Sunday, October 18, 2015

contact high

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to go skiing pretty much every winter with my family. I had a child’s fearlessness and boundless energy, so it was pretty much the most fun evarrrr. Whooshing down the mountain at breakneck speed (no helmet, of course), only stopping for a lunch of chicken tenders and fries? Yes please. Skiing was amazing!

In high school I got a snowboard, so I learned how to snowboard. At first I scoffed at the idea of taking a lesson. I was a SURFER, so obviously I could snowboard no problem. But then it turned out that (for me at least) the skill(s) did not transfer from one board sport to the other, so I spent a day careening down the hills and falling violently ass-over-teakettle many MANY times. It’s a miracle that I didn’t break anything. It’s possible that I did sustain an untreated concussion.

Anyhow, the next time I went I took a lesson! And it was easier. And from then on I’ve been a snowboarder. I mean “a snowboarder” in the most literal way possible—a person who snowboards. Not, like a person EXCELS at snowboarding in any way. I’ve never felt completely comfortable on a snowboard. There’s always the possibility that I very well could break every bone in my body. I  mean, it’s fun, but interspersed with moments of panic: getting off the ski lift, getting on the ski lift, looking down while on the ski lift (though this is not limited to snowboarding- can we agree that ski lifts are terrifying?), going too fast, going on too steep a hill, too much ice, too many trees and/or rocks, that moment when you catch your edge and you’re about to fall, falling, trying to get up after falling with people careening around you.

Last year, Niall and I went to Tahoe for his birthday weekend. We stayed in a little hotel by the lake and went out to fancy dinners like real adult humans. On his actual birthday we planned to go up to Heavenly for some fun on the slopes. Niall had said he was going to rent a pair of skis from the local sports shop, and I got the brilliant idea to also rent a pair of skis. Skiing! Hey, I used to be REALLY good at skiing! I probably still am! It’s one of those skills that you retain forever, I’m sure!  I totally should rent a pair of skis and show Niall just how awesome I am at skiing!

As I learned in Tahoe, if there is one thing that can make me feel like an ace on a snowboard it is SKIING.

Holey shirts and pants, you guys. It was so awful. I hyperventilated every time my skis were pointed down the mountain and parallel. Also, I couldn’t keep them parallel. Also,  I didn’t know how to balance facing forward. I didn’t know how to be on my edges  or to lift up a ski to make turns. I spent the entire time with my skis in “pizza” position, body hunched over, and ski poles dragging on the ground, using them like sad little brakes.

On top of all of this, I also couldn’t wear my prescription sunglasses because they were made more for looks than for sportiness. They wouldn’t have stayed on my face, so I just wore regular, non-prescription sunglasses. Not being able to see very well added a nice extra layer of difficulty, so the whole endeavor was frustrating, to say the least.
I managed to take out my frustrations pretty singularly on Niall (on his birthday!). He would shoot off ahead of me and then stop and wait, but the problem with that was that I got mad at him if he waited for me and also if he didn’t. And then he kept POINTING at stuff with his SKI POLE, even though I kept helpfully REMINDING him that the ski pole was the SAME COLOR AS THE TREES AND I CAN’T SEE WHICH WAY YOU ARE POINTING AND ALSO YOUR JACKET IS TOO WHY DID YOU WEAR THAT COLOR JACKET THAT MATCHES THE BACKGROUND I CAN'T SEE YOU WHERE ARE HAPPY BIRTHDAY BY THE WAY.


Eventually I just took the gondola back down to the lodge, hiked out to the parking lot, and switched over to my snowboard. It took me about an hour to accomplish that task (and it was probably the best hour of skiing for Niall).

As you may recall, I recently got married (Hurrah!). Because I’m vain, I decided that I didn’t want to wear glasses on my wedding day.
Sidebar: I still don’t fully consider myself as somebody “who wears glasses,” even though I wear glasses pretty consistently. Maybe that’s because it came upon me gradually. At first I just needed my glasses once in awhile, if I were sitting particularly far back in a college lecture hall. Then I started needing them in all of my lectures. And then all of my classes and at the movies. And then while driving at night. And then a few years ago I went in to get my license renewed and the lady told me to take off my glasses and read the eye chart, so I took off my glasses and the eye chart disappeared. So. Now I wear glasses.

Anyhow, I didn’t want to wear my glasses on my wedding day which mean my choices were either (a) get contacts or (b) possibly not recognize my betrothed as I walked down the aisle. Niall, apparently traumatized by our skiing incident, encouraged me to get contacts.

So I got contacts! I went to the eye doctor and he had me put my head in an assortment of odd devices while he…. I dunno… took some measurements and assessments of my eyes or whatever. And then he gave me a starter set of contact lenses and showed me how to put them in. I spent THIRTY DUCKING MINUTES (literally ducking) trying to put in the first one before I finally got it. And the doctor, while very patient, had to wrap up our appointment. I went home and FINALLY got the damn things both in. They felt like tiny pieces of sandpaper.

People told me I would get used to them and I smiled and nodded, slightly teary-eyed and headachedy. Despite the initial hiccups, I have indeed gotten more used to them over time and have been able to enjoy a whole new world of non-prescription sunglasses, including this baller pair that I wore on my wedding day:

Niall still hasn’t said whether or not he’ll ever go skiing with me again, however.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

proposed break room rules

1. No fish. This includes, but is not limited to: no bringing cooked fish for lunch. No bringing cooked fish and leaving it in the break room refrigerator. No bringing cooked fish to work and warming it up in the microwave. No bringing cooked fish to work, warming it up in the microwave, and leaving it out on the break room table all afternoon. No buying fresh fish at the market on your lunch break and leaving it in the break room refrigerator for the rest of the work day. No bringing in fresh fish to share amongst your coworkers. No bringing in fresh shrimp to share amongst your coworkers. No bringing in a large bag of fresh squid parts in to share amongst your coworkers. No dividing up said bag of squid parts into small biohazard bags over the break room sink. No getting squid ink all over the break room sink and counter. No storing biohazard bags of squid parts in the break room refrigerator for the rest of the work day. No squid in the office full stop. I can’t believe we have to have this conversation.
2. That’s it. That’s all I care about.
3. Oh wait, also: throw out your old food. Maybe do a sweep of the fridge once a week or so and see if there’s anything in there that’s yours that you forgot about? Please don’t leave your pasta alfredo with broccoli in there for two months. We live in a society.
4. Label your stuff. If it’s something that will be in there for a while that you don’t mind sharing, like a bottle of ranch dressing, maybe include your name, the date it was opened, and something like “help yourself.”
5. If something is rotten, throw it out. Even if it wasn’t yours to begin with! Nobody will miss that shriveled plum, I promise.
6. Seriously, you brought fish again? NO FISH. Just. No.

Friday, August 14, 2015

gym class hero

I joined a gym. Wait! Where are you going? Come back!

Let me start over. I’ve never been one of those people who is, like, addicted to working out. One might even say that I hate it, or at least strongly dislike it.

I remember when a friend of mine came into town and asked if I wanted to get together. I was all ready to suggest lunch and then pedicures, but she said that she was going to a barre class and did I want to meet her? No thanks, I said. I’d catch her afterward at the sandwich place nextdoor. If we’re spending quality friend time together I’d like to ENJOY it.

I never want to go on a hike, so don’t bother asking. I’ll go on a WALK. Even an outdoor walk, through nature. But call it a hike and no. No thank you. I’ll sit here and read while YOU hike and we can hang out once you’ve gotten that nonsense out of your system.

Running (jogging) seems to be the only thing I can stand to do consistently-ish. When I lived in LA I would go running (jogging) around my neighborhood. Then, when I moved to San Francisco, my building had a little workout room so I would run (jog) on the treadmill. The machines in that workout room all had TVs with cable and DVD players attached. My apartment never had cable while I lived there, so it was a good way to get my Teen Mom fix.

When Niall and I moved in together, we moved into a building without a workout room. Niall seems to actually be one of those people who truly enjoys exercising, so he has been dutifully going to the gym the entire time I’ve known him (not to mention running, cycling, playing assorted sports, and generally making me feel like a sloth by comparison).

I tried a few things here and there.

I took an adult beginner ballet class. Not to brag or anything but I did ballet for several years in middle school and college, so I felt like it would only be a matter of time before the other adult beginners would be eyeing me and whispering “Shouldn’t she be in the ADVANCED class?” Instead, what happened was that everybody expected me to be really good since my shoes were so worn (see also: from college (see also: never get rid of anything!)), but I pranced around like one of the hippos from Fantasia. I quit after a few months because It was TOO HARD and not fun and I was not nearly as fairy-like as I had expected.

I thought about getting a fitbit, but they’re really expensive, so instead I bought the Jane Fonda workout and Richard Simmons Sweatin to the Oldies videos. I had fun doing these a few times. They’re not terribly intense workouts and they are also somewhat hilarious (see also: Richard Simmons's shorts). But for some reason there are too many steps for working out at home. I have to change into something I don’t mind getting sweaty and then switch the TV to the right mode and then scoot the coffee table over and ugh, maybe I’ll just sit down.

A couple weeks before the wedding I decided I wanted to work out a little. Not to lose weight or tone up, but just to help my endurance a little and ensure I wouldn’t collapse and die from dancing the night away at our wedding reception.
So I asked Niall if I could go with him to his gym to check it out, super casual like. We went, and they were having some ‘friends and family’ dealie so I signed up for a (basic, totally chill, I-can-quit-anytime-I-wanna) membership.

The gym guidelines, as I explained to Niall* are:
- He can’t ever shame me for not going or not wanting to go to the gym
- If I ever bring up that I’m thinking about going to the gym, he should enthusiastically encourage me
- He can invite me to go to the gym with me, but he can’t ever suggest that I should go to the gym
- He can’t criticize what I do at the gym

Now it’s August, and that means I’ve been a gym member for a little over 2 months. For some reason I have been able to go to the gym, despite the fact that, yes, I do understand that this involves FAR more steps than working out at home does. But I guess I don’t mind the steps as much? Maybe it’s easier because it’s more of a routine. My living room is where I hang out, eat, relax, but the gym is only where I do gym things. There’s no possibility I’m going to go all the way to the gym and then sit down on the floor of the locker room and read a book instead.

So far I have spent my time at the gym running (jogging) on the treadmill, with very occasional uses of the cross trainer peppered in here and there. HOWEVER, I reserve the right to go to the gym, do a couple stretches, and then sit in the hot tub if that’s what I’m up for on that particular day. And that will still COUNT as going to the gym. I need motivation and a reward system that is beyond “staying healthy” because clearly that’s not enough or else I would be joining Niall as he bounds out of bed every morning for his run like a goddamn kangaroo. The other good thing about the gym is that it is located in a little plaza that also has a Ross and sandwich place and a grocery store. So sometimes after a run (jog), I’ll take a little stroll through ross or treat myself to something yummy for lunch. Running: not its own reward.

I had to add a new one over the weekend which is:
- He can’t make fun of my gym outfits/accessories.

I’ve said this before, but I’m a person who likes to have all the accessories that go along with a thing. I like having my little gym bag and a purple lock for using the lockers at the gym. I have my sunglasses and my headphones that are specifically gym-only. I also have my gym clothes. Niall was chuckling the other day because I was trying on various new gym clothes and preening in front of the mirror, while he is perfectly happy to work out in old crappy shorts and tee shirts. I explained to him that I know I COULD wear regular old clothes at the gym, but having my cute little shoes

and outfits

are much more enjoyable and THEREFORE make me much more likely to actually GO. This is my Gym Outfit that I wear to the gym, GOLD STAR FOR ME.

Really, the whole point of this post was to show you my new purple gym outfit.

*Niall hasn't ever body shamed me and I'm not worried that he would, I just wanted to be explicit with my gym-interaction-expectations.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Last weekend Niall decided to make meatloaf. The concept had previously not appealed to him, which makes sense given its name. Meat... loaf. However, he realized that he likes all the ingredients that typically go into a meatloaf, so he thought he’d give it a go. I found him the Pioneer Woman’s recipe online and he modified it in an apparent effort to include as many animals as possible (ground beef, ground lamb, bacon strips over the top).

The baconey drippings from the meatloaf got a bit scorched in the oven while it was baking, which meant that our fire alarm went off and we subsequently learned that our fire alarm is the least alarmed sounding alarm in the world. It makes a pitiful little meep noise and also says the words “Fire. Fire.” I don’t feel like our fire alarm takes its job very seriously. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a fire alarm. It’s more of a fire calmly announce.

By contrast, my old building’s fire alarm system was absolutely MILITANT about its job. Whenever I cooked pretty much anything it would start shrieking at me and I’d have to open the window and fan the alarm unit with a towel until it shut the hell up. If there was fire detected or an alarm pulled in any of the common areas of the building, there was a speaker inside every apartment that would make siren noises and ALSO shout at you:
[short pause]

This would repeat on a loop over and over until whatever happened was figured out, at which point we would usually get an announcement like “Thank you for your attention, this has been a false alarm” or whatever. The longest it ever went on while I lived there was probably only about 15 minutes, but that FEELS LIKE ETERNITY when, say, you’re woken up from a sound sleep in the middle of the night.

Last night I made brownies and I went to bed right after I took them out of the oven. I woke up this morning feeling unusually warm. The whole apartment felt unusually warm. And then I found out that I had accidentally LEFT THE OVEN ON ALL NIGHT.

I think I may have mentioned this previously, my cousin once used her blow dryer and then put it away under the sink in her bathroom and then left for work. When she came home that afternoon she found that HER HOUSE HAD BURNED DOWN. (She’s fine, her family is all fine, but house = gone.)

Burning the house down is one of my nightmares. And I left the oven on! All night! What if something had caught fire? What if the house had burned down? If I left the oven on, what if this means I might leave OTHER things on and forget about them also? OHMYGOD I’m going to burn our house down, or not put the emergency brake on my car when I park it on a hill and have it roll down and hit someone, or turn on the garbage disposal when somebody is fishing out a spoon, or leave a vulnerable person or animal in a hot car, or SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS OBVIOUSLY GOING TO HAPPEN AND IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULLLLLLLLLT.

My fire calmly announce may not be very alarmed, but I certainly am.

Friday, August 7, 2015

get well soon gifties

My nephew has Perthes disease, which basically means the ball and socket joint of his hip grew all wonky causing the blood supply of the joint to get strangled off and the bone to start dying. It was caught pretty early in his life, thanks to his grandpa, so he's doing well.

A couple years ago I was driving to the hospital to visit him after one of his surgeries (he's had several major hip surgeries, poor kid). I had bought him some nice headphones, but I decided to stop at Target because I felt like I needed something else. I ended up picking out a stuffed frog.
photo from
He liked the headphones, but he LOVED the frog. He slept with it tucked under his arm and watched TV with it sitting next to him in bed. It reminded me that he’s a big strong kid, but even big strong kids can be comforted by a stuffed animal. I haven’t conducted extensive research on this, but I feel like a stuffed animal is kind of a universally pleasing item, especially when you’re not feeling good and/or stuck in a hospital bed.

When I stopped at Target on the way to the hospital, I also bought this game.
photo from
My nephew was too tired and out of it to ACTUALLY play even that game, so we modified it. He would roll the dice and it would land on a letter. Then the rest of us would have to come up with a word that started with that letter and my nephew would pick his favorite word out of all of them and the person who picked the word he liked best was the winner of that round. It was a fun for everybody and my nephew could doze in between rounds.

Something else that was a big hit with my nephew? Silly putty and a newspaper. Proving that even 10 year old boys get tired of video games eventually.

Can't go wrong with a classic blankie. Bonus points if you happen to know that VIPs at the hospital are given a specific color blanket. (Which is actually a thing, I swear.)

Another winner? A coloring book and some crayons/markers/colored pencils. I'm particularly fond of this one.
photo from

I use these acrylic drinking cups ALL THE TIME.
photo from
They are excellent for holding icy cold water (or your beverage of choice). Also, they are good if you are perhaps not operating with all of your mental faculties and more prone to spillage.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I've started getting up a little earlier so I can stop at Target on my way to work. It's the BEST. I get my coffee, because apparently that's part of my life now. And then I take a little stroll around the empty, pristine Target which is Ah May Zing.


I love Sharpies. I wanted to write a whole post about how much I love Sharpies, but that's basically all.


I went to the doctor for a checkup the other day. She asked me how many times in the last 3 months that I had more than 3 drinks. I say "Maybe three times?" And I got a lecture about cutting back, AND a follow-up email with tips for slowing down and trying to drink less. "Set your glass down in between sips!" Okay, but. Really?


My sister: "Hey! Where did you get those chips?"
My 3 year old niece: "It's celery."

It was not celery.


I spend a certain percentage of my job on the phone, and I sometimes have to spell out medication names. And sometimes I’m spelling those medications to people with bad phone connections or hearing problems. I really should just bookmark this page because if I’m in the middle of spelling something I panic and say things like “Okay it’s simvastatin. S as in syrup, i as in impossible, m as in muppet, v as in voluptuous, a as in Appalachian…”
And because my brain is my brain, I ALSO start thinking of even worse ones “P as in phlebotomist” or "t as in tsunami.”


On a more positive note, I have successfully transitioned to saying “my pleasure” at work instead of “no problem” when somebody thanks me. I always felt a little odd when I said no problem because I feel like it still sounds like “Well this is kind of a problem, but don’t worry, I’ll do it anyhow as a favor.” My pleasure, however, THAT’s customer service.


I cut my own bangs last night. And now I remember two things: why I don't usually do that, AND where my original avatar pic came from.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

inappropriate feelingsiversary

Timehop reminds me that three years ago I flew home from NYC the day after being sexually assaulted.
Which, in turn, reminds me that last year I wrote a post that I’d rather not talk about. I’d prefer to take it down and pretend it didn’t happen. But instead of that, Imma try and woman up.

Last year I had some inappropriate feelings and I expressed those feelings in an inappropriate way.

Rather than talking to people, I was passive aggressive and selfish. I won’t go into details, but, well... that blog post is a pretty good example. “HEY I’M MAD THAT MY FRIENDS WENT TO BLOGHER BECAUSE I SHOULD BE MORE IMPORTANT TO THEM” she shouted to everyone and no one. I’m not proud of this behavior.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about it since then, and within the past few months I think I’ve figured some things out:

1. It is not up to other people to emotionally take care of me. That’s my job. I shouldn’t expect other people to do that and I should DEFINITELY not get mad at them when they don’t.*

2. I need to manage my inappropriate feelings in an appropriate way. It reminds me of the following touchy analogy: If you’re sad and upset that you’re struggling with infertility and your friend is having a baby shower, you can tell your friend that you’re having a hard time and you can decide to not go to her baby shower, but you can’t get MAD at her for having a baby shower or tell your mutual friends that you’ll be upset with them if they go. That’s inappropriate.

3. So instead of throwing a fit last year, I really should have just done what I did this year: pull back from my social networks a little, lower my expectations, reign in my feelings, take medicine, and give myself little treats.

4. I’m putting this here to remind Future Jules.**

*I think part of the reason I had a lot of trouble with this was the very nature of the sexual assault trauma. I’ve felt dependent on external validation—people telling me it wasn’t my fault, that it was real, that I’m doing okay, etc. I’ve ALSO been trying to change that perception, but it’s not easy.
** It's gonna be okay, Future Jules. Traumaversaries are no fun, but you can handle it. Now go get yourself a little treat.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I was going to call this post “mishaps” but then I decided the things that happened weren’t ACTUAL mishaps, they were just little stories of some things that went differently than I had expected-- nothing I wish I could go back in time and change. Mis-happenings, if you will. And THEN since they are wedding related items, I decided to call them MISSUShappenings. Get it? Get it? See what I did there?

Moving on.

1. This wasn’t a mishap or a happening at all but it keeps annoying me so I’ll mention it here: When the hell did it become customary to EXPECT there to be a flash mob or a choreographed dance in every wedding? I had several people ask me if we were “doing something fun” like a flash mob or choreographed dance at the wedding.  So the options therefore are either yes there will be one of those things or no there will be nothing fun at my wedding at all. No fun. A non-fun wedding.
Flash mobs can be shocking and fun and choreographed dances can be entertaining, but neither of those things are Niall’s and my style or things we wanted at our wedding. And also, if EVERYBODY has a flash mob, doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of a flash mob? Okay I can be done ranting about this now.

2. The wedding started at 2PM. The church coordinator lady wanted me to arrive by 1:45PM and my mom was in firm agreement. Evidently I was supposed to get there early and hang out in a hidey room so there would be time for me to take some deep breaths and fluff out my dress. Which, fine. Except for the fact that at this particular church the door to the offices and hidey room and so forth was RIGHT NEXT TO the main entrance of the church. There wasn’t some back entrance that we could sneak me into, I would have to go in through the front, presumably with people milling around before the wedding. Niall and his sisters told me that in Ireland, the bride is typically 5-15 minutes late. This made sense to me—they can’t very well start the ceremony WITHOUT me, right? So I decided that I would be the last to arrive. I’d leave the hotel in the last trip the limo made and just wait IN the limo outside the church until the last possible moment, then exit it at 1:58 and meet my dad in front of the church. Boom.
This idea threw my mom into such a panic that I ended up caving and left the hotel in the first limo trip and arrived at the church at about 1:20PM. Of course Niall and his groomsmen had just arrived also. Because of course. So my 4 niecemaids hopped out of the limo and ran into the church and to tell Niall to get the hell (sorry, HECK (we are in church, after all)) away because the bride is here and she needs to get to the hidey room! Shoo! Meanwhile, I’m in the limo outside and our priest opens the door, leans in and asks if the limo is going to make a trip back to the hotel because he forgot a book. Next to the priest, Niall’s uncle leans in and starts taking photos of me in the limo. I threw my hands over my face because I was so overwhelmed and annoyed and GAAAH GET AWAY FROM ME, NO NOT YOU, FATHER.
Finally, the coast was clear and I could make my way into the church. I stomped into the hidey room all aggravated because I KNEW IT I KNEW THAT WOULD HAPPEN, so it turned out to be a good thing that I had time to take some deep breaths and fluff out my dress. Plus, the hidey room ended up being a lot of fun. I told my niecemaids that THEY didn’t have to stay in there with me since I was really the only person who couldn’t be seen, but they were all "We want to be with you!" and were so enthusiastic and excited about unbustling my dress and helping me with my veil that it was just adorable.

3. During the rehearsal, the church coordinator lady had told my dad that once we got to the altar, he would shake hands with Niall and then kiss my hand and place it (my hand, not the kiss) in Niall’s hand. I nixed this because it felt waaaay too much like some sort of barter. “Here is my daughter, you own her now. And also this fatted hog and a small piece of land to till.” No thanks. So Niall and I practiced him shaking hands with my dad and then me giving my dad a kiss and taking Niall’s hand, but we forgot to consider the gigantic bouquet that I would have in my hand, so there was a moment of confusion and fumbling. It’s not noticeable in the video, however. We look totally smooth. This may be the single moment of my life where I feel like "Hey! I might actually BE less awkward than I FEEL!"

4. Just before our vows, the priest accidentally called Niall "Patrick."

5. At the reception, the venue forgot to put out our late-night snacks! This was the one thing I had made clear from the very beginning because I specifically remember being starving at several weddings in the past. I wanted there to be PLENTY of food (and alcohol, but that was already covered with the open bar). At the time I didn't realize that the snack trays never got served because I was having too much fun to notice, but if anybody went hungry during my wedding I reserve the right to be annoyed, because I had PLANNED for there to be snacks. Although, the upswing of this was the several hundred dollars that we (my parents) got refunded.

6. Also at the reception, Niall and I didn’t know how to cut our cake because… well we just didn’t. We ended up cutting the piece too small (my fault, I didn't want a huge piece of cake), so when we tried to use the server to pull out the piece, instead the piece went tumbling down the cake and landed on the table. It was fine, still delicious. But the photos of me during the cake cutting are particularly excellent since I look absolutely terrified.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Okay, so now I’m married.
I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

WHAT.  Crazy. Who would have thought it???! Certainly not five-years-ago-Jules.

Pretty much everything went perfectly. Seriously, PERFECT.

I would like to take this opportunity to write out a(n incomplete, probably) list of everything that was a brilliant decision. Here goes.

- Inviting plus-ones (or in some special cases, plus-twos*). It wasn’t a huge effort, it wasn’t a huge expense, and people seemed to appreciate it. I had a few guests bring people I didn’t know to the wedding and that was absolutely fine, no big deal.  I also made it clear to the reception venue that I did not want to overset any tables. I once went to a wedding on my own (and RSVP-ed for just me) and was seated at a table that was literally: couple, couple, couple, me, empty chair. Now, I don’t know if that empty chair/place setting was meant to be for my imaginary date OR if they had purposely overset that table to accommodate potential shower-uppers, but EITHER WAY I still remember it.
- Niall packed ham sandwiches for us to eat in the car on our way to take photos between the ceremony and reception. I’m convinced that sandwich saved my life, because OHMYGOD that sandwich.
- Back when we were planning to wedding, Niall had mentioned that most of his Irish relatives would give us cards rather than gifts but he didn’t like the idea of having a card box on the gift table, like we were expecting cards. My solution to this was to supply a post box and some post cards and markers so that people could write little notes to us if they wanted, along with a little sign inviting people to write said notes (It said "Please leave advice and wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs." I was worried that it sounded too demanding and I agonized about it for a good long while before I came to the conclusion that NOBODY CARES). Anyhow. What ended up happening was that the table ended up crowded with children drawing on the post cards, which turned out to be a nice little activity for them. And it was awfully cute to open the box later and find, for instance, a card with blue scribbles and a shaky, toddler-written name.
- Speaking of children, inviting them to the wedding was great. I wanted my nieces and nephews to be really involved in the wedding, so I kind of left it up to guests if they wanted to bring their kids or leave them home. We had a mix—there were people who got a nice night out and left their kids with a babysitter, and there were people who brought their kids. I liked hearing babies babbling and screeching during the ceremony and the older kids seemed to have a lot of fun at the reception. You know who spent the most time out of everyone on the dance floor? My 3 year old niece, that’s who.
- Getting the hotel room for an extra night. We stayed in the same hotel as where the reception was, which worked out nicely for collapsing in bed in the wee hours of the morn after the wedding, reception, and after-party at the pub down the road. The next day, we had brunch with some of our family members and then I had to go back to bed for... oh, four or five hours. I had no idea the level of exhaustion I would feel.
- Having a designated pub destination for after-partying. The reception ended at 11PM and Niall had told me that most of the Irish people would feel like the party was just getting started at that time. So we had scouted the area a few weeks ahead of time and picked out a casual, fun pub down the road from the hotel. It was pretty great to have a few drinks in a casual environment, wearing my fabulous wedding dress and tiara. (Which maybe helps explain the aforementioned level of exhaustion.)

* Niall's good friend who has a boyfriend and a girlfriend. She got the plus-two. I guess that's only one special case.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Wedding ish

I keep meaning to write here. And then I think to myself “I don’t just want to write about the wedding, that’s not all that interesting.” But then I don’t write ANYTHING and I do love blogging, so HERE WE GO. If you're uninterested in wedding things, I apologize in advance.

Miscellaneous wedding things!

-          I have my dress. Well, actually. The dress maker has my dress because they are making some minor adjustments like adding a bustle. A Bustle. I thought I was going to be one of those super cool girls who breezes into Macy’s and grabs a little white frock off the rack and breezes right on out, but no. I’m one of those girls who orders a custom made EMEFFIN BALLGOWN. But it’s from a small, local dress shop, not David’s Bridal. Do I get any points for that?
-          I guess I probably don’t get any points for that, since my bridesmaid dresses are from David’s Bridal. My four oldest nieces are going to be my bridesmaids and I took 2 of them with me to pick out the dresses. Naturally, they couldn’t agree on a style. So I told them they could pick any short, flouncy, chiffoney dress as long as they were all the same color. At David’s Bridal, that color is “Begonia.” You may know it as “fuchsia” or “hot pink.”
-          The groomsmen’s ties are also Begonia. My mom is moderately horrified, but I’m totally into it. For the sake of full disclosure, they’re also PAISLEY. Which I love! We already knew my taste runs tacky.
-          Speaking of tacky (see how this blog post just FLOWS? It’s like poetry.), I REALLY wanted our cake topper to be two sheep. Like, a ram and a sheep nose to nose. Kind of like this deer cake topper, but with SHEEPIES. Nobody was on board with that idea, so I eventually grumbled and said “Fine we’ll go with a Celtic knot, like everything else.” (I may have been a little heavy-handed with the Celtic knots on various other wedding-related items.) But then Niall finally had an opinion about something and said he would like the cake topper to be something San Franciscoish. I fretted about where to acquire this, but Emily, Leah, and Jenny all reminded me that San Francisco is FULL of touristy shops where you might just be able to find a mini figurine of the Golden Gate Bridge or a trolley or something SF iconic. We ended up deciding on this one:

-          Neither of us realized before we bought it that it is also a MUSIC BOX that plays “I left my heart in San Francisco.” I’m thinking we’ll crank it up when we cut the cake. MUSICAL WEDDING CAKE. Because, why the hell not?
-          With just under four weeks to go until the wedding I feel like I can now say with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that I am very very PRO plus-one invitations. I don’t care if you bring somebody I don’t know to my wedding, if that’s what you want to do in order to have a good time. Significant other? Not-so-significant other? Good friend? Let me know ahead of time, but go ahead and bring ‘em! The more the merrier! I gave everybody a plus-one. Well with the exception of one of Niall’s friends-- she has a boyfriend AND a girlfriend, so she got a plus-two.
-          I remember people telling me “oh you’ll feel differently about plus-ones when you get married” and “You’ll see” and “just wait” and NO. I don’t feel differently, I feel even more THE SAME! Plus-ones ALL AROUND.
-          My lovely friends who lived nextdoor to me when I was a wee Julia threw me a beautiful and fun bridal shower tea party. Everything was gorgeous and tasteful, with one or two touches of whimsy. It was just perfect. There were finger sandwiches and tea and fancy drinkies and fortune cookies with hot pink frosting and edible glitter. The games were even pretty fun—they did a good combination of involving everybody and putting me on the spot without making me do anything embarrassing (I didn’t have to strut around in a wedding dress made of toilet paper or anything). I think my favorite part of the day was when I just became so overwhelmed by all the love I was feeling that I got a little teary-eyed, and one of the hostesses said to me “Julia, we’re just here to have a good time. You need to nut up.”
-          I have my somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue. In reverse order: blue earring for my ear cartilage piercing, new tiara, borrowed veil from my sister, and old ring of my grandmother’s. And Stephanie gave me a silver sixpence to put in my shoe!
-          Speaking of old wedding traditions, have you ever heard of an Oathing Stone? Neither had I. And neither had Niall. And neither has ANY IRISH PERSON I ASK, but whatever. It’s an ancient Celtic tradition so by God we’re doing it.
I love the idea that it connects our wedding not just to the two of us and our families, but also our ancestors and, also, the earth. I’m planning to get a stone from my parents’ back yard and we’ll have it at the ceremony. My rather hippieish friend D will be the keeper of the stone for the wedding ceremony and then we’ll take it to Ireland the next time we go. Niall’s opinion on all of this is mild amusement which FINE WHATEVER I’LL TAKE IT.
-          ALSO! Niall’s sister told me that it is a tradition in Ireland to put out an Infant of Prague to guarantee good weather. Niall and I were talking about this at my parents’ house and my mom goes “Oh! The Infant of Prague! Hang on a second!” and she left the room and no joke came back with an ACTUAL INFANT OF PRAGUE STATUE that had belonged to her grandmother.
So guess whose wedding is going to have some kickass weather, guaranteed?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wedding Accessories

I'm one of those girls. I didn't think I would be one of those girls, but I totally am.

I never thought I’d be someone who was into the cheesy wedding-logo crap and all of the various wedding accessories.
I don’t know why I didn’t think I would be this type of person. The signs were all there—I went to Australia and bought six or seven Australia tee shirts and a boomerang, I went to USC and now own one of pretty much everything they sell with USC stamped on it. I’ve actually had to hold myself back from buying a USC trailer hitch cover, and my car does not even have a trailer hitch. Evidently I am someone who likes having the THING and also all of the accessories with it.

But for some reason I got up on my high horse about silly weddingy stuff. I used to think, "Oh, I'm superior to all of that nonsense. I don't need a big flowy dress and a tiara and who wears those stupid "bride" tee shirts anyhow?"
ME that's who. Because I’m EXACTLY the person for whom they market this crap.

I DO need a big flowy dress AND a tiara.

And this bedazzled BRIDE hoodie.

And these white flip fliops, for pre-wedding pedicures.

And some of these tee shirts for my bridesmaids (have I mentioned that my bridesmaids are my 4 oldest nieces? NIECEMAIDS.)
And this honeymoon tee shirt.

And this super awesome USC garter which is, like, a magical compilation of my current interests.
And these forks, for the wedding cake.

I also think I need these cups.

This might be getting out of hand.

My name is Superjules and I have an accessory-buying problem.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I’m engaged!
I’m getting married!
Can you believe it? It happened in September and I sort of still can’t.

Niall and I had gone on a couple of fancyish vacation-type trips, but he picked a regular old go-to-LA-and-watch-a-USC-football-game weekend to propose. It was perfect.
It was also a complete surprise.
I wondered why he was acting so weird and kind of hurrying me along in the bookstore when he KNEW I wanted to try on a tee shirt. I didn't clue in when he asked me what my favorite spot on campus was (I answered “Right here in the center, where everything is going on!” So then he asked me where my favorite place on campus was that I hadn’t shown him before-- I thought he was interested in learning my favorite haunts, but apparently he was trying to subtly get me to lead him to a less crowded area. (It worked.)). We wandered over to the alumni house and apparently while I reveled in the thought of standing in the very room where the first USC students lived and learned, Niall was gathering the courage to ask me a Very Important Question.
We walked outside to admire the statue of Joseph Widney and his dapper pocket watch, and Niall turned to me and told me that he loves me and he wants to spend his life with me. "Will you marry me?" He asked.
And then I gaped at him and said "Really?" for about two solid minutes before I came to my senses and said YES.
We’re getting married in June, which, I have learned, is not six months away.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

full of beans

Age zero to 29- I hate coffee. Coffee is the worst. It is gross and yucky. It SMELLS delicious which is a BOLD FACED LIE because it tastes like sadness and damp washrags. If I need to drink something caffeinated I will have a Coke or a Pepsi or tea with lots of milk and sugar or I’ll just have snacks instead.
Everyone who likes coffee has already tried to convince me that coffee is great or that I just haven’t tried this PARTICULAR drink or that I’ll grow into it and no. NO I SAY! Coffee is Satan’s preparation H and it can go right to hell.

Age 29- my sister buys me an “Ice Cap” from the little drive through coffee place in her tiny godforsaken Oregon town. It is some sort of ice creamy milkshakey caramelly orgasm in a cup that is now the drink yardstick against which all future tasty beverages shall be measured. The next time I visit my sister she buys me the horrendous CEARLY ALL WRONG abomination “equivalent” from Starbucks which I take one sip of and say YLECH. Ice Caps! I don’t like coffee, I like ICE CAPS.

Age 30- I’m stranded in Oregon after driving up with my sister and her kids. There was a plane crash at SFO and now nobody can fly into or out of SFO and every tiny airport on the Oregon coast has turned into a shit show. Planes are grounded, but I have to get home to go to work. I manage to rent a car at one of the aforementioned tiny airports, so I stop at the little coffee place and buy the BIGGEST ICE CAP I can get my hands on and then hit the road. YES I’ll take that extra shot and whipped cream etc etc all of the sugar please and thank you. Half an hour later I have to pull over because I’m too tired to drive. I reassess the situation and trade in my rental car for a Greyhound ticket and spend the rest of the day pondering how the Ice Cap failed me. (As a bonus, I get off the bus in Oakland to use the bathroom and my bus leaves without me, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Age 31- I cautiously try a caramel mocha frappuccino at the local coffee shop. It’s okay, I guess. I try the regular mocha frap. Gross. I try the regular caramel frap. Gross. I try the caramel mocha frap with extra caramel drizzle on top. It’s okay, I guess. And by that I mean okay enough to have one about 3-5 days per week for a year.

Age 32- Frappuccinos are hard to spell and they’re expensive and I’m kind of tired of them. I’ll try this iced coffee. Ylech. Iced coffee is gross, but maybe if I add some whole milk and a drizzle of caramel it will be tolerable. Yes, I’m sure I wouldn’t like to try a HOT beverage, thankyouverymuch.
When I'm home for Christmas my brother in law brings me the same hot coffee drink as my sister- something marked “CM” on the cup. I go to Starbucks and deduce that it must have been a Caramel Macchiato. I try one. I like it.

Today- I ordered a caramel macchiato and it is delicious. WHO AM I. WHAT IS THIS LIFE. THE SUN IS SHINING THE TANK IS CLEAN.