Monthly Archives: June 2010

Family Fragmentation, or How Do We Get Down the Aisle?

Okay, guys – there is a topic that I have been avoiding in all this wedding talk: parents in the wedding.

We are sort of a fragmented family, and we have not always been this way. Fancee’s and my families are fragmented in different ways, too, and that makes it hard to always understand where the other person is coming from. I have two parents who have recently separated, and are undergoing the painful process of examining their marriage through a new lens, and figuring out how to handle their relationship. Of course, this also affects our (my siblings’ and my) relationships with them, and our relationships with our significant others. I’ve talked about this a little before, so I won’t go into it too much here.

Fancee has one parent. She has her mother, and her only other family is her grandfather.

Fancee's Family: Mom, Grandpa, Fancee

Here’s how this all relates to our wedding (besides, you know, weddings are about family, blah blah blah): I would love to have our families walk us down the aisle. I love the symbolism and ritual not of “handing off” from father to husband (um, obviously not applicable here), but of branching off of one family to form a new family. I love the idea of walking in with the family that raised you and walking out with the family you are creating. I love inviting your community to affirm and – in whatever way is appropriate for them – bless this change, and to show the change, to really have a representation of that in the ceremony.

Parents walking their daughter to her new family.

(source)

The thing is, we’re just not sure how to do it.

We could walk ourselves down the aisle, and I suppose that has some symbolism – coming from our own individual places and then joining together as a family… I could get behind that. We could walk in with our moms – but then does Dad feel left out? Walk in with siblings? Well, Fancee doesn’t have any siblings.

Who better to ask than the diverse and wedding-invested members of the internet? What have you done? If you haven’t done it, what are you thinking of doing?

On the plus side: someone asked recently if one of our families was the “primary” family and it made me realize how much we are making ourselves the primary family. We are definitely supported by all three of our parents, and by my siblings, and by our close friends. But now I feel like we are pulling each other closer – this is where our family will be, and this is the sturdiest place to lean on right now. And I think that that is something of a blessing in itself.

Photo by Bette Yip

(Uh, yes, we did have professional family photos done with our dog. We are so dorky! And cute, right? Right? Doesn’t Daphne look good at least?)

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Detail Nemesis

Okay, I know – I know! – I’ve said plenty of times that the details don’t matter, it’s about the relationship, blah blah blah. And it is. I absolutely do not rescind that sentiment. However, one still kind of needs the details.

As you know if you’ve read anything about me, met me, or probably seen a picture of me, my Detail Nemesis is clothing.  Luckily, I’ve got that whole wedding dress thing figured out, and my custom-made-from-Etsy suit should be arriving in the mail in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, my Detail Nemesis is more specific: shoes.

I have written many a post on shoes, and “is this one okay? How about this? Here is what I really like.”  And I am always met with someone saying, “THAT IS THE WORST IDEA YOU EVER HAD” or “They have to be white!” or “Do what you want, but I think those don’t go,” or “I’m saying they’re fine with my words, but my wrinkled forehead and sneer indicate that I have other feelings.”

I bought these shoes, because I loved them…

(source)

and then I realized that the heels were just too much for me. Luckily my sister also loved them and she is their new proud owner.

Then I found these shoes…

(source)

… and then I saw their price tag.  Oh well.

But you guys – I finally did it. I found some shoes.

I was being stubborn and insisting that I could find one pair of shoes to wear with both dress and suit.  This was hard because 1. I have no idea what my suit actually looks like, and 2. No one approved of any of my choices for both outfits.

Then, in a freak occurrence, I found some shoes that I liked and of which various family members approved:

And I was all prepared to be happy with these. They’re nice enough, they’re comfortable, they were only $30… and then I found these:

Oooh Pretty Shoe!

Shoe, I find it pleasant to look at you.


You make me feel silly and happy, Shoe.

Friends, readers, friendly or less-friend people of the Internet, please don’t tell me you don’t like these shoes.  I am too faint of heart to continue my search, and honestly? I really, really like these shoes.  They are a little bit oxford-esque, which I really like, and still feminine.  They have the teeniest, tiniest wedge (see picture here) and they’re way comfortable.  I am so happy.

So the plan is to wear these with my suit (which is dark brown and will be here in a few weeks/a month) and wear the Rocket Dogs with my dress.  Though I strongly suspect that I will end up barefoot, and I am quite happy with that.

What is your Detail Nemesis?  Or even your clothing nemesis?  Guys, I can do tanktops, I can do shorts, I can even do dresses, but if they’re not Chacos or Keens, shoes are not my friends.

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day o’ puppies

omg you guys we got a puppy!

her name is macaroni, and she and daphne are in love.  she is a catahoula leopard dog/bulldog mix and she is six months old.

oh, and also, we only got her for the day.

really, she is not ours.  she belongs to my coworker kim, who kindly lent us her puppy so that our dogs could wear each other out, and we could be happier people at the end of the day.

so, daphne and macaroni are best friends.  they play at a similar level and are right in the same place as far as dominance/submission go – communication was awesome, and fun was had.

kiss on the cheek

this made me feel a lot better after an incident a couple of weeks ago that i did not blog about – but better late than never, right?

so what happened is that we have a bad dog.

vicious beast (just playing here - even play looks scary sometimes)

except not.  seriously, daphne is the best dog ever, as long as you don’t want to hang out in public with your dog or let people pet her or go to places where there are other dogs. or people. or inanimate objects. i’m exaggerating, but not by much.

anyway, we went to a dog park that we used to frequent regularly with the Beast.  There was an 11 month old pit puppy there (cute!) and two older yorkies.  when daph sent the signal that she was nervous (ears back, showing teeth, tail between the legs, cowering), the puppy backed off.  the two yorkies, however, kept jumping on her, their owner watching from a distance.  finally, daph jumped on one of them and was snarling, but not hurting it – i grabbed her around the waist and pulled her away, fully expecting the yorkies’ owners to do the same. of course, she didn’t – and now two little dogs were jumping on my restrained dog.

and then my restrained dog did a bad thing: she swung around to tell that dog to GET OFF HER, and i leaped back – letting go – and there was a scuffle and when it seemed safe, i pulled daphne away, and we got her out of there right quick.  and i said, “is everyone ok? is everyone’s dog ok?”  and the yorkies’ owner had finally managed to find the time to come over and said, “i don’t know who did it, but my dog is bleeding.”

to shorten the story, her dog was bleeding from its ear – very superficial wound, but bleeding quite a bit.  it didn’t seem to bother the dog. in all likelihood, it was my dog who did it.

ugh.

anyway, she left, we left, no one wanted names or anything, but i felt shaken.  can daphne handle being around other dogs? can we take her out in public? is this one of those things where first it’s a little dog who doesn’t understand another dog saying “i’m having a hard time right now” but next time it’s a little kid who doesn’t understand dog language at all?

anyway, today macaroni came over to play.  and they were BEST FRIENDS.

bffls

so i’m feeling a little better. as i thought before, daphne is not a “dog-aggressive” dog.  she’s just a dog who is going to follow through if you don’t listen to her the first or second time around when she says she needs space; and along those lines, she’s a dog who needs her humans to make sure they give her the appropriate space and monitor her interactions better than we did then.  she needs space to get away, and she needs attentive humans around.  so that’s totally on me.

at the end of the day today – a fabulous day, might i add – i said to Turtle, “was having two dogs really as bad as you thought?” because i thought it went well, and we ended up with an exhausted dog at the end of the day (napping and dreaming at my feet as i write this).

i expected her to say, “not at all! i was surprised at the simplicity of it! let’s get a puppy soon!”  um, not so much. instead, her response was, “YES.”

turtle, all "whyyyy did you do this to me???"

oh well.

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Full of Sass, or Finally Writing About Wedding Planning

Apparently, I am not talking enough about my wedding.

ugh, wedding planning. can't someone else be in charge of that?

“Blah blah blah, Bird, your relationship is good and nice job with all that work, but can we please talk about the important things?” you said, dear anonymous reader/commenter person. You said, “I want to hear about what really matters. Like the planning of your wedding.”

By which I assume, commenter of mine, you mean napkins.  You mean which chairs we picked and how we picked them, and what our invitations look like.

I have two important responses to this:

  1. This wedding is about a freakin’ relationship.  It’s not about the napkins! And I think that there are plenty of resources out there for people who want to talk about napkins and chairs, and I have little interest in being one of those resources.  I think that there could stand to be a lot more resources talking about our relationships and what is hard about them and how we get through that.  I think that there should be more emphasis on planning for the marriage, and more posts about how people wrote their vows.  We already get enough of “YOU NEED A DRESS FOR YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DAY (and it must make you flutter!).”  Give me some of the, “Here’s how we were realistic in the writing of our vows while maintaining hope and romance.” Give me some, “Here’s how to revel in this day that is one of your many important days, but for sure not the only one.”
  2. Um, the other reason you haven’t really been hearing so much about the planning of our actual wedding is day is because. Um.  We haven’t really been doing any.  Ooh look a pretty bird!

this here is the *actual* to-do list I wrote this weekend. very helpful.

So here’s what happened: we hit a point where it’s just about waiting.  We are waiting for and on a lot of things, like for my muslin suit to come in the mail and then for them to make the actual cloth version of it; for our invitations to be put together; for someone to make a decision about what favors we’re going to do, and then for someone to make those favors.

Okay, so a lot of what we’re waiting for would happen if we would stop waiting for it.

But there it is, folks – the reason you haven’t heard much about our wedding planning is because we’re just not doing it.  We are still settling into our new home, which is coming along nicely.  We are trying to be nice to each other.  We are trying to stay friends with our friends, and to make enough money to get by.  You know, we are living our life, and wedding planning is fun, and being prepared for our big wedding day is important, but it is not at the top of the list right now, and that is okay with me.

There are, though, some things you can look forward to hearing about soon:

  • Our invitations! They are in the process of happening. By which I mean that our designer/awesome friend Lisa is waiting (again, we’re in a waiting stage right now) to hear from us about what we want the invitation to say.  And we are waiting to be inspired? Sorry, Lisa.

    potential phrases for our invites... i like "our awesome life" in there somewhere.

  • My shoes! I found some! This post will not be exciting, but look! Wedding related!
  • Um… our chairs? No, just kidding. Not something I care about.
  • Favors! We’re waiting… to have time to make them?  Whatever they end up being, they are for sure something I am excited about, and something I hope our guests are excited about, too.
  • Possibly a bridal shower, but at the very least a picture of the pretty, pretty invitation I got for it.
  • Bridesmaids dresses. OMG you should be on the edge of your seat by the time you get to this point in the list.

MOH sisterface *loves* bridesmaid dresses! especially this one!

Oh, and here’s a question for you, reader who did not anonymously comment but might actually have nice things to say: Are you at all interested in reading about our budget?  Because I imagine that such a post will be agonizingly boring to write, but I always found it helpful and interesting to see other peoples’ budgets. Or will you just judge me? Yes, I am spening $500 on our venue.  It’s rough leading my life. Really.

if you need me, i'll be hiding under the covers. possibly reading about marriage. but definitely not about weddings.

Feeling a little sassy tonight? Why yes, thank you.  Please comment and tell me about your favorite part of wedding planning, and, if you’re feeling ambitious, tell me something you want to read about.

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Ode to my Dogwalker Three Months Before Our Wedding Day

I love you because you walk the dog.


I love you because you occasionally slip up and forget to insist that she is my dog,
rather than our dog.
I love that you are silly with her –
I love that you remind me to be silly with her.
I love that when I say I have to do something, you say,
“Wait, play with the dog first! I want to watch you play!”

I love this because while you like dogs just fine,
I’m not sure you ever wanted one – yet
you were willing to get excited about one for me.
I love you because in seeing how important this dog is to me,
you show me that you see my hopes and dreams, and
you’ll help me get them.


I love that even though you got stuck walking the dog
the day after she had that horrible meal and left a
green smelly mess all over the yard, you only complained
about “the” dog and didn’t pin it on me.

You’ve taken the dog along with my inability to dust,
my knack for making piles around the house,
and my desire to be in bed early every night. You’ve taken the dog
along with my occasional inability to tell you what is wrong,
but to take it out on you anyway.
You’ve taken this big bouncy dog even though your cat hates her.

The way you love this dog tells me, over and over, that you love me
and you’ll take what comes.

Let’s get married three months from today, okay?

We’ll leave the dog at home.

P.S. I don’t really think of you as my dog walker. I just thought it was a clever title. And I knew it would get you a little riled up.

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Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Menagerie, Relationships

Quick, I have to lose 30 pounds, I’m getting married!

Once I finally agreed to tell facebook that I was female, I began getting weight loss ads on my sidebar.  Do any of you remember the muffin top ad?  It said something like, “Look like this? You should probably stop eating, you horrible, horrible person.”

Well, ever since I admitted on facebook that I am engaged, it has gotten worse, because now there’s an in.  Of course the way I look right now is not good enough for my wedding.  I desperately, desperately need to lose weight. Desperately.

zomg, clearly way fat.

But seriously, I know I’m not fat to start with.  Really, I know this.  But you hear it enough and you’re like, well, maybe I do need to lose a little weight.  Because you were already kind of thinking about it.  You’re happy and in love, and therefore you’re fat.  That’s why you hear about “fat, happy, and in love.”  You’re not trying to impress anyone anymore, and you’re eating reguarly with someone else.  Where before you might have skipped dinner or had a bowl of cereal, now someone else will remind you it’s dinnertime, and then you’ll eat real, horrible food, like pasta. And bread. Oh the carbs.

Okay, who am I kidding?  Two nights ago we had broccoli for dinner, and I think the night before that we had ice cream.  Delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Being in love is awesome.

Let’s back this up, say, five years or so.  Five years or so ago, I weighed 127 pounds, steady.  On skinny days where I forgot to eat meals or was trying to lose weight for coxing, I would weight 126, and on fat days I would weight 128.  The point is, 127 was a healthy weight for me.  It’s at the higher end of the spectrum for my height, but it was clearly the right weight for me.

Last time I went to the doctor, I weighed 11 pounds more than that.  I can tell you, 138 pounds is not healthy for my height.  Sorry, self – this will not do.

So here’s the thing, stupid Facebook ads – I do need to change my body.  And fine, my wedding is a good motivator.  But I refuse to lose my muffintop, if I have one.  I refuse to take before-and-after pictures.  But I want to feel good.  I want to feel healthy, and I want to feel like I look good.  So here’s the plan:

My goal is to reach my healthy self weight sometime before I get married.  Because without a timeframe, a goal feels less achievable. And really, it doesn’t matter what size I am, as long as I feel good.  So ice cream for dinner is okay, sometimes, as long as I’ve eaten well the rest of the day.  And eaten well doesn’t mean skipping meals, it means eating intentionally – when I’m hungry, I’ll have veggies  or fruits, or a deliberately put-together meal.  When I’m not hungry, I won’t eat.  I already ride my bicycle to work every day, but it’s only 1.8 miles round trip, so I’m going to try to add in 20 minutes of exercise three times a week. Right now I get up and poke around the internet for 40 minutes while I eat and drink tea.  Self, you can eat and drink tea in 20 minutes! The rest of the time is not for sleeping anymore – it’s for running or bicycling (or rollerskating!).

exercising is fun, remember?

I know we all get this pressure in a million different ways from a million different places, and it’s so not fair that so much gets piled onto this “one day” that is “the most important day of our lives.”  Because while it’s up there on the list, I’m not willing to put that much stock in it, and I also think that no one but me and possibly Turtle will be able to tell if I lose two inches from my waist.  But I think people will notice if I’m comfortable, and confident, and if I am those things, I don’t need to worry about how my hair looks or what color my shoes are*.

How are you responding or how did you respond to the pressure to “be better” for your wedding?  What are your thoughts?  A lot of people are talking about it recently, but no one is saying, “Screw it all, I’m going to be exactly how I am right now!”  I wish I could be the one to say that, but instead I’m letting my wedding motivate me to achieve goals I half-assedly set awhile back.

*ugh. I still don’t have shoes. Someone please find me some, thanks.

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Rock Bottom, and Coming Up for Air

Last night I dreamt that I was terribly, horribly depressed. I couldn’t quite pick up my head, and I was so embarrassed about letting myself get to this point that I refused to go to therapy. Luckily, my fiancee, awesome even in my dreams, made me go, and in my dream I just sat there, resting my head on the arm of the couch, feeling miserable… and yet, already feeling better, because I was working on it.

This isn’t too far off from my actual experiences, and it’s something I’ve talked about a little bit before.  As Angie points out,”We’re not just people planning weddings, we have so many other things going on (from the fun stuff like derby to the not so fun stuff like the feelings).”  Because this is so true, and because it took me so long to finally find and start seeing a therapist, I want to talk about it a little bit more.

Two things happened that made me start therapy:

1. I really, really felt that I needed to see someone; and
2. Two nice, normal, sane people mentioned that they had fantastic therapists.  And they mentioned it casually, off-hand… like, of course they have therapists! Of course they are fabulous!  And I remember a little hiccup in my mind, like, “Wait, what? You can do that? How can I do that?”

I should admit that I didn’t just one day up and go because suddenly it seemed normal and I was brave.  I had been thinking for awhile that I should see someone, that things probably weren’t quite right with my brain or my hormones or my memories, and that I had things to talk about with someone who knew something.  But there was no catalyst, nothing to make it really okay (to myself) for me to go, until I was working at the rape crisis center.

Oddly enough, I started reading wedding blogs right around the time I started therapy.  What? Happy things, people! Take what you can get!

I found the person I found on a friend’s recommendation, and I liked her from the start.  We talked about the things that came up at work for a good four months before we were able to move onto other things, life things, history things.  In November, I suddenly became incredibly depressed.  It lasted for a week or two, but it seemed much longer than that.  When I think back to it, everything in my memory seems dark, everything in shadows.  I remember riding my bicycle through a busy intersection and considering turning into an oncoming car.  Not a thought that I am proud of, in retrospect, but a thought that crossed my mind and speaks to the darkness of that brief period.

And because I had been seeing my therapist for months before that, she saw it.  She saw right away that I was not myself, and she drew connections that I had been incapable of seeing, and she told me to stop the birth control I had started a month or two earlier… and within days I things were light again.

The point of that story is that I set this whole thing up for one reason and it possibly saved my life when something unrelated came up.  Seriously, kids, therapy is awesome.

Here are my big therapy points (taken only from my personal experience):

1. It can help anyone, for any reason. If your reason is that you feel sad on Mondays, go. Talk about how Mondays make you sad.  That may morph into some professional insecurities, or concerns you have about your best friend, or wondering why you always end up wearing just one sock, underwear, and a sweatshirt every morning – your therapist can help you figure these things out.  It’s like magic.  It’s like going to the gym for your brain.
2. FIND SOMEONE YOU LIKE. I liked my therapist from the first visit, even though it took me a long time to get comfortable enough to talk about a lot of things.  I have no clue what I would have done if I didn’t like her and kept going.  Along these lines:
3. If you don’t like the person you find, that doesn’t mean therapy sucks. See #2.  Keep looking.  Ask friends for recommendations; ask friends to ask their therapists for recommendations.
4. In my experience, therapy won’t give you the answers. Really, I’ve asked.  I think I said, “Okay, so that’s what’s going on.  Now fix it. That’s your job, right?”  Um, my therapist laughed at me.  And then helped me to figure out how I could best handle the situation.  It’s not about getting someone to understand you, necessarily – I think it’s about getting someone who can help you understand yourself.

Going to therapy has helped when things are horrible: it helped when I couldn’t handle another conversation about rape, it helped when I couldn’t think of a single thing in my life that seemed good, it helped when my parents separated, it helps every single time I am frustrated with Turtle.  And the thing about it is that for me, it helps even when I’m not there.  Knowing that I can go, that it is an option, makes things a little bit easier.  When things are really hard, I know there is somewhere quiet and safe where I can go and sort them out.  It also takes a bit of the weight off of Turtle, and off of me, when we fight or when one of us is having a hard time; sometimes we say, “Well, here’s what I think, but I think you should talk to [therapist] about it, too.”  We both know we have another outlet, and if things get really hard with us, we’re both willing to go see either her or my personal together and figure things out.

So there you are, a long, possibly rambly, definitely personal post on what I think of therapy.  Please tell me your thoughts, your experiences, and ask your questions – I’m so curious about what other people think of all this.  Did I just start thinking it was normal and okay because I worked with a bunch of social workers and counselors?  Does it turn out that everyone secretly goes to therapy?  Please share.

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