Friday, October 29, 2010

New Tattoo

I'm off to get my sixth tattoo today. Here was my inspiration:


I gave my artist the above picture and told him that I wanted him to draw his own version of it (perhaps a questionable idea, because he typically draws zombies and skulls, but what can I say, I trust him). There will be a kind of vintage banner below her name that says "The Stardust of a Song."
Meaning:
My grandparents were married 3 weeks before my grandfather left for World War II. They were separated for a year and a half before they were able to begin their life together. Rob and I, due to our own wartime separation, feel a real connection with my grandparents and the love they shared.
My grandparents both passed away within a year of each other, in 2009 and 2010. It was a huge loss for my family and we've all felt a little directionless since they passed.
So the vintage war-bride type tattoo is an homage to them and their love. Their song was "Stardust" performed by Hoagie Carmichael, which explains the lyrics that will appear below her head.
I'm definitely much more excited about this tattoo than I've been about any of my others, primarily because it's so meaningful, but also because it's my first color tattoo.
Do any of you (assuming anyone reads this) have tattoos, or are planning one?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lotsa Bullets

I don’t have the energy or coherence to write an actual post, so perhaps some bullets will do:

- Rob and I celebrated one month of marital bliss yesterday. I can definitely say that being married feels “different” from being engaged and/or living together.

- I am very, very, very fortunate to be married to my best friend.

- When I look back on our relationship (almost 8 years together) I am floored by just how much we’ve gone through to get where we are. I almost lost him several times in Iraq, I spent three months in Russia, we spent the majority of four years apart but somehow still grew together…and now life just seems so freaking NORMAL. I think if the Me from three years ago was instantly transported to my life now (seeing Rob every day, or at least every week when I’m traveling, walking the dog, working) her head would explode with happiness. Seriously, Rob and I used to fantasize for HOURS about the life we’d lead post-Army and how happy we’d be. So far it pretty much meets expectations.

- I love my dog, but one thing that gets me down about remote work is having to walk her all day. I’m just not a person that can enjoy walks by myself, especially when my dog is getting into everything she shouldn’t get into (dead animals, feces, blackberries, cigarette butts, gum) and I have to yell at her every 3 feet. Plus it’s hot and boring and loud (we walk on an ATV trail that runs right next to the road) and I have to carry a giant electric fly swatter to kill the deer flies.

- Side note: I don’t consider myself a morbid person, but I get a real kick out of watching deer flies fry on my electric fly swatter. Seriously. I press the little button like 8 times just to “make sure” they’re dead, even when they’re just sparks by that point. Then I knock them off the racket and step on them.

- Gluten-free diet is going really well so far. I went through a phase where I was convinced that though two tests conclusively diagnosed celiac disease, I didn’t actually have celiac disease. So I ate rather carelessly (no outright cheating, just a ton of cross-contamination) and ended up getting really sick. So we’re back to strictly GF. I meet with my gastroenterologist tomorrow and hopefully he can answer some of my long-term questions (re: pregnancy, my future childrens’ risk of celiac, etc.).

- Someone very close to me is still battling cancer after more than a year, and I think she’s just about the most awesome person in the world with just about the most awesome attitude in the world. Girl’s my hero.

- I’ve been experiencing some interesting feelings re: children lately. One day I’ll desperately wish I was pregnant, the next I can’t imagine ever even having kids. We went to visit Rob’s professor the other evening for dinner and their twin 5-year-old girls were just. so. shrill. But they’re really freaking cute (and SMART – these kids know at least some advanced geological concepts and can write their names super-legibly! Not even in kindergarten yet!). I suppose it all changes once you actually HAVE kids (which we will do…someday).

- This post more or less flows in the same way as my thought processes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yet another venture.

So last year, an old friend from high school asked me to photograph her wedding. I accepted because it seemed reaaally far away...but last weekend, it came, and there I was. I was excruciatingly nervous and didn't know how it would turn out.

The night before, I had taken Rob to a Social Distortion concert for his birthday in Hartford, CT. I was careless with what I ate (had some cross-contaminated french fries) and got really sick in the middle of the concert. The next day (day of the wedding) I was shaky, dehydrated, and exhausted. And super, super nervous.

But...

It went really, really well actually! The pictures came out more beautiful than expected and the bride was *thrilled*. I even got an extra $25 on top of my extremely low price!

I had another wedding this weekend that I'm not sure went as well, but I'm still working on the pictures. My last for the season (maybe?) is on August 22.

Anyway this is an exciting new venture in our lives. Photography has long been something that I enjoy doing and, if I could make money doing it, would be a fabulous full-time job. I hope I have the talent, werewithal, and patience to make it happen...if it's supposed to happen. Sure would mean a lot more time at home, but still plenty of opportunities to travel!

Other than that, this weekend was uneventful.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Chapter

I just went through and deleted all the wedding blogs from my list on the right, which I use in place of Google Reader to keep up on weddingy things. I started to realize that wedding blogs were just another source of frustration and anxiety and hey, I'm not planning a wedding anymore! So here we are with a new chapter free of wedding planning.

I am working remotely (from home) for two weeks, which is lovely but also stressful. I love spending time with my husband, but not being physically on site has its challenges.

Lately I've been evaluating my work situation and trying to figure out how constant travel makes me feel. Honestly I haven't come up with much; travel has become so normal to me now that my eyes sort of glaze over and I go through the motions like any good travel robot. How long I'll be able to do it remains to be seen.

This is a ramble-y post so I'll cut it short there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Married Life

So, we went through with it. We got married and we couldn't be happier!

The day was more perfect than we could've planned (though it was totally different from what we DID plan!). We made some music together, spent time with our loved ones, ate some cake, drank some alcohol, and read some kick-ass vows. We made the wedding completely "ours." The vows, ceremony, reception, music...everything was personalized for US as a couple. We're so happy.

I think my favorite moment was hearing Rob's vows. At one point he said, "I love you no matter how crazy you think you are, and I love you for how crazy you actually are," which was absolutely perfect. My next favorite moment was my sister's reading. She surprised us both by reading a passage from a book that my grandmother had written about the early days of her relationship with my grandfather. Since my grandparents both passed away within the last two years, and as the wedding was at their house, this meant so much to us. If you have access to the pictures and see me crying, that's probably why.

The performance went off without a hitch and (I think) people really enjoyed it. We couldn't really keep it a surprise (given the huge drum set, amps, guitars, etc.) but we did the best we could! We played two songs together, "When She Begins" and "The Dirty Glass," along with our bassist and drummer. We had a third song, "Likes of You Again," but were unable to play it as our bassist got too drunk to remember the bass line :) Made a good story anyway!

Everyone sort of mingled around the 7 acre property and danced, or didn't dance. There was "something" for everyone...lawn games, beautiful panoramic views, a DJ with some kick-ass music, and plenty of baked potatoes, blueberry lemonade, and lobster.

I don't think it could've been more perfect.

And married life is awesome. Contrary to what I originally thought, it really does feel different.

I read through a bunch of Rob's old emails, both in high school and during the Army years, and it hit me just how much we've gone through to get here. If I could bring the 2007 me to now and show her that we FINALLY live together, are FINALLY married, and can FINALLY decide what we want to do with our life, I think her brain would've exploded. And yet the transition from being apart to living together was so easy, so effortless...and the transition from engaged to married was even more so.

I love my husband so very, very much...and we have certainly earned this wedding and this marriage.

:-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Countdown is On...

So we are 6 days away from our wedding.

And really, I feel pretty awesome.

I'm not super anxious or worried, just going about my day in anticipation of the best day of my life (so far).

It's hard to believe that after 7 1/2 years of worrying, crying, hellos, goodbyes, happiness, anxiety, etc. etc. that we are finally legally joining our lives together. Now come the days of sharing money (though admittedly we've kind of been doing that for the last 2 years), children (eventually), buying a home (eventually), and growing old together (eventually).

I had a friend ask me how we expected to keep our marriage alive when both of our parents are happily divorced.

I think that no one can just expect to keep their marriage alive...you either work your ass off with it, or you do not.

You can choose to make your husband/wife your priority, or your option. I read somewhere that even when you have children, your spouse should always be your #1 priority (since, if you have a happy marriage and put each other first, your children will therefore be happier/more relaxed, what have you, and will thus feel more valued and appreciated). I hope that Rob and I will always make each other our priority, even with children and the other elements of life that will be thrown at us. We're lucky (yes, lucky) that we went through some of the hardest times that people our age in the U.S. have to deal with in the beginning of our relationship...we built trust, communication skills, and most importantly of all, love.

I simply could not be happier about this wedding and all the meaning that comes behind it.

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Celiac Diva

I was told two weeks ago that I have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to react negatively to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Since I was a kid I had stomach pain and other...ahem...gastrointestinal issues. They've been going on for the majority of my life and I never thought for a second that they could be abnormal. Until I moved in with Rob...who was...ahem...surprised at all the gastrointestinal "issues" that I faced. I finally decided to get it checked out, and a bloodtest and endoscopy later, my doctor told me to begin a gluten-free diet.

Basically this means that all "normal" food, such as bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, cake, brownies, and processed food is all out. This is a huge switch for me, and for my household. We are avid consumers of pasta and bread, and on the road I am used to eating out for...well, every meal.

I'm lucky that Rob is so supportive. He basically eats no gluten while I'm home (except for his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which just aren't as good on gluten-free bread) and is always watching out to make sure I don't get a stray crumb here and there.

Oh, yeah, my food can't come into contact with even a crumb of bread or gluten-containing food.

Anyway we've learned to adapt by using gluten-free bread (which has to be frozen) and rice, potato, or corn pasta. So far we've actually been quite successful, and I'm not feeling the strain of the diet at all.

Well...except at Newark Airport last week.

There was a girl, maybe 13, who was eating a piece of cheese pizza. The crust looked fluffy and delicious, the grease was shining off the cheese in the most intoxicating fashion...my mouth literally watered and I ached to taste its gluteny goodness. I don't usually stare at people but I was definitely hardcore staring at this piece of pizza and the fortunate girl who was preparing to eat it.

What sucks about celiac disease is that there is no. cheating.

Gluten causes my intestines to physically react. The villi become blunted and the lining itself is damaged. This can lead to other autoimmune diseases, cancer, infertility, etc., and the only way to stop it from happening is to not consume any gluten, in any shape or form.

So this diet is for real, and it's for good.

One positive side effect: because preservatives are largely made with gluten, I have to eat all-natural foods. This also means that gluten-free frozen meals are about 80x better than regular frozen meals because the ingredients are all REAL food.

So there are some upsides.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wow, Five Months...

Five months since a new blog post.

I guess since I lost my Army girlfriend status my life became much less interesting, and I feel bad subjecting people to my boring life stories. But here we are!

I'm still working as a software consultant, which requires me to travel every Sunday. Currently I'm on a project in Houston, which is quite a trip to make every week. But in this job market, I'm happy to have a job and to be able to support my little family while Rob's in school.

Speaking of Rob, he got an internship this summer which is very exciting, especially since the G.I. Bill doesn't pay in the summer! He's doing fabulously in school and I can't wait until he's out and we can finally be real adults. :) And start having babehs!

Our wedding is a little over a month away and I can't believe it. I got so used to saying/thinking "I have MONTHS to go," and now I'm staring at five more weeks.

I'd like to share our most recent wedding project.

It all started when Rob and I were brainstorming potential wedding card box ideas. Usually people use boxes, wishing wells, or birdcages, but we wanted something different. My initial idea (of which I was quite proud) was a decorated mailbox. People could put their cards in our mailbox as "mail" for us. But Rob didn't let it go at that - he said that we should add some teeth and eyes and make it a Wedding Card Nom-Monster. So here is the initial result (my apologies for the crap-tastic picture):



Eventually we're going to add some arms, one of which will "hold" a sign with some type of LOLSpeak message ("I can haz ur wedding cards for nomz pls?"), but this is all we got so far!

My favorite wedding planning site, http://www.offbeatbride.com/, plans to feature it! This is thrilling since together we have the creativity and craftiness of a 7 year old. The beauty you see above was made with two syrofoam balls, acrylic paint, and posterboard.

I do follow all of your blogs quite avidly, as you all live much more interesting lives. I hope you are all doing fabulously!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pictures for Sale!

Hi all!
I recently created an Etsy shop to sell some of my photographs...
...and you are welcome to check it out and let me know what you think!
Cypress Stream Photography
Thanks :-)