Wedding Wednesday: MARRIED, MARRIED, MARRIED!

Ah! Gracious me, so much to tell, so little time. I’ll warn you here, what you’re about to encounter is an epic novel of Russian proportions (minus the borscht) so buckle in. Maybe get some tea or a snack or something. The combined efforts of a busy spell at work and a broken computer are making it hard for me to find time to write and I wanted to finish blogging about our wedding before like, our 14th anniversary (8/16/28! Start shoppin’!) so I decided I’d just write out the rest of the story in one long, rambly, wordy, dramatic post.

Trigger Warning: Oversharing.

Who’s excited! No one? COOL! Let’s goooo.

 SATURDAY, AUGUST 16 – 2:45 IN THE PM: We open on the corner of King and Duke Streets in downtown Lancaster, PA. Our heroes are standing on opposite side of an historic bank, just out of view from one another. The photographer counts down three…two…one and they walk towards each other for a moment known to the Wedding Industrial Complex as “The First Look.”  I’ll shut myself up and let this photo do the talking for that whole scene.

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Brian’s grin! Gah, he’s the best.

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Nice tush, too.

After the first look we walked around the block, stopping now and again to pose for romantic photos and then met our wedding part at Lancaster Central Market which, in case you’ve forgotten, is the World’s Oldest Continually Operated Indoor Farmer’s Market!!

How good-looking are these people?

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I’ll answer that for you: VERY.

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We were posing along the exterior of the market, which faces the windows of a number of shops and restaurants, inside of which were shoppers, diners and drinkers, all of whom became totally engrossed in our photo sesh. This one bar had floor-ceiling windows and all the patrons crowded around the windows and waved at us and clapped and one lady came out the door and said “I’m so sorry to bother you but I love your gown!” and I was like YAAAAAAS and realized I was finally living the day I’d been dreaming about my whole life.

The day I marry my one true love! Psh, no. The day I walk around town looking drop dead gorgeous and commanding the attention of everyone in my wake. This was my Kate Middleton Moment, guys. And I enjoyed EVERY SECOND OF IT.

After wedding party photos we met our immediate families at the Hamilton Club for portraits. By now it was 4 PM and the wedding was set to begin at 5. We were worried that guests would be late, but instead a number had arrived early and were already there when we arrived and I got a little thrown off, both overwhelmed by the realization that all of our loved ones would soon be surrounding us and simultaneously being upset that said loved ones were seeing me in my dress before the ceremony, because I’m the President of Vainslvania and wanted to blow everyone’s MINDS when I walked in the door. On top of that there was some hullabaloo surrounding a missing boutonniere situation and we were all getting a little worn out from posing and the mood went from excitement to anxiety in about 2.2 seconds flat. We snuck inside to where the venue had this really gorgeous private room kind of tucked away under the staircase where we could hide out while guests arrived and once again, we killed time and calmed our nerves by calling on our our new spirit guide, Ellen Degeneres.

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Heads Up forever and always. I remember my hands were shaking so badly I could barely hold the phone straight!

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And then! Bummm bum BUMMMM it was 5 PM. MARRYIN’ TIME.  I’m not going to make a single joke or sarcastic comment about our wedding ceremony. It was, and I mean this, perfect. We spent a lot of time thinking about how our ceremony would look and were so proud, really, of the results. It was very important for us for this ceremony to truly feel like a representation of us as a couple and as two families coming together. Our ceremony was entirely secular which was both freeing and challenging. We were very lucky that our families did not pressure us to do any sort of religious or traditional rituals, instead allowing us to celebrate our commitment in our own way, but the freedom of a nontraditional ceremony means there are almost too many options. Structure can be good!

Thankfully Jayne, our amazing officiate, met with us and talked us through a bunch of options and helped us to form a ceremony that we felt was really personal, intimate and meaningful. The room was set up beautifully, with just enough room that it felt cozy, even with 140 guests.

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Our friend Amy played music for the ceremony using just her iPod and the building’s sound system. I would have been fainting with nerves over such a responsibility but she was as cool as an entire farm of cucumbers the whole time. We have rad friends!

Our families and wedding party entered first, to the Vitamin String Quartet cover of Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic  Zeroes, which you can listen to here! And then, to the swells of All You Need is Love, as played by the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, my future husband and I walked arm in arm, towards our future together.

Walking the aisle together was one of the best decisions we made. Leading up to the wedding I stressed a lot (shock) about the aisle entrance. Tradition has the bride escorted by her father, but for a number of reasons I won’t go into here, as some are too personal and the rest involve phrases I’m trying to tone down on, like “patriarchal ownership,” it just didn’t feel right for me, personally. I thought about walking in with both parents or on my own, even, until someone suggested we walk in together and it just felt like the perfect choice. Brian was the first to jump at the idea, actually, and I quickly followed.

After the wedding I was talking to a friend of mine who was recently engaged and he said that his fiancé, who also has a complex dad story, was very moved to see that we walked together. She said she didn’t even realize you could do that!

Aside from how right it felt for us I’m happy that we were able to share that with other people and that our choice might be helpful for someone else. Planning a wedding when you have a little family baggage can feel really hard and lonely and upsetting. It’s easy to think back on friends “perfect” weddings and compare yourself to them but you have to remember that you never know the whole story, that every family is different. And with that, to remember that your wedding doesn’t have to look like theirs! You can walk the aisle with your dad, your mom, your cat, by yourself, on a scooter, with your partner, with your child, with a highly evolved robot…or you could just not even walk an aisle at all!

I’m getting a little side-tracked and soap-boxy but I just didn’t want to let that go unsaid. On the off chance that this is ever read by someone who’s feeling sad or stressed about wedding planning and family, you’re not alone! Do your best to ignore the stress and stop comparing yourself to other people and try to focus on what feels right for you.

For us that was walking the aisle together. One thing that Brian and I love about marriage is being a team and it felt really special to enter that room as a united front. We were in this together.

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Jayne said a few welcoming words and then my brother brought down the house with the most utterly perfect five minute monologue of all time. Shakespeare was spinning in his grave y’all. In lieu of where a priest might give a homily or personal statement, we asked Michael if he would be willing to tell the story of our relationship and he eagerly agreed. He didn’t practice it during the rehearsal so it would be a surprise for all during the ceremony and hoo boy, he hit it OUT OF THE PARK. He weaved together personal stories from Brian and from me, memories shared by our parents and siblings and turned our ordinary tale into a love story for the ages.  I will cherish this speech forever. He had me in tears within seconds and by the end of his talk, all of our guests had joined me.

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After Michael’s speech, our friends Melissa and Brandon, who are an adorable couple themselves, read selections from the poem I LIKE YOU by Soandol Stoddard Warburg:

I like you and I know why.

I like you because you are a good person to like.

I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s

special

And you remember it a long, long time.

You say, “Remember when you told me something special?”

And both of us remember

When I think something is important

you think it’s important too

We have good ideas

When I say something funny, you laugh

I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too

You know how to be silly

That’s why I like you

Boy are you ever silly

I never met anybody sillier than me till I met you

I like you because you know when it’s time to stop being silly

Maybe day after tomorrow

Maybe never

If you go away, then I go away too

I like you because if we go away together

And if we are in Grand Central Station

And if I get lost

Then you are the one that is yelling for me

If we had some hats and some flags and some fire engines

We could be a HOLIDAY

We could be a CELEBRATION

We could be a WHOLE PARADE

Even if it was the 999th of July

Even if it was August

Even if it was way down at the bottom of November

Even if it was no place particular in January

I would go on choosing you

And you would go on choosing me

Over and over again

That’s how it would happen every time

They alternated verses and perfectly captured the sweet, silly, sentimental nature of the poem which summed up perfectly what Michael’s speech had revealed about our relationship.  Apparently we just really like each other.

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And then, the reason for the whole party: our wedding vows!  We had worked with Jayne to construct personal vows each of us saying the same half-dozen promises to one another. Brian went first and barely made it through “I Brian, take you Elizabeth” before he was completely choked up and crying.

I’d never seen Brian cry. Emily later told me she can’t remember ever seeing him cry and she’s known him for 22 years!

At this point, everyone was sobbing. Brian, me, Jayne who was supposed to be running this show could barely keep it together and all of our guests were sniffling away. At one point Brian choked out a sweet line and someone out in the seats moaned “Oh god” before just openly bursting into loud weeping and it was just the moment of levity needed to help me keep it slightly together and make it through my own vows without completely losing every sense of cool.

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This photo cracks me up, hankies all around!

PS: I am also crying right now writing this, just FYI.

We exchanged rings and grabbed hands and an uncle later told me that the room could sense our excitement; that we just looked at each other like giddy fools “Pronounce us married already! Let’s kiss!”

Jayne announced that by the powers vested in her by the state of Pennsylvania – not invested, a fact I just learned at the rehearsal! – we were legally married and Brian kissed the bride.

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MARRIED!!!!

When we were first engaged I had a few vague of ideas of how I would want our wedding to look but there was ONE thing I knew for certain I wanted: to recess down the aisle, husband and wife, to Beyonce’s Crazy in Love. And I am happy to say, that dream came true.

Here’s a link to the video in case you want to read the rest of this while jamming out. Come on, you know you do!

After the ceremony, the wedding party returned to our little cove under the staircase to chill out for a few moments while the rest of the group went upstairs for the cocktail hour and I will spoil the suspense by telling you that we did NOT play Heads Up. We partied!

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The staff had set up a whole table with our hot appetizers and cheese plate and most importantly booze. We popped champagne and toasted and were all kind of giddy and goofy.

For my bridal shower, Kathleen had given me a ruffly white apron (“is this a sex apron?!” I asked, enthusiastically) which she told me was “as a joke, but also serious” …not for sex (but it could be!) but to protect my wedding dress from the inevitable spills. We brought it with us to the wedding and broke it out to take a funny picture. Kathleen tied it onto me and for some reason there was a stray piece of fabric in the mix, which she tossed over her shoulder in an afterthought. Who has time for this pointless fabric!

Suddenly there was a commotion! I turned around and find Kathleen holding up the piece of fabric which is now ON FIRE.

Like…Katniss Everdeen ON FIRE.

It turns out that she’d tossed it right over her shoulder onto an open candle! Everyone simultaneously laughed and panicked. Someone suggested she stomp on it…but that would involve throwing it on the 200-year-old carpet, which seemed foolish and someone else tried to open the windows but again, 200 year-old-windows aren’t that easy to open and we all just shouted and laughed and Kathleen just stood there, frozen, holding onto the flaming remnants of my sex apron until finally someone poured a glass of water on it which was a surprisingly simple solution that took us a while to get to.

The whole thing couldn’t have been more than 20 seconds but it felt so much longer and oh my god it was the funniest moment ever. Sadly but probably actually happily, our photographers joined us in panicking instead of photographing the scene which like, as a rational human I obviously recognize as appropriate behavior but man…that would have made for some epic candid photography.

We did get this gem. True love.

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The apron may have been mostly a joke but legit was a lifesaver as I was able to then stand at the appetizer table and shove mini crab cakes and chicken bites into my face with wild abandon and not worry about staining my dress.

After that, Brian and I were able to sneak into the Hamilton Club’s duckpin bowling alley for a few amazing photos…

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Exhibit A!

…and then we all joined our guests for the cocktail hour which was and I don’t mean this as a metaphor, I mean it for real, a complete blur. I think I just blacked out and went onto auto pilot. I was SO HAPPPY to see everyone but SO STRESSED OUT about saying hi to everyone and making sure I accurately conveyed just how honored I was to have them there and I kept worrying about slighting people or spending too much time talking to one person and not enough to another and so if anyone currently reading this was at our wedding and I didn’t already say it: OMG THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE!! I do hope you had fun.

After what felt like 4 seconds but my sources confirm was nearly 40 minutes, it was time to go back downstairs for dinner and dancing. Brian and I followed along behind everyone else and as they sat, we took a moment to peek into the reception room and it looked INSANE. Our florist/cousin/hero/goddess Angie had transformed the space into the bright yet cozy yet classy joint we were envisioning. Instead of big centerpieces, each table had a few stems in mini-vases, stacked atop old books. Each table number was actually a complex math equation as thought out by Brian and designed by our friend Jamie and the whole room was just a magical explosion of nerdiness and beautiful flowers and LOVE.

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We did NOT do those bridal party entrances where everyone gets introduced and then does a “funny” entrance like, the sprinkler or the shopping cart because I think those are cheesy as all get-out and under no uncertain circumstances was anyone to do ANYTHING of the sort at our classy wedding. Normally here I’d say something like “but it’s fine if you like those!” as a risk of offending anyone but I’ll stay right here on my mean girl throne and settle on agree to disagree on this one, that shit’s the worst.

Brian and I entered the room to James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and then quickly segued into the longest 2.5 minutes of our whole entire lives: the first dance. We danced for TWO AND A HALF FULL MINUTES to Norah Jones’ cover of The Nearness of You and you guys, it was hella awkward. Like, painfully awkward. As we were planning the wedding, Brian kept saying we needed to keep our dance short and I must have been drunk because I guaranteed that 2.5 minutes is totally fine and short and doable and I was dead wrong. About three seconds into the song it dawned on me how long we’d be standing there, swaying clumsily in front of our family and friends who would enjoy it long enough to snap a good ‘gram or two and then politely sit there for the rest of the time, picking at their salads and praying for it to end.

At least that’s what was going through my mind. PRO TIP TO THE MAX: keep your dance shorttttt. SO SHORT.  Like, take the length you think is appropriate, cut it in half and then divide by 8. THAT SHORT. Or, don’t even do one! If I could go back in time and take my own “don’t worry about tradition!” advice…I don’t know that we’d even do a first dance. We really only did it for the pictures and the tradition and so we could have “a song.” I mean the photos are pretty…

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…obvi.

And our friend made us a sweet print with the lyrics to “our song” on it, which we shall cherish, but looking back now with the wisdom of TWO WHOLE MONTHS of marriage under my satin belt…meh. We didn’t do parent dances and almost wish we’d been bold enough to just scrap forced slow dances altogether. So staged! Who slow dances??? Why is that even a tradition?! After the 2.5 minutes of torture were over, Brian made a really cute speech thanking everyone for coming and tossing out a few cool math jokes and maybe we should have stuck to joking and talking rather than the foxtrot.

It didn’t ruin the wedding or anything but just keepin’ it real.

OH MY GOD THE ONLY THING LONGER THAN OUR FIRST DANCE IS THIS BLOGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

We sat down to dinner and realized that the salads, which were supposed to have been plated, were not yet on the tables (sacre bleu!) and also that the bar was closed, due to a minor miscommunication between myself and the waitstaff. I flew into a legit panic that everyone was having a terrible time, thinking we were forcing them to a dry, saladless wedding and they were going to go home and complain about how bad everything was and I kind of hyperventilated a little bit and fluttered around the room and found the coordinator and she opened the bar and the salads came out.0003 seconds later and SURPRISE, when I talked to my friends after the wedding, literally ZERO of them even noticed the salads or the bar and all my worrying was for naught. Que sorpresa!

Also we only served beer, wine and champagne because the full bar package was more than we could/wanted to spend and I was so nervous the whole time that people would think we were cheap …and then I remembered that we are kind of cheap and that beer, wine and champagne is PERFECTLY acceptable and everyone seemed to get tipsy and have a good time but I know there is still a chance that someone out there in the world went home and complained about how lame we are for not having liquor and I am OK with that fact. I really am! So there’s another pro tip (how many tips is this? 457?): Stop worrying about what people are thinking!  Are you enjoying yourself and happy with the choices you’ve made? GREAT. Otherwise, stuff it. Just do whatever works for you and you won’t make everyone happy and it’s fine and if you don’t feel like paying to serve full liquor bar…just don’t! And anyone who gets legit mad and upset about that is probably a butthead and WHO CARES what they think!

Ok obviously I’m still not fully over my anxiety that people think I’m cheap and talked about me behind my back post-wedding but I DO stand by our decision, I really do!!!!

Annddddd I’m running this train right off the rails.

Salads were served. Booze was poured. Speeches were given!  Both Brian’s best man Vapo and my Person of Distinction Maggie – we both decided that “Maid of Honor” is a sexist term that harkens back to a time when women were only valued for their sexual purity and marital status (oh wait! That’s still happening!) and therefore Margie got her own cool, non-gendered title. (we’re so annoying!!)  – gave adorable, sweet, heartfelt, perfect speeches that had everyone laughing and crying and their speeches perfectly embodied us as a couple and the two special people we’d chosen to speak for us.

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Vai’s was rehearsed, structured and quick witted.

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Marge’s was off the cuff, sentimental and charming and ended with her raising an imaginary champagne glass, as she’d walked up empty-handed, and everyone in the room cracked up.

Both were totally rad.

During the dinner hour I remained a neurotic mess – I was so worried about getting around to every table and saying hello to every person and thanking everyone and in the midst of all that worrying I kept stressing that I wasn’t living in the moment enough. Everyone tells you how fast your wedding goes and to just “enjoy the moment!” and they are SO RIGHT but it’s so much easier said than done. I managed to get to every table just as the DJ was firing up his…laptop? Spinner materials? I don’t what DJ’s do. I stood by the dance floor nervously watching people tentatively start to dance – a half-dozen or so came out for the first song, a few more for the second and then suddenly the familiar strains of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” echoed throughout the room and my friend grabbed my hands and yelled “this is our jam!!!” and people just started swarming onto the dancefloor and I looked around me and the floor was PACKED and everyone was boogying and all the worry just whooshed right out of my fingertips and out into the world and finally, I was living in the moment.

I don’t think I left the dance floor for the next three hours. Nor did the majority of our guests! I knew our friends would bring it, they always do, but FAMILY you guys! Aunts, uncles, cousins…tearing the roof of the place. I was impressed. The HoBag & McKeon families know how to get down. I’ll hold off from posting any incriminating photos here on the internet (don’t worry everyone, I’ll still put them on facebook!) but you can trust me that the moves, ohhhh they were smooth.

I bopped around from song to song, dancing with this group or that group and Brian – less of a dance machine than I – popped in from time to time to get his groove on and spent the rest of his time chatting with friends and hanging out at the bar and the DJ played THE BEST JAMS and we crowd surfed! I had forgotten that Brian’s track buddies, who are an amazing group of guys and always just down to have a good time, have a tradition at Goat weddings (their mascot is the goat. Intimidating!!) of lifting the groom up above their heads and throwing him up in the air yelling “Goats! Goats! Goats! Goats!”

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And THEN they grab the unsuspecting bride and lift HER up in the air and if I thought that wandering around town waving at strangers was fun, I could never have dreamed how great it would be to be boosted up in the air by a bunch of cute boys, everyone around me chanting “Liz! Liz! Liz! Liz!”

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God I love attention.

At 10:30 PM our reception came to an end, like all good things to do, so we took the party over to a bar by the hotel called Annie Bailey’s, where Person of Distinction Margepants had reserved a few tables for us. Brian and I came in a little bit after everyone and were immediately fed several shots and several beers and then we settled into a booth in the back and were able to relax and catch up with pals and get our drank on. Eventually our group began to thin and around 1 AM or so we made our way back to the hotel where we did not even remotely consummate our marriage, for all you pervs out there wondering. Big snaps to anyone who manages to have intercourse on their wedding night…and double snaps if anyone climaxes.  All our exhausted bodies managed was to change out of our fancy gear, scroll through the #hottwedding feed and pass out.

ROMANCE!!!!

Sunday morning we woke up to a weather reflective of our moods – grey, misty and cool. The party was over. Whompity whomp! Some of my aunts and uncles had very generously organized a brunch for out of town guests at the hotel, so we were able to spend the morning saying goodbye to everyone, catching up on any gossip from the night before and devouring bacon and coffee like it was our last day on earth. It was the perfect way to end our perfect wedding and I think I only cried like…seventeen times. Ok, thirty, max.

And then we went to my mom’s house and took a NAP and opened presents and cried some more and ate sandwiches and drove back to Brooklyn and consummated the HELL out of our marriage (highfive!) and went off on our Big Gay Nude Minimoon and the rest, as they say is history. Now we’re just a couple of boring old marrieds who won’t stop talking about their wedding and get over it already!

Bring on eternity, world. WE’RE READY!

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PS: As always, all photos are credit Kylene Lynn Photography. And I can’t emphasize this enough…Lancaster couples, HIRE HER!

PSS: If you’d like to catch up on the rest of our wedding day because you have literally nothing better to do with your time…maybe you’re like, in jail or an Ebola quarantine or something, I don’t know…you can find them all HERE!

PSSSSSSS: Thank you all for following along with our nuptial journey. It was SO FUN!!

Another Awkward Week [10.17.14]

It is FRIDAY and I have nothing clever to say as I’m plagued with a wicked fall cold (OR EBOLA?) (NOT EBOLA errrbody needs to calm down) and I slept about .4 hours last night so I’m running on fumes. That last one is totes my fault though. I went to see Gone Girl last night (4 out of 5 stars, great job everyone!) at 7:10 and I knew I shouldn’t have any caffeine but truly, I find there are few pleasures greater in life than an icy cold fountain Diet Coke and some peanut M&M’s in a dark movie theater so I decided you know, what the hell, treat yo self, Liz. And THEN when I got to the concession stand (which, never call it a snack stand. As a former “concession engineer” at our local movie theater MoviE-town, which is a play on our town’s nickname E-town, I can say that snack stands are for swimming pools and roller rinks, show some respect) I meant to get a small Diet Coke, which was already like 48 gallons but saw that the medium was just 50 cents more AND had a picture of Taylor Swift on the cup so I was like, lemme-lemme upgrade me because I am as basic as they come and THEN I drank this whole giant soda which of course had my heart racing like a pony all night so, yeah, I didn’t really sleep.

I’m clearly not in the state to write anything coherent this morning – and I have to like, work, ew – sooo instead I will just share a little Autumnal gift with you and leave you with my favorite piece of seasonally appropriate, office inappropriate internet writing. I did NOT write this but oh, wish that I had. Genius! I did however put a lot of time into staging that casual instagram photo accompanying the text so yeah, I think I might be the more brilliant talent in this situation.

Happy Friday, Motherfuckers. And Happy Fall!

 

 

IT’S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS.

BY

IMG_20141017_095413

- – – -

[Originally published at McSweeny’s, October 20, 2009.]

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.”

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff’rent Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting, but I’m not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it’s fall, fuckers.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.

For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

Wedding Wednesday: TODAY’S THE DAY!

Hell-OH. So there was no Wedding Wednesday last week. Boo hoo, I’m sure. As I mentioned, my laptop has gone to live on a farm upstate where he can run and play with his friends all the time so I’ve had a leetle trouble with le blogging. I almost panicked and came in early to work last week to blog but then I remembered that no one cares and I can just chill and it was, in all honesty, a great victory in the eternal battle of Rational Liz vs Crazy Liz so hoorah. The world spins on

Hokay, so, where were we? Oh yes! After 10 months,15 days and approximately 7 hours of waiting, planning, freaking, check-writing, blog-reading, manic arm-toning, and lots of love, August 16, 2014 had finally arrived. Ding a ling DING! The morning was dreamy – a cloudless blue sky, a light breeze and a complete lack of humidity betraying the lat summer date.

Wedding. Day. Was. HERE!!!

We’re almost to the good parts so I’ll do my best to just zip through the highlights of the first half of the day. Buckle up!

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS:20140816_083657

After sleeping all the way until SEVEN AM I roused the gals out of bed and Mo, Kathleen, Marge and I popped across the street to the Lancaster Central Market  for a little brekkie. FUN FACT, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continually operated indoor farmer’s market in America.

Serious claim to fame right there.

It’s actually an amazing market and I could spend hours going into further detail but that is not even remotely the point of this story. Maggie had purchased these Bride and Maid of Honor buttons for the bachelorette party and we both managed to a) not lose them and b) haul them all the way to Lanc for the wedding, so we pinned them on our tops for breakfast. (Bernie received that hat as a Christmas gift from her cute siblings and I have a feeling she’ll be tha-rilled with me for posting a photo of her in a baseball cap. I think she looks adorable!)

Our pins were just the flair we needed to be the belles of the market.  At every stand we visited, people asked when the wedding day was and we joyfully exclaimed “IT’S TODAY!!” At the coffee stand, two sweet ladies reminded me not to forget to eat and I took them up on their advice by rocking it over to the deli stand (holla S. Clyde Weaver!) where the other 3 gals got breakfast sammies like normal humans and I of course got a gigantor turkey sub…my very last hoagie as a single lady!!!

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(My brother cleverly pointed out that they’re no longer “ho”-gies but “Scott-gies.” Get it?! #zing.)

The women working the deli counter were hilarious and SO excited when they learned it was my wedding day. They literally whooped it up, clapping and cheering and causing a scene. I loved it!

They didn’t give us free breakfast, though. Whomp. But who am I kidding, my ‘maids (gross) bought my hoagie for me because it was MY DAY so I can’t really complain.

We raced our buns (double meaning for both butts and sandwiches) back across the street to the Marriott just in time to meet the hair and makeup team. Which was just two people but it sounds cool when you say you have a team, you know?

SO FANCY, YOU ALREADY KNOW:

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We gals had our hair and/or makeup done by two local women who came recommended via a girlfriend of mine who’d been married earlier in the year. They both do hair/makeup on the side, specializing in weddings and they were just great. G-R-E-A-T. Professional, friendly, efficient and way more affordable than salons, which (like basically all vendors) jack up their prices the second you say “wedding.” After the fiasco of my first trial, I would never find anyone (dramatic much?) but after meeting these two earlier in the summer, just totally hit it off. They are both GEMS.

If you’re a Lancaster area bride, holler at me on FB or email and I’ll send their info!

While we got our hair did we rocked it to a playlist curated by MOH Marge that consisted primarily of 90’s pop one-hit wonders (remember Evan and Jaron, you guys???), boy bands, Beyonce and Katy Perry – AKA all my favorite musicians – and sipped on mimosas dressed up all fanclylike for the occasion.

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Ensembles c/o my cute friend Leah!

Awesome as our team was, Bernie Beans decided to have her hair done at her regular salon, so she slipped out around 9 AM for her appointment. When it was approaching noon and she still hadn’t returned, I suspected something may be amiss…

“A LITTLE BIT ON” 

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(This is, unfortch, not the vehicle discussed in this story but IS a pretty solid representation of the driver…)

While we were getting gussied up, Brian went for a long run (of course he did) with his sister Emily, who is an amazing runner, his groomsman Brandon and my brother Michael. Apparently as they’re out and about jogging around  town Michael mentions that, after picking up the girls from the train station the night before, he may have left Bernie’s car…and I quote…”a little bit on.”

“A little bit on”? How does that work exactly, Michael?

Now I’m no motor head but I’m pretttttty sure that car batteries don’t run on a spectrum – they’re on or they’re off. There’s not really a middle ground.

We may never know the degree to which the car was left running but it was at the very least “a little bit” because when Bernice went out to drive to the hair salon the batter was a whole lot bit 100% dead.

Go team go!

My mom called my uncle, who drove her to the salon and back. We were sitting in the hotel suite waiting for her to come back when she called my sister’s cell phone, trying to get a hold of Michael. No one wanted to tell me what was going on because they didn’t want me to worry about it – apparently Kathleen had run into my mom in the lobby earlier and knew the whole time! – but the cat was out of the bag and Bernie was late to get her makeup done because she was with my uncle in the parking garage, trying to jump start her car.

It is a cliche that something will go wrong on your wedding day – but something you never could have expected or planned for. HELLO THAT THING!!!

I wasn’t worried, really, I was mostly just kind of mad because it was VERY IMPORTANT TO ME that we stick to the schedule for the day (shocking) and now everything was running late and why did the car have to be jump started this very moment? Was the car walking down the aisle at 5 PM THAT VERY EVENING. I don’t think so. It could sit and die in the parking garage for all of eternity for all I cared…it was MY DAY.

Mild exaggeration but barely.  I’m the worst.

Long story long, Michael came back (FINALLY, AMEN!) and helped my uncle jump start the car and Bernie got her makeup done and all was well and we were ready with hours to kill. HA!

SANDWICHES!

We ordered sandwiches! I had a chicken Cesar wrap! No point to this, just thought I’d mention it.

AH, SILKY SILKY NOW

I took a shower before breakfast but for some reason forgot to shave my legs, a fact I didn’t realize until after I’d had my makeup done, but before my hair. Yes, my dress was floor length but I figured I owed it to Brian not to roll into our wedding night with cactus thighs. He has the rest of his life to experience that hotness.

And so I found myself in full face, including false eyelashes squatting in the tub because I was afraid to turn on the shower head and ruin my makeup, frantically shaving my legs and, oh yes, bikini zone, on my wedding day.

Pro Tip To Mah Ladies: DON’T DO THIS.

DENIM ON DENIM

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The morning of the wedding, Maureen, Maggie, Kathleen and I all donned button down chambray shirts – totally unplanned! Adorbz, I know. Emily had spent the morning with the boys, crushing them in the 5K I’m sure, and then came to the suite for hair and lunch and girlie time. She didn’t have a chambray but luckily I had an extra, so I gave her mine.

“Now we’re sisters who share clothes!” she said.

Andddd I cried.

SISTERS!!!

This goofy denimy photo is one of my favorite from the day. Marge has the faux laugh on LOCK.

HEADS UP SEVEN UP 

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As I mentioned, I maybe could have cooled it just a pinch on being such a schedule monster, as we found ourselves fully styled and fed and made-up and defuzzed in our no-no zones with over an hour until the photographer was due to arrive. I was beginning to get a little antsy and, shall we say, snippy (my cousin Terianne knows what I mean…sorrrrrry TA!), so some genius angel suggested we relax by playing a game. And not just any game, but the greatest App creation of our time: Heads Up.

And so we ladies whiled down the last few hours of my single life Heads’ing it up. We didn’t keep score but let’s just go ahead and say my team won.

Because, and I’m not sure I mentioned this yet but, it was MY DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

KYLENE, ON THE SCENE

Poet, don’t know it, etc.

Suddenly it was 2:45 PM and the time had ARRIVED! Despite the fact we’d just spent the last hour chillaxin and maxin all cool, when our photographer arrived, everything was a blur. Hang the gown! Artfully lay out the earrings! Did someone pack my lipstick?

Bernie and Marge helped me into my dress.

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I slipped into my accessories.

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And checked myself out.

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The best part of a wedding day is how you can be just totally vain and into staring at yourself all day long. Why can’t life be like that all the time?! (Oh right, I don’t look that good all the time…)

Meanwhile, upstairs, Kylene’s second shooter Kathy was hanging with the boys as they mulled over a complex ironing situation.

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Fixed their ties.

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And pinned their boutonnieres.

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(Hi Angie!!!)

Then, with a champagne toast…

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And a final once-over in the mirror…

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It was GO time!

The gals stayed in the suite to get into their dresses, the boys did…what did they do?…and Brian and I set off into the sun for the big reveal! Our first moment together, on our WEDDING DAY! It was as meaningful and exciting and emotional as I’d imagine it to be but…I guess you’ll just have to wait until next week for the rest of that tale.

See you then!

xoxox Liz Scottgie

* PS: all photos c/o Kylene Lynne Photography except the champagne & heads up photos which are c/o Margepantaloons and the picture of Michael which is c/o his facebook page but I’m pretty sure I took it (?) and the shaving cream and sandwich which are obviously stock photos I found on the internet. Oh and the hoagie which is c/o me and the dumb selfie of me getting my hair-did, also c/o me. Basically the first half are c/o us amateurs and then all the gorgeous ones toward the end are profesh. You get it.

OK BYE!!!

Another Awkward Week [10.101.4] – On Adulthood and Ugly Kitchens

Friday. Finally! It is Friday, right? This week has felt endless – it has essentially been a series of increasingly frustrating exercises in futility, all in pursuit of “getting my life together.”

Being a functioning adult is exhausting. And time consuming. How does anyone get anything done? I spent so much time this week just dealing with…stuff. Hours on the phone punching through automated answering service after automated answering service dealing with issues with our electricity bill, the cable company and my student loans. A visit to the dentist. Running all over lower Manhattan exploring new phone plans – after dropping my cellpiece on the sidewalk and shattering it. It looks like it’s decorated with spiderwebs – just in time for Halloween! – and every time I swipe, little glass pieces come off and get stuck to my  finger.

That can’t be healthy.

ALSO: my laptop chose this week to fully stop functioning. Like, it won’t even turn on anymore, cool beans! And we need a new mattress, which…I don’t know how to buy a mattress! What am I looking for? Why is everything so expensive?!

LIFE IS SO HARD!

I just genuinely don’t know how anybody gets anything done, ever. And! We don’t even have kids. Thinking about how stressful I found this week trying to just keep me and Brian organized and afloat, I truly don’t know how parents get anything done, ever.

And it fully cemented for me that whatever monster came up with the idea of “having it all” was smoking crack. No one can have it all! You’re crazy.

I know I can’t have it all and will probably never be a functioning adult human and that’s fine.

HAHA JUST KIDDING I will get there or die trying.

First step: painting our kitchen.

We lucked out when apartment hunting this year, finding a spacious one bedroom with lots of light and big closets (two closets! Basically a New York City unicorn) and a fancy modern shower that has various settings so you can take a regular shower or use the hand-held nozzle, OR turn on powerful jets that shoot into your neck and lower back, giving dreamy and free massages after a long day.

The one downside to our apartment is the paint. OY the paint. The apartment has three rooms – a kitchen which opens into the living room and then the bedroom. Each is a painted a different bright and vibrant color. The bedroom is blue, the living room green and the kitchen is some kind of orangey yellow, which makes me want to die inside but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My friend Mary, who grew up in Miami, came over recently and commented that the colors made her feel like home.  YES. This small apartment is painted the gaudy colors of a kitcschy Florida shopping mall. You know, the kind of outdoor tourist emporiums you’d find in Fort Meyers or Coral Gables, decked to look like some kind of vibrant island paradise where vendors hock tacky shell art and ankle bracelets and $15 ice cream cones.

Key words above not applying to our apartment would be outdoor, Florida, tropical.

The living room, I can live with. PUN! The green is fine. Whatever. The bedroom I find too bright and would prefer something a little more neutral and soothing but I don’t outright hate it and Brian loves it and apparently marriage is about compromise – even though I think the world would be a much better place if everybody just did everything I want all the time! – so we’re sticking it out.

But OH THIS KITCHEN. I hate the kitchen so, so, SO much. The orange tones blend in with the light wood cabinets and when the evening sun comes in the kitchen window the whole place glows in one horrible orange blob. The only thing brighter than these walls is the fire of hate that burns deep inside me every time I look at them.

I am a woman obsessed. Every day since we’ve moved in – all 76 of them (yes, I counted) – my hate for this ugly yellowy-orange kitchen has grown and grown and grown until it is poisoning me inside. It is all I can think about. Good days have been ruined the second I walk in the front door and find myself smacked in the face with these hideous walls. I can see into the kitchen from the couch and instead of watching TV I just sit on that couch, stare at the walls and stew.

I know, I know, I KNOW: I’m out of my mind.

These ugly walls have become almost a physical representation of all of the things I find negative or stressful in my life. They represent my inability to be assertive – they wouldn’t be orange anymore if I’d just asked the landlord to paint before we moved in…but I didn’t want to be “difficult.”  And our out-of-control busy weekends – we haven’t had TIME to paint in 76 whole days! Where does the time go? What am I achieving in this life? And they are the reason our house is a MESS – the kitchen could be organized if only we hung shelves and racks on the walls but we can’t hang anything until we paint, lo the counters are scattered with pots and pans and spices and the mess spills into the living room which spills into the bedroom and it’s all the kitchen’s fault, not mine!

Add to that the stress of marriage. Marriage is great but, as I said above, it’s a compromise. Being a partner with someone means you have to practice, you know, partnership. It’s not just YOU all the time, there’s someone else involved and you have to consider their thoughts, needs and opinions. Let’s just say I’m not the best at that.  Brian doesn’t seem to care as much about the walls as I do and I find myself getting angry with him that he doesn’t share my zealous fervor. Which isn’t fair at all. He’s been perfectly supportive of this plan and NO ONE could care as much about these walls as I do. I’m a maniac. No one has had this much single minded passion about something since Napoleon decided he needed to conquer France or wherever.

What was Napoleon’s deal again? Prussia? I should go back to high school.

I have become convinced that it is just these fugly walls standing between me and the picture-perfect adult life I know is unattainable but continue to strive for. As soon as these walls are painted our house will become a home! Constantly tidy and organized. I’ll discover a talent for interior décor that’s been hiding latent inside of me for the last 30 years. As soon as we paint this kitchen we’ll be one step close to having it all!

I know it isn’t wise to put all of your eggs in one basket – or, in this case, all of your brushes in one bucket of Valspar Candlelit Dinner (or should we go with December Starlight??) –and recognize, of course, that after we paint the kitchen we’ll still live in a frequently messy, adequately decorated, small apartment – now with light walls! – but I’ve gone too far down this path of insanity …there’s no turning back.

I’m nuts. I do know this, but this weekend, it ends. I am taking control!  (PS: remember just last week when I decreed this was the year I learn to chill out? LOLOLOL I’ll chill out just as soon as we paint this godforsaken kitchen!!!)

I’ve decided it must happen this weekend.  I refuse to get up Monday morning without the kitchen being painted. I have a plan. It involves going to Lowes twice in one day…on foot, uphill both ways, in the snow! Just kidding…it’s only uphill on the way back, at which point we’ll be carrying heavy buckets of paint. And I doubt it will snow BUT the weather does call for a 100% chance of rain so this should be a TREAT. Brian may divorce me and I’ll certainly cry at least fourteen times but none of that will matter when I’m sipping coffee in the comfort of my fresh, neutral, not orange kitchen, HAVING. IT. ALL.

Wish us luck? Come over and help us?

Here are some photos of our kitchen as it currently stands, just to illustrate this tale of madness. I’m not wild about that light fixture either but…one issue at a time, Hobag.

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I still haven’t decided exactly what color we want to do but definitely something pretty neutral, to offset the Tropicana Café feeling of the rest of this joint. The problem is, there are so many different shades of white. In my next life I want to be the person who comes up with names for paint colors. They’re so hilariously evocative. Apricot Haze! Snowy Dusk! Sweet Slumber!

Valspar weirdly has a whole line of paints named after Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson Presidential White…Woodrow Wilson Putty. Now there’s a sexy paint name. Why Woodrow Wilson?! Was he known for his interest in tastefully neutral interior décor? Did he start out as a house painter?

Obviously I don’t know a thing about Woodrow Wilson…I don’t even remember where Napoleon lived.

ANYWAY that’s what I’ll be up to this weekend, just in case anyone was curious which, surely they were not.

What are your plans? Coming to my house and painting??? Buying me a new laptop? Balancing our family budget? Basically I’m just trying to convince someone to be my free Personal Adulthood Assistant. I will pay you in JOKES!

Happy weekend, kittens!!!

xoxo Woodrow Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Awkward Week [10.3.14]

Well, well, welll! What do we have here? Bet you didn’t expect to see me ’round these parts after Monday’s big manifesto. But just goes to show how surprising life can be. Sometimes you don’t feel like blogging and then life throws a dildo at your feet and suddenly you’re full of inspiration.

Oh, that’s not a gross metaphor. Just a true anecdote from the disgusting metropolis I call home.

WARNING!

NSFLife!

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I spotted this um, big boy, on my commute home the other night, just laying on the dirty grate outside of my subway stop, directly next to the artisinal pickle stand.

That’s also not a metaphor, they really sell real pickles.

I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and kept walking past and then the second my brain registered “that’s what you think it is!!!” I screeched to a halt and whipped out my camera faster than you could yell “stray weiner!” and the pickle sales guy saw me and was like “oh hey did you drop something” and I was like “oh yeah!” and he may have been vaguely sexually harassing me but the whole thing was just too surreal for me to get my #yesallwomen hat out so I just laughed and ran away.

WHAT A WEIRD GROSS DIRTY CITY THIS IS!!

Also so sad for whoever dropped this :(

This is the second best piece of sexual paraphernalia I found on the streets of this town, the first being an unmarked DVD case, inside of which was a disc labeled “Grandpa and the Shemales” which my friends and I found late late laaate one night leaving a bar back when we were young and cool and stayed out until 4 AM. We took this dirty porno out of the gutter (whyyy?) and went home and popped the disc into the DVD player (kids, this is what people used before Netflix was invented) and made it about three point eight seconds before turning it off in horror. Even in a fuzzy stupor of a million Miller Lights or whatever it was we consumed back in our youth, this video was TOO MUCH. Just too much. Basically a greatest hists compilation of all the most perverse perversities you can think of. Actually if you can think of the things that we saw on this DVD I don’t even want to know you because you are DIRTAY. Normally I’d be like “whatever floats your boat!” but even my alleged open-mindedness has it’s limits and maybe sometimes DON’T FLOAT YOUR BOAT, you boat should sink,  you freaky DEAK.

Obviously I still own this DVD and, though I find it utterly grotesque and dirty on literally every level from the physical -it did come from the gutter, after all – to the psychological, it is my most treasured possession and I have now moved it with me to three separate apartments.

Perhaps I am the freaky deak?

PERHAPS!

I did, however, leave the errant dildo laying on the street, don’t worry.

I really hope my mom’s reading this now. She must be SO PROUD.

To cleanse your palate, here is a story totally free of dildos. At least to my knowledge – you never know what weird stuff people are up to.

Star of the story: This Cup

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I am obsessed with hydration to a level bordering on insane. I always drink at least the recommended 64-oz of H2O per day if not much more. I never leave home without a water bottle and at work, am constantly filling and chugging and re-filling this big sippy cup. I remember in high school the field hockey coach was kind of scary – I didn’t play field hockey, I lack the hand-eye skills – but there was this rumor (or real story? Who remembers these things!) going around that she wanted the girls on the team to stay hydrated so she would check the color of their pee at the end of the day and if it wasn’t totally clear, she’d yell at them.

Did I make this up? What a weird thing to make up, but even weirder, I guess if it is true. Anyway that was the first time I learned about visible signs of dehydration and have been totally obsessed with the color of my urine ever since and get way stressed if my pee isn’t clear.

Why on EARTH do I feel like this is an appropriate fact to unleash on the world the world? I need help. I am clearly subscribing to the Lena Dunham school of over-sharing.

I am the voice and clear pee of my generation!

Good lord, Liz.

ANYWAY, the other day I went to fill up my water for probably the eighty-fifth time. The office water cooler is right inside the entry to our little kitchenette,  so usually there’s a bit of a jam up to get to the microwave or the fridge or whatever. As I was filling my water, a young gentleman colleague I’d never seen before was reheating something in the mikey. I filled my cup, set it down on top of the water cooler, idly screwed on the lid and made the major rookie mistake of picking it up by said lid.

Big mistake. HUGE.

I must not have screwed it on tightly enough because suddenly all I had in my hand was the lid, the cup flew to the floor and water was EVERYWHERE.

I am not joking. It remains the greatest mystery of science to me how liquid can seem so small when in a cup but when spilled, appears to grow by a billion gallons. I had water on my pants, on my shoes, it was all over the water cooler, the floor…the rando young man heating up his leftover Chinese food.

Instead of being mad, he seemed deeply concerned for my safety, probably because instead of just calmly reacting like a normal human, I loudly gawped and yelped and flung my gangly arms all over the place and generally made a scene.

Oy yoy YOY.

I then went into the bathroom to dry off and ran into two colleagues at the sinks. I recounted the story and the first response outta both of them was “THAT’S going on the blog” because I am a cliche of myself at this point.

WOW this whole post just makes me sound like a raving madwoman. Owning it. Thirty and Flirty and Oversharing About Pee and Dildos. All Day. Errryday.

Have a GREAT weekend, you guys!! What are you up to? We’re going to an Indian engagement party out in NJ to visit Brian’s parents (ugh, the inlaws. Am I right, folks?! Whackawhacka) and also attend an Indian engagement ceremony which means I get to wear my sari again! Holla!

Peace, Love and Hydration,

Liz Ho

 

Wedding Wednesday: One Day More!

The day before our wedding my eyes popped open maniacally at the stroke of 5 AM. The sense of calm that had hung over the previous days had been replaced by low level buzz of anxious anticipation. A feeling akin, I must imagine, to waking up on Christmas Eve with just one present left to purchase – the excitement of the holiday being so near mixed with the light panic of the important task left unfinished.I passed the hours until my family woke up chugging coffee, pacing around the house and doing planks, in hopes that some light core exercise might calm my nerves and also transform me to Gisele Bundchen in under 24 hours.

Spoiler alert: it did neither.

I have now seemingly blacked out the next several hours. I remember we packed gift bags into boxes and made a bunch of piles and knowing me, I probably ate some kind of eggs for breakfast but the next moment I remember, it is coming on noon and my mom is asking me to take a look at the wine she plans to bring to the hotel suite and I’m snapping “I don’t care! You just make a call! Pack it all! Or none! I can’t look at that wine right now, I don’t care!”

It was not my finest moment. But also not my worst!

Unsolicited Expert Tip for Brides: Remember, your mom is probably just trying to be helpful and doesn’t mean to get on your nerves, treat her with some grace!

Unsolicited Expert Tip for Moms: Remember, your daughter is probably just a little anxious and does’t mean to snap at you, treat her with some grace!

We moved past our drama and the group scattered to all four corners of, um, Lancaster Pennsylvania. Bernie, Michael, Marge and Aunt Katy headed into the city to check into the Lancaster Marriott, where we’d all be camped out for the weekend, and run some last minute errands, while Brian and I snuck off for lunch at a cool restaurant called Aussie and the Fox for our final romantical date as a non-married couple.

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Months before the wedding we settled on the plan to set aside a few hours just for us on Friday and it was one of the best ideas we’ve ever had. EVER. Another piece of Unsolicited Expert Advice: do this! Try to find a little time in the days leading up to the wedding for just you and your partner to take a quiet minute and recharge – a meal, a walk, a stealthy makeout sesh, whatever. Maybe have some lunchtime wine and a gigantic sandwich, which will surely reverse all positive effects of your morning plankfest but hey, it’s your wedding weekend. You deserve it! This was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. We talked about what we were most excited about in marriage, at the wedding and what we were nervous about, too. Brian even let me take that cute picture of him and normally he finds it annoying when I try to papparazo him during meals!

Imagine that.

Extra glad for this brief moment of calm and wine and Australian food because as soon as we finished, suddenly EVERYTHING. WAS. HAPPENING. We met the rest of our family back at the hotel, where none of our rooms were ready for check-in and we were one of SIX wedding parties dropping off welcome bags at the front desk. We had rented a hospitality suite for the weekend (best money we spent, truly!), which blessedly was open and ready for us to get into. No sooner had we dropped our bags in the suite, than people started to arrive.

First on the scene: bridesmaid / facebook wife Maureen, who kindly devoted her whole birthday weekend to #hottwedding festivities. She’s a gem. As a bridesmaid/birthday/10 Year Facebook Marriage and Friendship Anniversary gift I’d made her a photo book with memories of our romantic life together. I had it shipped to my office and showed it to my assistant, Margaret, and we both gleefully clapped over how nice it was and how it was “totally going to make Maureen cry.

WHY would this make us happy? Like, yes the hope was for good tears but what is with the goal of “I’m going to make someone I love WEEP in front of me.”

HUGE NEWS she totally wept. So did I. I gave her this gift while she was doing her makeup in the suite’s beautiful bathroom and I sat on the toilet while she sat on the sink counter and flipped through our shared memories and we both totally heaved and sobbed and sputtered “I love you so much!” and laughed about how ridiculous it all was, us hiding in the bathroom crying like a couple of weirdos. It was another of my favorite moments of the weekend.

So favorite, I’m tearing up right now reminiscing on it. Get it together, Hobag!

While Mo and I were sobbing away in the lavatory, my brother took my mom’s car to the train station to pick up my girlfriends who had taken the train down from NYC – bridesmaid Kathleen, stationary designer/wonderperson Jamie and ceremony musician Amy. This is an important, Chekovian note for you to keep in mind for later.

Don’t forget: Michael drives Bernie’s car on Friday evening.

DUN DUN DUNNNN.

And so! Bridesmaids and groomsmen are arriving. Brian’s parents! My dad! Aunts and uncles! Barely anyone’s rooms are ready for check-in! We take turns running back and forth from the 6th floor suite to the lobby to see if our rooms are ready. On one trip I run into a former high school classmate in the elevator. It turns out another E-town grad was getting married in Lancaster that very evening and a whole host of kids I hadn’t seen in 10 years were also staying in the Marriott. I ran into another the following morning and it gave me a perverse sense of pleasure to have all these random high school people milling around and me be able to announce to them “I’M GETTING MARRIED!!”

Adding to the It’s a Small World Disney Ride of it all, our photographer (Kylene! The bestest!) also photographed this kid’s wedding! What are the odds? Probably pretty good, honestly, it’s not that big a town but still. BUT STILL.

The rehearsal was set to begin at 4 PM and by 3:30 my nerves were at an all time high. Not for the wedding, mind you – I was still fully on board with marrying Brian and being committed fo lyfe, but I was in no way prepared for how I would feel once ALL THE PEOPLE started to arrive. This hosting, I guess you’d call it, was actually, for me, the very most stressful part of the whole wedding. Trying to spend time with everyone there, knowing they’d come just for us. Worrying that people were feeling neglected or not having fun. Did I spend enough time talking to my new in-laws? I haven’t seen my dad all summer and he’s telling me about his recent vacation and I’m only half listening because all the groomsmen just walked in and my uncle is sitting in the corner by himself and tomorrow is Maureen’s birthday and my brother’s room still isn’t ready for check in.

Anddd this was just our families and wedding party! Tomorrow’s Main Event would be like 6 times more people.

Ho. Ly. Crap.

Somehow admid the chaos, which I think was actually mostly just imagined chaos inside my own brain, we rounded up the wedding party and our families and walked the pretty two-block walk over to the wedding venue and rehearsed and it all went fine. It went FINE! I cried the entire rehearsal – good tears! – and though I never quite calmed the whole way down, the act of rehearsing, of seeing how the ceremony would proceed and getting positive feedback on our choice of readings and vows helped bring me back to earth and center me. It was all going to be OK!

LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!

We bopped it back to the hotel and hung around the suite for a while- we popped open bottles of wine and champagne and gave gifts to our family and wedding parties. Instead of going the traditional route of giving the same gift to all members of the party, we gave each of our attendants (ugh, I hate that word) gifts that were unique to them, that we knew (or hoped!) they’d like. I’ll do a whole separate post about this because I am VERY SMUG and proud of the gifts we gave and I want everyone to know how thoughtful and great we are.  But here’s a sneak peek:


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That’s right folks: more free books! (But also other nice things that we paid for. I swear!)

Ok where were we? Oh yes: DINNER TIME! Our rehearsal dinner was very intimate – just our parents, siblings, officiant and the wedding party along with their significant others, a total of 23 people. We did have beer, wine and some snacks in the hospitality suite for any out of town guests but did not open up the dinner to everyone. We did this for a number of reasons – a main one was budget yes, but also we wanted to have a little time to spend with just our parents and the people we’d chosen to stand beside us. OF COURSE I felt guilty not inviting out of town guests to the dinner, because I feel guilty about literally everything, all the time, and these people had travelled all the way to see me and was it rude not to invite them to dinner? Possibly! But buried in here is another lesson I learned/Unsolicited Expert Tip: You don’t “owe” your wedding guests anything except a wedding and even that doesn’t have to look like what tradition would dictate. These people travelled to Pennsylvania (hypothetically! or wherever!) for YOU and your partner because they love you and want to see you take this big step OR maybe because they feel guilty and obliged to be there but either way, they are there of their own accord and they love you and are happy just to be there and as long as you are gracious and warm, that’s all they need. I hope, anyway.

Ok lesson over. But this long ass recap? STILL GOING!!!

We held our rehearsal dinner at a super cute place in Lancaster called Commonwealth on Queen. By day they are a coffee shop / cafe and by night, they provide space and catering for private parties or events. We really wanted the night to feel like an intimate dinner party – but without anyone having to cook or open their home. Well, someone did cook, obviously but we paid them to do it. CoQ is about a five minute walk from the Marriott (best part of our downtown city wedding, everything was within walking distance! No worries about shuttles, cabs or drunk driving. Drunk walking, though…another story.) Apparently the third Friday of every month is Live Music Friday (or something like that…I’m too lazy to look it up) in downtown Lancaster. And they are NOT hurting for participants. Essentially every other sidewalk square housed some sort of performer of increasingly questionable musical skill. As we walked the five short blocks from the hotel to the dinner venue we were serenaded by the sounds of a one man troubadour band, several saxophonists andat least four steel drummers. A disco ball inexplicably flashed in the window of the local noodle shop. In the parking lot of my mom’s office, a Fleetwood Mac cover band scratchily warbled “thunder only happens when it’s raining…” while across the street, a man with an accordion lingered in the shadows of a parking garage.

Whether he was a sanctioned member of Free Music Friday or just a creep, we may never know for sure.

It was the most magical five minute walk of my lifetime, and I think at least one of our guests believed us when we said we hired the musicians as part of our wedding weekend, to liven up the rehearsal dinner commute.

The restaurant was perfection. They set up a long table at front of house with beer, wine and BOMB appetizers – all sourced from local farms and vendors! –  including antipasta, some kind of cucumbers stuffed with dip situation, mozerrella caprese skewers and these white bean crostini that I still dream about.

Here are some photos taken by our sweet friend Ankita (betrothed of the Best Man!) to illustrate this story:

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Father of the Groom, Father of the Bride, Laurie! 

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Maureen, Jayne (my mom’s bestie who also officiated our wedding), Brian’s mama, Amy (in a dress I’m not sure I complimented night-of but girl, dat dress!) & Jamie

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Best man Vai & groomsman Adam

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Adam, Sandy, Kathleen & Vai 

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Almost married!! 

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Super cute venue made xxxxxtra cute with the addition of amazing banner hand made by Maureen. She texted me earlier in the week “if one was to have a banner on their wedding day, what would it say? asking for a friend…” haha. We then proceeded to have a conversation about her “friend” and this “banner” and I don’t know how that imaginary person felt about their imaginary banner but this real life friend LOVED her banner. 

As you can see from these photos, the restaurant has big glass windows (as opposed to what, Liz, concrete windows?) on all sides looking out onto the intersections of Queen and Walnut Streets – geographical details which surely mean nothing to 99.9 percent of you (hi to the other .1, Bernie & Angie!) but it’s a relatively bustling area of downtown. As we sophisticatedly sipped vino and noshed on appetizers, a commotion gathered outside of the window. We’re still not entirely sure what went down but from the best of our collective guesses, a (likely inebriated) man in a purple car (stuffed with so much stuff, he may have lived in it) attempted to turn the wrong way down one way Queen Street, blocking traffic including a HISTORICAL TROLLEY. Lancaster, I love ya. Also somehow involved: a well-dressed businessman type driving a black SUV, now pulled over cattycorner from the restaurant and US service member dressed in full camo and driving a big white pickup truck. Cops raced to the scene…on bicycles.

BICYCLES!

Purple car man was out of his vehicle and pacing around. White truck Army dude was talking to bike cops. Businessman just leaned against his SUV.

Somehow the trolley navigated the mess and pulled away, much to the mutual dismay of the 23 members of our wedding party, now gathered around the window, faces pressed to the glass. This was the most exciting thing any of us had seen since the finale of Braking Bad. Soon some cops in motor vehicles arrived and the poor bicyclists – first on the scene! – were sent back to whence they came…probably patrolling Free Music Friday and making sure faux Stevie Nicks didn’t get too out of control on her keyboard. Inside, we all huddled together, coming up with theories on what was going down.

Who was driving drunk? Was someone on drugs? Was the US Army somehow involved or was that just a lone soldier, caught up in this hot mess? The world may never know!

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This picture makes me laugh SO HARD. Here we see our friend Melissa (who will play an important role in our ceremony the next day, stay tuned for THAT novella to come) giving her version of the events – “he veered to the left!” she seems to be saying- while behind the gaggle of ladies, Brian’s sister’s boyfriend Andrew gives his play-by-play, including some very emphatic hand motions. I look stoned. Bernie looks startled (and FOXAY in that dress, might I add) while Kathleen ignores all the drama and makes love to the camera. Werk it girl!

A slightly more frame-worth op of the same crew.

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Kathleen, Maid of Honor Margepants, Melissa, BRIDE OBVI DUH and Bernie, continuing to kill it in that dress 

The excitement died down and we all sat for dinner. The venue had two long tables set up and served dinner family style – steak with pesto, eggplant parm, polenta and grilled summer squash. The centerpieces were made by a local florist, too!

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GORGEOUS! 

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Don’t worry, we took them with us when we left.

PS: I love my friends. 

After dinner, dessert was spread out on the front table – mini brownies and cookies, coffee, tea and the MOST AMAZING mascarpone parfaits, layered with fresh berries. I had two. So wild of me, I KNOW. Maureen and I sat and caught up with my dad and his partner Laurie – Mo regaled them with tales of her competitive figure skating career – and the rest of our crew was able to move from their dinner seats and keep mingling.

The restaurant was closed to the public for the evening, but the doors were unlocked and they didn’t hang any signage indicating that it was a private event, so throughout the evening people would wander in off the street, hoping to get a table. Instead of stressing me out, this made me feel fancy and exclusive and I am shamed to admit the great pleasure I took in turning people away.

“Ohhhh, I’m so sorry, this is a private party” I’d say, with a condescending smirk. “I don’t think you’re on the list.”

In all earnestness, though, and with no accompanying Mean Girls gifs, the whole dinner was just so fun and again, genuinely relaxing. I was still worrying about getting in enough time with everyone and making sure people were having a good time but for the most part, I felt like I was able to chat with all my peeps and enjoy the food. It really had the dinner party feel we were hoping for and we’re so grateful to The Scotts for hosting and Bernie for her help getting it set up and Commonwealth on Queen for the beautiful meal! And to those idiots for crashing their cars and providing endless hilarity to us all!

After dinner we trucked it back to the hotel, heaps of leftover alcohol in hand, and partied it UP in the hospitality suite. Some friends from out of town had arrived while we were at the rehearsal and they met us back at the hotel after having dinner at a place called  Yorgo’s which is a restaurant but I always confuse with Yorgey’s, which is the dry cleaners. This has zero point zero percent to do with this story, I just think it’s a little weird to have both a Yorgo’s and a Yorgey’s in the same town, you know?

Back at the hotel  the booze was flowing and we kicked off our shoes and Amy put on a party playlist and cousins arrived from all over – New Hampshire! Atlanta! Upstate New York! – and it WAS SO MUCH FUN. I managed to repress most of my “is everyone having a good time” anxiety (thanks to my dear friend champagne, probably) and just soak up the love and good energy and ooof it was the best. At about 11 PM, my sweet Brian tapped out around to retire to his own room – he is much more the introvert in our relationship, so thinking of how tired I was at this point – as a person who thrives on group energy –  I can not imagine how exhausted he must have been. Homeboy was done for the day. I followed suit around 12:30 or so. Bernie and I were shacking up together in a room adjoining the party suite (nontraditional as we sort of are, B and I decided to spend the night before the wedding apart, it felt romantic!), so our group very kindly took the rest of the fest down to the hotel lobby, save my delightful bridesmaids who took the “maid” part literally and cleaned everything up, so when I awoke on my BIG DAYYYYYY the suite was sparkling and clean and calm. It was a gesture that reminded me for the 80 zillionth time why I was so #blessed to have these women alongside me for the weekend.

And That. Was. The. Day! What a long story! I would make a self deprecating remark like “thanks for reading, I’m sure you’re bored” but as part of my Love Yourself 30’s, I’ve decided I don’t CARE if you’re bored, I loved writing this and reliving the day so I’m not even going to end with a joke!

Ok. ONE JOKE: Why didn’t the lifeguard save the hippie?

He was too far out, maaan!

hahaha GET IT! It’s so funny! My friend Kamran g-chats me every day with some of the world’s corniest jokes, so if you liked that comic styling, there’s pahlenty more where that came from.

Thank you for tuning in to this edition of One Awkward Wedding Wednesday. Liz Hott, over & out!

A Hobag Looks at 30*

 * bonus points to any weirdos who get this reference!

Two weeks ago another grain of sand dropped through the hour glass of the days of my life and I hurtled into a new decade:

I welcome my 30’s at the stroke of midnight on September 14, 2014 from the creaky bed of an old motel in rural New Hampshire, where I was celebrating a friend’s wedding. My brand new husband was in bed beside me. At midnight he gave me a beautiful jewelry box and some pirate themed temporary tattoos. I took a selfie (fully clothed, despite how scando this looks) and we promptly fell asleep.

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I was a little drunk. And a lot happy. It was perfect.

I’m now two weeks into the other side still just as happy, though thankfully slightly less drunk. For the present moment, anyway. I may be old but I still know how to get down. In fact, from all I’ve heard, the 30’s are quite the cause celebre.  Allegedly, women in their 30’s are generally more financially secure, gain more respect in their careers, have more self confidence and have better sex. And I’ve learned that the older you get, the easier it is to avoid fads and fashions, a lesson that helped me skate through all of Summer 2K14 without even being tempted to wear a crop top. Victory! So if this means I’m looking at a decade of self-confidence, great sex and fully covered midriffs, well I am ALL IN. 

If you’ll recall, in prep for the big 3-0 I made a big ‘ol to-do list, as I am wont to do, with 30 goals or items to achieve between September 14, 2013 and September 14, 2014. How’d I do? Let’s check the list!

1. Run half marathon HAYLLL YES! COMPLETED 4/26/14

2. Pay off one credit card…put a dent in the other. YES! COMPLETED 10/4/13

3. Get a bikini wax NOPE.

4. Take photoshop or other online design course NOPE.

5. Submit something for publication. YAAAAASSSS. COMPLETED 5/30/14

6. Visit each of the 5 boroughs of NYC (I’m coming for you, Staten Island!) NOPE.

7. Do a pull-up (yes, just one. Aim high.) NOPE.

8. Find a regular volunteer program NOPE.

9. See a play on Broadway NOPE.

10. Watch The Sopranos 1.5 SEASONS. (Unpopular Opinion Alert: That show is a snooze.) 

11. Learn to shuffle cards NOPE.

12. Stop biting my nails UGH NOPE.

13. Take a trip with my mom NOPE.

14. Read outside of my comfort zone (i.e. biography, poetry, graphic novel) NOPE. WHOOPS. 

15. Visit Storm King OBVZZZZ. COMPLETED 10/6/13

16. Get Acupuncture NOPE.

17. Roast a chicken NOPE.

18. Grow a vegetable to a point where it is edible i.e. don’t kill it NOPE.

19. Zumba NOPE.

20. Host a classy, adult dinner party NOPE.

21. Add at least one more state to my list YES! Unblerghed but B&I took a trip to Maine 9/12/14. Trust me, it happened. 

22. Solve my stomach issues GROSS BUT NOPE.

23. Trapeze class NOPE. (What even was this one?!) 

24. Reconnect with an old friend (I already have one picked out! Lucky person!) HALFSIES? I’ve been emailing with my very first childhood friend Becky but we’ve yet to reconnect in person. I’m giving myself a .5 for this one. 

25. Decorate our apartment NOPE.

26. See the cherry blossoms in DC NOPE.

27. Take out my navel ring (GREAT ONE, Liz!) NOPE.

28. Make an IRL blogger connection COMPLETED sometime in December, blogged about 3/17/14

29. Hike 5 new peaks NOPE.

30. Skinnydip. ANDDDD NOPE.

 Officially, without loopholes or fudging the rules, I completed 6.5 out of 30. That’s slightly over 20 %, if my math is correct…which it usually isn’t…but I used a calculator so I’m feeling pretty confident. By the standards of the Common Core and most other methods of grading and judgement, 6.5 out of 30 is an epic failure.

But eff that noise. I’m chalking 29 up as a roaring success.

29 was the year I got engaged and married. The year I ran a (fast!) half marathon. The year I ate a lot of hard boiled eggs, attempted to wear red lipstick and went to a nude beach. The year I first shacked up with my boyfriend (then fiance, then husband!) and moved to Park Slope. 29 was the year I got paid to write an article – for Vogue (…ok, dot com, but whatever)! 29 was the year I saw friends get married, change jobs, move cities and get unscandalously knocked up. At 29 I drank too much wine and spent too much money on organic food and always kept my fingernails painted bright colors and totally pulled off ankle booties and almost always wore the same chambray button-down and learned – and then forgot – the difference between brie and Camembert cheeses and got 2nd place in Fantasy Football and finally found a pair of sunglasses that fit my lanky face and tried Pilates and instagrammed my food and spent time with my best girlfriends, laughing til our stomachs hurt.

29 was great. It was SPECTACULAR! I may have technically failed at most things I set out to attempt, but I’m still giving myself an A+.

So what is on my list for the next year? I have but One Before Thirty-One: Stop Making Lists.

If I’ve learned one thing about myself in the last 29 years, it is that I need to be a little kinder to myself. No more creating arbitrary to-do lists and then beating myself up when I don’t check off every box. No more panicking over things left unfinished, milestones yet reached. No more worrying about where I should be, more focusing on where I am.

No mas!

At 29, I did only 6.5 items on my list…but then 6.5 bajillion more, without even trying. Imagine what great things I can do at 30 without all that time wasted worrying over things not done?

There are things I’d like to achieve, sure. I won’t just be sitting about waiting for the world to present me with adventures. I’d still like to hike more, to move up in my job, to quit biting my nails, to run more races. I’d also like to keep writing – perhaps not more but better. Which may mean a little less of the usual business here. Blogging is fun and exciting and I love the attention, sure, but at the end of the day it’s really just a hobby. And one that’s maybe not as fun as it used to be. I can’t tell you the number of Thursday nights into Friday morning’s I’ve sat stressing and scrambling for “funny” content for fear of letting someone, anyone (probably just myself) down. As much as the world loves and SURELY NEEDS yet another weekly roundup of me covered in random food stains, I’d like to think I can do a little better than that. I’m not abandoning the awkwardness of it all, but just going to see what I might be able to do if I spent just half of the time I put into photographing avocado blobs into writing or reading smart content.

I hope you’ll still come along with me.

But, BUT! If none of these things happen, if I don’t write a word or hike a peak, if I never ever roast a chicken as long as I live- that’s OK. I can trust that my time will be spent elsewhere, doing other meaningful things I haven’t even though up yet.

I do think we can all agree, though, that though no one ever sees it, what with the no-crop-tops rule and all, it’s really, really, REALLY time to get rid of that belly button ring.

So here’s to being 30. And chill (ish). And THRIVING. 

xoxo Liz Ho

 

 

 

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