Though people who knew me from my teenage years to my mid twenties would claim otherwise, I don't enjoy speaking on the phone all that much.
As a result, though there is a lot of talk about phone dates and good intentions, I don't talk to many people who are important to me as much as I'd like to. Over time, with all my frenetic cross-country, multi-city moves, I've accumulated friends from all over, for which I consider myself extremely fortunate.
This is a reminder to myself that however busy things get, emails, tweets, and facebook updates do not equal real voice and real people. Especially when you have a history of friendship built upon face to face conversations, belly laughters, and shared meals.
The biggest glaring weakness that has emerged for Chris and me during this process is something seemingly minor, but still alarming. We don't keep track of finances in a detailed manner, and we are both not so great at keeping our receipts in order for potential reimbursements. I hate returning things, and keeping track of reimbursable expenses with the company? Oh my gosh, I think save my company hundreds of dollars a year in unclaimed expenses and if I were a traveling consultant, that would probably figure in the thousands.
This is worth acknowledging publicly for two reasons: one, while this may be a "small" weakness now in terms of actual damage, it has the potential to wreak some serious havoc. Two, Chris and I'd love some help in this area on how to build small, good habits to make sure we are tracking all expenses and know where those pesky paper slips are.
I saw this comment on a blog:
In some weddings, bridesmaids' primary function is to wear matching dresses and look pretty. Yes, they organize bridal showers and bachelorette parties, but these seem to fall mainly on the shoulders of the Maid of Honor, and the rest just complain about dresses (hopefully in private) and then show up.
My wedding, however, is not one of those weddings. Every few weeks, I sent them detailed emails, with pictures, about projects I am working on and if they can promise to help in those critical last week to help me pull all of the workstreams (sorry!) together. Every single item you'll see at the wedding was personally coordinated by Chris or myself, and so it's become very clear to us at an early stage that we cannot go it alone. Thankfully, I have three consultants, two physicians, and one teacher in my bridal party, so I have no doubt that they can pull off however many workstreams and projects I throw at them. Right, guys? :)
So I thank you, Bridesmaids (and Bridesman David!), for being generous with your pledge to help, and for being okay with the fact that I did not designate a dress for you. I didn't want a matchy promy bridal party, and I personally relish the freedom of choosing my own dress, but I quickly realized that some are happier going with a pre-made decision. :) So thanks for being good sports and obliging me.
Also a note about bachelorette parties...I know they are a pain, that they take massive amounts of time out of your busy schedules, and these types of events are fundamentally a self-absorbed, selfish affairs. But it's also a chance for me to share the last days of my singlehood with the most important people in my life who shared that stage with me, and it's a ritual that I will cherish for the rest of my life. So thank you for joining me in that.
Last, I hope that 20 years from now, we are still getting together and laughing over our absurd youthful days.
This coming weekend marks the official kick off to the 2010 Wedding Season. 'Tis indeed the year of weddings for me--not only does it include our own in April, Chris and I have weddings to attend in March, May, July, and August. This weekend is Mae and Jim's wedding celebration, and they have given Chris and me the honor of serving as "junior sponsors" which is a traditional Filipino role of witnessing the marriage and pledging to stay with them throughout their journey. It's so special to be able to participate in a wedding of someone I care about (Mae is one of my bridesmaids) as a couple, and as I prepare I am also full of appreciation for those who have been and will be instrumental in getting us ready to marry as well--our bridal party.
But before I launch into it, I wanted to check in and see how we are trekking along these 100 days. We have very little more than a month left of our 100 days which is frightening and exciting at once, though mostly exciting.
Starting from the fundamentals of self-care, I think we have been doing very well except for in one area. Chris is a very good influence in getting me to sleep at a reasonable time, whereas left to my own devices, I convince myself that sleeping is very boring and would rather watch 10 hours of youtube clips, but with Chris sleeping soundly next to me and looking so satisfied, it's easy for me to invite sleep into my evening at a reasonable time. And let me tell you, there's nothing like getting a good night's sleep to prevent Bridezilla-esque moments of anxiety, panic, and cold sweat. We've been eating well by cooking more at home and eating regularly. We've been keeping active, thanks to my love of exercise DVDs (P90X is not just for boys who want to get ripped...it's a really really great workout for everyone when you're trapped under two feet of snow in the middle of a winter!) and Chris' love of shoveling and walking.
One aspect I've neglected shamefully is meditation. It's really the lack of an appropriate physical space for meditation that's the culprit, but there are workarounds and I have not taken action to provide myself with a better environment for it. If anyone has a good idea of preparing a space for meditation in one's home with limited space, please, please let me know.
On serving others and keeping an eye towards the outside world when weddings are such a self-absorbed exercise, I think we've done okay but could do better. We decided to give charitably together as a couple and chose an organization last year, and we have volunteered together at a couple of events, but we can do far more with it. I'll dedicate another entry or two to this in the near future because I think it's critical.
On preparing for parenthood, my offer for babysitting has not been taken up, which is ominous...but I promise we will be very good...and FREE!
On exploring our identities, I've begun in the right direction in exploring various aspects of what our union means to my identity, but have not begun an active dialogue with Chris. I'll explore this in another entry about putting together a video of our family histories.
Last but not least, I also wanted to write every day, and this I have been 90% faithful to. On publishing these writings on this blog every day, however, I have not been so good. Because I am never happy about the quality and content of the writing (because I write these so quickly and off handedly), they often sit in my draft folder waiting to be polished, but of course I do not have time to polish them. I have to really go against my instinct to publish them and that is why you have seen these long periods of absences. I'm sorry about that because although I'm the only one who really has any stake in this promise.
Well, not even a re-do, but I see that I've placed "do my taxes" in February a few weeks back, and it's now March...and taxes aren't done.
This is part of a 100 Day Project not only because I don't want to stress about filing my taxes in the few days I have between my wedding weekend the April 15th deadline, but also because I am expecting a healthy rebate due to the 2 months I took off this summer between my two jobs.
So, this is a reminder and a promise that I will at least start filing my taxes before our bachelor/ette weekend in mid-March.
I was intrigued by this woman's pedigree (editor in chief of Yale Law Journal, clerk for a Supreme Court Justice) and her connections (daughter in law to the Treasury Secretary Rubin), but more so by the Happiness Project she had written a book about.
I have not yet picked up a book, but this strikes me as a great first year of marriage project for us, so I wanted to remind myself of it by dedicating an entry to exploring the premise of this book and its author. This book, "The Happiness Project", is a year-long account of the author testing out all of the available happiness promoting, self-help theories that are out there in the market. Each month, she chose a theme such as "energy" and "love" and tried her hand at getting happier.
The 100 Day Project has been enormously helpful in getting Chris and I to talk about the issues we will face as a couple, whether that be household chores, taxes, or merger (while maintaining the integrities) of our disparate identities and values.
Similarly, as long as I am correct in my assumption that my thoughts on happiness largely overlap with those of Chris' (as in, we both want to give ourselves as many chances as we can to be happy together), this will be a useful exercise.
Note: I wrote the following on and off to celebrate our parents finally meeting one another over the weekend, but alas, it was not to be. Last minute changes prevented Chris' parents from making the trip down to VA.
My parents, however, did enjoy a fast-paced, wedding task-filled, cold and windy four days in DC. I thank them both from the bottom of my heart, and also want to take the time to acknowledge how seriously wonderful both sets of our parents have been through this process.
I'd been hearing so many nightmare stories about mothers who want to project their unfulfilled wedding wishes upon their daughters; controlling mother in law's who just have to invite so-and-so distant relatives that neither groom nor bride had ever met; out of control guest lists and budgets, et cetera.
Our parents' attitudes have consistently been, "Keep it sane, do what you want, but let us know when we can help you."
My mom is making me a veil because I thought it was silly to pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of tulle that's about two dollars a yard (no disrespect to the beautifully embroidered and decorated veils out there--they are beautiful indeed, just not a priority for me). Chris' mom is making me centerpieces out of frames that I absolutely adore. My dad is sawing wood (literally) to make me placecard holders, and Chris' dad has provided us with impeccably documented set of old family photos that we'll use not only for our wedding but cherish throughout our lives.
And it goes on. They have been so helpful, so supportive, and so generous and yet restrained with their suggestions that I can't believe our good luck.
I am using this blog as a platform to acknowledge that I am an aging human being. Nothing groundbreaking here, but when you've spent the first 25 years of your life still very much developing into the person you are, both physically and mentally, it's hard to immediately make that switch into the mentality that you have reached your physical peak in the evolutionary sense, and are now in a long state of decline.
It's little wonder that most whiz movers and shakers in age sensitive fields like math, chess, and sports are all pretty much younger than I am.
The beauty of this, though, is the fun of defying this state of decline. It's not to say that I want to be in denial about this aging process and dress/behave like a teenager, but it's always wonderful to see an athlete past his "prime" overcome the odds to perform better than his younger counterparts, or an elderly graduating from college, et cetera.
So, to gracefully defy my state of decline, first step is to establish a relationship with a doctor. Receiving a clean bill of health and educating myself on the best ways to keep defying the odds is something I want to do for Chris, too, as we enter this covenant of weighty promises and responsibilities to each other.