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Yesterday's meeting with the happy couple (I have to call them Der and Dar since both of their names start with the same letter) went very well for me, and seemed to go well for them too. From their wedding page:

Met with the officiant, and everything went very well. She is very nice and seems very knowledgeable. She was very organized and had a systematic check list for us to go over as well as some sample rituals for ceremonies she's officiated before. She had good suggestions and everything went over better than we expected.

Ah, it's always invigorating to get a good review! Dar confided to me that they were concerned about meeting "a flake", since their experiences with the local Wiccan community have contained a high percentage of fluffy bunnies, but they stated flat-out that they were immensely pleased to have found me, whom they consider to be solid and reliable.

They're quite a handsome couple, obviously very much in love and well-suited to each other, and very much on the same page in terms of their religious philosophy. We ended up talking for three hours, and I sent them home with the sample rituals and their agreement to pick up the book Welcoming Hera's Blessing, which is my main handfasting reference text and which contains many excellent suggestions for invocations, prayers, etc. They've decided to go with four ritual actions in their wedding ceremony:

1) Lighting a union candle.
2) Sharing a consecrated meal.
3) Exchanging rings.
4) The handfasting.

The ceremony will be held inside the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, which is a beautiful space, but the arrangement of the space varies depending on what larger events are being held within it so we'll have to wait until a lot closer to the wedding date (May 9th 2009) to find out exactly how we can stage the wedding itself. I can work with pretty much any space I'm given so that won't be a problem. In a month or so, Der and Dar and I, along with my friend and assistant Robin, will go for lunch at the Conservatory restaurant and scope out the space as it stands at that time.

Oh, and they paid for my dinner last night, which I was not expecting and I thought was quite gracious of them.

The more I perform this sort of function -- priestess-for-hire, as it were -- the more I wish that Wicca had a dedicated priesthood track, because I enjoy the work so much and I flatter myself that I'm fairly good at it. Ah, well... there isn't, and I'm not, and today I'll be starting the next HB project and beginning work on another MM cover. I also have to run out and mail a letter to cover the payment on our storage space for next month.

No rest for the wicked, as they say.
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Yesterday I went with Terri to Tavern in the Park, a five-star restaurant in Assiniboine Park that is closing at the end of September. The meal was absolutely perfect -- Terri had medallions of beef and I had a bistro steak sandwich -- with wonderful service and a fried banana spring roll dessert that was absolutely to die for. I came back home feeling very full and in much better shape to work on the first MM cover, which I finished and uploaded to FTP yesterday evening.

Today has gotten off to a slow start. I'm about to start work on the second MM cover, and at 4:30 pm I'll be meeting with a gay couple to discuss a handfasting ceremony for them on May 9th 2009. Then it's back home to wrap up the cover, and then (thankfully) to bed.

A note about the persistance of memory: This morning I realized that I couldn't find my blemish concealer makeup anywhere and I have a pimple on my chin that needs covering for this afternoon's meeting. So for the first time since her death I cracked open my mother's purse, and there in a plastic box were several makeup items, including a little pot of concealer cream in my shade. The smell of the cosmetics reminded me instantly of her in a very visceral way. Sad, yet good at the same time.

Okay, I've got a fresh cup of coffee. Time to get to work.
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As promised, for those of you who were curious about what a handfasting ritual entails. You can find pictures of the happy couple and the altar here.

The capitalized [LAURIE] is me, and the lower case [Laurie] is the bride.

Laurie and Jerry's Handfasting Ceremony )
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I did a lot today (details in my work log later on), but a couple of things stand out.

1) When I went to Mitchell Fabrics on Main Street (in a rather seedy area of town) to pick up the cord for the handfasting, I was sent down to the basement to where they keep the Braided Cord Department. There I was helped by a young lady who, as she was wrapping up the cord, playfully asked: "So, watcha makin'?"

I told her what it was for.

She was surprised and delighted to find out that I'm a marriage commissioner. Turns out she's been looking everywhere for someone willing to officiate a Shinto wedding (the nearest Shinto priest being in Vancouver). I told her that I'd be willing to attempt it providing that doing so offered no disrespect to the faith, which she assured me that it does not, and since she's a practitioner of Shinto herself I hope she would know. I gave her my card. They've booked the wedding for 2010 so hopefully I'll hear from them before then. :-)

2) On my way upstairs to pay for the cord I lingered near a collection of bolts of fabric, half in mind to find an altar cloth appropriate to a wedding ceremony. What I came across was this.

Gorgeous fabric below the cut )

$14.95 per meter, but oh, so lovely. I snapped it up, deciding that since I don't get down to Mitchell that often (in fact this was my first time there), I'd might as well strike while the iron was hot.

Now that I have a beautifully polished silver chalice and red and white candles to go on top of it, it's going to look mahhhhhhvelous.
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Another day of wildly careening blood glucose levels. And as usual, no symptoms except for a nagging background fatigue. I'm beginning to suspect that the rye bread we've been buying is responsible for some of it, in which case I'll have to find a different kind of bread to eat, or no bread at all, which would suck and suck mightily.

In other news: just sent an email to the head of Keycon programming regarding that handfasting I'll be performing at the convention. I'll need to use incense and my athame during the ceremony, and the key questions are whether hotel and convention policies are okay with that -- especially the athame, since a six-inch double-edged blade, unpeacebonded, could be a touchy subject.

Things That Have Made Me Go "Huh?" Today: the whole concept of decompression in comics. More on that later.

No exercise today. I'm taking one day off per week and Sunday is it.

Oh, and my period is probably just around the corner. Perhaps this explains the cloud of depression I've been operating under lately.

But I am making better time today on MM. Huzzah and hooray!

Back to work.
crowdog66: (Default)
The handfasting on Sunday went very well, I thought.

It was sunny but quite cold and windy; fortunately I was wearing trousers and a long-sleeved top under my ritual robe, but Robin was dressed much more lightly and was unfortunately chilled for most of the ritual. As is usual on ceremonial occasions, I was too concerned with the energies and intricacies of the rite to really feel the low temperature until after we'd dismissed the circle, at which point my hands were so cold that I could barely sign the official paperwork. It was a great relief to take down the altar and go inside for an upstairs cocktail reception.

There are more pictures here of me than there probably should be, just because on this occasion, miraculously, I actually photographed fairly well. That horrible thing that's happening with my hair is the wind.

14 pictures behind the cut )

Everybody carried out their parts perfectly, and apparently my voice could be heard all the way to the back row of chairs, which was excellent considering how windy it was. The cocktail reception afterwards was a great chance to sit and talk with the other Pagans who had come to the ritual, and the food was AMAZING (especially the large deep-fried ravioli of a type I'd never had before).

Thank you, [ profile] diamond_lies, for asking me to be the officiant on your very special day. :-)
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I'm going to be heading off shortly to officiate my second-ever handfasting. I'm fairly confident that I have the memorization parts memorized and know where I have to stand during different parts of the ritual -- which is half the battle, really. But I'm still a little bit nervous.

The ceremony will be outside at Assiniboine Park. With the temperature being 14 degrees Celcius, I'm wearing trousers under my ritual dress even though the sun is shining, and a pair of nice heavy Oxfords.

Afterwards there will be a cocktail reception. Hopefully they'll have soft drinks, since I'm not much for drinking alcohol.

I'll let you know how it goes.

EDITED FOR CAT NEWS: The cats got the rest of the sardines for breakfast this morning, and Mina actually ATE hers. *is shocked and amazed*
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Last night was the final wedding rehearsal for [ profile] diamond_lies and her fiance. Both families were present so that we were able to do a full runthrough with their participation. Just before Robin and I left, [ profile] diamond_lies gave us each a gift -- for Robin a beautiful handmade blank book, and for me a soapstone tealight holder and essential oil diffuser with a pentacle theme. :-)

Thanks to [ profile] eastpath, I had most of my parts memorized. Almost. I'll have to put in some time tonight getting them letter-perfect.

Fast forward to this morning, while George and I were having coffee on our new couch.

Picture of new couch behind the cut )

Emmie, lying between us, suddenly saw something move on the other side of the window -- perhaps a dragonfly, perhaps a leaf. At any rate, she suddenly took a flying leap at it. BANG! Her paws hit the window frame, but whatever it was had vanished.

She continued to watch the window avidly, and in the end I took pity on her for not catching what she wanted and broke open a tin of sardines for her and Mina. Well, actually just for Emmie, because Mina, as it turns out, doesn't know how to eat fish. She licked it for a couple of minutes and then abandoned it. Compare that to Emmie, who wolfed her sardine down and then went looking for more... *sigh*

About an hour after that I went out grocery shopping. $110 dollars later, our pantry is much more full.

I am currently doing laundry. Yeah, fun times all around. I have an evening full of memorization ahead of me, so wish me luck.
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Today was a busy day in our household. First, I held a meeting with a couple who wants me to officiate their handfasting in July of 2008; we got a lot done for an initial meeting, and I was able to type up and email them the first draft of the ritual this afternoon.

Second, George went out shopping. He bought several items for the studio, including video and ethernet cables, a new dry-erase wall calendar -- and a power utility heater, very similar to this one (same maker, different unit). It is a little powerhouse, and it's making all the difference in our apartment right now. Mid-September in Manitoba can get down to near-freezing temperatures at night, and the steam heat hasn't come on in our building yet. Brrrrrrrrrrr. But now, with this heater -- mmmmmmmmmmmmm, toasty.

We also got one step closer to getting some furniture out of the storage locker, which means that we can start paying (less) rent on a smaller locker.

It's going to be financially tight for the next few weeks, but I think we'll be able to get by. I have a cheque that will cover our "nut" for the end of this month, at least.
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On September 8th, I performed my first handfasting and marriage as a marriage commissioner.

Pictures behind the cut )

The ritual went quite well, all things considered. No major hitches, aside from an incense charcoal that wouldn't light properly; once it got going, though, the clouds of fragrant frankincense smoke could be smelled throughout the hall. The couple were very pleased with the rite, and have promised to get me a copy of the videotape on CD.

Here is the script of the handfasting.

Marianne and Grant's Handfasting )

The next handfasting I officiate is on September 30th (assuming that I don't end up in hospital as a result of the sigmoidoscopy on September 18th).
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I just got back from performing Marianne and Grant's handfasting. I think it went pretty well. There were some minor problems (including an incense charcoal that didn't want to light), but the couple were very pleased with the ceremony.

More later, perhaps, and maybe some pictures to go with the description. I've just scrubbed about a pound of makeup off my face, and in a moment I'm going to have a hot bath and de-stress. The social was right after the service, and I've remembered both what I like about socials (the chance to dance) and what I hate about socials (the NOISE).

Apparently someone videotaped the ceremony. I'm not sure how eager I am to see it, but I've asked for a copy anyway.

EDITED TO ADD: I tend to forget that people outside of Manitoba have no idea what a social is. Basically a social is a money-raiser: people buy tickets (usually between $10-$15 each) to come to a community centre and sit at long tables, nibble on chips and pretzels, hear a DJ, and dance the night away on a central dance floor. Usually a cash bar is available to purchase alcohol, with soft drinks either free or very cheap. At about 11 pm or midnight, a buffet meal of cold cuts, cheese, pickles, and bread is put out. There are silent auction prizes that you can buy tickets for, which are traditionally drawn at midnight. The whole thing usually wraps up by 1 am or 2 am.

Because socials are known to be money raisers (usually for a club or for a wedding), often people will buy social tickets from their friends even if they don't intend to attend, as a gesture of support. Because I was the clergy at the marriage ceremony, my husband and I got in free, as did anyone from the Full Moon Group who wanted to attend (the bride and groom are members).
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The wedding rehearsal went quite well last night; I fubbed my lines a few times, but I still have until Friday to get them letter-perfect. The couple seem very satisfied with the ceremony and their family was, on the whole, quite open and cooperative. Afterwards we had some nibblies, and Robin and I got to handle the family's corn snakes (gorgeous creatures).

This morning I got up, had a strong cup of coffee, and sat down with the tax paperwork. All I have to do is figure out our income for 2005 and 2006, as well as what GST we charged and what expenses we'd paid GST on. I spoke with the Revenue Canada agent who'll be coming by tomorrow, and he assured me that I'm his only appointment tomorrow and that he'll give me all the help I need to get things figured out. Here's hoping it goes well.

Oh, and over on the Manitobans Concerned About Misty Gardens community, guess who decided to chime in with his $0.02? That's right, Gail Harrison's boyfriend! If he hoped to find a sympathetic audience to his claims that we are "unfair and uneducated" and that Harrison is innocence abused, he's very much mistaken. People have been jumping on him ever since he first posted last night, both in responses to his original comment and in stand-alone posts.

Okay. Back to paperwork.
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Yesterday afternoon: A coffee meeting with some folks from the Manitobans Concerned About Misty Gardens group, including one fellow who'd worked there for many years and brought some truly horrific photos from a few years back (yes, the place was just as bad then), and another lady who brought the news that the animal bodies have been removed from both the La Salle and St. Francis Xavier properties, rendering a trip out to La Salle (at least for me) pretty much moot.

Yesterday evening: Brian's AD&D game. Almost another TPK (Total Party Kill) situation. AGAIN. I'm getting a little bit tired of having my character face near-certain death every two weeks...

Tonight: A wedding rehearsal for Marianne and Grant's handfasting. I have most of my parts memorized. *crosses fingers*

Tomorrow (all day): Sorting through paperwork so the GST guy can come by Wednesday morning and help us figure out how much we owe. It's complicated by the fact that most of our clients pay in US funds, which apparently Revenue Canada won't believe until one of their representatives sees the evidence with his own eyes. And since both George and I suck at organization, everything is in a great big mess.

If I survive the sorting process, I'll post more tomorrow.
crowdog66: (Default)
I spent most of this afternoon crying on and off, but the tears and surges of misery seem to be tapering off. This is a good thing, because I'm about to be picked up to go out of town and officiate my first handfasting ceremony.

I'm nervous, but not as nervous as I was afraid I'd be. I'm more concerned about being in a place where I can't take a bus/taxi back home whenever I want to than I am about how the ceremony will go. In part this is because I'm not the one running it -- it's the High Priest who orchestrated everything and is in charge. I'm just assisting as High Priestess, which means all I have to do is read my cue cards and not mess up my lines TOO badly.

Wish me luck!
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Originally posted by [ profile] princess_button in [ profile] wiccan, just this afternoon:

Hi everyone,

There is a petition on the 10 Downing street site concerning the legal recognition of handfasting ceremonies in England as although they acknowledge Paganism as a religion they do refuse to recognise that handfasting as a binding partnership.

If you want to help change this, please find the link for the petition below


The trick is, you must be a British citizen or resident to sign the petition. I'm still hoping that at least a few people who browse my LJ will be able and willing to help the cause. :-)
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What the subject header says... new sections and stage directions added. No bibiography yet.

Revised Handfasting -- opinions very welcome )
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