Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Dress or My Journey to Becoming a Bride

Wedding dress shopping. One of the most exciting, happiest days of a girl's life, right? For a normal girl, maybe. Not for me. Don't get me wrong. I'm not ungrateful. I love my fiance. I agreed to all of this. That didn't keep me from feeling an impending sense of doom on the days leading up to the big shopping event. Let me explain.

First off, I hate being the center of attention. I'm extremely self-conscious and shy. The fact is, I felt like I was going to be on display while trying on dresses. And that would just be a hint of what was to come on the wedding day.

Next is the issue that I rarely wear anything other than jeans. I am a blue-jean and t-shirt girl. I am comfortable that way and don't like being dragged kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone. My requests when talking to the bridal consultant included the words "simple" and "not fussy". I actually fell in love with the idea of pockets on my wedding dress. A place to put my hands, just like I do when I'm wearing my jeans seemed very comforting. Sadly, the dress was not suited for me. I think everyone thought I was weird for wanting pockets on my wedding dress anyway.

Also, I am not very comfortable with my body. I know, big surprise, right? I'm a woman and so many of us have body-image issues. I've fought my weight my whole life. I was hoping to find a dress that would somehow hide all of my imperfections. Of course, those are impossible to hide when you're in a small dressing room, half-naked, with a stranger you just met twenty minutes ago. Just the thought of it still makes me cringe.

I had been trying to prepare for this day. I bought truckloads of bridal magazines and tore out pictures of gowns I liked. Being rather particular and detail oriented, I arranged them in order of favorite to least favorite. I wrote something on each page, whether it be a comment about the style, pointing out a detail I liked or something I did not want on my dress. I also spent many Friday evenings watching TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" hoping for inspiration. I would watch these brides trying on gown after gown and seeing the big moment when they found their perfect dress. They would cry. Their family and friends would cry. They would hug their consultants. I, ever cynical, would roll my eyes and think "Whatever."

So, on Dress Day, after going over all the things I was looking for in a dress (ruching at the waist!) and all of the things I didn't want (NO BALL GOWNS!) the consultant selected several dresses for me to try on. All the girls with me knew how nervous I was and assured me it would be fantastic.

I tried on the first dress. It did not impress me, nor my entourage. In fact, I can't even remember what it looked like. Back to the dressing room I went.

Dress number two went on. The consultant zipped it up and we both knew it wasn't even worth walking out in. "It doesn't do enough for your waist," she said. Translation: I looked fat. Next!

Dress number three did wonders for my waist. I walked out and got positive feedback from the girls. It was a possibility, but more dresses waited for me in the dressing room!

I went back and stepped into dress number four. When it first went on, I kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought "eh." Then, the consultant started to lace up the corset back. Soon, she tightened the laces and I saw my waist shrink in. "Damn," I said. "Look at my waist!" I walked out to show my support team. We talked about this detail and that detail. Pictures were taken of the dress at every possible angle. We discussed white versus ivory. I focused on the bottom of the dress. My concern was with the train. It wasn't much, but it was more than I wanted. I won't have attendants helping me to corral the dress at the wedding, so I have to be able to handle it on my own. Plus, I have to walk up a spiral staircase to get to the ceremony location. The consultant said there was an easy fix to that problem. She began to pin up the back to show me what it would look like bustled. That's when I had something close to a bride's "this is my dress" moment. I didn't cry and I didn't hear music, but when I saw the back of the dress I knew that it was the one I was going to buy. That settled it. "I think I like this one," I said. All those dresses hanging in the dressing room would stay on the hangers. I was done!

As we all walked out of the store, all I could say was "I'm so glad this is over!" On the trip back home, my friend riding with me was ecstatic. She was so happy for me. I wish I had been just as happy for myself. I was relieved, not giddy. I was checking off an item from my to-do list, not falling in love with the garment that is supposed to make me feel like a bride.

I still have moments of impending doom. Did I try on enough dresses? Would any dress I put on make me cry? Will it be altered correctly? What if I lose too much weight before the wedding? I think of all the things that could possibly go wrong concerning this overpriced piece of fabric that makes me a bride. What gets me through is knowing that I will only be a bride for a very brief period of time, then it will be over.

Then I'll be a wife. Uh-oh.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Love Story

Yesterday I went to Emporia to visit my Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Wanda. They are such a wonderful couple. I stayed and chatted with them for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful visit. I got to hear many stories about my Grandpa, who died before I was born. Uncle Lawrence, being four years older than my Dad, has different stories to tell, ones I had never heard before. They also told stories about my Uncle Willard, whose funeral I attended the day before my birthday last month. We discussed my job, my parents, my brother and all of their family. It was so sweet to listen to them tell stories together. The whole time, he would dote on her. At times holding her hand, getting her anything she needed. As it turns out, it was their 64th wedding anniversary that day. I was so happy to be able to be there on their special day.

This, however, is a bittersweet love story. The day of my Uncle Willard's funeral, we got the terrible news. Aunt Wanda had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given only 3-6 months to live. She has refused any treatment, not wanting to prolong the pain. She now spends most of her time in bed, which is where she was when I arrived yesterday. To see her weak and pale was heartbreaking. More heartbreaking was to see my Uncle Lawrence, a strong-willed, stubborn man-like all of the Palmers-in tears. She stayed strong throughout my visit, but he was weepy. You could see the distress all over his face. Here was his bride, the one person he had spent almost his whole life with, laying in bed, dying.

Uncle Lawrence said something very poignant. He told me that the man is supposed to die first. There was every reason why he should have been the one to go before her. He had smoked and drank. He was diabetic. He had a heart attack a few years back. Instead, she was going to go before him. The reason he thought it worked out this way touched me very deeply. He had to be there to take care of her.

He was doing a wonderful job taking care of her. Getting her medicine, rearranging her pillows and most importantly, holding her hand. And I got to witness it all first-hand. I feel that the bond between them is one of the strongest I have ever known. When Aunt Wanda passes, whenever that might be, I will remember yesterday and I will smile knowing that she was happy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Would They Find?

I was sitting on the couch yesterday, surveying my apartment. I got to thinking about what would happen if I died. What would my family find in my home? Would anything embarrass me? Well, let's just see.

Kitchen: There's an excessive amount of beer for one person. That's because I don't drink very often, but keep buying different kinds. The trash is pretty full and by the time someone found me, would probably be kind of stinky. There might be a dirty glass beside the sink, but the dish drainer will be FULL of dishes I've left to air dry. The fridge is a disaster. There's no organization whatsoever. Breakfast bar has a naked Chia Pet, fish tank, bowl of hard candy, bouquet of flowers, handcuffs and extra magazine case laying on it.

Living/Dining Room: Sunday paper laying on the sofa with cut-out coupons laying in various piles waiting to be filed. Stack of wedding magazines and my wedding notebook on the chaise. Can of wasp spray on the floor next to the patio door. Dining room table is very cluttered, I don't eat there, it's just a catch-all. Dottie's bag of hay, desk calendar, some mail, paint chips, pictures of wedding dresses and on it goes. VHS tapes stacked up on the floor because I haven't found a place to put them yet. Stereo and speakers disconnected and on floor because they don't fit in new entertainment cabinet. Three plastic totes full of stuff I haven't unpacked from the move. Empty cooler under the table because I have no where else to store it.

Guest Bathroom: Very clean (it's rarely used) but clothes hanging from every possible spot, waiting to be ironed. Door knob, towel rack, shower curtain rod all covered in clothes.

Hallway: More unironed clothed hanging from the doorknob of the utility closet.

Office: Stuff everywhere. Stacks of papers from an investigation currently being condcuted. Blank inspection forms. Stack of papers from a case I haven't filed yet. Notes on scraps of paper on both desks. Half-full bottle of water. Two pillows and comforter on the futon from the last time I had guests. Gun and badge laying on display shelf of work desk. Bottom drawer of file cabinet open about an inch. More unironed clothes hanging from doorknob.

Bedroom: Not too bad. Bed isn't made. Empty lemonade can on nightstand is about the worst part of the room. Dresser has jewelry, lip balm and eye drops. It's lived-in, but not messy.

Master Bathroom: You guessed it. More unironed clothes. Again hanging from the shower curtain rod and also on the hook on the back of the door. Makeup, two cosmetics bags, comb, ponytail holder, two hairclips, headband and new bottle of body wash all on the counter. Floor is undoubtedly covered in hair-I tend to lose a lot of hair! Trash can full of tissues and contact lens packaging.

All in all, I guess it's not that bad. If my family had to clean my apartment out, they wouldn't find anything shocking. But let's hope that never has to happen!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Many times I find myself looking out my window, staring at the traffic flowing by on the interstate that runs past my home. I like the white noise it produces. It has a hypnotic effect on me. Then I begin to wonder about each individual car. Where are they going? Where have they been? Is this their home? Are they having the best day of their life? Maybe they have just won an enormous prize and they're all smiles, jamming to the song playing on the radio. Possibly, they have just been given tragic news about a loved one and they're trying to see to drive through a veil of tears.

Then I wonder if they look up to see my deck. Maybe they are just viewing a blur of scenery, but maybe they are questioning "Who lives there?" Do they make up stories about the person who lives where I do? Do they see a happy family with a dog? Maybe an old man, long retired. Or they might get it right and picture a single girl making her way through the world.

It's funny what our perceptions can do to us. So often, we see the outside world as something apart from us and our lives. But the outside world has lives of its own.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Divorce From a Friend

It's one thing to lose a friend because you grow apart and are just on different paths in life. It's much different when a friend does something so hurtful you just can't face him or her anymore. That is exactly what happened to me last week.

It all started with a wonderfully joyous occasion. My nephew, Mikey, as he will forever be known to me, became a father 2 weeks ago. As is the case when any baby is born, little Natalie was quickly dubbed "the cutest baby in the world". I sent out a pix message to several friends announcing her arrival. All but one of those friends replied with the usual "congrats" or "how cute". I didn't think much about the absence of the reply from my friend "T". I was too excited to really notice that one person among the throng of texters didn't share in my joy.

After a week had passed "T" texted me, wanting to know if I would be in town for dinner that Friday night. I replied that I didn't know what time I would be arriving, for I had a date to meet the cutest baby in the world. This, surprisingly, upset "T" since she has a 2 year old daughter who apparantly should never have been dethroned as cutest baby. At first, I thought she was joking as others had, that they had the cutest baby in their family. Keep in mind, this entire conversation is happening via text message, where tone and inflection do not exist. It became suddenly clear, however, that she was not amused. I tried to explain that this is just what people do when new babies arrive and that Natalie had actually dethroned her 8 month old cousin, Klaire, as cutest baby. That, it seemed, made things worse. "T" told me I could erase their contact information from my phone and that she was really hurt. I immediately tried to call her, but after 2 rings, I was directed to her voice mail. I left her a message saying I hoped she was joking and figured she would call me back.

Fast-forward one week. Still no phone call from "T". I had discussed the situation with several people including my fiance, who is also good friends with her, my parents, my niece, and other friends who do not know "T". All of them came to the conclusion that she had overreacted and was acting childish. I didn't want this misunderstanding to ruin our friendship, so I tried to call again. This time the phone rang 3 times before I was directed to her voice mail. I was very upset.

I called my fiance to tell him about it and to hash out my feelings. After a lengthy discussion with him, I made my decision. I would not try to call or text "T" anymore. I would, essentially, let the friendship die. I did not need somebody in my life who could not be happy for me at such a blissful time. I did not need somebody in my life who acted so selfishly and childlike. I certainly did not need somebody in my life who made me feel bad for so intensely loving my new great-niece. I deserve friends who support and love me. I would not stay in a romantic relationship with a similar person, so I will not stay in this relationship either.

Thankfully, in this divorce there is no property to divide, no contracts to dissolve, no custody battles to fight. There is, however, the same broken heart. The same feeling of loss. The same desire to move on with my chin up. And that is what I shall do.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nice to meet you

I guess my first post on here should be a way for me to introduce myself. That way, people have some background on me in case I post something down the road that seems a little crazy!

First, I have recently gone through some major life changes. This time last year, I was working in a pharmacy in Wichita like I had for the past 14 years and was training for a marathon length walk to support cancer research. Within about a month, everything was turned upside down. I accepted a job in law enforcement that would move me to the Kansas City area. I began training for my new job in Topeka, living in a hotel-and out of a suitcase-during the week, then returning home on the weekends.

I continued to train for the walk, but at a reduced level. In September I went to Boston with my boyfriend to participate in the walk and for a little vacation. I did not finish the walk, but made it about 18 & 1/2 miles. While there, my boyfriend of 12 years and I became engaged. Yeah, I know, finally.

Upon returning from Boston I began to prepare for a 14 week stint at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Now, I am by no means a "tough" girl, but I'm not exactly a "girly" girl either. I was looking forward to the educational part of the academy. I have always enjoyed learning and loved my time getting my Master's degree in Criminal Justice. How different could this be? Wow, were my eyes opened! It was in no way a breeze. Although I finished 3rd in my class, it was hard work all the way. Not to mention learning to drive an emergency vehicle and fire weapons! I did learn a lot about myself there as well. I'm much stronger than I ever thought I was and I'm so glad I know that now.

After graduating from the academy in February of this year, I moved to my apartment in KC. I had to leave my old kitty, Rosie, in Wichita, not to mention my parents and fiance. I have never in my life lived by myself and wasn't sure how I would deal with that. Turns out that although I'm lonely because I don't know many people here to do things with (I've only made 2 friends so far), I enjoy having the place to myself. I felt the need to have something to care for, but didn't want to get a dog since I don't have a yard. I thought getting a cat would be a slap in the face to Rosie, so that was out too. Instead, I got myself a guinea pig. It took us a while to bond with each other, but we're finally friends.

I am spending a lot of time planning our upcoming wedding, which will take place in Boston on July 3, 2010. Why Boston? I'm pretty much in love with the city. I first went because I'm a Red Sox fan and had to see them play at Fenway. While there, I couldn't get enough of all the history. It's a beautiful setting and has so much to learn about. Because of my love of American history, we will be getting married at the Old State House which, among other things, was the site where the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly. That gives me chills!

Now, it has been difficult planning this wedding and I'm not the most patient person. With my fiance, Lee, in Wichita, me in KC and the ceremony taking place in Boston, I have been faced with some unique challenges. I don't know many people in the Boston area and am finding it difficult to make decisions about what vendors to use. It will all just become part of our story and will be worth it in the end.

These are just some of the many pieces of the puzzle that make me who I am. I hope that I am able to provide even more pieces in the future. They will probably not be as clear as these have been, but soon a clear picture will emerge!