That's Good Advice! -Jimmy Dougan

Someone recently passed on an article to me that listed 10 things you must do single before you get married. I thought I would share my response to these intriguing requirements invented by Paidbythword@tofilltheinternetstubes.com.

1. Travel alone: I have been to Spain, England, and Austria by myself. I alone determined how to use a Turkish toilet (a true accomplishment of my singlehood.) I went on lone woman roadtrips to Charlottesville, Chincoteague Island, and Williamsburg when I lived back east. I once spent the night on Antelope Island in my car, because I was so afraid of the bugs getting in my tent, and that turned out to be a very wise idea. I drove across the country by myself, which was mostly awesome except for hour 16 on day 2 which ended on the West edge of Oklahoma City. That was a LONG. DAY. I have seen the sun rise and set across more unique landscapes than I could ever describe in a single post. That being said, I can’t wait to wake up in New Orleans with Dan.
Not my most flattering spain picture, but I'm drinking marriage water in Las Asturias, it seemed appropriate. (only took it 4 years to work, pfshshsssshhh)

On the way to Charlottesville, Battlefield Hunting.
Richmond, Virgina!

In the Horse Palace in Vienna Austria

2. Wallow in the ache of a broken heart. I have indeed had my fair share of heartache. I had a very growing but very unhealthy pseudo relationship in college which I thought might have left me permanently ruined for love. After it ended, I ate a lot of ice cream, listened to way too much Avril Lavigne for a 21 year old, did a lot of shunning on Facebook, and then finally one day looked at a sunset again after months of indifference and smiled. I did it alone, and I’ll never have to do it again.  (I don't think you need a picture of this one.  Maybe I could show you a picture of how chubby I was after all that Haagen Daaz?) 

3. Spend a weekend with a married couple your age. Ahhh, this is a good one. I got to go to Hershey PA with one of my absolute favorite coworkers and his soon-to-be wife, and while there were a fair number of jokes about checking into a hotel as two women and one dude, it was one of the funnest trips I’ve ever been on. We ate ourselves silly, openly mocked the Chologanda (that’s chocolate propaganda, if you missed it), and mused over the effectiveness of a chocolate spa wrap (NOT effective must clearly be the answer to that question). But moreover, I appreciated how much they loved each other, how happy they were together, and in the last few months before moving back to Utah, saw one of the best examples of true love and commitment I’d ever had in my life. And it also makes you damn lonely. Glad I did I only did that one once.

(Would you believe that I forgot my camera and don't have a single shred of evidence this trip ever happened? It did. I still have M&M stains on my fingers from that weekend. )
4. Don’t come home all night. Ha! Another one of my favorites. I was known to spend the night occasionally in the Student Government Offices at the U. There were these love sacs there which should have been burned by then, but weren’t (they definitely have been now) and we used to stay and clean up after Crimson Nights until 6am, and then crash in the office, whole lots of us piled in ways only college students would pile.

Besties working Crimson Nights and having a right good time.

5. Stand up for a cause you care about. More than once. Wild Horses, Obama’s early campaign, a Utah State Bill that would make animal abuse a felony, and numerous spending bills for the U when I was in college. I am a walking cause. I don’t think that will die with marriage, though in honor of our mixed-politics marriage, they will probably be less political in the future. :). Also, I once led a crusade to change the student body election process in High School. I was like, the Joan of Arc of fair high school elections. Yeah, the ones that are a popularity contest. I KNOW.

Some party-neutral animals who might need defending someday. uh huh.

6. Have a real adventure. Should I count living in Moldova for a month? Living in DC for 2 years? Biking to Mount Vernon and back on my single speed bike one Sunday? Training an ex-racehorse to jump when I was 13? I think that I shall say, all of the above.

7. Learn how to take care of yourself. When I slipped down my cement stairs and accidentally put my hand through a window, I called the ambulance myself, tore the strap off my purse and made a tourniquet, and waited for the ambulance on my curb. And, I made both my EMTs and all three nurses laugh at my civil war stories that night. After the surgery, I did all my own exercises, changed my own bandages, managed my meds, handled all my insurance claims and bills, scheduled my physical therapy appointments and surgical follow-ups, and still went to work and typed 43 words per minute with one hand. Yeah, I’d say after that, I can take care of myself.

8. Buy something hugely impractical just because you love it. Well, we can’t all be Tiff and buy a Porsche. I think my something was more of a somewhere. More than once, I have splurged on trips that I just couldn’t resist, and they were always worth it. Actually, one of the biggest of these was a trip home to Utah last September. I was bummed about my hand, hating my job, feeling lonely, and I so desperately wanted to see old loving wonderful friends, and this yearning happened to correspond perfectly with my high school pal Cassie’s wedding. What ensued was catching up with Gretchen again, and her INSISTING that she had someone she needed me to meet. And yes, two months later, she introduced me to Dan. Good splurge.

9. Develop a hobby.

I think the 300 Breyer Horses stuffed in my living room closet that I refuse to sell probably count.

10. Be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least three months. Three months? Try three years. I didn’t date at all in high school, and only briefly dated a couple guys in college, with the exception of Mr. FauxDating. I refuse to count that. Dan is by far my longest, healthiest, most growing and selfless relationship I’ve ever been in. Whether I’d done these 10 things or not, I wouldn’t so much as blink again as a single woman than be with him. Actually, I’m just deeply, profoundly amused that there are people who need this advice. I know those people, but I’m still amused.

                                     Do not be alarmed. He knew this is what he was signing up for.

4 Days and 4 Nights.

Yeah, I get married in 4 days.

Just when I get swept up in making details and tying boutonni√®res and arranging for incoming flights and managing my utterly psychotic caterers, I have a night like last night where time stands still and I have to say good night to Dan 4 different times because the first 3 weren’t sufficient. That’s why you get married.

The dress is nice, too.


July 14th

I'm not generally one to remember or acknowledge an anniversary, but I have a couple that I keep tucked away. Every year they come around and I usually close my eyes, and hold my breath for just a moment, to let the memory into me and keep it in my chest to soak. This particular day, ten years ago, was the day of a horrible horse accident that I was involved in, and essentially ended not just my horse’s career, but my own. I rode the rest of the summer on autopilot, not considering for a moment that this accident would or could end my future with horses. And part of that is true- nothing could ever change how much I love them, how much time I spend riding them in my head, yearning for that oily earthen smell in their coats. But over the course of the next year of my life, I went from being wholly and singly determined to work with horses for a living to virtually walking away from all things equine, and not looking back for a long time.

Time healed a lot of wounds, and working in the tack department at Callister’s and befriending all those tough cowgirl spirits brought back a flood of old feelings just in time for me to move to Virginia and connect with horses on a whole new level. In my couple of years there I got to attend multiple national and world level horse shows, brush elbows with my heroes, ride a few truly great animals, and was even offered an incredible job working at a world renowned stable, which I turned down.

This July 14th, I had my first of a few bridal showers. I was indeed showered with love and thoughtfulness by new and old family alike, and tried to absorb the contrast of this day and night to the one I had ten years ago, sleeping in the barn next to my paralyzed horse and wondering what was going to happen her, and to me if I lost her.

That accident led her to a new life- she healed to a place of comfortable living, and got to be a mom to a lot of beautiful babies instead of competing in horse shows, which I think was in fact a better life for her. And me? Well, it only took me 10 years longer to find a suitable stablemate of my own. But the first stages of celebration for Dan and mine’s wedding couldn’t be a better way to commemorate that day. Because for the first time in a long time, this day is about more than looking back. It’s about how being with Dan only makes me look forward, and is already helping me to realize dreams from that very day that had seemed so lost.


I'll See You in the World Series. Yeah, You Bet You Will.

I had my first wedding disaster nightmare last night.

1. I forgot the rings.
2. The reception place towed our honeymoon getaway car before the ceremony had even started.
3. They lost my music for walking down the aisle
4.  The reception waitress kept interrupting our preparation to try to sell me a commemorative painted log slice with elk on it (they said they felt this one best represented the theme of the wedding, and had already personalized it with mine and Dan’s names)

(something like this only with Elk and mountains. yeah.)

5. When I politely asked her to leave so that I could put on my wedding dress, everyone in the room was so mad at me for being rude to the lady with the log that no one would help me put on my wedding dress, and I couldn’t get married.

I've never been so happy that no dream I ever had turned out to be a prophecy.