Monday, Chris and I celebrate one year of marriage. The optimist in me wants to say “one year of wedded bliss,” but anyone who’s a regular human knows that that’s…a bit of a stretch. Honestly, going into this, I thought, “I’ve got this marriage thing in the bag. No problem.” We had been together for four years when we got married (and had lived together for three of those years), and I assumed that we would just continue on, business as usual.

I was wrong. Marriage is wonderful and amazing and glorious. It’s also hard, frustrating, and aggravating. I cannot imagine being married to anyone else, nor do I want to be. I have never loved anyone like I do my wife, but on the flip side of that coin, no one frustrates me anywhere near as much. (I just read her this, by the way, and she laughed — because she agrees with me, I assume.)

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The Big Day, part 2

All pictures below are courtesy of the amazing Laura Kathleen Photography. If you need a photographer, look her up. She was part of what made our day so amazing. Laura, if you’re reading this, I’m still sorry you didn’t have time to eat dinner and you had to take it to go. I blame the hotel.

Guys. Remember how I got married last year? I’m biased, but I definitely think our wedding and reception is probably the best wedding I’ll ever attend in my entire life, or that anyone will attend in any lifetime. But maybe I’m biased.

I woke up early that day and couldn’t sleep because of excitement. I walked down to a coffee shop — our event coordinator’s suggestion and one of the few positives about her — and got us breakfast. The rest of the morning is a blur, quite honestly. The only standout to me is when I stood, naked, in front of the sink in our kitchen and ate leftover wings from the night before. And, yes, Chris still married me.

Chris, Amy, and I all kind of got ready together. Chris did my makeup, and she and Amy did their own makeup and got their hair done. Dawn did my hair, too, but it seriously took about 30 seconds. Chris’ hair looked amazing. If you have a special day needing special hair, give Salon Sartori a try.

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Photographing proof of me wearing makeup. Also, look how awkward I am when just holding Chapstick!

Then my mom came and hung out with me while the girly people took 17 hours to get ready. And Laura took some shots of our jewelry, our clothes, and my mom and I trying to overcome our awkward German nature and touch each other.

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Then…it was time. Time to marry my most favoritest person in the world. If you’d like to know my feelings about that, please see the picture to the above left.

To be continued!

The Eve of the Big Day

I know, I know. I’m moving in reverse. I know I live-blogged about the day before our wedding, but I left out a lot of stuff, like about the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.

Oh, and — as Chris just reminded me — how our sink exploded that morning.

Okay, I’m being dramatic. There was a leak and a bit of a mess, right before we were leaving to begin our prep day. We looked at each other and realized there really wasn’t much of anything we could do at that point other than clean it up, have minimal use of the sink, ask our friends who were checking on Graham to make sure nothing fell apart, and hope for the best.

(Nothing fell apart, and all is well.)

We got our nails done, did a bunch of prep with some friends and family, and then went upstairs to get ready for our rehearsal and also some cookie dropoff.

(Guys, our cookie table was epic, and that isn’t an exaggeration, but you’ll have to wait to see that for yourselves in a post or two).


Sister-in-Law Amy demonstrating how to sit down or something, I guess.

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The Big Day, part 1

I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but I did get married last October.


This is how I felt about it.

It was the best day of my life. Not an exaggeration. I wish I could have bottled up the feeling and sipped on it slowly when stress and doubt and other generic badness entered my life in the weeks and months after.

I live-blogged the day before the wedding, and it the room and person prep we did on our wedding eve. It’s fun to go back and read about the day that I didn’t know what Oxford heels were.

Like I said, our wedding was amazing. It was beautiful, touching, meaningful, amazing, and all sorts of other positive adjectives. The road leading up to it had a few bumps in it, though. I’ll mention a few of them briefly, and then I’ll get to the good stuff.

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Slaying It

So, everyone knows how much I love TV. If you’re only a fan of my supreme writing skills and don’t know me, well, I’m pretty sure it has come through. If you do know me, you know that my profession for the last almost-15 years has been to watch TV all day. Well, technically, for the last several, I watch other people watch TV all day, because supervising. But still. And then, after a long day of work, sometimes I come home and…watch TV.

I don’t watch as much as I used to. Life with Chris is pretty busy. Since we only are on the same shift about half the time, when we do have the opportunity to see each other, we seldom want to be apart.


Who can blame me? Heart eyes for days.*

Ahem. Where was I? Right. TV.

Some TV shows have really resonated with me over the years, and a movie or two has really hit home, as you might remember from earlier this week. Carrie Fisher made six-year-old Monica realize she might be gay. But I’m a Cheerleader made me admit that I was gay, and it started something else — the urge to see myself onscreen more.

The next show that made a big impact was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sadly, I did not watch it when it was first on — a friend introduced it to me after it finished airing. Three of us used to watch it together after work, staying up till 1:00 in the morning with the people from Sunnydale. Then the other two started dating each other, effectively shutting the door on our group hangs, so I started watching it by myself. It was better that way, anyway, because he dictated which episodes were “bad” and worth skipping. No time for that, mister. All of the episodes need to be watched! Even Beer Bad!


A gift from those friends for doing a reading at their wedding. I guess it ended well for them.

[ Spoilers from BtVS are ahead. But it’s been off of the air for years, so, really, if you don’t want to be spoiled, watch the damn show already. ]

Once again, I saw myself onscreen, both in nerdy Willow and gay Tara. And also insecure Xander, demonic Anya, knowledgeable Giles, and even kickass Buffy. Probably not in Riley, though. Thank God. “This show is so real,” I remember saying, thinking how ridiculous it was to say that about a show that takes place on a Hellmouth. But it’s true — literally high school (and eventually college) as Hell.

I always had a soft spot for Willow — nerdy, awkward, adorable. Also, Alyson Hannigan. Then she went to college, got dumped, went a little crazy, and met Tara. And I was a goner.

There I was, on that screen again.

A friend burned me a copy of the Once More with Feeling soundtrack, and I listened to Under Your Spell on repeat. In my car. Getting off the phone with my GF so I could listen to it one more time. Sitting in the parking lot of somewhere (Burgh’s? Kings? I think the GF let me go for a rare night out — Chris must not have been going) listening to it one more time, feeling my heart swell as Tara sung her feelings to Willow, explaining that she was completely taken by her. Being sad that the relationship I was in wasn’t that; trying to come to terms that I would never have that and that’s okay. That’s just not the kind of person I was, and I wasn’t capable of those kinds of feelings. I was happy enough, GF was a good-enough person, and that was…enough.


I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. I’m capable of more than I thought I was, and this is the result.*

The day I got the box set, I came home from work at 11:00pm and announced to GF that I would be staying up and watching Buffy. She just shook her head, probably. I don’t know. Maybe it spun the whole way around.

She went to bed, and I let Buffy, Willow, Tara, and the gang keep me company. My heart swelled, making me feel less alone with that sweet, sweet box set in my TV stand. Making me feel less alone than the woman sleeping in the next room did.

It’s amazing what we tell ourselves is acceptable in life, isn’t it?

We broke up, obviously. Some BS about her not being willing to put me through being with her. Some stupid, ridiculous crap where she tried to make herself out as a hero when all she wanted was out.

Best thing that ever happened to me. Not an exaggeration.

Buffy kept me company in those months after. When I needed a laugh, I’d turn on Doppelgangland, my favorite episode. When I needed a cry, The Body was the obvious choice. Wanting to be scared out of my mind? Hush. Reminded of the kind of love I wanted for myself? Seeing Red, stopping a couple of minutes before the end.

I could take this opportunity to drone on for thousands of words about the “Bury Your Gays” trope, about how a gay is brought on a show (often a lesbian), and then she’s killed for no purpose other than advancing someone else’s storyline. I could ramble about the horrible, horrible message this sends to the LGBTQ community — gays deserve to be killed, they only exist as characters to further the straight people’s journey, if you sleep with someone of the same sex, you deserve to die — but I won’t. It’s utter bullshit, and it’s rare to find a show that doesn’t do it. Not to jump ahead here, but SyFy (and the country of Canada) does it right, both with Lost Girl and (so far) Wynonna Earp.

But I won’t. Ahem.

The day after our first official date (because we really had been pre-dating for the entire week and a half beforehand — sorry if this is a surprise to the people we hung out with [Heather, Beth, Amy, Sansón]), we went for coffee with her friend/my acquaintance (now our friend) Michelle and hung out at Barnes and Noble. I somehow convinced her to come back to my place, and we sat on the couch and…watched Buffy. My rambling about how Doppelgangland is the most perfect episode is probably why she agreed to continue dating me.

Every time I watched that episode afterwards, I thought of our sweet, special date 1.5. It made me feel even less alone than before.

Chris agreed to watch the entire series while she was in California, just because it meant so much to me. I am under no delusion that it meant as much to her as it meant to me…but the fact that she did it because I meant to much to her — well, suddenly, I didn’t need to watch Doppelgangland as often, you know?


And then she took me to the bridge from Under Your Spell because I married the perfect woman.

Up next in Monica’s Blogs About Media That Means A Lot To Her…Wynonna Earp. That’s what this was supposed to be, and then I started word vomiting about Buffy, and I couldn’t stop it. No fever, though, so at least I didn’t have to pull out the cowbell.

Until next time, friends, may your stakes be pointy, your pancakes funny-shaped, your candles extra flamey, and remember — the hardest thing in this world…is to live in it, love makes you do the wacky, and bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies.

*Photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography

But I’m a Talent Agent

So, as anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I’m currently obsessed with the TV show Wynonna Earp. Or if you’ve talked to me. Or texted me for a recipe, I probably mentioned it, too. (Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you should. I’m reasonably funny sometimes.)

I mean, not really obsessed. Like, my wife still takes priority, but she’s very understanding and lets me do things like watch the live broadcast a few hours before we have to be at the airport and live Tweet it and then maybe join the video hangout and participate a little and encourage me when I talk about it even though she doesn’t watch it. Because she’s nice like that.


Also, super hot.

But you’ll watch it soon, right, honey?

Anyway, back to topic.

I’ve been a big TV fan for ages — for as long as I can remember, really. This is not an exaggeration. I was born in 1977 (representing 39, bitches!), and I remember watching Days of Our Lives with my beloved grandmother in 1980. Like, Marlena and Roman and the Salem Strangler. It even got a shout-out in her eulogy I somehow managed not to cry through.

The thing is, I never saw…myself on TV. Everyone was pretty, worldly, thin, confident, and, well…straight. Especially in Salem.

Because Jennifer Horton Deveraux.

Growing up, I remember latching on to people who seemed…familiar. Similar, maybe, even though I wasn’t honest with myself about why. I bought a Rolling Stone with Melissa Etheridge on the cover (and promptly purchased all of her CDs after Yes I Am came out — pardon the pun), read the parts about her over and over. I kept it in my closet (ha!), the nearness somehow making me feel not as alone. For every step forward, though, one backwards. I won tickets to see her in concert…and took a guy with me so “no one thought I was gay.” (I wasn’t the only one worried about that, though, because I remember running into two ladies that my brother graduated with, one of them telling me, “If I see any women making out, I’m going to be sick.” The other looked at me and shrugged. Now, almost 20 years later, all three of us are in long-term same-sex relationships. Hopefully she doesn’t throw up a lot.) I bought a concert t-shirt but was always too afraid to wear it. It’s still in a plastic bin in my basement, never worn.

That was a different Monica, you know?

Onscreen portrayals of lesbians were few and far between, and even the ones that existed weren’t anything like me. I’m no Carol and Susan from Friends. I remember saying (jokingly) that I “identified with the black lesbian” in Boys on the Side, though only half of that was (secretly) true. That Ellen puppy episode was in 1997, Roseanne kissed Sandra Bernhardt before that, and Rosie came out in 2002, after I was totally, completely, fully out.

In 1999, something changed.

I had graduated from college, was comfortably mumbling “I don’t know; I might be gay” to some select people (and had been for four years), and had finally been talked into seeing a therapist. After I told her about my nervousness about lesbians, she half-smiled, raised her hand, and said, “I’m a lesbian.”

Clearly, my gaydar was not fully functioning at this point, because she was as granola as granola gets.

Anyway, she recommended I see a movie — a movie called “But I’m a Cheerleader.”



I don’t know if you’ve seen this movie, but here’s a brief synopsis (if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading). Super-girly cheerleader Megan (a pre-OITNB Natasha Lyonne) is shipped off to gay-deprogramming camp (where she finally realizes she’s gay), where she meets some other gays, most notably Graham (an ever-perfect Clea Duvall), with whom she falls in love and probably lives happily ever after, maybe. They ride off into the sunset in the back of a pickup, so…

It is not an exaggeration to say this movie changed my life.

I sat in the theater surrounded by two friends an an intern (sounds like a rom-com), nervous but excited to see this movie my therapist thought would do me some good.

There’s a scene in which Megan is insisting the things she feels and does (checking out other women, pictures of girls in her locker, etc.) are normal and everyone does them. She slowly starts to realize that it’s not as normal as she thinks, ending with the exclamation, “I’m a homosexual!”

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself. “I’m a homosexual.”

And that was it — my “aha!” moment, where I finally accepted what I had suspected since I was six and known, deep down, since high school. I’m gay.

I went to my next therapy appointment, telling my therapist (named Chris, of course) that I was a giant lesbian. “So, you giant lesbian, what’s next?” she asked.

What’s next was, a few months later when that movie came out on VHS (!), I rented it once a week for several weeks. Watched it multiple times. I think this coincided with my brief period of unemployment, so I watched it a lot. Made other people watch it, including that girl who was also a friend who I had a raging crush on (because there was always one of those). “I don’t get it,” she said about Clea Duvall. I shook my head. I ran outside to do something while they kept watching — I think I had a flat tire or something — and when I came back in, after they had watched the scene in the dance club where my beloved Clea looked like how every even-a-little-butch girl wanted to look and kissed the super-hot girl, she looked at me and said, “I get it now.”

Every time I watched that movie, my heart swelled a little bit. I got nervous in anticipation of watching it. I rewound my favorite parts and watched them over and over (literally rewound — remember it was a VHS tape). I was sad when I didn’t have it; inexplicably happy when I did. It was like that magazine in my closet — keeping me company, reminding me I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t wrong or evil or awful or something to be ashamed of. I was worthy of love and a relationship (those would take a while to find — one much longer than the other, too).

So when I find that TV show or movie that makes me feel this way, I go a little bit nuts. I want to watch it over and over again, my favorite and not-so-favorite parts, engulf myself with the warmness that spreads throughout when I’m reminded that I’m not alone. Not that I need as much reminding as I used to, but it’s still nice to be reminded.

This also applies to people, as I try to surround myself with those who make me feel safe, warm, happy, not alone.


This lady in particular.

And maybe this doesn’t make sense to you if you’ve never been affected this way by a show or a movie or a song, but if you have, well, you’re not alone.

I felt this way with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and much to my surprise, Wynonna Earp hit me the same way. How and why and how is another post for another time, but when I was thinking about how to explain all of that, I kept coming back to Graham.


Not this one, but the cat’s out of the bag (ha!) as to where I got his name.

So, thanks, Clea and Graham (and Melissa) for making me feel like I’m not the only one. For making me feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. For showing me that there are other people like me. For helping me to hold on just a little while longer, because my pickup truck and sunset were waiting.


heart eyes*

*photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography


Pre-wedding bullet points

So, I’ve been awful (just autocorrected to “awesome” — nope) at blogging. In my defense, I’m getting married in two (!) days, so we have been a bit busy. 

Hanging on Mt. Washington, killing time until nighttime parking rates take effect. 

So here are some random musings. 

  • A lot of people have asked me if I’m nervous, and one asked if I wished I had eloped. I’m nervous about getting everything done and weather and everyone getting there and such, but not about marrying Chris. So anxiety about the wedding but not about the marriage. And really not that much about the wedding — not enough that I wished I had eloped. Not even close. 
  • We are doing a lot of crafty DIY projects for the decorations, and it’s been time consuming. At the beginning, I thought it was silly, but now, man, I can see how great everything will be. 
  • Why would we plan a wedding at our busiest time at work?! It’s been difficult to get any free time.
  • I am so excited to get and be married! I really am. I guess when you wait 38 years, you really have waited for the right one to come along. 
  • I had to buy two pairs of pants for my suit because who knows which will fit by the time Sunday rolls around. So today is a big pants trying-on day. I know. The whirlwind of fun never stops. 

Thanks for telling me about this app, Nate!

Time to get moving. Lots to do!

Happy my wedding week! Two days and counting!

What Do August Showers Bring?

Awesomeness, that’s what. 

And super-hot ladies, my friends.

The picture above is from our family shower, thrown by FSIL Amy and Chris’ mom and aunts.  It was at a local restaurant, and it was filled with our family and family friends. 

I loved Chris’ dress at this one. She looked so pretty! My mom helped me pick out my outfit, which is why I look fancier than usual. The only sad part of the whole day was that she wasn’t able to make it. She had a compression fracture in her spine, probably from wrestling a bear or something. But my brother recorded all of the present opening, and they took her a meal to go. We visited the next day, which was nice. 

Mom is feeling much better now, still improving. Sad that she wasn’t at the shower, but happy that this means she will be at full power at the wedding. 
A few weeks later, our wonderful friends threw us a shower! It was at the Wigle Whiskey barrel house, so the location and the drinks were excellent. 

And the company, of course. 

Chronica knows how to party. 

Aubrey, Heather, Michelle, and Beth threw us a lovely shower. It really was a lesson in Pinteresting. The took the travel theme and ran with it. So lovely!

 Both were awesome and lovely and special and perfect. Chris and I are so, so lucky. 

Thank you to all of the people who made these happen, attended, or sent their wishes from afar.  We love you all. 

45 days to go. Let’s plan a wedding! #Chronica2015

Wedding Musings

I’m so excited to get married. I am. I think about random things — first dance, vows, fun touches that we’ll add to the reception because we’re giant nerds, how pretty Chris will look — and I tear up.

Heck, I did right then.  Please enjoy this picture of Graham while I compose myself.

One thing hit me today, though, as I was making breakfast.

 This is technically yesterday’s breakfast. I write a blog of lies.

We’ll be surrounded by all of our friends and family — our mothers, our aunts, our siblings, and the friends we have our ridiculous adventures with. (And a few other people that are invited out of obligation, but whatever. Not you, of course. We want you there. Probably.)

But my dad won’t be there.  Allow me to distract you with another photo. Makeup!

Listen, I don’t mean to give anyone the wrong idea. It’s not like my dad and I talked on the phone every day, discussing our thoughts and dreams and hopes for the future. The guy wasn’t a talker. And we were very different. He had a very scientific, analytical mind, and I…do not.   Also, he liked kids, and I feel more like this about them.

He was just always there, you know? Teaching me how to ride a bike, going to my basketball and volleyball games, teaching me how to drive, supporting me when I quit my job. Acting like I just told him I preferred a different kind of music instead of a different gender when I finally came out to him. “No, I didn’t know that, but okay.”

It will be 12 years this summer that he died, so part of me is frustrated with myself. Like, come on, Monica. You knew he wasn’t going to be around anymore. And most days it’s okay. But some days — like today — it hits me. So instead off doing grown-up stuff, I blog. And look for unrelated pictures to post.

 Oh, Graham.

Chris and I will be walking ourselves down the aisle, probably. Which we would have done regardless of who was available to do it. And I guess that’s pretty fitting. He and my mom raised me to be pretty independent, outspoken, and all that business. Besides, if they wanted to give me away, they probably would have done it when I was an awful, awful teenager.

No pictures. Those were in the middle of my awkward years. But I was a BITCH.

The day of his funeral, my aunt saw a lone mourning dove on her deck. It hooted a few times and flew away. It was unusual, she said, to see one by itself, so it must have been him. So now, every time I hear one, I think of him. They’ve been really loud lately, so I hear them whenever I’m outside or have the window open. Chris texted me this week to say that one flew to her windowsill at work, hopped over in front of her, hooted a few times, and flew away. I called my mom to tell her — our second phone call of the morning, reserved for important stuff — and she said, “Well, I guess he likes her.”



When I was a kid, I didn’t know Dominoes was an actual game. I thought you just lined them up and flicked the first one over, setting yourself up for a super-cool 5-10 seconds of payoff. I guess I thought they just had random dots on them for decoration or something. I remember watching a segment on “That’s Incredible!” involving some elaborate course that someone had set up just to be knocked down. All that prep work and everything destroyed in seconds. And then you’re left to clean up the mess.

I mailed in our deposit and contract to the George Washington on Tuesday. Like most things in my life, it was equal parts exciting and terrifying. Also like most things in my life, each thought sets off another like a chain of thought dominoes.


  • Weddings are fun!
  • We agreed on a place, it’s awesome, and our families love it.
  • The food is spectacular.
  • I get to marry my favoritest person in the whole world.


  • That deposit is just a small portion of — wait, how much? Do I have time to get a second job?
  • What if [insert ridiculous thing that will never, ever happen] happens before/during our wedding?
  • Should we invite so-and-so? What if we do and they’re awful? What if we don’t and they’re mad?
  • What if…the same thing happens that did the last time I tried this?

That last one is the loudest.


I know. We’re adorable. Let’s enjoy this moment for a bit before we move to the next, which will be less pleasant.

For those of you who don’t know, this is not my first engagement rodeo. I was in a six-year relationship, and we were engaged to be married in…2010. Wow. I really had to think about that. Anyway, things ended up going south a few months before our wedding.  It was…pretty crappy. It was one of those life events that truly shapes who you are as a person but that you have zero interest in revisiting on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful the relationship ended. I don’t mean this to sound cruel to Ex, but that breakup is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I grew as a person, I got out of a relationship that wasn’t the best for either of us, and I proved to myself (again) that I’m stronger than I thought I could be.

Also, I met (both just online and in person) some lovely people because of that engagement. I blogged for a currently nonfunctioning website, So You’re EnGAYged. I’m Facebook friends with a handful of other SYE people, and it makes me so happy to see the events in their lives — weddings, babies, new houses, new jobs, and everything else. Every time Chris and I talk about wedding photographers, I lament the fact that we probably can’t afford to bring in one of the website’s founders, Kelly Prizel, all the way from Connecticut. (I love her photos — check out her site: If you’re in her area and need a photographer, you should hire her.) I recently made a sports bet with another former fellow blogger, Raven, about a possible Pirates/Giants Wild Card series. And I’m so excited every time I see my Pittsburgh buddy Alyia post about her upcoming wedding.

Ahem. Tangent.

Anyway, this past weekend, we were talking to my friend about her long-ago divorce, and it (of course) brought up a lot of memories of mine. Well, break-up, technically, since we were never married, which brought with it a whole host of other issues because we had no legal protections. Long story short, for multiple reasons, she told me three months before our wedding that she couldn’t marry me. And I told her that I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t able to get married after six years together. And…it was over. But we still had three cats, a house, and a houseful of stuff to figure out. It was not the best six months of my life.


I still miss these other two guys sometimes. But certainly not the chubby one’s hair. He shed more than the other two combined. And he pooped so much!


Another warm-fuzzy break. Us at our engagement party. Photo credit to Chris’ cousin Mindy. Hope you don’t mind that I stole this!

After a night of thought dominoes, I ended up re-rereading the e-mail Ex sent me about why it ended (in which she took zero responsibility, but whatever), and it started a whole other round. What if this happens again?  What if we get closer and closer to the big day next year, and she tells me she can’t go through with it? What if, what if, what if…

I’ve talked to Chris about this. Of course. We talk about everything. (Everything. Seriously.) She assures me that I’m being ridiculous, which I know I am. Chris isn’t Ex. And I’m not 2010 Monica, either.


Pictured — 2010 Monica and 2010 Abigia. We were such kids!

I have been stressed a lot lately, and I think that’s a lot of it. I know in my head I’m worrying about something that won’t happen, and I trust Chris. She’s not leaving. Neither am I. I just need to remind myself of that sometimes and think about more important things. Like…I hope we can pick different appetizers for cocktail hour. I hope we can be at cocktail hour. Will people think it’s weird if they see us beforehand? Should we walk down the aisle? Should we have a flower girl?

Can we finance our wedding through Kickstarter?