March 28, 2012

Let's Panic About The Wedding!

Last night, I had my first wedding-related nightmare. Perhaps it's surprising that the nightmares started so late in the game. Or maybe they didn't start, and it was just a fluke? Here's hoping...

In my dream, it was the day of our wedding, and D and I were riding the subway in very casual clothes, going somewhere to pick up his sister. In the middle of the subway ride, I suddenly remembered that we were supposed to be getting married that day, and immediately started panicking.

A: Oh my god, we are supposed to be getting married today! How could we have forgotten???

D: It's fine, we didn't forget, we can still get married.

A: But we are not even close to being ready! We don't even have centerpieces!

Yeah... I panicked about not having centerpieces. Not about the fact that, you know, we are for some reason on the subway in sweatpants, when we are supposed to be getting ready and going to the venue. But the thing is, I know exactly why I'm having nightmares about the centerpieces. Even though I made a centerpiece plan back in January, I've only barely spent a couple of hours on them since then, and there is no end in sight. And working two jobs certainly makes finding "spare" time to work on the wedding a bit challenging.

According to The Kn*t, I still have about 55 things left on my to-do list. With less than 2.5 months left till the wedding, that's about one item per day! I guess I should just quit my job(s) and plan the wedding full time... But even ignoring the ridiculous never-ending WIC checklist, here are some wedding planning highlights that have the potential to induce further nightmares:

  • Find and purchase D's attire
  • Find and purchase D's ring
  • Make sure the bridal party has something to wear (this has been proving to be oddly difficult to check off the list)
  • Make all the decorations (yeah, that's all on me)
  • Have hair and makeup trial appointment (mercifully, this has finally been scheduled)
  • Figure out our ceremony and vows (almost forgot this one, ha!)
  • Make playlists for the cocktail hour, dinner, and dance party
  • Order alcohol for the wedding
  • Figure out where our guests are going to park (because our venue does not come with parking)
  • Get marriage license (rather important!)
  • Create a day-of schedule and panic after realizing how crazy it's going to be
  • Have a dry run for making bouquets (this one is a DIY effort)
  • Make a seating chart (actually, this is almost done because we badgered our guests into RSVP'ing super early)
  • Possibly have engagement photos taken while we are still legitimately engaged
  • Make wedding announcements (although I am getting dangerously close to slashing this one off the list, or just making a jpeg and emailing them out instead of having them printed and mailed)
  • Let everyone who is helping with the wedding know what we are expecting from them

That's it! That's only 16 things! I don't know what else The Kn*t wants from me, but I feel better already.

Edited to note: I forgot to mention that we need to figure out our first dance. That's not even on The Kn*t's checklist.

March 20, 2012

One Year Blogiversary!

Can you believe that I've been blogging at Pieces of Anna for an entire year now? In honor of this momentous occasion, let's recap what happened in the past year.

I started this blog to figure out what it is that I like to do in my spare time, after I realized that most of my hobbies had slowly disappeared from my life. Well, I'm happy to report that some hobbies have made a (re)appearance! But more than that, the blog has slowly evolved beyond this singular purpose into an outlet that allows me to record fragments of my life in writing.

My life, in a nutshell.

So what have I been up to lately? Let's see.

  • Despite my aspirations for a career change, science will always be my first love. Chemistry never ceases to fascinate me, and if I could choose to stay in any scientific career, I would definitely become a chemist. For an amazing marriage of photography and chemistry, check out The Elements by Theodore Gray. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
  • And yet, I'm still gunning for that career change. More than a year of research and soul searching has not resulted in any definitive conclusions, but I can positively say that I would like writing to be a major part of my new career. It may be in the form of science writing, but I'm certainly not limiting myself to that one category. Meanwhile, I actually have some news on that front - my research into science writing is no longer purely theoretical. Surprise! In my infinite wisdom, I decided to take on the opportunity of a lifetime and start a three-month long internship as a science communicator... three months before the wedding. And no, I did not quit my day job. I'm actually now working TWO jobs at the same time! And planning a wedding! No one ever said career change would be easy.
  • Science writing is one option for the new career, but I could be just as happy writing about decorating and DIY projects. Sometime in the past several years, I discovered the world of decorating blogs, and I fell in love. If you had told me five years ago that I would get crazy excited about rearranging the living room or refinishing furniture, I would have looked at you as if you had three heads. It's a side of me I never knew existed, but now that it's here, there is no going back. I have a growing collection of decorating books and actually making things by hand brings me much happiness (and instant gratification). To be able to say, "Look! I made that!" is priceless. Even if you don't have a decorating bone in your body, but would still like to live in a cozy, inviting home, check out The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman. It's worth it just for the illustrations alone.
  • But there is more to my life than just science, writing, and decorating. As part of our wedding preparations, we started taking salsa lessons! See those old, beat-up dance shoes in the photo? Well, those are not actually my salsa shoes (I just bought those last week, and they are still nice and shiny and new). Those are my old ballroom dancing shoes. Dancing has been a huge part of my life since I was in grade school, and as my hobbies slowly dissipated out of my busy "adult" life, I had forgotten how much joy dancing brings me. In my life, I've done ballet, ballroom, swing, tango, and even a little bit of tap and belly dancing. Our salsa lessons give me something to look forward to on Monday nights, and I am hoping to keep on dancing even after the wedding is over.
  • And yes, of course the other big thing that happened last year is that D and I got engaged! (Bonus points if you can find the engagement ring in the above photo.) So the craziness of wedding planning has been part of our lives for over half a year now, and with three months to go, I can't wait to be married already. Meanwhile, I have to say that despite being super annoying at times, wedding planning has given me ample opportunity to work out that DIY muscle, and I am grateful for that. And for the whole getting married part, of course.
It has been quite an eventful year for this little blog! I can't wait to see what the upcoming year brings. Whatever it is, you know I'll be writing all about it right here.

March 12, 2012

Men read APW, too

Yesterday, I caught my fiance reading A Practical Wedding.

Me: What are you doing?

D: I'm doing research for our ceremony.

Me: How did you end up on that website?

D: Some chick keeps talking about it...

Hehehe. Just doing my part, spreading the sanity around.

March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

Or, as the Arizona Senate put it, "Fuck you very much!"

(Oh, you thought this post might be about celebration and flowers? Sorry, no such luck.)

In its infinite wisdom, the Arizona Senate passed a bill (20 to 9) that allows doctors to not inform women (or parents) about a potential prenatal issue that could be life threatening to the woman or the fetus.

While I could attempt to write an adequate response to this insanity while my blood is boiling, Lucy Woodhull at Miss Worded said is best. Here is an excerpt:
Dear Illustrious Penises of Arizona,
You just passed a bill that allows doctors to intentionally withhold life-saving information from a woman because if she heard it, she might abort a fetus to save her own life or because of problems with the fetus itself.
Great job.  It is well-known that women cannot be trusted with decisions.  Much better to let a doctor decide to have her die to save that precious fetus that will also die.
Go read the rest of it here, and then spread the word. And by the way, at least nine other states have already passed similar bills. Welcome to America, land of the free(ish)!

How to be a woman - dying my hair, try 2

I was prepared this time. After getting the hair dye all over the bathroom (but not my gray hair) during my last near-sighted attempt, I figured out that the key to successfully dying my hair was to actually be able to see what I'm doing. Genius, right? So I went digging into the depths of our bathroom vanity cabinet and fished out my two-year-old contact lenses. Given that my vision deteriorates every year, and I almost never wear contacts, these lenses weren't going to give me 20/20 vision. But it was better than nothing. At the very least, the hair on my head came into focus and no longer looked like a blob in the mirror.

With the contacts in, I recalled the disaster that my bathroom turned into last time, after the hair dye bottle projectile vomited its purple contents all over every (white) surface. Determined to avoid the clean up that followed, I cut up a plastic bag and covered the sink as best I could. I also brought in some paper towels, figuring it couldn't hurt JUST IN CASE. As I wrapped the towel around myself, almost ready to start, another brilliant idea came to me - why not use a paper clip to hold the towel in place? (Because, as it turned out, the paper clip will do nothing to keep the towel above the boob line, AND you would still need to use dye covered hands to remove said paper clip after completely giving up on the towel and just dying your hair stark naked.)

And so, I began. Feeling (a bit) like a pro, I mixed the dye and the activator together, barely stopping to read the instructions. I shook the bottle, and didn't even make a mess (much). I expertly applied the dye to my hair, including the front of the hairline, and even successfully made parts in my hair with the bottle applicator. Everything was going so well! Until three quarters of the way in, the dye stopped coming out of the bottle. The reason for this remains a mystery. Squeezing the bottle and cursing at it surprisingly didn't help. But I wasn't going to give up so easily. Screw the applicator, I thought, as I untwisted the cap from the bottle and bravely poured the remaining contents into my gloved hands. I'll just apply this goop to my hair manually. In fact, it will be even better that way because I can just spread it all over my head and cover ALL THE GRAYS.

Satisfied with the coverage of goop on my hair, I remained in my stinky bathroom for the next ten minutes (without a towel at this point, which had slid down to my hips before I gave up on it). Because I had the advantage of being able to see, I examined my hairline and was dismayed to discover that some stubborn gray hairs refused to be covered by the goop. They just stuck out a couple of inches from my head in defiance. I tried to beat them into submission, but to no avail. Oh well, I thought, I'll get you next time, sucker.

Did I mention that I was trying out a different hair color this time? Having dyed my hair too dark last time, I went for a lighter shade called "Medium Golden Brown". Let's just say the name is misleading. So is the little image on the back of the box that shows what color your hair would be, depending on what color you start with. It turned out that I fell outside of the standard deviation of their expected results. After uneventfully rinsing my hair and setting the color with the conditioner that came with the kit, I stepped out of the shower and looked in the mirror. Something was definitely off. For one, the grays were not covered. But more disturbingly, the hair that used to be normal, now appeared to be... orange. And it was not even uniformly orange, it was orange in several spots. It appeared as if I were looking to change my career to a circus clown, not a science writer.

Until next time.

P.S. Good thing I write this blog. I just realized that I went three months without dying my hair. Good job at failing to be a woman, Anna.