… 2006 was Good and it was SHIT.

It was one of the best years of my life and then it turned in to the worst year of my life. Along the way I stopped updating and some events that deserved celebrating were left on the shelf, waiting for me to return to. It is nearly the end of the year and I haven’t quite gotten to them yet. As a bit of reminder to myself and to those that are perhaps waiting for the posts that discuss these events, I shall post a few photos, and when I return from Toronto in January (actually probably when we return from Dublin the week after the Toronto trip) I will get on with getting on. At least where this thing is concerned. Put your cursor over the photo for a little description.

In June I failed to write about Steph’s Shower. I also never posted about her stagette and once I get the photo’s from Lee’s computer I will be able to post a sample of that (if she even wants to be reminded of it!).

Stephanie the Bride to Be

On Canada Day, 1 July 2006, my teeny weeny baby brother went and did something that should make me realise he is all growed up, but I refuse: He went and got married! Here is a shot of Scott and Heather at the reception:

Scott and Heather

Found Steph’s Stagette photos! -> Also in JULY!

Enough Said!

August was the month that started off as AMAZING and ended completely numb. There was the trip to Vegas, other good stuff, my Mom’s 50th, losing my Dad and Randy’s Birthday.

Paris .... Las Vegas

Astaphan's Come Together

Rnady and Jamie Blow Out the Candles
September saw Jamie turn 32, October was Halloween and somewhere in there, Luke started catching up to his big brother and stopped being the little baby I saw in August!

Adam and Luke

November was the month that Steve and Rosie entered married life with a BANG, or fifty … being married on Guy Fawkes and all.

The Parsons!

And well, it is December now and I have been trying to keep up.. sort of.. to date. There have been some days where the last thing on my mind is being connected to reality, never mind the online world and there are days when I think I might just be doing well. It’s been a case of one step forward, two steps back with me and I am hoping (as I am sure Lee is) that 2007 will bring me the strength and understanding I need to get through. Oh and it would be nice if the New Year also brought me some anti-jump down your throatedness. See, I don’t always think of myself. I think of Lee too. 🙂

When they look on the horizon
Do you see dark clouds rolling in fast
Cos baby they ain’t gonna last…

For anyone that knows me well, you will know that I was not one of those brides who fussed about every last detail. I was more worried about the people interacting than ‘my colours’ or the flowers. The one thing that I did obsess about was the photos. I wanted amazing photos. Not family all line up like ducks in a row, but more of a candid capturing the essence fo the day and the happiness between us type pictures.

From the moment I entered the photographer’s sstore I knew that there were going to be issues. The photos looked like poses from the 80s, but I figured it must have been what the people wanted because they looked well impressed with what was going on. I raised my fears to my Dad’s secretary who was with me and she gave me a nervous gigle and said it was too late. She was right, so I ignored it until the wedding day.

He was late. He took the photos in the room in front of a cheesey curtain. He barely took any shots so if my eyes are open in one, they are closed in the next when the other person with me actually opened theirs. There is red eye galore and shots that are even crooked.

I was stunned when we got the cd with the photos. Stunned. Part of me was excited for getting to relive the day, but as people were happily commenting “oh remember this? that was great”, tiny pieces of me were dying inside. The itsy bitsy part of me that wanted to be able to remember my wedding as a great day. And after all of the crap that went wrong, all of my hopes for something to go right were hanging on those photos.

As the word spread people offered me copies of their photos. They offered to help me build a decent collection. Unfortunatley most of them had not viewed their own photos and sent them in one after the other with arms blocking the shot, red eye, over exposures, blurs, you name it. Everything other than that one photo that captured how we felt about each other and the day.

I will admit that I had given up hope. I cried myself to sleep night after night knowing I would never be able to recapture those moments. when people ask to see photos I will have to insist they were not taken on the set of Miami Vice. I will have to reassure them that we were indeed happy. That my mother’s side of the family WAS there (as the photographer only took pictures of the groom’s family and my father’s).

But… for me, there is a bright light on the horizon. We have booked an appointment with a photographer to take some shots of us in our wedding gear. Shots that can reflect how we feel and how we felt. Ones that can help us remember the good times and the bad times, and the fact that like everything else, even our wedding couldn’t go smoothly.

Let’s just hope I sstill fit in the dress!

When we planned to get married in St.Kitts we did it know full well that there would be a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to make it. Unfortunately for Lee, most of the people that didn’t come were his friends. To try and make up for this fact and to give these people a chance to celebrate with us, we threw a Post Wedding Weekend. We rented what used to be the General Stores in Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire. A very old property that had been converted into a … well… that depends on what you read into things. At first glance it would appear to be a posh cottage, but on closer inspection you may find it to be a swingers weekend house.

What made us think that? Wipe clean pillow in every room, the pantyhose doll in our room that came complete with breasts and pearled “lady garden”. The spikey pillow, the gimp cupboard, the Absolut Fetish placemats, the vinyl material EVERYWHERE, even in the Barn which is supposed to be a children’s playroom.

Oh well, it was amusing.

So… it was supposed to be a big celebration of our marriage.

What is ended up being was Lee’s belated Stag Do…..

….a very gay one at that.

Very.

Gay.

I would like to give into evidence Exhibit A: Lee and Ben get Cuddly
Sure they were once boss and subordinate, but something leads me to believe the master and servant relationship never truly ended when they left their positions at Easynet. Easy something.
barn

Next, Exhibit B: Lee says Hello to Gaz.
In a way that would make even the most openminded of people wonder. Luckily Gaz’s face is blurred as I do not believe he is as Brokeback as the man attacking him from behind. Yes, that man is a newlywed. Where he took a wife. Or a faghag as you may want to call me.
gaz

Exhibit C: Innocent men in a hottub. Or is it…..
brokeback hottub

Exhibit D: I didn’t bloody well think so. Try and tell me you are not gay now, Buddy. It is right there in black and white and red and underpants and flesh and tooooo much flesh…..
brokeback II

Eventually all of the excitement wore him out. To the point where he couldn’t feel anything happening to him. There were moments I was tempted to stick his pinky finger in some water and let us all watch him wee himself, however being newly married to the guy I decided to let his brother and friends decorate him with tortilla chips and hummous and Scrabble pieces spelling “twat”. Hey…it is what it is. (unfortuantely for some reason photobucket does not like the twat picture. sheesh)
lee sleeps

And in the morning I decided to get the hell out of there… or at least to go buy some Frosted Flakes and milk.

outta there

When Lee leaves me for someone of the opposite gender (opposite of mine!!), let me be the first to say.. I Told Me So!

Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in kokomo…..

Kokomo …. St.Lucia.. what’s the difference other than a blessed lack of Tom Cruise behind the bar?

After a wedding that was made for one of those bloopers shows or an example of Why Everyone Should Just Elope, we headed off to St.Lucia. As much as I loved that so many people flew out for our wedding, it became hard to spend the right amount of time with everyone and still have any time to see each other. In fact, the day after the wedding we spent apart… other than breakfast, but NO ONE is getting in the way of me and my food. Especially on the first day where I didn’t have to worry about fitting into a dress.

But I digress.

We headed off to St.Lucia for some peace and quiet. Lots of quiet. Especially when my ear infection kicked in and I couldn’t hear out of my left ear.

Anyway.

We headed off to a little resort in Anse Cochon called Ti Kaye Village. After and very winding (as in wrapping around not as in releasing trapped gas) and bumpy drive we arrived at our hotel. The first thing we did was run to the bar (okay it was not more than a few steps) for some celebratory (and free) drinks.

bar

Lee is actually in that photo …just put your nose to the monitor.

Afterwards we took a peek at the view from the bar/main restaurant and decided … I was a fucking superstar for finding this place!

view

Yeah, I thought you might agree.

We spent the next three days just relaxing.

There was nothing to do but relax when you have a villa with a hammock built for two, an outdoor shower, plunge pool and this amazing bed:

bed

In fact you can even see the shower in that photo. That door that opens to tiles and trees… that’s it!

We watched the sun set from the balcony after spending some time lazing about in the pool….

pool

That shot was in fact taken out of the shower!

Okay so there were a few other things to do….a few hours of snorkelling and securing a proper sunburn:

sundown

….and a few hours spent touristising around the place with Noel the cab driver who so thoughtfully brought his girlfriend along for the tour. What the poop was that about? Nevermind that he dropped us off at some botanical gardens and then said “see you in an hour” and drove off… or that by saying “I’ll take you to the drive in volcano” he meant he would drive us just past the gate and then let us experience the extreme stench of the bubbling sulfer pits with a massive group of cruise ship tourists.

But we got nice photos out of the deal:

us

Even if we did take them ourselves.

all in all it was the perfect break we needed. It allowed us to get some much needed sleep… relax… unwind… and unwind. We also got to spend time together. Lots of it. And we LOVED it!!

It is really strange to me. As someone who cannot be around one person too much without snapping and flying into a hatred fueled rage, nothing in the world makes me happier than spending 24 hours doing absolutely nothing with Lee by my side.

Having a sunshiney tropical setting doesn’t hurt either.

Going to Get Maaaaaaried.

Well. Sort of. There was no chapel, and we already got married. That is right. As of today we have been married for a whopping 25 days. Last night we congratulated each other on making further than a lot of Hollywood marriages. More of a bonus is that we didn’t even have the Fairy Tale start that most of them get.

Sure there was a big dress, flowers, lots of guests, cake, music and food. On the other hand, there was also torrential downpours that led from the ceremony being here:

ceremony 1

to here:

ceremony 2

Yes, those are hotel rooms you can see as we ended up getting married in the hallway of the Marriott as opposed to the beach that had washed away or the garden where you can see we had the rehersal.

I even got the ultimate bridal experience of hanging out in a stairwell:

stairwell

Unfortunately, or fortunately I do not have a sample of the musical genius that was behind the controls of the cd player at the ceremony. As I walked down the aisle, he decided to stop the song and start it all over again. The same genius must have decided he wasn’t a big fan of the song we chose to depart the ceremony with (Its the End of the World as We Know It by REM) and threw back on the song that I had walked down to.

This was all after I had been delayed in getting to my wedding, even though I was only staying a floor above AND was ready an hour early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway….

There was more. Lots more.

In fact, most disturbingly, there was …. a little person.

By this I am not meaning a person under a certain age. There were plenty of those kind and I adore those kind. What I am referring to, is a person who forgot to grow. Those of you who know me well, know that I have a deep-seated fear of people who forget to grow…. as evident by the cry for help emanating from my mouth in the next photo where He Who Forgot To Grow is holding my hand.

midget

Now you would think that people who love me and want my day to be special would be helping me. No. They all ran to get their cameras.

At least he didn’t slap me on the backside as he did to Lee. Though I told him (and everyone else that listens to me) “not every groom gets to say that he had his ass slapped by a midget on his wedding day”. It is true. Millions of grooms around the world would be jealous if they ever found this blog and discovered what they had missed out on!

I guess I couldn’t ask for much support though. Taking a peek at the next photo will explain the state of many people. Unfortunately these are my two brothers…. before the reception even.

bros

Although the ceremony wasn’t what was planned, the weather was a bitch, the cake was not what I expected…at all, the reception was decorated exactly how I begged for it not to be, the photographer was horrible and the reception ended with a power outage, we had a memorable day where (although this may be hard to believe for anyone who saw me pre-ceremony) more smiles were shared than tears shed.

And most importantly… we’re legal.

That’s right. We did it.

No more stressing.

No more having to remember to take our rings off before we leave the house.

No more people asking if we are excited/looking forward to it/ready.

We are husband and wife.

It is a scary thought that.

But don’t we look happy to be?

done deal

But it is…
Going to be great.

nerves

That is me right now. Not a hand tearing through a hole, but a massive fucked off bundle of nerves. I am scared of thinking, because when I think I realise there are more things I need to do or that I forgot to do.

What do you buy a three year old as a thank you for being in your wedding? What do you buy the best man for that matter? Where is the thank you gift I ordered for my step father? Am I going to remember to by special wedding pants?!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… at times like this I wish I had a penis.

Not really.

But men have it so easy. I mean they say the wedding is all about the bride, which truly pisses me off to be honest, and I guess that means that is should be she who is left to deal with everything. And no, I am not trying to slag Lee off. It is just hard when you are not at all bridal. I’ve not had this planned since I was 8 years old. I’ve not been pining for a perfect wedding for years. It is two weeks until the day and I STILL have no fucking clue what I am supposed to be doing or what I should have done by now.

What I do know, is that I feel like I am drifting out to sea alone and at a time when I am supposed to be feeling an enormous amount of love and support.

Oh well, I guess this is another example of something not killing you making you stronger. It better be anyway. If I am not stronger after this, I am going to have words. Not quite sure who those words will be with, but there will words. Count on it.

Fuck me. I thought the blues were supposed to come post wedding when there was nothing left to look forward to, not before the wedding!

See.. I am doing it ALL wrong.

Could have been three or four six-packs,
I don’t know, but look at the mess I’m in.

Friday night.. (no rest for the wicked).. those who couldn’t make it on Thursday and some of those who could, all assembled at the Bier Markt on the Esplanade in downtown T.O.

Yes, that is the spelling, I am not “ecstatic”.

Anyway, I had advised everyone that I wanted it low key. I didn’t want to do the embarrasing t-shirt signing or getting absolutely stinking polluted that seems to happen with most stagette/hen do nights out.

Everyone seemed to be going along with the idea. Well for the most part. There was the whole necklace of PENISES and the dreaded shirt. Where in the hell are you going to find someone named Nelson?! But I was determined to retain my dignity.

I mean… how hard was it going to be to do that?

body shot

Okay a slight slip up….. but I was soon back on track and enjoying the company (and ever more presents.. crotchless panties and ligerie ahoy! Oooh and the book of orgasms that went down a treat with everyone -> Will especially)

signing

Damnit. Alright, perhaps this dignity thing was a little harder to pull off than I imagined. But what is a girl to do? The beer was flowing, the shots kept coming and I couldn’t well refuse could I?

The most important thing was that people we happy. I think that at no point was there not someone without a ridiculously huge smile on their faces, as evident in the Defence Exhibits 1 and 2:

Please witness the true undeniable joy across the face of Josh. Perhaps Anne looks stunned, but she has to live with that mug.
josh and anne

Now bring your attention to the Girls from the Guild. Rhiann, Steph (the lovely maid of honour), Moi (the lovely guest of honour) and Krista.. otherwise known as Johhhhnnnnnnnnnay!
the girls

I don’t know about you, but those look like some happy people to me.

Some of the attendees leeft early, and others left drunk. Then there were the remaining three of us: Pennie, Reems and myself….
reems me pen

… who carried on next door, met a young man about to set off to Australia and enjoyed some fine wings, nachos and potato skins before rolling home at 3:45am.

What a good night.

Thanks for the memories girlies… and Will and Josh.

…but the fire is so delightful…
…since we’ve no place to go…
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Okay. Two things not so true about those lyrics.
A: There was no fire
B: We did have some place to go.

My loving mother and my super duper maid of honour decided they would be ever so kind and throw a Bridal Shower for me. They put their heads together and realised that since it was so close to Christmas, a Thursday might see more people turn out as they tried to avoid work Christmas parties.

Steph went to work desiging the super cute invites and my mother booked the party room and prepared for games to be played and presents to be dished out.

That was when they were smooth sailing. The only time they were.

Invites got returned, invites got held up in the mail, people starting RSVPing that Thursday was Christmas Party day for them. Some even had exams.

At the last minute (well week and a bit before) the location was changed as the numbers dwindled. It was decided that we would all meet up at Katsura (a Japanese restaurant at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto) and have one of those screened off rooms to ourselves.

As the day neared, weather reports claimed that there would be BUCKETS of snow thrown down on the city. We hoped against hope that this would not be. As I said.. we hoped against hope:
snow drive

We expected everyone to cancel, but only my brother’s fiancee couldn’t make it, as she had a job interview the next day and needed to be sure she could make it back on time.

So the 8 of us that could make it out on the blizzardy Thursday night, assembled at the restaurant. Conversation flowed and laughter ensued. That is until we went to order. The first person attempted to order the terriyaki filet mignon, only to be told “sorry no steak tonight grill no work”. Chicken it is! was the reply to follow, only to be told “sorry no chicken either. no chicken or steak”.

Umm what? We’re in a pricey ass place and they are going to tell us an hour after we sat down that there couldn’t be any steak or chicken!? Nothing that required a grill. After words with the waitress and then the manager, our food was ordered and games got under way. They were slightly gay (as shower games are) but quite funny games. We learned a lot about Lee, and even I didn’t get all of the answers right. Who knew he aspired to be: Captain Flatulence?

Cake was eaten:

cake

Pressies were opened and passed around (and I got SO many and LOVED them LOVED them LOVED them!!! Thank you!!!!):

sue looking at pressies
And we all headed back out to our cars to face the dreaded snowy ride home.

…Journey with me as I take you through this nifty little place….

So 69 days left until the wedding. At this point in most wedding planning lives, people are mostly relaxed with everything set in stone. Not us. In fact, I’ve just realised that the shoes I bought aren’t going to work in the sand. So now I have £50 shoes to wear… from the room to the bar.. and nothing to wear at the wedding. *gulp*

I will admit there is still loads to be done and instead of getting some rest and getting everything in order, I’ve discovered the magic of itunes and songs for £0.79. To be fair, and to justify my spending spree, I did manage to get the song I want to dance to with my father. Though I got 16 other songs to go along with it. Oops.

Oh and the luck of bad flight planning continues. Over a month ago I booked my December trip to Toronto. I got it for an amazing price and we felt I had plenty time to get things done when I got there. However, yesterday I received an email from my mother informing me that the woman who will be doing the finishing touches on the dress will only be able to help me the day before I leave because I was getting in too late on the Wednesday.

Well I had purchased a non-refundable non-changeable ticket! Just like I did in summer when I fought with the travel agent and airline to change it… and lost, having to buy a new ticket on a different flight and go back home twice in the space of a month.

This time I survived with only a £55 fee plus a 30 minute long distance call. I guess it is worth it to be able to fit properly into a dress that people will remember me in for a long time.

Now only if either of my florist’s email addresses worked. It would be slightly handy and not as panic inducing as having the emails bounce back to me 5 minutes apart after lulling me into a false sense of security thinking the second one made it.

It doesn’t stop there. Today I got post. YAY! No bills! No bills indeed. It was Debenhams telling me that FIVE of the items we have registered for are being discontinued. So basically if no one buys them like tomorrow.. we won’t get them. I am almost tempted to buy them for myself. :/

But you know for all of these obstacles, it really is okay.. because if my wedding went smoothly, it wouldn’t be my wedding. If I make it through the day without falling over, spilling red wine or something equally vibrant stain producing down my front, falling out of my dress, vomiting or crapping myself… it will be a good day.

My mom used to tell me that for everything bad that happened to me when I was younger, that I would be rewarded when I was older. I’ve been waiting for the badness to leave.. and maybe.. just maybe.. that day, it will begin.

Actually, I’ve never been on 34th Street so I’d know nothing about any miracles happening there. What I do know, is that I already know where I am staying for the wedding.

Which wedding? My wedding. Well “our” wedding since after all it is Lee’s too.

So, okay, go ahead and say it because I know you want to. Why is it a miracle that I know where I am staying for an event that is only 100 days away? Because I didn’t think we’d know until the day before. Okay that was an exaggeration, but I can do that because I am in charge of this mofo and nobody can correct me.*

Anyway, the point is that we know where we’ll be and that is a nice feeling. I’ve got the song, the hotel, the caterer, florist, photographers, magistrate, cake maker, reception locale… everything but the music.

Two words: Sweet Ass.

*Lee may be able to correct me since he wears the geek pants in this family and can do all sorts of funky shiat to anything on my pc.