Thank you everyone for all of your warm wishes! And ladies, you are generous! I've had two offers to wear your wedding dresses! wow!
Pete and I have been collecting our documentation all this week. He had to scan phone bills, cards I've sent him, itineraries and boarding passes, then emailed it all to me. I printed all of that plus my own phone bills, itineraries, emails that we've sent each other, and I picked out some of the cards he sent to me. Plus I ordered some pix from a Flickr album Pete put together and will go pick them up at CVS tmw. Photos are part of the documentation too. It took me about 6 hours to get all my documentation together and print all of Pete's docs. I signed the paperwork and will put the whole package in the mail tmw.
This is one of my favorite photos. I sewed us matching aloha wear for our 2006 Hawaii trip.
Royal Kona Luau 2006
I'm going to visit Pete sometime in April or May. In the meantime, we've been surfing for ceremony and beachy reception sites and outfits and favors. It's really exciting!
I've been waiting for my back to heal. It was getting better but then I decided to sleep on my stomach again and now my back is back (heh) to being as bad as last Sunday. Gah! I am so afraid that it's not going to mend...
Pete proposed on Thursday night and I enthusiastically said yes this time! Hurrah!!
Put your dukes up
We were down this path before when Pete proposed in Aug 2006 but I was really uncertain then. We stayed together, continuing our trans-Atlantic ultra-long distance relationship. And now that Pete's spent 3 months with me, I realized how lucky I am. We get along really well, and I especially love how we make each other laugh. We know it won't always be easy, but we spent a LOT of January talking about marriage, how we really feel and what our expectations are. We think we can make it work!
So yesterday morning we went to the immigration lawyer to start the process for the K1 fiance visa. Here's the timeline:
I (via the lawyer) file the petition to the USCIS so that Pete can start his K1 part. USCIS approval is estimated to take 6-8 months.
USCIS will then send my petition to the American consulate in London. Pete (via the lawyer) will complete his part of the application. He will also be interviewed in London, will have a physical exam, and will have a whole lot of vaccinations.
It will then take the American consulate approx 4-6 months to approve his application and grant him the K1 visa.
Once Pete has the K1 visa, he has 6 months to enter the US on that visa.
Once Pete has entered the US on the K1, we have to get married in 90 days.
After we get married, he has to file for a change in status immediately.
90 days after he files for a change in status, he will receive a 2 year conditional green card, his work permit, and he can apply for his social security number.
2 years after marriage, we have to be interviewed again by immigration to prove that we are in a continuing relationship. Then he will receive a green card that can be renewed every 10 years, like a driver's license.
None of this means Pete would become an American citizen. That would be a whole separate process, should he want to pursue that.
So there are a lot of hoops to jump through (starting with me collecting some "documentation" such as pictures, emails, phone bills and trip itineraries) to prove that we are a couple. There are birth certificates, passports, police records, passport style photos and other bits. And there are filing fees.
So as of right now, we don't know when the wedding will be--most likely 2010. If we could, I'd have the wedding in May or June this year. We'd love to have a beach wedding on the Jersey shore in the Monmouth or Ocean county area. And now that I've been to a lot of weddings, I know what I like and what I will avoid like the plague!
Here's a sample:
The officiant will not be allowed to ad-lib.
The officiant will not be allowed to talk about failed celebrity marriages
The wedding will be during the day, with a lunch reception.
The cermony will be a civil one since we're agnostic.
I will drive myself to the wedding. I have no interest in stretch Hummers.
Transportation for the older folks will be provided. (I'd rather spend the money on getting the older folks there than myself).
People will still be able to talk over the music that is played.
It hopefully will be on the beach, or as close as possible to it.
Any bridesmaids I have will not be wearing strapless gowns. I'm not interested in seeing bridal party members hike up their gowns for 4 hours.
Chris Garrow will hopefully be the DJ, my Uncle Jim can hopefully play for an hour at the reception, and hopefully Wolfgang Bluhm can be the photographer (this is the first time the three of them are reading this)
And I'd love to have it webcast in real time for all people who can't attend, whether they are in England or in America. Or at least taped and then put on youtube.
Maybe I would sew my own wedding gown...but maybe I won't. I don't want a full-blown bridal gown, especially not if we're getting married on the beach.
I'm sure there are other things I'm leaving off the list.
We bought the ring at Menlo Park Mall after visiting the immigration lawyer. We looked at all the jewelry shops in the mall, and the last one, Littmann Jewelers, actually had the prices on display. The saleswoman, Jennifer, was very nice and low-pressure. The ring is a half carat princess (square) cut diamond with a white gold band. It sparkles very very nicely, or as my mom would say, "it has a lot of fire". :) And I want a diamond anniversary band as my wedding band (really, when have I ever done anything the traditional way?) The saleswomen in the store were really interested in the fact that Pete is English. One of them revealed that her son-in-law is from Australia and also came here on the K1 visa. Jennifer asked if I wanted to wear the ring out of the store. Of course! So she said Pete would have to propose so he said "will you marry me?" and I said "yes" and the 3 salesladies all clapped. It was so funny.
Fly on the wall
Then after buying the ring, we visited my parents down the shore. We drove past a few possible wedding sites. And I tried on my mother's wedding gown. It fit but it's not my style. The lace layer has yellowed but the underlayers are completely white as well as the veil.
I haven't blogged about my back but I think I hurt it while sneezing during my head cold last week. At first it wasn't so bad but the pain is getting worse every day. Getting into my car is the worst part; it brings tears to my eyes (and we got into and out of the car a lot yesterday). So last night we stopped at the doc-in-a-box and he prescribed some meds for my tendon and ligament separation and says I should feel better in a week. We're not driving anywhere today so that I can rest my back a bit. I also figured out a way of putting on my socks that doesn't hurt my back, after Pete had put my socks on for me this morning. And I have a grabber thing to help me pick things up off the floor after Pete leaves. Thank you Pete for helping me out!
Sigh, Pete leaves tomorrow night, day 89 of the 90 day visa waiver program. I'll save up vacay days and will visit him sometime in the spring. He'll come back here sometime in the summer.
I'm really excited and enthusiastic about our future. I'll be sad when he leaves tomorrow but it won't be so traumatic because the visa process has begun!
In April 2008, Pete and I took a week off from work. We decided to stay at my house instead of spending $$ on a vacation. After a trip to Ikea, we came home with a new, larger kitchen storage unit to replace the one that was falling apart (a $5 yard sale find I'd had for 8 years). That Sunday we put the unit together, and Monday morning I moved everything from the old unit to the new one.
Somehow, that kicked off a spring cleaning spree. During that week, we went through every closet and cabinet and drawer in my house, and rearranged things (that's when the fabric stash closet was created; metal units were installed; fabric was sorted). I wouldn't have been able to do it without Pete; he was a motivator and big helper, especially for moving everything around my house. It would have taken a lot longer without him, and I doubt I ever would have made the storage units for the fabric.)
When we saw the mound of stuff I was getting rid of, it was overwhelming. My parents live on a busy road, so we took the stuff to their house to put by their curb, knowing that most of it would be taken by someone instead of thrown directly into a landfill.
A lot of the items were things I had bought on vacation; things I bought on impulse; gifts given to me; freebies I picked up; freebies given to me. From that point on, I vowed to stop buying so much stuff. Now when I buy things, I think about if I really need it, where it will be stored in my house, how long will I keep it for, and ultimately, when will it be given away or thrown out?
I also vowed that I would stop buying so many souvenirs on vacation. A lot of items were from our Hawaii trips, and were small items "which wouldn't take up so much space" (as I thought at the time). But the reality is, lots of little things are as bad as one big thing, or even worse, since the small items seemed to proliferate throughout the house, crammed into drawers, unappreciated.
It was also at that point that I decided "less stuff, more experiences" would be my mantra. If I'm going to spend my hard earned cash on something, let it be on something that creates memories (i.e. vacations) instead of buying more stuff that ultimately is thrown away.
Last Friday night, Pete and I saw the documentary Addicted to Plastic, by Ian Connacher. It traces the rise of plastic and what it's doing to the environment. There are several shocking parts to the film, but the most shocking of all is that any piece of plastic ever created, except for the small portion that was incinerated, still exists. It's floating in the oceans. It's in the stomachs of sea gulls and other marine life. It's washing up on the beaches. Plastic bags are strewn all over the world.
Before we saw the film, I had been thinking about my challenge for this year. I had thought about a year without plastic bags, or even a year without plastic. But plastic is absolutely everywhere. We're surrounded by it and we don't even realise it because it's so prevalent. It's relatively easy to have a year without plastic bags, but a year without plastic is simply impossible!
Today is Pete's birthday. This is the second year out of 5 that we were able to spend his birthday together. Last year we were in England and visited Liverpool for the day, where we saw ants at a museum and went to the "Beatles Story" museum and shop, and ate at Nando's for dinner. It was a great day.
Now I have a silly head cold, one that is just annoying enough to keep me from breathing and sleeping properly. Plus my right eye keeps watering and my nose keeps running. It's a very attractive look. Pete came with me to work for the morning, then we left around noon. Pete bought lunch for us at Olives and brought it with him to the office, then we hit up CVS for some drugs and tissues, and then ate lunch and he opened his presents. We watched the Daily Show at 2pm, but I fell asleep during the interview and for all of the Colbert Report. I don't think I've slept that well in quite some time, and even though I only slept for 40 minutes, it felt like an entire evening. Since I didn't really sleep last night, I especially enjoyed the nap. Dinner was ravioli delivered by the local pizza shop, then we watched many episodes of Top Chef.
I gave Pete 2 books that he wanted: one about running and one about blogging, and the latest Battlestar Galactica DVD. I also made him the lovely short pants in the photo. Pete saw the lemon apron and pillowcase I made in July 2008 and wanted pj pants. I didn't have enough fabric leftover to make really anything, but I found 2 yards of the fabric on eBay (couldn't find more than that on eBay, and couldn't find it at all on etsy!). If I recall correctly, the fabric is by Alexander Henry.
There wasn't enough fabric in 2 yards to make long pj pants, as any experienced sewist knows. I offered to piece the fabric together to make them long enough to be, well, long, but Pete declined. He thought they were going to be shorts (like boxers). Well, they're a bit longer than that!
Happy Birthday Pete!!!! I hope you had a great day!!
I was checking out Sewing Pattern Review, as usual, and thought some more about their fabric stash contest. I'm pretty sure that by 2/28/09, I'll make something out of a piece of fabric I've had in my stash prior to 8/1/08 (but I'm definitely not going to try to make the most garments, nor will I have the oldest piece of fabric in my stash (i.e. I'm not going for the win)). That got me in the mood to give you a tour of my sewing room (my den).
Here's my fabric stash, mostly sorted by color. Gosh, it looks like a mess in the photo, but in real life, it seems organized to me! I had to move out most of the flannel in order to get the rest of my fabric in there. (note to self: no more flannel for a while! Well, no more buying any fabric of any type for a while, but I just discovered double knit...). The oldest pieces of fabric in my collection probably date from 1994.
On top of the cubes are, from left to right, my stash of duck cloth (for bags); two boxes of buttons; and some UFOs/disasters.
No picture available for my flannel stash, but it's three cubes worth (1 cube in this photo (bottom right corner) and two cubes worth now relocated to another closet.
Next up is my pattern stash, which is organized by type. This photo is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. I have a lot of patterns.
Clockwise starting from upper left, "new" patterns (which means patterns I want to work on, not necessarily new)/ hats; skirts; sleepwear; mens/bags/costumes; shirts; patterns for knits only; jackets/multi patterns (i.e. pattern contains some combo of jacket/shirt/skirt/pants); dresses.
Here's for my "nice" button collection. My novelty buttons are in a small bucket (photo not available):
My thread collection, organized by color:
My zipper stash, rubber banded by sizes. I used to make a lot of dresses and skirts. Now I focus on shirts, because dresses and skirts have a limited range of months for wearing in NJ:
Here's another bit that looks like a disaster in the photo, but seems organized in real life: my elastic and bias tape collection:
And finally, here's where the magic happens: my Baby Lock sewing machine which was my high school graduation present in 1994. Hello, sweetness!
Antoinette, my favorite flapper buttons are propped up in the box in front of the Eiffel Tower lamp!
This concludes our tour of my sewing room. So, how deep is your stash? :)
By the way: My red fabric cube contains a UFO unlined jacket that I may try to finish for the UFO contest. It looks super straightforward; I had cut out the pieces, interfaced, and even did the button loops, but stopped there because that's the first step to making the jacket and it took so long to turn the loops inside out! I think I cut it out about a year ago, so it would be perfect for this contest.
Things I'd like to make, in no particular order:
Simplicity 4256: jacket A. Love the collar on it.
New Look 6828: knit shirt B or C or dress A. Interesting gathers.
New Look 6734: knit pants D. Love the 2" elastic waistband.
McCalls 5298: jacket A (this is the UFO). My fabric is red like the drawing!
Simplicity 4095: knit shirt A. Love the gatherings.
Vogue 7799: knit shirt B or C. Love the high turtleneck and the sweeping cross neck.
Vogue 2945: knit shirt A. I've never seen a square cowl neck before.
New Look 6704: shirt/dress A. I have the perfect striped fabric for this style.
McCalls 5106: jacket D. Looks vaguely like a pirate jacket. Love the stylelines.
New Look 6799: dress B (gorgeous, Michelle Obama would wear it!). Great to show off toned arms and shoulders; also love the full skirt.
New Look 6807 again, view E, but in black and add long sleeves. Love those back ties!
Simplicity 2724: make the fierce ruffled shirt (even though it's a dress pattern)
Simplicity 3696: nightgown F. Love the raglan sleeves.
New Look 6815: safari shirtdress A, even though I'd never wear it.
NewLook 6831: shirt B. I'm intrigued, even if the lack of collar looks wimpy.
New Look 6619: jacket A even though some may think the asymmetrical collar is bad sewing on my part. It's stylish!
New Look 6829: shirt C, also like shirt A. Love the three button placket.
Tonight Pete and I went to the Princeton Environmental Film Festival. At 6pm we saw the documentary Trashed, complete with Q&A with the filmmaker, Bill Kirkos. Pretty eye-opening stuff about trash and landfills. Next was a talk by Elizabeth Royte, author of the books Garbage Land and Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. Now that is the book I wanted to write. Lots of eye opening stuff from the film and the talk. My brain is still processing it all. Pete was able to go to the 4pm talk by the blogger everydaytrash about people who blog about their trash (like me and my bottled water, but of course not about me specifically), but I was working so I couldn't attend. Tomorrow we're going to see the film Addicted to Plastic.
I've started drinking out of a metal bottle. Monday was the first day with my Sigg bottle (thanks Pete!), then Tuesday I tried out Pete's ethos bottle, and yesterday I tried out my LLBean bottle. I had the LLBean bottle for quite a while and never got around to drinking out of it. I must say that initally I love drinking out of a metal bottle. It keeps the water colder for longer, and somehow the water seems to be "smoother" which is psychological, but still. I need to get a different cap, I think. I keep thinking I'm going to drop the cap on the floor. Which is what happened to my classmate yesterday in ramping class. During the water break she dropped her metal bottle cap and it rolled under my ramp, which she then retrieved.
Oh, and today was the NJ Science Olympiad. I was in charge of putting the 4th place medal around high school student's necks, and my first attempt was a disaster. The ribbon got caught on the girl's glasses and then on her ponytail, but from then on it was smooth sailing. My training didn't go very well today either, I actually ran out of time for various reasons. I'm also drowning in help desk calls and emails because of the new software release. And I keep training every day. I just don't have enough time. Kind of feels like my old job. But I keep thinking, it's just for the next few weeks. Then the craziness should dissipate.
Here's a more thorough review (compared to mine) from a blogger who recently dined at BBP. I agree with him that the place is small, the whipped cream on the milkshake can be skipped, and that the communal dining setup somewhat annoying. Like the blogger, I also was expecting to have an outstanding burger, the best I've ever had, and was somewhat surprised that it was just "good". I'll probably try it once more in the future, just to see if it improves (and of course hoping Bobby will be there!)
Pete mentioned that in my previous post, I said that Bobby called Pad Thai "Thailand's homage to the peanut," but it was actually judge Ted Allen who said that. I stand corrected.
To answer historyfox: You're right, there's no alcohol at BBP. Have you ever eaten at Boom in Belmar? After some more Googling, it seems like that's the burger place down the shore.
In sewing news: I made Pete some short pajama pants; pix to follow!
Going in for the big bite at Bobby's Burger Palace
Pete and I enjoy watching the Food Network, especially "Iron Chef America" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay". One night before Giftmas, I was having trouble getting to sleep, so I turned on the Food Network. "Throwdown" was on and we laughed so much--the challenge was to make a French Yule Log called a "Bouche de Noel." We're still laughing over it, especially Bobby's pronounciation of the word "Bouche". Anyhoo, we met up with my friend Madelyn last weekend who told us Bobby Flay opened Bobby's Burger Palace at the Monmouth Mall recently. Today we decided to check it out.
On the way to the restaurant, we were so sure we were going to meet Bobby. One of my shore-dwelling coworkers said she heard he is there all the time! I even planned what I would say to him if I met him: "My favorite epi of ICA was Battle Peanut. I loved it when you said the Pad Thai was Thailand's homage to the peanut, and Jeffrey Steingarten said, "No it's not!"" Yeah, maybe you had to have watched it.
Anyway, once we approached the BBP, I was pretty sure we weren't going to see Bobby. There was a line into the vestibule of the restaurant. We traversed a Disney-esque queue and then made it to the front where a cashier took our order. We were given a number sign and were told we could sit anywhere we wanted. The restaurant had communal seating at long tables. We were able to get two seats after about a minute of waiting. The drinks were delivered in a few minutes and the burgers shortly after that. Their male waiters are heavily tattooed. The milkshakes were really delicious--my "dark chocolate" one was definitely chocolately (maybe even too chocolatey) and Pete's vanilla shake was right on target. Maybe next time I'll try the "black and white" shake. I had the Bobby Blue Burger, which is blue cheese and some kind of sauce. I opted out of the bacon. Pete had the Palace Classic burger. We both asked for ours "crunchified", which is Bobby's term for serving the burger with potato chips on it. I thought the chips were the best I ever tasted. Pete thought they were just ok. Pete thought the fries were really good. I agreed--not greasy, not brown, right amount of crispness, quite nice. The burgers themselves were good too.
The ambiance is a bit "New York". You get your food, you eat, you leave. No hanging around this place. Also, we were seated near the window where the waitstaff dumps the used plates, and we could see the hands of the dishwasher sorting through the mess--now there's a job I don't want to have! We could also see into the kitchen, where we kept looking for Bobby.
The total cost was $31, a bit pricey for not having full waiter service and the overall ambiance. If Bobby had been there, it would have been priceless.
The title is a homage to Madelyn. She watched this place being built and wondered who Bobby is and why we should care about his burgers.
I cut this out last weekend and whipped it up today. Very fast, about 75 minutes to sew it. This fabric is a very soft, very stretchy knit, and it seems to be "growing" all on its own. I think I prefer double knit fabrics for sewing. They are stable, don't "grow", and have just enough stretchy-ness (i.e. not a lot, but enough to get the "job" of putting on a shirt done). Hems on double knits don't turn out "wavy" either. However, I don't have a lot of double knit fabric in my stash, so there goes the idea of not buying any fabric this year. Ha ha! I'm definitely intrigued by knits. I have reviewed the notes from the "Understanding Knit Fabrics" class offered online by SPR and I think I may be able to fix the wavy hems based on the notes. But double knit is such a dream to sew. It is worth its expense.
I really love the gathering in the front neckline. It is a cowl neck, but it doesn't seem "droopy" enough. It doesn't look right folding it over, either. But it is giving me ideas about putting interfacing in the collar to have it "stand up" more, as a sculptural effect. It also makes me think back to the aqua colored shirt that was almost a failure, but that I saved by making it into a elasticated ruffled gathered neckline. After making that shirt, I had the idea of making a turtleneck, but instead of it being the typical fold-over type, it would stand up, and be basically a big ruffled gather. I definitely want to try making that!
Anyway, I say this is "view A-ish" because I made long sleeves instead of 3/4, reduced the length by several inches, and didn't make the belt. I hae Sewing Pattern Reviewed it.
Lists Somehow I have not yet made a list of the things I want to do this year. I always make lists, but the big ol' list of "everything for 2009" hasn't hit me, yet. I do have a lot of sewing in mind. There are many things I'd like to make, including:
square cowl neck shirt
super fierce ruffle shirt
aqua jacket for work
new pjs using new pj pattern
2008 challenge update To answer Antoinette: I will continue to limit my bottled water usage--it really pains me whenever buying bottled water seems to be my only choice. I am in the habit now of bringing water with me wherever I go, and I would like to try some new bottles this year, which I actually acquired last year (stainless steel ones) but never tried. My everyday bottles are #7s, which means they could be the leeching kind.
2009 challenge yet to come I haven't decided yet what my challenge for this year will be, but I think it is going to involve not buying any more cards, stickers, ribbons, wrapping paper, tissue paper, etc. and it may involve not acquiring a single plastic bag in the new year!! I think for 2010, the challenge should be a year without styrofoam.
Oh, how I crack myself up. I went back and read my very first blog posting from Jan 1, 2008 (the subject line is from that posting). I started this blog to chronicle my no-water-bottle challenge, but it turned into a sewing blog, which is something that I never predicted would happen!
So here's the count: by the end of the summer, I had drunk 21 bottles of water. I didn't have more bottled water until we went to Hawaii, where I consumed about a bottle a day--so that would be 14 bottles. So my grand total for the year is 35 bottles of water. I had been consuming about 21 bottles a week, times 52 weeks, for a total of around 1092 bottles. So that's ~3% of my 2007 water bottle total.
Last night I fell asleep by 11:15pm. It turns out Pete was awake til 12:30am. I felt badly that I couldn't stay awake that late, but I just couldn't do it. We were let out of work at 3pm, and we had a super early dinner at PF Chang's and spent some time at Borders perusing...
Today we've been watching the Biggest Loser Season 3 marathon on Bravo. It's not going to end til 10pm. Gah. There's a fire burning in the fireplace.