Tag Archives: friends

I wish I could win it, but instead I’ll give it to you (or you, or you)

You may have noticed that I have some affection for our wedding photographer. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

us & our wives

I met her in college when one of my roommates was all, “My friend and her girlfriend are coming over for dinner, cool?” and I was all, “Cool.” And then we started hanging out more and playing boardgames and living a few blocks away from each other and then living a few states away from each other and now living a few towns away from each other. She introduced me to roller derby and I took care of her dog once.

Both the dogs, coexisting (this is a more informal pet-picture, but there are more on her website)

Sometimes she comes to visit us and takes our pictures.

and she makes us look really cute! AND! She makes it feel really natural and fun.

Why, might you ask, am I telling you these perhaps seemingly-random facts about Amazing Photographer Ellie Leonardsmith? Well, it’s because today, she’s doing An Awesome Photography Giveaway.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Winner gets 1 hour of free photoshooting with Ellie! Pick your poison: she’ll take pictures of you in your wedding clothes, in your street clothes, running naked through the streets… what I mean is, whatever you want to wear, she’s willing to take pictures of you in it.  She’s also happy to hang out at your house or a park or around town and just take pictures of you being awesome by yourself, with your friends, or with puppies.  Kittens are also acceptable.  And babies!  Happy to photograph babies, too.

  2. How to win: comment here and tell us about your most valued picture and why it matters to you (for example, I have a picture of my dad and me on the dock up at camp when I was maybe 4 years old.  I’m wrapped in a towel and probably shivering, and we have the exact same profile.  I love that picture.).
  3. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner!
  4. Deadline to comment is 5pm EST Monday January 24th.
  5. You must be within or willing to meet within an hour of Boston; specifics to be worked out with Awesome Photographer Ellie.
  6. Photoshoot is free, and afterwards CD of images, prints, or albums can all be purchased through her.

You can see examples of Ellie’s work all over my blogs, but also on her website.

Also, I get nothing out of doing this, except her gratitude and excitement that I get to give my awesome readers something that I think is really awesome!  I say awesome a lot.  Now, comment away!

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And I get a new name!

Having realized that structure is essential to my mental well-being and that getting out of the house is absolutely vital for my sanity – and thus the general health of my marriage – I have made big plans to leave the house today.  I wrote down time frames and everything.

It seems, however, that I am out to get myself, and I make little deals with myself all day to get out of actually stepping through the threshold and out into the world.  Example:

Me1: “Bird, you will walk the dog at 2pm and then get your butt to the library and apply for some jobs and graduate schools! Okay?”
Me2: “Sure!  That sounds fine, and totally reasonable, except I just put in this banana bread and I can’t very well leave it baking alone in the house.  How about I walk the dog at 3?”
Me1: “Well, fine, you can walk the dog at 3, but then, to the library you go!”

I’ll spare you the whole monologue, but let it suffice to say that it is 4:27 and I am sitting in a rather comfy chair in my dining room.  Foiled again!

But here’s what I am doing: setting things up that I just cannot get out of.  For example?  Roller derby.

I know, I know, we broke up.  We broke up twice, or maybe three times now.  Yes, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship.  But you know that first true love who you promised to always love, forever and ever, no matter what, even if you married other people and had families you would always love each other at least somewhere in your heart?  Well, Roller Derby and I did that.

While I’m not skating right now and I’m unemployed, I realized that I sort of need roller derby, especially since otherwise, I would never leave the house. So, as a former coxswain, I have decided to be a referee.  I have been to 3 scrimmages in this role, and you know what? It’s kind of awesome, and not enough people talk about how awesome it is.  It’s roller derby without getting hurt; it’s roller derby without the jitters before the whistle blows – because, ahem, I am the one blowing the whistle.

I have a ton to learn: the rules, in detail, the hand signals, how to skate while paying attention to whether other girls skating are following those rules, all while not falling over or getting run into or skating into the coaches yelling at them from the sidelines.

Anyway.  I don’t have much to say beyond that I’m excited, that I am leaving the house, and that, while my heart has been broken once or twice (or, um, three or four times) by roller derby, I’m still really, really excited to be a part of it again.*

Now tell me: what do you do to get out of the house?  How do you keep from going crazy?  If you think I’m not going crazy, just wait for the video on tomorrow’s Flying Dingo.  Yes, a video… of dog boots.  Coming soon from a Crazy Near You.

*Side effects vary, but already I’m working out religiously, because how can you not want to be in shape when surrounded by women made entirely of muscle and brute force?  I feel better already. Also, now I don’t have to feel sad every time I see that I still have a Roller Derby tag on my blog. Woo hoo unexpected side effects!

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It’s Going to Be a Good Day and other foxy things

It’s Black Friday and even if I wanted to go shopping, I couldn’t, because I am very busy and important.  Luckily, we all live in the age of the internet and you can buy pretty things online.  I am not sure that I will be buying pretty things, but I am sure that I can show you some pretty things I have bought or coveted in the past.  Plus, they are all handmade!  Enjoy, and tell me if you love something or end up buying any of these.  Happy holidays!

(click on any image to see the Etsy store it came from)

Things I bought:

I love this dog collar from The ModDog. This particular style is Duck Season, and we bought it for Daphne about a year ago.  I love the martingale style and the Kandinsky-esque circles.

~


I bought this necklace from I Dream I Can Fly for Turtle for Christmas/Solstice, but then she lost her job so I gave it to her early. As she says, it was a “Happy firing present.”  But really it was a “Chin up, there’s hope and also I love you and am awesome” present, and she still wears it a lot.  So pretty.

~

I love love love Kristiana Parn.  I love the pictures but the titles are the icing on the cake; the one above is called “It’s Going to be a Good Day,” and I love that.  I bought this for Turtle’s best friend, and I don’t remember why.  Also, the Birds Sunrise is beautiful.

~

For our first anniversary, I commissioned a custom portrait of Turtle’s cat Piper, who was the love of her life before I came along.  cdingo was fantastic to work with and did a great job with a cat who has such unique and complex features.  She emailed me “drafts” of the work and I wrote back with “a little more black here” and “add a smudge of orange there,” and it came out looking like Piper, only less annoyed than Piper usually looks in pictures.

~

Here are some things that I might someday buy and that I think are really pretty:

 

I love these tiny mismatched earrings from Joannarutter, and I would probably love almost anything else in her store. I mean, who doesn’t need Rainy Day Studs?

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Not sure if you’d picked up on this before, but I do kind of like dogs.  Not sure that I would want this awesome mobile hanging around now, but 10 or 15 or 20 years ago, I would have loved this. Okay, and maybe it would look nice in our study over the desk.  See more (including a derby girl mobile! and a Where the Wild Things Are mobile!)) at SaltyandSweet.

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Continuing with the the dog theme (I know you’re shocked), these magnets are adorable and can show off your awesome dog (or cat or even small human!).  Check them out from Enidtraisman.

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Just in case you were concerned that I didn’t love any of The ModDog‘s  other collars, don’t worry, I do I do I do! I think Daphne would look lovely in pears, though of course we’d need it to be a martingale.  But did I already mention that the seller can do whatever kind of collar you want!? They can, because they’re that amazing.

~

Lastly, I bring you some more art; the piece above is by dkim.  Real art from real people is something we always need more of.  This picture also reminds me of the first Ani Difranco song I connected with, when she sings,

two people pulled over on the same night
to look up at the same stars
they both found their wheels were spinning
in a soft shoulder…

~

Anyway, happy shopping, happy inspiration, and happy day after Thanksgiving!

Do you buy presents for all your family, or do a specified swap?  Do you buy for your friends? Do they buy for you?  Is your birthday like mine and Turtle’s and right after or before the holidays, and is this worth mourning or celebration?

 

(None of this is a “sponsored” post – these are all just things that I think are really pretty or that I had a good experience buying and owning.)

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Whittling Our Way to Our Weddings

Okay, folks, we’re 22 days into NaBloPoMo, and I am sort of exhausted.  On the other hand, I’m also proud! Look, I can write every day! I think this means I can go back to listing “writing” as one of my hobbies, which is something I just sort of forgot to stop saying after, you know, third grade.  I always liked the idea of writing, but look – now I actually do it!

Here’s the other part of it, though: it is a pretty neat goal to write something every day and to produce at least one post a day (and sometimes two when I hit “Publish” before I edit “schedule”, lucky you!), but it’s also not really worth writing something unless it’s something I care about writing about. Uh oh, you’re thinking, Now is when she says, “Wasn’t that a nice post? The end.” Well, don’t you worry your pretty little head! I am not wussing out.  And not only am I not wussing out, but I am also bringing you beautiful lesbian wedding pictures.  What could be better?

NFE & her partner A

I was recently talking to New Friend Ellen about weddings, gay and straight, and why it feels so important to see people like us represented.  This quickly evolved into a conversation about weddings in general, gay marriage, and how we, as queer women, feel represented in the wedding industry.  Answer? Not much.

But the other side of this is that it frees us up quite a bit.  When we don’t see people like us doing “what people are supposed to do,” it gives us the freedom to decide what we want to do.  Is this worth the trade of not being legally recognized in all but a handful of states? Um, no.  But let’s look on the bright side here.

One thing NFE said that struck me was this: that straight couples start out with a formula, a script for their weddings.  Step one, walk down aisle with father. Step two, meet husband-to-be at the front. Etcetera.  And you know that this is the script you start with, and then – if you’re lucky, if you realize that changing the script is an option – you take it and break it down, keep the parts you want and fiddle with the parts you don’t want.

tradition

But if you’re not a straight couple… well, where do you start?  Do you walk down the aisle together?  Is there even an aisle?  As a lesbian couple, we sort of get to start from scratch.  Instead of having a list of what should be done and having to whittle away to find what we wanted, we get to build something new; we take a piece from here, a piece from there, and create something that was still undeniably a wedding.  In being rejected by much of the Wedding Industrial Complex, we get to create our own path and our own vision.

Thanks, NFE, for the amazing pictures and the thought-provoking conversation.

What do you think of this idea, of creating from scratch vs. starting with a script?

*All photos by Kelly at Closed Circle Photo.

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Sunday Selections

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  You all are probably either having Thanksgiving on Thursday or having it in a completely different month, but where we are Thursday is inconvenient.  As you are reading this, I am probably frantically trying to make two pies.  Last year we had Pear and Fingernail Pie; this year I’ll be more careful peeling the fruit and hope for only pear and apple.  Wish me luck.

In the meantime, here are some websites and pictures that I have thoroughly enjoyed that you should probably look at.  Happy Sunday!

I absolutely love Leah’s site Thx Thx Thx.  I think it makes me more grateful for a lot of little things, and it’s a good way to kick of a Thanksgiving post!

What does it mean to be a lesbian?  Here’s a great video.

Okay, I know we all love Harry Potter, and I am sad I haven’t been able to see it yet (but thankful that I can continue to look forward to seeing it!).  You know who else we love? Hermione Granger. Or, um, Emma Watson and her sassy new hair:

Other thoughts: Marriage is so gay.  Some engagement pictures to illustrate that fact:

Thanks for sharing these, Colin and Robin!  Photo by Louis Stein.

Check out some secrets of a happy marriage, or appreciating choices, or loving where you are.

And! My possibly-all-time-favorite website is kicking off Operation Community. I might have mentioned A Practical Wedding once or twice. It took me awhile to articulate what APW and Team Practical mean to me, but I finally summed it up in this comment:

APW isn’t about weddings, at least in my life. It’s about the conversation and the women and the affirmation, and sorting it all out through talking and getting feedback rather than sitting on it by ourselves. Reading APW made me so much braver about my wedding, but now that the wedding is over, I feel so much braver about everything else.

Next, I bring you a favorite picture from this summer: my wife (then-fiancee) meeting my grandfather for the first time at our family reunion.  One thing I am incredibly grateful for this year is my family, both despite and because of all of the ways it is shifting and growing and all of the ways we are learning to define and redefine it. I love you guys a whole lot.

I wasn’t going to turn this into a big thank you or Thanksgiving post, but the truth of the whole thing is that I am really grateful for this blog.  Sometimes I call it silly, sometimes I brush it off, but it has been incredibly important to me over the last year for planning, for connecting, for feeling like I am a part of something, even if it’s just a little piece of the sane-wedding-planning-corner on the internet.  Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments, thank you for giving me a reason (or excuse) to keep writing.  You guys are awesome.

you make me smile. thanks.

 

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Then and Now: High School Heartache

Oh, hello there!

Okay, so I know I said I would get back to your regularly scheduled wedding programming today… but instead I got sucked into the ‘Bee’s “Then and Now” Series.  I know there are a ton of new readers (Hi New Readers! Welcome!) because I got Freshly Pressed yesterday (eep! Thanks!), and who doesn’t love embarrassing pictures of me in high school?  With my boyfriend?

steve and me circa 2002

Yes, boyfriend. I’m sort of curious about whether anyone is picking their jaw up off the floor, so please tell me if you are!

Here’s the idea behind the series: We’ll all get to know a little more about the bloggers—what they looked like, how cool (or stupid) their hair was, their views on love and relationships, and how high school shaped them as human beings.

During my time at an all-girls Catholic high school in Chile.

Let’s start by saying that I hated high school, and there is absolutely no way I would be willing to do it again.  I went to a public high school.  I was on the Honors track, in Special Ensemble (we had to audition to get in! I was always very proud of that.), string orchestra, drama club, school newspaper, and I was a proud founder of the school’s literary club.  If that gives you a sense of Who I Was In High School.

me, at Nerd Camp, singing a song about unrequited love. fitting.

I met Steve in my freshman year, I think, and had a huge crush on him by sophomore year. Heh, as I start this story, I realize how long and complex it is.  Here’s the short version, kids: Steve and I dated for over four years.  He was two years ahead of me and I thought he was the coolest guy in the world.  Forget that he was in Science Club.  I thought Science Club was cool? Who am I kidding, I still think Science Club is pretty cool.

We spent a lot of time together, and a lot of time with each other’s families.  (At my wedding, it was really nice to see Steve and my brother spending time together; they had first met when my brother was only 5, and Alex, too, thought Steve was just Awesome.  It seems that not much changed on that front in the last 11 years. I’m really happy to say that Steve and I are now friends; after a nice hiatus of not talking or being remotely friendly to each other, I’m now happy to see him regularly, and I was thrilled that he came to our wedding.)  I think one of the worst parts of breaking up with Steve was breaking up with Steve’s family. I still miss them.

Me, with steve and his siblings (plus friend). I'm the shortest one. Some things don't change.

I really thought that Steve and I were going to get married.  It was something I just sort of assumed, and was surprised when I realized I believed it (because we were real grownups! At, um, age 18.).  And Steve was pretty much the best boyfriend EVER.  One time, I was having a really hard night and he drove from his college in western MA to my college in upstate NY.  Dedication, folks.  I think that I learned a lot about how to be a good partner now after being in a relationship with Steve – a relationship in which, I admit, I was not a good partner.  Example: I asked him to drive from his college in MA to mine in NY.  At 10 pm. Just saying.

Anyway, the whole time we were together, I felt like something wasn’t quite right.  Something just didn’t quite click.  And he was an amazing guy, always supportive, ready to do whatever I wanted, ready to show up by my side if I so much as hinted that that was what I wanted.  He supported my animal habit (he even gave me a foster cat once), brought me lunch at work almost every day, and drove me wherever I wanted to go.  On my prom night, he drove us an hour to the beach, and I only woke up from my nap in the car to walk on the sand for five minutes.  Steve = major points for big romantic gesture; me = worst girlfriend ever (“There was a beach? I thought that part was a dream.”).

What are we upset about? Theory: I'm upset that he's not a woman, and he's upset that I'm upset. Just a guess.

Well, at that point, I sort of knew that I liked girls.  I just thought that I liked girls and I liked Steve.  Obviously, it turned out that the liking girls thing was a little more than bisexuality.  When I started dating my first girlfriend, I was like, “Whoa. So this is what it’s like to be in love!” Aaaand when she broke up with me, I was all, “OH. So THIS is heartbreak. Whoa.”

These thoughts were followed by many late nights of leaving (possibly-drunken) voicemails for Steve, a la “You were the best boyfriend ever! I never appreciated you enough! I’m so sorry I broke your heart!”

Steve was pretty much the best boyfriend ever, hands down, and I dated a lot of boys after him (you know, searching for whatever that *thing* was that didn’t quite click. Turned out there were two of those things and they are located on the general chest area. Yeah.).  The awesomeness that he provided and the lack of awesomeness that I gave back both taught me a lot going into my current relationship: there needs to be a balance, both partners need to give, and you have to speak up for what you want.  If it feels like something is missing, there is probably something missing.  Be honest with the person you’re with; everyone will be happier in the end for it.

my wife, me, and steve at our wedding in the silly picture, if that wasnt clear

Are you still friends with your first “real” significant other?  Anyone else out there take awhile to figure out what “wasn’t quite right”?

Note: I have Steve’s permission for this entire post, and we both laughed a lot at the fact that I am posting these pictures to the internet.  Please be gentle.

Note #2: Steve is seriously awesome and if you think you’re awesome too (and you think Science Club is fun!) you should probably have coffee with him.  Also, he has two really cute kittens.  Also, you should be female.

he's a handsome, contemplative bugger. and he cleans up real nice.

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APW = Awesome People Welcome

Sometimes I feel like a huge dork for still caring as much about marriage and weddings as I do.  I mean, of course I care about my marriage, and I’m still working on my wedding recaps, so yes, of course I care at least a little bit about weddings… but the thing is, I am still way more excited to read about/talk about/think about marriage and weddings in general than I thought I would be.

Luckily, A Practical Wedding has my back, as always.  This weekend was the second APW book club (though my first), which I suspect is just a matter of using a book as an excuse to get a bunch of smart, interesting women who don’t know each other to spend some time together talking about something that isn’t often talked about beyond floofy dresses and guest lists or outside of crises.  Really, how often do you hear people talking about their healthy marriages? Not often.

So I spent two weeks carrying around Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, which I never managed to reread (I had read it a few months ago), and then I dug out some leftover champagne from our wedding, bought some orange juice, and trekked into Cambridge for the Boston APW meetup.  There were probably fifteen of us there, and, sadly, we only realized we should take a group picture after most people had left.

I cropped this so we were all taking up a bit more of the picture, but i had to leave in our feet - people had some awesome shoes! Sarah's even wearing her wedding shoes (red Chucks)!

Apparently after the last APW bookclub, Boston was accused of being “wholesome”, so this time we all grabbed the wine bottles to show off.  Funny story: you may notice that most of them are still full.  Sad story: I didn’t realize all that wine was there until we took the picture, and then it was time to go.  Hopefully, Awesome Host Meredith is enjoying her some APWine.

You guys, the conversation was awesome.  I was surprised at how fun and easy and funny and interesting it was to sit around with 14 other strangers and talk about our marriages, or our prospective marriages, or the weird reactions we got to random aspects of wedding planning.  Yes, we talked about our dresses and caterers and whether we did or were going to do pre-marital counseling – none of that should be surprising, you can find some version of that conversation on any wedding planning website.  But we also talked about our marriages, and what is scary, and how to trust that you want to keep on doing this thing.  We touched on the hard parts, on the huge, difficult things that we went through with our partners that cemented or even catapulted the decision to marry; we talked about deciding to marry without a ring or an announcement and the strangeness of that.  We talked about parents’ relationships and the ending of parents’ relationships and how that set up our whole perspective on marriage.

Ah, anyway, you don’t care really what the topics were; I just don’t want to forget, because it all felt so important.  I left the meeting three hours later feeling really inspired.  I got home, announced that I was inspired, and then couldn’t figure out how to channel it.  Disappointing. Unlike the food at the meeting:

only half of the amazing spread... we ate the other half. yum.

Here’s what I’ve got for you: if you’re not already reading or commenting on A Practical Wedding, go do it.  If you have thoughts on marriage, you’ll appreciate it.  Even if you don’t read it all the time, go to the next book club! Especially if you’re in Boston!

Post-meeting, I spent some quality time doing what I love: writing here while cuddling kitten.

Did you go to a meet up Sunday?  What did you take away from it?  And did you actually talk about the book?

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