It is currently pouring outside my house. We’ve got severe thunderstorms forecast all day. And I’m supposed to go do laundry this afternoon… we’ll see what the weather has to say about that…I just saw a flash of lighting and heard a crash of thunder within 2 seconds of each other, so I’m staying inside for a bit.

Jarak and I have a deep commitment to local/sustainable food and businesses. We try to shop locally whenever possible, and to avoid big chain and box stores for most of our groceries. We’re part of a CSA from The Alleged Farm. If you ever hear me talk about “Grumpy Farmer” that’s who I’m referring to. He sends out grumpy and sometimes political missives about what’s happening on the farm, and is often quite funny. We also go to the Schenectady Greenmarket every week, which is open year-round, and get our milk, eggs, most of our meat,  and some veggies there when our CSA ends and before it begins in the spring.

Smith/Cyd Pottery made our goblets for the reception. We decided that we wanted something extra-fancy to drink out of, and since “His and her’s”  Champagne flutes are so not our style. (We aren’t even having champagne.) We decided to ask a local potter to make them for us. They’re entirely custom and they’re beautiful! My camera is currently dead, or I’d take photos.

I got an email just now from Buhrmaster Farm stating that, after talking to some other farmers and seeing what they’d have available, they will be able to provide flowers for the wedding! There was some question as to whether they’d be able to have cut flowers in time for June 22, but they will! Yay! This is the great thing about local: if you want something, ask, and they will really work hard to get you what you need. My aunt agreed to help with the flowers, and we’ll sit down the night before and make my wreath, the bouquets and the boutonnieres for the boys. Yay!

The honey for our mead, which we are using instead of champagne for toasts came from Lloyd Spear, Beekeeper, who’s based in Schenectady. We are friends with one of his workers and often go visit her at the Greenmarket on Sundays.

We’ve brewed (almost) all of the beer for the wedding, using mostly local grains from NY and Mass. Almost all of the grain came from ValleyMalt in Hadley MA. They are super amazing. Jarak’s uncle is providing another case. Our wines will come from LaBelle Winery in Amherst, NH, where I was born, and Altamont Winery  in Altamont, NY, which is about 30 min from here.

We are borrowing a bunch of beautiful, mismatched yardsale plates from a family friend, and then supplementing them with other plates found at estate and yard sales. We’re borrowing silverware used in my friend’s wedding, and linens used either by them, or by their friends for their wedding. Lots of borrowed/reused things. The only thing that is being bought new is the glassware, which will be sold after Logan and Mariana’s wedding in September. Pooling resources is a wonderful thing!

All of our food is being supplied by friends and family, which saved us thousands of dollars in catering fees, and means that every dish will have a connection to us in some way, being that it was made by people we love.

I’m so completely excited about this!

No, really, STUFF! We have SO MUCH STUFF! And this whole wedding thing, with it’s showers, and registries etc, means MORE STUFF! If I seem a little “ack!” about all of this, consider that our apartment is currently full. I’ve posted pictures of how full our pantry is, how full our bookshelves are, and the general level of clutter. We have roughly 900 sq feet in our apartment. We have roughly 2000 sq feet of stuff.

Jarak and I have been pretty good about trying to simplify, getting rid of duplicate kitchen implements was one of the things that we did when we first moved in and unpacked. I suppose this is what happens when there are two grownups who have lived in their own apartments combining households. But then there are the books, and the art supplies and the beer making materials and all the things that you can just get rid of, what if you need to use it someday?

Added to the challenge, is that both of my parents have moved out of the big house that we all grew up in, and into houses where they have much less room. So they keep offering me things. And I keep having to turn them down. As much as I’d love the dining room table, or a big overstuffed chair, we have no room for it in the apartment, or in storage. I’m also the keeper of some of my brothers’ bigger things that haven’t been shipped out to them on the west coast, like the djembe and the heavy bag.  We still have books that haven’t been unpacked and are sitting waiting for space.

Yet I keep adding books… I brought home a tomato box full of books from my mother’s house last weekend. There are a bunch of puzzle and game books for Jarak, herbal medicine, organic gardening and knitting/knot-work books that I cherry-picked from about 7 boxes that my mother is getting rid of. I decided I didn’t really need any art history or art theory books at this stage in my life.

Jarak and I spent part of today before he went to work rearranging the kitchen so that we could put away all of the wonderful things that we have received as wedding gifts so far.  We found a home for the new Kitchenaid Mixer (seriously huge thank you to Biscuit and Rick for that!) which involved moving a shelf on our wire rack to make it fit. One of our challenges was figuring out what to do with all of the new containers we now have, and whether to keep or get rid of the ones we had. We decided that 20 year old Tupperware can be recycled, and that the newer stuff we use all the time stays.

That’s when it hit me: a wedding is really a huge marker of adulthood. You get “nice” things because you’re somehow more of an adult when you get married than you were just out of college, or puttering along through your twenties with the mismatched set of dishes that you inherited from an aunt. Wedding gifts mean upgrading from the hand-me-d0wns and having new/better/ your own things for the first time. We have a relatively small registry because we have a lot of the basics, and we really don’t see a need for a matched set of towels, or more teaspoons or spatulas.

One of the things that we’ve struggled a bit with is how to ask for what we really want: help buying a house. Etiquette around that is a pain.  How do you phrase it so that it doesn’t come across as “gimme money!” We settled on “One of our biggest goals in the next few years is to buy a house” and then having a section in the registry where people can contribute to a down payment. That way, it’s directed towards something, not just nebulous money being thrown at us.

There are probably more thoughts out there about this whole process, but that’s all that I’ve got right now. My brain is seriously all-wedding-all-the-time now. We’re 3 weeks out. I suppose it’s not surprising.

There’s another post about being the center of attention, asking people to do things, and accepting that people really do want to help us make this thing happen, but it hasn’t come together yet.

It’s 60 degrees and raining out, which makes it a very gray day. And I’m sleepy. I’m on my second cup of coffee, when I try to limit myself to one giant mug in the morning. I wasn’t up super-late last night compared to most Saturday nights. We were in bed by one. Usually we’re up until 2 or 3.

Yesterday we spent the day outside. We started the morning with brunch at our friend C’s housewarming party. C bought her first house in March, and has spent the past couple of months settling in and trying to get her upstairs apartment rented. She asked my opinion about green things in the garden. I identified a whole lot of volunteer bib lettuce, jill-over-the-ground, peppermint, spearmint, and mustardy weed things. She’s got peach and fig trees that appear to be producing already. Apparently the house was owned by an old Italian couple, and they were pretty prolific gardeners. She’s offered me space in her garden, because she probably won’t use it. It’ll have to wait until next year, because this spring and early summer are just a little bit bonkers.

After that, we went to Niskaday, a town festival with crafts, local businesses and the requisite terrible for you food. Jarak and I quickly got bored, because this is the sort of thing that’s great if you have kids, or have money. We currently have neither.

So we went over to Logan and Mariana’s house to do a copious amount of yard work in preparation for having our wedding after party there. Destroying small tree stumps so that the trees don’t come back next to the house, moving giant hosta clusters, spreading dirt, terracing the hill to build more retaining walls, picking lots of grass and roots out of garden soil, raking grass clippings etc, etc, etc. Many hands made light work, there were 7 of us helping at one point. We were powered by grilled yumminess and beer. We must have worked about 6 hours on and off. We quit around 8 as the light was starting to fade. I managed to not get any more than a tiny bit of sunburn on my shoulders and across my cheeks. SPF 30 for the win!

We hung out and drank, made s’mores, and watched the Niskaday fireworks. Jarak and I headed home around 12am, and crashed after we washed the dirt and smoke off of us. And now I’m just tired…

Last weekend I went out to my mom’s house in NH to do wedding prep stuff. I finally found a pair of shoes!

Product Image

They basically look like this. And they were really cheap, which I really like. We also took in my dress, pulled off the peachy-pink waistband, and rescued dozens of sequins and beads that kept falling off the dress.

We went and tasted wine from a winery in the town where I was born. I did the math on a case of wine, and almost fell over from sticker shock. I called Jarak and said “hey, can we get away with a case total, instead of 2 cases?” We decided that we could, and I came home with 3 dry Rieslings, and 3 semi-sweet Rieslings. We’ll get the reds from a place near us.

Weddings are seriously expensive, even when you’re doing things really cheaply and doing them all yourself.

Jarak and I finished bottling wedding beer, racked the wedding mead again to help it clear, and got our marriage license on Friday. Now it’s even closer to being official! And there’s a judge who will do the civil ceremony for free at city hall. It’s amazing how easy it is to get a wedding cert, all we needed was our birth certificates and photo ID. It was less complicated than getting our Enhanced Driver’s licenses. Odd.

In a little over a month, I will be married. This is so cool.

My old roommate had this on his FB wall. It about sums up my thoughts on the matter.

My old roommate had this on his FB wall. It about sums up my thoughts on the matter.

I started this blog as I was preparing to move from Boston to the Albany area of NY. I’d moved to Boston for graduate school, and had started my career there. 6 years living within biking distance of the T, and right on multiple MBTA buslines. I lived in Somerville and Arlington, went to school in Cambridge, worked in Brighton, and Charlestown and Dorchester. I also grew up less than 2 hours northwest of Boston. I refuse to call myself a Bostonian, because I’m from NH dammit and I won’t be labeled a Masshole. But Boston was my home for a long time. I did a lot of growing up there.

One of my roommates right after grad school had an amazing girlfriend who ran marathons for the Liver Foundation. They are now married, and she ran again this year. Through them I met another fantastic friend who was also running for the liver foundation. My cousin qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2011, and I biked out to see him. I met the woman that he married last month that Monday.

So even though I did not have the day off, I did not watch the marathon, and I was not in Boston, yesterday is hitting pretty close to home. Because I would have been there. I am often in the scrum near the finish trying to find my friends. That could have been me. I’m so very, very glad it wasn’t, and I’m so very, very glad that all of my friends are ok, but still. These sorts of things are supposed to happen somewhere else, to someone else, not to “my” city, not to “my” people.

To add insult to injury, one of the fatalities in Boston is an 8 year old boy. My client that died in February was 8. Too close to home.

We had a regularly scheduled trauma-informed training today. That is, we are learning how work with kids who have long histories of trauma and how to effectively treat them. And our instructor Would. Not. Shut. UP. about how it’s making everyone feel on edge, and that it’s making people fear that there are bombs in buildings. He named the school I work at specifically as a school that people might be afraid had bombs in it.  He clearly didn’t even think that anyone had personal ties to Boston, or to people who might be running. He didn’t even check to see if we were ok emotionally about it. I was really pissed. I had to spend most of the morning trying not to cry. I had a really hard time with it. I posted something bitchy on FB around 11am.

My father called my cell shortly after that, and left a voicemail letting me know that while he was now ok, someone in my family had recently taken ill, and was being cared for. That was it. I lost it. I had to leave the room, and couldn’t stop crying.

I cancelled my appointments for the day, and came home. I’m still not ok, but at least I’m not crying. Jarak was here, and he gave me hugs and let me just decompress. I’m knitting a hat for my niece who’s due this week. I’m mailing a check to our wedding photographer. I will go to the gym tonight and do deadlifts with my friend. I’m doing really basic, self-care things, and not being at work. Work is really hard right now. I need some scheduled time off I think. This is just too much.

I am fortunate to have many very talented, caring and involved aunts. Jarak has almost as many. And then there’s my Easter family, so that’s another bunch of involved and awesome people. They are volunteering to make food, dye cloth, find silk, help with setup and cleanup and generally be awesome people who aren’t *in* the wedding party, but are very close to it. If we didn’t have aunts, I don’t think this wedding would be happening. We are very much powered by aunties. So thank you all so so SO much!

On the not-so-wonderful end of things. I’m starting to get planning fatigue. It seems like the decisions to be made are never-ending, and the money to be spent is never-ending as well. Things that I thought were settled in one way, Jarak assumed were settled another way. Our communication has been breaking down, which has been tough.

Added to that is the stress of not seeing a whole lot of each other, and the times that we do have together, we are doing wedding planning, talking about money, one of us is half asleep or otherwise not focusing on us as a couple. We barely see each other during the week. Jarak is doing a bunch of web design work, partly for wedding stuff, and so he’s focused on that during his free time.

Part of me wants the wedding to just hurry up and get here so that we can go on our honeymoon and spend a week together without any more decisions to be made than when we should get up and what we want to do that day. We’re planning on taking a couple of days in a week or so to just spend time together

I also want the wedding to just hurry up and get here so that I can go back to having a normal life. I feel like I turn down so many things with the excuse “I can’t, I have to save money for the wedding/plan for the wedding/do xyzq for the wedding.” Fortunately, I’m told that not being able to do anything except wedding is pretty normal. My friend Kels told me, after I was lamenting about not getting my cousin’s wedding present put together and in the mail, that there is no way to do a very do-it-yourself wedding and get anything else done in the meantime. That made me feel a bit better.

Now that we’re just over 3 months away I’m feeling pressured to Do All The Things! (all at once!) I have fabric to find (and likely dye) for the waistband of my dress, find ribbon that’s the right color for all the ribbony things, and find shoes to wear with my dress. I’m suddenly finding myself frustrated both at the world and at myself for not being able to find the right colors of things. Our wedding color is indigo, that blue/purple that changes depending on the light. I can find blue, I can find purple, but not indigo. It’s maddening. Fortunately, one of my aunts is great with dyeing fabrics, so I’ll likely just ask her to dye stuff for me, but I’m starting to feel like one of those crazy people who wants things Just So. 

The shoes are an even more frustrating dilemma. I keep threatening to just get married barefoot, but the actual ceremony space is paved with brick, and my feet won’t be callused enough by mid-June to deal with sun-heated brick if it’s warm out, and I’m not in love with the idea of walking through parking lots barefoot. I’m 5’10”, my dress reaches the floor when I’m barefoot, and I’m loath to add much in the way of height to myself because it’s a wedding gown, not a wedding tea-length-dress dammit. Also, we’re getting married in a garden, and I don’t want to wear heels because I don’t want to sink into the ground. ALSO, I hate heels. A lot. Finding dress shoes that are white or silver or purple and aren’t heels and look cute? Not so much, and again with the making me feel like I’m high maintenance.

I know on one level I’m really not, because I’m basically rolling with whatever our venue gives us in terms of chairs and tables and not really giving a crap if everything matches. We can’t attach anything to the walls of the reception hall, but it has beautiful exposed beams and tons of sun, so it’ll sparkle and be beautiful no matter what. We’re having tiny centerpieces (one or two blossoms in a bud vase) because I want everyone to be able to talk to each other across the tables. And we’re poor, but mostly because I want people to talk to each other and big centerpieces get in the way.

One thing that I’ve been blown away by is how many people keep offering to help. I haven’t really nailed down all the things that we need help with yet, but there will be lots of getting aunts and uncles and cousins and friends to carry things and set up. We’re doing a terribly old-fashioned “it takes a village” sort of wedding, because we’re broke, and also because it means so much more to us to have our friends and family help us out and be involved than to pay someone we don’t know lots of money to make stuff happen. These are the people who have made us who we are, and who will be supporting us in our life together after we’re married, it makes sense to have them help us start our life together as well.

I have a blurry vision of what I want to have happen, and it’s very slowly resolving itself into an actual picture. Jarak has almost finished our registry page. We’re not registering anywhere officially because what we want is from all over, and we want people to buy local to them, or to us, and to support small businesses wherever they can. The registry is to help ensure we don’t end up  with 5 waffle irons, and to help us remember who gave us what so that we can send thank-you cards. Jarak learned PHP to make it work, and it looks awesome. Hooray geeky fiances.

The other big challenge is creating our wedding playlist. We’re doing the iPod DJ thing, because it just seems simpler (and is infinitely cheaper). I plan on handing my iPod off to our Twitch who’s lending us his PA system and telling him to only let Jarak and I touch the iPod upon pain of body slam (he’s a martial artist, and a Strongman guy, and used to play in a band. He rules.) We’re dividing the playlist up into three sections: ceremony (if we can’t find anyone to play live) cocktails/lunchtime music (Old Jazz standards) and dancing at the end.

We’re designing the invitations this week, and will hopefully have them printed and ready to send out by the beginning of April. We got a rubber stamp made of our family crest, which is really cool, and will be going on the back of all of the invites, and probably all envelopes we send out from here on out.

So yeah, details! Ack! Married people send me your “how to survive the last few months” advice please!

I’ve been dealing with some serious shit recently. One of my clients died a week ago. He was a little guy, under 10. If you live in the Capital Region you’ve probably heard about it, but I’m not going to go into detail. Suffice to say, I’ve been caught in a maelstrom of grief, anger, disbelief and worry. I found out while I was on my on-call week. I got a phone message from CPS asking for information about this kid, and that he had died. I had to kind of sputter into the phone to the answering service that this was *my* client. I hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears.

Jarak was home as it was Saturday. I told him what happened and he just held me while I cried. All I knew at that point was that I needed him to be there for me. And that all that was keeping me held together was his touch. If he hadn’t been there last weekend I honestly don’t know what I would have done. He was there in between all of my phone calls to hold me. He didn’t ask a lot of questions, he was just there. After 3 years, he knows what I need when I’m upset and I’m so grateful for him.

The grief keeps hitting me in waves. I’ll be ok most of the day or evening, and then it will slam into me and I can’t work or do anything except go home and cry. And Jarak is just there for me. More than any other time, I’m realizing why we have partners. We have partners, husbands, wives to support us when things go to shit. To hold us when there are no words and the only thing that will make us feel better is human touch and connection.

We drove down to Maryland for my cousin’s wedding this weekend. The wedding was amazing and beautiful, if absolutely nothing like ours will be. I’m so very happy for them. We spent Friday night in Philadelphia with one of my college roommates and our cake maker. I haven’t seen her in 6 years, and we picked up right where we left off. There is a reason we were such good friends in college. And our cake is going to be Epic.

Going to a wedding, visiting old friends, and seeing family after this past week was a welcome break, but probably the best part of it was spending 3 uninterrupted days with Jarak. I fell asleep on the couch last night snuggled up with him. I’d been anxious since we got back into New York, but something about touch makes it all go away. We’ve been through a lot as a couple, with 2.5 years of long-distance and financial issues, and learning to communicate, but this week and this weekend has really hammered home to me that there is no one in this world who I’d rather have with me than him as I tackle the rest of the adventure of life. He makes it better just by being there, and that’s what makes him the perfect partner for me.

I totally missed my 1 year blogging mark. I haven’t blogged since before Thanksgiving. December was a whirlwind of 80 client caseloads, 3 day a week workouts, cooking, baking, travel to York, PA for Christmas, creating our wedding website and making our registry list and finally mailing out our save-the-dates. It was all very boring, and also very tiring. I have tended to want to plop on the couch, watch Netflix and knit after work instead of blogging. So here we are on February 10th, the last day of my 20s and I have 2.5 months of blogging to catch up on. Except I won’t.

Today I want to talk about milestones, specifically birthdays. I turn 30 tomorrow. Whoa… 30. Except that I’m not freaked out about it at all. It helps that almost all of my friends are 1-10 years older than me. 30 doesn’t feel old compared to my friends who are in their early 40s. In fact I’m happy and excited and feeling very proud of myself for all that I have accomplished in the past 30 years. I’m approaching it in a “Woo! I rock!” kind of way. I went to a Goth Night on February 1st and if it was your birthday month you got a tiara. So I now own a plastic silver tiara with pink stones. I normally hate pink, but it’s a tiara and it’s awesome. I wore it at my birthday potluck this past Friday. It was fun.

In terms of accomplishments, there are some things that I wish I’d been able to get around to already, but life conspired against me, and I just have to make them happen when I can. Namely, studying abroad never happened, and when I was 18 I was convinced that I would be married and finished having kids by the time I was 30. Instead I’m engaged and will not end up starting a family until I’m 31 at least. (Although things may change.)

What have I accomplished in the past 30 years?

-I completed both my BA and MA by the time I was 24

- I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and am working towards my Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist certifications.

- I have dated enough people to know what I needed and what was toxic for me so that when I found Jarak I knew that he was perfect for me.

- I have made many good friends who will still be my friends in 10 years (I hope)

- I made two major moves, one from college to grad school in Boston, living on my own for the first time, and then the second one from Boston to Schenectady to live with Jarak.

- I financed a good (used) car that will last me for at least 10 years.

- I learned how to bake bread, from my parents’ recipe.

- I weathered a horrible relationship, graduate school, being perpetually broke/underemployed, dealing with demons of my past and my parents’ divorce, with the help of my absolutely fantastic therapist in Jamaica Plain. 6 years of work means that I now know how to ask for help when I need it.

-  I Grew The Fuck UP. (seriously, I want to smack my 15, 18, 22 and 25 year old selves…)

I think that’s a pretty good list. The last one really kind of sums everything up. I’m much more calm, settled and patient than I was even 5 years ago.

So what does this year bring?

-Jarak and I are getting married!

-My cousin and our good friends are also getting married.

- I get to welcome my niece into the world in April.

-I get to meet my cousin’s awesome baby.

- Travel to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, ME and Halifax Nova Scotia (our honeymoon!)

Maybe I will start a garden, start a compost pile/bin at our friend’s newly purchased house. We will also begin saving for a house and hopefully will have a house before we start our family. In addition, I hope to move into private practice for more flexibility and more money with less pressure to work 45 hour weeks with no breaks.

Wedding planning is kicking into high gear. We’re starting to design our invitations, and have brewed our first batch of Wedding Beer, a Robust Porter. We went suit shopping for Jarak yesterday, and I’m trying to find some sort of bodice/bustier thing to wear under my dress to smooth out any (perceived) lumps under the satin. We’re doing cake-tasting with my college roommate in Philadelphia at the beginning of March. We’re starting to shop for things like dessert plates, cocktail glasses and napkins. I joked to Jarak that now I’m actually allowed to bug him about wedding plans every weekend, now that we’re less than 5 months away from the wedding date. He agreed. The crazy thing is that I’m not super-stressed about anything right now. A little worried about how we’re going to pay for it all, but other than that? Meh… All that really matters is that the people who we love show up, we declare that we are madly in love with each other and want to stay that way, and then we eat and drink. I refuse to worry about tiny details like whether all the shades of purple and blue match, or that we “should” do thing x, y, or z.

And now I’m off to continue reading Game of Thrones, which I started last week and am thoroughly engrossed in. Tomorrow after work I will go have a beer or 3 at Bier Abbey to celebrate actually being 30, and hopefully will remember to blog more.

Tomorrow will be my last Thanksgiving as a “single” woman. Next year at this time I will have been married for almost 6 months. It boggles my mind a bit. Our save-the-dates came in, correctly done this time. Hooray! And I picked up my cousin’s bridesmaid’s dress for her brother’s (my cousin’s) wedding. The dress is in NY, she’s living back in PA, but we’re going to Thanksgiving at my grandfathers/father’s place in CT. So it’ll all work out. Remember the “3 weddings in 6 months, one of them mine” thing from a few weeks back. One of the weddings is my cousin’s in March.
I’m making apple and pumpkin pie to bring for tomorrow, and oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-chip cookies for Friday’s fest.  I made pie crust on Monday night, and did my annual search through all of the recipe books to find the one that doesn’t use shortening/lard. ( The only time I’d ever use shortening is pie crusts, but once a year. It’s not worth if to keep in the house.) I always look through at least two before remembering it’s in Moosewood. My pumpkin pie recipe is from Horn of the Moon, and the photocopy that I have has “The Best” written on it. When I was younger, my mother and I would look through cookbooks trying to remember what recipe we liked the best. We finally remembered to just write it on the recipe. I unfortunately slightly scorched the top, but it’ll be yummy anyway.

I accidentally bought too many apples. I’m used to needing at least 10, but the apples I got are GINORMOUS. I have no idea what the farm adds to its soil, but both their apples and their sweet potatoes are huge. I’m guessing it’s just floodplain.

I’ve been hanging out in my house alone this evening. No siblings, no fiance, and hardest of all: no Mom. After my parents split up, making pies with my mother for Thanksgiving stopped. (We did thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, and then immediate family only for Christmas. It’s a big family thing on my dad’s side, and it’s important to see them, so Jarak and I go to that, and then do Christmas with his family.) One of my favorite memories from growing up was having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off from school and spending the day in the kitchen with my mother making pie. My share of responsibility has grown from simply peeling apples and mixing pumpkin pie filling to completing whole pies on my own, with minimal assistance from her, to now making them entirely on my own, including making my own pie crust. And it’s a social thing, hanging out in the kitchen working.  When my brothers were both on this coast, they’d come to my house on Wednesday and we’d make pies together.  So it just feels strange and wrong to be doing it all by myself today.

I appear to have taken the collective baked yumminess of my parents, and what they have traditionally brought to big family/community functions and adopted it. I bring pie on Thanksgiving now that my mother no longer comes to Thanksgiving, and I bring bread to Easter, now that my father no longer comes to Easter. It’s my mother’s pie, and my father’s bread, and in some ways doing it this way means that I maintain my family connections even when they’re not there.
Tomorrow we pack up the car and drive the 2.5 hours to just outside Hartford with pies, cookies, homebrew, local beer and local whiskey (Yay Coalyard!) This year the cousins seem to have scattered to the four corners of the earth. My two brothers in Colorado and LA, with girlfriend’s family and son, and girlfriend’s family respectively,  a cousin in Maryland with his fiance, and a cousin in Geneva Switzerland with her boyfriend. We will have one child from each family with the parents this year. Yup… we’re grownups.

It’s been a hell of a week. No, literally, hell. I’m on call at work, which means that I can’t ever relax completely on my “off” hours. I always have to have my damn work phone with me. Add that to the fact that I’m seriously overworked and underpaid, and my bosses don’t appear to care, and it’s been a very rough week. Like coming home, throwing my keys on the table and pronouncing “I hate everything” and then throwing myself on the bed. Apparently I turn into a four year old when I’m tired and stressed out. Fortunately, my on-call week ends at 8am tomorrow morning.

Jarak, fortunately, has been wonderful. I’ve been careful to let him know that I’m not mad a him, I’m mad about work. And he’s been taking care of me. I’m super lucky to have him, and he has made things better. He took yesterday off of work, and we spent the whole day together. It wasn’t some grand trip or event, it was just puttering around the house, running errands, lunch at the Indian grocery, and then making dinner and bottling the stout we brewed at the end of August. (It fermented for something like 73 days. It’s nuts) Having a full day with him was wonderful.

On a different note, we’ve been doing lots of wedding-y stuff. It’s going slowly…We’re working on our website (by we, I mean Jarak built the thing, and comes to me for design approval on things. He’s awesome and creative like that.) We ordered our save-the-date magnets from a local printer who neglected to proof them beforehand, and our 3.5×4″ magnets were rotated 90*, so our photos were squished. Jarak grumped at them mightily about that, and they’re reprinting them for free, but still… argh! It took UPS 3 tries to deliver our box of envelopes because the driver rings the doorbell and then leaves… We have purple envelopes! And they’re local and recycled paper! Yay!

I’m trying not to compare our wedding to anyone else’s. What I know is right for us, and fits our budget/style/personalities is in some ways totally different than what is expected by people for a wedding. My cousin is getting married in March, and our good friends have invited us to be in their wedding next September. There will be huge differences in style, budget and aesthetic among all 3 weddings.

Other than the fact that we’re doing this on a (relative) shoestring, the main difference is how much we are doing ourselves, or are asking for help from friends and family. We have made our mead, will be brewing 2-3 batches of beer, and I will likely make some sort of yummy for the reception. Both of our families are full of amazing cooks who we are asking to help provide food. My college roommate who is a fantastic pastry chef is making the cake.  My mother is altering my dress. Our friend who used to be in a band is providing our PA system. We are focusing a lot on local businesses for things that we can’t make or do ourselves.  Our rings will likely be made locally (I have yet to find a pre-made ring that’s exactly to my liking.), our flowers will be from a local farm, the wine will be from a local winery, and perhaps best of all, Nick and Britin Foster of All Good Bakers have agreed to provide sticky buns for the morning of the wedding. These are all things that we believe strongly are important. And we are so blessed to have so many amazing people who are willing to help us out and make our day an awesome success.

Neither of us are particularly religious, and as such we are getting married outside with a friend doing the ceremony. Our siblings and my Bestest Friend Ever are standing up for us, and are standing up by family, instead of by gender. We will likely have an uneven number of attendants. Jarak and the boys will not be wearing suits. (Seriously, outdoors in late June? Shirts and ties are fine.)We will not be having champagne. All of these are things that we’ve been questioned/challenged on already. Fortunately, the questioners have graciously accepted our explanations.

Still, it’s hard to not slip into the mode of “oh, she’s getting/doing that? why can’t I do that?” Or “I wish I could afford that.” Even if it’s not something I want or need! Stupid wedding industrial complex and the cultural expectations that are wrapped up around weddings. Defending our choices is easy now, but I worry that I’m going to be sick of defending and explaining them come June when someone decides that I “have” to do something or we “must” buy this thing.

On a related note: in light of the “something old something new” rhyme, I’ve gotten it into my head that I’d like to borrow a sapphire/lapis necklace from someone. It feels rather silly and minor, but I think it would be a neat way to roll the last two parts of the poem into one. My engagement ring is my something old something new. The amethyst was in a necklace that my father gave me when I was 12.

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