Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I've concluded that I have about three separate posts to make on topics that have taken place recently, so I'll make this first one about moving.
Moving is NOT FUN. Moving is exciting, but I would not call it amusing. It's exciting for Erich and me in this situation because of all it symbolizes. Plus, we both really like our new place. It's a duplex on the north end of town: two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, washer/dryer in unit, dishwasher, garbage disposal (praise the Lord!), we have an upstairs AND a basement(!). So suffice it to say we're pretty stoked about the ol' apartment. And in other good news, we signed up for cable internet with a basic TV package (so, nothing at all what you would call a regular cable channel like Discovery or ESPN), but thanks to Comcast's technical limitations we are able to get a whole slew of cable channels including digital network stations, so it looks great on Erich's HDTV and we get a bunch of channels for free because the guy who installed it is nice. Good times.
That's where the good times pretty much end as far as moving goes. As you may recall from a previous post, Erich traveled for four weeks in a row. He was not able to pack very much until the day before the big move, which was this past Saturday. And because the school year started and I got extremely busy with choirs at church and piano scheduling (two other posts), I didn't have a whole lot of time to pack either. But that was okay because we both had a week overlap in our respective leases. We didn't have to be out on moving day. As a result, we FINALLY tonight finished moving Erich out of his apartment in Addison. We should be able to get me out of my place by Friday night. If home is where your stuff is, I'm currently living in three different places (moving out of my flat and into the duplex with Erich, and sleeping at my parents' house).
To give an idea of how stressed I am about moving, here is what I did yesterday: I awoke at 9am having gone to bed around 2am. After breakfast and a shower, I took care of some wedding stuff at my parents' before heading to church to audition some Agape Singers during their recess time. I left there around 1pm after making an eye doctor appointment, emailing a difficult-to-work-with piano student mom, and calling and leaving a message with the lady who I hope will make a few alterations to my reception dress. From church I went to Big Lots to purchase some laundry baskets and other bin-like items to aid the packing up of the rest of my stuff from the flat. I then went to said flat and got as much packed as I could in 20 minutes and then loaded it into my car in the blistering heat. I drove down to Taco Bell for disgustingly unhealthy but cathartically delicious junk food for lunch and went back to church to audition more Agape kids after school and teach six piano lessons in a row. I left there at 7pm and met Erich back at the duplex where I wolfed down some leftover pizza before we headed up to Schaumburg for our 8:15 tango lesson. We left the dance studio around 9:15 and headed back to Addison, where we packed up the rest of Erich's stuff and loaded it into our cars then drove back to Naperville to unload both Erich's things and the stuff I had packed up earlier.
We got back around 11pm and by then I was feeling quite fragile. And, for the umpteenth night in a row, I got to bed after 1pm. Some people choose to live their days like the one described above, but I do not. I haven't been this busy since college and I don't miss it. Plus, at college at least I was busy practicing and rehearsing and learning, partying and socializing. This is just driving and manual labor. Ew. And to top it off, predictably, Erich and I have had some tensions. And when I say "tensions," I mean the worst fights of our entire relationship. Which, to put it back into layman's terms means we've been short with each other from time to time, both being sleep-deprived and stressed out and worried about moving out of our respective apartments. The excitement of what's to come overrides any tension and there is nothing relationship-threatening about this move--and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting much brighter, but we're still anxious to get all of this behind us.
More to come about other major stressors. . .
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I have seen literally hundreds if not thousands of pictures of brides and bridesmaids in strapless dresses. Probably less than 5% of them look better than or as good in strapless as they might in something with sleeves--even spaghetti straps, for heaven's sake. Therefore, in my opinion, this broad sweeping trend ≠ justified. At all.
Those who have heard my strong opinions on this matter many times in person may think I'm beating a dead horse. But really, folks, I see more and more pictures of brides who should NOT be wearing strapless dresses far too often, and it pains me each time. That horse is far from dead.
(Incidentally, BOTH my wedding dresses have sleeves of some type. At least I KNOW I shouldn't wear strapless.)
Monday, August 20, 2007
"As I was going through my computer's pictures, I found this one of Erich and Susan when we were in San Diego, at [friend]'s beach front wedding. This is one of my favorites and it is one that captures why these two young people are getting married September 22. [Erich's mom] and look forward to seeing you there.
And he copied this picture:
The readings appointed by the greater church body for weddings are Genesis 2:18-24 and Ephesians 5:21-33. Truly, these two readings are really the only ones in the Bible that speak at length about husbands and wives. Here's the Genesis:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for  him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed  every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam  there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made  into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.” 
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Fantastic. I love it--it's all about the creation of marriage, essentially. Lovely, we'll take the Genesis.
But as for the New Testament selection, very few couples actually choose to have the Ephesians passage read at their wedding. Looking back on quite a few service folders saved by my mom and me, the overwhelming majority choose 1 Corinthians 13, which is all about love. But it is not at all specific about love between husband and wife. Though I love that passage, it didn't feel right to have it read at my wedding. There are lots and lots of other love-related passages in the NT, so it would be hard to find one that really sticks out. But Ephesians 5 does stick out because it speaks so specifically about marriage. Why do so few people choose Ephesians 5, you ask? Allow me to ctrl+C; ctrl+V it for you from ESV Bible online:
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives and Husbands
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
What an important passage! And it definitely says a lot about husbands and wives. And it is also immediately obvious as to why so many modern couples choose to leave this out of their wedding services. It's terribly un-feminist to even think about saying the words "submit" and "marriage" in the same breath. I imagine a lot of well-meaning people probably read the above and think that it's old-fashioned at best. Maybe something that was true two thousand years ago, but isn't necessarily true now. Just one of those-outdated portions of the Bible we'll pretend doesn't apply any more.
I think people who'd rather pretend this passage doesn't exist aren't really reading it. People see the word "submit" and get completely stuck on it. And, undoubtedly, plenty of people throughout history have probably looked at it and said, "See? I can beat my wife 'cuz she's s'poseta submit." (Such people throughout history had bad grammar.)
The reason Erich and I want to use this reading is because we actually kept reading it through the end. (And our pastor helped us understand it fully.) Wives submit to their husbands, okay. But the greater charge is laid at the husband's feet: Husbands, love your wives. Husbands are to love their wives as their own flesh. Frankly, I want to submit to a husband who loves me as himself, who would be willing to die for me as Christ died for His bride, the Church.
I understand the hyper-feminist angle that would dictate that husbands and wives (they would probably just say "spouses") should be completely equal--that their roles are almost interchangeable. I don't subscribe to this view. Stereotype or no, I am actually better equipped to bear children and keep house. Erich is better equipped to go out and be the primary breadwinner and to devote himself to his family through his love and support, out of reverence for Christ. A husband who loves me that much will always take my views into account, which will make it so much easier to submit to him.
At the heart of the matter lies an emphasis on the difference in roles. Difference, not inequality. We work together, and our unique positions balance each other out and make our marriage and our lives successful. And besides, neither of us is the boss, as it reads in verse 22: "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." We believe the best marriages have Christ in the center. And that is what we intend to have.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Granted, I am extremely pleased and proud that my fiancé has a good career as an electrical engineer, a career he highly enjoys and a job that pays decently. Let's be honest: a part-time piano teacher and part-time church musician does not make very much money. I feel so blessed to know I can continue to do what I love and be able to raise a family with my husband because he is so capable and employable. Therefore, Erich's job=a very good thing.
But, it is hard not to get a bit mopey when he has to be out of town. Since he works with power utility-customers in substations around the country, his travels are generally concentrated in the Spring and Fall, when the weather is less severe and it isn't as disastrous if something goes wrong and people are without power (like getting stuck without A/C or heat). He works for the tiny North American branch of ZIV, a Spanish company, which hopes to break into the market on this continent, and it seems to be finding its niche in new wind farms. A wind farm in Pennsylvania took him away last Fall for three to five days at a time, seven weeks in a row, right up until Thanksgiving. That was hard to get used to then, but I eventually got the hang of it. The idea is not foreign to me, as my dad traveled often for business throughout my whole life, so I'm kind of used to the head of household (or, in this case, future head of household) being gone for a few nights from time to time. But obviously, I'm much happier when he's home. And I was so spoiled this past summer. From May through July he didn't go anywhere. He and I did plenty of traveling, but it was on the weekends and it was together--quality time. I would have been very happy to continue thusly, especially as our wedding grows closer. All these last-minute details are easier to deal with when he can do them with me (or adequately distract me when it gets to be too much).
It was not to be. And so I mope, though I half-heartedly try not to. There's another new wind farm going up in Texas, which is where he is now. Pennsylvania needed more attention last week. I can't even remember where he was the week before. And he's going somewhere next week too. And these are not three- and four-day trips. They were/are, in chronological order by week, Monday-Friday, Sunday-Friday, Sunday-Friday, and Sunday-Thursday. Two days after he gets back next week, we're moving. Our wedding is five weeks from this Saturday (38 days from today). I'm at the point now where I know everything will get done, it will all work, and if anything doesn't, it probably wasn't all that important in the first place. But I need my partner with me, the one who's going through the same life changes as me, with me; I crave the physical--or at least geographical--nearness that pacifies me and lets me know that it will all be okay.
I'm just living for the honeymoon right now, and it can't come quickly enough. Erich, come home!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Then at some point shortly after my first shower, I had what I termed the "four-month panic." I saw that there was still a long list of things that needed to be done and I had no idea when exactly everything needed to be done. And on top of it all, I knew Erich and I were going to have a busy summer of weekend travels. So I downloaded a calendar template and put in all our traveling as well as due dates for wedding meetings. Most of these due dates were self-imposed, but it was comforting to me as a somewhat recent student to have a "syllabus" laid out for the rest of my "semester" before the wedding. I'm not using the calendar very much any more since a lot of my self-imposed due dates didn't work out with reality and I was getting things done out of order. In early July, I knew it was time for a simple checklist. I tried to think of every detail that had yet to be attended to and I made this list on July 9:
- call Celidan Flowers to schedule meeting about reception centerpieces (check)
- arrange for cocktail-hour live music (moved to new list [N])
- email Pastor Rossow to schedule pre-marital counseling (check)
- email Anne to firmly set date to select beads and design headpiece (check)
- print out and affix meal choice labels to response cards (check)
- address invitations, stamp, send (check)
- make hair appointments for regular cut/color and trial (N)
- obtain brass music to send to musicians (N)
- think about how to invite some guests to sing in choir (N)
- type out and design service folder (check)
- purchase guest book and pen (N)
- fill in room diagram for reception (N)
- design and print place cards (N)
- design tables - finish favors (N and check)
- rehearsal dinner invites (N)
- set up big day chronology and assign duties (mostly check)
- list formal picture poses (check)
- talk with Magi [photographer] re: how day goes (N)
- take my & bridesmaid's dresses to Gina's (florist) to match ribbon color (N)
- complete list of "must have" songs for reception (check)
- pack for Hawaii (N)
- get marriage license (N)
- change name (figure out how) (N)
- cocktail hour music
- find someone with video camera and make sure first dance gets recorded
- design table set-up
- follow-up non-RSVPers
- make table assignments and complete room diagram for Hilton
- come up with symbol system for meal choices on place cards
- print place cards
- decorate gift card holder (check--thanks Erin!)
- assign someone to guard gift table and escort gifts to _____'s room
- send "must play" lists to Endless Knights (band) and Karaoke Mike (dj)
- decide and confirm exact order of events and come up with script for Karl Keller (emcee)
- finalize father/bride dance
- make sure Erich decides on mother/groom dance
- confirm pre-meal prayer with Grandpa Keller
- do the wine thing (my dad will go to the Hilton to taste wines since their standard selection is sub-par)
- select brass music (mostly check!)
- send brass music to players
- make list of singers and invite to sing in choir
- arrange for day-of choir rehearsal and inform non-Proclaimers (half-check)
- obtain hymn graphic for service folder from Phil
- do final draft of service folder
- print and fold service folder
- rubber stamp each service folder
- finalize list of formal picture poses and create a "call sheet" to distribute to family members
- select readings
- obtain marriage license
- purchase guest book and pen(s)
- appoint guest book attendant
- pay brass musicians
- place general invitation to ceremony in church News and Notes by 9/17
- invite Girls Choir and Agape Singers and piano students to ceremony
- oversee details of cake and punch reception
- confirm with limo company (find out payment requirements)
- meet with Gina to make final confirmations and show my and a bridesmaid's dres for ribbon color matching
- contact Magi to tell her schedule for day and give photo "call sheet"
- give final count to Hilton by 9/17
- complete diagram and gather all favors, decorations, etc. and drop off to Hilton by 9/20
- fill envelopes with fees/tips to be paid on 9/22 and label with correct names
- make hair appointment for final cut/color
- make hair appointment for trial style
- practice make-up application (check! did that yesterday, it looked good)
- invite guests to rehearsal dinner
- make sure Erich/Dad K follow through with rehearsal dinner arrangements
- make weekend itineraries for bridal party, ushers, parents, Magi, and Gina
- make honeymoon itinerary and sent to parents
- pack for honeymoon
- obtain necessary materials to legally change name
- decide wording for rehearsal dinner toast
- invite guests to post-wedding brunch
- help Erich with gifts for groomsmen
- wrap attendant gifts
- write thank-you notes to all involved in The Day
- get appropriate gifts for ceremony people
- wrap gifts for non-bridal party gift recipients
- decide on, purchase, and wrap gift for Erich
- remind Dad to get measured for tux
- decide on required apparel, if any, for ushers
- help Mom with Hilton guest goodie bags if needed
- finish packing
- familiarize myself with jr. high choir repertoire and select some for Agape Singers
- select music for Girls Choir
- write an updated policy sheet for piano students
Monday, August 13, 2007
My mom ordered these impressive cupcakes from Jewell. Go, Jewell!
Anne designed the menu and prepared the main dishes which featured orzo salad, cucumber sandwiches, various cheeses with fig spread, and fruit with Kahlua dip. Absolutely delicious; a perfect summer menu!
My beautiful niece Alayna made sure her voice was heard.
The bridesmaids in all their beauty. From the left: Erin, Anne, Me, Melissa, and Sarah. I couldn't ask for better bridesmaids!
This is me trying on my new apron and spatula from Erin, practicing my "Don't mess with me" look.
And this is a more smiley version. :)
One thing I really liked about the shower was the variety of people there. Now that I'm working at Bethany, my "work" friends overlap with my mom's good friends, as the ladies there are closer to her age, their kids went to school together, and my mom used to work in the church office with them. Erin's mom was also able to make it, which was very nice. I had also made sure the invitation list included all my Valpo friends who live in the Chicago area because I don't see them often enough and it feels so good to keep in touch. Luckily, at least one person of this group was able to make it--Karen R., who was a great Chorale friend and who survived a History of Witchcraft class with me in my final semester at Valpo. It was good to see her again, and with Sarah, I felt my Valpo connections were well represented.
Anne came up with some good games as well. I believe a good shower has no more than two games which aren't too silly. These games fit the bill rather well. The first one was one I had never seen before: everyone had to guess the names of eight spices with the labels covered up. That one was a challenge! There were some obscure spices there, but it was a fun mixer. The other was Newlywed Game-inspired. Melissa had asked Erich 15 questions about our relationship. Everyone had to guess how many I would get correct, and then I had to guess what Erich answered. I did pretty dismally with only 7 correct. The two most audacious responses from him were that he claims he is the better driver between us (I reminded him I have to coach him on four-way stops, and he reminded me he has to coach me on road rage) and that my favorite color is blue! Imagine! (For the record, it's yellow.)
I'll have more wedding posts to come, but I wanted to post about the shower for posterity and to thank my sisters and other bridesmaids for a very nice shower.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
This week of SS was a lot easier than my first ever. I taught sight-singing, directed and accompanied, as well as prepared the extremely-important mid-morning snack! It really helps that a lot of the kids know me--not by first name and as an authority figure. Two years of pure experience in church music has upped my confidence in teaching the youngsters, mostly because I've re-familiarized myself with how their brains work. It's easy to forget what kids are even like when you spend four years on a college campus.
I still see lots of room for improvement in my teaching choir to kids. For one, I'm really bad at dealing with very exuberant boys who are only looking for attention. My first instinct is to tell them to stop, then make eye-contact until they realize they're being disruptive, and then I resort to yelling. In Girls Choir, I almost never yell. But they are only girls--and I know girls. There is at least one child in the Boys Choir, which Phil thankfully directs, who found many ways to be annoyingly disruptive this week in SS. I am very glad this kid likes choir and shows up; he's not bad-natured, he just has outbursts and tries to be the comedian all the time. However, I just can't seem to control him. I noticed that Phil simply ignores him if he says something inappropriate, and this is probably the best response. But I, personally, find it difficult to ignore how his antics affect the concentration of the other students. He completely does not respond to my attempts at class control. His persistence turns me into Mean Miss Gavin, and I don't like being her.
In the meantime, I can be glad I don't have to deal with third- through sixth-grade boys every week. But I will eventually have to come up with better methods of asserting my authority. And, I will have to deal with seventh- and eighth-grade boys in Agape Singers, which is a lot scarier. There's probably nothing more I can do in the next few weeks to prepare myself: it looks like only experience can fully prepare me for this task. Wish me luck!
The last thing I thought I needed as of this morning was another blog. I already have a livejournal, which I copy to my myspace blog. I posted in that a lot more when I was in college, usually when I was pondering life's great truths and opportunities after enjoying a beer or two with friends on a Thursday night. There was even a time when all my Valpo friends seemed to be getting xanga accounts, so I followed suit, but that didn't last long. (I thoroughly despise ugly advertisements showing up next to my innermost thoughts and desires....) Oh the whole, however, I'm not very capricious in the bloggy bog of the internet. I don't go creating accounts all over the place which I later delete. My aim is to start something that I'll actually continue. So it is hard to explain my justification for starting a new blog on what seems to be a whim. But I'll try my best.
There now remain less than six weeks until my wedding to my wonderful Erich. Even as I type, we are both getting packed up to get ready to move into the new duplex apartment we will share when we are married. Even though we have been engaged for over a year and have been planning our wedding for at least as long, I feel closer now than ever to starting a new chapter of my life; that is, my life as a Keller. Furthermore, I'm still a complete newbie in the world of piano teaching, which I started last October. Lastly, though Valpo initially prepared me, I'm still learning so much about teaching and performing church music in playing the organ, accompanying, and directing choirs. This year in addition to Bethany Lutheran Church's Girls Choir I started last year, I'm taking over Bethany School's seventh- and eighth-grade choir, Agape Singers. That starts up in less than two weeks, and I confess I am more than a bit apprehensive.
All the above factors combined indicate that in the following years I will have plenty to keep me busy. I will seek a way to organize it all, to lay it out for myself (and anyone else interested enough to read) to document all the things I learn in the various personal and professional areas of my life. As I have always loved writing, I believe keeping this blog will be the best way to organize my thoughts and experiences. And, while it's hard to squash such thoughts as, "But I'm too busy," ultimately, I realize life will always be busy and challenging, so all the more reason for documentation!
Comments will always be welcome. Let me know if you're reading! Thank you.