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It’s funny. I never used to have any particular associations with bells. I mean, I appreciated them as I appreciate most lovely things.

Today, walking across Aotea Square as the 8 am bells rung out from the clock tower, my thoughts swung back to the wedding. Walking out of the old church on Tobermory’s – my husband’s! – arm, the church bells pealing, and unashamedly crying. That was when it first sunk in, I think. This man beside me is my husband, we’ve really done this.

That’s what I think of now when I hear bells. That odd moment of happiness so strange it hurts, on my husband’s arm.

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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emsk: (Default)

I finally worked out one of the reasons that sitting with the vicar before our wedding had such an emotional impact on me.

Growing up in Mum’s faith, there were certain expectations of things that would happen before marrying in the church. One of those would be the couple sitting with a couple of the older folks in the congregation for… couples counselling, I guess would be the term, talking over why you wanted to marry, whether it was the right thing to do, if you were really prepared to commit your lives to one another.

Some part of my hindbrain must have been expecting it, somewhere along the lines. In between Tobermory’s health problems, the whole stress of travelling overseas, being terrified of Seventy Complete Strangers, the whole thing, I don’t know that I ever sat down and just had the chance to tell someone WHY I wanted to marry him. Why I trusted that he wanted to marry me. Why, despite our very human frailties and issues, I felt that we had a life together that I wanted to keep, trusted to work, and had faith in a future of.

Our friends… well, they knew us, foibles and all, and you don’t really question why your friends are getting married, I suppose. Family, likewise.

The vicar was a lovely man. He got us talking, entirely aside from the religious aspect, just talking about ourselves. Partly as a reaction to his desire to only be performing a marriage for a couple he actually felt reasonably confident about, I guess – he struck me as a man with a genuine desire to live his faith. And the ability to share how I felt about life in that setting, how I felt about the marriage we were about to begin on that Saturday…

I don’t remember all of that evening, at this distance. The jetlag didn’t help. But I do remember the vicar saying to us that there was a certain poetry between us. The way we’d feed conversation lines to each other, joke and tease back and forth.

I think he was a bit of a romantic, too.

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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Jun. 13th, 2010 07:35 pm
emsk: (Default)

We had a party at home last night. A sort of “Hey, we got married, we’re now home, come say Hi” deal – it was a fantastic evening. Just about everyone I wanted to see turned up (and I understood the absences and missed the people – life happens!) – there was good food, good company, and it was a good night.

Also, I made cake.

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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emsk: (Default)

So. We were in the UK for a month. We spent time with friends, attended a wedding, stayed in B&B’s and friends’ homes, went to movies, went shopping, did Touristy things (Tower of London, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Legoland, and so on). Put over a thousand miles on Tobermory’s dad’s car. And somewhere in there we got married.

It was a busy month – there was only one day I can think of where we mostly just faffed about. So, from the beginning?

Tobes has learned that, if he’s delegated purchasing of the airplane tickets to me, he needs to doublecheck my bookings before we make them. The twelve hour layover in Brunei airport was possibly the longest twelve hours of my life that I can’t get back – nothing to do, nowhere to go, not even little luxuries like Western toilets* to use. As far as I’m concerned, my Friday that week was seventy hours long. I’d been up since 5am for work; stayed up until 2am when the flight went out; then spent 40 hours in transit. Landed in Heathrow on a Sunday morning, and stayed up until what technically counted as Sunday evening – although I very much doubt our mental state qualified as awake by that stage.

The amusement of the day was arriving at the in-laws, desperately in need of a shower, and broaching the topic of would they terribly mind if we showered together, because it would be SO MUCH EASIER to get rid of the disgusting airplane grime that way?

Father-in-law: “Are you married?”

Us: “… yes?”

F-i-L: “Exactly?”

Us: *blank, tired stare* *slow comprehension* “Oh!”

We showered together. They have one of those wonderful devices where there is a detachable head, an overhead-head, and six wall-mounted jets, all of which you can use concurrently or separately. Variable pressure, too. Bliss in a box. I want one.

The remainder of the first week is a bit of a blur. Somewhere in there I interviewed for my new job. I did wedding things – met the florist, the hairdresser, the caterers, the marquee people. Went to pick up Tobermory’s penguin suit from the suit-hire place (twice, because things didn’t fit quite right with the over-the-internet measurements, they rushed things in for us the day before the wedding). Shopped a little. Discovered the sweet shop. Did things around the in-laws property (which was the reception site). Tried to ensure that Tobes and his dad didn’t kill each other. Hauled my wedding outfit out of the suitcase, ironed it.

under the jump... )

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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May. 29th, 2010 09:54 pm
emsk: (Default)

I am twenty six years old.

This is how I spent my evening.

I had a lot of Lego as a kid. My nappy bucket (having done it’s duty and been thoroughly cleansed) subsequently became the Lego bucket – fifty or sixty litres of Lego, some from kits, some in bulk, all of it well loved. At about thirteen or fourteen, when I hadn’t played with it in years, Mum suggested – completely well-meaning – that I might want to consider giving it to a couple of young lads, whose parents weren’t terribly well off. At seven and four, respectively, they’d get more use out of it than I did. I agreed, and boy oh boy, those kids were SO HAPPY. I got thanked, again and again, for about six months thereafter.

I regret getting rid of the Lego now. It made sense at the time, but I do wish we’d kept it.

One of my fondest memories of my father isn’t really based on the recollection I have from childhood, but what I remember being told about it later. I love Lego. Always have. And when I was three or four, Dad bought the Lego police station.

Now, the Lego police station in 1988 was a bit different to the Lego of today. There was a helicopter, for a start, which the modern station doesn’t have (much to my disgust). It was seriously cool. And Dad happily hauled all the parts out of the box, and started building my Lego! I toddled over to ‘help’, as small children do, and was politely told to go and help my mother.

I, being an obedient and sweet child, toddled off to Mum. When asked exactly why I was there instead of playing with ‘my’ new Lego, I innocently explained that Daddy said Mummy needed my help!

I was promptly frogmarched back to my father, who had it explained to him that it would be very nice if he would perhaps play with the Lego, with his daughter, with the Lego that he had, of course, bought FOR his daughter, hadn’t he?

I remember, from the time, the bouncing between my parents that day (mostly because OMGSQUEELEGOSQUEE); as an older child / adult I’ve come to appreciate the real humour of the incident. Poor Dad, just wanting to play with the Lego he’d really bought for himself, on the excuse of having a four year old.

As far as I’m concerned, one of the advantages of being an adult is that I’m allowed to act like a child if I want to. Tobermory and I spent a day of our honeymoon at Legoland Windsor. We elected not to go on any of the rides in the end – it was a pleasant day walking around in the sunshine, we squeed at Miniworld, and spent far too long in the Lego store.

There was a child of about six in the store while we were there. He came in, and promptly lost his tiny little mind in utter glee – “look theres the! and the! and the!!! and!!!! and look!!!!!! andtheandthis!!! and look Mum this!!!! LOOOK!!!!!!! and eee! and the eee!!! eeee loook!!!!!”

You get the drift. His parents were looking a bit shamefaced, though I don’t understand why, so I commented fairly loudly that it was lovely to see such a happy kid. Hopefully they heard.

So, Tobes and I spent about, oh, forty five minutes in the store. We came home with the Police station, the current one. It won’t be the same as the one I remember, but I’m pleased to have it.

And, uh, we bought the Fire Station too. It just didn’t all fit in the luggage. My mother in law is posting the rest home.

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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emsk: (Default)

It was an amazing day. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and really made an effort on our behalf.

And it was overwhelming, with 70-odd guests I’d never met before. I didn’t cry during the service, although it was a bit of a near thing; I got through the vows without choking, although it may have helped that the entire church cracked up laughing when Tobermory repeated the “I promise to listen to what you have to say” bit.

As the bells started pealing as we walked out of the church, I did lean on Tobermory’s shoulder a little and cry.

He looked fantastic in the morning suit. My dress got muddy, but there should be some lovely photos – the ones I’ve seen off the best man’s camera and sister-in-law’s boyfriend’s camera are great.

It feels like we’re actually married, now. We’ve been legal for two months, but this was… real, somehow, in a way the legalities weren ‘t.

Now to learn to think of myself as “wife”.

emsk: (Default)

(We landed safely. International travel is BORING with a capital BORING, we both have jetlag and wah.)

We went to see the vicar tonight. As he’s doing the wedding-which-isn’t-a-legal-wedding, this is somewhat simpler than it may otherwise be. Nothing we have to answer or do for legal reasons, just paperwork that the church requires him to complete before marrying us.

Of course, the topic of religion came up, because, well, this is a wedding in a church. Despite my stated ambivalence, it’s something that was important to Tobermory’s parents – family tradition involves Marrying In A Church, and while neither of us are particularly religious, seeing as the Parents are paying, bowing to their tradition seemed… reasonable. It’s Church of England, after all; they aren’t exactly known for being hard nosed or strict.

I have been very conflicted on this, I will admit. Having left my childhood faith, religion in general left a sour taste; Tobes isn’t a religious person at all*, and the closest I can come to adequately explaining my own opinions on the topic is “It’s… complicated.” Originally I completely refused to even consider the idea. I subsequently realised how important it was for Family Tradition reasons, and conceded that maybe with a few concessions, I could possibly think about doing it. Tobermory has, bless him, mostly left me to it; has listened to me rant and rave, calmly offered alternate opinions, pointed me at websites, and occasionally smacked me upside the head with a “no, you idiot, CofE doesn’t work like that!” stick.

So, church wedding, conducted by vicar. This meant leaving spaces in the ceremony for religious things to occur.

I wrote our ceremony myself, with Tobermory’s agreement. I gave it to the vicar, with a request to re-write it in his own words**, leaving various blanks saying things like [Prayer] and [Blessing] because I knew they were required.

So, we talked tonight, the topic of How Does Mahal Feel About Religion arose, Mahal promptly burst into tears. Partly jetlag; I do generally avoid bursting into tears when religion is discussed. Well, you know, I generally avoid bursting into tears regardless of the topic, but religion being the topic at hand, I generally avoid crying over that too. I pointed out that, mostly as a result of my life/religious choices, the only people in my family who speak to me are my mother and maternal grandmother; and that while I do have time for the idea of whatever higher power you choose to worship, I have very little time for religion. There is a place for faith. I sort of vaguely acknowledge that there may be a higher power, somewhere, but I’m not willing to speculate any further than that. Provided I attempt to be a decent person, I figure any deity that matters will be capable of looking into my heart and working out whether I’m worth caring for.

The vicar’s a nice man, I’m jetlagged and emotional, I’m getting married and emotional, I am religiously confused and upset and emotional; call it what you will. He wasn’t pushy; he was kind and understanding. He wasn’t excessively inquisitive, once he realised just how upset the whole discussion of Why I Left Childhood Faith makes me. Or, at least, made me tonight. He wasn’t critical of some of the various ideas that Tobes and I shared about religion in general, some of which I know for a fact would intensely annoy my dear mother. Presumptuous as it is coming from my heathen mouth, I’d judge him a genuine Christian, and a good vicar – he cares about his flock, even people like me who are not (and will not be) part of it.

We talked for the better part of two hours, the vicar and Tobermory and me. Wedding stuff, religion, how-we-met, us-as-at-present-moment, things like that. As we prepared to leave, he asked us to allow him to pray with us.

I’ve walked out of the evening feeling … distinctly less antipathy towards religion. And no, I’m not going to magically make over my ways and start going to church. There isn’t a religion that could tempt me into that. It is complicated, and frankly short of extensive therapy I doubt I will resolve my issues with religion any time soon, because they are deep seated, extensive, and ongoing.

But some part of my conflicted little soul feels easier tonight.

* In fact, he has scathing disdain for the majority of organized religion, and other than a generalized willingness to accept that there is a possibility that Higher Power[s] Of Choice may possibly exist, has no truck with faith or religion at all. I entirely understand and appreciate the position, particularly as he comes to it from a position of EXTENSIVE teaching and research about a large variety of religions and faiths.

** Because I’d lifted quotes and ideas from various websites and such, and some of it was horribly Twee and some of it was gosh darn American, neither of which would sound at all natural emerging from a lovely British vicar.

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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emsk: (Default)

And we’re leaving! Heathrow is open, our airline have confirmed our flight is going ahead, and at o’dark’hundred tomorrow morning, we pick up and fly to the UK!

I have packed. Tobermory has not. He is not even home from work yet. His aunt, who very sweetly started emailing me a week or so back as a sort of “welcome to the family!” thing, predicts that he will manage to acquire a duvet and three socks at the last minute, and consider that packed.

I found this highly amusing, and also somewhat realistic, knowing my Tobermory.

I am both excited and a bit nervous. Not so much about the flying, because that’s basically an unknown – maybe I’ll be OK, maybe I’ll be miserable, who knows? Mostly nervous about wedding related stuff. Particularly meeting fifty-odd utter strangers at once.

Whee! We get to go!

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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And, of course, we’re flying into the UK. We leave next Friday and I’m REALLY hoping that the air traffic chaos caused by Iceland’s volcanoes has sorted itself out, because dammit, I want to go to the UK and our wedding. I’m sure this is a selfish miserly attitude, as there are a lot of people stranded in far more important situations than me going on a holiday/wedding, but wah wah, wah wah wah.

We have a week between our landing date and the wedding, so fingers crossed they can get me to the church on time…

Also, I really didn’t realise just how little baggage 20kg is. Tobermory keeps laughing at me – he’s a seasoned traveller, having been flying since well before I was even born – and finds my constant series of discoveries about packing luggage into the 20kg weight limit quite amusing.

My wedding attire plus suitcase took nine kg’s of my limit. I think I will have to buy a cheap wardrobe when I land, purely to wear for a month and discard when we’re departing for home again..

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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Apr. 4th, 2010 07:55 pm
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I am starting to get wound up about the wedding, now. It’s less than a month away, we fly out in less than three weeks, two of the things we’re arranging ourselves still aren’t done (although they’re doable) and it struck me yesterday that I had NO IDEA what had been decided by the inlaws about the wedding / reception. Like, how are Tobermory and I getting to the ceremony? Do they have dancing planned at the reception or not? I sent an email to my lovely mother in law going “augh, help” and, bless her, I got a long lovely email back, reassuring me that no, I was not nagging, I was entirely reasonably asking questions, here is lots of information.

Unlike my dearly beloved, I don’t deal terribly well with The Great Unknown, and as this trip is basically all about the great unknown – flying for the first time to a strange country, meeting approximately seventy people I’ve never seen before and will probably never see again, etc etc… yeah, I think I’m allowed to be mildly wound up.

On the plus side, we’re already married legally, so whatever happens on the day of the wedding, we’ll be just fine.

Boomer is definitely on the mend. He escaped from his confinement today, via a route that involved some tricky balance work and a push through a rose bush, so clearly he’s on the mend. Both cats, rather than being given the run of the courtyard, are now confined fully indoors for the next ~36 hours, until the vet’s deadline of “no outside until after Easter” is met.

So, yes, house arrest in place for kitties again. It is, admittedly, tempting to knock both cats on the head, especially at approximately 5am when they decide “Hey! Let’s run around like idiots and make a heap of noise, dig industriously in the litter box, tug on the curtains, dig at the doorway and irritate the shit out of the only human who wakes up [me] because we can’t get out!”, but it’s wonderful to know our wee lad is going to be OK.


This photo was taken just after Boomer got up, stretched, lay down, discovered to his surprise that the tigers’ rear paw was approximately where he’d intended to place his bottom, got up again, looked at it vaguely, and wriggled around to cuddle the paw instead.

Tigra often nestles on the other side. There’s a nice little sunny nook there, between Tiger / couch / window / curtain, which apparently soaks up sun. If we’ve lost her, it’s about the first place to check.

The photos were taken using Hipstamatic on the iPhone. I’m a complete sucker for gadgets and applications like that, I find them immensely entertaining to play with, although I am entirely well aware that far better effects could be achieved with a better camera and some post-processing in Photoshop or similar. Still, what else are toys for if not to play with them?

Originally published at spinneretta.com
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emsk: (Default)
The one thing I don't have more-or-less nailed down about my Appearance For The Wedding is my damned hair.

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair argh argh raaagrh.

I don't want it curly. I don't look like ME with curly hair.

I don't want it all up. Tobermory likes my hair. I like my hair! And it helps cover my back, which is always handy.

I have a veil, so I need some sort of hairstyle to poke the veil into. I kind of like my hair all out, but then I end up with it in my face, and, well, veil. I suppose I could leave off the veil, but... I like the idea of having one.

I don't like hairspray. I don't like backcombing my hair. (I detest backcombing my hair, in fact.)

All I want is to find some hairstyle that looks faaabulous, that I can do for myself, that doesn't require me to undergo torturous routines with hair curlers, hair spray, or a hair dresser, because I am doing this myself in the UK.

Whee, wedding.

We fly out in a month...

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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