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Friday, August 30, 2002

Sara: Bodice pattern ordered!

I ordered my bodice pattern today! While I was working on my corset, Truly Victorian stopped doing custom patterns. I went into a short but intense round of panic, but I had a nice email conversation with the owner who assured me that their standard patterns are easy to fit. I'm going to take her word for it. I'll start the muslin as soon as the corset is finished.

After a bit of contemplation, I've decided to do the square-neck version, with the straight sleeve like on the high-necked version. I'll cut the sleeves off at the elbow. I can't decide if I'm going to try to shift the opening to the back. I sort of like the buttons on the front, which I suppose would be covered silk butttons unless I found something amazing to put there. Hmmmm. Of course, shifting the opening to the back means an uninterrupted embroidery space. Hmmmm. I'm also wondering if I should make it shorter, since it comes down sort of far over the hips. Hmmmmmm. All questions will be answered in the muslin, I suppose.
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Thursday, August 29, 2002

Sara: Weddings without all that icky marriage stuff to clean up afterwards

Fake weddings are all the rage. Thanks to clueful wedding blog I knew the bride.. for the link.

Roommate Eddie is off to a weekend-long bachelor party - in New Orleans. We had a discussion about bail money before he left.

My holiday weekend plans include finally getting over to Lacis to get the rest of the boning for my corset, and maybe maybe maybe finishing it. Oh, and Ryan and I are going to clean out my garage on Sunday, which proves she's a great friend. There's stuff in there I haven't touched since I moved into this house three years ago. If I find enough interesting bits, I may have a garage sale in September.

I'm also working on a web project for my sister-in-law, for a new program she's starting for kids with Epilepsy. My middle niece, the lovely and clever MacKenzie, age 7, has Epilepsy and Beth, her mom, has turned into a total kick-ass advocate for her. I'm glad we're on the same side - I wouldn't want to be in her way! Anyway, Beth is putting together a program that sends traveling stuffed teddy bears around the country to visit kids with Epilepsy, and I'm doing the website. It will have information about Epilepsy and a guestbook to show where the Brainstorm Bears (love that name!) have been. I'll post a link when it's all ready.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Sara: Showering in Public

I've been asked to give my opinion on showers.
What is the purpose of a wedding shower anyway? Congratulations, you're going to have a wedding sometime in the future? It seems to me like just another excuse to ask for more presents (this couple included their registry information in the wedding shower invite).

I can understand doing a baby shower, because there the parent(s) really are going to need a bunch of stuff for the baby, and may not have the time or resources to buy it. But then they don't have another party when the baby is born and ask for more gifts. Maybe I should have a "Birthday Shower" a month before my actual birthday next year.

I'm sure there was a time when wedding (or bridal) showers were a completely appropriate event in the course of a wedding. The community coming together to help a bride build a new home and whatnot. But now it feels like a tradition that is just being continued for the sake of tradition (and...dare I say...greed?). If people want to have pre-wedding parties, I think they should just have the party, and forget the registry.

After reading your view on gift giving (and receiving), I would love to get your thoughts on this particular aspect of weddings.

Ok...raise your hand if you think I'm going to be in favor of showers. Mmmm...hmmmm....you in the back, is your hand up or down?

Here's the answer: I don't know. Seriously, I just don't know. Much like the registry, I think it's a good idea that has gotten distorted, but I can't justify saying 'no registry!' or 'no showers!' as a rule because they don't have to be horrid greedfests. It just seems that way sometimes.

Yes, the original intent of showers was all about preparing someone for a new stage of life. Which is why baby showers don't extract the same level of resentment that one hears directed toward bridal showers for couples who have been living together for five years. I think the problem is that there is a disconnect between the traditional idea of a wedding being the 'brand-new-adults just starting out on their lives' model and the reality of the situation, which is that most of us have been thrashing about in grownup bodies for a while before we get married. The idea of setting up a couple of clueless kids in a household has a certain charm to it, which is perhaps lacking when you contemplate upgrading someone's toaster, which still works but has been around since college. I'm not defending this notion, since I think we'll all be better off once that idea of marriage-as-beginning-of-real-life-with-nice-plates dies off, but it's what we're being given to work with, and it causes all kinds of weirdness that might as well be acknowledged.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people resent giving wedding and shower gifts. Really. This seems like a relatively logical outcome of the mania surrounding wedding gifts. It's hard to get excited if you think that the bride cares more about your gifts than about you. That's probably not even true, but given the emphasis on gifts, it's an easy leap to make. No one likes feeling like an ATM. I wish I had a solution but I really really don't.

The amusing side of showers is that since they aren't under the control of the bridal couple (please tell me people aren't throwing showers for themselves) sometimes train-wreck things happen. Showers can be torture in the wrong hands, and there is nothing you can do once you're trapped in a room with a bunch of people who have been giving showers for each other's children for the past 10 years and are keeping careful score and you can cut the tension with a sterling canape knife because someone is getting jacked out of shape over the fact that her daughter didn't get as much stuff at her shower last year. At that point, all you can do is sit back and watch the freak show. If you're really lucky, the bride's little sister will be there, taking notes and informing everyone present that they had better get her something at least as good when she gets married. You know how there's always one kid who melts down at preschool-age birthday parties? Not everyone grows out of that, and a big pile of presents that aren't for that kid, now a full-grown woman, will still be a problem. Showers are a fine source of wedding horror stories, and I like wedding horror stories.

I think what is right for me & the Dennis is gift-free pre-wedding festivities (and wedding festivities, for that matter). Although I did have an idea for a shower I would actually enjoy - it's sort of half shower/half scavenger hunt, in that it involves sending teams of 2 or 3 people to thrift stores to find the perfect gift for under $10 per team. That's the first half of the party; everyone gets back to the host's house with the booty, wraps it, and then the bride person shows up and opens the fabulous objects. And then they all eat fondue and maybe do some sort of crafty activity involving glitter. Now, understand that my idea of the perfect thrift store gift is probably something like the truly bizarre Christian sex manual, copyright 1964, which was a recent gift from Dennis. Or anything that is painted on black velvet or is a 70s-era souvenir of Las Vegas or Niagara Falls or is a cookbook with over-saturated photos of meat jello or is otherwise misguided. This is not a shower idea for those of us who aren't in love with kitsch and thrift stores and fondue and glitter. Which I most certainly am, but it's not everyone else's thing. So my dream shower is perhaps a bit too weird to live. Or maybe I can do it when Leigh gets married - I think she'd like it, although she wouldn't like having to sit at home while everyone else went to the thrift store. There might be good shoes there that she would miss out on.

Rae, keeper of one of the finer wedding blogs on the planet, had an interesting shower re-gift experience and writes about it here. I'm not really qualified to comment, given my recently expressed enthusiasm for other people's castoffs. But part of me thinks it's cool that something that matched her theme surfaced at her relative's house at the exact time that it was suitable for it to get to her, after sitting dormant for ten years. Sort of like my favorite black 'I am so hot' skirt from my size-6 New York years, which recently floated to the top of a pile of old clothes in the garage and is now looking fabulous on Ryan on a regular basis. If I'm ever a size 6 again, I may have to arm-wrestle her for it.
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Sara: Report on the rest of Sarah's visit

Friday night's slumber party:
1. Sushi: Not so good. She bravely tried it, but it wasn't a hit.

2. Dance Dance Revolution: very very good. She got through almost all of the tutorial Friday night, and then played it at the Boardwalk on Saturday and did a good job. The less said about my own prowess with the game (or complete and total lack thereof), the better.

3. The big hair experiments were fun; we couldn't get full Texas-style volume because our hot rollers were too wimpy. However, Mauria got a great flip into Sarah's hair and she was very cute. I ended up with a lovely French twist. We also painted temporary tattoos on ourselves.

4. We got to bed around 2:30, which is lame by 12-year-old standards, but semi-impressive for the rest of us.

5. Friday's dress excursion to look at Jr. Bridesmaid dresses was fun. We went to Bridal Barn and she tried on every Jr BM dress, all of which are spaghetti strap or sleeveless. She tried on a flowergirl dress that had sleeves and a square neckline, and that was the best of the group. So, we went to Fabric Hell and found a pattern that should work for her top, although I didn't like the skirt with it and will have to keep looking for a better pattern, or else cut down the one I'm using. We also went to Thai Silks and picked out 3 shades of blue duoppioni to use for all the bridal party dresses. Ryan's is a deep blue, Sarah's is a bit more periwinkle, and MacKenzie and JJ's flower girl dresses will be baby blue, with skirts of a darker blue organza with baby blue embroidered roses. Great stuff.

Saturday's trip to Santa Cruz Boardwalk:
1. No one threw up. The fact that I stayed off the roller coasters helped.

2. The best bumper cars ever are at the boardwalk, near the cave ride. Dennis worked at the cave ride when he was at UC-Santa Cruz, but he was fired after 3 days because he was supposed to read from a script and he got a bit creative with it. Now there is no script, just a recorded voice telling you not to stick your hands out or the plaster dayglo cavemen will bite them off or something. I wasn't really paying attention. Anyway, the bumper cars are round, like bumper boats, and you control them with levers, so they can go backwards. They were really fun, and relatively deserted, since they're down off the main strip and there are other bumper cars closer to the rest of the rides. But these were called the bumper cars of the future, so they're better. Bumper cars of the fuuuuuuture!

3. Ghost Blaster is also fun, and I'm not very good at it. It's a haunted house-style ride, but you have plastic guns and are supposed to shoot at the ghosts as you go through. If we ever have to hunt ghosts, I'm giving the ghost-gun to Ryan, who seems to have skills.

4. Dennis and I hung out with the pirate sign while Sarah and Ryan were on the big pirate ship that swings entirely too high into the air. As we learned last year at Great America, Ryan is fearless and will go on any ride, which is wonderful. It means I can stay on the ground and not humiliate myself by freaking out. I got on one coaster last year, and Dennis pointed out that, while other people on the ride may have been praying, I was the only one doing it out loud.

5. There was a bridal party in full regalia at the boardwalk, riding the coasters and other rides. I hope the bride didn't have any ideas about saving or selling her dress - I know what the bottom of my jeans looked like by the end of the day, and I don't suppose her dress escaped the grime, either. They all looked very happy, though. Dennis and I are planning to spend our wedding night and at least one more night in Santa Cruz/Monterey, since we won't take our honeymoon until October.
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