Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

In Costa Rica today it's 32 deg and sunny

The countdown is on! We leave a week today and get married in less than two weeks. Omg. Yes, that is, in fact, sufficient to return me to a being a teenage girl. You could probably even add in a SQUEEEE! ;) hahaha wow. Was fairly amazed at the response my two-week’s to go Facebook status generated. Made me smile :)

Progress is being made. The ceremony’s been signed off on; all the paperwork’s been sent. Kind of random what information they wanted, but so be it. Was surprised at the details they needed for our witnesses. But it’s good to go :) Have to admit it made me all kinds of melt reading the ceremony. Sappy romantic side in full force – usually it only comes out watching a chick flick or reading a novel, but apparently my own wedding is fair game ;)

Went and tried my dress on for the last pre-wedding-day time. Seamstress did an amazing job. It is fairly stunning and fits as though it were molded to me. Has all kinds of complicated fastenings though – wouldn’t be physically possible to do it up on my own… hahahha yeah for friends to help!

Speaking of, had an absolute blast at my staggette the other day! Huge thanks to Stephy for organizing and to all who came – some from fairly long drives! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time… It all started with the hat… Oh dear… It was a pink and sparkly cowboy hat. I am not even kidding. It even had a veil on the back ;) I would’ve said the kind of thing that only Steph (or possibly Jael) could imagine, but clearly somebody else did too since Steph and Rebecca managed to find it for me. But much as it is so not my kind of thing, it really is part of the bride thing, and it made me smile to have it. Tradition counts for something :)
For the record - we banned cameras after the dinner portion of the evening ;)
The evening began with dinner and drinks. Our waiter was reasonably entertaining and seemed to be having fun with the whole staggette idea. After we were all caught up with each other (I don’t get to see my friends nearly enough these days!) we changed location and went out pole dancing. Yup, take a second and reread that sentence. It hasn’t changed. Hahaha was that ever entertaining. And there we learned that Kerri can *really* spin, those with dance backgrounds had a distinct advantage, and none of us should quit our day jobs. We *almost* made it out injury free except, well, Steph was with us… And Steph and gravity have never been on good terms.

Following the class of silliness, with the girls now outfitted with pink tiaras and chains of plastic beads, we continued our travels – originally searching for a pub, but finding instead a Demetre’s. If you haven’t been to Demetre’s, you’re missing out. An entire menu of deserts. Brutal for Paula who’s forgoing sugar for the month (silly girl!) but for the rest of us, pretty well the ideal end to the night… Mmmmm sugar…

So yeah, it was a pretty awesome night :)

As for the rest of the craziness – my to do list only seems to grow. Despite finishing things every spare moment I have, the list gets longer… I’m not quite sure how that’s happening, but such is life. Mum’s been helping me check some of it off, but a lot can’t be delegated. And all seem to take so much longer than expected!

And that’s in with things like going to the gym, and teaching, and tanning. Not to mention my day job ;) It is awesome and finally busy enough to keep me amused and focused during the day. But once I leave work – let the games begin. Tanning – that’s been an experience. I, of course, end up choosing the most expensive one around. Sheesh. It is, however, by every review and personal account I could find, well worth it. Their machines seem to take 1/2 – 1/3 of the time regular places take. Which, given my schedule, is a serious plus. The actual time in the tanning bed itself is nbd. The warmth really is instantly relaxing and puts me in my happy place. I truly love the sun, and the lights mimic that feeling far more than just being hot. The beds are also huge, clear, and very open so there’s no claustrophobic feeling. But I could totally do without the tanning lotion. Ugh. It’s got quite a strong scent, and it seems to get on *everything* -- probably because I put my jacket on after and then it transfers from my jacket to anything else I ever wear *sigh* But so be it – I *really* don’t want to be burnt in my wedding photos ;) Sacrifices must be made. First world problems eh? ;)

Last weekend I was so sick. I got sent home from work on Friday am – meetings with both people I report to and they both said go home. Then I thought the people I sit with just might revolt – one I’m pretty sure I caught it from and the others wanted nothing to do with it. So home I went. And I went to bed as soon as I got there and slept. Got up and relocated to Paris and went back to sleep. When I woke up that time I signed into work just to get a few things off that really needed to get done, then pretty much went back to bed. Brutal. Saturday a repeat. Left the house in the afternoon long enough to take Chris to his stag party (at which he seemed to have at least as much fun as I had at mine – but that’s his story to tell…) and then went home and back to bed for a few more hours. It didn’t help that both Sasha and Lexi were also sick. Frig. All good now, but was not fun then. Steph dealt with Lexi for me while Sasha and I consoled each other. Sunday, after having now slept for about 48 hours, I was feeling slightly more human and relocated to the couch. Completely and totally unproductive all weekend. Ummmm did you hear about the to-do list? Yeah. *sigh*. Ah well, the end result is I was feeling reasonably human again in time for work on Monday which, being my last week before going away for two, is chaos. And surprisingly, despite feeling completely horrid for the vast majority of it, was actually really nice to have a quiet, let’s not do anything, weekend with Chris. We don’t get those very often given the whole renovation thing.

So this week – a ton of running around, some last minute shopping, all the silly odds and ends, and then…

Costa Rica!


Thanks Murphy.

There are days I find it challenging to find something to write about.  When work's the day-in day-out type of regularity, my horse is behaving herself, and life is generally quiet and peaceful.  bahahha I can't believe I just wrote that.  I'm sure that's happened at some point in my life, but I can't think of when.  But really, there are boring meh days in anybody's life.  That being said, during the last few months finding something to write about has been less of a challenge.  Even the boring aspects of wedding planning seem interesting to a surprising number of people.  Which, in turn, keeps me writing them.  And other than firing the wedding planner (I *had* a whole big post about that, but I don't think I ever posted it), it's all gone reasonably smoothly.   Right.  Apparently there's a rule in the universe that wedding planning must contain drama.  If the key players don't choose to instigate it, an external force will *sigh*   I was pretty happy with how things were going.  There are still way more things to do than time to do them, but all the key pieces are accounted for.

Then Murphy and Loki came to play *sigh*.   Went for my dress fitting, remarkably excited even though it's still a chore.  There's something fairytalesque about getting dressed up in your wedding dress.  Still so very surreal.  Anyways -- I went to put it on...  And it promptly fell off again *sigh*

Okay fine -- go out holding it up, where the seamstress gives me an odd look.  I haven't lost any weight since ordering it; it should fit better...  The sample even fit better.  Seamstress comes over and checks: size 14.  Yeah.  You could fit two of me in there.  Sheesh.

So we get the sales-ladies involved.  It's a mother-daughter team that run this store and while both were busy with other parties, both became very involved in trying to figure out what had happened.  The mother was visibly shaking -- I'm guessing having the wrong dress a month before the wedding has a pretty strong Bridezilla potential ;)   They showed me the paperwork, I guess wanting to prove they'd ordered correctly, and told me they'd call first thing in the am.  They also checked every dress in the store - twice - to make sure mine hadn't simply gotten switched.

The seamstress, meanwhile, said if it was all we had, she'd make it work.  But her eyes seemed dubious.   We asked about the sample and found it was an 8 -- far more likely we could make that fit.  So I leave figuring three options: either the right dress comes in, we take the sample and alter it, or I go back to the other store which had my size in stock of dress choice 2 and take it instead.  Seriously disappointing but not tragic.

But of course it would happen to me.  Sheesh.  Was all I could do not to roll my eyes.  Really?  Awesome.  Or the opposite thereof.

Anyways -- they did call me the next day.  Apparently the dress that came in belongs to a woman getting married in April.  Mine is there and ready, just needs to be shipped.  I should have it on Tues.  Trying to make another appointment with the seamstress on Thurs (Wed she's in Binbrook and I really don't want to drive all the way there if avoidable).  So we'll see...

Fingers crossed :)

Into the woods and home before dark...

So yesterday it was -30 and extreme cold weather alert (of course that's the day I have an off-site meeting booked! Sheesh). In Costa Rica however, it was +32 and sunny. Have to admit, a 60 degree temperature change is a shock to the system I'm looking forward too :) And by the time we come home this winter stuff should've mellowed a little. Hey, this is my dream -- your reality has no place in it!

Stepping away from my fairy tale for a moment, I went to see Into the Woods the other night and quite enjoyed it. I'm reasonably certain I saw the stage play in junior high, but really remembered nothing of the story.

So, the story. I generally love retellings and creative adaptations of known tales. And this one was creatively convoluted merging of the well known stories of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, all held together with a new story, that of the baker and his wife who wish to have a child. It also occasionally draws in other characters -- one of the princes references giving up on Sleeping Beauty because there were always dwarves around. It was a lot of fun and particularly well done. While not quite Grimm's version of the fairy tales, it was more gruesome -- and more authentic for it -- than Disney retellings. Despite, ironically, actually being a Disney production.

*Spoiler alert* - If you want to see the moving knowing no plot details, stop reading here. Reread the first paragraph and envision the weather in Costa Rica instead. Trust me, it's worth it.

Okay for those still reading. I loved how the characters were aware of the absurdity of the tale. The narrator was sharp, moderately sarcastic, and well aware of the rules that dominate the genre. The characters themselves also seem to realize at times they're being ridiculous ("You can talk to birds?" Red Riding Hood asks Cinderella, looking at her as though she's lost her mind) and have a script to follow ("I'm in the wrong story!" the baker's wife - who as far as I recall never got a name - exclaims at one point). One of my favourites was "I need that shoe to have a child!" "That doesn't even make sense..." Most of the characters are fairy-tale stereotypes to the extreme and seem to realize it. Cinderella bemoans having to be "nice and good" while her horrid step-sisters seem to thrive. The princes (there are two, brothers of course -- one for Cinderella and one for Rapunzel), in particular epitomize the prince archetype. "I can capture my own damsel, thank you!" They have a great number being as classic as can be. The bad guys play their roles too: the witch is destructive and demanding while the wolf is seriously disturbing with seemingly no redeeming features.

So the characters all run around the forest playing out their stories. Cinderella gets her prince, Rapunzel escapes her tower, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are rescued from the wolf, Jack cuts down the beanstalk, and the bakers get their child. "And all live happily ever after."

Or maybe not.

What gives this story depth is that it shows what happens after "happily ever after" and the disintegration of the stereotypes. The prince comments that he "was raised to be charming, not sincere," as he cheats on his princess. Red Riding Hood, wearing a cloak made out of the wolf, questions Cinderella's dedication to good and nice as they plot to kill the giant. The baker, until this point the stereotypical happily brainless oaf, learns to think and function for himself. The witch makes the valid point that she is "not good, not nice, just right." And yet, is the collapse of a fiction really tragedy? Rapunzel and her prince seem genuinely happy together while the other characters seem to accept being more well rounded and sort out a new version of happily ever after for themselves. Cinderella sums it up with something along the lines of "my father's house was a nightmare; the palace was a dream; I'd like to live somewhere in between."

Now of course, being as it a salute to the genre, as with all fairy tales, even this one has to have a moral or two. Several in fact, given the multitude of stories included. Lessons presented:
- Children remember what they hear.
- Wishes are meant to come true, not free.
- Straying from the path leads to the best flowers, but also to wolves.
- Blaming each other doesn't accomplish anything -- even if it does make for an entertaining song.
- Stereotypes aren't always accurate: Cinderella can be bad, the dwarf can be good and the witch can be right.

Overall though it was just a fun story. It is a musical -- so if you're not okay with people singing at each other, skip it ;-P But the writing was quite sharp and often humourous and most of the characters did a fabulous job of portraying that they were aware of the ridiculousness of their situations.

Not a bad way to spend a -30 evening. Now, off to get my dress altered. I'd really much rather be going for wings with Steph and Rebecca ;-P hahaha apparently I seriously missed the wedding gene. Or part of it anyways -- some things I love and I'm super excited for it, but this -- which is apparently a Thing -- is nothing more than a chore to me. I'm not convinced I understand the ceremony behind it. Ah well, will be made better by dinner with Mum and Catherine. Off to be a pin cushion.

Seriously, why are they smiling? I'm not convinced this looks like fun...

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Here's hoping it's as crazy, chaotic, and wonderful as the last :)

Year in review: highs (Chris proposed) and (I officially am no longer a part of GRS).  Think that about covers the extremes ;)   As to this year -- well I'm getting married in Feb, suspect that'll be hard to top *g*

Ah yes, the wedding…  My friend Stef, also recently engaged, posted something the other day that really struck me.  She wrote:
When people told me sarcastically 'have fun wedding planning..' with a smirk, I brushed them off. Wedding planning couldn't possibly be that difficult. Now, nine months before my wedding I am amazed at how quickly it became increasingly stressful and how much drama came out of the woodwork. Forcing myself to do some wedding planning today, opening this book it was a nice reminder to see this. It's not about who comes to your wedding or where it is or who gets married first or who has babies or what kind of centrepieces you have. It's about you. And it's about him. It's about looking up and seeing the person you promise to spend the rest of your life with. That's a big thing. It deserves to be celebrated. Without the drama. Don't let others ruin YOUR day. 

And included this image:
Seems about right.  It's amazing how easy it is to get sucked into everybody else's idea of what your wedding should be. But it's our day -- Chris' and mine.  And every once in a while, we have to remind ourselves of that.

And then there's the fact that our trip includes a *lot* of people.  46 of us in total -- which, for the wedding, is awesome.  But we were thinking through the logistics of day trips etc.  And of course we want to go to everything…  But realistically -- we have exactly three days for tours.   We get there on Wed, so won't be able to do anything that day.  Thurs is the resort tour meeting about what options there are for everybody.  Also the day we meet with the wedding planner to finalize everything and confirm the details.  All good, but another day we're not going anywhere.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday are good to go.  Monday's the wedding and Chris' birthday :)   So yeah, it's pretty booked up.  Tuesday, tbh, we just want to vege.  And Wednesday everybody goes home.   So three days.  Tentatively -- in no order -- we're thinking the zipline/volcano tour one day and diving another.  The third, Chris wants to go deep sea diving with his dad and some others.  I, personally, would *really* like to go white water rafting -- which I feel reasonably confident I could convince some people to join me in :)  And that eats up our days.  But there's so much else I'd like to see and do.  Also, I know from previous resort experience that some of these tours will likely only be offered one or two days/week.  If they don't happen to fit in Fri/Sat/Sun we'll be out of luck :(  Ah well - maybe a first anniversary trip then ;)

But a month from today we'll be on the beach :)   I'm pretty super stoked about that.  It does make January "recover from xmas" fitness plan a whole lot more intensive than it usually is though!  But at least most of my friends are doing it too *g*  The fitness center at work isn't open yet -- I hesitate to take out a gym membership when it sb available soon, but I need it NOW!  *insert foot stomping*  hahaha ah well -- it'll work itself out somehow.   I'm also intending to pre-tan for this particular trip.  I've never been tanning (of the artificial variety) and am not even slightly looking forward to it.  Ah the things we do for fashion eh?  Sheesh.  But I really don't want to be either ghostly or bright red in my wedding photos ;)   Went to the gym for the first time in a long time the other day.  And then spent the afternoon tearing up hardwood flooring.  Yeah, felt that a little the next day ;)

It was an exciting vacation let me tell you…  Christmas -- both Christmas' actually -- were lovely.  Chris' parents invited mine to their dinner as well, which was super nice.  The rest of it though…  Well the day before New Years Eve, our furnace gave its final notice.  Effective immediately.  NYE Chris' furnace guy was there all day -- took the old one out and put a new one in.  Which, of course, meant no heat all day.  About lunch time I gave up and took a space heater and Sasha and went and hid upstairs with my Kobo and a blanket.  Hahaha that wasn't too bad.  But by the end of the day when the new furnace was in both Chris and I were pretty cold and less than ambitious so we passed on NYE plans and went out for dinner while the house heated up instead.  Sounds great right?  Yeah -- except the house didn't do its part :(   It stopped heating shortly after we left and then, being a Canadian winter, started getting colder again.  Frig.  At least we discovered it quickly -- would've been way worse if we'd actually gone out for the night.

Fortunately said furnace guy lives down the street and is a friend of Chris', so he left his own NYE party to come tweak the furnace so it'd work again.  Apparently a known issue with this brand -- a safety feature in-fact, but one we could've done without!  It was a cold night -- the heat was on, but it took a long while to warm up the house.  Booo.

Then we spent the next two days pulling up flooring.  I wasn't cold anymore ;)  The dogs were very concerned about this activity.  Sasha was entertaining -- the first few times I took armloads of wood to the truck, she came bounding along and went to circle my car, clearly expecting to be going somewhere.   Then she'd come with me, but stop by the truck and look at me rather puzzled.  By the end of the day, she just sat in the open door and watched me.   Tucker spent the whole time alternating between running around the house checking out Every Single Thing that changed without his permission, and hiding buried in his crate for warmth.

Now about that flooring.  When you pull up hardwood floors, esp hardwood floors installed by a do-it-yourselfer, there are nails.  Lots of them.  I don't actually have any form of work shoes, but I at least had runners on; I'd rather not be unsound for my wedding ;)  And the inevitable happened: eventually I stepped on a nail.  And since I had on said shoes, this was a non-issue.  Pulled nail out and life went on.

Until the next morning.  When I wore those shoes out to run errands.  In the snow, slush, and freezing rain.  Basic misery.  And realized that when you poke a nail through your shoes, it leaves a reasonably sized hole in the sole...  Fail.  Fortunately the first stop was winners, so new boots and socks later and that problem was solved ;)  Was a definite "stupid should hurt" moment -- I think I actually rolled my eyes at myself for that one.

Even though I haven't mentioned her, I still have Lexi -- she's in a new home where they take good care of her.  In a perfect world I'll actually get to show her this summer ;)  Interesting concept eh?  Yeah, we'll see.  Here's hoping!  The wedding, obviously, is forefront of my mind these days.  Hard to think of much past that.  I *love* my new job. Going to see what I can do to push that along over the next few months :)  Life in general is good.  Last year was one of change -- mostly for the better.  This year probably will be as well :)  Stay tuned to find out what happens next!