Monday, July 31, 2006

The evolution of this blog...

Before I write about today:

I know that over the past nine months, this blog has become less of a danika blog, and more of a danika-and-john blog. To some readers, that might be annoying, but after I thought about this, I realized that it shouldn't be annoying. Because, you see, John has been an incredibly huge part of the last nine months of my life, from November 2nd onwards. It's not every day that you find the person you know you're going to be with forever, and I am still completely amazed that he and I found each other -- and that is why I write about it.

* * * *

Yesterday morning, John arrived at my parent's house a little after 9:30, in time to go to church with us. I'd been awake since 5:20 -- I couldn't sleep, because I was so excited to be able to be with him again. It's strange, this time that we're apart. It's not really something one can get used to, this being apart from the one you love. Every minute I'm awake, every time I see something that makes me laugh, or reminds me of him, I ache somewhere deep inside. But every time that we're together, we make the most of every single minute. Who needs sleep? There's more time to talk, or cuddle, or make plans for this next year.

I'm getting too tired to write an in-depth account of the past day and a half, so I believe a summary and highlights are in order:

John drove here, went to church with us, and then he and I drove two more hours up to College Town; I went to help him finish moving out of his apartment, and organize my own things back at my dorm, for this week when I finish moving out.

We also:

+ Watched Knute Rockne All American. Laughed uproariously (and slightly guiltily, on my part) when Knute's future wife said to him, eagerly, in a shadowy garden, whilst discussing plans for the future: "I can cook and sew...and you can get a job!!"

+ Ate a late dinner outside on the patio of a mexican restaurant we'd never been to before, on a beautifully high, round table with an umbrella! And the smell of the food and sound of the seagulls and seeing all the tourists made us feel like we were in Spain -- and that motivated us to pull an index card and pens out of my bag (I always keep index cards with me), and add it to our list of potential honeymoon destinations. He's been to Spain; I haven't yet, but have always wanted to go.

+ Each ordered a Mike's Hard Lemonade with our meal, and then AFTERWARDS discovered that they were $4.75 a bottle. Yes, we left not even a drop -- I'm not going to leave a $0.10 drop in the bottle!

+Discussed the reaction on our friend Jim's face, when John will ask him to be the bartender at our reception-- I can't wait to hear his hearty, jolly congratulations and excitement.

+ Hugged a lot, kissed a lot; I didn't leave those arms for longer than I absolutely had to. I will say that being apart has made our time together even more precious -- I appreciate being with him, so much, and don't take even a second for granted.

+ Got hot and sticky, moving furniture and scrubbing floors in an un-air-conditioned apartment, with head indices of 105.

+ Went to grocery and liquour stores to find strong enough boxes in which to pack dishes and books. John asked me to use my feminine wiles on the grocery store personnel, for, as he put it, "The guys in Produce always fall all over themselves to help you." So I checked my hair, put on lip gloss and fabulous feminine charm, and picked out the youngest employee in every Produce section to proposition, while John hung out over by the cilantro. Two of them were utterly apologetic, I should call ahead, if I wait until tonight, they'll be putting the cereal away, and there'll be big boxes then, if I show up at nine in the morning - well, no, at ten, because they put the apples out at 9:00 - then I can have many boxes, oh, he's soooo sorry, but the people from the food shelf juuuust came and took alll of his boxes, he's so sorry, if he had some, he would give them to me. I struck gold at the liquor store -- great boxes, not broken down, in perfect condition (and John stood in the entry and stared at For Sale notices).

+ Realized partway through the afternoon that we were thirsty, so I bought the cranberry lemonade, and he bought the milanos. And we wonder why we've gained weight since November? I told John that my theory is that we rather view time together as a sort of vacation -- and who wants to eat healthfully on vacation?!

+ Realized that the next time that John has to move, will be when he moves to our place, next year. My goodness.

+ Drove several hours in the car. I've always loved driving with him; I love the conversations that we have; I love that he stretches his arm out so I can curl up against the console, my head on his shoulder and his arm around me.

+ Realized that by this time next year, we will have been married for a while.

+ Felt utterly loved, peaceful, and content.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


'So have you picked out a wedding dress?' she asked conversationally, scraping the backside of my bottom teeth with her pronged weapon.
She removed the instrument, a surprised expression on her face, and asked again, to make sure she had understood me. 'You haven't looked for a dress?'
'No.' At her look, now borderline horror, I attempt to explain. 'I...see, I'm at the point where...well, it used to be that when I would walk past a display of bridal magazines at a bookstore, I'd be all, 'Aww, cool.' And now I'm at the point where I walk past and think, 'Aww - Wait. That's ME.' So, no, I haven't picked out a wedding dress.'

Wedding dresses are the least of my worries right now. Besides, I am not concerned about the wedding. The wedding? It is just a ceremony, just an afternoon and evening. I am not looking forward to the wedding; no, I am looking forward to being married, to never have to leave John's side again for months at a time. To home-cooked dinners, and movies on the couch, and our own apartment, and Mass early on Sunday mornings. And our bedroom, painted a beautifully chalky dark blue, with white curtains at the windows, and a white quilt on our bed. Our bed. Our own life. Together.

In the meantime, I am worried about the 18 credits I'm taking this fall semester; I am more concerned about writing my thesis next spring than picking out the colours for a wedding party. And I think that is exactly how it should be right now; but don't get me wrong, I am not apathetic about the wedding - quite the opposite! I'm excited, the moments when it actually sinks in. I have a list in my head of the basic things I will have to figure out and decide upon. But I know how many other things I have occupying my attention until then; and I know how many people - advisors, counselors, helpers, if you will - I will have to help me with all the wedding details. How many? MANY.

For instance, this weekend I was with John at his mom's house. Mama Jeanne, Nana, Jeanne's friend Christy*, and I were sitting out at the picnic table. Christy turned to me and began discussing the wedding - and said that she had made table favors for her son's wedding; she makes amazing homemade wine (...evidence duly noted, by the bottle that John and I polished off), and had made little individual-sized bottles to put by each place - and offered to do that for our wedding (it'll be fun, seeing the look on the Baptist's faces... ;) ).

So, scratch that off the list - the mental list that is slowly forming (congealing?) - but wait, table favours hadn't even been on my list. Oh, the details people will think of.

Perhaps, because of my take on the whole thing, the wedding won't be the big, scary thing that so many people regard it as. I know I want a pretty cake, one with real flowers (lilies, perhaps, if we feel like it) on the top; a white cake with white frosting. I know I want a pretty dress, but I don't want to spend much on it. I know who will be invited - I mean, really, this isn't hard. Relatives and friends. We have a built-in bartender (our friend Jim, who is an excellent bartender; and John and I joke about how Jim will pass "Irish Car Bombs** - all around!!!" He's very jolly and Irish and intense), and we have friends who will stand with us up in the front of the church. I don't care about the flowers; I just want them to be pretty; if they're still in bloom, tulips. If it's later, lilies. Flowers, candles, pretty things. Unobtrusive, pretty colors. I know I can get most of the decorative elements and things for the veil, etcetera, at a good chain of craft stores we have here. I'm looking forward to slowly gathering the necessary things and little touches through the next two semesters. If I'm frustrated with a class, with the homework, I can take a half hour and wander around the craft store, coming up with ideas. My cousin's husband is a photographer by trade, and perhaps he could take photos - his work is breathtakingly beautiful.

Pretty, and simple (and hopefully thrifty).

I do not understand why women get so obsessed with the minute details of their weddings. Who cares about the cake?! Why do they spend hours trying to decide what kind to have - Do you think more people would like the raspberry filled, or the chocolate gateau?


It's a wedding. It's meant to be a rather public affirmation of your love and commitment to each other; most people aren't going to even notice that your bridesmaid's shoes are dyed to the perfect shade of taupe, so why did you spend three days freaking out about it?! And, with you as my witness, I will not get obsessed with the details.

* Christy, who told John, after she met me for the first time, that I was the most "well-mannered and lovely girl" she'd ever met. Who told him today, after spending much of the weekend with us, that she wishes her sons had found women like me. That is an incredible compliment - my heart feels all warm and bursty.

** Irish Car Bombs? It's a disgustingly horrible drink (I refused to try it, because I hate the main ingredient): A glass of Guinness, with a shot glass of Bailey's Irish Cream dropped inside; for the Macho, they need to drink it as quickly as possible, before the Irish Cream curdles. Oh, wait, did you miss that? BEFORE IT CURDLES. Wretched, vile drink!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's been going on:

What's been going on:

I've been terrifically uninspired to post. When this happens, a new layout or banner helps shake me out of the funk; so, here it is, and here I am.

Life has been pretty weird this summer.

L o c a t i o n :

I changed plans and moved back to my parents' house for the summer, rather than staying at school (I could have, for free, as I was on staff last semester). The reasons behind doing so were multiplicitous:

a) My car had died more than once
b) There is no air conditioning here (and yesterday was a 99F day)
c) It'd be nice to see my family
d) My freezer doesn't work
e) I'm tired of people who play rap at 7:30 on a Sunday morning
f) I would have free access to good food
g) I'd be 2.5 hours away from John, instead of 4.5

Which was the factor that weighed the most when I was deciding? Oh, yeah, the last one. But I did want to see my family, too, I swear!

H e a l t h :

I was sick often last semester. I think it's because I have a horrible immune system; Mom swears it's because I get stressed out (easily, I must confess). I did have a lot to be stressed over, with a job that nobody taught me how to do, major assignments all occurring at once in my classes, changes in life, and changes in health.

The day of my last final, I woke up and didn't feel so great. At first, I thought maybe it had something to do with my back; perhaps I'd slept on it funny. Then I had pain, and it kept getting worse. I stumbled to the bathroom, where I proceeded to try to keep myself from fainting from the pain by pressing my head against the sink. I couldn't stand up straight; I crept back, slowly, to the room, hanging on to doorframes and walls. I called John to tell him what was happening, and he freaked out (well, freaked out for John: He showed a high level of interest, high level of worry, mentioned the emergency room, and taking me there, all in quick succession), especially as I was now clammy, shaking, and breathing in short pants (not capris; gasps). We thought it could be appendicitis; the pain was spreading from the lower right area of my abdomen.

So he took me to the emergency room.

I had to sign forms. My body was imploding, but I had to sign forms, then take a seat and wait.

"Rate on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you've ever experienced:"
"TEN. [No, I have not had a child, have had surgery, and I'm not kidding around. Yes, I have a low threshold for pain tolerance, but I'm serious this time. This is worse that before surgery, than when I was recovering from surgery, than ANYTHING.]"

The doctor finally came in (there were no other emergencies, other than the coffee might have run out), asked questions, asked if I've ever been pregnant (that would be a NO), had gonorrhea or chlamydia (what?! I giggled - I couldn't help it. Seriously? No, and no, on both counts), and palpated my abdomen. He got to a certain area, and pressed down then released quite quickly, asking whether it hurt more when he pressed, or after he released. Oh, man, after he released.

He mentioned appendicitis, and scheduled an ultrasound and various other tests.

The nurses let John come in, and it was wonderful to have him there; I asked him to stand by me, so I could press my head against his stomach, and yes, it helped.

The nurses took blood and urine from me (not at the same time), and eventually got me in for an ultrasound (after making me drink six cups of water and wait wait wait wait wait. I don't think they realized how quickly liquid runs through me). I had never had an ultrasound before, and it was amazing and impressive, and I got to see parts of my body that I rarely even think about (the technician told me that I have a nice uterus. Score!) (and then afterwards, I got to pee, which was also amazing and impressive).

After doing a total of three separate ultrasounds (including one that I'm not going to mention or even think about), the doctor diagnosed me. He said I have Ovarian Cysts, and that one of them had ruptured that morning -- but short of surgery, there was nothing they could do. He sent me off with instructions to come back in a week if the pain wasn't better, and to take a lot of

John took me home to his place (so that I would be able to sleep; in the dorms, middle of the afternoon, music would be blasting and people would be packing and noisily getting ready for summer vacation). I ate a little bit, and slept for hours, my feet tucked in by John, who was working on his laptop.

I had had a final scheduled for that morning, in my favourite class. I had no time that morning to alert the professor to the situation, and if a student misses a final, they fail the class. But I checked my e-mail and she had written, wanting to know what had happened (she knew I wouldn't skip). I e-mailed back, a short note, apologizing but letting her know that I had been in the ER for six hours, etc. Her reply: "I was worried that something like that had happened. Just let me know when you'll be up to taking the final."

Yes, she is wonderful. This semester, I'm taking two of her classes.

S u m m e r s c h o o l :

I took two summer classes; one history, and one science. The science professor crammed the entire TEXTBOOK into two weeks; imagine, a mid-term on Monday, and three papers due; and the final on Thursday morning, four papers due, and six chapters covered on Tuesday and Wednesday. HELLISH! But...I did five credits in five weeks, and those are five credits I don't have to worry about next semester when I have 18 credits, or in the Spring, when I write my thesis.

V a c a t i o n :

Over the Fourth of July, I spent four days with John and his family. I love being at his mom's house; I always feel very much at home there -- yes, it has a ton to do with the fact that John's there, but also has to do with the fact that his mother is so friendly and warm and open, and likes me so very very much.

Next week, John's coming up to my parent's house and spending the day, going to the fair and spending time with my family, then taking me back to his mom's house that night. His maternal grandparents from Indiana are coming into town, and they are eager to see me again. I can't wait to see them, either; his Nana is a doll, small and beautiful, and so very Catholic (I love her!), and Papa is, well, Papa, and one of my favourites. He's shrewd and wise, and funny and no-nonsense, and his opinion matters so very much to the family, because he can see right through the stupid games people play and the facades people put up; and he so openly likes me and approves of me.

N e x t s e m e s t e r :

Next semester, I'm taking 18 credits (6 in history, 6 in english, 3 in anthropology, 3 in Historical Research Methods [the prerequisite to a history major's Senior Thesis class]). I'll be busy, and it'll be good (I miraculously ended up snaring the only room on campus that has its own bathroom), and John and I will see each other every two or three weeks; he will come here, or I will go there, or we can meet in the middle at my parent's house.

T h e p h o n e :

And like Cassie had said we would, we've grown to absolutely love the phone. At first, we made a ton of little calls through the day, but our routine has become a long (usually an hour) call right after nine at night, and then sometimes another short call right as we're falling asleep, to say goodnight.

We still miss each other overwhelmingly, but the phonecalls, they do help.