You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘listening to too much indie music’ category.
Book Description (From Amazon): Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
Soundtrack: “Ave Maris Stella”~ Otto Olsson
So much of the book revolves around Seraphina’s relationship with music, and this gorgeous choral piece came to mind immediately.
After reading about this book in a recent issue of “Shelf Awareness,” I was beyond excited to snag a copy from the library.
In a country where there is an uneasy truce between humans and dragons, Seraphina has spent her entire life attempting to hide her true identity. Turning her considerable musical talents to a position as the assistant to the court composer, she is unable to evade notice for long.
When a member of the royal family is killed, and the murder appears to have been commited by a dragon, Seraphina finds herself dragged into the investigation and forging unlikely relationships along the way.
It is not exaggeration to say that I LOVED this book. Seraphina’s character is so richly imagined that she practically leaps off the page. The reader sharply feels her turmoil at reconciling her public and private lives. She’s a very typical young woman, wanting to feel beautiful and valued but believing herself unworthy of those things. Seeing her explore her unique talents and realize that what makes her different also makes her remarkable is fantastic.
While Seraphina herself is reason enough to read this book, I can’t do it a disservice by neglecting to mention the supporting characters. Each of them is challenged in some way by their role in society- Prince Lucian is contracted to marry his cousin regardless of his personal wishes, Orma finds himself fighting his very nature when it comes to loving his niece, and Seraphina’s father is an expert in the law despite having broken it himself long ago. The mythology is developed to a wonderful degree. Ms Hartman developed a unique class of dragons, with their own quirks, emotional characteristics and habits. She’s given the human residents of her world their own caste rules, prejudices and religious system.
In the case of this book I would even be tempted to break my own rule regarding YA series. Though the ending resolved the plot well, I wouldn’t have been opposed to spending a lot more time with Seraphina and following her as she and Kiggs move forward and prepare for a potential war between the humans and the dragons. I didn’t do a great deal of searching, but if I were to read that Rachel Hartman was planning a sequel, it wouldn’t cause any gnashing of teeth on my part. There’s music, there’s romance, and plenty of intrigue to keep you turning pages until the end.
Five out of Five Ivory Flutes.
Book Description (from Amazon):
“On the cusp of turning thirty, Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget are now living
separate lives, out on their own. Yet despite having jobs and men that they
love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained
them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but
misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but
still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her
longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to
settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness. Then Tibby
reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a
reunion that they all breathlessly await.
And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.”
Soundtrack: “Both Sides Now”~ Joni Mitchell
Love, in all of its many forms, has always been a key topic of the Sisterhood Books. This one is no exception, only it’s a bit more bittersweet this time around.
Best Enjoyed With: A cold beer and a brownie. Preferably to share.
I have to admit to some sentimentality when it came to choosing this book. I’d read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants when it came out, and loved the four Septembers in their first appearance. Likewise, I enjoyed both of the movie adaptations. I’ve kept up with the books over the years, even as I grew older and the characters became “too young” for me.
Ann Brashares returns to her girls ten years after the events in the last books. They’ve all pursued life paths true to character- Carmen is a successful actress, Lena teaches art, and Bee floats wherever the wind takes her. The only mystery to the girls is Tibby, who moved away to Australia with Brian when his software design took off. They’re overjoyed to receive letters from her with an invitation to a reunion in Santorini, and each girl knows that it’s been far too long since she’s spent time with her best friends.
**Spoiler Alert! If you intend to read this book, stop here. I tried to write this review multiple times, but found it impossible to discuss some of the themes without revealing this one important plot point**- One of the girls dies tragically early in the story, and a letter she leaves behind indicates that her death was not an accident.
I admit to getting pissed off at Ms Brashares at that point. How could she possibly continue the story after making a plot choice like that?! And why create such seemingly unnecessary drama in something that was supposed to be a “light” read full of friendship and love?
Trust me, she has her reasons.
The tragedy forces each of the characters to deal with grief in her own way. For one, it’s running off the rails and once again coming to terms with the sadness in her own past. For one, it’s throwing herself into planning a wedding she doesn’t necessarily want. For the last, it’s cocooning herself even further into the solitude she’s cloaked herself in, to the point of pushing away anyone who would try to help her.
Rather than pulling the girls closer together, their sadness drives them apart. Each feels that trying to cope in the presence of the others would magnify her own sadness, and each blames herself for the loss of one of them.
I know, I’m making this sound like a real downer, but trust me, it is a gorgeous book and a very fitting end to the story of the Septembers. It’s a lovely examination of the ruts that we can fall into in life, and that the people we allow ourselves to become are not necessarily who we truly are. There’s just enough magic to remind the reader of the Pants, without being corny, and returning to this group of characters (all of them. Even Effie.) was reminiscent of visiting with old friends.
If you’ve read any of the story to this point, you absolutely must read this book. I read most of it in one day, and was sad to turn the last page. Could it be called too sappy? Possibly. Consider it a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, or raw cookie dough. Sometimes, you just need some sweetness.
Four and a half fireflies.
Plot Summary (From Amazon): Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
Soundtrack: “Keep Breathing”- Ingrid Michaelson
Some of the very best books that I’ve ever read are the ones which have moved me to tears. I count them among my favorites, and take them out ever so often to lovingly revisit the characters that have become like dear friends. With a subject matter like this, there was no question that “The Fault in Our Stars” was going to be moving story. Even as I saw the positive reviews pouring out across the web, I had very little concept of just how moving.
Last night, as I was reading, the tears started approximately halfway through the book. And they just. didn’t. stop.
I finished this novel with a lump in my throat, and ache in my heart and a smile on my face. Really, what else can you ask of a great story? Even today, attempting to write a review, I feel internally scraped raw somehow. As if, after bearing witness to the lives of these fictional young people, I grieve with and for them.
I was initially tentative as I started to read, this being my first book by John Green, and was worried by the fact that Hazel and Augustus are dry, witty, and oh-so-adult. “I don’t know if this is for me,” the little voice in the back of my head. “I was hoping for so much more from this story than ‘Juno’ + cancer.” Then suddenly? It didn’t bother me. Of course these young people had a wisdom beyond their years. How else could they possibly be? They were grappling with the thought of immortality while other teenagers were concerned with sports, shopping, and dating.
John Green looks unflinchingly at Cancer with a capital C- from the physical pain and mental state of an ill person to the impact that it has on those who know and love them. Hazel compares herself at one point to a grenade- everyone is just waiting for her to explode, leaving shards of herself behind imbedded in the hearts of those who knew her. She wants to be known as MORE than “that girl with cancer,” or “a fighter,” but someone who had a real impact. It is in this aspect that she and Augustus find common ground, and begin a tentative relationship. Tentative, that is, on Hazel’s part, because she doesn’t want him to be another of the people affected when she passes.
It seems fitting to me somehow that I should have finished this book right after Joel Stein’s New York Times piece “Adults Should Read Adult Books”. While I understand the point that he’s trying to make (As adults, we have few opportunities to continue enriching ourselves and books are one of our few chances to do so…which now that I think about it, I don’t entirely agree with either. I’m constantly trying new things, whether it’s a new hobby, a new recipe, pushing myself to learn a particularly tricky rhythm in a choral piece- all of those things offer growth opportunities as well.), I feel that there are certain pieces of literature that transcend age barriers. THIS is one of those books. It’s by no means a dumbed-down book- from the author’s language to the characters’ understanding of literary concepts, to the inevitable reaction that it evokes in the reader.
It takes a great deal for me to add a book to my “treasured” shelf, and “The Fault in our Stars” now occupies a place there. If you read nothing else this spring, make sure that you pick up this gorgeous novel.
When I started writing about our honeymoon over a month ago, I had no idea that it would take me so long or consist of so many entries. In retrospect, I should have been prepared to write pages and pages about an experience that was so incredibly rich and special. While we were lucky enough to have five whole days in Ireland (the first of which was basically decimated by jetlag), a part of me can’t help but wonder what other amazing things we’d have done if we only had more time, or if I hadn’t been battling the ominous Foot Injury of Doom.
Army Boy and I made a promise to each other that we WILL go back. A hopeful part of that promise is “before kids,” but we’ll just have to see what life throws us in the next year or so. In a perfect world, there would be new jobs and home improvements would miraculously NOT eat up all our potential extra funds… but for now we’ll wait and see.
Predictably, we slept late after our day spent outside exploring Kylemore Abbey and hiking to the D’Arcy monument. We managed to pull ourselves out of bed, groaning for coffee like a pair of neglected zombies, and stumble to the dining room in time for breakfast. While we didn’t have a set agenda for the day, we at least had to make it into town for a: a real Pint in an Irish pub and b: to buy MOAR of the Things!
After my successful trip out the day before, I felt confident that we’d be able to walk into town without too much trouble for me. The distance really WAS short enough that I could handle it with Das Boot. I grabbed the camera and we hiked down through the gardens of the hotel to get some pictures of the gorgeous property.
Our first stop once we reached down was the jewelry stop from our first day. A ring had caught Army Boy’s eye, and he was on a mission to make sure it became his. Unfortunately, there was one thing that we weren’t counting on- in addition to having a more relaxed opening/closing schedule than shops in the US, some stores actually observed the “day of rest” and weren’t open at all on Sunday!
At that point, we actually needed our umbrellas for the first time since we’d arrived- the weather had determined to set our itinerary for us, and we ducked into an open pub to have some lunch, get our pints and get out of the rain. Nothing’s better with a beer than fish and chips, and that’s what we both decided to enjoy. All of the rumors are true- Guiness is FAR better in Ireland than anywhere else. It’s practically a meal in itself, and finishing mine was a challenge. One I was more than willing to accept, of course.
Unsure of the Sunday hours of the other local shops, we decided to make our priority getting the whiskey that we’d promised to family back home. We stood in the liquor aisle, surveying the impressive selection of whiskeys, and realizing that we hadn’t the faintest clue which of them were actually any good. I decided to avoid any of the names that I was familiar with back in the US, so my first pick was a bottle of Crested Ten. It’s made by Jameson’s (yes, THAT Jameson), but you can’t get that particular variety over here.
After that, we were stumped. I hit on the bright idea of asking one of our fellow shoppers for recommendations- a trick that’s worked well for me in the past while traveling. If the locals enjoy a certain place/shop/food it’s probably going to be good. I looked up at the tall gentlemen browsing to my right, and inquired as to whether they had a particular favorite whiskey.
You would think that browsing in an Irish store, looking at the Irish whiskey while standing next to gentlemen with accents would guarantee you an Irish recommendation. I’m ashamed to admit that the sweet young man smiled and said, “I’m sorry Miss, we’re from Holland.” Diction-recognition FAIL. We ended up grabbing a bottle of Jameson’s 12-Year Reserve and another of Connemara (this one WAS recommended by a local) before heading to the supermarket for MY last shopping requirement.
We’d made fantastic work of our stash of Cadbury, and I’d managed to narrow down the choices of treats we’d be bringing home. I adored the Crunchie bars, and something about the simple sweet Dairy Milk Buttons made them a perfect treat. The thing I didn’t get nearly enough of?? Lemons Iced Caramels. Oh good lord, they’re amazing. Chewy soft caramel surrounded by a crispy icing shell?! So far, I haven’t had luck at finding a way to get them over to the states yet, but I’m still trying. And by “over to the states” I mean “in my face,” because I’m selfish like that.
A check of the time revealed that the day was getting away from us far too quickly, and we took the scenic route back up to the castle to finished our packing for the next day. Our 7am flight out of Shannon would demand that we leave the hotel at the ungodly hour of 3:30 in the morning (10:30pm EST) to make the drive from Clifden. Our evening’s activities would have to be greatly abbreviated, in order to go to bed and try to get a little sleep.
I’d decided ahead of time that for our last dinner in Ireland, I was going to ditch the flats and dress up for a nice dinner with my new husband. Regardless of how silly it might look to wear a dress (and hose, we were in the British Isles and if it’s good enough for Princess Kate, it’s good enough for me!) with Das Boot, I didn’t want to miss the chance. Even the universe was against me, as the hair dryer in the room (my last resort after frying my adapter and hair straightener on day one) blew, leaving me with a wet tangled mess of hair that was more fit for Connemara ponies to chew than a nice evening. Fortunately, the wonderful front desk staff came to our rescue and I was back in business in no time.
A short time later, we were seated in the dimly lit dining room, at a table for two by the window. Outside, we could see the Irish flag waving in the light drizzle that had rolled in with the evening. As we ordered our first course, I looked around the room that had become so familiar in a short time and felt a lump start to form in my throat. I forced myself to keep it together, but was barely able to hold back the tears as I realized the end of our adventure was so close at hand. After a few short hours rest, we’d be back to life and reality. The months of planning, work, stress and laughs had all boiled down to the last two incredible weeks, and it was…. Over??
Thanks to my internet reading, I knew it was perfectly normal to have a post-wedding “crash,” but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be over prosciutto-wrapped melon in the hotel dining room. Or sitting in first class on the flight home the next day. (I should have known better than to watch “My Sister’s Keeper.” What a loon.) Army boy, who was sleeping like a baby in the amazingly comfortable seats, missed it all. There are not enough tissues in those little purse packs. For real.
We stopped at the front desk at the way back from dinner to settle our account, knowing that doing so at 3am was going to be out of the question. Returning to our room, with the suitcases neatly grouped and ready for our early morning departure, I couldn’t believe everything we’d gotten to see and do in our time in Ireland. We forced ourselves to bed, knowing that our alarm would ring all too early, and we’d have an “interesting” drive through the night to Shannon.
I wish that I had more memory of that drive to report, but the thing that I recall most is laughing hysterically. The wee hours of the morning lend even the most mundane task (driving) an edge of the manic that kept bubbling over in both of us at the slightest opportunity. Of course, it didn’t help that the night was dark and misty, and we were relying on our gps and the glow of our headlights to find our way. The Irish countryside at night is dark in a way that is difficult to find here, and the windy roads even more treacherous than by the light of day. You can only imagine our surprise when we came around a corner to find white cottony clouds blocking our way, especially when those clouds stared at our car and let out bleats of alarm.
“SHEEP! SHEEP IN THE ROAD!!” I cried out before I could stop myself, and then burst into giggles.
“WAH!” was Army Boy’s only response as he slowed and was able to maneuver around the unruly flock.
Just as we’d managed to calm ourselves from the sheep incident, we entered the Galway city limits, and began to navigate the series of six or so roundabouts that would point us toward Shannon. I don’t think that a GPS has ever taken such blistering verbal abuse as ours did that evening, but I comfort myself in the knowledge that they haven’t quite reached an A.I. level of intelligence.
The last moment of levity came as we merged onto a newer highway, and our dear friend the GPS wasn’t familiar with the road. She furiously attempted to “recalculate” over and over, landing our little electronic representation in fields and bogs before finally settling on guiding us along some train tracks.
“You are NOT a train,” I intoned in the dry British accent she used to express her displeasure with us, leading us both to ridiculous fits of laughter. All the excitement served only to tire us more, making our eventual exhausted sleep on the flight home that much more inevitable. Not SO inevitable that we couldn’t grab one last bottle of whiskey at the duty-free in the airport, but just about.
We pulled into the rental car parking as the first light of dawn streaked the sky pink, and solemnly loaded our luggage into the shuttle to the terminal. We had 22 hours of travel ahead of us before we’d pull into the sleepy train station in Central PA, complete with turbulence, flight delays and one more round of Crumbs cupcakes. By the time we entered our quiet house, on our darkened street, we couldn’t have been happier to be home.
Immediately after finishing PWNED, I headed back to attack the other novels that I’d brought on the honeymoon. The first one I decided to tackle was George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones.” I’d heard a lot of hype about the HBO series and the recent release of the fifth book, “A Dance with Dragons.” Of course, anyone that’s read “Game of Thrones” knows that that sucker clocks in at just over 800 pages, and each of the subsequent installments is just as hefty.
I’m loving it to death (it’s totally “Lord of the Rings” + Sex)(And the characters, zomg!), and speeding to the end, but the recent holiday excitement has been limiting my reading time. I did make sure to ask Santa for some more installments in Martin’s saga, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll allow me to stay in Westeros for a while longer.
In addition to “Game,” I’ve got some other great reads staring me impatiently in the face. For starters, there are four books in Jean Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series just waiting for me to witniss some prehistoric lovin’.
Next in line is the new Jane Green novel “Another Piece of my Heart,” which I was lucky enough to grab an advance copy of through Goodreads. Jane Green is the one who really turned me on to reading chick lit back in 2003 while I was working at the library and happened to check out a copy of “Jemima J.” Since then, I’ve been following her releases eagerly. This one is shaping up to be a doozy, so I can’t wait to get a review posted.
I was thrilled to get a text from Army Boy on Friday letting me know that my Secret Santa/Fairy Bookmother Angela had struck again, sending me another totally awesome surprise package. Look, look!!
Why yes, that IS an autographed edition of “Clockwork Prince,” second book in the “Infernal Devices” trilogy. I’m eager to see what happened after the tense conclusion of the first novel, and return to some angsty Shadowhunter action.
In short, I’ve got a TON of great reads on my shelf, and am eager to get to each and every one of them! I’m not neglecting the “Reads” part of my blog in favor of honeymoon tales, I’m just making sure that I have LOTS of material. Stay tuned!
Wasn’t that AWESOME?!
I think that enough time has gone by that I can probably reveal what our choices actually were without anyone wanting to stab me through the Internet.
Processional: Theme from “The Thorn Birds”, performed by James Galway.
This was the piece that I honestly feel was suggested by my Pop, who passed when I was four. We were in the midst of the music selection process, and I randomly woke up one day with this gorgeous melody in my head. As I mentioned in my previous post, Pop was working on a series of home videos that he entitled “Roots,” chronicling the growth of his family. He’d occasionally insert a medley of video footage, scored by some of his favorite pieces. This song featured prominently in one installment.
I started searching, and found the arrangement done by James Galway and Phil Coulter, which builds in intensity as the piece goes on. It was just long enough for all of our family to process, and then was faded out after the arrival of the Maid of Honor. My family all told me after the ceremony that they recognized the nod to Pop, and loved this choice.
Bridal Entrance: “The Ludlows,” from “Legends of the Fall,” composed by James Horner
I didn’t even realize that James Horner was the composer for both “Legends” and “Braveheart” when I initially sought out the soundtrack. This track had everything I wanted, with warm strings, shimmering harmonies and a pace perfect for “The Walk.”
My first spark of inspiration was to look for the piano song that Susannah and Samuel play together in the movie, a little tune called “Twilight and Mist.” It doesn’t appear separately on the soundtrack recording, but as part of the larger track “The Ludlows.” I quickly realized that “Twilight and Mist” wasn’t long enough for a walk down the aisle, but “The Ludlows” had plenty of beautiful themes, including the main theme of the movie. With some creative fade-ins, the dj helped us achieve the perfect excerpt.
(The doors opened at around 1min, 10 secs into the excerpt below)
Handfasting: “A Gift of a Thistle,” from “Braveheart,” composed by James Horner
I knew that I wanted to play this at some point during the ceremony, and it seemed most appropriate during our Handfasting. The soft pipes playing in the background definitely added to the atmosphere of the moment.
Recessional: “Lancaster Gate”~ Enter the Haggis
Please keep this one in mind when you read what we chose for our First Dance. For some reason, I am convinced that you will think less of me.
I’ve effing beaten you over the head with I might have mentioned, Army Boy and I were engaged at an Enter the Haggis concert. Their celtic rock style was perfect for celebrating our happiness, and we knew we wanted to recess to one of their songs. We thought that this one would be upbeat with the “slightest hint of badass.”
PS- I have NO idea what the picture is supposed to be about? But this was better quality than a live recording. Bear with me and Mr Pimp Shirt Guy.
First Dance: “Marry Me”~ Train
I know! I know! “That song?! Why did you pick that song?! It’s so overplayed! We expected more from you!!”
But you GUYS. It’s so romantic! And so Army Boy.
In my defense, it took a LOT to unseat the song that I always pictured dancing to at my wedding. But the very fact that I’d always pictured dancing to it was enough to make me reconsider. We wanted a song that spoke to us specifically. Remember how I mentioned that sometimes wedding elements that could be considered “cliche” are as such because they touch people? This was the one exception I was willing to make to my “ban on potentially boring wedding choices.”
The strings, the heartfelt lyrics and the subtle beat of the drum giving the song movement… It just came together beautifully.
Father-Daughter Dance: “The Way You Look Tonight”~ Harry Connick Jr/ “Tom Sawyer”~Rush / “Mercy”~ Duffy / “Summer of ‘69”~ Brian Adams
When we sat down with my parents for our “listening party,” I threw out the idea of having a mash-up for the Father-Daughter dance. It seems to be becoming more common that the bride and groom are choreographing their first dance, whether to have some fun or just to not look like middle-schoolers during their debut as husband and wife. I thought that people would be expecting that from me, given the background in music and theater.
We decided to lull our guests into a false sense of security with Brian and I having a romantic first dance, and then pull the rug out from under them when it was time to get the party started.
I knew that I wanted “The Way You Look Tonight” for our “serious” dance, and opened up the table to possible ideas for how to shake up the evening. Initially, we had chosen to just add ONE surprise song, “Summer of ’69.” My Dad had the album in his old truck when he and my mom got together, and I have great memories of the two of us driving off to a day of miniature golfing with the music down and the stereo blasting. There would be air guitar and sunglasses. It would be US.
Somehow, as we were talking the idea started getting bigger, as ideas have a habit of doing. Why not throw in a “mistake” song, so that we could act like it was a genuine surprise? Dad has eclectic taste in music, and has albums by Rush and Asia hidden in his collection. My parents got to see a Rush concert earlier this year, and we thought that a track by them would be sufficiently “mortifying” to allow us some comedy.
But if we were going to have a song for Dad, we needed one for me as well. My first choice was “Rehab,” as a bit of a tribute to Amy Winehouse, but we started to rethink that knowing that Army Boy’s conservative family would be in attendance. We decided on “Mercy,” by Duffy, and thought that it would be a great chance to start getting the women of the crowd onto the dance floor.
We talked to our DJ, and he agreed to create a mashup using the songs that we’d chosen, and adding some effects of “malfunctioning equipment.” We also all agreed that “Summer of ‘69” would be the jumping-off point for the dancing for the evening, and the DJ got in on the action, inviting everyone to join the crowd of people already shaking what their mommas gave them.
Closing Song: “The Luckiest”~ Ben Folds
I’d had this song picked out as my “First Dance” since I first heard it years and years ago. It’s fitting for our relationship, with the themes of fate and missed connections… but I also feel it’s a little melancholy for the first dance. Also- if I tried to make my and Army Boy’s first dance the one that Younger, Sillier Brooke had imagined in the past with God Knows Who… it wasn’t truly us.
I knew that we wanted to keep it part of our playlist, and it was perfect for winding down at the end of the evening.
This morning, I was on my way in to work when it HIT me. Like, REALLY hit me. We’ve been married for one month today. One entire month since that day full of fizzy joy and nerve-jangling excitement that seems like a total blur looking back. Honestly, most of the month since then feels like a blur as well, and I feel like I just need to sit and really try to get some of what I felt on that day out into this space, before even the blur starts to soften around the edges with time.
If I could pick one word to sum up that incredible weekend, right now it would have to be “surreal”. I know, you were expecting “love!” or “family!” or “happiness!” It was all of those things and so many more, and it still feels almost like a dream. Throughout the day of our wedding, I’d catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think “Who’s that girl? Oh right, it’s ME. This is ACTUALLY happening.”
That’s not to say that I feel like I wasn’t fully present in every moment of the day. There were just so many of them, that went by so quickly, that even now one can pop up and surprise me.
Despite that, there are still crystal clear moments that I can hold on to, like pendants on a chandelier. Eating breakfast together in the morning (I may have had a mini pumpkin pie, among the other smart “recommended bridey foods”) was the best possible scenario for us, because the minute I was away from Army Boy the butterflies started building up in my stomach. Running into the pizza place across from the salon, updo, veil and all, to grab a slice before heading down to the hotel. Dancing in the car on the way down to “Moves Like Jagger,” and staring in wonder at the perfectly blue sky. Army Boy whispering in my ear as he called me by my new name for the first time. Sneaking to the vending machine in the hotel after the night was over because we were dying for some Gatorade, and running into my cousins, who were on their way down to the bar to continue the party.
Moments like that keep coming back to me, but forming them into a cohesive narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end is what keeps eluding me. Maybe it’s because that day was so much bigger than a simple “We went here, and then did this, and ate this…”
I laughed more than I expected to, and definitely cried more than I expected to. I ate less than I expected to, and CERTAINLY drank less. We had our one glass of champagne apiece for the toasting, but I was SO. THIRSTY. After the ceremony, and the photos, and the featured dances, and the cake cutting, and ditching the veil and bustling the dress, someone get Momma a soda!
I still feel the stifling nerves of the moments before we left the hotel suite to head to the ceremony: Had everything come together ok? Were the guests going to be disappointed and underwhelmed? How on earth was I going to move in the dress all night?! Of all the emotions that I expected to feel on my wedding day, that sudden suffocating fear was not one of them.
I was still shaky minutes later, as I walked up to the wooden doors separating me from the ballroom. I heard our processional slowly fade out, and then the bridal entrance music started to swell, exactly where I’d asked the dj to start. I clutched my Dad’s arm like a lifeline, and then the doors opened…
The music itself was threatening to overwhelm me with tears, so I started to look at faces in the crowd, knowing that I’d lose it if I glimpsed Army Boy right away. I noticed the candles in the fireplace, and that some of my family was sitting on the groom’s side (My guests had filled the bride’s chairs, leaving later arrivals to fill in the empty spaces), and my college friends grinning like mad. Army Boys cousins were smiling encouragingly, and my aunt was openly weeping as I paused to give my mom a hug before continuing up to meet my soon-to-be-husband.
My first thought was that the grey tuxes were an AWESOME choice, followed by realizing that Army Boy was just as nervous as I was. When we were finally prompted to take hands, I finally felt myself starting to relax and come back to earth, knowing that this was about the two of us starting our lives together.
There was the mortifying moment when my nose dripped during the ceremony, thanks to the tears I was trying to stifle, and I was thankful for my something old- my Nana’s embroidered handkerchief in the pocket of my skirt. (Oh yes, I had pockets!)
There was the giddy excitement when Army Boy’s father handed the reverend our rings, even though we’d already said our vows and been handfasted. They were one of the first parts of our wedding planning that we completed, and we were so thrilled to finally put them on each other’s fingers.
Just like that, we were introduced as husband and wife, and recessed to some rocking guitar chords.
The rest of the evening is when everything kicked into overtime, between rushing around for pictures, bustling the dress, making our entrance, eating a little, doing table visits, eating a little more… Everyone tells you that the day will go SO FAST, but I didn’t entirely believe them. I mean, pshaw. I write things. I notice things! I-… hey, why does my foot hurt so badly?
Everyone that we hired to help us with our event played their parts to perfection. The reverend outdid herself, the dj kept the party going, and the hotel staff were nothing short of magical. (No really… our event manager was waiting for my Mom at the end of the recessional with a Grey Goose martini, three olives. Just like we’d joked during the rehearsal the day before.)
(Oh, and the moment that SAVED me when I was getting ready to launch into full on panic mode before the processional: We were standing in the hall, getting ready to enter the ballrooms, and the banquet manager was holding my train.
“This is always my favorite moment,” she said, not realizing that her words were going to become my life preserver as I fought to keep my breathing even. “The moment before the doors open, when it’s just me and the bride… Every time, I get to feel like I’m part of the family.”
That sentence touched me profoundly and made me realize that each event is fresh for them, even though it could turn into a collage of flowers and candles and sparkles. I owed it to EVERYONE to keep my shit together. And I did.)
I’m so glad that I did a lot of reading before the big day, especially some of the amazing bridal blogs out there. They helped to prepare me for the fact that people don’t change, just because it’s your wedding. If they’re typically late? They’ll probably be late. If they thrive around drama? They will probably bring some drama with them. But I was ready for it, and knew that the only thing that could turn hiccups into a full-on catastrophe was my reaction to them. I didn’t react. And everything turned out wonderfully.
All along, I told Army Boy and myself that my ultimate goal for the wedding day was to end the day sitting in the enormous tub in our hotel suite, taking the pins out of my hair and soaking our aching feet. (I mean, of course we were going to get MARRIED, but for some reason he and I fixed on that golden moment of “just the two of us” after the excitement was over.) And that is exactly how we ended our first day as a married couple. Plus some surprise rose petals on the bed (the amazing MOH strikes again!) with some relaxing bubble bath.
There may have been cheese curls and chocolate from our welcome bag too. Because we were STARVING.
I’ll neither confirm nor deny that fact.
I was all ready to return from our honeymoon and launch into the requisite round of “recap” posts, even though I have no doubt that everyone is HEARTILY sick of wedding posts by now.
What I didn’t plan for was the absolutely soul-sucking exhaustion that follows the wedding and the honeymoon travelling, plus added lack of sleep from doctor’s visits due to my overwhelming klutzitude and the JET LAG OMG. As much as I am positively aching to go back to Ireland RIGHT THIS SECOND, I am totally going to research jet lag prevention. I need some solutions, other than, say, sleeping. Because we all know that I’m far too control-freak/anxiety-prone for THAT to happen.
(For the record, I did sleep! In my first moving conveyance EVER! Unfortunately, I was then awakened by bone-rattling turbulence that gave me “Castaway” style terror and was unable to get back to the blissful slumber that Army Boy was enjoying. Jerk.)(Look, we really are married, I am calling him “jerk” now.)(KIDDING.)
There is just so much to come back to following a wedding…*insert moaning about first world problems here* Plus our fun of combining name-changing errands with dr appts and returning to work, and a little more travelling for me this weekend.
All of this was to say that yes, I am figuring out a coherent way to share with you the sheer massiveness of the last three weeks. I am formulating and organizing and remembering what I deliberately kept from you on the pretext of being tricksy and not spoiling all of my secrets to those amazing friends who read the blog and were present at the big day. (Roomie, Angela and Danielle- I’m lookin’ at you.)
Even more than all that, I’m still figuring out what changed for us that day, as individuals and as a couple. Once the dust settles and the big event is over, are there changes? I don’t know if I didn’t expect there to be, since we were already co-owners of a home and “parents” to Wesley. In both of our minds, we were hardcore committed to each other the day that we signed our mortgage. Somehow, though, marriage is new. Having a husband, and being a wife… even in the first weeks, it’s meant giving up some control (OMG SO HARD) and realizing that even if I’m wearing a giant ugly walking boot on our honeymoon, he’s not going anywhere. In short? It’s awesome.
This weekend, we’re going to finally sit down and go through our honeymoon photos, start on our thank-you notes, get some SLEEP, and I’ll begin in earnest to write everything down. Both for all of you, and for Army Boy and I.
PS- You were all so lovely about the wedding photos, I decided to be
a vain bitch thoughful and link to our photographer’s preview blog. In case you wanted to see a couple more, yanno. (And yes, I AM playing Angry Birds, reading “The Help” and drinking Smirnoff Ice in the third photo down. Because we kept it Classy.)
Product Summary: (From Amazon.com)
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by–and torn between–two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
This close to the wedding, I need something that’s really going to prove to be relaxing, and an escape. I wanted a book that was interesting enough to absorb me completely into the world that the author aimed to create, and Cassandra Clare has managed to do it again.
“Clockwork Angel” is the first in the new Infernal Devices trilogy, which takes place in Victorian London. We get to experience some of the backstory of the Shadowhunters, and it’s a very different time than Clary and Jace’s world. The accords are newer, for one thing, and the Downworlders aren’t necessarily as trusting of the Nephilim as they are in “modern” times.
This book was a natural fit for me. Slap a “historical fiction kinda sorta but with vampires and such” on a book, and I’m all over it. The transition from NYC to Victorian London was awesome, complete with dialed-down shadowhunter weapons and an all new Institute. I very much enjoyed the new characters, and am waiting with bated breath to see how they develop.
The book begins with Tessa Gray arriving in England to live with her brother after the death of their only remaining relative. Though her brother Nate can’t meet her at the station, he sends some “friends of his employer” to escort her. These friends turn out to be two warlocks who are sent to kidnap Tessa and unlock her hidden power- the ablity to transform into another person at will. Tessa’s adventures really begin upon her rescue from the Dark House, when a group of Shadowhunters, including the dreamy Will Herondale, break in and usher her to freedom.
Following the narrative from that point on is a great deal of fun. In the Mortal Instruments Series, Cassandra Clare introduced us to Clary, who was unaware of the shadow world until her mother was kidnapped. The action for a while consisted of Clary learning the truth about her family’s past, and much of the first book is spent in exposition. In the Infernal Devices series, you’re thrown into the the thick of things right away, with Tessa learning that SHE is special, and how her entire life is going to change because of it. Instead of learning her backstory right up front, we’re taken along with her as she learns the purpose of the Institute and the Shadowhunters. Her backstory (most notably the source of her power- was it one of her seemingly normal parents?!) takes a bit of a back seat because the action comes fast and furious and never lets up.
The villain in this case is “The Magister”, a powerful figure whose identity is not revealed until the end, and who wants to marry Tessa to use her powers for his own gain. He’s also obsessed with— well, that would probably give too much of the story away. There are the requisite potential love interests in Will and James, but each boy has a great deal of baggage that Tessa will have to sort through before deciding if she wants to be with either. I have to admit, it’s a bit more refreshing than the potential incest between the leads in the Mortal Instruments. Will (for one) spends much less of the book hating himself than Jace did, which leaves more time for his quick wit and sexily careless chivalry.
Cassandra Clare writes just as convincingly in a past setting as the present, and I’m greatly looking forward to the next novel in the series.
ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!!!* Stay tuned to my blog in the coming weeks for some great book-related news! No really. You should do it.
*Note the multitude of exclamation points. This means I am very very very excited.