Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Failure

American women are trained to never feel good enough. (French women too, judging by the infomercials for industrial-strength girdles and diet plans that required eating mush 3 meals a day that we saw on TV in Paris.)

I spent months before the wedding worrying about how I hadn't managed to re-lose those 20 pounds. You see, a couple of years ago, I lost 30 pounds, against difficult odds (work stress, travel for work that required eating in restaurants for every meal, tray upon tray of cookies and pastries that they threw at us during the final few weeks of crazy project stress). I hit my goal weight and maintained the loss for 4 months and then the project kicked in again and I started re-gaining.

It's really quite unfair--those 20 pounds don't belong to me. They're the fault of the company I was working for with the crazy project, so if there were any justice in the universe, those 20 pounds would be on the hips of one or more of the senior execs responsible for all the stress and travel.

Then I moved (which involves eating takeout), and switched jobs, and planned the wedding. I counted my points diligently, and still didn't manage to re-lose that weight.

Hopefully, now that the stress is decreasing (heh), I'll show some progress. I had so much more energy when I wasn't lugging around that extra weight and I'd really like to wear the clothes I bought when I hit my goal. Re-losing those 20 pounds is something I want to do for me.

But it may always feel too late.

Because there I am, in those wedding pictures with a double chin in some shots. Mostly candids, where I'm making faces at my cousin or something, but still. The first time I looked at the proofs from my wedding photographer, I felt like a failure.

This was my wedding day. I was marrying the Bert to my Ernie. Happily ever after, starting right there. And looking at the pictures, all I could see was my weight. (And I have a suspicion that if I had managed to re-lose the weight, I still would have only seen my weight in the pictures, just with a different reaction.)

That's fucked up.

It's shallow, but we all do it. Between the expense of the wedding photographer and the knowledge that you're going to still be looking at these pictures in decades to come, how you look in your wedding photos feels incredibly important. The last thing you want is expensive, well done pictures of yourself having a bad hair day. Or a bad jowl day.

On the bright side, for months now, my chiropractor has been trying to convince me that I shouldn't look too good at the wedding. If you're at you're most beautiful at your wedding, then years later, your kids will look at your wedding album and say, "Gosh, Mommy, you used to be so pretty. What happened?" But if you look even better (thinner, heathier, more becoming hairstyle, whatever) after the wedding, then your kids, friends, relatives will look at the album and tell you how good you look now.

So there is that.

Mind you, when I look at most of my wedding pictures, I don't look fat. I look happy. I just hope that years from now, I don't show people my wedding pictures and go into the whole story about how in those pictures I'm carrying around 20 extra pounds that are totally not my fault.

When exactly does the self-loathing let up?

I was going to include this quote about failure that I found on This is So Queer..., but upon further reflection, the fact that I didn't re-lose the weight isn't a failure. The failure, I think, is in viewing it as a failure at all. I've had a lot going on in the past 12 months. Something had to give.

But the quote has also helped me keep my chin (or chins) up during the job search thang, so here it is anyway:

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down. -Mary Pickford


Paris pictures and stories this weekend. I promise, promise.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Wedding Post

According to my & HA's digital camera, 4 things happened on our wedding day, and 2 of them were my brother and his fiancee standing above us on some stairs.


According to my mother's digital camera, over 120 things happened that day. There's even a shot of me having my hair washed at the salon. For the few people who will actually want to see all of those pictures, I'll be turning them into a comic book with Comic Life. I already did the same with my mom's pictures from the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and it was extremely well received. Truly the best way to display twelvty shots of people signing the marriage certificate.

For the rest of us, a few high points.

To begin with, I started to lose my voice 2 days before the wedding. It really started to go the day before and I had to resort to notes for most of the day of. The pastor scooted closer to me during the vows so that his body mike would pick up my whispers. It was too ridiculous to be upsetting and never before has a bride gotten so many laughs during the, "I will."

The hilarity was in full force at the beauty salon that morning. We didn't think to call the doctor until that morning, and of course, he returned my page during the hair washing.

 Here's a shot of my makeup artist right after we remembered that my dress was low cut and I needed foundation on my chest:PB030050

Hair & makeup done, we went back to the hotel for a quick lunch before the photographer showed up for the getting ready pictures. We stalled as long as we could, but eventually, we had to head out into the cold and wind to take the outdoor pictures.

PB030063

It wasn't too cold or windy to go outdoors, but it was close. Everyone bundled up when they weren't in the shot. That scaffolding wasn't there when we originally picked the spot (a block from the hotel), but the photographer kept it out of the pictures. If it had been warmer, we might've been more inclined to check one block over to see if there was a similar, but construction-free area, but it's fine. 

We got to the church super-early and had plenty of time to hang out while my side of the wedding party went on a coffee run. We had loads of extra time both before and after the ceremony. Part of that is good planning, assisted by our photographer, who had a good idea of when to start the formal pictures, and so on, so that we wouldn't be rushed. But I think my voicelessness was also a factor. As one of our guests pointed out, I'm usually one of the loudest people in the room and there I was, reduced to writing notes and performing mime. Things moved along so quickly because of the lack of my yapping.

Anyway, we waited around and then it was time and then we got married.

PB030088

Highlights of the ceremony include:
  1. a bridal coughing fit. During the vows.
  2. bride starting to feel faint from excitement, happiness, and bride's status as Most Likely to Have As Many Mishaps as Possible
  3. the pastor saying the words, "god is watching over us" just as a homeless man with white hair and beard peeked in the window above and behind the pastor. One guest reports having a giggling fit that I can only hope was caught by the videographer.
Then it was on to the reception, where a good time was had by all, my mom took a quintillion pictures of guests and action figures were removed from the centerpieces and placed in compromising positions.

PB030092
PB030091

I went through the better part of 2 notepads, and contrary to what everyone on the planet will tell you, I was able to eat at my own wedding. Although I didn't join the clean plate club like I usually do. That was either nerves, excitement, or the super-strong shapewear pressing against my stomach. Or all 3.

Finally, we got to do our big dance. And seriously? I'm really glad we took the dance lessons. Even the simplest turn that we learned in our first couple of classes got a huge reaction. Definite bang for the buck. And of course, we ended with a dip.
PB030148

I Just Saw Michael Palin's Jumblies

So His Awesomeness and I are fans of Michael Palin's travelogues, going way back to Around the World in 80 Days. We even both own copies of the companion book.

We haven't seen all of his travel shows, so we've been buying them up and making our way through them. Today, while we had lunch (the last of the turkey, stuffing, gravy leftover extravaganza), we watched Episode 2 of Pole to Pole. Now in Episode 1, we saw Michael Palin's tushie as he left a traditional scandinavian sauna and skinny dipped in a lake. He took great pains not to show more than that to the camera.

So imagine my surprise, when about to be treated to a mud bath in a Ukrainian spa, he emerged from the dressing room completely starkers! Eek! I'd never seen it before, but HA says that he watched it on A&E in 1992 and there was a complete lack of full frontal Palin back then.

Gracious me.

Cross one more thing off of the list of Things I'd Never Thought I'd See.

Knitting, wedding and honeymoon content soon. Promise, promise.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Happiness of Strangers

I have massive amounts of storytelling to do, but before I unpack my adjectives, I have to get all the pictures organized, get my head together, find the time to sit down and write instead of doing the job hunting thing, etc.

So here's a quick picture to tide you over:


And now 2 little anecdotes from the wedding day that I hope to always keep in my pocket and pull out to cheer me up on bad days.

OK, so we got married here. As you can see, it's very open, and people coming and going peek in through the windows whenever they have something going on. The spot where I lined up with my attendants before we made our big entrance is visible to the steps leading down from the street into this little plaza that has some shops and an entrance to the subway.

While the entrance music was playing, I saw 2 couples, probably in their 20s walking down into the subway. I even heard one of the women exclaim that she liked my dress. Shen then walked down the steps towards the big, glass doors and throwing her arms open, shouted, "Congratulations!"

I mouthed, "Thank you!" and waved back.

I might've felt some last minute panic when it was time to start walking (as I am wont to do), but instead, I was smiling and happy that some random person was happy for me.

Ceremony happened, I'll tell you all about that later and then on to the receiving line, which literally went too quickly. It was a blur, as I expected, but it took so much less time than we had planned on, that Mike & I just hung out in the sanctuary for a while before making our exit so that people didn't start showing up at the reception too early.

I shook the hand of one tall man and just assumed that he was some out of towner connected to His Awesomeness. But no, the gentleman was a visiting pastor from Denmark and took the time to wait in line with my rabid relatives just to tell us that it was his first American wedding and to say congratulations in Danish.

According to Freelang.net, the word is tillykke, but I have no idea if that's what he said, because, you know, blur.

But, wow. I didn't realize which relatives hadn't made it to the ceremony (work, etc.) until they turned up at the reception and I realized that I hadn't seen them. But a random Lutheran pastor who was there because he just thought it would be nice--him I remembered.

Never pass up the chance to be kind and friendly to a stranger. Compliment that lady's shoes, stuff like that. Our friends and family have to be nice to us. It's cool when other people do it too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Buried

2 weeks away, not even 2 weeks, more like a week and a half. And how many bloglines were waiting for me when I got back? Over 500! Thanks to NaNoBlog Every Day in November, it's like trying to sweep back the incoming tide with a broom. In the past week, I've been able to get it below 400 for a few minutes, but it bounced right back up again.

So I've spent the last week buried under piles of:
- unread blog posts
- unpacked luggage
- job search activities
- unwritten e-mails to a whole load of people saying, "Hi, I'm back. Let's catch up."
- vacation pictures that need to be uploaded for sharing
- unwritten blog posts (about the wedding, about the trip to Paris, about the Green Tea Raglan)

OK, so hello blog. I'm back. Much to tell. More soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Out of My Freaking Mind

You know why? 2 days to the wedding and what am I doing? Ripping back my Green Tea Raglan. Or to be more accurate, pulling out stitches.

Remember those "locking stitches" that gave me so much trouble when I shortened my friend's sleeves? They're in the green tea, too. Apparently, this is just what it looks like when you rip back from the cast on edge. Every place where you switched from knit to purl does that. And the front and back of Green Tea are seed stitch. So that means it happens every single stitch. Which actually seems to be making it easier to get the stitches on the needle.

So, when ripping back from the cast on edge of any stitch pattern that includes a combination of knit and purl stitches--cut the stitch at the end of the row and then start pulling out the yarn as you place the loops onto the needle.

Why am I doing this in the first place? I was sewing up the seams because I have a few minutes and was hoping to wear it on the honeymoon. After trying it on, I discovered that it's too long, to I had suspected. Because of the different row gague I get, it's covering my hips, accentuating how big they are. I prefer tops ot hit the top of my hips.

And actually? Focusing on something like this is quite relaxing. I sincerely doubt I'll be wearing this in Paris, unless I can finish it up tonight and maybe sew in the ends once we get there.

I might even keep it handy this weekend. Once my hair and makeup is done on Saturday, I won't be able to do any yoga to relax, so maybe weaving in ends will help if I get antsy.

OK, even I think that's insane.