Almost There

Oh, gosh. T minus 3 days and counting. Not that I've been blogging that much anyway, but now I'll be really out of touch for a week or so. I'm very excited to get married. I'm nervous, too, about lots of things; being in front of all those people, that I'll forget my vows, that the laptop won't play our MP3s, that people won't dance, that the most stressful people will do what they do best, etc. But I'm excited to see my family and friends. It's amazing. And it will be so great to be hitched to Blue. He's dreamy.

I am also excited, though, to think about things more substantive than weddings. I can't wait to read a few books and blog about new uses of the Internet and get some writing done. This has been a long, long process, and I'm so close. Now to enjoy it, to stay focused, to have fun, and to be glad I have so much to move on to!



Just got back from a weekend on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. Hm. Only one of those places is actually an island. I love that weird, lost feeling that you get when you arrive on an island; there is no sense of time, law or place, and you can see for miles. It's great. Jessica and I swam in the ocean, ate lots of seafood, drank beer in the afternoon, had great ice cream and long pre-wedding conversations. We talked especially about the teenage part of ourselves, which was the time in our lives when we really got to know each other, and so we have direct access to that part of each other. So much of what we value and who we are was cemented at 14, 15, 16, and ambling around School of the Arts, writing poetry, having crushes on boys, having intense conversations and smoking. It was an excellent bachelorette experience, complete with sunburn.

Man, I had my first oysters on the half shell....I love oysters! We ate mussels, scallops, and shrimp, too. I love seafood! I've been eating so much seafood that I am becoming a white-wine afficianado. I thought I loved red wine, but white is fun and light and lively. Just like my weekend!

Well, that's a slight exaggeration. We'd had to flee a nightmare camping experience the night before (big field, pitch your tent near the road, leave your car in the lot, listen to annoying teenagers playing frisbee at midnight and screaming obscenities at 5am, god I hate Connecticut), so when we got off the ferry on Saturday night we had nowhere to sleep. I drove for about five minutes and pulled up to Hitchcockian Eden Manor, a 26-room Victorian Inn that looked as affordable as a Maybach. But they let us have a room with breakfast for $75, and the rest, as they say, is history.


If there's one word...

...that could describe me these days it would be restless. I can't concentrate. I miss being able to concentrate. I actually found myself looking longingly at my books this morning---just the covers of them, mind you---and actually salivating over The Future Lasts Forever, by Louis Althusser. I haven't read Althusser since college, which ended six years ago. But no, I can't, I just keep thinking about weddings.

So I don't know if anyone knows Dave Winer (Berkman Center affiliation; runs Userland), but he shut down thousands of blogs over the weekend. With no notice. Claiming personal difficulty. Suddenly, having my blog hosted for free seems like a terrible, terrible idea.

I need to make all this boldface go away. I can't figure out what's wrong in the template.


It's All in the Details

On Saturday we realized we had exactly three weeks until our wedding, and there's a nice hefty chunk of that time already occupied with meetings, friends, and whatnot. Our natural response was to immediately go to a matinee ("Goodbye Lenin!") and drown our anxieties in popcorn. I've been drained lately; it's getting hard to sleep past five a.m. again and we're working, or thinking about working, most of the time. Sunday was spent on a bench at Great Meadows in Concord, where we assembled the entire ceremony, drawing heavily from the wonderful Same-Sex Unitarian Wedding Guide [pdf](we just cut out the parts about being gay). It was fun.

We bought 14 glass bowls for goldfish centerpieces, and about 25 cups of freeze-dried rose petals in Soft Yellow for scattering on the tables. We also bought plastic plates, forks, knives, cups, spoons, bowls, and tablecloths for the rehearsal dinner. We're actually planning four events: the wedding itself, and then the rehearsal dinner, afterparty, and brunch for the morning after. The brunch is completely unplanned. The rehearsal dinner is coming together; we've got a place (a historical site in Lexington), and decorations, and two cooks (who both go by "Mom"). We've even got a park ranger hired to show people around the Minute Man Trail. The afterparty will be at our house, so, we hope that won't take too much planning. I had an elaborate decoration scheme involving sheer orange fabric, but we'll see.

There is still a seemingly endless parade of minutiae: I need to buy dresses for all the other events, to rent a microphone, to check in with the vendors, to pay off everyone in full, to buy enough mosquito repellent for everyone, to buy cases of Two-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's....and am, today, emailing with local fiddlers to see if we can afford to have some live ragtime and blues during cocktail hour.



Oh, one more thing. We took a class called "Dance at your Own Wedding" on Saturday. It was the most sweetly charming event, and we both had the best time--strange but true! It was one of those happy surprises in wedding planning. And there aren't that many! Now if only we had time to practice our box step. Although we did find ourselves counting beats when Britney Spears played over the Stop 'n' Shop intercom the other night...

Massive graduation tomorrow. In the rain. Crush of graduates. Get to see fiance get doctorate. Very proud. Spend entire day with future in-laws. V. v. stressful. End of transmission.

Note: I am repealing the comments feature, I think. I think I just don't have that kind of readership (except for you, dear someBonnie!). I'll do it sometime this weekend.


So I had one of the classics last night...not only was I in a church (aaa!), but I was also without veil, vows, or fiance. I had to go home to get one or all of these things, and as I walked down the block, I realized I was...you guessed it, naked.

when I have anxiety dreams I like to go full force. Incorporate as many elements as possible.


We Lost Him

Our gosling died. He was so strong on Thursday, but I checked on him intermittently on Friday and it wasn't until 5:00 that I realized he wasn't eating at all. I took him outside and set him in his grazing box (a makeshift pen so that he could be outside), and instead of chirping and tearing up the grass in a happy feeding frenzy like he'd done just 24 hours before, he lay down and tucked his head under one tiny wing. Immediate despair. I called D. in a panic and he came home right away.

Geese and other large birds sometimes get an "impaction" in their throat--meaning that something is blocking the esophagus. We found this out on the Internet, but there is very little information on raising wild geese on the web, and we weren't sure what to do. I called Angell Animal Hospital and the New England Wildlife Center, but it was after business hours; we were told we could bring him in the next day. But he didn't make it through the night. We always meant to name him, but holding his little body, I realized we'd always called him something: he was just Goz.

We weren't sure if the problem was exactly an impaction; we thought it might have been a lack of protein or an unstimulated appetite. We went out and bought mealworms, but he just looked at them. We gave him high-protein mash, but he could only dip his beak in it. Goz became more and more frantic, making distress calls and running around his box. He was exhausted, but he couldn't sleep. He was also younger than we realized; that afternoon on the river I'd noticed an older gosling between two very protective parents. That was the one we'd been watching since birth. I don't know where our baby came from. But I always felt so lucky to have such a special life in our home, and in our lives. I think we both became better people for having Goz with us, even just for five days. I feel so grateful.

I held him for hours that night. He nestled in my neck, and he seemed to be calmed by my stroking him. His bones, neck, and spine felt so tiny, and I petted him carefully, lovingly. I knew he was lonely. Earlier, we'd played sound files of geese honking, but it had only upset him. I wanted him to feel loved, deeply. I kissed him, told him how much I loved him, and let him snuggle into my hair, his beautiful webbed feet balancing on my shoulder blade. Even the cat was respectful, as if she knew how much he needed the space and love that is normally hers.

All those worries about not wanting to socialize him to humans felt like such a luxury, suddenly. I didn't care if he imprinted on me, by that point; I just wanted him to live. Even if it took forty years of having him as a pet, even until I was seventy years old.

In a last-ditch measure, we gave him an eye-dropperful of vegetable oil late last night, which is sometimes recommended for impaction. Later, he did cough up a long, bent piece of grass. But we were too late. We put him to bed, hoping for the best, but when we checked on him a few hours later, he was gone.

This morning we buried him by the river.


Is it a Gosling?

Or is it a rooster? Appearances can be deceiving.

Nope, it's definitely a gosling. Which means, I suppose, that it was a gosling letting out long wails at 5:15 this morning. "Why is he yelling?" I wearily asked the man who is going to be my husband in a few weeks. "Because he's hungry, and he's a baby," he said sagely. "That's what babies do."

Turned out he wanted more mash. I'm not entirely sure how he got his cornmeal mash when he lived in the wild, but it's clearly his favorite food. Blue claims that the weeds, aquatic plants and various vegetables, insects and snails that the gosling ate from the river supplied crucial vitamins and minerals that he is also able to get from a mixture of cornmeal, flour, bran, oats, and grit. With a little salt, he likes it a lot. At 5:15. A.M.

His visit is fun, but it's also very stressful. He's so cute that of course I want to pet him, but he's wild, and we don't want him to get used to humans. We can't just release him by the river, because he'd die; he's hawk food, cat food, and roadkill right now. He's not much more than a soft bundle of down. And there's the concern that raising him and socializing him, only to release him to the wild as an adult, will leave him left out of any adult goose social structure---thereby giving him a life that's not very happy. Of course, I would absolutely love to keep him, and let him socialize to us, but geese live for forty years. Forty years of not being able to be litter-trained.

We'd like to find a good wildlife rehabilitation center that specializes in migratory birds; perhaps, when he's a little bit stronger, he can join a sanctuary that can benefit from light human support while he acclimates to a social group of his peers. I hate the thought of releasing him, but we absolutely will. He's a truly beautiful, strong and wild bird. And I feel bad for him, more than anything. Not socializing to us leaves him scared of us, and unsure of what to do. He is imprinted on a goose, as Blue said, and there are no geese around here.

Probably just as well, because our evening activities right now are about 45% wedding planning, 45% gosling caretaking, and about 10% downtime. Which, my cat notes, leaves exactly no cat time.
Better Than Vacation Slides...Right?

Yeah, really loved the long weekend in Cape Cod.



Ah, nothing like a weekend in Cape Cod. We camped in a sun-dappled pine forest (really), took a sunset sail (I know, awww), ate some good seafood, and drank some good wine. Besides lying on the beach, a major highlight of the weekend was my purchase of The Typhoon, a colorful, punchy stunt kite. After I crashed it into the sand about sixty times, I managed to make an occasional figure-eight. At least my crashes were always consistent: nose-first and at about ninety miles an hour. They don't call it The Typhoon for nothing.

Back in town before noon, we managed to catch the local Memorial Day Parade, featuring the youth hockey league, kids with a fastball arm throwing candy at innocent bystanders, and a skew of interesting local characters. Russell B. rolled by, hair blowing in the wind, a veteran of both World Wars and perched in a convertible at the ripe old age of 104.

The big news of the day, though, is that the little gosling I recently described in this blog is currently in a box with some towels in my attic. This morning, as I zipped through the rain on my way to work, I pulled on my brakes as he toddled along in front of me. He's not much more than three or four weeks old, and he is covered in yellow fuzz. He was shaking, eyes were closing, and he was bedraggled. Another passerby and I tried for half an hour to get nearby geese to take him, but they ignored him completely. He kept slipping and falling, and was weak and frail from the cold. That was it; I couldn't leave him. I biked slowly back home with him in my backpack. My live-in biologist went and checked on him during lunch, and everything seemed good; he was dry and seemed healthier. Pictures to come!

Incidentally...the comments button is there for a reason, people.