Tuesday, March 31, 2009

wedding update- little things

We signed the contract with the photographer this morning, so now all the major wedding things are done. The photography will be done by a friend/coworker of mine and her husband, who both do photography on a semi-professional basis. Mostly they sell fancy prints of their stuff and have shows in art galleries, but they are trying to get more into weddings- this is the second one they'll be doing- and they gave us a very very reasonable price. We are getting 3 hours of shooting,'internet quality' photos on a DVD, and then we can order individual high quality edited prints from her website. She also said she can put together smallish wedding albums (around 25 photos) for $50 each, which we haven't ordered yet but we probably will.

Also last week I got a haircut for the wedding and took my dress to a tailor to get it taken in. After I finish writing this I'm going to head downtown to go pick up the dress. I got the haircut 6 weeks in advance becuase every time I get a haircut they cut it too damn short- but this time they cut it just right, so hopefully it'll stay awesome looking until the wedding.

This weekend I made a bunch more center pieces- I have jars for about 6 more, but need more river rocks to go inside, so will probably need to make another trip to the crafty store (yay!)

And I got earrings! When I bought the necklace I'm wearing to the wedding, I told the person who made it that I am wearing it to my wedding- and she responded by making me a matching set of earrings that I got in the mail yesterday, totally free! The kindness of internet strangers is astounding sometimes (and now I don't have to worry about what earrings to wear!)

We are probably going to city hall to get our marriage license a week from Friday. Exciting!!

My to do list is almost done, and we still have 6 weeks to go. That's what I get for being hyperorganized...apart from some very small things, pretty much all that's left is waiting. It's nice that I won't have to stress out for the next 6 weeks (especially given that I've decided to go to a music festival with some of my hippie friends for my 'bacholorette party' the entire weekend before the wedding weekend, and I'll be in Detroit for a conference the weekend before that), but I want the wedding to be happening already dammit!! So excited!

In other news, my (non-religious) brother happened to be in Philly today so we hung out for a couple of hours. He is talking about moving in with his (non-Jewish) girlfriend "maybe at the end of the year" after he moves out of my parents house, and how they also went and looked at engagement rings. I wonder when that info comes out (thus far he has kept his girlfriend completely secret from my parents) if it'll make my parents reassess the way they have treated me and B...or if they will just stop talking to 2 out of 3 of their children.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cousin's wedding

My cousin's wedding was last night. It wasn't that bad. I barely talked to my mother at all- after the chuppah we happened to be standing near each other and she was like "oh abandoning eden I didn't even know you were here" and gave me a quick hug. I'm pretty sure she did that because a lot of people in our family were right there. Later my dad was like "you should talk to your mother, come on" and we talked for about a minute about where we parked our cars. It was exactly like I thought it would be- like hanging out with an ex boyfriend making polite conversation. My dad at least was nice to me.

Other things:
*My cousin D from Israel (who earlier sent me a message saying she was happy I was getting married) got us a wedding present! it was a card and this coin necklace thing that was says "my soul will be bound to yours" in hebrew. Kinda weird, but I highly appreciate that she got us anything, that was pretty awesome

*a LOT of relatives were like "where have you been, it's been years, how come you haven't been coming to our events?" Apparently I haven't been invited to a whole bunch of stuff over the past few years (which is what I told them- I had no idea, if you would have invited me I would have come). It was nice to feel like people were happy to see me, and a lot of people said they were.

*I met my third cousin, who is getting a Phd in economics. We talked for a while about our mutual academic awesomeness. His grandmother was my grandfather's cousin.

*At some point I walked up to my cousin D, who was sitting with this dude, and she was like "Abandoning Eden isn't religious!" And I was all "what now?" and apparently this guy was complaining that all the girls at the wedding were religious. I was like "yep, I'm not religious, but I'm engaged." hehehehe I'm engaged... it's fun to say that to random boys :)

*babies! My charedi second cousins were there- they have 10 kids, almost every kid is married, and all the women were either pregnant or had a baby with them. It was weird to see so many babies in one place, since I normally see no children at all (there's not a lot of children on a college campus/college town). Definitely did not help with my current bout of baby fever.

*I took careful note of all the aspects of the wedding ceremony to see if there was anything that I would want to incorporate into our wedding ceremony. Nope.

*They used the chuppah that my mom made for me when I was engaged the first time like 5 years ago (I designed it and she quilted it- it's really cool and has this big tree thing in the middle). It's very nice. I would have loved to be able to use that for our wedding, but I didn't even bother asking, as I know there would be no way in hell.

*My grandfather and aunt were there, and this is probably the last time I will see either of them. My aunt has advanced breast cancer and also lives in Israel, and this is the first time she's been in the US in 7 years (and now that her 2 kids living in the US are married, she probably has no reason to ever come back). My grandfather has dementia and lives with my parents, so there's not a whole lot of opportunity to see him either. My grandfather had no idea who I was, and told me that he's "living with his son now" (his son being my father)

*I sat at a table with my brother- the one who told me B is going to die if we don't break up/he converts. Apparently he still has some hangups from when I made fun of him a lot as a kid, and I told him that that was 10 years ago, so we should try to move on from that now that we are both adults. We'll see how that goes. Apparently also the 'apartment with some other jewish guys' that he told me he lives in is actually a dorm for a yeshiva where he learns full time after coming home from going to college full time.

He told me he has no time to have hobbies, and that he hasn't had time to watch the collection of animated short films I sent him for channukah (and he used to be a huge movie buff who loved that kind of stuff). He also is thinking of becoming a rabbi. I tried to tell him that he should consider that he is shy and not very sociable, and that if he becomes a rabbi he's going to have to speak in front of and to other people all the time. Oy. Did I mention before he went to Israel for a year of brainwashing he wanted to go into film making, and he used to make these awesome short films all the time that were hilarious and really really good? I know people change and all, but it's sad to see him not doing the stuff he used to love cause he's too busy learning obscure fairytales all day.

*I think it wouldn't have been a problem to have brought B to the wedding- I forget sometimes that my dad is a baal tshuva (someone who becomes religious later in life) and that there are a lot of members of his family who are not as religious as he is. There were tons of people without a kippa, there were lots of people who I'm pretty sure were not jewish at all.

*Also my cousin's new wife is a baal tshuva too- as of 2 years ago. And apparently she was a great concert pianist/singer before (they played some of her music as she was walking down the aisle, and it was very Tori Amos-esque), and the rabbi was talking about the "amazing career sacrifices she made to go on this great spiritual journey and we should all learn from her example." I wish B would have been there so I could roll my eyes at him...well I hope she knows what she's gotten into, cause now she's married into it, and it'll be a lot harder to leave.

Monday, March 23, 2009


This weekend I was at a conference kinda near to where Quiet Girl lives, so I went over to her place after I was done with all my fancy conferencing (Side note: my presentation went pretty awesome, and I met a pretty interesting person who was also presenting at my roundtable, and now we are facebook friends- she also studies cohabitation, networking FTW!)

Quiet girl has been working for a while on hand carving a stamp for our wedding invitations, and this weekend we finally sat down and made them all! It was really fun- first we stamped these cards with white ink, then we put embossing powder on them and I heated the cards so the embossing powder would melt and emboss (it's really cool to watch, at one point it reaches a tipping point and goes from a powder to this gold stuff). Then I inked in all the suns, and Quiet girl inked the hills and the sky. The inside has this green paper with the invitation details on it in dark brown ink. I attached all the green papers to the invitations with photo-mounting stickers.

Anyways, point is, the invitations are done- all that is left is putting the invites in the envelopes and sticking on the return address labels I just made (they are already addressed and stamped and have direction sheets in them)- should be able to finish that tonight and send them out tomorrow maybe. Amy also gave me this sealing wax stuff, so I'm going to experiment with that later and see how that works, may or may not use it.

Anyway, here is a picture of an invitation! Each one is slightly different, but this is generally what they look like:


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And the response

We are very glad that you can come.
Wow! you are getting married too!!! we haven't been updated for a while. what are your wedding plans?
i wish you happiness and all the best! now i remember seeing your photos on face book with your fiancé. I just took a look again, you look happy and laughing a lot!
I understand your situation...and i am sorry to hear about the pain that you need to go through with your parents.
we would love to have you for the entire wedding so i think you are right about not causing a scene so you can come on your own
so your parents can be ok.
I also want to invite you to the Sheva Brachot which will be at D's house in *** on Monday 7pm the day after the wedding.


So...I guess I'm going to this wedding. Without B, which is probably good, cause he was getting very anxious about going with me and having to get a hat to wear and meeting my parents at a wedding, which is not exactly the situation in which you want to meet your fiance's parents. On the other hand, he doesn't understand why I'm going at all. He may be right. But I feel like I have a relationship with this cousin independent of my parents, and I want to be at his wedding. I also feel like I have so few family members who are nice to me about B, that I have to cling to the few who are (even if that niceness only extends to emails and not invitations). If I was married to B already, I would probably insist he come with me, and it definitely stings to know that if he was Jewish he would probably be invited with no problem. I don't know. I'm very conflicted about the whole thing, but I think I'm going to go.

I keep thinking about one of my ex's- shortly after he got married to the girl he left me for, we ended up at the same music festival, camping right next to each other (near the only other 2 people either of us knew at the festival- at that point I was fairly new to festivals and wasn't comfortable enough to camp alone). It was intensely awkward, and it was the first time I had really hung out with him since he left me.

But I made it through that. I can't say I was thrilled about the situation, but I survived without any major mental breakdowns and managed to have a good time at the festival. So why can't I make it through this wedding? I'm sure my dad will be nice to me. This cousin who was already very nice about B is flying in from Israel to be at the wedding, and it's not like I have a lot of opportunities to see her. I have other cousins who will be there who know about B and are nice, and maybe I can use this as an opportunity to inform some other family members about my upcoming wedding, since I have to tell them all eventually.

The only thing is my Mom...but maybe I can just treat her like I treated my ex at that festival. Which is to gracefully avoid her as much as possible, and not bring up past hurts during any accidental interaction. Be civil and take the high ground.

At the very least I'll get a great blog post or two about the wedding.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Email sent to my cousin

Dear Y,

Mazel tov! I'm honored to be invited to your wedding! Are you registered anywhere?

It's been a while since we've talked, so I wanted to fill you in on some things before letting you know if I can come to the wedding or not: I'm also engaged, and am getting married this May. We have been living together for about a year. My parents have reacted very badly to the fact that my fiance isn't Jewish, so we aren't on the best of terms right now, and my mother is not speaking to me.

I would very much like to come to your wedding and share in your special day. I don't want to cause a scene or anything with my parents, so if you like I can leave B (my fiance) at home, and come by myself. However, I would prefer that you don't seat me at the same table as my parents.

Another option would be that both me and B could come to the Chuppah, and leave before dinner.

Let me know what you would like me to do. Either way I will try my best to come to at least part of the wedding.

Abandoning Eden

Wedding invitation...

I got an emailed invitation to my cousin's wedding, which is in 2 weeks. My parents, who I am not exactly on speaking terms with, will definitely be there. This cousin probably knows about B even though I've never told him straight out- and the invitation he sent me made no mention of B.

Do I:
a) Write back asking "Is B(my fiance) also invited?" Under the presumption that I would actually show up with B at the wedding if he says yes (I don't know if I have the ovaries to do that, especially given that I don't think B would be willing to wear a kippa and/or meet my parents under these circumstances)
b) not mention B and go to the wedding on my own (it's a 2.5 hour drive, but I can do it)
c) Politely decline the invitation, making up some plausible excuse or
d) Explain the situation and then politely decline

Potential confounding factors: My mother will be there, which will make for intense awkwardness due to that whole "not having a relationship with me" letter she sent a month or two ago. My brother, the not religious one, won't be there. My other brother, the one who told me B will die if we don't break up or he converts, will be there. My other cousins, who have tried to convince me I'm not ready to get married, will be there. I probably won't know anyone there except for my ultra orthodox relatives, most of whom are trying to convince me not to get married, the others who have no idea I'm engaged. I can't imagine any way in which I will have a good and not completely awkward time at this wedding.

Yeah, this should really be a no-brainer, right? And yet...the guy who is getting married is actually pretty cool, we have hung out apart from the rest of our family and I really like him. I know for a fact that he dated a non Jewish girl for 3 years (even though his fiance is orthodox Jewish) and so he might be somewhat sympathetic to my situation. He is a good guy, and why should his wedding be thrown into the middle of my fight with my parents, especially since it seems he still wants me there despite my parents' wishes (cause he contacted me directly as I assume my parents told him they wouldn't pass on an invitation to me).

I really want to go, but I just don't see a way that this won't end in badness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Registering for gifts?

One of the wedding guests guests asked if we were registered for gifts. No we're not, but should we be? We both had separate households before moving in together, so right now we already have 2 of everything that I can think of registering for.

This is my list so far of things we don't have that I would like:
A grapefruit spoon
A Wii + Wii fit
A new sleeping bag (the zipper on mine broke)
A bigger tent
A new big frying pan

None of those things are actually necessary- we have a perfectly good (albeit small) tent, our old frying pan which works well even though it's a little beaten up, I can continue eating grapefruit with a regular small spoon, we can use blankets instead of a sleeping bag when camping, and is a wii ever really necessary? So it seems stupid to register for things that we don't really need and don't have room for in our already overcrowded apartment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This photo is crappy because the flash bounced off the glass bottles, and it isn't sunny enough today to take a picture without the flash...but you get the idea. These are all with the clear glass, I made 6 of these last night in a fit of craftyness. I haven't made the blue glass ones yet.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I forgot to take pictures of the centerpiece last night, so instead I give you a picture of Barkley and Skittles, who clearly love each other now:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Crafty centerpeices

yesterday me and B went to the craft store to get stuff for the wedding centerpieces that I'm making. I've been collecting mason jars from the thrift store + my MIL's basement, and last week I scored about 7 of the (rarer) blue glass mason jars from the thrift store.

At the craft store we got an assortment of tiny river rocks (varying sizes and colors), a bunch of candles, blue ribbons of varying designs, white ink and stamps.

Our centerpieces are going to be mason jars with a blue ribbon tied around the neck. Inside will be river rocks holding a candle in place. The blue mason jars will be as is, while on the clear mason jars I'll be stamping some designs in white ink (I got a stamp that says "All you need is love" and another one that has swirly designs).

Kinda like this but with river rocks holding the candle in place, and a blue ribbon:

I made a test one last night, and it came out pretty awesome. I'll try to remember to take a picture when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wedding Budget!

Now for something completely different...my wedding budget. As of today I know what pretty much everything will cost, so I can actually figure out how much all this is going to cost us.

I finally talked to the photographer, and she is going to come and shoot for 2-3 hours during the wedding, Shooting + editing +web-quality photos are $500. We can also order photo-quality prints on an individual basis, and mini photo albums with about 25 pages are $50 each. I was thinking of getting 2 mini photo albums, for us and B's parents.

Venue: $86
Food: $550+125 tip=$675
Rings: $475
Photographer: $500 + $100 (optional) for two mini photo albums
Thrift store Plates and Candle Holders: $35
Invitations: $27
wedding license: $90
Dress: $80
Necklace: $40
Hair thing: $15
fancy strapless bra: $50
Shoes: $85
Total: $2258. Already paid: $966

Cost unknown:
Having dress taken in (I estimate $50 at the very most)
clothes for B (Probably ~$150 since he isn't wearing a suit, and he's wearing shoes he already has)
Dog Tuxedo

Estimated total: $2500

I went waaaay over my initial budget of $1500. Yet still, I am throwing a wedding for us and 20 guests for $2500, I think that's pretty farking cheap. Compared with my first engagement and the wedding my parents were going to throw me for 100 guests for $25,000...that's 1/10th the budget for 1/5th the guests, meaning I am spending approximately half of what they would have spent per guest.

AND I get to have the wedding I actually want to have! When I was engaged the first time I was set on having my wedding outside, but my parents talked me out of it, along with pretty much everything else I wanted to do that wasn't standard for a jewish wedding. Music was also a big fight; I knew my parents would never go for the music I really wanted (classic rock), and tried to compromise by asking for classical music or a jewish jam band, but they insisted I go with some shitty jewish keyboard-based band because "how could it be a wedding without jewish dancing."

Now I get to have my outdoors wedding (and in the middle of the woods too!), I get to play all the music I like (we're not having a band, but I'm making a kickass ipod playlist of all our favorite songs), I get to dance with my husband right after we get married, I get to actually SPEAK and say vows while we are getting married, I get to give him a ring when he gives me one, and I get to limit my guests to only my closest and most awesome friends. And I don't have to wear some stupid big poofy white dress and look like a cupcake. My dress is sleeveless and blue! Plus all sorts of other awesomeness that my parents would have never let fly, like my friend painting a live-painting during our ceremony, possible bubble machine, possible wedding flags, mismatching thrift store plates and mismatching picnic tablecloths, Barkley is going to be our best dog...

I gotta say, I'm excited. I think it's going to be an awesome party to mark the beginning of the rest of our awesome life together.

2 and a half months to go!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Talked to Brother too

My youngest brother, the religious one, called to talk, because he realizes he has no relationship with me. Or something. Apparently he called my other brother with the same story last night. My brother thinks he went to a shiur where the rabbi said to be closer to his off the derech siblings so he can be mekarev us (try to make us more religious)

Over the course of the conversation I asked him if he was coming to my wedding. he responded with silence and then was like "Well that's a complicated question" and I was all "well it's not really a complicated question, either you're coming or you're not" and he was silent and kept not answering. It was awkward and weird.

Then like 10 minutes after we finished the convo and hung up, he called back and was like "the answer is no, I'm not coming to your wedding, but I still want to have a relationship with you. I was like "Um ok, well have a good night."

Well, on the bright side, at least I don't have to find kosher food for him for the wedding. Although I still have a friend I have to find kosher food for... Anyways, it's not like we are really close, I moved out when he was 14, and this conversation and the one a few weeks ago where he told me B would die if he didn't convert or break up with me was the first time we've really talked in the past 5 years or so. Other then some dumb messages on facebook. I haven't seen him in 2 years. Still, it would have been nice if he would have come...

Bring it on

How are you Abandoning Eden? Missed you yesterday at your grandparents 60th wedding anniversary get together. How is your teaching position going? Let me hear from you, H [Aunt H- Mother's Brother's wife]

Hmmm, well I usually go to family get togethers...could it be, I didn't get invited to this one? And could it be that my parents (Specifically my mother) made some snarky remark when H asked them how I was, along the lines of "well you better ask HER about it."

Well played parents, well played. But as I keep saying, I'm not ashamed.

Dear H,
Hi! How are things with you- are you still working XXX?

It's nice to hear that you missed me. Truth it- I wasn't invited to the thing yesterday. It's a long story, but basically here's the gist of it; I've been living with a man named B for about a year, and we are getting married this May (on the 17th). B is not jewish- he is an atheist (like myself- as you may have figured out, I haven't been religious for the past 10 years). Both of my parents have refused to meet him, and my mother has told me that she can no longer have a relationship with me. They have also stopped inviting me to family events, which is why I wasn't there yesterday (I didn't even know it was happening until you just told me).

I know all this probably comes as a shock to you, but that's the reason I haven't been at family things lately. I haven't gone around announcing the wedding to many people on my side of the family for many reasons, among which are that I'm afraid how people will react, I don't want to upset anyone, and I'd rather not have to endure lectures from people trying to convince me to change my mind- which I won't. However, I've decided to tell people who contact me what the real deal is, so that's why I'm telling you now.

Anyways, that's the big news. Other then that, things are really good. Me and B got a new dog a few months ago- a basset hound mix we named Barkley. He was given up by his previous owner when his house was foreclosed on, and he had to move into a motel. The dog is settling in well with the cats (we have 3), and I've been getting into great shape from walking him.

Things are going well at school too. I taught XXX class for the past 3 semesters, but this semester am not teaching and am auditing two classes- one on feminist theory, and one which is an advanced statistics technique. I'm also working on my dissertation, and it's about 2/3rds done. I expect to graduate after next year, and will be going on the job market in the fall for Professorship jobs. Last year I published a couple of articles, which you can read about on my professional website here: http://xxxxxx.googlepages.com

In May me and B are getting married. B is a college-level writing tutor at a local college (and will be following my career when I move to who knows where to get a job next year). We're having a pretty small wedding with about 18 guests, at a local state park. Then in July we are going on a 2 week trip to Europe with my future in-laws- We're going to spend a few days in Rome, and then we're taking a 10 day cruise that goes to Croatia, Greece for 3 days, Ephesus Turkey, Sicily and then back to Rome.

So that's all that's going on with me. Sorry to lay all this stuff on you all at once, and thanks for thinking of me. Hope all is well with you and C[Husband] and with L[daughter]!

With Love,
Abandoning Eden