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.

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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…

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.

 

Out of Left Field

“I’m a big fan of non-linear pathways.” – Ardith L. Feroglia, in many advising sessions

In that case, it should surprise no one that on October 2nd, I will leave my job at the University of Washington, take a week off, and then start a new position at Aduro in Redmond, WA. I accepted an account manager position and will continue to change lives (or crush dreams, maybe) by working on wellness programs and initiatives for clients (in a nutshell). I will also learn how to spell “initiatives” correctly on the first try.

Whoa, wait, hold up.

Did she just say she’s leaving higher education? As in, the realm for which she holds an advanced degree?

Oh. Well, yes. I will no longer be working within the context of a university; that part is true. I will be working in the private sector, and my line of work will be business-y and HR-y.

But.

Oh, there’s always a “but.”

There are many ways to be a student affairs professional. Everything I learned about: involvement, engagement, transition, health, wellness, balance, advising, culture, context, intent, impact, and on and on and on–all of it still matters.

Is it not true that if we, as #SApros, believe that learning happens outside of the classroom, then learning should also (and does also) happen outside of the campus? And outside of the context of formal education? And that by teaching people to think and to learn that they will hopefully go on to do that forever? Well, at the least, I think these things are true.

I remain an educator, but just like I never envisioned myself as a traditional teacher, I don’t want to be boxed in by someone else’s definition of what an educator is.

There are many ways to stay authentic and true to myself. I learn, I read, I seek out information. I step outside of what’s known and what’s comfortable. I consider, I dialogue, I wrestle with uncertainty. I expand on past experiences and knowledge. I build. I grow.

This is not a departure, just like leaving Clark College wasn’t closing the book on something; it was the continuation of a journey. That’s what this is, too.

I’m forever thankful for the smart, thoughtful, and (dare I say it?) passionate colleagues I’ve met at the UW, as well as the opportunity to work at one of the most well-known and respected public institutions out there. Beyond that, I’m thankful to have met and worked with the some truly wonderful students; they will go on to do great things. (We are truly the #bestmajorever.) 

And now it’s time to shake things up again. So here’s to learning way too much about the commute to the east side, to digging up my sleeping business skills, to finding new problems to solve, to meeting new people, to learning new things, to furthering my professional growth, and to trying to just enjoy the ride. 

As the late Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

 

A photo of two young academic advisers, one in active wear and the other in a pea pod costume, standing with a cardboard Michelle Obama

Hard to leave this behind!

 

Another Revolution

Well, I made it. I made it to 29.

My birthday was yesterday, and it was the perfect birthday for me, the me who’s lived nearly three decades now. I went to work and celebrated with donuts and lattes–little treats I don’t normally have. Then I struggled with an Excel chart until I flip-flopped some info and finally got the stupid thing to do what I wanted. I felt accomplished, as it was another treat to learn and figure out something new.

I left early, practicing balance and self-care; that was my present to myself. I decided on getting a haircut, and the stylist who saw me turned out to be a Filipino brother. We talked about food and our experiences growing up Filipino. Another unexpected treat, I’d say.

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I took a nap on the couch–one of my favorite things to do, and then made my way to the gym for my birthday WOD. It was a workout with some of my favorite things in CrossFit (not the med ball carries, though), appropriately timed for my age. Once I was done and rendered to nothing more than a sweaty mess, it was off to switch modes and try to put myself together for dinner with an absolutely fantastic guy.

The thing about me is I love my birthday. When JD asked about my preferences for my birthday dinner, he said I could either pick the place or he could choose something. I chose to be surprised, and I also chose to have the dinner spot kept a secret (note: I also love surprises… Surprises and a birthday?! Perfect.).

He chose well.

We headed downtown–after I flipped from sweaty mess up to more or less put together (I had on a dress!) in 45 minutes–and he hinted it was around Pike Place. I had not a clue what it could be, though so, the hint meant little. We parked and went looking for the place, as he had not been there before. We walked into Post Alley, past several quaint shops and some bars, and stopped at the end. We had almost decided to turn around when he remembered, “There isn’t a sign out front.” Next to an unmarked door on one of the buildings, there was a tiny business hours sign. We walked in, down the stairs, I still had no idea where we were, and JD confirmed with the hostess that he did have reservations at the restaurant in which we stood.

It was The Pink Door, an Italian-American restaurant/cabaret with a beautifully decorated interior that was rustic and sophisticated and dramatic and quaint and all sorts of different things all at once. It wasn’t too dark nor too bright; everything seemed just right.

Just right. That’s what I would say for the rest of the dinner date. The wine and food were both spot-on, and the company I had was even better. It was a nice, relaxed time, and I did, indeed, feel very special. Even when the waiter forgot my dessert’s candle–unlike all the other birthday girls around, whose cakes and tarts had candles. Our waiter realized he had forgotten (which really was no matter because the Cabaret Cake was so delectable), and brought out my candle on its own little plate.

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Take that, other birthday girls in the room!

All in all, 29 started very well. It was a day in which I felt loved–loved by others and myself. I look forward to exiting my twenties, to leave this decade behind, but I’m in no hurry. Like I did with every moment last night, I plan to savor these upcoming days.

I have a feeling that 29 will be just right.

PS – Thank you to everyone who made it such a great day, especially my swole mate and significant other, JD. (He’s just really great, you guys.)

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Birthday selfie! Whoo.

Time Flies

During the past two weeks, I was busy. At the end of July, I drove back to my hometown for my ten-year high school reunion, where many of my good friends were back in town. We all had the chance to reconnect with people we hadn’t seen in-person for quite some time, and I left feeling content. People from my graduating class grew up to be some really cool individuals, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to converse with so many people. I had some good conversations, including one where a classmate somewhat lamented that he had taken so long to decide to go back to college, but I was so excited to hear about it–and I might have slipped into student affairs pro mode for a second. It was also funny to hear people’s recollections of myself from a decade or so ago. I’d have to say the coolest thing I heard was that someone perceived me to be the type of person who was always talking to everyone, regardless of the group that person was in; they said it was no surprise I became an adviser.

Not surprisingly, given how much I post about this kind of thing, there were a lot of comments about my workouts and the crazy CrossFit things I do. They were all positive, but I do feel like I need to remind people that this “fitness nut” version of me didn’t happen until late in 2012. Then again, it’s the current me, and me for the foreseeable future, and I am certainly proud of the progress I’ve made. It’s become so central to my lifestyle. I did run into one of my classmates who was one of the voices that advocated for me to try CrossFit while I was still waffling about the whole thing, and when she asked, “Aren’t you glad you did?” all I could do was smile and say, “Hell yeah.”

Overall, I got to spend some time with my friends and family, got a few very good workouts in, and reconnected with good people. There was even a day trip to Chelan–and a sunburn for me, which is so rare in my world, I had nearly no idea of how to take care of myself.

Speaking of sun… I spent last weekend in sunny Seattle, mostly hanging out with the new boo. After finding out he had never experienced Stumptown Coffee‘s actual shops, I insisted that we go. He found the coffee more than acceptable, and after taking in some sun in my old neighborhood, we drove out to West Seattle and Alki–his old ‘hood. The next day, after the gym, we both went to Issaquah to my friends’ place, where all of us partook in running a beer mile. It was glorious and terrible all at once, but I survived and left in surprisingly good shape.

As you can see, this is not my greatest blog entry. I’ve glossed over many details, and I’m not concluding anything profound.

tl;dr – I went to my high school reunion; it was awesome. Also I spent last weekend hanging out with the awesome guy I’m seeing.

And if “tl;dr” is still too much, here are a smattering of pretty pictures for you. There are many, many more, and those of you that are Facebook friendsies can see the whole collection.

Enjoy.

At least I know how to clean up well.

At least I know how to clean up well.

This dress and I get along quite well.

This dress and I get along quite well.

Dolled up for our ten-year high school reunion.

Dolled up for our ten-year high school reunion.

That time we did that thing.

That time we did that thing.

Lady arms

Lady arms

Champs

Champs

Hawk Yeah.

Just a short post tonight in light of the recent Seahawks Super Bowl victory…

The “Seattle sports fan neurosis,” as a friend of mine said online, is real. Just look at this article, “Mediocrity, Followed by Bitter, Soul-Crushing Disappointment.” Growing up in the Northwest, you develop a type of defensive pessimism about the teams you love, which I think has bled into my personal attitudes about my own potential, whether that’s academic or in romance or whatever.

But then… a season like this happens. A season that really exemplifies a “Tell me I won’t” defiance. A season that showcases a city (and a region’s) pride in something that maybe is a metaphor for all of us in this grey little corner of the US.

Granted, I cautious of becoming too boastful, too prideful, too optimistic–but even so, the reward in challenging the naysayers has been so much more than a shiny trophy. Let that be the guiding principle from now on.

Go on. Tell me one more time that I won’t do it. That I can’t do it.

It seemed to work for these guys.

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(Sadly, none of these photos belong to me. They were all shared via the Hawk Nation Facebook page. I was working all day and couldn’t catch the parade in-person, unlike many of my other friends. Jealousy!)