iPhoto, eye photo

For the past 3 weeks or so, iPhoto, the application I use most for photo managing and editing has been broken. It had been buggy for who knows how long (Months? Years?), with weird things like the ghosts of deleted photos reappearing (beware the haunted thumbnails!), and tags running amok. An update became available, and I thought “yay, this should fix things!” But the result, instead, was that I could no longer open my iPhoto library. I kept getting an error message saying that my photo library was damaged, and to restore from a backup. Many things were tried, including restoring from a backup, which supposedly also was broken.

Given that I could see that my photos were still on my hard drive, and my back-up drive, I didn’t panic. However, it was very annoying that I was unable to access many years’ worth of sorting, tagging and rating. And given that my photo library was getting up over 50,000 items…holy crap, that’s an increase of about 16,000 since I wrote about my digital hoarding tendencies…but that was fairly early into my Project 365 year, and well before the photo binges of trips to Hong Kong and China… Wait, where was I? Oh, right, given that my photo library was freakin’ ginormous, it’s not like I wanted to start over with the tagging and sorting and rating.

In some ways, it was a bit of a relief. It broke me of some time-sucking habits, like looking through photos for things to post. Rating, tagging, and deleting here and there. It was almost a nervous tic to sit down at my laptop, and poke through piles of photos. Also on the bright side was that I got more comfortable at photo editing in Photoshop.

But it was also really irritating. I mean, I still do want to post photos from my trip to China, and I’d already spent a fair amount of time sorting through those. Plus all those Hong Kong and Macau photos I have yet to post. Plus, you know, I like looking at my photos.

So, I’m happy to say that after performing a series of dark rituals, unmentionable incantations, and database rebuilding (I think that last bit may have involved chicken blood) iPhoto is now mysteriously functional again.

In marginally related news, I also have increased facility to share photos of my eye.

After the initial shock (and a number of subsequent shocks each time I caught a glimpse of my eye in the mirror from the wrong angle over the next couple of days), I got fairly used to the eye. And a few days ago (a week after the subconjunctival hemorrhage first appeared), I noticed that the red areas were noticeably shrinking.

I actually had a really great time on my trip last weekend, which was only slightly affected by my eye. I was a bit self-conscious about it at the wedding, but not a soul ran away screaming. (It was almost disappointing.)

In this photo, with me squinting in the bright light, you have to look to see the red.¹

I did wear some sunglasses for part of the time, especially during the outdoor cocktail reception. (The late afternoon sun was very bright.) John has quite a few nice pairs of sunglasses he got a few years back when he had contact lenses. I had many options to choose from, but was taken with these vintage-looking ones with blue lenses. (I chose my dress to match them.)

Seeing this photo, though, leads me to believe that my messy hair may also have deflected attention from my eye. As it turned out, my friend and I were almost late for the wedding, due to getting stuck in traffic in New Jersey. Our preparations were somewhat frenzied.

And for those of you who were voting for me to go in the pirate costume, this is for you:

Aye, photo.

¹ For those those of you (or perhaps that would be for that one of you) who would like to see what my eye looked like up close, here is that photo that John talked me out of sharing. And here is that same photo with the red of the pupil fixed with “red eye reduction.” Just because I could.


  1. tin: a metal “Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (Latin: Stannum) and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table.”
  2. tin toys: classic toys made of tin
  3. Tin Toy(1988): an early Pixar short film featuring animate toys and a drooly baby
  4. tintype: a early type of photograph printed on metal (typically iron) plates
  5. Tintin: a character from a series of comic books
  6. Rin Tin Tin: a German Shepard (or several) of fiction and TV
  7. Pushing Tin (1999) A movie about air traffic controllers starring John Cusack
  8. tin: another name for a can used to hold food, e.g. a tin of beans
  9. tin foil: what aluminum foil is commonly called
  10. tin: a traditional material for gifts in honor of a 10th wedding anniversary

Had I been more organized, many of those items might have made good gifts to get John for our 10th anniversary. Which is today. Instead, I may have to give him a wad of aluminum foil and a tin of green beans.

Happy anniversary, John!

celebrating 5+ years of marriage in Massachusetts

ring_exchangeFive years ago today, John and I stood before a room full of our friends and family to express our commitment to each other, exchange rings, and celebrate our love.

We didn’t get married that day, though. This was a day of ceremony and festivities to supplement our rather unceremonious entry into the state of legal marriage almost 5 years earlier.

The reasons for our 1999 wedding-that-wasn’t-quite-a-wedding are a story for another day, and one that I have briefly told before.

While we had planned to have the wedding ceremony soon after the legal marriage, it wasn’t until 2004 that the pieces finally fell together. Meanwhile, in May of 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. We were very pleased with this news, and I feel real pride in my adoptive state about this issue.

John and I are not exactly religious. (This may actually be an understatement.) As such, we don’t belong to any church or other religious organization. However, as religion is an important part of the lives of many people who are important in our lives, I wanted to have our wedding be at least spiritual, if not overly religious.

When it came time to pick an officiant for our own wedding ceremony, I also wanted to find a person who supported marriage equality.

I remember driving past Unitarian Universalist churches displaying rainbow flags and messages supporting same-sex partners. Living in rural Massachusetts, in an area where churches and even some homes will sometimes display sayings of hellfire and damnation, it made me smile to see the progressive messages so boldly and proudly displayed.

Not only did the UU church support marriage equality, but members of the Unitarian Universalist church fought actively to bring about the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Choosing a minister from a Unitarian Universalist congregation seemed a clear choice, and it was one that I was very happy with.

Our wedding ceremony added something to our relationship. To have a joyous celebration that we shared with our friends and family, a public acknowledgement of our commitment, was a rite that I appreciated in ways that are hard for me to pinpoint. Our legal marriage, on the other hand, added things to our relationship that are easy to identify. The possibility of being able to share a health insurance policy, for a start. Plus many other rights and benefits:

There are over 1,400 rights that come from being legally married in the eyes of the government. (source)

I am happy to be married, both for the symbolic union with the partner that I love, and for the benefits that this union affords us.

I am also happy to live in a place where couples are not denied the right to marriage based on their gender.

                    777px-Gay_flag White Knot

happy third second wedding anniversary

alejna_john_wedding_135.jpg Today is a happy day. It’s the anniversary of our wedding. Our second one. Wedding, that is. Not the second anniversary. It’s actually our third anniversay. Of our second wedding. (We celebrated the seventh anniversary of our first wedding back in December.)

I was glad we managed to have a fall wedding. (For the second wedding, that is.) I love the fall. I love crisp smell in the air when the days turn chilly. I love the way the angle of the afternoon sun makes the trees glow with their reds and yellows and oranges. I love the riot of colors, and the way the scene changes from day to day. I love to find fallen leaves in all their varied colors and shapes.

I had a beautiful drive on Monday, when I went to and from the farm to pick up my vegetables. I take some winding country roads, and go past quite a few farms. Over and over again I was struck by the scenery. An old tree-lined cemetery on a hill. An antique Colonial house, painted white with traditional black shutters, surrounded by towering maples of red and yellow. Red barns. White rail fences. Cows in the pastures. I drove past postcard scene after postcard scene.

I zipped along in my little car, heading towards home. I was singing along to music I like, with a trunk full of fresh vegetables. My eyes were feasting on the scenes around me. And I thought about how happy I am with my life.

I have so much, and so much going on. I get paid to do work that I love, and I work with pleasant, intelligent and fun individuals. I have a wide range of interests and activities, and the resources and health to enjoy them. I have a loving mother and sister, who are both also my good friends. I have a great family, and wonderful in-laws that have really made me feel like I’m part of the family. I have lots of good friends, some nearby, some far away, but each of whom adds something unique to my life. I have a comfortable home in a beautiful location. I have a healthy, wonderful, smoochable baby girl. And as if that weren’t enough, I’m married to the love of my life and my closest friend.

I am so very lucky it embarrasses me sometimes. How did I get so damn lucky?

my head is stuffed full of cotton wool

I’m a little shaky on cranial anatomy, but I’m pretty sure that some of the nooks, crannies and othr empty chambers inside my skull are currently stuffed full of cotton wool. Or cotton balls. Or maybe cotton candy.

I have a wee bit of a cold, making my head (more than usually) foggy. Yesterday was very foggy, due to the impending cold, and also due to 2 nights in a row of insufficient sleep. Because Phoebe got the cold first, and perhaps has been teething on top of that. We had mulitple night wakings. (Plus I never get to bed on time.)

Ideally shouldn’t have been driving yesterday. But I had to go into work, and wasn’t particularly sick (yet). I had planned to take the train in, but my autopilot kicked in, and I started driving towards Boston instead of towards the train station. And since I was running a few minutes behind, didn’t want to risk turning around only to miss the train anyhow. And then when I got off the Pike, the autopilot kicked in once more, and steered me into Boston instead of into Cambridge. Later in the day, when I actually did have to go back across the river into Boston, I was additionally rewarded with a parking ticket. Not for an expired meter. But for expired registration. I renewed my registration online last minute, but I hadn’t gotten the new sticker in the mail yet. And while it’s legal to drive as long as you have a printed copy of the email receipt in the car, the meter checkers apparently do not care about this. (And what’s especially irritating is that had I managed to actually take the train in, I wouldn’t have gotten the ticket. And I might have gotten a bit of a nap, potentially leading to clearer-headedness.)

Whine, whine, whine.

Anyhow, today was much better. Today was a “work from home day.” But I spent much of the day napping, figuring that I will work much better once I manage to remove the cotton balls from my head. (Don’t worry. I’m not planning on trying the surgery myself.) I did try doing some reading, but that is what (inevitably) led to the napping.


In other news, the wedding this weekend went very well. The hitching was quite hitchless, as these things go. Phoebe did a wonderful job as flower girl (did I mention she was going to be flower girl?), my pumpkin-colored shoes were surprisingly comfortable, and my strapless bridesmaid dress didn’t fall down. I got my hair and make-up done by professionals, which was a novel experience for me. And I think I cleaned up pretty well. John got some great pictures, too. (I’ve mentioned before that John is a very talented and skillful photographer. )

He’s posted one of me and Phoebe over at his blog that I like a lot. (Don’t I look girly in that picture, by the way? Especially for someone who has written about often wearing men’s clothes. I was tempted to entitle a post “I like to wear women’s underwear.” I don’t know why that amuses me so much.)

turning into a pumpkin

pumpkinshoes.jpgI mentioned briefly that I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up soon. Well, that “soon” has now become “this Sunday.” Which is, technically, very soon. As is the standing tradition, in U.S. weddings at least, I will be wearing a dress chosen by the bride. As it will be an October wedding in New England, the bride has chosen fall colors. My dress is in burnt orange, a very pretty color, though a somewhat unusual one in my wardrobe. And is also often the case for such occasions, I am to have shoes that match my dress. This means that I have needed to get some dyed. I picked up my shoes yesterday afternoon. And I have to admit that I was quite startled to see them. You see, they are orange. I now have shiny orange shoes. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared to see orange shoes.

Anyhow, this weekend I will be donning the orange, and perhaps as such, feeling a bit like a pumpkin. Hopefully an elegant pumpkin, mind you, but a pumpkin nonetheless. But seeing as it’s October, pumpkins are all the orange rage right now. And in honor of their orange pumpkiness, I bring you a pumpkin-based Themed Things Thursday.

  • pumpkin
    A vegetable. Or a fruit. Depending on your choice of taxonomy. Generally eaten cooked. Used in lots of baked goods, like pumpkin pie.
  • Pumpkin (2002)
    A movie starring Christina Ricci.
  • Pumpkin
    A song by Tricky off Maxinquaye (YouTube video)
  • pumpkin_carriage.jpg

  • Cinderella’s carriage
    In many versions of this fairy tale, Cinderella’s fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage to carry Cinderella to the ball. Cinderella must leave the ball before her ride turns back into a pumpkin. Leading to the expression turn into a pumpkin, meaning depart, go to bed or otherwise turn in for the night.
  •             the_headless_horseman_pursuing_ichabod_crane.jpg

  • The Headless Horseman
    A ghostly character from Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“, who carries around a pumpkin head.
  • 200px-jackpumpkinheadpng.png

  • Jack Pumpkinhead
    A character from the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. Later had his own book, Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, though it wasn’t by Baum.
  • Pumpkinhead (1989)
    A horror movie involving a demon dug up from a pumpkin patch.
  • The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
    a song by XTC. (YouTube video) Later covered by Crash Test Dummies.
  • Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
    A nursery rhyme. Also a song you can play on the piano using only the black keys.¹

    Peter Peter pumpkin eater
    Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
    He put her in a pumpkin shell
    And there he kept her very well

  • peter_peter_pumpkin_eater_1_-_ww_denslow_-_project_gutenberg_etext_18546.jpg       great_pumpkin.jpg      nightmare_before_christmas_poster.jpg

  • The Great Pumpkin
    A mythical holiday character that never appears in the animated Peanuts special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
  • Jack, the Pumpkin King
    A character from Tim Burton’s animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
  • pumpkin_porch.jpg

  • jack-o-lanterns
    It’s a Halloween tradition to carve a face into a pumpkin. These are then typically set outside, with a candle inside. It’s also a Halloween tradition for mischievous kids to steal other people’s pumpkins, and smash them.
  • Smashing Pumpkins.
    A band. Performs songs such as “Tonight, tonight” and “Tarantula” (YouTube videos)
  • punkin
    An endearment or nickname based on the word pumpkin, which is sometimes pronounced without the word-medial [p]. Gives us [pʰʌŋkɪn] (Where the nasal has then assimilated to the place of articulation of the following consonant, a velar. Not that you asked.)
  • phoebe_cat_pumpkin.jpg

    ¹ I admit that I’m recycling this particular item from my vegetable ThThTh list. But recycling is good, right? Or should I be composting, since it’s vegetables we’re talking about?

    putting my money where my mouse is

    About a month ago, I wrote a bit about mouse-based activism, suggesting that even clicking on links can be a way to make a small difference: authors who write about issues or causes that concern them feel heartened by getting traffic, and motivated to write, and do, more.

    Of course, there are more direct ways to make a difference. Volunteering. Getting involved in local politics. Or going to Africa to help children orphaned and villages devasted by the AIDS crisis. Not all of these options are equal, nor do they seem equally possible for all of us. However, one more way we can make a difference is to give. If not our time and energy, then the other stuff. You know the stuff I mean.

    Here’s the story. Jen of one plus two and Mad of Under the Mad Hat are about to celebrate the 6 month mark of their online marriage. For their wedding, they asked attendees to give a gift of a post about an issue of social justice. And so the Just Posts were born. (Hey, does that mean it was a shotgun wedding?) On the 10th of each month since then, they have rounded up a collection of posts relating to social justice and all kinds of activism.

    This time, they are requesting not just words as gifts, but something a little more substantial. They’ve set up a gift registry of sorts. Jen has identified a small non-profit that is doing amazing work in a village in Africa. Mad has written up information about another organization that also is dedicated to supporting grassroots projects in response to the AIDS crisis in Africa. Both women have written eloquently about the crisis, and the need for action. (Did you know that 13 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and that this number is steadily rising?)

    This endeavor is also a kind of experiment. Marketers have already figured out that blogs are good real estate for ads. Spammers have figured out that they can try to hawk their cheap crap and porn through unwitting bloggers. But what about the power of bloggers themselves to make a difference about things that matter to them?

    I’m planning to make a donation. If you’d like to also, you can follow the links from jen or Mad, or go right to the sources. (Open Arms or the Stephen Lewis Foundation. To help track, put “Just Post” in the “company” line of the donation form.)

    Finally, at the risk of sounding like I’m trying to be a comment whore, ah, what the hell. I’m a comment whore. But I’m going to up the ante and increase my donation by $5.00 for each comment I get on this post (before Sunday, June 10th) that contains the word…pants.

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    anniversary present, anniversaries past

    Today is John’s and my 7th wedding anniversary. A couple of months ago, on October 24th, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Let me explain. John and I have been married twice. To each other.

    John and I started dating (or whatever you want to call it) on New Year’s of 1992. We got engaged on December 31st (New Year’s Eve) of 1993. Then for several years, we talked about planning the wedding, but each time we started the plans, there was some sort of obstacle. Work schedules were hectic. Money was tight. Crucial family members were planning to be away on long trips. We once got as far as picking a date, only to find that John’s niece had just announced her own wedding the same weekend across the country. We didn’t want to compete for family members to attend, so we opted not to schedule for that date. For several years, when someone would ask when we were ever going to get married, we’d say, more or less jokingly, “some time before the year 2000.” We weren’t really in a hurry to get married.

    At the end of 1999, I was planning to quit my job soon to have a bit of time off before starting grad school. Which meant, among other things, I’d be losing my health insurance benefits. We’d talked about maybe having a civil ceremony, in part so that I could get on John’s health insurance plan, and then later schedule the party wedding where we’d be able to include family and friends. But we hadn’t acted on this plan. Then the last week of December, we decided to make good on our threat to get married before the year 2000. We thought we’d wait till the last possible day to squeak in our wedding before 2000. (Which also coincided with the anniversary of our engagement.) We found a Justice of the Peace in a nearby town who was available to marry us in her home on December 31st. We applied for our marriage license in our Town Hall, and duly went for our blood tests. And so the morning of December 31, 1999, John and I were married. The only ones there were John, myself, and the Justice of the Peace. In her living room. No other witnesses. (Massachusetts doesn’t require them.)

    We told close family members, but the plan was to schedule the more ceremonial wedding before we made a wide announcement. We expected to do this within the year. But. Time passed. As it is wont to do. In fact, several years passed. And we more or less casually told people about our marriage along the way. People pretty much no longer expected us to have the “big” wedding. But I was determined. I wanted my party. A ceremony. Food. Music. And I wanted to have our loved ones with us to share in our celebration.

    So, on October 24th, 2004, John and I got married again. This time with our friends and family with us.

    This past October 24th was, therefore, our second wedding anniversary. It was both the anniversary of our second wedding, and the second anniversary of that wedding. (A nice little example of syntactic ambiguity where both parses apply…)

    second wedding anniversary tree