Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Love Is a Choice" Is My Back Up Plan

"Love is a choice, not a feeling."

I grew up hearing those words all the time in my church. Initially I just took it to mean that you should act loving toward someone even if you didn't feel loving, rather than hiding behind excuses like "I just can't love them," because of course you can always act loving even if you don't personally like someone. And that's a good concept.

But recently I've been seeing it applied a lot to romantic relationships in a way that bothers me.

This blog: "My husband is not my soul mate," has been floating around on Facebook. And while I totally agree with her on the nonexistence of soul mates and think there's not really any major problem with what she said, this section upholds a series of ideals that are often misinterpreted.
My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don’t imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some illusive soul mate, not some divine fullfulment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”
But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to DC and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.
But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday. 
I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.
OK. This is all good stuff. But then I started seeing comments on the blog that said things like, "I think choosing to love is so much more romantic than falling in love!" and "It's great to remember that true love isn't about a feeling" and "We need to remember that the heart is treacherous."

Here is the one thing I would add to all this:

In romantic relationships, it's never meant to be just a choice.

Saying, "Love is a choice, not a feeling," does something very disturbing. It negates the feeling entirely. It takes out the need for chemistry or attraction or affection or even just liking each other and reduces it to a series of loving or nonloving actions. If love is merely a choice, then, yes, I can choose to love anyone. I could hypothetically choose to love, marry, and live forever with someone I really don't care that much about.

But God cares about the feeling. He wants you to marry someone for whom you feel love. The choice isn't ever meant to replace the feeling entirely. The choice is the back up. The choice is what you fall back on during those days, weeks, months when you've had it up to here with your significant other, and you just don't feel like you love them anymore. That's when you realize love isn't just a feeling, it is also a choice, and you can choose to love them with your actions and your decisions and hope in time the feeling will return.

When love is reduced to simply a choice, with no feeling behind it or motivating it to begin with, there are some bad things that can happen.

People can end up relationships with people they really don't like all that much. As they're debating whether or not they should advance the relationship, they remember that "Love is a choice, not a feeling," and decide they're going to choose to love them and move the relationship forward romantically, even when they have no real desire to do so. They can end up spending their whole life with somebody who really never made them that happy. Ironically, knowing that "Love is a choice" actually may take away their choice - they feel they must end up with the first person who asks them, because they're not supposed to make these decisions based on feelings.

Some of you may think, "Nobody does that!" but I can think of at least two friends of mine who had this exact thing happen to them, and they stayed in these iffy relationships for a very long time with this internal need to "make it work" because "love is a choice" - even before any sort of serious commitment had actually been made.

Another blogger named Hannah over at Wine and Marble has even shared her story about how her marriage actually fell apart because of that kind of thinking - they got into a marriage relationship that, really, should have never happened, because one of them was never in love with the other.
Then there was the day when I felt a cognitive dissonance when he said “I love you,” and I began to wonder if he had really shaken off the stunted emotional habits of his own childhood and adolescence spent in the sister-church of my former church home.
And we talked and we talked and we talked in circles about what “I love you means.”
Then one day, he told me that he wanted a separation, and maybe we could start over and try again. That the teachings of one SGM pastor who’d told him (shortly before our wedding, when he came to him scared and confused) that it was okay that he didn’t have “feelings” for me, that if we were best friends and he found me sexually attractive, that it would all work out once we were married. That the feelings would come.
So he had married me, telling himself that Love is a Choice, and that Love is Sacrificing Yourself and Your Desires, that Love Is Getting What You Don’t Want For The Good Of The Other.
And I watched him fade away, disappearing into despair and loneliness and self-hatred I couldn’t possibly touch. I cried myself to sleep in the dark many, many nights while he walked alone in the dark, fighting the lies of depression.
The choice part of love is not meant to be the foundation of a relationship. It's meant to be the final culmination. This is why marriage is a big deal to me. My wedding was my moment of choosing to love. Up until the day I married Jacob, if I wanted, I could say at any point, "Meh, I haven't been feeling this for awhile, it's not working, let's be done." But the day I married him, I promised him that I would choose to love him. That if the feelings fluctuated, I would still choose love. That I wouldn't give up on it, no matter how long it took to get the feelings back. That's a big deal. That's a big promise. You can't start with the promise.

As a final though, I think the whole "Love is a choice" mantra ties in to the emotional purity teaching as well. They both encourage you to dismiss those giddy feelings when the boy you like tells you you look nice, because 1) that's not real love, it's just a feeling, and 2) until you make the commitment to choose real love, you have no business having giddy feelings about anyone. There's a sort of promise in all of it that if you ignore the feelings for people who you haven't chosen, then when you do choose somebody and choose to have a serious relationship with them, the feelings will just come, and that time they will be good and pleasing and blessed. And, well, that's just not always the case.

Love is a choice.
And love is a feeling.
And, in a healthy relationship, there should be both.
If your love is only a choice, something is off.
If your love is only a feeling, it's not very deep.

It's not one or the other. Pursue and pray for both.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Lesson On Overstuffing Keywords

My sister Bethany and I both work for a website where clients can request various pieces of writing. We're available to write blog entries, bios, press releases, sales copy, reviews of products, whatever. The clients can ask us to use certain keywords in the article. For example, they may ask for a 300-400 word article containing the phrase "personal injury lawyer" 2-3 times. Usually the keywords are pretty easy to fit into the article... but the other day I got this Facebook message from my sister.

I was out to lunch with Jacob when I got the message and tried to read it to him, but I just kept dissolving into helpless giggles. (And then the waitress tried to take our order but I was laughing and crying too hard to say anything. Heh.) I hope it amuses you all as well. I've changed any identifying information in the article.

Bethany's intro:
The article I was looking at was supposed to be 350-650 words, and it was about this specific dentist practice, and in the "Required Keyword" section, there were 84 phrases to use, adding up to 255 words! And I was like "this is ridiculous!" But it intrigued me.

So...I wrote the article (very sloppily) and I still have 100 words left to try to to make it better. But I'm just going to leave it like this, not submit it, and laugh at it. Here's the article I wrote. Every phrase in asterisks is a keyword that I was supposed to use, exactly the way it was written. Do you think you could do a better job than me?

The fake article:
Dr. Jane Doe is a great dentist who received her DDS degree in 1993, and received her pediatric specialty certificate in 1995. Practicing in the Los Angeles area, in her practice “Jane Doh DDS Pediatric Dentistry”, she is a great citizen and the *best pediatric dentist*.

Dr. Doe is a *24 hour dentist*, who offers *affordable dental care* at an *affordable dentistry*. She’s an *Agoura Hills dentist*, and starts with *age one pediatric dentistry* and up. Some of the services offered here at Jane Doh DDS Pediatric Dentistry include *Fillings & Restorative Care*, *Nitrous Oxide Sedation*, *Early Orthodontic Treatment*, *Two-Phase Orthodontics*, putting in *Damon Braces*, using *Invisalign Teen* or *Sealants*, *Exams & Cleanings* and help for any *Dental Emergency*.

If you want to know about *braces cost*, *braces for adults cost*, *braces for children*, *braces for kids cost*, *braces prices*, *cheap braces for kids*, then go to this *cheap dentist* who does *cheap orthodontics* and *child tooth care*. Seriously, if you’re worried about *children and braces*, *teeth braces cost*, *tooth care for kids*, *children braces* or *childrens braces*, this *cosmetic dentist* is great. She offers *free braces for kids*! Even *free dental treatment*!

*What is a dental emergency*? Dr. Doe will help in any *dental emergency* or *tooth emergency*, because she’s a *dental emergency dentist* who offers *dental insurance for children* in *dental offices that accept medi-cal*. No *dentist near me* is as good as this *dentist that accept Medicaid*. Remember, in every *dentistry emergency*, you should find an *emergency dentist* performing *emergency dental*, specifically *emergency dental care for children*. You need *emergency dental help* in this *emergency dental office* doing *emergency dental work* by an *emergency dentist* who knows *emergency dentist care* in her *emergency dentistry*. Did you know she’s an *emergency pediatric dentist*? If you have an *emergency tooth* that needs *emergency tooth care*, find *a pediatric dentist* or find *pediatric dentist*. She offers *free emergency dental* with *full coverage dental insurance*. She is great at *pediatric dentist emergency care* because she’s a *pediatric emergency dentist*!

At your child’s *first dental visit age*, they may need a *fluoridated mouth rinse* with *fluoride mouth wash* or *fluoride tooth paste*. The *invisalign dentist* or *orthodontist* will work on it. Ask about *cost of dental implants*, but remember that these *local dentist offices* offer *low cost dental*, even *low cost dental care*. This *low cost dentist* has *new dental treatments* in her *pediatric dental offices*, because she’s a *pediatric dentist Los Angeles* loves. With her new treatment are *new patients forms dental office* has you fill out. These *painless dentists* will use *sedation dentistry*, also known as *sleep dentistry*, for *orthodontist prices* you can afford. You should make sure you have the *best dental insurance*, such as good *kids dental insurance*, as well as *orthodontic insurance* or *orthodontics insurance*. Best of all, Dr. Doe teaches you *professional tooth cleaning*, specifically *professional teeth cleaning at home*, even *professional dental cleaning at home*!

This great dentist for your children is definitely the best place you can possibly in the whole region of Los Angeles. So don’t waste a second! Check out her dental clinic and get whatever free/low cost/cheap/emergency dental care that you need! And don’t forget to check out the braces children cheap for kids braces prices costs!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Quest For Skye: Chapter 3

Recap: Chapter 1 told us about Doctor Layland Leontiou and his wife, Malinda, who blew up a lab trying to do some sort of medical nuclear test. Chapter 2 introduced us to Doctor Morgan Hamilton and his wife, Tammy, who have just learned they cannot have kids but have ended up on a 14-day cruise through the Panama Canal (which, as a few friends have pointed out, is ridiculous, as the Panama Canal takes less than a day to sail through) where there is some sort of childhood disease medical convention on board that they were unaware of. Morgan left Tammy to be sad so he could go explore the ship.

Morgan wanders throughout the ship, where every single staff member he passes greets him. Poor introverts must feel stifled. He goes to get a snack at the ship's buffet, picks up a "few delicacies" that he worries will make him gain ten pounds, then mentally mocks the Learys, who he sees eating two full plates of food each.
“That’s enough to feed a platoon of soldiers,” Morgan whispered under his breath, snickering.
Ugh. I've mentioned before how I really dislike Morgan, right?

It's pretty traditional to eat two plates of food at a buffet. This is not outrageously gluttonous behavior. If I go to a buffet and only eat one plate of food, I'm probably not feeling well. Add to that that this is the Learys' first visit to the buffet, so they're probably going to want to sample it all.

Here are the possibilities. Either:

1) Morgan is obsessed with body weight and fitness, to the point that he worries that eating a couple buffet snacks will make him gain 10 pounds and he mocks anybody who eats what he views as an unhealthy amount and he thinks a platoon of soldiers can and should be fed entirely on 4 plates, or
2) The cruise ship serves some sort of special food where just a few bites has a huge caloric intake, so you really only need to take like a bite before you've eaten all you need, and Morgan knows this and is concerned about how much he's eating, but the Learys do not.

I think I'm going with #1.

Morgan wanders over to where the convention is, runs into the guy who's on the front of the convention brochure (but doesn't recognize him at first), then browses the bookstore, where he finds several books by...

Doctor Layland Leontiou.

It's all coming together!

He runs into a woman by the bookstore (I am assuming this is Malinda Leontiou, although it hasn't been confirmed yet) and he shows us his first trace of actually being sad about his situation:
“How many children do you have?”
After a long pause, he added, “None.” 
“Not in the picture yet?” she smiled. 
“Not in God’s picture,” he answered weakly, feeling like the wind had just been knocked out of him.
Yay! He's not entirely a robot!

It's confirmed that he's talking to Malinda, and the two of them talk. It's revealed that Malinda actually knows who they are because they once wrote a journal article with the very academic title of "Why We Are Concerned About Rare Childhood Diseases."
“Dr. Hamilton, you and your wife must come to the convention.” She emphasized the word “must,” raising an eyebrow, and waiting for his response.
When I was reading Twilight, I would frequently giggle out loud at the fact that Stephenie Meyer appeared to really hate the word "said" and instead preferred to have her characters "pout, waving an arm to show her displeasure" or "mumble, his eyes narrowing." The actual things they said so seldom corresponded with their body language, which fluctuated wildly from moment to moment, that it was hilarious to image.

This feels the same way. Everyone do it with me. Everyone say, "Dr. Hamilton, you and your wife must come to the convention," while raising an eyebrow, and you'll notice that it feels ridiculous, because raised eyebrows go along with actually asked questions, not with invitations or insistences. (I don't think "insistences" is a word, but it's what's happening here.)
“Thank you for the invitation, but I don’t think we’d be interested. We’re trying to get away from work. That’s why we’re here.” Morgan blew out a lengthy breath.
“I understand. If you change your mind, the offer stands. Wait! I have an idea. Maybe the two of you would speak at one of our meetings.”
"If you don't want to come to the convention, maybe you'd like to speak at it! That'll help you get away from work! Boy, I have the best ideas!"

Malinda gives him a copy of all Doctor Layland Leontiou's books for free, and Morgan cheerfully muses that this way Tammy will have plenty to read on the cruise. Because yes, I'm sure she really wants to read about childhood disease research, which is all Doctor Layland Leontiou writes about. Does this guy think at all about what he says or does?

He continues to wander through the ship having terrible interactions with people, such as this one with a girl named Kim at the gym:
He stopped long enough to try out the bike and treadmill.
A young woman with jet-black hair sauntered over. “You look like you’re familiar with the equipment.
Because the bike and treadmill are so terribly difficult to use. If this book was well-written I would assume she was being condescending on purpose, trying to make him feel important for understanding the basics of walking on a moving walkway so he'd come back to the gym or pay extra for something. But it's not well-written, so I'm pretty sure this is just Rothdiener's idea of small talk.
“...I’m only here for a cruise, but it seems like everyone I meet is talking about the convention.”
“I guess it’s a big thing. Well-known doctors from all over the world are here for seminars on childhood diseases. Word on the ship is that some of the greatest medical minds in the world are gathering here for fourteen days of discussions and recreation.”
Man, of all the needlessly two-week-long cruises the Hamiltons could have taken, they took this one, somehow having absolutely zero idea of this majorly important conference. If they're such great brilliant ground-breaking professionals, how come they don't have even the vaguest knowledge of what this conference even is, much less that it was happening on the very cruise they had booked? The bigger a deal the author makes of this conference, the more it makes me think that the Doctors Hamilton are pretty bad at their research-y jobs.

Gym Kim shares that her son recently passed away from leukemia, and Morgan shares that he and his wife can't have kids. He mentions that Tammy is "down on God," and Kim talks about how God got her through the time when her son was dying. She shares her back story, which was that she was a "wild child" in high school and once spent the night at a friend's house and everyone came over and apparently had a sex party and thus her baby was conceived.

Eventually she stopped participating in sex parties and got her life figured out. I will give Rothdiener kudos for not saying that everything went perfectly for her afterward - her son's death, of course, is sad, and her parents died shortly after her son was born. That was one of my chief complains about The Quest For Forgiveness - it had Facing the Giants Syndrome, where everything miraculously gets completely fixed once the character finds God. Because most of the time, that's not how it works.

Gym Kim offers herself for Tammy to talk to and randomly offers her fiance Zack for Morgan to talk to. Morgan announces he's going to "the children's area" next, and also that dinner is soon. (I guess his expert time spent on the bike and treadmill worked off the 10 pounds he gained from his snack earlier, so he can eat again now.)

But first, he's going to the children's area in chapter four, and, from what I understand from the book synopsis, he's probably going to meet the titular Skye there.

I really don't want to read Rothdiener's portrayal of an inspiring child. I really, really don't. I hate her already.

(Chapter 4.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are Introverts Happier When They Act Extroverted?

Well, this article is making the rounds and stirring up all sorts of opinions. It's called "How an Introvert Can Be Happier: Act Like an Extrovert," and, I'll tell you, even just reading the title made me angry. I've tried acting like an extrovert. If I do it for short periods of time, I'm bored. If I do it for long periods of time, it generates anxiety, self-loathing, and depression. Which, no, do not make me happier.

Turns out the article itself is less definitive than its controversial title. It cites a study that claims introverts are happier when they behave like extroverts, but then quotes several introverts basically saying, "Well, that doesn't make sense." So the article isn't as bad at it sounds, but I still have some issues with how it phrases things and with the study itself. Let me quickly go through what the article says.
Extroverts, those outgoing, gregarious types who wear their personalities on their sleeve, are generally happier, studies show.
First off, let me respond to this with a great blog from Psychology Today which points out that extroverts may not actually be happier, they just may be more inclined to say they're happy. Many extroverts have a tendency toward extreme answers, while introverts are more likely to choose the ones in the middle. An introvert and an extrovert may feel the same amount of happiness, but when asked to rank it on a scale of 1 to 5, an extrovert may easily choose 5, while an introvert would rather call it a 3 1/2.
Experts aren't entirely sure why behaving like an extrovert makes people feel better. One theory is that being talkative and engaging influences how people respond to you, especially if that response is positive.
...Honestly, I'm not sure what that's saying. If you're talkative, people respond to you differently, especially if they respond to you positively? I'm not sure I can critique this because I honestly don't know what it's saying. Maybe my brain is just shot. If someone explains this in the comments I can go back and edit it to respond to what it actually says.
Others speculate that people get more satisfaction when they express their core self and opinions.
I have no qualms about expressing my core self and opinions as an introvert. Nor do many other introverts I know. Introversion =/= shyness. In fact, introverts are often impatient with small talk and would much prefer to talk about core opinions and who people are deep down. I have intensely rewarding conversations with introverts all the time.

(Also, how in the world could being an introvert but acting like an extrovert constitute "expressing my core self"? Isn't that hiding my core self?)
Another possibility: Happiness might come simply from having successfully completed a goal, such as giving a speech.
And here, the bizarre implication is that introverts don't/can't complete goals. I understand the idea of it being exhilarating to conquer something you're afraid of, but that's not what's being stated here. Also, not all introverts are afraid of giving speeches. These are huge, bizarre generalizations and I'm not OK with them.

They interview an introvert who is vice president of a media firm, who often has to do public presentations and be on TV.
Though he may dread making a presentation, he says he is exhilarated afterward. "I do feel a sense of relief and elation, but I don't know if that's because of the experience or because the experience is over," he said.
Well, it is one of my favorite things in the world to come home from a socially busy day. I feel elated as I leave, but I can tell you right now: for me, that's not because of the experience. It's because in contrast to the experience, the peace and quiet is too wonderful and beautiful to put into words. It's like how awesome it feels to sit down after you've been standing up for hours. It's not that you're glad to have been standing. You're just happy to sit down.
A series of studies, which included more than 600 college students, found that introverts misjudge how they would feel after acting extroverted. They often predicted feelings of anxiety and embarrassment, which never transpired.
"Introverts kind of underestimate how much fun it will be to act extroverted," said Dr. Zelenski. "You don't think you want to go to a party and then go and have a great time."
Let me say a few things here.

1) Going to a party is not necessarily "acting extroverted." There's a difference between socializing with people and pretending to be something I'm not. I've gone to parties and spent them hanging out with just one or two people, and I've had a great time.

2) Introversion =/= social phobia. I seldom anticipate being embarrassed at social gatherings. I anticipate being bored. I anticipate being awkward and uncomfortable, not in an "OH MY GOSH EVERYONE'S LOOKING AT ME" way, but in an "I'm not quite sure I know where to sit, so, um, I'll just stand up the whole time" kind of way. It's not mortifying, just... awkward.

(Also, today's introversion post is brought to you by analogies about sitting and standing.)
"We didn't find a lot of evidence for…the idea that acting like an extrovert would wear out introverts," said Dr. Zelenski. However, he said: "We found acting like an introvert tended to wear out extroverts," who performed worse on cognitive tests.
I have a theory about this, actually.

I think a lot of introverts have adjusted.

There's still not a lot of room for introverts to really be introverts all the time. We have learned to adjust and act extroverted, not because we want or because it'll make us happier, but because we need to. I think a lot of introverts have become accustomed to that to the point where even if they may be tired, they don't recognize it as introverted-related tiredness. I certainly didn't in high school.

It's like chronic pain. If my arthritis has been acting up for weeks and somebody asks me if I'm in pain, I may at first say no even if I am because I've been in constant pain for so many weeks that I forget that that's not normal. That pain level becomes the new normal.

Similarly, that social exhaustion level became the new normal for me as a high schooler, and I suspect it has been that way for a lot of other introverts. It wasn't until I started figuring out how to have non-exhaustive interactions that I realized that probably wasn't supposed to happen.
"We live in a culture that very much subscribes to the extrovert ideal of being bold and assertive," said Susan Cain, a former corporate lawyer who wrote a book last year called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," which argues that introverts are unfairly maligned. Rather than trying to get introverts to act more extroverted, she argues that society should be drawing on their natural strengths, which can include being a good listener and working creatively.
Thank you, Susan Cain.

Maybe the findings of this study are true for a lot of people, but they absolutely have not been true in my experience. I am happy when I am allowed to be my introvert self around other people, and when I get a chance to recharge. I am my happiest when I am the most comfortable with myself. Acting extroverted is sometimes a necessity, and it may bring me results, but it doesn't bring me happiness.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wedding Pictures

Last week, my photographer sister sent me all the photos she took of my wedding and the week before it. I figured this would be an appropriate time to post a few of my favorites, for those who either 1) do not have Facebook, or 2) do not feel like looking through the EIGHTEEN JILLION PICTURES I uploaded onto there. So here are some of the ones I was happiest with.

This is not a wedding-specific photo, but I love it. It's mine and Jacob's dog getting super excited as I make a sandwich. She jumped in the air the entire time I was making the sandwich, hoping I would give her some of the lunchmeat I used. I did not.

My beautiful bridesmaid Dani helped me order these button-and-fabric bouquets and then spruced them up with lace and ribbon. They looked even more incredible by the time she was done.

My mom, bridesmaid Jessica, and matron of honor Lisa pulling stuff together for our wedding feast. Lisa took charge over all the food, and she did an incredible job - the meal was so delicious.

According to my photographer sister Elizabeth, this was during the church decorating time. I had been rather seriously discussing lights and trees and decor things with people around me, and then I saw Jacob, and I did this. She showed it to me later and was like, "THAT WAS REALLY CUTE." It makes me happy - it was capturing one of those genuine moments of "oh gosh, I really like this guy I'm about to marry."

My mom and dad at the church while we were decorating. A friend of mine commented on this photo on FB saying, "Kate, you and Kevin are just so awesome, precious, and inspiring. I love how you love each other." I really could not have had a better example growing up of what a healthy, loving marriage looks like. I love you, parents :-)

A group of us at my quasi-bachelorette party, all making confetti and paper streamers and pom-poms. I love all the people in this picture a lot.

My three littlest brothers were my ushers, and they each dressed up as one of the latest incarnations of the Doctor from Doctor Who.

My wedding hair, as done by the wonderful Breana, who used to do my hair for me in most of the shows we did together in college.

Mom zipping up my wedding dress.

Just about ready to go here. This one has my sister's photography business watermark on it, because she edited the photo before she uploaded it. That's why I'm a little glow-y. I love it. :-)

Jacob and I met up for some just-us time in the church sanctuary before the ceremony began. I told Elizabeth she wasn't allowed to be there, but she could take pictures through the door.

Me and my beautiful girls. From left to right: my wonderfully funny NLDC friend Jessica, my online friend and sister-at-heart Dani, my former roommate and BFF Lisa (and then me, but if you weren't sure which one I was, you might not have been paying attention), my sweet sister Bethany, my college friend Breana who is good friends with both Jacob and me, and my faithful NLDC friend Carissa. These girls are my very favorites.

I wanted individual pictures with all of my girls, but I think this is one of my favorites. I have no idea what Lisa and I are laughing at, but we're clearly having so much fun and being so happy.

Actual ceremony pictures: My father and I walking down the aisle together.


Jacob and me reading the vows we wrote for each other.

Unity Play-Doh! We combined two different colors of Play-Doh (yellow and red) to make a fun orange, representing the new family that is us, and then we made a dinosaur. Or we tried. It was a lot of laughing and conversing and saying, "Does he need a tail? Does he need more horns? We have some left over. Let's make a tree."

Le kiss.

What? What are you talking about? I didn't trip on my dress as we were leaving the ceremony. Doo doo doo...

Mr. and Mrs. Keefer, leaving the ceremony.

The entire Megill+ clan - me, my siblings, my parents, and Jacob!

"So, um, guys, we're married now. We have these rings and everything."

Just us. Bein' married. And stuff.

I really enjoy these photos, because there's no chance I'm ever going to look this photogenic again...

I really love this picture of Jacob and his sisters.

Our first dance (to "Skullcrusher Mountain," one of our favorite songs). Neither one of us are dancers at all, so it might possibly have been the most awkward thing ever, but, hey, we had fun with it. :-)

After I danced with Jacob, our wedding flower boy came up to me and whispered, "I wanna dance with you!" It was completely adorable.

And me and my father during our dance. I chose "You Ruined Everything" by Jonathan Coulton as the only sweet-but-not-disgustingly-cheesy father/daughter song I knew. It worked out quite well.

For much of the dance portion of the evening, I was bombarded by these young girls, none of whom I knew, who all wanted me to dance with them. (One told me, quite seriously, "I am going to dream about you tonight." I suspect she is yelling at me in this photo to follow the moves she's making up for the song.)

It was weeeeirdly difficult to cut the wedding cake. The cake and the plastic did not meet where you would expect, so we definitely cut into the plastic base a bit.

I really love this picture. Me, my sisters, and my mom. (The one in the middle is the one who did all my photography.)

Getting our marriage license signed, whooooo! Makin' it official!

A couple friends put a Star Wars-themed "just married" message on our car. (One side says, "Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away..." the back says, "We got married!" and the other side says,"This is our Millennium Falcon.")

I kept forgetting about it and then we'd get people honking at us as we drove and I'd be all, "WHAT DO THEY WANT?" and Jacob would be like, "Um, they're excited we got married," and I'd be like, "Oh. Well, that's cool."

Bouquet toss! My friend Ashley caught it - go her! :-)

Loved seeing some dear online friends I hadn't seen in a while - so glad these Rinkies made it to the wedding!

Us leaving the ceremony. Clearly having confetti thrown at him was Jacob's favorite part. :-)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Quest For Skye: Chapter 2

Recap: A group of scientists and researchers, under the direction of Dr. Layland Leontiou, were doing some vague nuclear medical science, but everything went wrong when Malinda Leontiou's computer froze, causing everything to explode. Everyone is dead but Dr. L. L., and maybe Malinda, but it wasn't really clear.

This chapter suddenly flashes back to two months earlier. We start off on a plane going to Disney World, filled with the most obnoxious children in the world:
Their eagerness was obvious to all around, as the children had spent the early portion of the flight running up and down the aisle of the plane shouting, “We’re going to Disney World.”
I really feel like the flight attendants would have put a stop to that. If not, they really should have. But the only response this really gets is an old guy muttering something about how his kids would never have behaved like that, then smiling - indicating, what? It's actually super cute that kids are running around on a plane yelling? Because, um, it's not.

We're then introduced to who I assume are more main characters, Doctor Morgan Hamilton and his wife Tammy. They are both pediatricians at the same Minnesota clinic (does every married couple in this book work together?). They are noteworthy because they are apparently lost in their own world, aside from sometimes smiling at the antics of those oh-so-adorable awful kids. They specialize in curing rare children's diseases.
Their demeanor was subdued for a couple in their thirties who were getting ready to embark on a fourteen-day cruise through the Panama Canal.

Seriously, I just laughed out loud at that sentence. He chose the most awkward way to cram exposition into that sentence. I feel like I should do this all the time.

"Wow, you look subdued for a 24-year-old blonde girl who is about to eat the #6 combo meal from Wendy's in the corner booth on a Thursday hanging out with a girl she used to know in college."

However, they do have a reason for being subdued-30-year-olds-about-to-go-on-a-14-day-Panama-Canal-cruise. They have just found out they can never have children. They're going on a cruise to take some time away from their busy jobs and heal from this news.
Maybe when they boarded the new ship, the laughter and the forgetting could finally begin.
Um. Or, well, not heal so much as apparently just forget this news they have just heard that is going to change the course of their entire lives. There's something very wrong about the phrasing of this sentence.

The Hamiltons meet some of their cruise companions: Billie and Billy Hill, who are newlyweds with truly unfortunate names (maybe they think it's cute, although I am a newlywed and I wouldn't think that was cute if it was me), and Doctor Walter and Helen Leary, who we know very little about. I can only assume Helen is a doctor as well, since every male doctor appears to be married to a female one in this book, but we don't know for sure yet.

The Learys try to make conversation with the Hamiltons. The Learys are here for a cruise convention of some sort, and when they find out that the Hamiltons are doctors specializing in childhood diseases, this exchange happens:
“Then you should come to this convention. It’s all about childhood diseases. Sounds like it’s right up your alley. We had a special invitation.” Walter crossed his arms, waiting for the couple’s response.
They... had a special invitation? To come to the childhood disease convention on a boat? This is raising some questions.

1) Does Doctor Walter Leary's doctorness have anything to do with childhood diseases? When Tammy revealed that was their field, he didn't say, "Oh, me too!" Instead, he said, "Oh, hey, convention!" If not, why is he going to this convention?

2) How did he get this special invitation? Did he need one because he's not a childhood disease doctor?

3) Does this special invitation mean he can just invite random people along to the convention?

Helen elaborates just a tiny bit more:
“It’s been his lifelong dream to be invited to this convention. I think it makes him feel important.”
Um. So apparently this convention is a big enough deal that even if he's not a childhood disease doctor, he wants to be a part of it? If that's the case, how the heck do Morgan and Tammy not know about it? If they wanted to get away from work, you'd think they'd have known if the cruise they were taking was hosting a Super Special Childhood Disease Convention onboard, and they'd have avoided that one.

What the heck is this convention and why is Walter Leary going to it??

I am so, so confused.
Tammy nodded, agreeing with the talkative woman.
Uh, that comes directly after the last bit I quoted. She's not just nodding vaguely, it's stated that she's agreeing. With what? She's agreeing that it's been Walter's lifelong dream? She's agreeing that it makes him feel important? Does J.L. Rothdiener know how conversations work? Does he know what the word "agreeing" means? WHY IS THIS WRITING SO TERRIBLE?

The Hamiltons are shown to their room.
“It’s beautiful,” Morgan said, trying to get his wife to smile.
Not saying a word, she began to unpack.
He wondered if he did the right thing bringing her on the cruise, her sadness penetrated every part of her being. He hoped she could unwind, come to terms with the devastating news.
I'm really bothered by how little this seems to be impacting Morgan. Earlier, the text made it a big deal that they both wanted kids. He should at least be a little bit upset about it himself, not just upset about it for her sake, and definitely not thinking things like, "I hope my wife can come to terms with this." He apparently just wants her to laugh and forget, and it all seems very cold and distant and clinical. I don't like him.
Morgan watched his wife stroll to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water. She grabbed the latest novel by her favorite author,
...from the fridge?

And with that, Morgan leaves Tammy to go exploring the ship.

We return to Morgan and Tammy in the next chapter, so at least we're not jumping forward or even further back in time with this next chapter. I don't want to follow Morgan anymore, as I'm pretty sure he has no actual human emotions, but looks like the next chapter is about his ship exploration, so, um, that'll be super fun.

(Chapter 3.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Shows We Saw In New York City

I went to NYC last week on my honeymoon, and given that Jacob and I are theater nerds, of course we tried to get in to a bunch of shows. We went out with tickets for Phantom and Macbeth, but managed to get into two others - one that we didn't know about until we got there, and one that we'd determined we'd try to get into.

Here's a brief review of all that we saw!

The Phantom of the Opera

This was my favorite musical in high school. This was the third time I'd seen it on Broadway and the fourth time I'd seen it professionally, and it may actually have been my favorite performance, thanks to the incredible performance from the Phantom himself, Swedish vocalist Peter Jöback.

The last time I saw the show live, it was in 2006 with long-time veteran of the show Howard McGillin. I truly hated McGillin's portrayal of the Phantom. I have a deep love for this character, who is ideally a combination of menacing and pathetic, and sometimes flips back and forth between the two in just a matter of moments. McGillin's Phantom was all-menacing, all-angry, and garnered no sympathy from me whatsoever. This carried over into his singing, which sounded harsh and menacing even when singing love songs.

Now let's compare to Jöback.

First of all, his voice is quite lovely. Every so often a tiny trace of his Swedish accent came through, but overall, it was just gorgeous to listen to. But beyond just having a nice voice to listen to, he plays the part perfectly. I could see the Phantom's thought process as he moved and sang. I, like Christine, was drawn in by the beautiful tenderness of "Music of the Night" and then terrified by his sudden outbursts of anger. Like the first time I saw it, I found myself in tears during the final scene, as he resigns himself to his fate of being alone forever.

Samantha Hill as Christine was also truly excellent. She had apparently just taken over the role from Sierra Boggess, and she brought a beautiful level of... mental fragility to Christine that I hadn't seen from many others in the role. Not so much in the sense of a fragile, swooning porcelain doll, but she really made me think about what it would be like to be stalked by the Phantom the way she was. She brought the character to life so vividly for me that I got incredibly angry during the scene Raoul insisted she be the bait for their plan to catch the Phantom. (I remember thinking, "How dare you? Do you not see how terrified she is?")

These two Broadway newbies brought a beautifully fresh, new perspective to the role and made it possibly the most emotionally rewarding version of the show I've ever seen. Kudos to them!


We won the lottery rush to see this show, and I'm so glad we did! The over-the-top campiness, while totally Roald Dahl-esque, occasionally was distracting to me, but overall it was thoroughly entertaining. The lyrics were incredibly smart - I was especially impressed by "School Song," where after the full rendition was sung through once, it was repeated to reveal that every single letter of the alphabet was hidden within the song. So clever!

The choreography is also worth mentioning. At times it was jerky and awkward, but the standouts are "Loud," a delightfully flashy Latin dance number, and "When I Grow Up," a beautiful, simple song where the children perform a choreographed number on playground swings, which has them swinging out over the audience's heads. Gorgeously done.

And can we talk about those kid performers? Normally I am not at all a fan of child actors, but the group of kids we saw the day we went was an incredible one. We saw Bailey Ryon as Matilda, and she did a great job of being an easy-to-relate-to child without being too precocious, and her co-stars were just fantastic. Every dance number was perfect, every song sounded great.

Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull) and Lauren Ward (Miss Honey) were the only actors to transfer from the London production to the Broadway one, and they are both great. Carvel's deliciously campy portrayal of the athletic and vindictive school principal is hilarious, while Ward's young teacher is extremely relatable and the most emotionally moving part of the show ("My House" brought tears to my eyes).

Matilda is a silly, but thoroughly entertaining show, even if it does lack a good finale song - something I always love in a musical. Definitely glad I got to see this one.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

I'm much more familiar with Christopher Durang's short plays than I am his longer ones, but I liked this one a lot. While there are a lot of references to Chekhov, the play is thoroughly enjoyable even without knowing much of Chekhov's work, thanks to its actors. The original cast was all still there when we left, and they were all very, very good.

Durang's short plays (and, from what I understand, many of his longer plays as well, although I have yet to see them) are much more absurd and much less grounded in realism than this one. Here the absurdity comes from the characters and their quirks more than from the circumstances, although there is a plotline involving a cleaning lady who has a prophetic gift.

There are a couple of truly superb monologues - one from David Hyde Pierce, as he rants about the way modern technology has left his character confused, frightened, and disconnected, and one from Kristine Nielsen, where she receives a phone call from a gentleman at a party who is interested in dating her. Each of these yielded the same emotional response in me, a perfect blend of comedy and genuine emotional dramatic investment.

In Pierce's case, as his rant continued and it became clear that he was not only angry but also very frightened and vulnerable, I began to find it extremely sad. For Nielsen, her character was so lonely and sad throughout the whole play that I found myself tearing up as she realized that, yes, this person on the other end of the line was interested in her, and she might just have a chance for a decently happy ending after all. (Her monologue also gave me my favorite line in the play - it went something like this: "I hope you're not an alcoholic. Ah, you only drink socially? Well, that's a gentleman's failing. I'm a crack addict." Followed by the most perfect "Why did I make such a stupid joke, he's going to think I'm insane" facial expression in the world.)

Although the character progression was a little sudden, the little moments and many great jokes and performances made this play well worth the watch.


A friend asked me which of the four shows I saw that week was my favorite, and I think I'd have to go with this one. I can still feel this one on almost a visceral level. I can still hear the dark, sad music and see the grungy hospital-green set and I still get the same sense of terrible, terrible loss and tragedy and madness that I did watching it.

It's virtually a one-man show, with only a handful of lines being spoken by any other actors. Alan Cumming begins the show as a man being locked up in some sort of mental institution, who then begins cycling through the play, playing each of the characters himself. Occasionally a doctor will watch him from an observation window or rush in to prevent him from harming himself, but 95% of the time, it's just him, alone on stage, playing every single part.

There are many little tricks used to make this work. A baby doll plays the puppeted role of Duncan's son Malcolm, a series of surveillance cameras projected onto monitors above the set help coordinate the three witches, and an apple is used to signify when Banquo is talking (after ordering Banquo's death, Cumming as Macbeth quietly pulls the apple out of his pocket, takes a bite, and tosses it to the side). There's also a wonderfully creepy moment where Banquo's ghost is visible in the surveillance monitors but not on stage.

Alan Cumming is, frankly, completely brilliant in this. He jumps back and forth between characters effortlessly and smoothly and makes me want to know more about each one. I think his most incredible moments, however, are his silent portrayals of this mysterious Macbeth narrator in the mental institution. Every so often the Shakespearean narrative would break and we'd see a glimpse into this character and what was going on with him. Some of the reviews I read saw this character as essentially Macbeth himself, while I preferred to think of him as a modern-day human with his own back story that was similar but not identical to Macbeth's - and I loved those moments when I felt like the play showed us a little bit of who this person was.

While the one-man tricks and stunts were impressive, I was the most moved by the framing and his portrayal of the story within that framing. That is what stayed with me long after the curtain closed, and what made me want to instantly jump up for a standing ovation when Cumming came out to take his bow.

So. Those are the shows I saw this past week. As you can see, it was a pretty good week... although now I'm going into theater withdrawal, so, ya know, that's not so good. :-)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Quite Back to Normal Yet

I'd hoped to have a blog written for today, but I wasn't able to get around to it. Wednesday I'm planning a brief review of each of the four shows Jacob and I saw in New York City (WHOO) and Friday we'll get back to my serialized snarking of J. L. Rothdiener's The Quest For Skye, but today you'll just have to make do with some silly song videos.

Have a good Monday!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Some Quotes From My Family

My family is... an interesting one. I love them all dearly, but sometimes they say some bizarre things. And when that happens, we like to record it for posterity. For my final before-I-get-back-to-actual-blogging post, I thought I'd post some of my favorite family quotes from a document I found that was saving quotes from, I believe, 2006. Seth would've been about 5. I would have been about 20.

Seth: I need a napkin.
Mom: How about this one?
Seth: Oh, that's a boring color!
Mom: How about red?
Seth: Okay.
Mom: I'll take the white one, because I'm more boring.
Seth: Yeah, that's true. You are.

(About a family Bible study)
Dad: Every week we'll read a few verses, discuss it, and then decide if we want to move forward.
Mom: And then by the end of the night we'll be all together in a tiny circle.
Bethany: ...Huh?
Mom: If we keep moving forward.

Seth: You're not being fair!
Me: Yes, I am.
Seth: No, you're not!
Me: Yes, I am.
Seth: Well, you're not doing what I want!

Mom: You can whiten your teeth at home.
Nathan: With bleach.
Mom: Uh...
Me: That's not a good idea. That'll...
Mom: Make you killed.
Nathan: Not if you bleach your false teeth.
Bethany: But then when you put them back in your mouth...
Nathan: Well, you can take out your false teeth, bleach them, then get new ones and throw the bleached ones away.
Mom: Yeah, but you already have teeth.
Nathan: Then I can buy false teeth, bleach them, and throw them away.
Bethany: That's like buying a house, painting it, setting it on fire, and buying a new house.
Mom: Yeah, it is.

Seth: I try SO HARD not to go to sleep, but I always do anyway!
Me: Yeah, life's tough.

(Playing Taboo)
Bekah: Uh. It's... uh. It's... it's... it's long. It's... well, wait. No, it's not.

(Reading a Bible verse)
Joel: Why does it say "the heavens"? There's only one Heaven.
Elizabeth: Well, there are two earths, so we say "the earths", we don't say "Earth".
Me: What are you TALKING about?

Seth: Oh, wow, I found a cup with maple syrup in it!
Me: What should we do with it? Should we drink it?
Seth: No, that would be yucky!
Me: Should we make Mom drink it? No, that would still be yucky, right?
Seth: Well, why don't we take the bombs and throw them at the bad guys and the bad guys will explode because of the bombs?
Me: Well . . . we could do that, but we weren't talking about bombs or bad guys. We were talking about maple syrup.

Dad: If you become a triple agent...
Me: Triple agent?
Dad: I mean a secret agent.

Seth: (To Elizabeth, out of the blue) My lady, when will I get another wife?

Mom: (Singing) "Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds..." That was a Danny Kaye song, when he was playing Hans Christian Andersen.
Dad: Yeah, they were going to record it without the children singing with him, but they didn't want him to have to play Hans Solo.

Me: I think that's Elizabeth's gum.
Mom: Better than Elisabeth Shue! (Laughs heartily)
Bethany: Uh... I don't think anyone's laughing.

Bethany: Why did people decide to make blondes dumb?
Mom: They didn't, God did.
Dad: Oh, man. That was just too good to pass up, wasn't it?

(After watching Hitch)
Dad: That's rather funny, that dance scene at the end with Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez.
Mom: That's not Jennifer Lopez.
Dad: Oh! No wonder I kept thinking, "Boy, that doesn't look like Jennifer Lopez."

Mom: Seth came up to me this morning and said, "Mom, did you know you're bald?" And I said, "Yes, I think someone told me that once."
(For any who are not aware of this, my mom actually is bald. She has alopecia and lost all her hair in her early 20s. None of us in the immediate family have ever known her with hair.)

Micah: Hannah, you know a lot of languages, right?
Me: Well, I know English and Spanish and a little bit of French.
Micah: And you're learning more French every day, right?
Me: Well . . . every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at least.
Joel: What about Friday?
Me: I don't have class Friday.
Joel: And Saturday and Sunday are your days off.
Micah: Saturday is your day off because it's the Sabbath, and Sunday is your day off because it's the Lord's Day, right?
Me: Uh . . . sure.

Nathan: (Mutters something)
Me: Did you say "I am very understandable"?
Nathan: No, I said "I heard this song on the radio".
Me: I guess you're NOT very understandable.

Nathan: I want to go to McDonald's and get a French fry, the top half of a bun, an ounce of soda, and the back wheel of a Hot Wheels car, and that would be a Slightly Cheerful Meal.

(Estimating when our youth pastor is going to be returning with the youth from some event)
Mom: When PJ says he's going to be back at a certain time, he makes it. If he says he's going to be back at four, he's back at four. If he says he's going to be back at ten, he's back at ten.
Dad: Other times he's not so good with, but four and ten he can manage.
Mom: Oh, hush.
Me: If he says he'll be back at six, he's back at ten.

(About a radio preacher I heard)
Me: So he said that we should just say "I'm struggling in some area" and leave it at that, although if I say that really fast it sounds like I'm saying "I'm struggling in Samaria".

(About a globe)
Seth: Hey, Bethany! This is kinda shaped like the earth!

Elizabeth: Hey, Allie!
Me: "Allie"? Why did you call me that?
Elizabeth: I got confused. It was a mix of Alax and Hannah.
Me: Where'd the "E" sound come from?
Elizabeth: "Elizabeth".

(Playing Catch Phrase)
Me: Okay, it was a song, and a movie. The first word is - okay, when you live in this country, you are...
Mom: Alien! Foreigner!
Me: No, you live IN this country.
Mom: Citizen! American!
Me: And then a dessert that we're going to make four of for Thanksgiving.
Mom: Pie!
Me: Put them together.
Mom: Citizen pie! Citizen pie! Alien pie! Foreigner pie!
Me: *Laughing too hard to respond*
Mom: American pie!

Micah: (To Seth, who was talking in a weird voice) The only thing I want for Christmas from you is for you to stop talking like that.

(Reading the Nativity story together)
Joel: Why did he say "the angel" instead of "Gabriel"?
Dad: I don't know. Maybe Luke just liked the word "angel" so much he used it whenever he could.
Me: "And there was no angel there when Jesus did these miracles."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The 3 TV Girls Most Like Me

I rarely identify with female characters in TV shows and movies. Too often, their leading characteristic is either "feminine" or "FEISTY, NOT FEMININE, BECAUSE I AM A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER HI-YAAAA" and I don't connect with either of those traits.

That being said, here are three female characters on TV who I not only like, but I really identify with.

1. Liz Lemon from 30 Rock

While she got rather less smart as the show went on, I still absolutely connected with her. She was socially awkward and, often, socially apathetic, and while she occasionally tried to change who she was and embrace more traditional social norms, most of the time she just found acceptance in the fact that she was always going to choose food over human interaction. She also had very low tolerance for stupidity in the world around her, had a tendency toward elite snobbery, she vastly preferred the known and the routine to adventures, and, while she was generally a smart and competent human being, when she goofed up, she goofed up a lot.

I connect with all of those traits. When I first watched 30 Rock, I completely connected to Liz's social awkwardness. I loved that she was allowed to be both just a normally awkward person. This wasn't some kind of "idiot savant"-style character, a Sheldon Cooper or whatsherface from Bones, who are geniuses in their careers but truly incompetent everywhere else. Liz was smart, capable, fairly awkward, and often oblivious. She was like an actual person.

2. Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

God bless Joss Whedon for writing interesting nerd girls, starting with Willow. She was tied with the snarky vampire Spike for my favorite character throughout the show.

Once again, it's a great blend of smart and socially odd. Willow was extremely intelligent and settled easily into her vampire-fighting group role as a researcher. Eventually she discovered she loved the challenge and intricacies of magic, and she quickly became very adept at it.

At the same time that she was extremely confident in her intellectual abilities, she was often hesitant or uncertain when faced with social situations she couldn't predict or control. She was a faithful friend, a quiet voice of reason, the one who spoke up against her friends' more emotionally-charged decisions, but worked to support them whatever they chose.

Especially in the first couple seasons, before Willow really finds settles into adulthood, I see myself very strongly in the character. She's a quiet nerd girl, the one who would be most likely to sit in the back of the room and then, out of nowhere, offer a comment she's been pondering for awhile (which prompts someone else to say, "Oh! I didn't even know you were here").

3. Daria Morgendorffer from Daria

I actually started watching Daria because my good friend Sarah said I reminded her of the title character. We watched the first episode together, and there were three separate instances where Daria spoke out loud almost the exact snarky thought in my brain. I watched the entire series shortly after, and got extremely sad for awhile when it was over, because I knew I'd never find another show that understood me so perfectly.

I love Daria. I love her. She is easily my favorite TV character of all time. She is smart, but bored out of her mind. She's tired of the shallow, superficial world of high school and longs to be somewhere where she can stretch her intellectual muscles, but at the same time she's worried that maybe she isn't as deep or as smart as she appears in contrast to others at Lawndale High. She spends most of her time with her one friend making snarky comments about the people around her, but she's open to being pleasantly surprised by unexpected depths (though that doesn't happen very often).

Daria is in nearly every way a slightly bolder, slightly more cynical version of me. If you want to know how I think about things, watching Daria will give you a really good idea. She's got far more levels than a lot of sitcom characters and she's beautifully consistent with them. The more I watch it, the more I'm impressed with her as a character.

Honorable mentions: Annie from Community, Fred from Angel, Tessa from Suburgatory (season 1, before she also got stupid). Though really, just about any nerd girl is going to connect with me at least a little bit. Uh, but nobody from The Big Bang Theory. I am far from being an Amy Farrah Fowler, thank you very much.

We'll talk about movie characters some other time, but for now: What TV characters do you identify with? Or, if you're prefer, are there any characters that remind you of me? I'm always on the lookout for new shows with new female characters to root for.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Wedding Playlist

Well, by the time you read this, I will be married and my wonderful new husband and I will be off on our honeymoon in New York City.

Jacob and I opted to not have a DJ or a band. Instead, we put together our own ceremony and reception playlists, which we're playing from an iPod over the speaker system. I figured I'd share our playlist and what we ended up with. Have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of appropriate love songs I had (seriously, I thought I'd have like... 30) and was pretty happy with the final order of things.

So, without further ado, here are all the songs and playlists we used:

Songs Used During the Ceremony
1. In My Life- The Beatles (my bridal party walks in)
2. Everything Changes But You- Groovelily (I walked down the aisle)
3. The Next Ten Minutes- The Last 5 Years (during our unity ritual - instead of a unity candle, we did unity Play-Doh)

Recessional/Post Ceremony Playlist As People Are Leaving
1. God Only Knows- The Beach Boys
2. I Do- Colbie Caillat
3. Accidentally In Love- Linda Eder
4. I'm Your Moon- Jonathan Coulton
5. I Wanna Marry You All Over Again- Derek Webb
6. 1, 2, 3, 4- Plain White T's

Reception Background Music While We're Off Doing Pictures and People Are Milling Around There
1. Kiss Me- Sixpence None the Richer
2. The Reason- Hoobastank
3. The Promise- When In Rome
4. Someone To Watch Over Me- Allison Iraheta
5. On the Street Where You Live- My Fair Lady
6. Can't Help Lovin' That Man- Ella Fitzgerald
7. I'd Give It All For You- Jason Robert Brown & Lauren Kennedy
8. Teenage Dream (Acoustic)- Darren Criss
9. Still Love- Brendan Milburn & Valerie Vigoda
10. All You Need Is Love- The Beatles
11. Falling Slowly- Kris Allen
12. To Know Him Is To Love Him- Amy Winehouse
13. Anyone Else But You- The Moldy Peaches
14. I'm Yours- Jason Mraz
15. The Longest Time- Billy Joel
16. Love You I Do- Dreamgirls
17. I Want You For Real- Groovelily

Reception Dinner Time
1. Chocolate & Ice Cream- Plumb
2. I Gotchoo- Bowling For Soup
3. Must Have Done Something Right- Relient K
4. Happy Together- Simple Plan
5. Katie- James Marsters
6. I Dare Say I'm In Love- Groovelily
7. Free- Sam Harris
8. Someone Else's Clothes- Jason Robert Brown
9. I'll Cover You- Rent
10. Under the Sea- The Little Mermaid
11. Ain't No Mountain High Enough- Marvin Gaye
12. You and I- Lady Gaga
13. Feeling Good- Adam Lambert
14. Come What May- Moulin Rouge!
15. I Love You Because- I Love You Because
16. I Will Follow You Into the Dark- Death Cab for Cutie
17. Marry Me- Train
18. Your Song- Moulin Rouge!
19. My Funny Valentine- Constantine Maroulis
20. At the Beginning- Donna Lewis and Richard Marx

First 2/3 of Reception, Before Cake Cutting
1. Footloose- Kenny Loggins
2. Valerie- Amy Winehouse
3. Walking On Sunshine- Katrina & The Waves
4. Take a Chance On Me- ABBA
5. You Make My Dreams Come True- Hall & Oates
6. It's Not Unusual- Tom Jones
7. Hey Soul Sister- Train
8. Dog Days Are Over- Florence + the Machine
9. Time Warp- Rocky Horror
10. It's Your Wedding Day- The Wedding Singer musical
11. Love Song- Blake Lewis
12. I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing- Aerosmith
13. Can't Take My Eyes Off of You- Jersey Boys musical
14. Let's Stay Together- Elise Testone
15. Come Rain or Come Shine- Danny Gokey
16. L-O-V-E- Nat King Cole
17. Fly Me To the Moon- Frank Sinatra
18. Stepping Out With My Baby- Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera
19. Sway- Dean Martin
20. I Wanna Be Like You- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
21. Memphis Exorcism- Squirrel Nut Zippers
22. You Can't Hurry Love- Diana Ross & The Supremes
23. Find the Beat Again- Sugarland
24. Love Today- Mika
25. The Safety Dance- Men Without Hats
26. Let's Hear It For the Boy- Deniece Williams
27. All For You- Sister Hazel
28. I Want To Hold Your Hand- The Beatles
29. My Life Would Suck Without You- Kelly Clarkson
30. You're Still the One- Roper
31. I'm a Believer- Smashmouth
32. Raise Your Glass- Pink
33. Sadie Hawkins Dance- Relient K
34. Take On Me- A-Ha
35. The Power of Love- Huey Lewis & The News
36. Those Magic Changes- Sam Harris
37. The Way I Am- Ingrid Michaelson
38. Smile- James Marsters
39. Someone To Fall Back On- Jason Robert Brown
40. I Only Have Eyes For You- Art Garfunkel
41. What a Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong
42. The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing- Danny Kaye
43. When Did You Fall- Chris Rice
44. Silly Love Songs- Wings
45. Dancing Queen- ABBA
46. Billie Jean- Michael Jackson
47. Friday- Glee Csat
48. Dragostea Din Tei- O-Zone
49. Caramelldansen
50. Gangnam Style- PSY
51. White & Nerdy- Weird Al Yankovic
52. Never Gonna Give You Up- Rick Astley
53. You Can't Stop the Beat- Hairspray

1. Get the Party Started- Pink
2. Live While We're Young- One Direction
3. Tonight Tonight- Hot Chelle Rae
4. ABC- Jackson 5
5. September- Danny Gokey
6. I Feel Good- James Brown
7. I Got a Feeling- Black Eyed Peas
8. Blow Me (One Last Kiss)- Pink
9. Living On a Prayer- Bon Jovi
10. Don't Stop Me Now- Queen
11. The Ballroom Blitz- Sweet
12. Hey Ya!- Outkast
13. Gettin' Jiggy Wit It- Will Smith
14. Moves Like Jagger- Maroon 5
15. P.Y.T.- Michael Jackson
16. Marry You- Bruno Mars
17. I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me- Whitney Houston
18. Don't Stop Believing- Journey

Since I wrote this ahead of time, I have no idea how any of this went over. Maybe everybody hated my songs. I have no idea. I'm sure I'll write an actual wedding update sometime next week to let you know how everything went. But in the meantime, enjoy this.