Thirteen Years

This evening, as I was wondering what I’d post on my blog, I got a notification that I’d been tagged in a Facebook photo by Aaron’s cousin Megan, whose wedding we attended back in October.

Extended Family

I immediately got up from the couch and went into the family room to retrieve our wedding album and snap a photo of the posed portrait with all the cousins. I posted it in a comment: “What a difference 13 years makes…”

But then I kept flipping through.

(more…)

Busy Day

Today I had an interview with HCR Manorcare up in Toledo. Yes, this is the same place I sent a resume over a month ago; they said that the flu outbreak has kept them from completing the hiring process sooner. Anyway, my boss let me leave 15 minutes early, since I told him I had “an appointment in Toledo,” and that I would make up the time by taking a shorter lunch tomorrow. I ended up not really needing the extra time, as I got there 15 minutes early, anyway, and that was after taking a walk around the block to calm down.

I think the interview went rather well. It seems that their “Knowledge Management” department is in need of one or two more people, especially people with experience in audio and video. Kevin, the person who holds the current solo position, also made sure to emphasize that the position is not a “creative” one, but more writing and organizing thoughts and ideas and publishing actual content. I’m actually quite excited about that, as I feel it’s one of my strong points. Ask Aaron how many grammatical errors I catch on a daily basis (and how frustrated he gets about it).

Kevin, who interviewed me, was quite impressed by my portfolio site β€” especially where I talk about my “services” and have a Q&A section with layers that pop up and answer the questions. Um… glad ya like it. I only wish I really had services… He also seems like either a early-30’s guy who’s prematurely graying, or a late-30’s guy who still acts really young. I like him so far. Seems like he’d be easy to work with… and he has more problem “finding words” than I do (resulting in a Shatner-esque pause), which makes me feel more confident about my ability to do the job, considering.

When I got home, I got a call from the wedding photographer’s assistant, asking if she could go ahead and bring over our wedding reprints. So, she brought those straight to the house, and I looked them over before she left to make sure everything was in order, which it was. Now we have to buy a dozen 5×7 frames for the reprints we bought as Christmas presents. Thank goodness they arrived in timeβ€”no, thank goodness Carol drove to the lab in Findlay and insisted that she was not leaving until she had our prints in hand. πŸ™‚

Then, after that, I made Mom’s Christmas candle (I don’t think she reads my blog, but I’m still not telling what scent it is). I made an extra, since it’s just as easy to make two at a time. I added a little more coloring than I had intended, but that’s what these first several batches are all about: experimenting.

It’s midnightβ€”I need to either shower and get to bed, or get to bed now so I can shower in the morning. I could write more, but I guess I’ll have to save it for tomorrow.

Happy Yule, everyone.

Since I Last Updated…

…the wedding and reception happened with only minor issues, we got lots of wedding presents (and money), my domain name expired, my credit card went overlimit, we drove to Massachusetts for our honeymoon (and back via Niagara Falls) totaling over 1700 miles on the Kia, my grandmother died, we put away all our gifts, I paid on my credit card and renewed my domain, and we’re preparing for the funeral in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Oh, yeah, and I go on “vacation” with my family to Texas in less than two weeks.

I think I’m going to put the honeymoon and wedding entry separate from the “normal” blog entries, so as not to overload the June blog page. ‘Cause this is going to be loooong. Like Sheryl‘s Japan narrative, but not quite.

I called Amy last night to see how she was doing. I guess she’s doing a little better β€” she’d been planning to try to go back to work today. She’s been home all this past week, tired and weak and kind of in pain. Good thing she didn’t try to make the wedding, cause she would have been miserable.

Well, I guess I’ll go start on the wedding and honeymoon entries, and maybe scan some pics. I don’t have the professional proofs from the wedding yet, but a friend of Aaron’s brought a digital camera to the wedding, so I have some wedding and reception pics, too.

Oh, and don’t feel too bad about Memaw. I’ve already done my mourning, and I will continue to do so tomorrow, but it was expected. Honestly, I’m glad it’s finally over.

The Unexpected…

You know how you can never plan for the thing that’ll go wrong in your wedding? You think you’ve got everything under control, but one unexpected glitch always gets you?

Amy called today. She’s in the hospital.

She’ll be fine, don’t worry… she just has an inflammation of the lower colon. (Ick.) She checked herself in to the ER on Tuesday with excruciating stomach pain and a 102° fever. Got to do such fun things as having a CAT scan, among other more invasive procedures. She says they might let her out tomorrow if her fever subsides, but not to plan on her being at the rehearsal, and only tentatively at the wedding itself.

Damn, that would suck.

In happier news, the programs are printed, my nails are done, and the engagement photo is ready for signing.

T-minus 92 Hours

In case anyone’s interested… here’s the latest on the wedding front.

Got the Marriage License today. Basically, it took a half hour of our time plus 40 bucks for us to guarantee that (a) we are not related β€” that is, second cousins or closer, (b) we were not intoxicated while applying for a marriage license, and (c) neither of us have syphilis.

Seriously. We had to swear that we didn’t have syphilis. How long has that law been on the books?

Anyway, we’ve touched base with pretty much everyone, including the photographer, officiant, bakery, our families, and our wedding party (well, pretty much… I still haven’t gotten hold of Mel yet, but she’s supposed to call tonight). Still on the to-do list:

  • Cut fabric and tie ribbons for centerpieces
  • Get programs printed at Kinko’s
  • Get French manicure on Thursday
    …or is that a freedom manicure? πŸ˜‰
  • Buy crepe paper/tulle and balloons for decorations
  • Make giant "Cook-Schnuth Wedding" roadside signage
  • Pick up wedding dress on Friday with Amy
  • Buy flowers for centerpieces on Friday
  • Finish matting engagement photo / guestbook
  • Call in final guest count to Catering

I’m sure there’s probably something else that I’m forgetting, too. Ehh.

If you’re not in the wedding party, and you’re coming in to town on Friday night, you’re welcome to hang out with us after the rehearsal. We think we’re going to Junction for dinner (we’re all going Dutch), but we’re not positive about that yet. I’ll try to leave my cell on as much as possible on Friday, not including the time we’re rehearsing (5:30pm – 6:00 or 6:30), so if you want the number, e-mail me.

Just out of curiosity, I looked at the guest list and broke it down by age group, so all you folks attending will have an idea of the cross-section of society that will be at our reception. The Young Adults (ages 16-ish thru 30) have the highest attendance, at about 55 or so. After them, we have about 15 Adults (our parents’ ages), a dozen Kids (under 14 or so), and four Grandparents.

The honeymoon is going to be in Cummington, Massachusetts, so I won’t have internet access for that entire week, just so you won’t yell about a lack of post-wedding updates. We’re heading out early Monday morning (after one day of wedding decompression) to arrive there Monday night β€” it’s a 10 to 12 hour drive. On the agenda is (1) eating lobster, (2) whale-watching, (3) seeing Boston, (4) buying maple syrup, and (5) visiting Mt. Greylock.

Why Cummington? Because Aaron’s grandmother owns a house there, and rents apartments out of it. We’ll be staying in the apartment she reserves for herself when she goes up to visit her tenants for three weeks out of the year.

Feel free to e-mail or call me to chat about the wedding… This wedding thing is making me necessarily more social than usual. πŸ™‚ See you on Friday, if not before!

Bachelorette Fun

Saturday was the Bridal Extravaganza, just to inform those of you who (a) were there but don’t remember, (b) couldn’t make it due to other commitments, or (c) have a penis and so weren’t invited.

Aaron and I were awakened by the phone at about 10:30am (which I tried to answer but picked up just in time for the answering machine to pick up, too, and start this righteous feedback). Good thing we were awake after that, though, ’cause Mom showed up at 11:15am, almost a full hour early.

The original plan was: Mom would show up at noon, and we’d go have lunch. Chris Walmsley, the Best Man, would show up around 1 or 1:30, and he and Aaron would go to lunch while Mom and I were chillin’. Amy would show up around 2:00, and us three girls would go do the BG Artwalk. All of us would reconvene at the house around 3:00, and the rest of the guys would show up. Us girls would head to Sheryl’s apartment around 3:30ish for the party to start at 4:00, and the boys would head up to Windsor for their party. That’s pretty much how it happened, too, except Mom showed up almost an hour early and Amy got caught in the insano Meijer while getting the cake, and had to miss the Artwalk and go directly to Sheryl’s. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

So, that’s how it happened. Mom and I left the boys around 3:30 and headed to Sheryl’s by way of Kroger (to get ice cream and bags of ice). When we got there, Eric was just leaving, Amy was already there, and Sheryl had the place totally decked out with flowers and general prettiness and cleanliness. Hung out, had some munchies, marvelled at all the shit Sheryl had put together for my day. *tee-hee* Amanda showed up shortly thereafter, and we almost got worried about Andrea, who didn’t show up until around 5:00 β€” just about in time for food.

After the gift-opening, of course.

Amy manned the digital camera and took pics of me opening up all my schwag, including a food processor, kitchen utensils, thongs, bras, a teddy, peppermint pecker candies, makeup, body butter, hemp lotion, and a partridge in a pear tree. So to speak. Then we had food.

Andrea is a veggie, so she got fettucini alfredo. The rest of us got one kickass pot roast. There was also salad, and corn-on-the-cob, and fresh green beans, and it was all sooooo good. Simple, yet quite yummy. Then we had some cake, and Mom bailed so she could get home to Cleveland before dark.

Mom’s gone! Bust out the alcohol! πŸ™‚

Sheryl made some mudslides (just add ice), and we hung out in her computer room checking out the Webtender. And we played with DP (Sheryl’s chinchilla). And I tried on one of my new bras with see-thru straps (and it made my boobs enormously threatening). And I read everyone a story about Anpanman (translated from Japanese by Sheryl’s friend Mariko). And we went outside and tried to fly kites, but there was no wind. (Seriously. No wind in BG. It happened. I was there.) And we drank some mudslides. And I made myself an Amaretto Sour with the booze my Mom bought me. And, eventually, we all headed over to my place before walking downtown for some drinking and debauchery.

Amy and Sheryl drove, and we hung out at my place for only a few minutes β€” long enough for everyone to go pee and for us to decide we were going to Brewster’s. It’s not a hoochie-bar: no dance floor, just tables and booths and a bar and live music (for a while). We walked the few blocks to Brewster’s, skirting the Rocky Horror crowd on the way, and found out there was only a $2 cover. Sheryl paid for me. Yay! We got a booth near the back, and listened to the mildly inoffensive live band. All four girls each bought me a drink, and I requested something different each time. After the three mudslides and the Amaretto Sour I had at Sheryl’s, I then had another Amaretto Sour, a Screwdriver, a Whiskey Sour, and a White Russian (well, Andrea spilled most of the first White Russian all over the table and floor, so I guess I had one-and-a-third White Russians). This was over the course of a couple few hours, during which we really had a kickass time talking and laughing and carrying-on. Of the people there, I think only Amy had seen me completely drunk before (since I so rarely drink, and very rarely get blitzed), so it was a new and fun experience for all, I’m sure. πŸ™‚

Somewhere around 11:30pm (Rocky Horror hadn’t started yet), we left the bar and attempted to find somewhere new to drink up. The next un-hoochie-fied place we could think of was Howard’s β€” but it turned out that the cover was $5, since they had “a bunch of DJ’s” there, according to the doorguy. We opted to just go back to my place. Sheryl and Amy went back to Sheryl’s apartment to fetch the booze, while I showed Amanda and Andrea the apartment, particularly the computer/media room. Aaron’s 8-tracks were a hit, as were all of our books and DVDs.

At some point, I announced that I was really fucked up. Which I was. Either that, or someone installed a moving floor in the computer room. At any rate, Andrea announced in turn that she was preparing to add to that, and proceeded to dig out of her pockets a baggie with a couple joints’ worth of weed, plus rolling papers. She said she brought them for the “special occasion.” As she was in the midst of rolling, Amy and Sheryl came back with the cooler of pop and booze, so Amanda and I left Andrea to finish rolling and headed back out to the living room. I put some music in the CD changer (Soledad Brothers, Flaming Lips, Matthew Sweet, Catherine Wheel, and the Afghan Whigs), and we all hung out and talked for a while.

Once 1am rolled around, Sheryl was falling asleep in her bowl of munchies and Andrea was ready to spark up. Sheryl took this opportunity to leave before the pot made her fall asleep where she sat. We were all worried that it had made her uncomfortable, but it turned out she really was just tired.

(Now, folks, I know that a publicly-accessible blog isn’t generally the wisest place to discuss illegal activities, like “doing drugs” β€” oooooooh *collective gasp* β€” but it was how the evening ended, and it was a new experience for me. So I’m going to trust that no future employers are going to Google “Diana Cook marijuana” anytime in the future, and continue with my story.)

Understand, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette in my life. So, here we all were, crowding about Andrea in my living room. Amy was Designated Driver, so she wasn’t even drinking, and she’s not a big pot fan, anyway. Her brother’s a bit of a pot fiend, and his memory suffers because of it, apparently. So, Amy was out, which left me, Andrea, and Amanda to pass around the Bachelorette Party Joint. Andrea explained to both of us the mechanics of smoking a joint, I lit up some incense, and the joint was lit and passed to me.

My first impressions: drawing fiery-hot smoke into your lungs makes your throat burn. Seeing smoke exhale from your own non-smoker’s mouth is unsettling. Not coughing on the very first drag, however, feels like some sort of accomplishment.

After the third hit, I finally started coughing, and I had to pass on the rest of the joint. My throat was on fire, and the taste of burnt paper and weed was far back in my mouth. I was no more messed up than I had been, though, so I sat down and waited for something to happen.

Which it did.

At the risk of sounding like a total retard, I’ll describe kind of what it was like. I felt like I was in a sea of chinchilla fur, in low gravity or molasses or something. I’d turn my head from one side of the room to the other, to look from Andrea to Amanda, and my chinchilla fur aura would drag behind me as I turned my head, pulling around to the other side and rebounding slowly like a cartoon from the opposite side once I focused on my target. (Sure it makes no sense. It’s not supposed to.)

At any rate, I sat there enjoying the sensation of being drunk and high, feeling rather naughty on some level, noticing that Amy looked awfully uncomfortable with the whole thing, but just chilling out and having a good time on another level.

Around 2:15am, the guys came home. Aaron, Chris, Kris H., Mark, and Aaron’s brother Matt all funneled into the room (Jesse and Kris Fries had already gone home), and realized there was nowhere to sit. πŸ™‚ Aaron took the couch with Amanda, Matt left, and Kris and Mark hung out for awhile before they too left. Amy rounded up Amanda and Andrea, and they all headed back to their respective places: Andrea to her car at Sheryl’s, to drive back to Medina; Amanda to her apartment, two blocks from Sheryl’s place; and Amy to her hotel room in town. Chris had dibs on our couch.

So, that was the bridal shower / bachelorette party. In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t precisely have a hangover on Sunday… more of an all-day exhaustion thing. No surprize, considering. πŸ™‚

(By the way, you can read Sheryl’s version of the night, too.)

Blah Blah Blog

Despite all the depresso ranting and raving I’ve done in my recent entries, I’m really not all that depressed. I promise. It’s just that the vaguely happy things that happen never make it to the blog.

Got home at 4:50pm after making a pit stop on the way from work to gas up Aaron’s car. And he’d already left for work. Poopstain. At least he left me some stuffed crust frozen pizza in the fridge, though. Yum.

Just called Andrea’s cell and left a message. Apparently her voicemail is set on one minute, because I timed it out. πŸ™‚ Asked her if she’d be able to make it to the bachelorette party and bridal shower this weekend, told her it would be cool if she could make it since I haven’t seen her in so long, asked her if she’d gotten her dress yet, and finally got the guts to tell her that if she’s not into the whole bridesmaid thing, because she’s too busy or it’s a weird time in her life or something like that, she can back out and won’t hurt my feelings. The voicemail cut me off just as I was reiterating that she needed to get back to me. Hopefully that’ll inspire her to give me a call sometime soon. If not… I’m not sure what to do.

Bounced my first check the other day. Twelve-dollar check, and got charged a $30 NSF fee. That blows. When I balanced my checkbook today, I realized I was in danger of doing it again, so I transferred some money from my savings to my checking. Now I’m covered. Whew.

Today was Mary’s last day in the Lockbox Department at work. Our supervisors bought an assload of cookies and cupcakes, so I munched on them all day and didn’t eat my nutritious lunch. At any rate, Mary’s husband works in the department she’s moving to: Loan Servicing. I don’t think he’s her supervisor, but they’re closer on the org chart now. Mary has informed me that her husband would take me into his department anytime I wanted, so that’ll be a good ‘out’ if I don’t find another job by the middle of June or so.

I figured out my demands, in case the Lockbox Department wants to beg me to stay (which is unlikely, but I can dream). Since they won’t be able to guarantee stable hours, which would be ideal, I will instead ask for a 6% pay increase, effective ASAP but no later than the beginning of third quarter (October). I wanted to say second quarter (July), but they probably already have the budget laid out for second quarter. Again, I don’t think it’ll happen, but I wanted to have my demands ready, just in case anyone were to ask what would keep me in Lockbox.

Well, I think that was a good, sufficiently undepressed update. Hmm, no, wait. I complained about shit the whole entry. Hang on… Oh, I know.

I’m getting married exactly one month from today! Tee-hee-hee! *girlie giggles*

There. Happiness. I am now going to post stuff on eBay and work on graphics for Sheryl’s Aunt’s online store.

P.S. – Hey, Donna? Here’s Karma Police, just for you.

Karma Police

…arrest this girl
she takes for granted
the people she shouldn’t
and she drives so recklessly

this is what you get
this is what you get
this is what you get
when you mess with us…

When I was planning this entry (all day at work), it was originally going to be quite woe-is-me, and perhaps even a bit guilt-trippy. See, Amy (maid of honor, duh) informed me yesterday that the bridal shower / bachelorette party is going to consist of myself, Amy, Sheryl, and my Mom. That’s it. The end. Then I got an e-mail from the wife of one of Aaron’s friends (which makes us all friends, I suppose) who said that, since she’s with child, she wanted to offer up herself as a Designated Driver. Cool. I forwarded that on to Amy. Then I was bitching at work today about my severe lack of friendage, and A said she’d go to the shower and party. Which could be interesting, since I don’t know how she’ll mingle with the current attendees, but I’ll take any participation I can get at this point. I went against my own better judgment and checked my TagBoard at work today, too, and saw that Beth has to work and Donna has a concert to attend in Toledo. Both good, valid excuses, and apologetically offered.

So, that kind of mellowed me out.

I’m still pissed at myself for this doozie, though: I got my first-ever speeding ticket today. Those of you who know BG, the cop was stationed on Seventh and Manville while I was cruising north down Manville, toward Wooster. I saw him and hit my brakes, but it was too late. He’d already clocked me going 41 in a 25. A says I was too calm; I should have been more nervous or cried or been mad or something. As it was, I accepted my fate politely and quietly. And my fine of $85.

See, for the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking, "One of these days, I’m going to be speeding down this road, and there’ll be a cop sitting there at Sixth Street…" Well, I was one street off, but I knew it was coming. That’s why I didn’t complain or fuss. I had it coming to me.

Same with the shower, I guess, and my less-than-communicative bridesmaids. When you don’t make a concerted effort to stay in touch with your friends, and delete all the stupid forwards they send you instead of actual personal messages, then something important comes up that you feel they should be involved in, and they don’t (or can’t) make time for it, that’s just karma coming around to bite you in the ass. And I’m OK with that β€” well, as much as can be expected. I do wish I could have had a big, crazy bridal shower and bachelorette party. Kathy (the DD mentioned above) had at least a dozen people at her shower (I was one), and her bridesmaids and a couple close friends (not me) all showed up for her bachelorette party. I guess I’m just jealous, maybe. It’ll be fun, anyhow. I know it will.

In other news, I posted for a new job at Sky. Sky Insurance in Maumee has an opening for a Marketing Coordinator, which involves planning and designing ad campaigns and PR materials. I really did just want a lateral transfer to something in my field, but this is more of a promotion to a management position. I mean, I’ll take it if they feel I’m qualified, but I have this feeling I’m not. Not at all. At least this job doesn’t require "licensing" like the last Marketing job I tried to post for. At any rate, if I don’t have a new position lined up within Sky by the time I’m getting ready to get married and take my honeymoon vacation time, I have every intention of finding another job outside Sky.

I mean, I don’t want to leave the company after only seven months β€” I just started my 401(k), I get two weeks’ vacation and five personal/sick days every year, I get annual raises of roughly 10%, and my quarterly reviews have been favorable so far. But I’m willing to look for something more related to my field and with more stable hours and with better pay, and sacrifice my three weeks’ paid time off for something less grandiose.

I keep saying that I’m biding my time and waiting for the right opportunity to come along. But with Mary leaving the department at the end of this week, A leaving at the end of next week, and Loni intending to leave within the month, I refuse to be stuck working the 70-hour weeks that the resultant workload would force upon me. Part of me hates to leave it to poor Rama (a temp who’s just started training on Citation this week) and Sharon (the older woman who’s been with Sky for 10+ years) and the new temp and Andrew (our "Team Leader"). But another part of me says this is my opportunity to get while the gettin’s good.

And I think the rest of me agrees.