Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Totally Legal Wedding

I just found out that this very cute website has added my blog to its blogroll. I am so honored. To return the favor I have added this little button (as it's called in the bloggy world) to my page. Since this very cute website has me listed under the Lesbian Engagement/Wedding/Marriage Blogs I shall stay true to the title and tell you where we stand on the marriage front.
Since I last mentioned wedding planning, things have progressed. We (well, the parents) have put down the first deposit! We officially have a baker for the cake. Our $150 deposit has sealed the deal with Sweet Dreams Cakery. Here are the inspiration cake photos:

And here is the inspiration color/table decor photo:

We've chosen the daunting task of trying to incorporate 4 colors into the wedding: orange, fuschia, bright green and brown. The cake and tables will be very colorful, but I just don't know where to put the brown yet. The trees? They're brown, right? Is that enough? Soon you will be able to see the gorgeous setting for Our Totally Legal Wedding. Pictures are coming! My mom is working hard on finding a day when the air isn't so smokey she chokes when walking outside. Oh, that beautiful, dry, dry, brush in California fires up every chance it gets.

On another wedding note, we sent our our announcement/save the date email, which included our wedding website! So far we have had a very positive response. Lots of well-wishes and congratulations. Now I have to start thinking about the invitations...yea! I love fun and colorful paper goods!

Journal of a soon to be Totally Legal Bride

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 it is official

I can practice law all I want and even get paid for it...too bad I don't practice law. I should probably start. Any jobs out there - HELLO - calling all lawyerly jobs - HELLO.

Here are some pictures of my swearing in:

This one is a little dark, but you get the idea - I was sitting in a room full of people wearing suits.

This is the judge I work for. He gave a very heartfelt and inspiring speech (really).

B and I after the ceremony at the Empire State Plaza. B has lost over 20 lbs. She looks so great! And no, the diet hasn't affected her height, she has always been that short (the heels, however, have affected my height).

Unfortunately on a day when I should be incredibly mindful of the law I got 2 tickets! What? Yes, TWO tickets. The first was a parking ticket because I overstepped the bounds of the parking meter - yep, somehow I didn't put enough money in - when you only have 4 quarters, you only have four quarters, no matter how deep you dig in your bag, between the car seats, under the mats. It wasn't enough for the meter. But, I didn't have time to mess around, I had to get to my bar admission interview where they judged me on my fitness to practice law. I passed.

The second ticket came after the interview while I was speeding along the highway to get home, pick up my girl and speed back to the admissions ceremony. I don't know how it happened but I was caught going over the speed limit - fortunately the nice police man informed me of the appropriate speed - now I know, you learn something new everyday. But, I guess I looked cute enough for him to dig deep into his heart (or pants) and issue a ticket for failure to change address with the DMV. What? Guess he has the power to bring down my speeding ticket (79 in a 55, ouch!) to some administrative failure on my part. Power, gotta love it.

Journal of a (lucky) lawyer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Marriage Day, Gay People!

Today is the day that all counties in California start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples! Some counties started last night at 5:01pm, when the Court's decision took effect, but most waited until business hours today. What a historic time this is and I will be so proud to hand over my $39 to the clerk, place my name in the box labeled Party A and place B's name in the box labeled Party B.

Right now I miss Los Angeles so much I feel a nauseousness and a longing that is actually making my legs hurt (weird? Yes.) The Los Angeles County clerk's office is having a huge wedding event on Saturday and West Hollywood is having some big hoopla party with lots and lots of gays in attendance. I am just sad that I can't be there.

But, things are moving along with our wedding and we will be in California soon enough! We haven't officially booked anyone yet but we have chosen a photographer, a cake lady, a harpist, a caterer, and possibly a DJ. And I have chosen a dress! It will be shipped in about 2 weeks! Here it is:

Journal of a homesick girl

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A date, a date, a very important date

Our wedding date has been set: October 25, 2008! Yep, about 4.5 months. At this point I have no dress, B has no tux, we have no DJ, no caterer, no photographer, no person to marry us, no flowers, no guest list, no invitations, and if I forgot something, we don't have that yet either. But, I have found the love of my life and she plans to show up, so that is all that matters.

We will be getting married in my parent's garden/backyard. When I find some pictures of it I will post them, but it seems that my mom has deleted all the picture albums she ever sent me (what?, my mom needs internet help). I'll report back when I get to the bottom of this.

So far, the wedding planning has been very difficult - and I am just talking about agreeing on the location and the date (read above again and you will come to the conclusion that I haven't really done ANY wedding planning yet). B and I really wanted to get married in CA but we were struggling with the bicoastal thing - we live in NY, all of B's family is in NY...poses many problems. But, ultimately we have figured things out ... California and legality here we come! Hopefully the real wedding planning (which I should be doing right now) will be easier. Good thing my mom is an awesome mover and shaker because she will be doing lots and lots of stuff for us (thanks mom).

Here is my mom and my gleeful nephew.

And a gorgeous picture of my dad and Silas.

Journal of a lucky girl

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend full of color

This past weekend brought with it intense humidity which made me feel lethargic and irritable. To me, humidity is like a thick blanket, thrown on me by my enemy, who then wraps it tightly around my body and duct tapes it so that I can't move and I can't get any relief from the heat. Humidity makes me want to cry. Throw in some PMS and I am a joy to be around. Surprisingly, my weekend wasn't all that horrible and a few people actually wanted to be around me (gasp).

Saturday evening B and I got a new rug for the living room. It's lush and soft and my feet love it. Even though it's summertime and I should be thinking light, airy, sea-inspired colors, I can't seem to kick my obsession with dark colors. And the rug is wool; not very summery. Plus, I just don't like sea-inspired colors. I like dark colors, earth tones and orange. Here is the new masterpiece.

To continue the weekend of fun we were having, B and I went to Albany Pride and surrounded ourselves with very colorful people. We even made custom t-shirts to show how artsy and rainbowish and gay we can be.

Journal of a color lover

Friday, June 6, 2008

Money, Money, Money...for California (featuring profound quotes from me)

This is an awesome article from the San Francisco Chronicle. Not only does it expose the massive amounts of money that California can look forward to raking in, but it feautures me and my beautiful B, with a short little story of our plan to spend some money in the Gold Rush state.

State sees economic windfall in gay weddings
Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 5, 2008

Think of it as the Summer of Love meets the Gold Rush.

When same-sex unions become legal in California later this month, throngs of gay and lesbian couples, both from in the state and around the country, are expected to hasten to the altar.

Beyond the hearts and flowers of the occasions are monetary realities that have everyone from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to tourism officials to bakers, jewelers and DJs anticipating a windfall. A multitude of weddings is likely to be good business at a time when many folks are in belt-tightening mode.

"Clearly, there will be a boomlet," said Robert Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, a Washington firm that specializes in marketing to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender customers. "I expect that couples (who travel to the state to wed) will spend at least a week to 10 days to really experience California, and not just dip their feet in like going to Las Vegas and getting hitched."

Same-sex couples could spend about $692 million on weddings in California over the next three years, according to a report from the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law. That assumes that about half of committed gay couples in the state, plus a percentage of gay couples from elsewhere in the nation, will choose to wed, and uses fairly modest assumptions about what they'll spend on their weddings and travel. And it doesn't even include what friends and families traveling to California for the weddings might spend.

"It's going to mean something significant to the wedding industry - florists, photographers, caterers - all those folks who depend on that kind of business," said report author M.V. Lee Badgett, an economist who is research director of the Williams Institute. "They will get a big boost at a tough time."

Tourism boost likely

Tourism should also get a boost, especially California destinations that can claim romantic cachet as a great place to tie the knot. San Francisco, with its gay-friendly reputation, its history-making City Hall same-sex weddings in 2004, and its centerpiece role in the California Supreme Court ruling, is clearly angling for that crown.

"We think San Francisco really stands to gain a lot from this," said Joe D'Alessandro, CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is creating a campaign to convince gay and lesbian couples to wed in the city with the tagline, "Celebrate liberty, justice and marriage for all. Come to the city where it all began."

Unlike the 2004 San Francisco weddings, which participants knew could be cut off at any time, last month's court decision stands at least until election day in November, when voters will decide on a resolution that would ban same-sex marriage. Because the initiative doesn't spell out that the ban would be retroactive, most experts say same-sex weddings that occur this summer would remain legal no matter what voters say.

"This gives people the time to plan a normal wedding, to bring their families, to plan something they've been dreaming about for decades," said D'Alessandro, who is planning a Labor Day weekend wedding with his partner - in San Francisco, of course.

Still, the election may increase the sense of urgency to tie the knot this summer.
Carolyn Schnelle, who runs Memorable Event Planning in Concord, said she has seen an immediate response from couples who want to get married before November. "It's not quite a mad rush, but some couples are trying to act fast, before something changes," she said.

Rylle Jones and Vicci Stillwell, both 51, of Concord are one such couple. After 11 years together, Jones, a social worker supervisor and psychotherapist, and Stillwell, a legal analyst, are planning a September wedding with about 75 guests. They plan to spend about $10,000 for the event, which they'll hold in their backyard. They've already started interviewing photographers, DJs and caterers.

Although they had a commitment ceremony in 2003, this feels different.

"It's such a special thing for us, an enormously wonderful opportunity," Jones said. "We want to really celebrate in every way, both human rights and our relationship. We want to really go for it. We won't spend like crazy, but we have lots to celebrate and we want to do it right."

California 'perfect'

Couples from around the country are making plans to come to California before November.

Leah Williamson, 31, and Brenda Straley, 42, live in Troy, N.Y., and wanted to formally proclaim their coupleship after 2 1/2 years together. They had considered traveling to Vermont for a civil union or to Canada for a wedding, but the California Supreme Court decision clinched it for them.

"Since my family lives in California, we decided that would be perfect," said Williamson, a legal secretary who will become a lawyer later this month. They'll hold a September bash at her parents' home in the foothills town of Coarsegold (Madera County). They expect it to cost about $10,000.

"I definitely see the economic impact of something like this on the state of California," Williamson said. "Weddings are a multimillion-dollar industry. To bring in another whole set of people, not only to do fun things like food and DJs but to pay to purchase marriage licenses is huge, a great way to make money for the state."

Schwarzenegger support

Even though Schwarzenegger doesn't support same-sex weddings, he definitely agrees with that point.

"I'm wishing everyone good luck with their marriages, and I hope that California's economy is booming because everyone is going to come here and get married," the Republican governor said in Sacramento last month, according to press reports.

Political consultant Waymon Hudson, 29, and his partner, Anthony Niedwiecki, 40, a law professor, had planned to travel from their Oakland Park, Fla., home to San Francisco in late June for their sixth anniversary. Now they'll use the occasion to get married as well.

"Even if we had not already planned to come there, we would have been on the first plane we could have" once same-sex weddings were legalized, Hudson said. "We're already planning a trip back. I think when a state welcomes you like this, in such a big part of your life, you are more willing to go there, because you know you're welcome."

Same-sex weddings by the numbers

How much will gay and lesbian couples spend to get hitched in California? A report adds up the possible economic impact over the next three years.

$692 million

Total outlay for same-sex weddings by California residents and nonresidents

$392 million

Spending by California couples on their

weddings. Assumes 51,319 couples (half of existing committed same-sex couples) will choose to marry, and estimates they will spend $7,645 per wedding.

$291 million

Spending on weddings and tourism by 67,513 out-of-state couples. Assumes each couple spends an average of $2,962 on the wedding and $1,351 on hotel and food.

$9 million

License fees for 118,832 couples, assuming an average of $73.50 for fees.

Source: Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law

Here is the link to the article on the Chronicle website.

Journal of a quotable lesbian in Troy

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jumping the last hurdle...on the way down the aisle

California Supreme Court
Denies Rehearing and Stay in
Marriage Cases

Decision to become final on June 16 at 5:00 p.m.
San Francisco—The California Supreme Court today filed an order in the
Marriage Cases (S147999; decision filed May 15, 2008), denying
requests to stay its decision until after the November 2008 election and
denying petitions for rehearing.

The rehearing petitions were denied by a 4-3 vote. Chief Justice Ronald
George, and Justices Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar, and Carlos
Moreno voted to deny rehearing. Justices Marvin Baxter, Ming Chin, and
Carol Corrigan would have granted rehearing.

The order further specified that the decision of the court filed on May 15,
2008, will become final on June 16, 2008, at 5 p.m.

Journal of a jumping for joy girl

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fighting all night long

Over the weekend B and I traveled down to Dutchess County to spend 24 hours fighting cancer in the annual Relay for Life. This is only my second year of involvement but B has been doing it for many years. What is so profoundly sad to me is that since she began participating, she now has more names to add to her list of "In memory of" and "In honor of". This shouldn't be the case. I am sad to say that cancer touches everyone and even I have two names on my list: In memory of Patricia Lyon Marks, my grandmother, and In honor of Angela Renee Poland White, my old friend and cancer survivor.

The Relay for Life offers many moments of reflection; my favorite being the luminaria procession. Thousands of candles are lit inside white bags bearing names, memories and hopeful prayers for those affected by cancer. The bags are lined up along the track at dark and all of the relay participants walk a lap around the track in silence, led by a band of bagpipers. It's beautiful and thought-provoking, but most of all it is astonishing to see the quantity of names of those who are battling or those who have battled cancer. And to then realize this is only one small area of the world and that those names are just a small start to the long list of names and memories and prayers.

Here is our tent and the luminarias before being lit. The team name is Earth Angels, not EARTH N G L, as you may think by looking at the picture. We had a monster of a storm around 6pm, and our site fared pretty well compared to some others.

Journal of an introspective girl