Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've Moved (Again)!

Check me out at Foxy Craft.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

The wedding was absolutely beautiful. Everything went off so smoothly and all our family and friends had a great time. I'll f/u with pics of that...and the honeymoon ;-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tears of Sadness, Tears of Joy

Last week I was happy and excited making all kinds of plans for our upcoming wedding. It was maybe an hour before leaving work on Friday (my last day before 3 weeks of vacation) that I got one of those dreaded phone calls. Apparently my grandfather had suffered a heart attack while driving. I was able to visit with him in the hospital on Saturday even though he was unconscious and then he passed away early Sunday morning one week before he was to attend my wedding. We had the funeral yesterday on Long Island where he was laid to rest next to my grandmother who passed away 8 years prior.

I'm having all these conflicting feelings and emotions now. I wake up every morning crying after thinking of some memory of him which is now followed by thoughts of watching him being buried then onto how I won't be able to follow him down the processional aisle or dance with him at the reception. Then I get out of bed and am inundated with calls and emails and check off lists and errands all day long. It does take my mind off things and I'm able to laugh at times and even feel like myself but I know I'm still grieving inside.

My sister read a beautiful speech she had written about my grandpa yesterday. I would have loved to say some words also but was too emotional at the time. I was always better at writing than speaking so here is my own personal tribute to my grandfather:

Since my grandpa lived on Long Island we used to go to the beach often when I was a child. I remember my older sister was always the risk taker and would swim out far on her own. She and my mom always tried to drag me along with them but I was too timid and preferred to stand still at the water's edge watching my feet be buried in the sand as the tide came in and out.

One time in particular sticks out in my mind. My grandpa tried to get me to come out into the waves and I reluctantly agreed as he could be very charming and persuasive. Sure enough a wave came and knocked my 6-year-old self over. After rolling backwards underwater and coming up for air spurting salt water out of my mouth and rubbing my irritated eyes my grandpa asked me if I knew how to brace myself. I had no idea what he was talking about.

He went on to show me that when a wave came instead of facing it head on which inevitably knocked me over the key was to stand sideways with your legs hip length apart and hold out your arms for balance. If you could dig your feet down into the wet sand that was even better. I remember that I didn't really believe him at the time but he was older and supposedly wiser so I tried it. (Secretly I thought the only reason he wasn't getting knocked down was because he was much bigger than me.) Just as I had played at the waters' edge passively watching my feet being buried in the sand this time I purposely dug my feet in. My motions were a bit exaggerated as I kept my legs wider than was probably necessary and stood with my arms straight out as if I were preparing for lift-off.

The next wave came towards me and it appeared bigger and more ominous than ever. I wanted to run back to the safety of the shore line but my grandpa was standing next to me doing the same thing except he was standing there with purpose and anticipation. I took my cue from him and waited terrified as the wave approached. To me it looked like a giant brown monster with its mouth foaming at the top (Remember this was Jones Beach on the south shore of Long Island not the Cayman Islands.) I involuntarily squeezed my eyes shut and dreaded the worst. The water started receding around me as the tide drew it in and I heard the rumbling coming closer and closer until finally it was upon me. I held my breath, dug my feet deep in the sand, and moments later found myself still standing next to my grandpa who was beaming proudly at me.

I was reminded of this image upon waking up this morning. Looking back at it from an adult perspective it's obvious that he was teaching me more than how to combat an oncoming wave. He was showing me that I could face any problem life brought my way as long as I prepared and had someone else watching out for me. There was nothing to be afraid of and any danger whether physical like a wave in the ocean or more figurative it was better to anticipate what was coming and look forward to the challenge rather than run away like a coward towards obvious safety.

This goes along with my grandfather's philosophy on life. His mother died when he was just 4 years old. His father remarried and from what I've heard he wasn't treated very well by his new stepmother and half-siblings. With no resources from which to draw from he found it within himself to overcome any challenge life threw at him. He told me once that at the age of 16 he needed to know how to drive in order to apply for a job that would bring in some much needed income. This was back in 1937. Since his father was either too preoccupied or unwilling to show him he went ahead and taught himself. He took on that delivery job and earned enough money to be more independent.

I don't know all the details but he eventually went on to own an office supply company and did very well for himself. He often made deliveries all around the tri-state area. He served in the military during World War II. He never liked to talk about it much but he told me once that he had helped liberate one of the concentration camps in Germany. He earned military honors which was evident at the funeral when his second wife was presented with an American flag.

My grandpa loved to drive. He owned several large Cadillacs and always drove my grandma anywhere she needed to go. Just the week before his death he had driven from his summer home in Florida all the way back to New Jersey stopping once in Virginia to visit my aunt along the way. At the time of his heart attack he was right where he loved to be...in the driver's seat in control of what was going on and serving as a protective guide to those he loved.

My grandpa was 86 when he died. He had lived a long life. He was married to my grandma for 52 years, had raised 2 daughters who went on to have 4 grandchildren and even has a great-granddaughter although he only "met" her yesterday at the cemetery plot. Everyone was dressed in black and very solemn while Ainsley was radiant in a white sweater and pants with pink flowers on them and ribbons in her hair. All the out-of-town relatives who had not met her yet remarked on how much she resembled my mother. Her middle name Isabelle is in memory of my grandma, Irma.

Although it was very difficult for me to handle my grandpa's sudden passing I know that he didn't suffer much and would have hated to have a long drawn out illness where others would have had to be his caretakers. When his time came he faced it head on and without fear. I know both him and my grandma will be there in spirit on my wedding day. I had wanted to use their wedding bands during the ceremony but they are unable to be located on such short notice so I'm going to use a gold ring from my grandma that has her maiden name initials on it: IK. I will try my hardest to shed most of my tears now so that the only tears shed that day will be tears of joy.

With great love and respect you will be missed by everyone who's life you touched with your wisdom, charm, and fortitude.

Irving Friedman March 5th 1922-May 28th 2008.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Time After Time

With my wedding now less than 2 weeks away my life has been going something like this, "Wedding, eat, wedding, sleep, weddingweddingwedding!" Every day after work I'm either running to some appointment whether it's finalizing the arrangements with the catering hall/florist/photographer/rabbi/band or rushing around on errands to pick up odds and ends. I have nothing to complain about though. It's been really exciting to see all the details coming into place and to know that I had a large part in making it happen. It feels like an accomplishent.

One new trait I've developed is calling to appointments ahead of time. I'm always the type of person who waits until my hair is a tangled mess before calling the salon for a trim or if it's just calling friends to see what their plans are for Saturday night rather than checking in earlier in the week.

I got on a roll last Friday when I had a day off from work. Looking back at the call log on my phone I called the dress shop, photographer, hotel coordinators at 2 different hotels, spa, hair salon, nail salon, in addition to my aunt, sister, and mother all to either make appointments or discuss little details. The more appointments I made the more I wanted to call other places to make more. It became addictive! I tried thinking of places where JFo might need appointments but he made me stop.

I liked how I could put all the appointments in my PDA calendar and color coordinate them. What I'm finding out is that I need to be flexible as often the other party will cancel or I'll realize that I'm really overbooked or not feeling well and need to reschedule. Now that I'm writing this out it sounds really obvious but this was a revelation for me and my time management skills.

Please share your experiences with time management (or lack thereof) so I can see where I fit in the spectrum.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I Feel Like a Woman

There have always been many things I wanted to learn more about or skills I wanted to acquire but there never seemed the time or, more importantly, the motivation to see these things out. It's only been while planning my wedding and preparing for my new role as a married woman that I have made the effort to learn.

Take putting on makeup for example. My usual routine (if I bothered at all) was to put on blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick, and pressed powder. However, I never bothered to learn the proper techniques for applying the make-up. I would just use the little brushes that came in the packages and just figure it out on my own. When I was getting ready for my engagement photos I wanted to be able to do my own makeup (and have some new stuff that wasn't so old it made me break out every time I put it on!). For Hanukah JF had bought me blush and eyeshadow brushes from MAC and had given me the card of the manager at the Bloomingdale's counter so I could make an appointment to learn proper application techniques. Three months later when I felt I had a reason to I took this step and realized how little I knew before. For example, if I was putting on 2 colors of eyeshadow I would put one on my eyelid and the other over it on my brow. I learned you're actually supposed to put them side by side; one by inner corner of your eye and one by the outer corner. This was a huge revelation to me and I feel much more confident now when I apply my makeup and have gotten many compliments.

My hair has always been another sore spot. I have naturally curly brown hair that falls a bit below shoulder length when dry. My normal routine was to wash it every day with shampoo and conditioner, towel it try, apply a couple types of styling products starting at the crown of my head and using a pick to comb it through my hair. Most days I would start off with very flat hair on top and by the end of the day my hair had majorly poofed out. Ponytail bands and clips were my friends. My sister encouraged me to go a salon where there was a certified curl technician who could give me a good cut and show me the best way to style my hair. I went to The Beehive in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and received the best hair cutting experience of my life. Now I use shampoo occasionally, condition every day, and apply hair products with my fingers while still in the shower starting at the tips and ending with the roots before dabbing my hair dry with an old t-shirt (apparently not as drying as using a towel).

There are many other physical examples of changes I have undertaken such as trying to accessorize every day with interesting jewelry, wear skirts more often, and even heels on occasion. These may seem like small superficial things but they have made a big difference in my self-confidence. I feel it is worth it to try to look good as compared to before when I would roll out of bed 20 minutes before it was time to leave for work, throw on a pilling sweater and pair of oversized pants complimented by scuffed flats, and rush out the door forgoing makeup or jewelry.

It's amazing what a little mascara & lipstick can do!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Night to Remember

A couple weeks ago several members from my knitting group threw me a surprise bachelorette party. I was really caught off guard as I was expecting a low key dinner with my friend SP and ended up with a rowdy night of sharing drinks and appetizers at The Park (one of those uber trendy places in the Meatpacking District) followed by the Coyote Ugly type antics on display at the nearby bar Hogs and Heifers.

All identities have been concealed in order for the muggles to keep up their fantasies that knitters only sit at home with their cats playing with balls of string (Ok, we do that too sometimes but don't knock it until you've tried it!).

In addition to sewing a veil/tiara combo the multi-talented SP also made these awesome knitted panties for me. She definately wins the award for Best Achievement in a Last Minute Knitted Gift Award Involving Lace on Small Needles. Nothing says love and cheesy bachelorette fun more than an I-cord thong. Makes me tear up just thinking about it.

And so as to not end this post with a closeup of my newly acquired 'drawers feast your eyes on this beautiful sock yarn AP presented me with from the Adirondack Yarn Company. She bought herself a skein too so we can be 'Sock Sisters.' (Ok, I totally just made that term up but when it catches on faster than Ravelry you can say you heard it here first.)

Thanks again for thinking of me, you guys, and making this special time in my life all the more memorable...