Dan and I were set up on a blind date that was arranged by my college roommate. My old college roommate was dating Dan’s roommate at the time and thought that Dan and I would be perfect for each other. She tried to set us up but I kept refusing because set ups never work out. . . finally she invited me out to dinner with what she said were some friends from college but when I got to the restaurant on union street the only people there were Me, my old college roommate Melissa, her boyfriend Dave and his roommate Dan. I had been set up but lucky for me her assessment was correct and it worked out!
Lauren and Pete are my most loyal customers. I designed their wedding save the date five years ago and since then have gotten to illustrate them decorating for the holidays on their Christmas card, year after year. The portraits have become a really neat chronicle of their lives, especially as their family grows.
This was Susanne’s anniversary gift to her husband celebrating 8 years of marriage. Here is their story, as told by Susanne:
Ryan and I met in the Fall of 1993. I was a freshman and he was a sophmore at Southern Methodist University. I was getting into my car at Highland Park Village Shopping Center and Ryan rode up to me on his motorcycle looking adorable. He introduced himself and we talked for a nervous few minutes and our crush began. He was outgoing and funny and he knew just about everyone I didn’t. I was reserved and shy but enjoyed every exciting minute I spent with him. Little did I know he would be my first heartbreak. As the years passed we stayed good friends and he was always just a phone call away to “check on me.” He was loving and loyal and very persistent. So when the time was right our true love story began. We married on July 17th 2004 and have built a beautiful life and family together!
There was an ice storm on Liz’s first day working for the Durham Bulls, and very few of her new coworkers had come into work. It was February of 2003, and having just moved to North Carolina from Ohio Liz didn’t know anyone at her new job. One of the few who had braved it into work asked her to lunch, and though she doesn’t recall seeing anyone on her way out of the building, passed by two men. Liz, not having taken the job in the hopes of seeking out ball players, admits to being oblivious to those standing around the hallways. Thus, anyone standing and whispering about her on her way out the door went unnoticed, even though one of those two onlookers – David – noticed her right away.
Because all of the other interns had arrived 2 months earlier, David had never seen her before, and whispered to his friend “Who’s that?” He knew right away he was interested in meeting her. Matt, his friend and social director of the company, would make it happen.
The next weekend, all the bulls hung out. David worked for USA baseball; an organization that has a partnership with the Bulls. Having grown close to many of the Bulls’ employees, he too met everyone at Matt’s apartment. Liz, however, doesn’t remember seeing him there. At one point, David popped in a tape of USA baseball winning the Olympics. Liz said “Why are we watching this crap”. Not knowing David’s job, she didn’t realize she had offended anyone.
One frigid day in February, Liz was busy at work preparing an event called “Fan Fest”. This would be the public’s first introduction to the Bulls, and her team’s job was to generate excitement about the upcoming season. This entailed standing outside, handing out free posters and letting people walk around the stadium. Liz’s hands were so cold she was having trouble rolling up posters to give out. David came over and they chatted for a bit. He offered to help her with the posters to which she replied “Sure!”… and then promptly went inside to warm up her hands. Remembering the day now he says “You just left me out there! I was there trying to talk to you.”
Three weeks later Liz’s girlfriends from college came to visit, and Liz had everyone over to her apartment. The last time she had seen David she hadn’t remembered his name so he arrived to her apartment with a name tag to impress her. It said “My name is David Perkins, USA Baseball”. It did the trick at hand: from then on she remembered his name.
Later that night he told her friend Melissa that he liked Liz. Melissa and the rest of the college gang, however, didn’t tell her that; Since their first meeting three weeks earlier, Liz had pinned him as someone who preferred overly flirtatious women, and this turned her off from the start.
On St. Patrick’s Day they all went out again to a bar called Ri Ra. At the end of the night she found herself standing next to David outside. He had asked Matt to get other people away from them (especially the girl that had been hitting on him) so they could be alone for a minute. He asked her “What would you say if I asked you out?” and she simply replied “Yeah..?” She was still hesitant, convinced she wasn’t his type. But she thought maybe he’d show her a different side, and was willing to see. She was even a bit flattered thinking that if she hadn’t been showing him any interest he must really like her.
Two days later they went out on their first date to a restaurant called Vin Rouge in Durham. They had a great time, but more importantly, David had arrived at her door not with the usual bouquet of flowers, but with a Michael Jackson greatest hits CD. Needless to say, she was up for seeing him again. Luckily David called her promptly for a second date; A Bon Jovi concert. Through dates (big dates at that. Another “outing” David took her to was Las Vegas), and flirtatious back and forth emails she started to see a side to him she really liked. He was witty, generous, sweet from the start. Despite her growing interest, for the next 3 months she never called him except to return his calls. Though she wasn’t trying to play hard to get, it appeared that way. Their third date occurred at the Carolina Ale House with their friend Matt and his girlfriend. While Liz was in the bathroom Matt told David “She’s not into you. I can read girls and she’s just not.” But at the time she really was. She just wasn’t demonstrative about it and didn’t let her feelings about David show. She recalls being jaded and guarded, due to a broken heart at a young age. Luckily David didn’t listen to Matt. She is so relieved now that he kept pursuing her even though she didn’t show initiative.
One thing she hasn’t told him to this day is that she had indeed been a little interested in the beginning before dating. During Fan Fest she left to get a ribbon to put in her hair. Her mom always put a ribbon in her hair while playing tennis and Liz grew up doing the same for good luck. Even in high school she would have to go look for a ribbon if she didn’t have one. So that cold day she left to go to her car to find a ribbon so that she could look her best for him.
Liz and David got engaged 7 years after their first date and married soon after. They live in North Carolina where David continues to be sweet and attentive and Liz isn’t afraid to show him she feels the same way.
(As told by Lindsey)
I met Phil during study abroad my junior year of college. I was spending the semester in Barcelona and had been there for about three weeks when my friend suggested we check out a club that was rumored to have a lot of American visitors. There were SO many guys there (and not so many women) that we felt like we were being hit on from every angle! But Phil stood out as the only guy who knew what he was doing on the dance floor. He said he took ballroom dancing classes and I thought he was joking. So he told me to meet him there the following Wednesday, that he was in need of a partner and he’d love it if I could be his. I really thought he was joking and kind of lost sight of him as the night went on. Just as my friend and I were about to leave I saw him at the door and he gave me the number of the youth hostile where he was staying. He said if I didn’t want to meet him to dance that was fine, but we should meet up for a drink anyway. Despite my suspicions that he was lying about dancing, I couldn’t ignore how cute he was, and I called him few days later to meet at a nice bar in my host family’s neighborhood. He told me he still wanted to take me dancing, and after showing me pictures on his phone, I finally believed him that he took classes (I’d just never met anyone my age who took ballroom dance!)
I met him there the next evening and was surprised by a) how much I enjoyed it and b) how cute HE looked dancing! I agreed to meet him again the next week. During my semester in Barcelona I went to the class with him a total of four times, but we started seeing each other a lot outside of that. So much so that before I had to leave for home we decided we weren’t ready to end the relationship. He, also on a study abroad program, was headed back to Chicago and I was going to Atlanta, so it would be quite the long distance relationship. But we both only had one more year of college to go and we were willing to see where it went.
We talked ALL the time and were able to visit back and forth throughout the school year. And of course on my visits to Chicago he took me to his dance studio where I got to polish my skills a bit. After graduation I didn’t have any set plans and decided to move there to be with him. We took a huge leap of faith and moved in together, but the transition was amazingly easy and got engaged after two happy years. We know expectations will be high, so on our wedding day we plan to knock everyone’s socks off with our first dance.
This is the invitation I drew for my own daughter’s second birthday party. Mona loves the monsters on Sesame Street – namely Cookie Monster. A snacker extraordinaire herself, it is most fitting that he is her favorite. And he was everywhere. The cake, the hats, the napkins, balloons inside and outside the house. Grover was on the goodie bags though because I felt he should definitely make an appearance.
These two versions of the same story (and the juxtaposing writing styles) present a very entertaining picture of the events. Must read both!
She (Julie) said:
The queer community on Boston is fairly small, so I’d seen Hannah before. We had similar friends, frequented the same local haunts, but had never officially met. I always thought she was cute, but having seen her out with the same woman more than once, assumed she had a girlfriend, and therefore off-limits. One fall night in 2006, I went to a Brazilian Girls concert in the city with a friend of mine. I had decided at the last minute to go to this concert instead of attending a party that some of my friends were throwing that same night. As the concert was coming to a close I got a call from a friend who had attended that party, had had too much to drink, and was was hoping for a ride home. I hopped in my car and headed to pick her up. When I got to the party it was late, winding down, and almost all of the guests were half in the bag. I found my friend, let her know I could take her home when she was ready, but first had to use the restroom. I made may way to the proverbial long restroom line, and Hannah got in line behind me. There was a mutual recognition and we immediately struck up a conversation. Not only was she cute, but friendly and super funny! As all things do, the line came to an end, and a few minutes later we parted ways. When my friend and I got in the car to leave, she asked me who I was talking to in the line for the bathroom, noting that while were were talking, it was like we were in our own little world and seemed to be really enjoying that place, wink wink nudge nudge. I told her who Hannah was, that we’d seen each other around, but I was fairly certain she had a girlfriend, so that was where it ended. A week later Hannah and I ended up running into each other at one of our favorite local bars and again immediately struck up a conversation. She seemed, at least in my opinion, way too excited to see me for someone who had a girlfriend. So after that night I decided to do some covert lesbian investigating, talking to friends…friends of friends…and perhaps even stooping so low as to stalk via social network. It turned out through the grapevine that she was newly single. Needless to say, the next time we ran into each other (aka, I went to a bar night I was fairly sure she’d attend), we danced, exchanged numbers and began hanging out. I guess as they say, rest is history. Our hanging out, eventually led to dating, eventually to exclusivity. We then Uhauled it and moved in together, and in a weekend trip to Vermont in November 2007 she proposed. We had plans to get legally married in MA, but unfortunately were unable too, as we moved to be closer to my family in Pittsburgh, Pa in July 2008. We nonetheless were so lucky to have a super fun and fabulous commitment ceremony and celebration with 125 of our closest family and friends on August 15, 2009.
We would probably both say something different about what makes our relationship successful, but I’d probably say openness. We believe in honest communication. While it’s not always easy, it seems to strengthen us over the long haul.
She (Hannah) said:
First off, it’s a good thing Julie remembers all of the dates because I was just getting out of a relationship that I thought has lasted three years but in actuality was only two. I was pretty much attempting to sew my wild oats as they say and don’t really remember much. However, I will NEVER forget the first time she really caught my eye and we had a conversation…
It was at this crazy party of a mutual friend of ours’ house. The kind of party where this guy had his back to the doorway of the living room, dropped his pants to an entire crowd of strangers and then turned around really quickly. At that point I basically said to myself, “self, we gotta get the f– outta here, but first we must use the facilities.” I got in line and couldn’t help notice this mammoth but strikingly gorgeous woman in front of me. She turned around and probably made some comment about the naked man and then we got to talking more about life, work, hobbies, family, all the good stuff. I just remember feeling like I had never in my life talked to such a genuine person before. She was honest, compassionate, intelligent and boy-what a rack. She seemed equally impressed but I have a feeling it was because the music was loud and when I said I worked in a sign shop she probably thought I said I was a scientist. I remember kicking myself back to my car that night for not getting her number.
Get the barf bag ready cause this is going to get rather nauseating…
The next time I saw her felt like the scene from a movie. There was a line to get into the divey dyke bar we all flocked to on Thursday nights and I was beginning to wonder if we were going to even pass through the piss smelling smokey portal of the Midway Cafe. When you walk in, it’s really dark and everyone looks really good. I stuck close to my roommate and her date, paid my cover and through a crowd of spikey hair saw Julie standing with friends in the corner wearing a white sox baseball tee. We made eye contact, I got butterflies in my stomach and she smiled at me. Being the insecure dumbass that I am, I immediately went to the bar and put my back towards the crowd. I felt someone over my shoulder and turned around to find her standing next to me, she said hello and I remember feeling this total sense of awesomeness for the fact that she came all the way over to me to say hi. Having fought past the girls pelvic thrusting into one another paying no attention to their surroundings, to the hipsters flailing their arms everywhere in an act they call “dancing”, it’s pretty much a battlefield and I felt honored that she arose to the challenge. I finally got her number and asked her out to dinner. I remember exchanging a few late night texts and falling asleep smiling.
We dated and decided we would make a good team. Fast forward to a significant weekend in Vermont for a little get away. I had made the reservations which initially made Julie very nervous. As we left Boston to get on the highway she had no idea where we were even going, I finally broke down and told her. She anxiously began to ask questions about our accommodations since she knows I’m rather frugal. She made a joke about this being the type of place she needed to bring her own towel to and with my best Gaga pokerface I said “oh, you didn’t pack one?…well, you can just use mine.” We pulled up to a very nice typical old New England style Vermont bed and breakfast which totally threw her for a loop. We took a walk that afternoon and when we returned to our room, I started feeling around the front of my pants like I had misplaced my keys somewhere and said aloud, “sh–, you know what I forgot?” Julie said, “what?” And down on one knee I went. Julie fell over, so down on both knees she went. I immediately made a comment about how I was supposed to be the only one on the floor but none the less, she said yes and rest is history.
This is a custom card I made for Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com for being fabulous and funny and making me laugh to tears several times a week. I hoped it would make its way to her coffee table, but I had a sense that it might get lost amidst the heaping pile of fan mail she probably receives daily. Therefore I was totally surprised to receive a postcard from her, thanking me for her gift. Thank YOU Heather! How great of you to acknowledge your fans like that.
Anhoni had grown up with strong Indian ideals, learning from an early age about the importance of following Chhah Gaam, or arranged marriages. For thousands of years, Indians have been marrying someone from 5 specific villages, including their own. Her parents were strict about Chhah Gaam and felt strongly that their children follow this tradition. Anhoni was not against marrying someone Indian, but also open to the idea that she might meet someone outside the faith.
She had met Q at work in 1998. A mutual friend and coworker arranged a night out in the hopes of getting them to spend time together. Among a group of friends, the two spent their evening at the SF Museum of Modern Art, followed by a dance club South of Market St. Their friend’s plan worked, because that fun filled evening turned into a series of emails, then dates. A year into the relationship, Anhoni already felt they were serious enough to introduce him to her parents. Understandably, there was denial about just how serious the two were.
Her parents only referred to him as “friend”. Her father, fearing his daughter would consider marrying a Korean man, said, “You can be friends, but marriage is another thing. You are going to lose culture. You’ll have nothing. Culture is everything and you’ll have none of it. Thousands of years and you’re going to throw it away.” As word of her relationship spread, she learned that her aunts, uncles, parents’ friends, even her brothers, were all disappointed in her. She did and still does have so much respect for her family, that if they had advised her against the marriage because of his personality she would have taken that into serious consideration. As it were, all of her family members actually liked him a lot. Terrible as it was to lose her family over this, she couldn’t let cho gum dictate the fate of her life with Q.
After much soul searching, she decided to choose a life with him. When she called about engagement Dad said “You are dead to me. I don’t know who you are”. During the following year, as Anhoni and Q planned their wedding, she was not welcome in her parents’ house. As upsetting as this was for the bride, her father himself wasn’t sleeping or eating, and his family began to worry about him. His best friend, also a religious man, lived in India and decided to seek advice from Pramukh Swami; a spiritual leader in their religion of Swaminarayana. The monk listened to the story of Anhoni and Q and how troubling the situation was for her father, and he wrote a letter to him, stating that he blessed the union. Upon reading the letter, Anhoni’s father decided to let her back into his life and even attend the wedding. Still, the idea that his daughter was marrying outside of the faith was so difficult for him that he began finding small ways to sabotage the event.
Anhoni’s wedding was to be nearly a week long affair; 5 days of festivities all celebrating and honoring Anhoni and Q. On the invitations, her father secretly changed the phone number so that the family wouldn’t be able to RSVP to any of the ceremonies.
On the wedding day, Anhoni, like every bride, was eager to hear the words her father would deliver to his daughter and new son-in-law. Instead, his speech was nothing like she had hoped. He didn’t say the word celebration, didn’t mention Q, no “congratulations”. Just a thank you to everyone who came and helped out, and he wrapped up with an announcement regarding one of the temple’s upcoming events. After a few more speeches Anhoni’s father returned to the stage and took back the microphone. The couple thought “Oh OK, he was just nervous before. He’s ready to open up now.” But he just thanked a few more people and went back to his seat. This really stung, as Anhoni had always been so close with her father. She recalls how awkward it was for everyone in the room to hear his cold speech, as everyone knew his feelings about the marriage.
In the years following the wedding, Anhoni did her best to convince her father that nothing has changed now that she is married to a man outside the faith. She traveled across the country to visit her parents 5 months out of every year by herself. Her mother, knowing the effort her daughter was putting into keeping ties with her family and much more accepting of her marriage, told her husband “You are going to lose your daughter, so you need to accept this.” He indeed didn’t want to lose her, and despite the occasional fleeting comment (which she brushes off, knowing they have no weight), has finally welcomed her back with open arms.
The Sad Sad Sad Day!
Tere was sum peopel crodid around a space shuttle. The space shuttle went up but evreone had a funny feling that sumthing woud hapin! And sumthing did hapin!
Add a [sic] or two in there and you get the idea.
Yesterday, Dave and I began installing a very high maintenance piece of art. It’s a colorful alphabet and each letter has its own 5”X7” frame. As a whole it will cover an entire wall in the playroom, which, in our mind, will look totally r-a-d. Turns out that organizing a series of frames to create a sensible composition with a number as stubborn as 26 requires a lot of math, as well as an exhaustive amount of trial and error. As our carpet sat under a sea of illustrated letters, my husband the engineer squatted down to better analyze the negative space between rows and columns so that he could perform Rain Man calculations in his head. Me? I went for my pencil, clicky eraser and sketch book. Seeing tiny rectangles on paper that could be erased and nudged with a flick of the thumb and wrist just made the process possible for me. This way I could also scribble numbers on the left and I wouldn’t forget them the minute a new number joined what was becoming an algebra parade.
I’ve always been this way, thinking best with a pencil in my hand, using lines as a way of sculpting and building on ideas. In college, years after word processing was developed, I still wrote my poetry assignments out on paper before heading to the keyboard to type them up. Since poetry is a very tangible form of literature, filled with rhythm, syllables and wordplay, it was a way of visually molding language for me.
Currently, I love to use lines to create portraits of brides, grooms and their pets and hobbies. I look at pictures, and then solve the problem of creating linear versions of them with lots of sketching and erasing. I first represent their form as simple crosses to anchor their positioning, then draw generic figures sans clothing to get their proportions down, and then finally add their clothes and hair when I’m convinced everything else looks solid.
I never really gave this process a second thought, as it is the way we were taught to draw in our figure drawing classes in college. Looking back at my earliest drawings I can’t help but notice the different tactic I used back then, having been 6 and unaware of such nude figure drawing techniques. I admit I thought these illustrations were really good when I drew them. They’re OK, despite the inaccuracy in the figures themselves. I have to give myself kudos, however, for the amount of gesture portrayed in the pictures given the morbid subject matter.
Even though I drew these as long ago as first grade, I still remember how important it was for me at the time to nail the facial and bodily expressions. Look at the fear in those astronauts’ faces as the Challenger “ixbloded”! And that evil Egyptian really means it when he commands his slave to work. In the last picture, the Jewish slave look pretty stoked when the red sea parts, though I’m not sure what’s going on with his arms. For that I blame the crayons.