Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Wedding Dress Has Battle Wounds

With the Royal Wedding getting so much media attention, I can't help but think about my own wedding that will take place in about 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kate Middleton carried a bouquet almost identical to what I ordered with my florist a few weeks ago. It was beautiful and it is exactly what I want!

I've had my dress for over a year. For the first couple months, I was trying it on all the time. I had to put try-on restrictions on my dress - I limited how I often I would wear it to once a month. Slowly but surely, I started collecting accessories - first the jewelry, then the headpiece, and then the veil. (By the way, I never expected to want a veil, but I am so looking forward to wearing mine! Besides, how many times in your life do you get to wear one and have it be absolutely 100% acceptable for a fancy occasion? The answer is only once on your wedding day, so I am taking full advantage!). Each time a new accessory was acquired, I convinced myself I needed to try on the entire ensemble. Months ago, I tried on my dress and didn't feel particularly good in it because I had been at a street fair all day, and didn't have any make up on. Not feeling pretty sort of took the fun out of having such a special dress, so I haven't tried it on since....until last night. 

I couldn't help it. I was home alone, and I glanced at my dress hanging on my closet door. I threw my will power to the wind and approached that big ol' bag. I reached up and pulled the zipper down.

"Hello, dress. It's been awhile."

 I took it out and immediately swooned over had been almost 6 months! I put on my jewelry, headpiece, and veil, and then pulled on my dress. Oh, that dress. Do all girls love their dress like I love mine? I'm not giving any details about it, you'll have to wait and see, but it is the perfect dress for me, and I was in love. I didn't want to take it off. 

As I was checking out the back of my dress, my darling cat entered my room. Now, this cat, he loves it when you're putting fresh sheets on the bed, and takes it as a opportunity to play. Apparently, my wedding dress is no different than bedsheets, and he just wandered all over the train. I started to panic. I was home alone, in a very expensive, very special dress, and my cantankerous cat was not about to get off because it simply was too much fun. I started yelling, he started batting at the phantom bugs he was seeing. After plenty of scolding and minutes of panicky agony for me, he gave me sideways glance and left the room. 

Thank god. It was time to take it off, the fun was over. 

I wouldn't be surprised if I need to have my dress cleaned before the wedding, rather than after since I've put it on so many times. It already needs little fixer-uppers from all the try on sessions...the poor dress has battle wounds and we haven't even gone to war (i.e., klutzy me and the dress vs. the world on the wedding day). 

I'll look on the bright side and be amused. I'm getting lots of use, and lots of enjoyment out of it. It's a sign that this dress is really loved by it's owner....right?? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Where's The Good In Goodbye?

I didn't cry like I usually do. I reminded myself (with some extra encouragement from the new hubby) that it's only a short separation and before I know it he'll be back in LA. I guess the facts suppressed the water works, because usually while I'm kissing him goodbye I just can't keep myself from crying.

Today it was a little different.

The mystery of the relationship is gone now, thankfully. When we part ways, we no longer have to wonder: is this the last time we'll see each other? Are we going to make it another three months separated by a 5200 miles (or 8368.5 kilometers)? What the heck are we going to talk about on Skype tomorrow?!  That mystery (let's be honest, misery is a better word for it) isn't relevant anymore and it takes a bit of the sting out of the goodbye.

But even with the reassurance of a speedy return (only 6 weeks this time, woohoo!), and the whole marriage thing, my heart still ached as he went through security. I stood there until he was out of site, with big tears welling up in eyes, threatening to let go and cause a scene. I'm proud to say I held them back - well, most of them...only a few escaped down my cheek as I walked to the car. Truthfully, what I missed the most at that very moment was holding his hand. I suddenly felt incredibly alone. I missed him and he we hadn't even been apart for more than ten minutes.

Goodbyes are never easy, and I typically cry my way through them. Honestly, I cry my way through most difficult things in this world, but in my opinion that is just fine because sometimes (or in my case, most times) all you need is a good cry before you can move on and be happy again.

I expect to burst into tears at any given moment.

Friday, April 22, 2011

We're Goin' To The Chapel...And We Got Married!

This wasn't supposed to be all over Facebook. This also wasn't supposed to be a big deal, but it's funny how life's little moments (or life's big moments) eat away at you until you just have to share. And besides, the cat's out of the bag anyway.

In a small, intimate little ceremony, Stian and I tied the knot last weekend. Yep, we had a civil ceremony. I posted awhile back about how I didn't really want to do it, but MAN! I'm glad it happened and I'm glad that all the legal stuff will be done soon. Trying to decide how I want to share the details is proving rather difficult.

Where do I start?

It was a beautiful day, and for Stian - a Norwegian in Southern California at the beginning of spring on a perfect day of 70 degrees - he was one happy guy (although admittedly, I think he would have preferred to be at the beach soaking up the sun, but hey - he married his LOVE that day, so who cares about the beach, right?!).

We kept it semi-casual. I wore a short ivory dress, accompanied by gold sparkly heels, a brown headband, and carried a hot pink bouquet. He wore jeans, a brown sweater, and brown shoes. Perfectly semi-casual, and perfect for the occasion because really, this was just paperwork. With family. And a photographer. And a slice of cake with a glass of champagne. But that's it.

It was sweet and it was lovely, and we're both still SO very excited for when all of our family and friends can join us in July. We consider that  to be our "real" wedding. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it - my dress, his bunad, our family and friends that will have traveled so far! Ahh. I can't wait.

While I anticipate how great it will be, I also need to take some time to appreciate the fact that we're pretty lucky people. Not many couples can say that they get two weddings - one small and intimate, and one grand and fun.

I guess there's not much left to say. But - there are PICTURES. I've been dying to post these, but in an effort to not make our "paperwork day" incredibly public, we've kept them to ourselves (although, I think there are mystery pictures floating around on the internet and I can't seem to locate their whereabouts)....until today.

Sometimes, you just have to celebrate and share the joy with your friends - even if it is only a post on a humble little blog.

And now for a few pictures from the park...

All photos credit Sheila Arkee. We are consistently impressed and thankful to have such an amazing photographer in our lives to document some of our most treasured moments. Can we pack you up and take you to Norway, too?

Visit her website at Thanks again, Sheila!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Brown Cheese

What I'm about to tell you is Norwegian blasphemy. It's also slightly embarrassing. I have no idea what made me remember this tiny piece of a trip from 2009, but I have never forgotten how NOT to eat brown cheese. That's the end of the story, but I suppose I should start from the beginning....

It was summertime. My first summer in Norway, and it was gorgeous. I had never seen any place so green before! Stian and I were taking a trip to Stavanger so I could check out an international preschool. He booked the hotel and told me it was a "patient hotel" within a hospital. I wasn't sure what that meant, but hey, we had a place to sleep.

As I recall, we got there late in the evening. The cafeteria was empty, and there weren't many people around. We hauled our luggage up to our room, and got ready for our hike the next day. Fast forward - the hike was amazing! We went to a place called the Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen in Norwegian, which was amazing. On the left, that's a picture of me with my feet dangling over the 600m cliff. The picture at the top with the "From Freeways To Fjords" title, is the view from where I was sitting in this picture. Beautiful, huh?

Okay, rewind! Before our hike, we needed nourishment so we headed to the cafeteria to find a beautiful Norwegian buffet-style breakfast set up. There was a variety of bread, deli meat, cheese, spreads (mayo, caviar, jam, etc.), hardboiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, porridge, and yogurt. Plus all the coffee, tea, and juice and fruit you could dream of. There was probably more, but that's the general idea. So we both made some plates and took them to our table. Once we sat down and took in the people around us, we realized what a "patient hotel" meant. There were couples EVERYWHERE. There were exhausted looking women. It was then I noticed what was next to each table: a basket on wheels that each carried a newborn baby. Then I looked up and all I saw were new moms on the move, getting on and off the elevator, pushing their new bundles of joy all over the place.

Oh. So in Norway, you have a baby, and you get moved into a hotel room so that the family can stay together, but are still close by in case there are any problems or you need assistance with breastfeeding, etc. Brilliant.

Back to my breakfast. I grabbed a piece of bread, put on some butter, a piece of ham, and some brown cheese (brunost). As I brought it up to my mouth, Stian looked at me in amazement and said "you CANNOT eat it like that!" I was confused. I thought what did I do wrong?? Bread, butter, meat, and cheese - this is the typical smørbrød (an open-faced sandwich eaten at any time of day). So I asked and he said "you can't put brown cheese on meat!! It must go with jam!" That's true, I guess, the only other time I had brunost was at his parents house and you put strawberry jam on top. I didn't realize there were rules for it though. Oh well. I took a bite anyway.

I'll be honest. It was terrible. You really can't put brown cheese on ham. Brown cheese a bit of an acquired taste - you have to learn to like the way it sticks to the back of your teeth I guess - but you will definitely never learn to like it if you eat it with ham because it's an awful combination. Strawberry jam is the way to go!
If you're a Norwegian reading this, I apologize for the cultural crime I committed! If you're not Norwegian and you're reading this, you will be wise to never create this combination for yourself, especially in the presence of Norwegian.