October 30, 2006

Getting Ahead of Ourselves

I finally transferred the photos Mom took at my bridal shower from the CD to the computer, and in browsing them I was reminded of many bright, wonderful moments with the women I love. But, one moment, one gift really stands out.

One of my favorite people in the world gave me this at my bridal shower. And while I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt, she told me that she actually bought it when they were up in DC for my law school graduation. I couldn't decide which part of the story was funnier, but I definitely got the hint. They are very ready for the next generation... Good thing we don't plan to wait too terribly long to start our family.

Look! I knit a sweater!

Look! On Saturday it was finally cool enough to wear the sweater I worked on in four different countries. (The USA, of course, on Meg's graduation trip to the Dominican Republic, in Bulgaria, and in the German airport on the way to and from Bulgaria. Yes, I'm counting the layovers in Germany. It's more fun that way.) I lost count of how many states this thing traveled to. An efficient knitter I am not. But, look! Pretty!

It's definitely a "first" sweater. I had to whip stitch, rather than kitchener stitch, the sides together. The number of rows front to back is apparently not even close. (The distance is, though.) And somehow, despite row markers and careful counting, my pocket is off to the right. Go figure. But, I figured out a secret too. Synthetic may suck because you can't block, but you can WASH and DRY it with your other 'delicates.' That softens everything up and evens out your stitches a bit. It looked even more wonky before I did that.

It will never be perfect, but wearing it was so much fun. So. Much. Fun. I've worked on this thing for years, and then finished it in the heat of summer. (Trust me, in Florida, there is no point during the summer that you can wear this. Not even in the air conditioning. Well, maybe in the movie theatre since I always freeze in there, but we haven't gotten to the movies in months. And months.) I will be wearing it pleny, uneven stitches and all. It's purple. And it has a pocket. And a hood...And did I mention that I made it. Posted by Picasa

October 27, 2006

Halloween Fright

With everything else going on, I haven't much gotten in to the Halloween spirit this year. I did put up most of my decorations, and I've enjoyed having them. (Though, this guy makes me think what I did wasn't actually decorating. Maybe I just put out a trinket or two.) That's about it, though. I'm hoping that tomorrow's costume assembly and the party we've been invited to on Halloween night will perk up the holiday. The party is a kid's party, but Alex was so intrigued by it that we got an invite anyway. I'm pretty happy about that, since a full blown kid's Halloween party will be the best way to celebrate anyway.

I did feel Halloween-y enough at Target last night to want some candy corn. The only problem is I don't really like the stuff. Not wanting to waste a big bag I went in search of the littlest bag I could find, and that turned out to be these "gourmet" candy corns. I decided to try the sour apple. Do. Not. Buy. These. They can not be meant for human consumption. I am not sure when I have tried anything more disgusting. Consider yourself warned.

Oh, and just in case you had any doubts, a high in the mid 80s isn't warm enough for Gwen either. (This time she's on her own, though.)

October 24, 2006

How did we live in D.C.?

You know; we used to live in D.C. Where there was a real winter. With snow. We lived there for three years, and we managed just fine. I went to school, grocery shopping, out with friends, and even for walks just to stretch my legs. Gwen was a little less convinced of the need to go out for longer than it took to empty her bladder. (And she wasn't always entirely convinced that was necessary, to be frank about it.) But, she managed it. I have the pictures of her in the snow to prove it.

We have apparently turned in to wimps. Today was a beautiful Fall day by anybody else's standard. It was in the 50s when we woke up, but it got up to almost 70 during the day. But, us? We were cold. Gwen wouldn't go any further than the grass in front of the house next door this morning. She did go for her evening walk - desperation counts apparently - but it was like she was in fast forward her little legs went so fast.

And I must say I was relieved. I was out at a meeting until 8:30 tonight, and I scurried to my car afterwards. It must have been 60 degrees. And I was wearing a sweater and leather jacket. But, I most definitely didn't want to linger outside.

We are such wimps. When did this happen?

P.S. - Alex has apparently broken ranks on this issue. He did need to close the sliding glass door this morning, but I haven't heard anything else about being cold out of him. We may have to disown him.

October 10, 2006

Disaster Barely Averted

Whew - I had a close call this week. For the last few weeks I've been hunting down fabric with which to make our wedding 'guest book' quilt. (The idea is to make large 'rail fence' blocks, have the guests sign them at the wedding, and then piece it all together in to a quilt.)

Last Thursday, I selected fabric I thought might work. Not being entirely convinced that I would like it worked up in to the square, I just bought half a yard of each for some test squares. It worked out really well, but when I went back on Friday I couldn't find the fabric anymore. I thought maybe it just hadn't made it back to the shelf yet, but on Saturday it was still missing. I finally managed to find the fabric again, a day and four stores later. So, I was ready to start making blocks.

I have always been a faithful pre-washer of my sewing fabric. But, several times recently I have heard the ladies in our local quilting store tell customers that they never bother to pre-wash. Fabrics are different these days, they don't shrink or bleed, etc. etc. I had pretty much decided I was going to stop pre-washing. Not that washing is an issue for me, but it just has so many more wrinkles after washing and the ironing is a pain. I'm not in to the Zen of Ironing.

Luckily, the fabric did have to be ironed since it was wrinkled on the bolt. I was ironing with steam, because this is a pretty heavy batiked cotton. About a yard and a half in to the ironing I realize my hands are blue. Either I'm turning in to a Smurf (do Smurf's even exist anymore?) or my fabric is bleeding. I'm betting the fabric is bleeding. I abandon the ironing and head straight for the washing machine. Whew, that was close. Can you imagine if I had discovered that after it was completed?

Never again will I try to skip pre-washing. This is what they will look like when I finally get to make them, though.

October 07, 2006

The First Bridal Shower!

My wonderful office threw a surprise Bridal Shower for my co-worker, whose wedding is the week before mine, and me. The whole thing was arranged by the lady pictured with me there, a volunteer with our program. She was working with me when she was a brand new volunteer, and we became very close. Apparently, she approached my bosses about handling the bridal shower, and they happily turned it over to her. She really outdid herself.

The most memorable part, to me at least, was right at the beginning. This was a surprise party that almost ended up being a surprise for the hostess. She scheduled it during our weekly (mandatory) case review with our Litigation Director, so we'd be sure to be there. But then our Litigation Director took an unexpected vacation, so we thought we had an unexpected afternoon free. (You see where this is going, don't you?) Yep, I went home for lunch and seriously contemplated just taking the afternoon off and napping. However, I decided I would go back to work, finish the report I was working on and then go home early. I arrived back in the office just a few minutes before the time she was expecting to start the shower. My co-worker, on the other hand, had left for lunch only fifteen minutes before. Her plan was to go home, eat a sandwich and lie down for a few minutes because she had a killer headache. Her assistant tried to get her back by calling and telling her that our volunteer was there expecting a meeting with her. She insisted she had no such meeting scheduled, and it must be with someone else. She was going home for awhile.

So, our poor volunteer had to revise her plans. She comes and gets me from the office and takes me down to the back room where she's set up this whole party. (Her plan was to get both of us in to the room for a 'meeting', surprise us, and get a few pictures before the hordes arrived.) I was absolutely stunned, and definitely wishing I had dressed a little nicer. I was also very, very glad that I didn't call the office and tell them I wasn't coming in. Especially after I learned that my co-worker had gotten away from them. We took a few pictures of me in my 'bride's apron' (part of the shower games), with the volunteer, and in the elaborately set up rooms. This photo is of me, still somewhat in shock, with the "survival kit" she made me. It also has a copy of the (handmade) shower invitations that were given to my co-workers. She truly thought of everything.

But, we were still missing the other bride who had just left for an hour, and would most definitely miss the beginning of the party - in our honor - at this rate. So, they asked me to call her and get her back. (We're pretty good friends, so they figured I could insist.) I called her and told her that our Litigation Director had forgotten to tell us about this important meeting with the volunteer - always blame it on those out of state - and I really needed her to come back right away. She tells me she just needs to lay down for awhile, can it wait half an hour? I really don't think so, I insist, everyone here is in a tizzy and I really need you to come back.

Okay, I'll get a sandwich and be back in 15 minutes she says.

Hon, I'll go next door (to the local greasy spoon) and grab something for you. Please just take some aspirin for the headache and come on back now. Apparently we're already late, and you know how everyone gets when they don't know what's going on. Please, can you come back now?

FINE, she huffs, I'm turning around now.

Mind you, at this point, she is royally ticked off with me. I won't even give her fifteen minutes to get a sandwich? It's not like she forgot about the meeting and that's why she's late. She didn't even know about the meeting, for heaven's sake!?! (She didn't actually say any of this, of course, but it all came through loud in clear in her voice. ) Later she told me that she was thinking "Cara, of all people, knows you just need to lay down for a few minutes sometimes. Why is she insisting I come back before I've been able to rest for a minute?"

And then, when she gets back to the office, she tries to go to the lounge to heat up the can of soup she brought, and our co-workers are insisting she has to come down to the back room for the meeting right now. (There were two tables of food, since our volunteer was very diligent that there be two of everything at this joint shower.) Between the lack of food, the headache and the shock, I think we are very lucky that she didn't just collapse to the floor in a giant heap of quivering mush.

She did start crying.

But, they made her a princess and made up for it. (Several of our colleagues found it very amusing that I got the apron and she got the sash and crown. I am most definitely the more domestic one of the two.)

Incidentally, she instantly forgave me for being so pushy. And her headache went away in the face of so much love an friendship from our Legal Aid family. No medicine can do for you what an outpouring of generous friendship does.

Anyway, since they had finally managed to get the errant guests of honor back in the building, the festivities could begin. They were pretty great, too. We started with shower games, and despite my repeated threats to boycott my shower if there were games I played them. (I made the threats to my co-workers; it never occurred to me that I needed to make them to anyone else.) The other bride and I decided we got to play the games as a team, since we were joint guests of honor. We still didn't manage to win anything. And we were pretty apalled at the words we missed in the word scramble. Romance being among them.

We were also showered with wedding gifts. They were thoughtful, individualized and generous. For days now I've been trying to think of words to describe how amazingly wonderful our co-workers were. How we felt in the face of that outpouring of support. How we looked at each other at the end of the party and said "can you believe this?" Each knowing exactly what the other meant but not having words for it.

This is the best part of a wedding - not the dress or the flowers or any of the other three trillion things that we think matter so darn much that we make ourselves crazy over them. It's the outpouring of love. Our love for each other, and the desire to make a public promise to work for that love. The love of our family members as they put hours of effort in to making our weekend beautiful and fun, grinning in pleasure all the way. The love of our friends (and again our family) as they brim with excitement and pleasure at sharing the start of our marriage.

We are so lucky.