Monday, November 30, 2009


What we did:

How we felt:

It just makes you dizzy...
Hard to believe that it's been a month already!

See more of Kate Harrison's exuberant artistry here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zen and the art of Thanksgiving

Wedding planning is not the only social occasion to have been professionalized and perfected to the point of making ordinarily sane people crazy.

In the age of local, free-range, organic, fair trade food, Thanksgiving has its own conundrums (conundra?), including whether to serve turkey at all.

Consider, as the New York Times explains:

Your grandmother did not have to worry about this; a turkey was a turkey. Your turkey, however, must be free range and organic, and your sweet potatoes should be heirloom and local. Not only should you pick our own pumpkin, you should process it yourself (while hearing the voice of Martha Stewart say that she would never throw away the seeds — such a tragedy that would be!), and not only should you make your own fudge, but you should use the appropriate (fair trade and high cocoa content) chocolate. It’s a wonder you’re not making your own marshmallows, though Martha thinks perhaps you should.

Put this all together, along with your own sense of inadequacy (if you don’t have one, congrats — but are you sure?) and you have a situation that cannot be other than overwhelming.

Given all this pressure toward perfection, the Times has a perfect Thanksgiving recipe: just relax. After all,
When did performance anxiety and guilt become prerequisites for offering family and friends nourishment and hospitality?
Words the queen of social stress needs to hear! It's so easy to focus on what could go wrong, rather than on what will inevitably go right when dear ones are gathered at Thanksgiving, a wedding or any other social event.

We'll be joining friends and colleagues in San Francisco -- so much easier when someone else plans the menu!

Wishing you all a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How green was our wedding?

I'm still having a hard time digesting our glorious Beach Day into bite-size pieces suitable for blog-serving. It was epic. It was metaphysically earth-shaking. It was one of the most beautiful days ever. How do I take that and turn it into blog recaps? I don't yet know.

I do want to share what we did, and what we learned in this space, eventually. When we first started planning the wedding, I was lost at sea, awash in an overwhelming number of opinions, options, and "musts." The sane voices out there were such a welcome respite from all the gauzy images and lists of must dos (on which I was eternally behind!). I want to add our experience to the catalog of sanity.

It was important to us to have a wedding in line with our daily values, as environmental professionals. I've found tips for sane and green weddings all over the web. Before the wedding, I started to compare our plans with this list of eco-chic wedding tips from San Francisco Style Unveiled. Herewith, some more of the results:

26. Order your programs to be printed on 100% recycled post
consumer waste paper that has been processed without chlorine.
hmmm... Mr. Barefoot got them printed at the local print shop. Not sure what kind of paper was used. I'd have to say, though, forgoing programs entirely would probably be a more eco-friendly alternative. As I wrote here, unless the ceremony is in a religious tradition that many guests are unfamiliar with, it's not like there's so much going on that people can't keep track of it.

27. Rather than hosting a full bar, have a personalized cocktail made of organic ingredients – including organic vodka.
Fail. Beer, wine and gin were from BevMo. Sometimes, convenience rules.

29. Use food that is in-season for the reception.
Check. Katie Powers Catering focuses on local, organic, seasonal food that is shockingly delicious! People are still talking about the food!

30. Keep the wedding small. The more guests you invite, the bigger the carbon footprint left from the wedding.
Define 'small.' It all depends on your point of view. For folks with huge, gregarious families, a 100-person wedding might seem small. From my point of view, it was by far the biggest party I'd ever thrown.

31. Donate the flowers from your wedding to a hospital.
Or how 'bout you guests? All the flowers and vases went home with guests. Check.

32. Give each guest an 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb as a favor. Each replaced 50-watt incandescent bulb with the wedding favor will save 685 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Neat idea. Maybe next time...

33. Give a recycled handmade paper bookmark with wildflower seeds as a favor. This can be planted once they are finished using it.
Check. Something like that... we gave these birdseed hearts - the guests can share the love with our feathered friends. I'm not convinced that favors are absolutely necessary, but these were so cute, and in keeping with Mr. Barefoot's love of birds, that they felt right.

34. Purchase wedding shoes that you will wear again.
Oh, yeah, baby. Can't wait to wear the Jimmy's to holiday parties!!! That's why I bought 'em. Check.

35. Use a caterer who composts the leftover food.
hmmm.... honestly, I have no idea what they did with the leftover food. I would have been really stoked to bring home a doggie bag or two - it was that good!

36. Use locally grown flowers for your arrangements.
Check. Hooray for Local Flora! I have to show you her gorgeous arrangements.

37. Throw rose petals after the ceremony, rather than releasing butterflies.
Or nothing. Our national park beach location precluded throwing or releasing anything, which was just fine with me. Who wants to pick birdseed out of your hair on your wedding night? Check.

38. Give antique wedding bands to each other.
See #47.

39. Have your invitations made on bamboo paper.
How 'bout cotton paper, with some post-consumer content?

40. If you want to have a camera at each table for guests to use, rent the digital ones rather than single use.
Check. How many dozens of digital cameras were flashing that day??? We did get some single use cameras at the dollar store for the kids to play with. Quite a lot of fun for them. I wonder how many pictures of knees we have.

41. Travel by train, rather than by plane.
Does taking BART to try on my wedding dress count?

42. Purchase your dress or tuxedo from a vintage boutique.
Fail. New stuff all the way. Mr. Barefoot got a swanky handmade suit; my dress was from a bridal boutique. His suit is clearly re-wearable, which is how I convinced him to get a new one for the wedding (he was fine with wearing one of his two current suits). My dress, not so much. The question now is what to do with it? Initially, I had thought I'd donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer, or possibly sell it, but I'm feeling more sentimental post-wedding. And I really want to wear it again < blushes >. Suggestions?

43. Take an eco-considerate honeymoon. Travel close to home or consider eco-tourism for your honeymoon destination.
Does hiking and whale-watching count? Patagonia, here we come!!!

44. Consider having a meat-free menu at your reception.
Check. I think everyone survived. I didn't hear any complaints. See #29.

45. Have an outdoor ceremony and reception.
Check, on the ceremony. The reception was indoors.

46. Hire vendors who are committed to being “green” and providing sustainable wedding practices.
Check. The best!

47. Purchase a conflict-free gem for your engagement ring.
Check. Love Brilliant Earth!

48. Live green after the wedding.
Working on it. The next initiative: cutting down on the use of paper towels and plastic containers.

49. Give organic chocolate as a favor.
Yum. Great idea. See #33.

50. Use all local wedding vendors.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Love in the age of Facebook

While cleaning out my email in-box, post wedding, I came across this message:

Eric said on Facebook that you two are married. We need you to confirm that you are, in fact, married to Eric.

To confirm this relationship request, follow the link below:

It made me wonder: do people going around "spousing" those they are not married to?

Could I "spouse" a bunch of friends to make a simultaneous stand for marriage equality, and for polyamory?

If FB allows same-sex couples to spouse each other, is FB implicitly making a stand for same-sex marriage? Have opponents of same-sex marriage realized this, and if so, will they start to boycott Facebook?

Does the legal definition of marriage in the state or country where a user is based determine who they can "spouse"?

In a country that allows polygymy, would men be able to spouse more people than in a country that does not?

Who needs the New York Times Weddings section when you've got Facebook??? Not only is there waaaay more information on our FB pages than in the genteel bios of the Style section, but now my far-flung friends also know of our new status.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I can't wait...

... to see more of Kate Harrison's amazing photos from Beach Day!

A tantalizing peek is here.

It makes me cry everytime

Though not necessarily crafty in the usual material sense, our friends are gifted when it comes to words, music, and images. Two of Mr. Barefoot's friends played folk and bluegrass music at the cocktail hour. You've already seen some of the fantastic photos friends and relatives shot that day.

The ceremony, which featured readings from my two brothers, two close college friends of mine, and three grad school friends of Mr. Barefoot's, along with a blessing from my mother, the one minister on site who had been ordained through a proper bricks-and-mortar seminary, was my favorite part of the day.

A dear friend became the Rev. Jo B for the day, repaying a debt, with interest - as he pointed out - incurred when I was flower girl, ring bearer, officiant, and witness at the impromptu ceremony atop a Kauai hill joining him and my dear college friend more than a decade ago. The children of this couple, along with my nephew were our adorable flower children.

Our officiant's wife, one of my dearest friends and Woman of Honor, read this poem. I tear up every time I read it.

Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses

Mr. Teodoro Luna in his later years had taken to kissing
His wife
Not so much with his lips as with his brows.
This is not to say he put his forehead
Against her mouth--
Rather, he would lift his eyebrows, once, quickly:

Not so vigorously he might be confused with the villain
Famous in the theaters, but not so little as to be thought
A slight movement, one of accident. This way
He kissed her
Often and quietly, across tables and through doorways,

Sometimes in photographs, and so through the years themselves.
This was his passion, that only she might see. The chance
He might feel some movement on her lips
Toward laughter.

-- Alberto Rios

Monday, November 9, 2009

A wedding hike

I had very few particular dreams about my wedding. However, I'd always known that I wanted to be barefoot: grounded to the earth, and bare-headed: open to the sky.

These requirements meant that the wedding had to be outdoors. I had dreamed of getting married high on a bluff, reflecting our love of the mountains, but we knew that for the comfort of our younger and older guests, this was not to be. When we found a reception site less than a mile from the beach (itself a few miles from where we got engaged), it was clearly the ideal spot. The location was even more special because I had once worked on the land, restoring native plants to the area.

We could incorporate our love of hiking and the outdoors into the ceremony, by inviting guests to park at the reception site, and stroll 20 minutes down to the beach.

While Beach Day dawned sunny and bright, the fog moved in at midday, obscuring my vision of the 'perfect' day. My friends insisted that the fog added a romantic, ethereal touch. I tried to believe them. The previous day's rehearsal had been hot and sunny. Where was that weather when we needed it???

But where is the beach? On a clear day, you can see the waves from this point.

Not only was it foggy, it was chilly. Our guests are bundled up in heavy coats!

Such dense fog! Those faint white lines at the top of the photo are chairs at the ceremony site on the beach. From the crest of the path, you can see the beach, and Rodeo Lagoon, separated from the ocean by a thin strip of sand.

Oh, there are the chairs! But where are the waves??? The fog is so thick you can hardly see the water from the beach.

The walk to the beach was one of the very best parts of an utterly fantastic day. The festivities had officially begun, but we weren't yet in deeply in the swirl of it. It was just the nearest and dearest, out for a hike, albeit in fancy clothes.

Two of my oldest friends - my Ladies in Waiting, as they dubbed themselves - helped carry the back of my dress, keeping me from fleeing, we joked.
"This is surreal. I don't feel like myself," I said, struggling to remain calm.
"This is a ritual moment of transition. You're not supposed to feel like yourself," one of the Ladies sagely responded.

Guests gathered in the gloom on the beach.

When guests reached the beach, they could kick off their shoes and wiggle their toes in the sand. I wore spangled flip-flops for the walk, replacing them with the glorious Jimmy Choos later for dancing.

Here we come... The fog is lifting! Hooray!

Fog lifting over the lagoon....

The last wisps of fog are vanquished by the warm, autumn sunshine!
An apt metaphor for love.

Thanks to guests Madeleine and Srabani for the photos!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

On the utility of a honeymoon

Our Beach Day was so momentous and powerful in so many ways that it's been difficult to break it into bite size pieces suitable for blog posts.

Add to that the extreme fatigue and inertia I've felt ever since the wedding, and you can see why posting's been a bit slow lately.

By Sunday evening, after the wedding, I felt like a balloon from which all the air has suddenly escaped... so much excitement, energy and enthusiasm for so long, and then vrrroooooooossssshhhhhhh! all the air escapes, and the balloon deflates. This, in itself, is a good argument for escaping to a tropical beach for a couple weeks. Our work schedules didn't allow more than a couple days off - though we've got a big trip planned over the winter holidays, that doesn't provide the R&R needed immediately post-wedding.