I Wore My Mom’s Wedding Dress

For my wedding, I wore my mom’s wedding dress.

She wore it in 1981, and I wore it in 2011. She was 21 and I was 25. She got married in the same year as Princess Di, I got married in the same year as Will and Kate. I like that fun fact, sue me.

Another fun fact: I did not try on one single dress other than this one when deciding what I would wear on my wedding day. Before I put it on, I wasn’t sold on the idea of wearing my mom’s dress. But when it was zipped up and I stood in front of the full length mirror in my parents’ bedroom, I was surprised by what I saw.

First of all, it fit perfectly. I knew it was exactly what I had envisioned for my wedding day, and of course, I loved the history behind it. I decided to take it to a seamstress who made a few alterations (mainly for updating purposes–notice the difference in the sleeves below) and when I tried it on again, I was in love.

My parents paid for most of their wedding themselves, and my mom has always told my sister’s and me that the only way she could justify spending so much money on her dress was by telling herself that one of her daughters could wear it one day.

Of course, there was no pressure from my mom in recent history. But a part of me is glad I was able to satisfy her money-conscious-twenty-one-year-old-self.

I loved wearing her dress. It was special because it was my mom’s, and how many girls get to wear their mom’s dress? And it was special because I got to design the alterations. It could not have been more perfect. My seamstress was amazing and I am so glad I trusted her for the job.

Would you wear your mom’s dress on your wedding day?  Everyone is different (and everyone’s mom’s dress is different!), but it was the perfect decision for me.

things i have not talked about (part two)

(the national cathedral…didn’t really feel like posting another picture of the capitol.)

Ever since high school, I had wanted to work in politics one way or
another. I loved DC, and traveled here often during college.  As a
history major, I had a profound respect for the way our country was
founded, its unique government, and the seemingly endless
possibilities this country provided.

I knew politicians had a tendency to be power-crazed, heartless people
driven by greed and self-promotion, but I was also sure that there
were exceptions. I still believe that…sort of. Maybe.

The fact that I came out of Congress as a whole person is nothing short of a miracle. 

I had a few extraordinarily awesome coworkers who reenforced
me with their reasonableness and sanity.
I would not have lasted so long without them and I
am incredibly thankful that we had each other.

(I should add that there are a lot of really great people who work in Congress. I do not wish to imply that the whole place is full of terrible people, although it would seem that it does attract the very worst sort of people.)

Congress is a place where a multitude of temptations exist. I
completely understand why young people like me get sucked into the
system. The congressional buildings are beautiful, you have a cool
little ID badge that gets you into special rooms in the Capitol, you
go through security everyday, you pass big names in the
hallway….from the very beginning you are made to feel like you are a part of
something truly important.

You are also made to feel like if you wanted a life outside of work,
you were made of lesser stuff. Leaving on time got you weird looks from coworkers.
Every night was a contest to see who could stay the latest. 

Unfortunately, all of that importance stuff is mostly a facade.

I was supposed to be working for one of the “good ones”–one of
 the politicians who had his head on straight and never took a bribe.
One who is looked up to by both sides,
whose constituents sing his praises.

After about 10 months of working there, I started noticing things
that weren’t right. People were being treated
unfairly. Manipulation. Deception. Hypocrisy.
Dishonesty. All of the things that a transparent
entity should not have. All of the things that
any entity should not have.

It was starting to bear heavily on every part of me.

I could share some pretty astounding stories.
But to point fingers and name names would seem defensive and bitter.
There is a time and place for government transparency,
but it is not here on my innocent little blog. I don’t
want to ruin it with the harsh realities of the
world if I can help it.
After I left, I waited about a week and then I emailed 
my boss a very lengthy email. I was as brief as I could be, but there
was a lot to say. I asked him to tell me I was wrong in the way I thought 
of him, because I wanted to believe that I misunderstood somehow, or
that he is not getting the full truth about things from
those beneath him.

I said all I wanted to say. And there was closure. For me, at least.

I have given a lot of thought as to why 
I want to talk about this at all on my blog. I wrote a post for
 today, and then deleted 80% of it. It is hard to decide
what I should say when I have so many thoughts and
feelings about the whole thing.

But really, I think people have a right to know.
We are paying these people to represent us, after all. Part
of me wants to say, “well, I’m out of that toxic environment, so
I can just forget about it!” But then it’s the U.S. government…

But then…

I also know a lot of you can relate to work experiences like this.
I know these things don’t just happen in the U.S. Senate.

It’s a shame, yes.

So really it comes down to this: 

the U.S. Senate is not the hope of the world, as
much as it would like to think that it is. I learned a lot about
government, and how it is really run. I read the news differently now.
I care about politics in a different way than I did before.

In the two-and-a-half years I worked there, I just got a crash course in human
nature and how corrupt it is at its very core. I could say I learned to
be wary of big government. Or, I could just say I learned to be
wary of individuals who value power
and money more than compassion and selflessness.
That’s probably the more useful lesson in all of this.

Your priorities dictate the kind of person you are going to be.
You cannot hide from them. No matter what you say you want for
yourself, your family, or the country, you cannot
 abide by your standards if the most important thing to you is yourself
and your own desires.

So there, I guess that is what the U.S. Senate taught me.

things I have not talked about (part I)

(Today I am over at Teatime Thoughts talking a little bit about why I blog…if you are visiting from Teatime: Welcome!!)
But I am also here, talking a little bit more about recent work
events. For those of you who do not know, as of a few weeks ago, I had been
working in the U.S. Senate for two and a half years.
That’s me being free and happy.
As I have alluded to recently, I have started a new job after three
(shall we say, glorious?) weeks of unemployment.
At first, everything felt like a disaster, but looking back over the past few weeks,
I think it is safe to say that things happened perfectly. Literally, the day I lost my job, Eric told
me that his coworker’s wife was looking to hire somebody where she
worked. The following business day, I had an interview. And then a
second one. And then I was filling out paperwork and had the privilege
of actually relaxing for a few weeks without the stress of
job-hunting. Honestly, the whole thing could not have worked out better.
And it turns out, I really needed those three weeks to let the stress ease its way out of my life. Eric and I didn’t realize how heavily my work stress was weighing on our new little marriage.
The day I lost my job (I won’t go into the details, but I will say it
was a complete shock to me, and everyone else on staff, and I am just
getting over being really, really frustrated by all of it partly due
to the fact that Congress has no HR department…), I was sort of a
mess. But looking back, it is pretty clear that God knew exactly what
He was doing (surprise!!).
I feel so rejuvenated now that I am away from that place. I am so
happy where I am right now!
I have not really mentioned anything about my time working in the U.S.
Senate, because it is not really necessary and all of you who know me
know aaaaall the lovely details! I will say, however, that, while it
was overall a disappointing experience, I have learned so much.

And I think it is worth talking about.
And I will be talking more about what I have learned…soon. :)

the mouth of a sailor

^ that is what I might have if I had never found this:
Thrifting yesterday was fun and Eric and I both found a few little things to thrill our bargain-loving bones. But the thing I am most excited about is the fact that I will now be able to make food without it sticking to the bottom of the pan–and hence preserving me from strong, very strong, feelings of throwing a fit. Or spewing off profanities. I had not come to that point, yet…but who knows. It could have happened.
This skillet, though, has saved Eric a real shock in the turn my personality could have taken.
In a way…maybe it is too bold to say…but this skillet may have saved us some real rough patches in our marriage.
Do you see the ease in which these elk burgers sit and sizzle? Can you not tell by the way they are pleasantly cooking that they flipped with ease with the mere twist of a wrist?
It’s just a skillet, you may say. And in the end, you may be right.
But it may also be a portal to mental sanity. And that, friends, is priceless.