Category Archives: BFGW (Big Fat Gay Wedding)

“how does it feel to be a married woman?”

that’s what my 88-year-old great uncle ben asked me–with a bright, wide smile, his blue eyes shining–early thursday morning as i padded into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. it suddenly occurred to me it was the very first time, after nearly nine years with holly and huge jewish wedding a year and a half ago, that i woke up fully married–under the law. vindicated. respected. protected.

i smiled back at him and held back tears.

“it feels good,” i said. “it feels really, really good.”

it still does. the glow of our simple, st. patty’s day ceremony in dc’s dupont circle–just feet from the very bench we sat on during our very first date in early may 2001–has not left me. despite my mind-altering pms. and the stress of our day-to-day. and the fact that we’re really not sure about how our dc marriage will be recognized by the state of maryland (health insurance, for example), the glorious sunshine (the whole city seemed aglow, like it’d be under a dirty window wiped clean with windex for the first time in years) that seemed to fill my entire body, warm all of my skin at once and reenergize my winter-weary mind hasn’t left me.

i am still so happy. i am still pinching myself to check if this is real. am i really married to my partner? did i dream this all up? but then i see the big white envelope that holds our marriage license, the one with both of our names on it, and our joint address. and a big silver seal stamped (tuesday afternoon) by a grumpy dc marriage license worker (the same one that did our oath while “hey soul siter” was playing on the radio) with a piece of ancient manual machinery just before he handed it to us and said in his island-accented monotone, “congratulations.” i see that envelope and i know what’s in it and i know i’m not dreaming and this is all real.

i thought i saw a smile–not a half-smile, even, maybe a quarter-smile–creeping on his very unsmiley face, if only for the fact that it was the third time we’d been there in a week (once just to ask a question about officiants–yes, we drove all the way from baltimore simply to ask who, exactly, could marry us–b/c the office has been so busy no one’s been answering the phone).

yes we want to be married that badly, that visit said. we want to be married so badly that we drove the 45+ miles here and got stuck in who knows how much traffic just to ask you guys a question.

we held up our signed marriage license for photo after photo wednesday afternoon, a few close friends and uncle ben in the wheelchair we rented for him surrounding us. yes this is ours, i kept thinking. no, i can’t believe it. man this was so much better and more fun and less stressful than our first wedding. 

we brought that license with us where we are now, holly’s hometown in western pee-ay, to show her family. and yes, uncle ben’s with us! he is a road warrior. we’ve been taking him everywhere. in fact, he’s sitting on the guest daybed right next to the computer i’m sitting at right now. he just asked what i was doing, and i told him writing a blog entry on the wedding ceremony.

“oh,” he said. “well, why don’t i see you writing anything?” then i showed him how the screen scrolls down and he totally got it. we’re both still up and the rest of the house is asleep. we both eat constantly. we both share his mother’s, my great-grandmother’s, blue eyes. it’s really really nice to have him around.

we watched “slumdog millionaire” tonight (i had never seen it) and i’m just feeling so inspired. i feel like my life–our lives–are off to a brand new start. it’s like this big, gaping hole has been finally filled with this legal marriage and we can move on now. like all the hurt of our last wedding is over and the slate’s been wiped clean. i feel like everything and anything is possible. i never thought marriage could feel like this. i never thought a piece of paper with a stamp and a signature could change my life so much.

we’re getting married (again) tomorrow: and this time it’s going to be LEGAL!

well, folks, the day has finally come. holly and i are getting legally wed tomorrow in DC. i am still pinching myself! it’s just too fabulous.

what’s additionally fabulous is the fact that we’re actually looking forward to this wedding (unlike our last one). we’re doing this for us and only us. and we. are wearing. jeans. [actually i’m topping off the jeans with even more denim: my favorite jean jacket. (a birthday present from holly many years ago)] no stress. no wedding dress. nothing fancy. just me, holly, uncle ben, and a handful of friends. then off to an irish pub to celebrate–hey it is st. patty’s day! this was holly’s request: to get legally hitched on st. patty’s day. how could i tell such a cute irish girl no??)

so yes, uncle ben. my 88-year-old great uncle ben (my late grandmother‘s younger brother; she had four, he’s the remaining sibling) is in town from florida for the ceremony and festivities. he waited at the au bon pain across the street from the courthouse today while we gave the marriage bureau our officiant’s name. (we set him up with soup and bread and coffee while he was waiting. so cute.) when we came back, we walked up to his table with our certificate in hand, nestled in a big white envelope behind a piece of cardboard.

we took it out to show him and his eyes just shined with pride and joy. it was all i could do not to burst out into tears.

he called his friend joe earlier tonight, an old friend from his florida condo complex (much like the one jerry seinfeld’s parents live in–i must admit it has a fantastic pool).

“joe!” he said (loudly) into his cell phone. (yes, he has a cell phone. he also does email and searches on google.)

“joe, tomorrow’s the big day! my nieces are gettin’ married!”

he was smiling so wide. he’s like the male version of my grandma. and he is crazy about holly. we both feel so lucky to have him here. he’s been one of our biggest supporters.

it took us a solid few days to find a non-denominational officiant (we already had a big jewish wedding once; don’t need another one!). he’s abbreviated his usual six-page ceremony down to one. i absolutely love it. it’s so simple. it’s so direct. it’s touching and it is legal. its simplicity it what makes it so special.

We gather today to marry ________ and ________.  it begins.  This is your time; this is your day.  Today you once again declare your love and commitment to each other: this time sanctioned not only by your love, your vows and your solemn commitment, but by the law. 

“but by the law.” the law! just like i said the other day, the whole thing’s so extraordinarily ordinary. the next time you hear from me, after nearly nine years with my partner, i will be legally wed!

extraordinarily ordinary (license to wed!)

we did something so ordinary today that it was absolutely extraordinary:

we applied for a marriage license. in DC. we went to the courthouse, found a parking spot, went into the building, got scanned at the metal detector (got my camera temporarily confiscated but that’s ok) and…asked where we–my partner, my longtime female partner, and i–could apply for a marriage license.

“fourth floor,” the security guy said as his metal detector beeped over my wedding rings. “and congratulations,” he added with a smile.

i smiled back and said thank you. i felt like pinching myself. it was just…so ordinary. so normal. so everyday-weekday-just-another-couple-applying-for-a-marriage-license. i felt so happy (absolutely elated, in fact). i felt like part of the crowd, like everybody else. i felt…respected.

as a same-sex couple in america, you just get used to feeling–in “official” situations and everyday situations, too–less than. as not valid. i mean, for crying out loud, i still have to mark “single” on medical forms! and taxes! even tho we had a *huge* wedding and holly and i have been together almost nine years. but today we weren’t less than. today we were on equal footing like all the other couples in the marriage bureau. we had the same paperwork. the same people processed our information. we have to wait three business days for our license like everyone else. just like everyone else. oh my gosh how i love saying that. just like everyone else.

we got up to room 4485 and got in line. luckily there wasn’t a crowd (or protestors outside) like there was wednesday, when DC began issuing marriage licenses (or, rather, taking applications; regardless of gender, all couples have a three-day waiting period until a license is actually issued). there were a few couples in front of us, and then, eventually, behind us. we all stood on the institutional tiles together, waiting. i kept joking with holly that she could still back out. b/c, until this point, we have been, as i like to say, “unlawfully wedded.” i played a lionel richie song for her on the way to DC, “stuck on you” (i’m sure you know the one, even if you don’t realize it–good song!).

“you ready to be stuck?” i asked holding her hand, smiling mischievously as baltimore’s industrial scenery whooshed by.

you ready to be stuck?” she asked back.

we both laughed and sang along a little. yeah, we were ready.

eventually it was our turn, and we were called into the tan-carpeted, downright drab government office. it could have been the taj mahal as far as i was concerned, i was thrilled just to be there. we signed in and handed off the necessary paperwork (which we got online and filled out at home to save time), our drivers licenses and sat back down. then a worker with a thick accent called us up. he asked us to check out the forms to make sure he had inputted all of our information correctly. we told him it was and then, without warning, asked us to raise our right hand and pledge that everything we had written down was correct.

we raised our right hands and pledged yes. just as he was reciting his lines, i noticed they had a radio on, close by, it sounded like. it was that great new train song, “hey soul sister.” everything felt so perfect. even tho holly was so tired from a trying week (see my previous entry; we just got back yesterday afternoon) and was a little grumpy. and it was hard to understand exactly what the guy was saying with his thick accent. and i was hungry (hey it was past 11:30 and i hadn’t eaten lunch) and there were still little mounds of dirty snow piled up on the sidewalks here and there all over the city and i had the hangover of a five-day migraine…i swear it felt so perfect. more perfect than our wedding day, even, which was so rife with stress and worry. i started tearing up. i looked over at holly to see if she was, too, but quickly averted my eyes just in case the guy thought i was trying to hide something. i practically had to bite my lip to hold back tears.

we left and stopped to pay $45 at a cashiers office. then we went downstairs and picked up my confiscated camera.

“you do what you came to do?” the same security guard asked.

“we sure did,” we said.

and with that, we walked out into the cold and back to our car, which, thankfully, wasn’t towed or even ticketed since we parked it in a spot that we weren’t for sure certain was 100 percent legal. a miracle, i thought. a special present for our marriage license application day.

as we were driving away, i was like, did you hear our song? they were playing our song! holly asked which song. “hey soul sister,” i said. that’s not our song, she said, annoyed. i thought you were talking about our wedding song (technically, we have two, since we each dedicated one to each other at our wedding reception). i explained that although it’s not our song per se, it’s a song we both like and sing along with. and since i’m basically still five years old, i consider this one of “our songs” and figure she does, too.

“it’s one of our songs,” i said.

“no it’s not,” she said.

we agreed to disagree, and i told her to stop being such a grump. i couldn’t help laughing a little bit inside. we were really annoyed with each other for about 30 seconds there, not even 15 minutes after we, for all intents and purposes, were finally were legally bound to each other. the more things change, the more things stay the same. i’m smiling now as i write this.

so our day wasn’t perfect (we had other “moments” on the way to the courthouse; holly had some…road rage issues, we’ll just say–love ya, babe, no worries), but what day is? marriage isn’t about perfection. it’s about patience and love and understanding, even when you’re tired from a long week and the chips kind of feel down b/c life has had more climbing than coasting lately.

we wanted to have a celebratory lunch. i told holly that it was up to her, just not chinese, and she really couldn’t decide. we finally settled on raku in dupont circle. i surprised myself by ordering actual sushi, like with (a small amount of) raw fish inside (tuna–always a benign choice–and no seaweed; they now have a soy paper option, thank goodness) and topped it off with a tofu salad. holly ordered a huge japanese beer, which took the edge off and had her relaxed and smiling. i silently cheered once more as we got back to our car, which, again, was parked in a spot that was…mostly legal. another gift.

we stopped at our kosher butcher (they catered our wedding) and got a hug and a mazal tov from one of the owners that we’ve become friends with. we bought some chicken, one of the workers gave us a good deal on a couple nice steaks, and we picked up a few cookies at the bakery. we stopped at starbucks to get some coffee to enjoy them with, and drove home, the sun warming our knees along the highway. we were in maryland, and i felt a certain peace in my heart knowing that once our license is issued, we’ll be able to drive back and forth from dc to our home in maryland and still be married. what a huge couple weeks it’s been for us. i don’t take any of these victories for granted, and realize that there’s still a chance they could be taken from us. but for now, we won’t think about that.

no, for now, i’m going to sit here on our couch–next to my partner, my soon-to-be-legal spouse–who’s sleeping at the moment, actually, and keep living like we have, keep blogging, keep climbing until we can finally coast a little. i’m going to savor these victories we can one day tell our children about, who will, upon hearing about them, shake their heads with wide eyes that same-sex marriage wasn’t always legal in this country. the same way we shake our heads with disbelief that segregation even existed in this country. tonight i’m going to sleep well knowing that today we were part of a very significant time in our nation’s history. small victories, i keep telling myself. b/c rome wasn’t built in a day, you know? we each have to do our part to build it. we built our tiny little part of it today in a drab, tan-carpeted downtown dc government office sometime between 11:45am and 1pm. and all for $45.

(oh and for the record, yes, holly was tearing up, too. and whether she wants it or not, we totally have a new song now. sing along if you know the words! haha. goodnight!)

i’m happy to report that things are finally getting back to normal

bouquet

my wedding bouquet, nov. 15, 2008. it somehow disappeared that day, but at least i have some fabulous photos of it (c/o the blonde photographer)

and right in time for our one-year wedding anniversary, which is today (!!?!). we knew it was coming, but we’d sort of forget every time we’d smell a random puff of death come from next door. (damn porous bricks. that’s what you get for doing the whole trendy exposed-brick thing, i guess. i should note that while the house seems increasingly better-smelling, we do have the random puffs. also the basement still smells kind of bad.)

as i was eating cinnamon toast and sipping coffee this morning, the today show announced the date.  i looked at the screen and there is was: sunday, november 15, 2009.

“oh my gosh happy anniversary, babe!” i said.

“happy anniversary!” holly cheered back.

we had completely forgotten and then we both remembered, as if it was the very first time we were talking about it. (even tho we were talking about it last night.)

“thank G-d that’s over,” i said.  

“i know, right?” she chirped.

then i perched in front of her on the couch–she was sitting there working on her little netbook–my knees resting on the edge of the cushion. i looked down as hovered above her, grabbed her little face in my hands, gave her a gentle kiss and told her how happy i am that i married her. we are both out of work (granted, i am very busy w/my freelance journalism/copywriting and holly’s very busy w/school…but full-time work, we’ll say) and our house smells vaguely of death and yet…i have never been so happy.

after the week we’ve been thru (and i can say with full certainty that it was the very worst of my life), the BFGW doesn’t seem like such a big deal. i mean, sure, the post-traumatic stress is still working its way out of my system, but it honestly seems–well, not quite like cake (um, no. definitely not cake), but i’m just looking at things with brand-new eyes (and, err, nose) after this week:

we’re alive. we have each other. we have a good solid roof over our head. happy anniversary indeed. i love you, honey!! here’s to a million more. mmmmmwah.

“i’ll be wearing a black t-shirt with a girl playing the guitar on it”

that’s what i told holly may 2, 2001, the day before our first date. i also told her i had pink hair (which i did: streaks, manic panic i applied with rubber gloves each week in my tiny takoma park bathroom, very late 90s i know but sue me i’m a jersey girl who graduated high school in ’96), and she thought (she told me, years later) “how drunk WAS i when we met?!” (for the record: not that drunk. but it was dark and i guess she couldn’t quite see the full majesty that was my  hair in ’01?)  

well i told you last month how we met. now, in honor of our second eight year anniversary (insert holly’s eyeroll right here; yes, i am a girl and demand that we recognize multiple anniversaries throughout the year–no gifts required, just acknowledgment), i’m going to tell you about our first date. (warning: longest blog entry in the history of lunch at 11:30…)

our first date was nearly one month to the day after we met: may 3, 2001. we talked on the phone and/or emailed nearly every day after we met. i was so happy. i never experienced anything so exciting and romantic (the ppl i was, we’ll say, “involved with” were mainly in college and were mainly…yeah, i won’t go there. let’s just say…not romantic…but what can you expect from a bunch of 18/19/20/21-year-olds?). we had only seen each other one time before that date, and it was late–and dark, apparently.

i decided i’d wear something easily recognizable. i settled on a tight black t-shirt that had a hott rocker cartoon girl on it playing guitar. i paired this with tight-ass black jeans and these huge black moon boots (nine west i think? i found them at t.j. maxx. hmmm wonder why….) and of course some kind of black belt with metal on it and all these spiked bracelets. i was definitely…a sight. but i was cute in my way, if slightly a tad too punk rock for the (now defunct) silver spring bureau of the gazette newspapers, where i had my first reporting gig out of college. as for what holly was going to wear…she may have said something about khaki pants? i don’t know. i think i must have repressed it and thought instead of the black button-down she was wearing when we met, which, late at night, looked somewhat rock n roll.

oh but wait. let’s backtrack a little. i didn’t tell you how we decided where we’d go/what we’d do on our first date. holly called me at the aforementioned office to plan our upcoming evening, and very sweetly asked me what i was interested in doing. i was flattered but also my usual difficult self. actually, i was even more difficult back then. which i know is hard to believe but, sadly, quite true.

“would you like to go to a ball game?” she asked.

“a what? oh no. i don’t do sports.” [i have since morphed into a steelers-crazed, (kosher) hot dog chompin, nacho-throwin (ok i don’t throw them but it sounded funny) football fan/baseball-game goer.]

“what about a fun park?”

“huh?”

“a fun park, you know, with rides and stuff.”

“oh, an amusement park. that’s what we call them in jersey. yeah, no. i don’t do those either. don’t do rides.”

there was a third thing, which i also promptly turned down whatever it was. [i just called holly to see if she remembered. she said she didn’t know but made a guess that if it was something like the zoo i probably said it was too hot out (it was unseasonably warm in late april/early may 2001, i must say in my defense) and my hair would get puffy.]

“well, what would you like to do?” she said, still sweetly, but now i realize probably trying to hide her growing exasperation.

“let’s go out to eat,” i suggested (as if there was any other choice).

it was settled. we would go out to dinner in dc. a thursday night.

so i get to the restaurant (also now-defunct; what IS this?? it wasn’t that long ago! geez), a place called peppers on 17th st. in dupont circle (just a block away or so from where we met a month earlier) and sit at the bar and start flipping thru a free newspaper (the wash. city paper, probably) as i wait for her. and then in walks this girl with short spiky hair and perfect posture, wearing chinos, brown sandals and a (gulp) yellow long-sleeved shirt. pastel yellow. (yes, you can laugh now.) i was like, huh? is this the same girl? haha.

she was so polite and sweet and…so ironed. i was…not ironed. (tho my bangs were flat-ironed. does that count? ha.) and i told you already what i was wearing. i moved past my book-by-its-cover shallowness and we sat down and ordered food. apparently, i told her i was a vegetarian (i don’t remember this but holly does and i believe her), which isn’t at all true. it’s what i tell ppl sometimes (like the mostly italian-speaking lunch ladies in high school, for example) when i don’t feel like explaining the whole kosher thing. apparently, this made holly thing woah boy. big red flag in her western pee-ay book.

i ordered something, i don’t remember what. something with mushrooms that holly recalls i complained about being too cheesy (thanks, babe, for remembering all the important details). i don’t remember what she ordered, but i do remember she paid, which, swoon. a girl paying for me? niiice. (if you haven’t caught the hint, i’m not that hard to impress)

we left and walked around the neighborhood and i was having a great time tho holly told me months later that she thought the date was kind of a disaster by that point, “i kept saying things that pissed you off,” she recalls. ha. funny, i don’t recall being pissed off. a first for me. anyway, we wound up sitting on a bench on the outside perimeter of dupont circle park, close to the starbucks on the corner (for all you washingtonians or ex-washingtonians out there that are into details like me). there were, as per usual, a couple, um, vocal folks there (i call them “crazies,” which i know isn’t nice, but yelling like a banshee in public does make one seem a little off).

holly was still new to the city back then. she had only moved to baltimore (yes, we had “long distance” relationship for the first couple years) from pee-ay, let’s see, only about three months before our date, so yeah.

i told her not to look at them. esp. the ones close by. and what did she do? she looked. oh, hunny, i love ya… 😉

so it was getting late and in my impish mind, i thought: i have my very own apt. tho it was crappy and i decorated the place with old furniture and cinder blocks that i spray painted silver, it was the very first place i could call my own. in other words: it wasn’t a dorm. and it was private. before the date even started i decided that i would bring her back to my place no matter what. i mean, c’mon, i already knew she wasn’t psycho. we talked on the phone for a month, ppl, cut me some slack. i was 22 and _____. (fill in the blank. this is a family blog. wait, no it’s not but i’m not going to say it here.)

“could you drive me back to my car?” i asked sweetly. if i had longer hair back then i’m sure i would have been twirling it. “it’s parked at the takoma park metro station. it’s not that far.”

of course she said yes, and of course she was clueless to my mischievous plans. she pretty much thought the date was a wash by this point, so what was an extra 20 mins in the car?

so she drives me to my parked car, and i’m like, “would you like to come to my apartment?” and clueless her was like, “ok,” thinking, what? we’d have tea? (ha. no but srsly. if she wanted tea i would most def made her tea. i always have no less than like 10 kinds of tea wherever i’m living.)

she follows me in her silver two-door chevy cavalier coupe (i thought it was hella sporty; like i said, not that hard to impress). i’m driving my super-dorky two-door ford focus hatchback (which i mistakenly thought was cool back then). we go up garland and turn up prospect and park in the little driveway. i cross my fingers that the roaches don’t scatter, at least in the kitchen where they usually hang out, when i turn on the lights. the place was clean but it was old. old like ten million coats of paint around the windows and water-warped kitchen counters old. it had this wall-to-wall crappy thin red carpet w/black specks. i had an ikea futon with an off-white cushion against the window with a cheap black ikea coffee table in front of it and a boom box sitting on top of yes, silver cinder blocks along the other wall. i kept a rabbit-eared tv on a chair, (hey i made $600 every two weeks, i did what i could, ok?) and my used electric bass was against the other wall.

i don’t remember all the details of that night. but it seemed to get very late very quickly. (late is my equivalent of drunk, as i’m not much of a drinker. i have a tendancy to make trouble when it’s late) she showed me some pictures of her family that she brought along, and i ooh’ed and ahh’ed at her cool cell phone, which had a computerized panda walking on the screen. i had never seen anything like it.

i played the bass for her. (that was during my bass stage. i used to sit on that crummy carpet and try to replicate basslines from garbage and the go-gos at night and on the weekends) who plays the electric friggin bass for their dates?? good grief. then i started to get nervous. so i started giving her these tiny bottles of spring water i kept in the fridge. by 3am i probably gave her like three or four. i turned on some music…it was all very…collegiate, thinking back to it. i think it was duran’s duran’s greatest hits. (again: good grief.) all the while she thought she had messed up this date. and she totally didn’t.

in the interest of, well, oh who the hell knows maybe my parents are going to read this one day? i am going to self-censor the rest and just say that we “hung out” for a while longer and she left in the morning. [HEY. before you judge me: she slept on the futon (hey, i may have had pink hair but i was still old-fashioned)] i had to leave for work, but i made us coffee in the perculator my late grandma (who passed just under a year ago at that point) gave me before i graduated college.

we sat there, swirling coffee with milk or non-dairy powdered cream, who the hell knows what i put in my coffee back then, clinking spoons against my second-hand diner style mugs (oh man those were great mugs) at a table a couple girls down the street had given me. it was in pretty bad shape so i covered it with a vinyl zebra print tablecloth (hell know where i found that! ha.). [all of you who didn’t know me in college and/or have never visited my kitsch-filled office (where i keep all my snow globes and madonna album covers and ramones posters and pink flamingo lamp) but have visited our “urban chic” home may gasp but yes. i do love me some kitsch.] i was all nerves, but i was also all smiles.

we left the apartment at the same time. i remember standing on the crumbly asphalt saying goodbye near our cars. it all felt so…adult. but not. like i said, i was all nerves, tingling right down to my fingertips. she wanted to kiss goodbye, but i hugged her instead. (such a pain in the ass i was, ha) holly says to this day it was the coffee that saved the morning. i guess i let my goofy 22-year-old fake-ass guard down by then. hell it only took about 24 hours. thank goodness for grandma’s peculator, right?

i, of course, was terrible about giving her directions to get back on the highway back to baltimore. i told her to follow me and she did but somehow we got our signals crossed and she missed the exit onto the beltway.

i got to work and emailed her:
(yes, i saved the emails. yes i save my old hotmail account specifically for our near-ancient emails. i know i know…)

>>From: “jessica” >>To: “holly”>>Subject: Re: >>Date: Thu, 03 May 2001 09:50:52 -0400 >> >
holly…i’m running off to cover something right now in d.c. but i  just wanted to drop you a line before i go off…i want to tell you that i had a really nice time with you last night and…and and and…i don’t know. that’s just it. i think you had fun too. just wanted to tell you.
 >well i hope you eventually made it onto the beltway east…you probably did…i looked behind me and you were there i was like holly!! what are you *doing*! funny.
>have a good weekend. and i will too. i’ll say hi to nyc for you b/c >i think i’ll be there saturday night.
 >take it easy, you. >jessica.

and she wrote back from baltimore:

Re: ‏
From: “Holly” To: “Jessica”
Fri 5/04/01 4:44 AM

Jessica,

Yes I did get on the Beltway, can you believe I did that………funny. I found a great way that puts you out right by my house so when you do come to visit me, it should be easy for you…………………….that is if you do want a next time because I do! I also had a great time and will look forward to our next encounter. I like how we have stuff in common but at the same time we are different but we can still blend and probably learn from one another.

You can teach me some slang so I don’t act my age. You have a safe trip and have fun in NY. I am going to try to call you before your meeting to make sure your and, and, and, and are answered.

Holly

so cute, right??  (i swear, i read these old emails and it’s all i can do to keep from crying, they’re so sweet, esp. hers…)

back then we were both just along for the ride. and look at us, all these years later, all married and whatnot. so not what we expected or even wanted. at least we didn’t think so back then. a few months into things, holly told me on that same futon that i was everything she never knew she wanted.

so for all you ppl out there who thought a first date wasn’t so good. or that someone “looks” too different from you for a relationship to work, think again. we are living proof that sometimes you need someone unexpected in your life, even someone who seems totally different than you, to give you everything you never knew you wanted and every single thing you’ll ever need…

eff you, miss california

so the embattled miss california has obviously had enough of all us forward-thinking folks pickin’ on her and she’s decided to go to dc to launch a campaign against same-sex marriage. she of the “well, i think it’s great that americans are able to choose one or the other. we live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage” is launching a campaign.

[which leaves me wondering: “opposite marriage”?? what is that? isn’t that, like, divorce? [i am quoting her directly, btw, from her answer at the miss usa pageant, which you can see here.]

i’m kind of irritated w/the today show (one of my fave shows; hi, meredith! hi, matt! hi, anne! love ya!), as they aired an “exclusive” interview w/her this a.m.  i already had a blaring headache and her squeaky little pageant voice just made it worse.

i’m like, look. you’re obviously not that bright. also? it’s also not very “christian” of you to launch a “campaign” against ppl who love each other and want to tie the knot. this is what kills me about “religious” ppl: you say you’re all religious and want to walk in the ways of G-d. the thing is, G-d doesn’t shun! or ostracize. or hate. (at least not the G-d i know. i’m jewish btw.) and neither did jesus. but whatevs.

anyway, i’m just like, shut the eff up. stick to vasiline-ing your teeth and waving and being thin and smiling and trying on gowns and stuff.

ppl like holly and i are obviously trying to undermine the american family. you know, like, our eight years together, where we’ve like…cooked together and gone to museums and drive in our cars and get haircuts and stuff. obviously.

eight years ago today

 i woke up in takoma park, close to floor, as i didn’t have a box spring those days (silly considering how many roaches umm “hung out” in my apt). it was just another wednesday for another new-ish college grad at her very first job. i was a community reporter with pink-streaked hair and a bad attitude.  i talked big but i was lonely. i could have never guessed, not in a million years, that later that same day i’d meet the love of my life.  

i remember it was unseasonably warm the night we met: april 3, 2001. it was “ladies night” at a now-defunct dc bar called chaos at Q & 17th streets NW. it was by chance that i wound up there. a girl i randomly hung out with those days and i went to go see sandra bernhard at my alma matar (university of md, college park), where i graduated not even a year earlier. a couple of other girls (other entirely random girls i don’t think i’ve seen since; one was a stripper the other was a corrections officer, go figure) invited us to go out. i was like “eh, ok,” so they picked us up afterwards from my place and off we went.

a girl in a yellow sweater (who turned out to be holly’s longtime close friend) had another girl tap me on the shoulder b/c she must’ve thought i was cute (i must say that i was wearing an exceptionally 80s outfit that night, so hell if i know why she even wanted to talk to me!). it was all very high school, but very cute. anyway, she wound up introducing me to all of her friends. one was this quiet girl (well i thought she was quiet then…) named holly. we were being wallflowers, holly and i, as i recall. the bar was hot and, as per usual, i was breaking a sweat (i break a sweat sometimes just thinking about breaking a sweat). i went to stand in front of a fan and she was there. we started talking and i invited her outside to talk some more where it was cooler.

 i remember touching the black shirt she was wearing.

 “your shirt’s so soft,” i said.

 i also remember thinking how cool it was that i was talking to someone with a good head on her shoulders at a bar.  i got her and her friends’ email addresses. and again, hell if i know how i remembered her email (come to think of it, probably b/c it had to do with her darling brown eyes) b/c it wasn’t even close to her name. anyway, i don’t think her friend expected us to start chit-chattin it up outside the way we did, and her group wound up leaving and i was like, “um, aren’t those your friends?” she was like, “oh! yeah! email me!” and with a squeeze of her hand (tho she doesn’t remember squeezing it, but she was drinking and i wasn’t and i say she did) she was off.

anyway, i emailed her almost a week later from my reporting gig:

From: “Jessica”
To: “Holly”
Subject: chaos craziness etc.
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001

holly…

hey so it’s been almost a week since the chaos at chaos so i figured i’d drop you a line…i was in my new jersey homeland this past weekend for passover. i really love new jersey. it is, after all, the *garden state* — that’s what the license plates say

geez i hope you got home ok wednesday night…your friends looked like they were heading off without you. what was that all about??

anyway, it’s deadline day here at the newspaper, tuesday afternoons, the papers come out wednesdays, but i’ve finished all my stories. now i’m going food shopping.

are you gonna be in dc anytime soon??? we should meet up.

let me know how you’re doing…

take care.
jessica.

every year i log in to my old hotmail account (i only keep it around to save our old emails and there are a lot of em; yes, i’m sentimental….) to count back the days to figure out exactly when we met. anyway, a week later i get an email back. we email and talk on the phone for a month until we meet for our first date (also on 17th st. NW, same street as our wedding reception site and just down the street from where we had our wedding ceremony). that first date is a whole ‘nother story. but that first date led to a second which led to another and…the rest, as they say, is history. but i just want to say to you, holly, my hunny, my sweatheart…i love you so much. i thank G-d every day that eight years ago, for whatever reason i decided to go out with those random girls and bump into you. you are the light of my life, and meeting you was the best thing to ever ever happen to me…

to all of you out there still searching for that special someone, take heart. i thought it could never happen to (little badass) me: meet someone, fall in love, build a life with another person, get married. i’m not saying you’ll meet that person at a bar (for the record: we’re telling our future children we “met thru a mutual friend” (hey, she’s a mutual friend now!) until they’re older, not that meeting someone at a bar is a bad thing, ijs) but you never, ever know. it’s been an interesting eight years, hasn’t it, honey? ever since i met holly, every day has been…an adventure. looking back, my life was in all blues and grays before i met you.  i love you, sweetheart. here’s to april 3! here’s to eight more years and eight years after that. here’s to forever. mmwah… ❤

chaos

great news for all lunch at 11:30 fans

i’ve started work on my memoir, which will essentially be my blog on steroids. only better. in chapters. maybe w/capital letters? names will be changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, as the case may be).

who will play me when it’s made into a movie?? she must be hott. and willing to kiss chicks. no jersey accent required. 😉

the camera doesn’t just add 10

it adds 20. srsly, ppl.

holly and i watched our wedding video for the first time last night. i’m not one that likes to even look at photos of herself, much less moving images. so let’s just say i wasn’t one of those recent brides who was bubbling over with excitement at the mere *thought* of watching her wedding video.

after viewing it in its entirety, i must say the following:

1. yes, the camera really does add 20. i’m not kidding. this must be why tv personalities are so skinny in real life. b/c if you’re, say, a normal, average-type weight (which i consider myself to be) you will no doubt look like a blimp on the tube.

2. boy i really looked like i was gonna throw up under the chuppah! (that’s the jewish marriage canopy; the couple stands under it during the marriage ceremony) also, my eyes were moving around a lot! i looked a little weird. but it could have been worse: i could have barfed. or fainted. which i didn’t. and for that i give myself three snaps in a z formation.

3. holly and i kept talking to each other during ceremonial things. what were we talking about?! ya got me. (tho, if memory serves me right, we were just trying to keep each other from aforementioned barfing and fainting.)

4. clearly i blanked out. from nerves, i suspect. b/c doggone it! all that stuff the rabbi was saying? yeah, totally forgot what she said. don’t even think i heard it in the first place. nice ceremony, tho!! glad i finally got to hear it!

5. we have good-looking friends!! haha! no, i knew that already. but all you guys, if you’re reading, you looked fabulous. really and truly.

6. for some reason, i didn’t realize the sheer mass of ppl dancing the horah with us and around us (that’s how us jews celebrate–we dance around and around in circles til we’re dizzy. then newlyweds are hoisted up on chairs and bounced around in the air by drunk ppl! i must say, i surprised myself by how much i enjoyed this!) holly and i were in the middle of the circle. then my mom and i linked arms and danced. and it’s funny, i mean, i knew there were ppl around us, but i was so focused on holly, then my mom, that i didn’t notice. our cameraman (our friend peter! hi pete!) must’ve stood up on a chair and he got this spectacular aerial view. and i was awestruck by all the friends circling around us. i mean, it was unbelievable. so much love, so much support. all these bodies and smiles swirling around and around us…finally seeing that on video was worth every wince of actually seeing myself on camera. it really was. thank you, wonderful friends, for surrounding us with so much love.

 happy friday, everyone!

unlawfully wedded

on saturday afternoon we got a phone call. holly picked up, and judging by her side of the conversation, it sounded like a survey. i was surprised when a) she didn’t hang up and even more when b) she handed me the phone.

“here,” she said with a shrug. “they want to talk to the second-oldest person in the household.”

intrigued, i got on the phone. turns out it was a maryland department of health & mental hygiene survey (i’ve always wondered about the term “mental hygeine,” (iJs) but anyway) about smoking and tobacco use. so i’m like, ok, this sounds totally legit and as a journalist, i’m down with helping out with statistical info. the survey lasted a while. maybe 10 or 15 minutes. at the end, she asked about my marital status. there were the usual choices, and i was like, in my most polite voice (yes, i can be polite) b/c this nice survey lady has nothing to do with the laws in maryland,

“well, i’m married. i mean, i just had a wedding a month ago. but in the eyes of the state, i’m not married. so yeah, i guess you’ll have to put me down as ‘single.'”

she was like, “oh.”

she put me down as unmarried but living w/someone or something.

honestly, it kinda stung. no, it definitely stung. it was a slap in the face from this state that i live in and that i bleed taxes to. like i said, i wasn’t mad at the nice survey lady, i was just irritated. that after a $XX-thousand-dollar wedding with a rabbi and 150 guests and a handmade wedding dress that i literally bled for (hey, those pins are sharp! ok, i’m being dramatic, but still) and family drama and wonderful best people (i.e. wedding attendents), i’m still considered “single” in the eyes of the state.

it didn’t get me down. i mean, my feathers were ruffled for a couple minutes but i got over it quickly. it just really irks me that i can’t get holly on my health insurance while she’s looking for a new job and we have to hire a lawyer to draw up power of attorney paperwork, etc. b/c G-d forbid anything happens to either one of us, we have no legal rights: can’t visit each other in the hospital, can’t make decisions for each other–nothing.

a couple weeks after the wedding, i joked to holly that we were “unlawfully wedded” and, truly, we are. i’m one of those ppl who jokes around about stuff to feel better, and joking around about our legal “marital status” makes it sting a little less, but it still sucks.

sorry to get all debbie downer on ya on a monday morning. other than that, we had a fabulous weekend.

friday night, we hung out w/some of our favorite boys (including two of my best ppl and closest friends andrew and john) for justin’s photography opening at tangysweet (GREAT YOGURT OMG). saturday night we went to prob. one of the best holiday parties *ever* at this venue called the elm–which is actually someone’s *house*–in baltimore’s hampden neighborhood. august and julie made this kickass winter wonderland backdrop for photos and we were all taking these funny prom-like pics in front of it. of course, the later it got, the sillier the pictures got. (see below!)

7055606926_orig

yesterday we bought all this fresh *pizza dough* at our fav little italian deli/grocery (more on that another day; omg. best. italian. place. ever.), went to the mawl to get a pizza stone with one of our wedding giftcards and holly proceeded to make some of the best pizza (w/homemade sauce, YES i married a fabulous cook) i’ve ever sunk my teeth into. this was all for our little ravens (baltimore) vs. steelers (pittsburgh, PEE-AY) get together last night (i will not publicly trash talk but let’s just say we were happy w/the outcome). in between all of that, my bookclub was treated to complimentary tix (thanks, renee!) to see “caroline or change” at baltimore’s centerstage, which was awesome. we took an informal survey and it turns out that, yup, we all cried. hey, us bmore bookclubbers may get loud sometimes (ok, all the time) but we’re big ol softies inside…