Tag Archives: wedding

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


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.


wedding photos!!!

what you’ve all been waiting for! (us, too!) i haven’t seen all of ’em yet, just what our ridiculously awesome photog posted to her blog. but here’s a few of my favs:















i promise, there’s more to come. my goal is to walk you thru the day with photos and text. jaime (our photographer) wrote the most beautiful recap of the day here, under the heading “love conquers all.” and honestly, i think it does. even as our economy kind of, well, collapses (and we’re suffering from that, too) and our one-day plans to go to cali and “make it legal” sort of, yeah, also collapsed, we need to remember how important our loved ones are in our lives. i feel so blessed to have found someone to love me unconditionally–despite all of my neurosis (oh, and i have many) and my headaches and my occasional (maybe more than occasional?) badass jersey ‘tude–for the rest of my life. the great news is that our lives are just getting started. with holly by my side, i’m so much stronger–so much. we will take on this world together.

happy friday, everyone!! here’s to a restorative weekend. i think we could all use one of those.

dear grandma,

it’s been a long time since we talked, and i never thought i’d be writing you a letter like this, much less posting it on the internet. hopefully you’ll read it. i don’t know if they have internet access in heaven, but i have a hunch you have pretty much everything you’d ever want at your fingertips, at least that’s what i imagine…

grandma, i don’t know if you’ve heard the news up there (is there a family newsletter in heaven?) but i’m getting married soon, in just a couple weeks. back when i was in middle school and high school, and more so in college, you used to always tell me i’d meet a prince.

“jessie, you’re gonna find a prince, lemme tell you,” you ‘d say in between our collective slurps of chicken soup or sips of coffee in your cozy apartment.  “a prince, i tellya. you just wait.”

i waited. and waited. and you were right. except i didn’t find a prince. i found holly. we found each other. she understands me better than anyone. i’m crazy about her, and i know you’d love her, grandma. and i know she’d love you. eight years later and i still talk about you constantly. i feel like she knows you already.

grandma, i can’t help but to think that it’s a shame you don’t know me now. i’m all grown up. i mean, you’d be almost 100 by now. and miserable, i’m sure, as you never intended on hitting 91 anyway. you used to always say, what am i good for? i’m so old, jessie, i’m so old, i’m no good for anything. i used to tell you, grandma! what are you talking about?! you’re so important to me, you don’t even know. and you didn’t know. but maybe you know now? your absence has left a hole in my heart a mile wide. i don’t know if you know it up there in heaven, but all these years later, i still ache for you as much as i did that summer morning in august 2000 when a phone call let me know–still in bed, my feet cold as ice–that you had left us, quietly, peacefully, in your sleep. only a few months, it felt like, after i called you on new year’s eve (you always were a night owl) and shouted, “YOU MADE IT!” into the phone. b/c, born in 1909, you never thought you’d make it and you totally did. and we laughed and laughed and hung up, both of us still laughing.

grandma, you were my best friend. and each day that passes, i see it and feel it even more. you were my rock in the storm, always ready with a dismissable hand wave for my enemies (“aahhh, who needs em!” you’d say with the force of a thousand north jersey grandmas), a hot drink, a piece of fruit, a fresh package of lox, some grapes (“ten,” you’d tell me. “only eat ten or you’ll get a bellyache!”), an espisode of the golden girls (oh, how we loved those! esp. when blanche’s balloon boobs popped! remember that??), a story to distract me from my worries, which seemed so large back then. looking back on it now, you never belittled them, you never made me feel bad.

there’s so much i want to write here about you for the world to see. all the things i miss about you. like how you used to kiss my feet as a little girl, and tell me about it as i grew up. “you know i used to kiss your feet?” you’d recount, laughing, picking up my tiny feet when i was still a kid. “eecch!” you’d laugh, making pretend you were grossed out. how we used to secretly hold hands in the backseat (i was always stuck in the middle of the family car on long drives and you must’ve known how i hated it). i miss your hands. so strong, stiff when you got old, but strong, always strong withbeautiful rings and so good to cook with. i miss all your hats, oh you always looked so gorgeous in your hats! some red, some green, blue and black and magenta, wearing them so well and so elegantly when we went to shul together…i always felt so proud by your side. i miss your cooking, your chicken soup (which i’m still trying to replicate), your thinly sliced sweet & sour meat (the “sweet” was sweet & low, i realize now and that fact makes me miss it even more). i miss the smells wafting out of your closed apartment door on the third floor–they’d tickle my nose before i even stepped out of that rickety old elevator (that i still have nightmares about getting stuck in to this day even tho we never actually got stuck in it–but we did have some close calls!). i miss you yelling at me that using a blowdryer on my hair every day would ruin it (you were right) and also that i ought to stop using all that other “crap” and just use dove soap b/c it’s the best thing for my skin (right again; i use it every day). i miss you yelling at us that we took away the only thing good left in your life (you were always dramatic, miss that, too), which, of course, was smoking unfiltered pall malls. (how you managed to keep your lungs clear remains a mystery to me, but i think it has a little to do withthe fact that you never breathed in the smoke in the first place, just in your mouth and out your nose for 65+ years) i miss you stealing everything salty that you weren’t supposed to have b/c of your high blood pressure–olives and pickles, mostly–off my plate at jersey diners. i miss splitting enormous, sweet-but-not-too-sweet cheese danishes withyou at those diners. i miss the way you used to look at me across those tables as i grew up. with so much love. like you couldn’t believe your eyes that i was growing up. and i wish you could see me soon, so soon, in my wedding dress. i wish so badly i could see your eyes looking into my eyes as i prepare to start a whole new chapter in my life.  

grandma, i knew i was gay a long time ago. when you died, i’m sure you found out everything quickly and i’ve been secretly relieved that i never had to actually tell you. my mom and uncle tell me that you and grandpa would be happy for me. that even tho grandpa was a rabbi, he could see thru all of society’s ridiculousness to the core of everything: that i’m happy. that i’ve found someone to make me happy forever. that two ppl that love each other makes the world better. uncle ben, your remaining baby brother, was going to come up from florida to the wedding, but he hasn’t been feeling well lately (he is pushing 90 afterall) and i couldn’t wait to see him. i figured he’d be your ambassador–and plus he looks just like you. now that he’s not coming, all i’ll have is your memory. but i’mquite certain you’ll be there with me.

i don’t really know how to close out this letter. it’s not often that i write a letter to someone who’s not here anymore. in fact, i’ve never done it before. i guess i want to ask you to bless us with a long, full, happy and healthy life together. to keep an eye on us from your perch in heaven, and know that i still love you as much as i did back then, that i love you even more now. that in my happiest and darkest moments i think of you and know that you’re watching over me. that if i could wish for anything, anything at all, it would be just five more minutes with you. just one more chance to kiss your soft cheek, one more chance to hold your sturdy hands, one more chance to stand next to you in services, just one more cup of coffee, one more golden girls laugh, one more argument, one more phone call making up, one more danish. one more anything. grandma, i miss you. please know how important you were to me back then. please know how important you still are to me. please know that an ‘old lady’ like you could have never imagined how much you did in the world when you were in it. and that you will be in my heart nov. 15th, my wedding day. and you will be in it always.

i love you,
your granddaughter,

my grandmother died in august 2000. she was my best friend.

baltimore is actually a pretty exciting place to live right now

i never thought i’d ever think those words, let along write them, but dogNABBIT that michael phelps has this place brimming w/Phelps Phever! we’re on the Today show! we’re in the national papers! i keep thinking, he’s from HERE! i cannot believe he’s from here. despite my decision that baltimore is, thus far and by far, the downright smelliestplace i’ve ever lived (between the stankfest that is the Inner Harbor, spice plants, random factories and mounds of steaming craaaabs every which way you turn, jersey ain’t got NOTHIN on baltimore. and btw, totally don’t think jersey deserve all those smelly jokes just b/c of one stinky spot on the nj turnpike. but i will get to all this on another day in another entry), i must admit that i’ve been feeling a surprising surge of bmore pride, and i gotta say, i like it.

in other news–BFGW (Big Fat Gay Wedding) news, i should say–i had a complete meltdown saturday in the midst of hunting for just the right material for my dress. i mean, i’m already clueless about this stuff as is, but the fact that the guy at the fabric store was MEAN to me didn’t help matters! there i was, in the middle of bumblef*ck as far as i’m concerned, looking for this that and the other thing, already feeling insecure…by the time i left, i was in tears and on the verge of a LBS (low blood-sugar) meltdown. in fact, i couldn’t even get to my dressmaker w/out stopping for nourishment. the fabric turned out to be all wrong. so i had to bring it back for an exchange (yes, they already love me there), then go back to the dressmaker, then go to joann’s fabric, then go back to the dressmaker. all the while JULIE (that’s what holly and i have named the “lady” inside our sony GPS) was shouting at me TURN RIGHT! TURN LEFT! TURN YOU IDIOT TURN! no, actually, she wasn’t. but she was confusing me and probably getting mad b/c i’m a crappyass driver. but, julie, please don’t be mad. b/c i would literally be lost w/out you. like, literally.

anyway, b/c i am neurotic and stress over everything [oh yeah, and have i mentioned the freakish eye twitchi’ve developed?? (from stress, i’m sure) so while it may seem like i’m winking at you, i’m probably not. or am i?? (insert Dr. Evil pinky-on-corner-of-mouth)] i wound up giving myself a headache. holly took me to a dark pub to calm me down with draft cider and delicious fried foods but i could barely eat or drink and only wound up getting worse, collapsing into bed at something crazy like 6 p.m.

sunday wasn’t much better, i’m afraid, but i’m happy to report that i’m much better now, esp. after a nice round of md. state lottery SCRATCH-OFFs at the local 7-11 (or “Sevs,” as we call it in jersey). i’m afraid i’m addicted to these lately. i mean *something* has to pay for this wedding, right?? (jk jk…wait? no, totally jk, but an extra 10 grand or so would def. help) i’m one of those crazys who, as soon as she wins $2 or $10 or whatever, runs right back into the store to get something like 10 more. c’mon ppl! i barely drink, don’t smoke, do drugs, am responsible to the core, really. so i like a few scratch-offs now and then! so what if i stumble outta Sevs smellin like a deep fried taquito rolled in a hot dog rolled in doritos. (i actually do smell like that at the moment.) siiiigh. no, you’re right. that is the smell of a gambling addict. breathe it in and do as i say (LAY OFF THE SCRATCH-OFFs) not as i do (sit in your car mumbling “big money big money,” covered in silvery scratch-off dust). haha. just made myself crack up. hey, something’s gotta cheer me up on a monday.

what did the russian dressmaker say to the gay jew?

wait, um. lemme guess! w-w-w-wait! i, ummmm….don’t….i don’t know! tell me tell me!

sorry to disappoint’cha, but that joke doesn’t have a punchline b/c that joke is my life. (and no, silly! i’m not the russian dressmaker! i’m the gay jew!!! you so crazy!)

yesterday was my appointment to get measured for my wedding dress [yes, the Big Fat Gay Wedding (which will be referred to, upon second reference from this point on, as BFGW)]. it will be made from scratch by a lovely dressmaker (recommended by a particularly faaaabulous newscaster) who hails from belarus(say: bella-ROOS) (which, i mean, isn’t really russia, right? but they’re pretty close and hell! it’s so much easier to just say “russian dressmaker” than, uh, “belaru…belaroooooosian (??) dressmaker,” yes?) and works in the armpit that is the baltimore ‘hood of pikesville (sorry if any of my readers are from pikesville, but i just can’t deal w/the place. it’s like walking out of north jersey hebrew school circa ’88 to meet my mom in the carpool line except not quite as many beemers and ‘benzes and oh yeah! we had a buick w/baaaaad squeaky breaks back then and a hand-me-down-car before that we called “the green tank.”have i mentioned hebrew school seriously scarred me? like, the girls from north caldwell(home to tony and carmela soprano’s actualhouse) wouldn’t talk to me for weeks until i had my mom buy me white keds. more on that another day. *shudder*).

but anyway, i digress. the reason why there’s no punchline is that i was scared to tell her i’m having a same-sex wedding. this is very rare for me, as i generally am pretty open (read: “mypartnerhollythis, mypartnerhollythat“) w/the gay stuff. but i am so desperate to have this perfect perfect dress (YES I’M WEARING A DRESS TO MY BFGW, NOT A TUX, PPL, A DRESS) and i can’t get myself to jeopardize it. so when she asked me in her russian (belaroooooosian?) accent, “is that where’s he’s from?” [“he” meaning my fiance, errr, holly. (um, henry??)] i really and truly didn’t know what to say. i kinda felt like the wind was knocked outta me. she asked when i was explaining that i lived in d.c. before baltimore. (i know, not the most exciting conversation, but gimme a break; i was topless, nervous and covered in measuring tape) i was like, “um, no, pennsylvania.” then she asked where “he” lives now, and i said, “we live in baltimore.” and she paused and said, “oh, so you live together.” now, i don’t claim to be an expert in the nuances of human conversation or anything, but i think she seemed surprised. and if she’s surprised that we live together (own a home together, even), well then i think i shouldn’t bring up the whole actually-i’m-not-marrying-a-man-actually-it’s-a-wo-man thing just yet. notsomuch. (but i plan to tell her once we’re underway, and i’ll bet money that i’m misjudging her.)

so the measuring went well, i think. then we (dressmaker, her assistant and i) all went to joann fabric up the road in owings mills, and she proceeded to demonstrate the importance of squeezing the material to make sure it doesn’t get easily wrinkled. (“since you’ll be getting up and sitting down and getting up,” she explained.) i felt really cool going around this otherwise lame suburban fabric store w/these two dressmakers who were going on and on about mysterious dressmaking things in a language i couldn’t understand. i also was overcome by the feeling that i was (am) in such good hands.

when i was gearing up to leave, she gave me the nicest hug and i swear i felt like breaking down into tears right there. i was like, “thank you so much for taking care of me. my mom’s up in new jersey and…” (lump in throat) and she was like, with the nicest twinkle in her eye, “don’t worry. i take care of you.”