Monday, February 4, 2008

New Discoveries

Do you remember my blog entry about China (not the country)? I mused about the role and necessity (or lack thereof) of China in our modern lives. I wasn't sure if I should register for China. I wondered if just inheriting a set from my grandmother would be sufficient.

Well... in the intervening months, I really discovered China (not the country.) We've collected 5 dinner plates in the J.L. Coquet Khazard Platinum pattern. They are not cheap... so we have to collect them sort of one at a time. AND THEN... I have 12 gold painted glass dinner plates from Crate and Barrel. AND THEN... I have 8 blue sapphire glass dinner plates also from Crate and Barrel. AND THEN we filled out our every day green stoneware dishes from Jars. AND THEN... we got an entire set of 12 dinner plates, 12 salad plates, and 12 chargers in a clear glass pattern from Crate and Barrel that we use everyday as well as to mix in with the fancier plates. And of course my parents brought the Mikasa pattern that belonged to my grandmother. And as if that is not enough... we got a gift certificate to Bloomingdales just the other day and I went and bought 4 Villroy and Bach Golden Garden Magnolia Buffet plates. I just couldn't resist. I really should have bought one more of the Khazard pattern plates instead, to bring our collection up to 6 plates. But I fell in love with the Golden Garden Magnolia, too!

All this from someone who barely even had a dining table in her house until she moved in with her fiancé. I am shocked at my sudden interest and transformation. Every time I get off the BART at the Powell Street stop I walk through the home department at Bloomingdales to look at the china. It is such a fabulous design medium that I had never before explored.

My great challenge now is to find a way to convince everyone I know to come over for dinner with the china!

For brides-to-be: visit Crate and Barrel before registering for really expensive china at a department store. Their metallic glass plates (in gold, sapphire blue, and other great colors) are $15 a plate. And in many ways they are just as gorgeous as the china or porcelain that costs $132 per plate. I was so excited that I could collect a whole set of 12 for the cost of just 2 of our real "china" plates. They do have to be hand washed, but it's worth it. We used the gold ones at our holiday dinner this year, and they looked great.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes...

I'm back. From everything. From the best day of my life (the wedding day!), from the honeymoon in France, from a 3-month blog-writing haitus...

I wonder if anyone still reads this...

When you get married, everything changes. If you like change, that's a good thing. If you hate change, well, get ready for a hairy ride... I'm somewhere in the middle, but probably a little closer to the not-so-fond-of big change camp. My house is on the market. I cry about that sometimes. Most of my belongings are in boxes from a fast and haphazard move. So I can't really find anything. I'm a step-mother now, which is both amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Oh yes, and I have a hyphenated last name.

I am not a fan of hypenated last names. They are just annoying... too long, too hard to remember, too difficult to write out... So why hyphenate? I was all set to change my last name. But change is, well, not easy. If I just suddenly switched the name, no one at work would know who I was. Diane who? Then there's all the wasted checks with the wrong last name, every credit card in my wallet..., my direct deposit paperwork, an so on, and so on. My husband bought a plane ticket for me with my "new" last name. However, I don't have a new last name yet. Because...

Before you can officially change your last name, you have to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. I ordered two of these online over 2 months ago (partly to take a step toward changing my name and partly to just make sure that we were in fact actually married... after all it's just a piece of paper, what if the Rabbi forgot to mail it in???) The certificate never showed up. So I marched down to city hall and waited in line. I told the clerk that I have to get on plane and my husband ordered the ticket in my "new" last name. "When are you getting on this plane?" the clerk asked. I gave her a scowling look in response. After standing there holding up the line for a good 20 minutes she assured me that the two copies I ordered were "in the mail" but gave me a complimentary one just in case. I marveled at the certificate as soon as it was in my hand. All the pomp, all the circumstance, all for this... a piece of paper with some scribbles and a raised seal. It's so easy to get married, in the legal sense. I read the paper over carefully, making sure all of the facts were correct. Then I folded it very neatly in thirds and placed it gingerly next to my passport in a drawer. Now I'm _really_ married. And now the change begins!

John has said to me so many times, "you're going to change your name, aren't you?" Today when I did some registry completion at Bloomingdales, the checker even asked if I was going to change my last name. I said, "I'm hyphenating (for now)." Then I went on to explain how it took an entire 2 months or more just to get my hands on a certified copy of my marriage certificate. You can't even go to social security to change your name until you have that!

The legistics of changing a name are difficult. But it is more than just the legistics. There are emotions involved as well. There is nothing more central to your identity than your name. So changing your name is like changing your identity. I find it odd that John's ex-wife changed everything about herself and her life, except her last name (she still has John's last name). If you want to really be a new person, try changing your name (either the first or the last... or better yet, both). I haven't quite gotten my head around being a new person. And I worry that people won't know who I am. And then, there is the fact that my gmail account name is my first and last (maiden) name. And I can't change my email account. That's just nuts.

So I'm hyphenating... for now. One day, I will drop the hyphen, along with the old name. But today, isn't the day. I don't think that I can sell my house and change my name all in the same week. I'll wake up and wonder, "how did I get here? (think Talking Heads song...).

Change is hard. I have to go to therapy just to deal with that fact. And everything is changing. September 11th just passed. This made me think about where I was and what I was doing exactly 6 years ago. My car is different, my living space, my job, my career, most of my friends and social network, oh yes and my last name... everything. I have the same dog and that's about it. Since then I have bought and remodeled an entire house, acquired a car payment, changed jobs twice, changed boyfriends (more than twice), changed hobbies, gotten married, became a step-mom, put my house on the market, the list never ends. But I have my same dog. Thank goodness for the dog...

Ch, ch, ch, ch, ch, ch, changes... turn and face the strange... ch ch changes...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Post Script

Everything was PERFECT on Sunday! Right on down to the fact it was SUNNY all day at the Legion of Honor... which in San Francisco on June 17th is a minor miracle. It was foggy on Saturday, and it was foggy on Monday morning. But it was sunny all day on our wedding day. I choose to see that as an omen... the powers that be are shinny on our union.

Everything when by in a whirlwind. I've heard that that is generally the way that it goes. Six months, twelve months, a year and a half of planning all for a few short hours. I am glad that I kept my "planning" down to six months. Would it have been any better if I had planned a prepared more? I think not.

On Friday night when the Rabbi blessed us at the temple he told us to take a lot of "mental pictures" of the weekend. Here are some things that I remember:

Checking in at the Ritz on Saturday and seeing a hotel room that may very well be larger than my house. Realizing that almost all of my relatives were at the rehearsal dinner, and how fun it was to see all of them on Saturday night. How relaxing it was to have my fingernails and toenails groomed at the same time on Sunday morning. The white flip-flops that I bought at the nail salon. The photographers arranging my dress in the hotel bedroom for photos. How much space the make up artist's equiptment took up. My hairdresser having 3 curling irons but only 2 plugged in. The bridesmaids putting on their jewelry that I bought for them. All the girls sitting in curlers with the photographers wondering how they were going to take photos of them. Having 3 people help me get dressed because I didn't start getting into my dress until about 2:00 (nearly a half hour later than planned). John standing in the window of the hotel room with his back to me waiting for me to tap him on his shoulder so he could turn around and see me all dressed up. Walking through the lobby of the Ritz with the photographers snapping pictures of us. The people at Baker beach telling us "congratulations" as sand poured into my wedding shoes. Arriving at the Legion and seeing the wedding party standing there in their duds with the general public swirling around them. My sister telling me to relax during posed photos so that I wouldn't have a "perma-smile." My brother telling me how proud he is of me. The Rabbi looking very calm. Standing next to the piano in the theater with the stage lights pouring down on us. Realizing that I wouldn't get to "see" the processional through the columns because I was the last one in the processional. Smiling bigger than I have ever smiled in my life as I first walked alone through the columns then walked down the aisle with my father. Everyone standing up as I walked down the aisle and feeling how physically close they were to me. Wondering why the Ketubah got hidden behind a speaker. Being thankful that we did use a microphone so that everyone could here the ceremony. Fumbling with the watch that we presented to Colin. Taking a minute to look into the audience while I stood up front with the Rabbi. Speaking very clearly as I said my vows. Noticing how the light fell across the columns in the courtyard at that time of day. The sound of the glass breaking as John stepped on it. Getting to kiss him several times at the end of the ceremony. Crying as we walked together back into the museum.

Okay... to be continued. I have to pack some bags and catch an airplane.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!

I did it. I did everything on my to-do list. Actually, I did everything on about 35 different to-do lists. So I'm "Ready"... with a capital R... actually make that all caps. All I have to do is pack my things together. Oh, I guess I should get some cash for tips. And well, the dogs need to get to their respective doggie sitting arrangements. And... what else? It's never done. I always think that projects should have a finite end to them. But they never do. When I told my old boss that I was pretty much ready for the wedding, she said, "Oh that's good, because I really wasn't ready when I got married." But then at the end of the day... you're married all the same. So does it even matter how "ready" you were? Then there are two kinds of "ready" - psychologically ready, and logistically ready. I've always been psychologically ready... no cold feet here. Maybe that's because I'm 37 and my biological clock is probably ticking. But is anyone ever logistically completely ready for a wedding? My bridesmaid and fiance begged me not to make a ceremony program because it was T minus 7 and I needed to relax. I made one anyway. Then there was a typo, and I considered reprinting them... and the fiance begged me not to reprint them. My mother, the professional proofreader, couldn't find the typo... so not reprinting was probably the right choice.

In an effort to get away from all of the "to-dos" and logistics, and the typo in the ceremony progam, I did a Mikvah. The Rabbi suggested it. Then a fairly religious friend of my fiance whom I adore, told the fiance that she was going to try to get me to do a Mikvah. So I figured that a Mikvah was in my future. I haven't been a particularly religious person in my life. But I'll say that doing the Mikvah, which I did yesterday, was a wonderful thing. It was one of the few moments in preparation for the wedding that was entirely about the spiritual and psychological transition. It had nothing to do with the logistics of producing a wedding event. It was about "getting married." It brought my focus inward and allowed me to spend a few magical moments reflecting on the transition and saying some private blessings for this union and my future with John. Religious rituals are what you make of them. If you say they are meaningless, then they are meaningless to you. But if you decide that they hold meaning, then they will become meaningful.

John and I struggle with this all the time. He does not want a chuppah. So we don't have a chuppah. Someone at the Jewish Community Center yesterday said that she'd never seen a Jewish wedding without a Chuppah. So somehow I felt obligated to have one. But John doesn't want one. And I don't want to deal with the logistics of obtaining one, the cost of renting one ($150 from the JCC), or the job of transporting one (the bases for the poles to stand in weigh 20 pounds each). I'm done. This wedding is now up to fate. I can't do one more thing, not even get a last minute chuppah. I didn't originally want a chuppah because I thought it would obstruct the view for the photos, since it's not "designed" into the scene. I want the columns of the courtyard to be the backdrop of our wedding. And actually, I like having the view of the sky. And we are surrounded by art, since it is the courtyard of an art museum. In actuality the art is more meaningful to me than the significance of a chuppah. My life has been and is about design and art. And we already have beautiful design and art in our setting.

It is easy to loose sight of one's personal preferences at times like this. But ultimately a wedding is about 2 people, and only those 2 people. It is not necessarily about religious rituals, family influences, logistic constraints, commercialisim and "rental fees." It is about two individuals coming together to make a third entity, a union that brings two lives together into one. Everything else is gravy.

On Thurday I did a Mikvah. On Friday we are being blessed at the Temple. And then... it begins. I'm so excited. And then, it will all be over so quickly. I guess that's why they invented photography. And better yet, videography. Now it occurrs to me that even though the event is roughly 5 hours long... I have been "getting married" since December 20th. Everything that happens on Sunday is the culmination of the last 6 months of my life, our lives. I have hopes and dreams, but no expectations. Whatever happens will be beautiful. And at the end of the day, we will be married. I wonder if there will ever be another moment in my life when all of these friends and family members will be in the same place together again. I guess that's part of what makes a wedding so special. Everyone comes out to be there for you. It's a wonderful thing. I wish there were more life events that call for such a gathering. We are so lucky to have this moment in time.

A friend asked if I would be continuing the blog post-wedding. And the answer is "yes!" I intend to give insightful reviews of the vendors. Reflections on the event itself. And, of course, notes on the honeymoon. So if you have enjoyed the blog - stay tunned!

Sunday, June 3, 2007


If there is one thing that I've learned in the past five months, it is that I am EXCELLENT at managing the details. In fact, that is all I do. I just... manage details.

My fiance is a "Big Picture" person. I used to think that I was a Big Picture person... until I decided to plan a wedding. Yesterday someone at a graduation reception told me that she was now planning her neice's wedding. She asked me about our location. And off the top of my head I was able to rattle off EVERY benefit and deficit of that location: number of people it accomodates, how much you have to pay to extend the space, hours of operation, how far ahead it books for a Saturday vs. a Sunday, pros and cons of the in-house caterer, the list of "approved" caterers other than the in-house caterer, approximately how much more it costs to use someone other than the in-house caterer and why, ceremony options and how much they cost, the fact that you can now rent the entire museum for a particular fee and exactly what that fee is, what the weather is like at that location at various times of the year, and fourty more minute details that you probably don't care to hear about. All of that is in my head. Can you believe it? I can't believe it.

When did I become this detail-oriented? I'm like a Detail Genious. It is as if my response to change and life stress is to track details. Sometimes I impress myself with the level of minutia that I am able to extract out of my brain.

Then my fiance tells me that he is hungry and he wants to go out and get lunch. But I refuse to go with him, because (a) I'm not hungry (b) I'm not dressed to go out and (c) I'm tracking details. I made a new "To Do List" today. I think it was To-Do List Number Twenty-Five... or something like that.

So, it has become clear to me that I need to go to "Big Picture School." You know, the place where they teach you high-level concepts and discuss abstract thinking. My friend Lia had a great tactic that she used when she was planning her wedding and getting married. She just kept thinking that at the end of her wedding day she would Be Married. And nothing else mattered. She has an excellent perspective. I, on the otherhand, completely lack perspective. I seek perfection in a chaotic world. I seek order and control from people who want me to "go with the flow." I had a therapist tell me that she thought I should take Ativan on the day of the wedding. She's probably right.

I need to go to yoga class and meditate... but I have to make the place cards, print names on the place card envelopes, make and print menus, decide if I'm making a ceremony program, and oh yeah... maybe I should get dressed at some point today...

Past Tense

I wrote an "update" a while back and failed to publish it to the blog... so to fill you in on some things I'll include it now...

So, what's new? Let's see...

I had my wedding shower on May 6th. It was Lovely (with a capital
"L"). It was in a cute tea room. And I wore a cute dress that I spent
way too much money on from Bloomingdales. Most importantly my friend
Lia came up from Southern California and spent the weekend with me as
a shower gift. It was so wonderful. I hadn't seen her in probably 10
years. It was such a treat to see her. Thank you to my lovely sister for the photos and to all my excellent
bridesmaids for hosting!

I decided that the ceremony would be in the Court of Honor instead of
on the lawn. Both locations are beautiful. It only took 4 months to make that decision.

Our parents met in Dallas the same weekend that I had my shower.
Everyone on all sides said that it was Lovely.

And... lest you think that weddings are all about fancy invitations
and registering for wedding gifts (per my most recent blog entries), I
will attempt to catch you up on some of the more weighty
wedding-related topics like ceremony preparations and religious
wedding rituals...

I learned about Ketubahs. And we ordered one. I had never heard of a
Ketubah before we met with the Rabbi. I thought that I might
illustrate my own Ketubah. It would make it so "meaningful." Too much
work. I like the idea of a Ketubah because it is basically a place
where your vows are written down and framed. It's a great idea. It's
something that sticks around after the actual event is over. It's a
daily reminder of your dedication and devotion to each other. It's also
another $250 out of the wedding budget that has already been spent
five times over. I learned that my father has a Jewish Name. I had no
idea. You have to put Jewish names on the Ketubah... or write
"transliterate" so that they transfer the English name directly to the

I also went to a frame store to have the Ketubah matted and learned that framing the Ketubah will probably cost more than the Ketubah itself.

That's the update.

The Big Picture

I can't see The Big Picture.

All I can see is this...

To Do 3/26/07:
- send list of payments
- order napkins
- disposable cameras?
- Book ManiPedi (order specific services and give cc number)
- Security deposit for Legion by 5/17
- Get postcards for frames (De Young)
- Make name cards on vellum for frames
- Book transportation
- Guest book insert - swap
- Buy new dress / engagement photo clothes
- Colin shoes / measure in May
- Make table assignments
- Make table place cards
- Make table numbers/names?
- Finalize lighting
- Send lighting contract and make up contract to Shannon
- Transportation information to Shannon
- Ketubah
- Kiddush Cups
- Glass to break
- Trim shoes straps
- Matte/vellum for Ketubah – pick up Ketubah and Kiddush cups
Pick up:
Purse? And/or bag?
Ketubah and Kiddush cups
Toasting flutes?

Actually I finished most of the stuff on _that_ list so now my list looks like this:

To Do 6/3/07:
- additions to ceremony (extra readings)
- photo shot list
- get day-of schedule to all vendors and confirm timing and setup
o photo/video (detailed photo schedule)
o cake
o florist
o DJ
o Musicians
o Phobus lighting
o Make Up
o Hair
- get day-of contact info for all vendors
- make seating chart
- make table place cards and envelopes
- assemble favors/names (vellum)
- make table name cards
- write thank you cards for shower gifts
- call babysitter to cancel
- design/print menus
- design/print ceremony programs
- confirm details with Rabbi / follow up
- Write out all cards
- Fax updated floor plan to Phoebus Lighting
- Shoe bottoms?
- Engrave pie server?
- Groomsmen gifts
- Wrap all gifts
- Wedding day schedule including transportation for everyone and timing
- All final details to wedding party and parents
- Print Shakespeare Sonnet and extra readings

Questions for Day-of Coordinator:
- when do the ring bearer and flower girl sit down?
- Transporting stuff to and from location?

Pick Up:
Bridesmaids dresses and flower girl dress
Pocket squares
Wedding dress
Kiddush Cups
Evening purse
White wine
Nail polish (Color: Soho Nice To Meet You – Opi)
Lipstick brushes (4)

Why can't I see the big picture?

Here are the items sitting on my makeshift desk: An updated floor plan of the cocktail and reception areas that needs to be faxed to the Lighting Designer, two "To Do" lists with exactly FOURTY TWO things crossed off as "done" and TWELVE things not crossed off and left "To Do." That sounds like a good ratio, except that I made a new list on the computer with TWENTY TWO "To Do" items on it. I also have ELEVEN items (see above) give or take fourty-five to pick up over the next two weeks.

No one should plan their own wedding. Actually, everyone should plan their own wedding until about 3 weeks prior to the event. Then the Wedding Planning Faries should swoop in and TAKE OVER. You know... like how storkes drop off babies on your doorstep? Perfect. Easy. Neat. No Mess.

My desk is a mess.

I know what you're thinking... do I really need to have that pie server engraved? Of course I don't. But lest you think that I'm obsessed about unimportant details... the seamstress has my dress, the 3 bridesmaid's dresses, the flower girl dress, and the 7 pockets squares. She promised to have them finished by June 1st. This is June 3rd. I've left 2 phone messages and one email message and haven't heard anything from her. I'm sure that everything is fine. I just called right now and left another phone message.

Oh yes, and we lost one person from the wedding party due to a break up, and had to secure a replacement person.

Yesterday I went to a graduation and listened to a baby cry throughout the entire hour long event. Then I wondered if that would happen at our wedding ceremony.

Were is the Big Picture in all of this?

I asked my photographer if he could send someone to do an hour of photography at our rehearsal dinner and he told me that it would cost $450 for that hour of photography.

My florist "re-did" my proposal after our meeting last week and the price went up by $380 (unexpectedly and without warning). We negotiated the price BACK DOWN to the original quote as soon as I noticed the difference.

I thought that I'd write a poem for the ceremony. But my head is blank. Actually my head isn't blank. It's cluttered.

Where is the Big Picture in all of this???