Saturday, October 18, 2008


Someone asked me how I was doing today. I thought for a moment and then I said, "I actually am experiencing a few system failures." I've been struggling. I've been struggling with homesickness, with let-down, jet lag and with overwhelm. When you boil it all down, I think I have been having problems with re-entry.

I need to explain that the re-entry I am talking about is a different thing to let-down. Let down is what happens when you have been working really hard or being really involved in something and then it is over. Let down is that cold that you get at the beginning of your vacation. Re-entry is what has to happen when for whatever reason your life has been deeply and profoundly altered. Reentry is when you get home and you don't even recognize your furniture. Re-entry is when you look at your world and wonder how it can be the same when you feel so different. Let down is a pain in the ass. Re-entry can be a real bitch.

I don't want to sound down or depressed because I'm not! I've had the most wonderful, amazing time. But at the same time, it has felt strange moving back into my life. I have experienced this feeling before. I have experienced re-entry after funerals, and after my trip to Seattle. I have experienced re-entry after summer camp and when I flew home from England the first time. All of those experiences left me feeling different on a cellular level. How do you go back to normal when you don't feel normal any more?

My systems are slowly coming back on line. I am enjoying talking about the fun of the wedding. I am looking forward to our belated honeymoon. I am looking happily towards a future as a wife. I am beginning to understand that I need to work a little harder to keep those I love closer. All of these things are making the strangeness fade. Luckily, re-entry is always followed by a landing. It isn't always where you expected to be, but you are always a little wiser, a little more grateful and a little braver. If you are lucky, you are also a lot clearer about where else you are going and how you intend to get there.


(It's my birthday on Saturday! I'll be 34 years old. This will be my first year as a wife, too. Whew! This past year has helped me get that clarity of purpose. So I think that this next one is going to be about carrying out that purpose - wish me luck!)

Big Things are a Comin'!

Inspired by this:

And because I am participating in this:

I am also going to try to do this:

Because I have a LOT to get done and a LOT to do and I am going to use these three things to focus on the things that I am determined to get done. (And because making art scares me and I want to Be Brave!) November's going to be intense!!

Oh, and P.S.... YUM!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the wedding

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." - Willa Cather

This is my favorite picture of us from the wedding. It says a lot about the day that in every single picture of us we are either smiling or laughing (except some of the ones of coming down the aisle!) It was amazing! It started on Thursday night with our "fake rehearsal." It was fake because it wasn't at the place, we didn't have music, and some of the wedding party weren't even there! But it was a great night full of laughter and delicious food and loved ones.

Friday night we went up to the hotel early and went out with some of our friends who had come from out of town. (One even flew in from Manchester for the weekend!!) We went out for delicious Italian food and had cocktails and laughed all night. This was the first time ever that all of these friends had been together at once, so it was the perfect night-before evening. We could almost forget what was happening the next day.

On the wedding day, I slept in until 9:00 and was just waking up when my friend Sean knocked at the door and came in to see me. We sat on the bed and watched the Weather Network (good news!) and then the day began. Hair, make-up, 4 Teddy Grahams for lunch (see the last picture) and a lot of nerves and hairspray later, it was time! (While I was doing that, the groom, groomsmen, my parents, Mark's parents, our friends Bonnie & Alex and Ron & Elaine, my aunts and uncles and cousins, and others I am sure I have forgotten to write about here were madly decorating and carting and festooning and lighting and generally making the day one I will never forget - thank you from the bottom of my heart!)

Everything ran like clockwork until the stroke of 5:00pm when we were supposed to be walking down the aisle and my niece decided to fill her diaper. With one groomsman dispatched to tell the groom I hadn't run away, we started a little later and with a good story to tell at HER wedding!

The wedding was perfect! It was outside under the trees. My Dad walked me down the aisle and then also did the ceremony. My Mom and Oma and Mark's parents were in the front row. My sister-in-law and brother were standing up with us, as were some old friends. My friend Mike played music for us to walk up and down the aisle, and my aunt and two uncles played a beautiful song while we signed the register. We used "Union" by Robert Fulghum, and a passage from "The Velveteen Rabbit" and a piece written by Mark's sister as our readings. And a lot of the women (and one of the men) got into the English spirit of the day and wore hats. My aunt said that she kept expecting Robin Hood to come down the path behind us.

After the service, we had pictures taken and our guests had drinks and cocktails. The reception was inside this beautiful building that was made up of glass and beams. There was already grapevine and candles and we added round paper lanterns and more candles and so with the white linens, it looked like a fairyland - exactly the look I wanted!! Instead of tinking glasses to make us kiss, we gave each table of guests a challenge to complete. From the first table to do it, the reception then went completely bonkers. One aunt and uncle had to sell all of the pears at their table (the centrepieces were glass bowls filled with pears) to raise money for cancer research, another table had to construct a balloon arch, and others had to make up songs or poems about different things. It was spectacular and perfect chaos!

I must admit that it was also freezing cold. FREEZING. The challenges helped people to get warm, but stupid us had asked for salad as a starter and ice cream - ICE CREAM - crepes as desert. People were wrapped in blankets by the end of the meal, but everyone said it was one of the best weddings they have ever been to. One dear guest said she loved it - that every detail was perfect!

The speeches were heart-felt and wonderful. Everyone (particularly my brother and my parents) made me tear up. But the big tears came with Mark's speech. He won over just about every woman in the place with his words. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Just after that, my Uncle Jim (the MC) told everyone that they could go inside where it was warmer to dance. They were inside in seconds and then we danced the night away! (Largely because there wasn't anywhere to sit so people just shrugged their shoulders and danced.)

You forget sometimes how much you love people. I've not spoken much about my parents here because they are going to get another whole post to themselves. But the wedding just filled my soul to the brim with love for all of the beloved faces who were standing there smiling as I walked down the aisle. The love we were a part of that day and in the days since from those dear ones who couldn't attend or who we couldn't invite, humbles me. It was truly the best day of my life - so far!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

in retrospect

"I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my "real" life again at last. That is what is strange - that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and discover what is happening or has happened." - May Sarton

Mark and I looked at each other on Friday and said, "What just happened?" But it was the best sort of what-just-happened I have ever had! For more than two weeks we have been going solid, and it occurred to me this morning that I needed to sit and write it down before I began to forget things. Although everyone said our wedding would be a blur, I remember everything. The only thing I don't completely remember was walking down the aisle, but that was because I was too overcome with the emotion of seeing all of those beloved faces at once to concentrate on anything in particular. Then I got to Mark and I was calm again. The part I was the most afraid of was the part that was the easiest. Looking into his eyes and saying our vows was the most natural thing in the world.

I won't go into all of the details now. Mom has just gone to pick up the pictures from our photographer (these are pictures friends took) and then I will show you how perfect my bouquet was and how I couldn't stop smiling all day. I'll tell you about having the never-ending celebration and how our family and friends outdid themselves in the 'participation' part of the wedding. I'll tell you how it was the very best day/ weekend of my life so far! I can't wait to catch up - I've missed you - we have a lot to catch up on!

Here are a few pictures. I hope you like them! So... how have YOU been?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

All of me.

"For a long time, she flew only when she thought no one else was watching."
- Brian Andreas

I spent a few minutes with myself this morning. I have a series of books that I call my "Anything Books." They are hard-backed, lined notebooks in different colours and I have been filling them with anything for 18 years. They are filled with quotes, cards, poems, photographs, anything that I thought was something that I wanted to keep safe.

Caught up in a swirl of wedding preparation, I have been feeling off-kilter and I didn't really appreciate why. I opened one of these books today looking for a quote and I was confronted by my self. I remember so much of putting things into these books. I remember how I felt when I glued in a picture of my grandparents or stuck in a sticker from my favorite band. The older book is written in pink or purple pen and is full of stickers and SARK quotes written in the same colours SARK used. The newer one is slightly more reserved in shades of green and black, but the pictures and cards and quotes are the same - things, people and sentiments that I have loved - and it still speaks in the same way. "Here I am, this is who I am." I didn't understand at the time that I was creating myself. I understand it now.

I realized this morning that there is one thing I have left out of the preparation. I have forgotten to spend a little bit of time with the dreaming girl that I was. Most of the romance of the day is about her after all! I am going to be sleeping alone the night before the wedding and I think that she and I will have a little date. I need to whisper in the dark and tell her that she really did find her prince charming, and that reality of him is so much better than she ever thought. I need to tell her that falling in love is easier than we thought back then, and that every mistake and choice that we cried about brought us here - and here is good. I need to tell her that thanks to her message today, I will remember that being in love is the whole point.

That's it. We're off on the wedding weekend! Love to you all, and I will see you when I am a Mrs.

"For angels and lovers, everything sparkles." - Marianne Williamson (from my second Anything Book)