Tuesday, November 17, 2009

OMG Shoes -- The Pictures

Our shoes have a little story: Over the course of the last five weeks, Alex and I have been on team for a Mastery Course with the More to Life programme. We each had various jobs: audio, props, hospitality, etc--and apparently finding our wedding shoes. One of the teachers, H, for the course has not only become an inspiration to each of us in our lives, but she's is also a serious fashion inspiration! Dressing so smartly for each session, H rocked each session with the material--and her outfits.

As it happens, H wears a lot of deep reds and purples (if I'm not mistaken, they are part of the late winter palette she was given when she had her colours done). Alex's favorite color, as you may know by now, is red which she wants to accent with at the CA wedding. She has also been looking for broughes/wing tips. My favorite color is generally green, but for our UK wedding, I have been looking for little purple kitten heels to match our colors there of purple and green (based on dark purple tulips).

So, when H show showed up the first week wearing chunky heel, patent leather, two tone broughes/wing tips both of our jaws dropped. Then our mouths fell open again when she said she had bought them at the same time as another pair of heels: dark purple suede kitten heels.

Well, upon seeing the second pair the following week of Mastery, we were sold and booked a lunch date with H to go shoe shopping! Twenty minutes or less in the shop and we had our shoes!!

Alex's shoes--if you know her at all,
you'd know how incredible it is that she bought heels!

So sweet and adorable,
I'm already breaking them in around the house.

As for the specifics, I'm definitely wearing my to the UK wedding only, but Alex is torn about how many times/when/where to wear hers. Irregardless, we couldn't be more excited about SHOES!

Update: Also blogged about on So You're EnGAYged!

Friday, November 13, 2009

OMG Shoes

We bought our wedding shoes!!

AND our lives are crazy busy right now--and awesome. So for a full-blog substitute, please accepts this ode to shoes, if you will:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And you shall call her by her name...

This is the phrase that keeps ringing through my ears: it's a poem, knocking. I could write about shoe shopping on Wednesday, my search for an amethyst necklace or how the Save-the-Dates haven't gone out yet, but today, today I want to write about love.

It seems like most days all I want to write about is love.

Last night there were lots of tears. There were lots of tears for different reasons, from both of us. No one's sick, no one's died, and I am learning there is nothing wrong with tears. And last night I held Alex as she fell asleep, her head nuzzled into my chest. I tell you this because it was then, a half hour gone of her asleep and me awake in the street-light-through-curtain darkness that this phrase whispered in my ear: "You shall call her by her name: Love."


It is what I call out when I speak of Alex, and what she calls for me.

My parents called each other "Babe" when they first got together. I have given and been given nicknames from lovers and friends past: e, darling, lovely, sweetheart, babe; names with inside observations, names not reserved just for me.

In London, it is common to be called "love" by friends, new acquaintances, customers, retail employees, etc. Imagine the American diner waitress asking, "What can I get you, sugar?" Insert "love" instead and make the waitress a barmaid in a pub. In Cornwall, instead of "love," it is "lover." Are you alright there, my lover? I did not know this casual, cultural use of "love," then.

In the first weeks of being with Alex, the name escaped from my lips before I even consciously recognized what I was saying. I remember it was an autumn morning in the Ocean St house, the light was so crisp on those last days on the coast and there was a soft breeze through the window. I remember sitting on the stairs, she was by the kitchen table.


This morning I realized I was echoing a biblical phrase: "...and you shall call his name Jesus." I Googled it to find out that it was from Luke 1 and a church website included the partial accompanying verses: "And the angel said to her...you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great...and of his kingdom there will be no end."

I don't think an angel spoke to me, but I do believe that when I knew what love was, I called her by her name.

I believe that each time I invoke the name "Love," it is powerful and it is great. There is a heft to it. It reminds me of why I want to connect with Alex, with others, with the world, and I believe love has no end.

I do not tell this story to spark conflict between religious text and personal experiences nor is it told for political gain or change of consciousness. I tell this story because it is my own. I tell this story because it is my love story, my Love: the head on my chest at night; the face I look to each day; the single, most powerful capacity bestowed upon human beings.

Love. I believe in love. And I ask for nothing more than to continue believing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For California--and Maine

Yesterday, the State of Maine passed Question 1, a measure similar to Prop 8 denying same-sex couples the right to marry in their state. My reaction since I heard the news was just to ignore it; to even consider to take in the news felt like too much to handle.

I had forgotten what last November felt like: the tension, the queasiness, the disbelief and anger. I had forgotten that I could barely stand going to work at City Hall that week, keeping my mouth shut, and so thankful I could escape down to Santa Cruz that following weekend. I wonder if someone in Maine is in the same shock as I was; I wonder if they'll have a place to escape to and know they are loved.

I don't remember if it was after the election or after the start of this blog that myself or someone else (cousin?) found these earrings on Etsy: Rainbow over Sacramento, Shame on H8. The entire purchase price is donated by the artist to overturn Prop.8 in California. I couldn't afford them whenever I saw them first, but today I woke up thinking about Maine, feeling that pit in my stomach, and decided to buy them.

Purchasing power: I am still grappling with the concept of using capitalism as a mode through which to effect change. And yet, how can it not be when my money goes directly to funding a movement for change, a change for the acceptance of love.

The money may go towards funding California's freedom to marry as a result of this purchasing power, but, Maine, I bought these for you. I had forgotten what it felt like to have love lose out, and you were the reminder. I will wear these on my wedding days, legal and not, and remember.

Rainbow over Sacramento - Shame on H8
AlaineJewelry on Etsy

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's Wedding Ponderings

First of all, someecards is hilarious--and always reliable for a good gay laugh. Case in point: They are now doing wedding invitations. Alex and I should have gone there instead of Etsy! My favorite reads: 'Please be our guests for some state-sanctioned girl-on-girl nuptials' and depicts two women kissing in princess hats! Hilarious!

Secondly, the extra yard of fabric I ordered from The English Department for my wedding dress arrived today! A yard of Shantung silk in 'Snow' from Jenny Yoo for 'Bride: Erica Gillingham' was pretty exciting to see in my hands. (I'm still not used to being called 'a bride,' particularly by shop owners and businesses. I'm not sure I always like it; more on that in a minute.)

The English Department
Shop front in Portland, OR. (Photo via site.)

The extra fabric means that I can now change the straps on my dress to a wider, more sophisticated style which will also allow me to pin a corsage/boutonniere (instead of carrying a bouquet; see Ceremony Gender Flips if you want to hear more of my thoughts) to my beautiful dress!

For the alterations, I've just spoken with the ladies at Luellas' Boudoir in Wimbledon. Rachel Attwell's shop caught my eye from the window of the 493 Bus on my way to university each day. When my home-town friend, Leslie, came to visit me in London, we took a trip over there and really enjoyed chatting to Rachel and checking out their range of accessories and new dresses.

Luella's Boudoir
Shop front in Wimbledon, London (Photo via site.)

This, of course, was BEFORE I proposed... Still, I remembered the pleasant interaction (which included telling her about proposing to my girlfriend; not sure she'd heard that one before!) and have made a tentative appointment to have my dress looked at for alterations by their designer.

With all the goodness continuing to abound (ease of picking things out, items arriving on time and in one piece), I still have two concerns:

1. Where to go for alterations: While Luella's Boudoir has been on my list of places to visit with Alex (or without her and with my friend Julie--there are some things Alex isn't supposed to see before the big day!), there is part of me that feels hesistant to have my dress altered there. Will it be more expensive because it's a 'wedding boutique' and not a tailors? Possibly. Possibly not.

Another part of me keeps thinking of all the tailors in my own area of London--there are two practically across the street from me after all! Still the tailors in my area are either housed in dry cleaning shops or specialize in saris or West African formal dresses, not American wedding dresses, and a third part of me wants to ensure I'll get the vintage look I want with the strap alterations and have a bit of the fuss of being in a bridal shop. Luella's, I think it will be.

2. Here comes the bride--shopping (or Who's the Groom?): I have had a particular pre-occupation the last few weeks about the intense focus on THE BRIDE in not only all the wedding advertizing and websites (think of all the Bridal magazines out there) but also with the promotions of vendors. For example, wedding photographers: it feels like half of their 'wedding galleries' are close up shots of the bride getting ready, standing in a window, posing coyly, oh yeah, and then with the groom. And the groom? Aren't there two people in a wedding? Isn't a wedding supposed to be about than how pretty the bride looks?! SO frustrating!

But it's not just frustrating aimlessly. It's frustrating for two reasons I've been able to pinpoint so far:

Firstly, I have started to feel that the word 'bride,' like the word 'wedding,' equals huge dollar/pound signs, blown-up ideas and mass marketing. With this interpretation then, every time I heard/read the word 'bride' or are in fact called a bride by shop owners, I just feel like a walking, gullable money purse just waiting to be plucked. As if all the wedding photographers, jewellers or wedding boutiques have to do is make me feel special enough so that I won't bat an eye at a few extra accessories along with a few extra hundred pounds missing from our pockets. Gross, right?

Secondly, no matter how many deep breaths I take, it still sucks to see an online form (try wedding registries, blogs, or even Luella's Boudoir's contact email) which ask for the 'Bride's name' and the 'Groom's name.' I know not all wedding vendors are going to support, let alone include, same-sex couples wanting to get hitched, but it is frustrating that even in a country where every same-sex couple has the right to a legal union, those couples get left out.

Considering the last point, our solution has been for Alex or myself to put me as 'The Groom' (again, see Ceremony Gender Flips) but it's still mentally exhausting work to be OK with it, to even fill it in because for as much as I may think I am a walking, money bag 'bride,' I'm still not the bride the advertisements are for--no matter which side of the alter I stand on.