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what who?

Whoops. Kind of let things go fallow there for a while. Let’s see… Marriage is pretty neat. Got really sick over Christmas in FL and still recovering. New job (same agency) starts on the 28th. Sir Smitsalot and i had a frabjous honeymoon cruise and are planning a Euro version for our 1st anniverssary. And, iphone has a wordpress app. If I could upload photos using this it might be possible to spend less time on FB.

Also, I haven’t shaved my legs since early January. We are headed to FL on Monday. I wonder if anyone would notice if i left them fuzzy… It isn’t like I have anyone to impress down there and I don’t give a damn what the pedicurist says. Mostly.

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when does it get real?

So this Facebook thing has really screwed up my blogging.  Having an extraordinary person in my life who keeps me busy doesn’t help either.  I get sucked into these stupid games, like Frontierville, because my sweet nephew talks me into playing.  And then he quits playing almost immediately, leaving me to frantically harvest crap and whomp critters all by myself.  I’m not proud.

Anyways, Teh Smitten and I are getting married.  Next month.  This is how it happened:

My sister calls after our Labor Day staycation at the Hotel Palomar in Arlington (we had a suite with a Japanese soaking tub for two – it was kind of fantastic) to see if we had gotten engaged yet.  She expresses deep disappointment that we had not gotten engaged in that I’m-kidding-but-not-really sort of way.  (She has been a little panicked that we might get married on the upcoming cruise in November despite my telling her repeatedly that we would not do so as it costs $2500 for a very dinky sort of to-do.)  Anyway, her concern tickles me to no end and I tell Teh Smitten, who later says something like, “Well… I guess I could ruin the surprise…”

It turns out he was planning to propose on the cruise, buy the ring in St. Maarten, etc.  He thought I wanted a wedding with the dress and the people, etc.  Except I don’t.  I want the marriage.  I suggested we just go ahead and do the civil wedding thing next to file cabinets and then use the cruise as our honeymoon.  He countered by suggesting a party for our friends and family in a few months and I happily agreed.

But planning the civil wedding and a small dinner with our family has ballooned a little.  First, I found a dress:

$198 from Nordstom.  No lie.   So, I thought I’d order it and if it didn’t work, it would be a very simple thing to return.  Except, it fits.  Beautifully.  I think it could use a little tailoring around the bust area to make sure it doesn’t gape shamefully and all.  $198 and I LOVE it.

Tomorrow, my awesome minion from work, who really has become a good friend more than anything, will be headed to Nordstrom with me to meet with my personal stylist to work out a wrap, sufficient undergarments (finding a plunging bra in my size is going to be fun, and by “fun” I really mean a fucking nightmare because they don’t make plunging bras that actually provide support in a 40F), shoes, maybe a bag…

I swung by the store on my way home last night and, with the stylist’s help, picked up an ivory dress shirt, a very lovely Armani tie and pocket square for Smit, and then moseyed over to the shoe area to see if I could improve upon his current dress shoe dilemma.  Why must men hold onto awful worn-out shoes? He has been quite devoted to his Bill Blass wingtips, which have seen better days.  Anyways, there were a pair of Cole Hahn Nike Air technology wingtips on sale for $129.  Now, if I can just convince him to “retire” the old pair.

Teh Smitten and I met at the Arlington Courthouse yesterday to pick up our marriage license and have lunch at a potential dinner venue.  Getting the license was pretty painless.  If Virginia allowed gay marriages it really would be a great state.  We dropped the license off at the official Arlington County celebrant’s office afterward so that he could have the certificate prepared on October 23rd.  He is a lovely fellow – an older gentleman who estimates he has officiated the weddings for about 54,000 couples in the last 45 years or so.  Wow.  His offices, not so lovely.  When people say they’re getting married next to file cabinets, they’re not kidding.  The officiant’s conference room is decorated in what I’d call Early 80’s Legal Office Banal.  There’s a very sad looking silk flower arrangement in one corner – a nightmare of red roses in a white basket. Truly awful.  At least the chairs aren’t folding chairs.  And his office itself is a maze of stacks of paperwork.  I can’t imagine how shocked my sister and brother-in-law will be when they compare the venue to theirs, but how much better can you do for $100 cash?

Despite my negativity towards the Wedding Industrial Complex, I find myself buying wedding favors and place cards.  I’m trying to find that fine line between simple and special.  It is very very hard when you have a shopping addiction.  I totally see how this gets out of control very quickly.  Teh Smitten gets this nervous look every time he hears me say, “Oh guess what I found today for the wedding!”

So, even if we’re only having our parents and maybe a couple friends in addition for dinner, don’t we need to have a favor of some sort?  No.  But I’m not letting reasonableness stop me.

I’ve ordered travertine tile magnets, sample photo on the left, from Etsy.

But it was all so easy!  And then I got completely mired down in the wedding craftiness parts of Etsy, that seem to go on forever in a very Gormenghast sort of way.  Its pure evil.  There are personalized antique handkerchiefs, specially handmade invitation suites, apparel, headbands…

And that is when I ordered the place setting cards, as seen in the sample photo on the right for our party of approximately 15 people.  So cute!!!  And so very unnecessary.

We’ll be doing cupcakes instead of a wedding cake.  I hear that cupcakes are passe but I don’t care. The wedding cake business is a total racket and they’re usually a dry tasteless mess. DC’s Red Velvet Cupcakery is our running favorite, and they do lovely decorations.  I’ve ordered a disposable cupcake tier thingy of Amazon for it.

As for rings, we bought mine – an Art Deco estate piece circa 1925-1930 – last weekend from Pampillonia Jewelers in Dupont Circle.  It is exactly what I wanted.  We’re now searching for its partner for Smitty, who would also like an Art Deco look.  Hopefully we will find what he wants before the wedding.

The jeweler, Richard Pampillonia, had just taken the ring out of the “cooler”, where all estate jewelry must sit for 30 days before it can be sold.  He overheard that I was looking for an antique look and brought it over for us to look at.  Here is a photo of me wearing the ring before it had even been shined or cleaned. It is a platinum setting with a mine cut diamond in the center, baguettes on two sides, and then about 20 teensy diamonds sprinkled around the rest of the setting.

I’m not getting a band.  The ring is enough.  And, yes, I’m wearing that sucker before the wedding.  My mom and I had a fun 30 second argument about that until she conceded, good naturedly.   It is the precious and I have become Gollum.

So, yeah.  Its not really real yet.  When does that happen?  The night before?

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out of my closet

I’ve purged the closets as well as the underwear and sock drawer.  Surely somebody out there is going to LOVE that pimpin’ suede Wilson’s coat with fur collar.  Now that I’ve switched out the cold weather gear for warm weather, I have a better idea of what I’m lacking/must spend money on.  What I really need to do is a thorough purge of shoes and purses.  Why is it harder to let them go? I wear maybe 10% of my shoes and I don’t wear any of the cute-yet-painful ones.  One good thing about getting old is that I don’t give a hang about how ugly my shoes are.

The real beast of a job is still waiting on me.  I don’t know about the rest of you neatniks, but I like to cram anything I’m not currently using (or might need desperately someday) into the closets.  This results in my maxi dresses and pants being a little wrinkled.  It also means that I now fear said closets-which-can-no-longer-close.  And don’t even get me started on all the damn shredding I need to do.  Alas, all further work is on hold with the start of the social season (see below).

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the social season

Its been a little over three weeks since I had my sinus surgery and I’m beginning to feel a little more normal.  Considering the lack of noticeable trauma, it seems ridiculous that it took such a toll on my energy.  I’ve been sleeping far more than usual, which is to say lots.  Teh Smitten has been quite a trooper and an amazing partner in all this.

We commence the social season this week through Memorial weekend.  I hope I can keep up.  It will be good to see old friends and meet new ones.  Smit and I celebrate the 3rd anniversary of our 1st date on May 18th, so I’ve arranged for a weekend at one of the new Kimpton hotels in Old Town.  The Lorien Hotel and Spa is pretty new.  I signed up for Kimpton rewards long ago and got a rate of $153 a night for the King spa tub room.  I’ve also gone ahead and made massage appointments for us both and Smit has made reservations for Restaurant Eve’s tasting room.  I’m counting the days.

And because nothing makes me feel better than planning a vacation, a couple days after my surgery we made our initial down payments on a 12 night cruise on the Celebrity Mercury in November.  We go right out of Baltimore, spend three days at sea, then hit St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Maarten, and then have another 3 full days at sea before returning to Charm City.  After dragging the boy all over hither and yon (Spain and France) last November, he stated a preference for just unpacking once while visiting several destinations.  Fortunately, Baltimore has three different lines operating out of its port, and we both love the concept of being able to drive directly to the port instead of having to fly to FL.  I think this will be my 8th or 9th cruise, but its been quite a while since my last.  I’ve booked a stateroom with a balcony and concierge service, which will both be firsts for me.  Woo!!!  196 days and counting.  You know what else is fun?  Shopping for cruise wear and gear.

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sanjay gupta needs a good throat punching

CNN is usually a perfectly decent source of information.  They’ve got that handsome Anderson Cooper  – who never seems to break a sweat – hanging haplessly out in the midst of a destroyed Port au Prince.  I’m okay with a news correspondent showing human suffering and intense devastation, but not a fully qualified medical doctor.  I don’t know who is paying Dr. Sanjay Gupta to just be CNN’s correspondent instead of letting that man treat all these horribly injured and likely dying people, but I think they need to be throat punched too, while we’re at it.  I want to see Anderson helping to dig people out, handing out water, handing out food, in addition to telling the story.  I want to see that t-shirt get dirty and that hair get mussed.  They could be photographing all the dead in the hope that they might be identified some day.

While we’re at it, Pat Robertson – who said that Haiti invoked this earthquake by being in agreement with Satan – needs a full-body punching and a nice long rest in some rural and poorly-funded mental hospital’s dementia unit.  I think Pat might be from hell, so figure he should actually be punished while here on earth.

Its the photos of the children in Haiti that really get to me.  Deceased children, wounded children, children in terrible shock and fear.  If there’s anyone out there with access to that fame-whore, Sanjay, please please please punch him in the throat and tell him to do something useful.

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snowed in

 

Before I shoveled. Ouch.

I think I’ve posted no more than 10 times over the past year.  It’s been pretty busy and FB is a major time-waster.  Fortunately, DC is in the process of getting a foot of snow.  We’re not completely happy about this at Chez Allezoop as it means we don’t get to go to a very fun holiday party with excellent friends who always have the most amazing treats.  It may also impact our ability to see Teh Smitten’s family tomorrow and exchange gifts.  I hate that since I’m pretty excited about what we got them.

On the other hand, the forced home arrest forces me to reflect and catch up on others.  That ain’t so bad.

Vacation was great.

 

My favorite photo of us from the trip.

I was a little sick the whole time and it really took a toll the last two days when we were in Toulouse.  Fortunately, our B&B was AMAZING and we didn’t feel too badly about spending extra time resting.  We both came back with colds/severe sinus ick.  Hopefully we’ll have most of the problems tamped down by the time we depart for Miami for Christmas with my family.  It is 75 and sunny down there.  I’ll be ready for that by Tuesday.

Barcelona was wonderful.  We had great weather and didn’t really need our coats for our first 4 days.  Teh Smitten loved the Pinotxo Bar at La Boqueria, and we had an amazing meal at this place call La Vinateria del Call, also in the Barri Gotic.  We never really left the gothic quarter except to see La Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s Casa Batllo – which were both fantastic.

Unfortunately, the world famous El Bulli was not open when we were there, and it is nearly impossible to get reservations anyway.

 

Appetizers at Comerc 24

 

We were able to get into Comerc 24, which subscribes to the molecular cooking philosophy which is so in vogue.  We had a pretty good time there, but it does not come close to the glory of Komi here in DC.  I did not feel sorry for all the other (non-Komi) foods like I did at Komi, where we celebrated Teh Smitten’s birthday in November.

We got to experience a French rail strike, which delayed us from getting into Narbonne on Thanksgiving day by a few hours.  We took the bus instead.  Narbonne was nice, but I’m glad we just spent one night there.  It was worth it for the Roman Horreum (an underground warehouse – kind of a cool thing to visit) and the bit of the Via Domitia in the main square.

Carcassonne was my favorite.

 

A view of the old part of the city from the keep itself

We stayed in a Best Western.  Well, it was a 14th century building that Best Western bought and it was great.  We had a nice room, very medieval in flavor but not comfort, and a lovely large bathroom.  It was low season there so not everything was open, but we were there on a weekend so got to see and do plenty.

 

We had lunch our first day at the Auberge de Dame Carcas.  I had foie gras to start and cassoulet, of course.

We spent most of the first day walking around the old city and checking out the wall surrounding it.

Teh Smitten on the outer wall of medieval Carcassonne

I love this photo of Teh Smitten.  Am I right about how beautiful this place was?

More to come…

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holy cow, its already christmas

How did that happen?

The season seemed extra short and extra stressful. Having a decent job and no mortgage does not help one to feel recession-proof. This was the first year in a long time when I did not have all my Christmas shopping pretty much done before Thanksgiving. I dragged my feet and had a hard time getting into the spirit of the season. Work is partially to blame, but I feel badly about not doing better with gift-giving. And the foot-dragging has even affected the gift wrapping, which I usually enjoy. Not this year. Its gift bag city under my family’s tree. We ran out of tissue, rendering several gifts not so much a surprise.

There’s not really anything I really wanted this year. Jewelry and stuff are fun, as are little pocketbooks and silly things. For example, our West Coast friends – members of our Urban Tribe who fled for better jobs and neat weather – sent me this wonderful pop-up book on the history of the bra and these fantastic whisky stones (you freeze them and put them in your whisky so you can cool it but not water it down) to Teh Smitten. We were so pleased.

We’ve pretty much just gotten the kids to bed in the last half hour so maybe they’ll sleep till 9… It is always fun to watch them open their gifts. My nephew adores Teh Smitten and insisted on going out and buying him a game for Smit’s X-Box 360 (a gift from his dad). Tomorrow will be quite manic and magical, and maybe we’ll even get down to the beach to enjoy the 80 degree weather for a while. I’ll try to capture some of the magic on photograph and post.

In any case, just wanted to convey my wishes to you for a wonderful Christmas. I will be among the people I love the most, feeling extremely lucky.

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