Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pretty Papers

The living room of Chez Skylark looks like a stationery factory at the moment, as I have spent the last few days of my life assembling my wedding invitations. I'm very pleased with how they have come out, but I certainly appreciate why most people just buy everything: it was a lot of bloody work. (Granted, doing it myself was infinitely cheaper than it would've been to have them made for us, but still, I wouldn't have been able to do it if a) I actually had a job during the summer months, and b) I hadn't had a considerable amount of help from my dad, Youngest, and Mat.)

I ordered the supplies from Cards and Pockets. We used the Signature Pocketfold kits in Milk Chocolate and Turquoise. (Our actual colours are a dark teal and espresso brown; these two came the closest out of everything I've seen in any invitation company.) I designed the layout for the invitation and the enclosures myself (with some inspiration and some clip art from One Heart Weddings) in Microsoft Publisher. My dad helped me print them (and cut/trim, which was a huge job). Youngest helped me sort them. I glued them all together, with some help from Mat. I cut the blue bands from matching cardstock, and used special modern sealing wax to put the Clan Gordon crest on the outside.

photo 114
photo 115
photo 118

I also dug out my (t)rusty fountain pen to do the addressing. (Those who are receiving their invitations in person are getting proper calligraphy; unfortunately, I am not sufficiently masochistic to address all 80+ invitations in full calligraphy. I will probably do all the place cards by hand, though.)

According to the website, I have a mere 96 days left.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fit to Flatter

I've been avidly reading Stash Knit Repeat's Fit to Flatter series over the last few weeks, and it's had an enormous impact on how I think about clothing in general (and of course my knitwear in specific). In fact, I would actually recommend the first four parts to the series to any woman, even if she doesn't knit; it's definitely worth reading it to learn not only about how you might dress but also why you might dress that way. The photographs that accompany it are fantastic, and cover a wide range of body shapes.

I've always had a hard time getting clothing to fit properly.1 I have what Amy Herzog describes as a proportional figure, which is more traditionally known as an hourglass figure. This sounds wonderful, I know: it conjures up images of Marilyn Monroe and ladies in corsets. As much as it's supposed to be this ideal form of feminine beauty, I can assure you that it is not one that is easy to clothe. I have a 10" differential between my bust and my waist, and the same 10" again between my waist and my hips. It sounds awesome, and when I manage to choose clothing that fit well, it looks pretty awesome. Unfortunately, finding those clothes can be quite difficult. Shirts that are large enough to cover my bust without straining tends to be swimming at the waist. I also have a difficult time finding shirts that don't show off the goods, so to speak.2 I have to wear almost exclusively low rise pants (which is not always the best choice in professional clothing) because most pants for my waist size don't have enough room for my hips, and if I buy them to fit my hips, they sag or bunch around the waist, which ruins the lines of my shirts. I'm hoping that some day soon, when I have both time and money, I can take a few sewing classes that will show me how to alter my clothes for a better fit.

There are lots of things to love about Mad Men, but one of the things that I love most is the women's fashions on the show. Obviously, lots has been written about Christina Hendricks' Joan Holloway and her curves, and I am very thankful that some more curve-friendly clothing has started to make its way into stores.

I'm due for a major culling in my closet in the next few months, and I'm hoping that the Fit to Flatter will help me to make good choices about what I should keep and what I should give away. Shopping this fall should be a whole new experience.

1 Well, since puberty, anyway.
2 Teaching high school before returning to a university setting has made me excessively paranoid about how I present myself to my students.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Magical Mystery Weekend Report: Longer Than The Road That Stretches Out Ahead

[To set the tone for this entry, please click here to listen to Neil and Liam Finn's cover of the Beatles' "Two of Us"]

The road before us

We set out on Friday, my mother and I, for a whirlwind tour through southern Ontario. We started out in Cookstown at the Outlet Mall, where I visited the Royal Doulton outlet and found a china pattern that I absolutely adored.1 Naturally, this meant that the pattern had been discontinued, so I need to decide whether it would be worth buying up their remaining stock if I couldn't have the whole set. We had lunch at a small tea house, and I bought a new wallet.2 After lunch, mum handed me an enveloped with an address to put into her GPS navigator, and we were off to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the heart of Ontario's wine country.

The drive was fairly uneventful, aside from my mother's occasional fits of anger at the GPS, which I have named "Matilda" since it spoke to us in an Australian accent. Niagara-on-the-Lake is beautiful. It's almost like an entirely different world from the part of Ontario that I live in: The climate is totally different (translation: much more temporate) and many of the houses down there have wooden panelling on the outside, and enormous windows. Many of them are also quite old. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was about 200 years old, and full of interesting things:

Shaped Doorway

Spinning Wheel


We spent some time at the shops downtown (including at COWS--check out the Edward Cowllen shirt). There was a lovely hat store, though mum didn't share my affection for trying on hats. Likely because she did not grow up on a diet of Harriet's Magic Hats.

The next day, after a ridiculously sumptuous breakfast, we set out to visit some of the wineries. We only hit two, Stonechurch and Palatine Hills, but it was quite the experience. I got to try ice wine for the first time, and it was far more delicious than I'd anticipated. I definitely want to go back--I'd like to visit Inniskillin, which makes my favourite white wine (a Late Autumn Riesling) as well as a few of the others.

We try a Riesling

From there we were off to Mennonite country to visit St. Jacobs and its famous farmers market. Unfortunately, we arrived fairly late in the day, but it was still wonderous to see all of the local produce and baked goods. I'll save my rant about the 100 mile diet for another day, but suffice it to say, again, that it's almost like a different world down there. It's only about 500 km away from North Bay, but the growing season is at least 2-3 weeks ahead of what it is here. We ate local peas and cherries. The yarn booth was a bit of a disappointment; the selection is usually much better.3

After a quiet night at a bed and breakfast in Elmira, we set forth again, passing through St. Jacobs, Guelph, Fergus, Orangeville, and Cookstown on our way back home. Unfortunately, nothing much was open on Sundays, so we didn't get to see any yarn stores. My mom encouraged me to take pictures out of the window of the car, and while it is not an optimal picture taking strategy, I did manage some fairly good snaps:


Old barn

The only negative part to the whole weekend was that I lost my mobile phone, which I've only had for a few months. It has not turned up yet, so I've passed my number back to my old phone. I'm terribly disappointed, as a) I really liked my new phone, which was bright green and made out of corn-derived plastic, and b) there's no reason why I should have lost it. I am a fairly absentminded person at the best of times, and I've learned to compensate for that by using a variety of strategies. The best of these is that everything has its place; as long as I return things to that place, I always know where my stuff is. Unfortunately, I broke that rule by not returning the phone to my purse after using it, and I don't know where it's gotten off to now. I hope that it'll turn up.

All in all, a pretty good weekend with my best mom.
1 Royal Doulton Nightscape, in case you are wondering.
2 One that finally holds all my 80 quadrillion cards.
3 Now that I actually have access to two yarn stores in town, as well as several within driving distance, I'm just not that impressed by Mission Falls cotton anymore.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Devil's Haircut

Yes, I know that I owe you an entry. Several entries, truth be told. Unfortunately, I am flat out exhausted right now, and of no sound mind nor body to put together something coherent. Instead, I will leave you with this little gem that I found on the memory card for my camera. It's from the Crowded House concert that Dad and I went to at the Danforth Music Hall last year. (Seventh row seats. Squee.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mom's Magical Mystery Tour

Longtime readers of the blog (as well as those of you who know me in the flesh) will be familiar with the exploits of my mother. My mother is awesome, but she might also be totally nuts. While I was home last weekend, she let me know that she needed me to come back this weekend to whisk me off on an adventure--and not just any adventure. A surprise adventure. A surprise adventure that I still know nothing about, even though I'm back at my parents' house and we're setting forth tomorrow. In short: insane but awesome.

The first part of the surprise was revealed tonight: I received an envelope with a map in it. The map took me to the house of a girl I went to high school with, who runs a small salon out of her house. I now have lovely, well -shaped, iridescent fingernails, and bright, cheerfully orange toenails. My hands and feet are delightfully soft, and I feel very relaxed.

I'm the oldest of three girls, as you've likely surmised.1 According to my dad, my mother is having severe moments of "My baby is getting maaaaaarried," so she has planned this weekend as a special mommy-daughter weekend that will let us spend some time together before I get married. It's definitely a very sweet thought on my mother's part. I have absolutely no idea what we are doing tomorrow, but I do have a couple of possible ideas:
  1. Winery tour of Niagara region2
  2. Trip to Stratford for Shakespeare
  3. Trip to Toronto for shopping and theatre3
  4. Yarn crawl of southern Ontario
  5. Tea crawl of souther Ontario
  6. Visit to an alpaca farm to help in alpaca shearing4
  7. Spa day5
I'm not sure if I'll have any internet access while I'm gone, but I'm definitely bringing the camera. Stayed tuned for the big reveal!

1 It is, indeed, why I refer to my sisters as Middle and Youngest.
2 Kind of have my fingers crossed for this one, I'm not going to lie.
3 In which case, I really hope it's Jersey Boys
4 It's my imaginary magical mystery tour, and I'll shear alpacas if I want to, okay?
5 Given that I've already had my hands and feet done, this seems less likely.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Get in the car, boy!

I swatched and cast on a pair of kilt hose for my love today. We were home briefly over the weekend to visit parents and get wedding stuff done, which included taking the men for kilt fittings. I'd been putting off starting the project for a variety of reasons--finishing some baby knits, working on my mom's Rogue, the fact that no one wants to make knee socks for a man--but I've realized that there isn't really all that much time left and that I needed to get moving, especially since I know that this is the type of project that I will stall out on. This way, I should have room to put the socks down when the k4p1 ribbing gets exhausting, and still finish them in time for the wedding. I've opted for the John Anderson's Kilt Hose pattern, though I've been told it's not especially well-written. I really like the cable that runs down the side.

I'll be home again later this week it seems; my mother is whisking me off on an adventure that I currently know nothing about. I've been told to bring comfortable shoes, a camera, and a large bag. It should be pretty exciting. I have a couple of ideas about the things that I think it might be, and if it's any one of them it will be exceptionally cool. It will be good to spend time with my crazy mother, at any rate, and to put the DSLR to good use.

I am mid-way through the second season of Twin Peaks now, well past what I'm assured is the point at which it ceases to make sense. I've really enjoyed it so far: it's been fascinating to watch Lynch try to work within television as a medium, and his Freudian tendencies are just so delightfully transparent here. It's amazing to me that so few people from the show went on to become well known, as a lot of the performances are actually quite endearing. Apparently the center cannot hold and everything will collapse upon itself shortly, but it's been good times so far, not least because I've been watching it with a friend, which forces a limit on my desire to binge on good tv. Left to my own devices, I'd probably have finished Twin Peaks in two days.

I'm also finally sitting down to give my full attention to Doctor Who. Space has started showing it starting with the Christopher Eccleston episodes. It was my good fortune to be awake with insomnia the night that it was starting, and I've been enjoying an episode a day ever since. I like Eccleston a lot, although I do have moments when I can't stop myself from muttering, "F---ing bin-bag" under my breath. I have a similar problem with Michael Gambon as Dumbledore--I can't stop myself from yelling, "Get in the car, boy!" at least four time every time I watch one of his Harry Potter films.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It Was Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today I created my first blog. It was at a site called, which still exists, and I think that I did it because some of my friends from the Sloan message board had done it, and I thought that it sounded like a cool idea. I also thought that it wouldn't last: all previous attempts at keeping any kind of written record of my life had failed. The longest of any of my other efforts was three months--the three months that I spent in France when I was fifteen, where I wrote almost every day because I had nothing else to do most of the time.

My life has changed a lot in ten years. When I first started blogging, I was still in high school, and had no idea that I had six+ years of university ahead of me. I had gone on only a single date, and I had never been kissed. I'd never broken someone's heart, nor had mine broken. Of the three women who will be standing up with me at my wedding in October (that aren't related to me), I had only met one of them: we met in passing at a party when she was dating one of my friends. She wore a beautiful striped wool sweater, but I didn't like her very much--she seemed very haughty. I had not yet started working at The Historic Site Which Shall Not Be Named. I wanted to be a high school teacher. I had red hair, cut in a very bland, chin length bob. I didn't think of myself as a feminist. I'd never seen Neil Finn nor Crowded House in concert. I'd never been to Scotland, nor British Columbia. I'd never given a lecture to 200 people--hell, I could scarcely bring myself to ask for help in a store. I'd never directed a play, or written for a newspaper. I'd only read The Handmaid's Tale three or so times. ICQ was my main form of chat. I didn't know how to drive. I hadn't knit since I was seven or eight. There were still two more Star Wars movies to come (and I hadn't lost all hope that the remaining two wouldn't suck).

Here's a quotation from that first blog entry:

well, this is my first "official" entry, the maiden voyage of this, so to speak. god only knows that I suck beyond words at actually keeping written records of my life. which I suppose is unusual considering how much time I spend over-analyzing every last detail of my life like the english geek that I am. but again, I digress, and on some level I hope that people will be interested in reading what I have to say.

I'm at a weird time in my life right now. The school year has two short weeks left (two short weeks in which I need to do an entire history independent study course...stupid me) and I can't believe that high school will be over, forever. I'm both sad and glad about it; I have a lot of memories I wouldn't trade for the world but I also have a lot of regrets about various things. Though certainly nothing I can't live with. I'm going to be cutting a lot of ties in the next few months and I'm worried about whether or not I can handle it all.

I was apparently not really into proper capitalization at that time, but I did (and I do) like my semi-colons.

Reading over some of the old entries has been quite interesting. That blog only lasted for about four years; the last two years overlapped with this blog, back when it used to be entirely academic. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but the four years of the other blog are the four years that I dated my other boyfriends; I made the transition here a permanent one at around the same time that Mat and I started seeing each other. The early entries are total crap: high school is over, blah blah blah sadcakes; I have a lot of work to do; I'm looking forward to university but really sad at the same time. I do develop a narrative voice surprisingly early, though. Not necessarily a voice that I'm all that proud of, mind you, but one that's relatively clear.

It's also interesting to look back over those entries and try to remember the things that I didn't write about. There are often references to things that happened that I simply have no recollection of, and sometimes there's even subtext about things that I didn't realize was happening at the time. If I only knew then what I know now...

I don't know where I'll be ten years from now. I'd be pretty surprised if I was still blogging--but then, if you'd told me ten years ago that I'd be writing this entry today, I wouldn't have believed you. So here's to the next ten years: may they be as varied and as educational as the last ten.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Academic Freedoms

Strange things are afoot at my beloved tiny university. I've already discussed the whole honorary degree debacle at length, but it just keeps getting stranger and stranger. The university quietly released a new policy this morning on protests, disruptions, and demonstrations on campus; this policy outlines the administration's new policy on how to deal with potentially "disruptive" behaviour. The policy itself is quite brief, so I'd recommend reading it if you're interested. Essentially, the university is giving itself the right to shut down demonstrations, protests, and any other behaviours that it deems "disruptive" or not "consistent with the University's mission." (I think it means "mission statement," but this policy is poorly written on many levels.)

The policy claims that its reach is applicable "where there is a material disruption of, or interference with, instructional activities, other University business and campus events." There are two curious things about this: first, the policy's title implies it only addresses "Public Events", which instructional activities are clearly not; second, the phrase "material disruption" is vague. What is a material disruption as opposed to other kinds of disruption? Material to me implies something physical or tangible. My assumption is reinforced by the third type of improper action: "material interference free entry to or exit from the university," which absolutely makes sense, but again begs the question of "what is a material disruption?"

The more troubling part of the policy is the second part of the guidelines:

2. Demonstrations are limited to appropriate areas or public forums that do not
include, among other locations, faculty and administrative offices, classrooms
and other instructional facilities. The University will designate areas for
speeches and demonstrations. These areas will be designated as "Free Expression
Areas". Use of these areas for speaking, demonstrating and other forms of
expression will be scheduled through the Vice-President, Academic and Research
Office to best accommodate all interested users.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the use of the term "Free Expression Areas," which I find problematic for two reasons: first, it differs from the "Free Speech Areas" identified in the document's title1, and second, the use of a term like "Free Expression Areas" implies that all areas not designated as such are thus not places of free expression? That troubles me greatly.2 It is absolutely an attack on academic freedom, but it is also an attack on personal freedoms. It is also, in my opinion, a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There has been quite a lot of commentary on the policy through the school email, all of it excellent. The best response, I think, is the one that points out the policy itself is totally unnecessary, since the things that it outlines as "improper actions" are actually considered, you know, offences under Canadian law. It's also worth noting that this move to "Free Expression Areas" parallels what's being done for the upcoming G8 summit in Huntsville, scarcely 150 kilometres from our doorsteps. Interestingly, the administration has responded

I know that not everyone shares my ire at the idea of giving Harris anything more prestigious than a membership in the IGA cookie club, and that's fine. I'm choosing to protest the degree by not attending the ceremony.3 I think--I hope--I believe, though, that the policy as outlined is not something that anyone should be in favour of, for a variety of reasons. Is a policy necessary? Perhaps--but not this policy. It's quite telling that the VP-AR's office responded to the concerns by saying that the policy "needs work" and its current form does lend itself to authoritarian reading. He did, however, agree with the numerous recommendations to refer the policy to the Academic Senate.4

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

1 See what I mean about the quality of the writing?
2 A lot of the response to the policy thus far has focused on ideas about what people feel the roles of the university and of a university education are, in terms of critical thinking and critical discourse. I'm not quite convinced that this is the role of a university education any more, but that is another entry for another time.

3 This is a change from when I wrote "The Subtle Knife": while it's true that I probably would skip the APS grad, I now feel strongly enough about this whole thing that I want to emphasize that my non-attendance is out of principle, not laziness.
4 I actually like the VP-AR. I don't agree with all of his decisions, obviously, and I don't think that he spends enough time trying to understand our university as distinct from other schools in the province, but I think that he could/would be a good administrator somewhere else.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

don't let me down

It has been a cool (bordering on cold) weekend around these parts. It's the kind of weekend where you want to do nothing more than stay at home, watch movies, drink copious amounts of tea, and knit. Unfortunately, it has not been the kind of weekend where I've been able to do that, although I have managed to get some work done on my mum's Rogue sweater. It's working up quite nicely, and the colour is exactly right for her. The pattern is definitely a challenge for me, though, as it requires a lot of attention to detail, and I've had to rip back a few things after I've misread them. I don't know that I love the way that the pattern is written, but if it gets me the perfect Mum sweater in the end, it will be worth it.

The big excitement so far has been that my wedding dress is finally in. I went to try it on yesterday for the first time, which was both exciting and scary. I have put on a little bit of weight since I ordered it.1 Fortunately, it fits perfectly, and it looks like the only alterations I'll need will be hemming, and depending on the height of the heel, I might not even need that. It's such a beautiful dress, and I can't believe how little I paid for it.2

1 I also ordered it right after Ihad H1N1, which may have been a poor choice, since I'd basically not eaten for the better part of a week.
2 Relatively speaking. It is still the most expensive piece of clothing I will ever own.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Saying Goodbye to LOST

I had a drink with a new friend tonight. We're both reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest right now, and it's quite nice to have someone to talk to about it--it's another read, like House of Leaves, that is quite daunting on its own. I'm also a bit intimidated by it because it was recommended to me by another friend, who recommended to me by saying the following: "Rhi, it'll change your life." On one hand, I'm thrilled by that idea. I would love to read something that could change my life. On the other hand, though, that's always a bit dicey. What if it doesn't change my life? What if I don't even like it? I don't think the friend would be mad, exactly1 but it would be awkward.

One of the things that we got to talking about tonight was LOST and the LOST finale.2 Before I start, I have to confess to enjoying the finale (and indeed, the last two seasons) immensely. While there were several things that I was not totally thrilled about with this last season, there were also a number of very good things, including Ab Eterno, the episode about Richard's backstory, which I would argue might be the best episode the show has ever produced.

One of the reasons that I want to teach a course on LOST is that it requires its viewers to learn many of the skills that are important in English Studies, particularly in reference to close reading. The show is rich with subtext, metaphor, and intertext. It very aptly delineates the difference between plot and story, which is something that my students have a hard time with, and I think that it is a very neat narrative trick to tell the audience in the final season that the main storyline that has consumed us for five seasons is actually in the service of another, much larger story, that it's only a small piece of the whole.

The show's greatest strength, to me, has always been the emphasis that it places on storytelling: We are almost always being told two stories simultaneously. These dual narratives give us characters who are more than their simplistic archetypes lead us to believe: there's an actual heft and depth to the story that's being told, a mythology to be discovered. This is television that thinks like a book; this is television that places demands on you as a viewer. You can't simply start watching somewhere in the third season any more than you can pick up Moby Dick in the twelfth chapter. You also need to pay attention to detail, to nuance. The rocks that show up at the end of the first act will be meaningful in the sixth.

Above all else, LOST is a story of redemption. So many of the characters are deeply flawed when we meet them, and they are healed by their time on the island. Some are actually healed by the island, like Locke, and some are healed simply by what the island asks of them: As Jack tells us early in the first season, "Live together or die alone."4 Sawyer is perhaps the best example of this: the character we are introduced to in the pilot is morally repugnant and content to cause trouble for trouble's sake. The beauty of his physical form contrasts quite strongly with the way he conducts himself: On the island, stripped of his former life, he can choose to be anything he wants, and he chooses to be a douche. He's a great foil for Jack's perennial Dudley Doright act, not least because Sawyer lacks Locke's dogmatic nature. It is only when Sawyer truly accepts what "live together" means that he is redeemed: first through his sacrifice in jumping off the helicopter, and later through his work for the Dharma Initiative. Once Jack and Locke are gone, Sawyer steps into a leadership role for the castaways; he takes care of everyone. The reward for this growth, his relationship with Juliet, is a reward for both him as a character and for us as the audience: their reunion in the sideways world is profoundly affecting. (Translation: I cried. I cried a lot.)

Most of the problems I have with the finale are the ones that are documented elsewhere. (What's the point to Shannon's return? Where was Walt? What was the deal with the other Others? What about all the stuff that the psychic told Claire?) One minor point that seems to be fairly unique to me is the drastic underuse of Miles: he's a really interesting character to bring in to the show, given his abilities, but it never really goes anywhere. What's the point of having a guy who can talk to the dead if a) he never does anything with it, and b) Hurley is going to gain a similar ability? It's pretty lazy writing, I think, and inexcusable in a show that's normally quite tightly written. I'm also unimpressed by how Sayid's character was handled throughout this final season; Naveen Andrews is a fine actor (on a show that I don't think is particularly well acted) who is totally wasted here.

Writing a show like LOST must be, I imagine, an awful lot like wrestling an octopus: you're never going to manage to subdue all the tentacles effectively. That said, none of the loose ends really bother me all that much--there's nothing here I can't live with. It has been quite interesting to listen to and read the comments that others have made on it over the last few weeks. As with Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga before it, so many people have taken the show to heart that they feel personally invested in the end, and, inevitably, personally betrayed by said ending. I don't feel that way: while it wasn't the biggest, most exciting reveal ever, it did end well enough, and that's about all I can ask for.

Thanks for the last six years.
1 This is kind of a lie. He might not be mad, but I'd definitely get an earful about it.
2 And also the Texts and Intertexts course that I want to teach called "The Literature of LOST."
3 Which I think might actually be the show's strongest episode, period.
4 I do kind of wish someone had made a joke about dying together at the end.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Works In Progress and Finished Projects Round Up

I bought buttons today for two baby projects that I've been working on lately, and I got really lucky. I didn't even go anywhere special to get the buttons; they are just from Fabricland. They are, however, both patently and exactly right for the projects that I selected them for; so much so that I found myself taking a whole bunch of pictures of both projects as well as a few others things I've seen working on. My still life photography skills are getting better, I think. (If I do say so myself.)

First up: The dreaded February Baby Sweater. I did not love knitting this, but I do love the result. Almost enough to keep me from giving away this sweater.

photo 105
photo 106

Next: The Pembroke vest. I really didn't care for this colour, but I think it will be very cute on a little boy.
photo 100
extra close up on buttons
photo 097

And finally the WIPs:
photo 092
photo 093
photo 089

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Four Months To Go

Four months from today, at this time, I will probably be having some kind of panic attack, because in four months and about four hours, I'm getting married.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what getting married means and why I'm doing it. Surprisingly, this is a question I get asked a lot. We're not having a religious ceremony, which is part of what throws people off. (It's also interesting how many people think--or imply that they think--that if you're not doing it for religious reasons, there's not much point in doing it.) We're not having a religious ceremony for a number of reasons, most of which relate to his family's Catholicism and my family's agnosticism-via-Presbyterianism. Instead, we will be married by a judge, who is the father of the friend who introduced us, and who was Mat's Scout leader as a child.

For me, getting married will be about two things. First, getting married is about making a promise to my partner--a promise of love, strength, determination, and caring--in front of the people that we love. Second, getting married is about celebrating that love and that promise with an awesome party. The next time that I have that many people that I love and care about in one place will probably be my funeral, which I likely won't be in any position to enjoy, so I want to do things right this time.1

All of the crazy stuff about getting married--all the things that I've found stressful these last few months--have all been related to social expectations about weddings and getting married. Everybody has an opinion about every single aspect of the day, and I find myself needing to be reminded that no one is trying to be difficult or stress me out. Everyone is only offering their advice because they love us and they want us to have a good wedding. (Then I breathe deeply and knit frantically until I calm down. This mostly works.)

I am designing and making my own invitations using supplies from Cards & Pockets. (I actually just ordered them tonight. The shipping to Canada is quite steep, but the quality of the cards more than makes up for it. ) I'm a bit of a stationery nut, so I've really enjoyed looking at all of the different types of invitations. It turns out that it is not necessarily all that much cheaper to make your own. It can be, of course, if you buy the boxed ones and just print them, but I was shamed into doing more than that by my mother. Her exact words were: "I just can't believe that someone with your creativity wouldn't go all out on these." I appreciate the sentiment, but I anticipate this will be a time consuming endeavour. Right now the big decision that I have to make is whether to pay someone with mad photoshop skillz to make me an invitation, or to figure out how to do something on my own with my limited design skills.

1 Unless, of course, all the stuff that happened on the LOST finale is actually real; in which case, awesome.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

War Is Upon Us

I'm pleased to report that though the wheels of politics turn slowly, they do indeed turn, which means that another season of Diplomacy is upon us at last. I drew Russia this time around, which is quite exciting because a) I've never played as Russia before, and b) I get to style myself as Empress and Imperatrix of all the Russias.1

Today is the first day of my summer vacation. I am celebrating by wearing a sundress. It is gloriously sunny here, and thankfully no longer humid. I was struck by a sudden and overwhelming urge to finish some ongoing projects between last night's insomnia and this morning's awakening, so I now have a Baby Sweater on Two Needles (better known as the February baby Sweater) and a Pembroke vest that are finished except for buttons. I have also, at long last, cast on for my mother's Rogue sweater.

I am hoping the rest of my vacation will be as productive.

1 Technically, the full title is: Empress and Autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsarina of Kazan, Tsarina of Astrakhan, Tsarina of Poland, Tsarina of Siberia, Tsarina of Tauric Chersonesos, Tsarina of Georgia, Lady of Pskov, and Grand Duchess of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Princess of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria and other territories; Lady and Grand Duchess of Nizhni Novgorod, Sovereign of Chernigov, Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislavl, and all northern territories; Sovereign of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories - hereditary Lady and Ruler of the Circassians and Mountain Princes and others; Lady of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth. I'm not using the full title because it's long and because some of those territories are up for grabs on the board--maybe I'll start adding them in as I claim them for myself.