Wednesday, December 3, 2008

¡Hola amigos!

Jeff and I have made our way to lovely Buenos Aires. Months ago I told Jeff that I was going to totally unplug during our honeymoon. We have been here about 30 hours and I am already blogging (after checking email and facebook). I like to think of it as foreplay.

All along, we planned for the first few days in Buenos Aires to be centered around recuperating from the wedding and so far we are on schedule. We are on the two-nap-a-day plan and don´t intend to get off it any time soon. We have had plenty of red meat and ice cream to go with our sleep.

When we are not watching Ellen in spanish, we invested in an Argentine game called Rapigrama that is a cross between scrabble and boggle. So far, I have kicked Jeff´s ass. OK, it was only by one point. But in Argentina, that is a real ass-kicking (with the beneficial exchange rate, and all...)

Tomorrow night we see a Tango show, so we may be out late. So it may need to be a three nap day.

No one told me that wedding nightmares intensified after a wedding. So far, I have had 3 wedding nightmares. Most of them center around my unresolved hatred for my largely ineffective wedding coordinators. Then again, I guess if you sleep half the day, you increase your chances for nightmares. Needless to say, I am still processing the wedding and all its many, many facets.

Another plug for facebook is that many of our pictures are posted there, so feel free to check them out.

Not sure when the next post will come because we are headed to the wilderness of Iguazu Falls and then on to Patagonia, which is pretty much the end of the earth. We expect daytime to last until at least 10pm. Here in Buenos Aires, it is light out well past 9pm. Naps are assisted by thick curtains.

I am doing a good job of being a wife. And following seven paces behind Jeff at all times, but really, that is because I am insisting on wearing sandals that are hard to walk in.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not So Fast....

Yes, it's true, we had our fabulous wedding and now I one Mrs. Jeffrey Ellis! But you aren't getting rid of me that fast. The BWJ staff just declared that this blog will continue for the chronicle of my first year of marriage. It's going to take more than a marriage license, a hora, and a new last name to conquer Bridled With Joy. I have a feeling there are many blog-worthy events coming down the Ellis pipeline. You'll have to check back on December 15, after the honeymoon on the pampas, to see what the next chapter holds.

Bon Voyage!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


And we are OFF! The wedding weekend has begun and everyone's belly is full. I am exhausted beyond words, but first a few words for Bridled With Joy! This is my last post until I am a bona fide Mrs. so I want to go out with a bang!

I have never been more thankful, had more abundance and been more surrounded by family and friends and friends who are like family and family who are also friends. The stuffing was moist, the pumpkin cookies were flawless, and the company....just thinking about this amazing group of wonderful people brings crocodile tears to my eyes.

Here are the Polances posing with us after some TASTY thanksgiving treats.
Jeff, Jesse and David mugging for the camera!
We put the kids to work as soon as they got here, and they graciously obliged us by working on the wedding party favor and the programs. These are such good kids-- great California stock.
More manual labor from the Dubins, led by expert project manager, JoJo Ellis, who is my favorite person on the planet right now. She took control and gave everyone a job and next thing I knew we had programs and party favors. If you ever swing by the Sofitel in LA, ask for JoJo she'll give you the royal treatment.
Life of the party in in special, warm Chicago p.j.'s-- Party P!
USS Marina in da port! She saved me several times when I was in awkward conversations and she taught me a special happy song about a fishing pole and a watering hole. I will sing it this weekend when I need to go to the happy place. Expect to hear it early and often.

Thanksgiving indeed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

Shhhh!!!Jeff thinks I am putting clean linens in all of our bathrooms for guests. But I passed by the office and the computer was just sitting here looking all lonely and unused. Jeff just finished printing out the seating chart for the rehearsal dinner. I am wondering if I should tell him now or later that I accidentally sneezed-- the messy kind-- on the final copy we were going to use on Friday night. Yes, there is a smudge or two on the first column of names. Gross. As one of my bosses says, "bad news doesn't age well." I have to fess up: "Jeff, that smudge is actually my boogers. Sorry. Let's reprint together."

See how good I am at marriage? So ahead of the curve.

There has been nothing but highlights since yesterday. I can't even blog the amount of highlights. I will preface my highlight paragraph by saying that Monday was the most emotionally painful day I have ever experienced in my life. It was sharp and the pain and doom seemed so real. I was worried about a health issue that was later resolved very much in our favor, but on Monday I was sitting in indecision, worry and my oh so rudimentary faith. Kind of an insult to even call it faith. Man, if you could have seen how many fights I tried to pick with Jeff trying to release the emotional fireball. Luckily, he cut me a lot of slack and we took a well-timed 31 minute nap that really saved the day.

On to highlights:

Every night this week Jeff and I have had dinner by ourselves. We have better nighttime personalities and it's been very special to eat at Cafe Lula, on the couch or at the Logan Bar and Grill. It was also special because the food has been really, really good. I am so grateful we kept that as protected time for us to vent, or plan, or just take other people's inventories. Very therapeutic. We have a little notebook full of lists. Oh the lists! The Costco I and Costco II list; the Dominick's list, the rehearsal dinner list, the wedding day list, the list of all of our lists. It's beautiful. It's just so damn beautiful.

So, we have climbed and summited many interpersonal mountains this week. We went to the doctor to have my health issue resolved and let me tell you, I have a new favorite number. It's 145 and on that score, more will be revealed.

We just got a call from Gene B, a dear friend, who called just say he was thinking of us and wanted to know if we need any last minute help. His actual words were more like, "if you have a treasure chest you need me to carry, let me know." How wonderful is that? I have learned so much about how to be a good friend and a good wedding guest from the gracious and generous people who are cocooning us this week. I can't wait until another friend gets married and I can remember all the little (and big) gestures and offers and well wishes. It means so much to us.

Jeff finished our 16 foot closet. It's so amazing and our previously under-utilized 4th floor is now like a zen retreat space. Next time Jeff's snoring negatively impacts my sleep, I am going straight up there to get my chi realigned and to get some shut eye.

One of the most professionally gratifying and educational cases I have ever worked on settled today. We saw it coming and I got the message on my blackberry this afternoon. It's bittersweet to see the resolution, which means the 4-times daily calls from that client will come to a halt, but it also means that the client got a good result and I feel really happy about the work I did on the case. It is also significant because I had at least 2 business trips in the offing for that case as soon as we get back from Argentina, but with the settlement, it looks like I will actually be at my post (the couch), doing what I do best (watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight or 30 Rock).

All of my outfits for the next few days are ready to go. I have mostly packed my bag for the night before the wedding when I will do a little virginal retreat to the Drake Hotel so as not to see Jeff until the ceremony on Saturday. I am excited to be joined by my sister and Mimi so that I don't get too lonely up in that big old majestic hotel.

There is a turkey, which I think was brined (if that is a verb), in the oven as we speak. At some point I will get up from this computer and complete the Linen Task. Our cups overfloweth and I hardly know how to take all this goodness in. The best I can do is be in each moment as it comes. It seems to be working so far.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, though we started early at my house this week. Family is arriving in full effect and the train will definitely be leaving the station once the Bridal Brigade gets moving full steam ahead. One of the things I am most grateful for is the outreach calls I got today from friends having deep feelings about the landscapes in their own yards. I felt so happy to be connected to my peeps, and not some removed, self-obsessed bride. While the truth is that I am pretty self-obsessed, and I have about 126 blog entries to prove that up, I am connected to some incredible people who shared some really beautiful and authentic feelings with me today and it's part of why these days feel so special. The people. The connections. The feelings.

It's so damn good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's the Little Things

Jeff and I have survived the weekend before our wedding, which was no easy feat. We thought we would be ahead of the curve for all the last minute stuff, but our past 2 weeks at work were way busier and life handed up precious surprises for which we are blessed, but also sort of stressed about the list of stuff for the big W.

I am happy to report that we ran most of the errands on our list and had a lot of fun along the way. Hightlights include a foray to T.J. Maxx for some last minute linens I insisted we get. I knew I would marry Jeff the first time we went to T.J. Maxx and he knew, I mean he just knew, how to work the story and find its gems beneath the dust, filth and crap. That takes a special talent, and I had never seen it in a man. He's good. If there is a Le Creuset pot or a Wustof knife at T.J. Maxx, Jeff will find it in all its red-tagged glory. My talents are best served in the purse and shoe department, so together we make a really good team.

Here's our intrepid groom at Register 5 at our neighborhood T.J. Maxx, where we got the max for the minimum. You can see the yummy Ralph Lauren throw blanket we got for our guest bedroom on the counter. It was soon to be ours. We want the guests staying with us for the wedding to slumber in style, even if it was last season's style.
And better yet, Jeff let me test my new formaldehyde-free nail polish on his feet. I was having trouble deciding which one to go with and he was kind enough to serve as my model. We went with the dark red, as opposed to the almost-black. I love my new Zoya polish-- good for the environment and good for the body. I never showed Jeff where the nail polish remover is so he's still got painted nails. True love comes in many colors, people!

We have confirmed that we are certifiably insane for hosting Thanksgiving 3 days before our wedding. This, however, was not news to us. While I am at a much-needed therapy session tomorrow, Jeff will perform the heroic trip to Costco by himself, though he promised to say hi to the frozen yogurt I love so much there. We'll meet up at lunch time (after I follow up therapy with a much-needed pedicure-- I can attest that Jeff's feet look better than mine) and then we are spending the afternoon baking with Jeff's mom, Carol. Carol, unlike me, can cook-- really, really cook. I believe our menu is lemon bars, pumpkin cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and brownies. I am going to wear my favorite apron and try to keep things in check so that my dress really will fit on Saturday without having to re-engineer the bodice!

It's going to be a good week. One week from now, I will probably be in my bed reading the New York Times and looking at Jeff and trying to process that he is my husband. When I farted on him tonight he laughed ruefully and said that he is looking forward to me being less inhibited once we get married.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ski Lift

It sure is hard to concentrate on work or paying bills when your wedding day is about 10 days away. I can hardly believe it. What is it going to feel like? Actually, it might be slightly more uncomfortable that I have ever pictured, thanks to the few pounds I have gained in the last month or so. And yes, that made for an interesting final fitting of the dress. Thank god, Joyce was there to help me rejigger the undergarments so that I can actually wear the same wedding dress. I sure took to heart the whole "I won't diet before my wedding" plan. Actually, I took it to my breasts and my stomach, but you'll just have to take my word for it. We are just hoping to stem the tide a wee bit so that I will be able to both exhale and inhale when in my bridal regalia.

In other news, we got our marriage license today. That was a good experience overall. I tried to take a picture of Jeff when he was conversing about Official State Matters at the license office, but a rather large and burly security guard swooped down and told me that photos are not allowed in the county building. And, I confess I was irritated by that. Don't they know I have a blog? Why can't I take a picture in the Office of Vital Records, when all I am trying to do is make my own vital record? I didn't argue with Mr. Officer of the Marriage License Office, but I have been fighting back in my head all day.

Tomorrow is out last day of work before the festivities, and it just can't come soon enough. There are eyebrows to be waxed, bras to be returned, and honeymoon outfits to coordinate. It's hard to do while also sitting at my desk and "doing my day job."

I have had a touch of insomnia. Last night I was wide awake from 4-5 a.m. I took that opportunity to make a wholesome snack of peanut butter and banana on marbled rye bread (um, why in the world doesn't my dress fit the same?) and think about the days to come. It feels like inching my way up a mountain on a ski lift, and I can see the little station where I will be expected to ski off to the right and then head down the slope (green slopes, please, hold the moguls). You spend so long waiting in line to get on the ski lift and then to ride the lift, which has spectacular views of the mountains and the skiiers down below-- and then, you reach the stopping point, you ski off and you are down the mountain in about 7.5 minutes. I was imagining that is how this wedding week will feel. We stood in line and got on the lift, which is like the start of the engagement. We've been edging our way up the mountain, holding our poles and trying not to kick our skis off. Now, the ride will go quickly. Thanksgiving, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bridal beauty binge, and then the ceremony. One, two, three, it will be over. I don't think the fact that it will be over is a bad thing. It's just how it is.

Luckily, Jeff and I have given some thought to our next adventures and what hobbies we will immerse ourselves in once we no longer have a wedding to plan. I am considering working on having a more "green" lifestyle and learning all about the science and art of making peppermint candies, the red and white kind that you are lucky to get after a garlicky meal at a restaurant. I think Jeff will make deeper forays into wood working. I am hoping he will carve my image into a big hunk of redwood. I hope to make it to 200 friends on Facebook by March 2009. It's going to be a seriously busy 2009!

But, let's not jump ahead of ourselves. There are 10 more days. Oops, I think it's actually 9 more days. Here's to calm and peace and light snow flurries before our descent down the mountain!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dodo Bird

Jeff and I have been busy sewing the seeds of love so the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. And, to be perfectly honest, I have been a little engrossed in obsessively watching Season 2 of Thirty Rock and downloading Tori Amos songs. I am sure there is a connection there, but it certainly escapes me.

Remember when Gweneth Paltrow won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love? Remember her speech and that pale pink gown she wore? (Remember how you could see she had no breasts at all and she looked sort of ghostly thin?) I read shortly after that, she fell into a deep depression. The report I remember reading said that people were constantly telling her that she should be so thrilled because she just won the coveted prize of her profession, but she was depressed.

That little vingette reminds me of something my friend Karen said the other day. With complete earnestness, she said, "I am getting everything I want in my life, and I am totally depressed." Most people who heard her say that laughed at the recognition of life's great irony: getting what you want make induce depression.

Believe me, when I come face to face with my creator one day, the first thing I will ask about -- after getting to the bottom of the why a benevolent creator would create a world where morning breath exists-- is why the depression after getting what you want most in the world?

Can you see where I am going with this? I have wanted to settle down with a great guy since my early twenties. I am in my mid-thirties now. The man I am marrying exceeds every single fantasy and vision and dream I ever cooked up. For the love of Moses, the man is building me a 14 foot closet with his own two hands! And, this weekend, I felt a lethargy and a depression. I was thinking it was the gray, 32-degree weather. Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's premature wedding post-partum. Maybe it's stress. Trying to figure it out just makes me more lethargic. The point is that any fantasy that marriage will fix my moods or change my personality has gone the way of the dodo bird (See above).
So, instead of searching on-line for the perfect sunlamp or an "all natural" antidepressant -- exercise has worked just fine for me-- I am just going to lean into the feelings. I also know I have a pattern in my life that before something amazing and transformative happens (like, say, a wedding), I have all the negative feelings that are not "normally" associated such such events, like depression, or loneliness or sadness. Then, when the actual event finally arrives, I am seized with such joy and such jubilation. After the fact, I always feel happy that the more negative-seeming feelings came first so I could go through all of that to "earn" my joy. The slight hitch in that formula is that before the joy hits, I can only assume that it's coming. I have to take it on faith that come wedding day (or, God willing) rehearsal dinner day, I will be in possession of all the joy that my body and mind and heart can handle.

Til then, I think I am in good company with Ms. Paltrow and the other people similarly affected by such malaise.