On Being a Fianceé

I like to think I’m okay at this. Let me tell you some short stories about engaged life.

The Proposal

I didn’t know he was going to ask me on December 1st, 2018. I knew I was hungry, and galavanting onto the seawall at Children’s Pool in La Jolla was not my first choice in activity. But we walked to the end, he handed off his phone to a stranger for photos, and then he managed not to drop the ring into the sea and asked if I wanted to be his wife. Of course, I said yes.

What I didn’t do was clasp my hands over my mouth and say, “Oh my God!!” What I did do was hold my purse awkwardly and wonder, “What do I do with my hands?”

All of our engagement photos prominently feature a big, teal bag, consequently. Oh well. I wasn’t about to let it get swept off to sea by a freak wave.

The Party

“How did you choose your wedding date?”

We worked around peak salmon season and my busy season. We also did not choose winter because I don’t particularly care for the cold. We also eliminated the times of year where Daly travels for seafood expos.

That left us approximately two weekends to choose from in March and April, and one of them was Easter, so… there you go.

Venue hunting was just as methodical. We researched a number of venues in Seattle, Chelan, and Leavenworth. We contacted many of them and started to set our tour plans.

Ultimately, we toured two, one of which was experiencing a power outage, and the other which was simply exactly what we wanted.

The Expo

Here are the take-aways from the bridal expo:

  • Free donuts
  • Free cake
  • Some good deals if you’re ready — we got our DJ and MC signed that day
  • A relentless set of follow-up phone calls from some tour company that seems just a bit off

I will 100% go back for more donuts next January.

The Dress

I found my dress at a sample sale. I almost didn’t go–it was early, I had no gas in my car, and the shop was in Seattle proper. But I did go, and I was bride #13 in line to try on dresses. I grabbed three or four dresses off the racks, only paying attention to material and sparkle–not really much else.

I made some light conversation with the woman in line ahead of me; she was there only with her future father-in-law. I was there by myself, and we chatted about all things wedding. When it was her turn, she asked if I wanted to try on dresses with her, since the line was long and our respective parties were small.

Dress #2 was it, her FIL agreed, she agreed, the attendant agreed, the shop agreed, I agreed.

Cha-ching.

Side note: He doesn’t have a suit yet, and my dress is too long and will cost my first-born and a bag of chips to alter, but it’s all going to work out.

The Weight

Currently walking around at 60kg with a broken hand. I’d like to cut weight to 56-57kg once my hand is healed properly.

Why 56-57kg?

  1. That puts me comfortably in the 59kg weight class, and within a water cut of the 55kg weight class.
  2. Weightlifting is priority here.
  3. The camera definitely likes to add weight to my face.

I have it on my checklist to cut from November through end of January. Doable.

In the meantime, I’m seeing how many shrimp chips is too many.

Other Stuff

We are more than halfway through our 16-month engagement, and we’ve got a good deal of the foundation in place, which feels good.

r/weddingplanning has been my forum of choice, and it’s been helpful to get other perspectives and advice throughout.

All in all, even though I play it down a bit, I’m very much looking forward to our wedding day and our marriage.

Oh! I nearly forgot…

Chivari Chairs and Shoes

I’ve only had slight meltdowns over these two things.

Chivari chairs: I spent at least two hours researching how much those buggers cost before I remembered that I literally can’t recall a single chair I’ve ever sat in at a wedding reception. The money we save on chairs will go to a photo booth, you’re so very welcome.

Shoes: I bought a pair of gold heels, then decided to get gold wedges instead but also keep the heels because they were cute. I revisited the shoes months later and realized they are actually way smaller than I had convinced myself, and thus, worthless. So down another rabbit hole I went, until I found a pair of lace heel booties. I had to order them in a half-size bigger than normal, but I guess they run small, so what do you know–they actually fit me.

Now comes the part where I buy all the gel inserts to doctor them up.

Anyway, like I was saying, very much looking forward to it all, even though I’m going to be doubting my choice to forgo the Chivari chairs.

*shakes fist*

Okay, friends. Good night.

Hello, Old Friend.

IT LIVES.

 

In fact, it’s doing quite well.

I’m not sure what this block editor is all about, but hey, it’s been almost two years between posts, so why not try it out?

I’m stopping by because I have a lot on my mind lately and needed to write something down:

  • We bought a house and finally get keys today after a sixty-day rent-back period by the sellers.
  • It’s gray and rainy out.
  • Weightlifting is still fun but I need to do more cardio for my hEaRt HeALtH
  • What kind of snacks do brides pack on their wedding day? (We’re engaged and getting married in April, and there’s just a lot that I don’t know about throwing a wedding.)

Today, I’m mostly wondering about snacks. I guess I should think about bringing along some Epic Bars and Hi-Chews, some sparkling water, maybe some Cheez-Its.

Either way, I bought a tote bag that says “Bride” on it, so of course my inclination is to fill it with snacks. More to come…

Checking In…

It's time for another progress report on my "30 Before 30" list. Regarding the deadline, let's just say I keep asking for and granting extensions. 23-year-old Ardith is thankful for the more flexible time constraints, I like to believe. (That could be Present Me projecting.)

First, the last update from 2015. If you remember, I whittled my definitive list down to a handful of items. Below is the progress made since then, along with some notes where necessary.

The List
1. Visit theItalian town my Italian ancestors are from (Monastero di Lanzo)

2. Visit Australia and New Zealand

3. Visit Kauai, Hawai’i – Completed in February 2017

4. Learn to swim

5. Learn to ride a bike – Completed as of July 2017 (Well, my three class beginner series ended, and it ended with me being able to successfully ride in circles in a single gear! The learning continues.)

6. Learn more Spanish and Tagalog 

7. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines – Finally completed as of April 2017 (And I plan to go again. Coincidentally, I returned to SE Asia a month later on a business exchange to our Vietnam office.)

8. Travel to the Oregon Coast again

9. Get my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Change of plans: Completed my USAW Sports Performance Coach certification in June 2017

10. Visit Iceland – December 2015

11. Have the BEST 30th birthday celebration w/ my closest friends somewhere far away – See #10!

Giving me a little bit of extra time seemed to be the trick to ticking off more of my pared-down dream list.*

To be honest, this check-in was inspired primarily by my bicycling milestone. Can you believe this 31-year-old learned to ride a bike in three Sunday sessions? My goal was to be able to ride a bike at a reasonable speed on reasonably level ground, and I'm tickled that I met it. Now, clear the road and get out of my way–mostly for your own safety, because I'm still not fantastic at riding in a straight line.

*Full disclosure: I have a list of 100 dreams I created during a challenge issued by my work. The 11 items here are just a sliver of the whole. I would also be lying if I said most of my 100 dreams aren't travel-related… More to come.

Why I Stayed

I log in, after scribbling a few bullet points on professional hopes and dreams in a notebook.

The button reads, “Write.”

Click.

That brings us to now. (I told you I wasn’t leaving.)

Several months… okay, almost two years ago, I wrote about my departure from higher education and student affairs. Almost two years later, I am still with my “new” employer, and I continue to build upon the foundation set by my learning and experience in student affairs.

I have also learned a fair amount about myself, about how to be more honest with what I want and what I need. Recently, I have been having conversations about what comes next for me; this requires multiple conversations and layers of unpacking, as I cannot seem to travel down a linear pathway. In my world, linear pathways just don’t exist.

I’ve learned that, while I certainly have a propensity to gravitate towards service roles, working with customers, students, and clients directly, there are strengths and interests I need to tend to and cultivate. I miss research and writing–activities nearly exclusive to my undergraduate and graduate career; I miss those hours spent synthesizing disparate sources to compose and share knowledge, and to create further questions and learning for myself and others. I have not had the space to be as intensely passionate (oh dear, I used that word) as I was about spiritual development or identity development or even the idea of how a concept as abstract as “trust” plays into the development or lack of relationships. I crave it.

Today, I shared with another person a sliver of my dreams, and as soon as I had a moment to start to elaborate on an idea I had, about a topic I thought I had a remote interest in, I found myself speaking without taking a breath, engrossed in elaborating on the questions I wanted to know more about. That spark I knew I still had is very much alive, and it’s up to me to continue to stoke the fire. Somehow, somewhere along my recent professional journey, I didn’t allow myself to truly pursue that which gave me energy because those things were “scary” or because I believe myself to be woefully unqualified.

Now, this isn’t to say that I’m bad at the jobs I held or what I currently do. It isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy what I do or the organization I’m at. In fact, everything I process in my head and put down on paper confirms that I am exactly where I want to be. Because of that, I also have the ability to finally allow myself to pursue ways in which my dominant strengths will flourish.

So what if I don’t have an MFA, nor have I ever held a position in which learning and development or training or writing were a significant component. Do I possess the skills to excel in roles that might demand these things? Sure. Do I possess an amount of confidence in myself to continue to learn, explore, and make positive impact on the community around me? Of course.

Am I committed to cultivating a mindset for success?

Well, I sure hope so. The only way to know is to stay long enough to find out.

Routinely

I haven’t gone.

I used to tend to this blog regularly, making time to write and record my thoughts and musings several times a week. Without too much hesitation, I let you all in on my vulnerability, shortcomings, and loneliness; my excitement, achievements, and humor; and sometimes, just my nonsense.

Then I decided to put my energy elsewhere. I moved, I changed jobs, I met someone, I traveled, I adjusted my workout priorities, I traveled some more–in other words, life happened, and I had more time to spend being present rather than being reflective.

I miss writing, and it still feels good to put things down in written words, but things are good. They aren’t perfect. There are still days where I stress about what to do with my life, but as my colleague said yesterday, maybe the question I should be asking is, “What’s next?”

My life has been anything but linear and predictable. I still stress about uncertainty and the future, but that’s who I am. I still lament about being athletically talentless, but I’m having a fine time working on my weaknesses.

Also, I love my partner very much, but I leave my disastrous dating stories up here if only to serve as a reference for others who might be feeling the way I once did. Maybe it will help someone, after all.

I leave my projects and artifacts here to showcase where I came from as a graduate student and as a professional. I currently do not work in higher education, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m able to research, analyze, compose, and assess.

I still dream of traveling, and I’m sure I’ll still recollect my journeys in one way or another–through writing or photos on various platforms. There’s so much to see and do still.

This all makes it sound like I’m closing down the blog. It’s not going anywhere, but I might, and I might not record it here. I’m not sure what’s next for my personal record-keeping. Maybe it’s just a layout change; maybe it’s a new site. We’ll just wait and see.

In the meantime, don’t wait up for me. There’s a world out there to explore.

 

2017

I don’t have “one word” for 2017. I don’t have a theme. I don’t have transformative resolutions, or a “New year, new me” mantra. I am perfectly fine with this.

It feels as if I’ve finally settled into who I am. I’m no longer “in crisis,” as I was several years ago. That is not to say I’m not still turbulent in some ways, and I am critical, wanting and demanding more from myself, and being forgiving where possible. At the same time, however, I feel more level-headed and clearer about what my priorities are.

I know where I could get better in my professional and in my personal life. I know where I want to grow. Instead of wishing, I’ll write it down and track my progress. I’ll use my voice to see things through.

I will not quit trying to improve my health. I probably will never be elite-level in CrossFit nor weightlifting, but that isn’t a reason to quit trying. However, even the best intentions for a super-fit 2017 won’t matter if I don’t focus on taking care of my shoulders and honing in on weightlifting technique. I could say, “I want to snatch the yellow plates,” as much as I want, but that won’t happen if I don’t make an active decision to focus on the details.

In a nutshell, setting intentions isn’t just for yoga, and I feel free enough now to set my intentions outside of arbitrary parameters.

So, I suppose in 2017, I will strive to push boundaries and live intentionally.

That seems just fine.