The Good News is the Cocaine Joke Seemed to Go Over Her Head

It’s officially Fall!  My favorite season!  And yet it’s still hovering around the high 80s/low 90s!  And I want to smack everyone who says “Ooh, it’s Fall!  Break out the scarves and boots!”  Look: just because the calendar says it’s a certain season doesn’t mean the weather has changed in the slightest.  If I wore tights and a sweater and a scarf and boots today I’d be melting.  Let’s all slow our roll here, mkay? 

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Speaking of scarves, I recently did a huge closet purge and reorganization, which felt great.  I can see what I own and putting outfits together is actually easier when I’m not bogged down by stuff I don’t like/don’t wear/doesn’t fit anymore.  It is also glaringly apparent that if Hoarders ever does an episode on scarves I would be first in line to be featured.  I got the idea from Pinterest to organize mine on shower curtain hooks and then hang them on a hanger, which I did (arranged by color, natch) and then the harsh reality that I own over two dozen scarves set in.  Ed pointed out that most of them are presents (thanks to my generous mom and husband, and a gifted stepmom who knits and needs to just open her own Etsy shop already), and that made me feel better but I think I need to make it clear this Christmas: no more scarves.  Unless someone wants to get me a yellow one since that’s the one color I don’t have.  SHUT UP IT’S A SICKNESS.

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This weekend I – along with two of my scarves – accompanied my mother-in-law to Sacramento to see my niece participate in the opening ceremony for the Tour of Gymnastics Champions.  We get along fine – great, really – but I was incredibly nervous about spending 2 hours alone in a car with her since there’s always been a buffer present in the event of verbal incontinence on my part.  Aside from making a joke about cocaine at lunch when she spilled a sugar packet all over the table, and almost accepting a dare from my niece to set off a fire alarm at Applebee’s while screaming “YOLO!” I think I did pretty well assuring her that while I may not have been what she envisioned for her son, she could have done worse.  At no point were we banned from or escorted out of the restaurant so I’d say we all came out ahead.  Also, the show itself was amazing and I welled up with tears of pride at the sight of my niece on the floor of the arena during her dance because I’M NOT MADE OF STONE, PEOPLE. 

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We have managed to figure out about 95% the holiday rotation for 2012 and it’s not even October and no one has freaked out (to my knowledge) and I’m a little afraid to jinx how easily decisions were made and agreed upon, but mostly I’m really super happy.  Is it perfect?  No.  Of course not.  Because to say “yes” to one set of family means saying “no” to several others and that sucks.  We like our family and it blows to see your parents disappointed.  Ah, adulthood… having to make rough decisions is the price we pay for being able to buy our own booze and blast Billy Squier as loud as we want, isn’t it?

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After spending the summer growing my hair a little longer I keep finding photos of women with adorable, chic bobs and now I’m thinking about cutting it shorter again at my upcoming appointment.  I know this isn’t interesting to anyone other than me, but if Ed ever needs to have me institutionalized I figure this can be evidence for the hearing.  Also, this will be my fifth stylist in the four years I’ve been living here so let’s hope I hit the jackpot this time.

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Name Game 2: Electric Boogaloo

Hey, remember when I got married almost two years ago and changed my name?  Or, to be more specific, hyphenated it, like the crazy neighbor in Uncle Buck?  Well, I’m now thinking about changing it again.  No, nothing bad has happened; I plan to stay married to Ed until the cold grip of death takes one of us or Jason Bateman is single, whichever comes first. 

There was a lot of back-and-forth on the name change issue while we were engaged, and I came to the hyphenation decision as a compromise.  If I were to have my way, I would have simply kept my own name (and would have let any future kids have Ed’s last name only), but it was important to Ed that his name (which is perfectly nice and lovely and not awful like Buttmunch or something) be in the mix somewhere so I put on my big girl panties and changed it.  It wasn’t a terribly difficult process and I did like that my initials stayed the same.  On a purely practical level, it was good to have my maiden name in there as I interviewed for jobs and reference and background checks were conducted.  While my name was obviously longer now, it all seemed to flow nicely.  Ed was happy, too.  Wins all around!

Except, well, it seems people can’t really handle this.  One of the names is routinely ignored (ie either I’m referred to as Christen DeFazio or Christen Ed’sLastName), even with people who have only known me with my hyphenated name.  Family members are totally confused; my father-in-law, either through misunderstanding or straight-up denial, is convinced that my maiden name is my middle name.  Even goddamn Facebook wouldn’t allow me to put a hyphen between the two names and flagged it as fake (fuck you, Zuckerberg!).  I know that convenience for others is a lame reason to switch my name for a second time in two years, but if I’m not being called by the correct name in the first place, then maybe it makes sense to lean into conforming.

This subject has always been somewhat complicated for me.  As someone who never planned to get married I never thought it would be an issue.  Once that changed and the topic came up, I think a lot of my hesitation to make any changes was partially due to all the changes happening in a relatively short period of time, and my brain’s inability to process it all.  Moving, getting married, and starting a new job all in a span of a few months AND I was expected to have my mind made up about my name when we applied for the marriage license?  GIVE A GIRL A BREAK.  Irionically, my own family’s thoughts  or feelings didn’t hold much weight for me.  My mom and I haven’t shared a last name since I was five, and my dad figured I’d change it.  Conversations with Ed from April 2010 to, oh, August of that year went something like this:

Me: “So, I really don’t want to change my name.  You can deal with that, right?”

Ed: “It’s just a name.  It doesn’t change who you are.”

Me: “Then WHY does it matter if I change it?”

Ed: “It’s tradition.  And I like the idea of us having the same name.”

Me: “Yes, the tradition of transferring ownership of a person from her father to her husband – delightful!*  And if it’s just a name, why don’t you change yours?  We’d have the same name.  Problem solved.”

Ed: “But I don’t want to change my name.”

Me: <Head Explodes>

And then there’s my stubborn streak: it was widely accepted that I would change my name and I didn’t like that people – some of them mere acquaintances I see once a year at a party – were making assumptions and offering unsolicited opinions (verdict: Yes, I should take Ed’s name as DeFazio is “too ethnic” and no, I don’t understand what the fuck “too ethnic” means).  Oh, you think you know what I should do?  BITCH YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.  Immature?  Possibly.  But obviously I got over it.  Oddly, the longer we were married and the more settled I was with all the crazy-making adjustments, the less freaked out I was about changing my name.  Yes, it’s weird to think about being known as a different person after more than 30 years, but there’s really no denying that my life is different – and great – whatever my name.

*I don’t think that women who choose to change their names are playing into the patriarchy, as there is an option there now that didn’t exist before.  I was just trying to win a fight.  Carry on, friends.

Not Like the Other Girls

Things Other People Seem to Love That I Don’t Get:

  • Engagement photos: I’ve seen some really nice, tasteful, normal ones and these aren’t the worst if you take a step back and go, “Hey, we have no sober pictures of the two of us.  Let’s fix that.”  But the overly contrived, matchy-outfit, stand-in-a-field-holding-hands shit?  I don’t get it.  Why so twee?  Just…get someone to take a photo where one of you isn’t smiling like Chandler. 
  • Declaring “I Want to Look Like a PRINCESS!” when dress shopping: For reals?  And you’re over the age of 11?  Interesting.  Tell me: does your fiance wear the same cologne as your dad? 
  • Pregnancy photos: Again with the oh-so-twee and precious stuff.  If I ever am pregnant and someone suggests a photo where Ed is cradling my stomach while we gaze into each other’s eyes?  Or worse:  HE’S KISSING MY BELLY?  No.  Do. Not. Want.  I might do it up Lemon style, just to fuck with people.
  • Overly dramatic gender reveals: Just fucking tell us what you’re having.  I mean really.  Do not try to sway me with “But there’s cake!” because I like cake but not when it’s used for evil.  People who do this probably got engaged via flash mob proposal that was uploaded to YouTube. 

Yes, I realize these are all wedding and baby related, and probably apply more to women than men, so I’ll understand if I need to turn in my ovaries.  And I’m also a huge hypocrite for judging people for being so wedding-baby-manic when I get annoyed that I am also judged for not fitting the mold.  I may be harsh but I’m not oblivious.

Summing Up Summer

I’m currently recovering from three consecutive booze-soaked, action-packed weekends away from home, so forgive me if I phone it in a little here.  Travel fatigue has set in and I’m amazed at how much bigger our bedroom looks without various suitcases strewn about because guess who’s too lazy to unpack and put stuff away between each trip?  Hi.

So, here’s how the Summer To Do List That Wasn’t Really a To Do List panned out:

  1. Host a backyard tea for my girlfriends and their daughters
  2. Host at least two more BBQs for no reason (ie not a birthday party/holiday)
  3. Take Molly to Bidwell Park
  4. Take our jeep to Bidwell Park and pack a picnic lunch
  5. Hit up Saturday Farmer’s Market
  6. Wander around Thursday Night Market and have a margarita at Tres Hombres
  7. BEERS ON THE PATIO AT SIERRA NEVADA
  8. Go to a Giants game.  Or as many as humanly possible
  9. Meet up with the fam at Raley Field for a River Cats game
  10. Southern CA trip
  11. Napa with the Walkers
  12. Find a yoga class I like and get into a routine
  13. Write two blog posts a week
  14. Take Bubba back-to-school shopping for first grade.  Try not to break down in hysterical sobs over how fast he’s growing up.
  15. Keep my calla lilies alive
  16. Steal our nieces for a weekend and show them around town and the university so they will go to school here  (You think I’m kidding but I’m not)
  17. Grow my hair just a teensy bit longer, and don’t give in to the temptation to chop it all off
  18. Organize the kitchen drawers AND YES I REALIZE THIS IS BY FAR THE LAMEST THING EVER but damn – we need to do some purging/organizing before the holidays are upon us
  19. Get errands and chores done on Friday so we can enjoy our weekend and maybe do some of the above
  20. Take the “write a book” idea seriously, and come up with an outline

So, yeah, it was a pretty great summer and even though I only hit about 50% of my non-to do list it feels like we really embraced every opportunity for fun and made plans without sacrificing spontaneity.  What more could I ask for?  Other than sleep, I mean.  Sleep sounds amazing right now.