Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Bronx Zoo

A colleague called me on Thursday to tell me that her sister just got engaged and was beginning her search for a locale for the event. After seeing my wedding photo slide show, this colleague didn't hesitate before recommending the Bronx Zoo!

I confess that a part of me felt sad - I wanted to go back and do it all again. (Okay, not all of it, but most of it.) Of course, it also prompted me to recall that we get a free pass for a full year after our event to visit our lemur friends (and the ever-elusive, yet super-cute xiǎo xióng māo (red panda)), and I must take advantage! It was this time last year when we first visited the hall and decided to book it. It was snowing and freezing cold, which happily meant we were practically the only people there (a rarity anywhere in New York City).

It was also on the snow-drenched bridge that I realized: I had fought so long against the idea of "marriage," but I was finally ready for it: my favorite day of the year (Oct. 23) fell on a Saturday, one of my favorite places in the world (the zoo) had just opened a new event hall, and my favorite person (my now-husband) were all waiting for me - everything as aligned and all I had to do was embrace it. And, so, I did.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miss America

Last night we were persuaded to watch the Miss America Pageant. Needless to say, my vow to stop drinking this month came to an abrupt, and necessary, end. I couldn't have made it through such a display without something quashing the fire in the pit of my stomach.

You see, our friend (Dr. Beeyul) is in town and, as he is the voice teacher for Miss Tennessee, we watched in support of him and his blond behemoth. It humbles me, but I have to admit it was awesome entertainment.

First, there is the whole: "What-the-hell! I-can't-believe-this-parade-of-human-flesh-still-exists-AND-they-claim-it's-for-scholarship-money-when-these-bitches-can-CLEARLY-afford-tuition!" factor. (Or, as my husband stated: the human equivalent to the Westminster Dog Show.) It's a car crash from which one cannot avert her eyes.

Second, there is the "talent" portion - and, yes, I put that in quotes. Now, our small audience consisted of 1 current professional opera / music theater singer (and doctorate of music), 3 former professional opera singers, and me, a former professional music theater singer/dancer.

That being said, we gave them major credit for performing on national television, but COME ON! The highlights:
  • Miss Washington - whiter than the collective mass of bleached teeth during the opening number - screeched her way through the Motown soul song "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," as made famous by the The Temptations. Seriously.

  • Miss Arizona sphincter-blinked her way through "Nessun Dorma,"which takes a big ol' pair, seeing as it was the Pav who first rocked it, and then Aretha who, with 30 minutes of preparation, wailed the hell out of it at the Grammy's when the Pav was too ill to perform. Geez, Miss Arizona needs to choose more appropriate material.

  • Miss Delaware blatantly ripped of the choreography from one of the worst/best movies ever produced (and one of my all-time favorites) — "Center Stage" (see Television Without Pity for the best recap of this righteously awful flick). Only it lacked heart, vivacity, and any semblance of technique.
This talent portion confuses me. Granted, I haven't seen the Miss America Pageant since 1996 when a college classmate was Miss Vermont; however, I would imagine that most of these women are 'career' pageant performers, so it's perplexing that they are so terrible. It's as if they targeted one thing they can do with basic aptitude and proceeded to pass it off as though they have been doing it their whole lives (as the childhood photos displayed behind them would suggest). It was just shameful, until...

Miss Arkansas busted out two dummies and yodeled the bejusus out of some cowgirl tune. We rewound and watched it 4 times. Hell, I wish we had DVR'd at this house, 'cuz I'd be watching it right now. It was the freakiest thing I have seen in a while and she deserved to win but, alas, she lost to Miss Nebraska. So disappointing.

My husband and his brother, raised in Iowa, are still reeling over Miss Iowa's introduction: "Leading the state in ethanol production, my state gives you gas." Freakin' sweet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Get Wed by Fred in the New Year!

So, we spent New Year's Eve at a good friend's house whereby I met a lovely couple from Ireland, who have been dating for 4.5 years. I tell you this because I was instructed by the young woman not to tell her beau that I had been in a relationship for 13 years before getting married. It seems that she would like to get engaged in the near future and this bit of information would serve as encouragement for her man to avoid asking. And, so, I've learned that I am a blight on all single women looking to marry.

Anyway, after being asked several questions about our wedding (and hearing praise for how fun it was), I basked in the glow of once again being the bride. I never thought in a million years I would say this, but I missed it. Now, I could say it's because I'm the youngest of six kids and tend toward narcissism, but that's not true. (At least not in this instance.) I just have such great memories of the day and realize that as we get farther away from October 23rd, there will be fewer opportunities to talk about it. It will be less newsworthy.

Anyway, this reminded me that I still have work to do in the wedding lovefest arena and, so, today I will rave about my brother-in-law, Fred, who officiated...

One of the things were adamant about was having someone we knew marry us. We felt that getting married is an intimate event and, therefore, did not want a stranger standing in front of us and our family & friends purporting to know us. Armed with Google, we learned that one can become an ordained minister - free of charge - through the Universal Life Church. Then, for a fee of $15, one can register as a wedding officiant with the NYC City Clerk's office, which starts with an online (or mailed) application and then a visit to the office during business hours.

That's all it took! So, we asked Fred, who is ultra-cool and possesses a PhD in religion to preside. I cobbled together a ceremony (God bless the Internet!) while Fred composed a fun sing-a-long as an opener and - badda boom, badda bing - we had one hell of a wedding ceremony. It was, without a doubt, the best decision we made. For weeks afterward we received a ton of inquiries about the awesome "priest" who married us. Fred did an amazing job and, two months later, we still have the refrain from his sing-a-long stuck in our heads:

"Hurry up, we're going to the zoo, let's not rush 'I do, I do'!"

Best. Song. Ever.