Dec 29, 2007
Happy -- Holidays, Christmas, New Year, Anniversary!
Warning: Long, catch-up post follows...
Nope...not dead. I apologize to anyone who has been checking my blog only to find it not updated for these past 3 weeks. It's just that life has been crazy busy -- in a good way -- and I decided that when I began blogging again I wouldn't let it make me feel guilty if I went extended periods of time without updating. So, with no guilty feelings to motivate me, I've just been loving life. But, now I want to share all that's been going on with you (OK, well, at least some of it)!
First, Happy Holidays to everyone. This is a time of year that I've always loved. Raised a Christian, I have always celebrated Christmas. A long time ago, I gave up on the idea of JC as being the only begotten son of God and then not too long ago I acknowledged that I didn't even buy the whole "single god" theory. Still, I celebrate Christmas. Which is to say I (we) put up a tree (a real one for the past 3 years), exchange presents, overeat, watch sports on television and generally enjoy quiet family time. After that, of course, comes the New Year. No major celebrations here. We're not unlike this reporter. And, of course, for those of you who are Christians, Merry Christmas! As a side note to this whole religion thing -- you might find it amusing that I now attend an Episcopal church service every Sunday. My MIL is Episcopalian and we take her (and then go out to brunch afterward).
Our trip to Sint Maarten was fabulous! You'll just have to take my word that this picture is of me (trying to take a photo underwater -- none of which turned out wonderfully, I must add). The other picture is a photo of the resort where we stayed while we were down there. It was really lovely trip; it started off with a stop in South Carolina to visit MIL's younger sister who has heart problems. It was wonderful to see the two of them together; it's clear that they share a loving sister bond. They hadn't seen each other is several years, given everyone's health and we were so thrilled to be able to make this happen. The resort was nice, the people were friendly and the weather was amazing. Of course, the fact that we left just as a blizzard descended upon the Detroit area may have colored our appreciation of the 80 degree temps and clear skies a bit... Do we look like a couple of drowned rats in this final photo? As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge them (and thereby see my new bathing suit, which is *much* cuter on the model than it is on me...).
When we returned home (1 AM this past Saturday before Christmas), we put things into high gear for our Christmas preparations. As my Girl said: "It [was] cruch time for elves". Indeed. We got holiday cards out late (apologies if you didn't get one -- it was not an intentional slight) and then only to immediate family, darn it. We scurried around trying to do Christmas shopping for each other, and we put up a tree. Now the tree is a bit of a story (I will post a photo of it as soon as I can). Remember last year? Well, in case you don't suffice it to say that we put up a large, 10 foot tree and it fell over in the middle of the night, causing us to have to completely re-decorate it. This year, we thought, "you know, we have these beautiful high vaulted ceilings; we really should put in a tree that fits the room." (Note to self: Mistake. Do not repeat this mistake next year.) Trees look larger indoors than they do out-of-doors, especially when they're in a tree farm surrounded by other large trees. We honestly did not realize that we would have to cut off a foot of the top of the tree in order to have it fit in our 13 foot high ceiling (the low part -- where the vault meets the wall). We also did not realize that the base was likely the culprit in our tree mishap last year, and probably not our poor wrongly-accused pussycat, Buster. Without dragging you through all the agonizing details, let me just say that 1,600 lights, 6 nails in the wall, and three fishing line supports anchored thereto later we finally quit with the tree at 2:30 AM the day before Christmas.
Christmas day itself was great, as it almost always is. The only downer part of it for me was the missing of my mom. I spent last Christmas Day with her in the hospital. I think I knew then that she wouldn't live to see this Christmas. I'd give anything for another conversation with her. And funny thing is...there's nothing I could say to her that I didn't say while she was living. I just miss the conversation. ::sigh::
Although Christmas is never all about the gift-getting for me (though it is often about the gift-giving), I would be lying if I didn't admit to being absolutely thrilled to get a new PDA for Christmas from my sweetheart. She got me this HP IPAQ pocket PC. My PDA (an old Palm Pilot which I lived by) died earlier this year and I've been lost without it.
This brings us to today. Today is my Girl's and my 2nd wedding anniversary. How did I ever get so lucky as to find a woman who loves me as much as she does? I must have been very, very good in a former life. We agreed to not exchange gifts on our anniversary, but instead to simply celebrate it each year (part of which involves watching the tape of our actual wedding day...). Still, I can never let this day go by without giving her cards and flowers. It's just not in my nature. I sent her this bouquet.
Finally, please accept from me my sincere wish for a peaceful, loving 2008 to all of you.
Jan 11, 2006
I've added a photo album with a sample of the photos we took on our honeymoon in the Keys. Believe it or not, I still have a paper due from last semester and today is the first day of classes for the new semester, so I won't be writing much about the honeymoon for a bit.
Enjoy the photos, we sure as heck enjoyed taking them!!
Jan 10, 2006
The Girl (I'm going to call her Mary) decided early in our planning that we should not see each other on our wedding day, until we met in front of the minister. In retrospect, I think that was a bad choice, but it is what we did. Note that the pictures here are NOT from the professional photographer. I will put some of them into a photo album on the sidebar when we get them (probably in a week or so).
My best friend, Michelle, her partner, and two youngest sons arrived at the house at 10:00 in the morning to whisk my daughters and me away to Canada. I had appointments to have my nails done, my hair done and my makeup done. I was really happy with the makeup (very subtle) and the nails (very short). I have never been more disappointed in my hair in my life. I let the stylist talk me into putting it into an updo. Had Mary been there, she would have insisted that we not do that. I blame her. ;-)
We had rooms reserved for the wedding party at the Hilton in Windsor. It's a very nice hotel with a rooms that provide a panoramic view of the Detroit River (that separates the US and Canada here) and Detroit. It was cold (ice floes in the river), but not snowing and not raining. We had no trouble crossing the border this time.
After all of my appointments at the salon (where they fed me a horrible salad for lunch -- all in all, not my best salon experience), Michelle and I returned to the hotel to wait and then to get dressed. I dressed in my daughters' room as Mary used our room. We had arranged that she would leave at a particular time, then I would leave about 5-10 minutes later so that we could arrive at the Manor without seeing each other. About 15 minutes after she was to have left, her attendant came to our room to say that they were having some minor difficulties and that I was to leave first. To say that stressed me is a bit of an understatement.
We got to the manor and they put me into a private room to wait. Can you imagine how stressed I was sitting in there all by myself waiting? It was brutal. Finally (probably only a couple of minutes later) Michelle arrived to wait with me. She brought me my bouquet of flowers. I thought they were spectacular! She also told me that Mary had arrived and that things should be starting in a few minutes.
If you're interested in the complete program of the event it's here:
The music began and someone came to get us. As I was the last to enter, I had to wait in the hall (where I could see no one and no one could see me) while everyone else entered. Finally, the door opened, my daughters appeared from nowhere and escorted me down the aisle. My nervousness vanished the moment I stepped into the room and saw Mary standing at the end of the aisle. From that moment on, I remember her and very little else.
We exchanged vows and rings and lit the Unity candle, signed the license in front of witnesses (required by Canadian law to be performed as part of the ceremony), and kissed. The minister announced us and we walked back down the aisle, a legally married couple. My daughters told me later that they cried during the exchange of vows.
I don't have the vows that the minister spoke, to which we responded simply "I do" or "I will", or the vows we spoke as we exchanged rings, but I hope to get them. They were very good. She was an excellent choice as an officiant. The vows that we spoke to each other, however, I do have. I've been debating about whether or not I should post them here. They are, of course, extremely personal to us. And, the love that is contained within them cannot possibly be transmitted via the mere written word. Yet, it is my habit to put my life out there and this blog does serve a purpose of allowing my family and friends to share in my life events that they would not otherwise get to share in, so I've opted to post them:
Dec 29, 2005
Today is the day
I am getting married today. It was just one year ago that I was really struggling with my imminent divorce and everyone was telling me that it was just because I wasn't with the right person and when she came along, I'd know it. Wow, were "they" right.
Don't expect many (if any) posts from me over the next couple of weeks. After we get married, we're headed to Key West for 6 days, then a day exploring the Everglades and then a couple of days with my family in West central Florida.
After that, I'll probably post pictures (and I may post one or two before then, if I can).
Thanks for reading, you all, and thanks for the encouragement!
Dec 15, 2005
This is really ... real!
Wow. Oh. My. God. I tried on my wedding dress this morning. It is so stunning. The picture just simply does not do it justice. I wish all of you could be here to see it! It took literally only two minor alterations (we decided to put straps on it (won't be seen under the jacket anyway) because it was heavy enough and just big enough around the bust that ... well, let's just say it had the potential of revealing more than I might want to). It didn't need hemming or anything. And, the shoes I have to go with it (gold lame sandals, with 1 1/4" heel) matched perfectly, as if they were made to go with that dress. I wanted to just stand there and stare in the mirror. Wow.
On another note, I reported earlier that the Girl's brother is coming to the wedding; he's also bringing her 21 year old nephew. We've decided to have 6 people to a table at the reception, so it will be the Girl, me, my two daughters (19 and 21) and her brother and his son. I thought about that for a couple of minutes and asked the girl: "So, are we going to prepare them, or are we going to just let them choke on their salad the first time one of my girls says 'Hey, Dad!'"? She was actually startled by the question. Startled because, like most people that know me (and me as well), she "forgot" that I was transgendered (despite the focus of this blog, my transsexuality is not constantly in the forefront of my mind).
But, it does create an interesting situation. As I noted earlier, her brother (as well as his son) are born-again Christians. The Girl recounted to me how her brother at one time preached to her (I think long before he had any suspicions about her being lesbian) about the evils of homosexuality. The fact that he accepts that she is marrying another woman and is willing to attend and participate in the wedding is huge (we're renting him a tux (we thought about letting him borrow my old tux, but it's too big for him) and he's going to escort the Girl down the aisle - how cool is that?!). He's come so far that he probably won't have a big problem with my beings trans.
Still, it always bothers me that who I am has the potential for creating problems for people that I love. It was one of the things that I worried about even in the beginning and I still worry about it. I even thought that I could coach my daughters to just call me Denise, or D. We could talk about their "birth-mother" as being someone other than me so that they wouldn't have to deal with someone calling me their mom (which people will do, regardless). But, that seems dishonest to me; worse, it then shifts the burden to my children, which I am loath to do. I will not ask them to do this. As Melody once told me: "Your name to me is Daddy. It doesn't matter to me that you're a woman, that's your name."
So, the ball is, as they say, in the Girl's court. I have every confidence she can keep it in play (you don't hear many sports analogies from me; I deserve some accolades here -- that was a good one, I think!).
Wow, but that dress is gorgeous!
Dec 10, 2005
Her brother is coming to the wedding!
We invited the Girl's brother to the wedding -- the physician, born again Christian who came to visit last month -- and we just heard from him. He's going to attend the wedding! (I don't know if I reported this earlier or not, but at the end of his last stay, as he was saying good-bye to me (out of earshot of the Girl) he told me "I'm glad the two of you are together"). I am so excited about this, I can't tell you. We have very few family coming to our wedding and that's a huge missing for us (we both wish, for example, that our parents could be there (and I, of course, also long for Jennifer)). But, I'll have two of my daughters and now she'll have her older brother whom she adores. We're going to have them walk us down the aisle; I don't know if they know this yet. I know how much she wanted him to attend and the fact that he is coming just makes this whole thing all the more real and all the more exciting.
And! We got our marriage license yesterday!!! It was *so* cool. The lady at the City Hall was just wonderful to us and we were laughing and just having a grand time. We have our dress fittings Wednesday morning. We picked up our wedding bands today. Ohboyohboyohboyohboy!!!!!
Dec 02, 2005
Update on Wedding plans
I've meant to post periodically about our wedding plans, but I just never seemed to find the time! So, I'll give a brief recap here.
Since the last time I posted anything about our wedding, much has happened. We have definitely settled on the Willistead manor as the venue (the picture is the room where we'll have dinner after the ceremony), we've interviewed and selected an officiant (a woman minister from a Unity church), we've interviewed and selected a harpist for during the ceremony and dinner (along with a flutist, but we didn't get to meet her), we've intereviewed and selected a photographer and a three piece jazz combo (for after dinner drinks and dancing). And, we've selected the menu from the caterer that we are required to use. The good news is that we like the caterer. We're offering a choice of three entrees to our guests: beef tenderloin, Cornish game hen, and a vegetarian lasagna. We're still struggling over whether or not to hire a videographer. They are very expensive and so far we've not been thrilled with the quality of their work. Still, I can imagine that 25 years from now, if faced with the choice, we'd have rather that we spent the money and had the video as opposed to not.
The biggest challenge for us has been the dresses. The Girl and I both wanted dresses from the outset. I imagine that that might challenge some same-sex couple notions (and I kind of like that!). I think it's cool that we get to break all the rules. Finding a dress, however, has been a veritable bitch. We've shopped every weekend for the last 6 weeks. I've tried on more dresses than I can even begin to remember. We've checked out department stores, specialty stores, online stores, bridal stores, etc. We thought we found something at Jessica McClintock, but they didn't make it in my size (regardless of how effective my dieting is, I will always have the ribcage that I have and the shoulders. Of course, that's not to say that this round of dieting has been any better than the last round). Finally, FINALLY, just today we ordered our dresses. The Girl thought it might be nice to both wear the same dress (so neither of us would upstage the other; I don't know what she's thinking) so that's what we ordered. It should make for an interesting picture (speaking of pictures, maybe we can get the photographer to take a picture with me sitting and her standing (since I'm 6 inches taller than her)). We ordered them through a local bridal salon (they were very friendly, and very helpful. I told the Girl that we were changing the world one sales clerk at a time) from Mon Cheri Bridal, the Montage collection. I'm very happy with this dress. It should be here next week in time for a first fitting the following weekend.
Oh! I almost forgot. We also had wedding bands custom made to fit our engagement rings during all of this. We pick them up tomorrow.
We've sent out only a few invitations because we wanted to keep the wedding small and limited only to very close personal friends and family. Even so, most people will not be able to make it. We chose a difficult time to have the ceremony -- during the week and during the holidays. Still ...I'm getting married! And, I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl.
Oct 05, 2005
Sorry for the inactivity of this past week. It’s been busy.
As I said in comments, the trip to St. Louis was good. It wasn’t my dream scenario – where we sit down with her mom and explain the facts of life and she jumps for joy to welcome me into her daughter’s life and expresses relief that The Girl finally came clean with her sexual orientation – but it was nice nonetheless.
Her brother comes to visit this weekend. This will be a bigger test. He is a born-again Christian but one who adores his little sister. Whenever he would come to visit The Girl and her previous partner The Girl and she would sleep in different bedrooms. We’re not going to do that.
My sweetheart’s relationship with her family, vis-à-vis her orientation, reminds me how incredibly fortunate I’ve been in my life. I came out in my late 30s – to everyone in my life. And, my eldest daughter notwithstanding (and that situation, I still firmly believe, is temporary), I have had no negative familial reactions. My family has continued to love and accept me for who I am. There was a brief time when my sisters didn’t fully grasp the meaning of my transgenderism and it caused a bump in the road when my dad died and they wanted me to attend the funeral dressed as a man, but by and large I’ve had it really easy. I have no doubt of my parents, siblings and children’s love and devotion toward me.
This is not to say that The Girl’s relationship with her family is greatly different; indeed, it might be just the same if they were given the complete opportunity to know. It’s just that there is enough hesitation in her that she has to give it thought and some concern. I will continue to hope that she finds the right balance with everyone in her family (including her step-dad, about whom she is most concerned) such that she can feel comfortable inviting them to our wedding at the end of December.
Speaking of that, we took our school’s “Fall Recess” (this past Monday) and went to Windsor to look at possible wedding venues and hotels for the wedding party and meet with a wedding planner (and an attorney – in Ontario if you’ve been divorced outside of Canada you need an opinion from an attorney that such divorce would be recognized in Canada; I've been divorced). We have tentatively selected the Willistead Manor to hold both the ceremony and the reception following. It is a lovely historical mansion that was given to the city by its original owners and they tell us that the decorations over the holidays are spectacular. Although we are not Christian, both The Girl and I like the symbology of getting married in front of a Christmas tree – kind of like holding out the spirit of love and generosity that we associate with that time of year in our wedding and for the rest of our lives.
Finally, on a completely separate note, Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the passing of The Girl’s former (and only previous) life partner. This weighs on me greatly. I want so much for her to know that I honor her love for her former partner. I want to support her in any way that she needs me to in these next few, very difficult days. And, I would be lying if I said I weren’t also somewhat conflicted in the whole thing. I am angry at her for dying and leaving this wound in the heart of this woman I love so much.