Today I bring you the second instalment of answers to the questions you asked me on Sunday. Because there were quite a few of them, I organized them according to kind, so while yesterday's answers were about place, today's answers are to the questions that pertain to the Palinode and I.
I am always surprised that people are interested in how we met or what our wedding was like, because I am usually inclined to ask people about stuff like if they, too, know it's laundry day when they find themselves wearing their partner's underwear. To each his own, I guess.
How did you meet the Palinode? And did you both grow up in the same nook of Canada?
The Palinode and I grew up in very different parts of Canada. I grew up on the prairies in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and he grew up on the rocky south shore of Nova Scotia. We ended up in the same city for a short while in July of 1993 when he came to live with his parents, who had moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
We don't remember meeting, but it is safe to assume that we met through our mutual friend Starcat in a small jazz cafe. It probably had to do with a lighter or borrowing a pinch of Drum tobacco or something along those lines.
To put it simply and mildly, my romantic life was turbulent at the time, so that I fell for the Palinode immediately was something I ignored out of a strong instinct for self-preservation. Also, he moved out of the province that summer, which further complicated the possibility of anything happening between us. It would take us another SEVEN YEARS before would start dating, which seems kind of ridiculous considering the feelings we had for each other, but the timing could not have been more perfect. Any earlier, and I don't thing we would have lasted. We needed those intervening years to grow up and become people who could make a life together.
Why/how did you and the Palinode decide to get married, and how did it all go down? (By which I mean, what was the wedding like?) I am interested because a) I always want to know how unconventional people manage such a convention-ridden thing, and b) it can be a very gendered thing and given your non-traditional gender identity, I'd be interested to know how you managed aspects of that?
We were married on June 9, 2001 in a small outdoor ceremony at a guest ranch. I would not have chosen such a conventional form of public commitment had it not been for my family. I had previously been in a long-term relationship that my family had never acknowledged, and so I used a legal ceremony performed by a minister as the social grease to validate our commitment. I now look back on that as being rather weak-willed. Still, I loves me some Palinode forever and ever, so I'm not complaining too much.
I picked our wedding colour, a rich reddish burgundy, out of a pile of discount napkins at a dollar store, I bought a comfortable dress that fit to avoid tailoring, the Palinode designed and printed our invitations, we settled on a cheap buffet dinner, and we left plenty of time for the guests to have impromptu fires in the fire pit and wander the property to check out the llama, geese, horses, peahens, chickens, cats, dogs, etc. We knew that if we and our guests were to stay relaxed and happy, there had to be as few worrisome details as possible, and the plan worked.
As for my queer identity, only a handful of people at our wedding knew anything of it, and I chose to make it a non-issue. I kept any froufrou stuff like flowers and lace and whatnot to a minimum level that my mother could live with, wore a somewhat subdued off-white dress, shaved my legs and armpits, and made the best of it. I honestly just wanted the wedding part over with so that the Palinode and I could go about having a life together, which we now most definitely and happily have.
I see that you are "a 36-year-old, queer-identified writer, blogger, etc." but, and I think I'm right about this, you're a girl and The Palinode is a boy, right? So how did that happen or...what does that mean...or something? Having a rather complicated sexuality/relationship myself, I'm very interested in this answer...
"Queer-identified" is a label I use because most labels feel like uncomfortable uniforms, and this one seems to have some wiggle room. Gender-wise, I do not identify much with being either male or female, and I have had relationships with people of varying identities and genders. That the person I fell in love with and chose to spend my life with is a straight male is just how things happened. Who I am and with whom I am married are simply natural parts of my life, so I find that the only complicated thing about my identity and my relationship status is trying to explain it so that other people understand that it is not at all complicated.
As you can see, though, the sentences can get a little complicated.
Basically, one person fell in love with another person, and more than eight years later, they still like each other.
You seem to have a nice relationship with your mother-in-law. Would you describe the first meeting?
The first time I met my mother-in-law was 16 years ago shortly after I first met the Palinode. I remember that I walked into her kitchen and was immediately drawn to her. Her kitchen isn't very large, though, and there were three of us that had just crowded in her door, so her first words after our introduction were "Now would you guys get out of my kitchen? I'm trying to cook in here!" When I left, I hoped that that would not be the last time we met, and thankfully it wasn't.
Tomorrow, I will tackle your questions about music, which, frankly, surprised me. They shouldn't surprise, seeing as I come from a musical heritage and am the proud of owner of the finest instruments that elementary school music programs have to offer — a recorder and a yellow ukulele — but I so rarely write about music that they do. I am curious myself to see what I come with.