Wedding Gut

When it comes to my gut, I’ve never really listened to it that closely. I mean, there’s the gut that tells me that even though I ate the equivalent of two entrees at the Indian restaurant (plus naan) I still have room for frozen yogurt. I listen to that one.

But that other gut, the one that deals with instincts over appetite, we don’t really communicate. I’ve never considered myself “intuitive.” Wedding planning has changed that.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including being able to plan a wedding where I can explore options and try to create the day I have always dreamed about, thanks to the generosity of my parents.

But what I have noticed is that my “dream” wedding is, in reality, very different from what I had once thought it would be like.

Take location. “Every hotel ballroom looks the same.” That was a popular refrain of mine during the days/months/years of planning my hypothetical wedding. Once wedding planning became no longer just for the “One Day” Pinterest board, it was time to secure my hip, non-hotel downtown location.

“What do you mean that price doesn’t include linens?” This — and similar variations — became my new refrain. Downtown just wasn’t working. We were *this close* to signing at my dream downtown venue when JB and I went to Ohio to visit his family. As I showed his parents and others the location, it just felt… wrong. It was beautiful and what I had always envisioned, but quite frankly, it was going to be a pain in the ass. Not to mention, in the wallet. I called my parents on my way home from the airport and it turned out they were feeling the same way, though were tying to make it work for my dream and all. I think we all felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

Resigned to looking at hotels, my sister visited one in a Dallas suburb that puts other suburbs to shame with how much of a suburb it is. But it was PERFECT! The date, the price, the ease for our guests, the staff.  The skyline views aren’t there, and honestly, the ballroom is a hotel ballroom, but it has always felt right.

From the very first decision, the tone was set for wedding planning — just about everything I’ve chosen from dress to invitations has been different than what I thought I wanted — and for a new way of thinking. In that one decision, and after 34 years, I think it finally hit me: When you have that nagging feeling (good or bad) and you listen to it, you feel contentment, peace, and confidence with your decisions. When you ignore it, you maintain anxiety and unease. Not very complicated, obviously, but I have spent my whole life basically disregarding it. I have become more attentive to this gut and what it’s telling me at work, with friends, and just life in general (though sometimes still ignoring it because I’m stubborn like that).

And when it comes to wedding planning, I guess it’s the same gut feeling you get when you know you are with the person you want to marry. And in the end, that’s the only gut that really matters.

In what situations do you rely on gut feeling?

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Gym Rules

File this under the “I wish I had written it” category: Jason Gay from the Wall Street Journal’s “funny because it’s true” 27 rules for being successful for all the New Year gym warriors.

Now, I am still relatively new to the fitness world and I am probably guilty of breaking several of these rules. At any minute I could make the decision to stay in bed instead of working out on a Saturday morning, and the next thing I know I haven’t seen the inside of the gym in six months and my membership fee is now just a monthly donation to the Jewish Community Center.

But this article is great no matter where you fall on the gym spectrum. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, below are some of my favorites of his “rules.”

4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading “The New Yorker” and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.

8. There’s also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn’t here today…there he is, lurking by the barbells.

11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.

12. Nope, that’s not a “recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate.” That’s a chocolate bar.

14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that’s super tough!

19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.

27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

I would like to add my own as well: Either join the Zumba class or walk on by. Peering into the class while a bunch of Jewish women between the ages of 30- to 75-years-old (it’s the JCC people!) are doing their best Shakira is creepy.

Onlookers aside, Zumba has been a great way for me to balance my personal training sessions and other resistance/weights-focused workouts with some fun cardio. I’m not a runner and more than 10 minutes on the elliptical machine has me bored to sweat tears.

As anyone who has done Zumba will tell you, don’t worry if you’re slow to pick up the choreography. Zumba is all about staying in motion. More often than not, I’m on the wrong foot, the wrong hip, or even the wrong song. But it doesn’t matter. I’m still moving. I’m sweaty at the end of it and I barely notice an hour has gone by.

But whatever it is you choose to do to get in shape, just remember rule No. 22 from the article: Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

What are your fitness goals for the new year? Any gym rules you think should be added to the list?

And Now, A Poem…

Winter Break is coming to an end
The reality of work is just around the bend
My job is great
There is nothing to hate
But end-of-vacation blues are hard to mend.

This break has been calm and serene
Sometimes it’s nice to not be seen
There was sleep and travel
And watching the Cowboys unravel
And all the fuzzy things the holidays mean.

Still trying to finish a book
Kindle broke, should probably get a Nook
I wanted to read three
I guess it wasn’t meant to be
Because vacation goes by like a quick-glance look.

January is cold, but it isn’t all gloom
Since our favorite TV shows will finally resume
Midseason programming is usually trash
But I’m counting the seconds to NBC’s Smash
And football will thankfully be over soon!

There’s one thing I don’t get into much
New Year’s goals, I don’t have a bunch
My resolution is the same
As I always proclaim
Start brushing my teeth at work after lunch.

So on we go to 2012
Best wishes for all to be happy and well
May it be wonderfully fitting
For, I don’t know, a June wedding
And maybe just a little less Adele.

The End.

Happy New Year readers! Thanks for all your blog love and support. May going back to work tomorrow, if you haven’t already, not totally suck.

How Words With Friends Stole Christmas

I have read so many posts these last few days about favorite books of 2011. Every time, it reminds me of two things: 1) I clearly follow bloggers aligned with my interests if they all love to read as much as I do, and 2) I kind of forgot to read this year.

When I left for our trip to Ohio to spend Christmas with JB’s family last week, I was so excited for the new books I had downloaded onto my Kindle. I even promised a review of them when we returned in my last post.

Well, we’re back. And unless you want to hear about the first third of The Art of Fielding, I got nothing for you.

There are many parties to blame for this, none of which are me, of course. First, there is Martha Stewart. The winter edition of her Weddings magazine had hit the stands and it basically jumped out of the airport bookstore into my bag. So most of the flight to Cleveland was spent reading about crafty wedding DIY projects that I will never DIY.

The next excuse is fuel for the fire of the e-Reader vs. traditional book debate. Halfway through our trip, I knocked my Kindle off the couch (consuming a mixture of wine, chocolate, nuts and cookies between meals will make you kind of clumsy). It fell onto carpet, but for whatever reason, it damaged the screen. I tried to read on the Kindle app on my iPhone, but it’s not very practical for long-term use.

So I was left with no option. After a couple  of days of watching JB and other family members of his stare down at their phones instead of each other as they searched for two-letter words that no one has ever heard of but somehow add up to 54 points, I wanted in on the Words with Friends action.Scrabble Points Throw Pillow

I had defiantly denied requests to join this mobile game. My main reason being that I didn’t want my friends to see what a limited vocabulary I possessed. Many people assume because I like to read and write or because I have a journalism degree, that I must have a generous grasp of the English language.

But I don’t. I’m frequently using a thesarus to sound smarter. And it actually wasn’t in my journalism studies when I noticed this, but rather in graduate school for my counseling degree. You do a lot of reflecting of emotions in counseling sessions, saying back to the client what they were emoting, but using a different word for that emotion (so it’s not parroting) and ideally, a word with deeper meaning that maybe the client was having a hard time expressing or realizing on his/her own. And while I role-played with classmates, I always struggled to find another word for “happy” or “sad” or “surprised” or “disappointed.” Or the word I often defaulted to — “frustrated.”

All this to say that since then, I have been very cognizant of my not-so-way with words. And I didn’t want to play with Words with Friends and expose myself to the three friends who had asked me whole world.

But as it turns out, Words with Friends has NOTHING to do with vocabulary! Or being smart. Or knowing what words are at all. It is all about trying every combination you can with the letters you have to find a word that includes a triple letter or double word tile. I probably recognize only 60 percent of the words I play, but man it feels good when the “sending move” screen comes on and you know your word has been accepted. Fifty points for “Xi” — awesome! Just don’t ask me to use it in a sentence.

JB’s father kept saying we all looked like 19-year-olds with our heads buried in our phones playing the game against each other. I think he was being generous by giving us 19 instead of 12, but it did take over the week. I’m still cutting my teeth on the game so I’m only playing JB (and another player whose screen name is one-off from JB and I accidentally started a game with him). JB had to go back to work today and his moves became very infrequent. It was so annoying.

Yep, I’m hooked.

Are there any mobile games that you are addicted to? Anything “take over” your holidays? Did you know “neif” was a word? (For the record, WordPress did not).

You Know It’s The Holidays When…

After withdrawing cash from the ATM, the account balance on your receipt forces you to rush back to work and go online to check your account activity. You are ready to call the bank to inform them that your account has been compromised and someone has depleted your funds. This can be the only explanation for the balance amount. And it turns out you are right. Someone has depleted your funds. You. All you.

You devour three Hershey’s Kisses Candy Canes in your office before you even take off your jacket in the morning.

You’re wearing the same “outfit” to work that you wore to run errands this weekend.

You’re watching people eat bugs and swim in cow blood. I guess it’s subjective in terms of what television makes you puke. JB would probably say Grey’s Anatomy or The Bachelor are pretty nauseating. However, it is only when those and all the other shows are on holiday hiatus that you may find Fear Factor acceptable television.

You think obsessively about what you are going to wear to spend the holidays with your future in-laws. Will the grandmothers think this sweater is fashionable? How many pairs of boots fit in my suitcase (Do I need every pair I own?)? Did I wear this last year? Are these pajama bottoms cute for Christmas morning?

Above else, you are steeped in tradition. One of my personal favorites is the Secret Santa-esque gift exchange my high school friends and I arrange every year. We do everything through the great website Elfster. This year, JB and I hosted a potluck brunch for the exchange. Check out the tortas JB made (one with sausage and one with chicken sausage for his kosher-style fiance!). I was so impressed, especially because he did it all with me pacing and stressing that we wouldn’t be ready for our guests. I like to call that the “front of house” duties.

The friend who was assigned to me got me exactly what I wanted — an Amazon gift card. I had depleted it five minutes after our guests left to purchase the books I want to read over the break — The Marriage Plot and In the Garden of Beasts. I’ve been longing for some reading downtime and will review them on the blog once I finish them.

This is truly a fun, stressful, busy, relaxing, gorgefest time of year. I hope it is the same for all of you. And with permission to post, on behalf of the future Mr. and Mrs. JB, best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Goodbye Letter… To My Condo

Dear Condo,

I’ve heard the expression that the best days of being a boat owner is the day you buy it and the day you sell it. While I have never been a boat proprietor, I imagine it’s one of those sayings that is funny because it’s true.

I wondered if I would feel that way as a homeowner. I surely was excited the day I bought you. I rushed back to work and joyously showed my new keys to all my co-workers. I couldn’t wait to get you some new carpet and update your kitchen appliances. I couldn’t wait to make you my own.

A little over four years later, I showed up today for the “seller” closing appointment and signed you away to a new owner. Though a huge relief and I am beyond grateful for the relatively quick sell, it wasn’t quite the same rush I had the first time.

Although I had already moved out of you, it was comforting to know you were there. Yes, you were there with a mortgage and an electricity bill that I was not particularly sentimental toward, but you also still housed all of the furniture I had lived with since my first post-college apartment.

Remember when I actually used your new kitchen appliances? That one time? We cooked dinner for JB and set the little table that had never been set before. JB was so touched. I told him it was the beginning of me learning to cook.

I haven’t cooked dinner for him since, but you sure provided a great setting for what has turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

Yes, with home ownership comes the handyman (who might just happen to drunk dial you), HVAC repairmen, plumbers, and Home Depot visits. Many Home Depot visits. Until the day I die, I will not understand why there have to be so many options for toilet seats. But you seemed to sense my lack of resourcefulness and gave me very few problems. Thank you for that.

Friends who visited often referred to you as “cozy.” My niece and nephew named you my “little house.” Yes, you were small. But you were the perfect size and place for me to transition to the next stage of my life.

I know the new owner is excited to make you her home. Enjoy getting all dolled up! What an exciting new adventure we both have ahead of us.

XOXO,

Caryn

Macy’s Day Parade and Me

Traditions abound this time of year. Most of these center around time spent with family and friends.

But one of my favorite holiday traditions is one that I keep for myself. Thanksgiving morning, wrapped in blankets (ignoring the high today of 70 degrees), drinking hot chocolate and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I don’t know when this tradition started in my adult life or how no one has managed to infiltrate it. I do know JB loves the guilt-free pass to play golf. (Don’t worry, I did invite him to join me in my holiday tradition of watching Love Actually, I’m not a monster!)

But back to the parade. As if Matt Lauer doesn’t have the most amazing job already (in addition to “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”, just yesterday he had the privilege of interviewing this couple for absolutely no good newsworthy reason), he guides us through the three hours of parade coverage with Al and the current female co-hosting The Today Show.

Some people think you can just tune in at the second hour, when the parade floats have made their way to 34th Street. But for me, the first hour has some of the best action — the Broadway performances!

A great lead-in for the high school drill teams (miss you!), marching bands, and floats that will soon take over the TV screen — starting of course with Tom Turkey and ending with the much-anticipated arrival of Santa Claus.

Sure, there is a lot of NBC self-promotion and horrible lip-syncing. And it appears that the producers drink a vat of adult eggnog (which I will soon be imbibing!) and then assign the performers to their spot on the parade. Avril Lavigne on the Cooking Channel float? Um, okay!

But it is all part of the parade experience. As is crying during the St. Jude commercials and its meaningful tagline delivered every year by Marlo Thomas: “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.”

This solo tradition comes at a reflective time for me as I am just days away from turning over the keys to my condo — selling my home of four years that was a symbol of my independence. Combining traditions is truly wonderful and I’m so excited to do so with JB and his family, but I think having a few of your own is just as important.

One day I will, hopefully, share this tradition. I can picture myself sitting on the couch, wrapped in blankets, and sipping hot chocolate with a little baby on my lap. Sure, as Baby grows up, we’ll have to deal with questions about Santa and why he doesn’t visit our house and how that isn’t it fair and that Baby wishes he could live with Baby’s friends who have Christmas trees because they are more fun and Baby hates me for ruining his/her life.

On second thought, maybe Baby can go to the golf course with daddy. This tradition is mine.

Happy Thanksgiving! May we be thankful today and every day for the blessings in our lives.

Do you have a tradition that is all your’s? What is your favorite Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float?