Archive for the ‘We’re In Love. Sweet, Gooey, Cinnabon Love.’ Category

I Do.

October 25, 2008

A year ago, I said “I will.”
Today, I’ll say, “I do.”

After the rehearsal and the dinner, after the toasts and the stories, the laughing and the crying, when it was just us back at our house before he headed off to his hotel, we exchanged gifts. He gave me a first edition of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. I swooned and then we chuckled that it was probably best that he hadn’t gone with The End of the Affair. I gave him a late-1800s lithograph depicting small clocks with the times of the world’s major cities. The clocks are arranged in concentric circles around one clock set to the time in D.C. It’s our city. It’s where we came together both as a little family of two and a banana republic of a family that stretches from Texas to Maryland. It’s where one year and seven weeks ago I stood on a corner as he knelt in front of me and asked me if I would.

I will.
I do.


Happy Birthday to the Future Mr. Bridal Bird

October 17, 2008

I was going to get you a puppy:


But then this one kept saying, “Unhand me, damnable woman! I already have an owner and her views are much more politically compatible with my own than your hippie dippie sensibilities.” Also, current dog seemed a little pissy about the whole idea.

Then I was going to get you Amy Adams:

But current redhead seemed a little pissy about the whole idea. 

Then I was going to get you this (a few weeks late)

But I remembered this was supposed to be about you, not me. Oopsie daisy.

So I settled on an iPod Chromatic:

and me:

In seven days you get me, in a $*,*** bow. On second thought, happy birthday to me!

We Venture Into the Belly of the Beast for Round Three

October 7, 2008

There is a certain euphoric and/or contented look on the face of a man about to be handed a marriage license that will send him on his way to a lifetime of wedded bliss. And there is a certain look on the face of a man who has been forced to get that marriage license from the District of Columbia in a three-month-and-counting, at-times-extralegal process:

Yep, we took lunch hour Number Three today in the hopes that we would actually get our marriage license. (For the time being, I’ve shelved my quest for my $10. Temporarily, I assure you. But my main goal until the wedding is getting the document itself into my tiny clenched fist.) Long story short: we got the license. At least twice during today’s field trip to the Marriage Bureau, our kindly (and genuinely trying to be helpful) helper said, “I couldn’t believe it; it was right after y’all left the other day that we found out the law had changed!” And my fiancé and I just kept exchanging glances that loosely translated to: “Yes, it was right after we left because a city reporter called to find out why you were demanding documentation for a test no longer required by law.” But we stayed silent. The Future Mr. and Mrs. Bridal Bird, smiling politely.

Whilst we were in hellthe Marriage Bureau, they played four songs:

1. “Fire and Rain,” James Taylor – Maudlin tune about Taylor’s own substance abuse and the suicide of a former acquaintance. (Not a girlfriend’s plane crash as folklore would have us believe.) 
Suitability for a marriage license office: -1

2. “If I Can’t Have You,” Yvonne Elliman – Eh, not a bad choice. Obsessive maybe. But could work.  
Suitability for a marriage license office: +1

3. “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay – Are they using this to ascertain if couples are secretly gay, thus preventing them from marrying?
Suitability for a marriage license office: 0

4. “You’re In My Heart,” Rod Stewart – Yes, the song from So I Married an Axe Murderer. Awesome. Someone at the D.C. Marriage Bureau has a sense of humor.
Suitability for a marriage license office: +15

I’ll let Rod sing us out, because seriously, the lyrics to this song are pretty cool when you’re about to get married in 17 days.

Pumpkins Haven’t Made Me This Happy Since “Tonight, Tonight”

September 17, 2008

When I was a kid, I was never a huge fall fan. Even though my birthday is in late September, I found the change from summer too heavily tainted by its association with having to wear shoes again, and going to bed earlier, and heading back to school. (Specifically, heading back to math class.) It wasn’t until college that I came to appreciate fall because it brought Clemson football. And beer. And beer while watching Clemson football. Now I love it, because it means not only Clemson football and beer, but good hair, and excellent merch at the farmers market, and sweaters, and Halloween and Octoberfest parties, and oysters, and bonfires, and good movies offering respite from summer’s cinematic stupidity, and cuddling in closer on walks through the city, and the lighting turning to a softer glow with fluttering shadows from the leaves. There’s no more stunning season in D.C. than fall.

This year though, the promise of fall has meant much more, on account of the October 25 wedding and all. But with the pressing business and anxiety surrounding the campaign and the conventions this summer, our impending nuptials had remained in the abstract for me. It was always a day coming eventually, when fall rolls around. “We’ve still got a ways to go,” I’d say, or “Oh, it’s a good three months yet. Not until fall.” Until yesterday, when I pulled into a grocery store parking lot and saw pumpkins and chrysanthemums on display for the first time this year. “It’s fall,” I thought, standing there in front of them. Which means the wedding is happening, er, now. Specifically, 36 days, 23 hours, and 15 minutes from now as I write this. Knowing that it’s finally happening after 12 months of abstract anticipation? That feeling is Clemson football, beer, good hair, excellent merch at the farmers market, sweaters, Halloween and Octoberfest parties, oysters, bonfires, good movies, cuddling in closer on walks, and a softer glow with fluttering shadows from the leaves.

I’ll let the Pumpkins sing us out, with their fitting talk of the “resolute urgency of now.”

Things I Miss, In No Particular Order

September 16, 2008

It’s the start of my second month on the campaign/convention trail. Here’s what I’m bitching and moaning about missing to my deputy campaign director, Cat Who Lives in the House I’m Staying in and Comes In and Watches Me Work All Day.

“Look, this is the exact same way Carville came up with his ’92 strategy. And not to be snippy but we’re not going to get those poll numbers moving in the right direction if you don’t gets ta scratching the belly.”

* The way my fiance smiles at me every morning when he wakes up.
* The way my dog smiles at me every morning when I wake up.
* Doing the Times crossword with my fiance. Over the phone isn’t nearly as much fun, although he did keep me from going nuts trying to remember who George Washington’s portraitist was last night.
* Taxis.
* Meze, Cafe du Parc, and the Dupont Farmers Market.
* Saturday afternoon movies at E Street.
* Waking up in my own bed.
* Having someone there when I wake up in it in the middle of the night with nightmares.
* Getting dressed up for work. Actually, going to an office in general. God help me, I miss going to an office.
* Cooking in my kitchen.
* Reading the print copy of the Post.
* Jogging over the Taft Bridge.
* Vegetables that aren’t fried and then served with a side of butter and bacon.
* Not caring about polling numbers.
* Not having to have a PoliSci 101 conversation with everyone and their brother who finds out I’m here working for a campaign.
* Not having to care when someone tells me that they’re not voting for Obama.
* People who at least attempt to veil their racism.
* Bookstores outnumbering tanning salons.
* Watching my fiance tie his tie in the morning.
* 9:30 Club, Bourbon, my balcony for having a drink.
* My girls.
* Being goofy with my guy.
* Passing the spot where we’ll have our wedding reception every day.
* Kissing, kissing, kissing.
* Sighing with happiness.

That’s all for now. I’ll be wallowing in self-pity for the rest of the night. And scratching the cat’s belly.

UPDATE: In case you’re wondering what my smiling pooch looks like…

Yes, Apparently We Can. In Fact, We Just Did.

June 3, 2008

I hardly have words for this. Me, speechless. Well done, secret boyfriendpresumptive nominee Barack Obama. Well done. Looking forward to us becoming neighbors. We don’t have voting rights here, but you’ll love the vegan cinnamon rolls at Sticky Fingers.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go back to staring in complete amazement at the television screen.

UPDATE: Thanks to K, who came up with the photo I looked for all last night and early this morning. Yes, if you watched closely before last night’s speech, you saw Barack and Michelle Obama parting on stage right before his speech by doing “Shake and Bake.” Best. First Couple. Ever.

Falling slowly, eyes that know me/and I can’t go back.

May 16, 2008

My fiancé and I have a tradition in the few seconds before a movie is about to start at the theater. We turn to each other, make a setting-the-bar-low hand motion and mouth “low expectations.” It’s a silly thing that we do to try to avoid being too disappointed by the typically crudtastic movies released these days. Per usual, we did that last year as the lights were going down for indie flick Once. And within 10 minutes we were both tearing up. (I’m sorry, I was tearing up. He was just trying to get something out of his eyes.) It was the scene in which Guy and Girl–the lead characters’ roles are unnamed–sing together for the first time at a borrowed piano in a music store. I asked him later about his reaction and he said, “It was beautiful,” before adding, “They reminded me of us. Her walking along with her little vacuum cleaner, and then she shakes his life up and makes it better. You did that for me.”

That’ll do. For eternity.

Tomorrow night, we’re heading to the Meyerhoff in Baltimore to see the film’s stars, Irish singers Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who perform together as The Swell Season. It will be a nice preview of sorts to our Ireland honeymoon, which kicks off with four days in Dublin, where the movie takes place. And our married life together in general.

No need for the low expectations hand motion this time.

Ye Olde Marriage

April 29, 2008

I’ve been obsessing for the last couple of months over the soul-kissing awesomeness that is John Adams on HBO. However, my pointless pilgrimage to Pennsylvania last week meant that I ended up getting behind. Over the last two nights, I watched the final two episodes of the smartest mini-series ever made. (It’s science.) But you can imagine my horror to learn that John and Abigail Adams were actually parted by death. And what a death scene. He’s broken by grief, cuddling next to her in her sick bed, kissing her face streaked with their tears, begging her to hold on, pointing out the hydrangeas he brought her in a vase (note to fiancé: imminent death not a requirement for bestowing flowers.) I was curled up in my fiancé’s lap watching it and I am quite certain that I saw a little eye rubbing up above me, although it was hard to tell over my indelicate sobbing.

It should be said that the Bird does not cry at movies. Documentaries about war or a suffering people, maybe. The final scene in Love Actually when The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” is playing and everyone’s hugging at the airport, yes. And the scene in Grosse Pointe Blank where John Cusack holds up the baby and has his swift spiritual kick upside the head. And pretty much every minute of The Bicycle Thief. But other than that, I do not cry at movies.

However, being engaged is softening my resistance. Watching couples like John and Abigail Adams say goodbye suddenly starts hitting too close to home. I begin doing the math in my head: fiancé is 11 years older than I am…women typically live longer than men…BLURG! Every time I watch a movie now I find myself pondering the timeworn, “Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” question. Is this normal? I don’t know. But I do know what the antidote is: Titanic or The English Patient. Because oddly enough, I find the endings of both of those flicks hi-larious.

UPDATE: My fiancé asserts that he was most definitely not tearing up. He was making a lasagna…for one. Muh huh.

Why Valentine’s Day Matters

February 14, 2008


A sizeable contingent of folks feel that Valentine’s Day is a pointless and bloated holiday created for the sole purpose of funding Hallmark executives’ annual ivory backscratcher purchases. They have ample support in every panting engagement ring commercial, pajama-gram and tub of chocolate body paint. What they do not have however, is my acquiescence on this point. Here’s why.

When I was growing up, my parents were (and still are) extremely private people. Although they certainly did believe it, they did not ever say “I love you” to each other in front of me or my siblings. They would rarely show physical affection for each other. Again, this is not to say they were cold. They were just reserved. But every year on Valentine’s Day my father would always buy my mother a beautiful boquet of flowers and a card. Some years he would make a big, goofy gesture, like hanging an oversized “I love you” sign in the dining room. The point was, on this one day of the year, he felt comfortable being a little silly about love. And my mother would blush and smile and accept it accordingly. To say that watching this expression on this one day registered in my subconscious and informed my attitude about the holiday is a vast understatement.


When I got to high school—the point at which I believe Valentine’s Day concretely shifts from being about your love of your friends or your parents’ love for you, to how someone loves you romantically—I was always vaguely detached from the day. I’ll let you in on a little secret: in the American high school, the curly red-haired girl with the above-average vocabulary and the uncompromising inability to tolerate doofuses does not exactly have a lot of guys banging down her door. I had plenty of guy friends, but they were of the “like me” variety, never the “like me like me” variety. Let me repeat that: never. My dates for all homecoming dances and the prom and such were dudes who enjoyed debating the relative merits of Cracker versus Catherine Wheel in the back of AP British Lit. Or who appreciated that I’d play a pickup game of lacrosse with them without whining if they head checked me.

So Valentine’s Days came and went without the oversized heart balloons affixed to my locker handle or roses delivered to the front office. Now, thanks must be paid at this point to my 10-years-older, curly red-haired sister-in-law who would assure me in those days that this was a temporary affliction. That even though my appeal at the time was limited to creepy old men, I would enter college and find it to be a whole new world. As such, this lack of Valentine’s Day swag did not have the effect of turning me into a Bitter Betty who sat in the back of the library mulling the best proportion of Drano to Diet Coke for my chums with the straight blond or brunette hair lugging around top hat-wearing teddy bears. I still liked the holiday, but just felt that it wasn’t a day that registered for me in my own romantic life. Namely, because I did not have my own romantic life.

Then I got to college and learned within about 45 minutes on Day 1 that, true to my sister-in-law’s word, it would indeed be a whole new world. On the morning of Valentine’s Day 1996, my first love gave me a diamond necklace—my first romantic gift on the holiday, which registered not because of its cost, but because of its meaning. It was the start of a remarkable day that I will always recall vividly.

Jump forward to Valentine’s Day 2006. My not-yet-fiancé handed me a letter that remains the only inanimate object that I would enter a burning building to retrieve.


Which brings us to this Valentine’s Day. On this particular morning, I slept an extra 15 minutes because he let the dog out. I walked into the dining room and found the perfect card and a gift bag from Aprés Peau, bearing the perfect gifts. And now I’m killing a bit of time before we’ll grab a nice, casual dinner. Card, gifts, dinner. All because of a specific day, arbitrarily selected by the commercial industry. All the trappings of a day that earns so much consternation from so many people. I understand them, but blissfully, I’ll never agree with them.

Lowbrow Goes Highbrow and Flutters My Heart Now

January 31, 2008


There is a piece in last week’s New Yorker about artist John Currin. His work “Heartless” is above and believe me it was no small feat finding a Currin painting that wouldn’t crash all of your work computers with its sheer NSFWiness. He is known for his oil paintings (again, link NSFW) that appear to have been rendered by the hand of an Old Master who has been spending too much time hopped up on X. It’s pornography, brought to the canvas by an aspiring Caravaggio. But that’s not what caught my attention. Instead it was this sentence from writer Calvin Tomkins, describing the relationship between Currin and his wife, artist Rachel Feinstein: 

Their marriage, which is now in its tenth year, has been a dovetailing of contrary qualities whose symbiosis fascinates and accasionally irritates their less ecstatically married friends.

It’s a puffy sentence, to be sure. But I reread it several times, enjoying its sentiment more with each pass. I even took the unusually bold step of reading it aloud to my fiancé in the middle of the Texas-Texas A&M game last night. I don’t know if it was because it struck close to home, or because the Aggies were up by 16 at that point, but his smile made my night.