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Happy New Year! Goals for 2012

by Melissa on January 2, 2012

End Holiday Blogging Hiatus!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year. Time to look ahead and set some goals!

What’s on my list for this year?  Well, let’s see.

Personality traits

Accept that our home is a constant work in progress. I’m always so annoyed that things can fall into disarray so quickly in our house. Let me give an example. We have a house cleaning service that comes once per month. A day after that house cleaning service comes, our basement can be a complete jumble of wires as Ken decides to disassemble our A/V closet. Or, I get aggravated with myself when I decide to move one piece of wall art to a different part of the house, because I thought I was “done” when I put that wall art in a specific location. Well, the house is never DONE. Actually, if it is “Done” then that means that I’ve reached that age when I want nothing in the house to change. That’s why our grandparents’ homes look like they’re stuck in the 1960s. So, I should EMBRACE the fact that I want to rearrange wall art. I shouldn’t be in some big hurry to redo our closets and kitchen all at the same time just so we’re “done.” And anyway, at least when our house is in disarray, that means we care enough to see it improved and aren’t sitting around on our butts all day “bored” because we have nothing to do.

Get out of the house. As I mentioned above, our house is a constant work in progress. And because I’m always anxious to see it “done,” (oh, and also because Ken and I are complete homebodies), we rarely go anywhere or do anything outside of the house, with the exception of vacations and Ken’s Friday trips to the movie theater (sometimes I go, sometimes I don’t, depending on how interested I am in seeing the movie). So, this is my goal this year to do:

  1. At least one activity outside the house per month (museum, new restaurant, etc.); and
  2. Make a more concerted effort to hang out with my friends. I’m a shitty friend. I never want to hang out, I hate the bar scene, and, I always want to use weekends to work on the house. Ken and I host a lot of parties, but I always feel bad because our interaction is always so one-sided. We like when people come to our parties, but we don’t like going to theirs.

Use my mornings more productively (The original title for this one was “Quit dicking around in the mornings). Here’s my morning routine. After Ken gets out of the shower, he wakes me up. I then go in the shower and he leaves for work. After I get out of the shower, I go on my computer and do complete mindless surfing. And about 45 minutes later, I start to get ready for work. What a complete waste of time! So, I’m going to try and skip the computer routine in the mornings. I’m going to be honest, this might be a tough one!.

Health and Fitness

Go to the doctor and get a checkup. Here’s the thing. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. But I’m the worst kind of hypochondriac. The kind that avoids the doctor like the plague. Because they may find something dreadfully awful with me! That tingling in my hand? Pretty sure it’s a stroke. Leg hurting from working out? It’s a blood clot for sure. Headache lasting a while? That means I have a brain tumor, right? I avoid the doctor because I think that ignorance is bliss. But, if I’m going to worry about all these phantom problems anyway, why shouldn’t I just go to the doctor and actually find out if I have something real to worry about? And if there is nothing real to worry about, then I can stop worrying so damn much!  Also, there are just too many health problems in my family. I need to take an active role in taking care of myself and focus on PREVENTION.

On a similar note, Lose the Weight, eat healthy, exercise. I’ve done it before. I realize that this is on a lot of resolutions lists, so I won’t belabor the point. Get strong, get healthy.

The ridiculous:

Watch the entire series of Sex and the City (not in one sitting. Preferably throughout the entire year). Wait. What the heck? You have a resolution to watch MORE TV? Isn’t that the opposite a resolution?

Well, no. I’m fairly pleased with the amount of TV I watch every week. Nothing excessive, but I’m not a “TV-is-evil-and-refuse-to-watch-it” person either. But most new shows suck-o. Then, what TV shows do I watch? It’s confession time. I TiVo Law and Order reruns on TNT. I have the TiVo set to keep at least 10 episodes. When I’m looking to unwind or just watch mindless television, I queue up one of the episodes, and watch it. I probably watch at least 5 episodes a week. And, 95% of the time, I’ve seen the episode. So this year, my mindless TV show will be Sex and the City. I purchased the entire series on DVD years ago. And, I’ve actually never seen the final season! So, mindless TV, here we come.

Blogging

Launch a new blog! Ken and I are working on a new blog! We’re in the early stages, and getting some quotes for logos. It’ll be entirely non-wedding related, but I hope to be posting on there by March! I’ll let you all know!

Take a more proactive role replying to comments on this blog, and commenting on other wedding blogs. If you’ve ever left a comment on this blog only to feel like you’ve typed something into a black hole, it’s not because I don’t love you. I so appreciate your comments. But laziness wins out. Almost every.single.time.

Follow a more specific workflow for my blog posts. I won’t bore you with the details of this, but hopefully the posts you’ll be seeing in the near future will have more external links and more photos and will be higher quality with regard to grammar!

Create a special archives page to make it easier for visitors to find the posts that interest them! I’ll be launching this soon!

Home and Household

Complete at least 8 crafty projects. My “Post Wedding Projects” should put me well on my way to this goal!

Stop spending so much money at the supermarket. Ken and I make decent money. However, I spend WAY too much money at the Supermarket (sometimes more than $350/month … and there’s only two of us!). Currently, I make a meal plan for each week, and just go to the nearby store and purchase what I need. I never pay any attention to sales or coupons or sales that warrant “stocking up.” But, perhaps I should. To meet this goal, I’m going to subscribe to the Sunday Washington Post so I can get the weekly ads and coupons.

Redo my home office. Already on track to do this soon!

Have a plan for redoing the kitchen. After spending money all last year on the wedding, planning any major expenses makes me feel a bit queasy. My savings account balance is nearly $6000 less than what it was this time last year, so I’d like to take some time to recover and spend less money this year. Well, that would not be possible if we remodeled our kitchen soon like we’re really anxious to do! In fact, we went to Ikea this weekend and played with their kitchen design program. We’re looking at about $6800 for cabinets (not including installation). So, instead of having a goal to actually redo the kitchen this year, I’m setting a goal to do the following:

  • Track prices of appliances to determine the best deals (It will help that I’m subscribing to the newspaper so I can check out local ads!)
  • Troll pinterest and flickr for kitchen inspiration ideas
  • Get estimates from contractors for other things that will need redone in our kitchen, like switching from electric to gas, installing new lighting, and making sure our water line works to have a fridge with an ice and water dispenser
  • Visit kitchen showroom type places for inspiration and ideas
  • Research prices of flooring, backsplash, and countertops
  • Research contractors who can assemble and install Ikea kitchen cabinets

Basically, spend the entire year planning our kitchen and then actually execute that plan in early 2013. The way I see it, we spent 13 months planning our wedding, which was just one day. I think it would be fair to spend the same amount of time researching something that will be in our home for a very, very long time!

So, there you have it! Some of my primary goals for the year. Doesn’t seem too bad, right?  I’ll try to do quarterly check-ins to keep myself on track!

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Merry Christmas (Blogging Hiatus until January 2!)

by Melissa on December 22, 2011

Image Source: Flickr User laurenmanning

 

I would like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and holiday season! I’ll be taking a brief blogging hiatus until January 2. At that point, check back for new posts and some great new features!  But I’ll continue to post to Twitter, so be sure to follow me there!

You know, it’s been kind of weird. I’m writing more wedding-related blog posts now than I ever did during my engagement.

I maintain a blogging calendar in which I list my blogging ideas and project what date I would like them to post. If I posted five days a week, my blog post ideas would take me from now until July! JULY! I never in a million years thought I would continue to blog that long after the wedding.

So Merry Christmas, or Happy Chrismahannakwanzaka!

– Melissa & Ken –

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A Retrospective on September 11, 2001

by Melissa on September 7, 2011

A little bit different of a post here today at SuperNoVABride.  I thought I would share with you my September 12 story.  No, that’s not a typo.  I found out about the September 11 attacks on September 12, 2001.  Here’s my story.

September 11, 2001. Our ship is maneuvering its way through a Typhoon. It’s been 11 days since our Semester at Sea voyage departed Vancouver on August 31 (we lost September 8 when we crossed the International Date Line). It’s been six days since seeing any land, when we could see the Aleutian Islands way off in the distance from our ship, the S.S. Universe Explorer. We’ll be arriving in Japan in just two days. And I am incredibly seasick today because of the rough seas. Despite being sick, it’s been an exciting day. The fresh air helps my seasickness so I’ve been outside taking video of the waves crashing over the front of the ship. It’s so windy that if you jump, the wind will carry you about a foot before you land. But, my first exam of the semester is tomorrow and I have to study. Everyone on the ship has to study, because the exam is for the class that all students are required to take on Semester at Sea, called CORE.

I’m studying on an outside deck that’s covered and shielding me from the rain. Then the captain makes an announcement at 7PM. All outdoor areas on the ship are now off limits. Waves are getting higher and it is safer for everyone to stay indoors. The ship should be out of the storm by 3AM. I manage to study for another hour inside before I’m overcome by seasickness. I decide that my best option will be to go to sleep now and wake up bright and early to cram for my 9:20AM exam. Not ideal, but it’ll have to do.

When my alarm goes off at 5AM the next morning, September 12, 2001, I am relieved that the ship is no longer rocking so violently. I get ready for the day, and realize that my stomach is growling loudly with hunger.  Not surprising considering that everything I ate yesterday came right back up.  So, I take my books up to the cafeteria to study while I eat some breakfast.

As I approach the cafeteria, there’s a small crowd of people huddled around a bulletin board. I don’t think much of it. A student had just finagled his way out of an expulsion and I assumed the Dean had posted a statement. I set down my books at a table and grabbed some food from the buffet. As I sit down to eat, there is this strange vibe among the 25 or so people in the cafeteria. A few tables down, I overhear a strange conversation.

“How do you even PLAN something like that?” a student said to his table-mate.
“I don’t know. But airplanes are powerful machines.”

I study and eat for maybe another 90 seconds. As someone walks by my table, I overhear one person say to another, “Do you think they’re going to turn the ship around?”

I suddenly do not feel well. Not like the seasickness of the day before, but that feeling when you’re about to get bad news. My stomach hurt, and gone was my intense hunger. I force down a few more bites of my food. I leave my textbooks on the table and go over to read what is on the bulletin board.

There are two sheets of paper, both are fax printouts. I start to read the one that says “Timeline of Terrorist Attacks in the United States.” I think to myself, “Oh, that’s a shame,” and have visions of an Oklahoma City-type attack. I scan the timeline briefly, not really digesting any of the information. My eyes stop where it says, “North World Trade Center collapses.”

Out loud, and to no one in particular, I say, “Oh my God. The World Trade Center COLLAPSED??”

A guy behind me says in a very unemotional voice, “Yes. They both did. I’ve read this timeline about 20 times.”  I turn around and look at him like he’s crazy. But he just keeps staring at that fax. Only knowing that both towers had collapsed, I run down to my cabin to wake up my roommate Sarah. She’s from New Jersey and her dad sometimes works in Manhattan.

“Sarah, Sarah WAKE UP!  Everything at home has just gone to hell!”  Confused and half asleep, she can’t figure out why I’m reacting the way I am. “Come upstairs and read about it. There have been terrorist attacks at home.”  Hold on,” she says, “I have to shower first.”  “No, there’s no time for that! It happened in New York, doesn’t your dad work there some days?”

She takes her time, brushing her hair and teeth. I’m getting extremely annoyed, and she can tell.

“Melissa, I’m sure everything is fine. I’m sure that whatever it is it’s just being completely blown out of proportion.  You know how the media can get”

We go upstairs and this time the crowd around the bulletin board is much larger. We make our way to the front, and for the first time, I read the timeline from beginning to end, trying to understand what happened. Every time I read it, I absorb some new, practically unbelievable piece of information. Planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. Planes crashing into fields in Pennsylvania.  Planes crashing into the Pentagon.  U.S. airspace closed. Borders with Canada and Mexico closed. New York Stock Exchange closed.

Although the timeline is only a single page, I am completely overwhelmed with information. About the 5th time reading it, it starts to sink in.  Someone behind me chokes back a sob.  There’s a second, more pronounced sob, although I’m not sure if it’s from the same person.  In that instant, my emotions change.  I’m no longer confused and overwhelmed.  Tears start streaming quietly down my face as I’m overcome by sadness.  I wipe them away but they quickly return.  My quiet tears turn into sobs so heavy that it’s hard to breathe. I look at the other sheet of paper on the bulletin board for the first time.  It’s a faxed copy of a news article printed from the internet. It says that nearly 50,000 people may have died in the World Trade Center.  My tears start running faster.

The tears in my eyes are making everything blurry.  For some reason, my senses are heightened.  Everything starts to feel very surreal.  Oh My Goodness, I’m dreaming!  My tears stop flowing.  Yes, of course.  Wake up Melissa.  You’ve had these before.  Ultra-realistic dreams.  All that seasickness medication from yesterday is messing with your head.  C’mon, wake up!  I fold my arms across my chest and pinch my left arm with my right thumb and forefinger.  I’m not waking up.  I pinch harder.  I let go, and grab a strand of hair and pull it from my scalp.  It hurts, but I’m still standing here in this hallway.  I study my surroundings again, looking for any hint of a dream.  As I take a small step, I bump into someone kind of hard.  That would’ve definitely woken me up.  This is no dream.

As quickly as I went from confused to sad moments earlier, suddenly, I’m furious.  I don’t want to be here.  I don’t care how long I’ve been looking forward to studying abroad, I hate being here. Why did I have to pick THIS semester to go abroad? I certainly don’t want to be on this damn ship.  I want to be on land, at home in the United States, with access to a television and the internet so I can read details beyond what is just printed on this ridiculous piece of paper.  I can’t breathe.  I’m feeling claustrophobic.  Why is this hallway so small?  Why is this ship so small? I am so sick of seeing these same surroundings. I need to be on land right now.  I want to know what is going on.  I want to hear news anchors narrate what is going on.  I want to be able to click around from news website to news website, constantly refreshing for new information.  I hate this ship.  And while we’re at it, I hate the terrorists that have done this.  I hate everything.

I’m swiftly snapped out of my self-pity session when I see a blonde girl, inconsolable and frantic. She is sobbing and running around the main deck, looking for someone to help her contact her family. I hear her say that her dad works in the Financial District in Manhattan. Someone suggests that she try one of the e-mail stations.  I feel so selfish. Here I am mad because I want to be watching live television and have internet access, while there are people on the ship that have real, genuine concerns.

There are 4 e-mail stations on board the ship for 600 students and nearly 100 adults and faculty at a rate of 50 cents per minute. It finally occurs to me that I should check my e-mail, but I can’t pull myself away from that bulletin board. And in the back of my head, I’m still worried about the CORE exam. Sarah said she was going to check her e-mail too, and I went with her. As we approach the stations, the line is about 80 people deep. There is a sign posted that all classes, including the CORE exam, are canceled and that there will be a meeting at 9:20 instead.

As we waited in the e-mail line, the blonde girl walked past us. She was no longer sobbing, but her eyes and face were red and puffy. Someone asked her, “Is everything okay at home?”  She said, “He got a haircut. My dad stopped and got a haircut before heading to work today. He’s fine.” She let out a chuckle of relief as she said it, and then a long exhale, like it was the first time she had breathed all day.

Another student was sitting quietly by himself on a sofa near the e-mail line. Someone asked him if he was alright. He replied that his dad works in the World Trade Center. He had been trying to get an outside line on the ship for an hour. When he could get a line, he couldn’t get through to New York. He was eerily calm. Shortly after, the Dean of Students walked up to him, saying they had gotten through to his family. His dad was fine and they had him on the line. He walked away with the Dean. When he returned a few minutes later, he said his dad had managed to get out of the World Trade Center in time but that New York looked like a warzone.

While we waited in line, we heard someone say that they had received a fax from their parents. Sarah went down to the Purser’s office to check for faxes. She had received one. It said, “Dad and I are okay. Love you.”  She was instantly relieved.

We approached the front of the e-mail line just as the shipboard meeting was starting. I logged in to my e-mail and I had about ten frantic e-mails from my family as the previous day’s events had unfolded. Everyone was okay. I e-mailed everyone to tell them that I was okay and that I’d try to call them later that day from the ship.

The shipboard meeting is short, but very emotional. We have no television, and really no idea of what planes crashing into towers would even look like. It’s barely 9:30AM and I am completely exhausted. I’ve experienced such an array of feelings today already that make me feel emotionally drained.  Relief that we were out of the storms, hunger, worry, confusion, sadness, anger, self-pity, guilt, back to sadness, and, a little ashamed to admit, excitement about being on land tomorrow for the first time in two weeks.

We would be arriving in Kobe, Japan the next day and someone at the shipboard meeting suggested that we make origami cranes, a symbol of peace and joy in Japan. Throughout the rest of the day, the main auditorium was filled with students making origami cranes and they were strung together and hung in the main hall the rest of our 100 day voyage.  When I wasn’t making origami cranes, I was out on the deck enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery as we sailed past countless little rocky islands. I feel guilty, and every time I find that I am enjoying myself, or hear laughter or a squeal of excitement, I remind myself of what was going on at home.

After our ship arrived in Japan on September 13 and we were waiting to clear customs to disembark, newspapers were placed around the ship. Someone had removed a page from one of the newspapers and hung it up in a busy hallway on the main deck. The page contained an unbelievable photo. The photo was a zoomed-in image of a man falling head first from the World Trade Center. I was stunned and even more confused about what exactly had happened in New York. Above the photo, someone posted a handwritten sign. “Never Forget.” It was the first time I had heard that phrase associated with the attacks.

After we got off the ship, instead of there being an excitement to start traveling around Japan, there was a mad dash for internet cafes. In e-mails we had received from our families, we kept hearing about videos of the planes crashing into the towers. And we all wanted to see it. When I finally did find a video of it online, I could hardly believe my eyes. I was torn between wanting to keep up with what was going on at home, and wanting to have fun in Japan. I left the internet café a few minutes later.

Retrospective

The universal symbol of our entire 100 day voyage in all ten countries that we visited was a simple hand gesture that people used to communicate with us through language barriers. The gesture was that of raising their flat palm above their head and then lowering their hand. A distinct look on their face always accompanied the gesture. Typically the look was pity or devastation. And sometimes a hug or handshake or bow or other embrace followed. The gesture communicated a collapsing tower. The look on their face communicated their sadness for what had happened, and the embrace, their support for us.

On our last day of the voyage, one of our professors gave a farewell speech. One quote resonated with us all:  ” … there is no way you will ever understand it. September 11 will be one of those markers in people’s lives … like Kennedy’s assassination and Pearl Harbor. It will be the marker for your generation for decades to come. And you missed it. You weren’t there. And because of that, there will forever be a hole in your life.”

Each year, on the anniversary of the attacks, I watch hours of September 11 footage on the internet.  Especially footage of newscasts that were broadcast as events unfolded live on television on September 11, 2001.  I can’t say that it’s a healthy thing to do, but it’s some weird attempt of mine to “be there” on that day.  I wonder what I would have been feeling that day if I was watching it on the news or if I was around close friends and family, and not near-strangers I had met only 11 days earlier.  If I had been able to hear the emotions in newscasters’ voices about the events, instead of reading about the events on some sheet of paper.

Like a movie spoiler, I knew what the end was in a matter of moments without having to watch the action unfold hour after hour.  Then I stop and think to myself. This was not some action movie. These were real events. Real people died at the hands of pure evil.  I should not mourn that I missed the events.  I should mourn for those that died.  And mourn for the way that the world changed on that very day.

So, I’m okay that I missed it. It was an incredible time to travel the world.

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We’ve had a relatively calm wedding planning experience so far.  But, the creation of my detailed wedding to-do list did make me a little queasy.  We’re now just under the five-month mark until our wedding, and, although I’m hoping I can avoid all the madness that seems to afflict most brides, I’m certainly aware that I can find myself going crazy in the next few months.

So, partially inspired by this post by a fellow DC blogger, I am creating a list of five non-wedding activities to complete in the next five months.  We have 20 weekends between now and the wedding, so I think this is definitely doable.

1) Go to an amusement park for a day. I haven’t been to an amusement park in forever!  I love roller coasters and rides, but I just haven’t made the effort to go to one recently.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, I would go to Kennywood or Cedar Point at least once a summer.  But now that life gets in the way, it’s harder to make an effort.  So, at some point between now and the wedding, I definitely want to hit up an amusement park, such as Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens, both of which are within two hours of the DC area.

2) Visit the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. The 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is just a few short months away.  Although the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon opened a few years ago, I still haven’t been to it.  Unacceptable.

3) Have my family visit in DC and take my 5-year-old nephew on a few fun outings. Like swimming at our neighborhood pool, going to see a summer movie (Cars 2 or Pooh perhaps?) and taking him to the newer Air and Space Museum in the DC area, the Udvar Hazy Center.  I haven’t visited that museum yet, and my nephew definitely liked the original Air and Space Museum when we took him there.  So that would be a great combination.  Seeing a museum I haven’t seen yet, but also taking my nephew out for a fun afternoon.

4) Go to one of the summer-only outdoor events in the DC area. I’m keeping this one vague because I don’t care which option, because they all seem like great ideas.  Jazz at the sculpture garden, screen on the green, Crystal City outdoor movies, or a concert at Wolf Trap.  Some sort of outdoor summer activity will do.

5) Visit at least one of the following places that I have never visited: The Library of Congress (lowers head in shame), the “new” Newseum (I had been to the old one in Rosslyn and loved it, but never to the new one downtown), The Crime and Punishment Museum, and/or go to the top of the Washington Monument.

Since I despise the heat, I think that doing the museums in the peak summer months will be great since they’re air-conditioned, but some of the outdoor items, like the amusement park or visiting the 9/11 memorial should wait until September or October.  But, things like the outdoor summer events will have to be done heat and all.

I also pledge that, when participating in the above activities, I won’t lament how I could be getting wedding stuff done instead.

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Maintenance Tonight

by Melissa on March 31, 2011

Hi All, the blog will be going down for maintenance tonight.  Hopefully this will solve those timeout errors that appear way too frequently on the site.

Also, for the month of April, I will be upping my posts to at least 5x/week, at least once, sometimes twice a day.  There’s just too much to talk about!  So make sure you check back here more often!

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Returning Next Week

by Melissa on February 25, 2011

Hi All,

I haven’t felt all that hot this week, so blogging went on the back burner.  I’ll be back on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

Melissa

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Happy Birthday to Me (It’s a big one!)

by Melissa on February 9, 2011

30th birthdayThis week, I turn 30 years old.  EEK!  I’m also getting married at this age!  Time is just zooming by.  And so is life, for that matter.  I don’t want to look back on this year and realize how much time I “wasted” by focusing on such frivolous wedding details.  I want to enjoy the next year, not stress over wedding planning to the extent possible, and just focus on marriage (and having a really fun wedding as a secondary thought). 

I know I like to poke fun at some over-the-top blog posts in my weekly roundups, but I can actually “hear” the stress in these brides’ voices as they write about various bits of wedding drama, ranging from the inane (I can’t believe my maid-of-honor just got pregnant and will need a different dress!) to the serious and sad (my future in-laws won’t come to the wedding because we’re not having a [insert religion here] ceremony). 

I really don’t want that to be me.  But is it actually possible to plan a wedding and not endure excessive stress?  I think I can! 

 

(image source: Jamieofalltrades)

And how will I do it?

  • Plan, plan, plan and continue tracking my action plans
  • Visualize all potential projects to ensure that I have the adequate resources to see them through.  Estimate time to completion and track actual time spent on each project. 
  • Complete tasks as far in advance as possible.  I’m currently taking online Photoshop and Illustrator courses through Lynda.com to help me learn how to design our save-the-dates and invitations!
  • Not spend every waking moment thinking about or doing some sort of planning.  In fact, my fiancé and I are planning to start another blog related to all our home projects!
  • Even in the weeks leading up to the wedding, take at least one or two days a week to not do anything wedding-related
  • Continue to share my experiences with other brides through this blog and provide valuable tips and advice (and not just the same recycled timeline shit you see everywhere else)

That sounds like a very happy 30th birthday year present.  Did anyone else have a low-stress DIY wedding?  How did you do it?  Also, how old were you and your fiancé when you got married?

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Technical Difficulties

by Melissa on February 9, 2011

Ahem.  Attention!  Attention!!  To the oh, five readers of my blog.  Four of whom are haters 😉  :

I’m currently experiencing technical difficulties with my theme on WordPress, so please forgive the uber-boring, non-customized theme for now.

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