1.1.11

If you are reading this, I just got married.  Like, right now.  Kim and I are probably taking pictures or saying thank you or heading to the reception.

Kim and I met each other in the beginning of 7th grade – fall of 2001 for those who have known us long enough.  We’ve been a couple since spring of 2002.  In other words, we’ve been a couple since they discovered water on Mars.  Our relationship is older than the International Criminal Court, even! We’ve lived together for two years (and been engaged for the same amount of time, minus a few hours), and today we just took the big leap together. It’s been surreal – a wonderful journey with my best friend.  And we’re just getting started!

This terse blog post marks a significant event but at the same time a small change in a long history of a relationship.  As of right now, we are what we weren’t a few moments ago – married. Our legal status has changed, and taxes will look a little different from here on out,but we’ve also made a huge commitment to each other.  Plus, I don’t feel left out anymore and can finally wear a ring too!  But, we’re also still two people who are in love and sharing our lives together.  We’ve got over eight years of history as a couple – from junior high to high school to college, from parents’ houses to apartment to townhome, but we’ve got a lot ahead of us.

Here’s to the future.

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Guns Blazing

On Sunday, David treated me to a bachelor party.  Given two facts – David being my only guy-friend and me being pretty androgynous when it comes to doing manly things – we did not round up the dudes and go to a strip club. Plus, that’s weird and icky. Instead, I learned how to use a gun.  Six guns, actually.

David and I rolled out with his dad and two brothers to Florence Junction, where we parked in a secluded area by a moderately sized cliff-face.  David’s dad went over gun-safety with me while his brothers set up some cans, and I put on some glasses and earmuffs.  I’ve never held a real gun, let alone shoot one, so I was pretty green to this whole scenario.  I should preface the following sentences with the fact that I’m probably getting some of these names wrong.  But anyways, I took a couple of pot shots with a 22 and actually hit my target the first two times (big surprise, let me tell you) before playing with a Glock 17 and a Remington (pistol and shotgun – I’m learning!). When we set out to reset the cans and find some better targets, I found two shot up computer monitors and couldn’t resist. By the end of the day I also fired off an AR-15 and a SOCOM, of which the latter had its own shockwave that we could feel several feet away from the shooter, and which gave me a bruised arm.  As we wrapped up, I fired a few rounds out of an old-fashioned revolver, which made me feel very much like I was shooting in the Southwest.

All in all it was a lot of fun and something I had never done before.  I’m not exactly signing up for the NRA, but I definitely wouldn’t be against going out again.  It was pretty interesting to learn about the different guns (David’s dad is an instructor, and all the guys knew at least something about guns given boy scout experience and whatnot) and to play with some big boy toys.  That, mixed with a little bit of video-gaming and some delicious In-n-Out Burger, made for a very nice bachelor party.

WIP Wednesday: Wedding Edition

Thanks to our wedding, I’m bringing back my one-post-long Work in Progress Wednesday series!  For the past few weeks Kim and I have been working on our centerpieces for the wedding on-and-off.  The goal is small collections of vases on every table, with some sparse stems of flowers in each.  We bought a plethora of clear vases and candle holders at various Goodwills and have been spray painting them white.  We’re excited to see how they come together.  It’s been fun being slightly crafty, and not so fun to see a handful of vases get all crackly and messed up.  All in all it’s been good though.  Tonight we’re putting the finishing touches on a few before our florist swings by to pick them up.   Regardless, we’ve got a garage covered in vases and spray paint, and the florist will be working with them to ensure that it’s all pretty!

A number of vases drying

These are just some of the finished ones

Misfit vases.

BFD

No, not the usual B.F.D., although last weekend’s Bridal Fashion Debut was a pretty big fucking deal.

On Sunday, Kim and I took our moms to the Arizona Bridal Expo to see all things wedding.  It was a big day, and I ended up with  roughly a fifteen pound bag after four or five hours of walking around.  Among these things numbered cards, pamphlets, brochures and other such material from 76 – yes 76 – photographers. And that’s not including the half dozen photobooths and countless other vendors I said ‘hi’ to.

Highlights: Got a lot of contacts like woah – we saw quite a few pretty places and talented photographers that should give us a good starting-off point.  Despite seeing some neat venues, Kim and I are still leaning towards a particular location – more word on that later.  Also, I saw Taylor! She is my wonderful photographer-friend whom I hadn’t seen in the better part of a year, so that was nice.  Also also I think I was entered in at least few score sweepstakes and drawings for things from coupons to engagement photo sessions.

Lowlights: That “lot of contacts like woah” statement means we have to sift through 80-odd photography companies and however many other vendors.  In addition to Taylor, I got a hug from another photographer – a woman who claimed she knew me and put me in a place of utter confusion. (Can’t pick her for the wedding!)

Overall it was a lot of fun.  We just have to take the piles of papers and cards and sift them into something manageable.  We’re hoping to get a few more appointments/visits set up and attended to before we get into the thick of things at school.  Got to get moving!

Nine

Recapping nine important things that happened to me in 2009.  It was a great year, and I am ending the decade by starting what I hope to be a couple of new trends – first by summarizing a year with that year’s number of events and then by forecasting the next year with that year’s number of goals (the two will not be linked).  So, without further ado, here are nine important things that happened in 2009.

Twitter. Let’s be honest, getting on Twitter was a big thing for me this year.  It got me back in touch with a lot of friends and reinvigorated my thirst for news via New York Times.  Also, I got to join in on The Rescue and the Iranian Election via trending topics.  Also, Twittertracker!

Fellowship. This fall semester I was one of eight undergraduate fellows at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.  It made for a very interesting semester with many fun debates and some pretty cool speakers as well.  I got some experience, and a resume-booster, in working for a DoD grant studying conflict in Thailand too.  It also marked a corner around which I never thought I’d turn – religious studies.  I learned quite a bit about religion in the context of conflict, and I got to meet some very interesting people among fellows, staff, faculty, and guests.  I’m hoping to intern with them if possible.

The Golden Gate. I went on a trip with my parents to San Francisco this summer.  In the old days, our family tradition was a triangular trip to San Diego and Las Vegas.  For the passed few years, this has been replaced with a long haul to San Francisco where we do a variety of things.  This year we did the usual and wandered Chinatown, walked the Embarcadero, visited the Haight, and trekked the Golden Gate Bridge to see my grandpa.  New ones were the Pier 1 Farmer’s Market (lots of fun and delicious food), hung out in Sausalito, and walked through part of Golden Gate Park.  Lots of fun with the family and it was nice to be in the coldest city ever one more time.

Los Angeles. Kim and I went on our first friend-filled road trip this summer.  It turned out to be a love-hate occurrence with quite a few ups and downs.  Regardless of any low-points of the trip, including getting lost multiple times, enduring cold beach morning weather, and dragging dead weight across town, there were a number of great things.  Kim and I got to experience Six Flags together, which was an amazing thing.  Cristina, Kim, and I almost achieved our goal of riding every roller coaster.  And it was hopefully the first of many friend-filled, fun-filled road trips.

The Rescue. This April, Invisible Children embarked on a massive endeavor.  100 cities in 10 countries on 1 night.  I joined 100,000 people that night in abducting myself to help the abducted child soldiers in east-central Africa.  At the Phoenix camp I met up with a lot of friends and helped set up the abduction site around old Hayden Mill.  From there, I photographed the march and subsequently was rescued and spent the night on a field.  I was unable to join some of my friends on what turned into a seven-day trip that went Phoenix-Albuquerque-Wichita-Chicago and ended at Harpo Studios, but I did call my way to rescue sites all across the country.  In the end, all cities were rescued and it was a successful and amazing event.

Lobby Days. In June, I went on a lonely flight to our nation’s capitol.  After a half-day of isolation, I met up with Heather and Kristi.  The next morning I met dozens of friends.  The two days I spent in DC were a great lesson in lobbying and politics and were a reminder of why I am involved in the type of things in which I am involved.  It gave me a tingly feeling that I hadn’t felt in about a year and a half – like I was an integral part in something huge.  Oh, and I got to see Luis Moreno-O’Campo and John Prendergast speak in addition to getting to hang out with Jason Russell, the Resolve Uganda crew, and the Keeseys. In the end I made even more friends and completed three lobbying meetings, plus there was a lot of fun had.

Anniversary. The seventh anniversary of our first date was marked by a weekend full of fun.  I took Kim to Cricket Pavilion to see No Doubt.  The show was great and a lot of fun, and it was nice to finally have Kim see one of her all-time favorite bands play live.  We also took a short trip to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and got to see some pretty cool stuff before heading to the Wildlife World Zoo.  This zoo has some funky, exotic animals and it was really neat to see so many things.  I also got to pet a stingray for the first time in my life!  That was a weird thing.  We ended the weekend with a sit-down at As You Wish, and Kim made a really cool cupcake-shaped sugar bowl while I made a waffle cone-shaped ice cream cup.  All in all, a great way to celebrate a great occasion!

Winter Wedding. A little while ago, we made a checklist.  We talked through two topics and made a choice: winter wedding.  The timing, while moving things up a bit, makes for better planning for us with school.  Honeymoon would be more achievable.  More family and friends could attend.  Mixes her parents’ winter feel with my parents’ holiday feel.  It was just one decision, but it’s essentially the precursor to all other wedding decisions including venue and color and whatever else.  Now we just need to make those decisions! Oh and get married.

The Townhome. Kimberly and I became homeowners in November.  After a lot of talking, money-inspecting and talking with my parents, we decided to seize an opportunity and buy a townhome.  Now we are partially unpacked in a roomy unit, with plans to bring in pets and get truly settled.  It’s a little two-story place with a tiny garage and a no-yard small patio.  The neighborhood is a cute one with little lakes and flower patches.  We have plans for painting, bringing in some furniture, and decorating more as we get time and money.  This will be our home for the foreseeable future, including the rest of our undergrad years, the wedding, and maybe subsequent career-maneuvering.  It’ll be a great place to stay for the next few years and I’m very happy to be here :D

And that’s a year in review.  Stay tuned for ten goals early in the new year, and have a happy celebration while you wait.

Winter Wedding?

So, it seems like we’ve made a decision.  It might move a little, but our outlook is that Kim and I will get married on 1-1-11. We’re starting the hunt for venues now, and I think we’re narrowing down colors, guests, and other important things. The big one is going to be the budget. With a wedding there are soooo many different aspects to know, and each one has a price tag.

Kim and I saved up for a while before moving in together. Then we saved up for a while before buying the townhome. Now we’re saving up for  a wedding! The kink in the saving is me. Right now everything’s gravy, but somewhere in the summer I will be abroad, and when I get back I’ll be student teaching without making any money. I need to save better now and find a sustainable way to do everything. Until those trying times come, I just need to keep earning and saving. And getting ready for 1-1-11!

The First Dance. And Everything After.

So, Kim and I were talking last night and listening to some music (Tom Waits, just so you know) and started talking wedding.  We’ve lobbed ideas at each other about what type of music to play, but I don’t think we really have too much set in stone.  What we do know is that we’re keeping it cheap by using a playlist and not a band or DJ, but other than that we’ve just named some songs – some cliche, some unique, some you might not have heard of. We’ve built on each other’s ideas, but we’ve also vetoed each other a bit here and there.

Tom Waits’ version of “Sea of Love” is an entrancing must, we’ve known that for a long time. Beyond that, we’re still talking.  Kim has found a good song about a boy and a girl in Michael Franti’s “Say Hey I Love You.” And we’ve considered some of the typicals, like Sinatra or the Beatles.  My opinions vary from my love for the 60s in The Doors to my love for unique sounds like Architecture in Helsinki to my oddly strong favoritism for Ingrid Michaelson’s voice. “Lie to Me” always makes me want to jump around and “My Moon My Man” has a cool beat, but what to choose? I’m also trying to keep an eye out for songs that people know and can dance to.

Problem is, I don’t really dance: I don’t know where to begin. As a person who is much more comfortable sitting there humming along and maybe toe- and finger-tapping, I’m not the best at figuring out what’s the easiest sound to shake your hips to. I just don’t have the ear for it I guess. So here’s where I’m reaching out to you, select readers: what do you dance to?