Aaaaaaand.... cue Normal Life


The wedding is over. The fires mercifully stayed away from Southern California. The whole day was amazing, went off without any (major) glitches, and it seems like everyone had a ton of fun.

The honeymoon is over. We spent 8 days walking and walking and walking around New York City. We ate so much New York Pizza. You have to eat it once a day, because really there is nothing like New York Pizza outside of New York. You can't replicate it. So, we ate lots of pizza, and lots of other bad foods (they have food vendors on every corner! How can you resist??) We saw 3 fantastic shows, I got to meet my favorite theater composer/ lyricist (Jason Robert Brown). Oh, it was the best trip of my life. And it had better tide me over for a while, because next fall Husband will start 6 years of graduate school, so we probably won't have the funds for a repeat for a while.

We're back in OUR apartment, which 2 weeks ago was MY apartment but I'm more than happy to share. And I'm not complaining one bit, but the gifts are taking over the living room. So many appliances and household goods. I have NO idea where they are going to fit, but right now Living Room Floor is working for us. I should post pictures.

But I did grocery shop! For two people! I planned out a week's worth of menus, and went grocery shopping, and organized the fridge to be all logical and pretty. And last night... I made my first wifely dinner! I made chicken stir fry with walnuts and green peppers. And we agreed, it was not bad. Not great, but not bad. And I felt like a housewife. And this morning, I got to send Husband off to work, with a lunch packed. It's a small start, but at least I feel like I have a handle on the food portion of this gig. Now if only I could get paid to stay home and clean up, instead of coding at work. 

But the best part of all... I am now married to the man of my dreams! (Sometimes it's hard for brides, including me, to remember that in the midst of all the planning... there is an objective!) He is the sweetest, wisest, most caring and loving and thoughtful man I possibly could have asked for. He's ridiculously intelligent, and he has red hair to boot! He takes such good care of me, and I'm so lucky. 

Next up... our first weekend at home, married! Husband is going to build me a composter so I can start on vermicomposting, and I am going to make slow and steady cleaning progess.


So blessed

The fires stayed away. In 15 hours I'll be married to the man of my dreams... and then we'll spend a wonderful week in New York City :-)


Making wedding playlists.

Quick, what's your favorite song to dance to? What's your favorite song to hear at a wedding? Need good ideas before my head explodes!


Works for Me Wednesday: Keeping a Reading Schedule

It's Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer!

So, confession: I'm a bit obsessed with systems. 
I make a system for most things in my life. It's not that I need them to function, but they make me feel so peaceful, they help me get things done, and I think they're fun. It's just how my brain functions.

I love to read. And there are so many amazing books in the world that I know I'll never read all of the books that I want to. So I want to make sure that I keep reading, and get through books quickly. I decided I wanted to get through a book every 2 weeks. It's rather a slow pace, but with the madness of the last year, making any time at all to read was a major triumph. 

So here is my rather bizarre and neurotic system, but it works for me.

I start a book on Monday. I have two weeks to read this book, whether it's a 50 page play or a 900 page Dickens novel. If I finish it within two weeks, great. If not... the book goes on the Queue. The Queue is like purgatory for books. 

After those two weeks, I start another book (yes, whether or not the last one was finished). 

If a book is finished early, then for the rest of those two weeks I read the first book on the Queue(the oldest). If that first book on the Queue still isn't done at the end of the two weeks, it keeps its position. 

At the end of a two week period, if a book goes onto a Queue and there are now three books on the Queue, then it's a catch-up period. The first book on the Queue gets read that period. If it still isn't finished then it goes to the end of the Queue.

This way, I start something new each 2 weeks. I think the system was born out of frustration at reading David Copperfield... it is sooo long. I was enjoying it, but I got bogged down and it took me a few months. I knew if I put it down without a specific plan to pick it back up again, I wouldn't finish.

This system wouldn't work for anyone that couldn't put down a book and pick it up a month later, remembering what was going on. And actually, I'm weird enough that I don't use bookmarks or dog-ears. I have always just been able to remember exactly where I am in a book. 

So far, it's been keeping me mostly on track. I think in the last year of doing this, I've only had one catch-up period.

There you go... I'm such a nerd, but... works for me!


California's Still Burning... and Rain in Manhattan

So far, the fires have mercifully stayed away from San Diego. But I'm watching the news of fires breaking out all over California. So far, the biggest one seems to be just north of LA.

October definitely seemed like the best choice of wedding month, but I knew in December I would spend these weeks watching fire reports. It would be like someone in the midwest deciding to plan a big event right in the middle of tornado season, I suppose. Or Florida and hurricanes. You know they're coming... but you can't let them ruin your life. You plan and pray.

San Diego, just hold out five more days! As much as I know that fires are a helpful contributer to ecology, burning the old brush and making way for lush new plants... I'd rather not greet out of town guests with a sky filled with lung-blackening particulates. I'd like wedding pictures without the apocalyptic glow of a smoky, orange sky.

So, here's to hoping the strong winds don't blow down power lines, the cooking fires set by people living in the hills stay in their grills and cooking circles, and smokers could manage to extinguish their cigarettes before tossing them carelessly into overgrown bush beside the road. 

But, if God decides yet again that my best-laid plans are nothing compared with His will... then we'll adapt. Hmm... fitting 200 people into the rather small sanctuary? Or moving everyone down to the beach? Or renting out a bowling alley and having a party? Somehow or other, I will be married this time next week. I will have partied with my family and friends. I'll be chilly in New York, watching the weather report for glorious rain! And hopefully, San Diego will still not be burning.



I have the best friends in the world. They know me well enough to know that my idea of a fun bachelorette party would NOT be to go clubbing (I've never set foot in a club in my life). And the thought of all of the embarrasment that could happen at those parties is enough to make me want to elope and not tell any of my girlfriends that I'm getting married.

But I didn't have to fear, because my friends knew. What would appeal to Melissa the most? Hmm... a dark loud room full of people dancing too close to each other? Nah. A high-luxury pampering at some spa? Not a chance. A crazy night on the town? Nope again. No, they went for the gold: dancing Huns, princesses, lions, mice, puppet boys, and cartoon characters: ON ICE.

That's right, six twenty-something women without kids, singing and dancing along to Disney on Ice. A-maaaaaaz-ing. It was so much fun. As much as I like to believe I haven't bought into any Disney consumerist culture, I grew up watching those movies. I love Belle and her bookwormishness. I love Mulan and her bravery. I love the Lion King in its beauty. And Disney... man, they know how to put on a show. They don't do anything half-heartedly. If they decide to put on an ice show... they put on the best possible ice show around.

I don't know where they find that many talented ice skaters (a cast of 30-40) who are willing to perform a triple axel while dressed like a Hun... or skate ON ALL FOURS while in a huge warthog costume. But it was fantastic to watch. I think we loved it as much as all of the seven-year-old girls dressed in their Disney Store Finest.


California's burning

I guess today marks the start of the fire season in SoCal. It's funny... all the people that I've ever talked to who aren't from here associate California with earthquakes. I really just felt my first one this summer. While scary, it wasn't traumatic (for most people). A lot of grocery stores close to the center had everything fall off the shelves, but no one died or lost their homes.

But fires. Oh, we have fires. I've known at least several people who have had their houses burned down, or extensive water damage from fire-fighters trying to keep them at bay.

We don't have snow days... but I've had a week off school twice, once senior year of high school, and once senior year of college. My schools were never evacuated, but the quality of the air was so bad that you couldn't go outside without a wet t-shirt over your nose and mouth. A lot of people who attended my schools had to be evacuated or even lost their homes. Last year, my family allllmost had to evacuate. They live on the boarder between two neighborhoods, and the one further east was evacuated. It was pretty scary, because they were on the projected path of the fire. Luckily, God turned the winds and the fire was contained much faster than they expected. 

With the droughts in the last few years, it's been even worse. It's not really a question of IF, it's WHEN, and WHERE this time, and HOW BAD. I've been looking at the news every day... and here it is. Two brush fires on Camp Pendleton. Granted, this is one of the areas most likely to burn, since it's a military base and has little growth control or landscaping. But that means that it's likely that bigger fires in other areas are not far off. 

I know it's a selfish thing to hope for, but I really do hope that fires don't severely hinder the wedding plans. Because if there's a fire in the area, we might not be able to really be outside that day... and that would be tough.
But even more than that, I pray that this season would spare the lives and homes in Southern California. It is pretty scary keeping your car packed, knowing that any hour a blaze could come that takes everything.


oooh oooh... pick me!!

Dear Google,

I know you are googling me. I'm sure whoever has my resume and is going to call me for a technical interview is looking at my blogger journals and whatever other information I have posted publically with a google service (and any other service... facebook maybe?) I mean, I would do the same if I were hiring someone. See...? Dedication to google products :) I google everything.

But really... I do want to work there. Even though I would have to drive to work. I mean, I guess that's my only option now unless I want to work at Ralph's or the drug store. I do love Google, I've wanted to work there a few years and the biggest reason I didn't apply this year was that I didn't know there was a Santa Monica office. Even though I'm not really techy, I am a fan of all things google. I use... Chrome, Gmail, Reader, personalized Google homepage, Picasa, Blogger, Maps (especially the walking routes), Talk, Docs... and of course Search.

It's not that I don't like my job. I like it. But they're leaving. Packing up and moving north. And I'm not, in favor of fiance keeping his wonderful joband his sanity. So I need a job. I'm sure when you call me you'll ask me all about why you need me. And I'll tell you. But just in case you doubted my dedication... since I know you're googling me... here I am. Talk to you Friday!


Yeah... about blogging

I really had planned to have an educational blog about living in Brentwood, Los Angeles. But... working 40 hours a week? And planning a wedding (from 100 miles away)? And trying to still see and care for the man I'm marrying? Maintaining a blog won't happen right now. 

I tried. I have pictures on my camera of my apartment in its very beginning stages, before I had a bed or any furniture whatsoever. I'd say the furniture level is at 75%... I have a bed, and dining room table and chairs, and bookshelf... but no couch or TV stand or video game holder. I have pictures of my weekly grocery purchases, because I was so excited to walk to the grocery store and shop for my food.

But now I've decided to write for other reasons. This summer, somewhere in between working and wedding planning, I've started to read blogs. And to love them. And I want to participate in the fun, have something to share with my blogging friends, and hone my writing. Writing skills tend to get shoved aside when one is focusing on ones Java coding skills for 8 hours a day. 

So until the wedding (in 15 days...) there probably won't be much blogging. But hopefully, after the madness, I'll have some thoughts about learning to be a wife in Los Angeles, about making friends here but keeping some of my San Diego culture, about working at a high-tech job and living in an Internet-less and TV-less apartment. Basically, about going from college student to adult without skipping that 3-5 year transition period that most people around here take.