Friday, April 24, 2009

I know, I know

It's been a while. What can I say?

I've spent the past two or three weeks sans wedding planning. Other stuff was on my mind. Work. Taxes. State taxes (Virginia, you are a cruel mistress). Property taxes. blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, I still have yet to tackle a significant task: the bridesmaid dresses. Why? I'm trying to find one that
a.) comes in a color I like
b.) is a reasonably flattering design (or at least equally insulting to all body types... sorry gals but you're wearing orange silk shantung halters if i say so because it's MY WEDDING. bwuhahahaaa)
c.) comes in a variety of sizes, including maternity (or a compatible maternity style that comes in the same color/fabric)

Guys, let's have a little pow-wow here. Why is taffeta the hot ticket item for all things bridesmaid? It wrinkles like mad. It photographs weird. It is a loud fabric-- when you touch it, it makes noise. It is a cold fabric. Maybe nice for summer, but hecky no for an October wedding.

So why am I finding all kinds of nice designs that only come in taffeta? come on.

I know I'll find something I like soon, but it feels like all the decorative endeavors of a wedding hinge on the wedding colors. And I just can't commit to a set of wedding colors. That's so stupid. Heh. I have no problem committing to a person, obviously, but a COLOR? whoa now, little filly.

I guess I can't pick because I really don't care that much about it. As in... it can wait. Shoot, ladies-- show up in your jammies for all I care*. I want to find something nice and classy and all, but I don't want to break my neck over this. I have the groom, I have a location, and I have a dress. Everything else is just the icing on the cake.

*Do not bring this statement back to my attention when I pick out the groomsmen's cummerbunds, thanks.

just kidding. no cummerbunds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Wedding Wave, 2009

So maybe you've noticed that just a scoche less than everyone in the mid-20's age range is getting married this year.

I'm one of these many brides-to-be, and at first I didn't care. It didn't make any difference to Mike and me-- this is where we are in our relationship, whether we felt like we were part of the Sun Myung Moon Mass Wedding of '82 or not.

Then I was excited about being in the company of so many others who, say, were looking at centerpiece ideas at the same time. Hello, we can all gripe about the retail markup of veils TOGETHER. I mean, they're just a yard of tulle with a ribbon edge, amiright? What could be more fun than that? We could all squee with unified delight when one of us finds The Dress or The Pantsuit or whatever.

Now I'm a little bummed, because everywhere I go there is bridal chatter. And people, I am what I am-- I can not help but compare myself to others. Now I get to fight feeling inadequate because I haven't started looking for a dress, because I can't rank my friends enough to pick a maid of honor, because I can't decide on a color scheme, or because I'm less organized than I want to be, or maybe just because I don't have my best friends or family down here to help me. And despite constant reassurance from Mike that everything's going to be great, well... bluh.

I feel even sorrier for people who have to listen to all this and AREN'T part of the wedding who-hah.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

ease my troubles, that's what you do.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am getting married. True story.

Mike proposed to me on Valentine's Day, and I said yes.

"Valentine's Day?" you say. "How cliche!" you say. Yes and yes, my friends... but we don't care. Mike could have asked me on the JumboTron at the Super Bowl, spelled it out in Cheerios on the kitchen counter, or just said, rather tipsily in a Pittsburgh bowling alley, "You know, I really wanna marry you!" And I would have agreed with equal enthusiasm in either instance.

I specify the third instance because that's kind of how it all started coming together.

We spent a week visiting each other's families in January. I had just quit my old job and was a week away from starting a new one, so Mike and I packed up the dog (Eli) and headed first to Pittsburgh, then to Columbus, and then back to Pittsburgh. It was during the second trip to P-burgh that we went bowling along with all manner of kind-hearted old blue-collar men and their bowling leagues, and just marveled at how much we loved being together.

Mike had met my family-- my Mom and most of my siblings with their respective families, and he fit right in. Everyone approved of him, as they should have. And his family seemed to like me well enough. The trip went really well, and we were getting excited about the idea of building a life together with each other.

We were bowling six or so games at this bowling alley/arcade/lazer tag place in his hometown the night before we were going to head back to Richmond. Mike, having enjoyed a round or two of the alley's finest drafts, leaned back in the plastic seat and stared at me with a glaze over his eyes and a smug grin on his face. "I really wanna marry you," he said.

I didn't know what to say to that... I mean, was he actually ASKING me, or just kind of blurting things out? Mike's a wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of guy, so I just smiled... but I was glowing on the inside.

Later in the evening, he introduced me to Bill, a retired fireman bowling in the lane beside us. He introduced me as his "future fiancee." ruh-roh, Andrea... looks like he's serious! Anyway, Mike's closet Pittsburgh accent came out a lot in the alley-- when Bill wouldn't let Mike buy him another frame of bowling, Mike said, "Ah, c'mon Bill! You're lettin' me dahn!" heh. Furthermore, Bill had earlier apologized for "interruptin' yunz game" to give us some coupons for buy-one-get-one free bowling.


When we came back to Richmond, we started to discuss seriously the idea of us getting married. We both knew for sure that the other was the person we wanted to be with. I knew Mike was the only guy for me. And he knew I was the girl he had been looking for. This relationship... what we have between us... it doesn't get any more perfect than this. Pardon my coarse language, but I can honestly be 100% myself around this man, and he STILL thinks the sun shines out of my butt. And vice versa.

So we have decided to get married this October. Shortly after we decided this, Mike proposed to me. It seemed a little backwards at first-- planning a marriage before you've even been officially asked-- but from what I gather it seems that most modern couples just kind of do it that way. It's just how it went for us, and since it works-- who cares? Plus, he had already sort of asked, if you count the bowling alley thing.

So come along, ladies and gentlemen. As time permits, I want to chronicle the wedding preparation process on my blog. Enjoy the ups and downs of Bridezilladom as I go through food and cake options, floral arrangements, color schemes, dress debacles, and all manner of cow-having for the next eight months.

c'est si bon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

save the date

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a wild ride the past month or so. I'm gonna kick the blog back into high gear sometime this week. Details to come.

Monday, December 29, 2008

has been?

There appears to be an inverse correlation between the frequency of my weblog posts and the activity of my love life.

I'd certainly rather have an active romance than an active blog.

I would argue, to myself, that a good writer ought to be writing... but I guess the pent-up angst from which the weblog once came has been released, or perhaps re-routed, into other channels of creative expression.

I suspect a lot of my posts over the past four years of blogging were just done out of joy for the attention they garnered. I've always been someone who loves to perform. The performer is shaped by the audience, though. I had a cool college blog, and college has been over for a while now. I don't have the adventures I used to-- I still have adventures, mind you, but they're quite different nowadays.

I dunno. I'm happier with my life now than I can ever remember being, even at the height of my creativity.

(especially at the height of my creativity, actually.)

But I guess I'm a little bummed that I'm not (what I consider) inspired anymore.

I imagine I'm just getting to that point in life where things are less about what will be and more about what is. Less thinking about creating a life of my own, and more living the life of my own that I've already created.

Not that there isn't still an infinite amount of what will be. And not that there still isn't a lot of shaping to do about the amorphous yet-to-come of my next fifty years or so.

But now I get to begin enjoying some of what I've already shaped for myself.

And when I'm busy enjoying, it apparently means I'm not writing about it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

make the nose breath stop

I'm sitting at my cubicle, and the only thing I can hear is a nearby co-worker breathing through their nose.

I'm about to scream.

Why does that stuff drive me up the wall?

heh, I also kind of hate it when people repetitively eat loudly.

The kind of gutteral, smacky, salival noises that people make when they pay no attention to the noise they generate. bluh.


I've got four weeks left of my illustrious Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship. I think I've gotten everything out of it that my particular host facility was able to provide... so it looks like from here on out I'll just be doing a little routine testing.

I've also sort of volunteered to be the PCR Lab Wench. I'm aliquotting reagents. I'm bleaching off the tube racks. Bust out the C1V1 = C2V2, 'cause I'm makin' us some 70% EtOH.

It's been a good run but I can't wait to start something new.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

25 ain't bad so far.

Ladies and gentlemen, I got the clinical microbiology lab job.


I will begin in late January. It's a job with a lot of great features-- a high-complexity, high-throughput laboratory in a teaching hospital, where the longer I stay, the more I would learn how to do. There will be opportunities to participate in research studies and take free college courses.

Not to mention that I really enjoy the actual work.

Look, I already know I'm a huge nerd, so I have no qualms about saying how much I enjoy medical technology. Bacterial identification is interesting to me-- it's like solving small mysteries every day. Bacteria have personality-- they change their characteristics quite often as a means of survival and evolution, so the mind of a microbiologist has to keep up with the changes.

Anyway... I'm happy.

Know why else I'm happy? Because I have a great boyfriend.

I could write pages on what a great guy Mike is. I could tell you that he is friendly, positive, generous, funny, open, and amazingly smart.

But what you should know is that he makes me happy. And anyone who knows me can tell you, that is no simple task.

I've only been 25 for five days, but it's already looking pretty good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I must not have a face for service-oriented careers

The interview went very well. I don't know how long it will be before I hear anything.

I certainly appreciate an employer that has good interview questions. Now, I'm still young in my career and haven't had more than a handful of "serious" job interviews, but I think you can probably tell a lot about a potential employer by the kinds of questions they ask you in your interview.

Ideally, in addition to general job qualifications and competence, an employer is looking for a good personality fit from a candidate. If I were managing a group of people, I'd want to hire somebody that wasn't going to make everyone's life miserable. I'd want to hire somebody the others could get along with, who would make coming to work a reasonably pleasant experience for the others. If possible. That's the kind of worker I try to be, so I guess that must be the way I think things should be done.

But that's pretty tough to determine from an interview alone, when everyone's got their game face on.

Anyway, this employer asked me some very good, technically-relevant questions. I felt like I was able to demonstrate that I am a competent clinical lab scientist, and that I do have good, unique qualities that would make me a good hire.

The easiest interview I ever had was at the hospital worked in back home. I think they were just thrilled to find an entry-level lab tech with my academic background.

The toughest interview was for the EID Fellowship Program. I prepared for that thing for weeks! Four PhD-level public health scientists, one Andrea. Nothin but net.

There are two interviews that tie for the title of "Worst. Interview. Ever."

1.) Barnes and Noble. Apparently shelving books and/or conjuring up a venti Frappucino is VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS, PEOPLE. They ran the gamut of "tell us about a time when you set goals and achieved them/dealt with a difficult co-worker/made the sun shine out of a bodily orifice of your choosing" type questions, but my absolute favorite was:

"Tell us about a time you failed."

I have no idea what I answered. All my job experience to that point had been retail (not that this interview was for a retail job or anything...) so I whipped up some obscure example of being unable to find a certain product for a customer and how that taught me the true meaning of Christmas or whatever. Because, you know, ALL my failures in life are things I'd readily discuss with a potential employer to show him what a gem I am.

At the end, the boss essentially told me that, because they were such hot stuff, they reserved the right to be as picky as they wanted. (i.e., BYE NOW)

The other real doozy of an interview was actually my very first "real" job interview:

2.) Etna Dairy Queen. I don't know HOW you fail an interview for DQ, but I guess I did it. But that's not really what made the interview noteworthy-- the clencher was that the DQ had not been completely built yet, so interviews for potential soft-serve slingers were being held in the back room of a garage in the gas station next door.


Me, sixteen years old, with a crusty middle-aged man in a dank, oil-slicked garage. Alone. With my Mom waiting in the car outside. HEAVENS YES, let's get this career STARTED!

Right, so... I never got a call back from that job. I went to that DQ a few times after it opened, and it was always manned by cutesy little teen queens.

Did I mention I wasn't much of a looker at sixteen? Cause I wasn't. Trust me, I was there. I'll always wonder if that's why I didn't get the job.

At any rate, here's hoping for the laboratory.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

north vs. south, volume twelve

Guess who's got a big fat job interview on Monday. daaaaaaaang right!

It's for a microbiology lab position, not unlike the one I had back in C-bus. I do so love the microbiology. It seems this job will also allow for me to begin part-time classes this fall. At this particular juncture, I am leaning more toward yes for school than no.


On an unrelated topic, the only Caribou Coffee to be found within a 50-mile radius of Richmond is in the Richmond Airport. That's not a location particularly conducive to my typical coffee-house shenanigans (studying, thinking, reading, usw.)

Not that there's anything wrong with the Starbuckies, but I just like Caribou and wish there were some around here. But then, I am not in college anymore. I don't have heart-to-hearts with my college gal pals over a steaming cup of what-have-you. Most of the time I just brew my own coffee (which I can do Caribou style, as they sometimes sell the beans in grocery stores) and sit around my apartment like an old lady. An old lady who plays Mariokart and sings out loud to nobody.

Also, I'm terribly short of coffee-lovin friends here. Dang Southerners and their sweet tea. If it weren't for that silly Mason-Dixon-fueled predisposition to tea over coffee, there would be Caribous and Cup O' Joes all over the dang place.

Maybe some expatriated Southerners are saying the same thing in Milwaukee. "Dang Northerners and their lattes. What does someone have to do to get some red velvet cake around here?"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ain't ready for the acrylics

Hellooooo, Newman.

I am back in R-VA after a lovely trip to my hometown. I didn't see all the people I wanted to, but I still got to have some good times.

I really think the shopping is better in Columbus than Richmond. I'm probably biased because I know C-bus so well, but even after a year and some change in Richmond I still don't get that jazzed about shopping like I do when I'm home. I know where all the same stores are located here, but I dunno.

Maybe it's the company. My Richmond friends aren't mallrats the way my Columbus friends and I are. It's probably because Columbus is a huge test market for a lot of stores, restaurants, and products, and we're a little spoiled by it. For example: Hello Kitty pop tarts. We have them back home at Meijer, but a.) there are no Meijers in Richmond, and b.) there are no Hello Kitty (or raspberry, for that matter) pop tarts to be found here anyway.

When people ask what Meijer is, I tell them it's Wal-Mart minus the Ick Factor. It's the love child of Ukrop's and Wal-Mart. The homeyness of Ukrop's with the size, prices, and selection of Wal-Mart. win-win situation.

But that's cool. You know. I don't need Hello Kitty pop tarts. No big deal.

Anyway, going home afforded me the opportunity to go through all my old stuff to look for things to take back with me. I brought scrubs, because I'm hoping to get a med tech job here very soon. I brought some old textbooks, some clothes, and some art supplies, but I still left so much behind because I don't feel all that settled yet.

I feel settled enough to bring the colored pencils and craft scissors, but not enough to bring the oil paints and the easel. Ya dig? There's a metaphor in there somewhere.