• wedding

    Mawwage…or at least the wedding

    The last month has been a special kind of busy; that wonderful kind where projects wrap up and free up time to start new ones. I didn’t realize when we set the date of our wedding for the end of summer that it would so neatly cooincide with the seasons, but it definitely has.

    The wedding went off splendidly. I had come to really resent the amount of time it was taking up in my life, the endless fretting over what are, to me, pretty stupid little details. I hate to be a cliche, but it was worth it. We started out well by picking a beautiful venue, lucking into beautiful weather and bringing together a really stunningly wonderful group of people. We wrote our own ceremony, being the godless heathens that we are, and my absolute favorite part was when we entered the chapel, arm in arm, and the entire place burst into cheering. My husband is a very well loved man. We had a hundred people in a room that all loved us, which was a tremendous feeling. The ceremony was performed by a very good and old friend of mine. My brother-in-law played a song for us in the middle of the ceremony. We passed our rings through the crowd and asked everyone to bless them. One of my oldest friends read “To Love is Not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh, which depicts my feelings on love precisely. It was beautiful.

    And then we ate. We danced. We were heckled. We danced some more. We heckled back. We went to bed. We woke up and ate a pig and potatoes and many salads. We chatted and talked and talked. There was a frisbee and a giant inflatable soccer ball.

    I completely wrecked my wedding shoes. I still have to see if there’s a cobbler who can get the mud out.

    And then we went on vacation for a week out in the west of Ireland, in one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been in my life. We went to the Aran islands, where I bought myself several sweaters that just inspire my knitting. I can’t wait for the season to turn even more than it has so that I can wear them. Inis Mór, the island we actually went to, was knitter’s heaven. Store after store after store of knitted sweaters,ranging from the very traditional cabled drop shoulder patterns to some more modern ideas, one of which I need to steal soon.

    It was as perfect as any event like that could be. Returning to life has been difficult after such an amazing experience. It still hasn’t sunk in that we’re married, now that we’re back in our house with all its various projects that we still have to do, but I’m sure it will once my name changes. And now that the wedding is out of the way, there’s time to start on some of those things we’ve been putting off all summer. It’s fall now. I’m ready to get to work.

  • wedding

    Running Out of Time – Rings and Things

    Yesterday, the Knot informed me that we have 90 days until we get married. We’re not even close to prepared, though nearly everyone presumes we must be. (Apparently, I give off “I’m competent” vibes. If only the truth were known…) We’re in a bit of a panic mode now trying to get everything done.

    We did get most of our invitations in the mail today, which has been a big adventure. I also managed my fancy wedding dress undergarments (my fitting being in two weeks) and finishing off the suit the Kid will be wearing to the wedding. Tonight we’ve been focusing on buying our wedding rings, which is a bit of an adventure, as neither of us are fancy jewelry people. My Beloved has never owned a piece of jewelry before, aside from the earring his father made him remove as a teenager, so he’s really starting from a blank slate. In addition to not having much of an idea of what kind of ring he *might* like, most jewelry stores don’t carry floor models in his size, so he can’t even try any on to see what they might feel like or actually look like on his hand.

    Disaster. Being a giant isn’t easy.

    As a bit of a starting point, we’ve decided to go for a Celtic design. Aside from him being a native of Ireland, my ethnic background is both Scots-Irish (which is not Irish at all) and Cornish with some other stuff thrown in there. I can simultaneously nod towards my own ancestors while honoring my husband’s ethnic traditions. At first the idea felt a bit corny. As an American who spends a lot of time with native Europeans, I’m rather hypersensitive of the stereotypes of Americans. One of the big ones is an overeagerness to prove our Irishness. It’s just uncool. I was worrying a bit that people would think that’s why I wanted a knotwork ring. (Somehow, I don’t worry about the knotwork on the tattoo on my back, even though that’s straight out of the Book of Kells. That’s different? Because it’s art?) But after realizing that my Beloved liked the idea, I’ve settled into it. It feels right, somehow, to connect to the past, when we are doing one of the most traditional things you *can* do. There is a farm in Cornwall where my great-grandfather was born. I’ve seen the wall his mother pressed against as she bore him. Having an American accent and a penchant for Mexican food doesn’t change that.

    Of course, there’s a tremendous amount of choice out there, so we’re not out of the woods yet. So far the only ring that we’ve both been able to agree on is this one, which is rather spendy.

    God only help us when we get around to writing the ceremony. Getting married in a church would have been about a million times easier.

  • wedding

    Setting the Tone

    It’s been a weekend filled with preparations for the wedding, as we’re starting to get close enough to the date that we can no longer delay taking care of anything with a lead time.  In the last week, we’ve ordered our invitations, done the bridesmaid Kickass Women of Honor dresses, ordered the pig for the day-after barbeque  and started our gift registry.  (Easy enough to start – just pick a store that sells Caphalon and hope for the best).  In possibly the biggest vanity point of all our wedding preparations, I also signed up to go to a tanning salon, because my dress has a rather dramatic dropped back and, living in a beach town as I do, I manage to get burned early enough every year to develop weird tan lines that don’t go away all summer.  One year, due to a rather unfortunate incident with the last dregs of a bottle of spray on sunblock, I even managed polka dots.

    So vanity must be appeased, as that dress cost way too much for me to walk down the aisle in August with polka dot skin.

    I’m sure tanning salons are no big deal for a lot of people, but they’re totally foreign experiences to me and, to be honest, intimidating.  So the first night I went in just to ask questions and sign up for a package of sessions. I asked so many questions that a rather long line formed behind me of very, very tan people.  As this was early March, I was clearly in the right place.  And, although I shocked the counter desk teenager by not having the slightest idea what a bronzer is for, I made it through.  I then retreated and went to my knitting circle, realizing that if I didn’t go for the first appointment within a week, I’d probably never make it back.

    That Saturday, I dutifully put bronzer all over.  And I mean all over.  I put on a dress, since I’ve never liked putting jeans on over skin with lotion on it.  It was not warm enough for a dress, as I quickly found out, but it did making walking into the salon a little easier.  Putting on a dress makes me feel like a person in disguise, like the sort of person that might just be comfortable in a tanning salon.

    I mentioned it was my first time tanning ever.  The teens behind the counter squealed in delight.  They fussed over me enough to set me at my ease.  One of them introduced herself and showed me back to a room with a bed.  She pointed out the big blue button that I was to press to start the experience.  She also mentioned that it was going to go on automatically in seven minutes.  This was the sort of talk that I needed, as I respond extremely well to deadlines.  She left and I, realizing there was an objective to be met within a timeframe, got down to business.  Within a minute, I was rather exposed and staring up at the heavy lamps above my head through the weird eye protection sunglasses that you must must wear.  And then I realized how claustrophobic I am.  I inched the top of the bed down a few inches, which was very brave indeed.  Then, after several minutes of arguing with myself, I pushed the damn blue button and scrunched up my eyes and waited.  For a moment nothing happened, then I was suddenly lying on a beach, so long as I closed my eyes and ignored the loud buzz of the lamps and worked aggressively on using my imagination.  Which is to say that I could see how it could *become* relaxing, but that I wasn’t quite there yet.  In fact, I was pretty damn convinced that the second I stopped looking, the tanning bed lid was going to come flying down on me and smoosh me and burn me to bits.  So i kept an eye on the trixy thing, instead of relaxing like I suspect you’re supposed to.

    My guide had mentioned that if I didn’t turn over, there was a good chance I wouldn’t tan between my upper thigh and tush, as there’s a bit of a shadow there when you’re lying on it.  I’ve been back again, but I still haven’t mustered the courage.  That lid needs watching.  (So far, I have settled into trying to smash my skin about in such a way as to alleviate shadows.  Who wants a pale strip across their butt?)  I have eight more sessions in the package I bought and, after two sessions, i have the bare beginnings of a little tan.  It’s certainly respectable for April, anyway, though I would probably be blistered if it were July.  It is joyously even, with no weird marks, which is kind of addictive.  I can see why people are into this.

    Really, after all the out of character things that planning a wedding has lead me into, I’m starting to feel like marriage will be a breeze.  Our life now is a mock marriage; we share the household tasks and function as a family.  Marrying Himself is a natural course of action, a mere extension of the life that we’re already living.  Being engaged has certainly deepened our bond, because it raised the stakes, and I expect that when we’re actually married, this will happen again.  But none of that is nearly as frightening as getting into a tanning bed for the first time and pressing that big blue button.

  • family,  friends,  knitting,  relationships,  spinning,  wedding

    2011 Holidays

    Christmas was a quiet affair filled with good friends and family, which is what it’s all about. I made out with some very thoughtful loot and ate slightly more than my body weight in cookies.

    But I have prevailed; the cookies are all dead. In my belly.

    I enjoy the week between Christmas and New Years an awful lot because it is so quiet. After all the hustle and bustle of lights, tree, cooking, family, etc., it becomes almost necessary downtime. The trains are quiet, nearly everyone is gone from the office, and I have no excuses for not getting a great deal done. As a productivity nut and worker bee, this makes me very happy. As a person with an exciting life to write about, well, not so much. But it’s been a nice quiet. I’ve been able to conquer the world in Civilization get some writing projects done, master some Bach and finish some big projects that have been hanging over my head at work. It’s a nice feeling.

    I see other bloggers out there doing lists of what they’d like to do next year. It’s made me think about some of the highlights of this year. This year, I:

    – got engaged to the love of my life (this is a celebration, not an accomplishment)
    – actually managed to get good enough at the piano to be able to sight read stuff where the left hand does more than play chords. Slowly, mind.
    – learned how to fox trot, to rhumba, to merengue
    – learned that if fox trotting, rhumbaing or merenguing with a 6’3″ man, heels are a good idea. Otherwise, neck injury occurs.
    – (self)published a knitting pattern
    – had the realization that not being my skinniest weight ever does not, in fact, make me a bad person
    – watched my ward pull in grades higher than he thought possible on his report card, despite having skipped most of two years of school a few years back.
    – adopted a house hippy. Everyone should have one.
    – learned to rip up carpet and stained all the wood for a new staircase in a weekend
    – went to a spinning convention and actually learned how to spin yarn that looks like yarn
    – fell in love with the mountains of eastern Oregon and took some awesome pictures
    – bought a cowboy hat
    – knit multiple sweaters, learned to not hate knitting socks and designed a few more things on my own
    – have actually done a little bit of wedding planning, despite hating it like you wouldn’t believe
    – actually genuinely enjoyed the holidays for a third year running

    It has, all in all, been a good year. We are all safe and happy and the family grew again this year (see the house hippy aspect). I am filled with gratitude and can only marvel at my good luck. Life is good; my only goal for next year is to keep it good.

    Happy New Year everyone. Let’s make 2012 even more filled with light than 2011.

  • amusement,  nature,  new york,  wedding

    The No Good Real Bad Messed Up Day

    I should have known when the day started out with plunging a clogged toilet.  I woke up in the middle of an ice storm that blanketed most of the country; and my country is large.  It was not the foot of snow that we’d been promised on top of the several other feet of snow we’ve had this year, so some small mercies.  But not really, because snow does not make you slip over and over as you walk to the train….the train which is now running on a weekend schedule due to the weather, which translates to once per hour.  During rush hour to Manhattan.  And they had the nerve to charge peak prices.

    So, needless to say, the train was a little congested.  By the time we’d gotten three stops ahead of mine (which is, fortunately for me, only three stops from the end of the line, so I had a seat), there were so many people jammed into the aisle and cubbies of the train that one of the conductors announced to the other conductors that she was stuck into a cubbyhole and could not open the doors to her cars.  She advised that no further stops be made, which would have been just as effective as continuing to stop.  But we did continue to stop, which was good, because another stop down, it was announced that there was a passenger on the train with a medical emergency.

    If you don’t commute by train in a big city, you might react to this news with some sympathy.  The rest of us are made of harder stuff, because inevitably the ambulance and passenger removal will require at least a half an hour of sitting on the track, which also means no trains behind you getting through either.  By being so rude as to have your heart attack/stroke/baby on a rush hour train, you have just made thousands of people late for work.  And they’re mad at you.

    But I wasn’t mad at you, not this morning, because I had a seat.  A seat I’d been sitting in for so long by the time we finally pulled into Penn Station that my legs were cramping and I was thinking of very little else than whether or not the bathrooms in Penn Station were going to be clean.  Commuter trains are not made for two hour long train rides, which is what it was.

    So I went on to the first stop of my day, which was a visit to where our servers are hosted.  On the way up in the elevators, power flickered.  My elevator dropped.  I screamed, but then it stopped, so I told myself to calm down and push the help button.  Eventually I got out, with no broken bones.  Small mercies.  I climbed the other seven flights of stairs to where I was going.

    I had two things to do there, one of which was impossible because of the incompetence of a vendor.  The other thing was to pick up a box that had taken me several days to make our hosting people admit to having.  I said I’d be by at nine to pick it up and they said no problem.  I showed up at 9:40, due to all of the above, and no box and no one who knew where the box was.  Around 10:20, it was finally delivered to one very irritated bird, leaning against a chain fence with her arms crossed and a glare on her face.

    But as I was told, all’s well that ends well.  I went from there, trudging through huge icy puddles and slush, to my office.  At last, I was planning on using the company Starbucks card (whoohoo, dot com perks) to buy myself a cup of coffee, which would just suit me fine and cheer me up.  So, naturally, as I was unfolding the card from its receipt, it went bouncing straight down into the radiator vent.

    Hysterics commenced.  As did the dismantling of the radiator.

    Life improved with coffee.  It always does.  And yet, there’s still the commute home to consider — we’re going tonight to see another possible wedding venue – the Stewart Manor Country Club. Could we possibly dare to get married there, after such a day?

  • wedding

    Of rings and things

    Our wedding planning progresses and I am feeling a lot more optimistic today. The only thing we’re focusing on at all right now is finding a place to have the damn thing, which is probably going to be the hardest decision. We initially went to The Coral House, primarily because it was a place we’d driven by a number of times. It was nice enough, but it coalesced several things that we didn’t want for our wedding all together, so it was a little dispiriting as a first attempt. We want privacy and an outdoor space, even though we’re going to be married in the autumn. We want really awesome food. The Coral House puts on a number of events at a time, so privacy was out. Our rep there had a look of terror on her face when I said I was vegetarian, which isn’t a good sign for the food, although the fiancé enjoyed the samples they cooked for us. (Meat in heavy sauce after meat in heavy sauce.) It is on the water, but the lake it’s on is a public park, which definitely invites potential unwanted guests, like people walking their dogs. Not the worst, but just not what we had in mind.

    After that experience, I went searching for historic homes that put on weddings, because houses older than mine are awesome. Today we went for an open house at the Timber Point Mansion, which was the sort of place where I could actually see myself getting married. Suddenly my attitude turned around completely. Last week I saw the wedding as a stupid hassle — tonight as I stood under the pergola where the ceremonies take place, I got actual shivers. I could sort of see myself as a bride, which isn’t the easiest thing for me. I did not grow up dreaming about a wedding day. I can see myself as an old married lady, but…a bride? That’s just way too much satin and lace and fuss to have anything to do with me. I’m not much a fan of being in the spotlight.

    Now I’m tempted to spend the evening poring over websites of wedding vendors and looking at cakes and figuring out how the heck to get a chocolate fountain in my house, because those are seriously cool and I want one. The fiancé suggests that we don’t need one, which is clearly crazy town.

    Also, I didn’t see a single sign of these ridiculous chairs, which are my instant sign that a venue is the wrong one for me:

    Dignity, people, dignity.

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