Posts filed under ‘Background’

Playing Against Type

Mr Pretzel and I made a lot of choices during our courtship and our engagement that people had difficulty wrapping their heads around.  It’s not that our choices were off the wall or nontraditional in fact, it was how TRADITIONAL our choices were that made them uncommon.

Early in our relationship we had a somewhat awkward (although reassuring) conversation when we discussed sex before marriage.  I remember the feeling of terror when I told Mr P that I didn’t want to have sex before marriage.  I didn’t know if Mr P was the man I would marry but I knew if I did, I wanted to wait.  I was completely unsure of how he would react. It’s not like I had much practice with this type of conversation.  I wasn’t a virgin saving myself for marriage, but I had come to realize (in my late 20’s) that in fact, waiting is what I wanted.  What a relief it was when he said he was not only OK with that but that he was fully supportive of that decision.   As we dated we wrestled with this decision and grew through it.  I don’t frequently bust out and tell folks that Mr P and I were waiting, but our friends could piece it together.  In some cases I think it made them think differently of us, as if this choice somehow made us prudish.

Engagement Photo by Amore Studios

More noticeable was people’s inability to understand why we would purchase a house together before the wedding but not live together.  I can’t tell you how many times we heard ” Let me get this straight you (Mrs Pretzel) own the house with Mr Pretzel. He lives there and you pay rent to live somewhere else?”   I am sure people felt that this was flushing money down the drain but if they couldn’t understand our first choice neither of us really expected them to understand this choice.

“But lots of people make these choices!” I found myself wanting to scream.  Why does it seem so novel (the word “quaint” was used a time or two) for us to make these choices?  Mr Pretzel finally shed some light on the subject for me.  “We’re weird,” he said. “We don’t fit the archetype that most people have in their brains for the type of people who wait until marriage to have sex and cohabitate. We are playing against type.”

So true.  On the outside people see a young, goofy, cosmopolitan couple. We’re a couple of eco-conscious nerds who love beer and music.  People assume that since we are like them in these ways that means we share political, religious, and moral beliefs.  What you don’t see on the outside is that we are practicing Catholics who believe in and try our best follow the teachings of the Church.  We tend to be conservative but are unsettled about what conservative politics in America means. We don’t fit the archetype of a conservative but nor do we fit into any other box.

I also was bothered that other people saw our choices as a judgment on them. We are grounded in our beliefs  but that doesn’t mean that we expect others to make the same choices, nor that we judge the choices of others. When a friend who hadn’t seen us in a while asked what we had been up to after the wedding, I told him “Moving me into our house.”  After a head cock to the side and a puzzled look I elaborated and explained that Matt and I didn’t live together before the wedding.  For me it was just a statement of fact .  Later his girlfriend was visibly uncomfortable telling us that he and she lived together.  Mr P told me later that when I state our choice, others might feel that means I am judging others.  I felt horrible and a wee bit misunderstood.

Why am I telling you this?  I think in blogging (and sometimes in real life) I have purposefully allow people to get to know me first before I give them a larger glimpse into who I am to avoid being typecast.  As I start to move closer to recaps I felt it was important to discuss the concept “Playing against type”.  The choices Mr Pretzel and I made in our courtship played a large role in the type of wedding that we had.  For example it was important to us that we craft an informal full nuptial Mass that was fully of joy and energy but still reverent.  And finally, I know there are a number of Bees out there who are making similar choices, I just wanted to wave my hand and say “Your not alone.”

In what way do you think you and your FI are “playing against type”?  Has this affected your wedding planning?

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October 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

A Weekend Just For Us

Posting about our Moo card invitations got me thinking about the weekend Mr Pretzel and I spent with cows, goats, chickens, and oh about 25 other engaged couples.  Strange how my brain works, but moo cards brought back memories of cows, an emu, and a donkey named Rusty.

(Source)

I’m talking about our Catholic Engagement Encounter Retreat.  Marriage preparation for those marrying in the Catholic Church is standard.  What the marriage preparation looks like will vary from Parish to Parish, in our Parish we had three items to complete.

  • Taking the FOCCUS inventory and a discussion of the results facilitated by our Priest
  • A Engaged Encounter Retreat or A series of couple counseling sessions with a licensed family therapist
  • Dinner with Fr Jim (our Priest) and other couples preparing for marriage in our church (not sure if this was required but it was amazing- Fr Jim is a great cook and funny host!)

Mr P’s Godparents volunteered for years with Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) and had spoken very lovingly about the experience of an Engaged Encounter Weekend.  Through my work on our Church’s Stewardship Commission I also became friends with a man named Jim.  Jim and his wife used to be CEE volunteers.  One evening Mr P and I were serving dinner at Tent City 4 with Jim and his wife.  They told us about all the blessings that had come from their work with CEE.  I looked at Mr P and told him that if were we to get married (we weren’t even engaged yet) that I wanted to do an Engaged Encounter weekend- whether our parish required it or not.  He agreed wholeheartedly.

I love their slogan! (Source)

To say that we were looking forward to this retreat was putting it mildly- we were downright excited.  We chose to go in March, about 4 months from our wedding.  It was the perfect time for us because we were able to take the whole weekend off and not feel stressed.  Turning off was key, Mr P and I love technology and are usually attached to our phones.  We have to be conscious not to tune out and to set up technology free zones (the dinner table, in the car on the way home from work, when we are settling down for the night in bed).  On our retreat we turned off our phones for the whole time.

We arrived on Friday evening. There was a wide range of couples there, both Catholic and interfaith couples ranging from age from early 20’s to 40’s.  There also seemed to be a mix of enthusiasm.  Only a few of us  raised our hands when asked who was excited to be there.  Many of the couples seemed to only be at the retreat because it was a requirement of their Church. Some seemed cautiously optimistic and others seemed downright set against being open to the weekend.  I think having an open mind directly is related to what you get out of the weekend.  I hope if you are attending a CEE retreat that you can suspend feelings of doubt or defensiveness.  The retreat is 100% focused on you and your fiance and nobody is there to pass judgment on you. I think that was one of the fears that most couples had.

The weekend was led by two married couples.   Mr P and I found both couples very easy to relate to and appreciated the time and selfless sharing that they did.  The couples would share with us a talk relating to the topic, they would share their own personal feelings and struggles.  I am not talking superficial sharing.  These volunteers shared with us an intimate glimpse into their relationship and personal struggles.  After sharing, then we would get 40 minutes to reflect and journal separately on a series of questions related to the topic.  Then we would go find a quiet space and share what we wrote with each other.  The structure of the weekend progressed from self reflection and reflection on our relationship and communication, to the call to marriage and being life giving. We explored the topics of sexual intimacy, becoming family and the process of forgiveness.  You might think it would be awkward to talk about sex with Church folk, but really you are only sharing your thoughts with your fiance, you aren’t discussing any of these topics with other people.

I love our name tags from the weekend!

The process of writing was very therapeutic, although my hands were tired by the end of the weekend.  It allowed each of us to get all of our thoughts on paper- without interruption or getting sidetracked.   On this weekend I realized that Mr P is a beautiful and thoughtful writer and his journal frequently brought tears to my eyes.  We discussed and explored things that we hadn’t brought up in conversation and we both learned a lot about how we can continue to be life affirming to each other.  We felt closer than ever to each other by sharing our thoughts, listening to each other, and praying together.  When we weren’t in a session, writing, or sharing, we spent a lot of time exploring the beautiful scenery.

Having the retreat in a beautiful setting really set a relaxed tone for the weekend. The retreat was at Camp Brotherhood in Mt Vernon WA.

Rabbi Raphael Levine and Father William Treacy met in 1960 and discovered a bond of kinship that crossed the boundaries of religion, culture and ethnicity. During fourteen years co-hosting the award winning KOMO-TV program, “Challenge”, they positively influenced the entire Puget Sound Region as they addressed the issues of the day from their interfaith perspectives. As a result of their friendship and with the help of friends in the business community, they purchased a dairy farm in Skagit County and in 1968 founded Camp Brotherhood to provide a beautiful setting in which to foster better understanding and harmony between and among religious faiths, families and individuals. This Rabbi and Catholic Priest never intended to eliminate the differences between faith traditions or create a uniformity of religions; “interfaith” for them meant celebrating and honoring differences while building cooperation based on shared values. -the Camp Brotherhood website

Rabbi Levine has passed away, but Father Treacy lives on the grounds of the Camp and recently retired from the Priesthood.  He  is an amazing man and we were blessed to have him pop in from time to time to talk with us and to say Mass at the conclusion of the weekend.  And then there were the animals.  Some of our friends from the weekend:

The aforementioned moo cows and goats

Geese and Alpaca (ohhh here alpaca-aca…I want to knit you!)

The Emu are very interesting, curious animals who’s call sounds like a drum

Mr P made a friend with Rusty the donkey

Not every community has an Engaged Encounter retreat nearby. After hearing about our retreat my BIL and SIL looked into attending one in their area only to be disappointed that there wasn’t one.*  If you are preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church I recommend attending a retreat, whether is is required or not.  When else will you get the opportunity to set everything aside for a weekend and focus entirely on you, your fiance, and God?  If money is an issue they offer scholarships.  Mr P and I were so moved by the weekend that we donated the cost to make sure a couple who wanted to attend but didn’t have the registration fee could still go on retreat.

What type of marriage prep are you and your fiance doing?  If you attended an Engaged Encounter what was the biggest thing that you took away from the weekend?

*Some couples go on Retreat as newlyweds, so if you are already married but want to attend one you can.  Also, for married couples there Catholic Worldwide Marriage Encounter retreats.

September 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

“P” is for Prayer

Source

Just a couple weeks ago we had an impromptu garage sale after combing our households. How, you may ask, does one go about having an impromptu garage sale? Well first you have 3x as much stuff as your townhouse has room for. Next you sort, compromise, hem and haw about whether or not you should keep three printers and two scanners, you fill up garbage bags with clothes, and you list big items on Craig’s list. Then you freak out that the garage sale will be too much work for very little payoff and you call St Vincent De Paul’s to arrange pick up of your garage worth of stuff.  You make meetings with Craig’s list people who flake out on you and then you arrange for a bunch of people to meet you at your old house to purchase Craig’s list stuff on a Saturday morning.  The next step is for your neighbor to have a garage sale and post lots of signs, then on said Saturday morning packs of rabid garage salers will confuse your open garage with piles of stuff for a garage sale and start offering you money for your stuff.  Accept the money gladly, sell stuff to the only non-flaky Craigs listers who show up and still have plenty of goodies for the St Vincent de Paul people.   Well, at least that’s what we did.

To say we had a lot of stuff is an understatement.  After selling $600 of our belongings we still had 12 garbage bags of clothes, and over 20 boxes of household goods for charity.  Unfortunately our townhouse still has lots of boxes to be unpacked.  One area where we did a lot of purging was with books.  As I was sorting through a box of books I found a book that I don’t need anymore.

The ABCs of Choosing a Good Husband

I sat down on my bed and had a little laugh.  As ridiculous as the title is, it gave me pause and led to a little self reflection.  My well-meaning mother gifted me the ABC’s book when I was in my 20’s at a time when the topic of this book was the furthest thing from my mind.  I remember smiling painfully and thanking her while trying to figure out where on my bookshelf to hide it so guests wouldn’t see the title.  I didn’t throw it away, I just let it collect dust- moving it with me from Indiana to Wisconsin, to Georgia, and all the way to Washington.  Let’s be real, I had no intention of opening it, but I couldn’t throw it away.  My mom is notorious for giving books that you aren’t ready for- but if you hold on to it I have found that down the road it is just the right thing in another situation.

My 20’s were a time of exploration.  I identified the type of person I didn’t want to marry, by dating just that type of man, repeatedly.  I tossed aside what I had learned in the Church as a child, and looked for something more but came up empty.  I was a wayward Catholic not very well educated in my faith and barely attending Mass. I had periods of strained relationships with my family and periods of personal crisis.  In my mid-twenties I began a journey back to my Catholic faith, but I was difficult reconciling my actions with my beliefs.

In the later half of my tumultuous twenties there came a point in time where I decided that I was through with dating.  I needed to focus on myself and my relationship with friends, family and God. I was confident that if I did those things that I would know when I was ready to date and meet my future husband.  I had no idea how long it would take and to be honest I didn’t think about it. I worked at becoming a happier, more well-balanced Pretzel.  I strengthened relationships with family and with other women.  I focused on work, faith, friends, and family.

At Catholic Mass every Sunday we say prayers for the intentions of the world, our community, our parish, and lastly for our own intentions.  There is a brief moment of silence where you lift up your intentions in silence.   During this time, I kept myself centered with one prayer.

Lord, strengthen me today, help me to grow in Your love and to love You more fully.  Help me to become the “me” that You want me to be and to reflect Your love to those around me

Months turned into a year, then a year turned into two.  I didn’t miss dating.  I didn’t long for a relationship. I was content.  But then suddenly I felt ready to date and immediately I was scared.  My life without dating or romance was comfortable and I realized that I didn’t know how to date anymore.  It took 6 months from feeling ready before I ventured out into the dating world.  At the same time bridesmaid H was also emerging from a dating break.   She gifted me a book.

Date or Soul Mate: How to know if someone is worth pursuing in two dates or less (image source)

Not knowing where to start with dating I read it. It gave me a great framework for clearly articulating to myself what I did and didn’t want in a spouse and a framework for how to hold myself true to that. This book made me curious about the book my mom had given me.  I dug it out of a box, and blew the dust off.  I’m glad I didn’t read the book in my 20’s when I most surely would have rejected very word written.  Don’t get me wrong, the book is hokey as all get out and has a very limited audience that it would ring true with, but with an open mind I did find helpful and insightful nuggets of information.  The structure was 26 short chapters arranged in A, B, C format, for example A is for abstinence (I don’t remember if it was but likely that is what A was for).  For many men and women today A would have been the end of the book but for me it wasn’t a deal breaker.   However, the chapter that stuck with me was P is for Prayer.

I had after all been praying for my conversion and deepening of faith wouldn’t it to make sense to also pray for my future husband? Not “pray for a husband” but pray for my future husband to be drawn closer to God, to protect him and instill in him a strong faith?  My Sunday intention morphed into a prayer for myself and my future husband.

Thank you Lord for bringing me closer to you.  Help me to continue to grow in your love.  Deepen my faith and the faith of my future husband.  Protect him and help him to be a charitable loving witness to Your love.

It brought me comfort to pray for my future husband.  Immediately after starting dating Mr Pretzel and I started to attend Church together every Sunday.  Standing next to him during the general intercessions I would offer up a prayer for us both.

Lord, thank you for bringing Mr P into my life.  Help us to discern our love for each other, and draw us even closer to each other and closer to you.  Help our love reflect your love for us.

For a long time I didn’t tell Mr P about the prayers that I had been offering up for him (both before I met him and during our courtship) but when I did I was pleasantly surprised at his reaction.  He didn’t think it was strange or weird as I had feared.  As an engaged couple my prayer changed again.  I started to pray for our preparation for marriage.

Lord, thank you for the blessings of our engagement.  Help us to be open in our marriage preparations and to better understand the Sacrament of Marriage.  Help us to be patient with each other in these busy and stressful times.  Draw us ever closer to each other and to you.

Mr Pretzel and I didn’t pray together until our Engaged Encounter retreat and I really wish that we had.  Where I had spent some time in my 20’s attending a Baptist church where I learned how to pray spontaneously, Mr Pretzel had never had experience with spontaneous prayer.  We found the process of crafting a prayer together a very uniting.   On our wedding day we had a semi private time where we offered up prayer together.  We prayed for our families – the first people who taught us love and Gods love of us, for engaged couples preparing for the Sacrament of marriage, and lastly for blessings on our marriage.  Each Sunday since, the prayer that I offer for intercession has changed again, to focus on strengthening out marriage bond. While we both pray separately, we are working together to make time to pray together.

For me, these small prayers have kept me focused and grounded throughout Mr Pretzel and my courtship and engagement.  Sitting on my bed, looking at the “A,B,C’s of Choosing a Good Husband” I smiled and my eyes welled with tears of joy.

P is for Prayer.

Is prayer a part of your path?  Do you have any tips or suggestions for engaged couples who want to incorporate prayer into their marriage preparation?

** I realize that this post is very Catholic/Christian centered, as it can only represent my personal journey and my personal beliefs.  I love to hear about other journey’s and paths- especially regarding matters of faith and spirituality, however, I do want to ask that commenters be respectful that faith and religion are deeply personal matters to many people. Thanks!

PS I resisted the urge to hold onto these books for sentimental reasons and both books were donated to St Vincent De Paul’s.

September 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

Reason 815: Meeting a Rockstar… or something like that

I don’t frequently tell people the reasons why I love Mr Pretzel, I just file these reasons away.  I’ve got quite the catalog; little snippets of memories and small gestures, words, and looks.  From time to time something happens that makes me recall one of these reasons.  Mr Pretzel reminded me of reason 815 this weekend.

Let me take you back to fall 2008. We had been dating a mere 9 months and were both sent of business trips the same week, to different locations.  Mr Pretzel was living it up in the Motor City and I was surrounded by corn in tornado country.  Neither local is glamorous, per say, but my trip was about get a little more exciting.  Up to this point, it had been pretty uneventful and a little frustrating, my male colleagues caught a BB King show one night while I worked on a presentation. Was I jealous? That is an understatement.  Mr Pretzel told me I should wing the presentation and catch the show.  I should have listened to him.  I also learned that Michael Buble was performing a show the night after my  flight home. *sigh* Such is my luck, I have been a Buble fan since before he was on Oprah. I have seen him a couple times in concert and would have loved to see him again.

Source

On the final night of my trip, I shared a hotel shuttle ride with four young men.  They were a social bunch and I asked if they were on business or pleasure.  They said business and that they were musicians. Ding Ding Ding!  Bells went off in my head and I connected the dots. When we pulled up to the hotel Michael Buble’s tour bus was parked in front.  I lingered in the lobby for a couple of minutes, hoping for a peak of Mr Buble. When I got up in my room I excitedly called Mr Pretzel. I was bouncing about, excited to be staying in the same hotel as  my favorite singer.  It was silly, but I was giddy as hell at the prospect of bumping into Michael in  the hotel hallway.  Unable to sleep I grabbed my purse and went to the hotel bar.

Mr Pretzel text-ed me: “If you meet him does that mean we are over?”  I smiled and texted back ” You Betcha”

No… I didn’t meet Michael Buble in the bar.  I sipped on some bourbon and watched hockey on the TV.  There was only one other person there, a middle aged man also sipping bourbon.  Being the social Pretzel that I am I brought my drink over and introduced myself.  Together we drank the last of the bar’s Makers Mark and chit-chatted. He was very easy to talk with- I looked past the fact that he was a Hoosier alumni, a Boilermaker’s hated in-state rival.  He listened with interest while I told him about my wonderful boyfriend, and how I missed him.  I told him about Mr Pretzel and his most recent text and we laughing at the ridiculousness of it.

Low and behold, my drinking buddy ended up being the Chief Sound Engineer for Michael Buble.  I told him how bummed I was that my flight left in the morning and that I wouldn’t be catching Michael’s show.  As I was getting ready to leave he said to me, “You should stay for the show”.  Ohhh that was tempting!  I looked at him and shook my head. “I already checked, the show is sold out.”   Then he floated an offer that kept me up all night. “If you decided to change your flight and stay, I will personally make sure that you get into the show.”  Wow… that’s something to think about.

I retreated back to my room where I couldn’t sleep.  I called Mr Pretzel, who by this time was tucked in,  snug as a bug  in his bed.  When I told him the offer that I had he simply said “Do it”.

However, I wasn’t convinced.  I couldn’t look past the logistical hassle of staying an additional night and keeping the charges and change fees separate from my business expenses.  As I hung up the phone I told Mr Pretzel I wasn’t sure, but I was leaning towards not going.  He said to me, “I’ll be pissed at you if you come home. You should go”

I was ready to give up because it would be a paperwork nightmare, but Mr Pretzel wouldn’t let me off that easy.  I didn’t decide to stay until I was sitting at breakfast with my colleague.  We were about to leave for the airport and I said, “you know, I think I’m going to change my flight and stay.  I’m going to go see the show tonight.”

I texted my pal the sound engineer and he told me to show up at the venue a little early.  This is where my normal Pretzel life got very surreal.  Waiting for me was an all access backstage pass. EEEEEEK!

Watching the show from the sound board

Snapped with my cell phone

The show was amazing and the night was just beginning.  I texted Mr Pretzel, “I think I am going backstage!” as my new friend brought me to the after-party.  It was humorous, I mingled with beautiful 20-somethings who were there for their beauty and I was there because I drank bourbon and the sound engineer found me to be a charming conversationalist.  I estimated that I was a good 10 years older than every other woman in the room.  *sigh*  I sat down next two chatty co-eds who took an instant liking to me after hearing my “I was on a business trip and now I am backstage” story.   Michael and the band arrived at the party and made the rounds.  The three of us were invited onto Michael’s bus to party a little more and I believe I might have texted Mr Pretzel… “Partying with Michael on his bus- squeal!”  I was surprised to find that both Michael and his band members found me interesting and enjoyed talking politics with me. Go figure! That night I was something different not my normal self, I was witty, clever, funny, and charming.  Perhaps it is because these boys had been on the road for over a year, but none-the-less they found me to be these things.   I enjoyed the night thoroughly and made some new friends in the process. The two girls who befriended me were adorable, and at the end of the night a little drunk.    Being the sober one, I drove us to my hotel and let them crash for the night.

When I arrived home, Mr Pretzel was just as excited as I was about my adventure.  He wasn’t jealous or insecure.  If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have stayed for the concert.  This weekend I got the opportunity to introduce Mr Pretzel to my friend the Sound Engineer.  Despite not being thrilled about going to a Michael Buble concert, Mr Pretzel got dressed up all dashing-like and accompanied me to the show.  I had scored 7th row seats, all on my own.

What a dashing Pretzel!

Speaking of Pretzels, we spied some and I couldn’t resist a photo.

While we were taking this a woman behind us said, ” Get a picture of the price, those are some expensive pretzels”

Mr Pretzel replied, “$4? Ha! She’s a lot more expensive than that.”

I must say, the humor in that statement was lost on her, but I laughed my a$$ off.  My buddy the sound engineer was glad we made it to the show and was excited to meet Mr Pretzel.  He agreed it was pretty cool how Mr P encouraged me to have my little adventure.

There are lots of reasons that I love Mr Pretzel, number 815 happens to be that he encourages me to hang with rock stars- or an alternate title, he doesn’t let me give up easily because something might be inconvenient or hard.

What is one of the little reasons that you love your fiance?

April 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

The Ring Part II: Irony in a Blue Box

It wasn’t lost on me how ironic it was that I, a self professed low maintenance girl, fell in love wit THE classic Tiffany engagement ring.   When Mr Pretzel and I finally visited Tiffany & Co together we had a lot of fun with the sales associate, Amy.  She said hands down I was the easiest future fiance she had worked with. My requirements were simple:

The Tiffany Setting, with a brilliant round cut diamond not to exceed .5 carats in size. That’s all. Color, Clarity? Well, if they carry it – it’s good for me (Tiffany & Co only carries diamonds above a certain threshold. For example, I is the lowest color rating that they will carry).

.5 carat

Source: Tiffany & Co

Pretty simple.  He could decide what color or clarity rating was important to him.  The size thing though, I was pretty firm about that. We looked at sizes from .45 to .5 and any of them were fine.  Over .5, I really felt like the diamond was too big for my finger.  Blasphemy I am sure, but remember my finger is a mere 3.5, and remember I’m a no-fuss, low maintenance kind of girl.  1 carat might look fine on larger hands, but on mine it looked like a boulder.

In the time between our visit to Tiffany and when Mr Pretzel proposed, he had a lot of fun ribbing me about my fancy dream ring.  I also would give him a hard time about little blue boxes.  In the end, I didn’t get a little blue box. Remember how Mr Pretzel hid my ring in the Ipod compartment of his Nike Running shoes?  I was expecting a box and he was paranoid that I would find a box, so he opted for the Tiffany Blue pouch.

I was kinda sad I didnt get a box.

I was kinda sad I didn't get a box.

When we went in a couple weeks ago to get it sized again, Amy, our sales associate, wanted to hear all about our engagement story.  She loved it, especially how he hid it in his shoe and made me cry- .  She was surprised to hear that he didn’t get a box with my ring.   Mr Pretzel told her that he refused the box because he was convinced I would find it.  In his defense, I did frisk him at the airport. When we finally went to pick up my ring, Amy had a surprise for us:

*Squeal! How pretty is it.  I totally get the whole blue box thing now.  Repeat after me: I am a hypocryte!

*Squeal! How pretty is it. I totally get the whole blue box thing now. Repeat after me: I am a hypocryte!

My ring all wrapped up pretty as can be!

Yay!

Yay!

At last, a safe place to keep my ring while I sleep!

At last, a safe place to keep my ring while I sleep!

PS so freaking hard to photograph this ring- the sparkle freaks my point and shoot camera out and it doesnt focus properly!

PS so freaking hard to photograph this ring- the sparkle freaks my camera out and it doesn't focus properly!

*sigh* Mr. Knit you did goooood!

Ultimately Mr Pretzel picked out a ring just under .5 - G color - VS1 clarity. *sigh* Mr. Pretzel you did goooood!

How did your engagement ring arrive? Was the packaging important?  PS- do you keep your ring on when you sleep.? I’m curious about that…

Photo Credit: Miss Pretzel unless otherwise noted.

October 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm 1 comment

The Ring Part I: Hugging the Girdle

A little while ago we took my size 4 ring in to be sized down to a size 3.5…  yeah I’ve got some teeny-tiny fingers. The day we were to pick up my ring, I got struck with the flu and spent the rest of the week in bed or in quarantine.  Sigh… we had to wait an extra week be reunited.  I felt strange without my ring but Mr Pretzel and I agreed that it was sliding around my finger way too much for either of us to feel comfortable. When I finally got it back ,   I realized that I hadn’t really elaborated much on my ring.

Let’s rewind back to last March.  Mr Pretzel and I had just started talking marriage and engagement.  I hadn’t even started to think about rings.  Then, we were watching Sweet Home Alabama and I had my first engagement ring thought/comment.

You know the scene, Reese and Patrick are in a dark room, the lights flip on, the blue boxes are stacked high, and the diamonds come out.

Me: “Don’t you worry, I won’t be demanding a giant flashy Tiffany Ring.”

Mr Pretzel: “That’s good cause if you did, you might be waiting a while for it. *grin*”

Don’t get me wrong, I had never actually looked at Tiffany Rings… I just had a caricature in my head of the type of girl who demands a large fancy diamond in a blue box.  A caricature that I knew “wasn’t me”. We had a giggle and enjoyed the rest of the movie.  Oh that comment and how it would be my downfall.

Now, not only had I not looked at Tiffany rings, I hadn’t looked at any engagement rings. I thought it would be funny to e-mail Mr Pretzel  most jewel encrusted, over the top, expensive ring and pretend that it was “the one”.  I remembered the quote from the movie, and my fingers quickly typed http://www.tiffany.com, with full expectations of over the top and flashy. In my mind I could see the look on Mr Pretzel’s face when I showed him a ring all blingged out and huge!

So NOT me!

So NOT me!

As the page loaded, I lost my words.

*cue music and lights... behold the perfect ring*

*cue music and lights... behold the perfect ring*

When I finally found words, all i could muster was “Damn it!”

There it was, the Tiffany® Setting… so freaking simple and perfect.  The lines were clean and simple and the diamond was beautiful and sophisticated, everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a ring.

ohhh... pretty

ohhh... pretty

I did a little research about Tiffany and the Tiffany® Setting.  This baby has history!

In 1886 Tiffany introduced the engagement ring as we know it today—the Tiffany® Setting—an innovation that lifts the diamond above the band with six platinum prongs, allowing a more complete return of light from the stone and maximizing its brilliance. –Tiffany & Company history

The price was surprisingly reasonable and the quality high.  Hummm… maybe I judged good ol’ Tiffany and Co too harshly.  I set aside plans to kid Mr Pretzel with an ostentatious ring in favor of seeing this one in person.  *Sigh*  In person, it was just as beautiful.  The saleswoman was awesome and educated me on all things diamond.   I was smitten with the ring. Smitten and a little sheepish; how ironic that I had fallen for a Tiffany Ring.

Armed with a Tiffany book on engagement rings I met Mr Pretzel for dinner.  He wanted to know how my shopping had gone and if I had seen anything I liked.  I bit my lower lip and nodded my head silently not making eye contact.  He asked if I was going to tell him about it.  I nodded my head no.   He gave me a funny look and I burst out, “I found the ring I love and now I am a hypocrite.” He gave me a blank stare, so I  tossed the blue book onto the table.  We both looked at the book, and together we burst out laughing.

That night I read him passages out of the book and we had a good chuckle.  Our favorite quote accompanies this photo:

"Notice how the prongs hug the girdle without violating the table"

"Notice how the prongs hug the girdle without violating the table"

Honest to God, it really says that.  I went to sleep dreaming of hugged girdles and un-violated tables.

What has been ironic in your wedding planning?  How did you fall in love with your ring?

All Photos: Tiffany & Co

October 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

Bathroom Tears

Source

Source

It seems to be a trend.  I didn’t elaborate in my proposal announcement- but the one thread that runs through Mr Pretzel and my engagement journey is I will hide in the bathroom if I need to cry.  Funny I know.  But I want to elaborate on it- because LOVE is not all fairy tales and perfect- and my perfect imperfection is that when my eyes start to water I retreat to the bathroom to have a good cry.

So here it is from the beginning.  *warning it’s a long post!*

Before starting to date Mr Pretzel, I turned 30- not so much a big deal, but Mr Pretzel is 4 years my junior.  Being 30 and him still in his twenties I felt like the “older woman” and I definitely didn’t want to be the “pushy older woman.”  You know, Marisa Tomei in my Cousin Vinny with the foot stomping and clock ticking?

In our courtship I got to places before Mr Pretzel- I knew he was exactly what I was looking for and what I needed early on, I said I love you first, I new he was the man I was going to marry first (or at least I thought so).  He always got to that same place right behind me, but it stuck in my head that I got there first and it made me a little self conscious *read I was really worried I was “that older woman”*.

It was that last one (realizing that he was the man I wanted to marry) that lead to my first bathroom crying incident.   After a vacation with his family I knew he was the one whose hand I held in a nursing home but I didn’t dare say anything about it or bring it up.  I wanted to be patient and wait for him to get to the same place before I brought the subject up.  Plus I really thought we should be together a full year before talking about marriage.  So I didn’t say anything and neither did he- I assumed the thought of marriage had never crossed his brain (I greatly underestimated him).  Fast forward to Valentines day, I was getting a little antsy to talk with him about this and while we were shopping (I think at Target) he got a phone call from his baby brother.  FBIL Pretzel had just bought a ring for his then girlfriend and couldn’t wait to share the info with his brother.  I was so happy for them but at the same time my heart felt heavy.  I so desperately wanted him to bring the subject up. I wanted to talk with him about our future.  I felt distant the rest of our shopping trip and fought back tears.  When we got back to his apt I went into the bathroom and let myself cry.  Silly I know.

Source

Source

I came out, tears streaming down my face and Mr Pretzel held me tight and asked what was wrong. I told him I was happy for his brother but I was frustrated that he hadn’t even thought about our future (I assumed) and I wanted to talk about it but I didn’t want to be the pushy older woman.  He tilted my chin towards him and said “you greatly underestimate me”  This started our conversations about our future.  He found it funny that I was trying so hard not to talk about it that I bottled it all up until it exploded in tears… in the bathroom.  We laugh about it now, but coming out of the bathroom with tears streaming down my face was a big turning point in our relationship.

Fast forward to last Wednesday, the day he proposed.  My heart was set on being engaged while visiting my family in New England.  I don’t see them often anymore and I wanted to celebrate with them.  Mr Pretzel and I had already started the wedding planning- we had a date set, the venue, the photographer… it wasn’t a matter if “if” but “when”.  I thought I knew when he went to buy the ring- an unaccounted for Saturday where we didn’t see each other all day- and when he picked it up- another unaccounted for Saturday right before our trip.  I was certain that he was going to propose at the airport, or on the trip.  But Mr Pretzel really wanted to surprise me and thus he had to throw me off his trail.  He knew I knew.

He started dropping hints to let me believe he didn’t have the ring.  He started to indicate that I shouldn’t go into the trip expecting to get engaged – because I might be disappointed.  He was so convincing that when he dropped one last hint at the airport on Wednesday I was convinced- and crushed.  I did a quick pat down of his person and then I knew- or I thought I did- that he had not gotten the ring.  I got mad and sad all at the same time.  I was mad that he had “wasted” those Saturdays- the perfect opportunity to pick up the ring.  I was sad that we wouldn’t be able to announce our engagement and celebrate with my family.  I seriously could not look at him without being overwhelmed by those emotions.  We went through security, sat down at the gate, Mr Pretzel went to sleep and I went to the ladies room to have a self indulgent cry (a short one).  I straightened myself up and went back to the gate in time to collect Mr Pretzel and board the plane- where he promptly fell asleep again.

Bathroom site of cry #2 on our trip- Midway airport

Bathroom site of cry #2 on our trip- Midway airport

I tried to talk myself into getting over it- I didn’t want to land in NH and still be mad/sad.  The self talk worked a little, but a few tears streamed down my face as we flew- and Mr Pretzel slept.  In Chicago we got off the plane, Mr Pretzel started to wake up and he started to notice that I was upset.  I scurried off to the bathroom- trying to get a grip on my emotions.  After a short cry I tried to clean myself up but my eyes were oh so red and puffy.  I walked out of the bathroom into Mr Pretzel’s arms.  I told him I was disappointed, upset and a little mad.  He hugged me and smiled.

“I’m upset! Why are you smiling?” I asked.

He said, “If you knew what I knew you would be smiling” and squeezed me a little tighter.

My heart lifted a little- but I didn’t want to let myself even get my hopes up.  It worked though, I was calmer and ready to have a great vacation- even if we didn’t get engaged.  So his plan had worked, although he didn’t foresee that I would get so upset and cry, he had disarmed my suspicions and primed me to be surprised.  Later that evening as he was down on his knee looking up at my face asking me to marry him, I was so happy that he had thrown me off his trail.  Bathroom tears- well they are just my thing.

Did you have a hard time with your emotions before the proposal?  Did you share it with your SO or hide your tears?

September 10, 2009 at 10:31 am 1 comment

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