The fun never ends…

The fun of realizing you forgot to change your last name after getting married on yet one more thing. Today I called two billing companies to see about changing my last name on the account, as even though I’ve had 7 months in which to remember to do so, I hadn’t. Until now. One place needs to see my license or marriage license, the other did it easily over the phone. And then was shortly called back as I realized my middle initial was then (or had it always been and I just didn’t notice?) wrong.

I’m now trying to remember if there are any other bills I’ve forgotten to update. Besides the name I’m on our lease with… I need to change that still… Despite paying rent every month and having ample opportunity when dropping off the check to do ask about changing my name.

But aside from that, all I can think of is my passport. It’s not like I’ll need it anytime soon, but it would be nice to not have major issues updating it. It’s just time consuming as I even need to include a new picture. But hey! That means I’ve already done my research on how to change my name on my passport, which is more than can be said about my lease.

Oh, and there is that one bank account…

D.C. 2017, Day 4

Day 4 (Sunday) was our final day. And technically, most of it was not spent in D.C. After sleeping in a bit (three late nights in a row plus all the walking we did finally worked), we packed up and had brunch with second cousin and friend/ex. We went to a place that was apparently second cousin’s favourite place to have breakfast in the area, where most of the workers know him by sight and had to ask what had happened to his arm and shoulder.

Sadly, once brunch was done, it was time to head home. We took the same route back, but seeing all the lovely mountains and hills first made the flatness of Ohio and Indiana that much more apparent  – and sad. It was also weird not walking five miles that day…

Nevertheless, it was a great trip back home, complete with lively discussion in the first part, and all sorts of music and dancing to it in the second half! I also learned that I am so self-conscious about my dancing that I would start laughing as soon as my cousin looked at me. And would laugh for about a minute while probably turning a little red. Or as she put it, “you dance for 30 seconds and then laugh for a minute”. Yeah… So we worked on that by me trying to dance even more than normal and her not looking at me directly or for long. I actually made it several minutes. Improvement!

We ended our trip driving into the sunset and listening to the last couple songs (plus the second one, “Concerning Hobbits”) of The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, “The Breaking of the Fellowship” and “May it be”. Perfect epic and melancholy soundtrack to the ending of a trip.

Okay, that was actually the end of the cousin road trip part of the trip, I had to drive an hour further to get home to my husband.

D.C. 2017, day 3

This was our slow day. We spent the morning hanging out with second cousin and his temporary live-in nurse/friend/ex, had plantains and fish sauce for lunch, then went out for few hours to see the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Botanic garden. Sadly, we hadn’t realized they all closed earlier than the other sights, so while we did indeed see the Library of Congress (which I loved!), we were too late to see inside the Capitol, and were chased out of the Botanic Gardens after about fifteen minutes. Apparently wen the outside garden there must be locked up at 5:30…

The good thing about such a slow day was that we didn’t have as much walking to do! All three places were fairly close together even. Unfortunately, I ruined the maybe two miles we’d have walked all day by needed to stop by a store to pick up a couple things, is trying to walk to one that would mint be too far out of our way from a metro stop, and the two we tried to get to being either non-existent or closed already! That seemed to add two miles to our day…

The actually good thing about the day’s sights was how much I loved the Library of Congress. From painted ceilings to mosiac floors to gorgeous stonework. They had quotes painted on some of the ceilings, which were excellent fodder for thought (some I liked, some I disagreed with), as well as authors’ names in another section. Some ceilings in different rooms were 3D and gold against red, while others were simpler.

Also exciting was the fact that they had a display of Thomas Jefferson’s library collection, albeit a small one. Despite much of the collection burning shortly after he sold it to congress, they had many of the originals! The books were marked with ribbons according to whether they were originals, ones bought to replace his immediately, and so on, including boxes marked with title for the books still missing. It was also organized according to the system he used. Amazing. And yes, nerdy librarian amazing.

Less nerdy was how much I enjoyed all the green and flowers at the botanic gardens. And all the selfies I took at all of these places including outside the Capitol. I’ve tried to not include them all here…

After all this, it was back to the second cousin’s apartment where we watched another movie and he fixed steak.

D.C. 2017, day 2

DAY 2 of our D.C. 2017 trip involved another five miles of walking. Not that we were keeping track that precisely, but estimating our distances both times lead us to conclude we did a ton of walking. About five miles worth. Each day…

However, the walking was quite enjoyable – if painful – as it included visiting the Jefferson and Rosoovelt memorials, learning who George Mason was, seeing the MLK memorial, visiting a couple smithsonians (natural history and a brief venture into the air and space museum), and stopping and seeing the Smithsonian visitor center, otherwise known as “the castle”.

I had great fun nerding over everything space, as well as the two dinosaur skeletons on display, in their separate museums.

I also had great fun ooooing and ahhhing over how pretty the Jefferson memorial is, and sitting and enjoying the sun and waterfalls in the Rosoovelt memorial.

It was also nice to learn about George Mason, who was an early human rights defender as well as providing inspiration for several important political documents including the bill of rights.

I had less fun learning just how out of shape I am. My legs hurt when I woke up, basically. Just a little. But hurt a lot by the end of another long bout of walking!

Still, it was worth it. Despite the pain, despite the slight sunburn on my face, it was a great day.

D.C. 2017, day 1

I’d never been to D.C. before, so when my cousin suggested I come out with her to see her brother and the sights, I was excited. We ended up driving instead of flying due to ticket costs, so most of the first day was taken up by an 8 hour drive through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

But we finally made it. After hanging out with my second cousin for few hours, and having a delicious supper of basil tomato soup with shrimp and garlic bread, the first cousin and I took the metro out towards the national mall.

It was great. And cold. And a very lengthy walk that I started to feel towards the end. But have I mentioned how cool it was to see stuff mostly without the crowds and lit up? We saw an unidentified by us cool building, the White House, the Washington and Lincoln monuments, the Korean War memorial, and a distance view of the Jefferson monument. Then it was back on the metro! After not being able to use one station entrance because of the time…

Once on the metro, I in my stupidity decided it would be fine if we made our originally planned stop at a bookstore/cafe, even though it was late, we’d walked miles, driven even longer, certain of us were very short on sleep, and the second cousin (brother to first) was no longer going to meet us there and drive us back to his place then. So we stopped. Quickly. Just enough time to see they had a ton of cool books and to split a bowl of peach cobbler a la mode.

We rushed back to the metro then. In time to miss the train we needed in our confusion over why the track we thought we needed was closed. Turns out they were single tracking it. So we waited for the next one headed in the right direction. The one which might also be our last chance to get back to the apt without needing a taxi to do so…

We did make it. It was late, but we made. Although while we waited we were also privileged enough to be the recipients of a curse laden racist rant. My first time to hear a racist rant with that many “f***”s and “motherf*****s”. And it was aimed at us, which was also a first for me. We were both so glad when some other (also non-white) man came over and the ranting man left. I can’t imagine facing racism on a daily basis, however, so it was a good reminder that even if the racist rants I hear normally aren’t that curse-filled and making me nervous for our safety, they are making someone else afraid or at least aware of so much ingrained hate and they probably experience it far more frequently, if not daily. We all need to do our part to stop the hate.

And thus ended the first day in DC.

Brochures

Most people probably don’t enjoy picking out brochure templates, deciding on colours, changing colours so fonts stand out – or don’t – and so on. I do. It’s a creative organization project, perhaps, or just enough of a creative puzzle to be fun. And when I told my boss a week ago that I was thinking about doing one as an updated tutorial on how to check out an ebook through our digital library, she was thrilled. And gave me a thumb drive with a brochure started on it about why to get a library card with us.

So, I did both. And a basic template look for our library (combing the new logo with a coordinating colour palate). And some options. I’d have to check the thumb drive again to see for sure, but there were six or eight brochures on that thumbdrive when I was done.

I also then either didn’t see my boss or forgot to mention them to her when I did. For a week. But she finally saw them yesterday and said said there were only a few changes that needed to be made. Success!

I just wonder which ones needed the changes… we somehow didn’t discuss that.

Married at last!

…And for over a month… (Edit: It has now been over two months. It took me a month to write this blog post. It then took me another month to finish this post and add pictures…) I’ve mentioned previously about how my fiance and I weren’t going for the traditionally large and stressful wedding, but were going for simple and small (back in August, actually. Wow…), well, let me tell you that the way to do a low stress wedding is to plan it in less than 2 weeks. 12 days is more than enough if you have easy wedding dress needs or worked ahead and already have that, like I did. It happened like this…

My fiance still hadn’t found a job in my area, but we had finally found an apartment, and were going to sign on it at the end of October. We were figuring out when to move and had finally decided that gave us a month to plan a wedding, as we didn’t want to wait longer than thanksgiving. My fiance was then going to move in to the apartment the same day we signed for it, as his lease for his old apartment would be up after that weekend, while I move in after we got married. One Sunday a mere 12 days before that sign and move-in date, my parents were on their way to a family reunion when my mom jokingly asked why we didn’t just get married when his parents were already going to be in the area. I laughed, and had to tell my fiance that (via text, as normal). He mentioned it to his parents then, as he was having lunch with them. Turns out it was his great-grandparents wedding date. And his parents were okay with that idea. And when he texted back that he was actually okay with this (joking!) plan, I realized it was the only date that wasn’t making me feel stressed out and nervous. (All the dates we’d been looking at for a month in advance had been making me want to elope.) So, we decided to get married then. We still didn’t have a minister, but his best-man was a pastor, so could do it if our other options (a family friend I’d asked about the other dates or an uncle) didn’t work out. It turned out that when I told my mom, she freaked out in my stead. But my fiance and I were feeling good about this. After finally hearing back from the uncle that night with a no, and hearing back from the other guy with a no as well the next day, we went to plan C and his best-man was now our officiant. We still had no location, but my brother started brainstorming and mentioned that some of the large area churches were likely to have chapels we could use, as the first place I contacted that Sunday hadn’t gotten back with me yet. I called two churches before I had one – and the first church hadn’t answered. This church had a super helpful and friendly secretary and pastor – who even took pictures of their chapel and texted them to me, even though I also set up a viewing of it on Wednesday. A couple friends were still willing to help me out with flowers and make-up, and I decided to do my own hair so ordered hair products to help with that – as I was going to have to do it in the morning even though the wedding would have to be in the evening. And I would be helping my fiance move in the afternoon after signing the papers at 3:30. After taking care of a few other small details, we had most of a wedding planned. By Wednesday. (We finalized with the church Wednesday afternoon after also getting our marriage license and taking care of utilities that had to be ready for Friday.) I had a final dress fitting and we went shopping for ties for the men (I was the only female amongst two male attendants, my groom, and our officiant, and my then-fiance wanted to gift ties to them all – and I wanted them to coordinate with the flowers), as well as picking out a few songs to play for the ceremony and my then-fiance meeting with his friend and officiant to put together the ceremony outline, but that was all done by Saturday. And we still had a week before the wedding.

Honestly though, we both still stressed. We just didn’t stress about the wedding. We did, however, stress a lot about timing with everything, as the wedding was a mere three hours or so after signing papers for the apartment and moving my then-fiance into it, and people’s tempers throughout all of it. We were also trying to get his parents to be okay with him moving basically everything that first day, but not setting everything up, as he had a long-awaited table-top RPG to get to the next day (he was willing to miss it for me, but I’d been hearing about how hard it was to schedule it finally so told him to go to it). Another friend of mine had her son and his cousin come to help us move though, and despite my now-father-in-law getting lost with the u-haul full of stuff, we managed to get everything moved in and the bed and table set up before I had to leave for make-up. And no one had gotten super upset! (That I knew of then. Apparently my man-of-honour had ticked off my now-mother-in-law with a joking comment, but I’m trying to ignore that still.)

Aside from the stress of moving the same day (and not even separated by half a day), the wedding itself was simple, still lovely, funny at times (music got messed up because I wasn’t worrying about it and let other people give the instructions for how to run it; and the officiant almost skipped the part with the rings; at which time my brother, who was standing in as the best-man since the former best-man was now the officiant and couldn’t do both at once, couldn’t find my slender wedding band in his pocket), touching, and extremely low-stress in putting it together. I wholeheartedly recommend planning small weddings in two weeks or less.

 

Oh, and did I mention that my now-husband and I were still working and having our normal lives during all this? His last day at work was literally the morning of our move-in and wedding date (he worked third shift). Again, I wholeheartedly can and do recommend two weeks or less for wedding planing.

Hiking

Ah, the great outdoors. There’s nothing like hiking down a creek bed that’s basically layers of rock slowly unfolding, with cliff walls on either side of you. And hiking with family (or friends, but in this case it was family) just makes it even better!

I went hiking at Turkey Run State Park with one of my brothers and a cousin today. It is not only the bicentennial for our state, but it was the centennial for the park, as it was created on the centennial of our statehood. All this made it all the more fitting to go hiking there, not to mention that it is probably our favourite place to hike within a couple hour radius of where we live. It has canyons, creek beds you hike up (or down), water that is sometimes shallow enough to walk through without issue and sometimes deep enough you’re wading, trees all over, and amazing rock formations.

As fun as hiking is, it had been far too long since I’d gone on a proper hike and I was very out of shape for it. I also had ended up injuring my ankles last time I hiked here (they were swollen for a week or two), but I did have hiking boots now so was hopeful of no injuries this time. Sure enough, I made it through with no injuries, only sore muscles. And pictures. Lots of pictures. Sadly, most of them that included my brother and cousin were too blurry to be any good, but I did get a few decent or semi-decent ones. Ones I shall now spam you all with! Enjoy! Or skip. I won’t know the difference. However, I will say that if you want to see what sort of hiking is offered at Turkey Run, peruse the pictures and keep in mind that those were the rugged or moderate trails. There are easier trails, we just prefer the more scenic and fun ones ourselves!

Also, if you get the chance to go outside this year, take it. Green nature is a good stress reliever as is exercise, so hiking is basically the ultimate stress buster! And who doesn’t need some of that?

 

Planning a wedding…

…without having a wedding date set.

There was something so freeing with disregarding the wedding industry’s insistence on a year engagement and stringent planning when we decided to wait to set a wedding (due to my fiancé needing to move first) and thus, wait to plan the wedding (can’t exactly book a venue without a date, and without the venue, who knows what colours will look good?) as well as only have a simple and small wedding. There was a lack of worry regarding it, and while I did wonder at times how we would do it, I was sure we’d be able to plan a wedding in a couple of weeks to a three months without any issues at all; this attitude impressed a lot of people with my flexibility. At first. That was in March and April. We were tentatively aiming for a mid-late August or early September wedding. It is now mid August, and my fiancé still doesn’t have a job and we still don’t have a wedding date set. I have finally lost my sense of flexibility and while it may still be freeing to buck society’s wedding standards concerning ornate planning and expense, it is mostly just frustrating to not have a wedding date in sight yet. We’re really tired of not being married and with no end to that officially in sight.

Small things have been planned or prepared; we decided against eloping, I finally went ahead and bought a dress and am having that altered currently, my fiancé and I both have our wedding party (one each) selected – although mine changed as my sister is now out of the country, and we both have our wedding bands purchased now. We’re just missing a venue, an officiant, and all the other numourous details that go into creating even a small simple wedding – wedding colours for if we want this wedding to look at all coordinated, flowers, suits and ties for the men (I now have a man-of-honour in my sister’s absence), inviting everyone on our tiny guest list, figuring out a wedding time, figuring out hair and make-up, finding a photographer on short notice, figuring out the day-of plan including a small family-only reception afterwards, as well as deciding when to have the other, larger receptions for all the friends and family we can’t have at a small wedding (especially when my family alone would put it at 50+ people).

I kept looking at some of the small details and I at least have an idea of some colours I like, what hair style I want, and an idea of some venues we should look at. And then I mentioned some of them to my fiancé today and he said something to the point of, “it really doesn’t matter so long as we end up married at the end of the day”. Ah. Right. Despite eschewing many of the traditional wedding stressors, I can still loose sight of the end goal and get caught up in all the little details that may or may not be important. Yes, I have a guy standing up for me, yes, suits may not match, yes, maybe I’ll end up having to do my hair myself (and wear glasses that may or may not match the wedding dress look), but so long as we are clothed, surrounded by family, and marrying each other, the little details such as those and what we have for lunch afterwards don’t matter. That we are getting married, that we are learning to grow together and support each other through this time of uncertainly (which will be mild compared to so many yet to come!), and that we enjoy ourselves at our wedding and have a love-filled ceremony…those are the things that really matter.

And really, we had already decided to keep food simple anyway. Maybe sandwiches made from meat and cheese platters… And I still think matching suits would be nice for the attendants…

GenCon and feminism

Or, just “GenCon”, or “nerding it up with the nerdiest of the nerds”… I couldn’t decide what to title this post.

While comic cons (or conventions) get all the attention, GenCon is a confusing name, but it’s just a gaming convention. It still has special guests and special events and panels that people can see, but it also has gaming tournaments, live board gaming of all sorts of new games, and more. It doesn’t just sell games either, it has an artist section for both artwork and books, as well as musicians, and it sells everything from games to comics to cosplay outfits to plushies. This was my first time and my fiance’s second, and boy was I glad to have him to go with – even though we went on a slightly slower day for attendance, the crowds and vast size of the con was disorientating at times and could very easily be overwhelming if one didn’t know anyone there or where to go or anything. However, it was a fun day, and even though gaming is less my area than my fiance’s, he let me drag him over to every clothing booth to look at the various styles and garments for sale and told me what some of the different gaming things were as we went along. He even got to meet one of the authors of a comic book series he’d read recently!

One of the fun things about GenCon (or any ComicCon) is all the people dressed up in costumes! Unfortunately, my fiance and I both neglected to get any pictures of the various fun cosplayers. There was the Scottish stormtropper complete with kilt, anime characters, steampunk men, women in Star Trek uniforms, and more. We even started laughing about any shirtless guys just trying to even the score of skin shown by women’s outfits, as the characters available for women to dress up as are notoriously revealing and sexy (he had to avert his eyes on more than one occasion).

Feminist insert:

The sexism perpetuated by women being objectified and shown off sexually for men’s pleasure in both games and movies and more – and having little to no purpose aside from looking sexy – is a topic best discussed another time though, I think. Although I will say one thing – my fiance actually complimented one of the artists displaying her work there on having fully clothed women as well as those wearing armour actually having practical amour rather than the “boob armour” that is so common, would do absolutely no good, and is basically just a metal bikini. There was also a book featuring a collection of stories about women who don’t need rescuing or can rescue themselves entitled “Women in Practical Armor” whose editor I had to compliment on that. It’s sad when treating women as people instead of objects of sexual desire is so rare that the two instances we noticed there had to be commended and thanked on it. And were right next to several art booths displaying women with full frontal nudity and sexual poses…

Lest you think all the art or books or games there were blatantly or inadvertently sexist however, let me assure you that not all were. Some may have inadvertently sexualized every female character, but not all did. And while some of the art sold there was just painted erotica and nerdy “pin-ups”, some was actually nerdy and non-sexualized – such as the amazing Lovecraft inspired artwork my fiance had to stop and talk to the artist about, or the fantasty landscapes and women that another incredible artist had displayed – her use of light in the paintings was fantastic.

And now back to the day itself:

For lunch mid-way through our day at GenCon we went to The Spaghetti Factory. And it has a high review from me based merely on the building! The food was also good, and the entree price comparable to Olive Garden but also including desert. The building however, was old, gorgeous, and utterly amazing to us historical/beautiful archi. nerds. So, even though I missed getting pictures of GenCon, have some pictures of this amazing restaurant! (Where the waitress discussed how much she had wanted to go to GenCon and that her mother just finished a costume degree and makes cosplay outfits for the waitress’ siblings and friends, and where people nearby discussed RPGs – role playing games. It was the weekend for nerds!)

 

So, with excellent food, comments sexism and the amount of skin seen on women (real or painted), games, comic books, art, and all sorts of nerdery, it was a full day. And makes for a long and discordant blog post!

I’m looking forward to going again next year, if we can, and in costume if at all possible! Ideas for couples costumes are topped by my fiance (hopefully by-then, husband) in a Roman Centurion outfit and me in a sexy police woman outfit. I know, that seems to directly contradict my earlier statements about sexualized costumes for women, but I would still be covered, it’d just be a mid-thigh skirt (and the original character is a kiss-o-gram…). And, for those who can place what that couples outfit idea is from (extra points to you!), it is actually a really sappy and nerdy idea that I love considering the original couple is one of the ways I first suspected my fiance was “the one”.

And on the sappy note of that, I end this post of random nerding and sexism.