Speed Racer was when he came whipping into the parking lot, revved up his engine, and peeled into a spot in one fail swoop. I was amazed and thought “wow, that person must be in a hurry!” But no. He sauntered out of his car and up to the door. Over time we came to realize he just like peeling into the parking lot with his souped-up Dodge Neon.

Pimp – Pimp drives a nice cream-colored Mercedes. He’s still a mystery to us. Not sure why he’s living in a place like this if he can afford a car like that. Maybe he lives in a place like this so he can afford a car like that.

And that’s that! Exciting times here at Como Park Apartments! As I’ve been typing this I’ve realized we sound like freaks…like we’re out there poking our head in people’s windows and watching every move they make. Let me just say that we’re not like that at all…it’s just after living in a place for three years you get to know the people around you and their routines. They probably all have names for us (mine might be computer girl, for example, because our computer desk is right by the living room window that faces the parking lot and I’m on it a lot in the evenings).

I’m looking forward to moving to a building chuck full of old people…maybe a little less drama with the older crowd. But I will miss the cultural mix of people we’ve grown to love, hate, fear, and cherish here! :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

It's Official...

Tonight, since we had a bit of spare time on our hands, we went to Wells Fargo and got a joint checking account! SCARY!

I currently use TCF and Kristin uses Wells Fargo. We've been talking about getting a joint account for awhile and decided to go with Wells Fargo since I've had several issues with TCF and their ever-changing weird fee policies over the past few years - honestly. If you ever are thinking of signing up with them talk to me first!

So we went to the bank and sat down with Eric. Nice fellow. He had us rocking with a joint account in no time. He was even kind enough to direct me to their drinking fountain that was so close to the floor I couldn't even get to the water by bending over...I would have had to kneel on the floor to drink out of it (I decided quenching my thirst wasn't worth that humiliation).

Anyway, so we got the new account set up and new checks ordered - even made a nice deposit in it thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Moe.

Just one thing left to say - Sorry, Kristin...no going back now!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pride

Pride was this weekend, and we were fairly busy this year.

Saturday we went to the park for awhile and then vo
lunteered at the Service Members Legal Defense Network booth. We were gathering signatures to submit to Congress asking them to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the Armed Services. We heard some amazing stories from people who had tried to sign up as an openly gay person and from those that had been kicked out because it was discovered they were gay. Some people’s comments really surprised me…like those that said they agreed with the policy or one woman who told me she didn’t think the government really kicked people out for being gay. The truth is that the Pentagon fires two people EVERY DAY just for being gay. And then they turn around and complain that they don't have enough people to fight all of the silly wars that George W. gets us into. Go figure. Most people got that and signed gladly, which was nice.

Saturday night we went on the Dyke March. This was something that I had to talk Kristin into. She said she had been before and while it was fun, it felt a little “dangerous,” and it wasn’t something she really wanted to do again. I, however, had never done it, and really wanted to participate, so we did.

We parked near where the March usually ended and caught a cab back to the Walker where it was to begin. There was an amazing energy there with people of all ages and backgrounds gathering together in a common cause. We left the Walker and turned left on Hennepin, headed downtown. It was then that we realized they had changed the route and we were parked in the opposite direction! Oops.

I can’t even begin to tell you what an amazing experience it was. Honestly. Kristin was a little freaked out in the beginning, but once we got downtown where it was well-lit, she was fine. Somehow, we ended up being right at the front of the 2-block-plus entourage, and it was great to march past all of the downtown bars and restaurants an
d see the looks on people’s faces as they tried to figure out what was going on. The only weird part was when some random girl somehow got the megaphone and was telling her story and singing hymns…but once the organizers got it back it went back to being an amazing experience.

At the end of the walk we decided just to walk the 1.5 miles to the car. It didn’t take too long, and it was a nice time to just reflect on the march and what it stood for. I think too often we forget that Pride isn’t just about having a good time. It’s about being proud of who you are and standing up for the rights that every human being deserves. Grante
d, marching around downtown yelling out silly slogans isn’t necessarily going to change anything, but to see the looks on people’s faces, to make ourselves visible, and to feel the power of the group all are small steps to creating the change.

Sunday we met some friends for breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. I had heard rave reviews about it, but it didn’t really meet my expectations. It was nice to see everyone and spend time with them, but the food was subpar to other places I’ve been.


After breakfast we went to the parade which was fun
, as always. Two things I would like to point out. The first was Amy Klobuchar. The reception she received was amazing. Honestly, you would have thought she was a celebrity. It’s nice to see that people are paying attention to what our leaders are doing in Washington and praising them for a job well done when it is deserved.The second was the PFLAG group. Every year they receive a standing ovation as they pass, and every year I get teary-eyed. To me, the people that participate in that are some of the most amazing and spectacular people on earth. They are an example of the ultimate acceptance. Not only do they enthusiastically support their GLBT sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and friends, but they are not afraid to show that support by marching in the Pride Parade. This year I caught the eye of one mother who was holding a sign that said something to the effect of “I love my lesbian daughter.” It gave me the chills to see family members who are so willing and able to march in support of who their loved ones truly are. The woman held my gaze – giving me a knowing smile and a nod as she passed. Standing and clapping for them seems such an understated way to express the feelings that we all feel towards those people…but hopefully they all know how much we appreciate them.

The parade is always a good time with an interesting mix of people participating, but this year it seemed especially poignant for me…even with the crazy sunburn I got during it!


Sunday night we were able to go to the Indigo Girls concert. I had never seen them in concert, so I was excited for that. It was held at the Minnesota State Zoo which provided a perfect background for such a great concert. Brandi Carlisle opened for them. Kristin and I both really liked her music, and I downloaded all of her music from iTunes as soon as we got home.


Laying in bed Sunday night, exhausted from the busy weekend and unable to move because of my sunburn, I reflected on the weekend – it was amazing in so many ways.

Most years I find that I’m really excited for it but once it rolls around I find myself disappointed. Not that it’s not a good time, I just usually feel that it doesn’t meet my expectations. This year I found myself not looking forward to it as much as in the past. Maybe that was because of the previous years of disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised, this year, however to find that I was sad when the weekend came to a close, and I'm already looking forward to next year – to volunteering, to marching, and to watching!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pride Pics

I owe ya'll a new blog post, I know. And I will post about the big weekend soon, but in the mean time, hopefully these pics will tide you over!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wedding Shower

Last weekend a coworker of mine threw us a shower. While it definitely put me out of my comfort zone, it was a good time and we appreciated everyone that was there. A special thanks to Anna and Lindsey for hosting the event :)

Here are some photo highlights...



Me and Kristin

Anna - the hostess!

Molly and Kari

Kristin and me opening gifts

The beautiful cake -
"Two hearts that share one love, one life, will always know true joy"

Kristin and me again

Marilee, Kent, Tammy, Jamie, Lisa, Sarah, and Cassi

Lisa, Sarah, Cassi, Amy, and Kelly

Lou and Brenda

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flowers...

Today I had the day off because I’m officially “transitioning” into a new position at work. There is much to be said about that, but I’ll save that for another day.

We took advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to work and Kristin could get away since school is out, and we went to pick out our flowers for the wedding.

First of all, a little history. We had decided awhile ago to do our own flowers. Heather, a bridesmaid, had experience and had offered to help, and it didn’t really look too difficult. Then we started looking for a place to get the flowers. We had a tough time finding an affordable place to buy roses. We talked more about it and realized we wouldn’t really be able to make the bouquets until the day before the wedding. We decided that the extra price it would cost to have them done for us would be worth the time and stress it would save us. So we started researching florists online.

We came across a small floral shop in Saint Paul called Payne’s Floral. We called and set up an appointment.

We didn’t really plan ahead all that well as to how we were going to break the news to the head designer that there would be two brides and no grooms – big mistake.

As soon as we went in she asked “and who is the bride?” Kristin and I just looked at each other as if to say “who’s going to be the one this time?” before Kristin said “both of us.” Her face lit up and she asked “is this a double wedding?” Again, we glanced at each other for a moment before I said “yes!”

Oy vey. Why do I do these things? Immediately she started talking a million miles an hour about how she had never done a double wedding, and this was going to be soooo exciting with TWO brides!

I probably could have clarified a bit at that moment, explained that it wasn’t really a double wedding as she was thinking of it, and we could have gone on with the planning. But no. I just smiled and pretended that this was really the best moment of my life while Kristin sat down on her stool looking like she wanted to cut my tongue out.

And so the planning began. First, the designer asked us all about the colors and the dresses and the bridesmaids. She asked what we were thinking about for the flowers and I told her we wanted roses. Lots and lots of roses. We talked about colors and styles and looked at the various choices of greenery to accent the bouquets. We talked about the bridesmaid bouquets and how they would differ from the bridal ones.

And then we got to the grooms and groomsmen. At this point it was too late to correct the situation. The designer wanted to know if there would be four groomsmen. “Um, yeah,” Kristin mumbled. She talked about how she would make the boutonni√®res for them – the flowers she would use, etc. We just smiled and assured her that whatever she thought would look best would be fine by us.

She finished up, gave us a grand total, we paid our deposit, and then ran for the door.

Kristin was not happy with me. At all. She wanted to know why I had quickly said it was a double wedding. Why I hadn’t thought of a way to tell her? I hadn’t planned it out. And when faced with the moment of unplanned awkwardness, I folded.

This whole planning process has really been a test of our “outness” which, before this whole thing neither Kristin nor I were very good at. We have both commented at various times about the awkwardness of having to tell complete strangers that we’re gay. Neither of us are the type to flaunt our gayness to the entire world. I have always figured that straight people don’t go around saying “I’m straight! I’m straight! Look at me!” so why should I go around shouting the opposite?

I mean, come on, could you imagine going in to some random place – like a shoe store, for example – and saying “yes, I would like to try this shoe in a size 8 and by the way, I’m straight . . . you’re okay with that, right?” Then going to a restaurant and saying “I’m a heterosexual, will you still serve me?” Then heading to the movies and having to explain to the ticket salesman that you sleep with someone of the opposite sex and hoping that they will just give you your ticket without making a big deal out of it or denying you entry.

With every vendor we’ve dealt with we’ve had to face telling them about our personal lives and hoping they won’t judge us unfairly because of it. Some people will say “who cares what they think? Just tell them! If they don’t want to serve you it’ll be their loss!” Sometimes, unfortunately, it just isn’t that easy (possibly a subject of another post?).

Granted, some things have been easier than others – the DJ and the reception place were relatively painless, for example. It just kind of flowed into the conversation or emails to say, “oh, by the way, this is a lesbian wedding – just wanted to make sure you were okay with that.” Other things, like the dresses and the flowers have been a little more delicate and difficult.

But I ask – why does everyone have to know? Does it really matter if the floral designer knows that we will be marrying each other? She won’t be there, so why should we have to tell her? And of course, the answer is that we don’t.

I guess that just leaves one question:

Does anyone need six boutonnières on or around July 27?

Totally Amazing...

Friday, June 1, 2007

Invitations


Our wedding invitations have been a long journey in the making.

Robyn and Dejan graciously agreed to make them as a wedding gift to us. We poured over hundreds of sample ideas before we narrowed it down to a couple of layouts we liked. We spent hours considering paper choices then drove in the pouring rain to buy it. We wrote everything out that needed to go in them, scratched it all and then rewrote it. We looked at different fonts until I couldn't tell the difference between any of them. We spell checked and proofread it a million times.

Finally, we sent everything to Canada for the pros (or one pro and her semi-pro assistant, rather) to assemble the masterpieces.

We listened helplessly from afar to all of the drama that surrounded the creation of the invitations. We heard about the 100+ cuts each and every invitation took and about the bleeding fingers caused by the tiny brads. Kristin had nightmares about how the finished product might turn out (doilies and rusty paper clips).

And then, word came. They were done. We all celebrated as we waited for UPS to deliver the box to Minnesota.

When it appeared customs had intercepted it and was going to hold onto it for an undetermined amount of time, we all met in the land of IM to discuss exactly why that would happen (theories ranged from the fact that it said the big box only contained one invitation, to the fact that it was going from one business to another, to my theory that it was because I just received "Death of a President" via Netflix and I'm certain the Secret Service is watching me a bit closer).

As it turned out the package was not stopped by the Secret Service. UPS’s tracking system was just behind and the box was delivered on time.

And now we have them. They are more fabulous than I could have ever imagined. It’s all coming together…

And we couldn’t have done it without the unending help of the greatest two Canadians we know. Thank you!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

half empty or half full?

So we went to Target tonight to do our weekly grocery shopping. We passed one of those price checker things.

Kristin: Wait! I want to see how much I cost!

She puts her arm under the scanner and nothing happens.

Me: Looks like you're free. Imagine that.

I turn to get a gallon of milk.

Some random stranger: Actually, I think it means you're priceless...

Kristin didn't stop smiling the rest of the trip.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lazy Sheep

Most everyone that knows me knows I worry. A lot. There’s always something on my mind, and I’m always worried about a million things that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. It’s hard-wired in my system.

So a couple of days ago I was particularly worried about something. I had been telling my sister, Robyn, about it, and she said “think of lazy sheep.”

Huh?

“Lazy sheep,” she said, “slow, fat, lazy sheep.”

“Oh, you mean the slow, fat, lazy one calmly grazing on a serene mountainside?”

“Yes.”

“The slow, fat, lazy one calmly grazing on a serene mountainside unaware there’s a wolf right behind the tree about to jump out and devour it?”

“Right.”

Right.

Monday, May 21, 2007

When I grow up I want to be...

I read a friend’s blog today and she said “I always thought being a grown-up would be way more fun than this!” At first I was tempted to agree, but the more I think about it the more I’m thinking I disagree with her.

We spend our childhoods looking forward to our teenage years and beyond. We wonder what it would be like to date, to drive, to go to work every day. Mom and dad do it, so it must be really, really great! We set our aspirations high – we want to be firefighters, princesses, doctors, and lawyers. We’re going to do it all, be it all…we’re going to save the world.

We spend our teenage years wishing we could be out on our own, going to college, having our independence, and, once again, working at a “real” job.

We go to college and start counting down the days until graduation, start looking for that special someone, think about how fun it would be to have kids, and continue dreaming of that all-important job.

Then it all starts happening. The job, the special someone, the kids. And all of a sudden we start wishing we could be back in college again – less responsibility, back in high school – more fun, back in childhood – bills? What bills? We realize we most likely won’t be a princess and that we probably won’t save the world (at least not on the global level we once thought we might). And then, it all seems like so much. This is what we looked forward to for all of those years?

I suppose it is all part of the human condition. We yearn for what we don’t/can’t have and reminisce about the times when all we wanted was what we have now.

Happiness has to be found in every day life. It just has to. No looking to tomorrow for it. Every day wasted waiting for that great job, that raise, that ‘perfect’ age of us or our children, that new house, new car, etc. is a day spent wishing for a happiness that can only be found today.

This is not to say that I’m miserable. I have a good life. I have a spectacular partner whom I love very much. I have great friends whom I know I can turn to for anything. I have a loving family, and a good job working with really terrific people. I have a roof over my head and a car in the drive. I just don’t think I appreciate it as much as I should.

I did used to think that adulthood would be fun…and the more I think about it, I realize it is fun! It’s just a different kind of fun than what I pictured when I was 8 or 18.

So – I’m not going to make some big resolution like “today I will start being happy every day and loving my life for what it is right now,” but I will say “today I will try to start being happier every day and trying to love my life for what it is right now.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

RIP

Wondering what it's like to die only to find out that all of the hate you spread was completely worthless...all of the lies you told will get you nowhere...oh Jerry. Where to begin. I'll just say...May God have more compassion on you in heaven than you had for others on earth. Rest in peace, Mr. Falwell, rest in peace.

Registries...

So the wedding is quickly approaching. There are many things to be said about the preparations and planning that goes into a wedding. I read an article once that talked about weddings and funerals and how if you give yourself less than 18 months to plan for a wedding people gasp in horror. How could anyone possibly plan a wedding in less than 18 months? Try telling them you’re planning it in 3 months or less and they recoil in fear.

The article also observed that most funerals are planned and carried out in less than a week. It pointed out the various similarities between the two events – both have a meal, both have a ceremony, both have flowers, both have family members coming from all over, etc. The basic premise was that you don’t have to spend a ton of money and a ton of time on a wedding.

In many ways I completely agreed with the article. Why would anyone want to spend 18 months planning for something that would be over in a day anyway?

That, of course, was before I started planning for my own wedding. I didn’t realize the “other” things that weddings entail…the things that take up all the time and force you into the 18-month wedding planning hell.

One example: gift registries.

Let me share an experience Kristin and I had a little over a week ago.

We had started our Target registry by surfing their website and adding things that looked like something we might need some day. We knew we should register somewhere else and we had talked about a variety of stores to consider: Macy’s; Pier One; Crate and Barrel; Bed, Bath, and Beyond (B3); etc.

So one day I’m surfing around and find myself on the B3 site and notice that when you go to do a registry you have several options of what kind of registry you’re doing: housewarming, wedding, COMMITMENT CEREMONY, etc.

One thing I have learned during this whole wedding planning process is that while many places are tolerant of the gay population (money is money, right?), most do not openly acknowledge us. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that B3 actually had the gay option on their list. Awesome. I called Kristin and told her flat out we had to go with B3. We had to support the one store that is willing to acknowledge the fact that gay people are out there getting married.

She agreed and I signed us up online. We decided that we should probably actually go into the store to register for the majority of our items at B3, so we jumped in the car and headed on over. It was probably around 7 when we arrived – the store closed at 9 – so we figured we would have just enough time to peruse the store and get registered for everything we needed.

Of course, that was before we met Ed. Ed was a tall, lanky man with large glasses that surrounded his bright and somewhat shiny cheeks. He greeted us as soon as we walked in the door and asked how we were and what we were looking for. I told him we had started a registry online and were there to finish it up. I should have known right away that we were in trouble. He got this strange little gleam in his eye…somewhat akin to a wolf before he pounces on his prey.

Ed was so excited he practically skipped over to the patio furniture section and sat us down. He apologized that someone else was in the “bridal” room but assured us this was the most comfortable spot to chat in the whole store.

Ed told us he used to be a baker and that his real passion was everything kitchen. Gadgets, dishes, fine china, goblets, cookware…you name it, he loved it.

Ed eagerly showed us the two page list (size 8 font) of things we couldn’t possibly live without and therefore should register for. He said they just wanted to make sure we didn’t forget anything…like the egg dish. Did we know just how many people came in the day before Easter searching for egg dishes only to find they were sold out? Well, we wouldn’t be one of those couples. No siree. We would already have an egg dish because it was one of the hundreds of “must have” items on the B3 list.

My thought? I don’t even know what an egg dish is, so I highly doubt I would be there the day before Easter franticly looking for one. But I digress…

He continued. Did we need something to drink? To eat? Were we comfortable? Just for our information, if they announced the store was closing – that announcement would not apply to us. We were welcome to stay as long as we wanted. All night, really.

Ah, the bridal room was ready. We wandered over to it so he could show us all of the fabulous china they carried.

“What did you eat on for dinner tonight?” Ed asked.

I opened my mouth to say “paper”…because we really had eaten off of paper plates that evening, but I thought better of myself and said “just regular dishes.”

“Stoneware, then?”

Huh? Stoneware? I had no idea. They were just plates. Regular, run of the mill plates. “Um, yeah, something like that.”

Ed proceeded to show us all kinds of dishes. He explained all of the differences and talked about what we would need in the years to come out of our place settings. He dropped plates on the floor and stepped on tea cups to demonstrate the durability, and he showed us the everyday china and compared it with the fine china. My head was spinning by the time he took his first breath. Just as it was beginning to clear, he started in on stemware and flatware.

After an hour of talking nothing but place settings we had everything picked out (basically our picking process went like this: what do you want? I don’t know, what do you want? I don’t know…just pick something…we can change it later when Ed isn’t around – which is exactly what we did).

Ed handed us the all-powerful scanner, showed Kristin how to use it, and sent us over to cookware for our lesson in all things pots. A woman was there eagerly waiting to introduce us to the world of fine cookware. She explained the difference between the nonstick (shouldn’t go in the dishwasher…the lime eats away at the pot…oops. Note to self: don’t put the nonstick pans in the dishwasher anymore), the stainless steel (you have to use some kind of oil. Stay away from sprays like Pam…oops. Note to self: throw away the Pam spray when you get home), and the “in between” whatever that was (you can’t put it in the dishwasher AND you have to use oils – how utterly annoying).

She strongly urged us to register for a set as well as for individual pieces…since “sometimes people don’t want to spend $600 on a set of cookware for you but they are willing to spend $150 on a frying pan.” WHAT? I’m sorry, but if I’m spending $150 on someone for a wedding I refuse waste it on something that’s only going to see the light of day when an omelet needs to be made. And $600 for a set of pots? I can understand someone spending that or more for a cookware set if they actually cook…Kristin and I…we aren’t cooks. We aren’t huge on making nice dinners. We aren’t going to register for a set of cookware that costs $600. Period.

After the woman left we looked at each other and immediately decided to skip the kitchen stuff for then. We had just talked about nothing but kitchen for 1 ½ hours. Obviously we weren’t as passionate about everything kitchen like Ed was. We were ready for the fun stuff – bedroom and bathroom items…so we headed for the bedding.

Then, out of nowhere pops Ed. It was a little freaky since we didn’t know he was watching us, and he kind of jumped around a corner.

“Wow, you guys sure made it through the kitchen stuff fast.”

For some reason I felt like a little kid getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar. “Yeah, we decided we’re going to skip it for tonight and come back another day.”

A look of horror crossed Ed’s face. “Why would you ever do you that?”

“It’s all just a little overwhelming.”

“I was supposed to be out of here 2 hours ago, otherwise I would stay and help you, but I understand that it can be overwhelming. Remember, we just want you to have the best of everything.”

We wished him a good night and practically ran for the bedding section.

About every 3 minutes someone would come up and ask how we were doing, if we needed anything, had we looked at the sheets?, did we need help reaching anything?, did we have any questions?, oh, and which one of us was the one getting married?

Tired, stressed, and needing some DQ comfort (which was conveniently located across the street), we bolted out of the store shortly before 9 p.m. with very few items on the registry list.

We returned for another short trip a week later, but as we stepped through the doors we both commented about how anxious we were to be back. As we found ourselves in the kitchen section my heart started pounding as my eyes darted back and forth looking for Ed (who was nowhere to be seen on this trip, thank goodness).

So, the gift registry is definitely taking more time than I thought it would…while it probably won’t take 18 months to finish, it most certainly will take longer than a week.

Thank God this isn’t a funeral.