Thursday, December 27, 2007


Last night I had my first stress dream about the wedding itself.

It was the morning of the wedding. My bridemaids and I were getting ready in the hotel; the makeup artist was there, applying makeup. I was excited and happy.

Then, I realized with horror that I had forgotten to tell our photographer where to come to take getting-ready shots. In fact, I had completely forgotten to make any day-of arrangements with him at all.

And, of course, I had forgotten to bring his phone number with me.

So, I decided to find a computer in the hotel where I could look him up. It wasn't too difficult to find one, except that I had to go into the lobby of the hotel in my robe and with my makeup half done. I didn't think there would be any problem, since he has a very unique name, to find him via Google (in actual fact, I know his website's URL by heart, since it's his name, but hey, this was a stress dream). But for some reason, his own website would not appear in my Google searches. The best I could find was blogs of brides who had used him, and every one of them thought he was terrible. One of them in particular complained that "[The photographer] himself admitted he was not engaged by us and found our wedding boring and therefore it was difficult to take good pictures!"

Finally, I was able to find a phone number for him by misspelling his name.

In my real life, I have a mild phone phobia. Usually this means I don't like to call people, but it also sometimes manifests itself in a fear that I am misdialing. There have been times in my real life when I've aborted dialling an unfamiliar number a couple of times because I thought I had made a mistake in dialling. Anyway, in my dream, this was magnified a thousand fold, and I was totally unable to dial. I kept hitting the wrong numbers. The phone I was using had had all the numbers on the buttons worn off, and I could not remember which buttons were which. In fact, for a moment the phone I was using had too many buttons, all unlabeled, and I didn't know how to dial it. I was flipping out, and blaming myself for being so stupid as to have forgotten to call him before. I was crying and ruining my makeup, too, and my bridesmaid Laura, who was sometimes there and sometimes not, kept telling me to hurry up and get back to the room so that I could finish my makeup.

Finally, I managed to dial the number correctly. But instead of reaching him, I got a message, as if he had called me and left a voicemail, wondering where I was and where he was supposed to meet me. He was in New Jersey already (in my dream the wedding was taking place in New Jersey) and had been since the early morning, but didn't know where I was or where precisely the wedding was. I began to despair that I could not get in touch with him and even if I did, he would not be able to come back in time to take pictures of the getting ready, and since he didn't know exactly where the wedding was, he might miss the whole wedding, too. I was not going to have pictures of the wedding because I had been too disorganized to plan ahead. I had blown a significant amount of money on a photographer who was not going to show up. It was not really any comfort that the wedding would happen regardless; that I did not really need a photographer to get married. I had wanted good pictures, and there were to be none.

I woke up incredibly tense.

Less than two months to go, and what's left is the details. Like when the photographer should show up, and what I should remember to bring to the hotel, including all the important phone numbers. What music will the DJ play during the ceremony, and what flowers I want in the bouquets. When will I want to take portraits? Where will our parents be seated? How many lanterns do I want, and where should they be hung? Exactly how much will each vendor be owed and how many checks will I need to have ready?

If there is one thing I've learned about myself in all my years of working, it's this: I am not detail-oriented. This will be the hardest part of the planning, so I guess it only makes sense that I should be stressing out about what I am going to forget.

I think I'll shoot my photographer a quick email today....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

People are coming!!

Last week I sent out invitations, and this week, what do I get?


So far, we have 22 people, including my sweetie and me.

I haven't posted a picture of my invitations because I can't get a decent photo of them. I have a cheap digital camera, and even the above picture is Photoshopped (scary, hunh?). Maybe when I get better at Photoshop I will try again with the invites themselves. I am inordinately proud of them, and people have made many gratifyingly complimentary comments on them. They were every penny, and every drop of sweat and all the aggravation. I love them.

I'm not a big fan of Love stamps, so I used a variety of different stamps for the response envelopes. I used 40 Blossom stamps, 22 Celebrate stamps, and 20 Marvel Superhero stamps.

So far, the Marvel Superhero folks are disproportionately prompt responders....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Chinese Style

My dressmaker ordered me to buy a push-up bra.

On Saturday, my friend Laura and I traveled to Chinatown to have the first fitting on my qipao. Thankfully, given the huge measurements the dressmaker took when I visited in July (over my clothes!), the roughed-up dress was enormous. I put it on, and the dressmaker started pinning.

She asked me what I thought of the collar, and I said it seemed a smidge tight. This is because I hate having things around my neck. She said that it was not very tight, and that this was "the Chinese style." That is, "Looser would look bad, stupid American."

We discussed how tight the dress should be, striking a balance between "the Chinese style" of skin-tight sexy, and my gauche American desire to be able to sit down.

We discussed the length of the sleeve and settled on something satisfactory. We discussed the height of the slit, and thankfully she agreed that with my parents present, I should perhaps not have the thing cut up to my crotch.

Then we got to the front of the dress, which is heavily darted to achieve that skin-tight look. The darts were not positioned exactly right, and so she began pinning and adjusting. Then she said, "You need to get a different bra."


"Yes. You need to be..." She made a gesture that indicated higher. Much higher.

"This is the Chinese style. UP"--here she made a boob-squishing gesture in front of her own chest-- "and then a nice body below."

Well, I'm not sure I can do anything about the nice body below, but if she wants my chest up, she'll get my chest up.

So today I ventured into Macy's, self-billed as having the largest bra selection in the country. I'll be honest: I've never shopped for a push-up bra before. I'm fairly well endowed, and have never felt the need for one. Some manufacturers don't even make push-ups in my size, because, really, do I need my boobs around my neck? But there was a bit of a thrill in having to buy one: I had been ordered to do it by the expert, and I wasn't going to let embarrassment at the ridiculousness of the task stop me.

Of course, once I settled on one (I chose it because it not only pushed the boobs up, it pushed them together, which I gathered from her illustrative gesture was what she wanted), I went for the matching panties, because why shouldn't my sweetie enjoy the full benefit of my wholly utilitarian purchase? And oh--how lucky that it comes in wedding red!

OK, I have to admit: I still felt a bit ridiculous buying it. I mean, don't get me wrong: it looks great on, and I think my seamstress will approve my new positioning. But I mean, come on. How could I not feel silly knowing the inside of the bra looks like this?

Yes. The pads are lips.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cleaning house

Last week I hired a real estate broker to sell my apartment, since I will be moving to Seattle. She was coming to meet me in the apartment on Tuesday morning, so Monday night I straightened up. I am messy, and I am always astonished by the ability of paper, in particular, to collect.

So, even though I was expecting it, I was a little embarrassed when she looked around the place, said some nice things, and then, very gently, told me I needed to clean up and get rid of the clutter. The apartment just wouldn't "show well" in its current state.

Now, I have some issues with clean. I won't bother to dig up my childhood and such, but suffice it to say I have always been messy. I deliberately buy bookcases as shallow as possible so that I won't pile stuff up in front of my books; then I go ahead and pile stuff up in front of my books. My apartment has deep, beautiful windowsills that I fell in love with when I first saw the place, and which I have since piled with random tchotchkes and bits of paper. My closets are stuffed full of old clothes and the detritus of old hobbies (woodworking, shoemaking) that I have left behind. My biggest weakness is paper, which piles up like crazy into huge snowdrifts on every flat surface in my home.

But, here was the broker telling me I won't sell the place unless I clean it up. So, I invited my friend Laura over. Laura is a clean freak, which is both an annoying and a useful trait. I decided to turn it to my advantage this weekend :-).

I started cleaning Thursday night. I cleared out the linen closet and the kitchen cabinets. You see, the broker tells me that the closets must not be stuffed, because otherwise it will make it seem like there is no room for everything. I refrained from pointing out that this is because there is no room for everything. So my usual method of cleaning--put everything in the closets--was not an option here. I threw stuff away. I got rid of old towels and old bowls and old Tupperware. I got rid of old wedding magazines (I'm not going to read them any more, even if I'm not yet married).

Friday, Laura came over. We cleared out crap under the bed and took a crack at the hall closet, the worst offender. We made the coat closet beautiful in its organization.

Saturday, the building handyman came and replaced my toilet. I cleared off the bookcases and the windowsills. I worked on the bathroom cabinets. I redistributed yarn in the many bins strategically positioned around my home. I hung pictures to get them off the floor. I cleared off the kitchen counter.

Sunday, Laura came over again. We cleared out my bedroom closet. We hauled stuff to Housing Works, a NYC charity. We threw stuff away. We shipped my summer clothes to my sweetie to get them out of my closet. After Laura left I finished up the dining room table, the worst place in the house.

Final total: 17 bags, 2 boxes, three pieces of framed art, and one electric fan to Housing Works. This involved two cab trips in the snow :-).
At least 15 bags thrown away.
Two large boxes shipped to my sweetie.

I still have a huge bag of stuff I want to put on eBay, and a couple things I want to stick in my sweetie's storage unit. I've also gone through my clothes again and pulled out more stuff for Housing Works.

I have to say, the place looks great. Maybe I won't leave after all.....