Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview Faux Pas

I'd like you to meet a few people whom I will not be hiring.

The Deer In The Headlights
This candidate sounded perfectly confident during her initial telephone interview, but when she got into my office she froze up like a frightened rabbit. She sat perfectly still with her knees pressed together, her shoulders slightly hunched, and her hands in her lap. Only her eyes moved slightly. She had great experience, but our rougher patients can smell that kind of fear. They would eat her in one gulp.

The Mumbler
Mumbling is not a good activity in an interview. It's especially bad if you have an accent.*  I have a pretty good ear for accents. I missed 10 - 20% of what this candidate said while straining with all my might to understand, which means that the average person would probably miss at least 50%. The department I manage is all about communication skills. Next candidate, please.

The Gum-Chewer
If you caught my tweet a couple of weeks ago about a gum-chewing job applicant, this wasn't her. I had a second gum-chewing interviewee within two weeks. What is it with these girls? Doesn't anyone teach them basic manners? I might have let that go if everything else about her was excellent, but I sussed out from her attitude and some of her answers that she might be a little lazy too. I like employees who are self-motivating. NEXT!

The Day-Dream Believer
Such a sweet lady, with a genuine smile, and living in an absolute fog. Her resume looked great. I called her and set an interview date. Two days later our ad ran in the newspaper a second time, and she sent me another resume. Clearly she wasn't keeping track of which jobs she'd already applied to. That didn't look good, but anyone can make a mistake, so I kept the interview. This woman couldn't give me one straight answer. She'd get to talking and go off on tangent after tangent, rarely providing the actual information I was looking for. Thank you for coming. Don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.

The Bearer of Broken Dreams
This candidate left the administrative field to follow her dream career. Since the recession hit, the dream dried up and withered away. She had all the qualifications and qualities that I was looking for in an employee, except enthusiasm for the position. She was very obviously disappointed to be back in the administrative field, and the signs of her glum bitterness showed through her professional veneer. I'm sorry for her loss. But I don't want that negativity in my department. There are plenty of people who would be excited to have the job, and I'll be happy to give it to one of them.

Mrs. Right
I think I've actually found her. If all goes well I'll be able to offer her a position very soon.

*Edited to add:  I don't want anyone to think that I'm xenophobic.  Just to be clear, 50% of my current staff have accents, relative to common speech in Toronto.  Also, Mrs. Right has an accent.  I'm not against accents, so long as there is no mumbling to complicate the picture.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grace In Small Things #15

1) Smooshy infant faces.
At the church nursery, I was put in charge of a four-week-old boy. He slept in his carseat for most of the 1.5 hour service. But every once in a while, bravely fighting the huge gravitational pull of sleep, he'd drag his eyes open and take a peek at the world. As he was drifting in and out of consciousness, emotions flickered across his face. Sometimes he pursed his lips like he was trying to whistle. Other times he'd worry up his almost-bald eyebrows into a frown. I soothed him by rocking his carseat, and was greatly relieved that he didn't wake up and cry. I would have had to call on an experienced mom to deal with the whole properly-supporting-his-head and mind-his-little-fontanelle business.

2) Squirrel boobs.
In High Park I was approached by a Mama Squirrel. She had either recently given birth or was about to, because she was looking rather large around the middle, and also she had a very prominent rack. Normally squirrel boobs aren't noticable, which is why I assume she was nursing. I didn't have any nuts to offer her, nor any squirrel-sized, eight-cupped supportive undergarments. She eventually turned and made her way back up a tree, to where I imagine she had made a her home, complete with a tiny teapot and hand-crocheted tea cozy, a weeny needlepoint sampler on the wall saying "Bless This Home with Nuts", and a four-poster-bed with a patchwork quilt. And six to eight little cribs for her babies, who would be wearing pink or blue bonnets, as the case may be.

3) Fearless birds.
There were many beautiful birds in High Park, including some who were particularly fearless. They were brownish, and larger than the sparrows. They thought nothing of flying right past my face, or settling down to sing on a tree branch within a few feet of me. I could have hung out and watched these birds for hours.

4) My mother, dancing.
My mother turned 65 yesterday. On Sunday evening I went to her house to take care of a few things before we went out for dinner. (She's still afraid to change her printer cartridge by herself, but we're working on it.) I brought a CD I made for her with some of her favourite pop hits from the '80's. She likes Huey Lewis and the News, Billy Joel, and Doug and the Slugs. I put it on and skipped through the tracks so that she could hear what she had. She threw up her hands and shook her hips, dancing in the kitchen while the cats looked on in complete confusion.

5) Best friends.
The woman who was my best friend in grade school is coming to Toronto with her husband and three kids in June. It doesn't matter how long it's been since we've seen each other. It's always like we just spoke yesterday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grace In Small Things #14

1) Zaidy seems to be stable. He eats on his own now - mush only, but he can manhandle his own spoon. Also, last time I saw him he had shoes on; the nurses are making him stand up to get into his wheelchair instead of using the mechanized sling-lift. He's not talking much, but if I give him the "thumbs up", he'll give me two thumbs up too.

2) I broke the database today, but I got it fixed before anyone else suffered the consequences. Thank you, smart helpdesk guys!

3) The database broke me. The stress of this week piled up. The last straw was an angry boss - angry because he couldn't reach me while I was tied up on the line for over 20 minutes with tech support trying to fix the catastrophe caused by one wrong butterfingers click. I called Ken, and when he heard my voice cracking he insisted on coming to my office just to give me a hug and tell me how much he loves me.

4) Long weekends (Monday was Victoria Day in Canada) are followed by short weeks.

5) Long days. Walking home in the setting sun after 8:30 in the evening. New leaves. Kids on trikes with plastic streamers flying from the handlebars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Joyful Sound

Music plays a big role at my church. We sing, then there are announcements. We sing more, and then there's the offering. Then more singing. Then the children's story, singing, the sermon, more singing, a final word, and more singing.

You'd think that we'd have top-notch musicians to lead us, given how central it is to the structure of the service. You'd be wrong.

Unfortunately there don't seem to be many people with the time and skills to lead musically. Occasionally we get a pianist who can get the whole crowd clapping with his lively Southern gospel style. (He tells us: "Put a little shoulder into it!") Once a month the kids from the English-speaking-Korean-church come to let us enjoy the fruits of their many hours of private music lessons. But the rest of the time it's a bit of a dog's breakfast.

The standard ensemble includes a guy bashing away on a drum kit, a flautist whom you can barely hear, a pianist (whom I cannot find fault with), a bass guitarist who is always off the beat, and a random selection of singers with varying levels of skill. It's music, but I would describe it as dutiful, rather than beautiful.

A friend of mine, call him J., was aware of the trouble the church was having in the music department, so he was brave enough to volunteer to lead a "worship group" - the churchy equivalent of a band. He was aware of my musical background, so I was recruited to the cause.

My musical background consists of around 3 or 4 years of piano lessons in grade school, 4 years of violin in high school (which was 20 years ago), and some passable singing skills. I don't have a beautiful voice. I can stay on key and on tempo, and I can read music well enough to fake my way through songs that I don't know, sort of.

As some of you know, I picked up the violin again a couple of months ago, but I have practiced all of four times, due to being busy with wedding stuff. Trust me - I'm not ready to perform publicly on this instrument.

So I get this e-mail last week, informing me that we are leading worship on Sunday and we should get together and practice. The group has never met before in any capacity. The only time that everyone is free to practice together is on Saturday night for 2.5 hours. Um, hello, do you think that's a little last minute, maybe? But what can we do? If that's how it is, that's how it is. I'm game to give it a shot.

We had our practice, and it went decently, I suppose. But the next morning during the service, what a mess! I guess some of us were more nervous than others. There was a pianist, a guitarist, a bass guitar, and three singers. No conductor. No percussion. That was our big downfall. The tempo was all over the place. The three musicians could not seem to sync up. The bass guitar would lag behind and then rush to catch up. The guitar would miss a strum and get confused. The pianist tried her best to adjust, but it was hopeless. We galumphed bravely through to the end.

I have to take my share of the responsibility. I did my best, but that was far from perfect. I sang too quietly but too close to the microphone, I found out later. I didn't know the songs as well as the others (since I've only been going to church since last August), so I hit a few wrong notes. Also, since we had lyrics sheets instead of sheet music I kept messing up how long I was suppose to hold each note. Was "blessing" sung as two eighth notes or two sixteenth notes? Or a note would be held for a long time and I wouldn't make it all the way to the end because I hadn't budgeted my air for that much sound. Fortunately the two other singers were much more experienced and louder, so I don't think my little flubs made too much difference in the overall disaster of things.

A lot of folks came up to us after and said "It was a good start!" They are so kind. Half-a-dozen people said to me "It was good to see you up there!" No one said it was good to hear me up there. Huh. Well, we'll have to work on it. Next time we'll plan for more practices, and more organization. We also have a couple of leads on potential drummers. In the meantime I'll be driving my neighbours crazy singing along with worship songs on YouTube, trying to improve my vocal stylings. Be very, very glad you don't live next to me!

(I'll be practicing my violin too.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Wedding Day Part 2

The Wedding Day Part 1 is here.

When we arrived at the church, everything was as it should be. The lovely, elderly woman who had volunteered to prepare tea and coffee for our reception was puttering around in the Fellowship Hall. There were several large, stainless-steel urns making loud bubbling and blurping noises. All the paper plates, napkins, etc. had been set out the night before by Ken and I. Our good friends J. and K. (a couple engaged to be married soon themselves) were ushering guests into the auditorium.

I have to pause here and say how grateful I am to the woman who made the tea. This is how sweet people are at our church: she hadn't even been introduced to us, but when she saw the announcement of our upcoming nuptials in the church bulletin she immediately called the pastor to volunteer her services. Words fail me here. How many people would step up with an offer like that for a couple they had never met? Would you? Would I?

I puttered around in the Fellowship Hall while the auditorium filled up, periodically stepping out of my shoes to rest my feet. After having been on my feet for over an hour at the Allan Gardens photo shoot, my toes were in pain. Shape of shoes: triangular. Shape of feet: rectangular. Ow.

Pretty soon I got my cue. Go time! The pianist played, the doors swung open, and all heads turned to watch the wedding party walk up the aisle.

We had arranged our wedding with the elder of the two pastors at our church. He's a white haired, bearded gentleman with a peaceful demeanor, somewhat reminiscent of Santa Claus. We had had several meetings to go over what he might say during the ceremony, and to clarify which vows we wanted.

Ken and I both agreed that we wanted traditional vows. Pastor B. offered us a few different wordings of traditional-style vows, and we selected one. Ken requested one change: instead of "for all the days of our lives" he wanted to say "until death do us part". He's hardcore like that, and I guess I am too because I agreed.

We'd gone back and forth with the pastor on the vows, not because we couldn't make up our minds, but because he kept getting the different vows confused. We'd say "OK, we agreed on Vow A" and he'd come back to us three days later saying "I'm just confirming that you wanted Vow B" and we'd have to go over it all again. Each time he forgot which vows we wanted he offered us a different alternate. That morning, I said to Ken "I think we might get random vows today." He agreed that it was likely. Oh well, what can you do?

However, Pastor B. got the vows right, and all was well.

Then Pastor K. stepped up to speak. Yes, we had both pastors at the wedding. Pastor K. had asked if he might be there to say a few words and support us. Again with the volunteers! Of course, we were happy to have him participate. The more the merrier.

Pastor K. said a few things about the sanctity of marriage and this and that. I was having a little trouble concentrating because my feet were distracting me. He was all "On this most important, momentous day in your relationship" and I was busy fidgeting my toes, which had gone numb inside my pointy shoes.

What was that he was saying as I tried to work some circulation back into my poor pinky toe? "So many marriages end in divorce. Half of all marriages!" I thought to myself: why are we talking about divorce NOW of all times? Come on, not now! He had my attention. Then he went on a bit about how divorce was all Satan's fault, and I squirmed inwardly as I thought of all my atheist/agnostic/new age friends sitting in the pews. Pastor K. is a bit of a Bible-thumper, and he was getting revved up.

"What are they thinking?" I wondered. If it were me a couple of years ago in their shoes, I'd be rolling my eyes. Fortunately Pastor K. wrapped up his preaching in fairly short order, reminding us to centre our lives on Jesus to guarantee the success of our marriage. I could go for that.

We exchanged rings, kissed, signed the register and phew! We were done! Pastor B. introduced us as a married couple. "...until one of them lovingly lays the other back into the earth." In the moment after he said that I felt profoundly sad, and very impacted by the reality of the vows we had just made. But there was no time to dwell on it. Much more urgently, it was time for cake.

Around 50 people poured into the Fellowship Hall. There was much hugging, kissing, handshaking, and chatter. The piano player livened up the atmosphere. The cake and two tarts were cut and eaten. The guestbook was signed.

The only two people who didn't bother to greet Ken and I along the receiving line were my new mother-in-law and younger brother-in-law. Yeah. I don't know what their problem was. They both avoided me until I went to each of them to say hello. A small sour blot on an otherwise perfect day.

At 4:45 pm the last folks were saying their goodbyes. By 5:00 pm Ken and I thanked our tea and cake volunteers once again, and headed out. The perfect weather had lasted until just about the time that our reception ended. As we left, the wind picked up, the clouds rolled in, and rain wasn't very far behind. But we'd had our perfect wedding day. What more could we have asked for?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Zaidy Update and More

When I saw my Zaidy on Sunday, I thought it might be for the last time. I went home and left messages for some of my family members to let them know how sick he appeared to be.

The next day a bunch of them got together and went to visit him. And guess what? He wasn't exactly fine, but relative to how he had been with me, he was pretty hunky dory. Or so I'm told.

Sitting in a reclining wheelchair, he spoke a few words to them. But more importantly, he wasn't coughing. At all. There were no incidents involving phlegm. No hospital gowns or gloves required. This wasn't even 24 hours after my visit, during which he seemed to be poised at death's door. My father said that Zaidy was the best he's seen him yet, since the stroke.

I'm glad that Ken was with me on Sunday, because otherwise I might have questioned my own sanity. How was it that Zaidy was pretty good on Saturday, coughing up a lung on Sunday, and fine again on Monday? I don't get it. I guess he had a spell of... something. I could consider it bad timing that I was there when he was at his worst, or I could be grateful that I was there when he was most in need of support. I'm trying for the latter. (The less mature part of me is feeling so emotionally yanked around right now that I have to fight some resentment towards the situation.)

Most importantly, he's feeling much better, and that's awesome. Literally. Here's something to ponder: Ken and I prayed for Zaidy during our hour-long visit and when we got home. Could it be that his speedy recovery from the mysterious symptoms was in answer to our prayers?

As for myself, I have to confess: I've been better. My physical health is OK (for which I am grateful, after being coughed on by Zaidy, including definitely feeling something wet land in my left eye. Thank God for my immune system). But for the last couple of weeks, I've been fighting the blues.

Basically I crashed after the wedding. I got sick with an infection. Then as soon as I got better from that I went through two days of pain, for which, as you may know, I can't take any pharmaceutical remedies. Then work got really crazy, which I can't blog about, but trust me - I was in a state of high anxiety last week. And of course throughout it all I've been worried about Zaidy.

I've been trying to keep my chin up. I've been diligently listening to inspirational podcasts every morning while I do my stretches and hand weights. I've been making sure I don't let my self-grooming lapse. But despite my best intentions, the symptoms are all there.

Appetite much reduced. Trouble sleeping. The urge to isolate myself. Fatigue. And my face just doesn't want to smile as readily as usual. Basically it all adds up to that old pest, depression.

It'll never be as bad as it was before I got saved, but it's there.

I haven't been especially motivated to blog or Twitter, but I know it's good for me to write about it and get it out there. It's therapeutic, confession.

And now that it's out there, I'm going to try not to dwell on it too much. So unless something urgent comes up, I plan for my next post to be The Wedding Part 2. Because that's something cheerful, and we can all use some cheer, right?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Third Floor, East Wing, Room 50

The day before my wedding, my father's father, my zaidy, had a stroke. I wasn't told until the following Monday because my family didn't want me to worry during my wedding.

I got updates via my father. Zaidy's status changed from day to day. He was doing a little better. He was heard to speak a few words. He arm-wrestled the physiotherapist when she tried to do stretching exercises with him. But then he was sleeping a lot, he was weak, the prognosis was uncertain.

The first week after my wedding I was ill myself, so I didn't go to visit him. The week after that it seemed that he was stable, and I was very busy at work... I managed to excuse myself from the difficult prospect of going to see him, day by day.

I saw my father on Saturday. He encouraged me to visit Zaidy, saying that he might be slipping away, that there might not be much time left. He's 96, after all. My father said that the last time he was at the hospital Zaidy seemed peaceful and comfortable. Zaidy dozed while my father sat with him and held his hand. My father said he felt good about being there, and that I wouldn't regret going, but I might regret not going.

True enough. I couldn't put it off any longer. So yesterday Ken drove me to the hospital.

I wasn't prepared for how I found him. Since I'd gotten the last update from my father, Zaidy had gone downhill. I never did have a chance to speak to a medical professional at the hospital - it was sparsely staffed after 6pm on a Sunday - but he appeared to have developed a serious lung and/or bronchial infection.

You may want to skip the next paragraph if you're squeamish or reading this while eating your lunch.

Upon seeing me, he tried to sit up, then started coughing. What he was coughing up was not a pretty sight. Suffice it to say that our hour-long visit was spent wearing disposable gowns over our clothes, and latex gloves. I sat closest to Zaidy, holding his hand. In my other hand I kept at the ready bundles of paper towels four layers thick to catch the horrifying blobs of gunk that he kept spitting out.

And yet, I'm so glad that I went.

He knew me, of that I'm sure. His piercing blue eyes found mine and locked in for as long as he could manage, before he was overtaken once again by a coughing fit, or had to lie back against his pillows, exhausted. He squeezed my hand to show his love, and to affirm anything I said that he approved of. I sang him a song that we used to sing together when I was a child, and got a big squeeze. I told him I loved him, and he squeezed until the bones in my hand bent. I said that his wife, my Buby, was (as he used to say constantly) a Honey Bunny and Lovey Dovey, and feared that I might suffer a fracture.

As long as I live, I will always remember the fierceness with which his blue eyes burned into mine, as he clung to my hand with the urgency of life and death.

I told Zaidy how much I love him; how I will never forget him; what I will remember about him. I told him that if he gets better and I get to see him again on this earth, that'd be OK, but if he's tired of fighting and wants to let go and rest, that's OK too. I said I didn't think he believed in an afterlife, but that I do and I trust that I'll see him there. I didn't get any squeezes that time. I wish I could give him my faith.

Leaving was the hardest part. He was so alone in that room, propped up awkwardly, sideways on the bed, unable to lie back and rest comfortably for all the coughing. There were no distractions in the room. I don't know how much he's able to drowse, but I thought of the last time I was sick and how much time seemed to drag and stall.

We stopped at the nursing station and let them know how he was doing. We walked past his room one last time on the way to the elevators. I waved at him. Then we left. My heart was full to bursting.

Ken was a champion through all this. He may not know the finer points of etiquette for high tea and whatnot, but when life gets into the pits he's right there to deal with it. He doesn't turn away or try to avoid it. I don't know what I would have done without him.

And so. We wait to see what comes next.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Special Delivery

Alright, party people! The wedding photo e-mails have been sent. Everyone who requested them was on my "To" list, so let me know if you don't get them in case I misspelled your e-mail or something. That's all for now!

Nighty Night. :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


You may be disappointed to see that there are no photos in this post.

However! Do not despair. If you are someone I have had an online relationship with for a decent amount of time, through commenting or on Twitter, you most likely qualify for this special offer of FULL PHOTOS WITH HEADS INCLUDED!

That's right. I can't bring myself to decapitate my wedding photos, but if I believe you are trustworthy then you can get the real, unedited photos for your viewing pleasure. And not only that, but if you respond now, you'll get not one, but TWO sets of photos, one from the greenhouse and one from the church.

All you have to do is send $ 19.95 CAD for shipping and handling to me at

Ha! Nay, I jest. All you have to do is send me a request by e-mail, from your current e-mail address, to

sparkling red red red AT h0tmail D0T c0m

Got that? Or you can give me your e-mail address in the comments, if you don't mind the exposure.

I will reply as soon as possible. Probably sooner than 6 - 8 weeks.

The Wedding Day Part 1

A few days before the wedding I stopped by my local supermarket to pick up a loaf of rye bread. The cashier was a friendly guy I've seen a few times before. We made small talk. I asked him if he'd seen the weather forecast for Saturday. High of 25 degrees Celsius (that's 77 F) and sunny! He handed me my change with a weary smile and went on to the next customer. I didn't get a chance to explain that I wasn't just one more boring drone with nothing better to talk about than the weather.

All last week I looked for him, wanting to explain - I got married on Saturday! That's why I was so jazzed about the weather! Really, I have better things to talk about, usually! I didn't see him and I'm sure he's long since forgotten.

But DANG! What weather we had for that day. Special-ordered just for us.

I got up at 6:30 am to beautify myself and steam the crinkles out of my chiffon gown. We left on time, at the dot of 9:30. I tottered down to the parking garage in my white heels, feeling incredibly self-conscious, hoping not to run into any of the neighbours.

Ken had rented a big, fancy, black car to chauffeur me around. Our first order of business was to stop by the church and set the cake out to warm up. The baker had told me in no uncertain terms:

"This is buttercream icing. If you don't take the cake out to warm up at least four hours before you serve it, the icing texture will be all wrong, like a thick layer of cold butter. It'll be disgusting."

Ever since then, many of my pre-wedding nightmares, the kind that woke me sweating at 3:31 am, brain whirling like a gerbil on crack in a greased exercise wheel, were based on a horror of not getting the cake out of the fridge in time. I worried about it more than anything else. The pastor had offered to swing by the church to take the cake out for us, so we wouldn't have to worry about it, but I didn't trust his memory. (He's a sweet man, but somewhat disorganized, by his own admission.) When Ken returned to the car to let me know that the cake had made a successful transition upstairs and was now warming itself in the lounge, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

By 11:00 we were at the Allan Gardens greenhouse, meeting our intrepid photographer. The next hour was spent posing in front of palm trees, ornamental ponds, colourful blossoms, and cacti. Good times. I enjoyed playing the part of Toronto's Next Top Model, and Ken was very dapper in his suit.

As time wore on we all got a bit sweaty, especially Ken in his suit and tie. A greenhouse is meant to heat up in the sun, and, as the clock ticked towards noon, the temperature soared. By the end I think it was probably more than 30 degrees (86 F), and humid. Fortunately we had brought lots of bottled water, so there was no fainting or other unpleasantness.

Finally we crawled out of the oven, gasping for fresh air. Mission accomplished.

I've already written about our issues with traffic. However, a benefit of having to detour all the way to Dufferin to get uptown was that we changed our lunch plans. The strategy, for the sake of speed, had been to stop by home and quickly eat a ham sandwich with carrot sticks, before heading back to the church. This would ensure that we'd get something in our stomachs even if traffic was really bad, and had the added benefit of not posing any threat of staining my dress.

But we were driving north up Dufferin. That meant passing right by California Sandwich, and Ken doesn't like to drive past California Sandwich. Especially not at lunchtime. So he parked, left me in the car with the radio on, and ran in to buy us two enormous Italian sandwiches with lots of toppings.

At home I tied a flannel sheet around my neck as a full-body bib, and put that sandwich away like nobody's business. Such a delicate, ladylike bride, covered up to my wrists with tomato sauce, sauteed mushrooms dripping onto my plate. Hey, it was a long day to get through, and a girl's gotta eat!

Fortunately Ken has more than one good suit, because he'd sweated right through the one he wore to the greenhouse. He showered and changed into his second outfit of the day. I washed my face and re-did my makeup. Then we were off to the church.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Grace in Small Things #13

1) Being able to pee without whimpering in pain.

2) The closet collapsed.

That in itself isn't so great. I was pushing a couple of shirts out of the way to reach the vaccuum cleaner when, with no warning at all, the rack that held half the clothes in the closet fell off the wall. I stood staring at the mess for a full minute before I could truly register what had happened. That was on Tuesday.

The awesome part is that Ken has taken the opportunity to replace the old, off-white, plastic-dipped wire shelving in the closet with something considerably more substantial. Our new closet, which should be fully installed by tonight, is made of shiny chrome bars and oak shelving. Alright, it's FAKE oak; we're not made of money. But wow, it's super-slick. Ken spent all day yesterday installing most of the new system, and it's 100 times nicer than the old one.

Public shout-out to Ken for all his incredibly taxing work in the closet: Thanks Hon! You're my wicked-cool handyman.

3) The photographer has a DVD ready for us with 200 wedding pictures on it. As soon as we deliver a large sum of cash money to him all our Top Model/GQ wannabe shots will be ours to share and admire. So! Excited!

4) My colleagues at work have been spoiling me. My staff all pitched in to give Ken and I a very generous gift card to a fancy spa in honour of our marriage. They have all sorts of exotic items on the menu, like hot stone massage, and underwater stretching sessions. I'm going to try the weirdest treatments possible, because where's the fun in a plain old pedicure?

The folks outside my department also joined in with signing a card, and surprised me with a cake and a potted plant:

It's an anthurium. I expect plenty of lewd comments on this one. Don't let me down.

5) Sleeping with the window open just enough to let in fresh air and the lullaby of rain.