Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend 'o Fun

This was a lovely summery weekend! Playing outside makes me seriously wish I was a teacher looking forward to two months of this, but I guess I have to just appreciate what I do have. Friday night we finished watching Nurse Jackie and then Valentine's Day while Becky threatened to die of a cold. Saturday we woke up and the weather forecast said 90 degrees and sunny so we took off for the shore! We're both scared of sand in our cameras and leaving valueables on the beach while we swim, so sadly there are no pictures from this adventure. But rest assured, we conqured waves for hours, ate too much delicious Nagle's ice cream (but they were out of their flavor of the day - chocolate cake better!), and made our feet hurt from wandering on the boardwalk too long. I seriously can't believe how far the Asbury Park boardwalk has come since we first started going there a few years ago. Where once we tried Taylor Ham at a rundown beach grill with one table, now there are fancy restaurants. We planned/schemed/dreamed of our upcoming shore vacation with my family. At one point Becky commented "I hope everybody else has as much fun as I plan to have." Me too!

Today we headed the other direction into New York. We went to Governor's Island for the Veuve Clicquot Polo Match, featuring His Royal Highness Prince Harry (last name, Windsor, as Google tells us - who knew?). By far the highlight of the day was when the prince fell off his horse just in front of where we were standing. He laughed it off and climbed right back on while the crowd cheered excitedly. That's him in the white outfit walking up to the horse. Apparently the crowd around us knew about as much about Polo as we do, since we overheard them asking each other things like "how do they score a goal?"

Unfortunately the weather was just as hot and sunny as Saturday, but with no swimable beach in sight. We asessed our finances and determined that we are a bit too poor to enjoy the $70/bottle champagne being served. $3 bottled water seemed overpriced but do-able. Except that one cafe, two food stands, and a hot dog cart were all. sold. out. Seriously people? Did you not anticipate high demand for water on an island with no potable drinking water in 90-degree sun? We eventually did find something cool to drink, but not before we'd ruled out bike riding as a viable activity for the day. We'll have to go back another weekend, especially since the vendors seem to have vastly increased the amount and variety of bikes available for rent! 6-person surrey bikes seemed to be the Sunday activity of choice for several Orthodox Jewish families visiting the island. Come July and we'll be hauling Jen and Sean and Matthew and Thomas on an Asbury Park surrey bike!

Although we were tired and hot, we did decide to swing by the NYC Pride festival on the way home. Sadly I think we missed most of the free stuff and hadn't had nearly enough alcohol (aka none) to make it a good time. But here's some photographic proof anyways.

Back at home we enjoyed a relaxed dinner and a movie. Goodnight weekend, we'll miss you bunches.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Crazy Deliciousness

The Target near us is getting a new grocery section. Hallelujah! It doesn't officially open for another month (word on the street is they're going to have fresh produce and meat then), but they've already expanded their dry goods selection. Between the new Target grocery section and the Trader Joe's a few blocks away from them, I think we may be able to avoid the regular grocery store altogether. And this is a very good thing, for the more stores I enter, the more money I spend.

While I was wandering the aisles at Target today, I came across a new product by Nature Valley called "Granola Thins". They're a flat, square granola bar with a layer of chocolate on the bottom. I decided they were worth a try and threw them in the cart.

And then I got home, and I tried one. And you know what? They taste an awful lot like Chocolate HobNobs. Which is to say they are HolyCrapOMGCrazyDelicious (in my opinion, anyway). Unfortunately, they are individually wrapped, which means a huge waste of packaging is involved. But I suppose the portion control is a good thing since it kept me from devouring the entire box. Long story short: you should try them. And if you don't like them, feel free to send me the rest of the box. :D


So, and my calendar have both confirmed for me that November 6 is rapidly approaching. I'm not quite sure how this happened. Theknot is also helpfully informing me that we have 73 items overdue, but since it will only actually show me 9 of them, I'm going to assume the other 64 are all-important topics like "Select appropriate stiletto shoes, hairstyles, make-up and plastic surgery for your bridesmaids. And don't forget to schedule tanning appointments for all 12 of them." Anyway, I don't see how we could possible be behind: I spend hours reading about weddings on the internet every week day.

What's that you say? Reading about other people's weddings and looking at pictures of $100,000+ California vineyard weddings doesn't actually help plan my wedding? Oh.

Moving on then...first off, I think it might be time for a blog cull--the list of completely irrelevant "bridal inspiration" blogs is only serving to clog up my Google Reader. But in case any random people are reading this blog and looking for suggestions, here are two that I LOVE and that have given me lots of ideas and things to think about:

So You're Engayged: a blog focusing on same-sex couples that also features vendor reviews and a list of same-sex friendly vendors. Gay people are getting married all over the place, but you wouldn't know it from most wedding blogs. And the bloggers on this one are a little more practical and down-to-earth, so there are lots of DIY and budget ideas.

A Practical Wedding
: Unlike other wedding blogs, this one doesn't focus just on the flowers or the signature cocktails or whatever other style elements are oh-so-important on some other blogs. This blogger, and the fantastic community of readers, talk about wedding planning from a practical perspective, but more importantly, there's much talk of marriage. Honestly, I'd recommend this blog even to people who aren't planning a wedding--there's a lot of talk about marriage and partnership and what it means to be a family, not just about planning one big day.

Until we got engaged, I hadn't really thought that getting married would change much about our relationship. After all, we've been living together for 5 years now, so we have a pretty good idea of each other's bad habits. ;) But as we've gotten more involved in planning the wedding, and all the decision-making and negotiation that involves, between the two of us and with our families (we love you all and truly are grateful for all of your support and input, I promise!), I think we're becoming a better team. And I'm excited to see where that teamwork takes us in the future.

But for now, back to invitation ideas...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toddlers Do New York

This weekend we were honored with a visit from Jen, Sean, Matthew, and Thomas. Saturday we packed ourselves up and braved the bus ride into the city. Babies' first bus ride, complete with mommy singing the wheels on the bus! We visited the Central Park Zoo, which had lemurs and penguins but none of the other animals featured in the movie Madagascar. I guess you can't believe everything you see in the movies. Thomas seemed to like the penguins best, both boys liked the bats, and the whole experience was somewhat overstimulating all around.

While we were at the zoo we heard a clock ringing, and looked up to see this very cool clock with metal animal sculptures holding instruments. Becky commented, "I think that clock is famous or something." And so we did what you do when being touristy and viewing something famous - took several pictures. Here's one picture of mommy and baby kangroos playing French horns.

We then traveled back to the lovely New Jersey and visited a playground with tons of cool fountains not too far from our neighborhood. I've been wanting to go to this place since I first saw it from the bus, but apparently it's really sketchy to go to a kids playground as an adult without any children.

I still think it probably would be/will be more fun with somewhat older kids, but it was still enjoyable to do with the nephews. In keeping with their personalities, Matthew wasn't so sure at first, but Thomas jumped right in. Matthew finally got in to it when he found a Matthew-sized water fountain - aka the somewhat broken, smallest fountain in the park that none of the big kids were interested in.

For dinner we dined at a delicious recently-opened local Indian restaurant. Matthew and Thomas trashed the place while the adults tried to enjoy conversation and tastiness. Exhaustion was had all around and no photos were taken. We continued to screaming overtired babies, Asti drinking (21 lbs and over), and a viewing of the Princess and the Frog.

Sunday morning Jen and Sean packed up and all of us headed to Father's Day at The Edible Garden exhibit of The New York Botanical Garden.

We wandered the park, ate some tasty but excessively expensive BBQ, putzed in the children's exhibit, and attempted to watch a butcher demonstration. Sadly though the presenters declared it "too hot" to butcher a pig. Alas.

And here are the boys with their favorite aunties (note how Thomas is reaching into my shirt and Matthew is tiredly attempting to blow raspberries at the camerawoman - aka Auntie Becky):

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Liveblogging the Tony Awards

Well, not knowing much about football didn't stop me from blogging the Packers/Vikings in that vein, having not seen much Broadway theatre this year, I bring you the Tony Awards view from our couch.

8:01 - Sean Hayes plays the piano? Who knew?

8:08 - Something tells me Michael Douglas is not a Green Day fan. Matthew Morrison seems to be enjoying it quite a bit though.

8:10 - Dammit--who's that guy sitting next to Matthew Morrison?

8:17 - Is Daniel Radcliffe a midget? Or is Katie Holmes 7 feet tall? Wait, isn't she the one who married whats-his-name? Yeah, Tom Cruise. Isn't he really short too?

8:19 - How many bumpits were involved in Scarlett Johansson's hairstyle?

8:22 - Ricky Martin is looking really weird. I think he got a lot of botox after he was up all night with his kid. --Carrie

8:26 - Well, I had no interest in seeing Million Dollar Quartet before tonight. And this performance is not making me any more interested in seeing it. Lame.

8:30 - Ridiculous commercial alert: Are you fed up with always having to put your bladder's needs over your daughter? Then leave while she's trying on her wedding dress and see your doctor RIGHT NOW.

8:38 - Me: Oh, it's like a musical version of The Birdcage.
Carrie: Uh, yeah, The Birdcage was based on La Cage aux Folles.
Me: Oh. I'm a bad queer.

Also, gap in here of not paying much attention due to making dinner.

8:47 - Public speaking...not Michael Grandage's forte. There's a reason he's not usually on the stage. I don't think I've ever seen anyone look so uncomfortable in front of a microphone and fight so hard to not look up.

8:51 - Seriously can't believe I didn't see In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play).

Dinner: chicken/broccoli/ricotta pizza...crazy delicious. Yum.

9:04 - Katie Fitteran....holy boobies! Also, wow, so fake.

9:18 - I think Kristin Chenoweth's dress is an origami project. And it seems there was a paper shortage before the dress was finished?

9:23 - Safe to say that Catherine Zeta-Jones's performance of "Send in the Clowns" was the highlight so far.

9:26 - Apparently people who watch the Tonys have bladder problems. And are depressed. That's what we've learned from the commercials.

9:30 - Having tried on a couple beaded dresses recently, I can only imagine how much Idina's dress might weigh.

9:39 - Wait, saluting the Times Square NYPD? The cops who stand in front of McDonalds on 42nd Street and attract crowds of tourists who want pictures with them? Yeah, mad props to the mounted police officer whose adoring fans are ALWAYS blocking my commute home. It's a horse, people. What, you've never seen one of those in Nebraska?

10:12 - Wait, Dixie Carter died?

Hm, the Tonys are more interesting when I've seen more of the shows. And when the shows look more interesting. But instead I've been busy half-watching while browsing the internet. Oh well.

10:30 - It's impressive how make-up can make Lea Michele look almost 10 years older here than she does in Glee. Also, now that Glee has been signed for two more seasons already, I wonder if it's a little weird for the Glee stars to face the prospect of 3 years of filming, making it pretty difficult to do any new Broadway shows.

10:41 - Amused by the silent bleeping in the telecast of "American Idiot". Also, they should have picked a song that featured whatshername. ;)

10:51 - Just kidding, Catherine Zeta-Jones's reaction to winning a Tony was the best part so far...even better than her singing....not to mention "And that man there. He's a movie star and I get to sleep with him EVERY NIGHT!"

Tonys all done. Now is the time for smart bloggers to go to bed because summer hours (read: work early and late 4 days/week in order to get Fridays off) start tomorrow. But alas, I am generally not a smart blogger.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The U-Pick Strawberry Experience

Last Saturday Becky and I did something we have been talking about doing for several years, but have never actually gotten around to doing together... strawberry picking! We almost missed it again this year because Becky had just returned from a work trip and we were tired, but I happened to go ahead and call the farm anyways and learned it was the last weekend of the season. So off we went into rural suburban New Jersey. This was our second experience sort of expecting to head off into nowhere for farmy goodness and ending up in a housing development. But there were strawberries!

Interesting difference in nomenclature: in NJ apparently this picking yourself phenomenon is known as PYO:

And here is photo-proof that we each picked some:

Since we drove almost an hour each way to get there, we both figured we needed to stay long enough to make it worthwhile.... so we picked $20 worth of strawberries. Therefore we needed to brainstorm (and furiously google) all kinds of delicious things to do with fresh strawberries. We made strawberry shortcake, french toast (with homemade bread) with strawberries, and Becky ate them as salad dressing. We also have a freezerful of frozen berries, tops on and topless. It amounted to a very delicious weekend! Enjoy some pictures:

Please excuse my issues learning to format!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Photos

In case you're not exhausted with our engagement photos yet, our fantastic photographer (fantastic fotografer? phantastic photographer?), Becca Dilley, posted a few more on her blog today.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Engagement Pictures

This week we finally (impatient much?) got back our engagement pictures from Becca Dilley, our awesome wedding photographer! Yay! Here are a few for your enjoyment:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Wedding Makes a Family

Although Becky made such a lovely announcement introducing me to her adoring fans, I too am severely afflicted with procrastination. It has therefore taken me several weeks to work up to contributing to the blog! But, in honor of Blogging for LGBT Families Day over at Mombian, I join you loyal fans of Becky.

So many same-sex couples seem to consider themselves "family" before/without any sort of marriage or commitment ceremony. LGBT people have a long tradition of dependence on "chosen family," which apparently goes hand-in-hand with a whole lot of rejection and lack of understanding from families of origin. That’s not really my style.

Becky and I have lived together for five years. We've moved together, made life changing decisions together, adopted kittens together. But somehow, to me, this big party we're planning for November is when we become family. In some ways it’s a silly designation - legally in some states it will be a few weeks before that, and in most states it will be never (or at least, in all probability, a very long time from now). Emotionally we’ve kind of been family for a long time. But only kind of, and that’s where it’s not such a silly designation. November 6th, for me (us?), is the real deal. We’re going to stand up in front of all of the family and friends who care to make the trip and make a commitment. She’s joining my family, and I’m joining hers. In the families we each come from, making this commitment of marriage is also an essential stop on the road to having children. As a couple we will be each other’s family, and we will be laying the groundwork for the growing family we hope to have someday.

Some people probably assume that we’ve waited so long to get married because it wasn’t legal or we were already chosen family. It’s not really the case though. Of course I’d love to have all of the legal rights that come along with actual marriage. I’d love to not have to deal with getting marred in one state, reaffirming a civil union in another, and having a legally unrecognized ceremony and party for family and friends in a third. But we’re doing this now because now is when we’re both ready to commit to being a family. That’s pretty powerful stuff, if you think about it too long.