about
Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
cooking
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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We did it!!!!

We're married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Edited: No worries, people - they're off celebrating. I (Erika) posted this for her. :-))

Wheeeeee!!!!

In case I don't get on the internet again, this is my official farewell. Bags are packed, house is cleaned and meeting is done. I even had time in there to have lunch with Erika and Sammy who drove up to wish me luck. If there is ever a time you need to see your best friend it is right before you get married. I think we both got a little misty at the thought that she won't be able to be there. Thanks to everyone for your lovely emails, comments and voicemails with good thoughts. I am on my way to scoop up Keegan and head south. See you kids next Saturday!!

Tick Tock

We're coming into the homestretch here. I spent the day in Maine at a conference and people there couldn't believe I wasn't freaking out. What's to freak out about? The fun part was that Jeff was in Maine too and after dropping off Isabelle he joined me for dinner at the conference. So I got to show him off.
Tomorrow I take the dogs to the kennel, finish last minute house cleaning and the rest of the packing that couldn't be done beforehand. I do have to go into work to make sure everything is wrapped up and then present at a meeting from 2-4pm. We'll stay at my parents tomorrow night so that we are that much closer to the airport for Friday morning. Three more days until our dream comes true.

Sealed Envelopes

One of my college friends is in town with her mom from Texas on a leaf peeping expedition. I met them for dinner in Portsmouth last night. They are heading up to Maine, wandering the coast and coming back down next week to fly home. I would be jealous if I didn't have my own getaway planned.
In a little bit I leave to have my hair cut and colored. I waited as long as possible so it would be freshly done for the wedding. We have finished the last minutes details for down there. Cake, champagne, salon, marriage license, photographer.
We have booked a band for the party here, the wedding band inscriptions (a secret from each other) were dropped off at the jeweler and we just have a cake tasting to do before all of the plans here are set too. It is nice to have some last details to do in the week before but nothing too stressful and frenzied. I feel the same way about holiday shopping. Ten more days.

Retreat

A post to fill in the blanks of other things that have happened these past weeks.

We are still cooking, literally and figuratively, tried some new recipes as well as old favorites. I will post the new ones at some point.

Jeff sold his house in Maine. Yay! Cross one thing off of our list.

My house is still on the market. We put a contract on the new one we are building. I cannot wait to see all of the things we picked out come together.

Keegan is doing very well in school. They had official school pictures day a few weeks ago. I was at his school to visit twice this week. Once on Tuesday for curriculum day and then today for a farewell lunch for one of his teachers.

We actually have a gift registry up. We have most of the basics so we stuck to things for entertaining and specialty items. And any excuse to get new dishes!

The wedding plans are cruising along. Keegan is coming with us now and he very excited. He will be hanging at the villa with his grandparents and my little brother while Jeff and I spend two nights in an oceanfront suite here. And we have a whole spa day planned too. A very masculine one for Jeff. Otherwise we're not leaving the room!

I had my hair consultation last night and we took pictures for me to bring to St. Croix to replicate there. I will also have my hair done for the party in NH.

Countdown

Exactly one month until our wedding. :) My co-workers threw me a surprise wedding shower today with a tropical theme. Leis, tiki torches, palm trees and exotic fish decorations. My friend Michelle made my cake. It was a sand castle cake on top of a marble cake that looked like the beach. And it was delicious. And everyone was so sweet and gave me lovely gifts and cards. I am glad they did not cancel this in fear that I would not want to celebrate after last week. It is so important to think of good things and the future.

Plush, Plush Baby

You know whoever coined the phrase "retail therapy" had to be in marketing. That concept totally caught on. I bumped into a co-worker leaving the other day and she told me that she wanted to go shopping and that it was an indication of what kind of day she had. I can relate because that used to be my coping mechanism back in college. I was lonely when I first went to Louisiana and spent lots of time at the mall. I ended up taking lots of things back because I clearly did not need them. After discussions with my mom it turns out I might have gotten this from her. She also was a feel better shopper at one point in her life.
I have found two ways to shop this week. One that has all of the fun and costs no money and one that has all of the fun and costs lots of money but it's okay. The first one is creating a registry. Mine happens to be a wedding one but a lot of retailers allow you to create them for any occasion. So you can go through lots of wonderful products and items and click them onto your list and review them and have the excitement of new stuff without spending a cent. I actually fantasize about occasions when we can use the items. Ultimately you hope someone buys them. But I have made just gift registries before that serve as a reminder for when I get extra cash or people are looking for gift ideas for me. It is so much more beyond Am*zon now.
The second is picking out the details of our new house. We spent four hours in the showroom making selections and we have three more hours to go this weekend. I love home design. I wouldn't do it as a profession but I love doing it for myself. Jeff and I have almost the same taste so it was a fun experience. And surreal because we're picking things and asking for prices and at that point it doesn't seem like real money. But we are staying inside our budget and rolled into a mortgage it all ends up being pennies on the dollar. The key is finding that balance between what you must have, what you'd love to have and what people will actually care about on resale. So we have hardwood throughout the first floor with carpet in the livingroom, cherry cabinets in the kitchen, tile in all of the bathrooms, paint colors picked, lighting and a custom fireplace. It's hard to imagine there is more left to do. We were madly petting all of the carpet samples and came to the most expensive. Jeff told me he was sorry but he wanted to marry that carpet. Silly boy. So if you love carpet that much why not put it in your livingroom?

Tummy Growling

The menu for the party in NH.

Hors D’ Oeuvres Stations
Fresh From the Garden
A Colorful Array of Vegetables Including, Green and Yellow Squash, Sweet Baby Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Sweet Bell Peppers, Carrots and Cucumbers, Served with Two Seasonal Dips

New England Cheese Table
Savory Sweet Onion Cheesecake with a Walnut Crust, Brie en Croute with Chutney, Maytag Blue Cheese, Vermont Cheddar and Goat Cheese, Seasonal Fruits, Crusty Baguettes, Crackers, Maple Mustard and Praline Nuts

Passed Hors D’ Oeuvres
Chicken Satay with Chopped Scallions
Scallops and Bacon on a Black Pepper Bruschetta
Grilled Shrimp and Polenta Canapé
Mini Crab Cakes with Sweet and Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce
BBQ Shortrib Empanadas
Pork and Mushroom Potstickers

Chef Attended Stations
Pasta Al Dente
Rigatoni al Forno, Baked Rigatoni with sweet Italian sausage, Roasted Tomato sauce and Fresh Mozzarella
Herb Roasted Chicken and Orecchiette Pasta with Tuscan white Beans, Broccoli Rabe and Parmesan
Served with Herbed Focaccia and Crusty Baguette
Alfresco
Poached Atlantic Salmon, Lamb and Feta Salad, Tuscan White Bean Salad, Vine Ripened Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, Grilled Vegetables, Marinated Artichokes & Roasted Peppers Assorted Condiments and Rustic Breads

Carved to Order
Herb Roasted Top Round of Beef
Port Wine Reduction, Crusty Baguettes

By Request

To answer Becki's questions:

How about, the schedule for the wedding?
The wedding ceremony is Oct 22 in St. Croix. We will honeymoon there the rest of the week. We will stay somewhere really luxurious for the few days afterwards so we can get massages, room service, etc. Basically not have to leave the room if we don't want to. We will spend the rest of the week at the villa we rented for the ceremony.
In Nov. we will have a party here in New Hampshire to celebrate with all of the people who can't be in St. Croix. That is being held at a beautiful inn and will be an afternoon party with the kids there too. We plan to show the video of our vows and the photos from the island. I can share the menu after we make the selections this Sat. The cakes are coming from the bakery where we had our second date.

What will you being doing a couple days before, the day before, do you have a list of events leading up?
We arrive in St. Croix the Friday before to pickup the marriage license. It's a US Virgin Island so that isn't too complicated. The wedding planner will have done all of the preliminary stuff for us. The day before we will probably go snorkeling and hangout with the wedding guests. Because it is so small we don't have details to run around and cover. I will have my hair done and it will be based on a style my stylist up here is doing for me. The ceremony will take place Sun evening and we will have it on the beach. Afterwards we will have cake and champagne. When the photos are finished we are taking everyone out to a nice restaurant (perhaps here) and there will be live music there as well.

Shells In Ivory

We just got our first response card back for the wedding. Talk about getting excited! Isn't it silly that it feels more real now? I mean we have been wanting it for over a year. And we have been planning it in our heads and now finally through contracts and decisions. And it is the talk of work right now. I am guessing that won't stop until the day arrives. I am not the one bringing it up at work. I am the one going, "What wedding? Oh yeah. Now about this grant application...." It is more powerful than the first time I did this. But also without the nerves and fretting over needless details. It's me and him on a beach promising forever with so much more knowledge of what that means now. He will never be my "second husband." He is the one and only.

Pure & Simple Just For You

Let me pause between today's "Ethics of Managed Care" and tomorrow's "Ethics of Physician Assisted Capital Punishment" to celebrate my STBH. You know from his site that he is clever, funny and a wonderful father. But you should also know:
1. Sometimes we lie awake at night and try to name all of our favorite 80s songs and then remember the lyrics so we can sing them together. But we're too lazy to get out of bed and look up the lyrics.
2. Every time we wake up together he tells me how beautiful I am.
3. My superhero identity is The Beautiful Beautinator.
4. He can take me back down from level ten angry/frustrated at the world with a few words.
5. Ever since we started dating he has been sending me text message haikus. I have them all saved in a word file. Some day I might share some.
6. He is one of the most honorable men I have ever known. And I am an army brat so I have high standards for honor.
7. When we're out in social situations I can feel his eyes on me across the room. I can feel how much he loves me across any distance.
8. He is needlessly self-deprecating.
9. I never write anything here that he doesn't already know.
10. No other person could have made me believe in forever again.

Something New

I found my wedding dress. Well I ordered it and tried it on in the privacy of my home and then again for my mom and she agreed. So in that way I found it. I will be shipping the other two back. And my friend Michelle is already sketching out the necklace and earrings that she will make to match it. And the $6 flip flops look fabulous. All for less than $100. Not too shabby.

Dress Mission

Thanks to a tip from Kathryn's comment below I have found some possibilities at J. Cr*ew. And more encouragingly I looked at other places I love but never thought of. There are three dresses on their way from Ann Taylor. Well technically four but that one is for someone else's wedding. They were all on sale and came with free shipping.

Let this be a lesson to all you lurkers. Speak up! You never know when you'll give me a breakthrough.

Steady As She Goes

My plan tonight was to either work late or go look for a wedding dress. I was able to do both and pickup the produce from our CSA share in between. I figured the best approach to the wedding dress thing is to get out and figure out the options. And really I wouldn't have been so motivated if people didn't keep acting shocked that I don't have one yet. So without anyone available to come along I headed south to the wedding store conglomerate. My least favorite part of any bridal shop is how they assault you at the door and then they try to bully you into setting up an appointment. But I wanted to try things on today so I stayed in the formal wear and wedding party section to explore. As I was going in the dressing room with all of the things I collected, Barb (SIL not SIL) returned my earlier call. So even though technically I was alone she insisted on staying on the phone while I tried things on so I'd have someone to experience it with. Which was really fun and hilarious as I tried to navigate the various pieces and describe them to her. And she was so good about asking questions and giving tips. And as I came out in one top I solely chose on a whim, I declared I actually liked it just as the sales girl did too. The issue is that it only comes in pink, red, black and periwinkle. So I didn't leave with anything definite but I did find some possibilities and I know what I didn't like. The dream of finding something off the rack is still alive.

Forever In Platinum

On Saturday we picked up my engagement ring. A while ago I insisted on no ring. But then the inner girl came out and wanted one. :) We ordered after Jeff proposed although we had picked it out many months ago. We just loved it the minute we saw it at my jeweler. It was created by a NY designer and therefore took four weeks to be made. It's official, I love it. And even though the proposal and the promise are the most important I love wearing it. I love touching it. I love looking at the intricate design. I love that it is non-traditional. I love that Jeff loves seeing me wearing it.

Love Absolutely

On Saturday Jeff told me to dress up and then he drove to the mystery destination. I was starving so he offered to stop at fast food so I could get a snack on the way. I passed but really I was just trying to figure out where we were going. And truthfully he loves it when I bug him. We ended up in Portsmouth at the scene of our third date. We walked through the park and out to the dock where we stood so many times last spring and summer. And we held each other and talked and kissed. And I was shivering from the cold so I knew he had to be keeping me there for a reason. My heart was pounding or maybe it was his heart that I could feel through my body. And he kept saying how it had been almost a year and he loved me and he thinks I am amazing. Then he was on his knee and he asked. And he says I answered before he was done asking which is probably true. But that's the way you are when you are hearing the words you've wanted to hear for so long. And we hugged and kissed and stood on that dock and suddenly I wasn't so cold any more.
We had dinner at the same place as the third date. A little table for two. And our poor waitress had to wait forever to get us to order because we were busy holding hands and talking about our future and staring at each other. I finally told her why we were even more giddy than usual. So she was the first one to hear our news and wish us well. And somewhere in the middle of it Jeff looked at me and said "thank you for saying yes." And I thanked him for asking. We were done with our meal and ready to skip dessert when the waitress brought us a little round three layer cake. "Layers of love" she said, compliments of the owner. And he wished us well as we left.
On the way home I called my parents. And Jeff pulled into the parking lot which was the scene of our first kiss. The kiss that changed everything. The kiss that promised all of the wonderful things to follow. The kiss that made me believe in the possibility of forever again. So we recreated it and it was good.