Book Review--If on a winter's night a traveler


This was easily one of the strangest--if not the strangest--book I've ever read. 

Once a month, my office spends half the day out of the office at a local bookstore, browsing the shelves and discussing--what else?--books. Each editor brings an excerpt from a book they've read, and we break into small groups and talk about the pros and cons of the excerpt and ways it works or doesn't, as well as whether or not we should even attempt to suggest such a writing device to our authors. (Usually the answer is no.)

It was on one such occasion that a coworker introduced me to If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I was immediately intrigued by the title. I wondered what sort of author would make the title of his work an incomplete sentence.

Then, my coworker went on to give a brief synopsis, and it only served to further arouse my curiosity. Basically, she said, it's about someone reading a book. 

Now, I realize that to any normal person, a premise of this sort would sound horribly boring. But I wanted to know more. 

"What's it really about?" I asked, sure there had to be something else behind such a simple idea.
"It's about someone trying to read, only he keeps getting interrupted. It's about his quest to finish the book," she replied. 

Then she read the first paragraph of the opening chapter, and it was so unique, I knew I had to read this book immediately: 

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice--they won't hear you otherwise--"I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or, if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone. 

I was, as any astute reader would be, surprised--no, shocked--by the use of second person.  It's not something I see often in a book; and if I do see it, it isn't done well.

The first chapter goes on to narrate the ways one should sit while reading, the things one should think about before reading, and the things one should expect during reading. It was extremely odd and yet also humorously entertaining and the perfect hook to draw me into the second chapter. That's where another surprise was waiting.

I found out that the entire novel is not, like I originally believed, in second person the whole time. It switches back and forth, with every chapter alternating between discussing the Reader in second person and the story itself, which is told in third person. 

The whole thing was strange but easy to get used to, and I was glad for it in the end. As interesting as I found the second-person narration, I realized the immediate action that second person requires (ie., doing things in the now) can get tiresome after a while, and the chapters in third person were a comforting relief, enough to give me a breath and get me ready for the next chapter. 

If I haven't confused you already, well done. I'll reward you by moving on from second/third person to talk about the plot itself. On the most basic level, it really is just about someone reading. There's the Reader (who is never given a name but solely referred to as Reader), who begins reading a book called If on a winter's night a traveler. The beginning of this story is chapter 2 of the book and is titled as such. The problem is that at it's most suspenseful moment, the book suddenly ends, and the Reader discovers that the book he's reading has been accidentally spliced together with a different book. 

In the following chapter, the Reader heads back to the bookstore to purchase a new copy of the book that got interrupted, only to discover that the store is out of that particular book. And not only that, but there's another reader (named later in the story but at the beginning is just referred to as Other Reader), who is at the bookstore looking for the same book, because her copy is also defective.

Such begins Calvino's novel, and the two Readers continue on, trying to finish the story they'd started but finding only the beginnings of new stories they are unable to finish. 

I moved through the first half of the book fairly easily. Once I got the hang of the pattern and what the general plot was about, it was interesting and fun and many times made me think. There was, however, a point in the middle--as happens with some books--where I got stuck and had to put it down for a few days. I just wasn't excited to keep going, and the narrative had started to bore me. Still, the plot was intriguing enough to keep me moving, because I really wanted to know how it was all going to end. So I pressed on. (It's a fairly short book, and after reading Bonhoeffer, nothing appears long to me anymore anyway.)

The last third was where the plot lost me, and I finished the book at a bit of a loss. I'm still not sure what exactly Calvino intended, though I suspect I was trying to look deeper into the narrative than he meant. You'll see what I mean if you read it.

I realize this review does not shine the best light on If on a winter's night a traveler, and you might be wondering why anyone should bother to read it if it was so confusing and odd and boring. Well, confusing and odd, yes, it was; and though I did say I got bored in the middle, I would not call the book itself boring.

Overall, I'm certainly glad I read it, and I did not feel that it was a waste of time. (Like I did after finishing Love in the Time of Cholera. Terrible book. Save yourself.) This novel was clever and thought provoking and well written and unlike anything else I've ever picked up. I don't think I'll read it again, but--at the risk of sounding contradictory--I would recommend it. 

After finishing it, I looked back and realized the book itself speaks on various themes, all related in some way to writing and reading. The relationship between author and reader is one. The relationship between fiction and real life. How one reads and what the material means to the reader is discussed in the final chapters by four readers in a library and proved to be an interesting discourse. 

The ending itself reveals a hidden element, which I won't spoil for you (though some disagree with me that a reader of any review should be prepared for spoilers), proving that Italo Calvino's book If on a winter's night a traveler is even more than it appears and is one of those books that keeps you thinking even after the conclusion of the final chapter. 

So read it, please. And quickly, so we can discuss what I was confused about before I forget.

Crown of Thorns


This past weekend my family went camping, and this lovely bush was surrounding our campsite. You can understand why I was nervous walking around after dark. Didn't want to be stabbed by one of these long, sharp thorns.

At one point someone brought up Jesus's crown of thorns and how horrible it would feel to have a lot of those digging into your forehead.

I learned that camping in Texas can be both frightening and theological.

Linking up with Heidi this week for black and white Wednesday.
And Rachel for Wordless Wednesday (with words).

{Also, for another camping story, go here. It's good. I promise.}

The Murder of Tweety


Twelve years ago, I made a paper mache pinata.

It was a project for Spanish class, and it was one of those ridiculous assignments where neither parent nor child is entirely sure what the point is. But meaningless busywork never did stop me from being the straight-A student I was, and I immediately got some newspaper and glue and went to work.

Too late into the process I realized that I'd either blown up the balloon too much or had just used too large of a balloon in the first place, because I ended up with an oval that was twice the size of a normal human head. 

I debated about what to make out of it, because I knew I was limited due to the intense size and odd shape of my final product. In the end, I used white, blue, and a lot of yellow tissue paper to make a Tweety Bird head. To this day, my parents and I can vividly recall the uncounted hours we spent gluing yellow paper all over the gigantic balloon. I'm a perfectionist and insisted that we get the right look, so the paper had to be as close together as possible. And that head was large, so it seemed like to took forever.

It was also slightly disappointing, because after all that, the Tweety head was just sort of ugly and large and, I'll be honest, a bit frightening; but I turned it in on time, and my teacher hung it up in our classroom with the rest of my classmates' artistic, attractive pinatas. 

Eventually the time came to bring the bird home, and the question immediately arose about what to do with dear Tweety. Throwing him in the trash would obviously not do justice to the time it took us to bring him to life in the first place. But we couldn't put him anywhere he might be seen by anyone, especially after dark. 

So Tweety was attached to a rafter at the back of the garage, and there he hung for the next nine years. His bright yellow fur collected dust and, over time, turned his color to a pale yellow, almost white, proving that even cartoon birds eventually turn gray with age.

Occasionally I'd catch a glimpse of him back there, swaying peacefully back and forth between a bike and an old fishing pole with a sad look in his huge blue eyes, and someone would mention getting rid of him. But then my parents and I would remember the hours we spent that we could never get back, and we'd tell each other that the perfect time would come to pay homage to our hard work and give our wingless friend a death he deserved. 

That time came in the summer of 2008, when a semi-truck pulled up in front of the "for sale" sign that had been sitting in front of our house for almost a year. My family was moving to Texas, and we decided to fatten Tweety up with candy and then beat him to death with a baseball bat to celebrate our last night in our Illinois house. 

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to kill Tweety. It took us much longer than anticipated to get everything in order, so we packed Tweety in our suburban with the rest of our most prized possessions (everything we didn't trust with the driver of the semi), and headed sixteen hours south.

Upon our arrival at our new home, Tweety was unceremoniously tied to a rafter in the garage and left to the dust and old age. That was three and a half years ago. 

On Friday, Jordan and I arrived at my parents' house with our sleeping bags ready and our bags packed for the 2nd Annual Texas November Reese Family Camping Trip (I made up that name; we don't actually have shirts made up with a logo for that or anything). 

We had barely walked in the door when my dad approached with a suspicious grin on his face. 

"Guess what?" he asked.
"Ummm, I don't know... what?"
"Guess what activity we have planned for this weekend?" He paused. "We're going to kill Tweety!"
My sister burst out laughing. "And we're going to fill it with my Halloween candy!" she shouted.
"That's awesome!" I said. Then I turned to Jordan and explained what was going on so he wouldn't think he'd secretely married into a family of ax murderers.

When my brothers heard, they were excited as well, and the die was cast.
 Tweety's days were numbered.

We arrived at the campsite on Saturday morning and found the perfect place to hang Tweety--on a pole by the picnic table.  In his final hours, he protected us from campsite creepers (though we took him down at night, because no one wanted to get scared by the whites of his huge eyes). 

{Here he is watching Jordan carve some wood.}

The next day, we prepared for the assassination. 

First, Jordan carved a flap into his skull for sticking the candy. Poor Tweety didn't even put up a fight.

Then, we fattened him up with Reese's and Heath Bars and Snickers.

After that, my mom forced Jordan and I to take a picture together because we accidentally wore the same shirt. 

{Then I changed because I hate matching, which isn't relevant to this story except to explain why I'm wearing a different shirt in the following pictures.}

Then, the main event.
We gathered our materials: bat and bandana, which Jordan luckily had in his truck. 
And my brother found the perfect (thought slightly perilous) spot from which to hang Tweety.

 I was elected to take the first hit, and though Tweety had hardly made a squeak when Jordan knifed him, it was clear he wasn't going to go down as easy this time. (Or perhaps it's just a fact that twelve-year-old paper mache folds more than cracks when hit.)

 It took four of us to bring him down.
{Pictures courtesy of my sister}

During the beating, there were two injuries other than the holes we were putting in Tweety. Somehow, both Jordan and Austin ended up on the ground--Jordan because he got so dizzy he fell in the dirt and literally rolled down the hill until he could stabilize himself; and Austin because Daniel accidentally hit him in the eye with the bat.

When it was all over, there was nothing left but pieces of bird and yellow feathers scattered amongst my sister's Halloween candy.

{Side note: it's not as much fun to break open a pinata when you have to pick up the candy and hand it all over to your little sister...which probably explains why we stood looking at it instead of rushing to pick it up.}

We collected the various pieces of Tweety's head that we found lying around the campsite and threw them in the trash. There was no sadness, though, because we all felt that this murder, premeditated though it was, was justified and a long time coming.

As our last hurrah for our fallen fowl friend, we read snippets from the paper I used for the mache part. We also talked about Tweety being like a time capsule. Except who knew we'd keep him for 12 years? No one. As such, there wasn't anything cool inside except yellowed newspaper dated from 1999 and the broken balloon I'd blown up all those years ago.

And here's some food for thought: you haven't been on a successful camping trip until you've busted open a 12-year-old Tweety Bird head pinata.

So concludes the story of the murder of Tweety. 
May he rest in peace.

Flashback Friday--Let's Guess


Let's guess what happened to cause this please-stand-awkwardly-in-the-middle-of-the-driveway-and-smile-for-the-camera picture. 

Things we know for sure: 
1. It was either A) a first-day-of-school picture or B) one of my mom's I-need-to-take-random-pictures-of-my-children moments. 
2. Whatever the reason, this isn't a good look for me. I don't know if it's my posture or the shirt or my hair or what, but it's not working. 

So I'm really hoping the story behind this is option B, because the thought of me presenting myself like this for the first time in a new grade at school sort of scares me a little bit. 

Flashback Friday

tonight, i made this...

...and then came (read: rushed) home to hang it up and take a picture of it so I could post it on my blog for all to see (read: admire and be jealous). 

Let the Christmas countdown officially begin!

The words were done freehand by me.
The outside wood was painted red. 
The bells were painted on using a small Styrofoam cup for the circle stencil. 
The bells are hanging from ribbon that I hot glued onto the chalkboard.
The snowflakes on the bottom are a snowflake stamp in white paint.
The tree is just strips of ribbon that I hot glued.
At the top of the tree is a felt star.

(P.S. I love being crafty.)
(P.P..S. There were some casualties while making this awesome chalkboard Christmas countdown, including the right sleeve of my shirt, which is now covered in red paint; the right upper leg of my jeans, which got accidentally swiped by my sleeve; and all eight fingers and two thumbs, which are stained an alternative patriotic mixture of red, white, and green.)

Pin It

6 Months

Monday was Jordan's and my 6-month wedding anniversary. I got all freaked out that it's been that long since we got married, even though I know in the grand scheme of life that really isn't all that long.

But anyway, we went to dinner downtown OKC, and then we walked a few blocks in the rain to the Bricktown Candy Co., where I got a bag full of delicious sweets. Then we went home, and I made a cheesy sign and made Jordan sit with me and take a cheesy picture. And he sighed and said, "You're going to put this on your blog, aren't you?" And I no, but obviously that was a lie.

And he smiled pretty just for me, because he's great like that.
It's been 6 months, and I still like having him around.
Being married is great like that.

My Love/Hate Relationship with DVR


A while ago I wrote a post about my love/hate relationship with smoothies. (Which we've learned is really just a love relationship mixed in with me being klutzy.)

I'm back now to talk about my love/hate relationship with the DVR.

About two months ago, Jordan and I decided to shell out the big bucks for cable. We'd been using an antenna to get the basic channels, but we really wanted to be able to watch baseball playoffs and college football, both of which are on cable. 

So we went big. Extended cable. The sports pack (with additional channels such as but not limited to: the Military Channel, the Tennis Channel, ESPN Classic, and others). And the DVR.

I've never had a DVR before, but it didn't take me long to realize that it's freaking awesome. 
It also didn't take me long to realize that it takes approximately 7 seconds to get addicted. 

I've started pausing live TV, like, all the time. All the time. Even if Jordan comes into the room for just a second to talk to me, I pause it. I record shows I don't even care about all that much just because I can. I recorded Bring It On, for crying out loud! I sort of hated myself for that one, but I couldn't stop. 

We're getting rid of it in January no matter what. And I hate even more that I need to keep reminding myself of this, because without the impending deadline, I don't know if I could actually get rid of it. Having cable has reunited me with my true love, Top Chef. That show is so great, and I'm still bitter about last year, when I got cut off in the middle of the season of Top Chef All-Stars. But the DVR has brought us together again, and it's wonderful.

But I hate feeling constrained and indebted to an electronic device like this. I want my freedom! And yes, I realize I could take freedom in my own hands and just not use the DVR to pause live TV and record lame movies, but it's there, and I can't stop.

So really, maybe this was a post about my love/hate relationship with my own discipline. Which, unlike my love for smoothies, turns out to be all hate.

My Top 11 of '11

It's 11-11-11. 
I'm sure this hasn't escaped notice. 

So, in honor of this once-in-a-lifetime day, I present to you:

My Top 11 Moments of 2011

#11: Winning 3rd place in a tennis tournament and getting my first trophy 
(an anatomically correct pig)! Booya.

#10: When my pretty, red Kitchen Aid mixer came in the mail. 
This just proves that you always should go big on a wedding registry. 
(And I definitely have used it a lot over the past 6 months. Totally worth it.)

I know this is a weird thing to have on my list, but it was so random and funny and unexpected. 
And my case was fine, so that's probably the main reason why I can think back on that incident with amusement. 

#8: Turning 25
It was a Sunday. I woke up to get ready for church, and Jordan had left my gift (a pair of earrings) sitting by the sink where he knew I'd see them along with a card. 
It was very sweet and a great way to start the day!

#7: Watching Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish play an exhibition tennis match. 
It totally made my bucket list goal of going to the US Open in New York that much more serious. 

#6: Finishing my second half marathon.

#5: Taking engagement pictures
Jordan doesn't like taking pictures as a general rule, but we had a great day driving around the city with two of our friends, taking pictures and having a fun!

#4: Watching one of my best friends get married... 
and being a bridesmaid for the first time!

#3: All the marriage stuff made my list, 
but since I didn't want the entire list to be all wedding stuff, I'll just include them all in one: Going wedding dress shopping. (My mom really did cry when I put on "the one.") Bridal showers, picking up our marriage license, and all that jazz.

#2: Our honeymoon
Seriously, if you want a great place to vacation for the weekend, 
stay at a B&B in Fredericksburg, TX.

#1--Getting married, obviously. You had to know that was coming. 
But seriously. 
I can't pick a favorite moment of the whole thing, but I really think waking up and thinking, "oh my gosh it's today," sort of set the stage for the awesomeness that was to come.

* * *
There's still more of 2011 to go, but those are the moments that have made my highlight list so far! What are yours?

Flashback Friday--Armed and Dangerous

My knobby knees and I are going to do some serious damage. 

Flashback Friday

sometimes, it's okay to be proud (where i also do some math)


Allow me a moment to be proud of myself. 

Last Friday night, Jordan and I went to a wedding. So I showered (obviously) and then I dried and straightened my hair. Then I stared at my straight, dry hair in the mirror and wondered how I could fix it in a way that didn't include just letting it hang long down my back in all of its split-ended glory.

So I tried something.
And it worked and looked (in my opinion) awesome. ON THE FIRST TRY.

And because I know it was just beginner's luck and it will never look this good again, I had Jordan take a picture of it.


Then I embarrassed Jordan by taking pictures of myself in the car on the way there. 
He was all "what are you doing? people are looking at us!" 
And I was all "who cares? and they're not looking. they're driving. just like you should be."

But anyway, who is he to talk about embarrassing? He's the one parading around with a creepster mustache (and at a wedding, no less; the place you really should try to be the least creepy).

Apparently it's mustache "Mo"vember... something to do with promoting men's health. I think he's just looking for another excuse to shave his facial hair into something ridiculous.

(ie., the civil war beard he wore all summer long in celebration of the 150th anniversary.)

But showing you this photo isn't really the point.

So what is the point?
*(here's where the math part comes in)

Cute hair > Creepster mustache

Creepster mustache + Cute hair = Mostly cute but also slightly creepy couple photo

The End!

Creative Writing Exercise (The Beginning)


Last year, a friend of mine (actually a few friends of mine) participated in NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. 

The task? Write 50,000 words during the month of November. 
Of course, I'm not crazy enough to think I could actually do this. I don't consider myself a writer; I'm an editor. But I do aspire to write a novel at some point in my life, and I was inspired by those who did sign up. So I started writing.

I didn't write very much--maybe 6,000 words (which felt like a lot to me even though I'm not silly enough to think that it is). But then I got stuck and so put it aside and haven't looked at it for probably eight months. 

Well, it's November, and again my friends are diving into writing full force. And again I feel inspired by their creativity. So I opened up my forgotten Word document and read through my fifteen-page beginning of a story. During my read-through I figured out why I'd gotten stuck, so I decided to cut half the story and take it in a slightly different direction. I wrote a few additional scenes too, so all in all I've gotten my word count back up and right around 8,000. Again, I know that's not much, but it's something. 

I've decided to share the beginning of the first chapter with you. It might sound familiar, because this scene has, in fact, already made an appearance on this blog, as the initial main character was born out of a creative writing exercise we did at work one day. 

Let me know if you have feedback (even if it's bad), because I do want to keep writing, and obviously I want to write something good. With that said....

{note: I just realized that if you're reading this in Google reader, it's doing something funny to the word spacing. I don't know why or how to fix it, but just know it isn't my fault!}

Chapter 1

"Wait!" Courtney lifted her head from the pavement and saw the yellow bus pulling away from the corner. She angrily swiped at the lone tear sneaking toward her chin and spit into her palm, using the moisture to rub blood from the cut on her knee.

She quickly gathered the spilled contents of her backpack--two wide-ruled notebooks, one black pen, two #2 pencils, an eighth-grade geometry textbook, a pair of gym shoes, and a paper bag lunch--and jumped to her feet, wincing as she straightened her leg.

Hugging her open backpack to her chest with one arm, Courtney waved her other and took off in pursuit of her only mode of transportation. If she missed the bus, she'd be late to school for the third day in a row. One more tardy or absence from first period, and she would be docked a full letter grade. Then she'd have to tell her mother. 

Normally, her mother wouldn’t have cared that Courtney hadn’t gotten an A in every class. Courtney knew her mother understood that not everyone could be perfect at everything—unlike her father, who wouldn’t accept less than excellent. Nowadays, however, her mother was acting anything but normal, and she was the one Courtney was worried about.

These days, Courtney wasn’t sure what was going on; it was like her sane, cool mother had left and been replaced with a crazy person she didn’t recognize. It wasn’t until two days ago that Courtney had finally been able to look at her mother without focusing on the purple streaks in her hair…and the diamond stud in the right side of her nose. At the time, her mother had claimed it was her mid-life crisis that forced her into the beauty salon at the mall—and then the jewelry store they passed on the way out. Her mother had laughed. Courtney had been horrified but not fooled. She knew it wasn’t a mid-life crisis; no, it was because of Aunt Sylvia.

“I’m not stupid,” she wanted to tell her parents. “I can hear you guys whispering. I know what’s going on.” But she knew she couldn’t say that. Little girls of thirteen weren’t invited to listen in on adult conversations—at least that’s pretty much what her father had said when he caught her listening in the hallway outside their bedroom. Courtney had sighed and gone into the living room to watch TV with Eli, her younger brother. He’s so lucky, she had thought. At only nine years old, he was uninterested in anything beyond little league baseball and making sure he had cookies in his lunch box. She had sat on the couch watching the Disney channel and complaining—not that there was anyone around to listen. It’s hard being the oldest child.

For the first time ever, Courtney had tried to follow in her brother’s footsteps; and for the past month Courtney had just pretended not to notice when her mother randomly burst into tears and ran from the room. She tried not to listen to the soft sobs coming from her parents’ bedroom. And, above all else, she did her best to not get into trouble.

Today, however, it was obvious that her best wasn’t going to be good enough. “I needed to get on that stupid bus!” she shouted. Then she shook her head, shoulders slumped in unhappy acceptance. “Ugh. Stupid bus driver.”

The stupid bus driver, had, however, moved on, leaving Courtney standing in the middle of the sidewalk, waving a skinny arm at the rapidly disappearing yellow bus while the contents of her backpack slowly slid out of her grasp and scattered, once again, onto the pavement.

“It’s not my fault this time,” she said to no one in particular. “Today I really was going to be on time!” Courtney knelt down and began picking up the strewn objects as she continued talking to herself—a habit she’d developed when Eli was born. 

“Okay, so fine. Maybe yesterday I shouldn’t have stopped at the doughnut shop on my way to the bus stop. And maybe the day before that I shouldn’t have forgotten my social studies book on the kitchen counter. But”—Courtney zipped up her backpack and started the three-mile walk toward school—“today was not my fault.” She stopped and stamped her grey converse sneaker on the concrete.  “Stupid uneven sidewalk.”

Glancing down at her knee, she spit into her hand again and hastily wiped away the dried blood. She glanced back longingly at Sunrise Sprinkles, a one-room orange-and-yellow splash on the otherwise empty corner. It was one of two doughnut shops in her small town of Harper County, Ohio, but it was the only one that sold cinnamon glazed; and even though it wasn’t on the main thoroughfare (as much of a thoroughfare as there was in Harper County), folks drove out of their way for the spiced treat. Mmm… cinnamon glazed. Just the thought made her stomach rumble, a less-than-subtle reminder of first thing she’d missed that morning.

Courtney stopped and looked at the straight, quiet road ahead. The choice between a long walk to first period and a delicious sugary treat seemed only too easy, but then the responsible first child side of Courtney won out in her inner struggle. “No,” Courtney said. “I’m in enough trouble already. Plus, I don’t have any money.” 

New Shoes


It cost almost two months' worth of clothing budget money, but I got myself a pair of new running shoes. Bring on the marathon...


Flashback Friday--Note the Following (circa 1996)


July 1996.

Please note the following:

A) the nerdy, Bigfoot-sized glasses I wore from fourth grade until high school.
B) my Bigfoot-sized bite of hamburger that apparently was photo worthy.
C) the red birthday plate I'm eating off. Which leads me to the conclusion that this joyous photo was taken on my birthday. We always ate off the plate. It says "you are special today" around the outside. It really did make me feel more special. It's the little things.
D) the large bowl of fruit salad, which really isn't important at all except to note that I love fruit salad.

Honorable mention: my faded tie-dye T-shirt. You've gotta look nice for your birthday dinner.

Flashback Friday

Six-Month Review--The Wedding


November 14, as I previously mentioned, will be Jordan's and my six-month wedding anniversary. 

So of course when I realized this, I started freaking out about how fast the time has flown and, wait, didn't I just get married, like, yesterday? And then, of course, that led to a moment where my brain sort of spazzed out. It was a whole I'm-basically-almost-one-hundred-years-old-and-my-life-is-flashing-before-my-eyes-and-my-unborn-children-are-having-children thing. Not my best moment. 

But it has been six months, which in context of life isn't that long, I guess, but it's still hard to believe. I remember when I dropped into the double digits for days until the wedding. Moving from 100 to 99 was pretty exciting. Then it was single digits, and as a celebration of day 9 we went and got our marriage license. 

And before I could blink twice it was day 1, and I lay in bed the night before my wedding and couldn't calm my thoughts down long enough to actually fall asleep. And as I drifted off, I remember hearing one of my bridesmaids whisper, "You're getting married tomorrow." 

My mom and I had planned everything down to the last flower, but when it's finally there--happening--it's hard to quench the fear that something is going to go horribly wrong.

I wanted to be present for every moment.
I wanted to remember everything.

But obviously as time passes, memories fade, and it's impossible to remember everything. Still, there are moments that stand out, and after six months, when I think of my wedding day here are some (but in no way all) things I remember:

--It was cold driving to the church in the morning. We stopped at the hotel to pick up my sister then swung by McDonald's for coffee. My car was full of dresses and make-up bags, and I couldn't stop smiling. Or, in the case of this picture, looking really weird and freaky. Don't judge. 

--It took a long time to do my hair. I worried I wouldn't be done in time for pictures. But it was worth it, because it looked even better than I imagined. Although you can't tell in this picture because, again, I look weird and freaky. This was the low point, during the oh-my-goodness-why-did-I-hire-you-to-do-my-hair-you're-ruining-EVERYTHING phase.

--Right before we walked down the aisle, my dad snapped a blurry picture with his phone. And I was horrified, like, are you going to do this the whole time we're walking? He didn't, though. 

--I cried when I said my vows. It was the "until death do up part" part that really got me. That was I think when the enormity of the commitment I was making finally hit me. 

--When we practiced our kiss during rehearsal the night before, I made a big deal about how long the kiss should be. Long enough to take a good picture but not so long that we start making out onstage. We I channeled my inner Goldie Locks OCD tendencies and decided that 3 seconds was the perfect amount of time. Not too long; not too short. Just right. So during the real ceremony, our pastor counted. Out loud.

--I had never been so happy as I was when I heard our pastor pronounce us husband and wife. 

--Driving off from the church, amidst bubbles and cheers of family and friends, was the strangest feeling...something akin to freedom and pure joy, relief and excitement. I can't really describe it. I'll never forget it.

--We took pictures in a wheat field in the time between the ceremony and the reception. It was a beautiful day, everyone was laughing, and I didn't mind one bit that my dress was getting dirty.

--Our first dance was a little scary. Everyone was staring at us, and I'd forgotten to hitch up the back of my dress, so I kept stepping on it. We were spinning more than we were dancing, and by the end I was starting to get a little dizzy.

--Dancing with my dad was everything I'd imagined. Even though I tried to have a serious moment, we just ended up laughing the whole time.

--When it was time to cut the cake, we realized my mom had left the cake cutter in the car. Jordan and I stood around for a few minutes in front of the table, waiting while my brother ran out to get the cutter. It was the same cake cutter Jordan's parents had used at their wedding, twenty-something years ago.

--I loved getting the chance to talk to friends and family who had come all the way to Oklahoma to celebrate with me. Having my dear high school friends there meant so much.

Of course, those aren't all the memories. There was the garter toss and the bouquet too, and there was more dancing and taking funny pictures with the photo booth my dad had set up. And believe it or not, I really do still feel like I was there for it. All of it. 

Yes, it was quick. Sometimes you wonder if it's worth it to spend so many months of planning for just one day. But it was, that I can tell you. 

And six months later, I still wouldn't have changed a thing.