Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Name

Well, it's official - it's on the driver's license. I've changed my name.

Wow. Thirty-six years of my life under one identity, and starting today, I have a new one.

I've accumulated quite a bit of official-ness under my maiden name. A bank account, a mortgage, credit cards, a retirement account . . . I've been a full-on grownup with my maiden name.

But it's not the loss of my old name, really, that gives me pause. To be honest, I'm not that close to my father's family - they're not the tightest-knit. When I was a little girl, in fact, I planned to change my last name to my mother's family name; I had this grand scheme to run off to Maine, where my mother's family lives, and "become" one of them - I had an issue with my Southern heritage (I've gotten over it).

No, it's just change in general. I've never been a big fan of change. It's a fear of the unknown - what if it's not as good as it is now? Even when a situation sucked, at least it was comfortable - I knew where I stood, how to navigate (never mind that I was miserably unhappy).

When I met Kyle, I learned how much better things can get if you just let go. But the change was made for me - I didn't choose it. Taking the first step myself, bringing about a change, not just accepting it - this, for lack of a better word, "personal growth" has been a work in progress. There are still times when it takes conscious effort for me to let go of the known, the comfortable, and move on to the next, unknown, scary, thing.

But I have. I took a deep breath and changed it all up. I fell in love. I sold my house, left a job I'd had for ten years, and moved away from friends to a new city. And look! Obnoxious as it is to proclaim it, life is ridiculously awesome. I'm humbled by the things I've been blessed with.

And now I'm married - a whole new experience awaits.

Bring it on.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pickin' up pawpaws and puttin' 'em in your pocket...

We have a shrub or small tree in the back yard, right in front of the master bath, that blocks the window nicely (when it has leaves; it's deciduous).

I've always wondered what it was; it didn't look like anything I'd seen before. And this spring, the mystery deepened when small green pods appeared on the branches:

Photo of fruit:

Photo of foliage:

After weeks of procrastination, I finally took some photos and brought them in to work for our master gardeners to look at. Tom, the state master gardener coordinator, works downstairs, and my coworker Kim is a master gardener as well.

The two puzzled over the photos briefly, and Kim pulled out a book titled "Florida's Best Fruiting Plants" (they both have an impressive library of plant geekery).

Mystery solved! It's a Pawpaw tree; Latin name Asimina triloba. According to the very handy web site, it's native to the Eastern U.S. and likes rich, well-drained soil. The strange little pods are the fruit, which mature up to 3-6 inches long and have a creamy interior full of black seeds. The taste has been compared to a banana or pineapple. We'll see if our pods make it to maturity; our squirrels number in the hundreds and dang, are they hungry beasts.

Our particular specimen has been there for some time, although it doesn't look like a tree; it looks like a shrub, meaning it has growing to do. Which is unfortunate, as Kyle will be cutting it down if it gets too big. I wonder if whoever planted it right next to the house knew pawpaw trees can grow up 25 feet!

What the interior of the fruit looks like:

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Free for any use.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The More, The Merrier

Kyle and I attended a wedding this weekend in Clearwater Beach. We only met Kelly and Dieter a few months ago, but we've really become good friends. They came to our wedding, and I recently flew to Chicago (for the first time!) for Kelly's bachelorette party.

They were married on the beach. Kelly looked beautiful (loved her dress!) and the weather was nice. Warm, but nothing Floridians, hardy midwesterners, and even-hardier Germans couldn't handle.

It would have been 100% wonderful, except for this large group of people that camped out near the ceremony spot. Of course, Sand Key Park is a public beach, and I'm sure Kelly and Dieter were made aware of what that could entail, but you would think that people would at least try to be quieter during a wedding ceremony. I couldn't help but think that this group was actually being loud on purpose. We really couldn't hear anything they were saying, but Kelly's smiles and Dieter's very serious face spoke volumes. I might have even caught a little tear on his cheek!

Kelly's friend Julie from Chicago (who is one cool chick), Kelly and me at the cocktail reception after the ceremony:

Yes, I have a little bit of sunburn (put your sunscreen on before you get to the pool, not when you get there!).

Our friend Jay, who officiated mine and Kyle's wedding, sang at Kelly and Dieter's, along with our friend Cassie, who just so happens to be recently engaged. They did a duet of "Leather and Lace," originally sung by Don Henley and Stevie Nicks. Kelly just loves Cassie's voice, and she and Jay sing together very easily. Of course, we practice every year at Ginnie Springs!

Kelly and Dieter were so pleased afterwards!

Sigh, don't you just love weddings? So romantic...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Married Lady Rears Her Head

Hello, my tiny audience!

(I refer to the number of readers, not your particular size. Wait, not that I'm saying you're not tiny - you are! Unless you're male, then you're manly and huge! . . . you get the point.)

Since the wedding and honeymoon are over, I suppose it's time to get back on this particular horse.

The wedding was lovely. The Baughman Center was beautiful, the ceremony brief and personal, and the reception kick-ASS. The photographer took over 800 photos, and I haven't had time to look at them yet, so you'll have to make due with my few that are from before, and after, the actual wedding:

First errand of wedding day: getting my hair done.

Taking a lunch break at the makeup location with my fantastic A'vie wedding coordinator, Ann Marie (right) and her trusty assistant (left, and whose name is currently escaping me):

Pretty hair -- bad, bad, sandwich:

After-party at the Gainesville Hilton (where the cops showed up! but that's another post...). My BFF Janet (recently married herself) and I posing with a cardboard cutout of our friend Frank, who couldn't be here with us for the wedding:

A recently-met girlfriend, Kelly and me. She's getting married this weekend (yes, there's something in the water).

The end of the night (which didn't come until the wee hours of the morning, truth be told):

Next time: either some "real" wedding photos or the story of the afterparty (aka "The Hilton Sucks"). See you then, thanks for waiting on me!