Tag Archives: Stress

Epic Journey: Musical Chairs

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As any one who has had to plan a wedding of any size knows the first thing everyone freaks out about is the guest list. The cost, venue, or any other small number of things that can make you break out in hives. The guest list selection is one of the most humbling and nerve racking experiences every couple must face. It’s like a choice between cake or death* (see footnote).

When my fiance and I sat down and made a rough draft list it was daunting. We purposely had a long engagement so we could make a lot of decisions over time, and tried not to make snap decisions based on emotional knee jerk reactions. We both have large Catholic families…with lots of kids and other extended family. We had a hard time trying to figure out how to negotiate the scope of our list.

When we tell people how large our guest list is (only if they ask) their eyes get big. Then people begin to say, “Just elope!” Then we have to do a little dance and explanation of how that isn’t possible** (see below for short answer). Long answer: his family and our friends love to party and dance and they will make it feel like an awesome party. My personal reasons for not wanting, or ever imagining a large wedding, is due to my own family bringing drama to the table. Like our wedding favors, we had to adjust our settings every time we addressed the count of the guest list. Every few months the number and names changed, parents gave extended family members names, and we realized we left someone off the list by accident that we hadn’t seen in a while. Having a long engagement helped us deal with these small surprises over time.

Even after we made a final A and B guest list I had a few extra blank envelopes set aside just in case we had a few seats open up. Which they did, and not from friends or family we expected. Having a long engagement also opened up seats due to break-ups, travel arrangement issues for family and friends coming from out of town, and some life events in general. Sad to hear some are not able to attend, and happy I have the ability to strategically replace those empty seats with other people we love.

The dance of musical chairs has been an interesting aspect of wedding planning that I was afraid to tackle from the beginning. It was (literally) my worst nightmare. It is now over a year after our engagement and only two months away from the wedding. Planning and writing about this whole experience has been enlightening and an educational process. I would never wish this kind of societal torture on any of my friends, but maybe a few “frenemies.”

The latest development has been all the in-fighting happening in both our families. It’s gotten so dramatic we have a little over 3 tables worth of family, on both sides, who are requesting to be seated with their own group of people. To add to the complications I’ve also been instructed to seat them across the hall from each other for fear they will walk out and leave the reception. Drama.

I will say I am greatly disappointed to be given these types of requests and restrictions for what is suppose to be a day “about us,” and be made to feel like we’re the ones making it difficult for them to be able to attend in peace. You would think these “adults” would put their personal and petty feelings aside for one day to let us enjoy ourselves but I guess that was asking for too much.

*Eddie Izzard joke reference from Dressed to Kill

**Short Answer: His family and Mother would kill us.

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Don’t forget to watch me freak out on twitter and pretend I can accomplish all my Pinterests!

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Note of Worth

Things have gotten complicated. There are lots of things happening.

  • Work
  • Wedding
  • Financial Issues
  • Life Issues
  • Worries

Which is why I haven’t been staying on task with my musings as much as I would like to. I’ve written have a dozen drafts and published none. I have an almost finished piece on my Bridal Shower but every time I go to finish it, or attempt to publish it, something else gets my attention and I am required to let it sit while I attend to my real world problems.

This blog/journal was an attempt to keep things positive and happy, and possibly introspective. I haven’t been feeling that way lately. We are at the 2 1/2 month mark from the wedding and I’m feeling…lots of things lately. I’ve been fairly productive with small projects, and our bathroom is under minor construction at the moment (FINALLY!), but that also means I have take a shower…for a few days. Yuck.

The most recent moment of note was watching Man of Steel with a group of some of my favorite people. That same day I got a sunburn, a sinus infection from the A/C at the movie theater, and mild food poisoning from the theater coffee as well. Yet, I still considered it the best day I had this past week.

FIRST EPIPHANY

I guess what I’m really trying to say is I feel lost. There are only a handful of people I feel comfortable talking to about some of the more serious issues going on in my life at the moment. I often get this ominous feeling of dread, or anxiety, at very stressful points in my life and not many people can handle being around me, or really want to help or be there for me. I’m a bit abrasive, on purpose or by accident from time to time. It’s one of my most charming traits. Just kidding. However, I still have feelings, and people tend to forget that. They feel they can treat me like what I want, or what I feel isn’t real because I’m just being “crazy” or lately the new nickname is “bridezilla.” That’s just rude.

SECOND EPIPHANY

I also recently realized that I’ve been trying SO hard to be considerate of everyone else all the time and have tried to not be a burden of everyone around me that I’ve walled myself up and just feel like I can no longer trust any of them by default.

When I say, “Wanna come with me to go shoe shopping and have a few drinks?” What I really want is just to spend time with you while being productive. “Wanna come over and play board games?” What I really want is to not talk about the wedding and just enjoy your company. “What’s going on with your wedding?” Cause I’m really tired of talking about mine. A lovely woman who I spoke to about my wedding with joy in my voice a few weeks ago asked me about my wedding the other day and all I could muster was an “Ugh” response. Then I felt horrible for even vocalizing it. It was during a work function and I didn’t want to be distracted, and I was a little stressed in that moment. I tried to be chat with her about other things to avoid having my grumpy side lash out at her by accident. She seemed receptive and the event went well without further ugliness.

THIRD EPIPHANY

I’ve tried so hard to keep my negative side in check for so long that I feel like I’m going to burst with crazy! What helped to deflate the volcanic eruption was a well deserved face-to-face lunch with my Best Friend and Maid of Honor. We get each others grumpy cat alter egos. We’ve had years of practice. We’ve both been on the receiving end of a verbal slap to the face from one another so that we can now help to burst that bubble before it has a chance to do more harm to any one else. However, at the end of yesterday I felt that sense of dread again. It wasn’t because my BF/MOH didn’t help, it was because it was more than just the little things that finally brought me down at the end of the day.

“Aren’t you excited for your big day? It’s coming up soon!” asked an Aunt at my Bridal Shower.

“Yeah, I guess. I’ll be excited when I have nothing else to do, and it’s finally here. And I’m on my honeymoon.” I responded.

It may not be what people want to hear, but it’s the honest truth. What I’d really like is to get back to my real life and have people ask me about that instead.

Watch me get CRAZY on Twitter, and pretend my problems don’t exist on Pinterest!

 

 

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Epic Journey: 4 months and counting!

OMG.

As my lovely calendar keeps reminding me we have four months to go before the Big Day…and I am behind a few projects. Eeep!

I’ve been a little sick the past week, Bridal Shower preparations are underway, shopping for accessories, and trying to stay focused. Deep breaths. I’m working on a great post about our wedding favors, which are ADORABLE by the way. If the week goes well I should have it up by Friday. If not…I’ll definitely have it up by Monday, as usual. I also had a few friends over last night to help me out with a few wedding craft projects that I’ve been slacking off on doing myself. I try and try to plan craft nights and something always goes wrong, or conflicts arise and I end up not making the invite. I have found that by just talking to people about when they have free time and making a commitment right then and there has been far more effective in getting me off my ass to do stuff with friends, and wedding stuff.

My friends giving a helping hand with some decorations.

My friends giving a helping hand with some decorations.

I’m doing my best to stay motivated and not get too bogged down by the stresses of last-minute preparations. Writing about everything as it happens helps give me perspective, laugh in retrospect, and gives me something to look forward to. Writing, journals, and blogging have always been my form of therapy (cause regular therapy is expensive!). I’ve had a journal almost my whole life. My friends and I were on LiveJournal all the time. Okay, mostly I was on there all the time. I’ve made a lot of friends through online forums, chat rooms, and other online communities and it’s always been inspirational to see how many of them I’ve kept in touch with over the years. Even if I’m writing to myself it doesn’t make a difference to me. I write because I want to, not for others, and definitely not to get others to like me more. I’m a little abrasive for some. 😉

Hope everyone is having a great week. I’m gonna try get over this nasty cold that’s taken my voice and made me sound like a 60 year-old chain smoker! Oh, and go see the new Star Trek: Into Darkness movie! 😉

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Epic Journey: Intermission

Sorry for the late posting today. I’ve run into a few projects that are taking up more of my time than I anticipated (true of ANY DIY wedding adventure). I’m trying to finish some things, start some things, and looking forward to non-wedding related socializing. 🙂

If you’re in absolute need of something to read or listen to on your lunch break hour head over to the Defective Geeks website and give them some love. Below is a picture of the project I’m trying to start/finish.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and I’ll be back on Monday with more juicy wedding details.

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Epic Journey: Bachlorette Conundrum

I’m stuck with a quandary that I can’t seem to shake.

When I started researching, buying books (yes, I still buy paper books), visiting venues,  and getting my head wrapped around this whole Epic Journey of planning our wedding I tried very hard to convince myself I didn’t need to do all the traditional wedding stuff to feel happy. We have made a few adjustments to a lot of our original ideas and as we get closer and closer to the Big Day I have one underlying feeling growing inside me.

A few months ago I attended my first birthday party at a Strip Club, with male strippers for the record. I have been to a female strip club in the past, but that story is for another time. I attended with a small group of friends, some new, some old, and got all gussied up for a night on the town and opportunity to tuck some dollar bills into a greasy guys thong. It. Was. Amazing. Mostly due to the strippers rubbing themselves all over my friends and steering clear of my nice clothes. I was busy taking pictures and used my iPhone as a shield against their greasy thrusts. It was hilarious. It was a nice lesson. A fun moment in time. I also appreciate the experience of attending an event such as this for someone else on their special and fun night. I now know I never want someone to get a stripper for my birthday, or any other event in my life. It’s a lot more fun to see it from the outside, watching it unfold before your very eyes…and laugh, and have fun with it.

Trying to stay under the radar after a stressful week of wedding shenanigans.

Trying to stay under the radar after a stressful week of wedding shenanigans.

I will admit, I’ve never been a bridesmaid, I haven’t been to many bridal showers, and only one bachelorette party in my life. I’m not quite sure what I want, or what to expect out of a party of this kind…for myself. If you’d asked me a few months ago I would have made simple requests: a spa weekend, a night of light drinking, combined with maybe watching crappy movies and lots of girl talk. However…the closer and closer it gets to the end of this Epic Journey the more I want to go all out and party like it’s my last day on earth. Maybe it’s the stress of planning the wedding. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to do much for my birthday this year. Maybe I’ve just lost my mind and I think drinking copious amounts of alcohol will bring my equilibrium back. Who knows. All I do know at this point is that I want to, no need to, get silly and drunk. Possibly double the amount of silly and drunk.

Am I the only person this has happened to? Am I losing my mind? I feel weird about the expectations for this kind of event, and instead am having a weird knee jerk reaction. I’m not sure if I’m excited, terrified, or ambivalent to the whole experience. At this point, I just wanna drink. A lot. While trying not to vomit on myself. And maybe not end up in jail for beating someone up. Just sayin’.

Maybe I need to try to do more everyday things, and try not to lose touch with my everyday life while this Epic Journey gets closer to consuming my life. Silver linings. Deep breath.

Photographic evidence that I'm trying to stay productive.

Photographic evidence that I’m trying to stay productive.

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Epic Journey: Bridal Shower Debacle

Last weekend I setup a small meet and greet with one of my bridesmaids and my grandparents, who are hosting the Bridal Shower. My bridesmaid Edith is one of my long time friends and happens to speak fluent Spanish. I asked her to meet with my grandparents to help my grandmother feel comfortable hosting this party full of strangers at her home since she only speaks Spanish (she understands English, she just refuses to speak it). A fellow Spanish speaker will also help her feel like she has a voice and involvement in the process so we don’t inadvertently make demands she is not comfortable with. I usually depend on my Mom to ensure proper translation, but my Mom tends to…embellish certain things and always finds a way to make things worse. My Mother has her own issues she’s constantly working out with her Mom.

We arrive and begin the discussion about how many people are attending, the shower theme (comic books and Super Heroes!!), tables, chairs, centerpieces, and everything was going smoothly. Then my Mom arrived and shortly after my Grandmother started asking questions about the guest list. Who’s invited? How many people are coming? Is your cousin ___ invited? *awkward pause* Um, no. She’s not invited, as of this moment, because we didn’t have room for her on the guest list and it would be rude to invite someone to the Bridal Shower and not the Wedding. Sorry to disappoint. This kick-starts the drama.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

My Grandmother then proceeds to say that she’s family, and her grandchild too, so if she asks if she can come by it would be rude of her to deny her the opportunity to come visit. Apparently this cousin ASKED my Grandmother, over Easter while I wasn’t present and at work, if she was invited to the wedding… WTF?! This particular cousin has only kept in communication with my grandparents, has never said happy birthday, let alone congratulations to us since we’ve been engaged (over a year!). She stalks me on Facebook, Instagram, and any other way she can to keep tabs on the family without ever really talking to any one but my grandparents. I felt immediately upset that she would put my grandparents in that position and try insert themselves in the festivities without ever trying to talk to me or my fiance every time we’ve seen them at my grandparents home.

Suffice to say, my grandmother was a little upset, and my Mom didn’t help to defuse the situation. Eventually, after trying to reassure my Grandmother that despite my Cousins rude behavior I have tried to become a part of their lives, but they want nothing to do with me, and if they show up I can’t really do anything, it’s not my home. My Mom insisted on interrupting me and yelling and complaining, “She doesn’t care! She has no idea how they really are! She thinks these cousins are more important than you any way.” I had to raise my hands and ask my Mom to just stop. Stop with the negativity. She immediately became offended by my body language and stormed off upset that no one was listening to her. *sigh*

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Luckily, my lovely and patient bridesmaid was there to help pick up the pieces before the Bridal Shower got cancelled because of hurt feelings that are beyond our control. We started discussing what we needed to do to prepare for the Bridal Shower, and discussed contacting my Mom after she had a few days to cool off. We promised to come by the following weekend to help her clean up the house and prepare for our guests. :) Which is why I’m EVER SO GRATEFUL to my bridesmaid Edith for enduring this debacle, and know that I never could have survived this incident without her by my side.

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The In-Laws Rule: Mom’s Meet & Greet

The meeting of the mom’s has been in planning (mostly procrastinating) for the last year. A year.

One mom is a socially conservative catholic republican. The second is a liberal democrat on her third husband. One friend said it sounded like a soap opera. So…I was a bit nervous for the first big introduction, and to discuss the guest list. It’s like I was asking to be tortured. Thankfully, it was surprisingly smooth.

They bonded over their mutual distaste for my biological father, and hatred for black bridesmaids dresses. Awesome! One mom kept catching herself before she accidentally dropped a few expletives. They both liked the favor idea, and loved the pictures of my wedding dress. Of course, my grandmother still thinks it’s not nice enough, but she liked the price! I will point out that my mom was very upset to hear our DJ will not be taking requests at the wedding.

You can’t please everyone, all the time.

Now…if only we could win the Lotto…

On a more interesting note, we found the most amazing handmade red leather book to use as our guest book! It’s F&$@ing amazing! It was conveniently purchased at Stan Lee’s Comikaze from a vendor by the name of Poetic Journals. He said he was from New York and doesn’t really sell stuff online so we splurged and bought it! See photos below. 🙂

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-End Rant

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Warning: Stop Talking

No, the DJ will not be taking requests. It is not a birthday party for teenagers. I promise there will be great dance music and it won’t all be country. However, there will be no requests taken. As well as no impromptu speeches by drunken family or friends.

Sorry to disappoint. I know, it’s a party. It’s also our party where there are no requests for music.

Stop talking. End rant.

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Belated, Yearly Obligatory Family Drama

Time and time again I am plagued by my families stress inducing melodrama. No matter how hard I try to keep myself out of it, they manage to suck me back in.

This year, like every year, my Mother and Grandmother fought over who wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was supposed to be working all day, and my Grandma is too old to be cooking the entire dinner by herself, so this year I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My first mistake. Before leaving for Spain I made plans to host a Test-Turkey Thanksgiving Potluck at our house. The Turkey came out perfect, everyone showed up and ate almost all the food, I got to see my friends and tell them all about Spain. It was tons of fun, which was great since the actual dinner went….not as planned.

The entire week before Thanksgiving my lovely Mother kept reminding me of how my grandparents might not show up because my Grandmother is a hermit and refused to go anywhere for the holidays, except the mall to shop. I had mentally prepared for my grandparents to not show up for dinner since they’re kinda kooky. No big deal. Then I got more reminders from my Mother about how to cook dinner and what to do. I took it all in and tried to stay positive, she’s only trying to be helpful. No big deal. Then I find out my Mother has decided she is going to come over to my house early to help me cook dinner. I didn’t ask for help, but I kept telling myself it’ll be fine. No big deal. Stay positive, my Mom will probably cook everything and I’ll just be watching her make everything. No big deal.

Morning of Thanksgiving my Mom calls me asks if my boyfriend and pick up her husband, then take him to pick up grandparents, then take them to my house for dinner…..why? Her husband broke his ankle and can’t drive to pick up my grandparents, and he’s the only one who can get my crazy grandparents to leave their house for dinner. Problem #1 was that my boyfriend had planned on visiting his family before our dinner, so he was unable to pick any one up. Problem #2 was my Mother then complaining about the situation. Her response to this predicament was, “Great! I knew we shouldn’t have had dinner at your place! You never think about logistics.” Gee, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mom. I asked her to bring her husband with her to my house so he could watch the football game and then go pick up my grandparents once my boyfriend got back, she begrudgingly gave in.

I didn’t know how to deal with this lovely bombshell the morning of Thanksgiving dinner, so I did the girly emotional thing and cried to my boyfriend. How could my Mother say this to me the morning of Thanksgiving? Why couldn’t she just be supportive? Why is my Mother acting crazy? It turns out she and her husband had a fight over the logistics, again, of which I had no knowledge of.

My boyfriend and I clean the entire house, get everything ready, move the table, get more chairs, and waited for my Mom to arrive to “help.” My boyfriend and I just finished eating breakfast when she showed up in a tizzy. She had a cloud hanging over her head the moment she entered to door. Moments later she began barking orders and complaining about how she was thanked for coming over to help, to which I replied, “I never asked you to help. You offered, I didn’t say no, and now you’re acting weird and stressing me out. Please calm down and sit, I’ll get things started.” To which she yelled back, “You don’t even have the oven on! How are you going to help? You haven’t gotten up to do anything.” From there it just got worse. I explained to her she needed to chill out and that I felt she hadn’t been very supportive and I needed her to stop being so rude. She refused, I got more upset, and then I told her she had to leave if she couldn’t calm down and be nice. BOMBSHELL!  She accused me of cussing her out, which didn’t happen, stormed out, and never came back. I was astonished she left, that she acted so bizarre, and most of all that she didn’t think she did anything wrong the entire time. That it was okay for my Mother to miss my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I was devastated and worst of all, my boyfriend couldn’t go to see his family because he was too busy consoling me and making sure I didn’t stay on the couch crying the entire night.

After a few moments of self loathing my boyfriend encouraged me to get off the couch and start cooking to occupy my mind, which helped. I hadn’t put the turkey in the oven yet and I still had an entire dinner to make, by myself. Despite the horrible fight I was still excited to make Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later my Mom decided to text me that my Uncle would be bringing the rest of the family to dinner and that she and her husband were staying home. She had a headache and his foot was bothering him. Awesome. And by awesome I mean WTF!? She apologized via text message and assured me I would still be getting my iPhone 4s for Christmas, because you know, that’s what’s important to me (insert sarcasm).

Que to the crying for another ten minutes, and then back to finishing dinner. Focus on dinner. Focus on cleaning the kitchen. Focus on how good the food will taste. Anything to distract me from being disappointed on Thanksgiving. Que a few hours later and my Uncle, Brother, and family are running late. No big deal, they’re always late. Plus, due to the awesome events of the evening the turkey was running late on being done, so they saved me the trouble of having to worry about it still cooking. The moments turn in to anxious minutes, then an hour, than another.

Finally they arrive!

“Where is grandma and grandpa? Did they come with our other cousin?”

“Yeah…they’re not coming. They decided a few hours ago not to come. Where’s your Mom?”

“Yeah…she’s not coming either.”

Awesome. Luckily for me my Uncle was sympathetic to the “Mom Situation” and proceeded to tell me how dinner would be better without them because they would just stress everyone out and complain the whole time. He said my turkey was the best he’d ever had and they happily ate a bunch of food and took some home with them. It was only the six of us (my boyfriend and I, my Uncle, his Wife, his Daughter and my Brother), but it was the least (at the end of the night) stressful dinner we’ve ever had. I felt better after we had all eaten and had a few drinks with dinner. Even though the day didn’t go as planned I have learned one very important lesson: never volunteer to cook a holiday dinner for my family again. For now.

Every year I tell myself holidays with the family will get better, but some how they just get more complicated. Never again. I’ll just cook a pie next time.

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Everything’s a Blur

Since last week life has been a bit more hectic than usual.

Everyone is jumping in to help organize different events in Lisa’s honor, which has been amazing! There’s an art show being organized, a club night being finalized, I’m working out the bugs in the slide show that will be presented at the funeral services with the family. No pressure. Everything has been working out so far, then I ran in to a bit of hurdle when the video software didn’t want to recognize the music we selected….dammit! After running into the video problems last night I wanted to smash the computer, and kept running through ideas in my head about how to go about fixing the audio problem (we have a solution, no worries), but everything seemed futile at the moment. It had just been working fine, right before my friends got there for dinner, and just before I tried to show them the video it decided to stop. Great. Well, we’re working on it, and should have it fixed soon.

I’ve also had this knot of stress building in my left shoulder since last week and it has been coming and going. Some days I want to stab my shoulder in hopes it will destroy the knot, other days I just pop a few pills and try to make it go away. Usually when this type of stressful knot appears I go to a professional massage therapist to have it dealt with, but sadly the funds are low, and I have no time to spare until AFTER the funeral. By then the knot will disappear and act like it never happened, like a bad one night stand that gave me herpes…or something like that.

Last Friday I had a mild break down after I got home from work. Work is a bit of a soap opera at the moment, so when I arrived at the house with the sounds of a busy kitchen, video games, and music, all I wanted was some quite. My boyfriend had to leave for work soon and I suddenly had a feeling of utter and complete dread. I couldn’t function on my own some how. I felt suddenly compelled to hurt everyone within spitting distance, and expel them from my home. I realize they had done nothing wrong, or hurtful, but I wanted everyone to disappear so badly it hurt. I ran away to my bedroom and tried some breathing exercises and stretched my shoulders because I was still in excruciating pain. When the boyfriend came looking for me he tried to help me out and I shunned him. I didn’t want other people touching me either. He politely reminded me he was leaving soon for work….and then I lost it.

I started crying and complaining that I wanted to be alone, I wanted everyone out of my home (it didn’t matter that they lived there too), and I wanted peace and quite.

He sadly sat there in silence and rubbed my shoulder while I whined and cried at the same time. This week was a blur. Every day that’s gone by since Lisa’s died has been hard. Photos, music, video games, knitting, TV on my DVR, talking, drinking, smoking, having dinner with friends, and nothing seems to be able to make me feel better.

I keep trying to remember to “Be strong, that’s what Lisa would do,” but then my shoulders crumble in a ball of pain and all I can think about is smoking another bowl and popping a few pills.

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