Friday, March 26, 2010

The Barefoot Philosophy

Summed up beautifully here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What the heck are rhodium eroders?

Have any of you heard this phrase before???

Apparently, some people wear the rhodium plating off their white gold rings faster than others. The ones who wear away the rhodium fastest are 'rhodium eroders.'

Dr. Cowgirl and PK have both been alarmed to find the white gold of their year-old engagement rings turning yellow. I've noticed that the inside of my engagement ring is getting a yellowish tint, too.

Though rhodium is known to wear off, and white gold rings are supposed to need re-plating every so often, we thought it was on the order of 5-7 years, not annually. Apparently, re-plating the rings hurts them, because the gold is sanded down (thus removed!) before the new rhodium plating is applied. Getting the ring re-plated every year would soon cause it to vanish into nothing!

Brilliant Earth has suggested waiting as long as possible to get the rings re-plated. This doesn't seem to be an ideal solution if the rings are not looking their best. Anyone know anything about getting white gold rings re-plated???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recap #4: A Participatory, Quaker-ish, DIY Ceremony

It was important to us that the wedding ceremony be a participatory, inclusive event. We briefly considered (more than once, actually) just going to City Hall (especially when the planning got overwhelming, as it inevitably does). Ultimately, though, we decided that getting married was about making a public commitment, recognizing our embeddedness in our community of family and friends.

And if our peeps were going to be there, I wanted them to be involved. Not in the designing invitations and baking cakes and arranging flowers sort of way -- our people are more cerebral than crafty, for the most part -- but through participation in the ceremony.

We had seen our friends Data Monkey and Mountain Man pass their rings through their assembled guests to be blessed by each pair of hands. On a sandy beach, though, that didn't seem like such a good idea.

Next we considered asking our guests to bring some small thing that they could add to a larger collective, as a representation of our community, during the ceremony. Some weddings have incorporated water or sand from different parts of the country to represent the families joining together.

Ultimately, we linked this idea to the guest book, a coffee table book of photos of some of our favorite places.
We asked everyone to bring a rock or some other non-decomposing natural object, which we collected together in a glass vase that now lives on our mantle. We requested:
Rock Ceremony
Please bring a rock or other dry and relatively inert bit of nature, such as a shell or small piece of driftwood, to add to the glass vase symbolizing our community. We would like to collect a bit of nature contributed by each person or family that attends the ceremony as a tangible reminder of all those who joined with us for our special day.

We will collect the rocks in a glass vase next to the Guest Book, and invite you to tell us something about your rock in your Guest Book message.
To involve many voices in the ceremony, I was campaigning for a Quaker-style ceremony, in which people could simply speak when and if they felt moved to do so. Unsure that people would really speak up, Eric wanted a bit more structure.

We compromised by asking eight friends and family members to read relevant passages of their choice, AND informing our guests that the ceremony would include open time in which anyone who wished to speak could do so.

So that guests could prepare, we wrote on our wedding website:
Quaker Moments during the Ceremony
During the Ceremony, the Officiant will open the floor (sand!) for anyone who is moved to speak to do so, in the manner of a Quaker meeting. We welcome your thoughts and wishes during this part of the Ceremony.
This worked out amazingly well. A number of friends and family members offered comments, reflections, and tributes that were both funny, touching and heartfelt.

Sadly, I remember almost nothing of what was said! I was so caught up in the emotion and sensations - the warm sun, soft sand, rhythmic waves - that few of the words of the day stuck with me.
I do remember Mountain Man saying that he had recently married an only child - as Eric is - so he and I should talk about how to handle being married to an Only.

At the end of the ceremony, my mom offered a blessing on our marriage.

Photos from Rob.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Infinity engagement ring

I love the idea of an engagement (or wedding) ring that represents the infinite.

This one is engraved with a line from modern poet Montana Wojczuk:

"Quietly now, the dreams are sleeping now it is time to live."

Could there be a more fitting sentiment for embarking on a life together?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gratuitous shoe post

I'm kinda obsessed with these (and they're half price right now!).

I need another pair of shoes like I need a ping-pong playing penguin!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dr. Cowgirl rides again!

In the midst of all the thoughtful and personal discussions about body image, self perceptions and photography going on, I feel a little bit funny about re-posting these photos that recapitulate the slim-white-attractive paradigm. I'm not at all saying this is what a wedding should be -- though it's what a wedding could be. And it's certainly not the fact that these two happen to be utterly adorable that makes them worthy of posting on my blog.

However, this was one of the most fun weddings I went to last summer.* Mountains, fields, camping, thunderstorms, hail, sundresses & down jackets, cowboy boots, wildflowers, gin and juice, and dancing in a barn to the most kickin' bluegrass band ever.

Dr. Cowgirl and I shared the journey through rings, dresses, location, decor... all of it. We tried on countless dresses together, visited Mercurio Brothers** to order our invitations together, shared schemes about vases and bottles for decor.

I've showed you a bit of her wedding here. Those few snapshots hardly did justice to the beauty of the ceremony, the generosity of her family, and awesomeness of the Rocky Mountain landscape. So when Dr. Cowgirl forwarded the link to some of her photos by Katy Gray at The Bride's Cafe, I knew I'd have to post some here.

Her wedding took place at her parents' property in Tetonia, Idaho, just west of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Guests were invited to camp on the property, overlooking the Teton River and the mountain ranges. It was convenient to be so close to the festivities in a tent with a view. We would have been there all weekend, too, if it weren't for a ridiculous storm blowing in...

Dr. Cowgirl's niece read a lovely passage from Where the Sidewalk Ends, that I posted here.

The skies finally cleared in the evening. Shouldn't everyone have an Airstream trailer glowing in the moonlight?

See more of Katy Gray's lovely work- including more Airstream shots, and a couple great claw-foot bathtub images - here.

I should also mention that these photos - plus my own, by Kate Harrison - have convinced me of the value of a professional photographer. Initially, dumbfounded by the expense involved, I was planning to forgo the professional and count on the cameras of numerous family and friends. However, I have come to the conclusion that a talented pro can capture the fleeting moments of intense emotion in which the beauty and drama of the wedding shine through. I have never considered myself photogenic, and neither has Eric. Both of us dislike having our picture taken. However, I am mightily pleased by the images from our wedding, feeling that they capture a beauty I never knew was there. That is the alchemy of a talented photographer.

*One of the five best weddings I went to last summer, for sure.***
**Gorgeous, affordable letterpress, doncha' know!

***Total number of weddings attended last summer: 5. All so, so fun and perfect in their own way!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recap #3: An officiant for the pan-religionist and the agnostic

The tradition of marrying within one's faith, as a member of religious community, certainly simplifies the decisions about where and by whom to be married. But what if you're a dabbler in many religions /practitioner of none (me) or an agnostic-leaning-atheist (him)?

We settled the location question with the closest thing we have to religion: a deep, shared love for the outdoors, and chose a place that had personal meaning to us. That it was gorgeous and nearby were huge bonuses.

Now that we had the place, who would preside? This was one of the hardest decisions of the wedding planning process, and the one that took the longest to nail down. We considered a Buddhist teacher I'd met at a retreat once. He had great humor and flair, and plenty of wise insights. But we wanted the wedding to comprise people who really know us, and this teacher probably wouldn't recognize me if we ran into each other on a crowded San Francisco street. Next...

My mother, the ordained minister? A seemingly obvious choice. But I wanted my mom to be my mom that day, not worried about conducting a service, and I didn't want to exclude Eric's non-religious family.

Finally, we settled on each choosing one opposite gender friend to co-officiate (he would select a female friend, I would select a guy). It seemed very balanced and progressive and community-oriented. His friend said 'yes.' I dilly-dallied and procrastinated about asking mine. The summer crept along. Then we found out that his friend was going through a personally challenging time, and wouldn't be able to officiate.

we found out that my friend was facing a personally challenging time, as well. Did I dare add additional stress to his life by asking him to officiate? I hoped he would see it as the great honor that we meant it to be, but I worried that it would unnecessarily complicate his life (though as we know, a wedding is not an imposition).

Much to my relief, he agreed to officiate (after quickly becoming a minister of the Universal Life Church Monastery), on the condition that Eric and I put together the ceremony so that he would simply serve as its Master of Ceremonies and organizer.

And what an MC he was! He knew well how long and circuitous the journey to this particular moment had been - his voice cracked with emotion more frequently than mine! To me, that truly honored the gravity of the commitment we were making, far more than someone whose experience with such ceremonies would cause them to be practiced and smooth. I feel privileged knowing we are (probably) the only people ever to have the honor of being married by this friend.

And, I will have to start studying hard to repay my debt in kind: do you know, he asked after the ceremony, how difficult it will be will be to find a rabbi for my son's bar mitzvah?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whither spring?

Another rainy weekend. Following on a too busy week. Many, minor professional ups and downs for the Mr. and myself, all part of our crazy, wonderful lives in academia. The fabulous - and frustrating - thing about academia (or is it life?) is that it's always in flux, never predictable. Opportunities arise and fall away. Decisions are ever pending, ever changeable.

I learned about an amazing post-doctoral position across the country. Was it the sublime opportunity to do months of uninterrupted writing that would result in numerous published articles and a book, catapulting me to academic fame - or at least tenure? Or was it a siren song, threatening to draw me away from all that I love: my home, my friends, my job, the Bay Area, and most of all, my new husband? Husband wants what's best for me; I want what's best for our marriage.

My dissertation advisor and current departmental chair encouraged me to apply, suggesting that the prestige of a postdoc could only enhance my future career success. Another advisor, who knows me better, discouraged me, pointing out that I've 'got it made' with a job and husband in a place I love.

It's hard to know what to do. Initially, I planned to apply, thinking that the chances of getting it are relatively slim anyway, and I could sort out my decision if and when I came to that. On the other hand, there's nothing in me that wants to move across the country right now... but is that just exhaustion, following on the heels of a year full of transitions?

One more week until spring break - to be spent catching up on home and work tasks. Including getting hooked up with my new doctor and dentist, because, according to this stress test, via 2000 Dollar Wedding, I have "High susceptibility to stress-related illness." Yikes.

Spring break, and even better, SUMMER, can't come soon enough.

If it were sunny, I'd be wearing this

or this

with this, via Oh Joy!

or this