Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Anatomy of an Enigma

After a late start on Tuesday, I shuffled my way over to campus to check out the oral history that Jichan completed back in the late 90s. I have to say that despite the three minute panic in library when I thought that the copy was missing/stolen, the affair was successful. No parking ticket equals successful outing.

I checked out and rushed home to start reading. Even though I read the copy from cover to cover, I still feel like I don't know the whole story. This may come from my unrelenting methodological elitism as I thought that the interviewer was horrendous- my "interviews" (if you can call them such) for a project in undergrad were more detailed and nuanced than this woman but I will leave my methodological concerns for a different blog.

I was hooked on every word, as if it could single-handedly give me insight into the enigma that was my Jichan. Here is a list (I do believe I like lists) of some of his amazing achievements:

1) Born in Kauai, HI and spent the first decade and a half on the island but moved to our family's temple in Japan.

2) Although 15 generations had taken up the Buddhist ministry, Jichan was enchanted with Christianity and attended a Lutheran school during his youth in Japan.

3) After becoming frustrated with Christianity's view on salvation, he turned to Buddhism and later became ordained in the faith.

4) At the outbreak of WWII, was urged by friends in the US Embassy to leave Japan as the police were becoming suspicious of his anti-war and peace ideologies and were considering jailing him.

5) Left all family behind in Japan and sailed to SF. Later, he traveled to LA then Bakersfield, where he was given the position of minister for the small church.

6) Executive Order 9066 forced Jichan into the Santa Anita Racetrack Detainment Center. There he developed TB and was transferred to a hospital for internees.

7) Asked by the US Army to teach soldiers the Japanese language so he traveled to Yale University and used the drama department's props and stage to help young soldiers learn Japanese.

8) Married my Bachan, who graduated with a BA in Sociology (I guess it runs in the family).

9) Led Churches in Honolulu, Toronto, Berkeley, and Florin.

10) In Honolulu, he acted as the first Buddhist chaplain to the State Legislature.

11) Was "promoted" to the first Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of Canada.

12) Met with the Queen and Prince Phillip during Canada's bicentennial celebration.

13) Met Mother Teresa at a UN meeting and had a brief conversation with her.

14) Created the first Buddhist award for the Boys Scouts Organization.

15) Pushed to have the Dharma Wheel be installed as the signifier on Buddhist Soldiers' dog tags. Previously, soldiers who were Buddhist were labeled as belonging to no religion or were mis-identified as Christian.

16) Near the end of his life, he was asked to minister at a Buddhist Church in Kenya. He learned Swahili in preparation but was unable to ever make the journey due to his deteriorating health.

Nothing like reading the transcript to realize that I am doing nothing with my life. At my age, my Jichan was already managing his own Church in Bakersfield. Right now, my main responsibilities are to water and feed the cats and dog. And Chris.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A comedy hooker with a heart of (fool's) gold

Planning this wedding has had it's lighter moments, which are sporadically rare but oh so enjoyable- like our impromptu dance in the middle of Ikea's mattress section when we heard the song that we plan on having as our "first" dance. However, much of this process has been stressful- how in the world are two graduate students going to afford a wedding? Especially when one of said grad students grew up in the lolly-pop fairyland of East Sacramento with its aging hippie residents that have slid effortlessly into the petit bourgeoisie? Green and eco-friendly has a cost, friends. And that price tag is labeled for those living in the manicured lawns of the Fab Forties. Social awareness aside, the wedding planning has sparked an almost constant self-reflection that would make the psych grad students across the hall in Amador wizz with anticipatory glee. Because when you come down to it; weddings are about one thing- family. The spiritual, physical, economical, religious, and psychological merging of two distinctly separate families into one amorphous blob.

Family, for me, has always been an open-ended term to describe anyone who I hold dear to my heart. My girls in the cohort, Shawnie (I still feel weird using this term, dear!), "preggers" (who gave birth to a gorgeous bouncing baby of testosterone nearly a year ago, will always be nicknamed as such), Cha (my pint-sized hero who can do damn near everything), my newly seeing-able Christina; Sanhita, the sweetest person I have had the privilege of knowing; our newest member to the sleep-deprived cohort clan- Margaret, and many many more. I love you all but I don't want this post to challenge my thesis (which I should really get to...) so I am keeping it a bit short. So, for me, family does not just include those with whom I share a biological connection but rather an emotional connection. See- told you I am from the hippie commune of East Sacramento.

My "extended" family, however, has not been the cause of my introspection. Rather, as I have been trying to determine who to put on the ever changing guest list to the ceremony and reception, I have realized how little I know about those with whom I share genetic material. Last year, my grandfather ("Jichan" in Japanese) passed and I felt a strange lack of emotion or connection when I heard the news and also later at the funeral. I empathized with my aunt who had spent her entire adult life caring for her father but I didn't mourn the loss of my grandfather. Rather, I mourned for her loss. I am usually an emotionally-led person, so this seemingly cold-heartedness perplexed me. Months passed and it was not until I stepped onto the pebbled grounds of a Buddhist Church that he had once presided over as a minister that I truly felt his absence. It was a moment that stands out as it was in that moment that I realized that I never truly knew the man whom I called Jichan. Tonight, I browsed through archived bits and pieces of history that chronicled my Jichan and Bachan's ("grandmother" in Japanese) life in Toronto, Hawaii, Berkeley, and Florin. In the short hour in which I searched, I learned more about my deceased relatives than I did in their lifetimes. Granted, cancer took my Bachan before I was ever able to meet her but I shared twenty-three years with my Jichan and never truly knew the man.

If I don't know where I come from, how can I know myself? Maybe sociology was not my true calling- dare I admit that I may need to sit across an equally baffled Steve Martin in Philosophy 101? I have been struggling with this question for some time now and feel that amidst planning a wedding, a search for my history- my roots, is in order. How well do we know the ones we love? I know fragmented pieces of those that I love that come together like a ragged and age-worn puzzle but I know the completed image cannot be viewed.

Tomorrow, I plan on visiting the local university to find an oral history that Jichan gave back in the late 90s in an effort to piece together the man and in some way, myself. This is quite the deviation for me (both in this blog and in real life) as I tend to keep matters light but maybe I need to air some things out. Dust and mold can kill (see Brittany Murphy and hubbie Simon Monjack) and I don't plan to go down like that. Even when I'm trying to serious, the comedy oozes out; well, at least I see it as comical. I reign you in with the chuckles and then just when you think all you are getting out of this is empty comedic calories a la a Big Gulp of Dane Cook, I make you feel. Well, at least I got myself to shed a tear or two during the writing of this post but as Max says, I am a woman. So, [insert overtly chauvinistic and female stereotype here].

Back to my point- I urge all eight (or nine, fingers crossed!) of you to look inward and see if you know you who truly are. I know that I have no idea who I am. Maybe this is just a mid-twenties/wedding planning crisis of self but I plan on figuring out who I am along with those around me while we are still living. Do the same. I wonder if Oprah has offered such insightful and slightly psychologically damaging advice/mental cleaning orders? If not, I think I deserve her ma-billions. She carted out a wagon full of fat and I present my vacuum of family history. Mine is more salacious although hers is more savory.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drowning in Tulle

The California State Fair is raging across the street with Rick Springfield's Aussie muzak slamming against the walls of our complex. I am in hiding with my Glee playlist on shuffle. Ahh, the sounds of Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and the adorable and Emmy Nominated Chris Colfer can calm my most hysterical panic attacks or my current migraine induced from Outback musical thumping.

With "Imagine" lofting across the room, I realize that I am too a dreamer. Dreaming of soft tulle and lace themed fantasies in which the perfect dress is just there- sitting on the rack. Why do I fear that my daydreams may be closer to delusions? A few days ago, I posted pictures of the dress that America Ferrera wore in the "comedy" Our Family Wedding. The only comical bit about the film was that people actually paid money (as compared to the Monocled Millionaire's colorfully hued financial notes) to see that brain numbing bit of cinema. It was lust at first sight, beautifully draped across America's body was the epitome of bridal gown perfection. Must...have. Google search results spit out the designer's deets: Monique Lhuillier's Scarlet wedding dress with the price tag of- $7,000 USD. Hrm. Must find similarly designed dress with a price in the range of someone who shops at The Rack not Nordstroms. So as Rick's audible assault continues- seriously, it's been an hour, I think the fair-goers and the tenants of the Palms have had enough; we understand that you lust after Jessie's gf but it's been twenty-eight years; move on, dude- I forge ahead in search of the dress.

Craigslist and I had some quality time and I found a pre-tested dress. Upside of purchasing a pre-worn wedding dress:
1) It has already made its way down the aisle so there is no need to be nervous. There is a pro in our midst. Just leave the thinking to the tulle.
2) Aligns with my "green" thinking- one less wedding dress purchased new? The pits may also be green or yellowish, should probably find a good dry cleaner.
3) Cheaper than new. Get the designer dress without the designer price. I could totally write commercials for The Rack- that is, of course, if they made commercials for The Rack but they don't so...must come up with another income generating idea that requires no actual work. Crossing my fingers for a lottery/deceased millionaire relative situation. No Whammies, no whammies....

Although I present a strong list of reasons to buy a sweat-infused dress, I will most likely be purchasing new. The Craigslist dress was designed by Maggie Sottero. As mentioned in previous posts, I was not properly socialized into the wedding fantasy so my knowledge of wedding dress designers are limited to Vera Wang and (recently) Monique Lhiullier but I can appreciate bridal beauty when I "C" it (on a tangent, Sue and I "C" things in similar veins- we both love a good tracksuit and are outraged at the ruling that cheerleading isn't a sport; those girls diet and drug up just like McGuire and Kobe, so boo to you, Mr. Judgey-pants). Here are a couple of the dresses that I also fell into lust with. I may need to seek advice from David Duchovny as my lustfulness may spiral out of control:

This is the original Craigslist dress. I have no idea why I am so attracted to the poofy ("cupcake" a la Hayley) bottom of the dress. All joking aside, props to the photographer from her wedding as this pic is amazing- something you would find on a site in which you purchase and consume objects relegated to a wedding or events of similar fashion ("bridal sites?")

This is the "Maeleigh" dress by Maggie Sottero. Again, poofy bottom with a tight bodice. Slightly afraid one of my boobs may go rogue and pop out if not watched carefully. I adore the detail done to the skirt and will most likely go in that direction unless, of course, I resemble an ivory elephant when trying this style on. In which case, I will go with something with less pizz-azz around my azz. Something like...

"Ruby" by Maggie Sottero. Gorgeous bead and lace work along the dress. I would be so paranoid of dropping anything on this or getting it caught on something. Do not like that the dress is strapless- my boobs are going to need support and the lack of any support beams or flying buttresses makes me weary. A post-purchase addition would definitely include the creation of thin yet resilient lace straps for the dress. No need to pull a Janet Jackson at my wedding.

By far my favorite dress. Eh, favorite-ish. As the frail Rachel Zoe would exclaim: "I die!" As when anyone uses those words, I respond with, "promises, promises..." I fell hard for the skirt on Sottero's "Venecia" dress. Amazing detail. My complaint: the "swooping-boob detailing." I appreciate the breast support; however, I really do not need any more attention going toward that area and would be so much happier sans the detailing.

Finally, a non-Sottero dress for viewing. I free you from the monotony of Sottero but not from white/egg-shell/ivory dresses. I may be non-traditional but I am not getting hitched in a pink leopard get-up. This dress was worn by Mena Suvari at her wedding and was designed by Stacey Bendet of alice + olivia fame. I am not a fan of length of the bodice- I would prefer it to end at the top of the hips rather than below it. While this ensures that you will not be showing your guests your vay-jay-jay during the dancing portion of the event, your new husband may have trouble in the bridal suite. So, for Alec's sake, we will go with something less...troubling.

There you have it. The dresses that I have come to favor. Who knows what I will end up with as I have yet to step into a bridal shop out of sheer terror. I will definitely need a Klonopin and some Grey Goose to get my behind into a dressing room along with the support (ahem- mother! and Casey!) of those with whom I try dresses on with. Support.

Ah, Rick Springfield has vacated and now I get to hear explosions. 10pm means a Maia/Sookie/Terra panic attack- I really need to go and get the kitty cats some treats to placate their nightly terrors.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Delicious, delicious food coma

My sunburnt sweetheart went out and grabbed breakfast for us before he headed off to work, which got me thinking. I wonder if I could get Nopalitos to cater the wedding. Now that would be heaven. I would eat myself into a coma and rest peacefully until someone pulled the sword out of the stone or destroyed the ring in the lava pits of Mount Doom. For all of those who have yet to taste the mind-numbingly amazing food at Nopalitos- go. Now. Seriously, get your butts up and travel to East Sacramento and experience the best breakfast in Sacramento or one of the best lunches in the area. Go. I can see the reflection of the computer in your glasses. No matter what Corey Heart says, wearing sunglasses at night (or indoors) makes you look a bit mentally unstable. I would be more inclined to trust a liquored up Mel Gibson than someone chilling out indoors with sunglasses on. So ditch the shades and run over to Nopalitos.

Our sunburnt selves munched on the Nops goodness and alas, I believe I feel a wonderful food coma setting in, which is such sweet relief as my skin feels like it has been beaten by a hot iron. Before we taunted sunscreen users, informing them that we are all going to die of some sort of cancer and we were going to pick ours, gosh darn it!- incoming tangent.... do you know how much radiation pulses through your body when you get a CT scan of your abdomen? Or that it is strongly recommended to not have your cell phone near your head when you sleep due to radiation seepage? Thus, we decided to choose our poison, which in this case was nasty UV rays. At least you will look golden brown and tanned at your memorial. Ugh, gave myself a visual of that and wondered if I would match the exterior wood of the coffin. Moot point, however, as I would much rather be cremated and turned into a diamond ring that one of my relatives could wear on a daily basis because that would not be weird at all. B-t-dubs: that is an actual services that is out there on the internet. Apparently all you need is a bit of their DNA and the lab can whip you up a diamond made out of nanna. Ugh.

Now, my highly intellectual and logical argument to choose the noose around my neck made sense roughly twenty hours ago when it was not excruciatingly painful to lay down. I look like I colored myself with Crayola's "Commie Red" crayon. Unfortunately, I not only get to look like a Communist baby-eater but I must also live in the soul and freedom crushing mentality of the Red State (not to be confused with the freedom loving Red States who insist that we don't tread on them). After a long night of attempting to find a sweet spot where I could be in the fifth rather than sixth layer of Hell I believe I may have changed my mind on my perception of sunscreen. I don't think I will be tanning for the wedding. At best, I will get sprayed with orange chemicals and attempt to have the spewing liquid hit my body rather than my (open) mouth or mistakenly open eyes. Whaaa? I was supposed to keep my mouth shut and wear protective goggles? Knuckle-futz. On second thought, maybe I should just embrace my Asian hue of off-white/light brown and skip the chemicals and UV rays all together. That makes sense, which is why I will most likely tan and/or spray tan.

As I now have seven followers- Oh yeah, not just my mom (who by the way is not following me- lameness!) but seven-ish actual followers. Okay, so I may be following myself but how else will I know if I posted a new blog filled-ish with hilarity/chuckles/awkward laughs- I think it is the perfect time to assemble a list of Nicole's Favorite Things. Don't check under your chair, there is nothing there other than rotting gum and an umbrella that someone left after the downpour in October. Once again, most of this has nothing to do with the wedding but I am bored and you get to read about it. So there.

Mmmmmm....Nops' Smothered Burrito. Nothing and I do mean nothing beats this burrito, it is amazing!

It's a bit hard to read but that is SPF 100. Science has come to a new low! Now the albinos can roam free in society. What will we do. What can we do? Does this mean that Edward "Dreamboat" Cullen won't be as sparkly? That would totally kill his appeal for me- I like my man freezing cold (it was 101F yesterday), sparkling under the obscured and clouded sun, and pouting because nothing says mature relationship like longing looks of teenage angst in the biology lab. Does it also mean that Paul Bettany can flog himself out in the park? That must be nice for him- being able to torture himself for Jesus? I don't know- I didn't watch that movie. It looked ridiculously stupid plus I believe there was a brief discussion about religion and I'm okay with not doing that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nothing to do with the wedding but...

Ah, IKEA. How I adore, thee. I would count the ways but I'm tired and Jessi Slaughter's dad called the internet poh-leece on me and we are in a hurry to pack and get the hell out of Dodge. If the name Jessi Slaughter escapes you, google it. My hope in the human race dropped significantly after watching her comment video posted up on YouTube. I am going to shelter the hell out of my child so she (if it's a boy, we are shipping his ass of to Asia; I want a baby girl) never knows what the words "glock" and an array of expletives are at the age of eleven.

Pulling myself back from the hellish darkness that is prepubescent violent threats....IKEA. Oh, your cheap but delicious Swedish food- mac and cheese, penne with garlic bread, veggie wraps, chicken strips- that is so exotic to my American mouth. We ate tonight as the steaming hot Alexander Skarsgard does in his native Sweden all for $16, which is a freaking steal for three people. I think I may be enjoying Swedish food more often if it is only gonna set us back a couple of Washingtons.

After our exotic gastro quest, we roamed the expansive store looking for a way out. Jigsaw is a cruel mother-what? You go in for dish-towels and leave three days later, dehydrated and confused. My Asian-ness drew me to the "As-Is" section of the store hidden amongst the rows of inventory. When we first moved into our tropically named apartment complex, we (and by we, I mean Alec) ripped the George Michael out of the couch cover. Mistakenly considering IKEA a discount (or at least reasonably priced) retailer, we thought we could replace the torn cover for under $50. The price is wrong, Bobby! The actual retail price of an Ektorp cover is $129. So, we have just had to avert our eyes from the gaping hole in the upholstery...until tonight. We rummaged through a bin of mixed upholstery for everything from shams to couches to beds. It was a mess and so were we. After minutes of sorting through the cloth we looked liked contestants on the last leg of the Iron Man Triathlon. Sweating like Ryan Secreast at the W. Hollywood Curves, we emptied the first of two bins and started scratching through the second seemingly bottom-less bin. Seeing the remaining bits of cloth at the bottom, I resigned any hope of getting a complete set (couch cover, back cushion cover, and seat cushion cover) in the same design much less the same color palette. Alec starts jumping up and down like a child on Christmas 'morn- one set complete. Seconds later, the second couch set is complete. Holy mother load! How much did this set us back? Well, nothing as my mommy paid the bill even though we had a heated argument at the register. A deep apology to Cindy at the W. Sac IKEA- our bad. However, as we do live in a capitalist society, money was exchanged and the total price of the couch set was...$16. $10 for the couch cover, $3 for the seat cover, and $3 for the back cushion cover. Asian said "Whaaa?" $32 for two sets of couch covers? Let's call it a day, as we just hit the gold mine.

Pushing Daisies

As well as being one of my all time favorite shows, they are beautiful flowers that in the right hue of purple can complement my wedding bouquet. At the farmers' market today (W St. at 8th, or somewhere in that general area- across from Southside Park, where they found a floater last summer), we came across some great flower vendors who had a large array of liliac and white flowers. It was a bit of a shock as we are used to going to the Oak Park Farmers' Market that has a total of eight-ish vendors and at the maximum has ten middle-aged hippies strolling around the bark-filled lot. Today's Farmers' Market (FM as I suspect I will refer to this more than once and as I have previously mentioned, laziness is totally my thing, totally) was the Mecca for local farmers, all collecting under white tents that advertised their proximity to our fair city.

As I walked into the bustling marketplace, I had a wonderfully unexpected panic attack. Damn you, agoraphobia! I thought we had moved past this but alas, you are here to stay. You are my deeply hidden "Gimme" alter. Please, no wetting of the bed, as it irritates John Corbett. Despite the tens of vendors, I could not find a head of lettuce. What the Toni Collete, FM? Free range eggs, fresh roma and vine tomatoes, three pound onions, garlic and herb cheese, live fish, Jews Against Zionism, and strawberries but no romaine lettuce? Argh! Oh well, I guess I will have to go and slum it over at Whole Check.

At the FM, my mother and I browsed the purple blossoms and ooh'ed and ahh'ed at their beauty and magnificence- they were adjacent to the meat section of the FM, so there was no competition. Here is a selection of (blurred) images that I took with Alec's new-ish iphone. I am the furthest thing from a botanist- my MOMA had gifted us a gorgeous Bonsai con panda that lasted roughly a month although its demon-esque prickly appendages hide in our carpet and plan sneak attacks upon our unsuspecting and angelically innocent feet (not to be mistaken for Gardein's feat)- thus, I have absolutely no idea what type of flowers/plants these are. They just purty.

white purty thing-a-ma-bobber that does not have talon like stems

bluish/purple foliage

white foliage with garlic-like appendages.

This is what I have so far. Some pictures of some flowers from the FM. My Best Lady who has "unfortunately read [my] blog" has scrutinized me for not picking out a vendor, caterer, and well...everything. My pimp is on it and we are planning a trip up to the Hill of Apples to check out the venue and see if they can provide a vegan menu for our nuptials.

Jessi Slaughter has made my brain a slushie. Bridezilla, out.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Dreamed a Dream

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Thank you, Susan Boyle (or the boil named Susan in "Futurama") as you are the only voice I hear when I think of that song. Well, actually, I get a visual of Susan the boil on Leela's ass. I should probably read more as I think that Alec Baldwin was right and that the evil alien masterminds behind Hulu and the ubiquity of mindless entertainment are liquefying our cerebral matter.

As an itty-bitty little Asian girl, I don't think I really ever dreamed about the details of walking down the aisle. Well, I think I daydreamed of a vague ivory dress made of hopes and dreams while I glided on cotton-candy clouds walking ever so elegantly toward Prince William. An updated version of this dream would definitely involve the younger and thicker coiffed ginger prince. Seriously, Will, William, Billy- have you ever heard of Rogaine? Your hairline is receding faster than the native wildlife in the Gulf. You are caliente, my English compadre but you are losing major hotness points to your Nazi-dressing brother. Shame. As a side note, the dictionary that is embedded in this application does not recognize any Spanish words. *Shudder* Palin, the Earl Grey's, and the Minute Men (who rumor has it, chose their name out of sexual frustration rather than historical events) are winning. Tangent. I think I should buy a diggedy-dog shock collar to keep me on track but I fear I would most likely strap that on Alec mid-dream just to mess with him. Speaking of, after a delish dinner with my mother, he proceeded to find the worm at the bottom of a Chardonnay bottle. Tequila-Chardonnay, same thing, right?

Back to my ramblings- my wedding was never really detailed out in my young and naive years of four. Ok, okay... twenty. I wish I had made a plan a la Patrick Dempsey's Lucky Seven. This Academy Award snub made by the lovely people of ABC Family is a must watch, gents. It's got everything: action- there are explosions in the sky (known to some as "fireworks"); chicks that have lady parts that are sometimes exposed when they wear....tank tops; gore- the wedding is catastrophic- limbs are flying in every direction with morbid onlookers taking photographs to commemorate the horrific event; and sci-fi- OOOOO! There are palm pilots in this strange tech un-savvy world. On a sidenote that will most likely turn into a shooting tangent, Syfy- you are not fooling anyone. You are still the nerdy network and a name change does not make you any cooler. The cool kids over at HBO are still throwing their Tru Blood slushies in your face. Your situation is so dire that even Jack Donaghy's sinking ship refuses to meet you in public. So fly your freak flag, Syfy, and drop the act. I love you for your Giant Shark vs. Mini Giraffe gore-fest. I know Bambi gets his ass kicked by Godzilla so let's keep it that way. Not sure if that last bit will be supported by PETA. Ok, last tangent in this paragraph- is unsolicited bestiality a crime?

Back to the movie and its groundbreaking message of....something. Mother, I am going to blame the absence of a dissertation length dossier on the wedding vendors located in the Western Hemisphere on you . Amy's mother (back to the life altering movie) gave her a road map for life. Literally, seven bfs then marriage; along with college and other stuff but the marriage is the key part of this roadmap. We are women, come on now. We go to college to meet a man and learn how to cook a killer foie gras, right? Your liberal child rearing has given me too much freedom of choice. Damn you for not slapping my ass around, instilling me with the grace to grant all decisions to the nearest penis. Well, I guess if I would have stuck around my biological father more that may have been my future but damn my independent stubbornness!

So let's see. I have no idea what I want to do with this wedding other than having a vegan caterer. Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out. Chew on twig- ahhh, delicious!

This weekend we are planning on hitting up the local farmers' markets along with the vegan bakery that doubles as a catering service (and communist secret cell) to get our gastro on. In the coming weeks, we are going to head out to Apple Hill, CA; which is not a giant apple shaped like a hill as I had previously believed but rather a haven for apple connoisseurs. I haven't been since I was a child so I have no idea how accurate my childhood memory of the area is- but, fingers (and toes) crossed my memory is better than my dearly beloved betrothed; who, after a lovely afternoon spent strolling the streets of San Francisco, took me to a lovely restaurant that his family had frequented during his youth. Boy, redecorating to have an exterior that resembled an apartment complex sure was sneaky of those restaurateurs. After many attempts to place an order with those leaving said restaurant, we left defeated and chowed instead on the local delicacies of Mel's. Fortunately for the two (or three counting Maia) of us, my aunt is a venerable vacation and entertainment pimp and is burning up all of her roll-over minutes trying to help us with just about everything. My goal is to replicate the style of Star Jones' wedding. Not the gay husband deal but the whoring out of products and merchandise on The View in order to get a final tab of... $0. I may have difficulty gaining access to the squabbling heads on ABC; however, I am totally willing to smack decals all over my car (and Maia) to seal the deal. Venue rental- $0; catering- $0; photography- $0; whoring yourself- priceless.

Well, I believe that I was able to adequately fill space without talking about anything in detail. My gift of gab is honorable and I may have a destiny in politics. Hrm. I can talk about nothing at all for hours on end; however, I can't stand idiots and Capitol Hill is crammed full of the cognitively challenged.

Stay tuned, houseguests, for more Big Brother...Sorry, CBS asked me to fill in for the Chenbot as it was revealed that she was the true saboteur. My hiring will be a true coup d'etat (pronounced, "coop dee-taught," thank you Jeff). All of three of you will get that joke but worth it.

For those who are just joining me on this literary journey of my psychological carnival ride, the best is yet to come. Enjoy Bridezillas or the first month of American Idol, You Think You Can Dance, and the Bachelor/ette or the entire season of Rock of Love [Bus] for the trainwreck TV? You ain't seen nothing yet! Wedding planning/gorging our faces at Sugar Plum this weekend along with some convos with Apple Hill farmers will ensure updates will be made in a disorderly fashion. Shanat- don't worry, they shall come. Just like if you build it, they will come. Now, I believe that it refers to some field of (broken) dreams but I am betting that it really refers to a new Apple Store.

I have realized that with my great gift of verbal diarrhea comes a great responsibility- to subject my friends, family, and some dude from India- to it. You're welcome.

Dress Hunting at the Bargain Bin

Frugality is a gift, that I dare say, has been bred in me. My grandmother who was and still is my role model made a habit of cutting costs. Ants enjoying your chocolate chip cookies? Well, that's the only function of a Hoover. Ant suction and removal. Birthday celebrations? Costco and the Walton's Sam's Club are a God send. Cram all of the names of those who are celebrating/celebrated/will celebrate their birthday during that fiscal quarter on a sheet cake. Extras? Well, who remembered to pull the baby out of the bathwater? Freeze it, and re-apply the names for the next quarter. Now, don't get me wrong, my grandmother was one of the most amazing women who I have ever had the luck of knowing and I miss her dearly but that woman knew how to save almost to a fault.

In the spirit of Grandma Betty, I decided to do some searching for my Best Lady's dress. A brief explanation of the term is necessary. Although I am a deep brunette, I have blonde roots. They are there, I promise. When asking my ABF (Asian best friend) to be my Maid of Honor, I blanked on the title and feminized the male version- Best Man. Thus, Casey is not my Maid of Honor she is my Best Lady. The term "maid" refers to both the economically unfortunate (or the sociological term- disenfranchised) and the lonely spinster. Case is neither. Thus, Best Lady it is; even if it has a slight resemblance to a Eugene Levy film.

So, Best Lady. Here are some of the wonderful choices that I have assembled thus far:

Nothing conveys our vegetarian lifestyle like this dress that resembles something that has been dragged through an abandoned lot and left out in the elements for a decade. So it's vintage. Don't worry, Case, this will only set you back $198. It's a steal, really.

You can be a beautiful blue princess in this get-up. It is slightly less expensive at $188 and I think this may be a result of the seamstress' inablity to finish piecing together the waistline. Plus: my cousin got out the BeJeweler and gave that dress some much needed pizazz.

I have no idea why this winner is priced under the previous two at the stunningly low price of $178. How have they been able to keep this in the store, much less in inventory? It flatters everything on a woman- it will extend your bust line a good two to three feet, although it may gouge out the eyes of Brian; the elastic feathery band at the knees is sure to help you get down on that dance floor, quite literally. You may need assistance to get back up but you can party all night long with your knees securely snapped together. Not sure if this will leave long-term damage- be sure to consult with Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, or Dr. Laura. Not sure if all of said doctors truly have a degree but they say they do, so it counts, right?

Well, my peanut sized cousin got the super glue and some of the fermenting leaves and flowers from the garden and pasted those all up over this dress. Not quite sure what the ruffling along the side of the gown is. I am going to assume that it is flattering to your figure. Must be slimming, why else would it be adorned on the dress?

I'm thinking this may be the winner. I bet we can spray paint this sucker red, or you can just transfer the gore from my body after I force you into this for the wedding. Dealer's choice. It truly is astonishingly...erm, unique? The top says Dancing With the Stars and the bottom tells a different more unfortunate story of a woman who unknowingly got her gown all scrunched up in her hoo-ha/va-jay-jay/lady bits. Ran out of tp? Or is it just styled? At the winning price of $198 USD (yeah, that's not in Euros ladies). Let's whip out our Visas and charge, charge, charge.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You get a truffle! YOU get a truffle. EVERYBODY gets a...truffle?

It's near midnight and all I can think about is what do I get you, distinguished guest of my wedding? Do I pamper you with a local wine coupled with mini-truffles? Do I personalize M&M's and laugh when they do in fact melt in your hands, or worse, in the box? Shall I gift smoked glass votive candle holders that commemorate our wedding? Should you get anything- it is a recession and to be honest, you are a member of the glutinous consumer class. But so am I, so who am I to point my metaphorical sparkling new iphone 4G (release the white version, Jobs!) at you?

I asked friends on Facebook, the highly scientific and reliable data processing site, their opinions on what I should graciously gift to those who attend our ceremony. Here is a brief list with commentary on those suggestions:

1)Bubbles (via Will): I too am an obligatory fan of the late Michael Jackson but I don't believe that giving out aging primates is a good "remember the day" gift. While they do enjoy throwing brown material, I would highly discourage consumption as that is a "monkey truffle."

2) M&Ms/candy: This would be cute (a chill ran up my spine after uttering that word) if our names were Mark and Mindy or Maxwell and Michael- no h8, CA! Off on another tangent! Getting back on the chocolate train track, I would like something that isn't as everyday as M&Ms. Maybe peanut M&Ms or that saucy green M&M.

3) Alcohol (via Casey/Jessica): Alright, alchies. Not sure if that is a word but Bush was President and if there is one thing that he taught me during my edumacation, other than how OBGYNs just want to practice their love with women, is that as a freedom loving American, it is my right, nay, duty to provide the lesser peoples of the World (France and Canada) with new updated versions of the American language. Think of it as American OS 5. There will be another update in the next 12 months. Be prepared. You may even be able to multitask with this new update and create further hybrids. Consult Adam Sandler and Paz Vega for suggestions on how to make your own OS.

That was a pretty obtuse tangent, there. Congratulations are now to be made to a Mr. Colvard who provided me with that reference in 2001. You, sir, taught me to chew gum to relieve stress before a test but more importantly, if you try hard enough anyone can balance a steaming cup of coffee on their stomach.

A tangent off of another tangent. Mathematically possible? I have no idea, I majored in Sociology which required....0 math classes. Win. Ah, back to why I will not be giving you alcohol. First, I am a grad student at Sac State. I am not rolling in any money. I retract that last statement as just yesterday Maia and myself were rolling in the orange Monopoly monies. Oh, yeah. $500. That is called bank; unfortunately, Bank of America and the Bank of the Monocled Mustached Millionaire do not allow direct (or indirect transfers). Second, I refuse to sit back and watch yourself drink yourself to death, Mel. You once a career; yeah, you bashed a Jew or two and slurred out some impressively misogynistic ramblings but I think it may be time to put down the Zimas and go to AA with Lindsay.

4) Beach-Themed Souvenirs (via my mother): Mom. We are not going to get married in Kauai. The nearest "beach" around here is technically the American River but the last rendezvous to said location ended in the swell discovery of a weapon dump. Yeah, nothing says "I Love You, FOREVER" like a disposed murder weapon.

I am thinking smoked votives with scented candles for all of you who enjoy the delicious Mexican, Indian, Ecuadorian, or Ethiopian foods or conversely those who enjoy asparagus but are not too keen on it's lingering aroma. So, when you are hunkered down in the bathroom wishing you could blow a hole into the wall to have the liberating air of the outdoors combat the possibly fatal fumes festering around you; you can snag a match, light the wick, and remember us.

Suck it, carnivores!

Our wedding, in congruence with our life, will be meat-free. So for all of you who are unable to continue living without stuffing your jowls with bits of cute cuddly animals, grab KFC or Carl's Jr. before the ceremony (we are looking at you, Paul).

Being vegetarian is a bit difficult in our meat-lusting culture but has gotten significantly easier due to market pressures... That sentence should convince you that I have a college degree. That settled, there are a lot of fake meat (or "feat") companies out that can offer our meatavores some options past twigs and nuts.

We are looking into the catering of Sugar Plum Bakery- we are going to go this weekend to their downtown establishment and gorge on vegan goodness. As with everything in our lives, the greatest factor in our caterer will be cost. Now, I am not suggesting that I will be hiring Downtown James Brown or Merry Christmas to throw something together but we do not have the finances comparable to Speidi. Well, actually we do now. That's what happens when you are cruel to production- you get fired and then go crazy. But this is a conversation for another blog.

As this site was put up to encourage suggestions and I have yet to inquire for them; here it is:

HELP. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking? We are raised to imagine our wedding day from infancy. From cradle to alter. But we never consider the minutiae of the day and the days to come (ominous music). Luckily, Alec and I are heathens living in sin as we have been "cohabitating" for the past three years. And to think that bum just put a ring on it. Beyonce would not be proud.

I ramble. That is my thing. I should trademark it but I'm too lazy. That is also my thing. So I need help learning how to:

1) be terse. Ha! I did it, that was a simple and short explanation for the goal for which I am trying to achieve.

2) be a good housewife a la 1950s. Just kidding. Or am I? Not sure and I'm too lazy to figure that one out. I should call Sean Spencer or that other hack on CBS to figure it out for me. Ah. I was just reminded of "Dr." Laura. Thanks for referring her to me, betrothed. I have a feeling I know where you stand on this issue. Kitchen it is.

3) plan this wedding. I have questions that need answers and my magic 8 ball is being a bit to terse for my liking. Maybe it will give me lessons- "try back again later." Tease.

So, please. Help. Suggest "thoughts" and "ideas" about wedding stuff. I have heard of these terms in college but let's be honest. It was CSUS. We had curtains for doors in our bathrooms. I'm glad I know the difference between left/right. Nope. I take that back. I do know a lot about the Real World/Road Rules Challenges though (especially the "Runs").

Location, Location, Location

I absolutely adore the internet because it allows me to assemble an unnaturally and presumably unhealthy sized ego as I can now speak to the masses. The "masses" including: myself, my sleep-deprived betrothed, and my mother. None the less, I will speak with the confidence of Sarah Palin at a [insert religious or political event/fast-food chain opening].

Here are our well thought out plans as of 6:49 PST:

1) Outdoor wedding: hence the background. Think Meet Joe Black minus the wealth (we are but graduate students mind you) coupled with the final wedding in Runaway Bride minus the horse (I have no desire to be dragged by an equine through the hills of California).

2) Religion-free ceremony: I spent 13 years in Catholic education, 'nuf said. Alec's dad will be officiating, which keeps it in the family.

3) Open bar: why not? However, if anyone feels they need to drink their body mass in vodka or tequila- I will have horses ready for your removal.

4) Liliac and Ivory Color Theme: Tiffany's Blue is a bit hard to find through different vendors. I don't have the mental strength to detail the blue/green ratio to each vendor.

What's in a Dress?

Apparently $7,000 of girlish wonderment. I will somehow need to remedy my Asian-minded economics with the money hungry wedding machine.

Welcome to the Circus

Family, friends, curious web-bystanders:

Welcome to the blog for Alec and Nicole's wedding. We have just begun planning but have a tentative "date" for the ceremony. My darling betrothed has become entranced with September 10, 2011. Yes, he enjoys the simplicity of 9/10/11 as our wedding date. So, we have over a year to put together this shin-dig that will most likely cost somewhere between a black market kidney and a tuft of Justin Bieber's luscious locks.