Saturday, September 28, 2013

Invites are out!

 I have been working insanely hard on the wedding invitations for the past month. Well, over that, actually. I started designing them almost as soon as we got engaged, and we've been working on the guest list just as long. There are still a few addresses I am tracking down so a few invites will be shipped off later, but the majority of them went to the post office yesterday.

We opted for a simple package. The main invite (the front is to your left) is a single sheet, with the information on the backside. Anything we couldn't fit nicely there is on the wedding website, address included in the invite. 

The RSVP postcard (view front below) includes the meal choices, and is already addressed and stamped. We debated whether to have cards at all, but then I got a good deal on them, and once we had them we knew we'd get better responses if we stamped them. So far I've gotten back four responses from my hand-delivered efforts. Pretty fun to get them in the mail! 

My only concern has been making sure that everyone really does reply. I've done my best with the wording both on the RSVP card and the website to make it clear that we need a definite reply or there will not be food. I've heard horror stories about people showing up with out RSVPing, or RSVPing and then not showing up. With how much a plate costs at a wedding these days, even four unclaimed plates is a tragic waste of money. And I've been working so hard to be economical with everything!

(The pink is not showing up 100% color true here... it's a color called guava, which is close to coral, and I am utterly in love with it.)

Also on the wedding front, I went shopping with my grandmother and mom this week to pick out their ensembles for the wedding. I'm terribly excited about what we found for them... very Downton Abbey. I kept saying that we were the Dowager Countess, Lady Cora and Lady Mary. It was pretty fun.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Downton Abbey is BACK! Or not? Where do you live...?

Downton is BACK! Well, overseas, that is. Tragically PBS has once again decided NOT to air the show simultaneously in the US, and it'll be January before most Americans see it.

Because the show has a huge following, a great many of whom live most of their lives outside the computer and therefore don't even know that the show airs earlier in the UK than the US. Which is why PBS can delay the airings and claim that it is still highly successful. Because our moms and grandparents and aunties don't watch it until they can see it properly on Masterpiece Theater. But there is still a large contingent of those who spend a lot of time online who are given the conundrum of whether to wait and watch it on the (relative) big screen and likely have the whole thing spoiled on tumblr, or whether to try to find another way to watch it online. If you're in this group, I highly encourage you to contact one or all of the following and express your frustration:

Producer: WGBH
One Guest Street
Boston, MA 02135

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Nine Tailors

My copy of this book had nothing about churches or bells on the cover, so you can forgive me for thinking it might have something to do with sewing. I mean, it's Dorothy Sayers and it's a Peter Wimsey mystery, but the word "Tailor" on the cover is certainly what made me choose to purchase this title over any of the others in the store.

It has nothing to do with tailors. Or sewing. Although clothes do figure rather prominently in unraveling the mystery.

Rather "The Nine Tailors" refers to the old English practice of ringing out the "Tailor" bell nine times when a man passes away. When an anonymous corpse is discovered in someone else's grave, a sleepy country village has to ring the bells for this stranger, and call on Lord Peter to solve a murder that grows more sinister with every turn.

Still, I found the novel to be deeply intriguing despite the lack of needles and chalk. I know very little about the English art of bell ringing and the book made the whole mathematical music deeply intriguing.

And the mystery! While I figured out one important aspect very early on, there were still plenty of other pieces to be surprised with. Plus, like any Sayers novel, the mystery is but the framework in which an investigation of human nature is launched.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Care and Keeping of Deaf Ears

I went in for my semi-annual hearing check-up last week. Now that I'm an adult and my hearing hasn't changed in years, I don't have to go in unless there is a problem. When I was a child I had to go multiple times a year... which wasn't fun at all.  It's still not super fun, but now I at least understand the importance of it all. 

For those of you who don't know, I'm deaf. It's a genetic thing that only showed up in one person of my generation - me. I started loosing my hearing when I was about four, and it got progressively worse until I was about seven. I spent a lot of my childhood in audiologist offices taking hearing tests and getting new earmolds made and trying out new hearing aids.

I've written more about what it means for me to be deaf here. This post is specifically about hearing aids and levels of hearing.

This is the hearing aid from my left ear. It is nine years old and by today's standards, it is quite large. Believe it or not, my aids before these were even larger... when I got these I couldn't believe how small they were! And my very first power aids had a power box that I had to wear in a pouch on my waist, and it had cords that went up to my ears. NOT what a six-year-old wants to be wearing.

The earmolds are soft. I'm not sure if they're silicone or something similar, but they're about four years old and will need to be replaced soon. The tubes are new - tubes shrink up and get hard so you have to replace them every year or so. My old tubes were so bad that I was actually loosing sound. As soon as I got these new ones in, I realized that there were a lot of high pitched sounds I hadn't been hearing for months.

One battery lasts for 7-10 days. They cost about $1 each.

My hearing aids cannot be exposed to water. I have to be very careful to dry my hair, or cover my ears if I'm out in the rain.

The aids get my hearing up close to but not at normal level. I can actually hear most sounds with them (except the last few notes on the piano), but I don't hear the very high ones normally. I also have audio processing issues, which is why I rely so heavily on lipreading. Many many people don't realize that I'm deaf unless they recognize my slight accent - this is because with lipreading I get 94% of what's being said at a reasonable distance (listening to a pastor, for instance, is very different, and forget television). Without being able to lipread, I only get 20% of what is being said. Even though I can hear a lot of the sounds, my brain just can't go fast enough to keep up. No wonder my eyes get tired!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sleepy Hollow

I've been simultaneously intrigued and turned off by the lead-up to Sleepy Hollow's pilot release last night. Ichabod Crane does a Rip-van-Wrinkle and ends up in the 21st Century battling the horsemen of the Apocalypse? That could go either really well or really bad, and it's more likely to go bad.

However, after seeing some gifs on Tumblr, I was drawn in by the acting of Tom Mison as Ichabod and decided to give the show a try. And while there is certainly room for a lot to go wrong with this premise, the writing and acting draws the viewer in and keeps them there.

Not surprising, it's a creepy show. I watched in on Hulu during lunch today, but I don't think I'd be nearly so interested in it if I'd been creeped out of my socks at 9 at night. There's a lot of talk of the supernatural, and a coven of witches (one apparently was masquerading as a reverend) is due to play a big role which is undoubtedly going to result in a lot of Christians blacklisting the show. And they might be right. It's too early to tell whether the mixed up theology is going to be interesting or offensive... but at this point I'd say this is a show to keep an eye on, if only because lead characters Ichabod and Abbie are so enjoyable to watch.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall TV Shows - 2013

Oh it's a delicious sense of anticipation that fills me as I realize it's only a week until the fall television season starts!!! What shows are you looking forwards to watching?

Here's my watchlist, which I've set up over at TV Guide to keep track of what's airing when!

Old Favorites Returning
Downton Abbey (UK only) 9/22
How I Met Your Mother 9/23
Castle 9/23
Modern Family 9/25
Parenthood 9/26
Big Bang Theory 9/26
Once Upon a Time 9/29
Raising Hope 11/8

New Potentials
Sleepy Hollow 9/16
Agents of SHIELD 9/24
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 10/10
Reign 10/10
Dracula 10/25

Friday, September 6, 2013

In Defense of Hufflepuff

So... my fiance has been reading Harry Potter, and he mentioned that his view of the Hufflepuff House is that they're all rather fraidy-cats hiding off in the corner. Which I suppose in books 1&2 is accurate enough. I mean, they're 1st years, and they're being contrasted with Gryffindors, who of course are known for being exceptionally brave and daring.

That doesn't mean that the Hufflepuffs don't grow up into some of the best Hogwarts has to offer.

Can we take a moment to talk about how awesome Nymphadora Tonks is?

(spoilers to follow)

Seriously. She knocks two things over in the books and gets labeled a klutz. She likes to entertain people and is a Hufflepuff so somehow she's not taken as seriously as, well, Moody.

Okay. It's hard to take anyone as seriously as Mad-Eye Moody. And I'm a Hufflepuff so I'm biased towards my house, but I rather think Tonks shows just how insanely awesome the Hufflepuffs are, if anything.

I mean, c'mon. She's an Auror. In HBP the point is made that Tonks is more intelligent than Fleur, being an Auror, and we know that's a good point (Harry disagrees, Fleur being Beaubaxton's champion and all). After all, Harry himself would not have been able to get into the necessary NEWT classes without Slughorn's appointment in Potions.

You know what that means? Tonks got an Outstanding OWL in Potions. She had to in order for Snape (who was certainly potions master when she was in her sixth and seventh year) to take her into his class. And getting her NEWTs is one thing, she still had to pass all the tests for an Auror, making her a peer to such bad-asses as Kingsley and Mad-Eye Moody.

So she's tough and smart and funny... and utterly kind and loyal and open-minded, as we can see by her devotion to Lupin, who had been generally shunned by the rest of the wizarding community. She's also got her head on rather solidly, as she chooses to generally appear with the looks she has naturally, rather than metamorphizing herself to look as beautiful as, say, Fleur. She doesn't feel a need to - she is utterly happy with who she is.

All of these qualities are also shown in Cedric Diggory, the other Hufflepuff to get any decent screentime. Sure, next biggest Huff, prefect Ernie McMillian is a little pompous, but Harry specifically notes that he rather likes Ernie in spite of this, even though this was a quality he found annoying in Percy Weasley, and Ernie is one of the first people to publicly declare that he believes in Harry in OotP. Let us not forget that, other than Gryffindor, Hufflepuff was the only house to unanimously choose to stay and fight Voldemort in DH!

And all of this is only drawing on information from the books! JKR has said a great deal more about Hufflepuff over on Pottermore, including the fact that it is the only house never to produce a Dark Wizard. It's unfortunate that we never got to see their common room on the page or screen, because according to the website it is quite an awesome place to be... not to mention right next to the kitchens! Who wants to bet Hufflepuff was the only house that actually knew the House Elves? Speaking of Hufflepuff Headcanons, here are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

End of Summer, Beginning of Fall

(Isn't my man handsome? And what do you think of the haircut I gave him?)
Hey there readers! How was your Labor Day weekend? Did you get to enjoy the extra day of fun, or did you have to deal with school stuff?

I had a good weekend hanging out with my fiance. Sunday we started work on refinishing an antique desk for my new sewing room, which was a lot of fun! Sanding is rather rough work, but it's much nicer when you have someone to help you out. Then yesterday I took him to the State Fair, which is rather a big deal around here and since he's not a native of our state, I thought he'd better get indoctrinated into this staple of being one of us. He returned the favor later in the day by showing me "Lady in the Water" and warning me of all the scary parts (M.Night Shaylaman films freak the heck out of me). Then we finished off the evening by spending nearly two hours painting miniatures for our RPG. It was awesome.

Also on the awesome scale is the latest promotional picture from ABC's Once Upon a Time. Check out the first look at Tinker Bell! Just 25 days until it returns to our screens on September 29th!

Oh man, can you believe it's September? This summer has gone by so fast! I had to wear a hoodie yesterday, it was that chilly. Fall appears to be here... I even saw leaves on the ground the other day. Don't get me wrong, I love fall, but I'm not quite ready for the summer to be over yet.

Although... colder days mean January is that much closer. Just 135 days until my wedding... SO PSYCHED!