Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ha, I think my jewish wife gene just kicked in...

Just a week after getting married I find myself with my hair up under a handkerchief, cooking a gigantic pot of chicken soup!

Granted, the handkerchief is tye dyed and I'm wearing it cause I haven't washed my hair in like 3 days and needed to go outside to walk the dog (and my hair is not presentable for the public).

The chicken soup I have no good excuse for...

We just got an awesome Mario Batali cookbook as a wedding present, and yesterday went to the grocery store with a giant list of ingredients so that we could try out a bunch of recipes* (and we're also trying out In the Pink's chicken matza ball soup and chicken pot pie recipes). Whenever I don't work for a while and have nothing to do, I start cooking like a mad woman, and try out tons of new recipes (most of which don't stick, some do). I love to cook, but it takes some vacation time for me to have enough energy to bother (usually B cooks us dinner).

Today is the Sunday of memorial day weekend...every year on this day since I was a year old my parents have held a spring BBQ at their house and invited their extended family, in honor of my birthday and my grandfather's birthday (which is the day before mine). Kinda like a family birthday party but also just an excuse to get together with the family, most of whom live anywhere from 1-2 hours away from my parents. Last year's bbq was the last time I visited my parents in their home (and the home I grew up in). In retrospect I should have grabbed some of my baby pictures...

I have no idea if my parents are holding the bbq this year or not (I suppose I could ask my brother, but he's not online right now). Either way, I wasn't invited. My bet is that they still are having it, and are somehow glossing over the fact that I'm not there. I bet my mom is marinating chicken legs as I write this...

*Yesterday we had linguine with lemon-jalapeno-red pepper flakes-sauteed onion-romano cheese sauce (really good, but next time I'm going to leave out the jalapenos, that was waaaay too spicy and I think the red pepper flakes will be enough), for lunch today I'm making a spinach fritata (leftovers for breakfast tomorrow and the rest of the week probably), I'm also making a bunch of chicken soup to freeze today, tonight we're having chicken pot pie and some grilled asparagus from the farmers market, tomorrow I'm making a whole bunch of red sauce to freeze, tomorrow night is turkey-pork meatballs, and later this week chicken matza ball soup!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Staycation, all I ever wanted

Since we're going to Europe for two weeks in July, we decided not to spend the money to go somewhere fancy this week. But we still wanted to do something, so I took the week off from work and we had a Staycation!

Monday people were still at our house, so we didn't do much, just hung out with friends until they left and then went to the dog park.

Tuesday I had to go to work for a bit, so we went to the dog park in the morning for an hour- and a big dog ended up biting Barkley and making him bleed! Wtf! He was fine, and just had a little blood spot on his back (and is up to date on his rabies shot) so we didn't take him to the vet. But Violent bitey dogs aren't supposed to be allowed in the dog park! Have I mentioned that we joined a private dog park with Barkley? And that dogs are supposed to be observed and found not be violent and bitey before being allowed to join?

After a few hours of work on Tuesday (that really couldn't wait any longer) I met up with some friends from school for drinks and dinner, since my officemate left for Germany for the summer on Wednesday (his wife lives there) so we all wanted to meet up one last time before he left. The waiter at the restaurant heard my friend mention that I'm newly married, so my beer was free! I'm a married lady and yet I still get free drinks from boys! :) Not that I expect that to happen frequently, but hey, free beer!

Wednesday we went to see the new Star Trek movie...I thought it was really good, and one of the better newer star trek movies, but I grew up much more into TNG then the original series (TNG was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch as a child), so it's not like I'll be running out to buy it or anything

Thursday was a quieter day, we went to the dog park and then out for lunch at a new restaurant just opened by a member of our dog park. The new place is kinda half cafe/fresh sandwich place, half real sit down restaurant. I was amused to see that the place has only been open a week but had already attracted quiet a few grad students with their laptops. The food was pretty good.

Then yesterday we went to the zoo! We had a lot of fun, even though the place was insanely crowded with children everywhere. Saw some pretty neat animals.

Not sure what we are going to do this weekend yet...may just stay in, as it's been over a month since we've just had a quiet weekend at home- I've either been traveling (work and then a music festival) or we've had guests over. We got an awesome Mario Batali cookbook for a wedding present, so we're thinking of getting some ingredients for one or two of the recipes and trying those out. Also will probably visit the dog park again and maybe the farmers market. Maybe we'll grill some food with our new awesome grill pan.

Next week Tuesday I go back to work for reals. I haven't been really working for the past 3 weeks (took time off to do wedding stuff), and I'm beginning to get antsy as I tend to do when I haven't done any of my research in a long time. In 2 weeks I also start a new research project with a professor that looks at where college students meet people they hook up with, which should hopefully be a fun and awesome and publishable project.

Next weekend is my birthday- 27! I'm going to officially be in my late 20s!- and we're thinking of going to some kind of amusement park- maybe six flags or something like that. Speaking of getting older, after pulling out the one white hair I knew I had pre-wedding (my dissertation white hair- it was only one, and why have it there right in the front of my head for wedding pictures?) I found another white hair that's already like 3 inches long!! I call this one my wedding white hair. Well, at lest my hair seems to be going white (like my mom) and not gray (like my dad). I far prefer the white to gray. I also seem to be getting some smile lines on my face. But that's cool- I'd rather have smile lines than frown lines! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our wedding painting

Slow and Steady Hearts by Crazyredbeard

Started during the ceremony, and finished in our living room yesterday morning.

I wrote up a whole thing about what everything in the painting means, but I think for now I'll leave it to you to interpret.

Monday, May 18, 2009


As expected, my parents and youngest brother didn't show up, and didn't contact me at all yesterday. My other brother came and was the ring bearer and a witness to the wedding. My uncle called me about 2 hours before the wedding (from Israel) to tell me that "Even though we don't agree with your decision, we still love you and you are still part of our family, and we wish you the best today." It was really nice. It would have been nicer if my parents had said/done something similar, but still...

exchanging rings

It rained briefly in the morning, but was all dry by the time of the wedding so we were able to get married under the trees. I'm told it was pretty cold (in the high 50s) but I was so hopped up on adrenaline, I guess I didn't really feel it. Too hopped up to really eat much either, although I did have some excellent strawberry shortcake- I just kept moving around and hanging out with various people (with and without B), and it was so small (18 guests + us + 2 photographers) that I really got a chance to hang out with everyone, which was awesome.

The ceremony was short and sweet. We did it quaker-style, which means we didn't have an officiant (yes, that is legal in our state) and after we exchanged vows and rings we opened up the floor to the guests. Around 4 or 5 people spoke during that part of the ceremony, which was really nice. One of our friends told the story about when I came into the coffee shop she used to work at to excitedly tell her that I had a date with an awesome guy that night! It was cute. :) The painter started our wedding painting during the ceremony (which you can see above) and is sitting in our living room finishing the painting as I write this- I'll post some final pics once it's done.

Still trying to adjust to thinking about myself as married (B accidentally called me his fiance last I guess he is too) :) Feels weird wearing a ring as I'm not much of a ring wearer in general, but I'm getting used to it.

I'm an old married lady! I have a husband! I'm somebody's wife! We're married!!!!!!!! We've already mailed out the paperwork, so this is 100% for reals! It was a great day, and a great wedding, and everyone told us they had a great time. I know I did. :)

I'll probably post some more pictures as people send them to us. I have no intention of closing this blog, although now that the wedding is done I might not post as frequently. Then again, now I'm a newlywed- maybe I'll have some things to write about that. :) So far it doesn't feel any different except for wearing a ring...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thank you

In less than 48 hours I will be a married lady, and I think at this point it's appropriate to take a little time to give thanks to all of you, readers.

Thank you for reading about my wedding plans, commenting on them, giving me ideas, helping me figure out which were good ideas and bad ideas, and giving me some great tips.

Thank you for being supportive and cheering me on when things got tough, and through all the bullshit my family threw at me. This is the primary place where I write and think about my family situation, and your support has really meant a lot to me.

You guys are awesome :)

No thanks to everyone who tried to convince me not to get married, who tried to make me justify my actions, and who thought everything I wrote meant "my jewish neshama is crying out."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


i was wondering why no one was commenting today-turns out when I was messing around with the settings I accidentally turned comments off to everyone but me. Oops..fixed now. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sigh- small parent update

My little brother just called (the not-religious one). He asked if I had talked to my parents lately (no) and when I asked why- apparently my mom is going around the house sighing and looking sad all the time, and asked him if he was going to the wedding on Sunday and then (oddly enough) gave him some mail to pass on to me. Happy wedding to me from my mom...I get some mail!

My dad asked my brother if he thought I was getting married for the 'right reasons' or because I'm "trying to make a political statement." My brother (correctly) answered that he doesn't think I would get married to spite my parents. I don't know how to react to this type of question...infuriated that he still thinks that me being an atheist/not religious is some kind of 'teenage rebellion to spite him' (as he has so often said to me)? Happy that at least he cares about me enough to ask? Frustrated that he would know the answer to that question if he had ever met B, but he still refuses to do so?

It's nice to know they at least still care enough about me to be thinking about me. It would be even nicer if they would talk to me about it, or if they would come to the wedding, or if they weren't disowning me (mom), or if they would actually meet B (dad + mom). I wish they could be happy that I'm so happy, and be with me celebrating my happiness, instead of just sitting around moping because I'm not marrying a Jewish man. Despite all the shit they have put me through, I still love them, and I'm sad that what to me is such a happy occasion is what is making them sad, even though I think they are misguided in their reaction.

In other news, me and B spent the day cleaning our house- we did both bathrooms and both bedrooms, the main kitchen counter, the floors- I even dusted the entire house (Including the baseboards, which I don't think I've touched since I moved here 4 years ago). I also got some white paint and touched up the paint in the bathroom and a wall in the living room where some of the paint had peeled off. Tomorrow we finish the kitchen (including all the dishes and the other 2 counters) and clear the huge pile o' crap on the coffee table.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

wedding readings...

only a week and a half left! We're trying to figure out what we'll do for the actual ceremony..our plan right now is to exchange some kind of vows, have some kind of reading, do the 15 minutes of silence/quaker thing(where we give people a chance to speak if they feel moved to), exchange rings, and then sign the wedding license. We still have to write the actual vows, and decide on readings...

Here are some possibilities for readings that I got off the internets: (we will probably use one or for your favorites in the comments!)

1.From "Union"
by Robert Fulghum

"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" - those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife "

2. From Plato's Symposium:
"Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of ills.

Once upon a time, human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. Due to the power of these original humans, the gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. So, in a manner not unlike the powers that be do so today, Zeus divided the humans in half. He split their power, so that he and the other gods may do what they wish.

But the gods are not completely efficient. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one.

When separated, having one side only, we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We should pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love."

3. "Sonnet 116"
by William Shakespeare

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds.
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is not shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom,
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

4. Marriage is ....."
by Anon, 1st century China

" Marriage is a dynamic process of discovery
Marriage is a journey, not an arrival.
In marriage, being the right person is as important
as finding the right person.
Marriage is starting to love, over and over again.
Marriage is a life's work.
Marriage is an art... and like any creative process,
It requires active thought and effort.
We have to learn how to share on many different levels.
We need to practice talking from the heart,
And understanding attitudes as well as words.
Giving generously and receiving graciously
are talents that are available to anyone.
But all these skills need to be developed,
if the marriage picture that we paint is to be anything
approaching the masterpiece intended."

5. “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog”
by Taylor Mali

"First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breaths
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know ‘Don’t you ever do that again!’
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops."

6. "On Marriage"
by Kahlil Gibran

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Anxiety update, and some thoughts on giving and hippies.

I guess I just wanted to update on the anxiety situation since I only seem to post when things are going horribly wrong, which may leave my readers with a somewhat pessimistic view of my life.

Well, the anxiety seemed to be 100% travel related, because now that I'm back home it's entirely gone. I wasn't killed by any whores at my hotel, I don't seem to have caught swine flu (although I don't know how long the incubation period is, so who knows), and I got home ok, although my flight home was delayed by 2 hours for no discernible reason. Also at the conference I ran into a former graduate of my program and had a long talk with her about postdoc opportunities, so I'm a little more reassured about my future employment prospects.

On the flight home the lady sitting behind me was complaining to her friend about being hungry, so I offered her a granola bar. It turned out that the lady was an off-duty flight attendant, so she thanked me by giving me a coupon for a free (alcoholic) drink! I don't really drink usually, but since it was free and I had just spent 4 hours in the airport I mightily enjoyed my free $7.50 can of beer- it was some kind of delicious German wheat bear that had the word "Kugel" in the title.

Anyways, I didn't give her the granola bar to get a free drink, I gave it to her because I like helping out strangers and I feel like doing so makes the world just a tiny bit better (especially when we're stranded together in some kind of delayed flight situation). Can I call this a win for humanism? I think so.

[Can I also call my dog a win for humanism? People's faces just light up when they see him because he's such a cutie. It's awesome to walk around with him and see people's faces go from kinda blank and distracted to lit up and smiling as he walks past them.]

Part of the reason I love the hippie community I spend much of my summer with (Festival season starts next weekend!!!) is this attitude: that if you see someone who needs help, you help them. I try to bring that attitude to my daily life, and it seems to serve me well.

When I started going to music festivals 5 years ago I had never been camping before, and didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a car or any camping supplies either, which didn't help. But a friend of mine had a huge tent that I was able to share, someone gave me a ride there and another person we found at the festival who lived closer to me gave me a ride back home, the surrounding people at the fest had food and other supplies, and everyone shared and helped each other out.

Now that I'm a little older and more experienced, I'm the one who brings extra food to give to friendly passerbys and neighbors, who helps newcomers assemble their new tents and lends them a mallet for their tent poles, and who offers rides to people without cars. Not because I expect those people to give me something back (although people usually will offer something in return, because they're just nice that way), but because people like that were very important to me when I was joining this community, and I want to help other people who are like me 5 years ago. And I find actually that I feel a lot better about myself and am genuinely happy about it when I am the one giving things away rather than the one getting things that are given away.

Now I'm sure someone is going to come up with some clever comment about how it's my 'jewish soul' that is naturally more charitable or something. But honestly, I wasn't like that at ALL when I was more involved in the Jewish community. I was much more wrapped up in myself, I would be downright rude to people, and it kinda made me happy to see other people fail. I was kinda a bitch, in retrospect. Part of that was of course how utterly miserable I was during the 7 years between losing my faith in orthodox judaism and moving out of my parents house, when I had to hide what I was doing as if it were shameful (which to my parents and everyone I knew, it was).

This concept that giving is good (and makes you feel good) is something I learned from the hippies I'm friends with. And my joining the hippie community entirely coincided with me leaving the last vestiges of an Orthodox Jewish life- I went to my first jam-band show right after I ate non-kosher chicken for the first time, and my first music festival about 3 days after trying non-kosher beef for the first time (that was the big thing I held onto the longest- I stopped keeping shabbas at age 15, but I didn't eat any kind of non-kosher meat products until midway through my senior year of college, and didn't try things like bacon and shrimp (and crabs, and lobster, and lobster mashed potatoes, and coconut covered shrimp...mmmmmmm) until 2 or 3 years ago).

This also coincided with my ex-fiance breaking up with me (after a 4 year relationship that lasted through most of college) applying to graduate schools, graduating college, and moving away from my parents house- so at the point at which my entire life changed, in retrospect, my entire personality and philosophy about life changed as well. People who I'm friends with from my past (orthodox) life mentioned several times that after I moved away from my parents to go to grad school, I seemed much more happy, nicer, and much less cynical. In fact, even since moving here I've been moving more in that direction- I recently ran into someone at school I hadn't really talked to in about 3 years (when we worked on a major project together and got to know each other pretty well)- he said something very snarky and bitter, I made a comment about it, and he was like "wow, you really have changed a lot -you used to be one of the most cynical and bitter people I know, now you are almost downright normal." I don't know if that's a compliment or what, but I know that since I've last talked to this guy, I met B, and being with B has made me into a happier and calmer and less cynical person.

Back to the hippies- having this amazing community of people to enter gave me social support when I needed it the most (just as I was leaving the pre-established community of Orthodox Jews that I had relied on my whole life). More importantly, they showed me that people were wrong when they said that all 'goys' were miserable and shallow and obsessed with materialism and "gashmius" [the physical (rather than spiritual) world]. That my mother was wrong when she said that no one who wasn't jewish would ever truly be my friend, and that they were all secretly anti-semetic and waiting to stab me in the back. And that you don't need to follow a particular religion to be a good person- in fact, my hippie friends are the nicest and most generous people I have ever met and most are either atheists, agnostics, or some kind of non-mainstream pagan-ish religion.

When I teach my future children lessons in morality, it will be the hippie kind of morality, and not the kind of morality my parents claim is the only true way to live. The hippie kind of morality that says it's better to give than to receive, to leave only footprints behind, to live as simply as you can, and to make a positive contribution to the world. Are your actions making the world better for other people, even just one other person? Which has a bigger and more positive impact on the world; praying 3 times a day, not using electricity on Saturdays, and only eating certain kinds of food? Or just giving a hungry stranger a granola bar?

P.S. I'm getting married exactly 2 weeks from today!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2 weeks left, new to-do list

-pick up food from kosher deli for kosher guests (friday)
-write vows/ceremony (this week)
-make programs (next week)
-test out stereo
-Drinks/ice/Extra food/Desserts/tapestries/broom/farmers market flowers (next week)
-make list of what to bring on the day of so we don't forget things (next week)