Friday, March 25, 2011


I like to read, but don't really do it much.  I read really REALLY slowly, and my eyes get tired reading.  When I've finished a day of work, reading sounds like a tiresome activity, so I have many books on the shelves that I want to read, but haven't.

Occasionally, though, I find a book (or more commonly, series of books) that really captures my attention, and I read it as fast as possible. - I should note that "as fast as possible" isn't very fast at all.  The last book series I read was 3 short books.  Each book took me 2-3 days reading 2-4 hours in each sitting.  John read the whole series after I finished it; it took him about 5 hours.

Anywho, most of the time, my interest is peaked by fantasy books... often times, books that are geared toward adolescents.  I'm not sure what that says about me.  I like realistic stories and books written for adults too, but in recent years, the only books that I've gotten myself immersed in are fantasy, and most of those are written for "young adults."

For example, in the last few years, these are the books that have deeply peaked my interest (again, not the only books I've read, but the ones I've been most "into"):
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher

My newest read is thanks to a recommendation via Facebook from my high school English teacher: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott.  (Having only known of one other Michael Scott... I giggle a little at the author's name, thinking of Michael Scott from The Office writing these books, but they're far too interesting to come from the TV character)

The books are certainly written for a younger audience.  I find myself repeatedly telling the book "I get it.  You told me that detail 10 pages ago," but I know he's just trying make sure to not confuse the young audience while setting up the suspension of disbelief.

Despite the simpler writing style, I'm enjoying the new fantasy world.  I just finished book 1, and I got the 2nd and 3rd books at Half Price this week.  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I had ice cream for lunch today...

The coordinator at my current client promised everyone lunch as a reward for everyone's hard work in some difficult situations recently.  After a couple weeks of not suggesting a lunch venue, someone finally suggested that we just go out for ice cream... How about Blizzards at Dairy Queen?  Okay, great.  Sounds tasty!

Photo courtesy of Dairy Queen

So... when is our Dairy Queen party scheduled?  11:30 am this morning.  I have no clue why we didn't have the ice cream trip at a more reasonable hour... like in the afternoon after lunch, but the Blizzard filled me up.  I had a busy afternoon, so I never ate a proper lunch.

Thus, my new definition of adulthood: No tells you that you can't eat desert if you don't finish your meal... Instead, we have work meetings that influence us to spoil our meal with ice cream in the morning.  :)

I had ice cream for lunch today... and it was good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Mail

The mail services have been quite exciting recently.

I don't think a single mail delivery day has passed in the last 3 weeks that we haven't gotten at least 1 reply card.  I think the most for one day was 5.  It's a little adventure. Every day when I get home from work, I walk out to the mailbox before I go inside, and there's reply tucked in the mailbox telling me if one of our friends or family will be coming to the big day.  (Though, despite the many reply cards, the reply rate is only at about 50% right now... and the reply by date is next Friday!)

We've been keeping the package services busy too.  The wedding is still 38 days away, but we've already gotten 6 wedding presents!  Most of it has been china... I need to go get china keepers soon, so we can get the china out of the boxes because the boxes are stacking high in my closet now... so high that they've reached the bottom of my veil that's hanging above where I'm storing the china boxes.  :)

The china pattern we selected - It's Lisette by Waterford

I feel blessed by the generosity of our friends and family.  I knew we'd get gifts because that's traditional, but somehow in starting to actually receive them I just feel that the Thank You cards hardly seem to cover how appreciative I am. - By the way, so far, I'm doing quite well on Thank You notes.  I've written them all and sent them on their way! 

I suppose our mail will probably stay busy for the next month or so... Here's to nice little surprises that greet me as I get home from work each day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hot Hoops, In Hot Springs

Two weeks ago, we were in Hot Springs, Arkansas for our third annual trip.  For the last 3 years, and the next few years at least, the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament has been in Hot Springs.  Each year, John, his brother Jimmy, and I join other Mean Green faithfuls for a week of 2-6 basketball games a day.

We took lots of pictures the first year and a few the second.  The novelty of the city has worn off though, so the only picture I have to share from this year is a still from the championship game TV broadcast with only 22 seconds left.

North Texas had just secured a 4 point lead.  Heartbreaking events followed leading to a 1 point loss by the end, but in this shot, we're quite excited because it looks like we're going to the NCAA tournament for a second year in a row.

Watching the team win last year and lose in the last seconds this year made for two very different emotions.  However, last year North Texas was a 2 seed and didn't play a 1 seed until the final game, but this year they were a 4 seed, upsetting 1 and 3 seeds to even get to the Championship game.  We were very excited to even be in the Championship game, but that loss still stings.

An interesting note about this year's tournament: Along with North Texas's upsets in round 2 and 3, there were 6 other upsets in the tournament.  Only 3 games (2 in the first round and 1 in the second round) actually went according to seeding.

This year was a little different because our friends Matt and Kim came along (they are the two people that John and I are book-ending in the picture).  They have season tickets right next to us during the year, but they've not been able to come to the tournament before.  I enjoyed getting to do a few more "girly" things this year that I'd not done in the previous 2 years... Like actually go to a Hot Springs bath house.  The "hot bath" turned out to be what I'd call a over priced use of a normal whirlpool bathtub, but I'm glad to finally say I've done it, since that's what Hot Springs is famous for.

All in all, it was a good trip despite the loss in the end.  I guess we have to lose some years; otherwise, the wins would stop being as fun. - John would probably argue with me on that point.

PS There's a story behind the title of this post.  The first year the tournament was in Hot Springs, that was the tournament slogan, and the advertisement for the tournament had the voice over yell/singing "Hot Hoops, In Hot Spriiiinnngggs".  The boys I travel with latched on to the somewhat annoying phrase and say it close to 200 times each year while we're there (the first year may have been more like 500).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In 42 Days

In 42 Days...
  • I can end my career as an amateur event planner.
  • I get to wear a beautiful dress and have my hair done up all nice like.
  • I get to spend the day with 6 of my best friends... 4 of whom I hardly ever get to see because they live in other cities (3 in other states).
  • I will enjoy one walk as Daddy's Little Girl and another as a grown woman.
  • I get to play dress up with my friends.  It will probably be the first time my many fashion advisers have to take my advice instead of the other way around... I hope they taught me well.  :)
  • We will enjoy the company of our family and friends from all over the country (all over the world in John's case).
  • I will eat cake!
  • I get to see the vision I've been planning for 8 months come to life.
  • I will walk down the isle barefoot, like I've been insistent on doing since I was about 8 years old.
  • I'll be 2 days away from an island beach vacation with my best friend.
  • I get to be queen for a day.
  • I will laugh, and knowing me, probably cry.
  • I will be in a LOT of pictures.
  • I will marry a funny, intelligent, tall, dark (haired and eyed), handsome, kind, genuine, and loving man.
  • I will be Marleta Hansen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Plan

If you would have asked me 3 weeks ago where we are going on our honeymoon, I would have said, "Belize, but we still don't have anything booked."  Then, you, like everyone I've said that to, would exclaim, "Wow, sounds fun... you really better get on getting that booked.  You're cutting it close."

I'm not sure exactly what was holding us back from booking things, but this past weekend, we finally got flights and hotels booked...

We're on our way to Tortola in a mere 45 days.  Yep, that's right, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  Maybe the problem was that, deep down, we didn't really want to go to Belize.

A beach on Tortola
Based on the recommendation of a friend from work, we look started looking into Tortola about 2 weeks ago, and booked our trip last weekend.

To get to Tortola, you have to go through a US Virgin Island or Puerto Rico, and then, you fly into Beef Island, on the far right of the map above.  Beef Island is connected to Tortola by a bridge.  

We'll spend our first 3 nights in Road Town, the capital city of Tortola, which is highlighted by the white box above.  From Road Town, we can island hop to Virgin Gorda (another island with some neat sites) and take a snorkeling tour around the island.

After some more active days in Road Town, we're going to move to the beach at Cane Garden Bay.  On the map, that's directly West from the top of Road Bay (where Road Town is).  Cane Garden Bay is considered the best beach on the island.  We're staying in a cottage that's a 30 second walk from the beach for the latter half of our trip.

The cottages we're staying at.  We get a whole cottage, complete with kitchen, to ourselves.

The beautiful clear blue waters of Tortola.

This is the beach front restaurant operated by the same people as the cottage we're renting. Photo is courtesy of Trip Advisor.

It's really happening now!  I think booking the trip really boosted my excitement about how close the wedding is getting.  That seems like the last big thing to plan; now we just have to get the details in line.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Picture of Inspiration

Most of my wedding design decisions are done... here are some pictures that give a little of the design inspirations.

Swatches from the 4 bridesmaids' dresses
Classy in the front... a little unconventional around back.

This is the the actual pomander for the flower girl.  Thanks to a friend of my Mom's. - So Pretty!

Here I Go Again

I've had a blog before, but I stopped posting when I graduated from college.  I miss blogging; if for no other reason than to chronicle things as they're happening so I can read about it later and reminisce.

As things stand now, I'm an IT Consultant working for Hitachi Consulting.  I'm engaged to John Hansen.  We bought a house last fall and have been deep in the joys of home ownership recently (shower remodel because of mildew in the wall, repairing a fence that fell down).

But most exciting is that we're getting married in 44 days.  I can't believe it's almost here.  I met John almost 4 years ago and those have been some of the best 4 years of my life.  I'm thrilled that I get the honor of marrying this man.

The wedding plans are almost complete now, and we're about to move into shower and party season!  I look forward to being able to record the final steps in the wedding planning, but we'll just have to see how this whole blog thing goes... I suspect I'll be pretty inconsistent in posting, but maybe I'll surprise even myself.

I guess that makes for a good first post.  Until next time... I leave you with a picture of our most recent project: The Shower

Before and After