Friday, August 28, 2009

Heels kicking up!

My workplace is mostly female, but once upon a time we had one amiable boy among us, and when he got engaged and his wedding date drew near we thought it would be HILARIOUS if all us girls took him to Hooters for his "bachelorette" party. And we did, and it was awesomely fun, and spawned a tradition whereby whenever any of us got a new job or had a wedding date approaching we'd take her (like I said, there was only one boy) to Hooters for some wings and $2.50 Bud Lights.

Last night was my turn, and this morning I've got the headache (and the balloons) to prove it.

And in what is extending into an entire bachelorette weekend, tonight I am off to the Midwest for a college girl reunion, complete with makeup trial, Mall of America shopping, and ... other things I don't know about since apparently all of the email planning exchanges have deliberately excluded me. I can't WAIT!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The perfect beach wedding dress, don't you think? Click the photo for detailing. Via Erin Ever After.

Still three and a half weeks to go. Time is moving so slowly!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Glass slippers.

These are the shoes I first saw in a magazine that made me want pale blue shoes for my wedding.

Ten months and many shoe shopping sites later, I gave up on that idea. I couldn't find shoes in a blue that pleased me, and this specific pair are Christian Louboutins (which is translated in English as "way out of my price range").

Instead I bought silver ones from Macy's in a sinfully exact knockoff style. The heel is much shorter and there's a strap across the ankle and they are, as I said, silver and not blue, but the toe design is ridiculously, probably illegally, similar. I love them so much I don't mind that they poke out slightly from under my dress.

Three and a half weeks!

Photo via Elizabeth Anne Designs.

Somewhere, my teenage self just fainted.

When I was a young teenager...I forget how old...maybe 12 to 14 or 13 to 15 or so...anyway, there was a period in my adolescence where, don't laugh, but I loved Robert Redford. I watched almost every single one of his movies, and if you name one of his movies right now I can tell you what year it's from without looking it up. I know what his three kids are named, what high school he went to, what college he dropped out of, etc...I was ridiculous. I laugh to think about it, amused by the fact that had I been born 20 years earlier, all the other '70s girls around me would have shared my starry eyes.

Six days before our wedding, Chris and I are running in the Race for the Cure in the morning (see my earlier post). That afternoon the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to which I got Chris a membership for Christmas, is sponsoring four screenings: Out of Africa, The Natural, The Electric Horseman, and The Way We Were. With post-screening interviews attended by the Sundance Kid himself.

Chris just got us tickets to The Electric Horseman (our guess as to the least crowded, although knowing Brooklyn...I mean, the All the President's Men screening on Saturday, our first choice, sold out in a matter of minutes).

I am so totally marrying the perfect man. What a cool way to kick off our wedding week.


I can't type captions because I'm too choked up! My grandparents with their first great-grandchild, Lucia Marie.

Friday, August 21, 2009


In the time since I wrote my earlier lighthearted posts, I've gotten some sad news. Someone in my extended family-by-marriage has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, someone with three young children.

I've been more than fortunate in my life not to have had anyone directly related to me diagnosed with cancer. But I've seen it hit lives all around me. My fiance's dear father passed away of a brain tumor. My former roommate's mother lost her battle with breast cancer last summer. My stepdad's beloved first wife also died of cancer. A work friend quit her job this summer to move closer to her mother, also suffering from cancer...and a close college friend saw her mother through chemo and mastectomies for breast cancer while meanwhile debating her own options, having been told she too has the gene. She's not yet 30.

What an evil, horrifying plague that is darkening the lives of so many.

I was already signed up for my second year of the Race for the Cure, but I had set my fundraising goal rather low, feeling worried about asking people for money in a year in which I am also asking them to travel to my wedding. I no longer feel sheepish.

Please donate to the cause of curing cancer. I will be running on Sept. 13 in honor of all of the people mentioned above. Your support, even if it is only $1, will hopefully help in defeating this terrible curse. If you are debating between a wedding gift and this, I would rather have this! It's got to be stopped.

Ring a ding ding!


we got our rings last night! For some reason Chris's ring in particular makes me super giddy. I think it's the same thing that happened to my friend Traci, where she said seeing her fiance try on rings was really incredible.

This is really happening!

(That's what my dad said last night when I told him we had rented a port-a-potty for the site. "Can't back out now!" :-p)

What generation gap?

My grandfather (born 1925) just gave my grandmother (born 1933) a laptop for their wedding anniversary (fifty-...fifth? I can't recall!). Now she is wireless.

I remember when she first got a computer and it cracked me up that my Nanny was better than me at Freecell. Now she's better than me at Facebook.

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Before the Boleyn girls.

I've never read a Philippa Gregory, but I just saw a review for her new book, The White Queen, from the perspective of Elizabeth Woodville, the sister-in-law of Richard III (a mystery I've always been fascinated by)...I think I might be saving some Borders coupons for this one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just dance.

What a weekend!

On Friday Liz and the kids arrived. We tromped around the neighborhood, getting slushy ices and winding up in a playground with a sprinkler for A-man, or should I say, Captain Green Arrow (his Friday persona). Indian take-out for dinner and lots of snuggling with my squidgie-girl. Right now there's this thing that she does--she gives a little sidelong grin and starts wiggling her shoulders and her little diapered bottom. Sometimes she does it when music's playing, sometimes she does it when you say, "Dance, Taylor!" and sometimes she just does it for fun, but any way you slice it it's the cutest thing I've ever seen. She's also discovered a hard "k" sound and likes to say "Ka-ka" which, due to its similarity to another word, sets her brother off in hysterical giggles. Austin laughing hard is also one of the cutest things I know.

Saturday we said sad but excited goodbyes, for the next time we'll be together is at the wedding (which is one month from today...had to mention it). Then it was off to the airport to pick up Lion.

Lunch at a Mexican restaurant complete with strawberry margaritas...followed by Erin Brockovich on the VCR for old times sake, a soothing backdrop to tequila-fueled naps. Then we drove out to Coney Island, took pictures that are now, I sadly suspect, in the hands of someone felonious, walked around Prospect Park, had dinner in a pub, and snapped more (also lost) photos of the view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Promenade.

Up the next morning and drove to Massachussetts for an amazing wedding. Atop a mountain, with views of trees and rivers and under a sun whose blaze reflected the happiness of the crowd, my old, good friend Derek married the most special girl, someone absolutely perfect for him (and he for her). The wedding set new standards in taste and elegance, from the green and white palette to the repeated use of two simple fonts in each printed material, to the way the bride and groom incorporated their family's Italian and Armenian language and traditions into moments throughout the night. For instance, as a surprise to everyone and in honor of Derek's late beloved uncle, they brought a belly dancer to perform for the crowd, which was incredible. And I got to jump around the dance floor to Lady Gaga, so the evening was DEFINITELY a success. (Especially for whomever made off with Lion's camera, sigh. But, like the story of the rabbi and the poor man's cow, it may all be for a reason. Better her camera than her wallet.)

The next day we piled into the car (our party now including Sarah) and toured Amherst, Northampton, and all of Connecticut. We made it to LaGuardia in good time for Erika's flight and I've spent the last couple days enjoying a lovely visit with Sarah. Pizza, cupcakes, and the Brooklyn Bridge last night.

And now there's only one month to go! So much to fill the time between then--a trip to Minneapolis to see some of my girls, the Race for the Cure in Central Park (more on that soon), and to-do list, list, list. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Career path.

shelby: oh man
here's a cool cake
me: pretty awesome
i should learn to bake
shelby: hehe yeah
then zach and I can work with you
me: excellent plan
i'll get started when it's not so hot

Friday, August 14, 2009

Five weeks from tomorrow.

Five times seven is, what...thirty-five? So, thirty-six days till our wedding. Holy. Cow.

Almost all of the big stuff is, knock on wood, done...but there are still a lot of little details to clear up. We'll get there. I've been crossing one thing off my list every two days or so. Yesterday we buckled down and just chose ceremony songs over email--enough with the dithering. We still need wedding bands. (We've been to like five jewelers at this point.) However, even if we tie string around each other's fingers, we'll be there and the minister will be there and everyone should be getting fed. What more do you need?

A really nice weekend about to start...a visit from Liz and the kiddos; Erika flies in tomorrow; Sunday we drive up to Massachussetts for Derek's wedding; Sarah comes to stay from Monday through Thursday.

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweet Herriot.

Herriot this past spring, under the weeping cherry tree.

A few weeks ago, in early/mid-July, my mom gave me the sad news that our family dog, Herriot, was "declining," in the words of the vet. At 13, she was older than most golden retrievers get to be. She had long since stopped using stairs, and now she wasn't eating, wasn't going outside. It might only be a few weeks, the vet warned.

I cried for a couple of days, but I had been trying to prepare myself for a few months. Every time I visited my mom, I would spend time petting Herriot, sitting outside with her and taking pictures of her. Still, that preparation didn't make the news any easier.

We adopted Herriot on Leap Day, 1996. On that day my mom just up and said, "Let's go get a dog." My sister, who was 10 and had been begging for a dog for years, ran out of the house and was in the car with her seatbelt buckled before my mom's lips had closed. We went to the pet store and the front window was filled with balls of golden fluff, a litter of golden retriever pups. Shelby picked our puppy because she was the one who licked Shelby's hand.

It turned out that the pet store had taken them from their mother too young, and our little puppy cried all night for at least a week. We kept her in the kitchen with baby gates and newspapers and mopped up her messes more or less cheerfully because we were so happy to have her. I came up with the name "Herriot" after the vet James Herriot, author of All Creatures Great and Small, which my mom had read out loud to us a while before. Soon she stopped crying, but she never stopped being excitable. Whenever visitors would come to the house, Herriot would jump all over them--and this didn't even stop until a few years ago, when she was too old and sore to jump any more. Even if the guest had been there for a few hours, if he or she reentered the room Herriot would go ballistic all over again. She never bit or barked--she just was so happy to meet someone new or see what she considered an old friend. After a few minutes of jumping she would realize, "Oh yeah! PETTING!" and would flop onto her back with her belly up. She loved having her belly rubbed more than anything.

On her leash she was excitable as well. She would PULL on walks! Our neighbors would frequently see us being yanked along in the wake of Herriot's nose. They also got used to the sight of Herriot sitting on our front stoop, hindquarters on the top step, paws on the bottom step, just like a person. I've never seen another dog sit like this, but then I don't think Herriot thought she was a dog. She was one of us. That's probably why she loved car rides so much--it's not like she was one of those dogs who sit with their heads out the window; she just didn't want to be left behind ever. She knew the words "car ride" and would bolt for the door instantly. If she ever got off her leash and ran off into the woods after a squirrel, all you had to do was open our car door and she'd come running and leap inside, where you could reattach her leash (and dash her hopes). She recognized the sound of my dad's car and would always wait for him at the door when she heard it, jumping and jumping on the glass when she saw him coming up the walk. She also recognized the sound of a tin can opening, because we would pour tuna juice on her dog food. We didn't even have an electric can opener--but she could hear that quiet cranking noise and would come skittering into the kitchen.

She didn't always act smart, though. She never got the hang of "retrieving," for example. She never learned not to drink salt water at the beach, even though it made her sick. She never did figure out that a slightly open door could very easily be pushed all the way. Instead she would stand patiently at the door, scratching at it every 30 seconds or so until the occupants of the room would get annoyed enough to come open the door and let her in. It took her a long time to figure out how to spring onto a bed, too--at least, we thought so, considering that at night she would put her front paws up on the bed and wag her tail expectantly until you pulled her all the way up. Yet sometimes we would come home and sit down on the surprisingly warm and furry couch or bed, so clearly she knew how to get up there to take naps when "the cat was away." :) Speaking of fur, I can't tell you how many vacuum cleaner bags we went through.

Whenever she would lick metal, her lips and jowls would quiver--we called it her fish face and couldn't help but laugh, but she would insist on doing it once in a while, as though she liked the quivering sensation. If she had an allergic reaction to something and got an itchy tongue, she would lick and lick at the carpet or the sidewalk. Another funny thing she would do: if you were sitting in a chair she would come over and push her head under your arm, as though she wanted to see what you were reading--really she just wanted to have her ears scratched. If you were to stop petting her, she would lift up her paw and wait for you to take it. You didn't have to do anything, just hold it. She would sit there patiently while you read your book and held her paw.

After my parents' marriage ended my mom was living in an apartment that didn't allow dogs, and my grandparents kindly took Herriot in. They loved her and she loved them. My Nanny enjoyed brushing her silky coat and taking her for long walks, and all her neighbors would say, "What a beautiful dog!" Nanny loves to say that's how she met all the folks in their new neighborhood, by walking Herriot.

But after a couple of years it was apparent that something was wrong. My mom called me in tears one day to say she was on her way to Nanny's house and they thought they might have to put Herriot to sleep because she was doing so poorly. I had just moved into my own office at work, and I shut my new door and cried hysterically. But the next day--miracle! The vet diagnosed arthritis and put her on medication, and the change was immediate and positive. Not long thereafter, my new stepdad's elderly cat passed away--itself a sad event, but it meant that Herriot could now come back to live with my mom.

She had the best retirement years that a dog could ask for, on a farm with several acres. She ran and frolicked in the fields, sniffed out deer in the woods, lay down in the shade by the fish pond that my stepdad installed for my mom. The house is a ranch house, so not too many stairs for her to navigate.

Early this year she turned 13. All year long whenever I visited I could sadly tell she was an old, old dog. She was losing teeth, and her hearing didn't seem very good. This time, on Friday when we came down for my shower, when I first saw her I instinctively started crying. She had lost so much weight that all her bones stuck out. I kneeled down to pet her, and she tried to get up, and her limbs failed and she just fell on the ground. For a few hours that day I couldn't look at her or pet her because I was so heartsick. The living room is accessed by two short steps. She stood at the top of the steps looking down, wanting to come in to be with everyone. My brother, a tall guy of few words, got up from the couch and lifted her down into the room in his arms. I'll never forget that image.

When I visit my mom I sleep in the back bedroom, the "horse bedroom," and Herriot usually slept in there too--I don't know if she always did whether or not there were visitors. Friday I barely slept because I could hear Herriot all night. For a while I thought she was standing up because I could hear her nails on the floor, but I think she must have been trying to get up and failing. A couple of times I heard "thumps," where she had fallen down again. She licked the carpet for hours. By Saturday evening she had gotten much worse. We were all in the living room watching a movie, Herriot in her preferred spot under the coffee table. She threw up a few times, but eventually there was nothing left for her to throw up, because she hadn't eaten all day. After a while my mom got up and took her outside, where she fell down again.

Heartbroken, we all congregated in the horse bedroom where Herriot had chosen to lie down again. Shelby, Zach, my mom and I sat on the floor, holding her paws. After a while we took turns remembering aloud our favorite Herriot stories. I'm so grateful we had that time all together with her. I hope she knew how loved she was. I think so.

I was bone tired that night after several nights of not much sleep. I drifted off but jerked awake in the night/early morning. Herriot was dry heaving again, followed by panting. After several minutes of listening I turned on the bedside lamp and went and sat on the floor with her, petting her head and holding her paw. She would seem to calm down, and I would get back in bed, but it would start again a few minutes later. I got out of bed a couple more times, interspersed by lying awake worrying--should I sleep on the floor with her? Should I wake my mom? As her attacks seemed to be getting worse, I got Mom out of bed. We both sat with her for a few minutes and her breathing seemed to calm a bit. We tried to get her to stand up but couldn't; finally we were able to get her up and into my mom's bedroom. I went back to bed and cried silently until I fell asleep.

A few hours later, my mom touched my foot. It was around 7:30 in the morning, Sunday. "Honey, we're going to take Herriot to the vet. I found one that will open today. Shelby and Zach are going to come too." Chris and I had an appointment set up with our wedding photographer that morning. And, I guess this is cowardly. But I didn't think I could bear to go. I went outside and Herriot was on the pebble gravel next to the car, chin on the ground between her front paws. I sat down on the gravel with her for a few minutes. Then Zach helped lift her into the car.

They buried her next to the fish pond, near where the horses graze on the other side of the fence and where the sun shines and the little waterfall tinkles. I feel so grateful. So grateful that she graced us with her beautiful life, so grateful that she waited for us to be there with her at the end, so glad she had such a happy long life, so glad that my mom lives somewhere where Herriot could be buried. So glad that she's not suffering anymore. She was such a good dog, so filled with love. She didn't have a mean bone in her body. "All dogs go to heaven," Chris said when he was hugging me. I hope the angels are giving her tuna juice in her food dish, rubbing her belly and holding her paw.


I was so blessed with the most beautiful bridal tea on Saturday. My mom, sister, and sister-in-law outdid themselves with planning, crafting, and cooking. Mom had seven teapots with different kinds of tea in each one...assorted cake plates with homemade tea sandwiches...a caprese salad with tomatoes from her garden...a fluffy white coconut cake baked by my stepdad's elderly mother...what seemed like 900 cookies (804 of them eaten by me) baked by two of my cousins...Liz brought chicken salad, ambrosia, pomegranate limeade, and stuff I'm probably forgetting...Mom and Nanny used the excuse to pull out their fina china sets...paper napkins in four different floral prints...Shelby hung streamers and hand-washed all the tea cups and saucers before the party. Liz stayed up for many late nights making favors--handmade tea bags with a note and pink stickers that said "Laura & Chris" on the back and "The Perfect Blend" on the front. She enlisted Chris to write a funny quiz ahead of time that all the guests had to try to answer. Erika, who couldn't be there, spent weeks culling recipes and stories from all my friends and relatives, and decorated every page of a scrapbook for me to put the stories in! Catherine drove three hours from Pennsylvania and her mom drove five hours from North Carolina. I was a ball of happy tears the whole day.

I felt impossibly lavished, but you know what I loved best about it--it was all homemade and handcrafted. It was in my mom's living room and the people who were there were all either family and new family or old friends/old family friends. It wasn't putting on a show. I just felt so loved and special, and I'll never forget it.

There were many lovely things about the whole weekend, in fact. We got in to Liz's house late on Thursday night and stayed up late talking about girly things like makeup and manicures, much to Chris's disgust, I'm sure. On Friday we headed to Virginia and got our marriage license! That night we all drove two hours to the tiny town of Orkney Springs, where they are somehow able to wangle world-class musicians every summer. We saw Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabate, and it was an incredible concert. On Saturday Shelby and I visited the hospital to see our cousin and her new baby, born August 7 and weighing in at 9 lbs 7 oz (!). I tried on my newly-fitted dress with my shoes and my updo. Oh, and I found a stack of Domino magazines for 50 cents each at the antiques mall. Score.

I'll write more about the weekend later, but I just wanted to share what a beautiful bridal shower I was given and how grateful I am to have so much love around me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

See you Monday.

In three hours and change we are leaving town for a whirlwind weekend of marriage licensing, tent-planning, cake-choosing, photographer-meeting, concert-going, and bridal showering. Isn't it weird how time SLOWS DOWN when you feel like you have patiently waited for something and you're almost there?

Monday, August 3, 2009

All babies, all the time.

For my third baby post of the past 24 hours, please send your good thoughtwaves to my nine-months-and-plus cousin Callie. Her baby girl is apparently super comfy where she is and is delaying her appearance until it dang well suits her!

Happy news.

I almost had a heart attack a few minutes ago.

Email from bridesmaid to Laura: "...Laura? Can you send me your phone number; I have something I need to tell you."
Laura: (Feeling worried) "Sure, here it is!"
Ring ring.
BM: "Is this a bad time?"
Laura: "No, no, I'm so glad to hear your voice! What's up?"
BM: "I'm calling to say I can't -- "
Laura: heart attack heart attack heart attack
BM: "wear that dress after all."
Laura: MASSIVE RELIEF. "Oh my gosh, that's okay! I was so worried you were going to say you couldn't be in the wedding and I would be so sad!"
BM: "And the reason I can't wear it is because I won't be able to fit into it....because I'm pregnant!"
Laura: screams, jumps up and down, shuts office door, screams some more in a whisper, gets off phone, and bursts into tears of happiness!

My oldest friend is having a baby! We used to go to ballet class together when we were under ten years old. I was in her wedding in 2004. I am so happy and excited for her and her husband!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Get ready for impossible adorable.

This weekend I didn't do any of the chores I set out for myself--laundry, bathroom scrubbing, floor mopping, etc. Instead, yesterday I went to yoga and then we went over to Shelby's to help her move some stuff and pick up her new mattress. Then we went to Williamsburg and had French food and margaritas in a pint glass (not at the same place) and flopped in the grass in McCarren Park and watched the sun go down. Today we got up around 9 and took the train to the Upper West Side and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where we met Shelby for church. When we got home around 2, it was raining hard enough that the day seemed to call for pajamas, chai, and watching old VHS tapes on the recently-installed-in-the-bedroom TV. (Chris's mom and stepdad generously gave us a new television for our wedding present, to which Chris has been glued ever since he discovered The Wire the other week. The old TV doesn't get any channels, but it DOES have a built-in VCR and I can see it from my bed. Awesome.) I watched Cold Comfort Farm and Blackadder in regal Anglophile comfort.

The only other task I managed to accomplish today was getting all the photos on our camera onto a computer so I could (I mean, can--still haven't done it) photograph some clothes and shoes I want to sell on eBay, a to-do item leftover since May. At this point in the summer, I doubt anyone's going to be buying my unused sandals. Sigh.

So here you go, some photos of someone a thousand percent cuter than Daniel Radcliffe: our little goddaughter Taylor, soon to be the most adorable flower girl in the history of weddings.

Here I am with Auntie Laura waiting for the guests to arrive for my first birthday party.

I am up waaaayy past my bedtime...but I am so cute that the grownups just can't bear to put me to bed.

Here I am in Herald Square, waiting to be discovered by Baby Gap photographers.

It's Christmas! Is my new stuffed hippo going to eat me, or am I going to eat it??

More first birthday pics...I love sitting with my Uncle Bo-be and playing with his glasses.


What can I say? I'm cute. I can't help it.