Tag Archives: Marriage

Thankfulness Thursday: Four Years Married.

So little time, in the grand scheme of things, but still a world away from where we started. In the spirit of Thankfulness Thursday, I am grateful for four years of marriage to my best friend of more than a decade. I know it might be a used term of endearment, but it is true. Without our deep friendship, none of the rest would matter.

And, as excited as I was to walk down the aisle four years ago today, I am even more excited about what lies ahead. Life may be unpredictable, as the last couple weeks have reminded us, but it is also deserving of faith in the future. Tonight, I put my trust in life, love, and gratitude.

Wedding

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If You Need A Reminder

If you need a reminder of how precious life is today, click on these photographs. Not only do they tell the tragic story of a young woman’s fight against breast cancer, but they also show the love and compassion her husband felt for her. These are among the most touching photographs I have ever seen in my life. They capture the smallest details of pain, love, and courage. Each one tells a story.

I feel lucky to be alive, healthy, and ready to spend the day with family. I hope you do, too.

Life

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Weddings: Korean Pop & Fleeting Moments

Yesterday was wedding day. Not mine, but a good friend of Alex’s got married, and I also attended the bridal shower of a friend in the morning. I was honestly a little nervous to attend both because I can be shy when I don’t know people, and in this case I only knew the bride at the bridal shower and the groom (through Alex) at the wedding. However, I’m beginning to think the shy Olivia is mostly gone.

The lovely bride-to-be on our brunch cruise

The bridal shower was great– I bonded with the bride’s sister-in-law-to-be and one of the bride’s good friends from San Francisco. We’re already in cahoots to plan a bachelorette party complete with choreographed dance moves from my current obsession, “Gangham Style.” I tried reposting this video once before, (and it’s gone super viral since then), so you may have already seen it, but I’ve taught myself the ridiculous horseback riding move. Cracks me up every time.

This video was actually a source of bonding at both events. At the wedding, I was strategically seated next to a librarian, which was good thinking. Turns out a librarian and a fifth grade teacher are automatically friends. Then you add in a little “Gangham Style” and it’s a party.

Yesterday was a really good reminder that sometimes the things we dread, like social situations where we don’t know many people, can actually turn out to be a lot of fun. I, for one, need to give myself more credit instead of assuming I’ll feel uncomfortable. The other reason yesterday was great was because it reminded me why I like weddings so much.

I know people complain about extravagance and silly customs, but I think weddings and all the parties that come before are wonderful. We live lives that go by so quickly, filled with so many every day moments that are incredibly meaningful when stacked together. Weddings give the appropriate time to pause and reflect on what all this means.

Even though I did not know the bride or groom very well, I was touched. Listening to their stories, the speeches given by the most important people in their lives, I thought of the most important people in mine. I love the symbolic act of coming together as a community in honor of love and family, even if in many ways it’s just a fleeting moment, like everything else.

Photo booths are my favorite wedding craze at the moment. One of Alex and my first dates was to the state fair as teenagers where we took pictures in a photo booth. Laying these pictures side by side shows 12 years captured. Man life goes fast.

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Old Friends, Love & Weddings

On my birthday, a big package awaited me on my doorstep.  Tearing it open, I thought wow, my friend Erin knows how to send a birthday card.  Then, as I unwrapped the super light box, I realized it was instead an invitation to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  Pretty much the cutest bridesmaid invitation I had ever seen!  She sent an adorable, personalized hanger to hang our bridesmaid dresses, complete with a little tag reading, “Will you please hang with me on my wedding day?”

Cute.

Weddings seem to come in cycles and Alex and I are currently on an upswing.  The last was 2009, the year we were married and attended five weddings.  In two weeks, Alex’s friend will be married and I will attend another friend’s bridal shower.  This sweet, childhood friend that sent the bridesmaid invitation will not be married until next fall and I cannot wait.

I love weddings.

The year I planned ours, I woke up excited every morning for what lay ahead.  Now, I’m excited to accompany another friend on this journey.  She and I first met in elementary school and bonded over our quirky shyness as middle schoolers.  We liked the same boys, stayed up late giggling uncontrollably, and developed code names for everything.  Even though years kept us apart as we got older, we always easily reconnected when life brought us back together.

Tonight I’m feeling grateful for old friends, love, and weddings.

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Fourth Grade Love Stories

“Mrs. M, they’re talking about liking people!” a student shouted across the room today, certain she had busted some seriously bad behavior.

What she didn’t realize is that I have a soft spot for fourth grade love stories.  No, I do not encourage ten-year-olds to have “relationships,” but I also have a hard time telling students that they shouldn’t like each other.  After all, it’s a natural part of life and who knows, maybe they really do like each other.

Of course, I’m a little biased.  My marriage is the product of a fourth grade love story.

Don’t worry, we haven’t been monogamous since fourth grade, but that is when we first met and knew we liked each other.  I will always remember how Alex cut out his last name and glued it over mine while working on a school project.  Little did he know that I wasn’t the kind of girl to let my maiden name be covered up.  However, he obviously knew something, because here we are nearly two decades later, married, (albeit with hyphenated names…).

As you can see, I also have proof that I liked him then, as is evidenced by my silly lipstick marks imparted during a fifth grade sleepover.  Even if I never told him that I liked him back, he had to know.  And, I did.  I kept thinking about him all the way into my high school years, despite the fact that we both switched schools in fifth grade and did not see each other again for a long, long time, (or at least long in kid years).

That’s the funny thing about life.  You never know who is going to stick around and who isn’t.  So, when my fourth graders disclose that they like each other, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds.  In my admittedly unusual case, my fourth grade crush became my husband and my fourth grade best friend is still one of my bests.

For now, my fourth grade love story is still a secret in my classroom, but maybe sometime I’ll let them hear it, just to watch the expressions on their faces as they wonder whether they’re sitting next to their future spouses…

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Partners in Crime

For me, the biggest key to marital bliss is a shared sense of humor.   If Alex didn’t laugh at my jokes, the world would be very lonely.  After all, we all want to feel like someone else understands us.  Part of being married for me is knowing that Alex will be there to laugh at my jokes even when no one else does, (and mean it, too!).  When I’m a little old lady and people ask me for the secret to a long marriage, I’m certain that my answer will be laughter.

In the spirit of this shared laughter, I want to wish happy birthday to my favorite partner in crime!  I am so grateful that we share the same quirky sense of humor, (even when other people just stare at us in silence!).  Here’s to many, many more years of post-dinner track suit purchases and hysterical laughter.  We will definitely be the most interesting couple in the retirement community.  Do you think that they’ll let us in early?  In these outfits, it’s either that or GTL and fist pumping…

I love you, welcome to 28 years of age.  It certainly does not mean that we are always grown ups, as is evidenced from the pictures below.

I would like to add that part of the beauty of these pictures is that they’re 100% sober.  The best laughter doesn’t need help!
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Wolves & Unicorns Unite

This afternoon, my mother-in-law brought over an early birthday present for Alex– the infamous Mountain Three Wolf Moon t-shirt.

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Now, I have to tell you, Alex has been threatening me with this t-shirt for months, maybe even years, I’ve lost track.  Every time we stop at a gas station, he cruelly taunts me that he is going to go inside and find one.  It is so infamous, that I did not even need to see one to know what he was talking about.  Images of flea markets and truck stops flooded into my mind.  Just thinking about it, made me feel mortified.

Well, apparently, the hipsters found one first.  Typical.  The three wolf t-shirt is now a legend.  Alex said he is pretty sure that if we move to Portland, wearing the t-shirt will instantly get us friends.  They won’t even care if we are from California.  The three-wolf t-shirt trumps all!

To convince me of this point, this afternoon he introduced me to the lore of the t-shirt.  Now, I get it.  It’s not just a white trash, hippie, or even hipster fashion statement, it’s a super power, (and, don’t get me wrong, I love hippies and tolerate hipsters).  According to reviews on Amazon, the t-shirt is so powerful that it will get you women at trailer parks and Walmart!  I’m really not sure what my husband is trying to say here… Although, according to the music video review, it’s powers also extend to super models!  That’s slightly more comforting.

Thanks Alex and cool music video.  NOW, I get it.  And, I also discovered my own secret weapon in all of this research, the Mountain Unicorn Castle Purple T-Shirt!  If before I thought it embarrassing to be in public with the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, (and, of course, that was before I knew about its powers…), now I’m thinking that the perfect antidote is its unicorn brethren.  Then, Alex and I would truly be the perfect power couple!  Watch out Portland, two new hipsters were born today!

Photo courtesy of amazon.com
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Valentine’s Day Confession

It’s official, I’m out of the closet, I love Valentine’s Day!

I used to force myself not to like it.  I reasoned that it made people that I love feel lonely, so I wanted to support them by not liking it.  I also scoffed at how arbitrary the date was– complaining how it was a capitalistic excuse for more materialism.  Last year, I went so far as to tell Alex that I did not want presents and that I did not care if he had the closing shift at work, (I thought that I was being generous to his coworkers that actually wanted the time to celebrate!).

Today, however, I realized that I do like Valentine’s Day, even if there are aspects of it that still annoy me, (like all of the horny men wandering around looking for flowers at the grocery store!).  Despite the annoyances, it no longer bothers me that it is a day that we made up.  So what– aren’t all holidays days that we made up on some level or another?  Maybe this one is more recent, but I do not see anything wrong with a day based on love.  After all, isn’t love critical to our happiness as human beings?

I’m not saying romantic love… Although, that kind of love is nice too.  I’m just saying love.  As an adult, I’m finding that Valentine’s Day is a day that I tell my friends, students, and family that I love them.  I don’t tell them with expensive gifts, but with little gestures: a cut out heart with kind words, a card, a text, a phone call.  In fact, it turns out that Valentine’s Day results in the greatest outpouring of token gifts and sweet little cards from my students of any holiday.  I have a veritable mountain of candy and cards that make me feel appreciated!  What’s so wrong with expressing our love this way?

In truth, I witnessed many little acts of love that made me happy to be alive today:  A coworker’s husband marching across campus with a gigantic bouquet of roses, (to the sheer excitement of the 120 students watching at recess!).  A student excited to deliver her one special hand-crafted valentine to a boy that she likes, (reminded me of the valentine that Alex made me in fourth grade!).  My students treasuring the little valentines that I made them.  My dad unexpectedly delivering a valentine to my school, complete with a generous donation for our upcoming field trip.  Incredibly kind words of support emailed from my mom.  A woman taking the time to pull into the grocery store parking lot just to cuss me out for changing lanes at the same time as she did, (okay, that happened, and it made me laugh, but maybe it doesn’t belong on this list!).

Even though I’m looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, it has been the acts of love from other people that have brightened my day so far.  I’m sure he’ll make me smile too, when he gets home from work, but I’m realizing that Valentine’s Day is far more than a romantic holiday based on excessive consumerism.  It’s a chance to tell people that they matter to you.  If you’re feeling sad or lonely tonight, you’re entitled to dislike this holiday, I don’t blame you, but also consider reaching out to the people that you love.  It will make them smile, and chances are, it will make you smile too!

The valentines that I made for my students.  It is amazing how a few kind words so clearly brighten their day!

Simon going nuts on one of my gifts from a student… oops!

You’ll be happy to know that the bear survived!  Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Two Years

In this age of over-sharing, I debated about whether or not posting this would cross a line for me.  On the one hand, Alex and my story is our’s, and there is something special about keeping it that way.  On the other hand, there were many people that made our wedding such a memorable day and it means something to me to be able to share these memories of love and gratitude with them too.  It is also a story that I want to save and treasure for my whole life, so somehow publishing it symbolically adds to its permanency for me.  I wrote it not to put on a show but with the sincerity of a story that I hope to share with my kids someday.  So, at the risk of over-sharing and possibly causing some eyes to roll, I share with you my love letter to Alex.  

If this is the kind of thing that makes you gag, save yourself the trouble and just don’t read it!  

Dear Alex,

Two years ago, I was a nervous mess.  I was afraid of getting the bird flu.  I was afraid of forgetting some detail that would make our wedding fall apart.  I was also excited, very excited.  I had spent the past year waking up every morning with a smile on my face because I was planning our marriage.  I am not exaggerating.  Every morning following your proposal, I would wake up with a smile on my face as soon as I remembered that we were getting married.

I knew that you were going to propose.  I was pretty sure that you asked my dad if we could get married when you had lunch with him in San Francisco.  But, I liked that you were trying to keep it a secret, so I was not too probing with my questions.  However, from that point forward, I was dying to know when you would ask.  On our nine-year anniversary, when you took charge of our plans for the day and drove me out to our favorite little restaurant on the beach, I was certain you were going to ask.  As the Irish music played loudly and we wove through the hills to the Pelican Inn, I could hardly take the anticipation.  Then, as brunch unfolded and a walk on the beach ended with no question, I felt let down.  It was not happening.

You were sneaky and you did not even realize it.  By not asking on our anniversary, I thought that you probably wouldn’t ask anytime soon.  I thought that there was still a small chance for my birthday, since August 8, 2008, 8-8-08, was a day that I had been looking forward to since I was a kid.  However, then too, as an entire day passed packed with activity and no question was asked, I felt disappointed.  All that remained of my 25th birthday was a dinner with my family, which did not seem like the setting you would choose.  I’m happy that I was wrong.

Just hours before you proposed.  In retrospect, you looked a little nervous!


The degree of fanciness should have tipped me off.  You should have warned me to dress a little more nicely.  I should not have drank such a weird combination of champagne and mixed alcohol with our friends before dinner.  However, as everyone went around the table and shared their favorite memories of me, and as I realized that you were poised to go last and feeling nervous, it hit me that this was it.  I could not eat a single bite of my food.  I could hardly hold back my tears of happiness and excitement.  Even with the queasiness from my strange pre-dinner drink selection, I was elated.  I will always remember how you began to inch back your chair as you told the story of us to my family.  Somewhere there is film footage that Debra recorded.  That truly was one of those life-altering moments that will always be seared into my memory.

You were so sweet with the decorated room at the Sheraton after dinner.  I remember devouring the left overs from dinner as my nerves settled.  I remember sitting in the window seat, looking out over the capital park, calling and texting everyone in my phone book.  The trip that followed to the Oregon coast and British Columbia was a dream, a dream filled with every Dixie Chicks song ever recorded, my over-priced Canon GL2, and countless lists of wedding guests and ideas.

Planning actually ended up being a lot of fun.  For an entire year, we worked through the list of things to do, traveling to different venues throughout Northern California with my family, tasting delicious food, chasing down Celtic musicians.  We really did travel all over Northern California to pick the perfect spot.  I will always remember the displeased look on my dad’s face when we pulled up to that cute little B&B in Placerville.  I will also always remember my face when I realized that the pretty little winery that put on quite a pretentious show outside of Placerville expected guests to use outhouses!

Score on the Celtic musicians!


Nothing could compete with true wine country, however.  The changing leaves of autumn and the sun shining just right through all those leaves felt perfect.  No matter what anyone else says, despite its pomp and circumstance, the Napa valley is one of my favorite places on earth.  I love its rolling hills and pretty towns.  I love how it offers an escape from the ordinary, a chance to feel like you’re living a fairy tale even if afterward you go home to a 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Berkeley.  Visiting Hans Fahden Vineyards with you was like visiting my fairy tale wedding.  We thought that we were playing make believe for the day and teasing ourselves with an option out of reach.  Instead, it was just one of many visits before it was our fairy tale for the day.

After dragging my dad, Debra, and Kaitlyn to pretty much every option within 200 miles of Sacramento, we finally got them to Hans Fahden and Auberge du Soleil.  I will always remember sitting around that round table in Auberge’s incredible restaurant, drinking delicious wine, voting on the winning venue.  Even sitting in that glorious restaurant perched up in the hillside, Hans Fahden won, unanimously.  I was beside myself that we were actually going to get married in my favorite spot imaginable.  I had thought that a cliff side elopement over the sea in Mendocino was what I wanted, but Hans Fahden let me dream even bigger.

With the venue selected, it was time to pick the vendors.  One of my favorite moments was when I suggested to the first caterer that I might like cheeseburgers as an entree.  How lowbrow of me!  At least I got to have them for our rehearsal lunch, gosh darnit.  I really enjoyed breaking tradition and pushing boundaries with the planning and budgeting.  A rehearsal lunch instead of dinner?  Yes, and it allowed for a leisurely outdoor meal that could not have been better.  “Flowers in Napa Valley for less than $1,500, are you crazy?”  Yes, and I made it happen beautifully.  Or, how about the magic of the Chad?  Caridwyn and Sons, with Chef Chad and planner Deana was one of our best finds.  What delicious and inventive food!  The tasting in itself was an event and Deana kept us on our toes with the linens in that fabulous warehouse and by chasing us around to keep us on schedule for the big day, (not to mention also chasing our crazy-but-talented-but-late-but-dramatic photographer).

I was so excited when we thought to ask my Uncle Patrick to marry us.  I did not want a stranger to do it and there was no better person in our families to stand in front and orate than Uncle Pat.  It didn’t hurt that he is such a close extension of our family.  Our day trip to Napa to get his officiant license was another of my favorite memories.  Lunch at that little Italian restaurant in Sonoma was perfect.  I will also always remember practicing our vows around the table in Dani and Pat’s breakfast nook, anticipating getting to say them in front of everyone, spending all that time crafting the words for our ceremony together.

Beautiful flowers on a “budget” (above/below)


After everything was planned, all that there was left to do was wait, which brings us back to two years ago from today.  With the bridal shower and bachelorette party done, the dress fitted, all of the little details attended to, two years ago today, I was the most anxiously excited that I had ever been in my life.  I took my eco-fair trade wedding band out of its pretty little teal bag to try it on repeatedly.  I recited the vows that we so carefully wrote together just for practice.  I was so excited.


Our vows

When finally the big day arrived, I was beside myself that I actually fell asleep the night before.  Sharing the room with Kaitlyn was one of my best decisions because having her there with me, instead of sleeping in a room alone, was surprisingly comforting.  I remember awakening, shocked that I had fallen asleep at all.  Granted, I had not slept much that week, so I was probably lulled to sleep by pure exhaustion.  You and I spent the morning together, holding hands, greeting family members and friends that stayed in Calistoga.  It was a good morning.  I felt rebellious spending time with the groom before the wedding.  It was important to me, though, that we had time together amidst all of the chaos.  In other words, that multi-hour couples spa session the afternoon before was part of my master plan for togetherness!

After visiting my dad, who had set-up shop across the street from our boutique hotel to write his father-of-the-bride speech in that cute cafe, it was time for us to part ways and get ready.  It turned out that I had miscalculated the time it would take to get me ready, or failed to calculate rather, but it retrospect, the time we spent that morning is more important to my memory of our wedding than more time primping.  That was another way that I was not the typical bride, I insisted on primping myself (with the help of bridesmaids!), instead of hiring a team to get me ready.  After all, what are bridesmaids if they’re not put to work?  Despite my slight miscalculation in timing, we managed to be ready just in time for the music to begin and for our crazy photographer to arrive.  We also managed to have a wonderful time shut away in that little room atop the stairs, getting ready with my mom, grandma, Aunt Dani, and Debra.  My mom and grandma were so cute with their creation of a beaded dragon fly for my bouquet.

Walking with my dad down the stairs from the bridal preparation room was surreal.  I remember exactly how the early autumn light hit the leaves on all of the trees.  The high level of anxiety made me super aware of every sensation.  I remember the breeze and watching my pretty bridesmaids giggle on ahead of me.  Even though the walk to the aisle probably only took a few minutes, it felt like an eternity, like I was moving in slow motion.  I was flooded with the emotions of walking with my dad beside me, about to “give me away.”  I was surprised by his nerves and deeply touched by his sweet words and support.  There was no one else with which I would have rather spent those last few pre-ceremony moments.  Having my arm through his reminded me of all the years and San Francisco trips we had walked together through the city like this.

Bridesmaids about to walk…
A very special walk with my dad.

Finally, we crossed the bridge and the procession stopped for a moment to wait for our reluctant flower girl to make her appearance.  I could see the eyes of our friends and family peering toward me, trying to catch a glimpse.  My heart beat faster as I realized that this was it.  I had been trying to capture every minute detail in our walk and now it was really time.  I remember walking toward the aisle and smiling so big with anticipation at every guest along the way.  Each face someone special to us.  It was such a cool feeling!  But, there was one set of eyes that I was most anxious to find.  Your’s.


I will always remember peering past the standing guests and seeing your grinning face.  I was so happy.  I could not take my eyes off of you.  Our long-planned moment was finally here!  As we said our vows I felt excited and emotional.  I had the kind of smile that cannot be stopped.  I also had a few tears escape.  The moment that Uncle Pat declared us man and wife, officially combining our two last names, everything felt so right.  You were finally my husband.  A title much more deserved that boyfriend of fiance.

As we walked away from the ceremony and the Irish music played in celebration, I felt triumphant.  My favorite wedding picture is of us leaving the ceremony to have our few moments alone before the pictures and the guests and the celebration.  I loved the way that the Irish music floated through the vineyards, reaching us alone in the little garden past the bridge.  I really had never been so happy in my entire life.

Just married!

The time that followed was such a hub-bub of pictures, and greetings, and hugs.  I had not anticipated how difficult it would be to have practically everyone that we care about in one space and not be able to stop and fully spend time with them.  As we took our photos, I was so anxious to get up to the guests.  I felt like we were missing our own party!  Our photographer swore up and down that when it was all over, it was the pictures we’d be happiest to have, but I’m still not sure that I agree with her.  While the pictures were nice, I still wish she could have shot the wedding party before the wedding and left us with a bit more time to mingle.  Even so, my memory of being together with our wedding party, that same beautiful autumn light pouring across the hillside, Celtic music floating from atop the hill, is cherished just the same.

When finally it was time for our big entrance and Michael Jackson started thumping, I could not help but feel the excitement of the celebration ahead of us.  I was so tickled that our wedding party actually participated, more-or-less, in our vision of a dance party entrance.  All of the groomsmen rocked it.  My brother, Justin, and your uncle got down.  My bridesmaids were a little less enthusiastic, but still managed to bust a few moves.  Opening the doors to the caves for dinner and getting to see the tables lit up in the candle light was another moment that I had anticipated in the planning.  I was not disappointed.  It was stunning.
The caves!
Dinner was a blur of trying to greet every guest and shoveling down the delicious food in my corseted state.  The toasts were so meaningful.  Beginning with Justin, who had us all in tears and rolling with laughter.  Followed by Liz and her slip about you staying the night at our apartment in college, (not that it was actually a secret, but it made for some good laughter).  Then, of course, my father’s masterpiece.  Father-of-the-bride speeches are always my favorite at weddings, and my dad’s was, of course, the best I have ever heard.  Again, we laughed and cried and felt grateful for all of the love and support in our lives.

Yummy dinner + speeches


Dancing.  Lots and lots of dancing followed.  My favorite, of course, was our dance together to “Stand by Me.”  Watching my family get down on the dance floor was a close second.  Thanks to my bridesmaids, I was able to relive the jumping up and down to the Black-Eyed Peas “I got a Feeling” from my bachelorette party.  I remember finally taking off my horribly-uncomfortable-but-adorable purple heels and realizing that I had not noticed how much they hurt for hours because I was so pumped up with adrenaline.  Cutting our cake was fun, even if we did not get to actually eat any of it that night.  Removing my garter was more of a show than I had anticipated and, of course, watching Kiley catch the bouquet was pretty cool, since she really was the one that got married next!

As with any good party, it ended too soon, but I felt truly satisfied.  I had the time of my life.  Really, that is the song that we should have played last, instead of “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  We thought we were funny.  Even though I could have danced for hours longer, that will always remain the best dance party of my life.  I did not mind leaving, because it meant that I finally got to be alone with you.  Getting out of the parking lot will always be a funny memory, my dad’s Infinity decorated by the bridesmaids and my younger cousins, covered in lipstick, toilet paper, and some border-line inappropriate comments.  Arriving at the hotel, the bar patrons cheered for us and we made our way up to one of the prettiest little suites I have ever seen, decorated like the room of a modern Spanish castle.

Time to dance the night away!


Our honeymoon was a collage of the fanciest rooms we’ve ever stayed in on our own, suites and cottages in wine country and on the coast.  We had so much fun hauling all of our gifts up to our room at the Fairmont in Sonoma and opening them one-by-one in front of the fireplace.  I hope to revisit each of the spots we stayed one day, although I know that they will never compare to those sleepy early-autumn days following our wedding.  Even with our love for travel, I’m glad that we did not rush off on some stressful trip afar.  Instead we got to truly relax and luxuriate together in the memory of our beautiful wedding.

The days and weeks that followed our wedding, I would awaken and replay every memory that I could gather, smiling to myself at how lucky I felt.  At some point, I stopped this ritual, which is why now, after two years of marriage, I wanted to write it all down for us to remember and share with our kids and grandkids.  Even with all that I wrote down here, there are still so  many details that go untold.  I just hope that by recording what I was patient enough to put down in words, the other little happy memories continue to come back.

The other day upon marveling at another couple’s forty years of marriage, we made it our goal to go 75 years together.  Not 75 years married, but together.  That would mean that we both have to live to be 92.  That would put us at 66 years of marriage.  I think it’s a good goal.  Who knows, maybe we’ll even make it to 75 years of marriage and live to be 101!  Maybe we’re selling ourselves short with the first goal.  All I know is that each year I get to add with you by my side is a year that I’m incredibly lucky and grateful.

Happiness.


I love you.

Olivia





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Choice

I did not choose to be straight.


Every time I hear someone say that being gay is a choice, I laugh.  I cannot help but then imagine whether the person that is saying this decided to be straight.  Did they sit there and consciously decide who to be sexually attracted to?  Are they admitting that they could be gay if they did not decide to be straight?


Put yourself in the reverse shoes.  Can you imagine forcing yourself to be gay just to fit in?  I can’t.  I’d “choose” to love Alex anyway, even if meant I had to become a pariah in some circles.


***


This morning I began my day by perusing the New York Times on my phone.  I’ve found that this tactic is far more effective than the snooze button because it forces my brain to wake up and gives me something to look forward to… Yes, I am a nerd.  Yes, I also look at Facebook, which is why you may get 5:55 AM messages from me.


Back to the subject at hand, I woke up to an article on gay students being bullied and committing suicide in Minnesota.  The school district has a policy that teachers “shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation” that has resulted in many teachers ignoring or mishandling the bullying of gay students.  Apparently, it is difficult to address the bullying of gay students without also sending a message that gay students, and thus being gay, should be accepted.


I find this appalling.  As a country, we have more-or-less figured out how to accept different religious beliefs, but many of us still refuse to accept different sexual orientations to the point that young people are killing themselves as not to have to go to school.  At my own high school growing up, I remember being filled with anger as I listened to the football players harass two boys in my PE class, ruthlessly calling them fags, among other things.  If I only knew then what I know now.  If I only had the courage then that I have now.


Even though I clearly believe that being gay is not a choice, (nor something to be ashamed of), I do not understand why acceptance of homosexuality in schools is interpreted to be the same thing as endorsement.  I also do not understand how those teachers could interpret the district policy as a directive to underplay the bullying of gay students.  As a teacher, I understand that sometimes bullying is difficult to pinpoint, especially since there is always more to the story than shared.  However, acceptance of all students is non-negotiable for me.  I do not understand how, regardless of core beliefs, it could be negotiable for anyone else.


My heart goes out to all of the students in this article and all of the people in this world that get mistreated for being themselves.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/us/13bully.html
Side note: Not exactly sure what’s up with the spacing of this post…  
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