Wednesday, June 25, 2008

dear ma nature:

Hey lady- great job on the Pacific Northwest. I don't think I say it often enough, so thanks! I just love waking up to a view like this:

And it just took one day of beautiful sun shining on my strawbabies to make them much happier. I appreciate it!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

dear babies:

Hi- it's me. You know, the lady who takes care of you and waters you every day and occasionally wanders around telling you how beautiful you are and asking you to hurry up and grow. I've been putting a lot of work into you lately, and I really hope you'll show some appreciation and grow up big and strong like I keep suggesting.

Aerial view: still far too much brown out there for my taste.

What do you say? Maybe take a tip from your friends the hens and chicks and go crazy! Spread around like wildfire! Sprawl! See:

They know how it's done. Can't even keep 'em in a pot. And they've even sprung up in the rock wall all on their own. Crafty little plants, they are.

In case you can't tell by how much you've been seeing me lately, taking care of you has been a surprisingly pleasant hobby for me. I've never been that interested in gardening until this year when I discovered just how satisfying it can be. Weeding really speaks to the OCD control-freak side of me, and I find that I can spend hours ridding the yard of every little intruder without even realizing the day is flying by. I even bought a gardening hat to protect my delicate prematurely-wrinkly old-lady skin. I knew it was over for me when I actually wore the hat outside of the yard the other day and went to the store in it. I guess that makes it official. I'm either "a gardener" or I've just totally lost all shame in my old age.

So anyway, I've taken some pictures of you so I can watch how much you grow. Just like a kindergartener on the first day of school, I'm capturing your awkward smallness now, so I can look back in a little while and marvel at how mature you've become. I imagine that I'll be so proud of you in a few months. Unless you die- and then I'm just going to be pissed.

Clockwise from lower left: Catmint, Limemound Spirea, Kentucky Colonel Mint, Lemon Thyme, Hebe, and a couple varieties of Heather.

My precious patch of ground cover. Hurry up and fill in! You will be my cozy spot to lay out and relax in the midst of all the bark and cement that surrounds.

We're farmers too! Good job lettuce. So far you've been a tasty shrimp louie and made us some delightful lettuce wraps. Yum! Now get your friends the zucchini on board. It's their turn to shine.

My precious little strawbabies. I can't wait to have you stain my fingers red!

Anyway, thanks garden. You're all right.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

dear curious friends:

I understand that you're a bit confused. It is kind of weird that we're running away and getting married alone. Most people want their friends and family near them and supporting them on one of the most important days of their life. I get that. I see how what we're doing might seem a little odd to you.

We live in Seattle. All of our friends and family, save a couple of each of our relatives in the Carolinas, are in Seattle. We've never even been to Louisiana nor do we know a soul there. Why on earth did we choose Louisiana? It's the first question out of everyone's mouth as soon as we say, "No, no one's family lives there".

For me, there are plenty of reasons for us to decide to do it this way. Some are financial, some are emotional, some are practical, and some are maybe just selfish, I suppose.

As someone close to us was kind enough to point out- maybe I want to do it this way because I "don't have a dad to pay for the wedding". Well, how intuitive of you! (and maybe a little tactless...) Yes, it's traditional for a bride's father to foot the bill for her wedding. Yes, I imagine that if I were to call my father after over 10 years of silence he might object a little to writing me a check. But no, that's not the only reason that I don't want to have a big shindig. Plenty of couples pay for their own day, and if it was important enough to me to want all that, I would have been saving and found a way to fund it on my own, despite my lack of paternal support.

One major objection that Mr. Lulu and I have to a big traditional wedding is all the excess. Tons of paper waste, tons of stuff to buy that will only be used one day for a little while, and just generally a lot of stuff that we don't need to consume in order to be happily married. I think that the whole wedding industry feeds on everyone's need to have just the right things in order to have a perfect wedding day, and I just don't want to get sucked into all that. And I would. Believe me, given the chance, I would. By limiting our guest list and minimizing our event, we automatically cut down on the impact that our wedding will have. For us, that's something important.

Of course we also have the all-too-common issue that is a by-product of being kids of dysfunctional families. We both have divorced parents and our fair share of general familial strife. Having a traditional wedding typically means having the whole batch of them participating in a multi-day affair and cooperating to pull off the execution of said affair with limited stress and tears. Personally, I'd just rather not.

Our wedding day is about us, and about us being comfortable and happy and embarking on a new life together that is meaningful and exciting. It's not about us trying to make sure that everyone else is comfortable and happy and worrying about who's going to sit next to who and if we invite this person will someone else feel weird and oh my god what if mom loses it and who's going to walk me down the aisle and what about the father-daughter dance and who should we have be our best man/maid of honor and everything else. It stresses me out just thinking about it and we're not even having to make any of those decisions! Maybe for us eloping is a little bit like avoidance, but that's fine with me. Some of these things are worth avoiding, in my humble opinion.

And then, of course, there's the fact that the perfect wedding deserves an awesome honeymoon! Mr. Lulu and I are still kind of in the "getting started" phase of our lives and careers and excess cash just isn't something we have a ton of. By combining our wedding and honeymoon into what the trendy wedding websites dub the "weddingmoon" we're saving ourselves a bundle and getting an amazing experience too. Plus, Louisiana is somewhere that I've always wanted to visit. I'm not really sure where it comes from, I guess I just have a fascination with the culture and everything about the South. I have a really romantic vision of what the lower half of our country is all about, and have thought that I belonged in Savannah, Georgia ever since I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It seems to me that the food and the music and the general environment in New Orleans will make our time there one to treasure forever. And isn't that what our wedding should be? Just a really great time and a lot of wonderful memories? Sign me up.

As a completely unexpected bonus, planning our wedding this way has been delightfully easy. I started out with a wedding checklist I found on The Knot and quickly discovered that only about a quarter of their recommendations for planning even applied to us. Once we settled on a location and booked our rooms, everything else on our short to-do list was quick and easy to take care of. Because I think I have ultimately grown into a fairly self-aware person, I understand that perfection and control are very important to me. If I had to host a full-on wedding for all of my closest friends and family members instead of the little cocktail party reception we're choosing, I know I would lose my mind in the details. I'm the bridezilla who would be on her hands and knees combing the carpet into place and obsessing over every detail of all the outfits and the food and every other little thing that I could find to obsess about until I made myself and my husband-to-be crazy. Instead, I get to spend a beautiful Tuesday morning hanging out with the man I love letting a photographer follow us around the grounds of a historic plantation and, oh yeah- squeeze in ten minutes to actually do the ceremony. No fanfare, no crazy relatives- just an intimate moment when we can declare our devotion and promise to love each other forever followed by a lazy afternoon basking in the glow of our own genius. It seems like it will be really easy and great, and it will be. Right? Can't see why not.

Looking forward to our adventure!