“The arbitrariness of the constraint only serves to obtain precision of execution.”

draft sketch no. 1

“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the chains that shackle the spirit… the arbitrariness of the constraint only serves to obtain precision of execution.” — Igor Stravinsky

We are ascending. When we were first engaged, the realization that beautiful weddings involve (1) money, (2) time, which is money or (3) both made it brilliantly clear that I would not be having one of the charming DIY fetes scattered across Pinterest like so much wistful confetti. Truth: the standard hotel ballroom wedding is cheaper than the deceptively handmade ones with burlap and mason jars everywhere, unless you have a vast bevy of crafty aunts.

Continue reading ““The arbitrariness of the constraint only serves to obtain precision of execution.””


“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time.”


“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.” -Eric Hoffer

Today was the day of the exploding berry galette.

Yesterday was all sun and sweat and blue skies in San Francisco. This morning I woke up to a low-hanging mist and puddles of water on our deck. Two years in SF and I’m still appalled by how quickly the weather changes. It put me in a good mood: we made an early trip to the farmer’s market and we came home with the sweetest strawberries of the season, watermelon, corn, and a whole rotisserie chicken. We lunched on the chicken, salad, and corn, and Carter got to work on his water heater project. As for me, I idled. I worked on my invitation envelopes, did some laundry.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I would bake a berry galette. I had frozen pie dough and frozen berries. I would brighten the gloom of the day with a delicious baked good! I slapped together a few internet recipes, and produced a nice-looking galette. Unfortunately, I had neglected to drain the water from the berries. In the oven, the liquid seeped out from the innards to form a sticky, burnt moat of sadness.

I was able to rescue the galette in large, broken chunks. Still tasted good.

I sat on the couch and watched a marathon of the Mindy Project on hulu, getting up occasionally to feast on crumpled bits of galette. It’s a good day.

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone.”

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone.” – Wendell Berry

Saturday the florist came by the house, dropping off a jarful of flowers from the wedding of the day. The little jar was filled with sweet peas, lisianthus, Icelandic poppies, ferns, myrtle, and peonies. She applies floriography to her designs, and so arranged into that glass jar are success, sincerity, appreciation, and happy marriage. She asked me if I had any particular wishes for the floriography of my own wedding, and I said “the usual stuff.”

That’s where my mind’s at these days: a bit filmy, foggy, and teeming with tasks that seem to have bred and multiplied vast generations in the unquiet swamp of my hindbrain. I couldn’t summon any more will or energy to reach for anything specific when yet another question was applied to me by a kind and well-meaning wedding vendor.

The go-to question for office colleagues and acquaintances these days is “how’s wedding planning going?” And I waffle between saying fine and moving on, or doing the beleaguered-but-happy shrug and saying it’s a lot of work but I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end! To friends, and everyone else who actually gives a damn, I say it’s like being nibbled to death by ducks.

What caught me unawares were all the feelings and expectations that reared their heads over the past months. What I thought would happen was: we would find a nice place, wear nice clothing, have family and friends there, have a good party and be done. Simply put, it was not so simple.

Wedding planning has thrown into sharp relief a real flaw in my character: I am indecisive. Full of lip-chewing doubts and second guesses. It serves me well in my work life, where mistakes are unacceptable and costly, and constant reviewing and re-reviewing is par for the course. But it makes event planning hellish. Moreover I find that  planning my own wedding resurrects some old demons for me, where family, self-esteem, and obligation intersect.  I never perceived of myself as a chronic worrywart, but here I sit. There is so much to do, and so many expectations–others’ and my own.

I suspect that I’m inching more and more into that beige, pleasant land of I don’t give a shit anymore. Step 8 of my mood cycle. The good news is that the end is in sight.