tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Could Things Be Looking up?

Maybe. I am going to Tampa for work in a couple of weeks and when I was wandering around at lunch today, I heard a crazy person screaming to himself about peeping in the ladies’ room. I’m going to take these things as signs that things are about to get interesting again. Of course, it would be far more exciting if I were being sent to say, Vegas, and the crazy man wasn’t so much a crazy man as an eccentric millionaire who hands me $10,000 just for being me, but I’ll take what I can get.

Oh, and if you know anything about Tampa and have any recommendations for me, that would be totes fantastic.

Ma'am, I'm Going to Have to Ask You to Stop Banging Your Cane Against the Wall

As I mentioned last month, we have been receiving noise complaints. We got a letter from the management office, and I wrote a nasty letter back and I thought we had dealt with this, but now I have received another letter from them, stating that we have to have a meeting about the matter. The complaints are about loud and prolonged hammering and banging noises. I know we’re not making these noises. In fact, although there were hammering noises a while back, I haven’t even heard the noises in at least six weeks (the manager sent the original letter to a bunch of different apartments, so I’m guessing whoever was making the noise decided to cease and desist). Usually, when there is a complaint, the front desk calls us on our house phone. We haven’t received a call since late March (and one complaint came when we were in Spain, so, ummh, hello, we couldn’t have been making noises), and the assistant manager told Lord Kissington that it’s a woman who is insisting that we are making the noises, and she claims that whenever she hears it, she bangs on the wall with her cane and the noises stop. I have never heard anyone banging on our wall, so given that we haven’t gotten any calls, I’m guessing the noise problems are happening during the day when we’re out, because, you know, we have jobs. I am amused at the vision of a cranky old lady banging on the wall at sounds that aren’t there, but I’m not so amused at being blamed for something that we’re not doing and that may not even be happening. (I wonder if she has cats, because I am totally picturing that crazy cat lady from The Simpsons. I don’t know which apartment she lives in, but I would be scared to knock on her door in case she answered it and started throwing cats at me.)

In the latest letter from the management office, we were told to contact them immediately. Of course, they delivered the letter Friday evening after the office was closed for the weekend. Lord K called the office Monday to set up an appointment, spoke to the assistant manager (who seems like a nice guy and seemed inclined to view this as a nutcase who is hearing things), and left a voicemail for the manager with his work and cell numbers. She called him back at home during the day on Tuesday so we didn’t get the message until after the office closed for the night. (Sigh. Again, did I mention that we work outside the home?) He called her back on Wednesday and she didn’t call him back. Her voicemail says that she will call back within 24 hours. That’s a pretty large time frame. Given her lack of response, they don’t seem too concerned about these complaints. We’ve asked them to provide us a detailed list of the time/date of the complaints, so I’m hoping we can resolve the matter by proving that we weren’t at home during these times. In the meantime, I have become completely paranoid about noise, to the extent that I cringe anytime I drop something, because I’m expecting Crazy Old Lady to start banging on the wall. Or throw a cat at me. And that’s got to hurt the poor cat.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Inspiration Needed

I’ve been having trouble with posting lately. I just don’t really have that much to say and the few ideas I come up with all seem pretty lame. For example, how annoying it is when co-workers leave their finished food in the microwave long after it’s done, but you don’t want to take it out in case it isn’t done and they need to cook it for longer. Or how much sugar is in all the food I eat. See what I mean? Lame.

I’ve milked my wedding for pretty much all I can get. And really, does anyone want to hear about it anymore? I’m totally sick of it and it was my “special day.” So I can’t imagine anyone else being interested at this point.

But sadly, the wedding and the honeymoon are the only exciting things that have happened to me lately. Basically, I go to work, I come home, I try to get to the gym, but more likely end up flopped on the couch because allergies are kicking my ass. I don’t even have any amusing anecdotes, because nothing particularly interesting has happened to me lately. Is it possible that I’ve become boring? Something exciting needs to happen pronto.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Random Notes

*In an attempt at buying some much needed new summer shoes, I looked at approximately 200 pairs on Sunday. I saw almost nothing that I wanted. The only pair I wanted was $250, and I just couldn’t justify spending that much on a perfectly plain pair of flats (I’m frivolous, but not that frivolous).
*By Sunday evening, I was in a weird funk (I get that way on Sundays sometimes), so Lord Kissington dragged me out for a walk and then bought me a BLT and some beers, which made things a lot better. He’s good like that.
*Recent email recommendations from Amazon include a Toto album and The War of the Worlds. Apparently, Amazon does not understand that I only bought that Toto Superhits CD for its ironic value and they certainly don’t get my hatred for all things Tom Cruise.
*Allergies are kicking my ass, and I can’t seem to focus on anything. This blows, and it makes it hard to write a coherent post.
*I really really can’t stand Plum Sykes, because she says things like this (in reference to being pregnant): “I used to be concave. Now I’m just thin.” If you have no idea who Plum Sykes is, consider yourself lucky.
*I had my hair done the other day and it’s still superstraight. I love it, but I can never manage to get it to look this good on my own. I find myself doing a lot of hairflipping.
*I read this long piece on the Duke rape case in Newsweek, and I was struck by the fact that they refer to the accuser and the other woman as “women,” but they refer to the lacrosse players as “boys.” Ummh, aren’t they all at least 18 and thus can be charged as adults? Let’s call them men, please. Calling the victim a woman, while referring to the alleged perpetrators as boys just smacks of editorializing.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Dating Tip (Which You Probably Won't Want to Follow)

Being that I was never very good at it, I am the last person who should be giving anyone dating tips, unless it’s for some sort of “How to Make Sure Your First Date Is Your Last Date” self-help book. But I did have one rule in my dating days that seemed to work for me.

The other night I was at Toledo Lounge and I got to reminiscing about some previous visits there. When I mentioned that I had gone on a couple of dates at Toledo Lounge, my companions were a bit surprised. But I’ve always had this thing about making dates meet me at dive bars. This worked for me, for several reasons:

1. I spend a lot of time at dive bars, so it was a good idea to test out a date’s reaction. If he winced at a table that wasn’t spotless or looked askance at the clientele, he probably wasn’t the man for me.
2. Dive bars are cheap. If the guy pays for a couple of $4 rail drinks, there is a lot less pressure than he pays for several overpriced martinis. (Please understand that I am not saying that just because some guys buys you drinks, you are under any obligation to do anything. But spending 4 bucks a drink versus 8 or more takes some pressure off.)
3. It keeps things low key for a first date. You don’t have to dress up for a dive bar, so you won’t look like you’re trying too hard. Also, the lighting is likely to be dim, which can hide a lot of faults (which is good if you’re trying to hide a pimple, but bad if you really want to get a good look at your date).

Now this rule won’t work for everyone (for starters, you have to like dive bars), but I found that it was a pretty good one for me. One example: About 5 years ago, I was asked out for drinks by a young man. I wasn’t particularly interested, but it was one of those friend-of-a-friend sort of things where it’s hard to say no. He let me pick the bar, so I suggested Toledo Lounge, mostly because it was convenient for me. He showed up wearing a suit (sans tie). I would have just assumed that he came from work, but I knew that wasn't the case. So he actually put on a suit to meet me for a drink at a dive bar. Way too much effort. I ordered a vodka and tonic. He ordered the same, but wanted it made with Stoli. This is just all wrong for a dive bar. You drink rail. That’s the way it is. (Yes, I appreciate good vodka very much, but I firmly believe that if you’re mixing it with tonic, it really doesn’t matter what kind of vodka you use.)

We had a pleasant enough time, but there was nothing there on my part. I just couldn’t see anything happening. (And the answer to The Question was definitely “no.”) This was backed up a few days later when in response to an email asking me to go out to dinner, I said that I wasn’t looking to date anyone at that point or something like that. He sent me a nasty message back along the lines of “Well, I didn’t want to date you anyway.” (Which begs the question of why he asked me out on the first place, but whatever.)

One other reason dive bars are good: I met my future husband in one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spain Vignette 5: Stendahl Syndrome

Stendahl Syndrome (or Stendhal’s syndrome) is defined as “dizziness, panic, paranoia, or madness caused by viewing certain artistic or historical artifacts or by trying to see too many such artifacts in too short a time.” (Courtesy Wordspy.com)* The disorder is named after the French author Stendahl (a.k.a. Marie Henri Beyle), best known for his novels The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. Stendahl experienced these symptoms on a visit to Florence. He wrote,

“I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty… I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations… Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.”

I had a mild case of Stendahl Syndrome while in Seville. It’s not surprising really. We had had quite an overload of art and beauty by that point: the art nouveau architecture of Barcelona, the Gothic Cathedral in Barcelona, the wonderful Romanesque and Gothic art at the Museu Nacional de Catalunya, the bizarre beauty of La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi’s cathedral masterpiece), the hundreds of paintings at the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza (I was in Baroque heaven), another Gothic Cathedral in Seville, the Moorish style architecture of the Alcazar Palace, and the splendors of the Sevillian Baroque at the Museo de Bella Artes de Sevilla (I worship at the altar of Zurbaran).

On our last day in Seville, we visited the Iglesia de la Magdalena, a Baroque church that was designed by Leonardo de Figueroa and was finished in 1709 (the Baroque lasted a bit longer in Seville than elsewhere in Europe). It had been a rather difficult to see this church. It is only open during very limited hours. And on our first try, we just couldn’t find it (Seville is made of very confusing tiny, twisty, winding streets, and our map wasn’t the best). But we finally located it, getting there just as it was reopening at 6 p.m.

From the outside, it’s a fairly typical-looking Baroque church. The church is in terrible shape. They are supposedly restoring it, but there isn’t much evidence of it. It was quite dark inside. The Lucas Valdes frescoes on the walls are crumbling away, which is truly tragic. We walked around the church, looking at the beautiful, but hard to see paintings (both because of their condition and the bad lighting). There is a beautiful gold altar, and the church has several life-size statues, of the type that are carried on floats during Seville’s Holy Week celebrations (what can I say, my taste in art is a touch florid). The statues are rather spectacular and are often dressed in elaborate cloth costumes.

After a few minutes in the church, the syndrome suddenly hit. I felt dizzy and I started to cry. It was really weird. I didn’t have palpitations or anything that drastic, but I was not feeling normal. I sat down in one of the pews and tried to pull myself together. As I looked up at the altar, in the semi-darkness, it was pretty amazing, because it felt like I could actually be in the church in the 18th century. The whole experience was surreal. Maybe it was just the cumulative effect of too much beauty. After a little while longer, we walked outside into the bright sunlight and I felt normal again after a few minutes**.

*Wikipedia has a similar definition, although for some reason they call it a "psychosomatic" illness. Are you calling me crazy?
**It’s just possible that what I’m calling Stendahl Syndrome could have been a severe allergy attack since the church was basically one big mold spore, but I don’t think allergies explain it entirely.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Taxing My Brain

I keep trying to write this really amazing (or at least that is how I envision it) post about my favorite place in Spain, but it’s not coming together as I had hoped, and I still don’t have any pics (you try going through 1400 weddings pics and then add 150 Spain ones to the mix), and this post will really need visual accompaniment. So we are left with the following.

*It’s really fucking cold out.
*I still haven’t mailed my taxes. They are all done, but I am lazy and cold and mailing them would entail going outside.
*I had another idea for a post that involves a little trip down dive bar memory lane, but it would require pulling together a lot of thoughts and trying to be witty and that just isn’t happening today.
*I’ve found a temporary cure for my insomnia: severe allergy attacks that completely knock me out by 9:30 most nights.
*On Saturday, Lord Kissington broke a beer bottle and everyone assumed I had done it and they were all like, don’t step in it, ha ha ha. You smash one bottle of Corona with your foot and have to get 11 stitches and people never let you live it down.
*I have no memory of the broken bottle incident, although I apparently was standing right next to him when it happened.
*The first time I calculated my DC taxes, I owed over 200 bucks. The second time, I got it down to $50. I gave it a third try and came up with $38. Guess which one I decided to go with?
*At the conclusion of Easter dinner yesterday, I declared a moratorium on any and all wedding discussions, because I just can’t talk about it any more. It was a wedding, not the second coming of Christ.
*Within 4 hours, I had broken my moratorium, but from today, it’s back on.
*If you hear me mention my wedding, feel free to remind me of the moratorium and then smack me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Happiest Hospital on Earth

Yesterday, I took the day off to pick my mother up at Sibley Hospital where she was having a test done (she thinks she may have an ulcer, and yes, while that would suck, it’s treatable and she would probably feel a great sense of vindication since she has been convinced for years that she has an ulcer). I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of test she was having done (I’m pretty sure she never told me specifically, or it’s maybe just possible I wasn’t listening too hard—in my defense, she has about three medical tests a month, so I sometimes lose track), but she told me to meet her at the Radiology division at Sibley at around 11:30 a.m.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time around hospitals in the last few years, mostly related to unfortunate events:
*An ER visit to GW after the Corona bottle incident
*An ER visit to Sibley when Lord Kissington thought he was a having a heart attack (he wasn’t)
*An ER visit to Howard with a friend (truly terrifying)
*Visiting my grandfather in the scary hospital in NYC where he died
*Taking my grandmother to get tests done at Sibley
*Visiting June and the Bean shortly after she gave birth at Sibley (the only good event in the bunch)

Having been to Sibley several times now, I can say that it’s the happiest hospital ever. At other hospitals I’ve had the pleasure of patronizing, the staff ranged from indifferent to downright mean (and you can’t really blame them—working in a hospital must be rough). But at Sibley, everyone is happy and smiley and helpful.

I arrived at 11:20 and asked the friendly elderly volunteer at the front desk how to get to Radiology. I found it with no trouble and asked the woman at the desk about my mother. She very politely told me that my mother wasn’t scheduled for a test today, which was odd since I had spoken to her just an hour and a half earlier as she was heading out the door to the hospital. After much polite back and forth, the woman finally tracked her name down and told me she was in Endoscopy.

I headed back up to the main desk and asked the same nice gentleman to direct me to Endoscopy since I didn’t see any signs for it. He told to me walk about 20 paces down the hall and turn right. At least, that’s what I thought he said. He may have said left—I have this little problem with left and right. And perhaps 20 paces for a fast walking, long-striding person like myself is a little different than for a 75-year-old man. In any case, I ended up on the other side of the hospital and saw no sign of Endoscopy. I stopped someone with a badge and they politely told me that Endoscopy was on the second floor. I headed up to the second floor where once again, no Endoscopy, so I walked into surgery and the very helpful receptionist redirected back to where I had come from. I finally did find Endoscopy, where yet another cheerful elderly volunteer told me that my mother was still in for testing. Within an hour, we were out of there and my mother told me that she doesn’t have cancer, which came as a huge surprise to me since she had never mentioned that they were looking for cancer.

“Oh, didn’t I mention that?” she said.
“No, mom, you didn’t even tell me the right department. You said radiology.”
“Oh, well, they all look the same to me.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Grandiose Plans

This weekend, we made a valiant effort to deal with the pile of wedding gifts that had taken over the living room (as opposed to say, just throwing them onto the ever-increasing pile and hoping that I would wake up one morning and find that the magic elves had somehow organized my life for me). We got new shelves for the kitchen. We cleared out a bunch of old stuff and we found places for most of the new stuff. I called up a bunch of people and convinced them they needed to take all my old wine glasses. Unpacking 28 Crate and Barrel boxes turned out to be a bit hazardous. C&B uses some sort of environmentally friendly packing material. Each item is packed in about 18 layers of it, and they all have to unwrapped individually. The stuff has sort of a waffle weave to it and the edges of the waffle have a tendency to rip your skin to shreds. That was a lot of fun. (The waffle weave was also really nice when I was unwrapping a broken pilsner glass since it allowed the 4000 shards of glass to cascade to the floor like a sort of waterfall. A waterfall that makes you bleed).

During this whole cleanup process, I realized something. We now have a lot of lovely stuff we will probably use only very rarely. In the first flush of enthusiasm for the registry list, we put all sorts of fun things on there. And people bought them for us. So now we have a panini grill, a waffle iron, an egg poacher, and a hand blender. I’m not even quite sure what a hand blender is, but Lord Kissington really wanted it (it seems to me that it’s awfully similar to a hand mixer, which we also received).

The only solution I can see is that we will have to have a brunch party. This is going to be a new thing for me; I’ve never had a party that started before 3 p.m. But it will be fantastic. I will serve you tea with my new tea set (made with water boiled in my new kettle). You will drink mimosas from the new champagne flutes. Or if you prefer just plain juice (but if that’s the case, you probably wouldn’t be at my party), I can break out the new juice glasses. I’ll poach eggs in the new egg poacher. I’ll serve waffles from the new waffle iron. I’ll even bake muffins with my new muffin pan (but don’t be surprised if they’re not very good because I’ve never made muffins before). You will eat off the new china and use the new flatware. You will be totes impressed with my culinary skills and my bright shiny new objects. You will be awed by my hostessing skills. Or you know, something like that.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Spain Vignette 4: A Few Photos

I must admit to being something of a Luddite when it comes to cameras. I have a good digital camera, and although I always bring it along on vacation, I tend to take most of my photos with my old trusty manual Pentax. I just feel more comfortable with it. Most of my Spain pics are on the Pentax, and I have to get the film developed, which I haven’t gotten around to yet, since I’ve been spending most of my time sorting through the 1400 photos from my wedding (I kid you not). But I did manage to take a few snapshots with the digital camera, and here is a brief selection.

This is the Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, Barcelona’s most famous apartment building, designed by Antoní Gaudi, the founder of Modernisme (a distinctly Catalan form of Art Nouveau).

The other photos are from the Parc Guell, a park designed by Gaudi. It's a bit like what Disneyworld might be like if someone with taste and originality had designed it. The disc in the third photo is one of many very cool tile structures in the park.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Picture Not So Perfect

I’ve now seen about 1700 photos from my wedding, the professional ones and a bunch taken by friends and families. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. It doesn’t matter how hot my dance moves are in real life, in pictures, I look like I am doing the hokey pokey. And I don’t even know the hokey pokey. I swear.

2. I am short. No, I mean really short. I am 5’3 in bare feet, and I pretty much always wear heels. I also have decent posture and people tend to think I am taller than I am simply because I don’t slouch. My wedding shoes were only 1.5-inch heels, not as high as I would have liked, but they matched my dress perfectly. Sadly, they were horribly uncomfortable and I ditched them midway through the reception. So, in many of the pictures, I am my real height. This is especially obvious when I am standing near my bridesmaids, all of whom are at least 5’6. Why did I have to pick a bunch of glamazons?

3. I have a lot of moles on my back. I guess I knew this on some level, but how often do I see my whole back? My dress had a low V-neck in the back, so much of my back was on display. And you know what? My back is not so hot. And it’s covered with moles. Damn pasty, sun-sensitive Irish skin. (Lord Kissington assures me that I have a very nice back, but he pretty much has to say that because (a) he married me and (b) he also has a pasty, mole-covered back.)

4. I see a hint of VPL in a couple of pics. Surely, this is just a trick of bad lighting. Seriously, how is this possible? WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME I HAVE VPL IN MY WEDDING DRESS? Just wondering.

Given these discoveries (and to preserve some semblance of anonymity), I won’t be posting any of these pics on the blog.*

*But if you are really dying to see some wedding pics, shoot me an email, and I’ll let you know when I have them up and ready for viewing.

The Mystery Gift

Here it is, the mystery gift. Sorry for the lousy photos. It appears to be made of silver. I am guessing it may be Victorian from the design, but since I don't know much about silver, I could be way off base. There are no markings on the bottom or the inside. It seems to be in very good condition, although it has a few minor scratches, which are only noticeable when you look at it very closely.

It's about about 6 inches high and 6 inches wide. The top opens up and is hinged.

It has what I think of as rather typically Victorian design: flowers, bows, flourishes (the Victorian equivalent of "flare"). The ring handles on each side are attached to lions' heads. Any suggestions as to what this thing* is would be much appreciated. Thanks.

*It should be noted that I really like this gift. I think it's beautiful and I hope to display it in a prominent place once I figure out where to put all the wedding gifts. I just really want to know what it is so I can write a lovely thank you note acknowledging it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spain Vignette 3: Eating in Spain

It’s something of a mystery to me why people in Spain aren’t all morbidly obese, but they’re not. They’re not LA-thin either, but they are what you might call average for the most part. I’m surprised because there are just so many opportunities to eat in Spain, and so much of the food is fried. Here are the possible meals you can eat (according to my ever-trusty guidebook and what I saw):

Breakfast: early in the morning, usually consisting of coffee and a pastry.
Second breakfast: (mmm, hobbits) sometimes a sandwich and a beer, usually around 11 a.m.
Lunch: usually a long affair, from say 1 or 2 to 4 p.m.
Tea: tea/coffee with a snack, usually around 5 or 6 p.m.
Pre-dinner: tapas at a bar or restaurant, around 7 or 8 p.m.
Dinner: in true Spanish style, dinner is not eaten until 10 p.m. Many restaurants will start serving at 8 or 8:30, but they are not crowded at that hour and this seems to be mostly for tourists.

The food is all great, but not exactly light. And I simply could not start eating dinner at 10 p.m. That goes against every weight control tip I’ve ever heard. Here is a typical rundown of how we handled eating:

Breakfast at the hotel around 9 or 10 a.m.: Most hotels have a breakfast buffet of some sort. I tended to eat something like juice, toast, garlic mushrooms, a croissant, some pastries and maybe a slice of ham or some eggs if I were feeling the need for protein (what can I say, I lurve carbs). Lord Kissington would stick more to the protein thing, but we both tended to eat a hearty breakfast (far more than normal for us), since we would head out after breakfast for lots of walking and sightseeing.

Around 1 or 2 p.m., we would stop somewhere for lunch. This was generally a sizable meal. Some things we had: assorted tapas, paella, fish stew, pizza (not the best). Lunch was always accompanied by drinks, sometimes a bottle of wine, or just glasses of wine for me and beer for LK. The wine was always good, even if it was just a glass of the house wine, and usually quite cheap, maybe 1.50 or 2 Euros a glass.

Depending on how full we were after lunch, we might head back to the hotel and take a siesta (really trying to go native here). In the mid to late afternoon, we would often stop at a bar (or sometimes the hotel bar) for a drink or two (this whole drinking all day thing is really a lot of fun and made all the museum visits much more palatable to Lord Kissington).

We usually ate dinner around 8 or 8:30. Most days we had a pretty big lunch, so dinner was often just tapas. Of course, eating 9 or 10 tapas isn’t exactly a light meal, but whatever. A couple of times, we went for more formal dinners.

Here are some food items I loved in Spain:

Toast: European white bread is just so much better than American white bread. Is it because they don’t use preservatives?
Croissants: because croissants aren’t unhealthy enough, they like to make them even better in Spain by coating them with a layer of sugary goo. Yum.
Octopus: I’d only ever had octopus in Japanese restaurants, and I wasn’t very impressed, as it always seemed rather tough. But octopus in Spain is amazing. Sometimes it’s fried; sometimes it’s sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
Tiramisu: Nope, it’s not Spanish. We ate lunch at an Italian restaurant once and I had this for dessert. Delish.
Sevillian-style chickpeas: Chickpeas in a sauce, apparently cooked with pork. Amazing.
Fish stew: I had a couple of different varieties of this. My favorite had cod in it.
Wine, wine, and more wine: Did I mention the wine?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thank You for the Lovely, Ummh, Thing

As any non-etiquettely-challenged bride will tell you, thank you notes are a big part of the wedding process. I am currently drowning in thank you notes. In the beginning, I was doing really well. Anyone who sent a gift before the wedding (unless it arrived the day before the wedding) received a thank you note sent out before the wedding*. Since the flow of gifts was steady, but not overwhelming, this went pretty well, and I was only writing a few a week, so I could still come up with clever comments for each.

But after the wedding came the deluge. I have about 50 notes to write at the moment. I’ve managed to do 10 in the last two days, but it’s getting harder and harder. How many different ways are there to say “thank you for the lovely gift. We’re so glad you could come to our wedding.” (I refuse to say “We’re so glad you could share our special day.” It’s just way too bridezilla.) So, basically, everyone is getting more or less the same note, with a few words changed. For everyone who sent an actual gift, it’s a little easier, because you can say something like “Thank you so much for the lovely wine glasses. Lord Kissington and I are sure to get a lot of use out of them because we both have drinking problems.” Or perhaps something slightly more appropriate like “Thank you so much for the lovely wine glasses. Lord Kissington and I are looking forward to using them at the next meeting of our wine tasting group.” For people who gave cash or checks, it’s a little harder, since you can’t really make a comment on money (“Thank you so much for your generous gift. Those 100 dollar bills were especially crisp and had that lovely new money smell.”), but I just try to convey my extreme gratitude to them for giving us money.

The biggest problem of all in the thank you note world is writing a note for gift when you have no idea what the gift is. We received a lovely antique something or other from friends of my father. It’s quite delightful, but I haven’t the faintest idea what it is. So, how do I write a polite note? Do I try to guess what it is? “Thank you for the delightful, ermm, Victorian tea canister?” (My mother’s guess) Or do I go with purposefully vague? “Thank you for the lovely gift. Lord Kissington and I are sure to get a lot of use out of it.” Or maybe I should post a picture and people can guess what it is? Oh, the dilemmas of thank you notes.

*I consulted several etiquette sources about whether it is permissible to send thank you notes before the wedding. None specified anything as to pre/post-wedding timing. Miss Manners had one question from someone who complained about getting a thank you note too early, and she basically told them to get over it, and that seeing as thank you notes are becoming a rarity, did the letter writer really want to complain about receiving a note in such a timely fashion? Snap. All sources said that thank you notes should be sent promptly, so that’s what I have tried to achieve.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Getting Out of the House

I had big plans to continue posting about Spain this weekend, but then I decided that actually getting out and doing stuff would be a better idea, since I have to actually experience life now and then to have things to write about. I found, that in the weeks preceding the wedding, I barely left the house. I just had so much on my mind and I didn’t have the energy to be social. It was just easier to stay home, even if said home looks like a Crate and Barrel store that’s really let itself go. I tried to remedy that this weekend. It was really fun, although my liver is begging for mercy.

Friday night, Lord Kissington and I went out to dinner. Thankfully, even after two weeks in Spain with no one else to talk to, we can still find things to say to each other. Phew. Saturday, I had dinner with Mary Ann and then we met up with various people and drank too much. I actually felt extremely sober until I made the fateful decision to have that one last bad idea jeans beer and it was all downhill from there. Sunday, we grilled out with some old friends (and new baby) and then I had drinks with some new friends. I feel like I’ve reentered society. Damn, I missed you people.