Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals

In order to get things you've never had, you need to do things that you've never done. Right? Here goes:

1. Quit drinking diet soda. I'll miss you, my sweet friend! I'm on day 4 already and holding strong.

2. Run a 5K race. I'm looking at two options right now; the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in May, and the Charleston Distance Run in September.

3. Ride 50 miles. At once. On my bike. I am saving money for a real road bike, but until then Brad has agreed to put slick tires and a rigid fork on Black Betty so that I can get started.

4. Take on more responsibility at work.

5. Lose the 20 last pounds and become as healthy as I possibly can be. I swear to god, I make this resolution every damn year. I'm hoping that this will be a sort of by-product of all of the training for numbers 2 and 3. I think I've got the healthy eating part down, I just need to work out more.

6. Visit my friend Melissa and her awesome husband and daughter (my god daughter) in DC at least 3-4 times in 2010. I hope to start this one next month -- they're only a 5 hour drive away!

7. Visit my friend Devin in California. I love this girl and my wedding was the first time I've seen her in nearly 2 years. Unacceptable!

8. Eat dinner at the dining room table. This is definitely a hard one, as Brad and I usually end up balancing our plates on our knees as we watch Jeopardy. Classy.

9. Pay off debt, and start saving money for a house. I can't wait to be free of the debt stranglehold!

10. Super secret goal that I'm not sharing with anyone yet. But I'll let you know what it is when it happens!


Tonight we're off to the home of one of Brad's cycling friends for a NYE celebration. A room full of new people? Sounds like the perfect opportunity for me to be a litte uncomfortable.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pretty Good Year

I can't believe it's almost Christmas and that 2009 is nearly over (side note: what are we supposed to call this decade? The 2000s?). This has been probably the best but most change-filled year that I've had so far -- moving to yet another state, starting yet another new job, and getting married of course!

I'm starting to think about my New Year resolutions for 2010. Every year I make them and I'm usually about 50% successful. Last year, I resolved to send birthday cards to all of our family members (I only missed 2 -- my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law the marine, who kept forgetting to give us his address). There was also a second resolution that I don't remember.

I'm thinking that, this year, I will resolve to better my health in some way. I eat pretty healthfully most of the time and I work out regularly, but I could do so much more. Seven years ago, I resolved to lose weight and I did -- nearly 60 pounds. Six years ago, I resolved to quit smoking and I did. It seems that I am the most dedicated to health-related resolutions. I've been eating a lot of cookies and sweets lately, as usually happens this time of year, and I feel really disgusting when I eat a lot of sugar. So I've been kicking around the idea of going refined sugar- and artifical sweetener-free in 2010 but that seems a bit daunting. Cutting down on sugar and only eating sweets on special occasions sounds easier, if I can keep the "it's Friday! That's a special occasion!" attitude at bay. I'd also like to run a 5K this year for real. I've been thinking about that for a while now, too.

Stay tuned for a public declaration of resolve.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving

My parents were in town for Thanksgiving, giving me the opportunity to go all Martha Stewart on the dining room:
Brad and I made a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, apple pie and, of course, a big roasted turkey.

My parents had never been to West Virginia before, so we showed them some of the sights. We went shopping at Tamarack,
visited the New River Gorge,
and saw the Capitol dome all dressed up for the holidays.


We also did some Christmas shopping, hit up the Capitol Market and the Cultural Museum, played Wii golf and bowling, and had a wonderful dinner at Bluegrass Kitchen. All in all, it was a good Thanksgiving weekend. Now my parents are on their way back to Wisconsin, Brad is riding his bike, and I'm getting ready to spend this rare 65 degree November day hiking at the KSF. Happy holidays y'all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Like a Queen

I have been sleeping on the same bed that I bought when I moved out of my parents' house at the age of 19. It sags in the middle and Brad and I often wake up with backaches. Not to mention the fact that Brad's feet hung off the end of it and I was constantly kneeing him in the side in my sleep. Eleven years we'd been sharing this bed, and it had to stop.

So last week, we went on a wild, flu-ridden journey of the city looking for a new bed. We found one at last, and it arrived yesterday. After moving our old bed into the guest room (for my parents to sleep on this weekend -- sorry guys), we hauled that sucker upstairs, set it up, and were all, "Huh. This Queen-sized bed, contrary to what I believed, is significantly larger than a double." For some reason, I thought our full-sized sheets would fit, but I was mistaken.

So last night at 9.00, you could find me at Target, buying sheets and a new bedskirt. But holy moley. I slept like a cherub last night. I am so in love with our new mattress that, if I weren't already married, I would make it my husband.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small Comforts


Our trip to Davis was wonderful! Brad and I both left with the opinion that Charleston was going to seem very dull in comparison. Oh, Blackwater Falls. Oh, the Purple Fiddle. Oh, the pumpkin pancakes at the Bright Morning Inn.

Unfortunately, we both came down with bad colds immediately upon arriving back at home. So bad, in fact, that I stayed home from work today and yesterday. I always feel guilty for missing work; I think about the work I have to do and I don't want to let anyone down. So happily, I will be back in the office tomorrow. But on days like this, I look for small everyday comforts to make me feel better. Nothing beats a day of cuddling on the couch with my dog, Boy Scout caramel corn, and a Project Runway marathon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Davis

We're taking a romantic mini vaca this weekend and heading to Davis WV. We'll be staying at a Bed and Breakfast, hiking in Blackwater Falls State Park, eating at Hellbender's Burritos, and shopping at Mountain Made.

The weather forecast looks awesome. I'm really hoping for clear nights so that we can see the stars (I've heard that the views there are spectacular).

I can't wait!

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Actual (E-mail) Conversation

It's after lunchtime, and I send Brad an e-mail with a link to a diamond-accented watch. The subject line is "A Christmas Idea..."

Brad: Oh, so you're into diamond-encrusted watches now? I didn't realize I married T-Pain.
K: I know, it's a bit extravagant. But it's really pretty and I need a watch!
Brad: responds with a link to Grills by Paul Wall watches
K: very funny.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Travels and Friends


Over the last few weeks, I've had opportunities to see more and more of Appalachia. A weekend in Kingsport, TN, which I learned is a nice, bike-friendly little town; a work trip to Morgantown, WV, where I saw the new WVU stadium and discovered Original Pizza; the annual Bridge Day celebration in Fayetteville, and last week, a day in Lexington, KY (also for work), which may or may not technically be in the Appalachians. We've been here for five months now and, more and more, I appreciate the beauty of this area.

However, now that our wedding is over, I'm working and back to normal life, it's time for me to find some friends. I've never been good at meeting people; it just doesn't come naturally to me. I have no problem spending time alone, and I'm self-conscious about approaching strangers. I'm working on a few possible volunteer opportunities that may introduce me to cool people, and I'm thinking about checking out my LYS to see if there is a knitting group, or even taking a class there to improve my techniques. I'm also tossing around the idea of buying a package of yoga classes, although I don't want to commit to a studio until I try it out. Excuses, excuses.

It's easy for me to find reasons not to do things, but I have to force myself to do them. I heard a quote somewhere, I don't remember where anymore, that said something to the effect of "you have to be uncomfortable in order to change." I guess, in order to meet friends, I need to cultivate a little bit of discomfort in my life. I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Julie Became an Ironman

One of the first people I met at my job while living in Pittsburgh was Julie. She was also from Wisconsin, so we swapped stories about how "The Pitts" differed from back home. Julie and her now-husband-then-fiance Matt were both marathon runners. I was always in awe of their athleticism.

She moved back to Wisconsin a couple of years ago, but Julie continues to be a source of amazement. Last month, she and Matt finished the Ironman Wisconsin. I read her blog when I don't feel like going to the gym.

Prepare to be inspired.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Firsts

Brad and I have been together for 11 years. We were engaged for three years, and as of today, we've been married for 13 wonderful days.

In all of this time together, we've had a lot of firsts. First date, first kiss, first time we said "I love you." First night spent in our first apartment. The first time we moved out of our home state; the first time we realized we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other.

Now that we're married, we get to celebrate a bunch of new firsts. Some of them feel like milestones, like the first time I referred to Brad as "my husband," and some of them are seemingly mundane, like the first time we went hiking as a married couple. For the first time in my life, I probably won't be spending Christmas in Wisconsin. So it will be our first Christmas spent without our families. But I'm OK with this, since we are our own family now.

We have so many firsts in our future: first wedding anniversary, the first time we buy a house, our first baby? I can't wait to celebrate them all!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Married

Friday, September 4, 2009

Life is Good

Flew into the Central Wisconsin Airport last night on the smallest plane I have ever seen. It seemed that all of the large, heavy people were sitting on one side, and I felt like, as we flew, there was a slight tilt in that direction. Maybe not. My parents picked me up and we went to Applebee's for dinner, which is one of those places that I would never go to unless it was with my parents.

This morning, my cell phone rang and it was a job offer. During my job search, I applied, interviewed, and was rejected for a lot of jobs that I am very overqualified for. Every time the rejection came, I felt so bad about myself. The job that I accepted today is in the same industry that I worked in while we lived in Pittsburgh, and I loved my job there. For the first time in my life, I will be starting a new position with directly-applicable experience. The best part about it is this: they were not hiring. When I arrived in Charleston, I sent my resume, thinking that nothing would come of it, really. But they are creating a position for me. That's never happened for me before.

Up next, a WI fish fry, Labor Day, and a week of pre-wedding madness leading up to wedded bliss. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Little Updates

Our wedding is in 15 days! Next Thursday, I'll be traveling to Wisconsin to do last-minute wedding things and staying there until mid-week after the wedding. I will be there for about two weeks; it will be the longest I have spent in my hometown since I first left, when I was 20 years old.

*****

I've been sick for the last four days with a horrific sore throat and an overall feeling like I was recently hit by a truck. Bad timing. We are due to have a house full of cyclists this weekend, as the infamous WVMBA Black Bear Race in Kanawha State Forest is on Sunday. Brad and several of his Pittsburgh friends are racing, so our house will be full of skinny guys with shaved legs, bike parts, lycra clothing, and chamois cream. I was planning on hiking to the top of the trail to watch people crash on the moss-covered cliffs, but if I don't start to feel better, I might have to sit this one out.

*****

Finally, I leave you with a photo of my dog on a mossy log.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Actual Conversation

It is 7:45 AM. I just woke up and I am lounging on the sofa, rubbing my eyes while wearing a Guns and Roses T-shirt and cut off jean shorts. Brad sits down next to me with a cup of coffee and his laptop. He is wearing a suit.

Brad: We're really a study in contrasts here, aren't we?
K: . . .
Brad: . . .
K: Can I have two dollars?
Brad: And now you're begging the guy in the suit for two dollars.

Friday, August 14, 2009

WWJHD?

Our wedding is less than one month away, and I'm traveling to Wisconsin in three weeks. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. We have been engaged for three years, and I've spent most of that time saying, "Oh, I have so much time." Now it's almost here, and I feel like I'm forgetting something important!

I picked up my dress from the seamstress a couple of days ago, and I was pleased to see that it fits well. I've lost a couple of pounds since I last tried it on, so it is a little more comfortable, too. I mean, it's definitely not a comfortable dress by any means, but I love it and I think it is flattering to my figure. I'll be channeling Joan Holloway on my wedding day and trying to embrace my curves:



I went to Macy's and a wonderful little woman named Amber Rose at the Lancome counter sold me some beautiful eye make-up for the big day. She gave me a mini-makeover there in the store; I will go a little bit lighter-handed than she did, but I liked the techniques that she used.

I made a silk flower/pearl/feather fascinator for my hair, but I'm still trying to decide how exactly I want to wear it. My hair is naturally wavy, and I want to keep the wave but I don't want to have, like, ringlet curls or anything. I don't want "bride hair," and my hair is about chin-length, so it might be a challenge. I'm thinking something similar to this, only less triangular, and with the fascinator more on the back of my head:



I just want to look my absolute best on our wedding day! I want Brad to see me and think that he is the luckiest guy in the room, because I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Random Act of Kindness

Today I drove downtown for a job interview. I pulled into a municipal lot with metered parking and, since I was really early, was digging around in my bag, looking for something to occupy my time for a few minutes.

All of a sudden, there was a knock on the driver's side window. There stood a teenage girl, maybe 16 or 17, wearing a little Hello Kitty T-shirt and holding a bag from Delia's. I rolled down the window and she said, "Do you want to take my parking spot? I have over an hour left on the meter, and I don't have anything else to do. That way you can keep your change."

"Sure, that would be great! Thank you so much!" I replied.

I watched as she backed her car out and I moved my car to her spot, all the while marveling at what a kind gesture it was. The people here are genuinely nice. Charleston is like Pleasantville!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Swear I Was Born Right in the Doorway

Our friend Matt will be playing this song on his guitar in 5.5 weeks, on a beautiful Saturday in September, as I walk down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. This song sums up exactly how I feel about Brad; I don't care, I can go anywhere with him and I'll probably be happy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Little Updates, Lawyer Edition

Brad finished the bar exam yesterday at 4.00 pm. His results won't come back until sometime in October, so I won't have to start referring to him as "Counselor" for a couple of months. He and I are both relieved that it's over. We celebrated with a bottle of cheap champagne at home, a drink with his future colleagues at a Charleston-swanky bar, and Mexican food at Los Agaves. All in all, it was a good night.

*****

Tomorrow we are heading up to PA where Brad will be racing in the Wilderness 101. It should be a good time -- a lot of Brad's friends are doing this race as well and I think I am going to volunteer at one of the aid stations. Nothing beats watching people stumble around incoherently after they've been riding for 8 hours!

I am a bit concerned, as I tend to be, about our dog. She doesn't always get along with other dogs, and sometimes people let their dogs run around, unleashed, at these events. Hopefully it won't be a problem this weekend! I have a 15' leash with which I will tether her to a tree and hope for the best. I'm sure she'll just lie there, peering at me, like she does at home. She's becoming incredibly lazy now that she's almost 4 years old.

*****

Brad and I are suit shopping this afternoon. I have high hopes for the Jos A Bank clearance sale!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Actual Conversation

What follows is an actual conversation between Brad and I about my new, hot pink nail polish.

K: Hey, what do you think of my new nail polish? *waves fingers around in the air*
B: You look like a fishing lure.
K: . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Répondez, S'il Vous Plaît

We sent out 50 wedding invitations two weeks ago.

Guess how many responses we have received? Seven.

Of these seven responses, none of them are from immediate family members. Now, you may think it's obvious that our families will be attending, and it is. However, we have three dinner choices on the menu so we need their selections; we need to know if Brad's siblings are bringing dates and, if so, their names, etc. Is this common? Does everyone usually wait until the last minute? I mean, it's just a little card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope: chicken, beef or vegetarian?

Come on, families! Send those suckers back!

OK, I guess the stress of wedding planning while job searching has started to get to me. I have been on a bunch of interviews, with no calls back, no offers. I have nothing but time to think about all of the things that could go wrong, and my mother isn't helping with her incessant wedding talk and texts (I should never have sent her a text; it opened the flood gates). I don't recall the last time I had a conversation with her that wasn't about The Wedding! and wasn't also riddled with pity over The Job Search!

Meanwhile, I have spent the last three years putting off our wedding plans, only to find myself with less than two months to go and a rising panic over what I haven't thought of, things I haven't yet done. Favors? No idea. Place cards? Only thoughts, no real actions. Gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen and our musician friend and parents and officiant? Nada. Wedding rings? Nope. Shit, I have to buy Brad a gift, too?

Sigh. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Biiiig Kaaaaaay

Brad and I eat pretty healthy food. Our cupboards are full of things like black beans, quinoa, brown rice. Our refrigerator is stocked with produce, natural nut butters, Ezekiel bread. We drink our water and get our 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

But I harbor a deep, dark secret. I gave up smoking years ago, I don't do drugs and I don't drink in excess. Yet I still have a vice; one habit that I can't kick despite multiple attempts.

Diet soda.

Every week, our recyclables (which are finally being picked up!) are probably 70% Diet Coke cans. It's like Where's Waldo, except you're looking for the cottage cheese container among the red and white cans.

Diet Coke generally costs between three and four dollars for a 12-pack. Considering I still have not found a job, I was looking for a way to cut back on my DC consumption to save money. I was trying to drink only one can per day, harassing Brad when he dared to drink from my stash, making mediocre iced tea to no avail.

Then, while grocery shopping one day, the heavens opened and a beam of angelic light shone upon my savior -- K-Roger brand diet cola, aptly named Big K. I was already drinking the Big K seltzer water. I decided to give it a try. I've been buying it ever since. It's not exactly DC, but it is caffeinated, sweet and fizzy and it costs $1.77 for a 12-pack.

Score.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'll Take You Down to See My Emmeline

My best friend, I have known for 20 years. I sang with her at an NKOTB concert at age 11. She is married to a bona fide genius. She has been through some very difficult times in her life but has conquered them with strength and grace. She lives in Maryland and I live in West Virginia, but she is planning a bridal luncheon for me the day before my wedding in our hometown. She's just like that. She is the most thoughtful and loving person I have ever met.

She gave birth to a baby girl named Emmeline yesterday. From the picture that I saw, Emmeline looks just like her mother, which is to say that she is beautiful. I can't wait to meet her, my goddaughter. I can't wait to find out who she will become. If she is anything like her parents, she'll be awesome.

Welcome, Emmeline. The world is such a wonderful place.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Operation Beautiful

Operation Beautiful has hit Charleston. On Monday and Tuesday this week, the ladies' locker room at my gym was decorated with colorful post-it notes with messages such as "You are beautiful just as you are!" There was one on the scale that said something to the effect of, "You are good enough, no matter what I say." It was nice to see this, in a gym especially.

Too often women, myself included, become obsessed with their weight and overlook the good, beautiful things about themselves. I've been trying to lose some weight before our wedding, and the scale isn't moving as quickly as I would like. I've been really, really upset about this. Upset to the point that yesterday, as Brad and I were on a 2+ hour hike at the Kanawha State Forest, my weight was all I could think about. Rather than enjoying the hike, I was telling Brad, I don't know what I'm doing wrong! I'm working out every day! I've cut my calories back to 1200-1400 a day! I ruined a wonderful afternoon, complete with amazing views, 75 degree temperatures, my cute husband-to-be, and a happy, happy dog companion because I couldn't stop thinking about the number on my scale.

That is some bullshit.

I used to be very heavy. But I'm not anymore. And I'm not saying I won't continue to have issues with my body, continue to try to lose weight, continue to track what I eat and what I weigh. But I'm going to try to stop the negative self-talk and appreciate my body for what it is. I'm in the best physical shape of my life right now. I can run, ride a bike, do a full pigeon pose, hike up mountains. I have functioning legs, arms, lungs, a brain and a heart. My body was built to birth a child, for christ's sake. That's pretty damn amazing.

The post-its in the locker room were not there today. I was sad to see them go.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Birthday

In honor of my 31st birthday, I give you two of my favorite people: Anderson Cooper and Richard Simmons. Will Anderson dance with Richard? You'll have to watch to find out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Actual Conversation

What follows is an actual conversation between my mother and I about her chin-length gray bob:

Mom: I want a new hairstyle. I'm turning 60 this year, and I'm tired of my hair. What should I do with it?
K: Get it cut short.
M: Don't you think that will make me look like an old lady?
K: Do you think your hair now makes you look like a young lady?
M: Well, no. . .
K: You've had the same haircut since I was a child.
M: I have.
K: Do you ever watch "Keeping Up With the Kardashians?"
M: Yes! *launches into a diatribe about how spoiled and mean to their mother the Kardashian girls are.*
K: You should get your hair cut like Kris from that show.
M: Kim Kardashian? Don't you think that's too long?
K: No, not Kim. Kris Jenner.
M: A Man's haircut?
K: Not Bruce Jenner, mom. Kris. The mother on the show?
M: Oh. But her hair is black!
K: . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blow to the Ego # 542

I'm not a competitive person, really. I never have been. I'm pretty content to not be the best at anything. I like to be as good as I can be, without going through too much trouble to get there.

Anyway, I went to the gym yesterday, as I have every day since I joined, in my quest to become Linda-Hamilton-in-Terminator-2 in time for my wedding. I was on the hamster wheel -- I mean the elliptical, Wu Tang in the headphones, zoning out. About 10 minutes into my workout, a 50-something man gets on the machine next to me. He starts moving and I SWEAR TO GOD we were synchronized. Then he started stealing glances at the display of my elliptical so that he could go faster than me. Whatever, I thought, maybe I'm being paranoid. I'm self-conscious almost to a fault, and I always think people are looking at me when they are not. Why would this old man need to one-up me on the elliptical? There were plenty of fitter people there if he was looking for motivation.

After my 30 minutes were up, I moved on to a treadmill. I picked the last one on the end, closest to the fans. I got myself situated and started to do some walking uphill / jogging intervals. Guess who ended up on the treadmill next to me, despite the line of empty treadmills? Guess who started running backwards on the treadmill next to me?

Suddenly, I felt like a flabby, out-of-shape loser. This middle-aged man was running backwards at the same speed which I was running forward. He wasn't one of those super tanned and muscular middle-agers, like you see in Just For Men haircolor ads, either. He looked like my dad, for god's sake. He was wearing tube socks.

Just when I'm feeling pretty good about myself, having gone to the gym four days in a row, someone comes along to remind me that I have a long, long way to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Little Updates, Quiet Riot

During my second trip to Sun Kiss Tan, the super tan girl decided that, since I didn't burn the first time, I was OK to go in the more powerful bed. I was not. The entire back side of my body, from neck to ankles, got burned in only 10 minutes! Once the burn goes away, I'll be back (because I have paid for 10 sessions) but I will demand the first bed that I used, not the torture chamber.

*****

The city of Charleston has still not picked up our recyclables. Brad suggested that perhaps they only collect them every other week, so we'll try again on Wednesday.

*****

I had a mild freak out when I realized that we are getting married in less than three months. I have so much to do. The first thing on my list? Find and make an appointment with a good seamstress. The second? Join a gym and start working out with a vengeance. I plan to do both this week.

*****

Somewhere, in the hills of West Virginia, Quiet Riot is playing very loudly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tanning

I spend most of the summer in T-shirts, sometimes wife beater-esque tank tops, and I spend a decent amount of time outside (well, maybe not lately). Therefore, I tend to have a rockin' farmer's tan by July. Brad gets the worst farmer tan in the world from his lycra cycling clothes; mine isn't that bad but bad enough.

Since we are getting married in September and I am not wearing a T-shirt to the wedding, I desperately need to even out my tan. I was debating what to do: should I lay outside in our yard everyday? Use self-tanner? Get an airbrush tan?

In the end, I decided to go the sorority girl route and hit the tanning salon. I know how bad this is for me, and I am not the kind of girl who plays fast and loose with, you know, cancer. I will avoid UV rays for the rest of my life after the wedding, but I need my skin to match for this one special day!

I went to Sun Kiss Tan for my first session yesterday. The girl at the front desk was one of the tannest people I have ever seen, natch. She sold me a package of ten sessions, and escorted me into the room. I was really nervous, as I tend to be when I am doing something for the first time.

First, let me say that there are special goggles. And if you don't wear them? You'll go blind. I stripped down to my bra (with straps tucked in) and underwear, slathered myself in a "Diva" lotion sample, clamped my eyebrows down on those goggles, and hopped into the bed. I was prepared for it to feel like a coffin, and it kind of did, but it was surprisingly relaxing. It was warm and there was a fan blowing and music playing. I stayed in the bed for ten minutes and when it shut itself off, I got out, got dressed, and came home.

Not scary at all. And the payoff will be that I won't look ridiculous in my wedding dress! Now if there was only a way to keep my skin from freckling in the process. . .

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Barrel of Fun

Brad and I went to Huntington yesterday to do a little exploring and ended up at the Huntington Mall. Somewhere, we had procured a gift card for Cracker Barrel, a place that neither of us had ever been to before, and since it was lunch time and there was a CB near the mall we decided to give it a try.

Turns out Cracker Barrel is an odd, wood-paneled "Country Store" in the front, with an odd, wood-paneled restaurant in the back. We put our name in for a table and milled around the store, where it appears they sell only rocking chairs and candy. After a few moments, our name was called and we were escorted to a huge, round table. This thing could have easily seated six, but we had the whole table to ourselves. We decided that, since we were the only patrons under the age of 65, that they had put us at the kids' table. We both ordered a fish fry, which is a staple of Wisconsin dining and is something that is not readily available in this part of the country. It was OK, but really only managed to whet my appetite for a real WI fish fry.

**************************************************************************************

In other news, we received our wedding invitations in the mail yesterday! I ordered them from an unfortunately-named website called Wedding Paper Divas, and they were relatively inexpensive so I didn't know how the quality would be. I was pleasantly surprised, they are beautiful and unique and exactly what I wanted. I can't wait to send them out!

Next, I need to find a good seamstress and have my dress altered. Luckily, it fits me pretty well, so I really only need it to be shortened, and I think I will have them cut the train off. I'm not really a train kind of girl. I also need to figure out what I'll be wearing on my head. Decisions, decisions. . .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why, Charleston?

Why won't you take my recyclables?

For the last two weeks, I have placed the bin out on the curb along with our trash cans. And for the past two weeks, there they have remained after the garbage truck has come and gone.

The first week, I just put the items in the bin. When they were not picked up, I read on the city's website that they have to be in clear plastic bags. I looked at three different stores and couldn't find any clear bags! So this week, I put them in grocery store plastic bags in the bin, to no avail. I guess they are really serious about this clear plastic bag business? Where does one find these elusive clear bags?!

I just want to recycle my Diet Coke cans, people!

edited: Brad found clear plastic bags at Lowe's! We'll see what next week brings.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Southern Hospitality

Here is something that I've noticed about living in the South (a Google search confirmed that West Virginia is, in fact, considered The South): people are really, really nice.

When we first came to Charleston a few months ago looking for a place to live, we stopped by a grocery store to get some beer*. This tall, lanky high school kid was our cashier and he was the sweetest, friendliest grocery store worker I have ever encountered. Same trip, when we picked up lunch, all of our Sandwich Artists were happy and chatty and genuinely nice people. I'm not sure if this is because Charleston is a smaller city than we're used to, the stars were in line and everyone we met was having a good day, or if people in the South are just nicer.

Brad's father, who is a born-and-raised Wisconsinite but has traveled a lot, gave us these words of wisdom before we moved; "People in the South move at a different pace." He was right. People tend to drive more slowly and the cars that cut you off on the Interstate have PA or Ohio plates. People amble through the stores, picking items up and examining them instead of rushing around, throwing elbows to get milk, eggs, bread like I'm used to. Also? Children sit in the actual cart, with the groceries just like we did as kids. I haven't seen any of those giant plastic firetruck carts that take up the entire aisle and were in every store in Pittsburgh.

It's going to take some time for me to adjust and I'm kind of one of those elbow-throwers, as much as I try not to be. But I think I like this attitude. Maybe the laid-back lifestyle has something to do with the friendly people? I think I have a lot to learn from my new neighbors.



*Beer at the grocery store? WV 1, PA 0

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hi.

My name is K.

I was born, raised and educated in central Wisconsin, where I met my fiance and best friend, Brad. We have been together for almost 11 years, lived in 5 cities and 3 states together, and are finally making it official on September 12th, 2009 at an art gallery in our hometown in Wisconsin.

We recently moved to Charleston, WV from Pittsburgh, where Brad attended law school. He has accepted a job offer here in C-town, and is currently studying for the bar exam and looking for fast guys to go mountain biking with.

I am looking for a job, watching bad reality TV, and dying to try ramps.

I intend to write about planning a wedding from hundreds of miles away, learning my way around Charleston, living in Appalachia, and whatever else life brings my way.