Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm still alive!

I've been one of the worst bloggers ever.

In the midst of wedding planning, things got busy - work, family and living life, on top of some dramas (mostly friend related). I'm now feeling excited, happy and content, but dwelling on it in the blog wasn't helping, so I left it. I've had a different blog for many years, and never thought I'd be one of THOSE bloggers who simply abandoned their blog, but I think I needed to, for my sanity.

And yet here I am ... with just four days til my wedding! FOUR DAYS. We are very excited, and I think we're 100% organised. Just a couple of beauty appointments over the next few days, and then it'll happen.

I'll be blogging after the big day... perhaps after the whole family have gone home. You see, it's not a traditional wedding/honeymoon, because all my family will be visiting for the Wedding and Christmas - so we're having the wedding, then a few days together, then Christmas, and then honeymooning in January.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I wish you all the best for Christmas - if you don't hear from me before then. And I welcome any good wishes for our weekend. I get to marry a pretty amazing woman this weekend, and for that, I feel very blessed!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The dark cloud

I started my PhD a few years ago, but had no idea what I was meant to be doing. My supervisors weren't very involved, and doing it by distance, I figured that didn't matter. I'm a pretty good writer, with over 40 published articles and 2 books, so a PhD? Piece of cake?!

Except that it wasn't. My response to that was basically to pretend I wasn't enrolled, scraping by with the bare minimum of work on it. But it always hung over me like a dark cloud. This year I changed where I'm doing my PhD, changed supervisors, and now I'm seriously working hard. I have a light at the end of the tunnel, a manageable timeline, and I seriously think my supervisors are wonderful.

As a result, I haven't been blogging a lot. And I hate blogs without new posts, so I apologise for this. This is mainly because I'm so engrossed in writing academically that writing about my wedding seems a little ... frivilous, perhaps. We have nearly everything planned, but there were few difficult decisions in our wedding planning. We spoke to one baker, and accepted the quote. One reception venue, one photographer and so on. The hardest decisions so far have been about the guest list and whether or not to have a videographer. We hired the videographer, jury's still out on those friends of mine, but I'm leaning toward inviting them. Not because I think they deserve the invitation, but because I'm not quite ready to close that chapter of my life. And C supports my decision, whichever way I go.

And so that's where we're at. There's about two months to go til the "big day" and things are still really good. I feel lucky to go home to my girl each night, and a weekend with her is simply never long enough. This is in direct contrast to my last experience as a wife-to-be when the relationship seemed doomed even before we said I do. We work well as partners.

I see this increasingly as I work on my thesis. Last night I worked, while she silently sat at the table doing a jigsaw. Some people complain when their partner works long hours, but she seems to enjoy the time to herself, and looks forward to me putting the books down.

She's a wonder, that girl.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The shoes

I've been such a slack blogger - my PhD is heating up for one thing. But first the shoes! They're sky high, though the picture doesn't really depict it because of the angle of the shoe on it's side. It has a silver heel! And they're black, which means I can wear them again and again.


That is, of course, assuming my body doesn't hate me after the big day!

Because I had an ankle injury this year, I'm planning on having another pair of shoes for the reception.
I nearly bought the shoes (above) in red, but the red didn't match our bridesmaid dresses... it's a shame. I kind of had my heart set on red shoes poking out from under my white dress, but black is a good enough substitute. I wore white shoes for my first wedding and have never worn them again!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bridezilla returns

I'm an incredibly calm bride. And before you go telling me it's because it's my second wedding - shut it! A bride to be I work with reckons I'm only calm because my wedding isn't legal. I gave her the filthiest look and explained that we're still in the limelight, still catering for many people, still organising all the stuff the legal wedding requires. Oh, and there's the fact that some people find it weird, which could even make it more stressful. I also explained that this is my second wedding and my first WAS legal and I wasn't Bridezilla then. So that shut her up. Biatch!

Anyway, I digress.

I've had one Bridezilla moment. Unless you count the underpants tantrum which will be blogged about in the next couple of days. I'm digressing again... I've had one real Bridezilla moment, and that was on Friday. The invitations had arrived in the one hour I was out of the house, and the courier left a voucher saying we had to rearrange delivery. I wanted them on Friday, dammit. So I rung the company, got nowhere, rang again, got nowhere, rang a third time and told the guy I wasn't impressed that it was my parcel and I made up some reason for needing it (a lie). The guy said that the truck had to return to the depot and I could have the parcel on Monday. Monday?! Three whole days away?!

C suggested we stalk the parcel at the depot, so I texted a friend who used to work for the courier company for advice and he told us to just go there. So we arrived, planning to sit there for an hour if we had to wait for the truck to return. But we got the parcel immediately. Took it home, opened it and Bridezilla was calm. Hopefully not to return again.

So now we have the invitations ready to go. We wrote our guest list out again. Local people on one page, non-local people on the other. And we decided to personally deliver a few of the local ones - to people we knew would be home. The feedback was so positive!

The rest are going in the mail. They're about a month early, assuming we send them out this week. We figure that's okay, given the time of year (just before Christmas) and the fact that every guest needs to travel if they're coming.

It was really hard for me deciding the invitation list.

I've mentioned before the changes in some of my friendships this year. I was really torn between whether to invite some people or not. Friends who haven't really been supportive of my relationship. They haven't even supported me over the past 18 months or so when I was going through a major crisis with that friend that I had to cut all ties with. I don't want to offend them by not inviting them, but I also don't see the point in having people there who couldn't honestly say "I'm happy for them". I asked C to decide, but she refused, and told me I had to make this decision on my own... she listened to me outline pros and cons, she listened to me come to a decision, and change it many times, but she's trying very hard to avoid telling me whether she feels they should be invited or not.

We're having a small wedding, but the numbers aren't small. We both have big families and we have friends we want there. By small I guess we mean intimate. Our ceremony is incredibly personal, our song choices, our speeches. Everything we're doing is about us. I don't want anyone there who is likely to roll their eyes at any of this.

I do have a couple of family members I'm worried about, but they've chosen to come and I actually think they'll come out of this with a greater understanding about what a same-sex relationship is all about. They'll understand that we're IN LOVE, not just FRIENDS. They'll understand that our whole relationship isn't simply friendship with sex thrown in. They'll understand that we are a union, partners in every sense of the word. Maybe I'm hoping for too much, but I expect this through our day.

But... in terms of these friends... I don't want to end friendships through not inviting them. I'm ready to defend my decision, and explain my reasons, but unfortunately I don't even think it'll come down to that. I think it'll come down to the fact that they see it as a rejection, and end the friendship completely. The potential threat of that makes me wonder if I should just invite them... but then I think that I'd be more concerned about what I do and say in front of them. I don't want to feel censored on our day. I want to be completely there, with C, with our family and friends.

I'm really struggling. I'm not sure if I'll completely make up my mind til the deadline for sending invitations out in terms of etiquette passes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Money, Money, Money

I lost 0.7 kilos this week. Which is what... about 1.5 lb? The weight isn't falling off me, but I'm losing on average 1 kilo a week (which is 2.2 lb I think?)

It's not coming off me as quickly as I thought it would, but it's going down each week, and that's a plus. I won't be at "goal" for the wedding, but I'll be a good 10 or 15 kilos lighter (25 - 30ish lb) than I am now, and I think that's ok. I should be at goal by the time C's sister's wedding rolls around in March, so I can wow the family at that and wear a smoking dress.

I'm proud of this weight loss, and it's probably better if it comes of slowly. At least, that's what they tell me. (I have lost 3 kilos a week before - back when I lost weight for my first wedding, I was losing about 20 lb a month for a couple of months til I got to goal! That was serious low carb though).

Last night, C and I had an argument. We normally get on so well, and are so calm, and talk things through. I always get really shaken by a fight. It was pretty horrible.

We were fighting over money, of all things, which is so crazy, because in the grand scheme of things we're doing pretty well financially. We have half the wedding paid for, and I'm due to earn the other half in the next couple of months (I get bonus pays ever so often). But then I'm of the opinion that everything works out in the end, financially.

C manages our money, and sends me a weekly account of everything that came in and everything that went out. She stresses about money, where as I'm more laid back. So I was chatting to one of my sisters and organised a night away in Sydney - in a hotel, etc. She was shocked I did it without consulting her. The way I saw it is that I have to go to Sydney for work. I normally got there and back in a day. I don't need a hotel room, but it'd be more fun if my sister came and we spent a night there. C gets pretty frustrated because I travel quite a bit for work, so she has more alone time then she'd normally choose... and then I opt to go away with family every now and again.

But I said "My family is interstate. It DOES take time and money for me to see them". She gets that... it's just... hard. Sometimes. Most of the time it's not hard. But on top of work travel, I do have to travel to see my family, so I am away more. She's not gone out of town without me in the whole time I've known her, but I've spent a fair bit of time apart from her. I guess it looks like sometimes I'm CHOOSING to be away from her, but I'm not.

So the argument got pretty heated and then we both apologised and said we wanted to work through things. She wants me to be more considerate in terms of spending money, and chat to her first. I want her to be more understanding in terms of me travelling to see my family. We ended up chatting about things and I think things are okay.

I'm still not 100% sure whether the argument was money related, time related or both. Don't they say the biggest stress in a marriage is money?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To do, or not to do...

I mentioned in my last post that we'd finalised the invitations - this is the video invitation and I have to say it ROCKS.

It's a secret. We haven't told anyone, which is unusual for me. Wait... we haven't told anyone but all of you. C's family were over the other night, and we'd just finished it. It was sitting in the DVD player, and I was thinking "I wish we could show them". Apparently C was too! But as we hadn't discussed it, neither of us suggested it, so after they went home we thought it was a shame... but now I'm excited. When they receive them in the mail, they'll see them for the first time.

C's little sister is getting married a few months after us, and wanted to get her invitations printed at the same place we are. We had to explain that she couldn't do that, and she didn't really understand why. Because we're not printing them, we explained. She didn't get that. How can you not print wedding invitations?

I also have some decisions to make...

A couple of years ago, I belonged to a "group" of friends. I pretty much manufactured the group myself by hosting a bundle of functions and soon enough we were a close knit group of eight. They thought I was bi, but when I came out as gay, I have several different reactions. I actually kissed one of the girls in the group. She was the supportive one! There was one single straight guy in the group and at one point I'd asked him out. He'd declined (thankfully) and we remained very close friends. Till I met C. You see I'd never really been a good girlfriend... even when I was married to my ex, I wasn't really devoted to him. Friends and family came first, and I think the single straight guy figured we could stay single forever and be "mates". He has pretty much decided to be single forever, and he knew I was dating, but I don't think he realised how hard I could fall. So when I did, he couldn't handle it. Started sending C some horrible messages, wouldn't pay me money he owed, said horrible, demeaning things about me, and it was so much drama that after six months and some counselling, I ended the friendship. I miss him, some parts of him, of course, but I haven't looked back. I'm happy, and I don't need that drama in my life.

There was a time that I thought he'd be my Best Man. Now he won't even be at the wedding.

The supportive girl and her partner will be there - C and I are friends with them both. In fact, that girl is easily one of my closest friends.

That leaves four others. Four others who were very supportive to my guy friend and less supportive to me when I ended the friendship. But time has passed, and from time to time I socialise with them. It's nothing like what it was before, but I've moved on. I was very hurt at the time, but now they mean less to me than they did then, so I'm no longer hurt my it. I'm not in a position anymore where they're so important to me.

At the moment I have invitations getting made for them. I'm just not sure if I'll send them. Part of me wants them there, and part of me doesn't. I know our ceremony and speeches will be emotional and intimate. I don't know how much of that I want to share with these people, but then I also think they need to realise how intense my feelings are, and how mutual C's are....

I think many of them are convinced I just can't find the right man. The fact that I asked our mutual friend out convinces them that I'm into guys. At the time I came out, I tried hard to convince them that I had come to the realisation that I was definitely gay- not that it matters anyway. That's what I realised after trying hard to assure them about my sexuality... it didn't matter in the end. I know that what I'm feeling now is something I haven't felt before, so it doesn't matter what people on the outside think. I'm thrilled that my parents and sisters support me, and see that this isn't some kind of phase I'm going through. I'm just not certain why my friends struggled with it so much. And therefore, I don't know whether to have them there or not on our special day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

European honeymoon

We booked a honeymoon to Europe a couple of months ago. We're planning on spending time in England, France and Switzerland. I'm particularly excited, because although I travel quite frequently, it's mostly to Asia. A bit of New Zealand and The US thrown in the mix... but I haven't been to Europe since I was 21. That's 12 years ago now (Agh!)

I've mentioned before that C hails from England. We're investigating how easy it is for the two of us to marry legally over there - gay marriage is legal over there, and we figured it would be lovely to legally marry in my girl's home country, but time will tell. We'll be visiting family but also having time to ourselves. We're aiming for a 50/50 mix of hotels vs. family visits.

So imagine my surprise when I've been given the chance to do some work while I'm in England at the same time as our honeymoon is booked. I can have a small amount of our accommodation/ internal travel/ food etc paid for. Though it's work related, the work wouldn't detract us too much from having fun. The question is... do we take the work money and have it contribute toward our honeymoon, or do I not work at all?

I was inclined to not work, but we see it as an opportunity to go to a different part of England... and me get some work done, so my whole trip isn't considered holiday leave. I think we might end up doing it.

On another note... I posted the order for the invitations today, so they're getting made as we speak. Our favours are also being sorted as we speak (more on that later). Finally, I booked a videographer! I was going back and forth on whether to hire a professional video person, and then they contacted me to say there was a special on. I booked it then and there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friendship is a wonderful thing

In our endeavour to get fit and healthy, C and I purchased a weights set. I'm talking a pretty huge home gym with four stations. We bought it second-hand, just as we did our exercise bike. Both times we got pretty solid equipment for the price you'd buy shaky equipment brand new. A lot of people invest in solid gym equipment and then realise they're just not using it.

When we first got together, my partner C and I would do loads of things with her best mate (The Guy). At first I thought The Guy was kind of daggy, and sometimes a bit of a drama queen, but I quickly learnt what C sees in The Guy. He's so kind and considerate - would do anything for either of us, and really respected our relationship, giving us ample time alone.

After The Guy started a new long distance relationship, we saw less of him. We made new friends, so tended to catch up at big group events more than just the three or four of us hanging out. C and The Guy are similar and I was the different one in our little group. But as soon as I met The Guy's boyfriend, A, I knew I suddenly had someone in our group that was similar to me. A moved down here a few months ago to live with The Guy.

A and I get on like a house on fire. C and The Guy get on like a house on fire. The four of us laugh lots, tease each other, and help each other out of tough situations...

So we squeezed the home gym into the trailer and got it home. We had asked the boys to come over and help us put it together. By the time they'd arrived, I'd managed to move half of it out of the trailer and into position (C's bad back meant she could guide and direct me but not lift much of it... very frustrating for a strong chick).

A asked who we hired the trailer off. The Guy said "It's C's".
A looked confused. "C has a trailer? That's a little... odd... for a girl?"
The Guy laughed and said "you don't know C very well!"

When A saw all of C's tools, he was even more amazed.

They unloaded the other half for us, and put it all together, except for the weight stacks. C and I put the weight stacks together yesterday, but soon realised we had to pull the WHOLE thing apart to put it back together. I was amazed at how logical I was with the whole thing and how I could see what needed to get done. C is amazing with a toolset, of course, but I shocked myself at how good I'm getting, simply by hanging around her and watching her do all the work she's done around the house. I might get my own toolbelt some day! (Actually, I much prefer sitting back and watching a woman in a toolbelt!)

Anyway, the boys invited us to a gay lounge bar on Sunday afternoon for a drink, and to listen to some live music. Just the four of us... So after putting the gym together and scoffing down some lunch, we got ready to meet the boys. Relaxing and entertaining. A went outside, and I followed having a D&M with him, while The Guy and C stayed inside, having a D&M. Loads of lesbians, not so many gay guys out, but it was a great afternoon just listening to a fantastic band (headed up by a hot lesbian signer).

It occured to me at the bar.... It's just so easy with A. We have no interest in one another (of course!), no need to impress each other, our friendship is real. He challenges me, too, which is important in friendship... but he doesn't judge. I've always liked a friend I can debate issues with, but not feel like everything I do is under scrutiny... and he seems to have a good balance of that. It's exactly what C and The Guy have.

It suddenly clicked that this is what friendship is all about. I have a couple of friends like this - real, genuine friendships where the trust is evident and we can talk about things that really matter without fear of being judged. It's funny though because for so long I'd never had these kinds of connections, instead having that with just my partner (before now my partners were all male and were more best friends than partners).... I guess this is something for another post, but now I see friendship differently now that I've come out. Somehow it's easier now than it was before to put people into the appropriate categories of friend vs. partner.

A and I are meeting for lunch soon, just the two of us. We've done it a few times before, but then work got crazy and A started his new job, so we just haven't done it in a while. I'm really looking forward to catching up one on one.

Perhaps the funniest part of the catch up was when my chair fell from under me. I fell onto my bum, knocking the glass coffee table over, along with 10 glasses and a glass bottle of water.

Amazingly I only broke one glass, but the band stopped singing and mentioned it over the microphone and every single person turned to look at me. C asked if I'd hurt anything.

"Just my pride" I said as everyone laughed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My first girlfriend

My girl, C, has been out forever. Gold Star. Most of you know I was married before to a guy.

The other night we went to dinner with a couple. I'll call them Jamie and Beth. Like C, Jamie has been out "forever" and Beth was also married to a bloke and has only been out over the past few years.

So we were talking about gay people, and a particular friend who isn't a lesbian and we're not sure if she considers herself bisexual or something else (having dated one woman).

"She might be pansexual" I said.
C and Jamie looked at me, completely confused.
"Panwhat?" Jamie asked me.
"Pansexual," Beth confirmed. "You know, you fall in love with the person, not the gender?"
C and Jamie shook their heads and grinned at us.
For two newbies, we seem to know so much about the lesbian culture that our Gold Star partners aren't aware of. Perhaps because we read lots, or perhaps because the culture has changed over the years.

I read so much about lesbian culture as I was coming out, learning "how to be" a lesbian and fit into the culture. C and I often talk about the sheer amount of research one of her exes did, and how I was similar. On the other hand, she just started dating girls.

I was just reading Sasha's post How To Be A Lesbian and thought the advice was good - make friends and realise that the LGBT community isn't scary. I read lots, I made friends, and finally I felt comfortable enough to say "yes, I am gay". Like the author of that post, it took me a while to move from the "I'm bi" category to the "I'm gay" category. It wasn't that I was interested in men, it was just that I had dated men for so long that I didn't even know being with women and not men at all was an option for me.

Note I'm saying "for me". I'm not saying I was that naive I didn't realise lesbians existed. I just didn't think that it was an option for me... I believed I had to be with men. I'm not sure why - my feminity? my socialisation? my history? the fact I didn't listen to myself?

I don't have any regrets. My mum was very supportive, but slightly concerned I might realise that I wasn't gay after coming out to everyone and regret it. Of course, that didn't happen. Instead my only regret was that I didn't come out earlier and take advantage of dating loads of women. As C says, however, I met her at the right time. I'm marrying my first girlfriend, and being with women has been nothing but positive for me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Invited

We've talked in great detail about the invitations we want. I have a bit of design know-how, but met with a graphic designer yesterday to have a briefing and get a quote. Without printing, the price is quite high. Reasonable when you consider she's a trained graphic designer, but not reasonable when you consider I know what I'm doing with some graphic products myself. We'd hoped printing would be the most expensive part of our invitations, but it looked like graphic design would be.

So we pondered. And while watching TV last night, I started making a movie, using pictures of the two of us and a small video snippet. A few title pages and suddenly we had a one song invitation on DVD. I showed it to C, who loved it. We have to fix it - change some photos, some transistions, add some new video - but I think this will be our invitation. We'll include the details on the cover so people can take it with them to the venue (and in case some people don't realise it's an invitation!)

Anyone done something like this before? Stories to share? Some you've seen?

I'm also really torn about whether we want a wedding video or not (DVD). I love them, but the cheapest quote we've had is $1300 and we do own a video camera already. I don't know whether to make our own, using our own footage, or get the professionals in. We are having a very personal ceremony, and I don't want to miss a minute of it through the excitement of the day!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The veiled bride

I promise this will be the last post about my veil - because I bought it last night!

I had toyed with not wearing one, I'd toyed with wearing one, I'd toyed with making one... but in the end, I decided to slap that $85 AUD down and buy the one I loved - which happened to be the first one in the pictures below (I'd post it again, only I am feeling lazy!).

So I went to bed last night excited that I'll get to wear the kind of veil I truly love. For my first wedding I wore a Cathedral veil for the ceremony - one that goes longer than the dress? I took the Cathedral part off and wore a finger tip veil for the reception. I just love veils, but I knew I didn't want that kind of look this time around.

I'm so excited! It's stupid that I'm so excited about a veil... but even though these kind of veils have made their way around the wedding blogs and are obviously becoming popular, no one I know has ever had one, so I'm excited because I'll be kinda different. In my circle, at least.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ballroom dancing classes for lesbians

2) What do you find the most different about planning a gay wedding as opposed to a straight one?

I'm not actually going to answer this question completely.... but I will get to it. It's just that something has happened that to me highlights one of the differences. It could be reactions, or it could be my paranoia!

Recently C suggested we contact a company about doing ballroom dance lessons. I did ballroom dancing at school, but C didn't, so I figured I'd find a place online. We found one nearby and I contacted them asking if we had to dance with other people if we did group lessons, and whether two women could dance together. I explained we were actually a couple (rather than two friends/ sisters/ whatever who simply wanted to dance together). The thing is, neither of us wanted to dance with men, but we were also concerned about whether they'd allow us to do group classes in a same-sex union.

I didn't hear back from them in a week. So, being a little disappointed, I decided that perhaps they were simply an organisation that doesn't check their emails frequently. Or was it the two women thing?! I decided to test this and using a generic email address I have (an a nickname, rather than my real name) I asked a similar question about the dancing together, and didn't mention the two women part. I got a reply immediately - very friendly and encouraging.

I wondered if I was simply being paranoid, and consequently, I decided to try again with the two women question (from my normal email address). I simply asked if it was ok for two women to dance together if one played the role of the male (didn't mention that we were romantically involved)... and my reply today (nearly 24 hours later) was a simple "yes". Nothing more, nothing encouraging, nothing friendly.

Now... it's not a foolproof experiment. I didn't ask the same questions in the last two emails, and the first one might not have gotten to them (technology has a way of doing that sometimes). I can't compare the responses 100% - it could be that they were busier today than yesterday. It could even be a different staff member. Whether we'll go to this dance class, or find another, is still be to determined.

There are other examples of how planning a gay wedding (for me) is slightly different from planning a straight wedding, but one could also argue that planning a second wedding is different from planning a first (oh, can you tell I'm a researcher here, all this talk about control and experiments!) I'm going to give this some more thought and get back to this question.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How I met my girl

I'm a writer, by nature, and when I'm asked a question - watch out. I don't just go with a short answer.

A at Accordians and Lace recently sent me five interview questions (after I requested them). But rather than respond to them all in one post, I've decided to do different posts for each question, so I can respond more deeply. If anyone wants interview questions for their blog, let me know, and I'll give you some!

So... question 1) How did you meet your partner, and how did you know you were goingto marry her?

And because calling her "bride-to-be" or "my girl" is getting clunky, I'll call her C. The funny thing is that our celebrant just asked us to write answers to these questions (separately) so she can incorporate the stories in our ceremony. C - if you happen to be reading this post... you should look away now! (She's not meant to be reading my answers).

We’ve had a bit of a whirlwind romance, but to me "whirlwind" implies spontaneous and not thinking through the reality and magnitude of this. In reality, we've thought and discussed every part of our day.

We met online. I was online just to meet a few women, and C sent me a “smile”. Normally if someone sent me a smile, I replied with another smile, inviting them to email me. For some reason though, I looked at C’s profile and just HAD to contact her. So I quickly emailed her and sat at the computer, hoping she would reply. She did, and there hasn’t been a day since that we haven’t spoken – at least on email.

We talked for about ten days, and I was heading to Hong Kong. I kept saying I wanted to meet her, and she said she was “busy” and “shy”, but I’m quite persistent. Finally, 3 days before I went to Hong Kong we met for a coffee. I went to her sister’s engagement party the next night unsure as to whether I was her “date” or just a friend. And after the party, she sent me a text message to tell me she enjoyed my company, and we texted back and forth. I was so happy …

On our first “date” (coffee) she barely looked at me! I figured she wasn’t interested in anything more than friendship, but it turns out she was just shy. I knew I’d liked her from her emails – we clicked. She was a thinker, and that showed through her emails, and that was what had attracted me to her in the first place. So nervously I walked through to the backyard and found C with a bundle of friends. She was holding court with her friends, which surprised me, as she’d been so shy. But I sat down next to her and she organised everything – she’d gotten a chef friend who worked in a vegetarian restaurant to organise me a meal. She waited on me with drinks, and she just seemed nice and everyone seemed to like her. But I wasn’t sure how silly she was, how much she let loose… I’m a little silly and I guess I felt like I need a little bit of silliness in my partner. But we had a great night, and then she walked over to get a drink and danced her way back, laughing at herself. I was instantly attracted to her when she did that – I do enjoy someone who can laugh at themselves and not take life too seriously.

There was a moment, fairly early on, where I was lying on the grass in (our wedding location) looking up at the sky with her. And I thought to myself “I am utterly, hopelessly in love and it scares the crap out of me because I’ve never felt this way before and I don’t want to be so vulnerable to a person”. But I didn’t tell her, because it was so early on, and because she’d dated other women and maybe it was normal to feel this way when you’re with the right gender. But I knew then that when we were ready to celebrate our love publicly, I wanted to do it right there - at the beach. And there were lots of tears in the early days…. I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of feelings I was having, I didn’t understand. If this was something everyone felt for their partners, how on earth does the world function?! How did people go to work each day and concentrate if they felt this way? I would listen to a love song and cry happy tears. It was truly biazaare.

As for how we decided to marry.... there's more on that... for another day!

The Bride Runner

Many bridal bloggers mention their weight concerns at some point or other. Here's my point!

I'm still too fat for my gown, and while the boutique lady says she can alter it in a matter of a week or so, I don't really want to do that. Instead, I want to lose weight and manage to fit my gown. This is not just about the dress - it's about health and about the fact that I hate the way I look in photos. I have a double chin and my arms are chubby. My hips and legs are relatively slim, but that hardly matters under a wedding gown! (Why didn't I go for a knee length dress, I wonder). My sister, who was the same size as me (admittedly she's more of a pear) has lost weight and tried my dress on last time she was here, and it actually did up on her. My goal, therefore, is to have it do up on me, just the way it easily zipped up on her.

So this week I commenced the Couch to 5K running plan. I've actually been running! It's pretty amazing, and today I did my work out, felt less hungry and am sitting her typing while my belly feels all taunt and tight. I've also been watching what I've been eating and have lost 3kg (or about 6lb) over the past few weeks. Here's hoping the weight loss continues.

I'm seriously considering the low carb milkshake diet! I've done it before, and in 3 months lost a load of weight. I know, it's not healthy, but gee, wouldn't it be great if I could just lose this weight quickly. We have four and a half months. Is there any other way?!

My girl is lucky. She's wearing a 3/4 sleeve shirt, and when she moans about wanting to lose weight, I tell her to shut it! I love strapless wedding gowns, but having worn one for my first wedding was reluctant to do it again... till she mentioned her vision of me was in a strapless gown. So my gown is strapless, after all, and my shoulders are the envy of a professional football player! Even at my slimmest, I have the broadest shoulders. People assume I'm some kind of Olympic swimmer! I don't want to look like some kind of giant to my partner... but I am taller, and will be wearing heels to her flat shoes.

Moan, moan. I was a skinny little thing til I turned about 23 and ballooned. I just want to be slender for the remainder of my life. I'll never be petite, and I'm happy not to be - in fact, I love my body's strong, muscly frame when I'm not carrying extra kilos, and I just want to be back there.

Anyone lose weight for their big day? Can I do it in four and a half months, I wonder?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The veiled bride

I've been trying to decide about whether to wear a veil. I think I'll regret it if I don't wear a birdcage veil, but I know my girl doesn't actually like them - she thinks they're kind of weird. I'm working on the fact that once she sees me all dressed up, she'll love it. Fingers crossed, eh?!

I have three I'm deciding between... Cast your vote, please?

OPTION ONE:
Example

OPTION TWO:
Example

OPTION THREE:
Example

Which do you prefer? I'm inclined to go with option one, but think Option 3 might be good if Bride-to-be is worried about my face being too covered.... And option 2 is a great price.

The lady in red

Originally we couldn't decide between red or pink as our wedding colour.

Red is a favourite colour of us both, and I was secretly hoping for red. I knew that bright red bridesmaid dresses would make for great photos, and the fact that I had purple bridesmaid dresses (with pink flowers) in my first wedding means I was a little reluctant to go all girly again this time around.

Turns out bride-to-be was also hoping for red, but I wasn't aware. I guess because she thought I was campaigning for pink. Plus, we both felt our eldest sisters preferred to wear pink.

Because we coudln't decide, we sent a text message to the six bridesmaids asking for votes between: fuschia, pale pink or red. Mostly we got votes for red or fuschia.... and because one of the girls said she hated red, we opted to fuschia. Somehow I also got it in my head that my sister didn't want to wear red.

When she was visiting in February, I showed her a dress I loved. "If you were happy to wear red, I think this would be the dress". She loved the dress too - and said "I said I liked wearing red!"

With that knowledge, Bride-to-be and I looked at each other and swiftly changed our wedding colour to red, while my sister tried the dress on and fell in love with it.

So now our wedding colour is red, and I'm so excited. Accents of red are scattered throughout our entire house - cushions, bar stools, towels, curtains for starters. We even have red kitchen appliances. It's really us, and having pink just wouldn't have felt right.

We have a few little things to plan now - mainly the cake topper. I got a cake topper made in China, but the little model of bride-to-be has HUGE boobs and she's embarrassed by it, so we're trying to find a new same-sex cake topper. Any suggestions?

We also have to finalise our invitations, but I've got a graphic designer from work helping us with that...

And our favors. We're giving away CDs with our favourite music on it. 19 songs. 5 songs are wedding related (what I walk down the aisle to, what she'll walk down the aisle to, signing the certificate, walking off and our first dance) and then the other 12 songs... well we've decided to pick six each from mix CDs we've made each other. But we have to finalise our decisions with music and start to make the CDs.

We're just under the 5 month mark, so we still have plenty of time, but I'd rather finish things like the cake topper and the favors and so on because nothing in terms of that can go off or change, so it won't matter if we're storing it for a few months.

One thing I'm torn about is stationary - whether we need to do an order of service program or anything like that. I haven't decided....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Square peg, round hole

On a recent post, Desaray mentioned that she likes reading the differences between my former "hetero" life and my current gay lifestyle in this blog. When I first joined the lesbian community, I promised myself I'd try to avoid mentioning I was once married to a man as much as possible in case people judged me. Now days, I realise how silly that is and that by mentioning it, I might actually help some women who are questioning themselves. A lot of lesbians were once with men - it makes me no less a lesbian than those that knew from the early days and were never with men.

As a result, this post is less about me as a lesbian and more about me learning about men chasing women.... apologies for those of you who've stumbled across my blog and want to read about the gay gay gay stuff.... scroll down! :-D

Anyway... I do regret the time I spent with men because I think there were obvious clues before I started dating men and I think I could have spent a lot more time exploring my sexuality instead. I must confess I even became a bit "boy-mad" for a while - at least that was the reputation in my family. Once guys started paying me attention, I lapped it up... but I'm just that kind of person. I do happen to like attention. More than that, I know what I find sexy in a girl, and I went with that. Guys used to say all the time "you know what the guys want". Yes, because I wanted it too!

I often think back to the clues, and there are many. Some are embarrassing, or perverted. Some just show my tom-boy and hidden butch side (I'm a femme on the outside, but I think I'm quite masculine on the inside).

I still remember the first time a boy hit on me. Or at least, the first time I realised it. These days I'm overweight and not at all self-obsessed, but as a teenager I was quite stunning - tall, slim and so on (I realise that's quite egotistical to say, but I think talking of the past, it's okay). Basically my point is that I was never short of male attention. I always hung out with the guys, but it was about 14 when I realised they felt differently. I didn't.

I was 14 when I was swimming in a lake with my family. Always one to test my limits, I started swimming across the lake, proud of the fact that I was so independent. I was lying on my back in the water when a boy, a little older than me, came over and asked me about my holiday, and whether I'd like to hang out with him. Normally hanging out with the boys came naturally, but it occured to me by the way he was leering at me that he wasn't interested in skipping rocks or swimming together. I had absolutely not interest in boys, didn't find them attractive at all, and politely decline and swam back to my sister, who teased me about the boy who hit on me. It was like my innocence had suddenly smashed into little pieces, because that leer was something I noticed for years to come. Boys had changed, and were interested in me. My sister encouraged me to pick a guy to have my first kiss with. The idea of kissing a boy had never occured to me, and as I mulled it over, I decided I didn't want to do it.... but then friends of mine started kissing boys, and it seemed like the thing to do if you weren't prudish.

So when I was 15 a boy lunged at me with his mouth, and I let him. I figured it was time. It wouldn't be til I was 19 that I first kissed a girl - actively persuing a girl on a dance floor.

There were plenty of clues I was into girls prior to that, and plenty of clues after that, and one day I'll write about them... but I got my first boyfriend at 15 and was with him on and off for years. During that time I kissed plenty of girls and knew I was definitely into women (bi?), but figured that given the choice, I may as well be with men and have all those hetero prilvedges. I finally married and was married for five years, separated by the time by 30th birthday party rolled around.

It never felt right. I never once relaxed into that marriage. I was always trying to understand what I needed to do as a wife, and how we should interact. I felt more like best friends than lovers, but not in a good way. We had sex, but... there was something missing. A connection.

And now... I don't question my connection with my girl. I analyse by nature, so of course I analyse parts of our relationship to see what we could improve, or where we work really well, but that's just me. But I'm happy, content, and it feels natural. More natural than when I tried to fit into the hetero world. That never came naturally to me. It hurts to think I didn't listen to myself more carefully, didn't analyse my feelings more deeply, didn't pay attention to those niggling doubts. All I can say is that at least I did it... that at least one day I woke up and realised I'd tried to force myself into the hetero world and didn't fit, and I could remedy that.

And I have, and it feels ... right.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The same, but different

Recently this blog was reviewed on one of those blog catalogues and the reviewer commented that it was more of a general blog and less about the "how to" of creating your lesbian wedding. This got me thinking...

* what is a lesbian wedding?
* how does it differ from a hetero wedding, or a gay (boy) wedding?
* does it have to differ at all?
* are there any "how tos" in creating a lesbian wedding that a web site like theknot.com couldn't provide (just change the gender when you're reading it).

Of course, I often seek out gay wedding sites... I love seeing pictures of two gals or two guys making that committed leap. I love seeing if the girls are both in dresses or not. Are they both carrying bouquets? Are there veils involved?

Bride to be and I have talked about what our day is a fair bit. We see our day as a fairly traditional day (I'm wearing a white dress, she's wearing a white pants suit, for instance) but we also acknowledge that we don't have to do everything cookie-cutter style. Not that brides and grooms have to do everything cookie-cutter style, of course, but many do, because that's what a wedding is.

When my older sister got married, I saw her as a bit of an off-beat bride. She wore a black and white dress, the bridesmaids wore black, they had music that was a little bit dark and so on. But ultimately, she still followed the rules - speeches, bouquet toss and so on. She says now that if she had her time over she would do away with a lot of the rules that even she felt she had to follow... like seating charts and bouquets.

What makes a wedding a wedding? What makes a commitment ceremony a wedding? At the end of the day, Bride to be and I want people to recognise our union, support it (though most do already), and understand it a little better.

We won't be legally married, but in our eyes, our union will mean the same, and ideally our guests will also believe that. We had to be careful therefore not to throw away too many of the traditional wedding traditions, because we do want our guests to recognise that our day is similar to that of a marriage... and marriages tend to start with
(1) a ceremony
and finish with
(2) a party

The ceremony and the party tend to follow a structure...

Groom waits down the front, bride walks down the aisle. Nice stories, readings and thoughts are exchanged. Bride & Groom kiss, certificates and rings are exchanged, photos are taken and then there's the party. With speeches, dancing and cake. With guest books and favours and the like.

Hetero couples can toss any aspect of the traditions out the window, but a wedding day will still be a wedding day....

I read something about gay weddings which said that often gay couples are creating a day from scratch, and not thinking about what their best friend or sister or cousin did. We've never been to a commitment ceremony, but we've been to many weddings. We want our day to resemble a wedding, but ultimately our day is about us. Oh, and we want people to have fun... lots of fun...

We're known for having parties, though. We have plenty of fun parties, and plenty of opportunities to have even more parties. So while our day is "fun" and a "party", for us, the symbolism of the day is more important.

So with our goal in mind of people seeing us as a married couple, we've created a day that resembles a wedding, but mostly resembles us. We're keeping some traditions, and tossing some.

Firstly, we're both doing an aisle walk. We'll be staying in the same hotel the night before, but plan not to see one another before hand. Who knows - in a small hotel, in a small beachside location, we're bound to get a glimpse of one another before our aisle walks. Our intention is that Bride will walk first and wait for me down the front. I will then do an aisle walk.

Our ceremony isn't following any set structure. Our celebrant is creating it from scratch for us. The ceremony is about us, and we're not using any published readings or prayers. Unlike my first wedding where I had about six friends and cousins say a short reading, the only people that will be speaking at our wedding will be the celebrant, and my fiancee and me. We will sign a certificate despite the fact it won't be a "marriage" certificate. We will kiss, even though my little nephew has said he'll have to look away because it's two girls (ewww!). And then we'll have photos by the beach while our guests mingle.

Our reception will follow a set structure, with speeches and the like, but we've decided to scatter speeches through the night rather than having a bundles of speeches just prior to dessert. For instance, I plan to do my speech straight up first, to welcome all our guests.

We will be doing a bouquet toss, and I will be carrying a bouquet, but the bridesmaids will be carrying parasols which match their dresses. We're using favours, we're having set tables (but not set seats) and there will indeed be cake and dancing.

So all in all, that's us, and that's our day.

So, how to plan a lesbian wedding? That's both easy and hard.

1. Think about things that are important to the two of you. If you're at the VERY early stages of planning - is there a location that means something to you? (We picked our first holiday destination as the place we're marrying at). Who do you want involved? We have an evenly matched bridal party (admittedly all girls) but we didn't need to. How do you wish to celebrate?
2. Think about a traditional wedding day and think about what's important to you in terms of that day. Are there particular traditions that you feel are important? Are there particular traditions that bother you?
3. What are your goals for the day?

This blog was never created as a "how to" guide, but there are plenty of helpful resources on the new. www.soyoureengayged.com is a great site with lots of gay-friendly vendors and photographs, but there are heaps of others a google search will help you with.

All in all, though, I think it's important to remain true to why you're having your day....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Burlesque. The show for lesbians?

I recommended a Burlesque show I'd heard about to my girl. Two lesbians watching sexy women dancing, what could be more perfect than that?! Turns out my bride isn't so into the sexy women dancing thing, and it struck me that just because we're both gay, it might not make sense that we partake in semi-naked-lady watching together. It would make my girl uncomfortable. Now I should point out that I'm aware that Burlesque isn't the same as stripping, and it's not erotic so much as artistic... but Bride-to-be is unsure about how much nudity would be in a Burlesque show, so we have to investigate it more.

I think it's an ideal show for women, really. Not too much nudity, a bit of a story, but fabulous outfits, music and so on. Classier than a strip show, but still sexy. Of course, I may not be the right person to form an opinion, as I do like the naked (and semi-naked) ladies...

I've always appreciated the naked female form. Before I was married (to a man, mind you) before I was ever out (even to myself), I used to go to strip clubs and watch sexy women dance to trashy music. I even partook in a couple of private dances. I didn't understand why I was "straight" but wanted to watch naked women. It should have been a clue, but then again, so should the magazine purchases I made for my husband on our honeymoon as a gift! In contrast, my girlfriend has never been to a strip club, even though she's Gold Star. She finds it pervy and uncomfortable.

Just after I came out, I went to a strip club to celebrate my coming out. I was already dating my girl, but away for a girl's weekend (no partners) when I asked a bi friend if she wanted to come with me. Being out, I felt it was suddenly ok to look at naked women, where pre-coming out, I felt guilty and like a pervert.

My girl is gorgeous and I don't need naked dancers or models in my life, but sometimes it's a bit of fun. I considered it for our Bachelorette party, but my girl is uncomfortable with that and I don't want to make her uncomfortable.

Anyway, it got me thinking... are you into this kind of thing, or do you think it's pervy and degrading? Or are you simply uncomfortable sitting watching women naked? Is it something you'd feel comfortable doing with a partner... or not? Are you going to stop reading my blog now I've admitted to being a big 'ol pervert? And any other comments welcome!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My second coming out

I've said before that growing up I thought "I'm not going to have kids.... but if I was a guy, I would".

And then I put it out of my mind completely. Told everyone I wasn't into kids. Believed that kids and I just didn't mix. But I know I really want children now, and it feels like a second coming out, as I tell people that "yes, that's what I said before, but now..." It's not that I was lying, it was that I convinced myself it was something I believed.

It feels SO normal, now that I'm with my girl. The thought that we'll have a family together seems right. We could have "our family" - the two of us, a child or two. The other day I went to a work morning tea, and the boss introduced a new staff member. Talked about his wonderful career, his wife, his kids. And I thought "one day that could be me getting introduced in a new workplace. Me, my wife, my kids". The irony is society accepts it less, but for me, it makes more sense to me than me with a bloke. I didn't think of me and my ex as a family, but already I think of Bride-to-be and me as a family. Maybe because I can picture myself in the situation of the "supportive and loving husband" but not so much in the "maternal and loving wife" scenario.

Then I chatted to a colleague and he was talking about his kids, and then he asked what was new with me, and I wanted to say "I want to have children" but I figure you don't say that stuff till one of you is pregnant, at least. I always thought all those women that walked around discussing how they wanted kids were a bit pathetic, and now I'm (kind of) one of them. It's like when I knew I wanted to be with women, but didn't tell people because I figured there was no point when I was single. People don't walk around saying "I'm heterosexual", you know, so why would I tell everyone?

But that's that. I want to have children. That's pretty huge for me to say.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

He/ She/ Gender

Before I went to China, I'd told my girl that I might have to represent her as a guy when over there. She was okay with that, but I said I felt like it was a deception of some way. "You're there for professional reasons," she said, "do what you have to do". I'm out with nearly everyone I work with. They're all cool with it.... but travelling overseas means I have to think about local cultures.

When you meet someone in China, they always end up asking if you have a partner. It's one of those things. Or rather, whether you have a boyfriend or husband. I have neither, but I also know that being gay isn't so well accepted over there. Of course there are gay people, but they're quiet about it, because society isn't so accepting. So when I'm asked that question, I either answer "yes, I do have a partner" or "I'm getting married at the end of the year". For many conversations, that's sufficient. For others, they then want to know "what does he do for a living" and so on. Then you build this whole conversation around "him" and it occurs to me that using that male pronoun for my girl just doesn't seem right. Gender says so much. And yet, it also really doesn't.

Either way, talking about "him" reminded me of my past and just didn't feel right.

I went to dinner with one woman who talked of her marriage. She said that until she met her husband she never imagined she could be this happy with someone. She thought that though there were good relationships out there, she wasn't destined to have one. That's exactly how I felt, and I agreed with her, and we were both silent for a while, happily thinking of the people that we love back at home.

She broke the silence, "so he's wonderful then, your boyfriend? What makes him different to your ex?" For starters, the fact that she is not a he! But I had to continue the deception at this point. I hate deception of all kinds, and hate to be deceived, so I felt so guilty after this conversation, which was in fact a beautiful conversation... if only we could get around the gender issue.

I know there are a lot of gay and lesbian people that never come out, and I think that's sad. It's for their own reasons, so I'm not judging, but I know how happy I felt after I did. And since then, I've seen friends come out, and they seem so much more at peace with their lives once they do. Two weeks in China was another reminder to me about the importance of this... but also how the pronouns "he" or "she" seem to say so much.

A blog post I recently read said we need a gender neutral term. For males, females, transgendered people. Perhaps. I'm not sure where I stand on that issue so much as wishing I could talk of my "girlfriend" as freely as others talk of their "boyfriend" - in all cultures, and all settings.

This week, in dealing with the medical profession, I've been pleased with how accepting they were of my female partner. "My partner, can she go to work?" I asked. And rather than clarifying, like most people do ("do you mean he or do you actually mean she?") the nurse simply said, "Oh yes, she'll be okay" and talked about her. "What's his name?" another nurse asked. "It's actually a she," I said. "I'm sorry," the nurse replied. "I shouldn't presume". I don't have any issues with people presuming - let's face it, gay people are the minority, so for me, as long as it's accepted, I'm fine.

A co-worker in China guessed, which surprised me. We talked of my upcoming wedding and she asked me if it was legal. "For what?" I inquired. "For two women to marry?" I had to explain it wasn't. Later a guy asked me if I had a boyfriend. I turned to her and asked her if I should tell them. "No," she said, and told the guy that I did indeed have a boyfriend. She told me it just wouldn't be accepted.

So there's a lesson to us all... not just about coming out but about being upfront. As for me, I can't say I won't do it again, overseas, but here, from now on, I'll have no toying around the partner word.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Made in China

I haven't blogged because I've been in China for a couple of weeks, and haven't had an opportunity to blog.

I have so much exciting wedding news though, so hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to write a long blog post.

In the meantime, I just wanted to say that I got my fiancee's wedding suit made in China by a tailor. I took an outfit she liked the look of over, picked the fabrics, and suddenly we have a rather big task crossed off our to do list - at the most amazing price. I'm so excited and so is she!

But that's not the only exciting wedding stuff we did... so more to come... soon!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Motherhood - a natural desire?

I was 25 years old and newly married when I spoke to the Doctor about permanent birth control. And like many Doctors, he strongly discouraged it. Not only discouraged it, but wouldn't do it for me. I could speak to another Doctor, he suggested, but really I should consider staying on the pill. I was so certain that I didn't want to mother a child. I didn't grow up clucky, never had the sense that I wanted children. The concept of children was a vague concept of teenagers. I always preferred kids once they got to the age of ten. When my sister married a man with children, I fell in love with them. And when she herself started having children, I found myself having a real love and connection for my nephews and niece - a deep love that I imagine is similar to that which parents feel for their children.

I'm not anti-children. I quite like them, I think they're funny and cute and intelligent and curious - all traits I admire in human beings. It was just something I didn't see the need for myself. I also knew that as a team, we couldn't offer anything positive to a child.

Now I'm 32 years old and thinking about the best way to have a baby. The idea still fills me with fear, but more than ever, I'm inclined to have children. I think I've mentioned it here before, but I always knew I didn't want to be a "mother". I grew up with several masculine personality traits, and one of them was my envy for the role of fatherhood. "If I was a guy, I'd have kids", I was certain. At the same time, I played with my rather large doll collection and cuddled every baby I came across, so everyone assumed I'd have children when I grew up. But I just didn't feel that materal urge, rather if anything, it was a paternal urge. I was taller than most of my friends, so when we played with dolls, I pretended I was the father. I'm femme, I'm girly, I'm confident with my femininity, but I have masculine personality traits - I just thought I should make this clear, as when I say this kind of thing, people assume I'm confused in terms of my gender. I'm not.

I knew when I met my girlfriend that she wanted children. This threw me instantly into decision making mode in the very early days of our relationship. There was no point in us dating if I didn't want children, even though she said she'd rather be with me than be a mother, if it was a choice she had to make. I refused to stand between her and her dreams. I respected her enough and was falling in love with her. I knew I had to make a decision. I thought back to my childhood dream of "fatherhood" and realised I could do this.

On the one hand, I really want children. I think of our future as a family and feel a strong urge to have a baby. I know it's not a cluckiness, because I've asked people what cluckiness feels like. For me, my desire to have a child now is a logical decision. There are many reasons that are difficult to articulate and some I'd rather not articulate. But I also know how much work children are. My older sister says that my younger sister and I probably realise more so than most non-mothers how much work children can be. I know how much they change your lifestyle. They alter your relationship. They change your commitments, your workload and they're very needy. They're completely dependent, which sounds obvious, but until you have that sense of dependence, it's hard to understand it. Nevertheless, I think I've come to terms with all this. I think I'd be a good parent, certainly a good parent of older children. I know GF would be a wonderful mother. I think that our relationship is strong, our home life is stable and positive, so we have a lot to offer a child. Very much like the family I grew up in, and feel lucky to have been a part of.

The issues with lesbianism and having children are certainly an issue too. I find it quite funny that I'm more inclined to have a baby now I don't have ready-access to sperm and was so against it when I had a male partner. Who should biologically father the kids? Who should give birth to them? What will the child call me (I have a little list, but they're all foreign names for "dad" which is probably silly)? How do we do all of this without it changing us negatively (it will change us, I know that)? Some days I realise how difficult this will all be and feel inclined to give up, but then I know it will be worthwhile.

The past few days I've had four conversations about parenting with friends and family. About fears, about excitement, and about lesbians conceiving and the process. Chime in if you want. Whether you have children or not, feel free to provide your own stories about parenting, cluckiness or whatever. Whether you're gay, queeer, straight. Whether you're male, female or trans.

Today we took some real steps toward becoming parents, which I plan to blog about. It certainly won't happen overnight, but we're on the way to making this a reality. But I'd love to hear views on parenting.

Out at the Wedding - DVD review

I won a copy of "Out at the Wedding" off Tina's site, and it arrived on Friday afternoon. On Saturday night, we had no plans, so my girl and I sat on our recliners, rugged up with our dinner, and watched the DVD. As a huge fan of all films wedding related, and all films gay related, the gay/wedding combination was something I was very keen to see.

We really liked it.

It's slow in parts and feels disjointed from time to time, but for the most part, it was really interesting. What I liked most about it was that it would appeal to a straight audience - in fact, I'm considering sending it to my sisters to watch. It's a cute wedding/relationship/lifestyle type film with a gay bent.

I won't bother with a synopsis, because you can read all that online. All I was say is that the film has topics relating to family relationships, coming out, reactions to coming out, romantic relationship issues. My favourite part was the straight girl trying to fit into the lesbian circles - I remember feeling like that when I first came out. No, I wasn't straight, but I didn't know if I should wear particular clothing etc. It made me laugh when I saw that.

Tina's review said that the acting felt like acting, and I must confess, I felt that way too, but it's enjoyable.

(I review books and films, queer and otherwise - please contact dynamicarticles at yahoo.com)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's not black or white.

Reading some of the lesbian wedding blogs I like to read, I found it funny when I logged in and read Deseray's post about Lauren planning her suit . It was funny because I was logging in to post a rather similar story.

B2B and I have been discussing what she's going to wear at our upcoming commitment ceremony for a little while. With a beach ceremony, she'd rather not wear a suit. Of course, she wouldn't be wearing a dress or skirt - she never does, and it wouldn't make sense for her to run about in a dress. Everyone who knew her would think it wasn't her. So pants and a shirt?

She knew she wanted to wear white or ivory and not black. At first I was a bit surprised that she wasn't opting for black, but now it makes sense. It's her wedding day and she's a bride. She won't be in a dress, of course, but she's still a bride. Black tends to be for grooms.

I realised early on I felt slightly uncomfortable about MY clothing for the day, and it's only now I can articulate why. If she's in pants and a shirt, and I had a huge full skirt, I'd feel kind of silly. The groom wearing a black suit is automatically in contrast to the bride - we're MEANT to focus on the bride vs. the groom, but when there's two brides... well I kind of feel that a big formal dress would be stealing the limelight from B2B and I don't want that.

I managed to find the most perfect dress for me. It's bridal and it's me, but it's not over the top formal, but this post isn't about my dress, it's about B2B's outfit.

We ducked into the shops on Saturday. She went off to the loo, and I browsed the clothing racks for sale items, hoping to spot a bargain to add to my wardrobe - ever the shopaholic! I didn't find anything for me, but I found several pairs of white pants on the reduced rack. I messaged B2B and told her where to meet me. She doesn't normally shop in the women's section, but I knew she didn't want oversized mens wear for our big day. As she arrived, I thrust four pairs of pants into her hands. She excitedly went to try them on, and one of them was exactly what we wanted, though a little too see-through.

I'm off to China shortly, and there are numerous tailors there. They work best when you give them an item of clothing to copy, so we bought the pants knowing she could wear them as is, OR we could get them made. I knew that she liked Mandarin collars on shirts, so took her past several shirts and jackets. She tried a few on, but none of them felt right - at least, not in the way the pants did.

We went home, and I showed her three of my shirts with Mandarin collars. She tried one on, and fell in love with the shape. So I'll take that with me to China, hoping to get something made. My biggest fear with this one is that it's got little holes and embroidery on it (I know I'll spell this wrong... broidere ainglese). I don't know if the tailors can do it, but she likes it. Then we discussed my fear of being more formal compared to her in a shirt and top, and she is also keen to wear a waistcoat/vest. Again, we rummaged through my wardrobe and found one that fit her well and made her feel comfortable.

Wow. I think we actually have the base of a very nice outfit. My dress is ivory, so we're going to try to get hers made in a slightly different ivory, so it doesn't look too much. Pants, a vest and a lovely shirt. All feminine, but not over the top girly. She'll stand out from the guests because she'll be in ivory and because she'll be glowing like any bride on their big day.

I'm so pleased.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our great big double wedding

After work yesterday, Bride to be and I went to the shops to pick up the last two bridesmaid dresses. We bought them from a boutique, rather than a bridal outlet. Technically they're cocktail dresses, or something like that. In fact, they're so cute and casual that one of the two saleswomen had one on when we were picking them up! They're well-priced, flattering, in a variety of sizes and perfect for a beach wedding, I reckon.

She said "oh they're beautiful dresses, I love mine."
"They're our bridesmaid dresses," I said proudly. She smiled, but obviously thought I meant that Bride-to-be and I were bridesmaids.
"Oh, lovely, who is getting married?" she asked.
"We are," I smiled, gesturing toward my girl.
"Oh," the woman stumbled with her words, "oh, you're both getting married?"
"Yes," I said, proudly.

Bride-to-be said she thinks the woman was confused. Surely two woman wouldn't be marrying one another, it must be a double wedding! The other saleswoman simply looked...embarrassed.

I don't say it for shock value or attention, or even to make a political statement. I was asked a question, I answered it honestly. I'm excited, I'm proud, and I want to enjoy my engagement by being giggly and excited when I talk to our wedding vendors... because I'm getting married, I'm a bride, and that's the way it should be.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is it because it's "not a real wedding"?

To us, our wedding day means just as much as any legal ceremony. We're toying with the idea of marrying legally in England, but either way, it won't be recognised here in Australia. So our Australian ceremony is for us, for family and friends, and a celebration of our marriage. Legally, it means nothing. But I know I've said this a few times in the blog already, so I won't harp on about that. What this post is about is about some family reactions that have saddened us.

My bride's sister is getting married a few months after us. Their mother is paying for sister-in-law's dress. (And yes, I'm calling them in-laws even though technically they won't be). So I asked Bride whether her mother was paying for her wedding outfit or not.

Not.

Sister-in-law is younger than my bride, and still lives at home, which might account for the reason that mother-in-law is paying for her dress. But I also had other ideas.

Is it because it's "not a real wedding"?

Or is it because my bride won't be wearing a long, white pouffy dress? Instead, bride-to-be is planning on wearing a pants suit in ivory (think Ellen & Portia's wedding day) while I'll be wearing a dress.

The more heartbreaking thing happened when Bride's grandparents said they wouldn't be making the trip to our wedding, even though they've already committed to sister-in-law's wedding next year (which also requires travelling). My bride was even going to ask her grandfather to walk her down the aisle.

Oh, it's not that any of these people are anti-gay. Bride-to-be has always been "out", and they've never had an issue with it. They're also very supportive of our relationship, and know it's the 'real deal'. They think I'm part of the family and visit us regularly, invite us to things. I just think they can't get their heads around us forking out money for a wedding day when really... it'll mean nothing.

That's where it's hurtful.

How many weddings have I attended over the years that have been MUCH more than the ceremony? If weddings were simply about the legal and/or religious implications, surely we'd have ceremonies in courthouses or Chapels and go straight home. There would be no need for glamorous receptions, pretty dresses, expensive cakes and gifts. All of that is about symbolism and celebration for the couple making a union.

If I could, I would legally marry bride-to-be, but I can't. So why take away a special day that the two of us can share? It's the closest we'll get to having what heterosexuals have - at least in the near future - so why try to pretend it doesn't mean the same thing?

Bride-to-be and I are certain that on the day, guests will feel the energy, the love and the emotion and will realise that it is the same thing. My own mother refused to call it a wedding until recently when she asked about wedding plans. It may take time, but eventually people will come round. I hope so, anyway.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter was pretty quiet...

Easter was meant to be spent camping, but instead we spent most of it in bed. Between my ankle injury and Bride-to-be's bad back, we just lay low!

My ankle was quite a lot better, so I drove to a shop, and took Bride-to-Be with me, hobbling along to buy her Easter gift from my family (a TV series DVD which we've since been watching). As we hobbled through the shop - her with her walking stick and me with my compression bandage on my ankle - I said we probably looked like we'd been in an accident together. It's simply bad timing that we were both injured at the same time.

Despite the lack of excitement, Easter Sunday was a good day, ruined only because Bride-to-Be threw out my chocolate bunny! I ate most of a Crunchie bunny throughout the day yesterday. Tidied up a little - she handed me rubbish to put in the bin. Later I looked for my bunny and it turned out she had accidentally thrown it out! (I had the chocolate all piled up in the foil). At least she had one to share with me to make up for it....

All in all we have a lovely time being together - lots of reading and DVD watching, so it didn't matter we missed our camping trip

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Picture post

Because a picture says 1000 words...









I think this is the "birdcage veil" I am going to get.




From Etsy.





I also really like the look of this one - probably more - but can't seem to see how it clips in, and Bride-to-be doesn't want me to look "masked" - it doesn't, does it? I don't think she understood what I meant when I said "over the eyes".


And while I'm posting pics... bouquet idea, garter idea and cake ideas (cupcake cake.. we're considering having the one on top so we can cut it):
















Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dream a little dream for me

Last night I had a dream that I went to some kind of club that only married people were allowed into (what, the?!). You had to show your marriage certificate upon arrival, so I showed them my commitment certificate. They told me I wasn't allowed in, but while I was standing there, a bundle of people I know who are married, were allowed through the door.

"I have a wife," I said.
"Yeah, well show me your marriage certificate".
'This is all I have," I gestured to my certificate again.
"It doesn't count. Tell me a good reason you're not married."
"I'm not allowed to marry the person I love. And secondly, I'm technically still married in the eyes of the Church."
"Oh, well then I'll let you in," he said, "as you're married, technically".

I told him to stick his little marriage club. "Your viewing my previous marriage as something more serious that this, which is my REAL marriage?! It may not be legal, but it means a hell of a lot more to me, a*ss!"

And so I walked off, refusing to enter to the door, full of anger.

I didn't realise I was so upset about the marriage issue until this dream. I've had my legal marriage and I've realised how little it can mean. Marriage is about commitment and love and passion, and these are all the things I have with B2B. We can get married legally and have it recognised in England (as my Bride is pommy) and we've been seriously looking into this.... but I still know that a non-legal Australian marriage means less to some people than a legal marriage. Not to us.

This morning, Bride to be said "I'm coming home to you early today." (I hurt myself playing soccer, but that's another post).
I said, "can you do that?"
She replied that "(Name) went home to his wife when she was injured"
Her emphasis was on the word "his", and that just made me so happy because it implies that I'm hers.

I've struggled with the thought of the term 'wife' as I'm not conditioned to believe in having a wife, but the closer we get to our wedding, the more the term wife seems to make sense. She'll be my wife.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Engagement party

It was awesome, so a full report is in order. In point form, I feel.

The day:

* We woke up and I kissed B2B goodbye and went to buy my wedding dress with my friend and her daughters. We had a lovely morning, catching up and gossiping about life.
* I returned home, iced the cakes, chatted to B2B about what needed to be done and then the two of us went to the shops to buy some last minute things, and eat lunch. We were both quite giggly and happy, which surprised me since it was just an engagement party, but we were both just having a lovely day. It felt like a really special day.
* In the afternoon, two of our friends dropped over - with a family member in hospital (emergency) they couldn't come to the party, but dropped food and a present off. We told them they needn't have worried, and were so honoured that they had. Particularly the food - despite the emergency, they'd prepared the food they'd promised
* That pretty much set the tone for it all - we were overwhelmed by the people who brought food like various breads, a vegan black forest cake (yes), chicken wings, salad, appetisers and so on
* The party started at 6.30, but the first guests arrived to assist at about 5.45. I was dressed and putting my makeup on, while B2B was still in her work clothes and finalising the yard. Much giggles about how I got dressed first and was pampering myself
* I wore a pair of very high heels and my feet are still killing me today
* We put one of those digital photo frames out with about 100 photos of the course of our relationship. It was B2B's idea, and I thought it was brilliant. A lot of people came and stood in front of it, and commented on various photos. I am considering doing something like this for the wedding.
* A couple of friends brought a "Happy Engagement" banner over. We put a "y" in it so it read "Happy EngaYgment". Genius idea of mine.
* We put the banner up. B2B went up the ladder as I handed her bluetak. She said "I think we'll need the sticky tape". I started to walk off, she asked where I was going, and I said "to get sticky tape". She laughed and told me it was in my hand. It was. She asked me if I'd been drinking. I hadn't. We were in stitches of laughter, and just in light, happy moods.

The guests have arrived:

* The party went well with appetisers, and then a meal (Spaghetti bolognaise and a vegetarian pasta) with breads, salad and so on
* One of my friends was on call, so had his ambulance out the front. Most people commented on that upon arrival which was funny.

Earth Hour:

* Earth Hour then occured, so we turned all the lights off and sat in candle light which was kind of cool. One of our (early) engagement gifts was ten candle lanterns, so we lit them, along with several other candles around the place.
* During Earth Hour, I made a speech. I didn't drink (much) before the speech as I wanted to be coherent. I was sober, but I don't think I was coherent. I kept going off on tangents. I think it was because there was so much to say and yet, I didn't know what to say.
* I talked about the cake, and how it was my attempt to prove to B2B that I should make our wedding cake, and yet..... we're now buying our wedding cake (but I was complimented on the cake decorating, even though that was the reason I felt we should buy the cake). I also said how I fell for B2B at an engagement party, and months later, decided I wanted to marry her at the beach... and here we were at OUR engagement party and we will be marrying her at that very beach.
* I thanked everyone for coming, told them I appreciated them bringing stuff (and by stuff, I meant food, but the laughter made me think they thought I meant presents, which I didn't. I was just kind of overwhelmed by everyone being so supportive).
* B2B didn't make a speech, due to shyness, but she got her cousin K to speak on her/our behalf. K made a toast, wishing us well and said she loves B2B and she loves me. She said she couldn't imagine two people better suited to one another, which surprised me as K loves one of B2B's exes (who was at the party). When we discussed that later (I'm not sure if I asked or if she explained) she said that came from the heart, and that we are perfectly suited and though she loves the ex, she thinks they were "friends" and the love that B2B & I share is different.
* Later on, K came up to me and told me she loves me equally to her love for B2B, and she's never had that before with a family member's partner. She said she's truly happy for us... and B2B and I had both been talking about having her as MC at the wedding, because she knows us both well, and likes us both. We felt that it would be the appropriate time to ask her and she was truly honoured.
* During Earth Hour, one of the guys got B2B's guitar and started a sing along in a corner

The mood:

* The mood was really relaxed and light, and even though I'd decided not to drink, I changed my mind after Earth Hour finished and brought out the Vodka. It needn't have mattered. Everyone felt I was drunk even though I wasn't.
* All in all, I enjoyed it. Plenty of groups of people mingling. The first part of the night, everyone was standing like a cocktail party, which was really cool. Often at parties people sit and segregate from others, but the first part everyone was really mingling, which made me very happy to see and participate in.
* So many people wished us well. I feel very lucky to have these wonderful people in my life. Some were old friends, some were new friends, and it was just wonderful to feel so happy and have everyone be happy for us. Many people told us so, and that was nice.

Vodka:

* I shared my Vodka around with several people and was surprised that two girls drank it straight. I shouldn't have been surprised, knowing who they are :-D
* I had conversations with B2B's family (including her Mum) about Dyke Drama (another couple, not us. In fact, I told them that I had not yet been privy to this Dyke Drama, but I'd observed enough of it to comment, and would let them know if I was ever part of it).
* Two of B2B's cousins jostled around the pool about to push one another in. B2B decided to take over, and pushed them both in, wetting the phone from the pocket of one of them.

The end:

* I felt that I mingled heaps, got to chat to everyone, and really loved everyone who was there. It really was a light mood.
* As people started leaving, we were left in one smaller group with various interesting conversations.
* We handed a guest book around (well, pieces of paper) and read the messages before bed, and were chuffed by all the well wishes. I spent the next afternoon scrapbooking photos and guest book entries
* I think it was about 3am before bed, after much chatting, dancing, present opening, photograph taking and so on

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cutting the cake

We had our engagement party on Saturday night, but I haven't the time to post about that right now. I plan to over the next day or two. One of the highlights of my night, however, was cutting our engagement cake.

Maybe with this memory in mind, I have spoken to the baker about our wedding cake today. We're planning a tier of cupcakes, with a cake on top, and a cake topper. We only need to order it a few weeks prior to the event, apparently, however we plan to go to the wedding destination in a couple of months, so will probably try to meet with the baker - we don't know how much it costs at the moment, and it would be good to have an idea of budget.

I picked up my dress on Saturday, as well. So almost everything in planned now, with just my makeup to go, invitations, and bonboniere. But most importantly is Bride-to-be's outfit. She'll be wearing pants - in white or ivory - along with some kind of waistcoat and shirt.

Our bonbonierie/favours are the next item to be planned I think as we're still trying to finalise our budget.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Velvet

I made red velvet cakes for our engagement party. I love red velvet, and it's not common here in Australia, so I figured it would be a bit of a surprise for everyone. I hope they're okay. I doubled the cake mix, and ended up making three cakes and ten cupcakes. I was hoping to make two cakes, so three was a bit of a surprise, but they will be eaten, I know!

Full report after the party tomorrow night!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thinly veiled... oh so fascinating.

My older sister was in her early 20s when she married, and was determined to not be a "traditional" bride. Oh, she still wore white, but it had plenty of black on the dress. She still had a bouquet and bridesmaids, but she selected alternative music, did away with some traditions and didn't wear a veil.

At the time, I was in my very early 20s and to me, brides wore veils. I was alarmed when my sister said she wasn't wearing a veil. How would you know she was a bride? She assured me you'd be able to tell, and she was right. There's something about a white dress with a full skirt...

Nevertheless... When I married about five years later, there was never any question - I was wearing a veil. I picked a long one with a train for the ceremony and wore a finger tip one of the reception. I wanted to wear that veil all night and the veil was my feature. When my hairdresser suggested (on the morning of the wedding) that we lower the veil to under my up do, I was adament - I wanted the veil to be a big feature, and the only way this would occur was if it sat on TOP of my hair.

I loved that veil, and while I risk sounding a little princessy, it was really the only thing I had strong opinions on when I got married.

This time around, it's my second wedding, a beach wedding, a non-legal wedding. A wedding to another woman. Apparently that's more casual. Of course, I'm more in love, more excited, and more inclined to think "this is forever". These photos are going to be on our walls forever, and our (potential future) children are going to look at our photos and say "there's Mum and Mum on their wedding day" (agggh, what are the kids going to call us?! That's a whole other issue).

Bride-to-be is wearing pants. Non-girly, butchy, there was never any question..... she would not be wearing a dress. A veil is a laughable idea for her. So I asked her the question - "Do you imagine me in a veil?" She had strong views on the colour of my dress (white, please), so I wondered if her image of me as her bride included a veil. Apparently not. I was kind of disappointed.

If I turn up, in December, in a veil, I might look over the top. Beach wedding, second wedding. "Oh look, she's in a veil," people might whisper. But if Bride-to-be had strong views on the matter, then it's not because I'm a princess, it's because I want Bride-to-be to have the image of her bride on her day. Anyway, it's a moot point.

I'm wearing a relatively simple white dress, and no veil. I feel beautiful in the dress, but do I look bridey enough? Does it matter?

"What do you think of fascinators?" I asked Bride-to-be, after a little bit of online searching.
"What are they?" She had no idea (read: non-girly)
I explained - the things women wear on the sides of their head, sometimes with feathers, mini veils and so on. She shrugged, she doesn't mind. I haven't decided yet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We really are just two big dorks....

Bride-to-be and I are both big readers, and enjoy similar books - crime, romance, chick-lit - which is good news, because it means we can swap. Every night we go to bed and read before lights out, and I must confess, it's my favourite time of the day. Last year, I read a book and passed it on to her. I soon discovered it was a trilogy of books, so I bought the second, and read it, passing it on to her when I finished. The third book, however, wasn't available.

A couple of weeks ago, we got the delivery from Amazon - we had the third book! Now the issue was who got to read it first. We were both up to book three. Lying in bed one night, Bride-to-be turned to me and said "you could always read it to me."

I laughed and told her that was the dorkiest thing I'd ever heard of.
Because it is, isn't it?

But then I told her how my older sister and I used to do that. We used to read alternate chapters out loud and it was kind of cool. So I told her I'd read a chapter out loud... just one chapter... and then we'd decide who was most desperate to finish the book, and they could be the next to read it.

You know where this is going, right? Sure you do!
I've nearly finished reading the book out loud! We were both enjoying it that much.

In addition to our individual reading each night, I have been reading one chapter of our book out loud each night . A couple of chapters each day on the weekend - and we both love it. We're enjoying the book . I'm one of those people that looks at the finish line, where Bride-to-be's someone who enjoys the journey. So I keep saying things like "two more days and we're done!" while she's saying things like "what are we going to read next?"

The fact that I look toward the finish line doesn't mean I don't want to keep reading books together. I do - it's just that I am goal orientated. I have various tasks that I need to complete, and I make a plan for completing them. Bride-to-be on the other hand just relaxes and enjoys her tasks. It's why I'm such a fast eater (I have to finish eating so I can move on to the next task) and why B2B seldom gets bored. It's why I can get frustrated when something is taking me too long to complete, but she simply smiles and says "what's the worry?" We balance one another out in that respect.

We have a bookshelf of unread books, so I always look forward to finishing the book I'm reading so I can move on to the next. (I said this once to a friend about a theatre show we'd been watching... I enjoyed it, but couldn't wait for it to end... he thinks I'm odd).

Anyway, I digress. We're dorky and we know it... but we love it. It's our escape from the day, and it's something we're both enjoying - I suppose it's not that different from watching a DVD together. I confessed to a couple of friends on the weekend, thinking they'd say how pathetic we are, and they said "that's a sweet idea.... we should do that" and looked lovingly into one another's eyes. Maybe we're not so dorky after all (or maybe we just have dorky friends!).

'Fess up - what do you and your partner do that's dorky?

****
LAST CHANCE TO VOTE! I tried my hand at writing some erotica - not the first time, mind you, but the first time I'm in a competition.

http://thelesbianlifestyle.com/2009/03/20/pure-romance-contest-who-will-win/

I'm Aussie Femme - have a look and vote for your fave. If it's me, that's even better!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What does a bride do with her hands?!

Recently I've been in a bit of a wedding planning mode. Because sister-in-law-to-be-but-not-legally came over the other night to talk about some of her wedding plans, and that got me thinking.

And I never really understood the whole bridal bouquet thing, and I really didn't want to carry one the first time I got married, but was convinced that you need to do something with your hands... so I did it, and most of my photos have me doing crazy stuff with the bouquet like holding it upside down (deliberately) and being all serious and bridal with it (deliberately).

And so I went googling about what a bride could do with her hands (don't google image THAT!) and discovered there are LOADS of alternatives. Feathers. Lanterns (how lovely!). Lots of options - my favourite is the idea of an Asian fan. But my mother-in-law-to-be-but-not-legally is a florist, so it seems silly (and perhaps an insult) to not have flowers. I think I might get a fan in China anyway as an option for some photos.

And Bride-to-be isn't holding a bouquet. No one seems concerned about what SHE'S going to do with HER hands (Shut up!)

In fact, no one seems concerned about a Groom's hands in a traditional wedding, either. Why is the bouquet so important, then? And I also think that bridesmaid bouquets are unnecessary, but people say "oh, no, what will they do with their hands?" but again - Groomsmen! What are they doing? Are men so controlled with their hands, compared to women, that it's only important that we put something in the hands of the females?

****
I tried my hand at writing some erotica - not the first time, mind you, but the first time I'm in a competition.

http://thelesbianlifestyle.com/2009/03/20/pure-romance-contest-who-will-win/

I'm Aussie Femme - have a look and vote for your fave. If it's me, that's even better!