Obviously, basically all my time the past couple weeks has been wedding-related–a few other things here and there, sure, but it’s been dance lessons and talking to vendors and final payments and details like picking readings and deciding who’s doing them.

We did get a night out with a Cheap Trick/Foreigner concert, exactly two weeks before the wedding, and the funny thing is when we bough them, I can remember talking about how it would be two weeks away from the wedding and my mom said it would be like a bachelor/bachelorette party. Terra said the same thing about camp and neither was really like that, but that’s more than okay. I wasn’t really into the whole bachelor/bachelorette thing anyway. It’s kind of stupid when you’ve been together for seven years and living together for two. They say everything changes when you get married, but I feel like we already are, so I expect to get back to our regular lives Sunday/Monday and have it be like usual, just with legal documents involved.

But I digress.

The concert was a good, fun night out. I swear that Cheap Trick was the best band on the bill, for one, and still fantastic live and a vastly underrated rock band. I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. I mean, I’ve seen bands have their age phone in live shows, and then there’s Cheap Trick, slaying it.

We had our last dance class during the week, and our instructor had us perform it for everyone else in the studio, which was kind of nerve-wracking, but I’m glad we got a small taste of what it’s gonna be like in front of people. We’re used to just the two of us, our instructor, and whoever else is around that’s usually not even paying attention. It was good practice.

Otherwise, it’s been work and wedding prep. I’ve been trying to juggle wedding stuff with other shit that needs done, too, and I actually managed to tackle a good few things off the to-do list the last couple days. I spent part of the weekend baking, wanting to round out the cookie table, so I picked some simple Pinterest recipes and went at it. Paul did his usual chocolate-chip cookies, too, and when I’m off Wednesday through the rest of the week, I plan to try some more.

My original plan was to take off for the whole week, but even with a lot of little things to wrap up, a week was a bit too much–the closer we got to this point, the more it looked like it would be a waste of vacation days, where I’d be sitting around doing very little. So I’m taking off from Wednesday on instead, plus next Monday to give us both some time to actually relax and recover. The more I thought about it, the more I thought Sunday’s going to either leave us still very busy or very tired or both, with no actual downtime. So Monday off it is. We’re talking about a trip up to the mountains, but we’ll see how exhausted we are. I wouldn’t be surprised if we decide to skip it and sleep.

Once again, like we do every summer, we ran off to the woods for Terra’s birthday.

The past few weeks, it’s been getting difficult to really do much other than wedding stuff. All our plans are squeezed in around things like dress fittings and meetings with vendors. I needed more dress fittings than I thought, mostly because it’s small in the boobs and too long, and I ended up needing to schedule one for the weekend of camp. Originally, I thought this was gonna mean missing camp altogether, but it worked out–Terra and her boyfriend went up Friday night and had a night alone, which was probably good for them, and I had my dress fitting Saturday. Paul and I made it up by the afternoon.

There are places up there that Terra used to visit as a kid but we’ve never gone to, and Farmers Inn is one of them. We pass it on the way in since it’s right down the road from their property, we just never go. But Terra had a great time with their goats before we got there, so she insisted we go. And that’s how we spent a lot of time feeding goats. The great thing about my apartment laundry no longer requiring quarters is I got to spend them all on handfuls of corn for the goats, and we went so far as to save some quarters so we could come back and do it again the next day.

We also got in a visit to Beartown Rocks for a bit, then went back, had a light dinner and alcohol around a campfire, and went to bed.

Normally, we all sleep in the trailer, but that thing is turning into a mess. It smelled really musty, which means it was probably not the best place to be sleeping, so we slept in tents outside. I wasn’t expecting that or I would’ve brought more blankets–the ground underneath was pretty uncomfortable, plus it got pretty cold at night, although it wouldn’t have been much warmer in the trailer. Somehow, most years we’ve gone up, we’ve ended up with cool weather and not a nice, hot summer night that would make for ideal outdoor sleeping. Plus it’s been too cold to go down to the river. I think we did it once last year, but that’s probably it.

With wedding stuff still needing done and my unwillingness to put any writing on hold for the last few weeks–when I 100% probably should have–I wanted to get back with at least a few hours left in my evening, so we aimed to leave by noon Sunday. The running joke is that Terra and I essentially manage to go shopping in the woods, which is totally true. There’s a string of gift shops we like to hit every year, and we come back with jewelry and blankets. This year, I even found homemade bath bombs. Camp shopping is awesome.

It was a nice getaway, but I think because we didn’t spend the whole weekend up there like we normally do, we didn’t get the full impact and mental reset we normally do. We really enjoyed it, of course, we just didn’t come back feeling as refreshed as we normally do. And maybe that’s the wedding–it’s not as though we’re not looking forward to it, but from about the one-month mark on, it’s felt more like the day is looming like a deadline than anything. It’s like we have all these little things that need done and we’re running out of time, and I think it was hard to totally relax when we were both thinking of the to-do list we had to tackle when we got home.

When we did get home, we at least treated ourselves to dinner out before we focused on what needed done.

Saturday 9: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Saturday 9: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
… because Joy recommended it

1) The Beatles recorded this after they had taken a three-month hiatus from working together as a band. Do you find you’re sharp after taking time off? Or does it take you a while to get back into the swing of things in your day-to-day life? I don’t know if I’m sharper, but I’m more motivated. And maybe that’s just as important and helpful.

2) During those three months off, John Lennon made a movie called How I Won the War. What’s the last movie you watched? Did you view it at a theater, on TV, or from a device like a computer or tablet? Uh…I’m not sure. We’ve been watching more shows than movies lately. I think it was Kubo and the Two Strings, and it was a DVD from the library.

3) Paul McCartney and George Harrison both used their time off to make new and different music. Paul composed instrumentals for a movie soundtrack while George studied sitar with Ravi Shankar. Ringo Starr spent those three months with his wife and their two little boys. If you had three months to spend doing anything you wanted, and money was no object, would you try something new (like Paul and George) or just kick back and relax (like Ringo)? Maybe split it and do half of each. Take some time to just chill, but also maybe take on some of the writing projects that have been brewing in my mind. There’s at least two websites I’ve dabbled with starting once my wedding is over, and whether or not I do it depends on whether or not I’m right about there being gaps of sorts in the subjects I’m considering.

4) Paul recalls what fun it was to dress up in Edwardian-era costumes for the album cover. When did you last attend a costume party? What did you wear? I think it’s been a while! Technically, my cousin’s housewarming party was themed, but I was coming from wedding hair trials and didn’t go with it. Other than that, the last one might’ve been years ago when my friends and I used to have themed parties, but I can’t remember what the last actual theme was.
5) Paul says he came up with the name “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when Beatle friend Mal Evans told him about this great San Francisco band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Paul hadn’t heard their music yet, but he loved the sound of their six-word band name. Soon everyone would hear of Big Brother. Do you know who Big Brother’s famous lead singer was? I didn’t, but I Googled it!

6) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band appeared on the Billboard charts for 175 weeks. Is this album in your collection? It is. In fact, I own the box set of remasters that was put out a few years ago.

7) The Beatles are among the top-selling artists of all time in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Would you like to visit Africa? Yeah. I’d like to visit just about anywhere, really, and the only place I’d say no to are places that are unsafe.

8) 50 years ago, when Sgt. Pepper was first released, the average price for gas was 33¢/gallon. When did you last fill up your gas tank? Do you remember how much it cost? It was the other day, maybe Wednesday or Thursday, and it was somewhere around $2.60 a gallon and my total was like $25 or something. Which is pretty great, considering there was a point a couple years ago where I was sure it was gonna hit $4 and it was costing me like 40 bucks to fill my tank. And I was making a good bit less money then–like a solid $5 an hour less than I’m making now–so 40 bucks on gas every other week was a lot. Now it’s almost half that, and my car’s so good on gas that as long as I don’t drive, say, an hour back to my parents’ place, I can go almost three weeks without needing gas.

9) Random question: Are most of your married friends happily married? I think so! I mean, I don’t have a lot of friends that are actually married–a lot are engaged or have been with someone for years but just aren’t married–but for the most part, everyone seems to be doing well. The one exception is my best friend, who’s in the middle of divorcing. Turns out her husband wasn’t quite ready to actually get married but felt it’s “the next step,” so then he ended up being unhappy and was a huge dick about it and essentially, rather than address the issue, basically just trashed the marriage. The good news is she’s moved on with a new guy, despite having been fighting with him the last couple days.

Friday 5: Homecoming

  1. What’s the crime like in your neighborhood? The biggest problem is drugs. Other than that, it’s mostly petty crime. We’ll have a few bigger things happen on occasion, but I’ve never had a problem and the people who make it out to be some godawful crime-infested place don’t really know what they’re talking about.
  2. If you could have attended one of those high schools with a specific academic focus, such as performing arts, studio arts, sustainability, science and technology, international languages and diplomacy, or some option you thought of yourself, which would you have chosen when you were thirteen? Probably writing. I knew then.
  3. What was memorable about a party you remember from high school? I never really went to parties in high school. Wasn’t until college that I started doing that more.
  4. Which of your older relatives is (or was) the handsomest or prettiest? I don’t know! But I do love looking at pictures of my mom’s aunts when they were younger. It’s so neat to see how much everyone has changed. I think Aunt Barbara and Aunt Shirley are my favorites. I’m a big fan of my grandparents’ wedding pictures, though.
  5. What was homecoming like at your high school? How did you feel about it? I went to a small Catholic school, so we celebrated homecoming but it wasn’t necessarily a huge thing. We did do a parade, which was fun, and at least my freshman year I went to help with our parade float. I don’t really remember doing it after that year, and at some point, they did away with the floats altogether. I just can’t remember if that was why I didn’t do it anymore or I just stopped caring. Other than that, I was kind of on the fence about homecoming. I never was one of those kids who was super involved in school activities, but I didn’t hate it, either.

As always, from Friday 5.

The night of the leak, we had tickets to go see Muse. We made it out just in time–I got showered and ready as fast as reasonably possible, and we had dinner and drinks at President’s Pub. We were running a little behind schedule and did miss a few songs from the opening band, PVRIS, but didn’t miss anything huge.

Somewhat strangely, a large number of people seemed to actually be there for co-headliner 30 Seconds to Mars. I get a little bored with their music–you can only throw in a “whoa” chorus in so many songs before it gets old–but the crowd was great, and Jared Leto is a really energetic, charismatic frontman. It’s strange to see him out on tour and performing after the success he’s had as an actor. I originally knew him as the dude from 30 Seconds to Mars because of course I did, that’s just who I am as a person, but after seeing him in a totally different context and now back to the band thing, it was strange. And people really love him.

Muse was amazing, albeit without some of the spectacle they had the last time we saw them, I think just because this was an outdoor show and doesn’t allow for as much of the theatrics as the hockey arena does. I wrote a review of it, but the basic gist is Muse is a great band who does a great live show and you should see it.

I took the day after off, like I always do after a concert, so I ended up with a little two-day break from work in the middle of the week. Except not really–the first day was dealing with the leak, and the second was dealing with the aftermath. With the wedding quickly approaching, I had a whole list of things I wanted to tackle, some related to that and some not. Instead, I took a garbage bag of damp towels to my parents house to wash them for free, and between sleeping in and doing that, it basically killed the whole day. I was back in time to go to the courthouse to get our marriage license, then go to our dance class. And Taco Bell.

Saturday 9: Start Me Up

Saturday 9: Start Me Up (1981)
… because Kwizgiver recommended The Rolling Stones

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) That’s a goat wearing a high heel. What’s on your feet as you answer these questions? Nothing! In fact, in the summer, I almost never have socks on. I’d wear shoes infrequently, too, if I could.

2) More fashion: In the video for this song, Mick is wearing white pants with an elastic waistband. Are you wearing a belt as you answer these questions? No.
3) In this song, Mick pleads, “Don’t make a grown man cry.” When is the last time you shed a tear? I can’t remember. It was probably while watching a movie, though.

4) Keith Richard has said this is a song he could play “forever and ever.” 
What in your life doesn’t get old, no matter how often you do it? Writing. I do get burned out sometimes, like the few times I’ve marathoned cranking out short articles to meet a deadline and vow to take a break for a few days, but the actual process of it has never gotten old. My fiancé thinks I work too much, between a full-time job and a few side freelance gigs, but I don’t consider the freelance projects “work.” I don’t feel like I’m working, even though I pretty much am.

5) While The Rolling Stones enjoy performing songs, like this one, from Tattoo You, Mick Jagger has dismissed the songs from their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request as “rubbish.” Do you have a favorite Rolling Stones song? Probably “Sympathy for the Devil.” Also a big fan of “Gimme Shelter.”

6) This recording of “Start Me Up” features a cowbell. Do you remember which Saturday Night Live host made, “More cowbell!” a catchphrase? Christopher Walken!

7) Bassist Bill Wyman once said he thought he should have been a archivist because he loved to make lists. Do you have a to-do list? I’m getting married in like 13 days, so shit yeah I do. It’s mostly tying up loose ends and making sure things are in place and ready to go, but I have to call my godfather to see if he’s coming, call my godmother to ask her if she’d rather read or carry up the gifts, get back to the rental company with some questions about our numbers and payment, find out some details like if we can drop things off the night before and if they have WiFi for the DJ, buy alcohol and mixers, choose our readings, book our hotel room, probably some other stuff I’m forgetting about.

8) Mick finds it hard to stand still when he sings, not only on stage but also in the studio. The engineer for this song reports that Mick would have to run across the room to get back to the microphone for his vocal. Are you more fidgety, or still? It depends on the situation. I fidget a lot at work, but I’m pretty still at home. Same with things like going to a movie or theater.

9) Random question: Do you believe men are inherently more sensible than women? Absolutely not. That’s sexist.

Friday 5: Scattergories

What random letter was generated by the online random-letter generator (this doesn’t really count as one of your five questions)? P

  1. What’s something gross whose name begins with the letter? Ha, so easy–pee and poop. Poop is way more gross, though.
  2. What’s something crunchy whose name begins with the letter? Peppers. And I prefer my peppers crunchy. My fiancé makes fun of me all the time because I prefer my cooked vegetables to still have a little but of crunch, because I think it’s gross when they’re too soft. He exaggerates and says I basically just like warm but otherwise raw vegetables.
  3. What’s something (or who is someone) you wouldn’t mind hugging whose name begins with the letter? Paul! Said fiancé. Also puppies. I think I got a pretty easy letter.
  4. What’s something whose name begins with the letter and can be found on a passenger airplane? Is it cheating to say the plane itself?
  5. What’s something (whose name begins with the letter) you could purchase at a hardware store? I asked Paul, and he says power drills and pipes. Pipe probably should’ve come to me, given that maintenance had to go buy some to replace really shitty pipes in my bathroom.

As always, from Friday 5.